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.

 

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.

Overwhelmed and Happy

My life is weird. I am sure everyone can say that to a certain extent, but mine is just weird, unpredictable, uncomfortable, amazing, fun and sometimes overwhelming. Often all those things occur in one 24 hour span.  Lately my life has felt awesome and overwhelming and wonderful and scary.  There are some things that I want to happen, things that I would love to happen, some things I would like to avoid and some things that unexpectedly jump into my path that I am not sure what to do with. My current situation is that they are all kind of going at once.

So here is what’s going on—

In one post I stated that I was taking the option of finding love off the table. Wasn’t even going to entertain the possibility. But I am an idiot. I should have known better  than to swear something like that off, because as soon as I do, I meet someone.  Now, don’t get ahead of me. The “L” word isn’t even close to the table at the moment, but I did meet someone. And Let me just say that I have absolutely horrible timing. I seriously didn’t mean to catch feelings. That is the last thing I need. My interest is probably the last thing he needs or even wants.  And yet, foolishly, I stepped in it and here I am. And it’s not like I could help it. This person is just a good human being, which is incredibly rare. He is creative and smart and funny. Beautiful inside and out (is it okay to call a man beautiful?). Of course, none of this matters because I think I somehow ruined any chance of reciprocated interest. Not sure exactly what happened, but he is no longer texting me and has all but disappeared from my existence. He is not ready and I am. Timing.  I realize I am a lot to handle and maybe I just scared the hell out of him. Maybe I am not his type. Maybe he prefers waif-like skinny girls (head’s up, I am not). Maybe he prefers submissive and demure (again, I am not). If his social media posts are anything to go by, he is facing the idea of getting into a relationship with a fair amount of trepidation. I am more of the “dive right in, fear be damned” sort.  Regardless, I made him run. And it is a shame.  My kids really like him too. Anywhoo…..

In mid-March I started my new job working for an airline as a reservation agent. It is a job that I will eventually be able to do from home.  I love the company I am now working for. It is unlike any other place I have worked. A great company full of great people and I have yet to see any drama.  As much as I love my new job and as much as I am looking forward to being at home, I am feeling rather overwhelmed at the moment.  And I am not the only one. Most of my class is near tears from being overwhelmed almost every day.  Thankfully, the instructors/supervisors assure us this is normal.  There is a lot of information to try and learn and process and keep straight in a very short amount of time. After 3 weeks in the classroom, we were put on the phones to put what we learned into practice.  Our supervisors warned us that our first phone call would result in forgetting everything including our name.  I forgot everything but my name.  I still have that going for me. I did forget everything else though. A little bit at a time, I am learning to utilize my resources more and my instructors for help, less and less. Still I am overwhelmed and will be for some time I am sure. But, I got this. Or I will get this. Eventually. In the meantime, I need to learn to cope with all the information being thrown at me everyday without going completely whackadoodle. This job, when it becomes second nature as most jobs eventually do, will be awesome. The benefits are amazing too. Not only do I get great medical, dental and vision coverage,   I get travel benefits that I get to share with my children and my parents and, at some point, a spouse, should my life be blessed with one, and his kids when I find him. My life, hopefully, is going to be one adventure after another. I was sleepwalking my way through my life for the last two decades, but getting this job made me wake up. I realize how much I have been missing out on for such a long time. I do not intend to let that continue. I am planning trips and adventures with my kids. Big and small ones. They don’t have to be major, they just have to happen. And they will.  Lunch in Seattle, a day at the Portland zoo, a visit to my brother and new friend (long lost sister?) in Utah, the aquarium in Monterey. Eventually, I plan on going to Italy to see all the art and architecture I studied in college.  That is my dream vacation.

When I got my now totalled Fiat, I started driving for Uber to make money for my car payments. I worked 40+ hours a week at Walmart, drove for Uber several nights a week and made custom jewelry and painted glass orders in my “spare” time. That did not leave a whole lot of time to give to my children. My accident forced me to take a break. I didn’t like the idea of taking a much needed break, but I really didn’t have a choice. After I left Walmart, I had about 3 weeks of vacation before starting my new job, during which I did just about nothing. I unpacked some boxes that had been sitting in my mud room since I moved into this house last May and I cleared out garbage bag after garbage bag of outgrown clothes. I built a new bed, took my kids on a couple of small trips, but mostly I slept. I couldn’t believe how tired I was and how much sleeping I accomplished, but I guess my body and my brain needed the break. Now, I should go back to driving for Uber, but I am finding that I like having time for myself and time for the gym and time for creative endeavors that make me happy and time to just take my kids on drives or to the park or window shopping at the mall. I am resisting going back to driving, but I really need to get back on a schedule and drive again. The money to make car payments would be nice so that it doesn’t have to come out of the rest of my budgeted money.  Once I am at home working, expenses related to driving to work everyday will be gone and that will save us some money, but getting to that point is the trick. Financially, I need to do it, but mentally, that is another story. I am happy having time.

One of the most overwhelming, scary and wonderful aspects of my life at the moment is parenthood. Some people are blessed with compliant children who never really challenge them or smart off or roll their eyes. I am not that parent.  My fourteen-year-old does all of those things and more. He is neither Easy nor even-tempered. He is a child that feels whatever feeling he has 110%. If he is happy, he is the most joyful, happy kid you will see. When he is angry, he is on fire pissed off. And his feelings turn on a dime. I have never seen such a thing. One sentence can reduce him to tears.  It is annoying because sometimes I really want to yell and scream back because my frustration gets the better of me. It is really hard to maintain my cool with him because he knows every single “piss mom off” button and he usually smashes all of them in rapid succession. And as crazy as he makes me and as frustrating as he is, he is also funny and goofy and ambitious and smart and compassionate. He has a love of life and a passion for tearing things apart to see how they work. He is in such a hurry to grow up and I am just not ready. Somehow this emotionally volatile teenager also has a knack of finding something good and pointing it out when my day sucks dog excrement and I am falling apart. That kid makes me crazy, but he is often the restorer of my sanity.

