Thursday, March 12, 2015

Dragon

in life, we all do things to keep us afloat. some might go to therapy, or take medicine, or meditate. and some might, say, write a blog, documenting the absurdity of it all because they were once told that "the worst moments make the best stories" and it's the only thing keeping them sane through their twenties or hope alive in their thirties. the idea that one day all of these mean moments and painful stories will lead to some sort of destiny and some kind of crazy, beautiful happiness that ultimately makes the bumpy, thorn-filled ride worth it. but today, today i want off the boat. today, my hope is an elusive dragon whose tail i feel i may have been fruitlessly chasing for far too long and all that exists within it now is a breath of fire - scarring my once indelible spirit.



[explanation to follow]

Monday, February 9, 2015

30 Thousand Feet, Heading East

[written on the pages of an in-flight magazine, 10ish PM EST 2/9/15, posted retroactively]




I hope we see everything we deserve. I hope we fight for those things we see. I hope. I hope. I hope. We're scared and shell shocked because we've tried. Part of a generation wondering when is it "my turn". Next. I hope it's next. I hope we can embrace the idea that it's okay to "want to be loved the way [we] need," so read the letter I had found in his room to a girl that broke his heart. 

Three days before we'd spent together, day tripping to the Grand Canyon. Making out in a car, my hand in his, I couldn't have imagined a more perfect place to be, driving through the desert; a typically ferocious anxiety dulled to zero. And then, after 36 hours together, we came to his house: A disaster. What might have been my hope for my golden unicorn: A slob. Who knew that fell in my list of values? But history is a cruel and proper dictator. My reaction shifted everything from something near perfect. And so too his mood towards me. So when Monday rolled around and he left me alone in his house for a doctor's appointment, followed by work, I cleaned and organized his room. I thought it would be a nice gesture, and help with his brooding I noticed on and off throughout the time together. He had some things life had thrown at him. We all had. His bubbled just beneath the surface, I think.

It took me two hours to ready his room; take footballs and empty beer jugs, the entire contents of a dresser drawer, repurpose and replace them. Just as I was finishing up, he unexpectedly walked back into his house - I stood, anticipating his footsteps down the stairs. I waited to see his face again before I spoke: "I did a thing," I admitted, nervously, to his approach, unsure how he would react. 

"I can see that!" he said as I paused, waiting for either a positive approval or personal insult I had gone through and touched all of his things. (Because clearly they had ALL been in the wrong place.) "It looks great! Thank you!" he continued as he entered the room. 

A mild bit of relief transitioned into excitability of showing him his new clean, clam adult person room, with places for things and a hamper and no clothes lying on the floor. But in the back of my mind, I found it hard to shake the letter I had come across. And the journal I'd stumbled upon, yet resisted reading, as I had already felt I had perhaps invaded his privacy by reading a letter written to a girl, but never sent. A girl who clearly broke his heart. I'd only seen a speck, a tiny microscopic glimpse of the shattered romantic who wrote that letter in the three days prior we had spent together. And even in a note to no one, written for himself he wrote "BITCH FEST" after three pages of tenderness, continuing with just one more line and ending the cathartic personal excavation like it was weak of him to just feel. 

"My heart has hurt like that too!" I wanted to yell in a certain kind of emotional entanglement, instead of showing him how his beer jug was now a coin receptacle. But, I said nothing, fearing he would feel his privacy invaded. A guess, at best, I could only make that this girl was the one he had told me about (who had cheated) over our first dinner together four days prior. I wanted to admit that HOLY SHIT I DO THAT TOO - write the letters we never send to the people that hurt our hearts. And also don't stop yourself: A broken heart isn't a bitch fest, it just means you tried for something; it just means you have a chance to fall in love again. Instead, I could say nothing; I couldn't explain how the depth of his character had grown in his absence without admitting what I had done. And that those tiny moments when I saw who he wanted to be again (romantically) in those first 36 hours, then morphing into a sort of walled off apathy, that those moment are okay. Fight for those fucking moments! Fear will leave you alone and frustrated and placing blame.


