Tuesday, December 21, 2010

This should be weirder, right?

Ok, so I've been seeing a pretty fabulous gal for almost 3 months now. Fabulous how, you ask? Well, she gets my oddball sense of humor, has zero judgment about my somewhat tawdry past, and is pretty much the best quality human being I've ever personally known. She has a great family, has done some pretty wonderful things with her life, and just took care of my sick, whiny ass with the sweetest demeanor and sense of humor possible.

And I keep on wondering when this is going to feel weird. I mean... I'm in a relationship (yup, we're girlfriends) with a woman. Like, she has no penis. A genuine, vag-card carrying woman. A lesbian. So why does this feel so comfortable? I didn't even need a burn-in period.

Honestly, the not feeling weird about this whole thing is kinda weirding me out.

It started with the friends and family - I thought I'd get at least some push-back from my mother. Nada. Was pretty sure my friends would, I dunno - make fun of me or something. I mean, I am kind of a goofy person, and wouldn't it be just like me to go dating a woman, just for kicks. Nope - nothing but support and well-wishes. I can't even get strangers on the street to look at us funny. Hand-holding and any PDA are generally ignored. Hello, people - can someone make a big deal about this??

Anyone? Bueller?

Turns out the people in my life genuinely want my happiness, and strangers don't matter / give a fuck. This was... easier than expected.

And it's fucking weirding me out!!

More than that, there's not a whole lot of drama in our relationship. I mean, it's so fucking peaceful and loving, I make myself sick with the sweetness. There's none of that "does she or doesn't she?". She does. Without reserve or fear. She totally does. It's almost anti-climactic. I find a great person to be with, and it's... wonderful. Calm and wonderful.

It took me a few weeks to be ok with that, y'know?

So now what the fuck do I do with this blog? I could say something completely cynical, but I'm not going to. Instead, it turns out, there's a lot going on in this wacky head of mine. So, I'll still blog about love, for sure. But it's a big world and a big life, and I have a lot of big ideas. So I'm opening the focus of this here blog, and I hope you'll enjoy the results.

Oh yeah, writing

I always think it's so weird when my favorite bloggers apologize after a period of not writing - helloooo, it's a free blog, they don't owe me anything. So this is me not apologizing.

Man I suck at this.

Ok fine - I'm sorry that it's been a while between posts, but things have been brewing in the Casey universe.

First things first - I'm seeing someone. A woman. Woot. We have some mutual friends and have known each other for a while. I had often thought to myself, "Man, if I were ever to date a woman, it should be someone like A." Dur. It finally dawned on me to just date A, and as it turns out, I was right. She's pretty flippin' awesome.

But let's not get ahead of ourselves - let's back up to about a week and a half before it occurred to me that I should ask A out. I was at lunch with my favorite blonde bombshell, where I admitted that I was bitter about relationships. That's right - I said out loud that I was angry and bitter and disappointed and sad that my personal life had not only not turned out the way I'd planned, but that it had also been so painful - that pursuing my interest in women seemed like one more way to be rejected (oh yeah - bisexuals are kinda persona non grata in the women-dating-women world). I admitted out loud that I was angry at myself because so much of the pain was my own stubbornness and unwillingness to accept the facts at hand. I copped - finally - to all of the negative and hurtful and soul-crushing doubts that I've been having the whole time.

And you know what? I felt better.

I mean, not like Julie-Andrews-twirling-in-the-field better, but I felt relief - like when you finally pop that stubborn pimple, or the when the pregnancy test comes up negative after some ill-timed debauchery. I'd been holding in the feelings that I thought would make me appear pathetic, or needy, or desperate. But then I read and re-read some of the posts from my favorite bloggers on the subject of being single when you don't want to be, and I realized that in trying to avoid the judgment of others, I wasn't being real with myself, and that just isn't cricket.

It's like admitting to the negative cleared it out of my system - I didn't have to pretend to be hunky dory when I wasn't. And then someone who I'd seen several times suddenly seemed like exactly the right person for me.

So anyway, I'm still here, still brewing posts in my head - just haven't taken the time to put them down in blog format. But doing this is so helpful to me, and I hope it is helpful to you guys out there. I'll try to do better at the turn-around, and will post this and get right to work on the weirdness that is dating a woman and not feeling weird about it.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

The prerogative of the brave...

Un cobarde es incapaz de mostrar amor, es la prerrogativa de los valientes.-Paulo Coelho

For my non-Spanish speaking friends, the loose translation is that cowards are incapable of showing love, for that is the prerogative of the brave. A good friend of mine posted this just recently, and I so needed those words right now. I needed this right now, because I am confused. I know what I want in my life, in a person, but I can't wrap my head around what that is going to look like. Do I set up another online profile? Do I cruise the gay bars? Am I brave enough to keep trying?

Compounding the confusion is self-doubt. Maybe the rain is getting to me, or maybe I'm just having a series of days in which the head rats are winning. Definitely not feeling like "the shit", definitely feeling unattractive, definitely wondering if I could be what anyone finds appealing. This uncomfortable feeling will pass, but it is crippling in the short-term.

As I type this, P (you remember, the married one) calls me. He's saying that I'm beautiful, that the sex we had was the best he's ever had, that he's never met anyone like me... and can we meet just one last time, for old time's sake. No, P. I do not want to meet up with you. I do not want to fuck you, and you will not be what gives me back my groove. I'll admit, it's nice to be called beautiful and good in bed by a gorgeous man, but there is nothing in the half-assed, jack-assed dead cat that he is offering me that I find the least bit tempting.

I just... I'm wary of exploring, and I feel like being brave has turned me into target practice. The exploring - especially of the sexual kind - is usually fun for me, but the rejection on the relationship level has been surprising and painful. Still, when I'm told, "you'll find love when you stop looking for it", I want to hit the person saying that. I actually wrote a several paragraph rant about that tired-ass trope, but it's raining outside, and what I really want is to fall asleep in someone's arms to the sound of the rain hitting the ground.

It is difficult to be straight forward about wanting to be in a relationship when you're told that that kind of honesty is scary to other people. I've been thinking about this for several days, and I think my confusion is fear, and that I've been buying into other people's projections. It's easy to feel ridiculous and lose your nerve when what you're doing is too scary for others to contemplate.

Another thing is that I have got to get ok with my own physical preferences, because trying to not seem judgmental is another source of doubt and confusion, and it's totally unnecessary. While what I like physically can be pretty broad, I am attracted to confidence, masculinity, strength, and style - I definitely want to be the girl in the relationship. If a person wears child molester glasses and ill-fitting clothes, I can't hang. As for what makes my lady parts perk up, think Abraham Benrubi, Hugo Reyes, kd lang, and Hamish (the big ginger from Braveheart - totally a sucker for a man in a kilt).

On that note, I am looking for someone who is equally brave, someone that knows how to love with freedom and trust, someone who gets that the best relationship is one in which there are two distinct individuals. I want someone who understands that a strong relationship can be light and fun - titanium as opposed to weapons grade steel. I suspect that people who need love to sneak up on them never really set appropriate personal boundaries to begin with, and they end up feeling smothered in their relationships. They can keep their scaredy cat views, I don't want any of that.

I guess for me the bravery has to come in trusting that I'm moving in the right direction, even if I am confused, even if it is not the normal path to take. I feel like I sometimes both repeat and contradict myself - I want LOVE (the kind with wings)! I want SEX (lots of it - monogamously, even)! I want HONEST DISCOURSE (followed by tied-to-the-headboard intercourse)! I want BRAVERY! I want FREEDOM!

Eh, you'll get used to it.

Friday, August 27, 2010

Just one more thing...

I believe in the power of words. I think that they can affect, free, bind, heal, hurt, and move you. I think what you put down, you believe, and move toward. That's why, even when I'm sad or angry or upset, I try to use humor and end on a positive note - so that the last thing you read from me isn't negative.

With that in mind, I would like to take the focus off of "The Trouble With Love", and rename this blog Crazy Heart. This name needs almost no explanation for those who know me, though I've also linked the song that inspired it. The lyric "Pick up your crazy heart and give it one more try" came to me right when I needed to hear it, and my hope is that my words are also timely for you.

Thursday, August 26, 2010


I think a light bulb just went off in my head. I'm watching this year's Emmy Roundtable (Newsweek does this every year and it's pretty cool to see the Emmy nominees sit around a table and talk to each other about film, roles, and acting), and Bryan Kranston of Malcolm in the Middle and Breaking Bad is making all kinds of sense to me.

