Wednesday, August 29, 2012

"No Fear"

One common thread I have heard among girls is once they decide they like a guy, they suddenly get very nervous (and frequently downright insecure) and wonder if he likes them back. This sounds basic, but a girl can go for many, many dates and only feel so-so about someone so it’s worry-free.  And then all of the sudden it hits, the girl realizes she likes the guy and now it is game on.

Up until now I’ve considered The Runner a very nice guy. But as we passed date #4, I upgraded him from very nice guy to pretty awesome.  Before I thought each text was a nice gesture and suddenly I’m wondering if he’s texting less. Before I knew he was into me and suddenly I’m wondering if he really is into me?  

This phenomenon of the tables turning seems to be a commonly shared neurosis among many girls.  Perhaps because starting to like someone makes you vulnerable.  When you are so-so you aren’t investing enough to get hurt. But when you start to invest, you suddenly have something to lose, and that is scary.

Last night my friends and I saw Madonna.  The 54 year old wonder revealed her incredibly perky rear end in a sexy black thong and informed the crowd that sometimes “it is easier to show you a$$ than your feelings” and revealed the words “No Fear” inked on her back.  At that moment I thought “duh”, but after a good night’s rest without someone screaming their undying love for this ageless icon in my ear, I realized that is exactly the truth.

Monday, August 27, 2012

Weekend in Review: Contentment

I spent Friday with my mom, treating her to a Mom’s day out for lunch and a shopping splurge to get something to spoil her for all that she has done for Grace & I as well as our extended family. It was a purely blissful day as we basked in each others company, all smiles and love.

I headed to the shore friday night spend some QT with the awesome girls that I once called my housemates and now call my friends.  While I was down there, I knew there was something I had to wrap up: Mr Nice Guy. I avoided him Friday night, not yet ready to have the conversation that was looming and then finally on saturday night, we met out at the bar and I pulled him aside to tell him that I can’t put a cap on my level of interest in someone nor the feelings that may come from that. And that he already has a cap on what he is looking for. He told me that he completely understood followed by a long list of compliments (which was very flattering and very appreciated) and thanked me for telling him up front where I was at.  So that chapter is closed and now I can cleanly and clearly pursue finding someone who is looking for the same thing.

Overall, for the first time in my life, I can say that I feel content.  Prior to this, I didn’t even think I was capable of contentment but spending evenings with Grace & our dog, walking around the block, listening to Grace sing and point out all of the objects that she can name is pure joy.  Spending time with my parents, whom I am now closer to than ever has been wonderful. And making many new friends in the last few months as well as spending time with already close friends during the summer has been an absolute blessing.  Between looking at what is there rather than what isn’t and starting to make decisions true to who I am, rather than who I think I might be/should be/want to be - I feel content.  (and my stone jar of memories, meant to be filled to ‘fill the void’ with new memories, has barely started!)

The Runner: Date #3

I hung out with the Runner again last Thursday night. We played Putt Putt and grabbed something to eat/drink. I finally told him about my ex and the overview of what happened that lead to the divorce and the single mom situation. He listened intently as I fretted that I sounded like someone off of Jerry Springer with this crazy tale!  The next day he emailed to thank you for sharing the experience, as it allows him to get to know me better. Very sweet.  Very happy to be past that, it felt like the pink elephant in the room.

While we were on the topic of ex’s/long term relationships, he mentioned that his ex ‘went to London’ and I thought ‘oh that’s nice, I’ve been there’ until it clicked - she went to London to run in the Olympics!!  I put on my most confident (and poker face) smile and acted like that was lovely for her but not biggie in my world. Though, I did quickly ask if he’s only dated runners in the past (answer being no, much to my relief!).

