Why I stayed

When I was about fourteen years old, I was in an emotionally abusive relationship. It was my first “love” relationship, one that would set the stage for what I believed a love relationship should be. He controlled me as completely as he could. He implied to me that I was fat, I was 5’4 and 120 pounds. He would stand me up when we had plans, and be with other girls. We would break up, he would apologize, we would get back together, and it would all start again. It was during that time that I started purging. I didn’t binge, but when I ate something “bad” I would throw it up. I still have a very vivid memory of kneeling on the floor of the Wendy’s, my fingers down my throat, feeling out of control. Purging never made me feel in control and I hadn’t found restricting yet. My relationship with that boy ended the night I swallowed 100 pills like I was chugging a glass of water. A pregnancy test and a tube shoved down my nose as I fought the ER staff, I woke up the next morning in a hospital gown with an IV in my arm and a fresh start to my teenage life.

This is not that story, however. This is the story of what happened decades after I vowed that I would never allow myself to be abused again. This is the beginning of the story that ended in my sexual assault. I didn’t post that blog publicly, but I am going to post it now.

When I met her, I was instantly attracted. Everything about her was everything I thought that I was looking for – she was attractive, passionate about what she did, incredibly smart, and determined to change the world. I learned way too quickly she was also a heavy drinker, emotionally tortured, incredibly insecure and filled with an anger that was as directionless as it was intense. One of the first times that I visited her house, she pointed out a pile of wood in the hallway. She said it had been a bookcase, she had shattered it when she was angry, and she had purposely left it there so that I would “know what I was getting into.” I’ve asked myself hundreds of times why I didn’t leave that night and never look back. She took my staying as a tacit agreement that she could do whatever she wanted – and she did. I’ve decided that I thought she was exaggerating. I thought she had darkness inside her that she needed to get out, but I didn’t think it would ever be directed at me. I decided, as I have done way too many times in my life, that my love was all she needed to heal her. I decided that I could be the one to save her.

Why did I stay when it started to get worse, when I became afraid of her? Because my work, my future work, was tied up in her and our relationship. We had no boundaries between the work that we did and our personal relationship(s) and rejecting her seemed to mean giving up the work that I was doing which was very important to me at the time. Also, no one from the outside had any idea what was going on inside that house. She was really great at pretending to be this amazing person and very few people got to see the person she was when she didn’t have an audience. For some relationships, the highs are so high that they cancel out the lows in our minds. Sure, I locked myself in her bathroom once and contemplated going out the window, but I let the night we danced to brown eyed girl, over and over, restarting the song every time it ended cancel that out.

As afraid as I was of her, she never hit me. There was one night where she basically imprisoned me in her house and wouldn’t let me leave. I tried to get out the front door and she smashed my fingers in it as she closed it. I yanked it open, oblivious to the pain, and she picked up a glass from the coffee table and held it up like she was going to smash it into my face. That moment will be forever branded on my mind. That was the moment that I felt most helpless. That was the moment that I knew that I somehow was back in an abusive relationship after vowing never to allow myself to be treated that way again. That moment lasted hours it seemed, I can still close my eyes and feel the doorjam under my hand; I can still see her face contorted into rage so completely that she didn’t even look like the person that I loved. I will never know why in the split second that glass started to come down toward my face that she decided to throw it over my shoulder onto the front porch. Maybe there was a part of her that didn’t want to be that person either. That was the night I texted my best friend and asked her to call me and pretend that her infant son who had been ill was back in the hospital. For some reason I knew that I’d be able to leave, and she let me. I drove two blocks to a gas station parking lot and broke down. I called my friend and I sobbed “I’m out. I got out.”

But I didn’t get out. In the end it was essentially she who ended it. She decided to make out with one of my best friends, in my home, on my birthday, while I was passed out in the other room. The ultimate fuck-you. After that, there was no way it could continue, even I wouldn’t have let it but it didn’t matter because she had replaced me. I wish that I could say that I stood up to her, but that didn’t happen until much much later. Standing up to her was the one of the scariest things that I have ever done, and the night I confronted her after she assaulted me, I saw her for what she really is – small, scared, sad, and broken. She’s not so good at pretending that she can fool herself the way she fools most everyone else. She will never be good enough or smart enough or live up to her potential and she takes that out on the people who care about her instead of doing whatever work she needs to do to not hate herself. The hatred for herself bleeds over into hatred for anyone that can love her when she can’t love herself. Ultimately that is very very sad. In the end, I think that Why I stayed was that at that time, I still didn’t believe that I could have the good without the bad. I was punishing myself for all the mistakes that I had made, and I didn’t think that I could have love without pain & abuse. I thought that it was a trade-off, at least for me.

