Tag Archives: Divorce

The Picture Frame

I got married to Mr. Ex nine years ago.  And on our first (and only) anniversary, in 2007, my parents gave us a 16×20 print of one of our wedding pictures.  It came in a very expensive frame that was, truth be told, worth more than the print itself.  I hung it on one of the walls in our house.

The same year, I won tickets to meet JK Rowling in New York City at Carnegie Hall.  We made a vacation out of it and stayed in New York for about a week.  I bought a lot of souvenirs over that week, one of which was a large print that I got from a street vendor.

The marriage itself was bad.  Mr. Ex was abusive, I was unhappy, and probably never should have married the guy to begin with.  The reasons why I did make for a very long story and I’m not going to go into that here (that’s a topic for another post).  But I bring it up only because when I moved out, I took the wedding print, and its frame, with me.  Not because I wanted to keep the print, mind you, but because the frame was worth a lot of money and I figured Mr. Ex would just destroy it.  I also took the New York print with me, but kept it in storage since I didn’t know for certain where or how I wanted to hang it.

Since the divorce in 2008, I have changed residences six times.  With each move, I have taken that frame (and both the wedding and the New York print) with me in to each home or storage unit I have rented.  I didn’t even think to separate the wedding print from the frame until just before my second to last relocation attempt.  Mostly because the print and frame stayed well out of sight, but also because I wasn’t sure that I knew how.  But, when I was preparing to move from Florida to Kentucky, I finally managed to separate the two so that they could be transported separately.  My original thought was to trash the print and keep the frame, but then thought that I might be better off to spray paint the print (so that I didn’t have to look at it) and use it as backing for something new that I’d purchase to put in the old frame.

Now, almost eight years since my divorce, I have moved into a house with someone else.  Last night, while Lord Ormsby went to our old apartment and prepared it for turnover to the former landlord, I stayed in the house and continued with the unpacking process.  As I was moving things around, I came across that New York print again and had a brainstorm… what if that print would go in the frame?  Surely I had tried that before… to no avail… right?

But I couldn’t remember, one way or another.  So I decided to try it again.

So, carefully, delicately, I added the print to the frame and secured it.  Then I flipped it over.  It was like the print was made for the frame… the scheme is nearly perfect.  In fact, the frame looks better with this print in there than it ever did with the wedding photo.

When Ormsby came home, I showed it to him and I told him I was either very stupid (for carrying both of those things around for seven years and never realizing that they went together) or brilliant for finally figuring it out.  Ormsby compared it, instead, to what happened between us: that after years of not realizing it, we finally got together, and we just… well… work.  Somehow that analogy is very appropriate… because he’s right.  The pieces were there ten years ago, and then seven years ago (after my divorce) and we didn’t see it…(okay maybe not quite “there” in the same sense of this frame and the print…it’s not like we talked for all of that time, and I certainly didn’t pack him up and move him to six different locations before I finally slept with him).  But for whatever it’s worth, we’re here, and together, now… and we work.  Just the way they we believe we were supposed to all along.

And in both situations, ultimately, the point of this isn’t whether I was stupid for not seeing it or brilliant for finally thinking of it… the point is that, regardless of how long it took, I eventually did get there.

print.jpg

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.

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.)

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.

What If?

In 1999, when I was sixteen years old, I moved out for the summer for the first time to go work at a camp.  I met a boy there.  We fell in love.  There were fireworks, he was my first, and six months later, on December 18, he gave me a ring to replace the promise ring he’d put on my finger a month before.  As it was being sized, two months later, in February 2000, a woman who was 28 years old (and who he had apparently been in love with since he was eight) told him she loved him.  He became confused, left me for her, I was devastated.

It was the shock of my life – at least back then.  I didn’t want to get out of bed for weeks (and did only to go to school – the rest of the time, I spent moping in my bedroom).  I ate, but didn’t taste anything.  I broke another boy’s heart when he asked me to prom because I realized I just wasn’t over the first one enough yet to really be with anyone else.

Four months later, I agreed to work at the camp again.  I knew he would be there.  I don’t know what I expected to come of it… but things were very awkward.  He was still seeing the woman.  She had a two year old son that was mad about him.  He was crazy about her.  Despite all of that, we were the only two staff members in residence that summer, so we were forced to share the living space above the dining hall once the day was over and everyone else had gone home.  Awkward silences spent staring at each other from across the breakfast table eventually became limited conversations which evolved, finally, into hour-long talks that never ended, quite, in a reconciliation, but the interest was still there.  He felt it, I felt it.  And I still loved him.

On the Fourth of July weekend, the camp always hosts a special festival event for the small town that it’s located in.  The camp staff usually works the hot-dog and refreshment stand.  I wasn’t scheduled to work until that Saturday, and I was looking forward to having the Friday off.  The guy, also, had finished his work for the day, and we’d sat upstairs talking.  Finally, he’d invited me to go with him to visit his sister, her boyfriend, and their kids.  It was a three mile walk, but I didn’t care… this was the alone time I’d been looking for.  And I said of course I’d go – I had to change my shoes.  About that time, my boss came upstairs, frantic, because the girl who was supposed to work the evening shift that night didn’t show up.  She asked if I would work.  I didn’t have a choice… I lived there… I was the only one that could be there.

