Tag Archives: Life

All That Debt

Let’s talk a little bit about debt.

Debt sucks.  It feels a whole lot like being in prison, except there are no bars and you are completely (mostly) in control of how much you are in for and how long it takes you to dig yourself out of it.  I mean there are limitations to that statement – emergencies can send you spiraling thousands into the hole with no other choice.  And if you don’t make a lot of money it can take a freaking long-ass time to dig yourself back out of it.  And then there are student loans which no one really wants, but everyone seems to have to have.

Anyway, I have a lot of it.  Debt, that is.  Student loans and revolving debt.

I had it (some) when I lived here before.  Student loans, mostly, though I’d had some credit card debt early on that I’d gotten paid off.

Toward the end of my Florida Tenure Part I, I started racking up more… life-saving missions, moving expenses, etc.  I did a lot of things the wrong way.  What I SHOULD have done, in hindsight (which is always 20/20) is waited until I had a job offer in Kentucky before I packed up my entire life and moved back up  north.  That probably would have been good in two ways: First, I’d imagine I’d have come to my senses once winter came and they were sitting in the snow and I was down here in the warmth. Second, if I did decide I was really that insane, I’d have had sustainable income to have gotten a place of my own, and not have racked up so much debt by paying basic living expenses on high-interest credit cards.

Buuut… sometimes I am not smart.  It’s rare, but it happens.  And I went anyway.  I ended up freezing that winter and it took eight months to get a job.  I did not have to pay rent for much of that, but I did still have expenses to pay (cell phone, car insurance, food, winter clothes, etc.).  Further, I did not think that it would take eight months to find something.  I did not take into consideration that Louisville doesn’t have the market that Tampa has for someone who does what I used to do.  And Louisville is cliquish… you have to know the right people to get hired to do meaningful work for the most part… I had the skills and the resume, but I did not have the connections.  Or the family background.

So I was screwed… in many ways.

But I digress… coulda, woulda, shoulda doesn’t get you anywhere.  Moving on…

At this point, it is what it is.

When I decided to move back to Florida, I did so for a couple of reasons: I hate cold weather. The job market is better for me.  I simply make more.

Both of those benefits have largely panned out.  I make more.  Way more.  And it’s been warmer here than it’s been in Kentucky, though lately it’s been very frigid (for Florida), and it snowed in the northern part, so some might argue that I didn’t go far enough south.

That said, there’s still all this debt.  And it’s frustrating.  Because while I bring in massively more than I used to when I lived here before, I see less of it because it all (at least for now) goes into paying off the banks.  And I get kind of anxious… not because I think I’m going to lose my job, but knowing that if I did, I’m really on the precipice of being completely and totally screwed because the monthly payments I’m bound to make are way more than I’d afford on an “average” salary.  Things are tenuous.

Now, on the up-side, I have a roommate.  A fiancé (he gets pissed if I call him a roommate, but when it comes to rent-sharing, that’s what he is).  He pays half the rent.  I take what he gives me and I roll it into my debt.

I’ve started doing promos again – because they pay well, I can take them when I have time to take them, and I can roll that money into the debt too.  Tax refund money will also be put there.  I mean, in reality, paying this off shouldn’t take longer than a couple of years to accomplish, if I work steadily at it.

It’s a great plan… it really is… and it works (when he’s able to afford it – moving to Florida did not do for him (financially) what it did for me).  But it’s still going to take a very long time.

I’m trying to be patient with myself, and to not beat myself up too much over the past.  The choices were what they were.  I’m sure I would have done things differently if I’d known how things would end up, but the point is, I didn’t.

And we can’t know, can we?  Not really… we take a path, we walk down the path, sometimes it’s the wrong path, but at that point (unless we’re really lucky) there’s no turning around and choosing a different path.  And even if we do, we still have the baggage from the wrong path that we started on.

I believe in the Law of Attraction.  It works for me.  It has for many, many years, and it’s how I’ve gotten much of what I have.  I have to believe that, like everything else, this will all work out as well.  Somehow.  I’ll pay this off, I’ll have the things I want (a house, a new car… nothing extravagant… just something to get me out of apartment living, and my Beetle), and I’ll be able to stop working so damn hard.

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.

Planting Roots

I’m a strange girl… I prefer funerals to weddings every time, hands down.  Part of that reason, though, makes perfect sense.  Weddings tend to bring out the worst in people.  They are stressful, depending on the level of “bridezilla” everyone turns into a monster, and every last bit of family drama comes to the surface.  With funerals, I don’t care how awful a person you were in life, no one ever has anything bad to say about you after you’re dead.

