Everything is fuckupable (Or Dating with Anxiety: Part 3)

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I used to have some pretty naive and idealistic views about love. I can admit this.

Not sure where they came from, because I didn’t really see any examples of these ideals growing up except maybe in Hallmark movies. Most of the relationships I witnessed in person were filled with arguments and frustrations and a lot of strife intermixed with some joy and minimal romance.

And yet, I held onto the belief that my ‘one’ would one day show up and see past my awkwardness and horrific fashion sense and see the beauty underneath. He’d be perfect for me. And he’d love me as if I were the most precious thing he’d ever seen. His fire for me would never go out. We’d be kind and gentle and oh-so-perfect for each other. Always. Effortlessly.

I also, for a short, but very painful time, believed that if it was right … if it was love, real deep magic love … that you couldn’t fuck it up. The love would be too powerful and would overcome all obstacles, no matter how many mistakes you made.

What. Tha. Fuck. Whyyyy did I think this?

Ahhh yes, now I remember where these ridiculous beliefs came from. The church. True love waits. When God writes your love story. Blech.

Oh, how woefully, wonderfully wrong I was.

I mean, seriously. How naively hopeful and blissfully ignorant could I have been about love?

Of course you can fuck it up. Everything — every SINGLE thing — is fuckupable. And that includes love.

But that’s honestly a good thing.

Continue reading “Everything is fuckupable (Or Dating with Anxiety: Part 3)”

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.

Continue reading “Just a little crush”

Door Number 2: Self-love Required

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So I had intended to write a Valentine’s day post.

Something about how Valentine’s is BS and you should show love everyday and it’s a dumb holiday and screw all the social media posts from jerks in love, you guys are honestly the worst.

But, like funny … and slightly less bitter than that.

But I didn’t write that post. And also … this isn’t that post. Instead, I’m sharing something my best friend, Ash, wrote about love for our joint blog.

A little intro…. a few years ago, she and I were both divorced and single and happy at the same time. I was ecstatic because we were finally living our Sex and the City single life. And then … she met a great guy. Like a really great guy. Like honestly the perfect kind of guy for her, because I’ll be honest, her standards are high. Not in the ‘he has to make a million dollars and drive a BMW and have a six pack’ kind of way, but in the ‘he has to be willing to do real emotional work and be truly invested in his emotional healing’ kind of way. The real shit.

Ash is in the kind of relationship I hope to find one day. Not perfect, but very honest and beautiful. I have learned so much from watching her grow in this relationship and watching her love her guy and honestly, watching them love each other.

Without further ado, here is Ash with “DOOR NUMBER 2: SELF-LOVE REQUIRED”:

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“Do you want out of this?” He gently asked me this morning.  

“What?” I asked as I groggily sat up in bed, eyes crusted with sleep as they opened the first time for the day.

“Do you want out of this with me?  Our relationship?” he responded, head hanging low.

This morning, of all mornings… it is Valentine’s Day.

Not that, that particular detail bothered me.  I am not a sucker for these types of holidays. I find it even a little frustrating that we choose a social day to display to the person we are with, that we love, care or cherish them.  I am of the camp that in a relationship, kindness love and gratitude for that person shouldn’t need to have a dedicated day – but should be experienced almost daily within the relationship.

I understood why he was asking, though.  I already knew before he sat down at the edge of the bed to explain further.  

Continue reading “Door Number 2: Self-love Required”

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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The fuck is your life: Thoughts on death

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The other day, death stopped by.

My life wasn’t in danger, neither was the life anyone I know really well and love dearly. It was more like a chat … like one might have over afternoon tea. Only it wasn’t much of a conversation, more like a statement said in passing … and then me reeling to process it.

I was warming up my lunch in the break room of my beautiful downtown office, staring out the 9th floor-to-ceiling windows, and all of a sudden I felt heavy .. weary.

Death brushed by my shoulder. He whispered in my ear.

“One day you will die.” 

And then he was gone.

What a dick, right?

I just stood there, staring out the window at the building workers on the roof of the building next to mine. They were close to the edge and not much separated them from the vast expanse below, just a flimsy little rope fence. It would be so easy to fall.

Those words hit me and I realized that one day this will all be gone, these buildings, these streets, these men … and I won’t be here. I won’t see what the world becomes. And all of a sudden I was overwhelmed with the weight (or lack thereof) of my own existence.

As I stared at the workers, I thought about that morning and how some asshole had cut me off and I was so angry I flipped him off. I thought about how stressful my job can be at times. I thought about the men I have loved, so greatly, only to have my heart wrecked. I thought about drunken nights with my best friend and laughing so hard my face and stomach ache. I thought about how annoyed I get when my phone rings, no matter who it is that’s calling. I thought about how lonely I’ve been these last few years. I thought about how all of my friendships are important, yes, but sometimes I wonder how close we really are (well, with the exception of Ash). And then, I thought about my life … and it’s impermanence … and I wondered … does my life mean anything?

What is my life?

I thought about all of this, the good and the bad. And then I thought … I have no idea what happens to us when we die. I have faith, but I don’t know what it’s like to die. I don’t know what’s on the other side. Maybe there’s nothing at all. This life is colorful. Is death the opposite of that? Is death … just darkness?

“One day you will die.”

This is something we know, every day. We know we will die one day, even if we don’t think about that often. We know in the back of our minds that this life is temporary and impermanent. We know we will die and yet … and yet … do I ever take the time to really think on it? No. Because thinking about death is heavy. Painful. Difficult. Thinking about death can be paralyzing. That day it was.

Continue reading “The fuck is your life: Thoughts on death”

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.

Continue reading “Clean up your mess”