Battle of the wills

 

I’m engaged in a battle of the wills with Shawty.

The relationship with Shawty took a turn for the weird and annoying early on. Although he enthusiastically pursued me in the beginning and still won’t let me go now, he is adamant about the fact that this is NOT a relationship. Despite the fact that he often acts like it is. The boy has issues. Anyway, our non-relationship has been going on for nigh on six months now and it’s characterized by the fact that everything is a battle and that he can be a gigantic asshole with a shitty character. I may have mentioned this before.

I’ve generally always given in with him at the end, seeing him when he wants, doing what he wants and only occasionally busting his chops. I did this for three reasons, he’s more hard-headed than I am, I was afraid of losing him, and I just couldn’t be bothered honestly.

But now, well, it would seem I’m slowly starting to regrow a back bone.

We haven’t seen each other in a while now, almost two weeks. He’s been gone for an event and ever since he returned, a few days ago, he’s been asking to see me, often and consistently, but always at random, inconvenient times that do not include dinner. I, on the other hand, want a date. An actual, planned, date, where I can organize a blow dry and possibly a wax and a pedicure, and decide on an outfit, send pictures of it to friends for opinions and then change my mind eighteen times.

I don’t always want to see him this way, sometimes I prefer to see him in the morning for a coffee and croissant, or in the evening for a quick drink and some hanky panky, but right now I want a goddamn date.

I get that he works in the restaurant business, and going to restaurants is something he does several times a week for work, but once every couple of weeks…. is not unreasonable of me.

Unfortunately, for both of us, he is stubborn as a mule and I’m extremely result oriented, if I want something I will move mountains, rivers, and oceans to get what I want.

So we’re at an impasse. We are very sweet to each other on the phone and via messages, we want to see each other, but neither one is letting go of his line. He keeps offering to see me… for coffee, for drinks, middle of the afternoon… and I’m busy, I’m free for lunch though, or dinner, I’ve got kids and work and grocery shopping…. Oh, gosh darnit I guess we can’t get together today then. This has been going on for a few days, no one is relenting, it doesn’t look like either one of us will. At this point I’m just curious to see who’s going to win, who’s going to give in, I can’t say for sure, but I’m pretty positive it won’t be me. Yet, knowing him… it’s unlikely that it’ll be him. So the likelihood here, folks, is that we’ll still be here, a few weeks from now, dying to see each other, talking on the phone, texting every two minutes, but gradually starting to forget what the other looks like as we both slowly and steadily go crazy from longing. I’ve always said I was willing to lose the battle with him to win the war, but not this one, this battle I will win even if it kills me. Because honestly, I can compromise on a lot of things but you’ve at least got to feed me occasionally.

The irony here though, is that he’s digging his heels in not because he’s stingy or hates restaurants or doesn’t want to seem to datish but because he knows that this is what I want and he’d rather set fire to himself than do something that I’m demanding.

And through all this, battling of the wills and whatnot, I wonder if maybe in this case we won’t both lose in the end.

Zen-adjacent

There are challenges in a separation that aren’t easily foreseeable when you start the process. The Ex and I managed to do things rather rationally considering the difficulty of breaking up after sixteen years together. We tried to be mature, to help each other out and to put the kids and the family first. We have had some failures in our plan, however. One of the things we would have liked to do was try and dedicate some family time to the children, doing activities or taking short trips together, so that they wouldn’t lose that sense of family which we feel is important for their stability.

It’s been mostly my fault. I’ve had a hard time deciding to spend time with them and the Ex, I wasn’t ready, I still am not really ready for it. I’m beginning to worry that I never will be, but as the Ex says, they’re growing and in a few years they won’t want to spend time with us. He’s right, I have to get over it and make an effort. I have to learn to be with him, in a family setting, without all the negative feelings I still have towards our break up. Towards the break up of our family, for which, honestly I still blame him. Although, rationally, I am aware that it’s not actually solely his fault. Or rather, blame shouldn’t be coming into it anymore.