He walked out to the stand with me, and I asked him if he could wait.  He said he couldn’t… he wanted to get there before dark.  I understood that… walking down a busy highway at night is not the safest thing to do – especially when there is not only traffic to worry about but coyotes as well.  And so he set off.  Several weeks later, he took another job with a construction company.  Permanent, and making better money.  I was happy for him.  Whatever happened between the two of them, he needed a job now that he was out of school and had decided against joining the army despite his ROTC program.

But I still wondered what would have happened had we gone on that walk.  I felt, the way that I feel things, that something would have turned that evening.  In my favor.  Knowing what I know now, that my gut feelings are rarely, if ever, wrong, I believe that things would have been very different once the evening had completed, had I gone with him instead of spending my time working in the Canteen.  But things were what they were.  He married her.  I moved on and married someone else.  They are still married, they have a little girl.  I am… well… divorced.  And in some ways, I’m grateful that it didn’t work out.  It would have been a hard life, and I don’t know that a marriage between us would have lasted – we were both so very young.  But still, I wondered.  Because sometimes “What If” is worse than anything else.  You can try and fail, but at least then you know.  “What If” just… lingers… with no resolution.

But I believe the past resonates.  I believe that, if we just wait long enough, we are given a second chance… a chance to repeat where we were before.  A chance to clarify a resolution that never came.  A chance to resolve the “What If” question.  The past resonates.  It repeats itself.  But the repeats are more of a “harmony” than they are a carbon copy of the past.  One can say things differently, do things differently, wait if they want to wait, work if they want to work, and go on walks, if they want to go on walks.

I experienced the same shock, the same devastation, eight months ago when Botboy came back from Afghanistan and left suddenly.  It was the same surprise, the same unpredictability, the same chaos and the same depression that had set in before.  And for at least a week after, I was back where I was before.  He was the only other man that ever affected me that way.  But the depression didn’t last as long… I wouldn’t let it – a casualty had come out of the first one, and while the casualty wouldn’t come out of the second one, I wouldn’t let those feelings eat me alive, either, so I got busy doing other things.  Time passed.  Things healed.  I wouldn’t say I got over it entirely, but I was better.  Botboy started calling again, we talked.  And finally, in January, we went to dinner – a “flashback” date as he called it.

And so, two months ago, when I was in the car with Botboy, and we were talking, despite the fact that I was very much in the present, and very much interested in what he had to say, and very much smitten with him, I couldn’t help but notice the similarities.  Botboy was not, by his account anyway, seeing anyone else.  Or in a relationship.  Or married.  But there were similarities all the same.  The way we talked.  The things we said to each other.  The two of them look nothing alike.  Their mannerisms are nothing alike, and they don’t even speak the same way.  But there were enough similarities there that my mind was drawn, for an instant, back to the summer of 2000 when Jacob was leaving for his sister’s house, and how he’d invited me to go with him.

Somehow I knew that this was a repeat of the walk that I never got to take.  It wasn’t the same… hell, we weren’t even walking, I was driving, and when we got back to the parking lot, we were standing between our cars (and Jacob didn’t have a car).  But the feeling was the same.  Botboy did not invite me along with him that night – it wasn’t that kind of evening.  And we aren’t kids.  But I was given an option all the same.  I could walk away, I could go, do whatever I wanted to do, and, likely, be gone by the time he got back.  Or I could stay.  I could wait.  I could see what happens.

I chose to wait.  Because I love him, yes.  But also because I know, because I feel it in my bones, that this is the answer to the “What If” question I’ve been looking for since I was seventeen.  Botboy is not Jacob (thank god – I love Botboy now more completely than I ever could have loved Jacob at the age of seventeen).  And this is not an instance where I am being called to work an emergency shift at the Canteen.  But it is another “What If” situation.

If, once his adventure is over, he comes back to me, I’m willing to make a go of it.  At least to try, to make an effort, to see if we can.  And if he doesn’t?  Well, I’ll be disappointed.  Not as devastated as last time – I won’t be so blindsided this time.

Regardless, though, once this waiting cycle is over, I believe I’ll finally know what would have happened had I gotten to go on that walk.  And then there’ll be a new phase, though I don’t know what it will look like.

Valentine’s Day

I used to love Valentine’s Day.  When I was a kid.  Because when I was a kid, it was fun.  You bought Valentines.  You put your name on them.  You passed them out at school, to everyone, because everyone made their Valentines Day card pouch.  You had those silly elementary school parties where you stuffed yourself stupid on junk food and got to spend the afternoon watching Disney movies instead of doing math problems.  Then, if you were at my house, you went home and your parents gave you Valentine’s Day presents and then you watched them open theirs, your mother made a fabulous dinner, and you retired onto the couch afterward, watching Alfred Hitchcock and Superman reruns on TV Land before going to bed.