I’m incredibly grateful that I no longer believe that. It’s taken a lot of work but I have separated love from fear and pain and sadness. I know that I deserve a love that quenches my thirst for passion without putting me in danger. I know the difference between anger and passion now too. Most importantly, I learned to love myself. I really believe that I deserve a love that nurtures me, not one that destroys me. Love is not pain.

Advertisements

Is there a right way to grieve?

Today I have been thinking about the subject of grief. It has kept coming up throughout the day, as I stumbled upon something old that I found still stung, and in a conversation with a friend. I suppose I have kind of done it to myself – in a fit of unnecessary productivity over the weekend I decided that I would go through and organize the 10,000+ emails that I have in the inbox of my yahoo mail account, an account that has been open since 2003. The last ten years have had a variety of relationships, of ups and downs, and being the emotional packrat that I am, I quickly found that I have apparently never deleted an email from a friend, family member, or lover (former or current at the time!).

Things that I had completely forgotten about were suddenly right back in my face. The good and the bad coming back to the surface with travel confirmations, receipts for flower deliveries, and in a lot of cases emails from both the beginning and the end of relationships. I have emails after my ex-husband and I separated that I know are just full of us being horrible to one another and saying awful things meant only to hurt. Those emails I didn’t delete but I also didn’t open. As I created new folders called “Old friends”, “Family”, “Old relationships”, and began moving things into folders that already existed, one name in particular kept hurting me in a way that I felt it should not. Subject lines like “To my S-” and “My love” cut my soul in a way it seemed like should be long gone, and I began to realize that maybe it wasn’t long gone so much as long buried.

I began to wonder if there is a “right” way to grieve. Grief is a misunderstood process I think. People seem to believe that closure is what’s needed to move on from the death of a loved one, a break-up, or a job loss but grief is ultimately what closes that door. Grief is allowing ourselves to feel exactly what we feel in that moment; opening ourselves up to all the pain, all the sorrow, all the doubt and fear and shame because all of those feelings are legitimate, they are normal, and most importantly they are there whether or not we choose to allow ourselves to process them. What if we don’t allow ourselves to grieve though? Will those feelings just come back, washing over us when we least expect them, like when we see an old email? In my experience, yes, and much of what I’ve read in psychology and self help subjects say that if you don’t deal with it now, you will be dealing with it later.

Part of my problem is, for the majority of my life I was terrified of my feelings. I have an emotional sensitivity disorder that went undiagnosed until I was in my early 30s. I don’t talk about it openly a lot because there is a lot of stigma surrounding any kind of mental illness, let alone one of those scary “personality disorders.” When I do describe the feelings to people, I ask them if they’ve ever been in the ocean. Feelings to me have been very much like the waves in an ocean: they can very suddenly loom larger than you expected, crashing around you, knocking you down, pulling you under so that you have to fight to breathe. Your brain can tell you that you need to be calm because panicking will make you more likely to drown, but when you’re under the waves, salt water in your nose, short of breath, not sure which way is out, the panic will set in. For a moment, you might think you are going to die, that there is no escape from all the water that engulfs you.

Luckily it is not possible to die from drowning in emotion, but it is the despair in those moments that cause many people to attempt or complete suicide. Because nothing besides what is in that moment is real – what you feel right then you will always feel. It will always be too much, it will always overwhelm you, it will never be ok again, only the moment is reality and until you try over and over, painstakingly reprogramming your brain to react to uncomfortable, unwanted emotions in a different way, this is absolutely what is real to you. That is really hard for people who don’t have an emotional sensitivity disorder to understand, but that ocean analogy is the closest I have ever gotten to explaining in a way that I felt was understood.

