ThxFriday, I Am A Champion Edition.

Final Friday night studies; the detailing of the Precious; running all the errands; knocking out them rekkid reqs; finishing up assignments; the return of the bear on his last weekend out; shopping for fancy pants; getting all dolled up; opting for the Superman Chucks; celebrating the love of two wonderful folks on what couldn’t have been a more perfect day; that look when he saw her for the very first time; befriending an ex’s ex and laughing it all away, swapping stories and telling truths; further confirmation of functional gut feelings (and the realization that it truly no longer matters); being in the company of the very best one; sushi Mondays, chili Tuesdays, and half-priced wine Wednesdays; the acceptance of Grace and all that it entails; sweet little love notes left around the house; flowers of appreciation, third time’s the charm; celebrating grad school graduates; being given the loving space to be human, and cranky, and sad and moody and whatever else may come our way; submitting that final post and welcoming a month’s respite; men who cook (and do it well); Big Rock Candy (Yogurt) Mountain sweetness; tenderhearted lamentations holding presence with the joy of looking forward; waking up – together! – on a Friday; and looking ahead to a night of joyful preparation, a Saturday of celebration, and a Sunday of whatever dreams may come.

Also, this Katy Perry ear worm ain’t so bad.

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From Natural Disasters to the Warmth of the Sun

I’ve had it in my head for a while that I wanted to write a piece here equating the various types of terrible relationships/dates/partners to natural disasters.

You know, like how someone who lies can be like an earthquake: you never quite trust that you’re standing on solid ground because you can’t trust what’s coming out of their mouths. And the aftershocks continue in much the same way the effects of lies are long felt after the original lie is told. Some lies, when discovered, shake you to your very core, and the recovery from that can take months, if not years.

How someone who manipulates and gaslights, making you think you’re crazy or wrong when they’re the ones wreaking havoc, can be like a tornado: tearing through your life like it’s a charming old town, leveling structures you thought would always be standing, leaving you in the wreckage of their behavior wondering what the hell just happened and whether it was somehow, maybe, your fault for being so naive.

How the person who cheats might be like a never-ending blizzard: freezing you out but holding you captive with the hope that things might change or get better, or maybe it’s just a little snowstorm that isn’t nearly as bad as it seems or was predicted or looks on the weather maps because what do they know anyway.

Or how a person who withholds affection is like a famine. Or someone who tries to take over your life is like a flood.

You get the idea.

But after a few months of sitting with those analogies, I just never felt compelled to suss them out any further. I’d like to think that’s because I’ve opted to spend my days and time with more positive mental and emotional pursuits, and that’s probably most of it. I’m much more inclined to celebrate the good in life: the good friends, good relationships, good opportunities, good lessons, and good times.

Which leads me to my current relationship and all of its stability, trust, honesty, happiness, and love. If I am to keep with the prior analogies, it is the calm after every storm. It’s when the sun comes up, the air is clear, and birds begin their bright and clever songs. It’s the happy and the peace you find in quiet moments.

Aside from two notable, long-ago exceptions, nearly everyone I’ve dated has been some kind of natural disaster. I’m not inclined to get into the hows and the whys of it, except to say, a lot of things lent themselves to me following that path. It’s taken a lot of hard work, insight, processing, and willingness to finally get to the point where I no longer have any interest – at all – in chasing a storm.

But in having been conditioned to brace against the elements, whatever they may be, I find myself looking around, not quite yet fully trusting that quiet, that sunshine, that love. I am in the company of someone with whom I feel fully comfortable to speak up, to tell the truth and ask questions and be vulnerable. Someone who finds me attractive in all the ways that matter, and who has no reservations in telling and showing me that, at any and every turn. Someone who is self-aware, and willing to dig deep and talk about things and maybe even change his mind, when it’s warranted. Someone who is simply present, with no games or agendas; just a heart as big and tender as my own, with an infinite capacity for joy and love. I’m learning to breathe and trust it (and him), and am fortunate to have met someone who can be patient and understanding around that.

It’s like, after years of having blindly set up camp in the path of one destructive force after another, I’ve packed my shit, moved out, and followed my internal compass in the right direction.