So, I have been slightly overwhelmed by feelings I shouldn’t have, work that I haven’t quite “gotten”, finances that are not a thing yet but will be soon and the emotional battleground of raising a hormonal teenage boy. But as overwhelming as those things are, they are also wonderful, exciting and scary. And such is my life.

Beaten by the Storm, Blessed in the Aftermath

It seems that no matter your age, life goes through cycles that comfort or challenge us. No one is immune, but it sure seems that some cycles find us taking on more than our fair share of challenges. I seem to be in that place and I have had an avalanche of excrement showering me for the last several months. While I try to maintain a positive attitude and remain hopeful, the rapid rate at which life keeps knocking me on my ass is making it difficult to keep getting back up.  I think it is moments (or months) like this when being not just single, but alone, feels the worst. Some days it would be nice to come home, curl up with someone and bawl your eyes out and be reassured by them that it will get better and you will tackle the bullshit together. But that is not where I am. I am on the single and alone side which means I pretty much handle everything myself and to give you some idea of the avalanche I have been under, here are just a few things on my plate:

Work. My job has been getting consistently worse by the day. When I started my job, I loved being at work. I was in my element dealing with customers and I loved the people I work with and the job I was doing. I got promoted and was put in a department I didn’t want and never would’ve asked for. I found that after being in that department for a while, I loved it. It was a department that no one wanted, but again, I loved it. Then she happened. She made my work environment a hostile one. She complained about everything and everyone constantly. Especially me and it seemed to be her mission to submarine me and get me in trouble with management, even lying and taking credit for my work in doing so. I tried to be the bigger person and just let it go, but when you have a large number of coworkers all telling you she is talking shit about you to anyone and everyone that would listen, it grows old and stressful very quickly. Add to that, one shift (mine) was made to do 3 shifts worth of work because 2nd and third shift weren’t doing their job, either because they couldn’t or we didn’t have the workers available. We have been shorthanded for a very long time and my store has a rather high turnover rate. Being made to do all that work meant that our departments were not getting the attention they need. Then, getting pulled to other departments constantly added to the problem as well as a manager that wanted nothing to do with the area (mine as well as a few others) he was given and stayed out and essentially avoided helping or participating in the running of the departments. One shouldn’t have to chase or beg to be listened to or heard when assistance is needed. I was reprimanded twice for bullshit reasons and if I had been given the opportunity to stay in my department and actually do MY job, it wouldn’t have been a problem. Meanwhile “She” no. 2 is doing her best to tank me and my job. I knew she talked about me behind my back and went to management for stupid reasons, but OMG, she is ruthless. My friends have come to me and told me to watch out for her because she is trying to cause trouble for me. I know I am not the only one because management has received numerous complaints about her. I spoke to my manager and was told to basically suck it up because she is untouchable. She is the biggest shit talker and pot stirrer and no one will do anything. Imagine the teacher’s pet, mean girl, play ground bully and hall monitor–that is her in a nutshell. So, needless to say, I am looking for other employment opportunities, ones that don’t foster drama and truly have a culture of fairness and opportunity.

Illness. Because my immune system is already in overdrive (thank you auto immune disease) fighting itself and has nothing to fight the cooties that get dragged into work or home from school, I am prone to illness. A few weeks ago, I started feeling sick and it got to the point where I couldn’t work. My employer has a point system for absences and you basically get penalized for having the nerve to get sick. Now, I understand the reasons for the system. Without a system of checks in place, people abuse the privilege of having paid sick time. I called in on a Saturday, had my regular days off on Sunday and Monday, tried to go to work on Tuesday, but felt like I was dragging my self through wet cement and could not stop coughing. I took my lunch early to go see the doctor who, thankfully, was a couple miles from my work. I got a breathing treatment and was told I needed to go home to rest and the doc gave me a note to give to my employer. That not was not enough and I had to file a claim to get FMLA time for 2 absences. Two. A lot of paperwork and process to avoid getting points. I am sure that the stress from work didn’t help my immune system, but what can you do? I have to work so I learn to just deal. Here it is three weeks later and I still have a cough and lung butter, but I am slowly recovering.

Car accident. This one pisses me off because it was my fault. I am a careful driver and it has been 20 years since I had a collision accident. I was at a roundabout, the guy in front of me had started pulling forward into the roundabout, I started pulling forward and glanced left to make sure the roundabout would be clear, turned my head to the right and he had stopped. I smacked into him. The impact was not enough for either of our cars’ airbags to be deployed. I gave him my information and we went on our way and I found out later that morning my car was pretty much totaled. I will never own another European car.  It kind of broke my heart because I loved that car. It suited me.

My Grandpa. Now my grandpa can be gruff. He can be very blunt. At times he can be a little unkind. That being said, my grandpa can also be an amazingly generous person. While I was married he bailed my ex and I out a couple of times financially. Shortly before I left my husband, he bought me a car (a 2001 Hyundai Tiburon–another car that I absolutely loved). When I left my husband, he let me move into his house, rent free and bill free until I could find a job, get on my feet and find a place for me and my boys. The morning of my accident, I found out he had been taken, by ambulance, the night before, to the hospital. He was in the ICU–bad heart, infection in his lungs, blood sugar out of control, unstable blood pressure, dementia.  Two weeks of blur and tears on a hair trigger.

UPDATE: It often takes me several days or weeks (unfortunately) to complete a post and this is no exception. A lot has happened since I started this one and all of it positive. So–here’s what happened.

