Monday, June 11, 2012

Where Am I Going Now?

Month one after T.E. pushed me away was all about “just go ahead and wallow and be sad and depressed and eat Pop Tarts for every meal (although that’s a joke because when I’m depressed I eat… well, nothing.  I eat nothing.  But if I’d wanted Pop Tarts I’d have had them breakfast, lunch and dinner…) and sleep whenever you want to or even can and… just whatever you want.  That’s what you should do.”  A good plan, but just.  So.  Exhausting.

So month two I gave myself permission to stop crying.  Stop being sad.  Stop thinking about T.E. all the time.  Before that I think I worried that if I didn’t feel all the sorrow and despair and other dramatic, English lit-sounding emotions all of the time then it would mean that my love for T.E. wasn’t so real after all.  But you can only pass yourself through the emotional meat grinder so many times before there’s nothing left to grind and I was emotionally liquid by the start of month two.  So I just decided to stop, and for that to be ok.  I specifically kept my mind away from any thoughts of him, and finished purging him from my world.  I’d mailed his stuff to him in the UK, as well as saying good-byes or thank-yous to those folks to whom my only connection had been him.  But in month two I finished taking all of MY things that I would never get rid of, but which dragged him to my head and heart whenever I saw them, and boxed them up and put them safely in the garage.  In month two the world was almost safe enough for me to just stop being the grieving widow for a while.  I dallied a little with some new men, mostly just to reassure myself that there was the option of “new men” somewhere in my future but mostly I just took the month off from being sad.  It felt good.

As month two was drawing to a close something very unexpected happened:  T.E. sent me an email. 

Now remember that the end of things with he and I… (wait, I said remember, but now I don’t recall if I really told you guys this before.  I probably didn’t.  OK, remember this if it sounds familiar, and if it doesn’t then Voila!  New Information!  Enjoy!) T.E. did some things I really didn’t expect.  He avoided me, going to actual lengths in order to not have to talk to me.  He rejected me quite coldly and it felt like an amazing betrayal, especially since he had been only months before someone I felt like I would always, always, always be able to trust with my heart.  And it is those feelings of betrayal and rejection and overwhelming pain that I’ve been trying to find a home for in my head and heart.  But I’m not there yet – not by a long shot.

So when I checked my email one day and found his name staring back at me I panicked.  I’d honestly convinced myself that he and I might never connect again because I knew I wouldn’t reach out to him and I couldn’t imagine he would reach out to me after his rejection.  I was surprised and also scared – what the hell could he want?  What did he want from me?  How could he already be ready to talk – was it that easy for him to “get over” things?  Or maybe he was writing to tell me that he didn’t want to be friends after all.  Unfortunately the only way to know was to open the damned message.

That took me, I hate to say it, about a day to do.

The email turned out to be short and sweet:  he missed me and was ready to have contact again when I was.

So there I was with the ball totally in my very own court, and I didn’t want the damned thing.  I felt better knowing that it was in his court and he had thrown it away.  In that scenario all I had to do was perfect the art of living without him.  But now I had a decision to make:  was I ready to reconnect with him?

Well that answer was easy:  no.  If it took me a day to even open the first email (oh, and two days to reply, by the way) I was clearly still working through stuff.  So I finally replied with my own short, sweet reply just explaining that I wasn’t ready, and that I’d reach out when I was.

As soon as it was sent I felt somehow relieved and tried, TRIED to find that safe, peaceful, almost-happy place I called Month Two.  Because really why couldn’t denial and distraction and “vacation from sad” be two month long?  Hell, I could make it as long as I wanted to, right?  So yeah, that was my goal:  not thinking about him, not feeling sad and keeping up my rather impressive level of distraction.  

