Tag Archives: Dating

A New Beginning to an Old Story

A little over five years ago I started this blog with the intention of documenting what it was like to be in my thirties, single, dating, and shooting for what I felt, at the time, was not all that unreasonable: a decent job with decent pay (check), a relationship that had the potential to go somewhere with a partner that was both present and supportive (check – only to uncheck and re-check several times once I figured out that said partner wasn’t what he advertised himself to be… or he became a maniac… in some cases both… anyway), and the means to start a family (that box never got checked off… not even a little bit).

I wanted to chronicle all of that in the most up front, unapologetic, and unadulterated way possible.  And for a really long time, that’s exactly what I did.  Successes and failures became, at least for a time, nothing but ridiculousness to laugh at.  It’s like when you fall on your face so many times that you eventually have to decide whether to admit defeat or just laugh at it and keep going.  Defeat wasn’t (and still isn’t) an option for me, so I chose the latter.

Things shifted, though, like they do, and plans changed, and while I managed to stay pretty regular with Project TMI, I eventually met someone that I was willing to sacrifice all of that unadulterated-ness and honesty for.  I did the one thing that I said I would never, ever do and I gave so much of myself away that now, five years later, I’m reading back through these posts and realizing that I’m definitely not the person I used to be back then, and I sure as hell don’t know this person that I’ve become, and I kind of think that maybe I need to get re-acquainted with that girl I used to be because she was a pretty kickass chick who had her shit together.

I’m not saying that I didn’t get what I asked for… I did… I mean I got that relationship I wanted (the one that has potential to go somewhere – I’m still engaged, after all), but I think I’ve paid a heavy price for it.  And while I am still fortunate enough to look like I’m in my twenties (Botboy used to say I was “pickled”), I have seen and done and been through so much that I feel like I’ve lived a thousand years only to come back to the place I started (home… Florida), with a better job, but at the same time $30k more in debt than I was when I got on that crazy train to begin with so I’m not really able to save any of it.

They say that life is a trade-off.  I’d wager that that’s true.  They also say that you always want what you can’t have.  That’s definitely true, but “can’t” isn’t a word that is a part of my vocabulary all that often.  I always get what I want… until I don’t want it anymore… then I identify something else, pursue that, get sick of it, lather, rinse, repeat.

So I’m doing two things here – I’m revamping the blog.  I’d like to give it a total makeover, and I plan to do that, but right now I’m too busy to write the code and too broke to pay someone else to do it better than I ever could, so it’s going to have to stay the way it is.  But it’s getting a Facebook page and I’m going to put an index on that so I can at least surf through the entries I want to read when I want to read them (I’m going to post the link here, too, once I get that page a little more founded).

But I’m also writing books… books that start WAAAAY back in the good ole’ days of 1997, where all of this began.  There’ll be three of those, plus two “companions” that’ll travel alongside the online content that is up here.  And it’s not really because I’m arrogant enough to think anyone is really all that interested in my little story, but it’s more or less because I really just need to get it “out there.” Out of me.  Somewhere else.  Maybe if I can ever sit down and read it I can look at it more objectively than I can when it’s boiling around inside me.

I’m doing all of this while I work a full time job (with lots of overtime) and do side-gigs (runway, promos, fashion shoots).  So the process is slow.  I’ll probably be forty by the time I publish the first one (though I doubt it).  But the posts are going to get more frequent here, at least.  I have to get some of it out, somewhere… and because I’m kind of an exhibitionist and can definitely be somewhat of a narcissist (most models and actors are, and don’t let anyone tell you differently), I’m putting it up for the world to see because…well…why the hell not.

These days, we can always use a little more honesty in the world.

