Looking for clues

Tuesday, March 12th, 2013 11:13 pm
my_lost_mind: (hiding)
"It's crazy but I'm frightened by the sound of relationships.."

I have no idea what I'm doing.

I suppose I've never had any clue, really.

Sometime last week I figured out that this older man I'd been seeing just wasn't going to work out in a long term thing.

The age difference is a big deal for me, but more than that is the fact that I just feel like I don't look forward to talking to him because he doesn't really have anything interesting to say.

It's okay if he's telling some story from his past, or we're making fun of the cliques in the meetup groups, but aside from that there isn't much to talk about.

I found comfort in spending time with him because he spoiled me with attention, affection, and it was lovely but I can't see how this would play out long term.
I know that I would get bored fairly quickly, would invest some amount of time and then feel sad when things got to the point of where one or both of us had to move on.

Of course I feel conflicted about this.  I always do when it comes down to me being indecisive.  
The only good part in all this is that we never got to the point of being "serious" and/or sleeping together (thank Ghu!).

I could "casually" date him for a long time, just killing time keeping each other company, but is that fair to either of us?   Not so much.

I attended a "gong bath" meditation last weekend with the Tall Man I mentioned in my previous post.

After the meditation we walked through a foggy Woodstock town center, to a restaurant for dinner.  Woodstock IL was the town where the movie Groundhog Day was filmed (oddly enough).
We sat and talked for hours, over our salads, drinks, and dessert.   It was really lovely, but there's something strange about this guy.

He's either immensely shy, or he's hiding something (or both).  He definitely has a lot of emotional scars, which isn't always a good thing.

I'm definitely intrigued by him, but not attracted yet.

There's nothing there yet.

Still, he was a reminder to me of what really sets off the chimes in my mind, being able to talk freely about music, politics, metaphysical stuff, and not have to explain myself in great detail.

THIS .... this.... is what I hunger for.

I would rather be alone, single, embedded in my head, in my music, my safe little world than be stuck in a relationship with someone who did not share this with me.

There's a very real possibility that I will be alone on my birthday again this year, toasting myself with expensive Belgian ale.  Maybe I'll go treat myself to dinner somewhere and sit at the bar.  Maybe I'll find a nice karaoke bar to hide out in.

No matter, it's still better to go it alone than to "settle".   I would rather sit with my physical craving for affection, attention, etc. and be uncomfortable until I find the right person.

My older friend was not the right person.  He's just not.   A few weeks ago we had a "debate" about LGBT pride that really just hit me the wrong way.   He was trying to tell me that "they should not be shoving this in our face all the time" and I could not get past what he was going on about.
I said  
"I think this might be a generational difference between us, because I see my gay friends as being no different from anyone else, and they should be allowed to be themselves"

"Yeah, but they shouldn't be on tv saying that this is okay and that they're so great and all"

"I don't understand.  There's nothing weird about it.   Maybe if they're out and proud then people wont make such a big deal out if it"

He's homophobic, and that's sad.

The Tall Man might not be the right person either.  I might not have met the right person yet.

It's all about sticking to my principals and really taking the time to get to know someone before I commit to a relationship.

I will always have music, my daydreams, my critters, and my work.   I have "meetup" events to fulfill my need to get out and be social.

I want what my friends have.  Someone who is just right for them.   I'm not afraid of a little emotional work, I just have to go about this quest in a sane and measured approach.

my_lost_mind: (weird)
 I think my ideal mate would not find it odd that I enjoy sitting in the living room surrounded by the cats (and dog) drinking a brandy cocktail, eating popcorn, and watching obscure 70s and 80s music video footage on the telly via the youtube feed on the xbox 360


Working without a net

Tuesday, March 5th, 2013 11:10 pm
my_lost_mind: (madmen)
Bombarded by too many voices in my head that are not my own.
Ethical dating is harder for me than I thought it would be.
It's difficult because I have to be able to filter out all the other voices in my head

What if...
what if after months of dating he turns out to be lousy in bed?
what if he becomes jealous and possessive? 
what if you meet someone else you want to date?  (oh god no!! I'm not really that poly though!  No more serial monogamy!!  GAH!)
what if after time you realize that he's really boring and you have nothing to talk about?

I had one of those "not so fast, young lady!" moments this past weekend.  
It reminded me of the wormhole-laden path that I used to walk and I decided that I would not saunter down that same path this time.

I went to a meetup event without my new friend.

It was a large social mixer, not specifically for singles, attended by mostly folks in their mid-40s and older.   A fun party with a DJ, cash bar, in a rented space with a big dance floor.    While I was dancing I noticed a tall fellow who had his "GEEK" beacon on standing by the bar.   He looked new to the group so I thought I would approach and introduce myself.
He and I started talking.  We talked mostly of music but also a few of the meditation and yoga meetup groups he attends, as well as the music-related social networking startup he is working on.
At no point in the conversation did the subject of my or his "dating" status come up.  I had no idea whether he was "available" and he had no idea about me.  We just talked of music.  A lot.   
Naturally as the conversation continued we both realized that we were like-minded music nerds.  He said that I was one of the most interesting people he'd met at any of these meetup events, and seemed to give off vibes that he thought I was pretty cool.
He gave me a copy of Steven Wilson's new solo album from out of his car, with his phone number scribbled on the cd envelope.
I went to put the cd in my bag, and scribbled my email address on a piece of paper and handed it to him.
We hugged goodnight and then he left the event.   I returned to the dance floor for another 40 minutes or so before I too called it a night.

Now, do you think I called this man?
My old self would have called him the next day., jettisoning Mr. Nice Older Man (or just flaking out on him in a passive-aggressive way)
My new self said "Don't go there"
The fellow from the meetup ended up sending me an awesome David Sylvian track (via Dropbox) that we had discussed the previous night.
Something about this man, and his eclectic taste in music set off my "yeah, you SO do not want to go there right now!" radar because this same shared taste in music thing is what has hooked me into so many one-sided bizarro world relationships in the past.  Unfortunately he is very tall, and not bad looking.  Reminds me quite a bit of a few folks I knew years ago.

So far we've only exchanged a few words via email, I thanked him for sharing the aforementioned track,and for the cd he gave me.  Tonight he emailed me a discount coupon for the 4AD online store (which I used to snag some musical goodies).

The following filters have been applied:
1.  He is in the middle of trying to launch a business start-up  ( = he's busy)
2.  I have no idea about his relationship status (= I could end up with a giant egg on my face)
3.  I am currently casually dating someone.
4.  He did not specifically state that he was interested in a date.

Right.  Whew.  Shield is fully operational!

So back to that tightrope.

My older friend and I continue our little dance.   I do think that he truly grasps the concept of not wanting to "crowd me" (he says this all the time), and he "asks" me if I'm free for a date on x or y day/night instead of assuming.    I really wish that he was 5 or 6 years older and not 12 years older.  
It would make this whole thing so much easier.  
I wish I had met him years ago, that also would have made things easier.
I need to be able to see a few years down the road, if I pursue something with him, if it will be something that feels comfortable or if I will feel obliged to stay with him because he's so kind and seemingly sane - but sacrificing "chemistry".  
The chemistry thing is difficult to define right now, which is why I am taking my time.
My attraction to him right now  is based on the "oooh shiny! new!" stuff, the tension created by kissing someone goodnight knowing that it is not leading to a hookup, and all that I don't know about him.

If that chemistry is still there after more time getting to know him, with less "shiny new", more "getting to know you", and still without sex, then maybe I can relax somewhat.