Unfortunately T.E. wasn’t ready for me to go back to distraction.  He sent an additional email which, I think, was mostly to make sure I understood what it was he was asking for.  It felt like he was surprised that my answer was no, and that if he asked it a different way I’d come back with a yes.  He sprinkled a couple of temptations into the longer email such as “There are things I want to say” – how do you not get curious about such a statement?  Oh yes, I really want to know what it is he might have to say, but I honestly worry about those things as much as crave to hear them.  I wonder if he might also have reached the conclusion that we shouldn’t be friends, or that he’s also reviewed our relationship with some detachment and has his own regrets about what we were. 

But what I knew so clearly was that no matter what it was he wanted, I wasn’t ready to hear it.  Good news or bad, it was all scary to me.  I understood that some, but the sheer panic I really didn’t get.  What was it that I was so incredibly afraid of?

Finally I put it together:  right now I’m trying to rebuild a life that was, until a few month ago, incredibly focused on him and us.  I have these hours I’m trying to fill, and these urges to create or to care for or to give that I need to refocus.  And at my age it’s not easy to change so many things in your life.  I’m trying to add to my social circles, get back into my hobbies, build back up my flattened self esteem and it’s taking its time to get there.  And I realized that in my heart of hearts I knew that if I let T.E. back into my world while I’m still so brittle and unsatisfied with things it would be far too easy to let things fall back to where they were, but even worse:  focus my time and care and generosity on him when I couldn’t have anything I wanted in return.  I need to feel like I’m back on my own two feet and can go on without him anywhere in my life before I can let him back in.

I was finally able to send him the second “no,”  and I’m proud that I did it without anger or cynicism or lashing out at him – there were some drafts of the reply that weren’t nearly so clean.  He’s agreed to leave me alone until I reach out to him.  I worry that the things he wanted to say me will be gone by the time I am ready to hear them, or that he’ll be over missing me entirely by then.  But I know that is actually better for me than letting myself crawl back into the hole that was our relationship at that very bitter end.

…now if only I could find that distraction I was enjoying so much…

Sunday, June 03, 2012

Month Three - I Have Concerns.

We’re headed into the third month now.  I’d kind of been hoping that, much like Jesus on toast or Mother Teresa on a baby’s diaper or some old guy with huge, stone billboards that, let’s face it, he just never could have actually carried down that mountain but that’s a rant for another time, I’d get some kind of sign for how this month would go.  (to recap for anybody who has just started reading this blog and, for some inconceivable reason, is reading it from the top down, month one was pretty much spent crying, sleeping during the day and wandering the streets naked and alone with a bottle of vodka and a My Little Pony during the night, where as month two has featured me mostly pretending I never had a relationship, never got left (let alone repeatedly!) or heartbroken and lunging at the “off” button on the radio whenever any of the many completely off-limits songs came on.  Super-healthy stuff, yeah?)  Anyway, month three. 

I’ve checked online and there’s no answers there.  Which is surprising!  There are always, ALWAYS answers to every single question online!  Even questions that you had no idea anybody was asking, like “average penis size for Asians?” or “how to tell if an orange has gone bad?”  And yet this question I’m not getting any help on. 

So I started thinking about where it is that I want to be when my proposed “getting over things” period is done.  One of my big frustrations is now that I’m not spending hours and hours on Skype with someone every day I’ve got time on my hands.  Also I’m no longer saving every single spare penny to pay for thousands of dollars of international plane tickets for other people, so I’ve got a little extra scratch.  So I’ve got some $$$, and I’ve got some time – you’d think this would be good!  Give me the chance to go out and have some fun, do some things, build a real life.  Right?  Wouldn’t you think that?  I was totally thinking that.

Except what I don’t have more of than before is people with which to do stuff.

Don’t get me wrong:  I have some wonderful friends and my most excellent family, all of whom I cherish and am so lucky to have.  But my friends are either married with kids and bed times and the requirement to find someone else to take care of things like kids and bed times for them to be able to go do stuff or that awkward “rock/scissors/paper” decision for which of my two best friends (who happen to be married to each other) gets to go and do the stuff and have the fun OR they’re super-busy with school and work and the social life that they were building when I wasn’t available most of the time because I was spending time on skype.  Oh irony, I hope you’re a dude because someday I so want to kick you straight in the nuts.

