Just a little crush

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I have a crush.

It’s just a crush. And it’s not really based on anything besides attraction and a very brief conversation.

I don’t even know his name.

Well, technically he told me but it was late on a Friday night and I had been drinking copious amounts of alcohol. Otherwise I likely wouldn’t have even talked to him at all. But I did talk to him and he showed me his most recent tattoo. And it might’ve just been my own drunken haze, but I think he was attracted to me too.

And then, like an inebriated, flannel-wearing version of Cinderella, I had to leave because it was 2 a.m.

He’s cute, he’s bearded, he’s exactly my type. He’s also a bartender.

Ok, ok, so like … I know. My last experience with a bartender lost me my favorite bar and also resulted in a pretty severe heartbreak. So believe me when I say I intend to tread carefully and at a very, very safe distance.

The point of this little story isn’t that I found a guy – I literally know nothing about him – it’s simply that I have a crush.

At all.

On anyone.

And, like … a totally juvenile, high school crush.

I went into his bar a couple of days after we discussed his tattoo to see my crush. But .. I didn’t talk to him. In fact, I mostly had my back to him.

Because here’s the thing, if I do legit crush on someone, I’m incredibly awkward. I mostly stare from across the room when I think they’re not looking and then avoid eye contact at all costs because I cannot hide what I’m thinking or feeling on my face. Ever. And I am certain if I look him in the eyes, he will know that I am crushing on him. And if I start to talk to him, I’ll be stumbling and make dumb jokes and blush, because I can’t help it.

So instead, I will enjoy just sitting across the bar and catching glimpses of him, feeling little jolts of excitement whenever he’s near. While simultaneously pretending like he doesn’t exist. (Side note: I’m starting to see why I’m still single.)

But … I just want to appreciate this … this feeling. Of getting excited and hopeful and nervous and awkward. The giddy, inexplicable rush of emotion when I see him. Trying to casually find reasons to go visit his bar with my friends, but like .. also trying (and failing) to be super cool about it. Getting an overwhelming thrill if there’s even a slight opportunity to talk to him.

This is wonderful.

I don’t need it to be anything more than that. He’s a handsome guy and he can serve me drinks and give me little butterflies and that is enough. I don’t need him to ask me out. I’m not here to see if he’s ‘the one’, I’m simply enjoying a crush.

And this, my friends, is progress.

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A playlist for 2019

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I don’t wanna brag, but I have epically bad taste in music.

Well, maybe not quite that terrible. But … close.

Honestly, some of what I love is downright awful. But I’m alright with that. The thing is music moves me. Inspires me. Punches me in the gut when I need to be emotional and kicks me in the ass when I need some motivation. Add to that I LOVE to sing, so yeah, I’m a music lover with shitty taste in music.

Why do I think that? Well, I do have some music aficionado friends and anytime they post a list of their all-time favorite bands, about half of them I have to google. The other half I’ve heard of but just never took the time to listen to.

There are no Smiths on my iTunes playlist, no Cure, no Strokes, only one Stones song …. but there is an embarrassing amount of Taylor Swift and Britney Spears.

And I’ll confess this right here, right now – I know only a handful of Beatles songs.

Now music appreciation is subjective, but the truth is I don’t get into bands that way.  Well, with the exception of the Dave Matthews Band and YES, I can hear you groaning with disgust from here (I’m groaning a little myself). But it’s not entirely my fault – I was raised southern baptist in a small town in East Texas so for the longest time the only music I listened to was gospel or country. And when I started listening to (gasp) ‘secular’ music, it was mostly what I could listen to on the radio.

I choose my music based on gut feelings. I get into a particular song in a particular moment and it will move me and then that’s that. I love the band and I don’t care if it’s shameful or childish or auto-tuned or universally considered the worst song (or band) in the world. If it moves me, makes me wanna dance, makes me wanna cry or leaves me thinking about my life in a new way, I love it and will belt it out proudly.

2018 was a good but tough year in some ways. There was a lot of growth mixed with a lot of joy and some considerable pain. Ash and I recently dedicated our year 2019 to the word ‘Fuck’. It’s our mantra, our anthem, our battle cry and quite frankly, a big part of our belief system. Instead of resolutions, we set our intention for this year – the year of ‘fuck this’ and ‘fuck that’.