Traits of a Narcissist

  1. Narcissists are (usually) male.   Over half of the narcissists in the world own a penis.  Which kinda explains a lot, no? (sorry boys)
  2. Narcissists are charming. At least at first.  When you meet them, they really seem like they have it all together.  And they’ll make you feel important.    Like you’re the only person in the room.  They always have the best stories.  They’ll make you laugh.
  3. But they also are (usually) looking out for themselves. If they want to be with you, it’s because they want something from you (most of the time).  Money, status, a connection, sex, sympathy… something that they can get from you that makes them feel good… that reinforces their self image and ego (usually) or something that they think you’ll give them that others simply won’t (as-in… they’ve run out of friends to have a pity party with, and you haven’t been to one of those yet, so you’re the new pity-party-person… yay).
  4. Speaking of that, their external self image (at least the one you can see) is huge. Their ego is even larger.  They live with the mentality of entitlement, of invincibility, and of the belief that everyone looks up to them.
  5. Image. Is. Everything. It doesn’t matter what’s going on on the inside (we’ll talk about what lies underneath soon).  What matters, to the Narcissist, is what everyone else sees.  What everyone else thinks.  Photos are important.  Looks are important.  Using said looks to get attention (whether physical attractiveness or other physical features) is super important.  Basically, anything that can bring in more attention, more compliments, is GOOD.  Therefore:
    1. You’ll never see a bad picture of them.   Those are relegated to the depths of the realm of “Under The Bed”.  If they survive the digital deletion on the camera phone.  And the good photos you see have undergone some form of editing or filter.  Every. Single. Time.
    2. Social Media is integral. Think about it… it’s the “Platform of Me”.  Narcissists usually have a large number of “friends” (aka Followers).  If there is a max number of Friends that can be had on their list, they’ve maxed it out and there is a goddamn waiting list.  They use it as a platform to get their ideas out there (the way that most of us do, I guess), but they will spend more time socializing on Social Media than they do socializing in real life.  Even in one-on-one situations, Social Media must know where they are, that they are having a good time, and even if they’re not having a good time, it had better fucking look as if they are having a good time because everyone out there needs to be flipping jealous of the good time they are not having.  It’s the name of the game.
    3. They buy shit. A lot of shit.  They need to look good.  They need to smell good.  They need to keep up with the Joneses.  Money is no object… even when they run out of money, it is no object.  Bankruptcy is totally a thing.  But it’s ok.  Because they’ll look good while being bankrupt.  Well… until the bank comes to take their shit, but that’s totally the bank’s fault.
  6. Name Dropping is totally a thing. The first time you meet them, they’ll start that shit.  It’s supposed to impress you.  What might have been a two second interaction suddenly turns into a thirty-minute life-changing experience that really HAS to be shared.  This goes back to that image thing.  Really it all goes back to that image thing.  But I wanted to make it it’s own thing, because it’s such an important part of who they are.
  7. They’re entitled.   In their world, shit should be given to them, no questions asked.  If shit is not given to them, then they will drop you like a bad habit, complain to their Facebook minions about what a bitch you are, and find a way to get it from someone else.  Getting “it” – whatever “it” is – does not involve doing any of the work themselves.  Nope.  Mooching is the order of the day whenever possible.  Dates will consist of inviting you to dinner, then telling you that you have to pay for it (after it’s already been ordered).  They expect you to wait, too, until they’re ready for you.  Your own timeframe doesn’t matter.  What you need doesn’t matter.  It’s not about you.  It’s about them.  It’s always been about them.
  8. They break all the rules. I mean it makes sense when you think about it… because to a narcissist, who doesn’t really care about anyone else, who doesn’t think that anyone else is important, rules are something that were invented for everyone else to follow.  To a narcissist, rules don’t apply.
  9. Boundaries don’t exist. Your money is their money.  Your food in the fridge is their food in the fridge (and they’ll fucking take it without asking). Aretha Franklin would be PISSED because there is no R-E-S-P-E-C-T here.  They’ll keep pushing… and pushing… and if you keep giving?  Then it’s working.  Because they’re training you for the next time they want something.  Or the next time you’re kept waiting (it’ll be longer).  It’s a cruel fucking kind of conditioning and abuse.  And the worst part is that you won’t know you’re in it until you’re there, you have an oh shit moment, and you’re in too deep to easily dig yourself out.
  10. It’s NEVER THEIR FAULT.   They will have sob stories the likes of which you have never heard.  They’ll tell you about all of the people they’ve gone out with and how horrible all their breakups are.  They’ll be particularly distressed about a couple.  Likewise, their worklife will be just as screwed up – they’ll have lost a lot of jobs for reasons that had nothing to do with them.  People won’t get along with them, but it will (in their opinion) be because of something the other person did.  If arguments are started, it is NEVER because the Narcissist said something out of line.  He or she was merely reacting to something someone else said in a “hyperbolic fashion.”
  11. For that reason, they prefer to be in leadership positions. This isn’t because they necessarily make good leaders (they think they do).  But because:
    1. It provides more job security.  Because they get fired a lot.
    2. They can’t stand for someone to tell them what to do.
    3. In reality, due to the virtues that accompany the narcissism, their employees are often very disgruntled and unhappy.  There’s a high turnover rate (which, of course, is never the Narcissist’s fault because “Underling Number One” was a bad employee anyway and screwed up too many things on the job.).
  1. If they let you see who they really are (which doesn’t happen often), they’re pretty messed up inside. Self esteem is really low (narcissists compensate for low self esteem).  They pretty much hate themselves.  They need thousands of people to tell them how wonderful they are because they don’t “actually” believe in their own self worth.  Pointing out their faults (on the rare occasion that they are actually lucid enough to see them) serves no purpose except to cause them to “Double Down” on the originating Narcissistic behavior.  It is rare that a narcissist seeks help because doing that forces the narcissist to realize that he or she, in fact, DOES have a problem – something that, by nature, the narcissist isn’t able to do.