And this, ultimately, is why I did not want to go to my sister’s wedding; why I still do not want to go.  But I am going anyway.  For her.  Though the terms, and the situation, is not what I hoped it would be.  True to form, when we decided to start discussing it, the past was brought to the forefront.  My mother, who has been a nitpicker since I became a rebellious, sullen teenager that started questioning everything she’d been taught never to question (namely, religion, morals, and “right” vs. “wrong), always uses these opportunities to engage in the “hard discussions” – she uses these opportunities to evangelize.  To spread the gospel to her horrible, lost, rebellious daughter.  And she uses these opportunities to bring to light everything I have ever done to disappoint her.  I’ve named these things before – but for those of you that don’t remember, or who are just now joining me, I’ll list a few: a modeling career she didn’t approve of, living with a man before I married him, marrying the wrong person (at their behest, though they like to pretend they didn’t have a hand in it), having sex as a teenager, moving to Florida, wearing too much eyeliner sometimes… it goes on and on (and yes, I’m being honest, these minor infractions that are quite mainstream are really, to her, horrible).

But because I love my sister, though we are not close, I agreed to go.  Being in it was not an option.  After I’d thought about it, I realized that with flight times, it was not logistically going to be possible.  When I told my mother this, she blew up at me – as if I can control the flight times, the clock, and the timing of this wedding (which is happening way too fast in my opinion).  More stuff was brought up, she called me selfish (anyone who really knows me, knows that I am FAR from selfish), we had a shouting match.  My father, later, after hearing her side, took it and now treats me like a stranger, making it very apparent that if I come up there with an attitude (an attitude, to him, is not using the baby voice the way that my sister does – something I have never done), that I will be thrown out.  To save myself the trouble of being thrown out, I have elected to get a hotel room in Louisville.

But the whole situation says something much larger about my future, and about the future of my relationship with my family.  Things have been… unstable… for sixteen years.  They get better, but then they get worse – irrevocably so.  At this point, so many things have been said, by both parties, that we are not able to let go.  And there have been things done, to me, that I cannot forget – being beaten as a teenager for nothing at all, enduring the always overwhelming feeling of being second best.  The deterioration, I knew, would cause an eventual split.  I’d hoped I was wrong about that – I’d hoped that we’d be able to go on, being civil to each other, I’d come home when I felt like I could – when I’d recovered from the latest “Let’s tear into Victoria” time, pretend like everything was fine, then go home to the silence.

Now I know that that is no longer possible.  I mean I’ve known that their town is not my home for a very long time – it hasn’t felt like home to me since 1997, and less so since I started moving out during the summers beginning in 1999 until I moved out, permanently, in 2001.  Still, you know, that’s where you are always supposed to be able to go when shit hits the fan everywhere else.  It hasn’t been that way, not really, for a very long time, but it had been civil enough that I was able to pretend.  I can’t pretend anymore.  It’s a little disturbing.  But really, it’s more of a relief.  I don’t know, I’m sad and happy all at the same time – sad that things have gone so far to shit that they are irreversible, but happy as if I’ve just gotten out of a toxic relationship that I’d stayed in for far too long.

But it does pose the question: If my roots are not in Kentucky anymore (because that’s really what’s happened here – my roots are gone), then where are they?  The answer, right now, is nowhere.  This doesn’t scare me as much as it should.  As I told Botboy in the previous post – I’m a brave girl when it comes to doing what needs to be done.

And what needs to be done, now, is making a home for myself.  A real one.  One that I feel like I can come back to, no matter what, when the world goes to shit.  I know that won’t be easy to do.  I don’t even know that Florida is where that home is, but what I DO know, is that Florida has felt more like home to me (even when I didn’t live here, even when I was only visiting as a teenager) than any place ever has.  So because of that, right now, I’m going to stay.  I’m going to give it a fair shot.  There are opportunities I have here that I have nowhere else.  I have a good job.  My best friend in the whole world, the one person that knows how I feel without ever having to say it, is here.  The weather is damn near perfect.  And it is half a country away from the people that have made me feel the worst about myself.

It’s not that I’m not scared.  I’m fucking terrified.  Because now, for better or worse, aside from my friends that are here for emotional support and my cat who doesn’t leave my side, I really am alone.  I can’t call my family when things go to shit.  When UK beats UL, I can’t call my dad and trash talk Rick Pitino.  I will have to learn to be alone for Christmas and to be okay with it.  But it’s exciting, too.  Because where there is loss, there is opportunity.  And this is a big one.  But, then, I think everything I’ve done, everywhere I’ve been, everything I’ve gone through has prepared me for this.  This one moment.

I have suspected, for a long time, that what I am now, and what I want now – and who I used to be (who they wanted me to be) could not coexist.  I know this, now, to be true.  I won’t compromise who I am for who someone else wants me to be.  Florida is the foundation.  Because, for now, I can’t think of anywhere else I’d rather go.  Here I’ll find a house.  Hopefully find someone, eventually, to settle down with (that won’t echo the shit that my parents have put me through over the last several years).  Build something solid that I can run back to when the world around me goes to shit.