In addition, I recently decided I want to set a playlist for 2019. Something I will add to as I run across songs that seem to fit. Basically, I want a set of songs that move me, inspire me, make me wanna dance or sing or shout. Songs that fit ME and songs that help me set a clear vision for what I want this year. You know, kinda like your workout playlist … only with slightly fewer rap songs or AC/DC.

The music to motivate me – creatively, physically, emotionally – when I’m not feeling very motivated at all.

So here’s my work-in-progress, very brief 2019 playlist, in no particular order.

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Faking it

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I heard my upstairs neighbor faking it recently.

Well, not my upstairs neighbor exactly, but the girl he brought home.

How could I hear? Well I live on the bottom floor of a old four-plex in east Dallas. The walls are thin. But this was the only the first time in nearly a year that I’ve heard the raucous cries of a woman having sex. And I’m fairly sure the gentleman above has taken home quite a few lady friends.

How do I know she was faking? Well to be fair, I suppose I don’t know for sure. But as a woman who’s faked before (um, haven’t we all?), I feel quite sure she was faking something … maybe not the orgasm, but certainly how excited she was. Let’s just say the vocals were quite animated … like cartoon-level animated.

Why all the hullabaloo?

Maybe she’s a girl hoping that with her vocal acrobatics that she could convince the man she’s with that she’s this enthusiastic during sex, always, and therefore he should keep seeing her? Maybe she’s trying to convince herself of how good the sex is? Hell, maybe the sex really IS cartoon-voice-animated good? If so, lucky girl.

Or maybe she learned to over-exaggerate during sex a long time ago and now it’s so ingrained her that it’s just an auto response?

Whatever her reason, I (and my three glasses of wine) had a grand ole time listening.

And it got me to thinking … how much are we willing to ‘fake’ in life in order to get what we think we want? Especially with regards to relationships and dating but also our personal lives in general?

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The Ex factor

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Dating in your mid-30s is a mixed bag at best and a minefield at worst.

People who are single and unmarried at this age tend to either be a) going through a divorce, b) in a state of perpetual childhood, or c) hung up on an ex. Often they are all three at once.

I wrote recently about a promising guy (let’s call him J) I had begun to date. He was cute, charming, older, 4 years divorced and very, very past that relationship. He’d had one other long term relationship in the past 4 years but that too was very over, according to him. We were attracted and had a blast every time we were together, which was quite frequently over the course of several weeks. We talked everyday and texted sweet, flirty messages non-stop. It was fun and romantic and butterflies, all the beginning good things to a relationship.

After three weeks of dating, J asked me to ‘go steady’ and date exclusively. He called me his girlfriend and while I wondered if we might be moving too fast, I was open and willing to keep exploring what we had with this level of commitment and intention. We’re both older so why not date seriously? See where this thing could go?

Then a couple of weeks later … a bomb went off. His ex showed up. The ex-girlfriend, not ex-wife. Apparently she had sensed that he was dating someone and wound up on his doorstep, begging him for another chance. Which left J with a decision … continue to take a risk with an unknown (me) or go back to what he had previously known and had loved very much at one time (her).

He opted for the latter. And while it hurt when he told me, I understood and was grateful he ended things with me swiftly and honestly. We’d only been together a short amount of time and he had a longer history with this woman… albeit a very toxic and co-dependent one (according to him). However, if someone isn’t over their past, there is no way they can ever be ready for a new future. No matter how hopeful and promising that future might look.

I was hurt and a little upset, mostly at how he had rushed things emotionally while he clearly still had lingering feelings for someone else. But then I realized … how could I be angry at him when I had been there too, the year and a half after I had my heart broken?

I have written about this many times but after I endured a painful breakup with the man I was wildly and deeply in love with, I was an absolute wreck. And I dated a lot of men.

I tried so hard to move past that breakup, but I did it in all the wrong ways. I wanted to leap into something new, with everything I had, so I could distract myself from thoughts of the relationship – and the man – that crushed my heart. It was completely unfair to anyone I dated that year. I should’ve sat with my grief for longer, I should’ve stayed single and alone until my heart had healed, and I definitely shouldn’t have dated … but I did. And because I wasn’t healed from my past, I was an emotional wrecking ball, just crashing my way through the men I attempted to build a connection with during that year.