Internet Dating Escapades XXXVI

This showed up in my personal email inbox the other day…  I have no idea who this guy is, or how he got my email address… because even in my single days, I NEVER had a profile on ChristianMingle.  I even checked… just to make sure I didn’t inadvertently sign up for one one night when I was shitfaced or something (but even when shitfaced I have more sense than that), and I didn’t.

So this was totally weird.  Oh well..








Internet Dating Escapades Part XXXV


It is absolutely 100 percent evident on my Facebook profile that I am in a relationship.

And yet I am messaged almost weekly by people that “like my profile photo.”  They are not bots.  The one last week might have been a terrorist (he was from Pakistan and ridiculously excited when he found out I was American).

I can’t figure out if they choose to ignore the obvious or, like the ones on OKC, only capable of looking at photos and not actually reading (or caring to read) anything about me.

Still, as long as they keep messaging me, I’ll keep fucking with them…

(Click to enlarge photos.)




Ten Ways You Know You’ve Found the Right Guy

10.  He loves your cooking. Like… even if you think you’ve completely fucked up a dish, he’ll eat it anyway, and will genuinely like it.

(Granted, it probably STILL tastes better than anything he could possibly make for himself.)

9.  You feel like you won the fucking lottery every morning. Even if your bank account is on Empty, you have no viable job offers, and the only real plans you have for that day are making him a toasted turkey sandwich with bacon and maybe watching “Grace and Frankie” that night.

8.  The sex is so amazing that you’re still thinking about it hours later. In fact, it’s so amazing that thinking about it hours later got you both so turned on that you did it again. And the cycle continues…

(Also, you can do it every day, multiple times a day, and you still aren’t tired of him.)

7.  Conversations sometimes take the form of completely incoherent noises and you both still understand each other perfectly.

6.  When planning vacation budgets, he budgets for all your oddities… like Voodoo supplies and a new Tarot deck. Even if he has no idea what any of those things are for, and thinks you’re weird for using them.

5.  He makes your boobs grow. Not because you’re pregnant. Not because you’ve had work done.  But because you’re going through another puberty.  And neither of you has any legitimate explanation for that other than maybe once he thought to himself, “I wish these were just a tad bit bigger.”

4.  He tells you you’re sexy. Often. Even when you’ve just rolled out of bed wearing sweatpants, a baggy shirt, your hair is a royal mess, and you haven’t decided for sure whether or not you’re actually awake for good.

3.  The best part of your day is waking up with him… and going to bed with him… even if he smacks you in his sleep in the middle of the night.

2.  He’s worth breaking every single one of your dating rules for… and the only time you even think about them anymore is to wonder why you stuck to them so rigidly in the first place.

1.  Almost a year after your first date, the only real regret you have is that you didn’t get together sooner.

Snow Misadventures: Lord Ormsby’s Story

A continuation of Snow Misadventures: The Lost Tampon.

As a photographer and amateur astronomer, there are certain cosmic events in the sky, unique weather patterns and conditions on the ground that cry out to me begging to be captured with my camera.

One such rare phenomenon is a full moon over a snowy linen land. While more frequent in the north, a good snowfall happens just a few times a year here, and the odds of it happening during a full moon are rare. But even more unlikely is to have a clear night because of course when there is snow, there are usually clouds, and clouds block the moon.

See, a full moon over a blanket of snow casts enough natural light to see outside in the dead of night with no artificial lights. To literally be able to walk outside at night with no flashlight, no car headlights, no street lamps and see everything almost as well as during the day, is a once in a lifetime opportunity. And of course, I was going to capture it with my camera.

We drove to the park away from street lamps and city lights. I parked the car and trekked across the wilderness with my camera and tripod while Victoria sat inside with the motor running and the heat on. She likes to come with me, but doesn’t like to get out of the car to enjoy the wonderful sights. Weird.

Anyway, it was perfect. With no wind, the night was calm and peaceful. The bright moon cast light on the trees and shadows on the ground. As predicted, I was able to see perfectly well after midnight walking around with no flashlight. I was able to get lots of amazing photos, some that looked like they were taken during the day.

Usually, even with plenty of layers of winter clothes, I’d still be cold, but not this night. While the temperature was of course below freezing, I was warm and toasty, as if being baked by the moonlight. After taking photos for a while, I checked my phone to see the time and see if Victoria had texted. It was dead, but no matter. I was within earshot of the car, so all she had to do was honk.

So I laid in the snow, looked up at the tree branches and the moon and just soaked in the moment, living in communion with nature. I wish Victoria could have been there to join me, but she was happy sitting in the heated car playing games on her phone. It’s too bad that I couldn’t have shared this moment with her, by my side. I don’t know how long I lay there, probably half an hour. It was so serene and tranquil. Despite being outside at night in the winter weather, I really can’t remember the last time I felt so comfortable and relaxed.