There will always be challenges to my "filters" and I will have to continue to always put my big girl pants on before making knee jerk reactions about people based on superficial criteria. 

my_lost_mind: (FML)
Something strange and somewhat shocking occurred to me over the past few days.  
See, I've been doing a lot of reading, and thinking, and thinking some more about my psychological programming and the type of personal relationships I've had over the past decade or so.
I realized that the following things are true about me:

I am very poor at accepting gifts, praise, help, and kindness without wondering "what's the catch?"
I have a difficult time remembering a feeling of being loved unconditionally.
I can make friends and maintain friendships, but I am also a lazy friend - I'm never the one to pick up the damned phone.
I have found it far too easy to jump into bed with men I barely know, and the less I know about their faults the easier it is.
I have made a habit of being involved with emotionally unavailable men, or men that give the impression of needing "fixing" or "saving".  They gravitate to me and my poor boundaries and willingness to give up my sense of self to focus on them.
Of course they resent any creepy boundary-busting help I try to offer (without them asking) and the relationship implodes fairly quickly, or it just drags on and on like a vigil over a corpse laid out in a parlor.

I'm still being courted by this same man I met a month ago.  We've had a few dates, and I'm being very cautious about the whole thing because he seems so sure about me.  
The only thing that I'm sure of is that he's lonely, but kind.  He's almost 60, and this just absolutely blows my mind, but he's still got this dreamer's heart. 

He spent too many years of his life dating the wrong women, or the 14 years he spent married to a woman he said he did not love - married her because he felt he needed to settle down.

Yeah, I can actually relate to that feeling.

He said something to me the other night that was sad, but also one of the most honest "tell it like it is" things I've heard from a man in a very long time.    We were at a meetup event together, and he realized that he and I were still not truly a "couple".  

"just don't go falling in love with some guy...

This comes from a place of insecurity on his part, but this tells me that he knows that my ambiguity is obvious, and that he acknowledges it.  He still courts me, slowly, with kindness and friendship.   There's no hinky weird hookups, no creepy text messages, and he doesn't live on social media.  He calls me when he says he will, makes dates a few days in advance, it's real grownup dating.

So back to my original point....

I am struggling with this conflict in my mind.
Here is this very nice, funny, kind man who I would have jumped on a decade ago before his hair went from dark to white, when he was closer to 50 than 60, all superficial stuff.   He loves music, reading, history, is honest, works hard at his job, takes care of his son, is close to his family (comes from a big family - he's somewhere in the middle of 8 kids).   He's also got these amazing dark blue eyes that just seem to draw me in. 
Why do I struggle with giving him a chance?

Because I think there could be some perfect guy out there who is just like the alcoholic ex, or the emotionally unavailable ex, or the endless parade of guys that were "just not that into me" - except that they wouldn't be alcoholic or emotionally unavailable and be absolutely exactly like me and maybe they would want me this time.

WTF gurl!?   You don't NEED a man who is exactly like you, you need someone who would help you be a better person.  Someone who loves and accepts you as you are 

I am one stubborn, hot mess.  There are no perfect men out there.

I am an emotionally unavailable commitment phobic perfectionist who can't seem to loosen her grip on Dear Mr. Fantasy (who doesn't exist).  

I remember two men in my life that I pushed away.  One of them was just as conflict avoidant as me and rather than dive deep and try to solve our problems together - I ran off for the quick fix of "something new".

The second was a man who courted me slowly, was first my friend until I was "single" and available to date him.   Of course once I got too close and things started to get more serious, I fled.   I could have been with him too, he loved me, we would have been good for each other.  

Nothing can ever bring back those days, or allow me to undo those mistakes, but I'm a bit overwhelmed by how difficult I'm finding it dating (just dating) a truly nice man.   This whole process is really making me look at my own bad habits, and it's quite a humbling process.

Gratitude Jar

Friday, February 15th, 2013 05:46 pm
my_lost_mind: (Default)
Things I am grateful for this week -
  1. The snow and ice finally melting away so I can walk outside again.
  2. Daylight after 5:00 pm
  3. The first Valentine's Day in many years that did not suck (or was full of drama and/or epic boredom)
  4. A fancy flatiron that does a fantastic job at straightening my naturally wavy, frequently frizzy hair.
  5. AAA Roadside Assistance - who came to my rescue when my garage-kept car had a drained battery that prevented my car from starting.

my_lost_mind: (hiding)
It's the season of ice and mud here in the midwest.

Days of frigid cold followed by unseasonable warmth and rain followed by snow melt followed by below freezing temperatures on ground that isn't able to absorb  leads to a landscape laden with icy ground that is difficult to traverse without ice shoes.

I was struck with a funny analogy while I was out walking with my doggie, who thinks she's a 100 lb. sled dog when she's wearing her harness. She has no problem walking on ice, as she has 4 paws on the earth at all times and those paws have rough pads and sharp nails which make getting by on icy terrain a bit easier.

Thinking she's invincible and being an impatient little wolf trapped in a little-dog body - she wants to GO and this means I have to fight for control.   The less we're able to get out and walk, the more bored she gets (much like me) and the harder she pulls.

My little 20 lb. doggie dragging me along the icy walkways seemed like a fitting metaphor for some of my own struggles.

There's a part of me that wants to charge ahead in everything - from impulse spending to leaping into a relationship.  

Impatient, unaware of danger, my dog only wants to sniff out the most interesting smells on the frozen grass, light poles, and trees.  She lives in a world of instant gratification while her human trudges along stepping gingerly one slow plodding step at a time across each shiny patch of frozen cement.

I found myself wrestling for control, which doesn't normally happen (she's usually very good on a leash) but tonight for some reason she was pent up and ready for a run.

This just struck me as funny.  

Here I am a 100+ lb. adult human, being pulled along by a 20 lb. spunky dog - like my 46 year old slow-ass self gets pulled along by my childish attachment to finding the very thing that will provide me an instant (but temporary) cure for my boredom.

I must learn to teach my inner pup to "sit" when I tell her to sit, and walk with me - instead of pulling me into some reckless situation.

Sit.  Stay.  good girl!!

A strange attractor

Saturday, February 2nd, 2013 07:00 pm
my_lost_mind: (foolish)
Groundhog Day.

I'm not quite sure what to make of all this.

On Thursday I went to a meetup happy hour event.  I mixed and mingled, chatted with a few different folks (both men and women) but there was one man there who seemed rather attracted to me.

The only problem is that he's easily 10 years older than me.

I normally have an aversion to "older men", having had one very toxic experience dating a whack job in my early 20s who lied about his age, lied about his background, and more or less dragged me along for a very strange ride that lasted a little more than a year.  Turned out he was 20 years older than me.  (I was 22, he was 43).   

Back in those days, I was attracted to this man enough to sleep with him because he seemed to be everything my first husband (who I had just split from) was not.

This charming motherfucker was attractive, charismatic, and seductive - and because I thought he was only 10 years older than me (and not 20) it somehow made it alright.   He really turned out to be a lying, scheming, toxic, manipulative, assclown and just as crazy as the ex-husband I fled from.

Anyway, back to the present day.

I'm trying to get to the bottom of why I find older men so unattractive.  I think I'm beginning to understand, and it isn't sitting very well with me.

Here was this guy, sweet, friendly, with his silver hair, blue eyes, and wide smile flirting with me as if he was still in his 20s.   I told him that I really didn't date older guys, but he was so engaging I played along with the game for a couple of hours.

He asked me why women his age didn't seem to be into dating, why there were so many women hanging out on the dating sites (see my previous post on this) but yet so many men in their 50s are going without.    I explained to him what I had observed, that women in their 50s weren't necessarily looking for a steady dating thing because they were tired of taking care of men, cooking, picking up after, etc. and they likely just got rid of their teenaged kids.  These women were looking to have fun, with no strings attached.

I also explained that women my age were having challenges meeting men "our age" because these men were looking for younger women who could help them forget that they were getting older.   The men who weren't looking for younger women were the guys who had never been married and will likely never get married because they're just not cut out for it.   Happy to play the field forever.