So how do you grieve something that happened 3, 5, 12 years ago; something you probably “should’ve” already gotten over? Now that I’m ready, is there a “right” way to grieve? I don’t really know the answers to some of those questions. I know that I never really dealt with the feelings around this particular situation, and I know that I have to now that I realize it’s a problem. That’s the problem with denial, once you’re out of it you can’t continue because that’s an active choice and no one wants to actively choose to be unhealthy. So now I have to try to feel and let go of feelings that I should’ve dealt with years and years ago. Sometimes it’s really exhausting being me. That sounds melodramatic, but I don’t care. 🙂 Every one of us has days when it’s hard to be us, the ideal is just that those days are few and far between. I’m not there yet, but I’m getting there.

ocean wave

Expectations

I’ve been thinking about expectations lately. More specifically, I’ve been thinking about how expectations can be a problem, and wondering if it is possible to not have expectations.

In one way of looking at it, everything we do has an underlying expectation. When you go to sleep at night, you expect to wake up in the morning. When you get dressed, you have an expectation of what the weather will be like, probably based on a weather report or a knowledge of how the weather normally is in your area at that time of year. As you get into your car to go to work, you expect to drive to work with little to no aggravation or problems. Even the things that we don’t actively think about, we do with some kind of expectation – I am wracking my brain to think of anything that happens in life where we don’t have some kind of expectations, even if it is unconscious or benign.

What about when things don’t go as expected? Certainly our expectation(s) play a part in our disappointment, surprise, or pleasure. If we have an expectation that an event will be boring, we are likely pleasantly surprised when it turns out to be fun. Expectations seem to cause the most problems, at least in my life and relationships, on when I expect someone to do something or I have an idea of what something like a date might be like and it turns out to be something different. No one wants to disappoint or be disappointed, but it can happen when we have expectations about another person or something involving them. Maybe you love Valentine’s day and your partner doesn’t really put much stock into the “hallmark holidays” that’s one situation that could certainly lead to disappointment due to expectations.

I suppose what I can’t figure out is if there’s a way to stop having expectations, or at least to be less affected by them. I know they’ve definitely caused me problems in relationships in the past, but I wonder if there’s ever a way to not have expectations, whatever they may be, whatever the outcome. What do you think? Comment and let me know, this is something I’m still struggling with so I’m not sure exactly how I feel about it yet.

zoltar machine outside house of blues in NOLA from my instagram feed @ladylamia

the siren song of long distance relationships

this is one i’ve been writing in my head for awhile, but i held off on writing it because i didn’t want anyone i know to think that it was directed at them. i want to preface it by saying that most, if not all of the people i know have at some point had a long distance relationship. like any relationship, some last and some don’t. those of my friends who are in one or have had one, this isn’t directed at any of you, this is my own personal reflection on my experience with them and feelings related to them because of my experiences.

i am definitely a child of the internet. i started off online in 1997, chatting on a website called the-park; my first website was on wbs around that same time. it’s undeniable that the internet changed the way that we interact with others, and who we have access to interaction with. i had many friends at the-park who i talked to, all over the world. one of my closest friends for years lives in australia, he & i followed each other’s blogs from open diary to livejournal and we even talked on the phone occasionally. i have people i have never met who i will always consider to be some of my best friends, dan being one of them. as the years have worn on, livejournal and social networking kept me in touch with real life friends who moved that i would likely have completely lost touch with otherwise. of course, this can go far beyond friendship and often does – the internet has also changed the way that we date and meet people to date.

my first girlfriend as an adult, sally and i met in the-park when i was 16 or 17. before that i’d had “internet girlfriends”, people that i had never met and we would say that we were in a relationship and chat/talk on the phone a lot. that’s not that different than when you’re a teenager and “date” someone at school that all you do is pass notes to and talk on the phone to, the only real difference is proximity. sally and i transitioned from “online dating” to dating in real life when i moved from mississippi to ohio to live with her after i turned 18. that relationship ultimately did not last, although she is one of the most positive influences in my life and i will always consider her to be one of my best friends. after sally, i did date a woman who lived an hour away, which was sort of a long distance relationship but we had many mutual friends and hung out a lot so it wasn’t quite what i’d consider a stereotypical ldr. then after a while i got into another ldr with someone i had known for years but never lived in the same city with.

