Epiphany

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Sometimes I need a slap of brutal honesty. Honesty slapped me in face so hard recently that I didn’t know how to reply. Honesty made me question myself and hit me with two good points:

1) Have I ever really loved someone? I’ve said the words but I am unsure I’ve ever truly meant them. Not that I don’t know what love is, but I’m not positive how it feels. I’ve been loved, of that I’m sure. I married a man who loved me. I was in awe of how much he loved me, and it felt amazing to know someone felt something so magical for me. However, I don’t think it was unconditional. Actually, considering how he treated my feelings and my needs, I’m not sure he did truly love me.

These doubts are what make me wonder. I know there’s a chemical reaction in the brain when one sees, hears, thinks of the person they adore. This is what we call love. I’ve gotten butterflies. I’ve felt the excitement of seeing someone’s name on the caller I.D. I’ve had those chemicals flying around in my body, but they always fade. Boredom sets in. So what do I do? Sometimes I run, especially if a better option comes along. Or I one-sidedly struggle to keep things going. Which brings me to…

2) Why do I hang on to unhealthy relationships? I do this with friends as well as romantic relationships. I had a toxic friendship that took my self-esteem to new lows. Still I clung to her until she said something so painful that I couldn’t forgive her. I let BM back into my life after he used me for months. I let the mechanic hold my heart when I knew I would never have his. He played with my emotions for years. YEARS.

Not many people are fully honest with me, but I appreciate and welcome honesty, though it can at times be horribly painful. He admitted to me that he hadn’t treated me as well as he should have (hadn’t treated me well, period). He wasn’t putting forth any effort, yet I was trying. Trying so hard to make something work that didn’t exactly exist. He asked me why I let him treat me so poorly without leaving. I had no good answer. I had no answer at all. I asked him questions to which I didn’t want the answers. I got the answers I expected. Yet I stay. Why am I holding on so tightly? There are reasons to hold on, but there are reasons to let go.

I grew up with Cinderella and Prince Charming and the idea of Happily Ever After. I’m supposed to fall in love at first sight, feel twitter-pated every time he’s near. We’ll have a story-book marriage and live with our 2.3 kids in the suburbs with our dog and two-car garage. I’m slowly realizing this doesn’t exist. You find someone with which you have good conversation, have similar interests, and their flaws don’t make you want to rip your hair out. Though you’ll lose those butterflies eventually, you want to hang out with them for the rest of your life. You basically look for a best friend that you want to have sex with. This is why I stay.

With one conversation, I’m no longer rushing love. I understand that relationships are nurtured and two-sided. When one side is no longer present, evaluation must occur. If one side refuses to budge, it’s probably time to let go. But if both sides are willing and able, strength and harmony can be attained. I learn something every day, and some days present bigger lessons than others. Slow and steady wins the race, right?

Tossed

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This Memorial Day weekend has been strange.

Plans were made and plans were broken. New plans came up and some were followed through, some not. A long-distance date was planned, but there are days when one needs alone time and I must honor that. Though I felt like a dog waiting for his master to return only for him retreat to his room and close the door, leaving me on the other side, I understood.

I work with a friend who isn’t shy about his feelings for me. He had a disastrous relationship with a woman for three years. Shortly after we met, they broke up. After I rebuffed him on multiple occasions, I convinced him to try Match. Dating is hard, and I feel badly that he is no exception. I have no romantic feelings for M; I love him as a friend, but nothing more. When he called last night to go get a beer, I knew he had been rejected again. Feeling slightly rejected myself and not wanting to be alone with my thoughts, I agreed to head out on the town with him and another friend. M and I were alone for about an hour and a half; just long enough for him to slur his words and get handsy with me. When our friend arrived, he announced that his girlfriend of several years had been cheating on him. So here I was with two fellows wounded by their ladies and wanting to wallow in drunken misery, one ignoring my protests against his advances. I was thankful when my fellow reached out to me and, in a way, accepted my offer to chat. After making sure my friends had settled somewhere that wouldn’t kick them out for being too intoxicated, I headed home to spend time with the object of my affection.

I’ve not known a feeling more difficult to handle than the need to throw my arms around someone when they’re so far away. For now I have to settle for a kind of shitty web-cam and a microphone that works most of the time.