I’ll do it.  Because the only alternative is to give up.  And that isn’t an option.

Jury Duty

So, about a month ago, I got a very official looking communication in the mail.  I thought it was a traffic citation, actually, since we have cameras at about every intersection these days and despite the fact that I am very careful, I have a severe distrust of technology (and I disagree with law enforcement posting cameras at intersections to give tickets – if you can’t police your own intersections, you don’t deserve the revenue) and have heard that yellow lights have been intentionally shortened so that people will run the red ones and hence get a ticket.  It wouldn’t have surprised me.

But it wasn’t a ticket.  It was worse.  I was being summoned to jury duty… and not the piddly local stuff, but US District Court (because you know, if I’m going to do it, I may as well do it big).  And I say this is worse than a ticket because a ticket I can pay.  I don’t want to, I wouldn’t like it, but I pay the damn thing, I don’t have to think about it anymore – Gatsby used to say the best problem you can have is one you can solve with money.  I used to think that was a joke.  Until I started making real money.  Now I know he’s right.  Anyway…

US District court is worse than a ticket… because they demand THREE FULL WEEKS of your time.  Not in the court, but on call for them.  Which means you can’t make appointments because you don’t know when you’re going to be needed.  You can’t plan a trip.  You have to call in a few times a week to see if you’re going to be needed, which means that your boss won’t know whether you’re going to be at work the next day for the next three weeks either.  I can’t even take any PTO time because if I did, with my luck, I’d probably have to go in to serve that day, which meant that I’d be using my vacation time instead of my work time.  The only good parts about this that I could see was that if I did get selected to serve, then I’d get to keep my salary plus the daily rate.  Oh and because the courthouse is located, literally, in my favorite area of Tampa’s downtown.  The Greek place I go to, my favorite pizza place, the old bookstore that I like, the park, and First Watch all within a few blocks.  At least there’d be somewhere to go to eat if I had to kill some time.

The first two weeks I was on call, nothing happened.  I called the number, was told to call back on a certain date, I did, was told to keep calling back, no big deal.  Of course it would figure, though… as luck would have it, they’d have me go in on the week that all of our staff, and my backup, would be at the Insurance conference thing in Vegas.  We all were expecting it… I was hoping that wouldn’t happen, but it did.  Not that I could use that as an excuse.  Because that’s the thing about US District Court… they don’t freaking care that no one is left to do your job.  It’s not their problem that insurance offices across the country won’t be trained.  Truthfully, had my backup been in office, I wouldn’t have minded – I could have used the break.  Saying the same thing three times a day can be tiresome.  But I felt irresponsible about leaving them high and dry.

So, armed with my new, large, oversized bag that would fit my umbrella inside, along with two books to amuse myself with while I waited, pens, Prowl, my Tarot cards (no self-respecting witch leaves home without them), and, for good measure, hair devoid of product and my pentagram necklace (that I rarely wear) out in the open for the world to see – because, you know, I may as well look the part, and, inconveniently, NOT my cell phone or tablet since I wasn’t allowed to have those in the Courthouse, I went in there at 7:30 in the morning.  This is early for me.  I don’t even usually wake up until 7:45.  Holy crap I felt like a zombie.  But I figured the fact that I was sleepy might help my cause further.

I filled out the reimbursement sheet (they apparently reimburse you for mileage – which admittedly is kind of cool), I found a seat on one of the couches near the window because they looked more comfortable with the tables and chairs in the center of the room (the rest of the group chose the center of the room – I didn’t care – I liked the couch and I was sleepy).  We went through the tedious, but friendly, orientation and were told there was only one trial scheduled.  If we didn’t chosen for that, we’d be sent home and off the call schedule for 2 years.  Oh good god, that made me happy, but while others were smiling, I didn’t.  Not yet.  I didn’t want to jinx myself.

After the orientation, we filed, single file, into the courtroom – a large, imposing space that was very formal looking on the inside.  It wasn’t the first time I’d been in a courtroom, but it was the first time I’d been in a Federal courtroom.  And this one was significantly larger than the one I’d been in when I watched Mr. Ex get expunged in 2002 and certainly more official looking than the Mock one that had been at the University of Louisville when I’d sat on the jury for a S/O’s mock trial final in 2009 (he, ironically, is now a lawyer in Orlando – and he wasn’t at this trial, thank god).

So we sat there, introducing ourselves, asking questions.  Nothing quite like being one of about five people that has an answer for everything.  I think what finally got me off was the fact that I’m just too damned educated and I knew too much about the court system.  And I have a cousin currently going through the court system (not as a juror) in Kentucky.  And I know too much about computers (which is laughable because I know very little in reality).  Though I’m sure the pentagram didn’t hurt anything in the end.  I did not take the cards out and shuffle them during questioning, though I did think about it.