We both laughed about what a pain in the ass it is to be single, over 40,  in suburbia.

So why not older men?  It's easy.  It's because I don't recognize myself at 46.   When I look in the mirror, I always look past my wrinkles, and scoff at the grey hairs (covering them up as quickly as they appear).   Getting older is something that terrifies me, reminds me of everything that I hate about my mother and how she experienced her 40s.    Because I have no positive frame of reference for what it means to be sexual in my 40s I just deny it, bury these fears, and pretend that I'm still 20 something or 30 something and just go on as I've always gone on.

There is, of course, a problem with this mindset.  It keeps me stuck in the the immature, unhealthy, codependent people-pleasing behaviors of my past.  I'm never going to experience my 20s again.  I'm never going to travel back in time and undo all the mistakes I made in my life back then.   I'm just stuck.    Men with silver hair and wrinkles remind me of where I'm headed, and it scares the shit out of me, even if they're only ahead of me by 10 years.

It reminds me of my aging father who at 70, looks and acts more like he's 80.    

I always forget that my very first musical crushes were on men who were anywhere from 15 to 20 years older than me.   Brian May and Peter Gabriel are in their 60s now, but they were very attractive to me when I was 10, 15, 20.   I still think they are attractive, but the fact they look "old" to me now is sad.  

Why is this such a big deal to me?

Culturally speaking, we still live in a youth-obsessed culture.  While there are some really beautiful, smart, sexy women in their 50s and 60s in popular culture, women are fed the bullshit lie that once you get past a certain age you might as well hang up your sexy undies because you're not getting any unless you settle for whatever you can get.

Would I be more attracted to these random older men I'm meeting now if they were long-haired enigmatic rock stars, or had some iconoclastic rebellious look that belied their age?  


Would they go for a woman like me?  

Probably not, because those men who are still chasing their youth are applying the same exact logic to their choice in mating partners as I am.

We're chasing youth that is always more than a few steps ahead of us.

What I need to do is find a happy medium somewhere in all this.   Stop applying the wrong filters to nice men and simply spend some time getting to know them.   They could turn out to be decent guys, or they could be idiots not worth sharing a cup of coffee with.  I need to broaden my horizons and stop placing so much emphasis on "looks" when it comes to age.   The truth is that I'm not 20 and have grey hair, a few wrinkles, and a few extra pounds.   If I want men to accept me for who I am at this age, then I'm going to have to start accepting them too.

This doesn't mean I'm going to go racing after the first 58 year old man who gives me the time of day,    What it means is that I'm just going to think outside of my strange padded cell with the rose colored windowpanes.   If I go to a meetup event where there are men my age, younger men, and men a bit older then I'm going to talk to the nice ones.   Maybe I'll even go on a date or two with an older guy just to see what it's like to go on a date without any preconceived notions of where things should go next.   It's been a very long time since I've been on a date like that.

Even my first date with Mr. Unavailable from this past fall wasn't really a normal date.  We always spent time sitting at his dining room table staring at his computer while he picked music to play.  He didn't own a television, and he wasn't into going to movies.  We went out for dinner because we had to eat, and when I started dating him he had no gas service in his apartment because he didn't have the money to get the gas service restored.

What was I thinking?  We never took the time to just go out on dates and get to know each other.

This is one habit that I have to change going forward.   Meet a nice man.  Decide to go on a few dates, then a few more, get to know each other.   Only after dating for some time, make the decision if the relationship should become sexual.

I think this is how grownups do it.

my_lost_mind: (hiding)
or.. "What's still really fucking weird in suburbia"

I've been wracking my brain trying to figure out how I can get out there in the big wide world and meet guys in my age group who are single, have similarly eclectic interests (or at least compatible interests) and are open to the idea of dating (vs. casual encounters).

I joined a few meetup groups and have been attending events in my local area but have found that at most of these events women outnumber the men (at least) 2 to 1.    While this is great for general socializing and getting out of the house "not being bored", it's been disappointing as far as meeting single guys is concerned.

Last weekend I attended a meetup event that was made up of mostly single men and women in their 50s and older.  I was lucky enough to end up at a table with several women in their mid-late 50s who were great to talk to - we bonded over experiences in the alt.(dating) realm.  I shared tales of dating in my 30s when it seemed like an endless string of one-night-stands, booty calls, and dating guys who were fun while it lasted but ultimately disappointing.   I explained that I never met anyone suitable on match or okcupid (both terrible experiences for me 10+ years ago) but I did meet a couple guys via craigslist back in the day.

We chatted a bit about dating sites in general, and they said they had some acceptable experience through POF and adultfriendfinder, but it occurred to me that the reason why they were successful is because they were not looking for a steady monogamous dating situation.  They were looking for no-strings hookups and were willing to accept married men, flaky younger men, and/or men who were just looking to explore the various (alt.sex) urges they had to repress in their primary relationships.   These women accepted cheaters, players, and a grand parade of "unavailable" men just to be able to satisfy their urge to get laid regularly.

One of them said something that was actually a bit sad.  She wanted human touch, contact, and if it meant resorting to being someone's booty call she was willing to put up with it vs. going months, years without it.  Another woman said she routinely went for massages so that she could experience being touched in a way that felt comforting.

While I applaud their candor and sexual freedom, I found this appallingly disappointing.  Is the pool of available, acceptable men (over 40) really that small?

I decided to do a bit of recon, and spent a few hours researching various online dating sites.  As I stated above, my experience with online dating 10+ years ago was disappointing at best.  On one site the only "winks", smiles, pings, etc.  I received were from men 20 years older than me (old enough to be my father), or men that obviously had never read my profile and were just randomly clicking on the profiles of single, white females in a specific age range.  

I responded to many profiles, but never received a response back.   Far too many of the profiles of men in my age range were looking for the "slim" or "fit and athletic" females who were 10+ years younger than them.  This was 10 years ago when I was still in my 30s.    Guys in their 30s were looking for women in their 20s - in theory because the 20-somethings were not in a hurry to have babies, would put up with a more "casual" thing, and of course, women in their 20s are less likely to have wrinkles, grey hair, and less cellulite on their thighs. 

What I found while reading these reviews is that this world does not seem to have changed much.   In some cases, it's become worse. Some of the site reviews I found had a long list of complaints about less-than-ethical billing practices and a high percentage of "fake" or inactive profiles.  It also seems like the Nigerian money scammers have taken their primary targets from bulk email to trolling online dating sites.

Sounds like pretty poor return on investment, even if that investment is only time.

I have to admit that doing this research, and gaining that insight from talking to those women older than me made me feel pretty darn angry.

I never really felt that online dating sites were a viable option for me because my personality doesn't translate well in an online profile.  I also believe in honesty, and would never resort to posting a photo of myself from when I was "slim" (20 years ago!).  I'm not obese, but I'm certainly not built like a marathon runner.  If these men are only basing their decision on looks, and eliminating women who are even a bit overweight, then obviously they're not anyone I should be wasting even a second on.

I'll also admit to having a "type". This type is not really limited to a specific physical type.  However, if a man posts an online profile with one photo that obviously looks outdated, or he's got that fish-eyed gaze that makes him look like one of those guys from one of those terrible "true crime" news shows AND he cannot spell or cannot write, it's no deal.  My type has to (at the very least) have a functioning brain.

What this all boils down to is that I really can't go back to the online dating websites and expect to see better results than I did 10+ years ago.  The hard truth is that it's still more or less like an online shopping site where both men and women are flipping through profiles like they would flip through products on an online shopping clearance site.   I'd say it's probably like one of those stupid online "bid" sites where you pay so much for tokens to bid on shit only to realize, after wasting a bunch of money that it's just another form of online gambling.

I've never been a lucky gambler.