We said all weekend, it was weird how similar we are. And it's in this moment, 30,000 feet in the sky at 10:35 EST, somewhere over the US that I realize I'm also speaking to myself. I WANT those moments and I will fight tooth and nail to have them again.

After evaluating his room, he stayed a few more minutes and then kissed my goodbye on his way to work. And again. His phone rang as I now stood in the kitchen, doing my due dilegance in washing the dishes for a house that let me squat for the weekend. He gave me a peck then ambled towards the the door to forever gone. "The worst!" I yelled, suddenly embarrassed, as he greeted his caller and I realized I'd been heard. And yet still bothered I was so flippantly leave-able. I cowarded as he walked away; a moment of goodbye not even just for us. The worst.

Passively, I left a post-it note, a nod to our broken hearts club he didn't know he belonged to. I left it slightly hidden behind a book on his nightstand, inscribed with one of my very favorite quotes that helps me through the hurt sometimes: "There are far, far better things ahead than any we leave behind". Then I hoped he wouldn't take it the wrong way, packed my bags, and left.

You deserve the love you feel you needed. We all do. Goodbye to someone else's unicorn. One day it will be our turns. One day. I hope. I hope. I hope.


{Then I ripped out the pages and thought to myself: 'Well, he wasn't it' and turned to my whiskey & ginger.}

Thursday, February 5, 2015

40 Thousand Feet, Heading West

[posted retroactively]

2/5/15, 5:12pm EST

I started writing this on a barf bag, but it didn’t work. The first page I opened to was this [Phoenix/Scottsdale page in the airplane magazine, right]. What I was saying was that a barf bag seemed to be a fitting place to write prophecies of hope. Although at this point, any of it is hardly a prophecy.

I’m on a flight to Phoenix. I’m going to stay with a man I met 18 months ago in a bar in DC. For no particular reason aside from he offered [when I was looking for an escape post-Turk]. The lack and perhaps hope of prophecy stemming from psychics years back. As far back as 2010, they said 2013 I’d meet “the one”. One said August 2013. Then 2013 came and went and I remained alone. It wasn’t until last month when I wrote a blog referencing this random trip that I realized I met him in 2013 – August of 2013 to be exact. I began to read back on readings that he sounded like; what they all said. I became a bit more curious, hopeful, even.  But I’ve been tricked by the fallacy of their readings ‘fitting’ before (HG, The Turk). And yet I’m strangely hopeful – or had been. Then a touch nervous – what have I gotten myself into. Now nearly apathetic, but also wondering how to traverse this awkward (even for me) situation I am two hours away from walking into. And still, I hope.

He’s all the things on my list – tall, blue eyes, brown hair – as I told my mom yesterday (when she asked for his address half fearful for stranger danger and half still “I trust your judgement”).

“He is proof that those unicorns still exist!” I told her, garnering a positive out of the strange unknown. And then I thought: but maybe he’s not single, or perhaps terribly annoying; maybe he snores or whistles through his nose when he breathes! I don’t know. I’ve been anticipating this since I realized he fit the prophecy, but now it makes me nervous; after this - if it fails - what have I to look forward to? What have all the strange events of the last year leading to? Where is it? WHAT is it? I’m excited for things to come but anxious that if nothing comes of this, my hope again sits still – dead in the proverbial water.

We’ll see. It’s not like I can change my mind. I’m mid-air at 40,000 feet, hoping for any kind of fucking direction on where to go next; where to live, move, work! – vodka in hand. It’s good. This is good, right?! Right?! 

But seriously --- WHAT THE FUCK AM I DOING? ::laughs to self so no one takes away her vodka tonic::

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

A Perfectly Timed Moratorium

The single dad wrote his own dating obit last night. Interestingly, I thought his three strikes would be attributed to this thing he did where he got drunk and then aired his grievances. The first time I was "too aggressive" a time or two in Pittsburgh. The next time I had made a joke that I was going to Tinder around the country to go to all of the Escape Rooms for free. And "he knew what that meant" and "it really changed how I think about you". He knew what I meant? WHAT DID I MEAN?!