To be continued…

Six Months: Sex, Boobs, and Barbecue

It’s not often that I can say that I’ve been seeing the same guy, exclusively, for six months.  And it’s even rarer for me to say that I am still HAPPILY seeing the same guy after six months of exclusive dating.  This is a milestone that I have now met.

Although we made things “Facebook Official” on the drive up to Louisville from Tampa (with all my worldly belongings in tow), Ormsby and I had been seeing each several months before that… and we agreed to make the “official” exclusivity date August 2, 2014.

Now this six month thing, while it may seem minor to some of you, is a big deal to us.  For Ormsby, because six months is generally when his previous relationships began going sour.  For me, because any relationship I’ve had that lasted longer than six months already WAS sour, and continued to BE sour, and I continued to stay due to my predilection for masochism and dedication where dedication was unwarranted.  For him, six months usually signaled an impending breakup.  For me, six months was simply another day – not worth celebrating, yet celebrated because that’s just what one “did.”

Not anymore.  I don’t know what’s happened – I don’t know if I’ve finally grown up, gotten a brain, or just gotten lucky in the relationship department (I mean, because seriously, after everything I’ve been through, a little bit of luck is LONG, LONG overdue). But we are now six months in, things aren’t showing any signs of stopping or souring, and I’m uproariously happy.

Why?  There are many reasons, but to name a few…

First?  I really love the guy.  And if that’s not the best reason for being happy and keeping him around, I don’t know what is.

Second: We talk.  Like… about stupid stuff half the time that no one else understands.  But also, when things go wrong, we talk about it.  We don’t fight about it.  It’s quite interesting how constructive those uncomfortable conversations can be when you are actually conversing and not bringing up a billion things that aren’t even relevant to the situation.  I’ll admit… I was worried when I moved in with him that it would be like the experience I had in the past – because with Mr. Ex, once we started cohabitating, we argued from the time we got up until the time we went to bed some days.  I was worried that history really would repeat itself and I’d find that it’d be the same way here.  I was wrong.  I’m glad to say I was wrong, because this is one of those times when I really didn’t want to be right.  That’s not to say we don’t have “discussions”.  We do.  But they are not knockdown, drag out fights that end with one of us saying a bunch of shit we don’t mean.  And that’s pretty awesome.

I mean I guess it helps that we kind of already “get” each other pretty well.  But where we don’t, both of us really make the effort to understand what we don’t understand.  Granted, sometimes it takes a while to get there, but I’m finding that taking the time is much, much more preferable to not really ever caring enough to take the time.

Third:  The sex is AH-MAZING.  And frequent.  Like every day, sometimes twice a day frequent.  And for someone with a high libido like me, that’s a pretty big deal.  He does a very, very good job with keeping up with me (though I think sometimes I wear him out).  But then I did also come complete with a very established, $5000 in value lingerie collection.  I’m like a brunette Barbie that bought out Victoria’s Secret.  They should seriously give me stock in that, since I own fuck tons of their stuff.  Anyway, the lingerie collection certainly helps.

Still, though, it hasn’t gotten boring.  Far from it.  I’d swear it gets better every single time we do it, and considering we really do actually do it on a daily basis (I’m not lying here), that’s saying something.  I keep thinking that one day it’s going to level out, but it hasn’t yet, and in total I’ve been fucking him since May of 2014, which is a couple of months longer than I’ve actually been dating him.

For serious… this is the most sex, and the best sex, I’ve ever had in my life.

Fourth: I don’t have to fight with him to go visit my family.  Of course, it probably helps that my sister’s German Shepherds just had the most adorable litter of puppies.  But even before that, he went with me, he’s friendly, personable, everyone likes him and my friends adore him.

So to celebrate this milestone, you might be wondering what we got each other?  Well, to make the day as special as possible, I told him I wanted him to tell me what he wanted for dinner… anything… and I’d make it.  I cook every night, of course, but usually the menu is planned by both of us.  But we were out that day, we were pretty much out of food in the kitchen, and we were hungry.  Instead of cooking, I took him to Mark’s Feed Store, which is where we ate during one of my visits over the summer.  They have barbecue there.  We ate a lot of it.

And for me?  He got me boobs.  Now.  Let me explain.  I have boobs.  I didn’t always have them.  In high school, the lack thereof was the constant distress of my life, but I didn’t want the fake shit (not that I would have been allowed to get implants anyway).  In college, after I got on the pill, I got them.  I went from like an A to a C in about a year.  It was pretty spectacular.  But still, there’s always room for improvement.