I started hating it in High School.  In High School it became a competition to see who was going to get flowers that year versus who didn’t.  You waited until the middle of the day when the front office looked like an extension of the local florist.  And then they’d start calling names to come pick up their flowers from their boyfriends.  One by one, girls would go to the front to get their flowers, each with a bouquet bigger than the other.  I was the tall, skinny, awkward, acne-ridden freshman and sophomore.  Flowers did not get delivered to me.  I’d sit there, doing homework, doodling in my homework planner, or otherwise writing letters to my out-of-state friends, and I’d pretend not to care.  But secretly, it mattered.  And it mattered a lot.  Not that I would have admitted that to anyone then.  Or even to myself.

And then, finally, there was the Valentines Day in 2000.  I’d been seeing a guy for months.  Met him at camp.  I was happy.  I was turning eighteen in a few more months.  We were going to get married.  He was poor.  I didn’t care.  In January, toward the end of the month, he left me for a twenty-eight year old woman with a two year old son.  That, in and of itself, was horrifying.  At seventeen you are not supposed to see twenty-eight year old women (ancient, by your standards at that age) as competition for your nineteen year old boyfriend.  That just isn’t supposed to happen…  But it did.  And I was devastated for months.  Like for serious, I didn’t really even get out of bed except to go to school for months after.  Valentines Day 2000, watching the girls go get their flowers that day, that was painful.  But what was even worse was that he called me that night… and he wanted to get back together.  I loved him.  Deeply.  I agreed immediately because that was all I really wanted.  Two hours later, he called to say that she had shown up at his house and he’d changed his mind.  Devastation again, made worse by the fact that I went to visit him the following weekend where he gave me my Valentine’s Day present – a large, stuffed white bear that I kept for years.  I finally gave it away to Goodwill last winter… it had spent most of the previous decade in a box.

After that, for years, I’d get dumped on Valentines Day.  It was like a curse… I could be in a great relationship, and it would all come crashing around my ears on that day, or on that weekend.  So naturally, I wasn’t a fan.

Combine that with the fact that even when I was married, we never celebrated it – my husband had to work every holiday, Valentine’s Day was no exception.  There is no stop to the gambling on holidays – they overschedule because they think they’ll be busy.  I’d spend that day home, cooking, cleaning, freezing because of the winter, watching all the pathetic Kay’s Jewelers commercials on TV, listening to people talk about all the fun stuff they were doing with their significant others.  And again, I’d pretend not to care.  Secretly I did.  Not because I loved him.  I question, now, whether I ever really did.  But because I felt left out.  Everyone else was having these great experiences.  Mine were nothing but memories of being dumped unceremoniously around that day or, if not getting dumped, sitting by myself most of the night in that big lonely house with two cats, waiting for my husband to come home, strip so that his ever-growing gut would pour over the front of his too tight pants, and watch TV as he ate copious amounts of junk food until bedtime where he would go, attempt to fuck me (if I was lucky), fail, and pass out after crying a bunch.

That said, there’s such thing as conditioning.  After years of not getting anything for Valentines Day, you start to expect nothing.  And honestly, I was kind of okay with that when, after the divorce, I was on my own on that day.  At least if I were alone, I wasn’t sitting around thinking about what I COULD be doing if my significant other just had a better job, or could keep it up, or whatever.  At least when I had my own place, I wasn’t having to watch flowers being delivered for everyone except me.  And I had my vibrator.  That was more dependable than what I’d been exposed to for the last six years.

Things looked up a little, though, after I moved to Florida.  Gatsby gave me an electric blanket for the Valentine’s Day we were together.  I wasn’t getting dumped.  I wasn’t being showered with affection, in fact he was telling me he wasn’t “sold” yet, but by then I’d learned to take whatever I could get.  The following year, before Valentines Day could ever even roll around, I bought tickets to fly up to Columbus, Ohio for a goth masquerade ball which was being held the weekend of Valentine’s Day.  I figured, at that point, if I was single… well… at least I’d be distracted.  And the goth theme really seemed to sum up how I felt about that day.

I didn’t anticipate being in a relationship with Botboy when I bought those tickets.  I didn’t expect anything out of him at all, really, since he was where he was right then, we hadn’t been together that long, and anyway, I was heading north.  Materially, I didn’t get anything.  I sent him some “coffee”, and some of the other stuff he’d asked for.  He was getting stuff he wanted.  I was getting stuff I wanted.  It was good.  It arrived, for him, exactly when I wanted it to – on the weekend I’d be gone so he’d be nice and distracted and wouldn’t miss me too much.  But it was during that plane ride that I got the best Valentine’s Day gift I’d ever gotten.  Whether he meant it or whether it was the alcohol talking, I do not know.  And I may never know.  But he told me he loved me.  He never said it when sober.  I never asked him to.  Mostly because I was afraid of the answer he’d give me when he was sober… if what he’d said when he was drunk wasn’t the truth, I didn’t want to know.

