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.