Trials and Tribulations of Dating

Rejection hurts no matter what shape it takes, or from whom. Online dating has forced me to reject guys more often than not, and I’ve been ghosted so many times I’m beginning to wonder if the profiles on Match and POF are even real. It’s like anything you want though: it only takes one person or one job or one whatever thing it is you want, right?

My wild oats are sewn, or should I say my one wild oat, and I’ve decided not to see Khalid again though he doesn’t know it yet. I don’t know who he is, where he goes when he’s not with me, where he’s been… and I want a meaningful relationship.

Liam, the one guy I was interested in (after being on two different sites for months and months), turned out to have issues I can’t deal with, including three DUIs in his past, a very recent break-up, and a diagnosis of ADHD, of which he’s only now getting treated for. ADHD is probably not that big of a deal, but after my experience with a guy who had OCD, which turned out to be “relationship OCD,” and prior to that, the ex with bipolar disorder, I don’t want to take my chances. Last weekend I texted him that it’s not gonna work, thinking he’d go away yet hoping he wouldn’t, and indeed he didn’t. He asked me why, then said it sounded like I was making a lot of assumptions, and asked if we could keep communication open. That was my cue to give it a shot, or so it seemed to me at the time, and I remembered a recent conversation I’d had with my friends.

“I believe in throwing it all out there, on the table, this is who I am, like me or not,” I’d boasted. “I’m a sober alcoholic, and if the guy doesn’t like me because of that, he can move on.”

Then I had the phone call with Liam when he blasted me with all red flags at once, and I was like whoa there train wreck this is not your station. Because my past is so pristine, as y’all probably already know, or will soon find out.

But because I liked “him”–or rather, his online profile, and the things he had to say, his pictures, his job (therapist! because they all make healthy decisions, right? probably no codependent relationships there at all!), I thought, Maybe I’m jumping the gun.

So I agreed to continue talking to him, and I thought we should at least meet in person and ADHD isn’t that big of a deal and he said his relationship was over long before it was actually over and maybe the DUIs were a long time ago. He said he had no desire to drink now, and hasn’t in a long while, and it’s not like I’m perfect nor do I have the perfect past. So we made a plan to meet Saturday.

Then a few days later he sends me a text cancelling our date, saying he’s going out with another girl instead, someone who lives closer to him, and he felt that I was too guarded.

rejection

The above image was taken from this site.

I’M too guarded??? You just laid all your baggage on me on the first phone call, and I’M too guarded? I just told you about how my ex had bipolar disorder, that the relationship was a literal emotional roller coaster, and then the guy after that had “relationship OCD”–and who knew there was even such a thing? How do i know this guy doesn’t have “relationship ADHD?” The ex probably had “relationship bipolar” for all I know. If that’s not in the DSM-V now then it probably will be, with my face, or my personality type (shout out to all the INFPs out there!), next to it: This is the woman guys with this illness are attracted to.

Do I just expect too much? I have scrolled through so many profiles, swiped left to so many guys. Every now and then I think well maybe I’m being too critical, and then I just feel like I’m settling. Never do I ever want to be in another relationship in which I feel I’ve settled. It seems to me that I’m not asking too much: a guy I’m attracted to, who has a job he likes, who likes to have fun, who’s funny, at least 5’10, preferably with dark hair or brown hair or even bald. He doesn’t have to be rich, he doesn’t have to be in some position of power, he doesn’t have to be a non-drinker (but I don’t want a heavy drinker), preferably he’s a nonsmoker, and he doesn’t have to be gorgeous but I’d like him to be good-looking–someone I’m attracted to. There has to be chemistry. And I just really do not like blond guys or short guys. Is that really too much to ask? One would think out of all the hundreds and hundreds of guys in the Baltimore/DC area, someone would fit that description.

And come to think of it, my therapist told me I’m actually too tolerant, so it can’t be that I expect too much.

Every now and then I come across some guy who looks interesting, but they’re never available. They don’t respond, or if they do, they ghost. The really good-looking ones just want to hook up, and even they will ghost. Is there something about me that just really turns guys off? It’s baffling, because I get a lot of emails from guys who compliment me—rarely guys I’m interested in—but the ones I think would be a good match just ignore me right off the bat, they ghost, or they send a few benign emails and we do that for weeks until one of us just gives up. Those particular emails go something like this:

Guy: Hey how are you?
Me: Good and you? Just finished Zumba and about to go to work.
Guy (a day or two later): Nice.
Me: So I noticed you mentioned you’re a foodie. I love food too! I’m studying nutrition in grad school. What kind of food do you like?
Guy (a few days later): I love all food.