He's sitting next to Chris Colfer of Glee, and it is clear that Bryan feels a need to reach out to the younger actor with advice. And it's not from a sense of "listen here, sonny", but rather - hey, this is the hard lesson I learned, and I hope you learn it faster than I did. More than that, it's pretty awesome advice. About an hour into the discussion, he starts talking about the audition process, and there is so much of that which makes sense with the dating process. This is what resonated with me in that section of the interview:

"Our job is to create a compelling character that serves the text and ... to give them something, we don't audition to get something. ... If they respond to it, great. If they don't, that's ok, too. If you feel that you're there to get that job, it could only hurt you. You have to detach yourself from some idea of an outcome. It's someone else's decision - they'll either like your voice, hair, etc., or they won't. To bother yourself with thinking about those things... meh.

...The end product for an actor's audition has to be that moment in the room...If you leave the room and say, "I did what I wanted to do, I felt great about that" - that has to be the victory. It cannot be, "It's a victory only if they call me because they want to hire me", because if they don't, it's another little chink, and another little chink (in the armor). They become embittered. We all know actors who are pissed off... because they focus on the wrong thing. The other is the x factor - and that is luck, which you can't control."

(italics mine)

*ding* *ding* *ding*

Who hasn't felt that chinking away of the armor when yet another date goes poorly? Or, when yet another person for whom you've developed feelings doesn't feel the same? Lights go on everywhere for me when he says this. For a while I've been fighting this acrid bitterness that arises in my heart when I am disappointed in love. Going back to my previous post, I *know* that one should not become bitter, but that is what I feel when time after time my heart is hurt.

Approaching dating as trying to get something - with the end result in mind, as it where - for me has only ever set up a lose-lose situation in which anger and bitterness so easily take over. But making my goal to give something - an accurate representation of who I am and what I have to offer - then letting it go... just sounds so much more reasonable, and feels so liberating to contemplate. I've talked before about having a receptive (rather than desperate) quality, and I think this is what that looks like. Eureka.

I can see how this would help me to retain that emotional control and positivity, as would trusting them to know what their needs are, and whether or not I have what they need. And it allows me to leave (some of) the angst at the door. I'm going to fuck this up, and forget the 'pow' of this light bulb moment, but I'm hoping that recording this here will give me something to go back to, to read and re-remember, and hopefully that will stick at the cellular level if I am just patient with myself.

I've been wanting to despair, but his words give me hope. Gonna give it one (or how ever many it takes) more try.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Slow learners learn slowly and other revelations

The Ranting Part of This Post:
Holy crap, I was like a broken record the other day. I like somebody (crush #1, if you're keeping score), and I've realized that it is not a scenario that would be healthy for me, and I swears I was all kinds of whiny and weepy about it. I seriously needed to just get over it, but I was having the hardest time. Thankfully, my head wins out in the action battle (so I'm not acting the fool all over the place), but my stupid, foolish, naive heart keeps on winning the emotional war.

It was bad enough that I got ASL's "what'chu talkin' 'bout, Willis" look, and DAYUM. I think we all benefit from friends who love us enough to smack us down when needed. I'm sure the subtext of that look was something along the lines of, "Seriously, girl - we're gonna have this discussion again?" I think she liked it better when I was all sexcapades and raunch, not emotions and weepiness.

Thankfully, having a friend patient enough to listen and provide constructive criticism helps me to make a faster turn around. However, I'd really like the lesson without the agony, m'kay? I'd really love to read the situation, immediately sense it's hopelessness, and emotionally disengage. The head's all, "Bad candidate, moving along", but the gut and the heart are all, "But are you sure? Maybe you just need to have a little faith..."

Screw that. Fuck faith - I need proof. Absent proof, this person's just another rabbit hole, and I don't need that. And while I'm at it, fuck my heart for not listening to my head. Seriously, in a quiet room all by my self, I have it all worked out, know my options (or lack thereof), and can make critical decisions based on the facts at hand. But put me in front of the object of my affection, and all critical thinking skills cease to function. All I am is a pinging, whinging, hurt, hot mess, moaning that I can't get what I want.

The kicker is that this situation is juxtaposition of a very real need (to be loved), and a very crippling inability to accord my heart with the logical conclusions of my head. Earlier, a friend posted the following comic, which totally spoke to me:

Damn if I don't feel exactly like a zombie chicken, flailing about and feeling the need to discuss every fucking detail of my life, while not articulating what it is that I really want in a way that would actually attract that which I desire.

The Reasoning Part of This Post:
Full disclosure: Crush #1 is a woman. I don't think that it is particularly shocking or revelatory that this is possible for me. I've known for a long time that, given the content of character, the packaging wouldn't matter that much to me. I've always known that I could like women, it had just never happened before.

I'm told by my lesbian friends that the first time feelings are pretty intense, and that moving on from your first is difficult (huh, yet another way in which we are all the fuck alike). So, I really do need to stop judging the emotions and give myself a goddammed break. This whole thing threw me for a loop, and that's ok.

Additionally, calling it a "crush" is a bit of a misnomer. I crush on people all the damn time, but when it gets to the point where I'd really like to date someone, I think it's safe to say that I've moved beyond crush to something more meaningful, and less adolescent, than a crush. So yeah, a little respect for my own feelings would be in order here, too.

In conclusion:
As long as I am self-aware enough not to act a fool, and as long as my friends are willing to continue to smack me about the face and neck from time to time, and as long as I respect my feelings and learn from each new situation, I'll be just fine. It's ok to feel the intensity of the emotion - good or bad - but realize that the emotion is a wave that will eventually subside, leaving behind a lesson learned.

And not that this clarification is totally necessary, but no, I have not "switched teams". It just turns out that I'm kind of on everyone's team, and what I am looking for goes far below the surface. I want to feel loved and cared for, even protected. I want someone that is smart, and kind, and funny, someone that gets my oddball sense of humor. I want the complement to my femininity and emotional nature, and while that has typically taken the form of men for me, it is, apparently, also available to me in women as well.

Man, when I put it that way, I feel pretty damn lucky.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

A Word On Self Esteem

I have to admit something. I kinda think I'm the shit. Seriously, I do. Oddly enough, thinking I'm the shit has opened up my eyes about how other people are the shit, too, and that is fucking awesome. My the-shit-ness isn't about thinking I'm better than others, it's about thinking I'm awesome in my own right. Period.

This is a picture of me thinking I'm the shit.

As you can see, and as I've mentioned before, I'm fat - I don't say this negatively, I just happen to be, in addition to many other things, fat. I've talked in the past about feeling invisible sometimes due to my size, but really, I'd rather just feel like I'm the shit. Let me tell you something, though - it ain't easy to maintain this attitude.

On a daily basis, I look into the mirror, give myself a knowing wink, and walk out into the world feeling pretty damn good about myself. It's a little game I play - I know that the world in general really thinks that I should either disappear or be a good girl and lose the weight, and yet I stubbornly flaunt my joie de vivre, fat ass and all.

I'll be honest - most of the time, I think the prevailing attitude about fat people is so ridiculously bigoted and uninformed as to be hilarious, and I use it to my advantage. I sneak up on people, and make them love me (or at least like / respect me) in spite of my fatness. My job puts me in front of people on a daily basis, and I can always pick out who will doubt that I can be articulate and smart *because of my fatness*. Then I open my mouth, and it is fun to watch judgment fade to enjoyment as I do the impossible and make software training fun.

However, there are days when the head rats get to me. I'm talking about those little poisonous nuggets of thought - pervasive in this world and difficult keep out - that tell me I'm not the shit. They say that I'm too fat to be loved, or even regarded with more than judgment. Now, I'd like to be able to dismiss these thoughts outright, and I would - if they had no basis in reality.

Unfortunately, I know for a fact that my thoughts are based in reality. You see, if you're a fat person, there's no denying that most people will not think that you're the shit, much less fuckable, and fewer still will find you lovable. Most people will assume that you're lazy, gluttonous, smelly, and more than a little stupid.

Now, I could mention that weight is second only to height in heritability, I could show you the studies (done multiple times because nobody believes the results) that prove that statistically, fat people don't actually eat more or move less than regular or skinny people, and I could talk about the science of weight loss / re-gain until I'm blue in the face, but people don't usually care about that shit. Most of the population views me as unfuckable, which for most people means I don't exist, regardless of the science.