And I guess that’s when I really realized… it’s not about the flowers.  It’s not about the chocolates (it’s REALLY not about the chocolates).  It doesn’t really have to do with any of those things.  Because I’d gotten a gift the year before, and it had been nice, and I used it on my bed all the time.  But without any real emotion behind it, it was just what it was: a blanket.  And I suppose you could argue that Botboy’s words were just that: words.  Especially since, now that I look back on it, I don’t know whether he meant any of them or not.  But without actually having to give me anything, without having to send me flowers, without having to give me expensive pieces of jewelry, he said something to me that I’d really needed to hear.  Something that I hadn’t heard with any kind of conviction in nearly five years.  And I believed him.  Whether he meant it or not, I believed him.  Because I needed to.  And what’s more, I loved him too.  I still do (and he knows that). And, for the record, I am still afraid to ask whether the feeling is mutual, because I’m afraid of the answer.  Yes, I’m chicken shit.  Sue me.

This year, I’m on my own again.  At least mostly.  Now I’m waiting for Botboy to come back (back as in back from his adventures) again, but things aren’t the same as they were last year.  I’m okay with that – as I’ve said before – I’d rather sit here and wait for the possibility that I can have what I want, since the alternative is not waiting with the certainty that I’ll never have it.  I’ll be alone on Valentine’s Day weekend.  There may not be flowers.  There may not be electric blankets.  There may not be words typed to me over gchat while I am thousands of feet in the air and the speaker is a world away.  Would I rather it were different?  Of course.  But not in that I want to make plans to go out and do something fancy for it.  Not in the essence that I want to have some crazy gift exchange.

But there will be food.  There will be painting.  There will be… well… whatever I want there to be.  I won’t be sitting around here, moping, calling it “Singles Awareness Day” the way that some of my friends do.  I won’t be depressed because there is no reason to be.  It could have been different, of course, but it’s not.  And this time, it’s because I actively chose for it not to be.  I could have gotten a date.  I don’t have to sit here by myself if I don’t want to.  But in truth, other than Botboy, there is no one else that I want.  And pretending otherwise is not fair to them.  Or to myself.  And anyway, before he left, I told him I would wait.  And, whatever happens at the end of this “midseason break” as I’ve taken to calling it, I will wait.

So I’ll sit in my house on Friday night.  I already bought myself a Valentines Day present.  Candles lit, as usual, since it also happens to be a full moon.  I will probably walk several miles.  I will likely watch something completely un-chick-flicky on TV later – maybe stuff about the St. Valentine’s Day Massacre… And that will be that.

All in all, not such a terrible way to spend it.  I mean look at it this way… I’m not getting dumped…  See? Things could always be worse.

Happy Endings

Disclaimer

This entry is about sex.  It is graphic.  It is not for children.  And if you are easily offended, for serious, you may just want to keep moving.

I did not give my first blowjob, willing, until I was twenty-one.  Astonishing, I know, since I’d long since (willingly) given up my virginity, had sex in several random and, often, unorthodox locations, and had spent the first part of my college experience driving up and down the road in the middle of the night in the dead of winter to satisfy my newfound itch with an equally enthusiastic Professor.  But, to his displeasure (though, later, I found out that he’d gotten over it fairly easily because I let him “fuck me any way he liked, as roughly as he liked” – what can I say I like rough sex), and despite the fact that he’d camped out between my legs for hours on end most evenings, I could not bring myself to go down there.

You couldn’t blame me, really.  It had been only four years since I’d been forced to give the only one I’d ever given.  At gunpoint.  The flashbacks were really bad back then.  I’d often wake up screaming, sweating, and unable to go back to sleep for hours until I stopped shaking.  More frequently, I simply wouldn’t walk around alone after dark, and when I didn’t have a choice, I exercised the “Constant Vigilance” mantra from Harry Potter.  It was no way to live, I’ll admit that, but PTSD is a bitch to get over.  Some people never do.  And it’s especially hard to get over when you can’t seek help because the idiot that caused it in the first place made it worse by threatening your life if you ever told anyone.  So I suffered in relative silence.  And my boyfriends, sort of, with me… well… they still got laid, but there were no blowjobs.  I learned early on that I was going to have to get over one or the other and intercourse was easier because that part of that lovely afternoon I didn’t remember so well.  I managed to learn to enjoy intercourse after a while, thanks to the Professor, really, and that was a huge hurdle.  It didn’t make all the nightmares go away, but it did make dating easier.  Marginally.

Fast forward a few years… I met my now ex husband (so-called “Mr. Ex” – thanks, Dad, for the nickname) right after my first year of college.  We moved in together shortly thereafter – accidentally.  It just sort of happened.  And of course we had sex.  Or we tried to.  His ED was an issue.  Sex with him consisted of maybe two or three minutes of actual intercourse, followed by forty-five minutes of a start/stop hand job that got him, finally, sustainably erect enough to fuck for three or four more minutes (thank god I’d learned the value of the quick orgasm by then), followed again by another forty-five minute hand job that finally finished with him jerking himself off because he couldn’t get off any other way.

I hadn’t, really, by this time been in many relationships.  I’m nineteen or twenty years old at this time, I had several long distance relationships under my belt, and a lot of sex with a Professor that I didn’t really see that regularly who was, admittedly, very adept at fucking my brains out but when it came to the relationship there wasn’t time for much.  Anyway, point being, I didn’t know it could be any different from what it was… and so, while I was kind of pissed that I wasn’t having the all-night fuck sessions I’d had previously with the Professor, I figured that this was probably more normal, so I settled into it.  With the vibrator he’d gotten me for our first anniversary since I apparently wanted to get laid too often.  He’d ask, time and time again, for head.  I’d wake up, screaming, just from considering it.  He made me feel guilty.  I didn’t know what the fuck else to do.