I was so caught off-guard and offended and (my Achilles heel of being) misunderstood, that I was up until 5am writing words down to try to get it out since he'd since fall asleep after the textual attack. Words like this:

I don't want to spend my time on someone who is just waiting for me to fuck up and then scrutinizing me when I do. I could let things you've said change my opinion about you, but I realize that one thing - or a few - you've said does not define who you are to me. The only suspicion I have is a person who says the perfect thing 100% of the time. Perfection is a fallacy. I am real and thus imperfect. I don't want to spend time with people who, not only do not forgive my imperfections - my shit moments - but holds them against me. I don't want to be with someone who makes me cry alone, in my room with little reason and no opportunity for defense, for simply being human. There is an undeniable beauty in the fault of others - a shadow of someone else's self doubt that reminds us that we are not alone in sometimes failing.  
We are not solely baring the angst of doubt and regret and things wrongly said and misunderstanding and judgement and history and turmoil and fear and everything that comes simply with existing. But that beauty fades, it backfires when we are judged for our foibles - mistaken for a villain only by opinion and error. I am far from perfect and I don't pretend to be anything but, and thus, I do not hold others' imperfections against them. Instead, I try to understand them. We are all revisions of our former selves; shaped by history and experiences and family and friends and good times and bad. And I can't endure the accusatory misconception that just because you didn't like something I said, that I am less worthy of adoration. Or that your feelings hurt mean mine matter less. We are all fighting the same damn fight, and you are either with me - helping me to stand and understand - or you are against me - your bayonet of words held tight against my throat. 
There is no middle in this war. We all bear the weight of a patchwork heart. And we all must pick a side.

The next morning he was "oh it was just a misunderstanding." WAS IT?! To who? And fuck you! But I let it go - eventually. And he apologized - eventually. The week following all of this being ironed out began the first in a string of him cancelling on me. The first was January 22. Having not seen him for a week, he was going to come over, but instead went to a friend's farewell dinner. (His friend was moving to Texas.) Which, normally, is fine. But 1. I only found out he cancelled because I ASKED, 2. He didn't even play the "Do you mind if I cancel, because..." card (of course I'd have obliged) and 3. He didn't apologize for cancelling. The following week, I was suppose to see him on one of the off days from his kid and the weekend, then he ex went out of town for work and the Single Dad seems to not have a sitter. And there was yesterday. This cancellation was my favorite. By this point I began to say to people "I'm suppose to see him" instead of "I'm going to see him" when it came to explaining my plans. And I had been frustrated - and calmly, with understanding, yet voicing it - for over a week. He texted daily, but we never saw each other. And my feeling - while polling other parents - that if you put yourself out there to date, that you should make sure you have the time to date, was growing. Gaining momentum. So this was the microscopic straw that broke the proverbial camel's back:



I have yet to respond. The most ridiculous part of this situation is that he seems to want me to feel sorry that he's sad for a situation of his own making. Like I'm suppose to coddle a man who has disappointed me yet again. Your fucking tummy hurts? Oh and you have paper work to do? - he adds as though his first excuse wasn't quite enough. And somehow I'm suppose to feel bad for him? SOMEONE CALL THE WAHBULANCE! This got laughable fast. And normally I would feel bad he was sick, but being the third (fourth, fifth?!) time in a month he had cancelled left my empathy to reside somewhere in the Valley of No Fucks to Give.

via
So while I tried the single dad dating thing, I'm not sure I can give an entirely accurate depiction of what it's like. I think this guy might be slightly more unaware of anyone else than most men. (Which is saying a lot! Seriously, you guys - other people exist and women are not here to kiss your balls at your beck and call, mk.) However, it did manage to neon-flashing-sign highlight the pot holes and warning whistles when it comes to single parents dating. So then perhaps he was the perfect person to try out and pass on the information. I would say the first thing to ask when trying to date a single parent (whether you yourself have kids or not) is: Do you have the time do date? Have you carved out space in your life for just you? If the answer is no, move on until the answer is yes. And consider it - at the least - a moratorium until the answer becomes yes.