And when I say that Ormsby got me boobs, I don’t mean that he paid for implants.  I mean they fucking started to grow again.  Not a lot.  Thank god.  Because I don’t want to have to completely overhaul my bra collection again.  But they’re definitely filling out.  And it wasn’t noticeable at first, but then I started realizing that my bras were a little tighter.  And my shirts were fitting differently.  And then I asked him if he’d noticed it too, and apparently he has.  We pulled out some topless photos he’d taken of me in Florida in the late summer (not posting them, don’t ask), and confirmed it.  Crazy shit.

Not complaining.  A little more to fill out the dresses, tops, and bras is always a welcome addition.

He doesn’t know how it happened.  I certainly don’t know how it happened.  But I credit him with it, because he’s literally the only change I’ve made in my life and he plays with them a lot.  Maybe he willed it to happen or something.  I don’t know.  Still, it was a pretty nice (if unexpected) six month anniversary gift.

So we’ve hit a milestone.  I am madly in love with this guy.  He has barbecue (or had it, till he ate it all); I have boobs.  Life is good.


When I think about “baggage,” I think about that “I Love Lucy” episode where Lucy and Ricky are moving out of their apartment in New York and, due to a delay, they are putting all of their furniture in Ethel and Fred’s apartment.  Most of the episode is set in Ethel and Fred’s apartment with just about everyone navigating through and around the piles of boxes, yelling over them, trying to find each other, find a place in the middle of the chaos just to sit down.

Relationships… or breakups, rather… are a lot like this.  You get settled into something for a month, six, or sometimes years, you build up a lot of memories, and when (or if) those relationships end, you pack up those memories, along with your physical shit, and you take it with you – back to your own house (using the term “house” to mean your living space, as well as your own mind) to recover, to sort, to unpack and to find a place for that baggage.  In terms of physical shit, you might keep photos, or small mementos, but the big shit often ends up in a dumpster or maybe at Goodwill.  The figurative, or mental, baggage, though, is more difficult to get rid of.  You store it away, in the recesses of your mind, where it sits there over the next few weeks, months, or years, gathering cobwebs.  You don’t revisit it, because revisiting it is just too painful, but it’s still there.

Inevitably, you end up in another relationship.  The more serious it gets, the more “moving in” and “settling” you do… you start sharing more than the occasional dinner and after-dinner bang.  Your stuff ends up at their house.  Emotionally you become more connected.  And whether you physically “move in” or not, some of that baggage from before, cobwebs and all, figuratively moves in, too.

Now, if you’re lucky, there isn’t much.  Maybe there’s only been one “bad” relationship, or just a couple of “bad” experiences that translate into one or two figurative boxes in the floor.  You trip over them now and again until you realize that maybe those boxes, if they have to stay around at all, would do better over by the wall or something so that they aren’t in the way.  If you’ve been more unlucky in love, or maybe there’s just been a lifetime of bad experiences, those box piles become much bigger. You quickly run out of wall space, more boxes find their way into the middle of the floor, until suddenly you’re yelling over the towers the way that the Ricardos do in that Lucy episode… and if those towers become tall enough, finding middle ground becomes almost impossible.

And that’s where a lot of people fuck up.  Because when the place becomes so full that you can’t see each other anymore, you’re presented with two options: get rid of shit, or move out.

I think that moving out is the easy option.  I mean, it’s easy to say, “Hey, this is mine, I’ve carried it around this long, I earned it, I moved it, I KNOW it, and I don’t want to get rid of it, so I’m just going to leave and take it with me.” It’s easy to declare that, pack it all up, and leave.  Sure it hurts… but that hurt, along with those memories, get packed into another box and get moved around with all the others.  It’s like the equivalent of emotional hoarding. No one, least of all a hoarder, LIKES the clutter.  But you KNOW the clutter, and going with something you KNOW is much, much easier than going through the boxes and doing without (because what if you find that there was something in that clutter you needed?) so you keep it.

The other option, the one where you realize you have to get rid of shit, and you start clearing out the shit, is harder.  For several reasons.  First, because doing a shit cleanout is difficult.  I mean all of those boxes, all of that stuff, is daunting.  Packing them up and not looking at the contents is easy… going through it all is time consuming.  It involves effort, it involves time that you’d rather spend doing other things – like going to dinner and fucking.  Second, because it involves remembering things that are really hard to remember, and looking at them, at least as best you can, from an unbiased perspective.  That unbiased perspective is the worst – because you have to be able to accept your own portion of the blame (where there was one), and decide whether the shit is worth holding on to or would be best added to a trash heap.  And if you’re an emotional hoarder (or a hoarder of any kind) that trash heap is hard to build.  Because it’s COMFORTABLE holding on to the shit you know, and much scarier to replace it with the shit you don’t.