I threw away part of my past today. In preparation for the move I plan to make in the latter part of winter (why I always move in winter, I am not sure), I am trying to minimize the amount of unnecessary objects in my possession. I dug through photographs and vases and candles and clothing… So many things brought up memories of when things worked, but others brought up memories of when things were broken. I reminded myself that to cleanse is to let go. So I let go. I tossed objects into a bag that I threw into the garbage to be picked up tomorrow and never seen again. I shed no tears. I feel a bit of relief.

The best advice I’ve ever been given and my favorite to offer: Do what makes you happy. I want to get out of my normal. I want to live closer to water. I want to be closer to Carrie. I want to be closer to Aury (if he’ll still have me and I him after the coming months). I want to be somewhere I feel I belong.

I’m almost there.

Deleted

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It is incredibly difficult for me to delete a contact from my phone. I always have that “what if I need this person for some reason” feeling as I close in on the delete button, then touch “cancel” instead.

I deleted the mechanic’s number. I threw away his plant three weeks ago. For months, I had visions of taking that painstakingly cared for plant to his shop, or his place of residence, and throwing it on the ground in front of the door. He would know exactly where it came from. But as crazy as I wanted to act, I just couldn’t do it. I wanted to keep the plant in case things didn’t work out for the two of us in our current relationships. I know he’ll come running to me when he becomes bored. I wanted to show him that I still cared for him by keeping that fucking plant. But that plant became a constant reminder of a painful time in my life. Every time I looked at it, I felt the sting of rejection. The feeling of being not quite good enough. But I don’t care for him anymore and I don’t want him back. So I took a deep breath, threw the damned thing away, deleted his phone number and all of his texts, and closed that chapter for good.

Now I feel I can fully focus on the amazing new chapter in my life. I keep a plant at work, and it’s the only plant I’ve been able to keep alive for more than a few weeks. Limon is at least 10 years old, and I’ve kept him alive for more than nine of those years. So I took a part of Limon and transplanted him in my beautiful, now empty pot. It already has a new, fully grown leaf and it has sprouted roots! Limon represents so much in my life. It seems every time I get rid of something painful from my past, something more beautiful and fulfilling pops up to replace it. Seattle comes to mind…

What if

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Not sure I want to admit to this, but when I arrived home from work I turned on the boob tube and turned to My Big Fat American Gypsy Wedding (America’s finest examples of humanity). I was only half-watching while making dinner and dicking around on my phone when something caught my attention. One of the couples featured was a 14 year old girl and her 17 year old boyfriend who wanted to wed. Laws and Gypsy rules said that she had to be 16 before they could marry. This reminded me of a patient who was in recently. I work for an ophthalmologist who specializes in glaucoma. In short, I spend my days working with a large number of older people. At 75 years old, this patient had just celebrated her 60th wedding anniversary with her husband. Whoa. A) 60 years is a long time to be with the same person. B) She’s 75. I’ll do the math: 75 – 60 = 15. She was 15 when she married. I remember sitting in the room when a different patient revealed that she had married at 12 and had her first child at 13 (she was in her late 80s at the time and her daughter, granddaughter and great-granddaughter were all in the room with us. They joked and said there were never boring rainy days…).

I went on my first date at age 14 and I think back to all my high school boyfriends. I can’t imagine being married to any of them. I still communicate with several of them, but that’s because we made better friends than romantic partners. The others I don’t talk to for a reason. If I had married my first boyfriend, I would probably be more quiet and less confident. I may even be dead. He became a rapist and a verbal and physical abuser. How do I know? He dated my good friend for three years after we broke up, only she didn’t have the confidence to know she deserved better. Luckily, she got out of the situation and is married to a great guy and stand-up fellow.

I also think about how I wanted so badly to be a mother at age 22. After I married, I pushed so hard but it just wasn’t feasible. Now I’m glad for the push-back because I’m pretty sure I don’t want children at all. I’m thankful my brother has kids because my parents only have expectations of perpetual grand-kitties from me. Funny side story – the last time my dad was at my place, he lit up like a Christmas tree when Luna rolled over for him to rub her belly. “Whoa! She likes me! Did you see that? Sarah! She let me rub her belly!”