Um, really, Guy?

Maybe I should start dating unattractive guys or short guys or blond guys. The funny thing is, I’ve been told in the past that I dated guys who weren’t that attractive, and what are you doing dating him? Um, because the good-looking guys don’t like me, y’all. They just don’t. One thing I’ve noticed is that they maybe are used to women chasing them, and I don’t like chasing guys.

There’s one potential silver lining, which is that I’ve reconnected with an old friend, a guy I knew who used to work with my first husband, who I’d always liked, who always liked me more, yet who I never dated, for many reasons. For one, I was married. And he was married. Then it turned out he’s an alcoholic. Well, he got sober a year ago (divorced a few years before that) and he wants to see me. We’ll call him Evan. Evan lives in Florida and is going to fly me down there to visit him next month. I should be way more excited, but Evan also has a lot of baggage, and he’s a smoker, he’s irresponsible with his money, and how do I know he won’t drink again, and I guess I just feel like I’ve been through so much shit when it comes to relationships I don’t even know if I want one anymore.

To top it all off, I have fever blisters all over my mouth, which I’d gotten from my ex-husband years ago. I’d cheated on my first husband with my soon-to-be second husband, then I cheated on the second with the first right before I moved to Maryland. A few months later, I got cold sores all over my mouth, which the first had gotten from this girl who he’d always flirted with in the meantime. So I felt like that’s what I get for being a cheater. (I would like to add here that it turns out he’d cheated on me before I ever cheated on him, and I only recently found this out. Not that it makes me a better person but it certainly doesn’t make me worse.) Anyway, the cold sores never returned, so I thought I had the kind that lie dormant, as some people have, but here they are, back again. Painful as hell and worrisome because who’d want to kiss me or be my boyfriend and what if Khalid gave me something?

Maybe it really is better to be single.

believe

The image above was taken from this site.

Peace and love,

TCH

Somehow We Made It Out Alive… Part 1

Man, where do I even start… First off, thank you God, literally, for getting my grandmother safely to and from Albuquerque this past week. She is 95 years old y’all—95! That’s five years away from 100! And she got on a plane! Technically she got on four planes total, with layovers, there and back. After the first night with her I’m blown away she’s still alive, and that’s just on the ground, without any airplanes to increase any odds of, oh I don’t know, getting sucked out of a window due to engine parts falling off. Yes, we flew Southwest. And we flew on a brand new plane on the way back!

travel

The first night there she woke me up in the middle of the night yelling from her bedroom because she’d fallen out of her bed—and this was before we even got to the airport. I’d flown from Baltimore to my hometown in Georgia so that we could fly together the next day to visit my sister and her family out West. Grandma has been fussing to go there ever since they moved there two years ago. So there I am, deep in sleep, when I realize a couple minutes later that I’m not home in my own bed hearing some psycho couple in the parking lot yelling at each other (that happens in my hood on occasion). They seem to think no one can hear them? Or more likely they really could give a darn because they’re so angry and drunk. I never did that when I was drinking. 😉 …But then I realize it’s Grandma yelling, so I run into her room and there she is, all of four foot nine, crumpled in a little ball on the floor by her bed, struggling to get up.

“Don’t move, Grandma! I’m calling 911!” I run to go get the portable phone, dial 911, run back into her room and she’s already climbing up her bed onto her feet. She wasn’t wearing her hearing aids so she couldn’t hear a word I’d said. She has a portable toilet next to her bed in case she needs to pee in the middle of the night—she lives alone y’all!!!–and she’d knocked it over, urine all over the floor, I’m stepping all in it, cleaning it up, and she gets up like a toddler, nothing broken or fractured, business as usual. It was about 2:30 in the morning.

My dad was due to pick us up around six A.M. to drive us to the Atlanta airport, which is the busiest airport in the world, so it’s like going to Tokyo for my dad and grandma. I spent the rest of the night wondering if we should cancel the trip, surely this was a terrible mistake and what was I thinking, saying yes to taking someone who’s almost a hundred years old across the country on an airplane? She claimed her doctor said it was okay, but I was beginning to wonder if that was a lie she’d told because she was hell-bent on getting to New Mexico to see her favorite granddaughter and great grandkids. My dad shrugged it off in his usual manner, like it was an everyday occurrence. Eh she’ll be aight.