My family is mostly made up of the older generation, and I love them.  But they’d be the first to tell you that they’re not up for rock climbing or going dancing or seeing the latest rock’em-sock’em-all ‘splosions, all the time summer blockbuster movie.  And also, and I hope I don’t come off as a douche by saying this ‘out loud,’ but though I love my family and know how amazing lucky it is to be part of a group of people who actually, genuinely enjoy spending time together, I don’t want my entire social life to be my family.  I want friends.  I’m a friendly person.  I think I can be entertaining.  I can quote the entire script for Ghostbusters, Caddyshack and Star Wars.  I make balloon animals, for the love of god!  I should be able to make friends.

Except that making friends is just hard.

 First you need to meet people with whom you’d like to be friends, and who want to be friends with you.  You already know how very successful my online attempts have been, in that they have not.  I’ve also been checking out groups of people who get together regularly and do things that I might like to do.

A few months ago, while I was still hoping that T.E and I might have one more summer together, I found a local LARP group.  (tangent:  for those normal people who have lives and understand that a LARP is the social pariah equivalent of dropping your pants and shitting in the kiddie pool I won’t bother to explain.  For those who are blissfully unaware here’s the $.05 explanation:  it’s like playing Dungeons and Dragons, but you dress up as your character, go to a place with other people dressed up like their characters and you act out the game.  If it’s a medieval one then you say “forsooth” and “what ho” in the English accent and you woogy-woogy your fingers at people to show you’re working your magic on them or you have a (I kid you not) big, soft sword that you use to act out your fighting.

The LARP I checked out was a local version of one that T.E. had been playing in the UK.  I admit it sounded like it could be cool – in this LARP everybody is pretending to be a kind of vampire.  You have personalities and attitudes and powers and other things, and the acting out appealed to me because I my favorite game forever and ever when I was a kid was Make Believe, and that’s just what this is.  It’s Make Believe for kids.  At first I liked it well enough, but I found the ENTIRE BOOK of rules to be overwhelming.  Then again I had that reaction with D&D too, so I figured I’d get there eventually.  The pretending was fun, and I thought things would get interesting as I understood the players and the dynamics better.

I just recently decided to stop going, and the reasons were two:  First, the rules never got easier to grok.  So many rules!  Just the rules for combat where ridiculously dense:  First you check your multi-page character-sheet-thingie to see how many of this and that you have.  Then you check three other levels of things.  Then there’s abilities of others, and there’s the order in which you go, and on and on and on.  I could never make it all work, so any combat I was in I was just along for the ride.  And how is that Make Believe?  In Make Believe all you need to know is who’s the bad guy and who’s the good guy, and the bad guy always loses in the end.  Thus endeth all Make Believe rules. 

The other reason was I was hoping to make friends with these folks, and it became clear that wasn’t going to happen.  This group seemed to be made up of two types of people:  those so completely geeky that even I was embarrassed to talk to them (the guy with a beard finely sculpted into a long point, the girl who has no idea how far her voice carries in a fairly busy all-night diner as she’s screaming about her next character who will be a whore, whore, W-H-O-R-E…  I knew that these might be the folks I met.  But I wasn’t expecting the other group:  the ones who were completely disconcerting because they play the game for the love of screwing people over, and when the game is done they bemoan how they can’t do more of that in real life.  I’m sorry, what?  You’re bummed because real life requires that you don’t shiv somebody at the buffet?  Yeah, you I don’t need to make any friends with…

Tonight I checked out a local Comedy Improv group that started meeting about a month ago.  I was hoping to meet likeminded individuals who were funny and liked other funny people.  Instead I found ChicagoDan – a guy who has never performed Improv in front of other people, but figures he’s the guy to start the coolest Improv group this town has ever seen.  Now he’s setting the bar low to be sure, but his hubris has to be balanced against the fact that I’m the only person who showed up for the group tonight.  Me and ChicagoDan, comparing the lengths of our Improv dicks to see who’s the improviest of them all. 

