Sunday, 26 May 2013

Rum & Coke Musings (or: Friends Don't Let Friends Blog Drunk)

Day 290
75 Days Remaining

It's not usual, these days, for me to sit down and work on blogging two days in a row.  It is also not usual for me to begin a blog post when I have no real idea what I want to say, or a basic sense of the format in which I want to say it.  But the weekend is over, the kids are at their dad's (I have an early start for my practicum tomorrow morning), and I've downed a rum & Coke rather too quickly, so here I am...with some rum & Coke musings for you.  Be warned: I have no idea what I'm going to say, so this may shape up to be either the most boring post of the lot, or the most interesting one of all.  Perhaps I should pour myself another one (I'm seriously a lightweight when it comes to the stuff) and we'll see what kind of nutso garbage comes out of my fast-typing fingers when I'm a little north of tipsy!

Okay.  I have returned from the kitchen and here are the top three things on my mind:

One: Rum & Cokes made with the amazing Bermuda black rum that my landlord left in the cupboard (hey, he lives in Bermuda; I'm sure he can get more over there) are really quite delicious.

Two: Why did my son's freakin' dog have to puke twice and poop once on the carpet the first day he actually spent some time in the new house, and why does the carpet stain remover seem to be actually changing the color of the carpet and making it look worse than the puke and poop did?

Three: Somebody needs to take that garbage out.  It reeked when I walked down the stairs (well, at least it did until the automatic air freshener poofspat some lovely vanilla scent into the air).  Why don't I have someone to do that for me?  

How long has it been since I've had a man in my life who actually took the garbage out for me?  I mean, I don't necessarily subscribe to the idea that it's a man's job (if I did, my house would sure smell a whole lot worse than it does right now) but it sure would be nice to have that.  It's not the garbage, of course; it's everything.  I miss being in a partnership.  Actually, I don't think I've ever had a real partnership.  Not the kind I long for, anyway.

I'm thinking back on my posts throughout this blog and I'm glad to say there haven't been too many when I've lamented the lack of a man in my life.  My most-read post is Love in the Petting Zoo (at last count, 837 pageviews, which I couldn't for the life of me understand until a friend pointed out that people think it's a pornographic post.  Yay me - not).  In that post, I got a little more sappy than I usually do in this blog, and I really think out of the entire 73 posts that I've made thus far, it's probably the only one (with the possible exception of But Don't You Miss SEX?!?) where I really talked about how much I miss being one half of a whole. whole with someone else.  Or something like that.  This rum is yum.

But why not be honest about that???? Yes, I'm happy that I've taken the time to be on my own.  Yes, I'm thrilled with some of the things I've learned about myself and about God and about men and what I want/need/don't want/definitely must stay away from...but my bed is still empty.  And it's been empty for a long, long time.  I'm lonely for that special someone who will always be there for me.  I miss the days of fighting over bed covers and arguing over who would get up with the kids in the morning.  I miss having flowers delivered to my place of work and grinning at my co-workers in delight because I belong to someone (okay, that only happened once, but still).  I love being part of a partnership.  I've waited a long time and I've spent too much energy and emotion on people who just weren't the right ones for me.  (Does it still count as "waiting" when you're focusing too much on the wrong person and pretending that the quasi-semi-pseudo relationship he's allowing you to have with him is a real one, when you know deep down inside that it definitely isn't?  Probably I've wasted, not just waited, a long time.)  And I know that I'm likely to wait a whole lot longer and that SUCKS.  Sometimes, at least.  It really does.

In church this morning they asked, as they always do, for prayer requests.  I put up my hand and asked that my fellow believers would pray for me in the area of patience - specifically, when it comes to relationships.  I'm such a romantic that I still believe that my knight in shining armor (dented armor, sure, but it shines real good when you polish it) is hanging out just around the corner, and every guy who expresses interest in me has the potential to be that guy.  That's not to say that I don't have more discernment than I used to; I certainly have an easier time sorting the wheat from the chaff.  The muck from the melons.  What does that even mean?  I think I just made up a new expression but I kind of like it - except that it does not pertain to me, since I can't stand melons.  I also like the new word I came up with in the fifth paragraph from the top: "poofspat".  Yeahhhaahh, that has a nice ring to it.  Well, that is what those air freshener thingies do, isn't it?  They "poofspit"?  Anyway, I feel as though I've spent so much time being on the lookout for someone who would fulfill my Prince Charming wishlist.

