Tag Archives: Relationships

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.

A New Beginning to an Old Story

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Traits of a Narcissist

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

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

A New Home

Well, after weeks of looking (and looking… and looking… and looking…) we finally found a house.  We put a deposit down on it and move in two weeks.

I am excited about this for several reasons, not least of which is the realization that I will be able to get all of my stuff (furniture, antiques, books, etc.) out of storage and have them accessible for me again.  But the place is also obscenely close to work and I’ll be able to get home every afternoon before it gets dark out, no matter what the season will be.

This whole moving into a new place together thing, though, is also really quite terrifying.

You see, I have only ever done this one other time in my life… and it ended in an abusive marriage followed by a rather surprisingly civil divorce. The other attempts at this have failed before they ever even got off the ground.  But this time, with the deposit paid, rooms selected, new furniture purchased, lease signed, there is absolutely no chance that it will fall through. I still cannot help but be terrified, paranoid, that this may not go as well as I hope that it will.

Of course, I also tell myself (when I feel this way) that I am being foolish, because the Ormsby situation is nothing like what any of the other situations have been.  I have what is, essentially, the healthiest relationship I have ever had.  We have been sharing a ridiculously small one bedroom apartment ever since I moved back up here, and aside from one or two spats here and there, we have done very well.  I tell myself, too, that the ability to spread out will make the situation improve beyond what it is already.  And it’s pretty good already.

Still, we are moving in two weeks, the holidays are almost here, and it feels like we have a million things to do.  On top of work and the move, there are finals to contend with.  I guess it feels like we have a million things to do because there ARE a million things to do.

Once finals are over, though, and once the move is finished, I’ll have a room to myself again – where I can read and write in perfect silence and solitude, where I can read my Tarot cards and burn my candles and incense again (a practice I have not done in over a year… and I miss it terribly).  I’m going to set up the guest bedroom so that it looks like the bedroom I had in Tampa… both to give my cat something familiar in her old age, and also to give myself something familiar to look at on the days when I get homesick.  But we’ll have so much more than that – a working fireplace.  A bigger kitchen (bigger than any other kitchen I’ve had since my divorce).  A deck for cookouts in the summer.  Possibly a porch swing on the front porch.  And plans… so many plans for the future that I cannot help but feel optimistic for the first time in a long time.

I can see nothing but hard work in my immediate future, but that’s expected when you move.  Once it is complete, though, life will get significantly easier.  And less frustrating.  And I can’t wait.

Ten Ways You Know You’ve Found the Right Guy

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Six Months: Sex, Boobs, and Barbecue

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Baggage

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Where am I now?

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

June-November: The Highlights

After the May trip, Ormsby told me he was emotionally unavailable.  And also that, even if he were not, he had respect for Botboy and his situation and didn’t want to do anything with me – at least nothing any further than what we’d done already – until I wasn’t waiting for him anymore.  And of course there was the long distance thing, which was a major dealbreaker for both of us.

I conceded.  I was waiting.  I’d said I was going to wait, I don’t break my word, I was going to wait until Botboy either came home and back to me, or until he came home and didn’t come back to me (which was, admittedly, the more probable of the two).

Time passed.  Ormsby and I talked (or texted) quite a bit – not daily at first, but it soon became so.  We made plans to meet up in Savannah.

But they didn’t happen.  Because Ormsby’s shit hit the fan in July.  And Ormsby needed me.  And I had a choice to make.

His shit hit the fan, in other words, at the same time (thereabouts) that Botboy was due back home.

And so I could either choose to go to Ormsby, leaving Tampa knowing that Botboy could return at any moment.  Or I could stay, wait, and keep watching the way I had been – the way I’d done despite the lack of contact from Botboy (and despite the fact that Botboy had not one but TWO blogs he’d been posting to while he was away (yes, Botboy, I’m good at what I do)).

It wasn’t really a question anyway.  Ormsby needed me.  I go where I am needed.  I used my emergency fund to buy some tickets, a hotel, a car, and I went.  Not because I was trying to make him change his mind… that was, honestly, the furthest thing from my mind.  But because I felt called, compelled, whatever you want to call it, to be there.

And I’m glad I went.

Together, Ormsby and I fixed his shit.

We started dating (but unofficially so, since he was still adamant about the long distance thing).

I started considering a move.  Not for Ormsby specifically, but because a lot of my own family shit hit the fan, and I felt like I needed to be closer.

I flew up a bunch.

And finally I came to the conclusion that I was going to do it.

So, about two months ago, I gave notice at my Tampa apartment complex.  I hired movers.

About a month ago, I gave two weeks’ notice at my job.

About two weeks ago, I had my last day at work.

About a week and a half ago, Ormsby flew into Tampa to help me pack and to drive the truck that was full of my belongings back to Louisville.

I turned thirty-two.  This blog turned two years old.  And my, how its contents have evolved.

About a week ago, as we crossed the Florida/Georgia state line, we made it Facebook official.  Yes, I now have a boyfriend.

And now, I’m sitting in his apartment, where I am currently living, typing this (very belated) entry.

I have unpacked my things (at least, the stuff I didn’t put in storage).  I have changed my number back to one with a 502 area code.

For the first time in a million years, I brought someone home for Thanksgiving. I no longer sleep alone.  We go grocery shopping together.  We cook together (unless he’s working on photos, in which case, I do the cooking).  We veg out on the couch together.