I was out of there by 11:30.  Long before the storms started that afternoon, and home, watching Walking Dead by 1:00.  Then I took a fucking nap.  Because having to be anywhere at 7:45 is ridiculous.

Now things can get back to normal.  Sort of.

A Year of Echoes

This year has been a year of echoes.  I’m of the opinion that things echo, for me, because I didn’t do what I was supposed to do with them the first time.  Like in school… if you don’t master the concepts of a class, then you fail the class and you take it over so that you DO.  Life is like school.  Only harder.  And less forgiving.  And at the end of the day you don’t get a report card that tells you exactly what you did wrong – no, you have to figure that part out largely for yourself.

I thought I’d learned the lessons I needed to learn from Botboy when I squared things away with Jesus.  I don’t think I was necessarily wrong – I still believe I did the right thing in that situation.  But I suppose the Universe had other ideas with the new guy I’d started seeing about a month and a half ago.  This is the one I manifested.  And he was, by all accounts, at first glance (and even over the first through fourth dates) perfect.  But then he started pulling away.  He started getting quiet.  He’d still text me now and then, but it was different somehow and at first I didn’t understand how.

Then it came to me… those texts weren’t as involved as they used to be.  They weren’t as enthusiastic.  It reminded me of how things had started to go downhill with Botboy.  I remembered enough from then to know not to push now.  And so I didn’t.  I assumed he was busy, because he does have a lot going on, and I let it go.  I pulled back, I didn’t try to make plans with him, and I watched.  A week went by and I finally got a text, apologizing for the distance, and telling me he had a lot going on – and would email me about this later.  I did not get the email for a couple of days, but when I did, the email was long, and clearly worded.

As I read the email, I was astonished at the similarities between his situation and my own.  He was reminded, when he was with me, of his ex.  I knew what that felt like.  I remember all too well the inability to move forward from an ex.  The haunted feeling you get, almost torturous, when pieces and reminders of the one you are not over are thrown continuously in your face (making it impossible, really, to get a handle on things and move on anyway).  I had been here before.  In both places.  It echoed the conversation I had with Bot in April.  It screamed everything I’d already been through.  And the mantra, “When you don’t learn from the past, you repeat it until you do it right” kept rolling through my head as I read it a second time, trying to internalize it all, attempting to figure out what it is that I needed to do – or essentially, what it is that I DIDN’T do the first time that I need to do this time.

I knew the answer to that. But, then, I’d seen it all before, too.  A full stop toward progression, silence where there had been none, the occasional daily check in but no attempt to make plans.  I’d been right not to push it.  That much I’d learned from the past.

I suspected I even knew what I needed to take from the past and apply to this situation, too.  It wasn’t that I handled the old situation incorrectly… it’s not that the conversation I had with Botboy didn’t need to happen.  But I’d broken one of my cardinal rules then – I’d gotten angry at him and I’d confronted him when he was at war.  And I’d said I would never, ever do that – because if something happened to him, I did not want to have to live with the thought that the last thing I ever said to him were words spoken out of anger.  And yet, I spoke them.  I was harsh.   And I made demands of him that I had no right to make– so what if he wasn’t over things?  Who am I to tell someone to get over things?  It’s true there can’t be three people in a relationship, but we all have baggage, and sometimes that baggage is harder to throw away than we’d like to admit.  It wasn’t my job to tell him to throw it away, he knew he needed to throw it away.  It was my job to be there, to listen when he needed to talk, and to be understanding (as long as there was no chance that she was coming back).  And I hadn’t done that.

And here I had it.  The same situation, dropped into my lap.  This time, I came from a different approach.  Acknowledging that I could not tell him whether he was ready to move forward or not, I left the ball in his court.  If he wanted to continue to hang out, to date with INTENT (I made that part very clear, because I am not and will not be a fuck buddy), then I would do that.  If he did not, then he needed to tell me so that I could move forward.  And no hard feelings either way.  I did not speak ill of his ex (either of them), I did not get angry.  But I also said that putting me on the back burner is not a good idea.  Isolating yourself, remaining stagnant, is never a good idea if you’re truly trying to move on.

Things ended with the agreement that we were not going to stop hanging out, that we were going to take it slowly.  And during that period, I was going to see other people.  Because while he may not be ready to move on, I am.  I have been divorced for five years…  And in that five years, I have had a multitude of flings but nothing real.  And I am sick of flings.  I am sick of dating, and dating, and dating, finding a relationship but realizing that it’s unsteady because he isn’t sold; or because he can’t love me; or because he’s afraid and won’t admit it; or because there are too many complications; or watching (figuratively) the one that came so close, packing up all his TransFormers and walking out the door.   As long as there was effort to move forward, I could take things slowly with Nameless, and I could leave that door open.  But I can’t close the door to any others who come through either.  Because if I’ve learned nothing else over the last five years, I’ve learned that closing the door prematurely to anything (despite what my friends say) is not conducive to progress.

