Tag Archives: anxiety

The Crooked Kiss

Something has happened to my face.

On Saturday, I went to the grocery store.  I got groceries.  It started to rain.  I didn’t want to wait for it to stop, so I ran to my car, threw the groceries in, put the cart away, got back inside and was soaked… It’s rained a lot here lately.  This was the second time I’d been soaked in my car in two days in a row.  Pulled out my phone to take a selfie to send to Ormsby and noticed that my mouth was off.

Like… crooked.  I checked to make sure I wasn’t accidentally holding it that way.  I wasn’t.  Tried moving it.  It moved back in place (yes, I realize I sound like Potato Head here) but then went crooked again.

It wasn’t that bad… not that noticeable… but I noticed it and I didn’t send the selfie.

By the time Ormsby got home that night, it was even worse.  My right eye was droopy.  My mouth was curved into this involuntary half-smile.  I looked like a stroke patient.

I attributed it to stress.  Because this is what happens when I get stressed out.  Well, not this specifically, but weird shit like this.  In 2006, before my wedding, I lost my ability to walk.  My legs started just… burning… from the inside out.  Like if you imagine a log that’s thrown onto a bonfire and it’s hot and red underneath the bark that’s not really burning yet… that’s what it felt like.  The doctors thought I had MS or a brain tumor.  I definitely did not have a brain tumor.  A second opinion ruled out MS too.

But as the wedding got closer, it got worse and worse until I could barely walk.  My father had to practically support me as I got down the aisle and if it hadn’t been for the prednisone and the valium I don’t know if I’d have made it at all.

It dissipated after several months.  I’d have flare ups now and again, but never like that one time and I joked (after the divorce) that my body just as an adverse reaction to marriage.

It happened again in 2012 when my company was being transferred to Allstate and I was I was in a relationship with 3.0 (who never seemed to be satisfied with who I was or what I was doing).  I didn’t think it was that stressful, really… but then I woke up one morning with double vision.  And a droopy eye.  I think it might have been my right eye then, but I don’t remember.  Again, I got diagnosed with a potential brain tumor or with MS and I went through the whole MRI thing again.  No brain tumor.  Four Xanax and a Contrast MRI later, no MS.  No one could figure out what it was.  We attributed it to stress.

It disappeared by November.

Then Saturday happened.  I spent all day Sunday on the couch… sleeping mostly… waking up once in a while to look at my face.  It was severely depressing to look at – swollen, pulsating (twitching), I did, in fact, look like a stroke patient.  Ormsby begged me to go to a doctor; I didn’t want to at first – I knew what they’d say.  More MRIs, only to find that there’s nothing visibly wrong with me except that I have an anxiety disorder (which we all know).

But by Monday, when this wasn’t any better, and actually got worse the second I walked into work, I told HR that I needed to leave to go to a doctor immediately (she agreed… I looked like shit).  And so I spent the afternoon in the doctor’s office.

Long story short, she thinks I have neuropathy.  Caused by stress and anxiety.  I’ve been referred to a neurologist so they can do some electro-test thing on my brain.  But it’s hard to get into a neurologist here so by the time I get seen, the symptoms will probably have dissipated again (like they do) and I can only hope this partial paralysis doesn’t last.

I think the worst thing is what it’s done to my self esteem.  I don’t even like to look in the mirror anymore.  I hid away in my office all day and internally cringed when my coworkers called me “Droopy.”  Even though I know they didn’t mean anything by it, it brought up too many memories of getting made fun of at school as a child.

Ormsby still seems to be attracted to me, and things are fine here.  Better than fine, actually.  Unlike 3.0, he’s told me he’s not leaving me just because I have some stupid neurological disorder.  And I believe him.  Still, I can’t help but wonder if, when we kiss, it feels as crooked to him as it does to me… Though I know that, even if it did, he’d still kiss me anyway.  Because that’s what love is.  And he’s pretty fantastic that way.

Three Faces

Sometimes I feel like I have two faces – the one that I wear on the outside and the one that I hide on the inside.  Or maybe it’s more like three.

There’s the one that everyone sees, on a regular basis.  That’s the Badass Victoria.  The girl who gets her hands dirty, who doesn’t give up, who fights for… well… everything that she feels like she needs, who bends the world to her will.  That one is very well known.  That one has made friends, she’s lost friends, she’s won great gains and lost great losses, but she still stands because at the end of the day, she is a survivor.  That one everyone knows really, really well.  And, maybe, that’s the one that people come to most often because they know that, no matter what they throw at her, she’ll be able to take it.

Underneath that, is a softer Victoria.  A more compassionate Victoria.  Some people get to meet her… a very few, select people whom she deems worthy for whatever reason or another (or maybe it’s just because they need her to be that way at the time and she (actually) doesn’t like to see people suffer).  This is the girl who takes in friends who are homeless, who sits beside them, unwavering, when they’re at the Emergency Room for hours on end.  This is the girl who lovingly ships packages full of snacks and super glue and plastic bags (yes, plastic bags) to Afghanistan and doesn’t ask for anything in return.  This is the girl who leaves her ringtones up at full volume all night so that, if someone needs her, they can reach her no matter the hour.  She’s the girl that drops everything to fly a thousand miles when she gets an intuition that she is needed.  And because of this, she’s tired a lot.  She’s often worn down by the problems that other people bring her.  But she does, in fact, give a shit (which surprises the hell out of people who have only ever seen the Badass side of her). This is the girl that, despite the badassery, can love, and who loves deeply when she chooses to.  This is the girl who is loyal to a fault, who does not lie, who does not cheat, and who, often, gets taken advantage of because (despite the badassery) she’s been known to put her trust in the wrong individuals.  The badassery gives her a bandaid to seal her many wounds, and the two keep walking together.

The two of those parts?  They coexist really well.  Because when she needs to be compassionate, she can be compassionate.  But when that compassion needs to turn into strength to pull her friends and the people she cares about out of very dark places, the badass part steps in and does it – the compassion keeps the badass in check.  The badass makes sure the compassion does not overwhelm her so that she is rendered useless.

About three weeks out of every single month of my life?  These two things exist harmoniously.  I can move mountains.  And I have (figurative ones).  I don’t know, sometimes, where that reserve of strength comes from, any more than I know where the compassion comes from.  But believe me, as a survivor of many things, I’m glad I have the ability to be both simultaneously.

There is, however, something else.  It’s a part of me that I don’t let people see very often… even less-so than the compassion.  I’ve been fighting with myself over whether I wanted to write about this right now or not, but since it’s relevant to what I’m doing right now, and as it’ll be relevant to the narrative later on, I think it’s necessary.

I suffer from PMDD (yes, this is an official diagnosis), which stands for Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder. I jokingly say it’s like having PMS on crack.  And I guess, in some ways, this is a fair assumption.  This is something that only a small fraction of the female population suffer from – and physically, it’s an exacerbation of the normal PMS symptoms.  My cramps are bad when I have them.  I have headaches.  I am tired, literally, all the time post ovulation until my period starts.  Since this is something that manifests about two weeks before my period, I literally have it pinpointed to two phases.  During phase one, the headaches start.  The vision changes start (seriously, my vision – already bad – gets worse… no one could explain it until I started tracking it).  The fatigue sets in and you’ll find me taking naps after work.  Concentration is laughable and I take a lot of mental breaks because trying to focus on one little thing becomes impossible.  Oh, and then there’s work.  I’m not really a fan of most of my coworkers… they’re a lot like teenagers, except they are all masquerading as adults.  But the balls hitting my office, the yelling, the loudness outside my door, that gets to me more during that first week than at any other time.  I put on relaxing music and I try to get through my day.  The first week isn’t that bad.