My grandpa, much to the surprise of the medical staff, got stronger and was able to leave the hospital and then the rehab center they put him in. Things are somewhat under control. His heart is pretty much on borrowed time, but the other things leveled out and improved. Except the dementia. That won’t ever improve. We had suspected for a while that dementia had taken hold, based on his memory issues and behavior, but since being admitted to the hospital that night, it has gotten monumentally worse. It is tough seeing him so feeble and quiet.  But he is still with us for now. My parents have taken on his care and he has moved in with them, but that is proving to be a challenge. My mom works and my dad, while retired, had knee replacement surgery in October and he is having his other knee done next week. Life is certainly not without challenges.

The last couple of weeks have been a whirlwind of changes and blessings and I have gotten sort of a mini restart.

I am almost completely better from the bronchitis. What takes a normal person 2 weeks to get over will take me 4, pretty much guaranteed. My lungs aren’t completely clear, but I think that once I get back into the gym, the activity will clear out anything left in them. At any rate I feel tremendously better.

Mid-February I found new employment. I was offered a job at an airline doing reservations. It is not like anything I have done before, but it is with a company that has happy, content employees. Everyone seems to love their job and their employer. That is one of the things that was a priority for me.  Knowing how unhappy I was at and with my job in the last year and how unhappy a lot of others were, finding something with less bullshit, favoritism and drama was paramount. I know that each job is unique and comes with its own set of issues and drama, but one of the best parts of my job is that after about 7 or 8 months, they will be setting me up to work from home. I will still have crazy shifts, including graveyards, but I will be at home and won’t have to inconvenience others so that I can do my job. Not only that but I will work them for 3 months at a time and not one week a month, 6 months out of the year. Stability! Yay!

Leaving my job was an interesting experience. The woman that made my life hell and constantly put daggers in my back the minute it was turned, got a tad nastier than normal. I confided in someone I mistook for a friend about her trying to start shit again with another friend who quickly put the kibosh on her attempts to run me down yet again. This so-called friend, who warned me numerous times to watch my back because the nightmare was at it again, immediately told said nightmare what I told him. The nightmare immediately started texting me, telling me I was the cause of the drama in the store, claimed I had created a hostile work environment for her and hinted at possible legal ramifications. It was hilarious because this person spent the majority of her shift, every single day talking shit about one person then moving on to the next to talk shit about the last person. She was mean, condescending, rude and disrespectful to almost everyone. Her whole entire life was the creation of drama and discord in the workplace. And she tried to put her entire life’s work on my shoulders. Effing Hilarious.  It must suck to be so miserable that you must inflict that misery on everyone around you and then not see that you are the cause. Or enjoy being the cause. I am not sure which. At any rate, I was sick, just sick of her shit and management’s refusal to handle it. So I went above everyone’s heads and called the corporate ethics hotline and there will be an investigation. Now, I don’t want anyone to lose their jobs, but I definitely want to see justice done so that others are not subjected and forced to shut up about such things in the workplace. I no longer work there so I will not be subjected to retaliation. If I can make the environment better for anyone else, then that crap I was forced to deal with will have been worth it. I only wish I had been brave enough to do something sooner.

My car situation has been resolved in a big, amazing way. For a little over a week, my insurance company paid for me to drive a rental while they determined exactly what to do with my car. Once we figured that mess out, I was given limited time for the car and did not have a replacement. I was still waiting for my tax return to be able to take care of it. Now, while all of this is going on, my grandpa can no longer drive or live on his own. His house remains vacant and he had two cars sitting at his house. My dad started driving my grandpa’s truck and I asked to drive his Focus until I could get a new car. My mom informed me that my sister, who has two incomes, two working vehicles and is better off financially (although not by much) was driving my grandpa’s car. I got a bit bent out of shape about that because at this point, I am a single mother with one income and NO running vehicle. Now, don’t let me lose you, this ends well. Really well. Since my dad is now the owner and driver of my grandpa’s truck, he let me borrow his Buick until I could get another car. It’s 17 years old but runs pretty well and it was getting me from point A to point B just fine. My parents discussed actually giving me the car, but they weren’t sure, given its age, just how long it would last and I really did need a good, reliable car. So their solution was to sign over the title as a trade in toward a newer, more reliable car. Oh hallelujah!!! This worked out wonderfully after all and I am extremely happy. I bought a 2016 Dodge Dart Limited with all kinds of bells and whistles. I actually like this car more than my Fiat and I LOVED my Fiat. Things couldn’t have worked out any better than they did. God (or the universe if that is your belief system) truly knew what he was doing. Everything landed just right.

After dealing with a constant barrage and downpouring of excrement for the last year and especially the last few months, things turned around marvelously better than I had hoped or could plan. We all go through storms, sometimes for an overwhelmingly long period of time, but after those storms, the sun comes out and we get to enjoy the blessings that follow. Right now, I am going to enjoy the blessing-steeped sunny weather and not worry about the next storm that comes, because I know it’s coming. When it does, I will fight my way through that one too.

Ditch the Rules, Begin the Journey

The end of the year is rapidly approaching and I am realizing that all of the goals I had for myself this year, got upended by circumstance and I just let it happen. I really did have every intention of becoming this person I described in my blog, but somehow I have let outside sources and influences get to me and disrupt every plan I made for myself. At every single turn, life jumped in the way and caused me to veer off my course, leaving me to navigate through brambles and sage brush and sharp rocks instead of the nice, clear, pristine, easy to navigate path I planned for myself. So, I need to step back, look at my plan and analyze why and how it went so horribly wrong. And by horribly wrong, I mean so far from my intended course. I need to figure out how and why and make changes.