it is around that time that i started thinking about ldrs and the slippery slope between fantasy and reality. ldrs have very little to do with reality; our relationships exist in a box separate from our everyday lives. they take place on the internet, over the phone, over text, and we have the ability to choose exactly how much energy that we are going to give to the “relationship”. if you’re having a bad day, you can always not pick up the phone or not text back right away. your significant other is not in your face demanding time, energy, and attention in the way a person who lives just across town is. even worse, we get to romanticize even sickness with texts like “oh, if i were there i would take care of you and make you soup from scratch! i would wait on you hand and foot. xxxooo.” when in reality if your sweetie was just a few miles away at work, it would likely go more like “baby, i can’t leave work to bring you soup. i’ve got a deadline and my boss is breathing down my neck. plus i’m already in trouble for playing WOW on company time.” however, even with only an hour or two separating you, reality doesn’t exist – you and she both get to pretend that if she were there, she’d be taking care of you like you were her full time job.

does she snore or have sleep apnea and you’re a light sleeper? doesn’t matter – you can long for her cuddly embrace in bed at night while texting her how much you wish she was there. she’s not going to actually interrupt your good night’s sleep by smacking you as she snores so loudly she’s probably disturbing the neighbors. do you have the bad habit of wearing your socks 2 days in a row before washing them? doesn’t matter if your sweetie is a germ-phobic clean freak, she never has to know about that. it works the same way too, her saying she’s “a little messy” probably means that she has no problem leaving dirty dishes in the sink for a week but “a little messy” for you might mean that you kick your shoes off when you walk in from work and then put them neatly against the wall. these are all things that are going to drive you both crazy about the other person if you ever decide to move across the country and live together. now, there is a snowball’s chance in hell that she is just that one person that has absolutely no annoying traits at all, but if so what are the chances that you are too?

“wait!” you’re probably saying by now, “she’s come to visit me for a week and we didn’t fight at all. how do you explain that, you evil, bitter, anti-love cynic?!” here’s one of the biggest traps of long distance relationships: for one of you, it’s a vacation. think about how you are on vacation. you’re relaxed, happy, not thinking about laundry or deadlines or if your perfect girlfriend forgot to set the dvr and you know it wasn’t you and now you’ve missed rachel maddow, wtf honey? how hard is it to set a dvr?! you are you in the vacation vacuum, the best possible version of yourself who may or may not be drinking a lot more than usual. in the vacation vacuum, no one says “i can’t have sex tonight sweetheart, i have a big presentation tomorrow and i really need 8 hours of sleep!” you have sex all night, and sleep til noon and life is exactly as it is supposed to be. just don’t tell yourself that is how life would be if the two of you lived in the same place, because it’s not. in everyday life, we do not get to be the best possible versions of ourselves.

i want to tell you a story about one of the most perfect days i’ve ever had. i thought really hard about exactly what i would wear, down to what color i would paint my toenails. my stomach was a mess of knots, i had waited for this day for five+ years, the person i had a crush on long-distance (yes i knew them in person, had spent short periods of time with them) that i had exchanged countless emails with, that i had gotten SO close to, finally we were going to spend an entire day just the two of us. i was so nervous and excited! i had sushi for the very first time, at a picnic in a beautiful sunlit park, under a shady tree where we laid on a blanket and talked afterward. the day ended in our first kiss that didn’t involve a game of truth or dare. well, actually the day ended in pretty awesome sex but i’m not going to tell you that story, lol. as close as we were, as wonderful as every single moment we spent together was before we lived in the same town (incredible sex! wonderful dates! total foodie moments in restaurants and cooking together! tons of laughter! poetry!) it didn’t keep the relationship from crashing down around us in a million tiny pieces just a few short months after we moved in together. we communicated really well over email, better in fact than we communicated under the same roof.

the two pieces that i believe doom most ldrs are these: longing & incomplete intimacy.

longing is almost impossible to resist; it’s intoxicating. every moment would be better if only your love were there. it’s all so bittersweet; the wishing, the imagining, the way you miss them so much it’s almost physically painful. longing tells us a story that’s based on a fabrication. longing tells us that every minute would be enhanced, better, more fulfilling if only the other person were here with us. yes, shared moments are amazing and an important part of a relationship, but longing steals us from our reality and places us into a fantasy of what things might be like if they were different. you’re not really going to enjoy the movie, sporting event, or concert if you’re thinking how much better it would be if long-distance-lovie were there; worse yet, no one benefits from your partial enjoyment of whatever it is you are doing. not you, not long-distance-lovie, and that’s a moment that you are never going to get back. why are you wishing instead of living?