The second week?  Oh my god.  See, the headaches subside.  I can concentrate a little bit better than I could the first week.  Most of the symptoms from the first week are long gone.  The second week is when my demons start to talk to me again.  They say that PMDD is most prevalent in women that have suffered (or that do suffer) from a depressive disorder.  I am not depressed these days, but I used to be.  This makes me more susceptible to the PMDD.  And it’s not that I get particularly depressed during this time.  No, my problems stem from anxiety.  Really, really, really BAD anxiety.

It’s like “fight or flight” all the time.  They have drugs for this.  And I take them.  When I need them.  My OBGYN wants to put me on an SSRI, but I respectfully decline as I do not want to be a robot, and writing is kind of what I do.  I opt for Xanax instead, which makes them shut up most of the time, but it’s really ridiculously difficult for it to shut them down all of the time.  I am not a hazard to myself, and I never really was.  I’m not suicidal.  But before I knew what was going on, I was incredibly self destructive.  My relationships suffered.  My decision making abilities went out the window.  And when the anxiety takes hold, I can’t even read the tarot, because my mood comes through in the cards, making it impossible for me to read them accurately.  I can’t trust my own intuition – and you have to understand, when it’s your intuition that normally gets you through the day, you feel kind of naked without it.

Now that I know what it is, and when it’s going to hit me, I’ve learned to combat it a little.  I’ve learned to put off any major decision making until this subsides (and it will… it always does).  I’ve learned that, whatever is going in my head at that very moment, that 90 percent of it is garbage and I’d do better to ignore it.  That helps to a degree.  But it doesn’t shut it up.  I still have to listen to it.  I just don’t do anything about it.  That’s free will.  That’s the exercising of free will.

It begins a countdown, of sorts, because I know that it will get worse before it gets better.

That said, when it hits, and when you’re sitting in the middle of it (like I am now), it doesn’t matter how many support forums you read or how many pills you take, or how many days you have until you don’t have to deal with it anymore… every day seems like a hundred years.  You want to feel normal again, and you put on that “normal” face so that no one knows that underneath you’re this ridiculously stressed out, anxiety ridden chick (the kind you really hate), you pop a Xanax, and you go for a run, because, really, what else is there to do except wait it out?  It’ll go away eventually.  I’ll get three weeks or so of normalcy, and then, maybe, the next time around it won’t be that bad… because it ebbs and flows, depending on the cycle.

 

More information:

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmedhealth/PMH0004461/

http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/premenstrual-syndrome/expert-answers/pmdd/faq-20058315

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Premenstrual_dysphoric_disorder

http://www.webmd.com/mental-health/premenstrual-dysphoric-disorder

http://psychcentral.com/blog/archives/2013/11/23/pmdd-is-not-just-normal-moodiness/

Naked

Relationships are complicated.  Somewhere between elementary school and adulthood, we’ve gone from the silly notes in our lockers that say “I like you, do you like me, circle ‘Yes’ or ‘No’” to full blown mass “freak out” sessions where we obsess over whether that guy is ever going to call again, whether she’s going to be turned off by too much back hair (if it’s me?  Yes.), and we overanalyze every extended silence, every stupid Facebook post, and every text we DO get that isn’t to our liking.  We’ve gone from knowing that we’re a couple because we circled “Yes” on a piece of paper to wondering after a few dates, a couple of heavy makeout sessions, and a romp in bed whether we can start thinking of ourselves as a couple, or if we’ve just been used.

And I don’t know if it’s become standard for everyone, but I know that for me, this has gotten more and more complicated as I’ve gotten older.  People have gotten to be less apt to communicate, less likely to be reliable, more likely to “disappear” rather than to answer the “hard questions” or talk about the “hard issues.”  No one wants to WORK on problems anymore, everyone just wants to see if the grass is greener on the other side of the fence (regardless of whether it turns out to be the Garden of Eden or a yard full of volcanic ash).

I label my dating life as pre-divorce and post-divorce.  Pre-divorce, I dated a fair amount.  I’m not saying everyone was awesome (as a matter of fact, many of them were NOT awesome), but just about everyone was, at least, straightforward about what they were looking for.  Dating was a means to entering into a relationship – it was never, or at least usually not, a means to an endless string of interactions that resulted, finally, in an abrupt disappearance.  Most times it ended in commitment.  Or, at least, the expectation toward eventual commitment.  It was understood that things were going to go this way or, sooner than later, there would be a parting of ways.

The funny thing is, I used to think this was “complicated.”  Maybe in its way it was… Because in those days, it wasn’t so much the worry about whether or not I was actually “in” one, but it was the worry of what said significant other was doing when I was not around.  No stranger to the “cheating” boyfriends, I can’t say that I went into those relationships believing that people were going to cheat on me, but I’d say I was more hyper-vigilant about it than I would have been had I never been cheated on.  Still, it was easy to get a date, nothing was expected out of me except to be a good dinner companion.  If things went further eventually, it was “understood” that we’d do it again.  It was “understood” that we’d see each other again.  It was “understood” that the likelihood of becoming exclusive was imminent.  I learned, after a few months of this, that it was better to trust until I had a good reason NOT to trust.

But that was then.

Post-divorce, dating has gotten significantly harder.  And I’m not sure if it’s that the attitudes of the world have changed, or if I’ve just gotten worse at choosing men, but things are VERY, VERY different.  As I said earlier, people don’t communicate anymore.  Instead of phone calls, we text.  Instead of using complete sentences and punctuation, we use chatspeak.  Spelling, even, has fallen by the wayside – and smart people, like myself, who give a shit about such things are expected to just roll with it and lower our standards.

Because no one wants to communicate, we’re all afraid of each other.  Some of us prefer to keep our relationships completely text or chat based (and we have no idea how to interact face to face).  Others can’t be straightforward and upfront about things when we don’t expect them to work – we’ve been dumped (or have done the dumping) so many times that we’re afraid to do it again… we don’t want the shit show, we don’t want to deal with the fireworks, so, to avoid confrontation, we just walk away and expect the other person to just “get over it.”  It’s easier for us… we don’t have to see it.  Who the fuck cares what they have to go through?  We say it’s to “spare someone else’s feelings,” but that’s a cop-out.  It’s really to spare ourselves from the discomfort.

Further, and I think this has to do with my age, everyone who is still out there, and single, has been burned, by now, more than once.  It’s left us all jaded.  No one trusts anyone anymore… we’ve all been through the ringer so many times that we jump into our relationships EXPECTING to play games.  We go into these things BELIEVING that everyone we’re talking to will lie and cheat on us eventually.  And so, finding something solid, something dependable, something lasting has gotten really difficult.  I don’t lie, and I don’t cheat, but if I’m completely up front and I TELL someone these things, I don’t expect to be believed.  After all, why should I?  Everyone’s heard the same story again and again.  My predecessors got there before me, said the same shit I did, but did it all anyway.