Luckily, the men were savvy enough to see my wounds clearly for what they were. And they were gentle with me, even while I was combusting on a semi-regular basis.

I thought of this when J told me about his desire to get back with his ex. He too had done what I had done. He was rushing things with me in order to forget the pain of his previous relationship ending. He had laid it on thick with me … talking about future plans, promising things he shouldn’t or couldn’t promise … because if he’d been truly honest with himself and with me, he would’ve admitted he wasn’t over his ex.

And there it is … that elusive ticking time bomb. The ex factor.

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Clean up your mess

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I have been single for 5 years now. And I haven’t lived with someone in nearly 4 years.

When I first moved out of the house I shared with my ex, I was ecstatic at the idea of living by myself. Having complete say over what kind of decor to purchase, how the house was kept up, etc etc.

At first, it was amazing. I kept my apartment fairly immaculate. I painted giant canvases for my walls with Ash. I sought out color coordinated pillows and decorations. I cleaned every weekend. I found interesting local art to hang. I made my home a place I wanted to be and hoped others would want to be as well.

However, after years of being single, my standards began to decline and I now believe I have become TOO comfortable with living on my own.

How?

Well, I let the dishes pile up. I sometimes let the housework slide a week or two before I really clean (ok .. maybe three weeks). I honestly don’t remember the last time I did the floors (omg wait … have I even done the floors ONCE?).

I live as if no one might see my home … ever. I am NOT the house maker woman with an immaculately clean home that smells of fresh baked cookies, complete with pinterest-worthy decor. That shit stopped once my dogs began to destroy my adorable color coordinated pillows.

My art hangs on the wall off centered and eclectic. Nothing matches. I have some glade air fresheners but I doubt it masks the rampant dog scent that well. When I lost my belongings last year, I settled for some hand-me-down furniture which included a worn-out teal green fabric lazyboy and an old futon. Seriously.

My home does not look like it belongs to a successful mid-30s female with aspirations of being a wife. I have lived basically like a lonely bachelor. Messy and unkempt and I have been ok with that. Until now.

I recently started dating again.

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All signs point to maybe

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I am dating … someone.

It’s new, very new. Like a handful of great dates new. And I almost don’t want to write about it for fear that mentioning it might cause it to spontaneously dissolve into mist and what if’s. These things are so damn fragile in the beginning.

Side note: I kinda feel like writing this is setting me up to be that meme where the girl announces she’s met someone and so excited … only to announce 6 hours later that never mind, disregard, he’s been cancelled.

So I am dating and it’s new and there is no telling where it could lead. And this not knowing is exactly what I wanted to write about.

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The Hard Way

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“We can do this the easy way or the hard way.”

I feel like this must’ve been what the universe (or God) asked my fresh, new soul before it sent me spiraling down to earth.

And until recently, I would say my dumb ass soul must’ve answered  ‘the hard way’.

I have often said that this is how I tend to learn things. The hard way. Not everything, but most things. Sometimes this is because while I can read about certain experiences and hear pre-emptive advice, I tend to not retain it unless I’ve gone through the same experience. I learn better through application.

Sometimes, however, learning ‘the hard way’ has been because I am STUBBORN AF and I have a rebel tendency. So even if I have a situation in which I can apply really great advice, I might not. My dumb, hopeful, rebellious heart will try to hold out for a different conclusion. It’s frustrating at times. But for me, once I learn something the hard way, I really do get it. On a soul and core level.

Here are a few truths I’ve learned the hard way.

1) It’s really important to take your car in if it makes some weird crunching noise when you turn … because if not, your tire might fly off.

2) Do NOT try to nudge a couch that is blocking your path with your vehicle … or it might dent your door and make it impossible to open it fully ever again.

3) If you have a messy, heartbreak of a situation with a guy, you shouldn’t continue to show up at his bar with your rabble-rousing friends.

4) DO NOT – I REPEAT – DO NOT DATE A BARTENDER AT YOUR FAVORITE BAR. No man is worth losing your favorite bar. NO. MAN. The bar is forever.

5) If a guy tells you he’s not ready for a relationship, listen to him and don’t try to change his mind.

Ahem. So … most of my ‘hard learned’ lessons clearly tend to deal with love and relationships.

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