incomplete intimacy is just that – incomplete. it’s not a false or fake intimacy, you definitely have some real intimacy with someone you’ve had five hour phone conversations with and IM-ed until the sun came up. this intimacy is unfortunately incomplete because you get to stage it so that you are the best possible version of yourself, as does she. this happens in real-life dating too but we can only keep that facade up for so long, eventually it crumbles and when it does you each get to evaluate the other and make the decision on whether or not to keep exploring your real selves. if you move across the country to live with your long distance love, the facade crumbles after you are cohabiting in a city where if you know more people than just her it’s likely her friends. the problem with long distance relationships is that we don’t acknowledge that the intimacy is incomplete, so we don’t perceive moving in together as moving too fast. “we’ve been together a year!” you may say, as i have done, “we know each other.”

weeeeeell… technically you’ve not been together a year. you’ve been in a relationship for a year and you’ve been together a week and a half out of that year. there’s nothing wrong with being honest about ourselves and our relationships, in fact if we can’t be that’s a huge sign that something is not right. your significant other should not immediately run for the hills if you are able to take a step back and say, “you know what? i love you, but i feel like it would be healthier for both of us if you get your own place when you move across the country. i know that financially it’s a bit more difficult, but we were both living separately to begin with and i want us to move in together out of a genuine desire to be together 24/7, not because it’s easier on our bank accounts.” if she does, what exactly are you losing? someone who isn’t ok with you having your own space? because i guarantee that you’re going to feel smothered by someone that won’t let you have your own space once she’s not only living in your town but also living in your house.

like all my posts this is me pouring my head & heart out. i’m not here to tell you that long distance relationships don’t work, in fact i know some relationships that started out long distance that do work, just like i know some people who moved in together on the 2nd date that are still together – i believe that these are the exceptions, not the norm. whether our partner is two feet, two miles, or twenty-two hours away it does take similar things to make a relationship work: mutual respect, a desire for the same things out of life, patience, the ability to say “i’m sorry, i was wrong.” and love however you choose to define it. i can’t even say that i wouldn’t consider a ldr again if i were to meet someone in another city or state that blew me away, although i doubt i would consider it with someone that i knew strictly over the internet. i do know beyond the shadow of a doubt that if i chose to move to her city or she chose to move to mine that i would not immediately move in with her. there’s an intimacy that i believe is necessary for lasting love that requires face to face contact in our everyday spaces, when we are not at our best or our worst but our average. where she gets to see that i’m not just this amazing writer, blogger (lol), and activist but i’m actually rather boring and have an anxiety disorder; and where i get to see whatever it is that she doesn’t necessarily like about herself.

when it comes to relationships, at some point we have to get real and i just don’t believe that’s possible with entire states in between us.

“involved”

you likely did not hear it here first: there’s no such thing as dating anymore. i first heard this years ago, as women’s magazines and blogs began lamenting the demise of the date. “what happened to going out to dinner or a movie?” they asked dramatically, “now it’s all hanging out and hook-ups.” this didn’t seem especially relevant to me or my life, because as a lesbian-leaning pansexual (ie, i’ve only ever been involved with two men and one was trans) i and the majority of my friends never really dated traditionally. i’m not really sure what a traditional lesbian date looks like. years ago, when i was talking to my friend katie (who is straight) about this, she explained the concept of dating to me. “two people are attracted to each other,” she told me, “they go out for drinks, maybe dinner, they hang out, they have sex. eventually it either gets more serious or it doesn’t, and no one’s feelings have to be hurt.” i pondered that for a second and replied, “really? in my world, things are over when someone moves out.”