And so, instead, we’ve become a culture that goes through life, pretending to attempt to find something solid (probably genuinely desiring something solid) but are too afraid to truly stick our necks out there to GET it.  We settle, instead, for superficial relationships… we text each other a lot, but don’t interact in person.  We get to know someone at a high level, perpetually hold them at arm’s length.  We use each other for sex, because the orgasms are nice.  We’ve become more and more accepting of being naked in front of each other, but we’re too afraid to REALLY be naked, to REALLY show someone else who we are, out of fear of being hurt again.  We’re protecting ourselves, but essentially, our inability to expose ourselves to pain, our unwillingness to put ourselves out there, is the same thing as punishing a complete stranger (or, at least, someone who has done nothing to us) for something that someone else (or several others) have done.

I’m just as bad about this as anyone else.  Communication has never been my problem.  If I want something, or if I like someone, I fucking say it.  I’m not shy about that.  I don’t mind being naked, literally, in front of someone either – I got over that when I started doing nude modeling a decade ago.  But I still have my hangups.  After the divorce, rather than finding boyfriends, or potential boyfriends, I realized that, I could easily find someone to go to bed with, but it became difficult to find someone to BE with.  And when I did find someone to BE with, well, if you’ve read the blog, you know what I’ve found… 3.0, who couldn’t get himself “sold”; Botboy who could fall in love with TransFormers, fall in love with me, even, but only say so when he was drunk and who ran the first chance he got when he came home.  I can go on dates with others and things will look as if they’re going well, but then, without any sort of explanation, the guy disappears.

And with every failure, with every disappointment, I myself have become more jaded.  I find myself going into relationships EXPECTING to be disappointed.  I find myself, essentially, punishing someone who has never had the chance to prove himself to be different for bullshit that others have given me in the past.  I wait for a screw up, and I use that screw up to further the conclusions I’ve drawn about everyone that’s already out there.  I don’t let people in because I’m too busy blaming total strangers for the failures of the douchebags I’ve already known.  I’m just as jaded as everyone else.

Back in 1998, a friend told me something once and it’s stayed with me through all this time (despite the fact that he turned out to be one of the ones that wanted to “fuck me” but not “be with me):  Assumption is the mother of all fuck ups.  Assumption is what we’re all doing these days – instead of giving people the benefit of the doubt, instead of letting them prove themselves to be different we’re assuming that they aren’t, and we’re sabotaging ourselves.

Life is about choices, life is about decisions.  In the end, I have to make a choice.  I can choose to remain alone because I’m too afraid to open myself up to potential failure.  I know that if I continue to choose to punish people for what their predecessors have done, then that is the same thing as choosing to be alone.  It’s like having a “self destruct” button that I can press whenever I feel like it.

But I can also choose to stop this.  I can choose to stop repeating old patterns that clearly have gotten me nowhere.  I can choose to stop assuming the worst.  Does that I mean I go into every situation wide-eyed, naïve and ready to throw it all out there (emotionally) to someone I barely know? No.  We learn what we learn for a reason.  But it does mean that I stop expecting the worst out of everyone… it means I give them a chance to prove that they really are different without judging them before they’ve ever had their say.  It means that I open up a little, give people the benefit of the doubt, and that I, at least, start looking at things more objectively.  It means that I let myself truly bare it all when I feel ready to do that, and I do it without expecting that I’ll immediately be steamrolled as a result.

It’s scary… but when have I ever been chickenshit?

 

(Also if you think for a minute I’m going to stop doing the Internet Dating Escapades, you’d be wrong… some people are just asking for it.  Or, well, I’ll keep doing this until I do find someone that lets me in… once I do that, the IDEs stop, because my profiles will come down.)

Time Flies

It’s the beginning of May…  it’s hard to believe that summer is almost here.  It’s even harder to believe that I have so many things going on this month.  Had someone told me back in January how busy May would be, I wouldn’t have believed it.

I started off the month a little roughly.  I fell outside when I was doing my mileage – narrowly missed breaking my ankle by shifting my balance and electing to fall forward.  I tried to catch myself (which was stupid, I’ll admit it) and ended up scraping up my palms, my shoulder, the side of my right leg, and I hit my head fairly hard on the concrete – hard enough to cause a minor concussion, though I didn’t realize it for what it was until later.  I thought maybe it was something like that when, once I’d gotten back inside and gotten myself cleaned up, I wanted to immediately go to sleep.  I did not go to sleep for several hours after (thinking that would be a bad idea though, apparently, now doctors think it’s okay to do that after a head injury, provided that there is someone to wake you every few hours to ensure you’re still okay – and Metalhead was here, so that would have been feasible, but I didn’t know that, so whatever).  Before going to sleep, Metalhead and I were sitting up, chatting, in the dark and I don’t know what happened – but I suddenly, uncontrollably, vomited.  On him.  It was mortifying, though he took it well.  In fact, he was laughing about it as he got out of bed and went to the shower, tossing his clothes in the laundry basket so that I could wash them later.  He got me laughing about it, too, though I was still a little mortified.  At any rate, I guess it’s true:  you don’t know who your real friends are until you throw up on them and they still talk to you afterward.

And I’m lucky.  Nothing is broken.  Almost a week post-fall, the scabs are going away, and I’m not dizzy or vomiting anymore.  No lasting effects.

The rehabilitation project I was doing with (and for) Metalhead seems to be over.  I think he’s doing sufficiently better now – he’s found some anti-anxiety medication that works and while it makes him feel like shit, he is not having panic attacks every day.  He’s been staying here for the last two or three weeks – and why not… When he came home three years ago, I was there for him with all of that fallout.  Since this round of anxiety was very similar (and also, likely, somewhat related) to three years ago, it made sense.  I knew how to handle him.  Granted, three years ago it was different.  He had a place to live, which was more than what he has now.  And I think the homelessness is a BIG, BIG part of what’s put him back here.  That and the fact that he really can’t see his way out of it.  At any rate, what got him here doesn’t matter – I won’t repeat some of the things we’ve talked about since he’s been staying here.  The point is, I had the room.  He trusts me.  Despite what happened over the summer, he needed a place to go, I could do that for him, and I did it.

I want to make it, once again, abundantly clear: there was nothing, NOTHING sexual about this time around.  He slept in my bed because my bed is more comfortable than the futon.  And because we agreed that if he started having nightmares or a panic attack, it was easier if he slept there so that I could keep an eye on him and he wouldn’t have to risk falling if he needed me and had to walk from the living room to the bed room in the middle of one of the attacks.

There were many nightmares.  I think he got more sleep than I did, since he tossed and turned a lot – for awhile there I was averaging about four hours a night.  But it was worth it.  By the time he walked out of here, he seemed more settled and he had a plan – not an immediate solution to his problem, but a plan.  My job is done, though my door is still open for the time being if he finds himself in need again.