I would rather go without, be single, and just take my chances with attending meetup events than risk my sanity and self-esteem by subjecting myself to the grand parade of players and scammers online and hoping to find a diamond in a sulfur mine.
my_lost_mind: (weird)
When I think of him now, I think of him as an itchy sweater, or a boa constrictor, or sitting in a car with no air conditioning,  in heavy traffic, on a hot summer day.

Thinking of him now makes me feel uncomfortable.

I always felt uncomfortable each time he left, like each hour was borrowed time.

Never again will I give so much of myself to someone who is not deserving.

There's a big difference between leaving your heart open, and setting your heart out like a doormat for a man to wipe his boots on.

I will keep my heart open, but I will not let anyone, any man take so much without giving anything in return.

I deserve better than that.

Instead of turning over rocks and looking in muddy river beds for wanna be "princes" hiding out in frog suits (or worse), I'll sit by the river bed and just enjoy the view.

Just because I'm over 40 and have lost my twee girl mojo does not mean I have to settle for the first single guy who comes along who
happens to share the same interests.

If he's broken, or still fucked up over some ex wife or ex girlfriend, he's just not worth the pain.

No more stem-winding time wasters.

No more settling for crumbs, or diving in the dating dumpster for a casual encounter.

It's just not fucking worth it.

If it means being single, so be it.

I'd rather be single than dating someone who makes me crazy, anxious, or makes me feel lonely when I'm sitting next to them.

It's just not fucking worth it.

No more booty calls, "friends with benefits" or any other bullshit arrangement that all means the same thing - the guy wants sex without having to put in any emotional effort.

No thanks.  I'm done with all that shit.  

I would rather be single, or have a lovely collection of platonic friends  than go through any of this ever again.

Gratitude Jar

Friday, January 25th, 2013 11:03 pm
my_lost_mind: (Default)
Here are the things I'm grateful for today.

1.  Music that takes me back to times when I didn't know any better.

2.  Walking on a quiet snowy evening with my wonderful dog who thinks every tree, every light pole, every rock is something to discover.

3.  Chicago-style giardiniera.  On pasta.  on pizza... the hotter the better.

Dream Recall

Thursday, January 17th, 2013 08:12 pm
my_lost_mind: (madmen)
I made the dubious mistake of drinking a few too many margaritas last night.   Got a bit wobbly and took to my bed early.   The tequilla, plus 10+ hours spent in a near comatose state brought about some amazing dreams!

Dream fragment #1

I was in an empty apartment.  It was similar to a place I had dreamed about previously.   A dusty, vintage building with high ceilings and hardwood floors. The place was in a state of disrepair with crumbling plaster and peeling paint.    It was also very dark, not a lot of natural light filtering through.

I was just wandering through this place, as if I had lived here at one point but now it's empty and sad.    I thought I was alone in this place until I wandered into a room where a man was working.   He was Hispanic and didn't speak English.   He sort of glared at me, to question what the hell I was doing in this place.   I quietly apologized and left.

Dream #2

I was outdoors in some urban area.   I'm not sure what I was doing prior to walking to my car, but once I got to my car I opened the door and put the keys in the ignition.   This car was not the car I drive today.  It was actually the car that an old boyfriend of mine had years ago, a crappy old Japanese car (a mid-80s era Toyota I think), gold hatchback with black vinyl seats.    For some reason I got back out of the car for a moment, leaving the keys in the ignition.

A strange man approached out of nowhere and (more or less) tried to steal my car.   He got in the car and motioned for me to do the same. I did not recognize this man, but I sensed that he was dangerous so I just started running.

I ran toward a shopping area and ran into a coffee house where I saw someone who looked familiar to me.  A man that I knew casually from a social circle in the city where I used to live.    I tried to explain to this guy what had just happened to me, but he seemed disinterested and/or was unwilling to help me.   He seemed more interested in having a conversation about anything else but what I just experienced.

I felt invalidated.

Dream #3

This one was craaaazy!

I went to go visit my most recent ex-boyfriend (who wasn't much of a boyfriend).  He was living in an apartment with 2 housemates (one male, one female).  The male housemate seemed friendly, was walking around smoking a pipe (read "bowl") and handed it to me.

"Want a hit?"
"um... sure..."

I started talking with my ex, and the conversation started out fairly generic until something came up where I felt I had to speak my mind.

I let him have it with both barrels, telling him how I felt about that email he sent, and how him admitting that he thought I could help him get over his ex-girlfriend was the absolutely worst thing he could have said.   I went on and on, was very angry, and cold as ice.  It was everything that I have wanted to say to him if I felt he would truly listen, as if speaking my peace would matter at all.

He got upset, emotional, seemed shocked that I was so angry, and got up from the chair he was sitting in.    

I can't remember whether or not he actually apologized or not, I just remember seeing his face full of pain and sadness.

I woke up soon after, feeling very odd but also with a sense of great relief.

Unfortunately, real life doesn't work out like our dreams (and dreams are just our subconscious working shit out so it can be sorted into file cabinets in our mind, or burned in the incinerator!) 

Feeling stronger every day!    Almost 2 weeks of NC.   I think I can do this.
my_lost_mind: (Default)
An old childhood friend of mine shared something meaningful on Facebook not long ago (she must have read it somewhere else and then passed it along).

The basic idea is that you set aside a jar, and into that jar you drop notes to yourself that contain things you were thankful for on any given day.

I'm going to take a stab at doing this via this blog, dropping random notes into the virtual gratitude jar with things that I am grateful for on days when I'm feeling positive and/or feel like putting something in the jar.

In theory, you would go back and look through the jar at the end of the year and have something positive to reflect upon.

Today I am grateful for the following:
  1. Today was the first day in 3 weeks that I felt like dancing.   I was out walking with my doggie, heard the song "Killer Queen" pouring through my headphones via my last.fm radio station feed, and suddenly I was struck with the urge to dance.   I started skipping along the walking path in beat to the song.   My poor doggie didn't know what I was up to!

  3. Warm days in January.   Today it was 51 degrees and rainy (vs. cold and frozen).  The heat didn't kick on all day.  I enjoyed 2 lovely walks with my dog and didn't freeze.   This makes me happy.

  5. My good health, and having 2 strong legs that can carry me along wherever I want to go.   

  7. Colleagues who make me laugh.   I was IM'ing with a colleague who I've worked with for many years (he's in an office across the country) , laughing about some string of emails where fellow employees kept hitting the "reply to all" button on their email.  They were inadvertently clogging up everyone's inbox with personal accounts of problems logging into some corporate application / tool.   We saw another email come through, and he picked up and called me.  We talked about various projects in play, discussed some project / approach concepts, and then we just chatted about random funny moments in the history of our employer.  I asked him how his dog was doing (he and his family have had a wonderfully dumb Great Dane for 8 years now).  He told some funny stories about the dog, and his family.   It was just like being back in the "real" office where we would shoot the breeze during our lunch breaks.
I also downloaded the expansion pack for World of Warcraft, and will be spending some time over the next couple days reading up on how to spec my level 85 shadow priest so I can level her to 90.  There's a spot waiting for me in one of the guild raids as soon as I'm ready.

my_lost_mind: (weird)
I have a confession to make.  I really don't love Facebook.

While it's done a lot toward reconnecting me with some childhood friends I wouldn't have otherwise been able to reconnect with, it's also been the source of some rather unpleasant experiences.


I seem to collect them like some women collect shoes.  Some of them are guys I dated once or twice, while others I shared a more long-term thing with.  One of them is the very first "boyfriend" I ever had, going back to when I was still a teenager, the first guy to break my heart.

I've had at least 3 of those "Rob Gordon" conversations with some of these exes (see also the movie "High Fidelity", where the character Rob Gordon starts looking up ex-girlfriends while in a semi-breakup from his steady girlfriend).     At least 2 of them have apologized for the shitty way they treated me back in the day.   Some just become Facebook "friends" and the next thing I know I'm treated to photos of them with their wives and/or kids, or daily updates from their everyday lives.