The other difficult aspect of all this is that I rarely get them for the weekend. I usually let the Ex decide because, honestly, considering all his health issues, if he wants them he should get to spend time with them. I don’t want to have a rigid schedule of every other weekend because I don’t want to take away their time together, and I get them all week.

Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy having free time and being able to manage my weekends as I want, but I miss them too. They don’t have an awful lot of free time during the week so I don’t get to just have them around the house playing and being bored and doing random things together. It’s always a difficult sort of balance that we keep.

I don’t really have a solution, we can only do the best we can, so we’ll see how things evolve cause everything is always evolving. I just wish sometimes things could be a bit easier, if only in my own head. Cause at the end of the day, that’s the problem. I worry myself into a wormhole and can’t get myself out of it, even though the solution may be simple, or right in front of me, or both. But I can’t see it for the chaos of all the possibilities and variables and conflicting feelings in my head. Maybe I should try some meditation or something to teach myself to be more zen. Or zen-like, zenish, possibly, or even just something in the vicinity of zen would be nice. Zen-adjacent, that’s my goal for the end of the year.

Belief is half the battle won

Today is Friday the 13th. Is that significant? It is if you believe it is. Belief is one of life’s strongest, strangest, things. Anyway, there’s a roundabout point to this somewhere. I wanted to tell you the story of how I met Shawty.

This spring I was finally, slowly, like a butterfly emerging from its cocoon, starting to look about and notice the people around me. Namely men. I’ve never been great at being alone, and I’d been alone for two years. It takes a while apparently to get over a 16 year relationship. Not that I’m over it completely, I still feel the tentacles of the happiness, and of the hurt, and of the plans and dreams and hopes, with the Ex , they just don’t control me quite as much. I was looking around and in fact I was pretty infatuated with a man and as I’m not one to sit by the window embroidering in the hopes that a gentleman will come calling, I orchestrated a couple of meetings, with friends, so we could get to know one another. And that’s what I was busy with.

In the midst of all this, I went out to dinner on a Saturday night, unexpectedly, with some friends. It was one of those typical serendipitous, spontaneous things that often yield interesting results. I had heard of Shawty in a totally tangential manner through work along with his ex girlfriend, whom I had just met and who was the driving force behind the impromptu dinner. The Ex knows him too, in fact, the Ex told me to say hi to him. So we go to dinner at their restaurant (Shawty’s and his ex’s), I’m introduced, I say I’m so and so’s ex wife and he asked me to say hello. That was the breadth and scope of my interaction with him that night.

I would not have been able to pick him out of a lineup even a few hours after meeting him. I literally paid no attention to him whatsoever, aided by the fact that I was having fun at dinner and that his ex girlfriend turned out to be an idiot so I just assumed he was as well by association. (Also he’s 8 years younger than me and she’s 8 years younger than him… so you can understand my complete lack of interest.)

A week later he befriends me on the fulcrum of all social interactions, facebook. I figured it was work related and accepted. When he started writing me I answered to be polite. And then a friend of mine hit me over the head with something heavy and said stop being a moron, this isn’t work, he’s interested.

Because apparently I’m crap at assessing situations.

Long story short he asks me out for a drink, all the while we’re messaging back and forth. I’m not really interested in the drink but my friends all yell at me to get out there and it’ll be good practice and you don’t even remember how to talk to a man!

So obediently I go, and it was lovely. He is intelligent, and interesting, and polite, and has a commanding yet effacing way about him that made him seem very manly to me.

He’s also not my type. He’s wee… he’s about my height, and he’s got very dark hair, nice hair granted, lots of it, and well cut and maintained, but very dark brown, he’s got very dark eyes, all of my exes had light eyes, so it’s unsettling to me to look into his eyes, like endless pools of darkness, he has a beard – I guess that’s a generational thing, most of the men his age seem to have beards nowadays, and we probably wear the same shoe size. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with him, he’s a good looking guy. He’s just the opposite of everything I look for in a man, physically at least. In fact, that first night, he tried to kiss me… he literally wastes no time at all, and I pulled away, not out of some masterplan on how to get the guy, but simply because I was not attracted to him. Not even a little bit.