Well she seemed fine, was walking fine, nothing hurt, nothing appeared to be broken or fractured. So off we went, and on the way there my dad almost killed us by running into an 18-wheeler on the interstate, and again I’m just blown away that he and my grandma have survived this long into their lives. (Meanwhile my mother literally dropped dead one day three weeks after getting a clean bill of health from the doctor. But hey! I’m not resentful!) It’s dark outside and Daddy’s talking about how he needs to get a cataract removed, meanwhile we’re plowing full speed ahead towards a slowly-moving truck that probably has explosive gasoline in it, inching its way onto the highway, taking up all lanes right in front of my dad, and I’m like Daddy! Brakes! for the 25th time, and he’s like Oh I didn’t see it…

Grandma and I made it to the airport alive somehow, and they set her up with a wheelchair there, and a woman to push her, while I hold all of our carry-ons and purses. I’d hoped we’d get one of those ATVs they used to drive around in the airport but maybe they did away with those? I did not see them this time, but I just remembered that when I’d come back from London back in 2000, I’d had emergency eye surgery while I was over there (surprise! partially detached retina), and my mom had called the airline to ask them to help me due to my one-eyed status. They’d swooped me up as soon as I exited the plane, ready with a wheelchair, and at some point we switched to an ATV, maybe after they’d gathered my things?, and we plowed through the airport faster than an SUV-driving soccer mom (no offense, and love to all the moms out there!).

So I’d hoped we’d get the royal treatment like that this time, but that was all pre-9/11, and now it’s every woman and child for themselves, so what happened next was we got to security and all hell broke loose. I had this crazy notion that they’d allow an old lady and her granddaughter through some tunnel where all the other wheelchair-riding folks go, streamlining us ahead of everyone else, and they did put us ahead of everyone, kinda. What they do is take you through a different line and then they just park you right in front of everyone else who’s been waiting in line, right at the x-ray machine and conveyor belt, so that you have to awkwardly thrust yourself in front of some able-bodied senior citizen who is not happy you just cut in front of them. At this point Grandma is still in a wheelchair and people are everywhere okay, lines coming out the wazoo, and we’re just waiting for some direction from the wheelchair-pusher lady from Southwest with the Caribbean accent I cannot understand who’s given me no direction whatsoever so far. I’m assuming the lady will be with my grandma the whole time, so I walk through the x-ray machine, come out to the other side, turn around, and no Grandma. People streaming everywhere and still no sign of Grandma. I have lost Grandma.

So I’m looking everywhere, no sign of Grandma or the Southwest lady, and then I see her, Grandma, getting frisked by Atlanta airport security. I’m rushing up to her so she can see me, and at the same time a big tall dude with dreads yells, “Who is with this lady?”

That would be me I tell him, and he’s like, “You need to stay with her! She is very confused…”

Oh no he didn’t.

Excuse me?” Hand flies up like talk to the hand, mister. “I thought she was with her!” I yell right back, pointing at the mean Southwest lady who’d left my grandma alone. “That’s why I called in advance (twice!) and asked for help!” I don’t even care anymore, I’m like the drunk couple in the parking lot, fighting in public for all the world to see.

Meanwhile Grandma is oblivious, thank God, and not traumatized as I am watching this whole thing. Luckily she was too dazed for it to sink in that they’d confiscated her cosmetics that for some reason she saw pertinent to bring in her carry-on. This is how I know I’m my grandmother’s granddaughter. She must’ve brought 25 different containers, several of them full-sized, of various cosmetics, because you never know when you’ll need to apply toner on an airplane? It sunk in later though, and I guarantee you she’ll never stop complaining about how they’d taken all of her Merle Norman make-up, expensive stuff too, and how she still just does not understand why they’d do that, what could anyone do with cleansing cream for gosh sakes? Are you gonna blow up the plane with that? We explained to her that since 9/11 they have to be extra careful and people can make explosives out of common household items but to her that just sounded like blah blah blah. And I don’t blame her. I’d be mad too. And I blamed myself for not helping her pack her carry-on. She hasn’t flown since 2002, and she probably doesn’t remember it.

I could go on and on in detail about all of the various harrowing experiences that followed but suffice it to say I had to help her in the airplane bathroom by standing with the door open while the flight attendant stood guard and just pray that she didn’t fall down in there or bump her head on anything.