It has been two weeks since that agreement.  I have been patient.  We have texted, but only when I initiate it.  We have not seen each other during that time (where we were, at least, getting together at least once a week).  I was watching – waiting and hoping for some improvement.  Hoping for something to give me a sign that I needed to continue to hold on.  I waited.  I was optimistic.  I was patient.  After no plans were made, after no attempts to make plans were made, I conceded.  His ghosts may not exist anymore, but he’s still giving them a priority in his life.  The past, mourning over the past, is, at present, more important to him than moving forward from it – and because of that, making something happen between he and I was not a priority.  And I know, better than almost anyone, that someone who wants to see someone, makes it a PRIORITY to see someone.  It’s a shame, really, but I don’t have time for someone that doesn’t have time for me.  And so, I sent an email.  Because I don’t like leaving doors open.  I closed the door… as nicely, and as patiently as I could.

It is two weeks until my birthday and two weeks until this blog celebrates its first anniversary.  It’s been a hard year in some ways; a happy year in most ways.  And I’ve come a long way from the woman that had just ended a very unhappy relationship when I began this blog.  The thing is, through all of this, I’ve learned something:  I’m a busy girl.  Despite all of that, though, I can make time for the people I want in my life.  I do not, however, have time for the people who cannot make time for me.  And I am not obligated to make those people a priority.

Manifestation

I manifested a man.

Like, I didn’t create him out of thin air or anything.  I’m pretty sure he existed before I met him, as he seems pretty established in the world.  But after months and months of disappointments, after months and months of realizing that I needed to learn to let go, after months and months of self-flagellation over what happened with Bot, Metalhead and the multitude of fiascos I’ve been keeping company with, I finally sat down, I lit a few candles, and I told the Universe what I wanted.  I explained it so explicitly, and then closed it by saying, “Oh, and he needs to be so awesome that I won’t be able to find a reason to say no when you send him my way.”

Because they have been sending men my way.  And each, one after the other, had a major dealbreaker (or four) that I would either have to compromise on, or would need to walk away from.  I decided that I didn’t want to compromise anymore.  I mean, what’s the point in manifestation if you have to compromise?  So I told myself that I wasn’t settling anymore.  I wasn’t settling, in any regard.  He needed to be open-minded (so open-minded that I needed to be able to continue to write my blog and do my metaphysics without judgment).  He needed to be positive.  Accepting.  But he needed to be self-sufficient.  He needed to be capable of returning affection and emotion – someone as into me as I am into him.  In essence, he needed to be the best qualities of the ones I’ve dated in the past, all combined into one individual.  And to top it all off, he needed to be healthy, good looking (because I’m not compromising in the looks department anymore, either), and, as I’ve said, have his shit together so well that I absolutely could not say no.

I know I sound picky.  I am picky.  But when you manifest something, you put that request out there, and then you believe, with every ounce of confidence, that you’re going to have it.  I figured: May as well go whole hog with this one, and I did that.  I didn’t know how long it would take.  I didn’t know where it was going to come from.  But I knew I was going to have it.  Eventually.  Somehow.

So, long story short, this guy shows up.  He really is what I asked for… at least at first glance.  I’m a little amazed by the ease of the whole thing, but I go with it.

We talk online a bit, it moves to texting.  From texting it moves into a meet up for drinks after work one evening.  Drinks go so well that it turns into dinner.  We plan our second date.  Dinner and drinks on his side of the bridge, in Dunedin, where I’ve never been before.  We kiss.  Alright, we make out awhile at the end of that one.  Still nothing terribly unusual.  We’re moving kind of fast, but it feels right, and I’m still feeling pretty good about it.  We talk daily, most times every day.  The enthusiasm levels are off the chart… I haven’t see this much effort put forth since Bot.  And I’m liking it.  Also my psychics like him, which is another good sign.

I take down the profiles.  Not for him.  I want to be clear about that.  I take them down because the drama was getting irritating.  I have ten weeks worth of Internet Dating Escapades to get me by.  It’s a nice vacation from the idiocy.  Then I’ll decide whether to continue that or do something else.  Anyway…

We plan our third date very shortly after the second.  This time I’m going to his place to watch This Is The End.  Because we were out so late on the second date, and because I had had issues with finding a hotel in Dunedin if I needed one, I booked one on his side.  That way I had a place to sleep if I needed it.  No irresponsibility on my part.  The hotel I booked had a mini golf course.  We were going to play, time permitting.  I also discovered that it had a Jacuzzi.   Again, long story short, we had dinner.  Drinks.  Back to his place.  Movie.  More drinks.  Making out on the love seat.  He showed me where he lived – his dock, pool, etc.  Went back to my hotel.  More drinks.  Decided to find the Jacuzzi.  Walked around for awhile, never found it, back to my room.  More shots.  Made out on the bed.  But this time, it went further.  This time we slept together.  He stayed.  He was very hung over the next morning.  Like to the point of illness.  I felt bad about it… especially since we were both heading out to work and he was dragging ass while I was reveling in the afterglow of multiple orgasms.