So I asked for patience.  Part of me is scared that I will actually receive patience, and then it will take that much longer for my future husband to come to me, simply due to the fact that I'm not parked around the corner stalking him and cooking him really enticing meals in order to lure him in!  Yet, in my situation now, and in general - because it has always been something I struggle with - most of me really does want patience.  And of course, it has to do with being on a dating hiatus (and, let's face it, just trying to date in general in this town!), but more than that, it has to do with my Michelin Man.  I'm falling for him more every day and it's...really nice.  But he's so far away and I don't know when I'll get to see him.  Plus, even if I got to see him tomorrow, we're still thousands of miles and three years of classes away from being able to find a real way to be together, if that's what we decide to do.  So patience - whether I'm still waiting for my dented prince (am I mixing metaphors? who cares; I'm slightly inebriated), or if Mitch Michelin is that prince and I've already found him - is an absolute necessity.  And I don't want to wait much longer to fight over the covers with someone!  And I definitely don't want to wait much longer for him to take out the disgusting kitchen garbage.  Come on, baby; get over here and take my garbage out.

Incidental Aside: Hey, I learned something new after my post two posts back: The Michelin Man actually has a name: it's Bibendum.  Apparently that is common knowledge in the UK, but I had no idea what it meant when a friend of mine - in a private message commenting on said post - referred to Mitch as Bibendum.  I had to Google it to find out what he was talking about!  I would change the name and start calling Mitch "Bibendum" if I didn't think it would confuse people too much...but I might just start calling him Bibendum on occasion, just for the fun of it.  It's a fun word: say it a few times.  Bibendum.  Bibendum.  (If it doesn't seem very fun, go drink two rum & Cokes - or, if you're not a lightweight like I am, it may take a few more extra strength ones - and then try again.  I promise it will be more entertaining.  Send me a video of yourself saying Bibendum over and over while drunk.  Hee hee.)

Dog puke.  Garbage.  Stretching my leg over onto the cold empty side of the bed when I should be meeting the warm fuzzy leg of the man who loves me (Bibendum Bibendum Bibendum...maybe).  Loving words through Facebook or text message or email that tell me that I mean something to someone...but the emptiness of the air when I shut my eyes and wish for a kiss.  These things make patience very, very difficult to come by.  But still, I ask for it, and I know that someday I will be rewarded for it.

This blog post brought to you by Black Seal Bermuda Black Rum...and a happy heart that still aches to be a little less lonely, and needs to express it every once in a while.

Saturday, 25 May 2013

Aries Redux

Day 289
76 Days Remaining

You may remember way back in September when I told you all the story of The Date That Wasn't, in which I introduced you to the man from my past known as Aries.  Aries, my "sort of" boyfriend way back when I was 18 and he was in his early 20s, with whom I had recently gotten back into contact through social media.  Aries came into town and, aware of my dating hiatus, took me on a "non-date", during which he was incredibly pushy (as I saw it) and I was incredibly oversensitive (the fact that I had no underwear on played a large part...please read the post to see why I had no underwear on!).  After our uncomfortable time together, I grew more and more incensed with how I felt I had been treated on the "non-date", and ended up ended our correspondence completely due to my discomfort.  Aries accepted my explanation that I was simply not comfortable with continuing any kind of relationship - including one through Facebook - without complaint or rebuttal, which I was glad for at the time since it spared me his hurt or his anger at my dismissal of his offer of friendship (my instinct that he wanted more than simply friendship definitely had a lot to do with that final decision).
Over the months, as my hiatus evolved and my sensitivity became somewhat dulled, I found myself thinking occasionally of Aries and his easy acceptance of my basically telling him that he did not belong in my life.  Yes, I was being true to myself, but maybe I had been a little harsh or read something more into his intentions than what was actually there.  Nonetheless, I pushed it to the back of my mind, not really wanting to re-initiate contact or say anything to him; I decided it was best left in the past, even if I had jumped the gun somewhat.