Here's an example of why I'm pretty sure it's not just in my head:

In addition to the lovely advertising from PETA, I see this attitude in action every time I'm in an airplane, every time I meet someone new, and, frankly, every time I develop feelings for someone. Some people practically have a neon sign on their foreheads that say, "You are fat. Do not want."

Battling that message on a daily basis is hard, but add the heart, and there are days when it is frankly impossible not to believe that destructive paradigm.

One thing that fat women have to contend with in a heterosexual context (though there are certainly variations on that theme, depending on your sexuality) is that straight male friends will totally befriend them in the same manner that a straight woman befriends a gay man. Spending time with them, confiding in them, flirting with them, etc, not realizing that the fat woman could possibly read this as romantic interest. I mean, why would she think she's attractive enough for him to want her? Silly fat girl, no love for you. Sometimes it takes a minute, but when the fat girl savvies to the fact that her flirty, communicative, interesting friend couldn't possibly find her attractive... man, oh man, does that do a number on the heart and the self-esteem.

I'll give you a minute to consider that I created that paragraph in the third person, so that it would be less painful for me write.

With that in mind, it is difficult to think highly of oneself when others would view that kind of self esteem to be ridiculous and unwarranted, if not utterly unthinkable. But I'm here to tell you that I'd rather be ridiculous than lower my opinion of myself to match the world's view of me. And on those days when I'm feeling lonely, and the head rats are chewing away at my self worth, I dig in and remind myself who I really am. And I remember that loving myself has given others permission to love me. And I fight back, and I say to myself and the world - I am worthy of love and respect and kindness.

And that? Is why I'm the motherfucking shit.

Friday, August 6, 2010

It's Like, Duh

So one of my friends read my last post and asked why I was freaking out about having a crush on someone, which made me pause. Man, I really was kinda freaking out about a fucking crush, now wasn't I? Good thing that friend wasn't in the car on my ride home with ASL. Now that - that was freaking out.

And ain't that all kinds of crazy for a crush.

Thankfully, I'm a quick study, and I think I've got a few more grains of understanding rattling around up in that noggin of mine. First, I am *really* good at relationships, but fairly new with dating (real dating, not like, falling in love with one long distance fucked up friend after another). Without any intent or conscious effort, I've been bringing Relationship Casey to the table, when I really should be bringing Dating Casey to the table.

Sure, I'd like a relationship at some point, but right now I'd really just like the opportunity to date and take it easy with someone. Unfortunately, those aren't the cards I've been showing. I don't have any hard data, but I'd be willing to bet real money that Relationship Casey intimidates the hell out of people. Or makes them think I'm all weird and intense, which is somewhat less charming than I've been aiming for.

I also tend to go into things fully open, a little too open at times, and that has to be balanced with protecting my heart. If I could figure out how to do that without feeling like a game-player, I could probably save myself a lot of pain and disappointment. I have some half-formed ideas of what that looks like, but will most likely fuck it up a few more times before I get it right. Should make for some interesting blog posts.

In addition to protection, I really do need to stop letting the past dictate my future. Unfortunately, I didn't realize how much of that was going on in ways too subtle for me to notice (subtle being relative to my rather obtuse love brain). By bringing in Relationship Casey, I'm trying to apply an old template to a new set of plans. By remembering too much the pain of past relationships, I start getting anxietous about things that should be light and fun - freaking out, as it were.

Having these realizations seep down into my consciousness actually helped me to physically and emotionally unclench. This afternoon included some light flirting with one of the crushes, and that felt so.... fun. ASL saw me giggling and being silly, and mentioned that was how I was supposed to feel with a crush.

Well, shit. That almost makes sense.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Why Crushes Suck. Er, Maybe... Why I Suck At Having Crushes

I hate liking someone anymore. Crushes, which are supposed to be all light and fun and shit, have become yet another fraught thing for me to over-analyze and then beat myself up with when they don't go anywhere. I actually do get that I have no control over how someone else feels about me, and this generally allows me to let go of an unrequited or an unwise crush. However, it doesn't stop me from feeling like a stupid idiot, broken from reality. I know that it is not unreasonable to hope that someone might have a mutual attraction, but dammit, those moments of vulnerability followed by disappointment feel like a kick in the nuts.

I am kind of confused at this moment because I have two fairly serious crushes, and I am feeling that vulnerability again, especially for one of them. Though this of course begs the question - can they be serious crushes if there are two? I also wonder if I'm just hedging my bets so that I don't get hurt.

Let's just say that I'm feeling most vulnerable in the scenario that represents a new emotional experience for me. There is an underlying set of circumstances that makes this crush less than ideal, but if my people reading skills are up to par, there is also some mutual attraction, which is even scarier.

Thing is, I'm not feeling lucky enough to overcome the obstacles. So here I am, feeling like a twitchy dog with an inaccessible itch, stuck again with feelings I can't act on. Fuck, I can't even hope that this will go anywhere. But that damned sexy eyebrow raise in my direction - omfgbbqbaconbutter. As my yoga instructor would say, I have found that spot of delicious discomfort.

The second crush is a person for whom I have tried - and failed - to convince myself that I don't like very much. I genuinely don't think about him all that often, shoehorned as he is in my deep subconscious. But when I do see him... dayum. It's everything I can do to not throw him on the floor and fuck him right there.

What? Stop looking at me like that.

I know, I KNOW - throwing myself at him would be bad form, so I back away, I keep my interactions short, and I try not to look too much in his general direction ('cause I gots a shitty p-p-poker face). Then after a few days I'm able to fold those thoughts back up into tiny squares of memory, mostly forgotten until the next time they explode like little origami popcorn in my head.

4 days later...
I've had a lot of internal debate about exactly which details I should include in this post, and I've been circling it like a buzzard circles a suspect piece of meat. However, being circumspect and having to write this in such a way that it makes sense to other people has helped it to make sense to me. I'm actually a little less confused at the end of this post than when I began it.

I'm thinking that I'd really like for Crush 1 to go somewhere, though if it doesn't, it won't be a total loss. And I may show up on Crush 2's doorstep with nothing but a trench coat on.* All in all, I'm a little less scared and twitchy - I know what I want, but I also know that I need to go with the flow and chill the fuck out. Maybe even try to breathe and have a little fun with all the flirting that's going on...

*Kidding. Probably.

Saturday, July 3, 2010

My romantic side takes a beating...

I'm watching You've Got Mail for like, the 50th time, and I don't know why I like this movie so much. I mean, the premise is kinda silly - oooh, looky at this here new fangled technology, and how I'm using it to meet someone new. And yet... sigh. I just love the feel of the heavy romanticism. It's not at all realistic, and yet... sigh again, that's what I want. I want to be swept up in romance. I love the banter, the back and forth, the pithy one-liners and anguished looks. I love that it works out for them in the end, even though that doesn't seem to happen much for me.

I've been seeing a pretty cool guy (P) for a few weeks now, and we've been firing on all cylinders. He's good-looking, funny, random, and completely ADHD. Boy, do we have banter. He's also way into me - says I'm funny, unique, genuine, and that he was impressed when I told him to be respectful of me. Physically we moved pretty fast, which I didn't mind, but which also gave me that familiar twang of ... will he think I'm not serious about a relationship? That I don't want the romance?

Turns out, that doesn't really matter. P's married - separated, actually. They have been apart for about 8 months, something that would have been helpful to know at the beginning. They're now considering trying to get back together for the sake of their 2.5 year-old daughter, and since I don't even want to be factor in that consideration, I've bowed out. So, another one bites the dust.

In the meantime, my sister called - our dad called her and wants to talk to me. I do not want to talk to this man, I feel prickly just that he even thinks he has the right to try to talk to me or create some kind of relationship with me.

I like to say that I don't feel a lot of direct anger at him, but I do feel that I was jipped, and I am angry and sad that I don't have a father to call when I am hurt or lonely. And I hate that Father's Day is such a sad day for me. And frankly, having someone who was responsible for my botched childhood try to determine the nature of our relationship now... well, it really kinda fucking pisses me off.

Faced with these unpleasant realities, it makes sense that the escapist romanticism of a movie like You've Got Mail would be so appealing. But in real life, the men that I have wanted don't stay, can't stay, aren't right for me, or are fucking married with a kid. Maybe all the daddy talk seem like a non-sequitor, but it is most definitely related to the dating issues I have had in recent years.

Having a good father helps a woman to set an appropriate bar from the beginning. There are no guarantees in life, but when someone is used to receiving unconditional love, they usually won't stand for selfish or abusive love. For those of us that don't have the mental model of a positive male presence in our lives, we've had to learn the hard way what is and what is not appropriate behavior for a potential partner in crime.

