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Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Pressing Pause

So I've decided to disable my online dating account.  Did I find someone new?  Someone worth jumping in and taking the plunge with?  Ha!  I wish.  It's just that life has gotten so goddamned complicated.  At certain times in our lives, one must realize that it's not all about you, your journey, your love life or your quest for down and dirty one night stands, flings, affairs, relationships or love.  There are times in your life when you have to hit the pause button, take a potty break, have a drink, smoke a cigarette and then get back to your regularly scheduled program.  This is that moment.
I'm generally not a big believer in fate, gods, the universe or other intangible or spiritual factors that affect the twists and turns that our lives take, but I do believe that if something's just not working, no matter how hard you try, that it's just not supposed to happen, at least, not right now.  The last several months have been like that for me.  These last six months have been an exhausting, steady  and unsuccessful swim upstream.  I'm ready to just let this river take me where I'm supposed to go.
Who knows what this break will lead to?  Who knows if I'll wind up back online in a week?  Who knows? Who knows? Who knows?  What I do know, is that now is not the time for me to be actively dating, hooking up or seeking relationships.  Now is the time for refocus, proper prioritization and becoming a whole person again.  Now is the time for a pause, a potty break, a drink and a cigarette. 
We'll be right back after these messages…

Friday, February 22, 2013

It's not you, it's me. (Or is it you?)

Was scheduling a first date with someone new on what would have been my first anniversary with my ex a good idea? 
When I scheduled the date, I was in a better head space.  I was feeling more confident, more independent and more whole.  Sure, I still thought of my ex everyday (I wonder how long I'll continue to do that?) but my thoughts were beginning to center around resentment and acceptance - a much healthier alternative to anxious longing and self-destruction. 
When I scheduled the date, it was with the thought that the anniversary could potentially be a difficult day for me and that a distraction like this could be just what I need to get me through it.  Certainly, a date with someone new (whereby I would be forced to put on my best game face and engage in conversation) would be better than an evening spent alone at home, right?  Scheduling the date was a preemptive strike at avoiding what could have been a total meltdown on the kitchen floor all alone with my cats looking on and silently judging me.
I began the day with tears.  The of memories of "us" hit me like a tsunami from the moment I awoke - they washed over me with a thunderous roar and destroyed all of the new, yet fragile, foundations I had begun to build.  Remembering the first night we met.  Remembering our first date.  Remembering our first night together.  Remembering the first time she said "I love you".  Remembering the day she moved in.  Remembering spending Easter with her at her godmother's ranch and feeling like I was vacationing in heaven.  Remembering our trip to Barcelona, which began with a diamond ring in my pocket and ended with an engagement.  Remembering all of the little, quiet and intimate moments we shared, the laughs we shared and the plans we made for our shared future.  Yes, I began the day in tears and spent the day fully immersed in that old familiar feeling: anxious longing and self-destruction.
I spent the entire day waffling over whether I should cancel my date or keep my plans (like the good and responsible girl that I am).  * I feel terrible, how well is this date going to go?  But what if I stay home and I just wind up feeling worse?  If I cancel at the last minute, will my date understand and let me reschedule for next week?  Should I really stay at home, isolated and miserable? *  In the end, I decided to honor my commitment (like the good and responsible girl that I am) and keep my date.
I put on my big girl pants and my best game face and met my date for dinner.  It was pleasant, the conversation flowed easily and my date was as nice and normal as one would hope (women like that are surprisingly hard to find!).  No sign of flake, freak, fool or fuck-up here.  She's a grown woman with a grown-up job and a grown-up perspective.  On paper? A total winner.  In life? Not much spark. 
Last night's date reminded me of the last Lady Friend I dated shortly after my breakup.  She was nice, normal, smart, and balanced.  I wanted so badly to feel that thing.  That spark.  That connection.  But it never came.  After dating for several weeks, my Lady Friend caught on and we both had to acknowledge it and go our separate ways.  You know that horrible old break-up line that everyone hates to hear: "It's not you, it's me"?  I'm starting to believe there's actually something to that.  Here's the awful truth: Miss-Adventures is only attracted to the needy and emotionally unavailable.
Last night's date wants to see me again.  In all honesty, spending time with her was not at all unpleasant or unenjoyable (which is saying a lot considering my emotional state).  And the thought of seeing her again isn't unappealing, but I'm wondering: will this be another repeat of Lady Friend?  The spark just wasn't there … but could it be?  Is the spark not there because I'm attracted to the wrong people?  Is the spark not there because of simple chemistry?  Or is the spark not there because she's not my ex, who remains at the forefront of my mind everyday and who remains the benchmark for and with whom I compare all dates?