Imagine my surprise when, a couple of months ago, my phone rang, and I said Aries' name on the Caller ID.  I glanced at the phone and actually said out loud, "Why is he calling? Well, I'm not going to answer." (I'm not sure why I talk to myself so's probably left over from the days when I would stand in front of the mirror holding my mother's small replica of the Venus de Milo and practicing my Oscar acceptance speech...) My heart started beating faster because I didn't want to have to deal with an angry call.  I ignored the phone, staring at the screen as the ringing continued, until finally my voice mail kicked in and Aries hung up.  I heaved a sigh of relief, but I was confused as to why he would be attempting to get in touch all these months later. 

And then my phone trilled that I had received a text message from Aries.  My hands shaking, I picked up the phone, opened the text, and read it:  Hey, if you have a few minutes I would like to talk with you (been wanting to for five months actually).

ACK!  He wanted to talk.  After his non-reactive response when I first shut him down after our dinner together, I had assumed that the issue was closed for him, at least as much as it was for me.  I didn't want to talk.  I was scared. I thought that if he was calling now, he must have had enough time to get extremely angry with me and finally felt the need to vent on my sorry behind.  Chickening out, I quickly sent back, We can text.  I knew that texting was totally taking the easy way out, but I worried that I would get yelled at and/or be defensive.

The reply was fast: Um wanted to get a chat in as I need your help in resolving the issue I have been wrestling with for a while...nothing to worry just would like an open conversation.  No future expectation or anything.  I just want to get some things off my mind and to ensure that I have kept my promises...that is all...period.

It was clear that he knew I was avoiding his phone call, and just as clear that he also knew why.  I took a deep breath (several, in fact) and told him to call my home line.  A quick Thank you text, and my home phone rang.  One or two (or ten) further fortifying inhalations, and I picked up the phone with what I hoped was an open and congenial "Hello?"  And we launched into a conversation that should have been difficult, but instead was cleansing and necessary for both of us.

Aries had reservations about the call, I could tell, and I knew I did, but I closed my eyes and prayed a brief prayer that God would help me to listen to him and to be receptive.  I knew that the way I had ended things was probably unfair, and I also knew that it had probably been hurtful to him, despite the strong front I had always seen him put up.  He deserved to be able to say what he had held back from saying five months earlier, and I needed to give him the chance to open up and tell me how he felt.  And he certainly did that.  I felt duly chastened as he opened by saying that while he had accepted and respected my decision not to have him in my life any longer, he had also read my blog post about the evening in question (which I had realized and expected that he would do).  In fact, he said, he had read it over and over, many times.  He wanted, and believed that he deserved, a chance for a rebuttal of the points that I had made in my blog post.  I allowed that it was very one-sided, and recognized that while I had been very closed off to hearing his point of view at the time, I was now at the point where I was ready to hear what he had to say. 

Our conversation was great.  Aries took the time to explain how he had been feeling, and how every point I had made had a reason behind it.  I interrupted on occasion to reiterate that I had been so new in my dating hiatus and had a very thick wall up, and was incredibly sensitive to everything that might appear to be intrusive of my new status as a non-dater.  Aries told me he had been nervous.  He told me that for some reason, I make him feel a way that he doesn't usually feel, and that affects how he relates to me.  That made me feel strange because Aries approaches the world in a way that makes him appear über-confident, and always has.  However, thinking back on the evening in question, and listening to how he was speaking to me on the phone, I recognized the nerves.  Instead of feeling attacked by the phone call, as I had thought I might, I suddenly felt a wave of admiration for his bravery at calling in the first place.  I don't know if I could have done it if the roles had been reversed.