that’s not to push the tiredsome old stereotype of lesbians and a u-haul, that is to say that in my experience up until that point “dating” went like this: you like someone, they like you, you hang out, you’re “in love”, you move in together, things go bad, you break up, someone moves out. that’s kind of how it went for most people i knew as well. the other one that i was familiar with (though never experienced first hand) was the: you’re with someone but you’ve both known it’s over for a while, you meet someone else and start sleeping with them on the side, but you don’t break up with your partner because it’s just easier not to. neither of these scenarios are especially healthy, but hey – i’m just telling you what i’ve either experienced or seen. in lesbian world, “dating” means “in an exclusive relationship” so no one dates. however, as we get older most of us have more and more baggage. we’ve moved too fast, we’ve divided furniture and pets, and we know that we don’t want to end up living in a two bedroom apartment with a complete stranger that we used to have sex with, so something had to change… what we should’ve done is learned how to date the way straight people used to. instead? we started getting “involved”.

i can’t tell you when exactly i first heard the term “involved”. i know the first time i remember hearing it, in a sentence that a friend uttered to me: “no, i’m not dating her. we’re just involved.” i’m going to tell you what i told her, that it could not possibly end well and it didn’t. i realized though, that “involved” was a murky quicksand that it is much easier to become trapped in than i knew at that time. recently, i realized that the last time i was actually in an official relationship was four years ago. it’s not like i haven’t been involved with people in the last four years, i have; and therein lies what i believe to be the problem. i blame it all on that word, “involved.” when we get involved, the reasons for doing so are as unique as the people getting involved. perhaps we really like the person and think it will turn into more; maybe we are afraid of going too fast by defining it; maybe we are horny and lonely and don’t actually like the person that much but they like us a lot; maybe we are getting over someone else; these are just a tiny sampling of the reasons that someone might get involved. over the past four years i have realized that there are two sides to involvement however: there’s the person that wants it to be more, and the person that for whatever reason doesn’t.

i have been on both sides of involved, and neither of them are much fun honestly. unless you are a sociopath, no one relishes having someone that genuinely likes them who is willing to wait around while they figure out if it’s more than just sex, companionship, and something to do. when it comes to undefined relationships 99.9% of the time, someone is going to get hurt. i can of course only speak with authority when it comes to my non-relationships. each was very different, and each didn’t progress for very different reasons. it got me wondering though, can “involved” ever really become more? don’t we know – if we are honest – pretty early on whether or not someone is going to be serious relationship material? sometimes we can have the best intentions, but i think if we are really honest with ourselves, no matter what side of “involved” we are on, we know where it is going to go and more often than not that is nowhere.

the first person i got “involved” with, everyone knew it was a huge mistake, including me. she and i ended up having one of the most intense bonds i have ever had with a friend or loved one, and in that situation i knew that it never became more because of things that had to do with her, not our feelings for each other. see, sometimes “involved” happens because we meet someone when we aren’t ready for something serious but we know we are too connected with them to just be friends.
the second time i got “involved” i was trying to move on from the first time and i genuinely thought that the person and i would end up dating. it was only once i was in the mess that i realized that she was an abusive sociopath with a drinking problem and anger management issues that used women to fulfill whatever needs she had, and to get ahead. i have no doubt that if i were rich or of use to her career that we would still be in that whole mess. a year of weekly therapy got me straight on what i needed to learn and know about both of those situations. i’m sure age and maturity played a big part as well. then, i got to be on the other side of “involved”. i’m fairly certain that again, everyone knew it was a big mistake. i knew that it was, in fact, i knew really early on that she was not going to be “the one”, but i was on the other end of it this time and i thought that i could handle it.

honesty, you see, was what i thought the solution to “involved” was. if you just let people know where you are, if you are open, if you are truthful, then it doesn’t have to turn into the screaming, crazy, hot mess that my first two experiences with “involved” were. it was naive of me, but i can see why i thought that. the first two women that i got involved with, they were both honest yet secretive in their own ways. if you ask either of them, they will both tell you that they are the most honest person you have ever met. yet, they are neither one of them open. one had an ungodly number of women on the hook, and all of them thought they were the one. the other had “relationships” with people who could benefit her in some way and people on the side/in between who would be there until the next person that was either rich or influential came along. one used people, the other never pretended that she wanted a girlfriend. i really thought that i had learned the hard lessons from both of them, so i got involved. it was shortly into that next mess that i realized: when you get involved, sometimes you don’t even know what you want. i tried to be honest, but what i meant yesterday wasn’t true today. the more i got to know the person, the more i realized that she had the same characteristics that had frightened me about the last woman, she just hid them better. some people seem really nice when you only know them superficially. some people, you only see the anger once you’re intimate (whether that is emotional or physical intimacy.)