Now, admittedly, that emotional purging process can take years.  Like, you start on it one day, and you do a couple of boxes, then you realize you just can’t do it anymore, and you back off, only to go back to it months and months later when you can stand it again.  There is no TLC show called “Hoarders” that can come clear out your mental, emotional shit.  That project?  That’s all you… and maybe the significant other that is brave enough to put up with you, maybe even help you while you’re doing it, maybe even clean out a little (or all) of their own shit at the same time so that you both end up in a new house, with little to nothing in the middle of the floor, ready to make new memories and establish a new furniture layout.  But it’s hard.  And it takes a lot of time.  And a butt-load of dedication.  And not many people are up to the task.

I’ve had a long history of relationships, some harder than others, that have created a fair degree of emotional luggage that, like it or not, I’ve carried with me.  And I won’t lie… I’m well aware of the possibility (and in some cases, the reality) that that emotional baggage has caused some of these to fail.  But they generally failed DUE to that baggage, in a situation where the person I was in a relationship with, had little to no, or at least, less baggage than I did.  It made finding common ground hard.  It made that person less patient with my need to sort through, and ultimately purge, the things that weren’t working.  And those relationships ended either due to their impatience or due to the fact that I was unable to purge quickly enough.  And, of course, that added to the baggage that I carried with me into the next one.

I often wonder, then, if it is easier, for those couples who met early, who stayed together through everything, had few to no relationships prior to the one they are currently in, and who had little to no baggage to sort through, except the stuff they’ve built up together over time.  I don’t have the answer to that.  I was not fortunate enough to be one of them.

I’ve found that my relationships are better when I find someone with baggage.  Or, at least, someone with baggage that is willing to purge or ultimately work toward purging that baggage.  Not because it’s a pleasant “moving in” experience – there are boxes all over the damned floor some days, and wading through the junk can be difficult.  But because even though the heavy baggage ones haven’t lasted in the past, at least there is the knowledge that there was some common ground… and when they end, I can chalk that ending up to the fact that there was just too  much clutter in the floor that both of us were stubbornly hanging onto.  It wasn’t, at least in most cases, because of new shit that popped up.

Of course the ultimate goal is to get rid of the baggage altogether – or at least make it so minimal that the old shit can be put in a closet somewhere and that the living room of the mind can be re-filled with more pleasant memories.  And part of reaching that goal is finding someone patient enough, and dedicated enough, to let me weed through that baggage – and brave enough to stay with me when I’m having bad days, and when purging becomes next to impossible.  The hardest part of that process is knowing that I won’t even know when I find that person until that process is complete – but I’m optimistic enough to believe (despite those boxes) that they exist.

Where am I now?

The box towers in my brain are getting a little shorter while I unpack things and find a place for the contents or throw them out the window.  The process is hard, and it leaves me raw sometimes, and while I’d like to say that I keep it under the surface and it doesn’t affect my current relationship, that isn’t always the case. There’s still a lot to go.  But I can see some floor space.  And that’s a start.

The L Word

First, to make things clear:  I do not have a problem with having, or showing, emotional love.  When I feel it, I have no qualms about and make no issue of displaying that, whether it be through random acts of kindness, generosity, PDA, etc.  I am not afraid of the emotion in and of itself.  The word, though, and in particular, the verbal EXPRESSION of the word?  Now that’s fucking scary.

I don’t think I always thought it was scary.  Like, pre-marriage, expressing it was… well… if not habitual or normal, just something that was done when I felt that way, confident that HE (whoever that recipient was at the time) felt that way also, and never fearful that the admission would ever be used against me or not reciprocated, or that the word meant to me what it meant to him.

But then, after the divorce, I fell into a string of… well… less than successful relationships with men who either misused the word or who couldn’t say it at all.  First there was Buttface, who had been saying it for the better part of ten years.  And who, once his divorce was filed for, moved up from Florida to, ostensibly, be closer to me (this is what he told me, at least, at first).  And then who suddenly, without explanation, without reason (at least as far as I could see) stopped saying it.  Now, I’ll take proper credit for not simply asking him why, and for sticking around for the better part of two years after, trying to “figure it out” when I could have moved on.  But once I realized, after all that time, that he wasn’t going to say it again, that he wasn’t going to tell me what had changed his mind, and, most importantly, that he was now dating (at thirty-one), a seventeen year old from Oklahoma, I cut my losses.  Oh, I got revenge in the end… of course… it was both warranted and necessary to the overall healing process (and of course when his cat took a shit all over the bed about a year later because the toilet-training efforts weren’t going to plan, I was pretty happy about that too). But, revenge or not, I began to realize that it was entirely possible to use that word, seem to mean it, then drop it like a really bad habit (by the way, that’s the worst comparison ever – if it’s a “habit,” that means it is not easy to break, but whatever).

