Door Number 2: Self-love Required

1AFFA412-7D62-4949-BF53-DA41B108DE3B

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”:

60793169-1-e1550169820461

“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

giphy (23)

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?

Continue reading “Faking it”

The Ex factor

1203ea3d-aff1-4a85-b4b3-7e7252d7f8e3

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.

Continue reading “The Ex factor”

The fuck is your life: Thoughts on death

giphy (13)

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

giphy (12)

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”

All signs point to maybe

E51ED7B6-C4D3-4735-B857-6454D2A82FC3

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.

Continue reading “All signs point to maybe”

The Hard Way

51E8930A-A3CB-422F-86E0-58AE55294AC8

“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.

Continue reading “The Hard Way”