In two weeks, 1.0 will be here for the weekend.  I wasn’t expecting any company during the month of May, but I’m excited to see my friend after all these years.  I’ve been getting my apartment cleaned up (Metalhead is not the cleanest person in the world – and while the house is mostly clean, towels need to be washed and, since it’s time for the yearly carpet cleaning anyway, I’ve been dry-cleaning the carpets).  He won’t be here long – just for a weekend.  But it will be long enough to get reacquainted and to show him the city.  And I think I’ve mentioned we’ll be taking a road trip up to Orlando to see one of his friends one of those days.

Somewhere in the middle of all of this, I’ve been working on the paintings on my patio.  My sister is getting married at the end of the month, and I was at a loss of what to get her.  I’m already spending a fortune on this trip – moreso than I normally would since I am staying in a hotel two hours from the wedding to keep the conflict away from her day – but I wanted to get her something.  So, I decided to paint something for her.  The painting is about two thirds of the way done and somewhere in the middle of all of this cleaning and things I need to finish it.  Then I’ll put it in the mail and send it to her – hopefully before her wedding.  At least this way I know that no one else has gotten her anything just like it.

And on that note, the end of the month will see her wedding.  And I’ll be going up to Kentucky for that.  The wedding, really, will be a side-show compared to all of the other things I’ve got planned for the weekend.  I’m particularly excited about getting to spend at least one evening/night with my best friend that I don’t get to see very often.  She is, I think, my oldest friend (by no means does this mean she is old), and we always have fun when we are together.  We’re looking forward to having Famous Dave’s (bbq we both like) and then figuring out what other kinds of trouble we can get into.  And of course I’ll be seeing other friends and family while I’m there too – and zip lining in a cavern, visiting an amusement park, and who knows what else.

I’m exhausted just writing about it.  But there are many things on tap to make it a good month.  And, of course, this means it’s that much closer to when Botboy returns to Tampa.  I’m still waiting (in my way, more about that in the next post), but at least the busy-ness of this month will make the time fly.

Anniversary

In a couple of weeks it will have been exactly a year since Botboy returned from Afghanistan, took all his toys out of my closet, and left.  It sounds funny when I say it that way, and I mean for it to sound funny – because if you can’t find some humor in a situation, no matter how badly it made you feel at the time, then you never do quite manage to heal from it.

I’d be lying if I said I was ready to face that anniversary on my own.  I can’t think of anything worse than sitting in my house, alone, on that day with nothing to do but remember how I felt after I’d came home a year ago and found my closet empty, his note on my end table, and his energy bouncing off the walls of my apartment.  Or how confused and completely bereft I felt for a couple of months after that.  It’s quite something when you realize that someone who had made the first half of a year spectacular has the same power to make the first couple of months of the second half of a year absolutely horrible.  I have no other way to describe it except to say that it truly felt as if someone had died.  Because here was this man who had been a constant (virtual) companion for the first five months out of the year and then who, within the course of a few hours, was suddenly, and inexplicably, gone.

But, what was done was done.  Time moved on, as it tends to do. And when it does, we have the choice to linger behind while the world moves on without us, or to pick ourselves up as best we can and move along with it.

And, regardless of how I did it, I chose to move along with it.  I healed.  It doesn’t mean I didn’t carry with me some very real scars from the earlier damage, but I became stronger for it.  I’d spent the first half of 2013 getting ready for his arrival – moving things around, rearranging the house, revamping the bedroom and the bathroom.  I’d made space in my closet for his things, given him the two lower drawers, and lived in constant anticipation of his arrival.

I’ve since spread back out into the rest of my house (I needed the room).  Although he is away again (and not due to return home until later in the summer), I am not living in constant anticipation of his arrival – I can only hope that when he returns, I will see him.  But otherwise, it is out of my control.  I do not want to be alone on the anniversary day, but, then, likely I won’t be.  Metalhead is a fairly constant fixture here during the week due to those anxiety attacks and I’m sure we’ll be sitting around, as always, watching television.

True to my word, though, in an attempt to make something potentially irksome into something more tolerable, I’ve been building May into something better. I’m attempting to give myself something to look forward to despite all of the mental garbage that I could potentially fall victim to.

There is that wedding of course.  I’m not looking forward to the wedding.  But I am looking forward to my Louisville trip.  I’ll find myself zip lining through some underground caverns under the city of Louisville on the very day I get there.  I’ll get to spend time with my friends.  I may find myself at Kentucky Kingdom (the amusement park in Louisville) one of the days that weekend – this is the first year it’s been open since a ride cut a teenager’s feet off several years ago.  I’ll be so busy there that there won’t be time to feel sorry for myself.

But, as they say on the TV infomercials, “Wait, there’s more!!”

I’ve had a surprise!!

I reconnected, recently, with a very old friend (like a friend I’ve had since I was fourteen) that I call 1.0.  Or, as he described it, when he heard his own nickname for the first time, “DOS before Windows” (that’s about the measure of it).

1.0 has decided to make plans to visit Tampa, citing a need to get out of the city.  He asked which weekend in May would be good for him to do that.  My social calendar is not brimming of late, so I told him any (even that weekend for the wedding – since he could come to Kentucky instead if he was really that desperate).

A little back story on him.  After August 1997 – as in after I got raped, escaped the rapist, and found my internet connection disconnected, I needed to set up a system that would allow me to keep in touch with the people I needed to keep in touch with.  Very long story short, with the help of my friends in high school (who still have my undying gratitude), I managed to keep in touch with two:  Buttface and 1.0.  1.0 and I talked through most of my high school years (he was in college) and finally met in person during my Freshman year of college.  We dated for a few months (we never had sex) and then broke up.  I saw him two other times after that – once when I made my own pilgrimage up to New York for the first time, and the second time after I had met and was living with Mr. Ex (who was very jealous of him).  I haven’t seen 1.0 since.  And twelve years have passed.

And so, once he found out that I was okay with it, he bought the tickets.  Sent me the itinerary (I didn’t ask him to, but I appreciated it – after last year, the proof of all of this was awesome).  It was a very welcome surprise – I was so excited I almost couldn’t get through the webinars that day.  We’ll have fun.  Because we’ve always had fun when we’ve been around each other.  There are so many things I want to show him – my Alice bathroom, photos of my mother which most people never get to see, downtown Tampa and some of my favorite places, the beach at night (we’re going to smuggle some wine).

It’ll be good to catch up now that the divorce is well behind me and now that I am truly settled (or as settled as I care to be for the moment) for the first time, really, since we started talking in 1997.  We’re taking a short road trip up to Orlando to visit one of his friends as well.  And it should, really, be quite a good weekend.  It won’t be exactly the anniversary of the Botboy fiasco last year… but it’s close enough so that it gives me something to look forward to during that week instead of letting the demons get the best of me.

And so, despite the fact that May is the first anniversary of that very horrible experience, intentionally or otherwise, it’s wrapping up to be very different this year.  I’m busy taking care of my friend who needs me at the moment.  I’m hosting another one of my friends that I haven’t seen in a very long time.  And then I’ll wrap it up by going to Kentucky for this wedding – and seeing even more friends there.

The past is resonating… it always does… and it’s doing so especially right now in ways I won’t disclose, because I’m still sort of watching to see where all of this eventually goes without any interference from me.  But just because it resonates doesn’t mean that it’s all bad.

Insurance

Those who know me know I work for an insurance company’s corporate office.  This blog is not about insurance, I am not trying to sell you stuff.  But I did take out an insurance policy this week.  I felt it was warranted, considering the climate, but let me explain.