Aries read through all the notes he had taken from my blog, and I nearly died when he told me - as an incidental aside - that he had, in fact, been quite aware that I had no panties on through our entire dinner.  "How did you know?" I squealed, horrified.  Apparently, despite the care I took getting into the car, I had still managed to pull a Britney Spears/Lindsay Lohan/too many drunk starlets throughout history moment.  I can't believe he knew the entire time...and I am never wearing that dress again!  Never.  Ever.  And I can't believe that he managed to get through the whole dinner - and the five months that followed - without using that information against me.  I still flush thinking about it.  How mortifying.  Mortifying!  (And of course I keep wondering what, exactly, he saw...I almost wish he hadn't told me that he had known because my imagination fills in the blanks that most definitely should stay blank.)

Never leave home without them

Despite my shame and humiliation, we managed to get through the conversation, and little by little, the nerves on both sides lifted as we both recognized that neither was out to "get" or hurt the other.  With every point Aries made, I could see where he was coming from, and I was grateful that he didn't seem to need explanations, excuses, or even apologies from me: he simply wanted to make sure that I knew where he stood and what his view of the situation had been.  I also had the chance to explain - with the advantage of retrospect - why I had reacted the way I had, and also found opportunity to see even more clearly how much of a wall I had thrown up, what really were overreactions, and what was legitimate.  To his credit, Aries really was a gentleman (even about the non-underwear I wore to our non-date), and listened and accepted whatever explanation I felt I needed to give.  He also graciously accepted my apology for the way my dismissal of him from my life, and my blogging about his perceived shortcomings, may have hurt him.

I couldn't believe what a relief it was to actually have a full-fledged, completely honest talk with Aries about how we had both felt.  When we hung up, it was as though a weight had dropped from my shoulders - and I hadn't even recognized that it was there.  I was glad that we both had enough maturity to get through an awkward situation, and I thought that we could actually manage to be friends now.  I knew that the next time I saw him, there would be a lot less nervousness and a lot more comfort.

When Aries came to town a couple of weeks ago, he took me out to dinner again.  This time we decided there would be no dressing up; I wore jeans and a light sweater and a comfortable pair of sneakers (AND underwear!) and we went to Ferris' Oyster Bar, where I had a steak, a drink, and crème brûlée for dessert.  The conversation flowed; there were no awkward silences; and we even got into some of the deeper stuff (relationships, religious beliefs, divorce, name it).  It was relaxed and relaxing, and definitely more than made up for the previous dinner.  I feel as though Aries' attempt at explanation and need to discuss the situation was exactly what we needed in order to move past it and continue on without wondering what, exactly, had gone wrong the last time.  I don`t think I`ll have any further difficulty continuing a friendship with Aries now.  His courage in coming to me, and our subsequent necessary discussion, was more important than I had thought it could ever be.

And I hope, if he is reading this blog post, that he feels as though our friendship has been resurrected and some small justice has been served...which has got to be more filling than steak and crème brûlée.


Tuesday, 21 May 2013

Dear Blog; I Still Love You

Day 285
80 Days Remaining

I can't even believe the numbers at the top of this post.  Day 285?  80 days remaining???  How did I get this far so fast?

Well, you're probably thinking I got this far by completely ignoring all of you, my blog, and the very fact that I am on a dating hiatus in the first place (slight guilty blush and hanging of the head).  It's been exactly one month since I last posted.  I must apologize for the long delay in continuing my story, but now that I've finally forced myself to sit down and put the pedal to the metal and the digits to the keyboard, maybe it would be a good idea to examine why, exactly, it has taken me so long to return to Goodbye, Dating.

At first it was because I didn't want to start writing anything new until I had finished writing about my California Adventure, and I just wasn't sure what to say about the last day (mainly because it wasn't terribly interesting!).  That meant that I just left the blog hanging.  Whenever something came up that I wanted to write about, I thought, Oh, but I'd have to finish writing about Day Five first, and I don't feel like doing that yet.  Days became weeks, and weeks have become more than a month.  I don't like leaving things this long, as the longer you leave something, the harder it is to get back to it. 

