Sunday, July 27, 2014

Our hearts are worth more than compromise.

Last month I went with HG to a concert. I’d seen a band he’d introduced me to was headlining, so as one of the few people in town that actively attends concerts, I asked if he’d be interested. So there we were, June 10, running into each other again for the first time since the erotic novelling. A nice, safe Tuesday. We ducked out of work early, grabbed drinks and nachos before the show, chatted a bit (he told me he’d decided the night before to go to Bonneroo and they were leaving the next morning), and then headed over to the show and enjoyed MSMR. (Not nearly as good as The Sounds though.)

So the show ends and he asked if we were going to uber – interrupting me talking to mutual friends – and I responded ‘ya’ and continued talking. He walked away, I went to the bathroom and came out to him rushing me forward to a uber cab already waiting outside. It was 10:30 at night. I was immediately livid. I didn't know he meant uber right now. I just went silent; a silent fury. Where was the consideration asking if I wanted to grab a drink after the show?! Hello concert protocol! It didn’t matter; he wanted to get home and get ready for Bonneroo. Once I finally explained that him not even asking or considering what I want was hurtful and rude – he sorta kinda seemed to understand. He apologized and I said “whatever. It’s fine”.

I would like to take a moment to say that whichever pop culture nob decided that “whatever” was going to be a flippant word and make it so pervasive as such in our culture is a jerk. Whatever means whatever; any which way – it’s fine. He didn’t take it the way I meant it (thanks “Clueless”) and we spent about two hours talking. That’s a lot of time to talk for people who are just trying to be friends after a weird initial burst followed by two years of lying low and some months of sporadic meaningless hook ups. Finally I walked him out to my car (we went to my house so he could borrow my sleeping back for Bonneroo) and had a gut feeling I expressed: This is the last time I’m going to see you.

He thought I was being melodramatic, but I wasn’t. It’s just the feeling I got. On the short drive to his house, I tried to get him to admit to the one thing he’d done: Use me to heal his broken heart. He admitted to all the individual things surrounding that, but refused outright to admit he used me to transition out of his relationship and back into the world. That bothered me. Once at his complex we sat in the car for about another hour talking; same car; same spot where I broke up with him years before. The outcome was good enough: I told him if he wanted to be friends, it was on him to do the legwork. And as a peace offering he handed me his pool pass to use. We hugged and he left.

I drove off feeling strange and unfulfilled by such a at length discussion; trying to figure out what it was all worth; bothered he still refused to admit (or apologize) for his foibles. I know it was a mistake; I understand mistakes. But if you forgive a mistake someone hasn’t acknowledged, all you’re doing is giving them permission to do it again. I had forgiven him before - even told him about the post card I got him from New Zealand I planned to write ‘thank you’ on and send because if it wasn’t for him I never would have had the balls to go (although I never sent him the card) - but I’d never been so forthright about my issues regarding it. Now that I was, it was no different; my feelings or opinions didn’t even matter enough to see what I wanted to do after a fucking concert. (And to be fair, he came at the end of a long string of me feeling mistreated by friends, but valid in my reactions I felt nonetheless.)

A few days passed and I dug out the unsent post card from New Zealand. I wrote "It’s been a pleasure" on it in Polish, signed “Best”, taped his pool pass to it, and mailed it off. (I haven’t heard from him since. And I think it’s best this way.) A couple of days later I was still thinking about things and wrote this on my phone:

June 15, 2014, 4:54p 
I’ve been thinking about it for a few days in my head – hesitant to write things I don’t mean before I mean them. I finally came to the conclusion that I really just don’t like this person. But the truth is, I like the guy, I just don’t like how he’s treated me. And that’s the weird point – when do you stop waiting for a person to get better and come around just because you like the moments when they make you laugh? When does the potential of good outweigh the amount of hurt feelings? Simply put: He’s inconsiderate; and in any interpersonal relationship, all humans want to feel like they matter; their needs considered. It’s what separates strangers and friends; selfishness from compassion; respect from disregard; love from indifference.