So yeah.

Case in point: I started this post 2 weeks ago and have been hemming and hawing about it ever since. But my bedsheets smell like P's cologne again, and I know that what I wrote was right. As I was walking my dogs this morning, I was able to figure out what I couldn't put into words last night: I know this dance, and my feet hurt.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

The wonderful and painful things we covet...

I've been thinking about how I run into walls when it comes to matters of the heart, mainly because I can see it trying to happen again, and... no more. I've reached my limit. I'm liking New Orleans guy *slightly* more than I'd like to, *slightly* more than our agreement calls for, and his head is not in the same space. This has made me begin to want him more, something that I now know is a pattern. I maintain a certain neutrality until the guy doesn't show the same level of interest, and then I find myself pining after him. The reverse psychology of that whole scenario seems so typical as to be beneath me. Of course, that's the problem with thinking anything's beneath you - the universe immediately makes it the crushing force directly on top of you.

I've been reviewing old journal entries, and a little over a year ago I was sitting down at a damn fine taco place with two of my most trusted male friends, and we were talking about the experiences (sexual) that keep us trapped in time, memories that we go back to over and over. One of the observations I'd made about that conversation is that this instant recall is a delicious torture, because it is so easy to bring the memories to mind, so easy to still feel the heat of his fingers stroking my neck, so easy to go back to it in my head over and over again. But, it is so painful because the one I wanted at the time was never truly available, save for the occasional fuck he'd throw my way. Torturous was the hope that the love, the lust could make its way back to me. Up and down. Rise and fall. All this time later, and I can still remember feeling flush and dizzy from his touch, and wanting to just stay in his bed forever.

One of my homies said that these are the wonderful and painful things we covet - these memories one treasures and protects, like 'my precious'. I couldn't have said it more perfectly than that. I'd gone back and forth between two men - friends with each other, old friends of my good friends, really a terrible set up from the beginning. And yet... letting go of either one of them has been wrenching at times, because I hold tight to those wonderful, agonizing memories. My other homie, in his lovely accent, said something also very profound - that sometimes you are meant for some one, but only for that moment, that short span of time. I wish I'd understood that concept at the time. Instead of acknowledging that it couldn't last forever, my feelings intensified when they didn't love me back, and I felt like a ridiculous person for not being able to let go. I'd pursue one, be turned away, and pursue the other, only to find the same result. Gah. Metaphorical walls with Casey-shaped holes.

Allowing myself to swoon in my recollections, while exhilarating in the moment, is the cement glue that kept my feelings stuck in high gear, even when all evidence suggested that I abandon ship. Well, I'm not 16 anymore, and it is a punch in the gut to see exactly how much of this pushmepullme existence for my heart has been my own doing. The only thing going for me is that the pain of those experiences was so intense, so sharp, and so long-lasting, that I won't ever put myself through that again. My lovely New Orleans experience will stay in New Orleans, and I will begin the process of removing him from my visual field so that I cannot covet those memories into an obsession. If I had to put myself through all of this pain, my hope is that I am coming out on the other side wiser, stronger, and more protective of my heart.

Final note: As I'm considering publishing this post, with all it's scary (for me, at least) honesty, I am reminded of what some of my most trusted girlfriends have said on the subject of love, some of which I've already expressed in this forum. Being so pursuant of love has not gotten me anywhere, but as I open myself up to possibilities and let the universe work its magic while I go about living my life, good things come my way. I'm not so certain of the woo woo "magic of the universe" schtick, but I think that being open is the mindset that works for me, both internally and externally. Having said that, coveting these memories is a closed loop, a reliving of the past that can only impede a truly receptive quality for the future. I think that I'm able to cut off a problematic set of feelings for my New Orleans experience because I might actually finally be "getting it" at the cellular level. Here's hoping...

Sunday, June 13, 2010

New Rules: Intimacy Edition

The more I think about it, the more I really want to write a rule book on dating and sexual etiquette for guys. Having endured a number of unwashed balls, I present to you this list of New Rules for dating and those intimate moments:

New Rule: Check your privilege, dudebro. When polled, what women fear most about men is that you'll attack, rape, and or kill us. Guys' biggest fear is that we will laugh at you. So, yeah... not quite the same. Be understanding when we want to meet you in a public place, let a friend know where we are, or want to put the brakes on physical encounters until we know we can trust you. Our fear has been well-earned - respect it.

New Rule: If you show up looking nothing like your online photo, don't act like we're the assholes if we refuse to go out with you. Be yourself, and use up-to-date pictures with your online dating profile. While many of us don't mind a few more wrinkles or pounds on our guys, almost all of us intensely dislike liars, and we'll know you've been lying the minute we see you.

New Rule: Develop a higher standard of cleanliness in your home, at least when a woman is coming over. Remember that a woman's anatomy is designed to trap and grow life, and while the result with sperm can be beautiful, the result with your dirty sheets, your nasty toilet seats, and your germ-ridden couches is decidedly less so. Cleanliness for us is not about being picky, it's about not having to deal with cottage cheese in our underwear. Yeah, I went there.

New Rule: Wash your fucking ass and wedding tackle if you want us to play with them. Remember that women have extremely sensitive noses, and that your playground is thisclose to your waste treatment plant.

New Rule: CONDOMS without whining. I am particularly tired of men that want to have no-string sex without a condom. These men whine, "It doesn't feel the saaaame." or "I can't keep it uuuup with a condoooom." Let me tell you something - there are a number of STDs for which there are no symptoms for males, so there is a high likelihood that, if you have something, you don't know it. However, these same STDs can render women sterile, can cause painful conditions which are expensive to resolve, and, in the case of HIV, Hepatitis, and HPV, can kill. I don't want to fucking hear about your issues with condoms - your right to pleasure without responsibility ends at my right to live and have fully functioning reproductive organs. Nut up, masturbate with condoms to practice, find a brand you like, and don't make a woman ask you to put one on.

New Rule: No sexual bullying. This is real life, not a porn flick, so your desires do not supercede a woman's desires. We are not just a series of hungry holes into which you can stick your dick, and we are not responsible for your orgasms. In real life, an orgasm is one's own responsibility and starts in your own head - and if you're really lucky, you get to orgasm with someone else's delighted assistance. Pushing a woman's head down on your cock, going deeper than she's asked you to go, asking her to continue servicing your member long after her thresholds for comfort and pain have been met - these are all abusive and selfish behaviors. Don't be a dickhead - or you're gonna be a lonely dickhead.

These are obviously written from my point of view, so your miles may vary. The main point is that respecting your partner sexually by being clean and considerate will get you so much farther than assuming that anyone will simply deal with your disgusting and presumptive habits.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

New Rules

Since the last post was so heavy, I thought I'd switch it up with something lighter. Stealing outright from comedian Bill Mahr, here are the New Rules, Casey-style:

New Rule: If you invite someone over to your place for dinner, you should sweep the kitty litter off the kitchen floor. Here's a novel idea: Move the kitty litter box ANYWHERE OTHER THAN THE KITCHEN.

New Rule: If you have cats, you should de-fur your couch if you want any action. A little cat hair is to be expected, but if you can't see the cushions for the fur, you have a problem.

New Rule: If you can hear the mice in your walls, do not invite anyone over until you've a) called your landlord, and b) fired your many cats.

New Rule: If you invite someone over to your place, the bathroom should, if anything, smell like cleaning supplies, not urine.

New Rule: If your bedroom is so dirty that you borrow the roommate's room for making out, you are not ready to date. Go back and try again.

New Rule: If you walk into any of the above mentioned situations, turn around. Don't take the hit for someone else's bad sense of appropriate. Teach him a lesson and make him a better boyfriend... for someone else.

Now, off to scrub myself with antibacterial soap for about three hours...

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Good night, and good luck (repost from private journal)

Tomorrow (6/5/09) is the anniversary of the Rev. Dave's death. There had been some confusion as to his actual date because L & T didn't find him until the next day, but we confirmed it was the 5th. I loved Dave, and he didn't love me back, and our breakup broke our friendship as well. Six months later, after getting the job of his dreams, and a place of his own, and a newer car, and a really sweet girlfriend that seemed to be a much better fit for him, he drank a case of beer and put a gun to his head.

I've been reading my old journals, crying, and wishing still that it had all been a bad dream, and that I could still have my old friend Dave back. Here's what I wrote the day I found out:

Private: Good night, and good luck.