Here’s to that, y’all. Here’s to letting yourself exhale and be loved.

All the news that’s fit to print.

Welp, this is certainly one of those times when I can honestly say I haven’t been writing here because I’ve been busy as shit living life elsewhere, and it’s a GOOD THING. There have been blog entries rolling around in my brain for months, but they just keep getting knocked around by all the other stuff I have to think about instead. I haven’t even had time to write the weekly gratitude posts, but that’s something I plan to get back to. I think it’s important. Even though life is, for all intents and purposes, really damn good right now, I don’t want to lose sight of that during the inevitable times of struggle.

So… let’s see. I started a new job back in November. The difference is like night and day from my last job. I had genuine affection for some of my former co-workers, but the environment was just… not a good fit. I could say a whole lot more about it, but this being a public forum and all, I’ll leave it at that. What I will say instead is that my new job has me twice as busy as I was before, and I honestly feel like I’m helping and making a difference. I work with people who practice active gratitude, every day, and we’re all busy, sometimes overwhelmingly so, but it’s all to work towards something greater than ourselves. Our leaders have big visions, and we are the ones who make it happen, all with the goal of helping as many women as possible.

One interesting thing for me is that it’s a faith-based organization. Anyone who knows me knows what a choice that was for me to make. And I was nervous about it at first, but you know what? Our missions are the same. Our goals are the same. Our driving forces are, ultimately, the same. The only difference (to me) is the language we use to talk about it. There was definitely a time in my life where I don’t think it would have worked for me to be there, but now, it absolutely feels like a great place to be. I am as welcome there as anyone, and we’re all just grateful for each other. It’s pretty cool.

And all of that works out well, having that emotional support, because my boss just went out on maternity leave so I’m now doing three jobs instead of two. I came home every day last week feeling like I’d been beat up (from the feet up), so I’d do a face plant on the couch and then wake back up to dig into homework. Which, by the way, is going well, and I am loving my classes this semester, because it is CHALLENGING. I’ve never been one to think about social welfare policy – or any policy, really – so even though I’m out of my element, I feel like I’m learning to inhabit new elements. The other class is covering the DSM-5 which is super interesting to me, of course. I’ve diagnosed everyone I know, just about. (Kidding, of course. I started with myself and my family. YOU’RE NEXT.)

On top of all of that, just as I’d had enough of the verbal abuse and ick factor from online dating and was planning to shut down my accounts… I met someone good. Like, really good. Kind, attentive, sweet, funny, smart, honest, handsome… and I find myself wondering if I even know how to handle that, after so many years of there being some kind of drama or unfortunate business going on with my dating choices (to put it mildly). It’s been a while. But whatever adjustments are necessary on my part to figure out how to let someone in and keep the walls from going up and staying there, I’m all about it. And the best part is that we can (and do) talk about all that stuff. He’s as able and willing to dig deep as I am, with as tender and big a heart as mine, if not bigger. So, we’ll see where all that goes. My thanks to all the previous self-selectors, as well as the ones who behaved in such a way as to put me on high alert and avoid any future BS.

“There are two kinds of people in this world; those who build you up, and those who tear you down. In the end, you’ll thank them both.” Yep.

Anyway. So between work, school, the new fella, and then, you know, regular life and stuff, I am BUSY, my time is filled, and I am apparently terrible at reaching out to people now that I’m no longer on Facebook. But have I mentioned how much more peaceful my life is without it? Because it is. I will say, though, that I’m glad for the people who remember me and extend invitations that are otherwise taking place on FB. That aside, I’m still just waiting for all the pieces to readjust back into their new places with all that’s going on. Life was already full before C came along, so I’m doing my best to make room for him without losing myself in the process. I was in the habit of going to the gym after work, but that stopped a few weeks back and I want to squeeze that back in. That has more to do with being wiped out after work, though, and not as much to do with my personal life. And then of course there’s friend time and family time and house-sitting gigs and the desire to skip town for a few days before long…

Anyway. Life is good, and I am happy. Even when I’m a big ol’ ball of stress. That’s what the pedicures and massages and appointments with Noelle the wonder therapist are for. And the gym. And this glass of wine. Also, cookies. But maybe not so many cookies anymore, because it’s time to get back on that healthy train, too.