I’ve made choices my whole life. Some I’m not proud of, and some have been life-changing in the greatest way. I will continue to make choices: some I won’t be proud of, but hopefully most will affect me positively. I don’t ever again want to feel like I’ve missed out on something because I know that feeling oh so well. I’m glad I didn’t have a high school sweetheart. I’m glad I didn’t have children. I wish I had waited to marry. I could go on forever about things for which I’m glad and thing I wish I had done. Most of all, I’m glad for all of my choices: the good, the bad and the “did I really just do that?” For anyone reading this, get out there and do something! Talk to the pretty lady in the checkout lane. Say yes to dinner with your friends when you just want to be alone. Dance and sing in your car! What’s the worst that can happen? Pretty lady will think you’re weird? She might ask you on a date. You might go to bed late? Maybe you’ll have a super fun time AND get to bed on time. People will giggle at you in your car? Your awesome car-dance skills might just make someone’s day. I know mine have. I’ve caught people taking video of me at stoplights. And you know what? I feel pretty honored.

I’m a Compulsive Over-Analyzer

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I read my horoscope most days and I like to think that there is a little truth in the signs. I feel like I have quite a few traits of Cancerian nature, but I’m not a firm believer that my best love match is a Scorpio, Pisces or Taurus as the Zodiac tells me. That said, I found this website (based on a book my friend showed me) that gives a pretty detailed view into one’s personality traits based on their birth date. I don’t know how to make a link fancy, so here’s the ugly link (if anyone attempts this, you’ll probably have to copy and paste. Sorry.):

http://www.thesecretlanguage.com/check/birthdate/

Anyway, I was dicking around on that site a few months ago doing some weird, crazy lady stuff. You know, looking up ex-boyfriends and such. As I read more about my supposed self, I felt like there were a few targets missed, but there were a lot of things that were spot on. The header of my specific birth date? Experienced Dark Pragmatist. Sounds about right. I read a few paragraphs then saw a list to the side: “Traits of this day: Pragmatic, Protective, Responsible, Armored, Smothering, Insensitive.” Yes, yes, sure, YES, yes, WHAT?! It called me insensitive! But my friends call me “mom!” I’m always there for my friends and family when they ask. But that’s not the definition of sensitive. Am I insensitive to my loved ones? Shit!

At first I thought, “eh, it’s just a silly website.” Though the more I thought about it, the more I realized I really am insensitive. When one of my friends tells me something bad happened to them, my first instinct is to tell them a similar story that affected me. This isn’t to “one-up” them, but rather to help them feel that their situation isn’t so bad. However, that’s in my mind and probably ends up sounding like I am trying to “one-up” or undermine their problem. The problem is, how do I fix it? How do I stop the “well this is what I did in that situation…” and just listen and be supportive?

Good example: I have a sweet fellow in my life. I’m two hours ahead, so we don’t get to spend tons of time together during the week because we both work and I go to bed at old lady time. He’s still really good at making me feel important. He sends me kisses and hugs and draws cute pictures for me. He called me last night on his way out with some friends just to tell me “goodnight.” I’m a dick. Why? Because he went to the ER with food poisoning today and then apologized for not texting me all day. He felt badly for not giving me attention, even though he was ridiculously ill! I said I was sorry, but then proceeded to say “I had food poisoning once. It took about 48 hours to feel normal.” Totally insensitive! I should have said, “I know I can’t be there physically to comfort you, but is there something I can do?” I should have offered to read to him, like he does for me. Or I could sing to him or do SOMETHING… Ugh.

I wish I didn’t have lady brain i.e. ability to blow a situation way out of proportion by over-thinking and over-analyzing. I’m sure it’s not that big of a deal. Or maybe it is? Am I stressing too much about this? HELP!

Sadness

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I battle with depression. I used to think there was something wrong with me for feeling so low. Depression, anxiety and bipolar disorder run strong on both sides my family, but no one told me until I confessed to my parents that I was seeing a therapist. I took medication for a short while, but I’m very non-compliant with any medication (I’m an uncontrolled asthmatic as well) and I didn’t want to deal with the sexual side effects. So I chose exercise, therapy and good old self-motivation. I haven’t seen a therapist in at least three years. Now, some days are bad, but most of them are good.