Thursday, February 21, 2013

An Open Letter to My Love

I was doing alright.  For the past several weeks, I had come to a greater sense of calm.  I had started to miss you less and less.  I had begun to focus less on all of your endearing qualities and stopped missing the magic that I had felt when were together.  I had come to settle into an acceptance that we were never meant to be, that you were not who I thought you were and that I would eventually be okay.  I was actually starting to feel okay.  I managed to survive the holidays without you (albeit quite miserably) and I even got through Valentine's Day without so much as a tear shed.  I thought that I might even be able to face our upcoming anniversary with the same strength, calm and acceptance that I had been feeling these past several weeks.  That is, until my therapist asked me to recall for her the night that we first met.  And it all came back in a giant flood.
I remembered how we were originally supposed to meet for our first date the very next day but that you had had an awful day and a terrible argument with your ex girlfriend, and I had offered to lend a listening ear and a supportive shoulder to lean on.  In all honesty, my intentions were not entirely altruistic - I wanted to meet you so badly that I would've taken any excuse to see you.  So I offered to come to your house after I finished my volunteer work that Tuesday night.  I, of course, was feeling terribly self-conscious because I would be meeting you for the first time in a pair of yoga pants and a sweatshirt and my hair pulled into a sweaty ponytail.  It was not at all the striking first impression that I wanted to make, and was planning to make, the next night on our official first date.  But no matter - I couldn't wait to meet you.  I was so excited, in fact, that I hurried through my volunteer work.  Delivering meals in the Tenderloin, I literally ran from block to block and up and down staircase after staircase just so I could get to you sooner.  Once parked outside your house, little butterflies began to invade my insides.  A sure sign that I had already developed a sizable crush.
I rang your doorbell and you came to the door.  And for the first time, I actually looked at you.  I had seen you here and there, of course, and had seen photos of you, but at that moment, I was really looking at you… and you smiled.  And I saw the sweetest face, the most gorgeous sparkling eyes and a beaming smile that validated this crush that I had already formed in my head.  'She is so… beautiful.'  You weren't just "cute", as I had accused you of before we met.  And you weren't just another pretty girl (though you were very pretty).  You were … beautiful… in that way that few are: from the inside out, as if your eyes and your smile reflected what was in your heart, and your heart was right out there for everyone to see.
That night, we split our time between sitting on your couch and sitting on your front steps smoking cigarettes while talking and getting to know each other a bit.  You told me a little about your argument with your ex girlfriend but I could sense that you didn't want to give me all of the gory details for fear that they might scare me away.  And though I wanted to be a listening friend to you, I really spent the night trying to listen supportively but running through my head when an appropriate time would be to kiss you.  You could have been talking in a foreign language and I still would've been happy just to be sitting near you and wondering that if I kissed you, would you kiss me back?
After a couple of hours talking, smoking, exchanging coy glances, and trying to tell myself that I should save that kiss for our first date, I decided that it was time for me to make my way home.  While sitting on your front steps, I zipped up my jacket, started to grab my bag and then thought to myself, 'Why wait?'  I leaned towards you and kissed you, and in turn, you kissed me back… enthusiastically.  Your kiss was passionate, deep, sexy and intense.  My head swooned.  I didn't want to leave.  I wanted to pull you closer, pull you back inside the house and pull your clothes off.  Why did I wait until the end of the night to initiate that kiss?  That kiss was made of pure magic.
As I finished telling my therapist the story of our first meeting, she told me that my chest and neck had turned bright red.  She asked me what I was feeling and experiencing at that very moment.  And I told her that remembering that night tastes both sweet and salty.  It lifts me with joy and stabs at my insides all at the same time, that my memories of you fill me with conflicting emotions and that I can't identify one emotion over another; they run the gamut, the full spectrum and I feel them all equally.  Joy.  Pain.  Nostalgia.  Anger.  Confusion.  Disappointment.  Hope.  Loneliness.  Love.  Hate.  I told her that the hardest part of the aftermath of "us" is reconciling who you were then versus who you are now, which seems two entirely different people.  The hardest part is trying to understand who I thought you were, what I thought we shared and what I thought we felt for one another because it is so contradictory to what you did, how you did it, and how you left me utterly destroyed and abandoned afterwards.  And I now know that I don't really know who you are at all.  You are a stranger to me now - you're not my love; not the woman I shared my bed, my home, my soul and my life with.  You're not the sweet, honest, vulnerable, thoughtful, romantic, loyal, protective, beautiful woman I met a year ago.  And I wonder if you ever were that woman or if you were merely a mirage.
I didn't sleep well at all last night.  I struggled to put my mind at rest and to drift off, and when I finally did, I awoke not more than four hours later, restless and flooded with those magical memories of you on the first night we met.  And I'm flooded even now with the gamut of emotions that those memories evoke.  And as I sit and write this, I can feel my chest and neck turn bright red just as it had as I retold our story.
Wherever you are, whomever you are with and whatever you are doing, I hope that you've found the happiness you were searching for.  I hope that despite our messy end, you are able to remember that night with the same love in your heart that I feel in mine.  And while my feelings for you now are conflicted, my feelings for you then were not, I am able to distinguish between the past and the present and I hope that you can too, and that you can appreciate that night for what it was and not what it would eventually become.
Happy Anniversary.
With love,

Friday, February 15, 2013

Happy Post-Valentine's Day

"Love is not an emotion. It is our actions."
Not to get all 'Oprah' on you all, but I just had a serious "Aha Moment".  In honor of this season of love, I was taking stock of the love in my life and all around me, rather than focusing on the love that I had lost.  And then it occurred to me: Love isn't something that you lose, like your keys or your wallet.  And love isn't something that you acquire, like money or property.  That would be to imply that you can actually hold onto love, that it is a tangible thing.  No, LOVE is the actions: it has no currency and it is only as good as its last honest act.
Love is flying to another country to visit a sick friend.  Love is pounding down the front door of a friend to check in on them when you know they're feeling down and isolative and refusing to let them spiral all alone.  Love is a handmade painting from your six-year old niece.  Love is being willing to show up whether you're needed or not.  Love is remembering a birthday.  Love is remembering a friend's painful anniversary. (Yes, Glamazon, I'm aware of what today is and despite all of the absolute bullshit we've been through, I'm sending out positive thoughts to you on this ungodly day.)  Love is cheering on your loved ones for their small victories, their large victories and the baby steps they take towards a better them.  Love is securing your own oxygen mask before assisting others with theirs.  Love is hoping that your good friend's date goes well tonight and that she can rekindle the romance that she wants.  Love is respect.  Love is honesty.  Love is in the actions.  But love is not an emotion.
So tell me, my friends: How do you love?