Sometimes I think people who regard themselves as good people, fall short for no more than the inability to look beyond themselves and see the needs of another – particularly when it fills no need within. Self-service is perhaps man’s greatest flaw. And consummate disappointment. You can only be disappointed so many times until you have to stop waiting for someone to be what you think – if they saw beyond their own nose – they have the potential to be. Such is life, I suppose, as I move forward with the sage advice that you can’t expect people to treat you the same as you would them – but! what can I do when I believe in my heart that I deserve no less of anyone than exactly what I put in? I don’t want to have to compromise with what people are willing to give.

That ‘advice’ is an insult to our individual spirits. Our hearts are worth more than compromise. There are plenty of people in the world. I will just keep trying.

Thursday, July 24, 2014

A Recovering Mormon, a Beautiful Gay, & My Great Rally

Back in April I went on my second Tinder date. I wasn’t particularly attracted to his photo but maybe it was one of those times I was feeling charitable – or just no guys were pinging me. And then he asked me out and I fell back on my incredible inability to say no (without good reason). So there I was on a Friday night meeting up with this guy who I thought maybe just didn’t know how to pick out a good photo.

I saw him, gave him a hug after sneaking in a clandestine once-over and immediately decided 1. Not interested and 2. He’d be perfect for GFN. But I stayed on the elevator*…even though he was a 'recovering Mormon' from Utah. (See, I don’t discriminate.)

*Tinder is just one really big elevator, I figure. I can walk into an elevator and carry on a conversation with anyone. If they ask me out on an elevator I’d probably say yes then too. (Okay, twice I was asked out on an elevator and both times I declined, but that’s not the point.) So here I was on a Friday night, sitting across from this guy I’d met on a virtual elevator. We had drinks and conversation then moved to dinner at a hole in the wall. At which point he was impressed that I was totally okay with a hole in the wall.

Free food is free food, dude.

Since this was right around the Cherry Blossom Festival, they were serving a drink called a Cherry Blossom which consisted of some IPA and cherry vodka. It was disturbingly good; I think we drank about a million of them. (Mormons can drink.) Then, after dinner, I proceeded to kick his ass at darts. (If I'm winning a bar game, I'm drunk.) Once he gave up on darts, we sat back down at the bar and a older black gentleman kept coming up and talking to us. His name was Sammy. 

Sammy told us he was drunk. Sammy told us he had “seen some shit”. And then Sammy told us he was going to go snort coke in the bathroom. We decided it was time to leave.

It was nearly 2am, so we headed to another bar near the Metro. There, we ran into beautiful 22 year old gay. At last call, he asked if we wanted a shot of whiskey. (Pro Tip: If someone asks if you want a shot at last call, you say 'NO'.) After downing what I’m fairly certain was half the bottle in a rocks glass, it was time to go and I was a full sheet to the wind. The beautiful gay and I discovered we lived off the same stop, so after I hugged my date goodbye, I rode off with my new gay friend. (Precisely how he wanted the date to end, I'm sure.) Whiskey can’t quite remember how but we ended up sipping vodka and talking on my porch until (when housemate P told us to shut up at) 5 in the morning.

The next day was The Sounds concert and I was going with my female housemate, E. Doors opened at 5pm. At 4:24p, I woke up. And if half dead feels like something, I think it felt like that. She was on her way home from work, so I texted her my current state and said I was going to try to shower it away. When I got out of the shower, I shuffled into my room and laid back in bed. She came home a few moments later, took one look at me and said “We’re not going to this concert, are we?”

“OH YES WE ARE!” I declared, somehow willfully defiant through my tequila, vodka, IPA, whiskey, vodka haze. After a short discussion, we realized I had to do it; I had to ‘pull the trigger’, as it were. So there I was, 30 years old, sitting on the floor of the bathroom while my 24 year old housemate literally cheered me on from the other side of the wall. After about 20 minutes of hesitation (I hate booting), I emerged.

“Did you do it,” she asked.

