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Spurred on by the success of several friends and multiple recent conversations about needing to meet people I tried online dating.  Or I guess I should say I considered online dating.  I got as far as creating a user name on a dating site and looking through 15 pages of tiny thumbnail pics of guy in my age range near my zip code before I deleted my as yet uncreated profile and cried for an hour.

So either I’m not ready to start dating again, I’m suffering from worse social anxiety around meeting new people than I thought, or the potential dating pool in my area is really distressing.  No lie, the very first guy that looked halfway decent, clicking on his profile immediately produced “I have three cats” and “I really want kids.”  It’s like my own personal dating hell, unmarried 40ish guys desperate to procreate, fat guys who think they deserve a supermodel, self involved pseudointellectuals who are more interested in appearance than actual intelligence, and guys who seem convinced that their love of jesus will make you want them.  *shudder*  Yeah, I don’t think I’m interested in jumping back into the dating pool.

And here it is Friday night.  I haven’t called any of my friends to go out, or gotten dressed to go out on my own to a regular haunt.  Instead I’m sitting around in my underwear, in my too hot house, watching crappy straight to video romantic comedies and being irritated with myself for not working on any of the multiple creative projects I have strewn about, half done and languishing.

I’m fairly certain that my current wave of self loathing is brought by hormones and work being really stressful.  Sadly I was just discussing in detail how much my wild mood swings bother me earlier today.  It’s like I set myself up for it to happen.

Friday and I’m probably just going to finish writing this and go to bed.  I need to figure out how to make my weekend positive.  My plans were to go to the flea market with Hawthorn, then clean my house and go grocery shopping and finish a web project I promised a friend and hopefully work on something satisfyingly creative for myself.  But it appears the plans with Hawthorn have derailed (by the inclusion of his 18yo son and said son’s friends, which just seems like it would make the flea market awkward, tedious and really uncomfortable for me).  So that leaves me with chores, more chores, some other chores and hopes that I can pull it together to do something I enjoy. As a weekend prospect, that seems pathetic event o me, who would usually rather be left alone at home. And yet I am not at all motivated to try and make a new plan and get out and do something.

I spent part of the week mulling over how I felt after Cedar was here and how I felt while I was back home.  My conclusions were that I need to meet more people, socialize more, find some friends who share my interests (who aren’t Hawthorn).  I also decided that I feel like work is my secret identity.  It’s my Clark Kent costume of middle aged, practical, uncoolness.  It’s just that I seem to be that person all the time lately.  I need to unleash my inner superhero.  I need to dress up and go out and be awesome.  To remind other people how amazing I am and to display it enough to myself so that I don’t forget again. And yet here I find myself with 60 hours stretching in front of me, with which I can do anything I want and the best I can manage is pouting about the monkey wrench in the lame plans I had and going grocery shopping. As I said, unmotivated.

Maybe my expectations are too high?  I don’t want to waste my time going out because it won’t be worth it? Anxiety has something to do with it, but not as much as, uh, fear of failure, I guess? I need to go out and have fun in a low-key, stress-free, low expectation environment.  I’m not even sure how to do that.  Instead I’m going to sleep and hope the wild mood swing is in the POSITIVE position when I wake up.

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Okay, so back to that guy I mentioned in my last post.  Here’s an abbreviated, but pretty accurate replay of the conversation we had last Friday:

him – “Are you still seeing the same guy?”
me  – “No, not anymore”
him – “Are you seeing someone else?”
me  – “no”
him – “how come?”
me  – “I don’t know, I guess there just aren’t any single guys in Nashville.”
him – “sure there are, maybe your standards are too high.”
me  – “Yes, my standards are no kids under 16, no cats, no alcoholics.”
him  – “Ha, yeah, no cats.
me  –  “I’m serious and not just because I’m allergic.”
him  – “No, I get it, 40 year old dude, lives alone, except for his three cats.  Yeah, that guy is not dateable.”
me  – “Right?”
(Let me interject here that I’ve known this guy casually for about 3 or 4 years and he has a 6 year old daughter and I’m pretty sure he’s married.  Or I was.)
him – “So you don’t date at all.”
me  – “Well, I’ve already been married once, and I don’t want kids, so I guess I have time to be picky.”
him – “You don’t want to get married again?”
me  – “I’m not against it, I’m just not planning for it or looking for it.”
him – “Yeah, I don’t think I’d get married again.”
me  – “Yeah.”
him – “Maybe I’d marry for money.”
me  – “Well, sure.”
him – “Or for foreign citizenship.”
me  – “Definitely.”
him – “We should go for drinks sometime.”
me  – “Okay, sure.”   (I swear, it was like a Jedi mind trick, by this point I was just agreeable.)