And otherwise simply a dating obituary: Single Dad Cancels Three Times, Tryst Dead in the Water 

This particular moratorium, however, is quite perfectly timed. I am actually rather thankful for it - as much as I am annoyed by it. (I'm fucking cute didn't you notice?! MAKE the time.)  Because tomorrow I'm taking off to Arizona and I was feeling sort of weird about going to stay the weekend at some guy's house while I was sort of dating someone. The weirder part for everyone else seems to be the fact that I'm going to fly across the country and stay with some guy that I met in a bar for 30 minutes 18 months ago. But Arizona is warm and he said it's free and I was looking for somewhere to go back in October and he asked. (I'm a simple creature, really.) My friends seem to think it's crazy and "what if he's a psycho". My mom, however said "I trust your judgement," but send me his address. She's used to these (simple) things I do by now. : )

Friday, January 16, 2015

On Dating a Single Parent

Alright, so it's been about a month since I gave the single dad thing a go. I see him every once and a while. Let's see...ummmm...like five times. That 28 hour date, a Wednesday night, that 70 hour date, and this past Tuesday and Thursday. Which is strange considering that the Turk, who lasted about two months, but really only like 20 days in person, seemed so much more of something; so intense. (It's only since just this I've realized how incredibly different interactions between two people can be over the same amount of time. It's mind-boggling. But anyway...)

So we're four weeks into this and I'm not quite sure what to think, but there are definitely disjointed thoughts running through my mind. I'm already running into feeling like I'm competing with a kid. To which someone responded to my concern, "Well it's not a competition." Well no fucking shit because 1. I would never win and 2. I'm not trying to compete, it just feels that way. It feels like some sort of weird, unwanted rivalry, as I am vying for the same affections - well aware best I'll ever do is silver. This issue was brought up one night when he was suppose to come over and then the kid decided he wanted to go back to dad's from mom's and I got a, "Sorry, I can never say 'no' to him."

Well good god what am I suppose to do with that? On the one hand, I deeply admire him for being such a good and doting father, having missed out on that myself. On the other hand, as a single girl interested in a guy, I find it incredibly frustrating that I am not doted upon; that I'll always come second. And that's just being honest.

So lets continue with this sort of free-flowing what's going in my head and jot it down with the next hypothetical scenario that popped into my mind: What if I'm sick or hurt and I need to go to the hospital but he - in this completely theoretical scenario where he's something significant to me - can't take me because he's got his kid? I, in theory, then am dating a guy that can't take care of me because he's too busy taking care of his number one. 

I want to be able to need as much as I am needed. Isn't that the definition of a partnership? But then it occurs to me that if you are dating a single parent, you are always going to be needed more than your needs are fulfilled. You are always going to have to bend more than they bend; work around two needs instead of just one. It appears to be an incredibly uneven see-saw: Two people on one end hanging you high and dry on the other. Boris and Natasha versus Rocky sans Bullwinkle.

Even still, I'm trying to give this time to matriculate into the world of single parent dating. This all is still incredibly casual - although difficult to keep it feeling particularly casual based on the situation - but I have these thoughts and such, e.g.: How the fuck would this ever work?  And we haven't even gotten to the part where he's gone back to work yet and his work hours are all jacked up so then it's just work and kid ... and no girl - which could be the end in and of itself. A question I posed just last night: Just what happens then? Are we done when you being to work again?

"I don't know my schedule yet." Which my brain takes and translates - appropriately - to: Calm the fuck down, self - remember to be in the moment. And thus, it reminds me that one of the appeals of dating a single parent was that they don't have enough time to spend with me in order to get attached (because I'm fucking moving, damnit). Otherwise, if this went deep into dating territory as is, it would feel like I'm making all the sacrifices to meet the needs in his life. And what about me? Just because I don't have a child, doesn't mean I should have to sleep on a couch in the basement my needs are less important.