Then, finally, one drunken night, I did it.  On my own.  Without prompting.  He didn’t get off.  I didn’t care.  That hadn’t been the point – my hands had gotten tired.  And although it was really hit or miss for a while, whether I’d wake up screaming from the act of it after I’d done it, I kept doing it.  I was tired of the hold those nightmares, and those assholes from 1997, had on me.  I was going to kick them out of my head the way that I’d done with the intercourse years earlier.

So, I did.  I finally got to the point that I felt… well… not safe, per se – I never felt safe with him, he yelled at me too much.  But it got to be routine.  And by routine I mean that it got added into the regular, drawn out, pathetic attempts at sex that rarely, if ever, ended with any extended amount of time having intercourse, with very little time for foreplay directed toward me, and the hand jobs being replaced by blow jobs that, increasingly, got longer and longer.  I’m a trooper.  I can go for two solid hours.  I needed chapstick when I was done.  And he still never got off.  But, you know.  Because he could never blame himself, the fact that he never got off was my fault.

Thing is, I was young enough and inexperienced enough to believe him.  I mean if I couldn’t get him off in two hours, I had to be really bad at this, right?

Then there was divorce.  And simultaneously, there was Buttface.  During the two and a half years that he strung me along, I never gave him head either.  But by this time it wasn’t because of nightmares.  Nope… I didn’t give him head because, simply put, there was going to be no reciprocation.  He told me his tongue was too short.  And even after I suggested several ways we could manipulate the position so that it would not matter, he wouldn’t do it.  The mantra changed.  If I could not get what I wanted, he would not get what he wanted either.  So I didn’t blow him.  Not once.  We fucked.  I’d get off a time or two if I was lucky (and I started to wonder if I was ever, ever going to find a guy who could actually get me off).  Then he started stringing me along, I finally backed off when he left me for a seventeen year old (he was 30 at this point, by the way).

I moved to Florida.  He decided, after a year or so, that he wanted to fuck around again.  I was still pissed at what he had done.  And I know the logic behind this doesn’t make any sense, but I decided that I was going to go up there, I was going to give him the ride of his life, blowjob included (if I could even remember how to do it), and then I was going to leave him the way he’d left me.  Well.  I did.  And to my surprise, when I did actually give him a blowjob… it did not take two hours.  It took… well… minutes, actually.  Like seven.  Maybe.  We were in the shower.  It couldn’t have taken longer than that because his hot water didn’t last real long.  Huh, I thought.  Must be a fluke.  It wasn’t.  I did it again, and again, and again.  No nightmares, no two-hour long sessions. No desperate need for chapstick afterward.  In, out, and done.  Funny… I liked the taste, too.  After we’d gotten that out of our system, I moved on.

Then there was Gatsby.  The intercourse was good… I had orgasms.  Yay!!  And he had no qualms about going down there, though he wasn’t very adept at it because his experience had come from reading articles online about what “worked” and not listening to what I told him I liked.  Also he was afraid of the squirting, and having to hold that in when he’d finally get me there took the edge off.  But ergonomically, negotiating the blowjob was difficult with him.  Not because I didn’t want to.  I was happy to.  By this time I’d learned to enjoy it.  But because he had a bend.  A SERIOUS bend.  And it bent in an upward direction.  Think the curvature of the protractor, or a half circle, which didn’t give much when it was fully erect.  It was great for the sex.  Hit the G-Spot perfectly.  But it didn’t work out very well from the gag reflex standpoint if you’re coming at it from the front of him.  It worked if I was in the 69 position, but I have never been much for the 69 position because I find it to be distracting.  It’s all about angles, anyway, and it doesn’t do much for me.  Anyway.  We negotiated that.  I learned that when I had mastered the angle, most times by standing on my head slightly while in front of him, or with him half-reclining on his bed so I could use the edge for balance, I could make it take as long (or as not long) as I wanted.  And you have to understand.  I like control.  I like taking it.  I like having the prerogative to surrender it when I choose to (I do not like it to be taken from me).  It was a power trip.  Though I still had that stupid little voice of my ex in my head, saying I was bad at this, I kept working at it, negotiating it, and my enthusiasm for learning (learning?) and determination to kick that son of a bitch out of my head was enough to drive me to continue.  So I continued.  Still, it was Gatsby.  It had been this easy for Buttface, it was this easy for Gatsby, but what if they were just… I don’t know… different… what if he was right?

Then I started sleeping with someone else.  And I realized that perhaps I was not as awful at this as I’d been told I was.  I mean, at first, it took five minutes.  Standard.  Buttface was at around that time.  Gatsby took around that time frame if I didn’t take my time about it.  I decided to push further.  Five minutes became two minutes.  And the last time, the very last time, I had him done, start to finish, in thirty seconds.  No joke.  He was surprised.  I had a smug smile on my face after I swallowed (and I always, always swallow).