So I was pretty sure this guy was married (or still married, since I”d met his wife a while back and hadn’t heard differently) and that he was asking me out platonically, just a social hang.  But then the more I thought about it, I started to feel unsure.  And weird because I wouldn’t have agreed to go if I thought he meant like an actual date.

So last night I did go out for a drink with him and now I’m still confused, but in a different way.

It wasn’t a date.  He did pick me up, and walk me to my door after, but he didn’t buy my drinks.  He is married, happily I’d guess (though we mostly talked about me).  He did not make a move on me.  He did ask me lots of questions about myself and what I want out of life (in that way I associate with guys feeling you out on the first date, whether they are actually curious or just think they are supposed to pretend to listen to you talk).  He recommended me some self-help-y Buddhist books, he gave me a detailed pep-talk on how amazing I am and smart and how I would always land on my feet and I could go anywhere and do anything.  And then he told me to call him any time if I just wanted to hang out.  I feel confused and like maybe my friends put him up this, except I don’t have any friends that would do that.

Seriously though, at what point does some random acquaintance show up, recognize that you need to get out more, take you out, gently prod you about what direction you need to go in life (I was telling a friend recently that part of my problem is that I don’t have life goals the way I used too and last night, like the second thing this guy asked me was what my goals were and then proceeded to tell me that I should always have goals even if they changed every day or were unattainable–which is exactly how I feel and why I realized it felt weird that I didn’t have any), and then give you a massive, unsolicited pep talk about making change and moving forward in your life?

So there’s still time for me to meet my goal of meeting one new person, but I’m counting this encounter as that anyway, because I guess I just made a new friend?

Let’s get this show back on the road, yeah?  I definitely need to spend more time writing, thinking and working on my shit and less time shopping for shoes.  Shoes only so temporarily fill the void, you know?  Still the latest shipping binge did leave me with some great date outfits. Assuming anyone ever asks me out again.  Well, actually some one did ask me out, in a round about way and I’m still not sure exactly if it was platonic asking because, erm, I’m not sure if he’s married or divorced.  So that’s weird, he was a casual about the asking and he hasn’t called, so I’m gonna assume it was casual.

The last two guys I’ve set my sights on were utterly unavailable.  One turned out to be married and the other chose celibacy (not over me, I guess he chose it before I got there, ugh).  And after my recent trip home I”m definitely feeling the lack of eligible, single men here.  So I guess I need to get out more?  To places that aren’t my job or the grocery store. Stop going to events with Hawthorn?  I can remember a time, just a few years ago, when I would have laughed at anyone who said it was hard to meet people.  I didn’t do anything but meet people.  But now if I don’t want to hang out in bars or go to church I have no way to meet people.  Online dating seems creepy or like only a way to hook up.  I’m not against hooking up, but I’m not sure I need online to find hook ups.

So that feels like an unsolvable problem.

Then there’s the somewhat surmountable problem of doctors’ appointments I need to go to but haven’t yet made. Still dealing with a ton of anxiety and hell over that stuff.

Yep, goals for this week:

  1. Finish project for my friends that I over committed myself on.
  2. Meet one new person.
  3. Make one doctor’s appointment.
  4. Write two more blog entries here about real things going on with me.

Doable, hopefully!

And in an effort to continue to remember goodness, here’s three things that were good recently:

  1. Finding a dress I look great in.
  2. Waking up to the sound of the rain.
  3. Standing in a parking lot after a storm ans seeing a heron fly overhead.

 

I am really glad to be home from visiting my family.  I definitely do not want to move back to the city I’m from, and currently prolonged interaction with my family really stresses me out.  But I confess, I had a moment while there wondering why I would come back here.  My chosen home seemed empty and isolating, see in from a distance.  A city that contains only my tiny apartment, where I live alone and hide from the world; that contains Hawthorn and Oak and too few people that I really care to open up too; that contains oppressive heat and so many political view with which I don’t agree.  And yet, I am so very glad to be home.  It’s like I need to be here to remember the things I love about this place, about the South, about having my own life not tied to other people’s desires for me.

During my week with my family my mom and my sister managed to bicker so much that I teetered on the edge of telling them both to STFU, very out of character for me.  And my family, specifically my mom, my sister, one of my cousins, one of my aunts, and my mom’s best friend all made it very clear that they did not like Hawthorn.  They did not make it clear if they did not like him because he broke up with me so now they are all pointing out his negative qualities, or if they simply never liked him and now it’s okay to tell me.  Either way, grrrrr, not helpful at all.  And apparently they’ve been conspiring about how to get me back together with Oak.  They haven’t actually gone so far as to contact Oak yet, but I actually sort of fear that they will.