I have made it a priority, lately, to try to make the best out of situations that do not exactly please me.  Obviously you would think that this would be something that I would do all the time, and I do try to.  But I’ve always been one to try to do that within the “confines” of what I could get away with without stepping on too many toes.  Never exactly fully liberated, I’ve been trying to please myself while pleasing everyone else at the same time.  It hasn’t worked.  And I’ve often found myself to be damned if I do, damned if I don’t.  So, having had plenty of time to think about it, I’ve realized… I need to do what I need to do for ME.

So let’s start with the first policy.  My sister’s wedding.  As I’ve said before, I don’t want to go.  I don’t want to be a victim of the politics.  I don’t want to deal with the fallout of having to sit there, nitpicked.  I don’t want to spend four days with my parents and a mother who, after the ceremony, will have a lack of things to do and who will likely spend her time wanting to have more “heart to hearts” that always result in her making me feel like shit.  But, as I’ve also said, I have to go.  To prevent the chats from happening, I got a hotel room in Louisville.  But I still had to be there, for four days, one evening of which, awkwardly, I’d be at that wedding.  I made a few contacts, figured I’d see some friends, have some drinks with them, but that would be it.

Then I decided you know, I don’t know when I’ll be back in Kentucky now.  Since I am not welcome at my parents’ house anymore, I don’t know when I will see my friends in Kentucky again.  So, I started throwing things out there, and I’ve decided that if I am stuck up there for four days, I may as well make the most of it.  I’ve decided to do a little research at the university archives.  And I’m going zip lining.  Because I’ve always wanted to.  But also, many of my friends are coming to visit me there – from all over the state, some from out of state.  It’s a nice, central meeting ground for all of us.  And I will get to see my best friend.  She and I will actually get to spend some real time together – this time not interrupted by needing to make sure I’m back at my parents’ house before they go to bed, this time not impeded by the fact that I have to lead a double life.

I’ve stopped drinking… officially.  I don’t like to be drunk all the time, and considering that my mother died at 39 from alcoholism, I don’t want to go that way myself.  However, considering I will not be in Louisville again for a very long time, and considering I won’t be seeing my friends for a long time either, I’ve decided that, for this one weekend, it’s warranted.  I’m not thrilled about the wedding, but now that’s become a minor inconvenience – just something that gets in the way of my zip lining time.  Sort of a side attraction to the main attraction, which is my time up there, with all my friends, having a good time the way that we all used to so very long ago (and for the first time with some, since being married to someone who would not let me socialize, really, at all beyond work or school made doing that very difficult when I was made to be home at a certain hour, with dinner on the table).  I have missed my friends.  I do not miss Louisville.  Not at all.  I would not move back there for anything.  But I miss my friends.  And it will be good to be able to see them, and to have all the time that I want to eat at all the restaurants I like up there.

The other policy is a larger trip.  One to be taken in October.  And it comes with the realization of something that is, for me, very hard to admit.  I made a mistake last year.  I waited for Botboy.  That, in and of itself was not the mistake, but it led to the mistake.  You see, I waited for Botboy under the assumption that when he came home, we would be in a relationship.  I did not expect, nor desire, to spend every waking minute with him, but I did figure that my schedule, routine, and life would, ultimately, change to a degree.  And I still think I would have been right in that assumption.  But what I failed to do was to make any plans for MYSELF beyond May.  I was looking forward to his return, to getting to know him, to getting to be WITH him, and I was so distracted by this that I didn’t think for a second about what I would do once that had happened.  That was my mistake.  Because once May came, and once things went to shit, I had nothing left to look forward to.  My whole life had become defined by the Gchat messages 17 hours out of every day, out of sending those packages to Afghanistan, out of taking those Transformers for him, storing them, reading the comic books.  I lost myself in that.  I didn’t mind.  I loved him, I still love him, and I loved being able to share those things with him, but I also have realized that I need to be myself.  I need to have myself.

So, while I am still waiting, I’m doing it differently.  I’m giving myself something to look forward to after he is due to arrive – a few months after, to be sure, partially because the Louisville trip is wearing on my bank and also because, if he does decide we want to try something, I want to give us time to do that.  But this time, if things go to shit, then you know, I won’t have hours and hours of nothing except darkness to spiral into.  I am going to New York City.  I have not been there since 2007, when I saw JK Rowling at Carnegie Hall.  I am going there to see the city, and to see a friend that I have known for almost two decades (but who I have not seen in 12 years).  And I am excited about it.  I’m excited about the possibility of seeing my friend, of eating pizza, of buying awesome shoes and going shopping.  I’m excited about being able to do New York MY way (instead of the tourist way that Mr. Ex always insisted that we do).  I’m looking forward to seeing Central Park again and going to some museums.  Maybe I’ll catch a play if something good is on Broadway then.

Because I’ve realized something… when things go to shit, or if there’s a possibility of things going to shit, I can do one of two things.  I can lose myself in that shit, and I’ve done that before.  When I do that, the shit wreaks havoc on my life, and I can’t move forward.  Or, I can prepare for it – take out insurance policies.  Give myself something to look forward to.  I like the second option.  I like it a whole lot better than what my pattern has been before.  This way, I’m distracted.  I have things to think about other than wedding drama I’d rather not consider, or worrying about whether I’ll get a shit show again in the summer.  It’s not that those thoughts aren’t there, but they don’t take center stage anymore.  And it reminds me that, even in the middle of shit shows, there are silver linings.  Things to be happy about.  Things to look forward to.  Life doesn’t end just because things don’t go my way.  I mean it could, but that would be my prerogative, and I don’t want to surrender.

Of course, things COULD go my way too.  Things could be peachy and uncomplicated when I get to Kentucky.  Botboy could come back from his adventures and be exactly what I’ve been looking for all this time.  It could happen.  That’s the funny thing about life.  Bad things happen sometimes when we don’t expect them, but, likewise, really good things happen too, and often just as unexpectedly.  But even if all of that good stuff happens, then you know, all the other fun things I have planned are just icing on the cake.

And I can’t wait to get started.

Silence

The loudest noise in the whole world is silence.

In every other instance, we find ourselves able to drown the silence out with noise, with chaos, with the comings and goings of our daily lives.  We can occupy our time, and our minds, with the menial tasks that we throw ourselves into on a daily basis.  We distract ourselves with work, with mindless television shows, with our hobbies, with our friends.

Until everyone goes home.  Or we run out of supplies.  Or we run out of money.  Or we run out of work to do.

And then there is silence.

Suffocating, deafening, all-encompassing.  It’s in the silence that we hear ourselves.  It’s in the silence that we hear all of the things we want to hear, and all of the things we never wanted to hear.  It’s the silence that makes us look at ourselves under a microscope, that makes us dissect every little thing we’ve ever thought, every little thing we’ve ever heard, every little thing that everyone has ever said to us, or about us.

It’s in the silence that we, for better or worse, internalize those things.  It’s in the silence that we over-analyze these things until they become second nature – whether they are true or not, whether we accept that they are true or not, we make them a part of ourselves.