Anyway it’s been a long road.  It’s been almost sixteen years since that awful day in 1997, and I’ve spent that time getting over it.  No professional therapy.  No drugs.  Nothing except a fuck ton of willpower and a lot of persistence once I decided I wasn’t going to let them have that kind of control over me anymore.  It was a happy ending that far outmeasured any happy endings I was giving anyone else.

Well… it was about getting over all of that bullshit AND the realization that if women would just be a little more enthusiastic about it (because apparently a lot of women don’t like giving head and aren’t very good at it) and learn to enjoy it, we, in all likelihood, could easily rule the world.

And at the end of the day, it’s all about world domination, you know.

Internet Dating Escapades Part XVII

singles23

 

‘Nuff said.

Karmic Debt

With the acknowledgement that the past resonates, the question, then, becomes WHY does it resonate?  If one believes in past lives, that we live again and again, learning things, making up for things we did incorrectly the last time, with the goal of becoming something better with the passage of each lifetime, then one could argue that the past resonates because those are the life lessons that we failed previously.  A second chance, per se.

But in my life… in this one… the past resonates often.  And it’s not the past lives… it’s this one.  Things echo.  People walk in and out of my life, more people come in to take their places, and the replacements resonate the way that the other ones do.  It’s like déjà vu.  I told someone not long ago that time is a funny thing.  It echoes.  It throws itself up in the air time and time again, the pieces get re-mixed, and then they all fall back down again.  In a new order, yes, but still the same old pieces – a reflection of what was.

I’m beginning to understand that now, particularly with what I’m doing with the men in my life.   Where two have now left, two others have taken their places.  Not in the same sense, no, but let’s start at the beginning.  I have only ever been madly in love with a man three times in my life.  There was my first fiancé, years and years ago.  When that ended, it took me months to recover.  There’s Buttface.  Who built that one up for a decade.  Getting over that, over it entirely, took forever too.  And then there’s Botboy.  Who I never really truly met, but it’s hard not to fall hard for someone when you speak to them daily, for hours out of the day, and when (whether they’re being real or not) they are everything you’ve been looking for for forever.  They have these things in common:  I was smitten with each of them in their time.  It also took an inordinate amount of time for me to recover from the fallout when it was over.  From the first two, I have recovered.  From the third… I’m mostly there.  It still pains me now and again but I am taking the pieces of that that I can salvage and making those mine.  Letting everything else go.

But that isn’t enough for Karma.  At least not for me.  See, she’s a bitch.  When I do something wrong, when I fuck something up, she makes me do it again.  And since, apparently, I am on my last life before I get to do “something else”, that means that whatever damage I do in this life, I have to fix in this life too.  So the past resonates.  Hard.  I have lessons to learn and no time to learn them in.  It’s like crunch time for finals.  It’s extreme.  But I’m dealing.  Anyway the two in question this evening are Buttface and Botboy.

I am not a bad person.  But I do like control.  I do like stability.  I do like to plan.  I like to know where things are going, what I am doing, and while I realize that you can’t plan for everything, christ, I try anyway.  So we’ll start with Buttface.  Ten years.  We waited to meet for ten years.  When we met, we tried to make it happen.  I believe he wanted it as much as I did.  But we were also both freshly divorced.  Things fell apart.  I don’t have enough words to go into detail here, but suffice it to say that out of a need to control, out of a need to understand, I suffocated him.  I was much younger, of course.  I didn’t realize what I was doing and I didn’t understand that I was killing from the inside what I was trying so hard to protect.  Things ended between us nastily.  My friend that I’d had for a decade was suddenly gone.  I was left to recover.  That was painful.  An impossible task, really.  But I did it.  We had one more small affair, casual that time, and then decided that we were better as friends.  We are friends to this day.  But it’s a hard won friendship.  There were years where we did not talk.  Long years.  I learned some things.  Hard won lessons, but I learned them.

Buttface = Metalhead

Enter Metalhead.  One of my best friends.  He’s had a blog… anyone who doesn’t know about him can go back and read about Rule Breaking.  But we’ve been friends since I moved to Florida.  He’s been one of my best friends through all of this.  We’ve had our periods where we didn’t talk, too, but that’s been more out of business than out of anger or frustration.  However it’s been interesting, at the very least, since we started sleeping together.  I’ve gotten to know him on an entirely different level, which is normal when you go from one level of friendship to another.  But it’s been bizarre too.  He doesn’t look anything like Buttface.  They are opposites right down to their height and hair color.  But their mannerisms, the way they approach life, the way that they respond to things… those things are exactly the same.

At first it was funny in a way, but then, as things progressed, as Metalhead started distancing himself, I started seeing things happening again.  I wasn’t controlling him… not at all.  I was keeping a lid on that, because after Buttface, I know better.  Hence the Karmic test.  Or part of it.  But I realized something else, too.  That I did not want carnal desires (I’ve always wanted to use that phrase!) to disrupt my friendship.  He was gone for a week, taking care of his kid.  I missed him, I missed the company.  I do not want a relationship with him, but I don’t want to lose my friend either.  And so, over drinks last night, we talked.  And we sorted it out.  He understands I’m not looking for anything else (because apparently he was worried about this), I told him that if this was going to fuck up the friendship we’ve built then I’d rather just stop it, and then we agreed to continue on for the time being with the way things are.  Airing out dirty laundry, communicating, that’s what friends do.  They don’t sit around and wonder… not communicate… not grow a pair and just ask (the way I refused to do with Buttface).