so here i am, 29 years old. i would like to think infinitely more evolved than i was at 25, and yet while i have changed it appears that situations have not. i am in the best place i have ever been in. i feel i truly know myself; i have a pretty good idea of where i’m going in my life, what i want; my progress some days feels like two steps forward and one step back but hell, i’m doing my best. i am exactly the person that i have spent my life wanting to be and becoming. i think i see myself in a pretty realistic light, and anything i want to change i am actively working on changing. i struggle with depression and anxiety, i likely always will, but nothing gets me down for longer than a day. 🙂 it’s a pretty awesome place except for one tiny problem – i’m alone. now, anyone that knows me or has read my ramblings probably knows that i am a hopeless romantic. i really do believe that there’s someone out there for everyone. i like happy endings! when i get down about the search for “that one perfect person” i look to the relationship i respect the most, that of sally & tracey, and i remind myself that sally didn’t meet tracey when she was 30. do you realize, if you are 40, you could meet someone today and if you don’t die until you are 100 you would be with them for 60 years? that’s the majority of your life, and that’s pretty amazing to think about. oh shut up, i’m a romantic!

so what is the point of this rambling? the point is, don’t get “involved”. no matter what side you are on, just don’t do it. you can tell someone you don’t want a relationship, but if you falter on that a little bit they are going to believe what they want and that is that you secretly do want a relationship with them. i’ve been on both sides of that. sometimes, whether we want to admit it or not, we take what we can get. maybe it’s because we are lonely, maybe it’s because we are horny, but the fact is that nothing ends well that you didn’t go into with complete openness – not honesty, but openness. sometimes honesty is just cruel. “i don’t think you are the one” might be an honest statement, but it is cruel and you can get away with saying it in not so many words and still be honest; but you’re not being open. we all have needs, and for me, maybe i can meet those needs with a piece of chocolate cake, a vibrator, and a glass of champagne (or twelve). is whatever drama comes from getting “involved” worth what you get out of it? in my experience, no. not on either side of it. so if you’re involved or you thinking about getting involved, i want you to remember these things:

1. you actually deserve a woman that can give you most of herself. not all, because can we ever really give all of ourselves? but don’t confuse 40% with 90%.

2. whatever she says that you don’t want to hear – pay the closest attention to that. “i love being with you” doesn’t mean nearly as much as “i’m not ready for a relationship right now.” don’t let “i love being with you” make you forget that this woman said flat out she’s not ready for a relationship with you or anyone.

3. don’t take what you can get. you can get way more than what someone who’s not that into you, or who is into you but is working through her own stuff, is able to offer. a taste of this “ms. right” is not worth passing on what a real relationship with that cute woman who wants to have coffee might be able to offer. after all – the one you are waiting on isn’t going to wait on you when someone better comes along. really.

4. get cool with being alone. it does suck. as much as i love living alone (my sister stayed with me and drove me nuts by pushing the shower curtain back to the “wrong” side) i do want to live with a partner some day. that day probably isn’t going to be tomorrow. spend some quality time with yourself, if you can’t, why the hell would someone else want to?

5. don’t stop believing. yes, it’s cheesy and i do sing this song in the shower. try it and you’ll feel great, get the shampoo lather going and sing it out: “just a small town girl, living in a looooonely world!” there are a lot of benefits to becoming the best version of yourself that you can be. one of them is that when you do find that right person, they won’t have to put up with so much of your annoying shit. don’t think you have annoying shit? talk to your ex-girlfriends, odds are you are friends, and odds are they can tell you what sucks about you (even though they love you! just in a different way now.)

the fact is, we all have baggage. we are most of us working on becoming the best versions of ourselves, who we want to be. you are going to hit some bumps in the road to being the best you and in the road to love; but whatever you do, don’t settle. we all deserve someone that makes us want to dance and sing, who makes us believe in ourselves, who is wonderful. even if you find that person, don’t just get involved with her, because if you do, it’s 99.9% of the time not going to end in happily ever after, and believe me, we all want to be that exception.