In fact, the next morning I woke up royally pissed off at the world, at fate, at karma because finally, finally, I meet a man who’s interested in me, who is nice, and well mannered, and well-traveled, and well-spoken, and interesting, and smart, and a gentleman and I don’t like him. Why? Why????

Obviously, my friends said sleep with him anyway, you’ve got to get back on the horse, or clean out the cobwebs and whatnot.

But fate, who may be a bit of a bitch sometimes, is not stupid. He left for a three week-long event in Rome a couple of days after our failure of a date. And in those three weeks we texted every day. Every day. And though texting is not like speaking, I got to know him. I started becoming attached to him, I had the typical dopamine response to the phone pinging that teenagers get. So when he came back I decided to… clear out the cobwebs.

You know how the first time with a new person can be a bit awkward and uncomfortable even though it’s exciting and overwhelming? Yeah, not like that with Shawty. With Shawty it was much more akin to a religious experience, with angels singing and trumpets trumpeting and the heavenly light of whatever deity you believe in bathing us in it’s warm and mystical rays from above.

And that, my friends, is why I’m still here five months later. Because, it turns out, Mr. Perfect, is not quite so perfect, but the flesh is weak and I’m a pansy.

All this started with me talking about belief and there was a point, I believe things will work out fine with Shawty, I believe we’re in it for the medium term (he’s a tad too young for the long term), I believe, despite all evidence to the contrary, that we’ll get to where I want to be in this relationship. And belief is half the battle won.

But that’s for the next episode.

42. Is it a lot? Is it a little?

Last Tuesday was my birthday. I turned 42. I had a good day, in fact, I had a good week. I now celebrate for at least a week, big birthdays get the entire month. Why? Well, as we get older there are fewer and fewer birthdays to look forward to, so I believe we should celebrate more. I don’t have that many birthdays left, I’m possibly already over the halfway mark. So each extra year is a blessing. Also, and I’ll only ever admit this here… I quite enjoy having a fuss made over me. So Tuesday I had coffee with two girlfriends and then I went to the spa with a group of other girlfriends and had lunch with them and got presents and cake. I got flowers from the Ex and a really sweet message from Shawty who clearly still needs a lesson on what is expected of him on my bday… but he’ll learn. I spent the evening with my children and the Ex and that was lovely.

I celebrated Wednesday and Friday as well, I’m honestly really lucky to have the friends I have. Saturday Shawty took me out to dinner and that deserves a post all to itself.

  1. Is it a lot? Is it a little?

I feel like I’m still in my thirties. Early thirties at that. I feel like I want more children, like I want to do so many things, like I could reinvent my life at any moment. And often I wonder if I’m simply being delusional. I’m right at the cusp of not being able to have more children. I’m also in a place where who would I even have them with?

Reinventing my life, now that’s easier, I don’t believe there’s an expiration date on that. Not like my traitorous body that will soon decide it’s done with the whole reproduction thing. This year has been interesting, bittersweet, but full of newness and hope and quite a bit of crazy. I’m starting to feel alive again, hopeful, energetic, I’m looking forward again. I’ve started feeling like a woman again, I’ve lost oodles of weight, I feel prettier, better, healthier, more attractive.

A lot of that is Shawty. Which really makes you think about the impact sex actually has on our lives and our well-being. But that’s another post in and of itself .

42… I can barely believe it. It seems like a lot, but it’s not is it? Barring a tragedy that frankly could befall any of us at any time so it doesn’t bear thinking about, I have quite a bit of life left to live. Deciding what to do with it is the difficult part, and the fun part.

popcorn and a soda

 

And just like that suddenly I feel like writing again. Not that I haven’t been writing in the past few (six!) months, I just haven’t been writing well, so I haven’t been writing publicly.

It’s been a confusing, exhilarating, sad, ecstatic, lovely, nerve-wracking, sexy, back to adolescence time of discovery. I was very busy living and feeling and I couldn’t put words to it. I have lots of notes though, confused, badly put together notes with abysmal grammar and worse spelling, so we can take a little trip back in time together and make sense of my summer, a little bit at a time.

Clearly, I’m seeing someone.