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

The Runner: Date #2

I went out with The Runner for the second time last night. We went to hip restaurant in a part of the city I had never been to, walked around a bit and grabbed a drink at a Mexican joint before heading home.  It was a really lovely evening. Not only did he plan out the evening (finally - no planning/thought required on my part!), but he was very thoughtful in doing so.  He continues to amaze with his honest and genuine nature.  He already mentioned date #3 and sent a very sweet text at the end of the night. This is all so novel considering the amount of work I've had to put in in the past and now I can relax and enjoy rather than worrying what happens next all of the time!

I’m trying to focus on the here and now - two good dates. That is a positive thing. And not get carried away, as obviously you can tell I have a tendency to do :)  Walking the fine line between reality, being positive and tempering the ongoing fairy tale storyline in my head is difficult.  I am guessing this isn’t normal but I’m convinced one day Mr. Right will show up at my door, professing his unwavering love for me and intention to be a solid part of Grace’s life and we will all ride off in the sunset to go get ice cream!!  In reality...I did get flowers at my door yesterday (from my best friend from high school....it makes you feel like a million bucks when someone sends you flowers). And The Runner’s good night text was so sweet it could have been from a movie.  So maybe I’m getting a little taste of fairy tale.  Sometimes things just don’t come in the exact shape that you expect.  And sometimes the unexpected is even better!

Monday, August 20, 2012

Incongruent living is exhausting - Part 2

It’s worth a deeper dive into the experience with Mr. Nice Guy on Friday evening.  Throughout my probing, personal questions, he shared the story of his divorce and the pain that he ex-wife caused.  I wasn’t asking to be nosy or a gossip; forming a meaningful connection with someone is the only way I know to communicate.  I don’t know how to make small talk to pass the time but I can certainly establish a meaningful connection and talk about living life.

As I continued to read “The Gifts of Imperfection” by Brene Brown, this passage really stuck out, as the perfect articulation of what happened with Mr. Nice Guy:
“If authenticity is my goal and I keep it real, I never regret it. I might get my feelings hurt, but I rarely feel shame. When acceptance or approval becomes my goal, and it doesn’t work out, that can trigger shame for me: “I’m not good enough.”  If the goal is authenticity and they don’t like me, I’m okay. If the goal is being liked and they don’t like me, I’m in trouble. “

After I asked the personal questions to Mr. Nice Guy, I felt as if I was getting too deep and he may not like that. I started second guessing myself and instead changed into what I thought he wanted to hang out with - back to fun loving, carefree. It’s not that fun loving isn’t a part of me, but authentically, having meaningful discussions is part of who I am as well.  And when the goal was for him to like me, I felt shame about being “too deep” or “thinking too much”, a familiar shame I’ve felt throughout the years.

As the weekend went by and I realized it didn’t matter what he thought, since this is going nowhere (aka not serious), I decided to write him an email with my response to the experiences he shared. Not to make him like me, not to elicit a response. Merely because I had the thoughts in the moment but kept them to myself, too scared to say anything. In changing my goal from being liked to being authentic, I decided that sharing what I learned from my own similar experiences was more important than worrying about being liked. Because that is what I do....who I am....what I am doing with this blog - sharing my experiences, forming a connection to my readers.

"Incongruent living is exhausting"

I put myself back on match.com with the thinking that if the guys at the shore ‘aren’t looking for anything serious’ then surely guys who are paying for a venue to meet other singles must be looking for something more than hanging out for a night at a bar.  Shortly thereafter, I started emailing with The Runner, aptly named because he was a competitive runner for many years.

I met The Runner for dinner/drinks at Silk City, a sweet diner/outdoor beer garden/club in the city.  We ate dinner outside and then went indoors to see the DJ (ok, perhaps this *may* have been the DJ that I employed my ‘how to pick up a DJ’ plan on to no successful end).  It was a great time. I even....drum roll please....danced!  (it was awkward, don’t get me wrong but at least I made an effort).

After some casual/friendly texting over the weekend, The Runner asked me out again and we are set for dinner tomorrow night. He is only 2 years younger than I am. Owns his own business and is an all around nice, solid person.