Monday. I’ll hop the train on Monday.

And will try to write more here, too. It feels good, even if I’m the only one reading it. 🙂

Sunday Randoms.

I’ve had a few light bulb moments lately that seem to be pointing in a pretty positive direction, all things considered. It’s kind of funny to be 43 and still have these realizations, and to still be so impacted by them, but I suppose that’s just what life looks like when you’re paying attention. Always learning and growing, if you’re into that sort of thing.

Anyway. The first came as a result of my new job and managing people for the first time. There was a part of me that felt like I needed to be a certain way, look, talk and act a certain way, and basically be someone I’m not, in order to be a supervisor. But in the last few weeks, after taking the bigger picture of my entire life experience into account, I realized I’ve had bosses of all shapes and sizes, and none of them ever felt the need to pretend to be someone they weren’t, just for the sake of managing someone else; at least, I never got that impression. Instead, they could absolutely be themselves, and what made them good managers was a willingness to engage, listen, ask questions, and actually lead. I’ve had my share of really BAD managers, too, but I won’t get into that. The bottom line was the realization, for me, that I can continue to be my quirky self and still be an effective manager; I don’t have to pretend to be anyone or anything else.

Another thing was having gone on two good dates with someone I met through an online dating site, with tentative plans to get together again after the holidays, only to have him fade and disappear, with no explanation. Like, I sent him a message to which he never responded, and I haven’t heard from him since. Ghosting, I think they call that.

It was a little surprising and a little confusing, but I pretty much immediately came to the conclusion that whatever caused it – he met someone else, he got busy, he lost interest, etc. – meant that ultimately he was doing me a favor by dropping off. It may go without saying, but I’m not a fan of the ghosting method unless the other person is dangerous or toxic in some way and it’s just better to cease all contact for sanity’s sake; that, I 100% endorse. Otherwise, it seems the least you can do, whether in friendships or dating or whatever, to say SOMETHING before making your exit.

But in this case, the disappearing act wound up offering insight into some things – like character. And also, the fact that I didn’t just assume I must have done or said something wrong. It’s possible I did or said something that struck him the wrong way – I (obviously) have no way of knowing. But the realization that I’m not in the mindset to immediately assume there’s something wrong with ME like I would have in years past… that’s pretty nice. I’m more than happy to just move on and wish him well.

So with the disappearance of the one person of any interest or promise from that particular site, I decided to shut down OkCupid. I was getting too many messages from guys I had no interest in. Even if the original message wasn’t offensive, if I opted not to respond then I’d often get a second message going off on me for not responding to the first one. And that’s one of the big issues I have with online dating sites – the sense of entitlement, but also the sense of responsibility. I feel bad every single time there’s a message I don’t respond to, but it would be a full time job to respond to every one I get, even accounting for removing the gross/ugly ones no one in her right mind would respond to. I’m not sure there’s a good answer to that.

When I deleted my Facebook profile, it took Tinder with it. I’m okay with that. Although that app has actually done me some pretty huge solids over the last year and a half, oddly enough, so I would have kept it, had the connection between it and FB not been necessary.

I’ve had a few people suggest I reopen a FB account just for the sake of having access to Tinder. I’ve also had people suggest I reopen a FB account and add back all the “good” people in my life so I can stay in touch. I have a whole lot of thoughts about Facebook, though, and why there’s no way in hell I have any intention of getting back on there again, even as the rest of the world seems geared toward requiring it in some way. That’ll be a different post.

So school starts back this week, and I think the dating thing is just going to take a backseat for a while. I’m totally good with that, too. Especially since I’ve been working towards living life in person rather than online, and am hoping to meet people that way instead. Which leads me to…

The final realization I recently had was that I no longer want to sit around and wait for someone to come along who will want to do things with me, like going out to nice/new restaurants, exploring, the symphony, opera, events, etc. Most of my friends are happily coupled up and spend most of their time with their partners, which I understand. I am not a priority to most people, and while that may sting sometimes – if I let it – what that means is it’s entirely up to me to get out and do all the things I want to do, whether I’ve got company or not. Actually living life, instead of waiting for it to happen.

So that’s what I’m gonna do.