One of the things that I wanted to do was pay particular attention to my health. I wanted, needed, to change my eating habits back to the way they were when I was first diagnosed with Celiac disease. My diet has gotten better for the most part, but there are things that I still need to work on. Sugar is not nearly as appealing as it once was, but potato chips are the most common replacement for the lost sugar. In the last couple of months, even that has gotten better. If I had been behaving myself the whole year, my weight would be down a lot more and a lot of the inflammation associated with both Celiac disease and Hashimoto’s disease, could have been eliminated or reduced. In short, I would be feeling and looking better. Slight improvement, but not nearly enough. Definitely something I need to work on in 2018.

Another area that needs improvement is becoming that “wannabe gym rat” I talked about. I bought a gym membership in March and for the first couple of months, I did really well. I wasn’t really losing any weight, but I was feeling better and enjoying my work outs. As much as I wanted to stay on a routine, several things got in the way of my workouts. Well, more like several factors relating to one thing in my life: work. One thing about working a retail job that tends to suck at times is your schedule. My schedule is supposed to be Monday through Friday 7am – 4 pm.  Supposed to be. When managers rotate, things change. One of the first was my Saturdays off were taken away. New schedule is Tuesday through Saturday. I wasn’t happy about that, but not the end of the world. The biggest factor that I have dealt with has been the way they bounce your schedule around. Because my schedule is open, they can make me work whatever shift they need so sometimes they have me work a regular schedule, sometimes 4 am to 1 pm, sometimes 5 am to 2 pm and sometimes the overnight shift. The really early mornings are difficult, especially when you have kids at home and you have to go to bed before they do and be out of the house hours before they get up. It throws your sleep rhythm off and it leaves you exhausted. The worst schedule is overnights because you only work that one week at a time and then go back to a regular schedule. I don’t sleep more than 3 or 4 hours, if I am lucky, per day. By the end of the overnight week, I am pretty well zombified, but somewhat adjusted to the schedule. It then takes me two weeks to readjust to the day shift. I don’t know why, but it is always harder to adjust back to the normal shift. Several bouts of that and I am left exhausted and fatigued and the gym, however much I might want or need to go, sits on the back burner. Anyone who has ever tried to stay on routine knows that if you say “no” once, the second time is easier and then the “no’s” snowball and pretty soon the gym is a distant memory and getting back to that routine is nearly impossible. After a few months absence, I got back into going with my son and then the schedule changes happened again and a few months later, I still haven’t seen the inside of the gym.  I need to find a way to fit it into my schedule, even if it means just 30 minutes on the elliptical before going home from work.  I know that I look and feel better when I am active beyond the walking I do at work. It needs to be higher on my list of priorities.

One of the things I have wanted for years is to be a Zumba instructor. This goal completely hinges on the two previous. The job does not require that I be super skinny. In fact, a good number of instructors that have taught the classes I have taken, have had very fit but curvy bodies, imperfectly beautiful and perfect bodies. What it does require is that I be able to move without being so out of breath I collapse (I can do that now, but I can definitely do better). The added weight on my frame really needs to go so that I can move more freely and lightly. Having a healthy body is going to benefit all aspects of my life. Feel better, look better, be better.

Being kinder was another goal. I think I met at least the minimum standards of that goal. I smiled through a lot I could have let drag me down and didn’t say mean things back to less than kind people, whose need to feel better or save their own asses allowed them to constantly throw barbs and knives and push me under buses that should have been theirs. I made a point to say nice things to people who probably didn’t deserve it, although they probably really needed it. I said thank you more, tipped better and always tried to find and point out something nice or complimentary about people, whether it was their shoes, choice of eye wear, their smile or their hair style/color.  Who doesn’t like hearing that someone appreciates them? I still do this on a daily basis whenever I can.

Doing what makes me happy was the last on the list. Did I do it? Not really. I finished two paintings, stressed myself out over shows and online orders, procrastinated, stressed over work, was exhausted over constant schedule changes and work related incidents that made me miserable and fearful about my employment and ability to keep my kids housed, clothed and fed. Wow, that was a mouthful. I am at the point now, where I am no longer willing to give my job and those who hold it that much power over my happiness and stress level. It is just a job, and the things that make me happy are a necessity for my sanity. I need to find my sanity again.

In 2018, I am setting goals for myself. Not resolutions. I don’t want to call them resolutions. I think that tacking the term “resolution” onto something takes giving “wiggle room” for small failures away. You must abide, always, by new rules you have set for yourself, that when broken, make it easy to give up. With a goal, it is more of a destination you are working toward, a journey. When you go on a journey, there will be side roads, pot holes, break downs and rest stops. But regardless of the exact path, you are still headed toward that final destination, whatever it may be. Things will slow you down, but finding the road again or even finding a new one is always right there. Little failures cannot stop you unless you let them. Those side roads and such bring necessary things to our lives, to teach us, to inspire us and to energize us. Or we do the same for others.  So my goals for the coming year are:

  1. First off, I want to take finding love off the table. I don’t want dating or romantic love to be a focus in my life. If it happens, it happens, but honestly, I am not holding my breath. I don’t want to have to worry about my worth to others, which always happens when you focus on finding love and never do, which at 48, I never really have.
  2. Finding happiness in my work. I really don’t know what that looks like at this point. New job, new position with my current employer or moving to part time work and part-time Uber driver. I recently started driving for Uber and I am having a blast. I love it. My current employer, through what I feel are bullshit reasons, has put me in a position where it will be a year before I can promote, move or transfer. I don’t like being stagnant and I don’t like other people putting limits on me so I am open to anything and everything right now. I just want to be happy doing it and I don’t want to get screwed over for my efforts.
  3. Find a way to balance work, exercise and creative endeavors. I have to work. That is a given. Food, housing and warmth cost money. But work can’t be the deciding factor in my stress level, my worries and my ability to do the things that make me happy.  I have let it rule the show long enough. I need to be in the gym sweating my ass off and at home doing fun things with my kids and creating art.
  4. Be more social.  Work schedule and fatigue have been the primary deciding factors in my social activity or lack thereof. I want to get out more and talk to more people. Enjoyment of my life has to be a priority. Getting away from work and home and being with people whose company I enjoy is essential.
  5. Create more. I definitely want to paint more. The goal for that is to complete one piece per week. I have a boatload of unfinished pieces in my studio so completing new pieces or just finishing the ones I have started will count toward that goal. Miniatures or large canvasses, it doesn’t matter. They all count. There are a few new mediums I want to try. Wood carving is one and I would love to figure out the whole woodworking with power tools thing. I want to make beautiful, elaborate handmade advent calendars for the Christmas shows. The kind you pass down through generations. Those things are amazing. Wood burning would be cool too.
  6. Pay off debt. This goal will probably be ongoing for several years I am sure. I still have one credit card, school loans and a car. I am working on paying them off as quickly as possible and getting them off my back so I can purchase a house of my own within 2 years.
  7. Remove toxic people and those that make no effort in our friendship. The older I get, the more I realize how much I don’t like toxicity in my life. I don’t like negativity or conflict or anger. It affects me in ways I don’t like. I am tired of making effort for friends who do not reciprocate. I don’t mean that I am just going to drop everyone because there are different levels of friendship and different levels of involvement. I don’t even know how I am going to decide who gets purged, but I am going to make my friends list smaller this year.
  8. Work toward being a Zumba instructor. This will involve weight loss, a better diet and lots of gym time. I don’t think it all has to happen this year. All of that takes work and time and I won’t beat myself up if it doesn’t happen before 2019. Zumba makes me happy and I would love to be an inspiration to others. I have had a number of things working against me where health is concerned (Hashimoto’s disease, stress, diet difficulties, etc). If I can reach my goals and someone struggling can see where I was and how far I have come, it just might give them the push they need, belief that it can happen and the desire to never give up.
  9. Love my kids more. I love them more than anything, but I am not always sure I show it. Right now I have a 13-year-old who is becoming quite the challenge. He can be pain. He can be irrational. He can be annoying, not very nice, dramatic, emotional, rude, etc. He has been my most challenging and it is in those difficult moments he needs me to love him more. When he is most unlovable. It is so hard to keep my cool sometimes and not just blow up when he is blowing up and screaming at me, but that is precisely when he needs me to be rational and calm. That can be super difficult for me, but both of us losing our minds is not going to help matters and he is just beginning to navigate the waters of puberty. He needs stability. My 12 year old will be there soon and I will be in the middle of two storms of puberty. Finding my calm and keeping it will be essential.
  10. Become more organized. My life is chaotic and so is my living space. Unfinished pieces of art, half painted glass and tea sets, art supplies and books. Everywhere. I need to find a way to create in a more organized way in a more organized space. I enjoy chaos, but it can’t be everywhere in all aspects of my life and me retain my sanity. Something has got to give.

So there they are. My goals. I plan on 2018 looking a lot different than 2017 and that is going to require work and dedication. And change. Lots of change. I am going into the new year with a positive attitude, ready to take on my world and all the challenges that face me. This year will be badass.

The list of (im)possibilities

Sometimes progress can be difficult to see when you are in the middle of a slump or things are just not moving as quickly as you would like or expect. A short time ago, my boys and I were going through one of those times. They didn’t ever express such sentiments, but when every request is a “no” answer because of the lack of money, it isn’t a stretch to think they were feeling the frustration every bit as much as I was.

I am a fan of tangible evidence. Just paying bills and eliminating debt isn’t enough. I can’t put my hand on the absence of debt. I want to actually have a way to show that we are doing better and that we are making progress, so I came up with an idea for me and my boys to do just that. The idea is that we need to make a list of things–things we want to do, things we want to buy, places we want to go. These “things” should be anything we want, no matter how mundane and no matter how extravagant. It is to be a list of probable, possible and seemingly impossible things. I want my kids to shoot for the stars because you never know what circumstance is going to come your way. Items will be added as we think of them and crossed off as we buy/do/travel to each one of them. That will be the tangible evidence of progress. Like a very ambitious to-do list.

So, I gave my boys “homework”. I asked each of them to give me a list of their first 10 things they want on that list. I made a list of my first 10 as well and the following is the beginning of our dream that will hopefully keep moving and growing.

My list:

  1. Buy a house–This, to me, is the biggest representation of success. For some, it might be no big deal, but for me, it is monumental. During my marriage, when we were making a LOT more money than I am now, we were always behind on the mortgage and, quite honestly, the house was falling apart. I went from there to my Grandpa’s house where I lived for free (I wasn’t employed yet) for 3 months and then to a low income apartment. In May, I moved in to a rental house. I love having a space where I don’t have to worry about playing music loud enough to hear it, where my kids don’t have to worry about stepping too hard on the floor and disturbing the downstairs neighbor and where I can, for the most part, do and grow whatever I want. The next best thing would be ownership. The very best thing would be ownership.
  2. buy a newer car–I love the car I have now, but it is 14 years old and in dire need of numerous repairs. I would love to have a van or a pickup truck so that I can transport all of my stuff for the art and craft shows in which I am a vendor. I have only ever had used cars. Like REALLY used. My newest car has been at least 6 years old and the oldest was almost 20 at the time of purchase (1978 Mercury Zephyr–I LOVED that car). To me a car is nothing more than a means of getting from location to another, but having one that is reliable is one of the most important things on my list.
  3. Buy a toolbox–I am gradually getting basic tools that every household should have (hammer, screwdrivers, small saw, etc). The problem is that I have nowhere to keep them and therefore they get put down wherever anyone is finished using them. That means, I can’t ever find them when I need them. I buy replacements and then find the original. It would be much more convenient, not to mention financially responsible to have everything in one place and not have to keep buying the same tools over and over again.
  4. Take my kids on a trip to Monterey, CA–Monterey is my favorite place on earth, and I have been to some pretty cool places. There is so much about it to love. It is beautiful, it is by the ocean, it smells heavenly, it has amazing food and, for me, it holds some wonderful memories. Immediately after graduating from army basic training, I was sent to Monterey to study Russian at the Defense Language Institute. There, I experienced my first sense of adult freedom, my first kiss, my first real relationship, first love. I made some of the most amazing friends I have ever known.  Yeah, there is much to love about Monterey. I don’t know if it is just my slightly skewed and bias opinion, but I can’t imagine a more wonderful place. I want so badly to share that with my kids. I have been talking to them about Monterey forever. I have them convinced. I only hope  it is as heavenly to them as it is to me.
  5. Buy a fishing license–I have been telling my boys for the last two summers that we should go fishing, but never actually putting any effort into doing so. There are probably a million places in Idaho to fish, but I don’t know where they are, beyond the Boise River. Thankfully, I have a rather large number of friends from which to glean that information. My goal for summer 2018 is to go at least 5 times. Five is not a really large number so it should be doable, but life, my life, has a bad habit of getting in the way of plans. At any rate, five is the goal.
  6. Get another tattoo–I actually want to get several, but there is one that I want to get more than any other–a Phoenix. My most recent tattoo, a watercolor butterfly, has special significance for me. A butterfly is the perfect example of of transformation, the concept of something amazing, graceful and beautiful from something, well, ugly, blobby and awkward. I feel like I am, or was, that caterpillar,  some loathsome thing that no one really wanted and I felt like I really didn’t deserve happiness or love. While not quite where I want to be, I feel like I have transformed from what I used to be. My next tattoo is going to be a Phoenix because a Phoenix rises from the ashes. Rebirth from destruction. I have been through a lot of things in my life (see previous posts) and I have managed to survive all of them. Not unscathed, but I am still here. I have repeated piles of ashes from every time I have been broken, damaged or destroyed and come out stronger.
  7.  Buy A Taboret–A taboret is a wheeled, portable table or cart, used for holding and moving art supplies and functioning as a hard surface to create on. Right now I have a tiny Walmart coffee table that is overflowing with art and craft supplies. I would love to have something mobile to make painting and creating more convenient. Taborets run anywhere from about $100 to about $800 and sometimes even more. I don’t want or need anything fancy. I just need mobility. I am tired of my coffee table being unusable for its intended purpose.
  8. Take my kids to Lagoon–I haven’t been to Lagoon in about 25 years. It has changed a lot in that time. I do remember it fondly though. Growing up we went about every other year (poor family, 4 kids. You do the math). My boys have never been to a theme park. Never. We have been talking about going for years, but we have never had the money or reliable transportation. Come tax return season (spring break), I think we will be going, if we either have a newer car or we can borrow one from someone else. A trip to Utah can fulfill two things on my list–Lagoon and a new tattoo. I got my butterfly done by an artist in Orem and I would love to have him create another for me.
  9. Get a dog–I miss having a dog so much.  Dogs are amazing. They are quite possibly the greatest gift from God, right after our own offspring. They don’t judge your weight, your place in life, your beauty, your job or your mistakes. They love. That’s it. They love us when we are unlovable. They love us when we screw up. They love us without stopping to think if we deserve it. They instinctively know when our hearts are broken and we need extra love. There is just no downside to having a dog.
  10. Buy a new bed–Several reasons for this. 1. My mattress is about 16 years old and needs to be replaced. 2. I am sleeping on the same bed and mattress that I had while married. That alone is reason enough to replace it. 3. My bed frame is a lodgepole pine frame so it is really big, really heavy and tall enough that I have to climb up into it.  4. It is super squeaky. Like embarrassingly so. If I have to explain how that is problematic, you are way too young to be reading this blog. Squeakiness is not a concern now, but at some point in my future, it might become an issue. Again. Maybe.

“A’s” list (age 12)

  1. A set of Prismacolor colored pencils–“A” is definitely my son. He loves to create anything and everything. He loves color and art and sees the world differently than most. Despite the fact that he already has a growing  collection of writing utensils (much like his mother), he wants more. And Prismacolors are the best. I have a set I share with him, but he wants his own. I get it. There is something about having a collection  that beautiful all your own. The color, the feel, the smell and the way it changes a white sheet of  paper into a work of art.
  2. Nintendo 3DS–Well, he is a 12 year old boy so further explanation would be redundant.
  3. Trip to Peru–This one actually surprises me. He has said a million times that he wants to move to Italy and he has talked about visiting Japan and a few other places, but I don’t ever recall Peru being one of them. I love that my kids are adventurous and willing to try and do just about anything once and I’m glad this one is on his list. This trip may be a very long way off, but that is the point of the list–to dream and plan, even if it is seemingly impossible.
  4. Get a dog–“A” is an animal lover. There isn’t an animal he doesn’t like or want in his life. Someday, he wants to be a veterinarian or an ASPCA worker that rescues animals. He has such a heart for animals. We used to be a vendor at farmers markets and “A” used to find every single dog in the market area and make friends. Not just the cute puppies or lively young ones. He loved the old ones, the “ugly” ones and the shy, skittish ones. He loves cats too, but dogs are something special.
  5. Buy a new house–As of late, we have been doing a lot of online house hunting. We aren’t quite ready yet, but that does not stop us from looking. I think that “A” might want a house for the sole purpose of being able to get a dog. Right now he shares a room with his brother and he is dying to have space of his own where he can escape his brother. What can I say? They are close in age and fight constantly.
  6. Buy a new bed–My kids are sleeping on old metal bunk beds with hand-me-down mattresses. The bunk bed is old and squeaky and uncomfortable. And the frame is such that the two beds cannot be separated. They need to be separated. My kids are just about too old for bunk beds and they are both sick of them. We bought the entire set up for $100 from a neighbor who desperately needed the money. Each had what the other needed. Now we need something else.
  7. Buy a Galaxy Note 8–Right now “A” has an inexpensive smart phone. He wants something better. He says he just really likes the galaxy phones. He hasn’t had much experience with any other kind of phone. He liked his first phone so much he wanted to keep it in the Galaxy family.
  8. Buy the book “IT” by Stephen King–He has read the book already, or several chapters of it anyway. Yes, I know he is only 12, but he can be pretty mature for his age. Sometimes. The minute the trailers for the remake of the movie “IT”  came out, he and his brother started pestering me about seeing the movie. I was a little wary because the nature of the book/movie, but he thought the movie was, in his words, “AWESOME”. The only part that made him uncomfortable was when the bully was going to kill the cat. That was the only part where he looked away from the screen. It Figures.
  9. Trip to Italy–He is fascinated by all things Italian. The food, the art, the architecture, the landmarks. I don’t blame him. My dream vacation would be Italy so I could see the art and architecture I studied in college. What’s not to love about Italy. There is so much history that happened in and around Italy. Some of the greatest artists in history are Italian and some of the most amazing architecture on the planet is located in Italy. For a kid that loves all things beautiful and artistic, Italy really is a perfect fit.
  10. Get a parrot–Not only are parrots cool, but again, the color and “A” is all about color. Parrots are intelligent, colorful, beautiful, funny and they can be affectionate creatures. Dogs are on the top of his list, but it is easy to see why a kid like “A” would want one.