It makes me feel like everyone pities me and that no one thinks I can handle my own life and my own choices.  I’m pretty sure Hawthorn was a better boyfriend to me than Oak ever was.  I think he was more in it for liking me and enjoying my company and Oak, well, I’ve never been sure what he was in it for besides sex. He was never open enough with me for me to know. But all the women in my immediate family seem to have some fantasy based around how charming Oak can be when he turns it on. And I didn’t argue.  I didn’t say anything.  It just wasn’t worth it to me to spend time explaining how miserable he is internally and how hard it is to a carry that and how I felt like I spent our whole relationship either trying to cajole him to smile, or apologizing to bystanders for his negative attitude (which was subtle but prevalent).

I read Deathless on the plane (spoilers follow, though somewhat vague, but spoilers still) and it was filled with Russian fairytales and Soviet strangeness, but mostly it was just about a woman living her life, making some choices and having some made for her, all the while either trying to figure out who she was or going along with it.  Over the course of it she has two husbands (sort of simultaneously) and ends up alone when both eventually die.  When her first husband comes back to her he tells her that he understands that she never loved either of them less, that she could love endlessly, the way parents can love two children equally.  The two husbands could easily have been exceptionally exaggerated cartoons of Oak and Hawthorn as well.  In which she’s carried off by the first husband (Oak) and then somewhat ignored and unhappy with where she finds herself, she runs off with the second (Hawthorn) only to eventually take the first back, but not before making him suffer and prove his true love to her.  And then both are pretty much immediately killed before she has to make a real choice about it and she goes and lives long years, just doing her work and sort of loses herself.  Eventually she returns to herself and makes the long journey back to ‘home’ the land her first husband kidnapped her to.  Only to discover everyone there is dead and ghost and doesn’t remember her at all.  Finally she goes back to the burnt out home she shared with her first husband, having discovered she is a ghost herself and determines to find him or simply recreate him to spend eternity with.

There’s so many spun out metaphors in the story for me.  Not just the obvious relationship stuff, but about finding yourself, abd about what you see and how you see it differently from other people and how that makes you who you are.  It was thought provoking, not just to my current circumstances, but life in general and choices I’ve made have made me who I am and how they will continue to change me for my whole life.  It made me think a lot about who I will become and how I will get to that place.  It sort of made me remember myself, set me on a mental journey to get back to where I am supposed to be, I think.

I think I am in better place emotionally after my trip with Cedar and my trip back home.  Work is currently so overwhelming that it’s hard to think about anything else, which is not a bad thing for me right now.  The more I write about, log and think about how I’m feeling the more obvious the underlying hormonal and other mysteries of my physiology seem to be cyclically making me unhappy.  As if my own created unhappiness has been slowly draining away, leaving me with only something that can hopefully be controlled, or at least better understood.  I’m feeling very clear on how much I miss Hawthorn all the time and how much I don’t miss Oak.  I think my priority is to get completely back to myself, to finally get past the sense of loss from breaking up with Hawthorn.  I’m not sure exactly how to do that yet, but I’m working on it, like a background process that’s running out of sight until it can spit out an answer.   I no longer feel like I”m gasping for air, but rather that I can take at least one measured breath and look around me and wonder how I am going to get where I am going. And hey, where am I going anyway? Maybe I’ll try and take some more deep breaths and just look around for a while.

I’m not the kind of person who could say to someone, “I’m sorry but I don’t value your friendship enough to put up with your bullshit.” But I kind of wish I was.  Or I wish I could find a nice, drama free way to extricate myself from situations where I want to say that.  I feel so full of petty meanness sometimes that I might explode with it. Even when I know it isn’t petty meanness but just the realities of the world.

I’ve been paying lip service to simplifying my life for a long time.  Getting rid of things, less possessions, less, desire, less grief.  But I guess I need to get rid of people as much as I do my possessions.  I don’t need 75 half-assed friends any more than I need 12 places settings when I only own two chairs.  But it’s not like you can call people up and say, “Oh, by the way, I just don’t get enough out of this relationship to make up for the effort I’m willing to put into it.”  Though maybe the world would be better place if all said things like that when we really need too.

In my case I don’t think it would change much but maybe to alleviate some of my guilt.  I don’t have a lot of external drama in my life, I don’t stand for it from other people.  I guess I wish I had more to give the people I really love, the people I’ve shared my life with over the last 10, 15 and 20 years.  My emotional resources are still limited and I do feel some guilt that I’m not giving enough back to my friends.  So maybe that’s why I feel some need to pick and choose who my friends are, like I can only distribute so much so I need to make the pool smaller?  Ugh, that sounds petty and cruel too.