So, it’s been several days since.  We still text every day.  He’s still initiating it, and I’m enthusiastically answering.  Because when I told him on Thursday that I liked him, I meant it.  Granted, I was very drunk… I am honest when I am drunk, though sometimes too much so.  I won’t say that the honesty doesn’t worry me to an extent, it does, I have a very bad habit of saying too much, too quickly. Also, three dates may not be a big deal, but it is really, really, REALLY unusual for me to sleep with someone I’m interested in (in terms of long term potential) before I get the long term commitment (and this would be why I am still in single digits – bedroom partner wise).  I like the guy.  I proved it.  Perhaps a little too enthusiastically.

Afterward I saw my favorite psychic.  The one who has been the most accurate.  I told her what I had done.  I told her what we did, reiterating that I was concerned that I said too much and moved too fast.  She reminded me that if I manifested all of this, then it’s my job to make sure I continue to do it.  If I start being negative, then things are going to GET negative.  Quickly.  She read the cards.  And then she asked me what I was afraid of… if this situation felt differently than the others, then how do I know FOR SURE that I fucked it up by opening my big mouth?  I got it… I didn’t… I was assuming things based on past behavior.

Bottom line:  Manifestation is absolutely real.

If your thoughts, your confidence, your desires, and your… determination… to make something happen gets you somewhere positive, it can, at the same time, take you in the opposite direction based on the things that you think, the things that you feel.  Amber, the psychic, told me I needed to be careful – use psychic protection.  I didn’t understand why when she said this… now I do.  Because I am prone to becoming a victim of my own insecurities.  That has to stop.  Because when I do that, then it gets out of hand in a hurry and, ultimately, I am the one that loses.

So, I’m letting it be what it is.  I’m letting it develop.  I am, for once, sitting back and letting things happen, believing that what is happening is, ultimately, for my highest good.  When we are together, we have fun.  Uncomplicated, unquestionable fun.  And for the moment, that’s all that matters.

If and when it needs to be something else, then it will happen naturally.  Without effort.  Because what is supposed to happen, happens… easily and effortlessly.  And because we believe in the possibilities.  And because we stop making things harder than what they’re supposed to be.

Home

I looked at the calendar a couple of days ago and realized, with some surprise, that I have lived in Florida now for nearly three years.  I can still remember what it felt like to get off of the plane that carried me from Kentucky to Atlanta, with three thousand dollars in my checking account, no job, no apartment, nothing except a car that I’d bought that was waiting for me in Florida.  It was still more than I’d had seven months before that – seven months before that had me sitting, freezing, in a basement, playing World of Warcraft so that I didn’t get too bored while I waited, desperately for a phone call for a job.  I’d gotten the job in Kentucky.  It had given me enough money to make a fresh start elsewhere.  I took it.

Three years later, I find myself sitting in a fairly large apartment, with vaulted ceilings, in the land of eternal summer.  The beach is at my fingertips (though I can count on one hand the amount of times I’ve been there since I moved here).  The sun shines the majority of the time.  I have a job that pays better than I ever could have dreamed (or ever could have had if I’d stayed in Kentucky).  I have, essentially, everything I ever wanted – at least materially – and I found it all within a couple of months of moving.  Moving may not solve all your problems (case in point, I am still single, with no legitimate prospects), but sometimes a change of scenery certainly helps.

That’s not to say it’s not hard sometimes.  I am, essentially, down here by myself.  When I got very sick this time last year, I had no real support system – aside from Gatsby/3.0 who made me feel as if the proposed tumor was more of an inconvenience for him than a serious issue for me.  My parents, family, sister, everyone lives 1000 miles away.  A two hour plane trip, yes, but a sixteen hour drive.  Some days I like it that way.  Other days, like when I’m sick, or on the holidays when it’s not so easy to just fly home so that I don’t have to sit here, alone, it’s hard.  And while I don’t let it show, I do get homesick sometimes.

Kentucky was not, by any means, all roses and daisies for me.  But still, there are roots there.  Roots that go deep.  And they’re undeniable.  I sit here, in Florida, in front of my television, in front of my computer, with my cat.  I sit here and I talk about these menial things that I’m doing in my life.  I sit here and I chat with my friends (most of whom still live up north) and I Skype with others.  And fairly frequently, I’m asked why I don’t just move home… or at least to Nashville… or maybe back to Louisville.  The fact of the matter is, I simply don’t want to.