“Yes. But I feel worse,” I responded slightly despondent, but still determined to make this happen. We decided to walk to the local grocer, get our drinks (per our previous plan), grab a sandwich and head back before going to the concert. We got our sandwiches first and I sipped on an iced tea the entire walk. After a little over a mile, we were back to the house to eat our sandwiches on the front lawn. I put a bag in front of me – half joking, half precautionary – “in case things didn’t go down well”.

“If you’re gonna puke, you go behind the porch. YOU GO BEHIND THE PORCH OR I’LL PUKE!” I gathered she wanted me to go next to the porch if I was going to hurl. With that in mind, I took the world’s teeniest nibble of a fry and immediately ran to the side of the porch and lost all of the iced tea I’d worked so hard to put in there. I immediately felt better.

Just then P came outside. E announced I’d just booted by the porch. “I heard,” he laughed, “that makes me kinda happy after last night”.

“Oh yea” I said now returned to my chair, eating entire French fries with pride, “sorry about that”. (Apparently we weren't that loud, just unfortunately placed below his bed.)

From there, E and I got ready, popped in a cab that took way too long to get there and arrived at the concert. We were late and missed the opener I wanted to see, but The Sounds were awesome. After the show, we met up with my favorite gay couple (who I just happened to see crossing the street while we were standing in line for will call) and danced the night away.

And that, kids, is how I pulled off my greatest rally of all time.

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Friends are like wardrobes.

When I was packing to move a couple of months ago the first place I started was with my closet. As a woman with over 200 pairs of shoes, it was the logical first step. I donated over 50 pairs of shoes - soon after collecting a few more anyway, but seriously, those! ->

I riffled through my drawers and closets and shelves and whatnots and donated and threw out bags and bags of old and new rarely worn clothing, sometimes asking myself "What was I thinking?" or introspectively reminiceing about the good times I had wearing those garments. Some that were awesome, but didn't fit, I found good homes for; like a too-big suit I gave to my mom and it snagged her her new job! (Yay momma!) Some were just not who I was anymore. And some, like my 13 year old sweater, riddled with holes, still made the cut. When I was finished, my wardrobe was thinned out, I felt accomplished; lighter, and like I still had plenty of things to wear, none of which made me feel bad about my waistline. 

During this process, I also came to the realization that friends are like wardrobes. My new mantra I told my mother, as she looked at me quizzically. With all the bullshit transpiring in the past year - and even for a girl who really loves analogies - this one seems legit. I went on to explain: They come and go like clothes in a closet and sometimes, when they don’t fit anymore or make you feel bad about your belly, you need them throw them out. You have other clothes in your closet; stores full of hundreds of things that fit better; match with your evolved style. And yet sometimes you have the piece you got at 17 that you knew when you wrapped your body: 'it doesn’t matter how many holes this gets, or how much it falls apart, I’m going to have this forever' - and I still do. A few pieces you just can’t bear to let go of, so you tuck them back in your closet, in a box preserving time and wait for the opportunities, event, and weight-loss/gain to wear them again. And friends, much the same, are a rotation – evolving to fit who you have become; who you are at present; and who you want to be.

I think too often we hold on to people who don’t ‘fit’ anymore, simply because they were once an important staple in our wardrobe of life. People change and grow and move on and it’s harmful, I think, when we refuse to admit that people who we chose at family for a time, are no longer a big part of who we are - or at least not in this moment. For whatever reason we’ve grown apart, circumstances of changed, events have occurred or one person hurt another. It’s okay to let things go or pack them away until you're ready again. It’s healthy to make room for the future.

Recently I realized if I tell someone that they hurt me, they don’t apologize, and I just let it go, then all I’m doing is giving them permission to hurt me again. Sometimes it’s okay to let things – and people – go. In fact, it’s probably a really good exercise: Reminding ourselves what is worth keeping; de-cluttering with reason and purpose; or perhaps just waiting trends and evolution to catch up. And right then, at the toss of the jeans, your life (and heart) feel a whole lot lighter.