After a very fun night, I woke up friday feeling refreshed.

Following the date Thursday night with The Runner, came Friday night, in which I had plans to meet Mr. Nice Guy for late afternoon drinks.  We had good conversation and hung out for quite a while before he left for the shore and I headed home in a thunderstorm.  During our talks, we revisited Mr Nice Guy’s stance on not wanting anything serious. Needing some solitude to heal from his divorce. While I am sympathetic to the healing process and all too well understand that time that is needed, I am very disappointed to have met him now when he won’t give anything a chance past ‘not serious’.   I warned him that if we continued to hang out, I would eventually feel an attachment toward him and he would, undoubtedly feel an attachment toward me because I am so awesome.

So after a lovely evening with Mr Nice Guy, I woke up saturday feeling anxious and unsure.  Not knowing if things I said were too much or too little. Wondering what he was thinking. Wondering if he’ll change his mind and actually see where this goes.

This is when it hit home, yet again, that when I spend time with these ‘not serious’ guys, it just causes anxiety.  I’m hoping for something that isn’t going anywhere from the start.  And they are enjoying my company without any responsibility to give back.  As my close friend frequently tells me - be true to yourself and you’ll be a glowy person. I keep persuading myself I am badass and can deal with “not serious” when the truth is I’m sensitive and would like a companion, as it naturally unfolds. But spending time with someone when I know it won’t go anywhere only leads me to feel uneasy and in the end, rejected. So what’s the point?  

With Mr. Nice Guy I’ve taken the approach that I don’t make any forward moves, I’ve only accepted his invitation to hang out. But is that too much as well?  Seriously, what is the point? 

Monday, August 13, 2012

Monster for free!

With my newly boy-drama-free time, I’ve been reflecting on the previous post about the guilt I’m carrying around on a daily basis. When I stop to think about it at any given second, I am constantly telling myself where I’m falling short and should do better.  This just won’t do!  Wonder Woman has the word Wonder in her name for a reason! So here begins the battle with my inner monster who has been there since before I can remember. As far as I know, I was born with it. The voice that has told me for years on end that I’m not good enough and not loveable.  I’ve made steps forward with reigning this monster in but after all of this time, all I survived and even thrived through, it seems the appropriate time to put this monster to rest. Easier said that done, as I think many people struggle lifelong to defeat their inner monster, whatever it may be. But I’m tired of mine and would like to put him up for adoption.  “Free Monster, please pick up at curbside”!

I need to get rid of this Monster before I will be able to successfully and smoothly begin dating seriously.  I can blame scars on the ex or past dating experiences but the truth is, the biggest obstacle of all is in me and it needs to go.

Most importantly, this needs to be done for the sake of my daughter. In the preface to her latest book, BrenĂ© Brown, Ph.D., a research professor at the University of Houston Graduate College of Social Work, said about her research findings, “It was clear from the data that we cannot give our children what we don’t have.Where we are on our journey of living and loving with our whole hearts is a much stronger indicator of parenting success than anything we can learn from how-to books.”

Week in review

Unlike the rollercoaster of the last few weeks, the past week has been relatively uneventful.  I enjoyed a very fun weekend at the shore, hanging out with old friends and new.  You know, the usual stuff, drinks at happy hour followed by everyone raiding a housemate's dresser, putting on all of this clothes, from underwear on up, and then participating in a photoshoot involving a glow in the dark condom.  Yup, pretty much a mundane scene :)

Other weekend antics include:
Meeting the former “Hot Housemate”’s pseudo girlfriend. You know, the one he professes to have no feelings for, yet her FB photo is of thetwo2 of them.

Seeing Hot Hair guy from last year’s ex girlfriend, whom I have solid reason to believe he is now reconciling with. Which means we will not be hanging out anymore.  She was very good looking which prompted a slightly inebriated text of “saw your gf at hh - she’s hot - nice work!”.  In hindsight, I should have just sent a text making fun of the hot pink tank top he wore to HH.  It’s hard to even admit that I have hung out with someone who wears hot pink tank tops in public (or private for that matter).