The only time this has ever been a problem is when I'm still "friends" with someone that I had a bad breakup with.  This requires an elaborate filtering setup and in some cases turning off chat, blocking chat, etc.  

Really more trouble than what it's worth.

Friends who post religious crap

I really do have a "live and let live" attitude about religion.  If it makes a person happy and they don't try to convert me, then it's generally no big deal.  The only time this becomes annoying is when they're clogging up my Facebook feed with Jesus memes that border on being political, or are just insane "click like if you want to send a prayer to this kid dying from cancer".   really?  who actually reads this crap?

My usual response to such things (if they get out of hand) is to just hide them from my feed.

Facebook chain letters and pointless marketing ploys for shit I don't want

The chain letters are the worst.  "Click share if you want to tell this sick child that you care".   Really? 

Or the "click like" or else memes... those are also fairly pathetic.

I have a lot of friends who click "like" on some particular product, which then clogs their feed with every single marketing campaign from that company.  Don't we get enough commercials on television and radio (not to mention the ads that FB includes by default?)    Yeah.. no.

Zynga Game Requests

First there was Mafia Wars and Farmville, then several varieties of poker, and a dozen plus variations on the same theme. Not all of them are zynga games, but most game invites are annoying because the game designers are out to make a profit and to do so they have to cull your personal data so they can serve you ads.

No thanks.  I already have enough of a footprint on that site, and don't really need my name and click thru preferences placed into any more marketing demographic buckets.

The games aren't all that great, and they can be a huge time sink.

Empty calories and hollow sentiments

Spending hour after hour tethered to Facebook, clicking "refresh" waiting for someone to post something interesting is often times a futile endeavor.   Unless you have 1000 friends who are always on and always texting you it's typically the same dozen or so folks on your feed posting the meme of the day, photos, music, etc.

While I adore my friends and love to hear about what's really going on in their lives, the limited amount of data that one gets through a Facebook status update just leaves me feeling sorta empty and disconnected.   Nobody picks up the phone anymore and has a conversation.     There was a time when I was connected to the IRC for hours on end, it was like a big partyline.  People engaged in conversation even though the conversation was virtual.

Facebook is more like standing around waiting for someone to throw a paper airplane over a wall at you.  You're never quite sure if there is anyone actually on the other side of the wall, and you never know if anyone is actually going to respond to anything that YOU might post to your status.   It's easy to get caught up in feeling like a social leper if your status updates go unnoticed for days.

This is really why I decided to take a break from the great timesink of the 21st century.  I've been feeling a bit down and out, frustrated, and disconnected from humanity.   Hanging out on Facebook waiting for something to happen, for someone to "notice me" just invokes some bad old feelings that go back 30 years in my life.  

Right now there are better things I can do to occupy my time that don't involve quite so much risk of rejection, like going out and actually interacting with people face to face. 
my_lost_mind: (foolish)
 I've been thinking a lot lately about the days I spent playing World of Warcraft.   I stopped playing last Spring before I moved across the country and have not bought the MOP expansion... yet.

However, I think about WoW all the darn time.  Sometimes I have flashes of memory of running around in Orgrimmar , or various raids I participated in over the years.    Hell, I remember the nights I stayed up far too late after the previous 2 expansions came out  (remember when flying over Durotar was a novelty?  yeah.. those were the days).

Anyway, I got to thinking about some interesting comparisons between real life, and World of Warcraft:

When things get boring in WoW, you can always log onto a different toon, or roll a new one.   No such luck in real life.

In WoW you can take up a profession that allows you to craft a flying carpet.   I'm still waiting on that flying car in real life.

In WoW you can carry weapons that are almost as big as you are, with no visible signs of stress.     In real life, it's a pain in the ass to lug 40 lbs of cat litter from the car.

In WoW you can play an elf, an orc, a goblin, a tauren (which is this big cow-like creature), an alien, a human (yawn!), a pandarin monk, a reggae troll, a flesh-eating zombie (undead FTW!), or something called a "Death Knight".   You can be fierce, overpowering, and downright fugly, or your toon can be lithe, ethereal, and downright hot.  It doesn't matter what you are in the real world, male, female, old, young, tall, short, fat, thin, in WoW you can be something entirely different.     No such option in real life, unless you're into cosplay (and well, you're still somewhat limited by your actual human form and costuming skills).

In WoW, there is no laundry, you don't have to pay rent, and your job is to run around and kill monsters, or enemy players (or heal other characters in raids or battlegrounds).     Real life?  Yeaaaaah.. no comment.

In WoW, when you do something really stupid like aggro an entire room full of dragonkin hatchlings, or survive a fall from a great height, you get an achievement.     In real life, you end up getting the crap beaten out of you, you break your leg, or worse - you're pwned and without the benefit of getting to go and find your corpse so you can try again.

In WoW, you work together with a group of your virtual friends (guildies) or a group of random players to achieve some sort of positive, winning outcome.  You kill some big honkin evil thing, gear drops, sometimes you actually get gear you can use, and you feel some sense of accomplishment.   Not quite the same outcome in real life when you're working on a project with a team of software engineers who really just want to get the project done so they can put the release on their review for the year.   Sometimes the project is bound for epic fail status, but there's no kicking the hopeless newbies from the group.  You're stuck with 'em for the duration of the project.

In WoW, there are characters that can heal another toon from "almost dead", and some can even resurrect the dead.   In real life, we don't get the option to resurrect our dead friends.   Yeah, you get it.    (yeah Denise, I'm thinking of you hon - and wondering if your hubby is still playing your Orc out there on Suramar)

I have to admit that I do miss World of Warcraft, my old guildies, and flying over various landscapes searching for archaeology dig sites, or enemy cities to wreak havoc in for one of the "holiday" achievements.  Hell, I even admit to missing LFG or LFR for a random dungeon.  It's a harmless form of escape that allows you to interact with other beings without a lot of risk.

I started playing WoW back in 2007 or so and played up until May of last year.   Even though I rarely met folks in real life that I played with online, I always got the sense that I "belonged" to some sort of really strange club.     In times like these where I'm feeling a bit disconnected from the real world and so-called real humans, I think about picking up that expansion and venturing back into the world of Azeroth, just to go kick a few murlocs around, see what my old guildies are up to.   

One thing that WoW and real life have in common is that there always seemed to be something to laugh about, and like any neighborhood bar there was always someone around at 1am to shoot the breeze with and make an attempt to pwn insomnia.

With that, I'll leave you with a now legendary internet meme (that actually lead to a real achievement you can get  in the game.  I have it on 2 of my toons).  

The epic fail raid that spawned LEEEEROY Jenkins....

Falling Down

Monday, December 31st, 2012 11:00 pm
my_lost_mind: (FML)
 I've been thinking about the whole notion of falling in love with someone, and how falling in love can at times, feel like falling down a flight of stairs.

Sometimes, it's those stairs on the front porch of your house, it's not a bad fall but you do end up with a bruise on your ass, or a skinned knee.     
Other times, it's like taking a tumble sideways, down a metal fire escape on an icy winter morning.
You're not quite sure how you managed to survive without breaking your neck, but you know that you've just donated some flesh to the iron gods and might need a few stitches to close the bloody gash in your shin.   
Ow!!  That fucking hurt!