There’s been a lot of silence at my house lately.  Too much silence.  Botboy is away, communication from him is minimal (and I sort of assumed that would happen).  And while I miss him, that’s not really the biggest worry that I have – because eventually, all of that will, for better or worse, resolve itself.

No, the deafening silence comes from all of the anxiety over the things that were said to me at Christmas.  But let me begin at the (sort of) beginning.  My mother and I have a strange relationship.  We were close, once, when I was little and malleable.  As I grew up, though, and my stubborn streak came into play, she became more and more frustrated with me, and more and more disappointed when I did not live up to the things she wanted for me.  This has snowballed into disappointment over a bad marriage, an even more humiliating divorce, a move that placed me 1000 miles away from her, the fact that I do not go to church regularly (or really at all, unless I’m home and need to keep appearances up– she’d die if she knew what I was really doing), a modeling career she did not approve of, etc. I suppose it is the breaking point that I am not, and cannot, live up to being the person, even personally, that she wants me to be.  Because what she really wants is the bubbly, cheerleader type of child, that listens, that will go to church with her, and that is not full of strange ideas.  Now, I’m not an unhappy person… or even a negative person… but I am sarcastic.  A smart ass.  And I have many, many strange ideas and interests that she does not understand… beginning with the strong aversion to chick flicks (Downton Abbey excluded, I’ll admit, I’m hooked) with flowery, happy endings.

Which is why, I suppose, she decided over Christmas to sit me down in the living room and accuse me of being bipolar.  I’m not.  And she’s no professional.  But diagnose me she did.  On top of that, she (and my father too – at a different time during that visit) seemed intent on assuring me that I would never really be happy married and that I shouldn’t worry too much about having children.  I looked at each of them, coldly, and said that they were right… I would never be happy if I were married to the wrong person.  But had I married the right person, things might have turned out very differently.  And as for children, I do want them very much.  Being thirty-one without any, when that is what I really do want, is frustrating.

But what’s worse is having your own parents, the people that are supposed to be supportive of you, sit you down and just throw it in your face as if it were nothing.  Granted, I did not tell her that those two things were my biggest fears (not marrying, and not having children).  I don’t admit ANY of my fears readily to people (oops, I guess I just did – GASP) and certainly not to them, who have not always been the most understanding people to talk to.  I keep those things largely to myself.  Wrapped in grubby newspaper in the back of my head in a corner so that I don’t have to think about them very often.  I’ve even managed to do that, to a large extent, with the majority of their disapproval – I accepted long ago that they were never going to approve of me for ME.  I learned to live with it by throwing it into the back of my mind, in its own compartment, so that I didn’t have to look at it.  I like myself well enough, my friends seem to like me well enough, didn’t matter what they thought.

Except for times like this… when my sister decides to get married, and I’m expected to be there.  I love my sister.  We haven’t always gotten along either, but I do love my sister.  It’s not her fault that our mother wishes I could be more like her, and it’s not her fault that they wildly preferred to go to her school functions over mine.  It’s not even her fault that they canceled their fall trip to Florida because she decided to go on vacation with them.  She didn’t have anything to do with that any more than we had anything to do with our opposing hair color.  But I do not want to go.  I do not want to put myself through that ordeal again, of having to sit there, and be psychoanalyzed by my own parents.  I do not want to, by proxy, have my own failed marriage brought into the limelight again, and have to answer questions about whether or not I am seeing anyone (because I can’t go into detail, period, about anything – not when things are so up in the air).  Not because I can’t bear it when I am in the middle of it… for me it’s like a personal battle I have to fight – how much can I endure without cracking?

But because once it’s all said and done, I have to come home to the silence.  Where there is no one to continually put me under a microscope, but also where there is no one to distract me from my own thoughts.  It doesn’t matter whether I believe her or not.  Because I don’t.  Not really.  But that doesn’t mean those stupid inner demons don’t keep poking at me, whispering about how I can’t even keep a man in my life for longer than a few months these days, how I can’t get into anything stable and healthy, how my damned clock is ticking louder and louder and louder, and how I really can’t say for sure when it’s going to stop since my biological mother died long before she hit menopause.  Whispering how do I KNOW she is wrong?

No, I’d prefer to stay here… not that the demons don’t whisper at me, they do.  The silence is deafening because they not only echo the insecurities that were brought painfully into the center ring over Christmas, but because there is the anxiety over this unfinished Botboy situation and the acknowledgement that I have no control over it.   That said, those insecurities are largely under control.  Or at least they are managed.  But I’ve managed them so well that I don’t want to add any more to the load.  And I know that if I go up there, more would be added.  I know that the load would become heavier than it is already.  I can carry it… I am freakishly strong for my size.  And I’ve carried far worse in my day.  But I’m tired of carrying this shit around.

I’m not a religious person by any stretch of the imagination.  And I don’t really know what I believe sometimes.  But if I were a praying person, I’d pray that someone would come along to prove her wrong.  And that someday I can put a family together that will thrive on building each other up instead of tearing each other down; a family that is not so over-involved with appearances that they don’t push the “different” one into a corner somewhere and lavish approval on the one that is more normal.  But, even more, I’d pray for an atmosphere in which the silence is peaceful, and not so deafening.

It’s not a lot to ask.

But maybe, in this case, it’s simply too much.

Facebook Stalking

A little over a month ago, Facebook celebrated its ten year anniversary.  Say what you want about Facebook (I often do), but it’s become a necessary evil to the girl who lives a thousand miles away from her family and from everyone she knew growing up.  Facebook lets me keep in touch with people I probably would never have seen again after high school and honestly, after it’s all been said and done, I’m kind of glad about that.

That said, Facebook also has become a hub for turning otherwise reasonable, smart, secure, confident, well-adjusted women into insecure, psychotic stalkers.  I’m serious.  I can’t tell you how many times I’ve spoken with my female friends where the conversation has turned into “So I was looking at his Facebook page and I found…”

Okay, so it’s fine to look at your boyfriend’s, or love interest’s, Facebook page.  If done correctly, this can help you get to know him better.  You can see the things that are the most important to them, you can quickly see what you share with them and what you don’t, and it may even help you realize whether or not you are compatible – for example, if you absolutely HATE video games and your current love interest posts nothing except status updates about video games, it’s probably not going to work.

But this takes a nastier turn when you start using it to scrutinize their every movement.

So here’s the scenario:  You’re Facebook stalking.  You find a post.  You decide to see what the comments say underneath it.  You read the comments, you find most of them to be funny, you then move onto the “Likes” and you see some chick you can’t remember EVER having commented or Liked a status on that page before.  “Who is THIS bitch?” you say to yourself as you’re quickly running another Facebook search to find her profile.  Her profile reveals a few public posts.  He may have “Liked” her posts a time or two also, commented on one of them – the comment is admittedly innocent sounding, but you’re on a roll now and in your mind you can build that up to be as awful as you’d like.  Convinced that he’s cheating now, you wait until the next time you are together.  It doesn’t matter how good the sex is, it doesn’t matter how good a time you’re having, you wonder whether he’s waiting for you to go to bed, or for you to leave, so he can text HER.  So you wait… you wait until he takes a bathroom break and you roll over and you swipe his phone and you go through his text messages.  Quickly, mind you, you don’t have much time.  But you can see that he’s been texting her and other women too.  Mind you, you don’t have time to READ these texts.  He’s taking a piss, remember, so you file that away in the memory bank and by the time he’s come back from the bathroom, you’re pissed at him, he senses there’s something wrong, you refuse to rat yourself out and just admit that you’re worried now, he doesn’t know what he’s done, and a perfectly good night (and, in the end, a perfectly good relationship) is ruined.