Drinks with a very nice guy who we’ll call Triathlete. He sent nice/cute emails over FB last week and is a gentleman for sure. However, he’s “GU” - geographically undesirable. He lives in Jersey.

Yesterday was spent in the company of Grace, who was identified as “Miss Congeniality” by the woman at the supermarket. I was feeling so proud of this high compliment until she followed it with “better be careful, you never know what kind of people are out there”.  Ok, that kills that. Grace, please refrain from acknowledging strangers anymore!

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Nightmares

I started this blog for two reasons: 1) to share my experiences with others who may be able to relater. 2) to share my antics with my friends in one forum rather than having to rewrite my quips in various emails!  While #2 is being achieved, I realized I’ve strayed from my first purpose.  I haven’t been totally honest with myself, nor my readers.

I am so focused on trying to move on with my life and set aside any residual pain that I think it is catching up with me. I’ve had consistent nightmares over the last two weeks. All night long, different dreams, all equally as anxiety-ridden and fear-inducing.  

A friend suggested that perhaps I am suppressing things that are really bothering me. And I thought - moi? The most self aware person ever? Suppressing? No way!  But the truth is, I’ve been holding in so much guilt.

Guilt that I’m going to lose my job because I don’t have enough to do. Guilt over my poor judgement with guys at the shore this summer. Guilt over not being stronger. Guilt over still crying from the pain that continues to linger. Guilt of not being a good enough friend to those I love because I’m so wrapped up in trying to keep up with life up. Guilt that I’m not the mother I wanted to be to Stella, that I should teach her more, discipline her more, cook for her more, etc etc.  I didn’t realize I was carrying all of this around until I was struck down with the stomach flu and someone asked how I was doing and it all came pouring out.

I try to wrap up each post with a lesson learned, another step toward becoming Wonder Woman.  In this case, the lesson is that I need to take a good listen to the stories I’m telling myself and start adjusting.  I feel like I’m falling short in so many ways so often that I don’t stop to recognize what I’m achieving on a daily basis.

I learned this week that if you are looking for a miracle in a specific shape and form (such a bread coming from the sky), you are going to go hungry for a long time. But if you open your mind and your eyes to the miracles that already exist in your life, you will see them around you in abundance.

It’s time I rewrite the soundtrack in my head and start telling myself about all of the good. 

Saturday, August 4, 2012

Seriously Not Serious

I received a phone call from Mr. Nice Guy two days after he returned home from guys weekend. Not a text, not a telegraph - an actual phone call to converse about weekend antics and weekly plans to come. It was lovely.  Then I saw him last night. We had drinks on a deck at the shore. Dimly lit, soft breeze, the perfect temperature. It was wonderful. We talked about everything from literature to music and then to relationships....and then I heard the same sentence I’ve heard almost weekly...”I’m not looking for anything serious”.   My heart sunk. Here was the first guy who was all possibility. Who each bit that I learned was great and each action he took thoughtful. Only to find out that he’s “not looking for anything serious” because he just got out of a long term relationship and wants to spend some time alone.  

I don’t get it. If only I had a dime for each time someone said - you are really great & I want to hang out with you, but I don’t want anything serious (technically, he’s the 2nd guy to drop that line in 24 hours, but I won’t get into the first).  

Each time I meet someone who seems to have some potential, my heart and mind race. A picture starts to emerge of what things ‘could be like’ and although I try to reign it back in and stay in reality of what exists today, my fantasy-land always takes on a life of its own and when reality finally strikes, in the form of “I’m not looking for anything serious”, my hopes are dashed and I’m back to square one.

Will there ever be someone who wants to date? Who is looking for more than fun?  Does romance still exist?