I apologized to Buttface for the past.  I squared things away with Metalhead (who still stays over, hangs out, is accompanying me on a trip I’m taking in a few weekends, yes we’re still having an affair because neither of us want to stop right now).  Everything is good there.  Karmic debt paid.  Hopefully this is a lesson I don’t have to continue to do over.

Botboy = Jesus

But there’s another one.  Botboy.  And it’s not the same lesson this time.  Not one of control.  Because with deployments, you realize you have very little and you learn to be okay with that.  Or you move on.  Deployment (his) taught me patience.  It taught me that I can’t always do things my way.  I am good with that.  What it did NOT teach me was not to jump into things headfirst without looking at what I’m jumping into.

And so, I’m doing it over.  There’s another overseas boy.  This one I call Jesus.  Because he physically looks like Jesus.  Same name as my first ex fiancé (the only other one of those).  Different country, but a similar situation.  The food sucks, the smiley faces are the same in the chats, the boredom is apparently the same, the movie watching, all of that is reminiscent.  And all of those things are minor.  Very amusing, but minor.   He doesn’t play with TransFormers, but in the midst of all of this, TransFormers are everywhere… on billboards.  On the freaking television.  On the back of vehicles I randomly pass in the road.  And then there is the girl.

I wrote about her.  I wrote about the girl that at least played some sort of part in the Botboy breakup (The Bot is the blog to reference for that one).  His ex wife, the one he said he did not want, but who wanted him.  The one who kept stalking him.  Torturing him.  Who had made his life more difficult than it needed to be and who, by proxy, made mine difficult.  With Bot, I chose to jump in anyway, knowing she was there, knowing he wasn’t over her, knowing that there was likely to be some baggage (though not knowing how much).  I made that choice.  I made that choice and then what looked like it was going to be okay, ended up not being okay.

Jesus has another woman in his life, too.  The same age (roughly).  And she looks just like her.  I mean these two women could be sisters (though they are not related to my knowledge).  And she says she loves him.  Red flags went off.  Immediately.  Because we learn, don’t we?  We learn from the past.  I had my heart stomped on, I wasn’t expecting it to be stomped on, because I trusted Bot.  It’s not that I don’t trust the new one… Jesus.  I have no reason not to trust him, but I don’t have a reason to trust him either.  And that’s the point.  We’ve not met face to face.  And we won’t until he gets home.

I’m not getting invested.  I can’t.  I’m intrigued by him.  But the girl may be a dealbreaker.  And what I have to learn this time is to let it go.  To let it develop in its own, if It’s going to develop, and leave it be if it isn’t.  I say this isn’t a lesson in control, and it isn’t for the most part.  This is a lesson in patience.  In waiting to see what happens.  In not jumping the gun out of desire.  And I’m learning it.  While it is a painful one to learn, because it is so reminiscent of what I’ve just gone through – what I just began to get over – over the last few months, I’m doing it.  Because I have to.

I have to learn to stop putting the cart before the horse.  I have to stop jumping the gun, I have to stop trying to make those choices for him.  Did we talk for six hours?  Yes.  Did I have fun?  Yes.  But that’s all it is right now.  And that’s all it’s going to be right now, because everyone has free will.  If he wants the other woman, he should have her.  Botboy did not want the ex wife… but I believe he did find someone else, much as I did not want to admit it for awhile.  So this lesson… this one is just letting time play out.  Let the chips fall where they will… let time do its rearranging and just to be okay with whatever design it chooses until it decides to throw them up again.

Karmic debt isn’t completely paid on this one… it’s a work in progress.  But I got this.

The Professor

Professor is gone.  Like, gone for good this time.  Because this time I was final about it.  This time I was clear about it.  And this time I knew what needed to be done.

We’d gotten to know each other again.  And at times, that getting to know you routine had been fun.  It made me feel very young again, I was intrigued.  But in the middle of all that conversation, dealbreakers started surfacing.  Now… everyone has dealbreakers.  Rules.  We already know about that from an earlier blog.  And I’ve broken several of those rules over the last month.  But there are others that I can’t break, no matter how hard I try.

Complaints, negativity, an inability to live up to the promises to stop the sex talk, the gambling, the presumptuousness of thinking that I was going to give up everything the second he flew down here and spent some money on Disney tickets.  And then there was the realization that if I were to do this, if I were to be with him, I would have to move.  I would have to leave Florida entirely.  Because he would not move here – if he moved at all, he’d move further north.  He made that abundantly clear.  And I don’t want to move.  For all that sometimes I find myself very isolated, the eternal summer makes all of that very bearable at times.  It’s a fair trade-off.

