Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Working Girl

I really need someone else to come up with titles for these posts. And maybe just manage it in general and provide me with deadlines and accountability. It's unpaid, but you'll get great experience.

As I mentioned in the last post, I quit my job and moved.

I was getting bored at the old job and looking for something new. It's a good company and I liked my coworkers, but it was just time to make a move and do something different. Also I didn't really want to live there anymore. That little town was far from anywhere I wanted to be, and I felt so trapped. Nothing ever happened, I was in the same house my ex husband and I had, and it was just a bad day-in, day-out rut.

Here's a fun fact. Twice, I had a part of an interview focus on my personality and then afterword I didn't hear anything back. One job I applied for did a pretty intense personality test on me. I don't mean the Jung's classification thing, or one of those tests where they ask if you've ever had violent tendencies. No, I mean a test that really made you question who you really are deep down when no one is looking. I completed it, and the potential employer went radio silent for over a week. I was really worried what they learned about me, and if they had alerted the authorities.

I'm not really known for being the brave one. I don't do random shit like this. I seek stability, and have stayed in less than ideal situations just because they're familiar. Because they're safe and predictable. I don't quit the only job I've had since college and move away from the place I've lived for twenty years.

And yet, I did. I have.

There's really no point in complaining about your situation if you aren't going to change it. It may be scary or difficult, but the feeling of knowing you at least took action is worth pushing through that fear. At the end of our lives, the regrets of what we never did will weigh the heaviest. And at the end of that life, that's it. The last chapter. The final note hanging in the air. There is no option to start over. We aren't Mario. As much as I would like some magical food to make me taller, that's not the world we live in.

So, do whatever you're going to do. Find what makes you unhappy and push it out of your life. Change that thing that's bothering you. Tell that person why they're an asshole. Get out and exercise. Ask for that promotion. Even if you don't like it, even if you make the wrong choice. Just prove to yourself that you can do it, and that your life will go on.

Monday, October 3, 2016

Big Changes

Hello, friends. I did that thing where I forgot to actually write in my blog for... several months. To be honest I kept wondering what to write about as eventually the divorce seemed less important, and dating seemed really unpleasant.

Btw, it is. Sometimes my response to the thought of dying alone is "God willing."

So then I quit my job and moved. Well, I started moving. This weekend I packed up my clothes and coffee maker, and started a new job today. I've done little else because I'm a procrastinator and justify my poorly thought out actions by saying I'm just taking it bit by bit. Which isn't totally untrue, as I have made some serious progress with painting and cleaning some old crap out that I have no use for and don't need to haul to a new city.

Such as my wedding album. And the entire box I had kept of mementos from things my ex and I had done together throughout the course of our relationship. There were some bows from flowers he had bought, and a little plastic heart that decorated some kind of cake he had gotten me. There were programs and pamphlets from trips we had taken and things we had visited. There were movie tickets from dates. The prayer book from our wedding ceremony. The guest book from our wedding, which felt as lackluster as the relationship itself. There were plane tickets. Stuff from Ireland, the first international trip I had taken and the last trip we had together.

I recalled all these events. The hotel we got downtown after a beer garden. Dinners we had after special occasions. "Just because" gifts and notes. How much fun Ireland was, even though at one point I wanted to leave him in a grocery store because he was dragging his heels when he walked. I recalled asking him to pick up his feet because the sound drove me nuts, and he made a point to just get louder.

When I had started this blog, I had some plan to ceremoniously burn it all as some kind of closure. Maybe have friends over when it happened. Get a bottle of champagne. I don't really know, but I wanted to do something as some kind of sign that it was over.

Instead, I threw it in the garbage can between loads of laundry and before I went to a workout. Looked through it, looked at the pictures in the album, and then tossed it all.

If that wasn't the ultimate in "look how far I've come" I'm not sure what is.

Well now that shit's actually happening in my life, I can get back to this.

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Practice what you non-religiously preach.

Dieting is awful. You know what healthy foods are, and the importance of regular exercise. Maybe you even occasionally advise people on proper eating habits. But.... cake is so good. You shouldn't, but you do, and you'll remember it when you realize you haven't lost any weight in the past couple months. Immediate satisfaction becomes more important than long term health.

For all my posturing of being happy alone and what it takes to have a healthy relationship, I fall into the very trap I've been working to avoid. It's like not being able to see the forest for the trees, except instead of a forest it's a relationship and instead of trees it's a man that's nice to me most of the time. Not even all the time. Not even that nice.

Okay, actually he was that nice. Maybe that's what happened. He was nice and wanted to spend time with me and would initiate conversations. This set the stage for me to get attached and be open to the possibility of a relationship. I was attracted to him but I couldn't really give specific traits about him that I liked. He took me out? He bought dinner? He came over so I could cook? While it's appreciated, these aren't really qualities that win someone over. Especially when there are so many obvious red flags.