By the time we made it to my sister Lacey’s house, Grandma and I were both worn out. Unfortunately the bed in Lacey’s spare room sits high, and Grandma had trouble getting in and out of it. Lacey, her husband and I discussed pros and cons of various sleeping arrangements: the air mattress on the floor? Take the box spring out to lower the bed? Finally we decided on the latter option, but not after Grandma had tried the air mattress, which she could not get out of, and Mark had to pick her up out of it. At one point later the next day Grandma decided to get on the air mattress anyway, and Mark had to come to her rescue again.

That night after we got Grandma safely in bed, Lacey and I just looked at each other, shaking our heads. Sigh. This was a terrible, terrible mistake.

To be continued…

Random Thoughts On Love, Hate, and Having Your Shit Together

Today is the day of the march against gun violence, March for Our Lives. My feelings about guns are mixed. Personally, I don’t see why we need them. Of course I realize that mayhem will ensue if guns were outlawed, and I’d be shocked to see that day. I can understand wanting a gun for personal safety if all hell were to break loose in an apocalyptic disaster, a fear that has been the driving force of our culture since the beginning, originating from biblical times. And I get that shooting at a gun range could be fun. On the other hand, is one person’s entertainment worth a child, or any person, getting shot and killed? Kids can’t even go to school without fear of getting shot. I say that, and many kids (most?) aren’t even afraid because they’re so desensitized to it. People can’t even go to church, the mall, concerts, etc. without the possibility of some psychotic shooter with an assault rifle gunning the place down. Non-Americans must think we’re crazy, and they’re not wrong. I wish we could be more like Canadians. They’re nice to everyone, everyone likes them, life looks pretty darn peaceful for them, from here anyway. Their gun laws make so much more sense…

They’re expecting 500,000 people to be at the march today, but I’m guessing it will be much bigger if it’s anything like the Women’s March.

My friend Molly and I are going together, as we did the Women’s March. My other friend Kathy will be there, and we plan on meeting up, but meeting one person in a crowd of 500,000 people doesn’t really happen. You can be like I’ll meet you on the corner of Pennsylvania and 3rd, but just know that hundreds of thousands of other people will also be on that corner. I’m mildly stressed out because it would’ve been good to get there early, but Molly can’t leave until noon. Which is when it starts. I did what I often do which is at first I said, Yeah whatever we’ll get there when we get there, because I’m Miss Easygoing Easy-Breezy who just goes along with everyone else. I feel like such a doormat sometimes. In this case–or in any case, really–it doesn’t pay to be a control freak about it because there will be a huge crowd, the metro will have delays, streets will be overflowing, etc. But when this happens I always feel afterwards I should’ve used my voice more, should’ve had my own plan, should’ve just said, I’ll be there at x time and I can just meet you there… But I don’t think I’ll find Molly if I do that, based on my experience at the Women’s March. And I was just gonna go with Kathy and tell Molly we’d meet her somewhere there but then Kathy didn’t reply to my texts last night regarding plans (turns out she had to work late but my crazy head told me she didn’t want to go with me… Lord help me). My original plans had been with Molly and I knew then that we’d be going at her mercy because being on time or showing up at all has never been her strong point, maybe due to her ADHD or whatever disorder it is she has (the doctors have diagnosed her with a few different disorders that have changed). I love her so much but omg she’s so frustrating sometimes. Honestly if I’d known Kathy was going from the start, and that she wanted to go with me, then I might have made plans with her and just told Molly I’d meet her there.

Kathy is my boss and she and I have become good friends over the last couple of years, and I like her a lot. She’s leaving soon to go to another job which means my job will become more stressful and less of a positive atmosphere. The other girls there have various issues that require a lot of patience which I usually can show well on the outside, while on the inside I want to scream (I mean, let’s just be real here). The thing about Kathy is she has her shit together which is more than I can say for most of my friends. And I use that phrase loosely—I guess some might argue that she does not have her shit together. But who really has their shit together? Aren’t we all just trying to figure it out as we go? What does it even mean to have your shit together?

I know a girl who’s 25 years old, recently graduated from acupuncture school, lives with her husband in her parents’ (big) house (they moved away), and they raise chickens and sell their eggs. She’s an acupuncturist and licensed personal trainer, and he owns his own landscaping business. He’s gorgeous, she’s gorgeous, they’re both like six feet tall… They’re the weirdest people I know. I want to know more about them. Are they real? Everyone else I’m friends with is on a journey of figuring out what they want to do. Maybe one day I’ll have my shit more together and have friends who are like them, except we’ll all be more like 50 years old, and even then, I’m skeptical. I’m skeptical of them too, though I don’t want to be cynical. The universe is abundant! There’s space for everyone. There is opportunity.