I should have a wall of trophies for all the times I've fallen and bruised my ego so badly that she threatened to call the cops and file charges of abuse.
The real problem is that I always let my heart top my head, and my brain is a very bad sub because she never seems to remember the safe word until that moment just before she blacks out.    The words never make it past her lips, and when she wakes up, heart has already gone and ruined things by falling for someone who is either crazy, cold as a freezer-burned roast, or has no interest in having a relationship with someone who seems boring compared to their last girlfriend.
...but my heart knows what she wants
I've already droned on about this particular subject in another post so I'm not going to bore readers with it again.
yawn.. yeah.. get on with it already...
I guess the real problem is that I'm a total head case.   I always seem to pick the guys who fall into the category of "he's just not that into you", but instead of running in the other direction I just twist myself into some impossible pretzel shape that should qualify me as lead acrobat in the Cirque du Fruitcake.
I've also been known to get involved with men who seem one crisis away from taking a leap off some tall building or running off to join a cult. The last long-term relationship I had (explained in gory details via previous posts here) was with a guy who had to get drunk the first time we had sex.   Why on earth would any sane woman choose someone like this?  He was my physical type,  appealed to my geekier interests, and I needed to get laid.   What should have been a short-term fling turned into a four year codependent nightmare.
You must remember this... a kiss is just a kiss
fucking  does not equal love
the fundamental rules apply
that there are no fucking rules...
Ten years ago I dated a guy eight years my junior who I fell for after dating him for only a couple months.   I don't think I gave the poor bastard time to realize what hit him before I attached myself to him like a barnacle and started showing up at his apartment several times a week.   He wasn't very good at telling me what was on his mind, I just automatically assumed that if he wasn't telling me to get lost  that I must be his girlfriend.  Most men appreciate free sex provided the woman is at least moderately attractive, fun, and doesn't place too many demands on them.
After 5 months he did tell me to get lost, but only after I had gone off and purchased a condominium in the same housing community where he just purchased a condo.   I had some deranged notion that  it would be fun to be his neighbor.    Oh yeah, it was great fun after we split up and he started dating other women.  The fun turned into dysfunction when we would continue to hang out as "friends", getting drunk together and watching old Star Trek TNG episodes, sharing tales of our latest romantic mishaps.
My girlfriends should have had me committed at that point - I had gone round the bend and couldn't figure out where I had left my big girl pants (let alone my self-worth).
This was indeed, an amazing feat of stupidity - a fall down the most rickety of fire escapes.
Did I learn anything from this particular fall?
Only that I continued to suffer from some weakness for musicians and that some mysterious virus they transmit infects my brain with a dangerous form of amnesia.
I only seriously dated one musician after that disaster.   He was a strange impish fellow who was a mediocre painter obsessed with his own importance, working as a trolley driver for a local tour bus company.  He was a fairly decent singer / saxophone player who would also practice the didgeridoo on weekends at some inhumane hour of the morning. 
He and I didn't have much in the way of chemistry, nor did we share a ton of common interests aside from art, politics, and some of the same music.     What we did share was boredom, lack of money, and a shared interest in not being bored and broke.  The dude was sufficiently weird to hold my interest, and I think my presence fed his ego and need for someone to tell him how cool he was.  He and I lived together for a handful of months before he started disappearing for longer hours into the evening.  Eventually he just announced he was leaving and that, was that.
I was more rattled by the loss of the second income than I was at losing him.
Come on, surely you must have ended a few relationships in your lifetime!  Otherwise you're just bullshitting us!!
Of course!   There were a few:   One physically abusive guy, two alcoholics, one guy that lived 250 miles away, one guy who was not only a hoarder, but did not own a bar of soap (truth!), and a couple of guys I dumped because "something more interesting" came along.    No, I'm not proud of this track record.
So here's where I get to my point in this whole sordid mess and try to make a very long and convoluted story a bit shorter.
“I've been thinking with my guts since I was fourteen years old, and frankly speaking, between you and me, I have come to the conclusion that my guts have shit for brains.” 
― Nick Hornby, High Fidelity
When I am lucky enough to meet someone who rings my chimes for any number of reasons, especially if there's chemistry and common interests shared, I tend to get emotionally attached to these folks at a fairly early stage in the relationship.   I suddenly find myself feeling like a giddy teenager, ignoring the fact that the whole teenager thing was over more than 30 years ago, and I should really be more grownup about the way I manage my emotions.
It's a strange manifestation of some addictive personality traits.  A feeling that is a bit like standing in line for hours at the all-you-can-eat buffet of life only to find that what's left is some cold roast beef, some stale rolls,  sushi that smells like the beach at low tide, and one perfect slice of chocolate cheesecake.
Do you wait for the buffet to be refilled?  Or do you take the cheesecake knowing that it will cure your hunger temporarily, give you a great sugar rush, but make you feel guilty and nauseous after you've eaten it.
Too often I've wandered off with the cheesecake, gobbled it down, felt the sugar rush and then promptly passed out face down on the empty plate.
I need to engage my brain in more of these decisions and learn to sit with my hunger a bit longer.
One-sided relationships, booty calls, and other forms of ambiguity have only resulted in spectacular falls down those mystical fire escapes.
I'm bloody tired of scraping my brains off the pavement and tucking them back into my skull.  
my_lost_mind: (hiding)
 Perception is a port on the river of Denial.  There's a tavern there called Maya that I know well.
One too many of the barmaid's special cocktails and next thing I know, I'm on the casino boat playing blackjack with the boy with old man eyes who is drunk, and muttering to himself.
He's a lot like me when I get in one of my moods.
The cards always seem to favor the boy, but I continue to play and continue to lose. When my chips have run out, I retreat to the deck for a smoke.
An older woman approaches me and says
"I'll tell you your future if you give me one of your cigarettes"
I'm a cynic, but I recognize crazy when I see it.    I hand her a smoke from the crumpled pack in my purse.
She lights it from a lighter that looks as old as she is, and draws a long thoughtful drag.
Why does she look familiar to me?
"You need to get off the river or it will be your undoing.  Stay out of that bar, and stop gambling with the boys.  They will always beat you.  Perception is your safest best."
She nodded, smiled with a grin of crooked stained teeth and wandered back toward the casino.
The old woman had a point.
I've been riding this river for too long, and have spent my too many years of my life gambling against opponents I thought I could somehow outsmart.
Perception has many rooming houses with lovely picture windows overlooking the river or the tavern, but some face the east which has no view to speak of.   It's been said that the east facing rooms are the most desirable because they don't draw the roomer back to life drifting on the river.
Most dreamers choose the rooms that face the river or tavern views because it's easier to face Denial or Maya than it is to face a less glamorous Perception.
To tell the truth, I'm rather fond of Maya even though I know it always leads me to Denial.
I've met some interesting travelers, and together we've floated up and down the blue river being tossed against the rocks a few times, been thrown off a few boats, and have weathered some intense storms.
However, I think it's time that I give one of those austere Perception rooms a try.   I hear that on a clear night you can see the lights from the distant town of New Perspective.