And in Florida, I can be who I really am.  I can study what I want to study.  I can believe what I want to believe without being harassed too much about it.  And he doesn’t believe in any of it.  If he doesn’t quite think I’m crazy, he doesn’t seem to think I’m entirely sane either.  Being with him, a lawyer, in Kansas would not only mean that I would have to move, I would have to hide it again.  And, worse, probably, eventually, stop it all together.  Make the voices go silent again.  Deny what I really am.  And I can’t do that.  Not now.  Not anymore.  I’ve never felt so complete in my life.

And yet, if I said no, if I cut ties with this altogether, what would happen?  It’s been a decade since he’s not been in my life.  Of course there were times when we weren’t speaking… more of those times, really, than times when we were.  But I am also thirty.  I’ve argued both sides of the coin – I can afford to be picky, and yet I can’t afford to be picky.  And since he’s filled the void so well over the last few weeks – a void left completely empty by Botboy – if I got rid of him, what would I do next?  What would I do without him?  I could ignore all of this… I could ignore my inclinations to stay here and I could move there, and I could let him have me, and I’d have my relationship.  I wouldn’t be alone anymore.  But at what cost?

When I thought about the reality of leaving myself behind, when I thought about the ramifications of what a move to Kansas would mean for me, I wasn’t sure it was the smart thing to do.  I’d not only be leaving myself behind, but I’d be trapped, essentially, in an area where I knew no one.  Where literally my only friend would be the Professor.  And where I couldn’t go out to make friends of my own – at least not like the ones here – without having to worry about what that would do to his job and his reputation.  I could see what would happen very clearly if I stayed with him.  We’d marry.  We’d argue a lot – not necessarily because there were so many things to disagree about, but because I wouldn’t be happy and I could not force myself to be happy.  If we had children (and I wasn’t even sure he WANTED children – other than sex he never spoke of anything else), they’d suffer too.  I could see myself in it, of course.  But I could not see myself being happy in it.  And happiness… happiness… that is so important.  After the nightmares that were my marriage and that relationship with Gatsby/3.0, I have realized that and believe it more firmly than I ever have.

And yet I was still on the fence.  I didn’t want to hurt him.  I’m not very good at breakups.  They are painful.  They are awkward.  And they are so final sometimes.  And I wasn’t even sure that that’s really what I wanted.  I still couldn’t fathom a life without him in it, in one facet or another, though now I understood that that was more out of habit than out of any real feelings for him.  That Friday, though, when I didn’t hear from him, it was peaceful.  I didn’t know why he hadn’t talked to me.  But it was peaceful.  When I found out that it was because his phone had screwed up the night before and had deleted my number, I took it as a sign.  Because when I can’t do something myself, the universe has a way of making sure it happens anyway.

I chose myself.  For the first time in a very, very long time, I chose myself.  My happiness.  My beliefs.  I chose all of those things over someone else.  I chose all of those things over a relationship.  I put myself first.  I’m a generous girl.  A giver.  And while outwardly I may come across as being very selfish, I’m truly not.  But maybe a little bit of selfishness isn’t such a bad thing.  Maybe a little bit of selfishness is necessary… because you can’t always put someone else first.  You can’t always put someone else in front of you… or else you never get anywhere.  And you give too much of yourself, you compromise too much of yourself.

And so, four drafts later, when I was sure I wasn’t bitter, and when I was sure it wasn’t an attack, I sent an email:

“I have been thinking a lot, to make sure I do not make a mistake. But then I realized that if I have to think about something like this so early on, I already have my answer.

Thank you for the offer to take me to Disney.  It was very generous of you.  But I fear that you have ulterior motives behind this offer, whether you can admit to them now or not. Regardless, I don’t want to feel obligated to you, and if we went, I know I would. And so, I cannot accept it.

Further, I cannot do this.  Not just because of those motives, but because I don’t think that what you want from me is aligned with what I am looking for.  And even if it were, there are simply too many deal breakers in this situation in order for me to be able to look at it with any sort of seriousness toward long term potential (no, it is not just the gambling).  I fear it would be a waste of time for both of us.  I do want you to be happy.  But I do not think that your happiness is with me – not in the long term.  And the short term is not possible either.  I cannot compromise either my principles in the short term, nor my self, happiness, and satisfaction in the long term.  To ask me to do either would be unfair.

With all of that said, please know that I don’t say any of this out of anger.  You’ve done nothing except to be yourself; that’s all anyone could ask of you. And ultimately, I wish you the best as you start down a new path.”

He said nothing afterward.  And it’s been a full week.  There has been no reply, no communication, nothing.  And I’m okay with it.  Because that’s what I wanted.  Finality.  No arguments, no tears, no communication – nothing that would tempt me to change my mind, nothing that would tempt me to go into something I know I would not be satisfied with.

They say that the universe replaces the things we get rid of.  It has up until now, though sometimes those replacements are made with the same people coming back again and again because I don’t exorcise them fully from my life.  This one has been.  I know that now.  This time it feels differently.  Not a temporary cooling off period… this time it’s done.  Something else will enter my life… when it’s the right thing and when it’s ready.  Until then I wait, and I read my books, and I play with my cards, and my herbs, and my crystals, and my pendulum.  And I try to find patience.