Truth: visiting there is fun.  Going house to house, seeing people I don’t get to see very often, it’s like a big party all the time every time I get off the plane and get in my rental and drive the two hours to the little town.  It’s a nice change – a welcome change, really… to go from almost constant solitude to having people around me all the time.  There’s home cooked food.  And the air there is clean.  There’s no smog, the stars go on for miles, and when you go outside you can hear frogs and crickets… sometimes a coyote.  You see deer literally everywhere – which can be a bad thing if you’re driving.

And of course there’s my family, too.  My mother who loves to cook and who swears up and down that she never gets tired of me visiting.  And my father whose laugh is the best sound in the world to me sometimes (even if it’s from 1000 miles away, on the phone).  I do my best to get them to laugh.  When my father laughs… my little corner of Tampa gets a little bit brighter (if that’s even possible).  There are my aunts and uncles, my cousins, my sister, my best friend.  Lots of catching up to do, and it seems like we never really do seem to get completely caught up before I have to get on the plane again – though we certainly try as we work through the multitude of restaurants I absolutely have to hit up when I am there.

There is all of that… but then there’s Florida.  So many years I wanted to move here.  I can remember sitting in my house as a teenager, snow on the ground, wishing I could live somewhere that wasn’t so cold.  I can remember asking my now ex-husband time and time again to move here (he never wanted to move).  I finally got here.  And I did it all by myself.  And I’m ridiculously proud of that.  And financially, materially, it has been the best move of my life.  Yes it can get lonely sometimes, but, then, I wasn’t NOT lonely in Kentucky either.  I didn’t spend the last decade of my Kentucky life in that small town.  I spent it in the city… and I didn’t know anyone there either.  I tell myself that it’s no different.  And in many ways it isn’t.  But in most ways, in the majority of ways, I’m still happy here.  Happier in Florida than I can remember being in Kentucky – at least for the second half of my habitation there.  I know that if I did move back, that I’d no sooner settle in than I’d find myself unhappy again – and this time, unhappy and shivering in the middle of winter.

And yet, the rolling hills of Kentucky still call to me as I sit here, on my couch, listening to the mid-summer Florida thunderstorm outside my window.  Innately, I feel them drawing me in.  Beckoning to me to come back – to visit the family I grew up in.  To visit the graves of the family I never knew.  To spend time walking around the high school track where I can still feel the awkwardness of those stupid first dates in the bleachers, still hear the kids outside the school waiting for the first tone to sound.  In my mind’s eye, I can see the endless expanse of the corn fields down the highway and I can see the way that the sky, and the stars, seem to climb into the sky forever and ever – layers upon layers of eternity.  Kentucky calls to me when I am in Florida.

And yet, Florida calls to me when I am in Kentucky.  Surrounded by the clean, fresh air that I love, amused by my friends, comfortably pampered by my family, Florida beckons to me when I’m there.  It wants me back.  Tampa, the seductive city that she is, seems to throw out her arms and grab my hand, reminding me of the palm trees and the sound of the waves crashing into the beaches at night.  She sends me visions of the downtown areas that I love so well.  Palm Harbor, too, wants me to come back – the shops I love, the friends I’ve made there, the community that’s growing right before my eyes.

It is as if some days, I cannot win.  Some days, I feel myself being pulled into two opposing directions; the one where my history, for better or worse, is so deeply entrenched.  Where I will likely return, one day, to be buried with the rest of my family.  And the other where my present lies… possibly also my future, though, being the restless wanderer that I am, I’m always open to suggestions.  And then I realize… it’s not that each location, each life, is pulling me in two different directions.  It’s not that at all.  The truth of it is this: neither is pulling me anywhere.  Because I have something that not everyone has… I have two places that I can call home.  Whether I am here in Florida, whether I am there in Kentucky, I am home no matter where I go.

And, knowing that, I feel truly rich, indeed.

Karmic Debt Revisited

In an earlier entry, I compared Metalhead to Buttface, Jesus to Botboy.  It seems that I was right about all of this.  I’ve handled things differently.  It’s pained me to do it, particularly with the Metalhead situation, which I’ve decided (after serious thought) to just let it be what it is.  But it’s done.

After last week’s blog, though, it started really resonating with me that this year really has not been the year for dating.  Botboy came, left, and I was left with that baggage.  Metalhead joined a cult.  Gatsby threw a temper tantrum when I told him I wasn’t going to sleep with him anymore (I make it a point never to have two fuck buddies at once) and started belittling Metalhead.  The Vampire in my complex that was highly attracted to me started talking about biting my lips and his eyes glowed.  There are divorcees who are not “quite” divorced yet.  There are the ones that have more baggage than I am prepared to deal with.  All of this is very funny in hindsight… because I mean who else would this happen to?  But when all you want is to settle down, when you have everything else BUT that, it gets to be a little discouraging when things don’t go quite the way you want them to.