(It was me)

I’ll check out the Improv group one more time just in case tonight, and ChicagoDan, were flukes.  But so far my goal for Month three of building the life I’d like to have is… well… it’s a turd floating in the kiddie pool.

Friday, June 01, 2012

Why Do Guys Suck So Much, pt. 2

So when last we were feeling sorry for the lameness of our hero she was FINALLY saying “screw you, I’m gone” to some guy who fell off the face of the planet once they’d met.  I’m sure you’re thinking just what she was thinking:  so much for the hero having potential. 

Except she – by which I mean I – wasn’t actually thinking that!  Why?  Mr. Potential. 

You see, while I was allowing myself to be stupidly strung along by Mr. Distraction I was at least smart enough to know where things were probably heading and I started to ask myself “how ELSE could I maybe find a new person who could think I have potential?”  I peeked at but they wanted me to give them money and I don’t believe in prostitution.  But then over and over the universe kept throwing the words “Craigs List” in my path.  So I checked out the wonderfully free and tremendously bizarre Craigs List personals. 

I was going to do a little paragraph here about Craigs List personals.  But frankly there are way too many words for just one paragraph about that topic.  Oh the words… No, there is an entire blog post coming just about CL personals.  You’re just going to have to wait for that one.

This particular personal caught my attention because it was in the “Dude searching for dudette for some kind of actual relationship” section, but it was wonderfully honest – frank even – about this guy’s sexual proclivities.  For many folks I’m sure that would be super-creepy.  But I got where this guy was coming from, and I’ll even paraphrase an email he sent me on the subject:  if you meet someone out in the world and do all the gradual “getting to know you” things and surface conversations and take weeks to get to the point where you’re comfortable enough to bring up the idea of sex, only then to find out that this person is waiting until they’re married or can only do missionary position and only on every other Thursday or is INCREDIBLY turned on by sex with phallic fruits and vegetables (carrots, zucchini, bananas…)

That’s a lot of time wasted on someone who is very much not going to turn your crank, my friend.

I know what I’m looking for in a sexual partner and here was someone who seemed like a very possible match there.  Someone also looking for somebody in the world.  Someone with potential.  Needless to say I replied.

This is how, as things were reaching their eventual lame ending with Mr. Distraction, I wasn’t too sad, because I was starting to get to know Mr. Potential.  We emailed about once a day each direction.  The emails were pretty dang long, and we agreed on a sort of format:  each email we’d send to the other person would have a couple of questions in them for the other person.  This was good because we really covered a lot of areas – hobbies, traveling, work, pets, tv, movies, etc…  We also covered some sexy-times areas.  After all, if your initial introduction to someone including sexy-times stuff you’re certainly going to cover it more as things evolve, right?

So there was this one week where there were many, many emails.  Some were actually pretty hot, I’ll say.  I had to pull out the old thesaurus to find some new naughty adjectives here and there.  And all this was fun!

For about a week.

I’m not even going to write the “turns out you’re a jerk” email to this one.  After all, I need to set some sort of boundaries on how these things will work.  If we never get beyond emailing before you vanish without even the dramatic flair of a puff of smoke then I just check the box by your name that says “douchebag.  Sigh.” And move on with my life.  If we go from emailing to chatting or even the ever-exciting video-chat and THEN you evaporate like gasoline on the top of a running lawnmower on a hot, summer day I’ll check the checkbox and draw a line through the name.  With a sharpie marker, btw.  If we actually meet and then you become invisible like a guy who was a mad scientist who took your own mad scientist chemical concoction that was supposed to make you something awesome but instead just makes you invisible then you get the checkbox, the sharpie line and the complimentary email who’s sole purpose, really, is to inform you that I’m aware that you suck.  Because let’s face it:  the guys never know that they suck.  And so they certainly can’t explain to me why they do so much…

Apologies to any women in the audience who thought that I’d have the answer at the end of all of this.  At this rate I’m pretty sure I’ll be the very last one of us on the planet to get that memo.  But I’ll keep doing the research!