It sounds ridiculous, but I’ve seen this, and heard this, time and time again.  And I’ve seen and heard this out of my friends who are otherwise very intelligent women.  Granted, in some cases, perhaps there is a good reason to be this paranoid.  Maybe he really is cheating.  Maybe there’s some gut feeling there that tells you something’s wrong.  But Facebook stalking, truly, isn’t the way to get to the bottom of that… not unless he’s stupid enough to post the evidence blatantly, and publicly, online and to be honest, if he is, then he deserves to be ratted out for pure stupidity.

With that one exception out of the way, Facebook stalking, at its best, gives you half of the story.  Maybe I’m being generous… maybe it’s less than half.  Maybe it’s more like a quarter.  Anyway.  The bottom line is, while Internet stalking may work if you’re trying to see how many sex offenders live in your neighborhood and how close they are to this house you’re thinking of buying, for the most part, the internet can give you only a fraction of the story.  And the fragmented pieces that you get may be enough to tell a story, but let’s face it, most of us are not Sherlock Holmes and most of us are not sophisticated enough in our detective work to put together a story accurately.  We let our imaginations run away with us, we let our fears begin to dominate the way that we think and behave.  And then we fabricate the details that put our worst fears into the forefront whether this is warranted or not.

And that’s the thing about our worst fears.  When we give them energy, they manifest.  It’s magic, yes.  But it’s more than that.  When we allow our worst fears to take control, we’re constantly on the lookout for things to feed the conclusions we’ve caused ourselves to arrive at.  They eat at us… innocent things don’t seem so innocent anymore.  And what’s worse, once you start searching, it’s hard to stop.  Fuck the fact that you may be leaving comments on one of your friend’s Facebook page… WHO IS THAT BITCH that’s leaving comments on his??  Screw the fact that he’s called you today… who is he with when he’s NOT talking to you?  Because of these questions, you continue to dig, you continue to gather “evidence” and you continue to fit it together in all the wrong ways, filling in holes where the pieces really don’t fit with your own fearful assumptions.  It’s a slow, special kind of self-torture.

Suddenly it doesn’t matter if there were problems in the relationship or not.  It doesn’t matter if your boyfriend (or girlfriend) is doing anything at all.  Your suspicions are enough to get the ball rolling.  It builds and builds until finally it’s so big that there’s a big elephant in the room that he doesn’t understand and you don’t want to talk about.  You don’t trust him.  You don’t have all the details, but you don’t need them.  Your fabricated story is so big that it’s taken over completely.  The relationship becomes shaky.  And as your trust continues to falter, the foundation collapses completely, and you’ve lost everything.

I often wonder if, despite the technology and all the developments we have at our fingertips, we’re worse off in the long run.  I mean think about it… twenty years ago, if we wanted to talk to someone, we had to call them.  Or write them.  Or go visit them.  And when we weren’t communicating with them, we thought about them, sure, but we couldn’t “stalk” them without actually following them or hiring a PI to do the “following” for us.  The only “Jonses” we were keeping up with were the ones next door and there weren’t constant news articles that talk about how the 24/7 access to the lives of our friends and relatives (and the “happiness” – real or imagined – that is projected on Facebook) that make us become more depressed and disgruntled with our own lives.  If our relationships ended because of infidelity, it was because the infidelity was proven, in one way or another.  You caught them together in your bedroom.  You heard half of the conversation on the phone (I think about the famous “Camillagate” tapes from the 90’s as a prime example of this).  If you wanted to prove something, the evidence was more concrete… not something you fabricated out of your own mind based off of half-assed search results that you gathered off of Facebook.  Or the internet.  It’s pathetic, really.

With all this said, do I intend to delete my Facebook page?  No.  For all that I think it’s silly, I need it to keep in touch with my relatives that I barely see.  Botboy will use Facebook chat to contact me occasionally and it’s an avenue of conversation that is open to us while he is away (though I do not “stalk” him).  I still shake my head when I hear stories of “evidence” people find on Facebook that “prove” that so and so was cheating.  First because I don’t approve of the “digging”, and second because the digging provides an outlet for more questions than it does answers.

And what I think we’d all do well to remember is this: Unless he’s a blithering idiot (and I know there are some out there – hence the disclaimer), if he’s posting this shit online for everyone to see, chances are he’s innocent.  Or, at least, innocent until proven guilty without the shadow of a doubt (and I mean there needs to be DNA on the sheets).

Besides, if you can’t trust him, then why are you with him?

Something Different

It is September.  It has been four months.  FOUR FREAKING MONTHS since Bot made his entrance, and only slightly less since his abrupt exit.  Now, granted, we’d been talking for months before that.  I’d spent the better half of 2013 preparing for his arrival.  As Metalhead says, I was ready.  My house was ready for a second person.  I’d made all the arrangements.  He came, he got his things, he left.  It was done.  Almost as fast as it began.  It has been four months and I still have not been on a legitimate date.  I have still not met anyone that has piqued my interest enough to really, truly move on.  I miss him.

And then I realize how ridiculous this is.  Missing him.  Because the Bot I know is not the Bot that he is.  The Bot that he truly is, is narcissistic and passive aggressive at best.  Sociopathic at worst.  And likely the worst as he, when he is at his worst, exhibits almost all of the classic signs and symptoms (and if you are reading this, Bot, I’m sorry – I tried to look past it, because I know you’ve heard all this before – but I really am starting to believe that it’s true).  But the Bot that I miss… the Bot that I miss is truly difficult to forget.  He’s truly difficult to move past – the constant interest, the attention, the total acceptance, the effort he put into the charade.  And let’s not forget… for all that he is narcissistic, he has good reason to be.  Let’s just admit it… the front he puts up… it’s the total package.  And he fucking knows it.  And I fucking knew it.  And he hit me with it at a time when I needed to see it most.  And took it away when I was least anticipating it.  I know he’s not real.  And I know he doesn’t really exist.  But that doesn’t take away from the fact that I was drawn into that illusion.  Sold on it.

I haven’t been dating… not really… because it has been almost impossible to recover fully from the loss.  If I meet someone now, I am more critical than I used to be.   Because I once saw everything I wanted in an entire package, it is difficult for me to see someone else if they do not have that entire package.  For awhile I looked… I looked in the exact same place that I found Bot.  I put up all the old profiles and added some new ones.  I talked to some people… I got close enough to contemplate going on a date with them.  And then I realized that if I did, I’d be compromising something… looks, ambition, intelligence, healthfulness, even masculinity in some cases… always something to be compromised.  And that’s the thing… I’m tired of compromising.  I know that no one is perfect, I understand that relationships are about compromise, and I CAN compromise where necessary.  But why should I have to trade looks for intelligence or vice versa?  Why should I have to settle for someone who does not share at least some of the same interests that I do?  Why should I end up with someone who tries to make be someone I am not?   I don’t.  And I haven’t.  Because what I really want is an honest, open, meaningful relationship.  Like the one I thought I had.  And while I am lying to someone else, and lying to myself, that is not an honest, meaningful, open relationship.