Someone who couldn’t possibly be more alike and yet dissimilar to the Ex, someone who has put me through hell and back, but not the serious hell that I went through with the husband back when he was that, the adolescent hell of rapid heartbeats, raging hormones, and melodramatic theatrics. The fun hell, the alive hell, the bat shit crazy hell.

Someone who couldn’t possibly be more different from my expectations of the person I should be with (with whom I should be? Certainly, more correct, but stilted don’t you think?).

We’re going to be calling him Shawty, let me introduce you. Shawty appeared in my life suddenly and unexpectedly at the end of April. When I met him, he didn’t register at all. He’s not my type. Well, evidently now he is, but he wasn’t back then. The guy I described in the last post was… “he gives a very strong “manly” vibe, he’s so tall, his voice is so deep, his hands are so big…”. Most of the men in my life were similar… very tall, light brown hair and eyes, deep voices, very kind and caring, workaholics with easy personalities…

Shawty is… not tall. He’s my height, possibly a smidge shorter, I’m about 5’6’’. He is soft-spoken, he has very dark hair and eyes and a beard. He’s got a bit of a belly, he works in the restaurant business and has no time for anything.

He’s eight years younger than me. He’s got a shitty personality. He’s not even a little bit accommodating, and he’s bossy, and if he decides something you could set fire to him and that wouldn’t change his mind.

He’s super smart, and he can talk about anything, and he’s super confident but not in an annoying way. He will go miles out of his way to help out a friend. He works, harder and better than most people I know, he’s meticulous and detail oriented. He’s also a bit of a nightmare where work isn’t concerned, because that’s where all his attention goes. But he’s getting better. He’s pathologically secretive and he has a really messed up relationship with is ex-girlfriend.

He makes my heart beat like crazy when I’m near him, he takes my breath away, he makes me nervous, he is an amazing lover, and he’s got a way about him that I can’t explain, but it makes me completely unreasonable. I have never lost my shit as often and as explosively with anyone else, but he can also calm me down with no more than two or three words.

He’s always in control of what happens, except lately where sometimes I am, and that makes him crazy, but also has brought him closer. He goes after what he wants. Like a freight train. That’s what he did with me.

I have no idea where this is going but no matter if, when, how it ends, it was exactly what I needed, not what I wanted, but the best things never are, are they? So you’ll be hearing a lot about Shawty. I suggest popcorn and a soda, cause a lot of it is like a bad soap opera, or a really, really good one.

The waiting game

I’m doing the dance.

I found a guy I like, I orchestrated a meeting, we had drinks in a group, I made sure he had my number without actually giving it to him myself, he called, we chatted, were supposed to meet. I was nice, and happy to hear from him but not too available, I was genuinely sorry that we couldn’t meet but was breezy and relaxed about it. I’m doing the dance. Most of the above was accidental and not as Machiavellian as it sounds, because, mainly, I’m incredibly shy.

But now starts the torturous part. I’m waiting for him to call. I know he’s old fashioned, and I know he’ll make the first move, and I would call him if I could come up with a reason that wasn’t your voice knocks my socks off and I just really wanted to hear it again. The waiting game though… it’s killing me. I hate this about being a woman.

Years ago I wouldn’t have cared, I would have found an excuse and called him, but now… things have to be more subtle. I don’t know why, I’m not sure what’s changed but I sense that it has, I have to let him call, and make the first move. Maybe it’s because he gives a very strong “manly” vibe, he’s so tall, his voice is so deep, his hands are so big… or maybe it’s because as I’ve aged, I’ve realized that though I want to and enjoy being “the boss” in my professional life, I want to be “the girl” in my romantic life. The other night, when we all had a drink together, he quietly paid the bill, and then he walked me to my car. In a sweater. It wasn’t sweater weather, and my reaction was to tell him I could walk myself to the car, and to head on home before he caught his death. And then I remembered I wasn’t his mother. And I genuinely appreciated both things, he was a gentleman, and it was nice.