I may have been out of my mind to leave a perfectly good, well-paying job and spectacular weather for snow and unemployment, but I am happy.  Happier than I’d been in Tampa in a very long time.

Tampa was okay.  The weather was great, but the traffic sucked, and the dating scene left much to be desired.

But that era is over.

Louisville 2.0 begins now.

The Ramifications of “No.”

After the performance 1.0 gave me when I was sitting at the hospital with Metalhead, I started to change my mind.  Not that I’d ever really made it up to begin with.  Oh, sure, I understood what he thought he wanted when he suddenly (and inexplicably) started talking about getting married and having kids and how many he wanted to have.  I’d heard all of this before, many times, from many different people.  I hadn’t decided whether I was going to allow it… after all, I was still waiting for Botboy, and I felt funny about breaking that promise… but on the other hand, Botboy hadn’t said much for awhile, and here was 1.0, paying for plane tickets, and flying down almost immediately.

I had, for a little while at least, started to open my mind.  But that had changed.  I knew, beyond the shadow of a doubt, that I did not want to be with someone so selfish.  If he could not understand why I was doing what I needed to do for my friend as things were now, how could he be expected to understand it later?

And then there was his living situation.  1.0 was three years older than I am.  He lived in New York… I got that… but he had roommates.  He’d had roommates, in fact, ever since he’d started college in 1997.  And while part of me realized that that was a way of life when you lived in New York, I did not want to live that way.  His living space consisted of a single room… the rest of the house in Brooklyn was shared with others.  And I could not imagine doing that for any extended period of time.  Granted, I am an introvert.  I need a certain amount of “me” time in order to be functional.  And maybe the “me” time is a lot more than he needs, but still, I could not imagine coming home from work every day, having to socialize when I don’t feel like it… because that’s what he was doing.  It worked for him.

But for me?  It was a reminder of 3.0… it was a reminder of why 3.0 and I did not work.  Not so much that 3.0 was or was not social… but more because I was not allowed to be an introvert when I needed to be an introvert.  And I could see it going there.  Not now, not immediately, maybe not even for the first year.  But eventually…  And of course, also, I had no desire to move to New York, and he had no desire to move to Florida.  I’m fine with long distance.  I’ve done it a lot.  But not perpetually.

It was a lot to give up, all at once, and it was a lot to ponder.  All of those things had been in the back of my mind for awhile, but with his revelation of who he really was, well, things became clearer.  It’s funny how that happens, right?  If you wait long enough, people begin to show you their true colors.

It was decided, at least by me, then, that I did not want him to visit.  I wasn’t really comfortable with him being in my house.  I certainly was not comfortable, any longer, of going to Orlando to meet his friend (and spend time with him – extended time with him, possibly overnight with him) when I had never met him before.  I felt funny about kicking him out, though.  Call me old fashioned… call me southern (I’m a little bit of both), but I have manners.  They don’t dictate everything I do (the Internet Dating Escapades are living proof of that) but when I’m having company, or when I may have company, one of the first rules is that you don’t tell them that you just want them to go home.  Even if that’s how you feel.

So I began to hint… I began to drop clues… I tried everything.  Even to the point of asking if he’d mind to rent a car and drive himself to Orlando because the painting I was working on for my sister’s wedding was not done yet (this was true) and I needed to work on it and get it in the mail as soon as possible (also true).  He agreed to visit his friend alone, and I breathed a sigh of relief, but still, I wasn’t relieved enough.  Because he was still going to be here, with me, for a night… possibly two.

I asked myself whether I could do it… if I could host him for a night, if I could entertain him well enough for a night so that I would feel okay about it and he could go, and nothing would be disturbed, but if I were truthful with myself?  No matter how much I spun it, no matter how many ways I tried to make it doable, I just couldn’t.  I did not want him in my house.  I did not TRUST him to be in my house… especially not now that he was being quite pushy about how this was MY idea all along, and how it was MY fault that I was backing away…

You see, neither were true.  I hadn’t asked him to come, he’d invited himself.  And I’d told him, again and again, that I wasn’t really comfortable staying with his friend.  I’d told him about Botboy, I’d made it clear that I was waiting.  His answer?  “People ‘try’ things all the time.”

But not me.

I wasn’t in a relationship with Botboy.  I hadn’t been since May of 2013.  But still, I was waiting.  I don’t cheat.  I don’t lie.  And I don’t break my promises.  And 1.0 was, essentially, asking me to violate that.

Before I made my decision I thought long and hard about what I was doing.  If I told him no now, I knew that that would be the end of things.  I’d lose him forever… that link to the past, to 1997, to the mafia… it would be gone.  And it would be irretrievable.  I asked myself if I could do that… more importantly, was it worth losing?  The more I thought about it, the longer I pondered it, the more I looked back at the past, I realized that I could.  Because whoever that girl was in 1997, I wasn’t her anymore.  There were still pieces of her, sure.  We never quite lose everything we ever were as we grow.  But who she was, and what was important to her… it didn’t exist.  I had a different life now.  And, whether or not it pained me to say it, 1.0 wasn’t a part of it.  And I didn’t see how I could make him a part of it.

So I told him no.  He spent the weekend, the full weekend, in Orlando.  I spent the weekend painting on my patio, finishing the monogramed canvas for my sister’s wedding, getting it ready to mail to her the following week.  I didn’t hear from him at all.  I haven’t heard from him since.

I finally, seventeen years after it started, managed to put a piece of my past to bed.  And you know what?  It felt great.