{ June 6, 2009 @ 9:26 pm } · { Uncategorized }

Dave killed himself, probably on Thursday. His job called L and T because he hadn't shown up for work, so they went to check up on him and they found him lying face up and naked on his bed, gun in his right hand, left arm over his head. He’d put his comforter up near his head, I suppose to obscure any exit wounds. One small kindness from an act that caused so much pain and anger and sadness.

I wish you would have stuck around. The good stuff was happening, and I don’t think you knew it. Maybe you could never know it. But we all wanted you alive. Yes, even me. Regardless of what I’ve said in private in anger, I would not want your life to be cut short. It was already going to be shortened by the alcohol, but there was still the chance to turn it around when you were alive. There is no coming back from this, except perhaps as a reincarnation. Wonder if I’ll see you again.

Right now, the Medical Examiner is opening you up and discovering the ravages of alcohol on your body. Your bones will be softer than that of an average 35 year-old man. Your liver will be hardened and blackened from abuse. Your brain will show signs of mental illness, and your blood will reak of alcohol. Your heart has been forever stilled. Someone from your family will call a funeral home, I suppose, and arrange for transport of your body back to Oklahoma. You spent one glorious, terrible, and painful year away from the place of your birth, but now it is time to go home again.

I’ve been OK most of today, with just a break down here and there. But then the weight of it has begun to feel heavy, like an object that seems to get heavier the longer you carry it. I’ve been romanticizing why / how you took your life, trying to find the kindest thing to say about it. But what you did was unkind. And not tragically romantic. Just tragic. If you are in another state of consciousness, I hope that you realize that things could have been better. Though I also hope that you are at peace – Max is at peace, so maybe he felt your torture as well. Though I also wish you were here so that I could slap you, I hope that you silenced the demon trying to reach into your head. If you see my great-grandmother, say hi for me.

What sucks about all of this is that mine is the pain of unrequited and disregarded love. I’m grieving for someone who never gave me a second thought, and who would have his friends believe that I was a crazy bitch. It feels stupid to grieve for you, and I wish I could throw away the stone on my heart. I am grateful that T and L accept my pain as real, because if they didn’t, I might not be able to.

I have more beautiful and poetic things that have come to mind today, but I didn’t write them down and fear that they are lost. The truth is, I spent today at the lake, enjoying the sun on my face, and blue of the sky, and cool of the green-blue Colorado river. I am grateful that I could feel and see these things, and I hope that during your short time on Earth that you enjoyed those things too. I hope that your last sunset was beautiful.

The only thing I can do now is appreciate what you gave me. Cool music. Cool people. Beer, dammit. And biking. I will think of you every time I bike downtown, and every time I get a hankering for a Maui Bowl from Wahoos, and every time I pass Lovejoys, and every time I drink a Fat Tire. I’m sorry that it was impossible for us to reconcile as friends in this life, but I hope you have forgiven me for my part in the next life. I hope that you feel like Dorothy, and know that the love you didn’t feel was there the whole time. I hope that there are bikes in heaven, and I hope that St. Arnold needs an apprentice. And finally, I hope that you can feel the sun on your face and know that is the love that was always there for you.

I love you and will never forget you.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Resurrecting My Inner Samantha

I got to spend a lot of time with M this long weekend, and I'm so glad that I did. The physical chemistry is pretty great with him - when he decides to be physical. I purposefully wore a skirt on our date on Sunday, which definitely piqued his interest, and another base was rounded, ha. Problem is, until we parked on that dark road and started getting physical with one another, he was kind of annoying the shit out of me. No need for details, he wasn't doing anything wrong per se, but I've been noticing some red flags and my mind just wasn't letting me get away with ignoring those. Ain't that a pisser.

We saw each other again on Monday, and while the hanging out was nice-ish, I still really wanted to just get to the making out, which we didn't. It was yet another date with M that left me feeling distinctly dissatisfied - and not just physically, either. I realized that, while he'd be an awesome fuck buddy, he'd never work as my boyfriend. We just don't connect on an emotional level. Thankfully, with him being 25 and all, we had a perfectly cordial IM chat in which we dissolved our attempts at a relationship, and established that some no-strings sex was now a possibility.

Part of my wanting to do this had to do with the realization that I have been stifling my inner Samantha (of Sex and the City, as if that needs to be said). I'm an incredibly physical person, always have been, always will be. But I got it into my head that my sexual freedom was somehow distracting me from the important business of finding The One. I developed this theory that my enjoyment of the occasional zipless fuck was fucking up my larger goal of being in a relationship. I think this weekend, and my dating M in particular, have been about me figuring out that my little theory is utter bollocks.

For a while now I've been clumsy, unfocused, and not in the moment. In short, I've been needing a proper lay, and it's been driving me to distraction because I've been setting aside that desire in search of The One. Well fuck, that was never going to work. I've been feeling like I've lost my mojo, and I'm pretty sure it has something to do with me trying to act like I'm not a sexual being.

In looking back, I got here after my divorce, when I lost my equilibrium and confused sex with love, which led to major heartbreak. I would of course want to protect myself from that kind of pain again, and I hate the idea of soulless sex, so I thought I'd do my best to hold out for The One. Problem with that is that I'd let myself get to the point of almost desperate, and then have some kind of completely non-intimate sex that was not at all satisfying. I'm finally coming around to the idea that I have no say on when that fucker's gonna show up, so while he's taking his (her... maybe) sweet time showing up, I've got needs, dammit.

This weekend reminded me that I in fact do know how to have non-relationship sex that is satisfying. Is it as good as relationship sex? Absolutely, unequivocally not. But this sex thing has been fucking up my ability to fully embrace my singleness, and even to some extent my sexuality, and I am so done with that shit. I have some really dirty, beautiful no strings sex set up for my two trips to NOLA, and I've realized that I really do need that in my life. Some will judge me for it, but I think the biggest lesson this life is teaching me is that I do my best when I follow my own path.

In all this talk about sex, I want to make it perfectly clear that I do very much want to be in a relationship. In my mind, that relationship, whenever it comes, will be wonderful and sweet, and I will fully embrace monogamy and long-term love. I feel like I'm finally becoming comfortable with these two seemingly contradictory parts of myself - the lover and the loved. For years I went about it kind of blindly, sometimes amorally, and sometimes doing things that I now regret. But I'm also realizing that I can integrate all of these aspects of me, without judgment, and without stifling. No doubt I'll still run into walls and flail about blindly, but my hope is that, by accepting myself for who I am, and living according to my morality (which values the feelings and needs of others as well as my own), that I end up with a life and a partner that I can truly enjoy and be proud of.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

It's all about the good chi

I said goodbye to N yesterday. I sent him an email, and explained that I could not be around someone who smoked so much pot, that the smell reminded me of my loved ones that could not be sober, and of the pain that caused. I explained that I was not trying to judge him, but rather protect myself. I suppose there's no way to read that without feeling judged, and his reaction showed this. Of course, fucking pothead that he is, he could not compose a coherent email, and instead sent 5 short emails in a row, each nastier and less sensical than the one before it.

He focused on my weight, my health, and said that I abused food. For about 30 seconds this took me right back to what it was like to live with Evil Stepdad - the constant put downs, the jabs about my weight, and feeling like shit because I was powerless to stop it. Then I snapped out of my little reverie and realized that I am not powerless to stop this toked out idiot. Hello, delete and block, you are my friends. And not to sink to his level, but given N's physique, health, and eating habits, not to mention his odiferous funk, the fact that *he* focused *my* weight and health is laughable. What a fucking tool.

When talking to my friends about this, my girl L thought it was funny that N would attempt such personal attacks, "Your self-confidence is bullet-proof! What was he going to try to do, make you feel bad about yourself?? C'mon, please." I needed to hear that. Though this particular incident didn't cause any lingering damage, I have had my self-confidence shaken by the difficulties of the last few years. However, it turns out that shaken is not the same as broken. I am adamant about keeping the energy in my life positive, and I work quickly to rid myself of negativity. If someone is a negative factor in my life, they are never there for long. No one is allowed to mess with my chi, goddammit. No one.

I am beginning to see why all of these attempts at relationships have seemed so wrong - those men could have never felt right because we did not come at things with the same energy, and poorly mixed chi is some bad chemistry indeed. I have tended to fall for people have a low sense of self-worth, and while it wasn't a conscious thought process on my part, the delusion was that I could make them better with my love. In reality, I didn't like it when N tried to fix me, why should anyone else like it if I tried - consciously or otherwise - to do the same?