I don’t know where this is going, if anywhere, but the giddy excitement I felt when he called, I missed that. I also hate that. I hate the waiting, and the shaky hands when I hear his voice, and the constant looking around to see if he’s there, but it’s also exactly the kind of lighthearted fun I’ve been wishing for. And I know that when he calls again, because I’m pretty sure he will, I’ll walk around with a smile on my face all day. It’s nerve-wracking, and frustrating and fun and exciting this waiting game, and it’s what I’ve been waiting for.

Blessings aplenty

2016, you’ve been a hell of a year.

I’m trying to stay optimistic, my friend, but I won’t lie, I’m not too sad to see the end of you. I’m sitting in the hospital right now, literally just waiting for my grandmother to die, and I’m wondering what the problem is. Is it my attitude? Am I concentrating too much on the negative? I see and appreciate my blessings, I do. I’m a lucky gal. I was born in a time where women have more rights and protection than ever before, in Europe, to a wealthy family. I grew up in America. I got a great education. I’m blonde, with nice eyes and good genetics, I’m not so beautiful that I’m intimidating or annoying to other women or a target of obnoxious men, but I’m just pretty enough that people are nice to me, and respectful and they listen when I speak, and though it’s hard to admit it, it makes a difference. I’m healthy, I lack for nothing, I’m financially independent and I have the security of knowing that thanks to my background and education I will always be able to support myself. I have two beautiful, healthy, children.

I see the balance in my life and even when I look at the negative, I still see the positive. I miss my father, who’s been dead for ten years, but I had him at my side during many of the most important times of my life, he saw me graduate from university, he saw me married, he never met my children but I know he looks on and protects them from above.

I miss my husband, I hate the separation, I’m lonely and worry that I’ll be alone for the rest of my life, but I realize we didn’t love each other like husband and wife anymore and we both deserved better. He was the great love of my life, and even though he’s not anymore, I had that, not everyone does. He gave me two beautiful children and he’s a fantastic father and a wonderful, supportive friend to me. His leukemia came back again this year. That was tragic. But he is still here, miraculously, he’s with us and he’s relatively healthy, and it’s so much better than we expected.

I’m in the hospital, my grandmother is dying, I had to leave my children on Christmas day to fly out to Brazil. But I could afford to fly out at a moment’s notice, I have a support system to help care for my children, and my grandmother is two months shy of her 107th birthday. She has lived a good, full life. She has experienced tragedies, and grave difficulties, but she has also experienced love, and beauty, and happiness, and health. She was born in Brazil in 1910, there were no cars, no phones, most houses didn’t have indoor plumbing…. Imagine the life she lived, imagine the wonders she saw, the things she experienced. I’m not sad that she is passing, I’m happy she got the life that she did. And we are here to honor that.

2016 has been a tough year, for many reasons, but I’ve also gotten to travel a lot, I’ve gotten to spend a lot more time with my mother and brother, with my friends, I’ve enjoyed my children.

So I do see the good that balances out the bad, I do. But, if I’m going to be honest, I’d just really like a year with no tragedies. Nothing bad. I would like a year where I don’t have to constantly try to find the good to balance the crap. I would like a break, just for a little while. I’m tired of fighting my stress response, I would like to be able to sit and breath and enjoy all of my blessings calmly and contently.

I don’t know if that’s in the cards for me, but I’m putting it out there, in the universe, an end of the year wish if you will. I’m happy to see 2016 go, because I’m still optimistic enough to hope that 2017 will be better, and I guess that’s a blessing in and of itself.

 

Questions, questions

The first thing I do in the morning after snoozing my alarm four times when my brain slowly starts coming out of the night’s torpor is to turn my phone on and look at facebook. For all intents and purposes, I’m still asleep, but there I am, squinting at the screen getting in touch with the world through what is possibly one of the worst mediums ever for that purpose. I saw a short video on anxiety this morning, hidden anxiety, and I realized I did every single thing on it. Obviously I have been unable to unearth this video from the bowels of facebook, because facebook has the mysterious and uncanny ability of disappearing anything that might actually be interesting or that you might need, unless you save it, which I never do.