Feel the Fear

Tuesday, November 13th, 2012 08:00 pm
my_lost_mind: (hiding)
If you've been reading any of my crap on this blog you'll have figured out that I'm a fairly weird lady.
I've been thinking quite a bit about the shit that I'm afraid of, and shit that I'm afraid to admit that I'm afraid of.
Some things that I'm not scared to admit that I'm afraid of include:
My house burning down
Financial ruin / job loss (yeah, that's a pretty logical one)
Driving in unfamiliar cities without a GPS (I have no internal compass.  None whatsoever)
Driving in a snowstorm  (almost ran into a jacknifed truck during a bad storm many years ago)
Angry people  (I still shrink when someone is angry around me, this one has been hard to deal with)
Dying alone and nobody notices I've gone "missing" (never aspired to be one of those corpses that gets discovered only after the neighbors complain about a mystery stench)
Dying ... and nobody knows to go attend to my pets
Hurting people I love and not realizing it
Losing my hearing  (can't imagine life without music, without hearing the birds sing, the sound of a distant train, etc.)
Losing mobility (ALS took my stepmom's life)
Losing my memory (I've seen what effect this has had on my father)
Some things that I used to be afraid of, but have managed to deal with over the last 20 years or so...
Being naked around friends and/or lovers (I used to be really hung up about the way I look sans clothing)
My mother  (she's still a nightmare, but at least I can stand up to her now)
Not having children  (it just sorta happened, and I had no choice but to get over it)
Moving household.  (I've moved so much over the last 20 years that it got easier to deal with the terror from each move)
Losing my pets (losing a beloved pet dog to a heart attack a few years ago forced me to gain some perspective)
Going to movies by myself  (I used to think it was somehow a bad reflection on me)
Dining alone in a restaurant (business and personal travel fixed this, either deal or go hungry)
Talking to "strangers" (see below)
"No strings attached" sexual encounters  (probably drove a few guys nuts with my neuroses over this)
Walking alone at night (it wasn't until I got a dog that I started to deal with this.. see below)
Some things that I am embarrassed to admit that I'm still afraid of...
Other people's grief / grieving  (I never know what to say. Not being religious, offering "spiritual" sentiments always seemed hollow to me)
Talking too much in a social setting
Talking too much in a professional setting (I'm getting better and knowing when to STFU, but I still fear  sounding like a moron because I don't always know when to shut my trap)
Big parties where I only know a few people
Revealing too much of myself to people I've just met (I am terrible about "nervous" talking, so even though I've been able to manage striking up casual conversations with people I've just met, I still feel anxious)
One-sided relationships of any kind  (I could write a novel on these)
Showing weakness and/or vulnerability (I hate it... still working on this)
Casual dating (the whole process of meeting new people, drinks, dinner and small talk... sheer terror)
Being physically assaulted  (a pretty typical fear for most women, but this really goes hand in hand with being vulnerable. I always hated being petite, and never quite developed the solid set of eyes in the back of my head).
and last.. but not least..
A gnawing fear of the "unknowns" in life.  I've been battling this particular monster since my childhood.  This gnawing fear that some person, some event, will kick my feet out from under me, and I land flat on my back gasping for breath.
It's not a fear of adventure, or change perse, but that it's a change that I have no control over.
It's a fear that someone I thought was a friend, is not.
A fear that someone I love will leave, or be taken from me.
A fear that I will have to accept something that is painful and sad with a brave face and polite smile and carry on when I'm really falling apart inside.
An old childhood friend of mine has faced the death of her husband and son only a few years apart.  I can't imagine the kind of grief she must be going through.  I cannot imagine loving someone so much, to think your world is upright and sane only to wake up the next day and find that this whole lovely reality has been turned upside down and inside out.
She has no choice but to carry on, she's got a young daughter who needs her to be strong.
Another friend lost his beloved wife of only a few years after she lost her battle with breast cancer.  I knew the both of them quite well.  She was always so full of life, and full of love for those she called "family" or "friend".  His grief is immense. She was spouse, friend, mother to her children (and stepmom to his son).    I felt guilty being 1000 miles away when she passed, unable to attend her memorial service.
However, I'm not sure if I would have been able to process her loss any better than I was able to process losing other friends to the randomness of death over the past few years.
I fucking hate rude surprises.
Getting laid off from a job a month after buying a condo.
Finding out that I had been taken advantage of in a bad mortgage deal.
Getting told by men I really liked being with  (after sleeping with them a couple times)  "I like having sex with you, but I don't want a relationship with you.   I don't want to date you."
Hell, one guy told me (as he was dumping me) that he didn't like me, and hated my dog  - entirely out of the blue - never saw it coming.
Having my suddenly dog die (more or less en route to the emergency vet) ...the day before Thanksgiving (2 years ago).
Falling down a set of stairs, breaking my ankle and becoming dependent upon my pathetic excuse for a (then) boyfriend who had a tenuous grip on reality and turbulent relationship with alcohol.
Shit like that.  Rude surprises like that just knock the wind out of me.
I have always gone through life with this strange Polyanna tendency to look at life as a glass half full, that people are always what they appear on the surface, and that I'm some sort of badass warrior princess who can handle anything that life throws me.
The truth is, when these obnoxious things happen in my life I turn the pain inward.  I ruminate, blame myself, drink too much, think too much after drinking too much, eat too much, then think too much again until I'm a gelatinous pile of goo huddled on the sofa vowing to never care about anyone or anything ever again.
Several years of therapy and too many years writing about this stuff hasn't helped much.  If anything it's made me think I'm more of a badass than I really am.    I'm not a superhero.   I'm human.  I'm supposed to be sad, fall apart, feel awful when bad things happen.
The problem is that I've typically surrounded myself with emotionally or physically (or both) unavailable people.  I've always felt guilty leaning on friends in times of crisis.
This is old childhood conditioning at it's worst.   I never had a sense that there was anyone I could lean on growing up, so I learned how to "tough it out" and deal with whatever came at me, by myself.   While self reliance is a wonderful thing, being self-contained at the expense of getting close to people isn't quite so wonderful.
So that's it really.
I'm afraid of the random awful things in life because it feels like just one more thing I'll have to deal with by myself.
I'm afraid of getting close to people because I fear they will not be there for me when I really need them.
When I do form new friendships, new relationships, it's a daunting and frequently scary thing because I have to take the risk that these folks might too, let me down someday.
There is some psychological school of thought that one must learn to "feel" their fear and then do whatever it is they're afraid of anyway.  
I guess I'll have to chew on that for a while.
I do need to get a grip on this stuff or I'm going to end up one bitter, frustrated old lady who will die alone and get partially eaten by her cats before the neighbors call the cops.
However... I think I'll always be afraid of spiders.... and driving in snowstorms.
my_lost_mind: (unhappy)
My Beloved Ghost,
I am sure you have long since forgotten that this was the day we met, October 2nd 1989.
It's a day that I will never forget as long as I live, because I find it impossible to forget you even after more than a decade of not being a "couple".
I'm not even going to dive into sentimentality about how I thought you seemed weird to me, and that I was not immediately attracted to you, but something about you drew me in.   You were one of the most passionate (opinionated!) intelligent human beings I had ever met and it didn't matter if I thought you looked like Raul Julia with your dark hair and eyes, angular features, and that funky black turtleneck you wore.  I wanted to get to know you.   I remember wearing some hideous red sweater vest, my hair was all wild and 80s fluffy.  What a sight.     Do you know that it was you who inspired me to give up eating red meat?  Haven't touched it since that night we met.
Do you remember that old pickup truck you were driving around in back in those days?   You had borrowed it, or bought it off your brother.  It had been previously owned by a pest control company so it still had random catch phrases painted on the side like the phrase "home and industrial".  That thing always used to make me laugh, but not quite as much as the "Elvis" hearse you had parked in your driveway.
So many things I have wanted to say to you over the years, but have never had the chance.   The first thing I would say to you is, I'm sorry.
I'm so very sorry for giving up on you, giving up on us, but by 1993 we were living on emotional islands unable to process all that we had gone through 3 years before.   I still have a hard time getting a grip on that, what happened in the summer of 1990.  At the time it seemed like such an "obvious" thing to do, but what I didn't realize at the time was how much that decision would haunt me to this day.  This was the beginning of the end of us, and we hadn't even moved in together at that point.
This decision was our undoing, but it also set the course for the rest of our lives.
Just know this...  I never stopped loving you.  I still think of how different our lives would have been if a different decision had been made.
My dear old friend, I know you love your wife and children.   I'm not stalking you and I would never dare tell her about what happened between us  You know that you would not have met her were it not for me.  Somehow we're all connected in this lifetime whether we choose to accept it or not.  Fate has bound us together for one reason or another.   (Yeah, I know you're an atheist, so maybe it's just dumb luck eh?)
 I just wanted you to know that you, my dear, are the benchmark.  You are the one that I have compared to all others that followed.   I've not experienced the magic of staying up half the night watching funny shit on tv, running out for ice cream at 2am, and sitting in the car parked in the driveway so we could hear the name of the piece of classical music that we both just experienced on the radio.   Slow dancing in the kitchen, me standing on your toes.   Prowling through bookstores on a rainy weekend afternoon, or spending hours at the archives doing family history research.   I've shared none of these things with anyone else.
This is the part that hurts the most.
In those months I was planning to leave, that time I was so angry and confused, I pushed all of those beautiful memories into some dusty corner of my mind.  I felt like I was in a purgatory, trapped between where I was supposed to "go" in my future, and where I felt that I belonged (with you).    I've never met another one like you and I'm not sure that I ever will.
Still, I wish you nothing but happiness.   You got the wife and kids, the house in the suburbs, and a career that you always aspired to.
I got the "cynical and drunk, and boring someone in some dark cafe".    