Today was a bad day.

I have an older brother. Almost three years separate us. I think I was a pretty good kid: straight A’s in school, never broke curfew, didn’t party… I didn’t get drunk for the first time until I was 19 (my brother gave me tequila). My brother sneaked out of the house almost every night. He put us all through family therapy and diversion when he got caught with pot in high school. I have picked him up from the police station twice (once I had to take him to the ER afterward with blood all over his face). Thankfully, he settled down after marrying almost seven years ago and has three children that wear him out.

Today is Mother’s Day. Gifts have always been a sore spot for me. Even when I was married with a combined income, I wasn’t able spend a lot of money on gifts for my family or friends. I thought I did well this Mother’s Day by giving my mom flowers and a hand-written card. I’ve always felt it’s the thought that counts. Her birthday is Friday, so I was going to get her another little something. For Mother’s Day, my brother sent Slugger (our local baseball team’s mascot) to her office Friday morning. He presented her with earrings, a pie and tickets to a Royal’s game. Someone video-taped the whole thing and she has been carrying around her lap-top for the past two days so she could show everyone. When I got to my brother’s house today, I handed her the flowers and card. She hugged me and thanked me, but quickly began gushing about how awesome it was that Slugger came to her office. She went on and on about how everyone was so jealous and it was the coolest thing that’s ever happened and asked if I wanted to watch the video of her freaking out. I wanted to hide. I felt tears welling up. I politely told her I was going to go see what Dad was doing.

I feel like this every time we have a family gathering for a birthday or holiday. My brother is always gifting something expensive to my parents. One event, it was OKC Thunder Jerseys for both parents and the dog. Another time, he bought my mom an authentic Chief’s jersey. I will never be able to monetarily compete, nor do I want to. I’m not sure if it’s sadness or jealousy but I don’t understand why I have to buy my mother’s love.

Though he wasn’t the best father growing up, my dad and I have always been closer, and both my parents have never been shy about admitting they have favorites. I’ve never had to suck up to my dad or buy him things for him to like me. Mom has gone with me to a couple of music events the past couple of weekends, and she tells me how awesome it is that I want to hang out with her. Then my brother does something big and I’m back to nothing.

If I had children, my mom would visit me more often. She actually said those words.

I just needed to vent. I have so many people that love and care about me. And now I’m going for a drive with the windows down and some Rise Against blowing my speakers.

Seattle

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A little back story: I’ve known my best friend, Carrie, for almost 17 years and she is one of the most amazing people I’ve ever met. Six years ago, she moved to Tampa Bay. I regret not spending the money to visit her. Five years ago, she moved to Seattle. My ex-husband continuously told me that we didn’t have the money to visit her, so I just accepted the fact that I would have to wait for her visits home. About a month before we split, I decided that wasn’t acceptable any longer, and I planned a trip to see her. That ended up being perfect timing: two weeks after we decided on divorce, I was spending a week with her and feeling happier than I’d felt in years. I vowed to myself (and kind of to her) that I would visit her at least once per year. I visited the following September (2013) and again this March (2014). I knew she was going to be busy during my last trip, but I had ulterior motives for visiting: I wanted to wander around the city and see if that was somewhere I could see myself living.

About two weeks prior to leaving for my last visit, I started chatting with a fellow on Match. Electrician #2. We went on two dates and things seemed to be going fairly well. He called me almost every day, but I was being fairly casual about the whole thing, as none of my other “matches” had worked out very well. He texted me quite a bit the night I arrived in Seattle, as I was on my own for a few hours once I stepped foot off the Link. I settled at the Tommy Gun, a bar just feet away from my friend’s condo (little did I know I’d end up there almost every night during my visit). We texted memes back and forth until he had to go to bed and I thanked him for keeping me company. We texted a little during my stay, but not much and I assumed he was being polite and not trying to intrude on my visit.