Anyway the signs, I don’t remember them all right now, but as I sit here I noticed that I am actively experiencing several of them. Jumpy legs, tightness around my neck and shoulder muscles, mild headache that never goes away, tightness in the jaw, and inability to concentrate on the task at hand. The task at hand is supposed to be work, whereas I’m writing this blog post. What am I anxious about? No clue, but I’m always like this. Does this mean I’m anxious all the time? My sleep patterns say yes, but reality is that there’s no lion waiting to pounce on me. So why do I feel like this? Is it really hidden anxiety or stress or what have you? Because if so it’s worrying, my life is no more nor less stressful than most people’s, and it’s miles less stressful than it has been in the past. So is this normal? Are we normal? Is this lifestyle we are all living normal? And by normal I also mean healthy. Is there anything that we, or in this case I, can do about it? Should I even be worrying about this?

Questions, questions and no answers.

Failing

I’m failing at life today. I’m sitting on my bed right now, crying. I’ve been crying for what feels like forever and I can’t seem to stop.

The reason for my meltdown is a cold shower. The cold shower is due to some electrical work that’s being done, in fits and starts, for the past two years. But the truth is I’m crying for everything else. For this house that has cost me more in terms of money, time and energy than it will ever be worth and I’m still not done, for my dead marriage, for the fact that I’m still in love with the person the Ex used to be, for the fact that I lost my temper and smacked the Boy on his tush harder than I should have, for this life I’m living that isn’t really mine but I don’t know where mine went, for the fact that I recently found out the Girl has a really bad nut allergy and I don’t want to deal with that fear, and I don’t want her to deal with that life, because we’ve been walking on the threshold of death for far too long in this family, for the fact that I’ve got nothing that’s just mine and that makes me happy for no reason and for the fact that I’ve got no one to take care of me and it makes me feel so alone, and for my broken heart, mostly for my broken heart. And that, all of that, is making me sad, just so, so sad, today.

So today I’m failing. Failing at this life I’ve been given, where I smile and act happy, and upbeat, and when the shit hits the fan I paint it gold, and spritz perfume on it so I can sell it as something better than just shitty shitty circumstances, where I justify everything and solve all the problems and sugar coat everything else. Where tomorrow is always better, cause honestly can it be worse? Though it can, it always can, but I close my eyes and stuff my fingers in my ears and pretend that that isn’t true.

I’m failing at this farce of a life, and it doesn’t really make a difference cause failing at it or succeeding at it are two bitterly similar things. Failing just means that tonight I can’t stop crying.

Forty something, something

Today is my 41st birthday. Now that I’ve been in my forties for an entire year, I have a few observations to make:

Last week my friend unceremoniously yanked out my very first white hair. It was a bit shocking. Mostly because she stealthily attacked me, like a ninja. I guess I should count myself lucky that I still don’t need to dye my hair, but now I’ve started to wonder how long that will last.

I give a lot fewer shits about most things in general. It’s strange when I notice, probably because it happened so gradually, it’s unsettling. And then when I do give a shit about something, I do so much more intensely but in a less neurotic, haphazard manner.

It’s much harder to date in your forties (this was a given, but it’s different when you’re experiencing it rather than just theorizing). Actually, dating isn’t harder, or I wouldn’t know whether it is or not, what’s harder is all the stuff that happens before dating. Like meeting a person, talking to them, flirting…. Last time I was in this situation I’d go hang out at bars with my friends and we were hyper-aware of our surroundings, of the men around us, smiling and interacting with our body language. Now when I meet my friends in a bar I’m so absorbed by the conversation I forget to look around. Also, I don’t like to wear my glasses (or contacts) so making suggestive eye contact across the room is pretty much not going to happen. And my tolerance for game playing is nonexistent. So you see my problem.

I’m also finally starting to learn to do what I want rather than what’s expected. Worrying about what makes me happy rather than pleasing other people or letting myself feel guilty for everything that goes wrong. I still have to work on being gracious and graceful, but I’ll get there. And then I’ll be perfect.

 

Overall forty-ish isn’t bad for now and I have the feeling this decade can only get better. So I guess I’m back to being an optimist now.