I was talking to my friend Mary the other day about all of this… she brought up the Law of Attraction to me again.  It’s funny.  I’m the one that introduced her to it.  And I still really do believe in it – the concept that, essentially, what you put out is what you get back.  I was willing to take responsibility for the Botboy one.  I said some things to him when I found that profile again on OKC in such a way that I probably shouldn’t have.  I said them when I was in a place of shock and anger… I did not come from a place of love.  I can’t say that approaching that from a different angle would have changed anything.  Intuition tells me it wouldn’t have.  He had already made his choice by then.  But I didn’t have to be so rough about it.

The Metalhead thing has me a little more disgruntled.  Mostly because I know that there is absolutely nothing I did, and, more, absolutely nothing I could have done to have prevented this.  As I said in my last post… I miss my friend.  And I do.  And it’s human nature, I guess, to look at these situations to see if there’s something about them we could have changed.  I did.  I’ve looked.  I’ve tried to find something to blame myself for, and I can’t.  This was all on him.  He still has my key… and I thought about trying to get it back from him.  But he’s lost it.  And continuing to attempt to get it back means that I still have to continue to put myself in his way.  It prolongs the loss.  It makes me feel bad.  It can’t be constructive.  I decided it would be best to just change the locks and call it a day.  Locks have been changed.  Moving on.

It seems like the long line of disappointments is never going to end.  And of course the Law of Attraction says that the more I think like that, the more I’m going to attract.  So I’m trying to stop that thought process.  But more, I’m trying to understand what it is that has caused me to attract this stuff up to this point.  Because that’s the other thing about the Law of Attraction… you’re forced to admit that, when things continue to repeat themselves, when you see a lot of things that remind you of things you’ve already done, there’s something that you’re supposed to learn.  And when you don’t learn the things you’re supposed to learn, then you see a lot of repeats.  It repeats until you get it.

So… the question has now become what is it that I am doing… what belief am I carrying around (unconsciously even) that causes me to repeat this stuff over and over?  Because there must be something… since the people from my past re-manifest themselves in others, in new situations, there must be something I’m missing.

So I sat down and I did some writing.  Free-writing… where I just sit, and I ask a question, and I let the answers come through that way.  Sometimes that’s the best way to reach my subconscious… and other times I can get my guides.  But when I did this last night, it flowed for me.  And an answer came.  This shit keeps happening to me because I continue to allow it to happen to me.  Partially because I get lonely, partially because I settle for people that are less than good for me, who exhibit my original dealbreakers, out of fear that I won’t find anyone else.  I settle for less than what I deserve and because I throw that out there, that’s what I get back.  I continually lower my expectations and my standards, I continually take on the extra baggage because of that fear.  And when those things end, it makes that fear worse – I internalize these things as personal failures and justify all of this by believing that if I can’t even keep the ones that are lower than my own standards, how can I ever keep the ones that are at or above those standards?  It’s a fear-based, fear-driven behavior.

I settle for fuck buddy relationships because, subconsciously, somewhere, in the middle of all those failures, I began to believe that I was not worthy of the real thing.  Now, don’t get me wrong.  Fuck buddy relationships are great sometimes – they serve their purpose.  But it’s rare that they don’t lead to something more dramatic in one regard of another.  When you’re trying to find something more substantial, though, they don’t serve the higher purpose.  And I’ve settled for these things for too long.  I dislike the drama they bring into my life.

Anyway I’ve realized this is bullshit.  And I’m fixing it.  I’m working first on raising my vibrations.  I’m fixing myself first.  Because until I do, I won’t attract anything better.  I’m reprogramming my own way of thinking.  Yet again, I find myself doing a cleanse of my apartment.  I find myself doing a cleanse of my subconscious (though this time it’s a more serious cleansing because now I can put a finger on the issue).  I’m throwing what I really, really want out there in the universe and I’m trusting that it’s going to come to me, sooner or later, and not on my time.  Because it did once.  I had it once.  It didn’t end well, but it was everything I was looking for.  And I believe it can happen again.

Paying karmic debt means that we stop repeating past behaviors.  And I’ve done that (and continue to do that).  I’ve let go of those things that were so toxic to me, and to my relationships.  And I’m closing the door on those things completely.  No more toxicity.  If it’s not exactly what I want, I don’t entertain the idea of it anyway (obviously what I’m talking about here are the big things – superficial things are not dealbreakers).  If he isn’t on the same page, then I’m not putting my hand in the fire anymore.  Karmic debt paid this time.

For serious.

Something Different

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

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

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

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

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

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

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