If it is true that guys need to feel needed, need to feel useful (um, don't all PEOPLE have that need?), then only a guy with a solid belief in himself could see his value with a self-sufficient woman. If I have to play the game, play dumb, act like I neeeeed a mayun in order to get a guy's attention, that's almost certainly not going to be the guy for me.

I'm reminded of another conversation I recently had with ASL regarding her business model, and her goals for success. She made a great point, and that is to get from point A to point B, you have to believe that point B is attainable, and you have to truly want point B. I think that with going after guys who don't quite have it together, perhaps I've not felt that point B - awesome love with a kickass partner in crime (wicked smart, tall, fat, red-headed, mean-looking, kilt-wearing motherfucker would be super-awesome) - is truly attainable. I mean, why wouldn't I feel that way? Every media outlet on the planet can't wait to tell me how unattractive, near-death, and practically useless I am,which - ha - conversely means that I'm invisible to all of those people that believe that message.

WELL FUCK THAT. Seriously, fuck that in two.

It IS attainable. It IS what I want. And I WILL have it. I'm tired of accepting less, and I refuse to for one minute more. There is too much that is great in this here life to settle for less. I think I've been stressing about the time line - I want this now, I want this yesterday, dammit. But hey, them's the breaks. I have no control over the time line, and that sucks. But stressing over it hasn't sped up the process one iota. So if I want good, if I want awesome, I have to believe it'll happen, and I have to be patient. And maybe light some candles to get some good chi flowing in that direction...

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Ramble, ramble

I'm up, watching commencement speeches and listening to Andrea Bocelli and Sarah Brightman's version of Time to Say Goodbye. Someone, a deaf client, reminded me today that the ability to hear is precious. After my family, and the laughter of my friends, this is the song I'd want to hear first. It's a little cheesy - like they threw in the one English phrase so that the Americans could sit through the rest of the beautiful Italian phrasing - but their voices are breathtaking. They soar and combine so beautifully, and every time Brightman hits that one high note, my chest contracts.

The two commencement speeches - the one JK Rowling gave to Harvard in 2008, and the one Steve Jobs gave to Stanford a few years ago - are filled with the kind of phrasing and inspired soundbites that I just love. I have this idea forming in my head, like coal before it becomes something better... like maybe I should be doing something more with my life. I mean, I enjoy a lot of what I do most of the time, but I'm not helping anyone, not really. I like the idea of volunteering and helping out, but other peoples' pain... do no want.

I was talking today to ASL about love (what else is new), and I was getting so angry. I'm tired of rehashing the reasons for my anger, so I'll just say that the usual dating wisdom pisses me off, fucks with my chi and my sense of fairness. Talking to her, I was just getting angrier and angrier. I don't want to have to act less smart or less independent or less anything in order for a man to maintain interest. If I am too intimidating with my command of the English language, high-travel job, and ability to get myself into a mortgage for someone to deal with, I'm quite sure that's not someone I'd want in my life anyway. If guys have to be mr. fixits / saviors / etc - why can't someone help a girl out by giving her the one thing she can't give herself? If my taking care of myself makes a man feel he has nothing to offer me, then he's probably right.

It's a this point that I look at my clock. 1:01 am, May 21st. This would have been my 16th anniversary. Fuck, that hurts. Kinda snuck up on me. All of this, all of the anger, all of the looking for things to inspire that I've been doing today, I want to be more. I want to show that I am better off after the divorce, that I am a better person for it. And I mostly am. Mostly.

But this, this one fucking thing is not better. I loved and was loved very deeply, and all of this fucking bullshit that I've been going through doesn't even begin to compare. Men who can't commit to a fucking cup of coffee, men who can't attempt sobriety, or worse, men who would love me, but who don't have a life, or a working sense of smell. I was told that I was loved and beautiful every day for 13 years, and I have not been told that in far too long. Certainly, my friends, my family have expressed their love. But that love, the kind that fills that intimate space between me and the outside world, I have not had that in a long, long time. And my search has made me foolish, a stupid, pitiable thing.

I'll wake up tomorrow, and I'll feel better. I'll remember not to compare what was to what is. I'll clean the slate of N and M, and have a damn good laugh about it. But tonight... tonight is painful.

Monday, May 17, 2010

In which I fall on the sword... and wake up in the therapist's office (Casey)

I know that I touched on the difficulties with my trip to see N in my previous post, but I'd really like to share with you the lurid details. You won't like me very much (if you make it to the end of this post), but hey, it's gross, it's entertaining, it's blogtastic.

I'd just like to say that I've learned many, many lessons this weekend with N. First of all, if a dude smokes pot 24/7 and calls it his 'medicine', walk away. Better yet, run. No good comes of a guy that can't approach the world sober. Second, do a smell check on the guy *before* you travel cross-country to meet him. Oh my god, the stink. I've been with potheads, I've been with smokers, I've even been with a man that drank a bottle - a full bottle - of Rum 151 EVERY DAY, but I've never been with someone that stinks as much as this dude. He took showers, but dayum, his pores were ripe with the noxious residue of THC and nicotine.

I know that I mentioned the breathing / phlemging in the previous post, but it was so gross in combination with the smell. And his kisses were ... *dry heave* so unnervingly horrible. It wasn't just the putrid smell of spliffy goodness, it was the viscosity of his spit, the slobberiness of his lips, the intensity of his passion for kissing me... oh jebus, I'm gonna hurl just thinking about it. I'm just gonna say it - it felt / tasted like I was french-kissing a snotty nose. And Mildred, that ain't hyperbole. God (or whatever) forgive me, I had to waive him through just to keep from throwing up in his mouth.

If we weren't kissing, he wanted to hold me. Tight, facing him while he breathed his snot / cigarette / pot breath onto me as I searched for some kind of reprieve into his hippie stink armpits. I'd turn away so that he was spooning me, but after a while he'd complain and turn me back towards him, kissing me to show his growing affection. *ahem* It's a small kindness, but I'll spare you the more intimate details of the night. Let's just say it didn't get any better.

I did finally mention something about his breath, and made a rather pointed reference to his body stink. I thought I'd hurt his feelings, but half a bowl later, all was forgotten and he wanted to cuddle again. I tried honesty, but there is no fixing a smell that results from a permanent habit. By Saturday night, I knew this wouldn't work. I said something about not wanting to have sex because it was just too much too soon, and thankfully he seemed to be ok with that. Unfortunately, that made him want to be more cuddle-riffic. Major backfire.

After fending off attempts at affection all night long, I'd had enough. But I couldn't tell him that we weren't going to work out because of his nasty body chemistry, now could I? I was upset by the turn of events, and by my dream deferred, so I parlayed that real emotion into a lie - I made it about me, not about him. I said that I couldn't stand to be touched, and that I just wasn't ready for a relationship. There was definitely sadness, hurt and anger on his part, but he also seemed to come to acceptance pretty quickly. I thought that maybe my plan to keep his stank away from me with tears of (real) pain and (faux) fear was working.

I'm often surprised at how wrong I can be. And let me tell you, I was way, way wrong. Sweet, lovable snotting, rheumy-eyed oaf that he is, he took it upon him self to attempt a diagnosis and to "fix" me. Which, you guessed it, involved lots of forced hugging and kissing - you know, to push me over the hump and bring me to a state of love and bliss. In his candy-coated, green-haze-filled fantasy land of free love and rainbow-sheened snot bubbles, where love fixes everything and sunflowers make bad thoughts go away, I would be his masterpiece.

I'll admit that some of what we talked about (and I was really big on the talking because you can't kiss and talk at the same time) hit me at my sensitive spots. We talked about Rev. Dave (another post for another time), we talked daddy issues, we talked religion. We talked and talked and talked, any thing to keep his stinking slobber off of my face. I guess the talking was good, but his privileged, trust-fund baby, rainbows and butterfly fart observations were almost as nauseating as his THC infused aroma. And by the way, the magical solution to everything is to smoke more pot. Which I did, just to make making sense no longer a priority.

In the middle of this, I sent a desperate message to my beloved Fancy Pants Lance, and his response frankly saved the weekend for me. "Honey, in situations like this, it is best to lay back, point your heels to Jesus, close your eyes, and think of handbags." Bless you, my gay best friend, I owe you a cocktail.

Anyway, I'm in the airport on the way home, and I will survive this latest attempt at finding love. Holy crap, the text messages I'm receiving from N are nauseating me from afar - "Can't wait to see you bloom like a beautiful flower!" "This trip is about the birth of the new, of living your dreams today!" "My soul will wake up your soul to help you find peace in your heart!"