But I suppose that's not the only reason I left it so long.  Of course there is the fact that I returned from California and immediately faced a week of final exams, cramming, and panicking.  After the final exams came the preparations for moving into my new home, and after two and a half weeks spent cleaning the new house and taking load after load of my possessions to the new house in my little Toyota, it was time to start my six-week practicum, the last leg of my first year of nursing school (insert raucous Kermit-the-Frog-style arms-crazily-waving cheer here: yaaaahhhhhhhhhhh!).  The last few weeks have been spent rather occupied with the move and with practicing my math skills; it's never a good idea to begin medication administration to patients when you aren't sure how to calculate dosages.  So, once again, my little blog - which has always been very important to me, and continues to feel a little bit like a lost friend sitting patiently waiting for me - fell by the wayside while I was caught up in my life.
...and then there's the fact that it feels a little weird writing a blog about a dating hiatus when in some respects, I feel as though I am actually in a relationship.  I don't ever want to be anything less than honest in my blogging - what's the point in that?  (I mean yes, of course, I want to entertain and inspire, but not by being dishonest.)  The whole reason for blogging about this experience is for me to get my feelings and thoughts out in order to better work through them, and this has been a tremendously effective way for me to learn more about myself.  When I first started the blog, I said that I wanted to get over my last boyfriend (check); get to really know myself and become comfortable with who I am (check); improve my relationship with God (oh, such a big check); and make sure that I learned what I will and will not accept in a relationship with a man (check - although these things are admittedly more difficult to follow through on than to simply make note of).  I couldn't have managed to move forward with any of those things if I hadn't been completely honest with myself and with my readers.

So, in that vein of being honest, I have to admit to my dear Bloggy friend: Mitch Michelin and I are most definitely in some sort of a relationship. 

I can't completely define it, although technically, of course, we are not dating; it would be impossible to date someone who I have yet to meet in person.  It is definitely true that our relationship has evolved over the course of the past four months, and I am still enjoying where it's going.  The defining of the relationship is, at this point, not as important to me as the experiencing it, and I believe that's still part of me following through on the dating hiatus.  I am not in as much of a rush as I might have been in the past.  I know there is a distinct possibility that this relationship won't go anywhere - heck, I might not even get the chance to meet him. 

It's a balancing act for my emotions and I try not to give too much time and energy to it at this point.  That doesn't mean that I don't want to explore and try to understand what I'm feeling - I think that's probably one of the most important things for me to do during this time.  I need to make sure that I don't get caught up in the emotional aspect of things (an all-too-familiar trap for me), and that I try to work out my own take on what is happening and where things are at...and what I might do once things change (for example, once the sabbatical is over; if I actually get the chance to meet him; if something happens that makes me realize that I don't want to continue communicating with him, or vice versa).  I want to be logical without taking the romance - which I am enjoying tremendously - out of the situation.

So that's what I've been trying to do as Mitch and I continue our international communication: I enjoy hearing from him, but I try not to do that annoying girl thing where I get panicky if I don't hear from him.  I love sharing things about my life with him, but I hold back some of the things that shouldn't be shared until a deeper emotional connection has been made (or unless you're writing a blog!).  Although part of me wants "the grand gesture" for him to fly out here and surprise me, I try not to push him to get his butt over here and show me I am important to him.  These things don't need to happen now.  If they are supposed to happen, the time will come that it will happen.  And if not, I will have to be okay with that.  Once again, I revert to my mantra: I managed to get over Black Luke; I can get through anything.  (This reminder has helped me in so many don't get a swelled head, Luke!)  I believe I am realistic enough now - thanks in part to managing to get through my breakup with Black Luke, in part to growing up a little and learning to manage my Borderline Personality Disorder, and in part due to taking this past 285 days to reflect, evaluate, and learn who I am and why I am strong with or without a man in my life.

And there are still 80 days left to live, and more stories to tell, and more lessons to learn.  I know that a lot can happen in the remaining two and a half months, so now that I've broken my (slightly embarrassed) silence, let's continue on this journey.  I'm not quite ready to abandon 285 days of growth for someone who, so far, I only know by his words.  Yes, he is important to me, but I am more important to me - finally - and at this point, I need to be.

Let's see what happens next!