And so I remind myself it's casual - as casual as it can be working around the schedule of a seven year old. So right now I figure we still enjoy each other's company (despite seeing one another rarely.) And it's still winter and beds are still cold. And I, sort of unexpectedly, like to spend time with him - so there's that. And yet, with my silver medal, I can't fully identify with the satiated feeling of being a part time parent, and thus, also a part time lover. Instead, I am simply a part time lover; a woman of convenience - my most loathed place to be. And, to make matters worse, a position he doesn't seem to understand.

"What do you mean 'convenience," he asked as I broached the topic. And honestly, I don't even know where to begin explaining. And even if I tried, it would only ever make sense if I had a kid too (or he didn't.) And here lies the crux of the problem: Our lives force us to use separate playbooks; play by different rules. Single parent/childless single dating: It's hard. It would require understanding from both parties who can't possibly fully understand the other person's position. It's sacrificial and admirable and complicated and not easy and potentially totally worth it - and potentially totally not.

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

The Key

When I was 24, I had everything. A live-in boyfriend. A house. Furniture to fill it. Photos and art to line the walls. A car. An education. And a job. On paper, it looked perfect. On the inside, everything was falling apart. 

I was months away from 26 when I ended it. When our lease was up 6 months later, we packed up and left a 7 foot wide, 5 foot tall pile of perfectly good stuff behind the house for trash collectors (or garbage hunters - that George Foreman grill still worked). 

I kept the furniture. I kept some stuff. I moved in with a stranger. A year later, we both looked for new digs and to move again - to the location and price I wanted - I had to get rid of more stuff. I downsized again. I felt freer. The weight of each piece of furniture that used to define the life I thought I was ready for, fell off as the shackles of stuff came undone. 

At 30, I moved again. Another downsize. I was prepping for a move I had wanted for years, to a place I was still uncertain where exactly it was. I gave up more things; felt even freer still. 

At 31 I look around and I realize that my contemporaries are filling their homes with stuff and children and things. And I took a seat, casting away all the stuff that tied me to a place and limited me to where I might live or where I could go. If I wanted, my life could fit in my car. I love that; I am tethered to nothing; free and open and able to everything. 

Growing up we were told how life would be as an adult. That we would get an education, then a job, then a spouse, then kids. To work each day to buy a home to fill with furniture to make comfort for a family. At 24, I began to reject what I had sought so hard to achieve because I had grown up thinking that it was the goal, the purpose, the definition of success and therefore the key to happiness. But what I began to realize was that all of those ties to things and what I was expected to have and be, only imprisoned my desire to a life more simple; more shared; more experienced in everything. To live out all of the mistakes we are suppose to make. To have the awful moments to share with friends and family and understand that - even at 31 - we're all still trying to figure it out. That for some people, the life we are raised to believe is right, isn't what is right for us - at least not on the timeline we were brought up to believe. And we have to fail in order to find out what our own definition of success is; what makes us happy. 

Lately I've helplessly watched as loved ones struggle to make something of what they are told is success; what defines their value as a human being. And I think far too often we as humans fail to recognize that losing absolutely everything you thought you wanted and beginning all over again is perhaps the most liberating, terrifying and successful thing(s) we can do. Often we must fail entirely first in order to succeed (even just a little) in the end. And it is then we are truly able to appreciate the tiny successes as much as huge accomplishments. Happiness isn't defined by what we have or the things we have tethered to ourselves; happiness is the joy you feel in small victories and in knowing that everything you have done has brought you to where you are meant to be - and that the future, while scary, remains hopeful. To learn to trust that everything happens in time. That buying stuff and things does not dull a nagging impatience or feelings of ineptitude. 

At months away from 26, I finally learned that you cannot buy happiness. At 30, I learned the freedom from the things you buy, might actually take you one step closer to finding your place. Too often, it seems, humans are enslaved to objects. I find now, a certain euphoria that lies within exactly what we don't know and the ability to drive away whenever - with nothing - in order to know it. At 31, I have realized failing isn't a bad thing; fail isn't a four letter word. That sometimes giving up everything you have is the key to getting everything you ever wanted. So far, I find this to be true. And the hope for more lies in front me.