Goddammit. Motherfucker, I'm fine. Really. You just stink to high heaven, and you need to get a fucking life. Please, please, I beg of you please - find another project.

I swear before all of my friends and the baby Jesus, that is the last time I lie about an awkward truth. This shit isn't worth it.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

The Beautiful / Invisible Thing

I've been reading a favorite blog of mine, and ran across a post about beauty (http://www.fatshionista.com/cms/index.php?option=com_mojo&Itemid=69&p=272) that hit me at a pretty sensitive spot. You see, I am not beautiful. At least not by society's standards. Now, I'll have friends that will insist that I am beautiful, but they are conflating my personality, and the qualities that they love about me, with beauty. And I love them for it, but I am not physically beautiful. While I may have some attractive features, I have a skewed face, and more damning, I am very fat. A winky eye and crooked smile can be forgiven on a size 6 or 10 or 14. But I am a size 24, and there is no socially-acceptable beauty in that.

In this post, the author wrote that she was not beautiful, and what I found particularly disturbing was the fact that she loved the invisibility associated with someone not conventionally attractive, and was especially fond of the compounding effect of age. I am beginning to feel this invisibility, and while I wish I felt the same relief, I instead feel rejected and mildly panicked. As it turns out, invisible people have a pretty fucking hard time finding boyfriends if they didn't have them before they became invisible.

Oddly enough, I don't think not being beautiful makes me an unattractive person. I happen to love the way I look, and historically have felt very comfortable in my skin. I am generally attracted to people in my same range of looks and intelligence, so until recently I've not been as concerned with how I look. Lack of success in the dating world and my new sense of invisibility has changed this, and I hate the new uncertainty that has found its way into my psyche. It makes me feel anxious about prettying up and getting as close to the ideal as possible, foolish when attraction isn't returned, and angry when my efforts aren't even marginally matched in the dating world (see previous rant post). And that self-confidence that I pride myself in erodes just a little bit further. Dating is not as fun as advertised - for me it has been soul-crushing.

My point is this: I am thinking of giving into being invisible. You see, I gave up on dieting about 7 years ago, and it was a process that began with pure, unadulterated rage. I was mad about the unfairness of trying over and over again to lose the fucking weight, and then happened upon the concept of... not dieting. Giving up the good fight, and accepting my body as it is. So now, with righteous anger over the vagaries of dating and attraction, the concept of not being so invested in attracting other people is floating up like a bubble into my thoughts. My efforts are rarely met, so what if I stopped? What if I let that go? What if I simply gave up?

Complicating these thoughts are my feelings... or lack thereof, for N. I traveled to see him. I'm in his town now. And I have moved beyond "not attracted" to him. I am finding myself physically repulsed by him. He smokes, which is usually not an issue for me, but the combination of cigarette and pot smoke on him is, frankly, gross. Even after brushing his teeth and showering, his skin reeks of the stuff. Beyond that, he has terrible allergies and is a heaving, phlegming, coughing mess. And the cpap machine that he has to use (which would normally not bother me), is the straw.

Given my own concerns about attractiveness and invisibility, this judgment of N is incredibly uncomfortable to own up to. He's a sweet, talented, caring, affectionate man. Who I happen to find repulsive. Oy, the guilt. He has that look of someone falling, and I am seriously putting on the brakes, and it is a special kind of torture to know it's never gonna happen. And to imagine that this is perhaps how others - those that I've found attractive - have viewed me... ouch. This feels like some sort of karmic lesson of the universe, and it's making the hated 500 Days of Summer (http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1022603/) make bitter sense.

So here's hoping I make it through the next 36 hours without screaming, "Stop touching me, you're grossing me out!!", and that I don't hate myself too much for thinking it. And that maybe I learn something about my heart.

ETA: Just realized that finding N unattractive doesn't complicate things, it simplifies them. I'm forced to acknowledge that attraction is completely organic - you can't really help it, or force it, for that matter. So maybe giving up on dating is not the solution, though maybe going in with fewer expectations is. I'm not talking about lowering my standards; rather, going in with less of an expectation that love should be so easy to find or figure out.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

There Are Standards, Dammit.

I want to first say that I feel WAAAY better after my little ranting episode. I don't hate men, I love men. I was mostly angry at myself for letting someone be so disrespectful to me - I'd called the whole situation, and could have prevented it by simply canceling and never seeing the guy again. That's not a guy thing, that's a Casey-should-have-stuck-to-her-guns thing. So, apologies for the man-hating in the rant - sexism from either side is a no-go in my book.

I'd say that a lot of my anger came from fear, and that I haven't yet figured out the having-someone-love-me-back part. Actually, I haven't figured out the having-a-mutual-love-thingy-with-someone-I-think-is-awesome part. It's the awesome, you see, that gets me into trouble. I want awesome. I'm not talking perfect - fuck perfect. I want someone who is interesting to me, someone who is creating something great in their life. I'm really not into someone who has given up on being themselves - in a job they hate, in a life that's not theirs... do not want. Unfortunately, most of what is out there is not awesome, for me at least.

Going back to the fear for a moment: a lot of that comes from the fact that I know that I will pick single over not right, over boring, over unkind, over not awesome. I don't want to remain single, but I will fucking stay single if my only options are that and someone that I don't absolutely dig. And that scares the shit out of me. And I am confronted with that fear every time I put someone to the curb, because it reminds me how far I am from what I want.

Having said that, there are a few guys that I have been seeing, with varying degrees of seriousness. Most serious is N, a guy with many of the qualities I'm looking for - intelligence, humor, kindness, passion. He definitely makes me a priority, which feels pretty great. Unfortunately, I'm not super attracted to him. I suspect that if we'd met and gotten to know each other as friends (instead of on OKCupid), we'd be great friends where an attraction would build naturally. So, I'm hanging out with him to see if he grows on me.

This makes me wonder what standards I should set for myself as far as compromise is concerned. Should I consider seriously dating someone who would provide wonderful companionship, but with whom I don't have a lot of physical attraction? Should I hold off for being swept off my feet, or does that even really exist? At what point does loneliness outweigh the need to find that mythical unicorn, the perfect match? I have to get to sleep now, but will definitely be thinking about that over the next couple of days.

So, while I am feeling much better about myself and men, I think that balancing standards and natural attraction will be the theme of my dating life.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

... Sometimes You Feel Like Giving Up

I am sure one day the following, stream-of-conscious rant will not seem so painful to me, but this is how I felt when I woke up this morning:

I'm still mad as fuck this morning. I woke up with my fists clenched. I fucking hate every part of this. Do you hear me?? EVERY FUCKING PART OF THIS SUCKS. I hate men. I hate their fucking sensitive egos, and the fact that you either get an asshole or an idiot. There doesn't seem to be much in between. Seriously, I give the fuck up. I give up, I give up, I give up. I am so fucking sick and tired of expecting halfway decent behavior. I think that I am pretty up front with what is acceptable and what is not. I do not feel that I am some how attracting assholes - I think that's all there fucking is out there. Single at 35? Probably because you're a fucking asshole. Give up. I just want to smash someone's face in right now. I can't even get my fucking Wii remote to work, and I'm pissed, and I just want to hit something until it bleeds. I want to mangle the next man I see. I am fucking tired of being fair when I am not being treated fairly. It is not ok to make me wait. It is not ok to try to split your time. Focus on me when you are with me, dammit. I am so fucking done with this shit. And what pisses me off even more is the thought that some happily coupled person would simply coo that it's just a matter of time. Or worse, that a future happy self would look back at me now and smile at my being so upset. And you know what really sucks? I feel like I've brought this on myself. I hate everything right now. I am so upset and I am tired of feeling disappointed. I am tired of thinking that my expectations are so high - having someone show the fuck up on time is NOT a high expectation. It is NOT. I am so fucking tired of my own inability to articulate the truth in the moment. I knew this was going to turn out this way, and I didn't reschedule. Because I wanted him to have his shit together enough to be able to give me a fucking reasonable time. I wanted him to have his shit together and he did not, and he fucking wasted my time in the process, and I fucking let him. I am so mad at myself, at him, at every fucking man who thought it was ok to waste my time. I hate that the only ppl truly interested in me are men that I do not find attractive. What kind of fucking cosmic joke is that?? I am angry at the wind. I am angry at the atmosphere, at the sun, at happy people, at assholes, at everyone. I want to throw and break things, I want to pummel someone's face until it is a bloody mess. Mostly, I just wish it were right. I just wish I could have what I want - a guy that values me and whom I find interesting. Why is that so fucking difficult? It sounds so simple to my ears and I can't fathom for the life of me why it is so fucking difficult. WHY??? I know that I shouldn't let this upset me so much, but it really, really does. I hate crying over this shit. I just don't understand. I am so confused and hurt by this process... why the fuck is it so painful? Because I want something that I don't have, and I can't give it to myself, and I feel so pathetic that it upsets me.