I don’t think this is something I’ll be acting on, but it’s definitely something to think about.  Maybe not exactly shrinking the pool of friends, but who I really want around me and why.  To that end I’ve told Hawthorn that I really need him and really want him, but only as a friend and that any incursions across that line will sever what we have. Cruel.  But necessary, I think, for both of us to know where we stand.  I don’t think there’s anything left to say to Oak.  Cedar told me that he loves me no matter what and wants me around whether it’s friendship or romance.  I’ve drawn a line at friendship there too. But that’s friendship I want, something that’s transcended 25 years and is still strong.  I hope I can have that with Hawthorn one day too.

Cedar has been (nicely) pushing me to think about what I want for myself right now.  And want I want from a partner in the future.  The protagonist of the book I’m reading has two lovers, one who essentially dominates her and one whom she dominates.  I fell asleep last night thinking that I wanted what she had tied up inside one person.  Equal and opposite and bending each way depending on what I want.

I want a partner that is intellectually equal to me, whose knowledge compliments mine, rather than parallels it.  Someone who can understand me even when I’m at my peak performance, thinking so quickly it’s like I’m spinning the universe out and inventing it right there.  Someone who will sit me down and teach me something.  Someone who make grand romantic gestures, who will be secretly, quietly silly with me in the universe of our creation, the land bound by our marriage.  Someone who laughs at my jokes even when they aren’t funny and cajoles me out of my own misery, even when I’m determined to swim in those cold, dark waters no matter what.  I would demand 100% loyalty, devotion like I was made of water in the desert.  Some one who yielded to me every evening as I held him tight inside me and made him beg to rip out his own soul and empty it into me, some whose heart would break in desperation just trying to be nearer to me.  On alternate evenings he would hold me down and punish me for making him want me so much, make me twist my body to him, my need for his touch frenzied and urgent. Nights would be spent never too far out of reach.  Close enough for comfort, far enough for freedom.  And in the mornings we’d tuck quietly together, sharing breaths and moving slowly as one to soft sunrise indulgent gratification until we had to separate and become two once again.  We’d step out into each day independently, learning , seeing, doing, being more of who we already are.  We’d bear the monotony of everyday life together.  Support each through the parts that got worse and revel in each other joy when the scale tipped the other way.  We’d sit quietly, knowing it was enough and still find the moment where there wasn’t enough, not enough words, to share every idea in our heads, trying to fill each other’s heads with our ow ideas until we had to push apart and take the time to learn more to have more to share between us later.

I don’t think any of that is too much to ask for.

I’m so scattered this week I can’t even keep my commitments to myself.  There was no list this week.  Although my priorities this week were down time in the evenings on the assumption that my new position at work would take all my mental and emotional capabilities.  And I’ve been pretty successful in that.  So YAY ME!

I am definitely feeling extra sketchy and anxiety filled lately.  But less depressed and run down. Which might be a fair trade off. Okay, well no anxiety, fatigue or depression would be best, but I’ll take two out of three because it’s better than none.

Here are some good things:

Work.  It’s boring and weird and confusing and hard.  But it’s a job and it’s always changing and it’s filled with learning.  And you know, it feels good to learn when working and it’s a job that is something.  I’m not selling, buying or processing anything (thanks, Lloyd) and that actually means something to me.  I feel appreciated in the work I do and I hope to continue to do well enough to stay there and keep learning more.

Hawthorn.  He’s still a mixed bag, we’re still in a limbo that’s going to end with some boundary setting.  But he’s been a good friend and I find I can set aside how angry I am with him some times and just enjoy having someone I trust as a friend.

My apartment.  My landlord is amazing.  I love having my own space and not cleaning up after other people or feeling like my space is being intruded on or worrying about other people when I already spend enough time worrying about myself.

Books.  I think they have been saving my sanity for most of my life.  I need to not ever forget that.

Sunshine.  Even when it’s scorchingly hot, even when I’m complaining about unseasonable weather, I still love it.  It’s like my brain is batteries that only run on sunshine. It’s been a very wet and dark spring here. And yeah, I don’t like the butt sweat of the 90+ degree days this early int he year, but oh sunshine I love you even when you hurt me, never leave me, baby, never leave.

And hey, I don’t have cancer! Or at least I don’t have malignant, spreading, icky, dangerous cancer.  I have benign keratoses and need to be checked for the res t of my life, but won’t kill me so HOORAY!  Also I got my stitches out.  I no longer have stitches in my snatch (Ha!  I’ve been dying to say that out loud, but I haven’t had the right audience).