“N’s” list (age 13)

  1. A trip to New York–I am not sure what he is most looking forward to in New York. There are so many awesome things to choose from. Shopping, food, adventures to be had, the Statue of Liberty, Central Park, architecture, entertainment, except for musicals, of course. No musicals. Musicals induce much eye rolling and complaining.
  2. Lots of Airsoft guns–“N” is 13. He likes guns and these are somewhat safe for him to use with the proper safety equipment. I am not sure why the “lots” designation is necessary, but, like I said, he is 13. I am thinking I might actually enjoy engaging in battle with him. Something to think about when it comes time to purchase, if we do decide to do so.
  3. Trip to Lagoon–My kids are somewhat deprived when it comes to the entertainment aspect of their lives. Having never been to a theme park, I can see why this is so important and on the list. “N” loves a thrill and roller coasters and the like fit that bill. But more than just roller coasters, Lagoon offers,  from what I remember, much more entertainment. I have to do my research, but I believe they have added a number of rides to the park and even though I am 47 years old, I might have a good time too.
  4. Buy an iPhone X–My son is all about technology and, if given the chance, would have all the latest gizmos and gadgets. I am somewhat technologically inept so I have to rely on his knowledge and research when it comes to such things. As bad as it sounds, I need him to explain how things work on my iPhone. I am an Android girl and my recent upgrade found me walking out of T-Mobile with an iPhone instead of an Android option. I am still not sure why, but I am thankful my son can negotiate those waters for me. I don’t think I am ready to commit to a $1,000 piece of technology for a 13 year old, but perhaps I can be convinced if he becomes a bit more responsible when it comes to taking care of what he already has. One can hope.
  5. Buy a tent–The last time any of us went camping was at a craft fair in Homedale, ID about 4 years ago. The only time actually. Prior to that, I think I was about 13 (unless you count 5 months in Saudi Arabia). My boys and I slept in a borrowed tent and used blankets from home. I don’t want to be that mom that always talks a big game and does nothing. I want my boys to experience sleeping in a tent, smelling like a campfire and breathing in the fresh, clean air in the middle of nowhere. We talk about and plan, but so far nothing has come to fruition when it comes to the outdoors. Buying a tent, as well as other equipment, is my goal for the coming months.  Camping is definitely on the agenda for 2018.
  6. Get a job–“N” is only 13 right now, but he is counting down the days until he turns 14 and can get a job. In Idaho, you can work at the age of 14, but options are pretty limited. He doesn’t care. He wants to make his own money. He will happily do whatever job is available. Now, if  only I could get that kind of enthusiasm when it comes to cleaning his room.
  7. Buy a gaming PC–He has been asking me for this for a  long time. Occasionally we go to Best Buy and look at things we can’t afford and a gaming computer is one of those things. I don’t know much about them, but “N” does his research. He doesn’t always do well in school, but he is no dummy. He loves to research things. He enjoys spending hours telling me facts about things he has found on the internet and in books and magazines. He has a couple specific computers in mind and they and their components have been well researched.  We need a new computer anyway. Maybe this is the way to go to suit all of our needs.
  8. Buy a MacBook Pro–He’s 13, he’s into technology, he’s a fan of all things Apple. ‘Nuff said.
  9. Buy a house–All three of us want a house of our own. “N” is at an age where having his own space is becoming more and more important. Sharing a room with his brother is becoming more problematic. They drive each other crazy. In each other’s faces and in each others way. They are becoming way more physical with each other and could both use space away from the other. “N” also understands the importance of having something of our own, something that, with each monthly payment, we get closer to ownership.  At the present time that investment is going into someone else’s pocket.
  10. Buy a car–“N” is already talking about getting a car. Not one for the family to get around in–one for him. In Idaho, I think you only have to be 14 1/2 years old to take driver’s training and 15 to get a license. He is a very independent kid and cannot wait to drive. He is so anxious to grow up. He is an adventurer and is already planning his escape.

We all have so much to look forward to when it comes to our futures. Sure there will be bumps in the road, but that is okay. We will just keep moving forward at a pace we can handle. I can’t wait to get everything on paper and begin crossing things off.