ETA: OK, after like, the 5th time I read this, I started cracking up. I mean - this shit is so real, it's funny.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

... Sometimes There Are No Good Choices

Casey here, continuing the story from my last post:

Both J and M apologized profusely after the Sunday dating fiasco, which made me feel good, and made me feel like maybe they were nice guys with kids and bad schedules. Still, I realized that I was really stressing out with seeing multiple guys. Since I’d been wanting to see just M for a while, I thought – just get off the merry-go-round and see M. I could sense that he was really sweet on me, and his slow pace with the physical stuff was refreshing.

M came over on Friday, and we talked and made out, which was seriously delicious. Hello second base! With gusto! Damn, he'd be a good lover... We parted ways when things started getting a little too hot, and decided to get together again Tuesday night. He wanted to make sure that we had time to talk and not just make out, so he wanted us to meet at a coffee shop by his place.

Due to a minor issue with how we'd planned things, some bad directions, and the fact that the coffee shop was closed, I started out the date pretty annoyed. But, we decided to press on and look for another place. Climbing into the seat next to him, seeing that he was truly mortified at how this was all starting out - I just couldn't stay mad. On top of that, he was wearing an argyle sweater vest - how do you stay mad when there's a sweater vest in play? Within a few minutes we were cracking up and joking about how a) that was some sweater vest, and b) this had to be the worst date, ever. After striking out at a couple of other places, we ended up at a book store, just walking around, talking, holding hands, touching one another... so sweet. We talked about all sorts of things, including unrequited love. I tended to be the one loving, and he tended to be the one not loving back.

We talked for a while at his truck, and drove and talked some more - he really had things to say. He talked about wanting to have the kind of love that he sees in movies (not blockbusters, but dorky, awkward indie flicks, with flawed but sweet characters). He wants to know that there's love out there that truly lasts forever, because that's what he wants in his life. After a while though, he talked about how difficult it was for him to remain interested in someone, especially after they’d become intimate, and the woman had developed feelings for him. He even spoke specifically of the moment in bed, when a woman looks into his eyes and says that she’s really crazy about him. Something about that moment loses it for him, and he doesn’t feel anything anymore.

It’s easy to paint him as the asshole here, and from at least one perspective, he is. But the more he talked about it, the more I could see that it really hurt him to not be able to maintain and return those feelings. He’d been with wonderful women, really loved them, and really wanted to continue to love them. But he couldn’t. Once established, the feeling just went away, and from the look in his eyes, I could tell that it haunted him. He explained that he knew this about himself, and that he wanted to be honest with me because he really trying to work it out, which is why he was so keen on holding off on the physical stuff.

I appreciated his honesty – sitting there, talking to him... it explained so much, especially with regards to another man that I'd loved with pretty tragic results. It reminded me of what a good friend once told me – some people are not meant to be in your life forever, you’re just meant to learn something from them and move on. Sitting in his truck, I knew that this was probably M’s reason for being in my life. To explain the confusion and hurt caused by someone that I'd loved, someone that was simply unable to love me back.

At the end of our conversation, I asked M if he was asking me to be his guinea pig, to see if he could overcome his issues with staying in love, and to his credit he looked a little horrified – no, of course not, he just wanted to be honest with me. Damn, I hate that so much about him feels so right, that his sweetness and awkwardness are so endearing, that his honesty is so very appealing, and I especially hate the little fantasy that my love would turn things around for him. Because when someone tells you who they really are, you should believe them. We would very likely fall in love with one another. And he would very likely and very quickly fall out of love, and not have any explanation, other than the excuse that he’d warned me.

So, it comes down to this… if I am smart, I walk away, even though I don’t want to. I fucking hate these fucking lose-lose choices. I really do.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

...Sometimes You Need Two Bloggers Just To Write It All Down

Hey there, I'm Anonymous Single Lady 2, but you can call me Casey. I've been friends with ASL for a while now, and we've shared many stories of love and broken hearts, and she's invited me (OK, I invited myself) to guest post from time to time on this here blog. I have a few stories already queued up, but thought I'd introduce myself.

I'm a professional in my mid-30's, I've had one moderately successful open marriage (until we stopped loving one another, that is), and couple of pretty badly broken hearts since. I may detail these things later, but let's just say that I plan on avoiding Oklahoma City from now until the end of time.

I'm sort of to the point where I'd really rather learn from my past mistakes, instead of finding new ones to make. Most of all, I'd really just like to stop running into walls, because that shit hurts. Anyways, I have a few historical posts that I'll copy here, but why don't we jump right in with my latest drama (copied for now from my private blog, regarding the weekend before last):

I was really disappointed by this weekend. I guess what I am destined to learn next is that I should shelve all expectations. Dates showing up on time? Whoa, girl – don’t be unrealistic. Dates showing up at all? Probably setting your sights too high.

A little history. The thing with the guy I was crushing on didn’t work out (huge surprise there), fizzled before it even began. So, on a whim, I joined OKCupid. I won’t go through the entire roll now, but there have been several viable prospects, and two in particular (we'll call them M and J). Both have shown proactive interest in me – texting, emailing, video chat, etc. I should know better than to get my hopes up, but I guess I’m stupid. I assume that when a guy says he wants to see me, he’s telling the truth. Come time for the date, I further assume that he’s made plans to be on time, or absent that, at least fucking show up.

My travel schedule has been difficult, and I make it known that my schedule is tight. I make sure that people know this up front, and explain that I need specific dates and times so that I can fit everything in. No one has ever had a problem with this in theory; execution, on the other hand, is a different matter entirely.

That brings us to this weekend. I had 3 dates scheduled between Saturday and Sunday, plus a housewarming party with friends. Ambitious, yes, but I’d planned it pretty well and gotten enthusiastic confirmations from all three parties that all plans were a go. All I'm going to say about Saturday night’s date is that he was 30 minutes late, and while I half-heartedly agreed to another date, I anticipate that I will develop some crippling life situation which will make dating impossible. Here’s hoping for shingles.

Honestly though, I was really looking forward to Sunday. I’d seen M several times, and was seriously considering dating him exclusively. I’d seen J once, but he was incredibly charming, and did a very good job of making my dating choices difficult ones.

So, Sunday rolls around, and I'm anticipating a fun, full day ahead of me. I text M to see where he wants to meet for brunch, but didn't receive a response until 1:30 (when we were actually supposed to meet). Turns out, he was still in bed, hungover from partying all night long. He didn’t seem particularly apologetic, and more than that, didn’t seem overly anxious about rescheduling. Not a great feeling to see so many “maybe”s on the texts coming back my way, if I’m telling the truth.

Still, I had a fun housewarming to look forward to, and I text J to firm up our dinner plans. He gets back to me around 2:45, says that some stuff changed in his schedule and wants to know if we can meet at 3:00. He knew that I was at a friend's house across town, so I'm curious if he thought that I was going to drop everything and meet him. I decline his generous 15-minute window, and he says he'd call back later so that we could do something for dinner. I didn’t hear back from him until 8:00 pm, when he said he could meet me in half an hour. Seriously?

It’s at this time that I have to admit – I don’t know what to do in a situation like that. Does being flaky with the scheduling mean he doesn’t respect me, or that he just had some shit come up? Does me being understanding with all the schedule changes make me a fool, or a sweetheart? I was definitely frustrated and feeling more than a bit chaffed by the double date elimination. So I played the ignoring game. I played the defer response game. I played the games that supposedly say, “Hey there, buddy – take me and my time seriously!”. And I still feel like a fool, and a disingenuous one at that.

Every move I make at this point feels foolish, wrong, or contrary to my nature. And I’m not winning it, from either angle. I don’t like games, I like honesty. I don’t like coyness, I like directness. And this whole situation is starting to feel like an itchy wool coat, and it feels like my goals for love and togetherness are slipping to a dot on the horizon, barely registering on the visual scale. Who knows, maybe some sleep will give me perspective.

ETA: This post was imported to my own blog, along with several other historical posts.