The important thing is to be a positive force in others’ lives.

Here’s a song that keeps going through my head this morning, originally from Bob Marley, performed by his son, Ziggy:

Sobriety in AA

Recently I came across a well-meaning blog post from someone who wishes to explain AA to readers who feel they may have a problem with alcohol. As a sober member of AA for the past 8 years, I feel compelled to write about my experience, as there was some misinformation on this particular blog, and I almost posted a comment, until I realized I’d need to include my name and email address. My email address has my full name in it, and I wish to remain anonymous in this blog (partly because of my AA membership, but mostly due to the personal nature of what I write), so I didn’t post a comment. Instead I’m posting my own blog with my experience (even though I have less than 200 readers and about 10 views per day on any given day, which kinda bums me out tbh, but that’s for another day… and even if I help only one person, then I’ll have done my job).

Here’s what I can tell you about AA: the best way to find out what it’s like is to go to meetings. I recommend trying more than just one meeting, because from my experience, some of the meetings I went to, especially when I was new, were just weird. I’ve always preferred women’s meetings where I feel most comfortable talking, but you have to decide what’s most comfortable for you.

No one could’ve told me what AA was like any more than anyone can explain to me what it’s like to ride a bicycle. You can explain it to me, but I don’t know until I do it myself.

I also don’t think AA is the end-all be-all. It’s not the solution for everyone, and there are problems with it, as with anything. Nothing is perfect. But it has changed my life for the better, that’s for sure. Whatever you do, it’s my opinion that what works best is finding another solution for life’s problems, along with having friends who are on a similar path of living a positive way of life.

That’s all I really have to say about that. I want to write more, as I’ve been in a funk lately, but I need to get ready for work. This funk I’ve been in is due to my anxiety about my professional future as well as the whole dating thing. Dating takes a lot of work, and online dating makes it almost impossible to really know what a person is like. I’d rather not date someone from AA because I go to meetings for support, and plus there are all kinds of problems with dating in AA that I can write about later. There are positives too, though. So… with that being said, more later.

To be continued. 🙂

Peace, love, hugs, etc.

TCH

A Good Man Is Hard to Find

Five days ago I celebrated eight years of sobriety. If I’d known eight years ago that my life—more importantly my outlook—could change so dramatically I wouldn’t have believed you. That being said, I’ve been feeling down lately. A lot of different things have been going on, and even before all this happened I was feeling blah for no discernible reason. Last night after class I wanted to cry, and I wanted to cry again when my friend Kevin came over and joked about how long dinner was taking me to cook. Let me rephrase that: I didn’t want to cry so I held it in. Not healthy but I just didn’t feel like it, not in front of anyone.

Class yesterday left me with an old feeling of deep-rooted insignificance. Invisibility, without a voice, unimportant, unheard, silenced. It probably wasn’t my classmates’ intention—certainly it wasn’t Rochelle’s, because she’s the sweetest, most compassionate student in the class, and I don’t know the other guy in my group very well but he seems nice—yet I felt… swept aside. We had to do a case study together on a guy who sounded just like my dad, so I felt like I knew just what to do with this guy. My group had a different, more extreme approach, so my suggestion was outvoted. I just don’t think you can take a person who’s used to eating Philly cheesesteaks every day and tell him he can no longer eat any bread, sugar, fast food, or processed and refined or packaged foods on Day One. The person they described is a heavy drinker with type 2 diabetes. Yet when I suggested abstinence for the client’s third month, the guy in my group was like, Whoa there. Let the guy have his drink. He’s human. The health problems that this guy had, and the effect of alcohol on someone with diabetes—it’s just dangerous. And the way in which this client drinks coupled with the fact that he has a family history of alcoholism suggests he’s a problem drinker, possibly an alcoholic himself. As medical professionals we have a responsibility to tell someone their drinking is dangerous to their health, and that if they’re having trouble drinking they should consider treatment. It pisses me off when students gloss over someone’s drinking because of how acceptable—and not only acceptable but encouraged—drinking is in this country. To have one or two drinks is one thing, but when a person drinks so much their judgment is impaired and they’re causing damage to their health, taking dangerous actions, driving drunk, destroying relationships… Ugh! I just want to scream! I know. I have been that person.