See, after the divorce was finalized I wasn't sure what I would continue writing. I didn't want to make this a journal ("today I woke up late but I was just so sleepy!") or just talk about my moods. No, the purpose was to document this transition from separation to divorce to whatever comes after. And as it turns out, there's plenty to document! Like the rebound relationship. And how much it can suck when it ends, even when you're fully aware it wouldn't have lasted.

Long story short, I was dumped because I didn't share his religious views. More specifically, I was dumped by someone I wasn't really dating because religion was very important to him and it wasn't to me. Or something. I don't know. There was some awkwardness and sadness and "let's be friends." (PS- don't be friends.) Despite being fully aware a long term relationship wouldn't work, I was hurt. This was rejection, and that was new...ish.

The divorce was a big step, but it wasn't the end. Just because I'm free to move on with my life doesn't mean I'm suddenly well adjusted and perfectly happy. There's still a lot of progress to be made. I'm aware that I need to learn to be happy with myself before I can be in a healthy and happy relationship with anyone. But I've realized that I view a relationship as my "baseline" and it's not easy to go against that. Still, I have to figure it out and make the smart decision over the easy one.

One day, you might find yourself "alone." You may ask yourself a tough question, one you don't deserve. One that feels like emotional abuse. But one you can't stop thinking about, that won't leave your head and just keeps popping up.

"Why am I so easy to walk away from?"

Maybe you won't wonder this, and I hope you don't. But, maybe you will, even if you don't know it. I wish I could answer that. I can tell you you're more than a relationship status, and you're not alone. That romantic involvement will not make everything okay. But I can't answer that question because I'm still asking myself that. Maybe one day I'll figure it out and be able to share that wisdom.

In the meantime I think I'll just take some time to take my own advice and see this as an opportunity. And really, how boring would it be to get into a serious relationship with the first person I date after my divorce? What a waste of my single years.

Thursday, January 28, 2016

Petty LaBelle. Petty Mayonaise. Petty Murphy. Petty Pan.

Well I'm divorced. The hearing was Tuesday, and took all of ten minutes. My marriage and a ten year relationship was legally ended within minutes. Perhaps the funniest part is remembering the planning and time that went into preparing for the wedding, only to have it all undone so quickly.

Maybe instead of a year long waiting period for divorce, we need a waiting period to be married. Then again it wouldn't have mattered in our case. As I mentioned, a third of my life was spent in that relationship. You'd think I'd have caught onto the red flags. Yet here we are!

I was getting more and more anxious in the hours leading up to the hearing. On the drive to the courthouse my stomach was in knots, and I had been listening to Alanis Morissette for a while. Even when I got there, and saw my almost totally ex husband and his fedora-wearing witness, nothing calmed within me. Until he spoke. I was reminded of his cold politeness, and the loneliness I had started to feel in our marriage. I felt reassured about my future and the change in status I'd have once I left the courthouse. I felt almost completely calm when I heard him dragging his heels when he walked. 

That noise always drove me crazy. Genuinely made me twitchy, enough to where I contemplated leaving him in a grocery store when we were in Ireland. The worst part was he would do it on purpose. But hey, not an issue any more. At least it's not my business how he chooses to walk.

In fact, none of that is my business. What he does with his life now doesn't concern me, and hasn't for a long time. I've done everything I can to maintain a respectful distance between us, taking cues from his behavior. Especially when it comes to his girlfriend. I've wished them well, but done everything I can to avoid any interactions with her. I don't know her, I've never said a word to her, she isn't a thing in my life, and I've just hoped they'll be happy.

So I don't know why she felt the need to brag about their divorce party on social media and call me Voldemort. I suppose she remembers Harry Potter very differently than I do. I definitely don't recall Voldemort avoiding parts of town where other people might be. Then again he was preoccupied with Harry and crew, and a little busy. So yeah, maybe he did ignore some other people.

In case you're wondering the joke is that I may be Voldemort but they're still not my concern.

But I've written before that I'm going to be honest about what happens when you're in these situations. And the truth is, no matter how hard you try you'll still be hurt. Everything tightened and I felt anxious and angry. I felt sad. I felt exhausted. I felt confused and hurt. I did nothing. I've wished them no ill will. I've told him that they both deserve to be happy. We all do. I get that they'd celebrate the end of all this; or at least that he would, because it actually involved him. But to make such a spectacle of it, and to say this about someone that actually is being impacted. I don't know what to do or how to react.

At least two days ago I didn't. Today? I know to just leave it alone. What they have to say about me is still not my business. It will not help me. I know what I have to do to find my own happiness, and it doesn't involve them. I'm starting to resent this high-road approach, but I've been here long enough so I might as well keep going. Empathy has never been my strong suit, and I'm trying to comfort myself by saying it's what I'm doing.

Lord grant me the patience and strength, because petty is so much easier.

Sunday, January 24, 2016

I tried dating and it wasn't fun.

One thing I’ve learned is never go out with a guy that follows you on any social media. It makes it difficult to vent about how awkward everything was.