Still, once I was over that, I chalked it up to bad luck, bad judgment, whatever, and decided to learn from the experience: if I was with a man who seemed to suddenly change, I would simply not tolerate it anymore, not waste as much time (god, NEVER as much time), and I would leave.  Or if I was with a man who simply would drag things out, string me along, and never progress, again, I’d leave. But, of course, I didn’t really think something worth having would be that hard to procure.  After all, I had had no problems pre-divorce.  Of course, I had been younger then, my boyfriends had also been younger (and probably less jaded), and I failed to take that into consideration.

Anyway.  After Buttface came 3.0.  THIS guy, I’m convinced, simply wasn’t capable of feeling the emotion. I loved him, or at least I am pretty sure I did (though considering the minimal amount of time it took me to get OVER him, maybe I was just in love with the idea that he was pretty well off and had a nice condo in the nicest area of Tampa), but when I said it, not only did he not reciprocate, but he used the phrase, “I’m not sold.” Or simply just told me he wasn’t there yet.  Now, if that wasn’t bad enough, once he knew how I felt, he used it against me.  If I did something he didn’t like, if I did something he couldn’t tolerate, he’d say that he was… oh… 95 percent there, but then I did that, and it knocked it down to 92.  Yes.  He was a weirdo.  But I’m dedicated.  (And that’s not always the best thing… especially when the guys I’m dedicated to are not as dedicated to me.) So I stayed.  Or at least I tried.  But when it came down to holiday time, and I didn’t want to take someone home who could not feel for me what I was able to feel for him, and I CERTAINLY didn’t want to stick around for several years, wasting MORE time on another Buttface.  So I gave him the ultimatum.  And he thought about it for a few days.  And then it finally ended when he called and said, “I just don’t think I’m going to be able to fall in love with you, hon.” When he came over to get his stuff, he was crying.  I was not crying.  Not because I did not want to, but because I had decided that he did not deserve to see it.  And I wanted to keep my dignity.  Dignity preserved.  Mission accomplished.  But I still began to wonder whether some of this was my fault, if I had lost my mojo or something, or was somehow just not doing this correctly anymore.

Moving on.

Then there was Botboy.  Botboy used the word first.  After the first vodka shipment I’d sent him.  And because, at least in my experience, alcohol is a truth serum, I believed him.  But Botboy was as jaded as I am.  I don’t think he didn’t mean it… I don’t think he intended to come home, get his stuff, and leave.  I do wonder, sometimes, if he used the fact that I loved him to his advantage to procure supplies, snacks, etc.  Especially when he bragged to me much later about how he’d used other women for this or that.  Still, I think he did love me in the only way that he knew how or was capable of – the only way he’d ever been able to love anyone before. If that were the case, he wouldn’t have been able to give me what I was looking for, and looking back on it, I know that now. But at the end of the day, whether he meant it or not then is not the point.  The point is that I DID fall for him, I DID love him, and he SEVERELY hurt me when he left.  So much so that I told myself that, moving forward, never again would I say it first, never again would I repeat it unless the man said it to me while sober, and I had SEEN the reflection of his words in his actions.

It was a year after that before I considered dating anyone else– and that was Ormsby.

And so that’s where we were… I moved back to Kentucky, into Ormsby’s apartment.  And neither he, nor I, had ever used the word with each other before. I sometimes think he was as afraid of it as I was.  I can’t tell you how many times the word was on the tip of my tongue and I didn’t say it, not only out of fear of what might happen, but also out of stubbornness.  I had said I was not going to say it first, I meant it, and for once this was a rule I was absolutely not going to break.

Except I did.  In December, a week before Christmas, when I finally found my figurative balls, and just said it.

And apparently he’d known how I felt since July.  Even before I knew how I felt.

And with that information?  He’d done absolutely NOTHING.  I mean… nothing in that he didn’t use it against me.  He didn’t give me percentage comparisons to live up to.  He didn’t start using it only suddenly stop with no explanation, and best of all, he didn’t stand me up, break his promises, or make me wonder where I stood (much).  And even when I realized it (and I can’t even tell you when that was, exactly), I still didn’t say it.  Not in July.  Not in August when we started dating.  Not in September and October when he was in Florida for work.  Not even in November when we made it Facebook official and moved in together (yes, we do everything backward).

But when I said it, he said it back.

And that’s when the curse was broken.  Because I knew he meant it.  Not because of the way he said it, not because he was drunk (he wasn’t), but because of the things he’d done up to that point that illustrated it long before those words were ever uttered.  I didn’t have to doubt, I didn’t have to question it, I just knew it.  And whatever had happened in the past that made me wonder if all of this was just “me”, or if I was as unlovable as the Darren Hayes song I listened to over and over again during the 3.0 days, it didn’t matter anymore.  Because I knew it wasn’t true.