Everything is in it's place.  Life goes on.  I never did have kids of my own, but you already know this.
The one thing I'm not sure of is how happy you are with her.   I know that you would never leave her, or leave your kids, because you don't want your kids to go through what you did growing up (divorced parents) but I do wonder how much you gave up to get where you are.
No matter what, just know that I will never forget you, and all that we shared more than 2 decades ago.   I will always be there for you if you ever need a friend.  
No matter where I go, I will always see your face.
That Girl.
my_lost_mind: (madmen)
 I actually gave up on ranting about contemporary fashion a long time ago.
I'm of an age where I no longer give two shits, or even one shit about whether or not what I'm wearing is trendy or fashionable.   The only exception to this would be when I am forced to interact with other humans in a professional capacity.  I'll put on a pair of Dockers or a skirt, a button down shirt or shell and a cardi and call it a day.  Most of the time I wear what's comfortable, while taking some care not to go out in public in yoga pants and a t-shirt, or anything that will land me a guest spot on some horrible website full of photos of women wearing pants 2 sizes too small, showing the world their ass crack or muffin top.
I might not care if I'm unfashionable, but I don't want to scare people either.
Anyway, tonight I decided I would go out in search of a new pair of boots.  The criteria was simple - must not cost more than $50, must have a heel that I can actually walk in, must not be made of plastic, and not be too fussy and/or look like cheap motorcycle boots or someone's mad interpretation of cowboy boots.  Don't get me wrong, I don't mind motorcycle boots or cowboy boots, it's that neither of these were what I was looking for this evening.
I went to one of my favorite shoe-selling retail establishments.  All the fall boots were out, so many styles to choose from, some of them so hideous I wondered who actually would consider spending more than $25 (let alone $100) on a pair of "all man made materials" calf high boots with a horrible 3" wedge heel (who the hell decided that wedge heels needed to come back anyway? they only ever looked good on espadrilles back in in 1977).  There were some fairly awful ankle boots as well that should have come with a warning label:
"Wearing these boots will give you foot problems.  We are not responsible for paying your podiatrist co-pays."
The store was also chock full of shoes that I would never, could never wear.  Even when I was a skinny 20 something I've never been able to walk on anything higher than 2" heels, and they damned well better be a chunky heel.  How anyone but a professional dancer or someone with arches of doom can walk in a 3" pointed heel is beyond me.  I have met a few women who can do it, but for the most part I just cringe when I see women wearing them with that pained look on their face.
"Beauty is a pair of shoes that makes you want to die..."   FZ
To make a long story short, I did manage to find a nice pair of ankle high boots in a style that agreed with me, at a price I was willing to pay (but not without trying on a half dozen other pairs that just didn't work for one reason or another).  Not before having a laugh at all the other hideously ugly shoes and boots for sale that will surely end up on a garbage barge floating somewhere off the coast of New Jersey.
What this post is really about is what I went looking for after I found my boots.
Handbags.  Purses.  The thing we sling over our shoulders that holds the "stuff" we need when we leave the house.
A woman's "purse" is the stuff of legend.  Most everyone has some memory of their mother's or grandmother's giant handbag that always seemed to hold whatever you needed at that particular moment whether it was a tissue, a cigarette lighter, a pen, a piece of hard candy of unknown origin or variety, or a blowtorch (okay, maybe not a blowtorch).  The point is, that bag was cavernous and full of mysterious objects.  I don't remember any of these bags of legend having any fancy designer labels, and they were generally uncomplicated utilitarian objects designed to hold "stuff", but they were never so large as to make you wonder what else one could carry in that bag.
So I decided that I should get myself a more grownup-looking purse since I actually have an occasion coming up where I'll need to look like a responsible adult, and my natty hippie crocheted "summer" handbag just isn't going to cut it.  My criteria for purchasing a new handbag is less stringent than purchasing shoes or boots, but the purchase still has to make sense and not cost more than I'm willing to spend on a pair of jeans.  I'm cheap, but more specifically I've never understood why anyone who isn't pulling down a six-figure salary should spend more than $50 on a goddamned purse.  We're not talking about a laptop case, courier bag, or backpack - I'm talking about a purse.
A purse to carry the crap that you need to run to the store, shuttle the kids around, or go out for the evening with friends or your significant other.  This container should be big enough to fit your cell phone / smart phone, your wallet, a pen, lip balm or lipstick, maybe a tampon or two, a pack of gum and/or your cigarettes and a lighter.  Maybe if you're neurotic about your hair, you might carry a small comb or hairbrush, but you don't need a bag big enough to fit these items plus a pair of jeggings, a 1 lb. bag of m&ms, a flask of cake flavored vodka, spare pair of flats, and still have room for a severed head.
Seriously people.  Who the hell needs a purse that big?!  It cracks me up when I see petite women carrying these giant ass bags with big stupid designer bling all over them.   Unless you're a stripper or the octo-mom, there is no need to carry a bag that big. You can't possibly need to carry that much shit with you when you leave the house and if you do need to carry a giant purse because your life is not complete with out one then I think you need to downsize your life just a bit.
Whew.  Yeah, I did have a point in here somewhere...
So I'm in the shoe store looking at purses.  I'm rummaging around in the "clearance" section looking for a deal.  The only bag that seemed even remotely close to something I would not be embarrassed to carry was "marked down" from $199.  WTF?  Even with the markdown, it was still almost $80.  Mind you, it was made of real cow instead of plastic, but I still could not bring myself to spend that much money on something that I see as nothing more than an alternative to carrying around all my belongings in a recycled plastic shopping bag.  Most of the bags in the clearance bin were more terrifying than the stripper shoes I was laughing at elsewhere in the store.
(um.. that's why they're in the clearance bin, dumbass)
Too big.
Too big.
Too big.
OMG that is the ugliest thing I have ever seen in my life.
$175 for that?
No way, that would just keep falling off my shoulder and piss me off.
The new purse will have to wait another day, or week until I muster up enough enthusiasm to look in a different store.   I blame my insanely frugal Polish mother for this  (just to clarify, she is insane, frugal, and of Polish heritage).   Mom never believed in designer labels, or looking fashionable after say 1978 when she just gave up and bought all her clothes and accessories at Sears,Wards or Penney's off the clearance rack.  The thought of spending "good money" on something just because it has a designer label on it was a foreign concept in our household.
Ultimately I'd say this is a good thing because I don't have a house full of useless designer crap that goes out of style after 1 season, shoes that look great on a supermodel but are impossible to walk in, or a handbag that doubles as an overnight bag.
No offense to my shoe-loving friends.  Believe me, I can still appreciate a crazy pair of Vivienne Westwood shoes - in fact she is probably one of the only "designers" that I would actually pony up the cash for shoes or a handbag because they're so fucking cool.   That is only if I somehow happened to strike it rich one day.  I'd also consider paying for a deep discounted Vera Bradley bag because I love the bright floral patterns and her bags are made of fabric.
However, I still believe that shopping for purses and/or shoes is still something that most practical women should undertake with a great sense of humor, and a whole lot of patience.

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