My third night in Seattle, I was on my own. I sat through dress rehearsal of Carrie’s play on Thursday night and I was planning attending the official production on Saturday. I had about four and a half hours to kill, so I started with an hour of the Mindy Project. I got hungry and spent the next hour and a half wandering the streets looking for somewhere to eat dinner. After all that wandering, it started to get dark and nothing sounded good, nor could I find somewhere that wasn’t completely packed. I remembered a little (and I mean little) sushi place that Carrie, Doug and I had gone during my first visit. I managed to find it fairly easily. I stood in the back of this walk-in closet sized place, staring at the menu as two fellows entered, one after the other. I was confused by what I was ordering, and was horrifically embarrassed by the tall, attractive blonde fellow showing me a poster depicting the thing I thought I wanted. He struck up a conversation with me, and suddenly I felt a little less ashamed. He was reading something sci-fi (the name escapes me) and I was definitely into it. As our orders were ready and we walked out onto the sidewalk, he asked if I had plans for the evening. Surprisingly, he invited me down the street to a coffee shop where we ate dinner and had this awesome kind of pseudo-date. We talked about everything: sci-fi, our families, art, and a few other things. I found him intriguing, but told myself to keep it light because I will probably never see him again. Again, to my surprise, he asked me if I’d like to hang out before I flew home. I had quite a bit planned with Carrie, but told him if I had time I’d let him know. We didn’t see each other again while I was in Seattle, but we texted a little. We became Facebook friends. We casually texted the next week. In the meantime, Electrician #2 agreed to a third date. We never had that date because two days later he said I was “a really fun chick” and I made him laugh and smile a lot, but he just couldn’t date me. Okay, no worries. Plenty of fish in the sea. The next day, Seattle fellow asked if he could call me. I was surprised, but excited. We talked every day for the next week. Every conversation had me a little more hooked. He was flying out to see me the next week. I was terrified. I called him the day after he booked his flight, telling him I thought we were rushing things. After we talked, I felt a bit more relaxed about things. Why would we wait? We had only spent a couple of hours together. How would we know if we clicked in person unless we hung out in person?

He flew in on Thursday evening and stayed until Monday afternoon. I was so nervous. I could tell he was nervous too. We were both shaking when we hugged for the first time at my office in front of my nosy co-workers. All I could think was “is he going to kiss me? Will we mesh in person as we do on the phone? Where is he going to sleep?” I was a wreck! I could barely look him in the eyes. I don’t know how long we had been in my apartment, but it couldn’t have been more than 15 minutes before our lips locked. It was magical: longing mixed with lust and a bit of uncertainty. We spent the next 90-something hours glued to each other. I still have the image of his furrow burned into my brain, as he tried not to destroy me in chess (which he did, more than once). I remember how comforting his arm felt around me as I drifted off to sleep with my head on his chest. I miss running my fingers through his hair while we talked into the wee hours.

I’ve never been in a long distance relationship. Honestly, I’m not really sure how the whole thing works, but it seems like we’re doing okay at it. We talk or text every day. We still play chess sometimes, though now it’s over the internets. We’re finding ways to spend time together because we can’t physically. One thing I absolutely love is that he reads to me. I love his voice, and I could hear him talk for hours.

He’s not perfect, but I’m not perfect either. It seems the more we talk, the more I fall. I don’t have to wonder what he’s thinking because he will tell me if I ask. So why do I worry? At times, I feel like a self-saboteur. I wonder if he’s going to become bored with me over time and choose a geographically closer lady. I worry that I’m not physically fit enough. I worry that I’m not smart enough or technologically savvy enough (he’s a programming smarty-pants). I’m not stupid by any means, but I can’t keep up with his explanations at times. I know he became frustrated with me when trying to help me troubleshoot a simple game last night, though I think his irritation stemmed from my frustration with myself. I don’t have a high-paying career, so I have to save to be able to visit him. I want to equally contribute to our rendezvous, but I truly can’t monetarily and it makes me feel… not inferior… inadequate? I worry and I don’t know how to make it stop. When he worries, I’m calm for him and I have wisdom and insight to share. Most of the time, I feel like the luckiest girl in the world that he chose me as the object of his affections. I don’t remember feeling a connection so easy and comforting as it is with him (not even with my ex-husband). I feel like I can tell him anything and I appreciate his openness with me. I get giddy and my heart skips a little when he sends me a hug or kiss on our connectivity phone app (it really is the little things). When my phone blinks blue, I hope it’s a text from him. I can’t wait to be in his arms again.

But I’m scared.