My favorite part about that sentence is how it’ll make some men uncomfortable. Probably provides some insight into why I’m single. Well, that and I’m just mean spirited and have spent a lot of time cultivating a persona that’s as warm as a rattlesnake.

A couple months ago, I signed up for one of those dating app things. I figured it was easy, free, and a good way to just dip a toe into the dating pool. However, no one warned me that dating pool was actually a treatment pond for industrial waste. I never found my Mr. Right, Mr. Right Now, or even a Mr. You'll Do. I did at least learn a lot about rejection, the art of ghosting, and that there are worse things than being alone. Oh, and got some good stories. That's very important, since so many of my decisions boil down to, "would this be a funny story?"

I wish I had kept track of how many men I matched with, messaged, and what percent responded to me. Even smaller still, what percent I ended up meeting. However, I can tell you how many men I had a second date with! Two. There were two guys that I ever heard from again after the initial date. 

Have you ever met someone you knew online, and they looked so different from their pictures that you wanted to ask for your money back? No money was exchanged, you just feel so betrayed by the misrepresentation it was like you'd been swindled. I wanted to yell at him, to be honest. Instead I just let him pay for the pizza. I regret that, actually. Because what followed was one of the most awkward set of social interactions I've ever had. Yes, that's plural. Yes, I saw him more than once. I felt bad for him! I thought that maybe he was just nervous and that's why he made really intense eye contact, or answered open ended questions with "....yeah." Sometimes he would just stop in the middle of a sentence like he forgot where he was. 

As it turns out, that wasn't first date jitters. That's just him.

One guy gave me this spiel that men didn't like it when women talked about previous sexual experiences, because it made them sound like whores. No details, just knowing that a woman wasn't a virgin was enough to bother him. 

At some point, I stopped trying to act like an adult. As Bill Burr may or may not have said, you stop worrying about how something might sound and just start thinking, "Fuck it, let's see what happens." I wasn't interested in impressing these guys, and before the first date was over I started to worry about them asking for a second one. I told a few I was a feminist, knowing it would be enough to drive them off. In case you're wondering, it is pretty effective. I would recommend it for anyone caught in the same situation. 

Another time, I think the guy and I started a competition to see who could gross out the other. Actually, looking back that may have been one of the best dates I've been on. 

These are extreme examples. Generally, there was just a total lack of chemistry and attraction. Not so much that there was anything particularly wrong with any of them, just that I didn't see them as compatible. I rarely left a date with an overly positive feeling. However, that didn't mean I didn't feel some sense of rejection when I never heard from them again. Even recently I had the "there's nothing here" conversation with a guy I had met through a friend. There were so many red flags around him, and I wasn't interested, but it still hurt a little when he said he felt the same way.

Rejection sucks, and dating is a series of rejections. Still, it's a little fun. The newness of getting to know someone. The flirting. The hoping that something works out. Letting a man pay for dinner and getting a free meal out of it. Even got a free donut one day!

I think I'm done with the quantity approach. It's exhausting and frustrating and more than a little overwhelming. You see such a variety and so few are interesting. It's not just an issue of losing hope, but making sure you don't get... desperate. With each bad date, your standards drop just a little. 

We'll see how it goes in the future. For now, I just need to focus on the important things in my life. Maybe that'll include someone else, maybe it won't. The lesson here was being single and alone is still better than being around someone you don't even like.

Thursday, January 14, 2016

Friends in Low Places

I've mentioned by depression before. I've written about it here and on social media. I've written about one of the lowest points where I was planning my suicide. So it's nothing new for anyone.

One of my last posts was right as another episode began. This one was worse than usual, thanks to Wellbutrin. Just in case you weren't aware, "wellbutrin" is latin for "this is gonna fuck you up." Not only did it not do what it was supposed to, but for almost six weeks I was a terrified, anxious, paranoid mess. I'm not on that any more, and life is much better.

I've always struggled with opening up to friends and asking for help. I like to think I've gotten better about reaching out to people without feeling like a burden. As I've told others, and struggle to remind myself, I don't have to go through this alone. Sometimes I can call a friend and ask if they want to join me while I get drunk in my shower.

Now, here's where it gets random. I know who I can lean on. What I didn't know was that I could lean on my Ex Husband Within The Next Two Weeks. We're divorcing because we weren't happy together, but you don't spend almost a decade of your life with someone and write them off entirely. We both agreed we still cared about one another, and he was amazingly supportive and did what he could to get me out of that depression. He talked to me and even helped me get some stuff fixed around my house.

It was really comforting to have something so familiar around, and to be able to talk to someone that has seen me go through this before. We've grown apart, but at one point there was no one closer to me. Still, after everything I was reassured that I'm on the right path. It was great to catch up and talk to him, but more as a matter of closure. That chapter is done and we've both moved on in our own ways.

So, join me next time. Where I discuss the fun vacation with my dad and how I joined a dating app.

I did it for the stories. You should thank me.