 

 

The Cesspool of Romance, Part 2

The more I date, the worse it gets. Although since the break up I haven’t dated at all. I haven’t wanted to. I am wondering if it is all worth it. I have also been wondering 1.what it is that I am doing wrong or 2. what is wrong with me that I am attracting less than ideal mates or 3. if I am the problem. Am I so broken, damaged and fucked up that I am chasing them away. Is my need for honesty, transparency, loyalty, intelligence and stability expecting too much? At any rate, now is a time for introspection and focus on myself and my kids. The following match types are just some of the reasons I am where I am. Alone and content with that.

The Liar–One of my biggest pet peeves is lying, whether it is outright lies or lies of omission. I cannot not stand liars. The dating pool has opened up a whole new supply of them. They lie about everything, from whether or not they have a facebook page to being on psychiatric medicine to being married or involved. They are always trying to pull one over on you. Then, they are shocked when you call them on it, offended you have a problem with it and then they run. Or they get pissed. More often than not, they run. God forbid they engage in anything remotely resembling the truth.

The Narcissist–He likes to make you think it is all about you. For a while. Then his true self comes out. He likes to spend money on you and then throw it in your face just how generous he is. Especially after you’ve had any sort of disagreement. They have a fragile self-esteem that is damaged and/ or challenged at the slightest criticism. They don’t like not being the single most important person in your life. They need, so badly, to feel important. Any challenge to that and you. are. toast. They are really good at being bad and cruel and then turning it on you, making you feel like it is your fault. I mean, like really your fault. You find yourself apologizing and when you do, they dig even harder, inflicting as much pain and guilt as possible.

The Player–This one is really good at making you feel like you are the world to him. He showers you with attention, affection and gifts. The only problem is, he is doing the exact same thing with other women. As much time, energy and money as he spends on you, it is almost unfathomable that there could be other women. But there are. And he has a long history with a lot of them. I went out with a guy that liked to brag that he was really well endowed and that a LOT of women really liked that. So many, in fact, that he lost count somewhere around 110 of them. Good thing it stayed platonic. He was carrying unwelcome passengers as a consolation prize for his efforts. No thanks.

Mr. Friends with Benefits–When I was on Plenty of Fish, I stated in my profile that I was in no way interested in a friends with benefits situation or a casual sex relationship. That did not stop the requests, flirtations and constant attempts to talk me into it. I am not sure why they were even interested since I never backed down from my stance. In my eyes, friends with benefits is simply benefits with a little friendly conversation tacked on. That would make me little more than a sperm receptacle and reduce me from an intelligent, flesh and blood woman with plethora of gifts, skills and opinions/ideas to a mere body part put on this planet for the pleasure of a man I don’t really know or care about. And one who certainly didn’t care for me. I will take being single over being someone’s ejaculate catcher any day.

Captain Clingy–This one can be frightening. And suffocating. I am pretty independent. I like my “me” time and being alone a fair amount of time. I enjoy being on my own and creating things, going to the movies and whatever else tickles my fancy. I don’t have to be in the presence of someone else to be happy or enjoy myself. Captain Clingy, on the other hand, needs to either be with you or know where you are. All the time. You must answer your phone when he calls or text him back within a certain amount of time.  No reason for not doing so is permitted because he goes apeshit and gets nasty with you, assuming that because you didn’t answer his text within the allotted time frame, you must be ignoring him and that can’t be tolerated. Any attempt at being in a relationship with this person is sure to end badly and he won’t be able to let go when you finally decide you have had enough.

Oh so lonely–A huge red flag and One of the quickest ways to make me run, is when a guy tells me he’s so lonely, tired of being lonely or tired of being alone. I think we all get there sometimes, but oh my lord, you  don’t have to tell everyone, especially the women you want to meet or date. If you can’t be happy on your own, and in your singlehood, I won’t make you happy. No one will. You have to be able to find a place where you are happy and comfortable in your singleness. Being in your lonely place is like having a spot light shining on your pile of insecurities. If you aren’t okay on your own,  you will be throwing red flags up everywhere, in everything you say and everything you do. Unless a woman is equally dysfunctional, you will lose her. And if she is equally dysfunctional, it will be a train wreck waiting to happen.

The Cynic–This is one I personally can’t date, not that this is the case for everyone. For some people, this works. Personally, I don’t do angry or cynical. I am a pretty happy-go-lucky, Pollyanna-type  most of the time. I easily bore or tire from too much politics which usually fuels the cynic. While I am on one side of the aisle and disagree, sometimes vehemently, with those on the other side, I would much rather be happy and love my friends than fight with them. Or fight with strangers for that matter. The cynic doesn’t care. In fact, they seem to revel in hurting and/or offending those on the other side. I can be friends, but dating is off the table.

The Bore–Boring kills me. I am always up for adventure. I love to laugh. I am a chatterbox. I randomly sing and dance, sometimes in a public setting. I can be completely unrestrained and silly. Sedate is fine with some women, but I want to be with a man that wakes me up, not puts me to sleep.

The Fool–No offense to the intellectually challenged or intellectually average, but I need an intelligent partner. I am a pretty intelligent girl myself and I love super smart men. If a man can’t form a coherent sentence or engage in intelligent conversation, I find myself looking for excuses to end the date.  A man may be super nice, generous, kind and a million other positive things, but when I think of spending my time with someone I can’t relate to, I just can’t even. And if he is smart, but uses shit language (text-ese, bad grammar, can’t spell, uses non-word word replacements, etc), again, no. I cringe at the sight of such things. I am certain this makes me a horrible person, but I can’t help it. I value words. I value their meaning, their structure, their sound. Words are important.

I have noticed that some men embody only one of these types, but with some, you hit the jackpot. They embody several. Good luck negotiating that territory. If my dating (mis)adventure is any sort of  map to negotiating the world of relationship potentiality, There is an awful lot of crap to wade through when it comes to finding a partner.  Hip waders are highly recommended, as well as a shovel and air freshener.