So I’ve chosen not to date.  I’ve talked to some people, yes.  Metalhead is still at my house regularly, but that is not going any further than where it is already (and we’re both good with that).  Instead, I’ve been focusing on myself.  I’ve been playing with the metaphysics, I’ve been learning how to have fun again, I’ve been reclaiming some of the pieces of me that I’ve not seen since before the 3.0 days.  I’m learning some new things.

I took the online profiles down.  I’ve been doing the online dating thing for years.  Yes, I’ve had many relationships that started online… and then I look at where I’m at now and I realize that it’s not gotten me much besides a failed marriage and a lot of wasted time.  It’s not that people are any better or worse on there.  It’s just that, while you’d think you’d meet a larger sampling of people on there, they are all the same.  The shy nerdy types that are still in school, or still living at home or, if neither, are still playing video games several times a week and reading comic books.  The comic books and the video games were attractive to me a year or two ago – I was a nerdy girl.  I am still a nerdy girl to an extent.  But 3.0 made me begin to dislike video games.  I still like comic books – Bot got me started on those and since he didn’t force them down my throat all the time, or make endless recommendations, I’ve learned to enjoy those… but I also realize that I don’t want someone that is so involved in sitting around reading, or playing video games, that he becomes a couch potato.  And unfortunately, with the random exception now and then, that is the larger market of the online dating scene.

So I realized… I was going to have to try something new.  As I said, I took the profiles down.  I focused on myself for awhile.  And that’s been good.  I know who I am better than I ever have.  And I know what I want.  I also realize that I’m not sure if I’m ready to go for what I want.  That said, I’m also lonely.  It’s been four months since I had a relationship.  It’s been over ten since 3.0 and I broke up (which was the last local one – Bot’s time in Afghanistan does not count as local, obviously).  And it’s been over a year since the tumor scare of 2012 caused the 3.0 decline (which was, admittedly, a blessing in disguise).  All in all, I haven’t had anything healthy in my life (save for Metalhead) since 2012.  Mid-year 2012.  And that is too damn long.

I signed up for the speed dating thing again.  I’d registered shortly after the Bot explosion but backed off because I realized I just couldn’t.  I’m not entirely sure I can now… it’s a lot to ask out of a painfully shy, quiet, writer type.  But part of the beauty of taking down those profiles, is that I’m being forced to grow a pair.  I’m being forced to talk to people I don’t know… this hot guy in my complex that I’ve admired (from afar, obviously, Bot came first), for example.  Other people that I meet out and about for another.  My confidence can suck sometimes, but I’m good at making sure it doesn’t show.  What I will do at the speed dating thing I don’t know, but honestly the not knowing is exciting to me.  I’m going into it with absolutely no expectations.  I’ll have a glass of wine.  I’ll talk to a bunch of random people one-on-one for six minutes each.  I’ll stay awhile after, maybe, and mingle, and then I’ll leave.  At the very least, it will give me something new to write about for this thing.  At best… maybe someone to hang out with once in awhile when Metalhead is away doing his thing.  If more comes out of it than that, I’ll be shocked… but hey, I said that about OKC last year before I met Bot.  So I guess stranger things have happened.  All I know is that it’s time for something new.  Because the old shit… the old shit doesn’t work anymore.

Patience

I am losing my patience.

I never had much to begin with.  I’m the girl who wants what she wants, when she wants it, and if she can’t get it easily, she fights for it.  And while you might say that that is a form of patience, I disagree… fighting for it is my way of making sure I get it.  It’s progress.  It keeps me busy.  I am DOING something about it.

I am a control freak.  A control freak that has no patience.  A dangerous combination.  At least I’m not short tempered anymore.

It’s really quite interesting what goes on in my head.  On any given day, it’s full of plans for the things that I want and a strategy for making sure I get them.  Those plans float around alongside knowledge of all the things I DO NOT want to do – and ways to get out of having to do them.  Those swirl, clockwise, around a layer of frustrations I’m repressing because I do not want to lose my temper.  All crowded around a nexus of recognition – recognition of things, circumstances, situations I cannot control.  And the nexus often feeds back into my desires.  It’s a vicious cycle.

I can identify it.  I can’t navigate it sometimes.  My third eye can weed through it… at least it can see the eventual outcome of some of those uncontrollable circumstances.  But, as any sensible person knows, the third eye is fallible in the sense that it can see what IS and what WILL BE solely on the basis of current circumstances.  She is awake, and she is talking, and I am listening, but I am ever-aware that things change, and they change often, and that sometimes the things that change are changing due to circumstances beyond my control.

And having no control frustrates the hell out of me.  I don’t need full control.  I don’t need to have my hands on the steering wheel all the time (and I really do hate driving).  That said, if I’m not the one driving and I’m not the one navigating, I at least need to be able to call the shots on when I get lunch and when I get to have a pee break.  And when I don’t get that, though you’ll never see it, on the inside I’m the annoying little kid that kicks the back of your seat while you drive screaming, “Are we there yet?”

“Oh but you are navigating, and driving, it’s your life after all,” you’re probably saying.  But am I?   I am not a hermit, I do not live in this world by myself.  And because of that, I do not have utter control all the time.  On a more simplistic viewpoint, I don’t control the flow of traffic… I sit in it, just like everyone else, for some unknown reason.  More personally (and more complicatedly), some of the most intensive situations that I want to know the most about, and could really use some foresight on, are not solely up to me.  “If things stay the same, they’ll end up here,” she says.  But things DON’T stay the same.  That’s not how it works.  She doesn’t have an answer to that.

I live my life, but I also sit on the sidelines as an observer.  It’s like being the lifeguard of my very own swimming pool.  I am in the middle of it, swimming, but I am also in the chair with a whistle in my hand, ready to call it if I see some sort of infraction.  I should stop being so paranoid.  But then on the other hand, if I fire the lifeguard, and shit happens, there’ll be no one to tell me to get the fuck out.

The third eye has been restless lately.  I’m reminded of a quote that I read about the pineal and the third eye… someone who had awakened theirs described it like this:  “When it’s good it’s wonderful, when it’s bad it’s horrid, when I turn it off I am lost.”

I don’t know what it would be like to have a pineal that is not working.  Mine never turned off.  It’s how and why I can see what I see and do what I do.  But she’s been bad lately, and it’s been horrid, and it’s not even PMS week.  Which is why I’m paying a little more attention than I usually do.  I can’t turn it off… when it’s off, as I’ve said in an earlier post somewhere, it’s like being out in the middle of a crowded room, completely naked.  And anyway, likely it’s telling me that something is out of whack somewhere, or that something big is coming, and I need to prepare myself for it.  It just won’t tell me exactly what.  And so, blinded by the vagueness, I don’t know what to identify.  Though I have a few ideas.

I need patience to try to figure this out.  I need patience because I think a lot of it will turn right side up again very soon, in one way or another, and the only thing that is going to be able to rectify some of it is time.  But it’s gnawing at me in the same way that my once broken ankle gnaws at me when it’s getting ready to storm outside.

And my patience is wearing.