More Rule Breaking

Nine years ago, when I was still just dating my now ex-husband, I answered an ad on a modeling site about a new magazine that was being launched in Louisville.  I agreed to meet the editor/photographer in a coffee shop one afternoon, and took my then boyfriend along with me, just to be safe.  When I walked into the coffee shop, I didn’t see ANYONE in there that looked like a photographer – the ones I’d met were old, not at all attractive, not at all interesting (though they all thought they were God’s gift to the world).  Sitting at a table toward the middle of the coffee house was this guy, a good-looking younger guy, that I didn’t think could possibly be the guy I was supposed to be meeting.  I was wrong, that was the guy, though, and while he passed me up for a couple of blond chicks for the issue of the magazine, I spent several months writing content for it anyway.  We talked a lot, because we had to, but after I got married, lost contact.

After my divorce, I hadn’t “forgotten” about the editor/photographer (now called Ormsby), per se, but didn’t think for even an instant that he’d be interested in me – his crowd, at least from the public portrayal I saw, was the nightclub crowd… surrounded by women, models, all the time, and while I may have functioned as one, I certainly didn’t think I measured up to that standard.  So I set up my dating rules, and I lived by them, as much as possible, altering and adding to the list where necessary:

  1. Age: Must fall within five years of myself (older or younger, but preferably older). I am 32.  Within those parameters, that would make a potential candidate 27-37.
  2. Preference toward military.
  3. Preference toward divorcees who are OVER IT.
  4. Must have stable income.
  5. Must have (some) hair on head, but not an overwhelming amount of body hair.
  6. Must not have an abnormal attachment to his mother.
  7. Must want children, or at least be open to the idea. If he already had children, must want more.
  8. Must be able to sustain an erection.
  9. Must be taller than me, even when I’m wearing my heels. (This was harder to find than you’d think.)
  10. Must want a relationship (no one-night-stands, casual flings, etc.).
  11. Some semblance of sanity (and by sanity, I mean not a raging, psychotic sociopath) is absolutely necessary.
  12. Must live in Florida, because I sure as hell wasn’t interested in leaving the land of eternal summer.

There were other rules, unspoken ones, some I probably don’t even really acknowledge, but these were the basics… formed after years of an unsatisfactory marital and post-divorce dating life.  Now, trying to find all of that in one particular individual isn’t the easiest thing in the world.  And I compromised on some of the lesser ones… still, I never quite found what I was looking for.  One met pretty much all of these factors but was emotionally unavailable when it came to using the “L” word (that is not “Lesbian).  One was particularly adept at hiding his psychotic tendencies (but of course they surfaced eventually anyway).  One was divorced, but still emotionally tied to his wife.  See, I thought that, after my divorce, finding someone else would be easy.  I clearly underestimated the dating pool out there – it was a LOT of work, a LOT of disappointment (though it did give me some humorous moments when I was crafting the IDEs).

Then May came.  And I reconnected with Ormsby.  And I liked him… a lot.  But here’s the thing about Ormsby: with a couple of exceptions, being with him, WANTING to be with him, would constitute breaking just about every single one of those rules.  And I thought about it… hard.

But then I realized something… those rules?  They hadn’t been working.  Because if they HAD been working, then when I’d come for my sister’s wedding in May, I’d have been in a relationship already.  One that succeeded.  And this blog wouldn’t be an endless rant of breakup stories (at least until recently).  It was an acknowledgement of failure.  Sort of.  Or, maybe, a recognition that my processes that I’d carefully lain out and followed (almost) to the letter were a little bit flawed.

And so… I broke them.  Or most of them.  I mean the obvious ones I kept (you know, the stuff about the body hair, erections, the lack of over-infatuation with the mother-figure ,the lack of major psychosis… those I stuck to, because no one wants to go to bed with a werewolf, especially one that cannot keep it up, and no one wants to have to deal with mom-boners every time you visit his parents; also you CERTAINLY don’t want to have to worry about accidentally crawling in bed with the next Ted Bundy).  But pretty much everything else… age to location included?  Yep.  Broken.

And this is why I sit here, in Louisville, in Ormsby’s bed, a bed he modified with his own two hands (and power tools) to accommodate my television, perfectly comfortable and completely satisfied.

I’ll admit, doing this was a huge risk… a calculated risk, yes, because one does not simply pack up one’s own belongings and move halfway across the country to live with just ANY guy, but still, a risk.  Because this could have gone sour as soon as I set foot in the Penske truck with Ormsby and my cat.  I mean, that’s how it’s always been in the past.  I’ll admit I was even expecting it a little.

And yet, it hasn’t been like that at all.  It’s been a refreshing, and yet surprising, change.  Things are mostly blissful, exceptionally peaceful, and minimally stressful.  I’d swear, I was living someone else’s life (and if I am, seriously bitch, whoever you are, I’m keeping it).  And if I’ve learned anything at all, I’ve learned that relationships do not have to be dysfunctional to be functional.

Which simply further illustrates a point I’ve made before:  Rules were made to be broken.