But it’s such a touchy subject, especially as someone in AA. It’s not my job to preach to the world about how they should all be abstinent. For one, most people don’t need to quit entirely. For another, most people—especially those who have a problem—don’t want to quit. But would you tell someone who’s a hundred pounds overweight with high blood pressure, high triglycerides, and high blood sugar that it’s okay for them to continue eating fast food? Would you tell someone who’s allergic to bees that it’s okay if they stand next to a beehive as long as they only do it once a day?

The thing is, if a person has a problem, they’ll quit when they’re ready. No one can make them quit. To harass that person about it won’t help, and in fact can cause more damage. But what you can do, as a medical practitioner is inform them that their drinking habits are unhealthy, dangerous even, and suggest that they cut back, and if they can’t cut back, then suggest that they consider treatment. Then it’s up to them to decide what to do with it. And if you’re a friend or a family member of someone who drinks too much, let them know you’re worried about them and suggest they try cutting back, and if they can’t but want to, then suggest treatment. If they don’t want to, that’s on them.

Enough on that soapbox! Thanks for letting me share. Lol.

The thing is, I felt ignored yesterday. I suggested what I wanted to do for a diet plan with this client, and my classmates were like, Well this is what we’re gonna do. It touched a nerve, because the one guy in my group was informed about what deficiencies the client had based on his symptoms, rattled off something about the different metabolic pathways, remembered a bunch of science-y stuff from biochemistry, and my fear is that I won’t retain this information nor will I remember it if I do.

love-yourself

The day before I’d gone on a date with a guy working on his PhD in molecular biology working on cancer research. I didn’t understood much of what he said when he discussed his work, and when I’d mentioned a few things about nutrition, he replied with his point of view as if they were facts, as if he’s the one not just studying nutrition, but having already studied it and become the expert. He mentioned he’d been commissioned as an officer, and I had no idea what that meant. Turns out he’s in the Commission Corps, which I didn’t know existed. All of it left me feeling small, stupid. Apart from his work he didn’t have much to contribute to the conversation, and afterwards he sent me a text telling me I’m beautiful and sexy, and has since sent me several texts referring in some way to sex. He’s 33 years old and told me he likes older women because they’re better in bed. I told him the same is true of older men.

I’ve decided not to reply any more to him or the guy I had a date with after class yesterday. That guy was nice but something about him came off as inauthentic. He was almost too nice. His mom died about 10 years ago of cancer, and the conversation about our mothers’ deaths didn’t go in a way that felt right to me. In other words, I am following my gut feeling and leaving these two guys alone.

self-worth

Ditto for the guy I had a phone conversation with last week. I also met him through Match, and he was funny, but I just had this gut feeling something wasn’t right. He seemed like someone I’d have drank with back in the day. And that’s a red flag.

A couple of weeks ago my closest guy friend “in AA,” Spencer, decided he couldn’t talk to me anymore because he wants more than a friendship. I use “in AA” in quotes because he doesn’t really practice the program or go to meetings that much, and although I’m bummed, it’s a relief too. For one, it’s difficult to try to be a flotation device for someone who’s drowning, particularly when you aren’t the best swimmer yourself. And another, maybe it’s just not right to be friends with someone who wants more. This was one reason I didn’t have close male friends before Spencer and my other friend Kevin. Kevin also wants more, but says he’s okay with just being friends. I don’t want to cut off the friendship because he’s a good friend but at the same time, am I doing him a disservice? If I were in their shoes, I wouldn’t even hang around a guy who I liked for more who didn’t reciprocate the feeling. This is why it’s best for us girls to just stick together.

Kevin hurt my feelings last night, joking about how long it was taking me to cook dinner, as we often do with each other. We always joke in that mean sort of way, like the characters on “It’s Always Sunny,” or my dad and his friends, insulting each other, and while this wouldn’t work with my female friends, or maybe it would now depending on what and how it was done, it’s hilarious to us. Until last night when I thought he was for real. I was already feeling sensitive, wanting to cry, but I didn’t want to cry in front of him because I just didn’t feel like going there. The problem with that is this is how you develop closer friendships. By opening up and letting yourself be vulnerable. I don’t know if that’s a good idea with Kevin given that he’s interested in dating me, so I’ll let myself off the hook.

Another mental note I made for myself was the two times I went out with the two aforementioned guys, I was in an awkward position of saying yes because it’s my default reaction to be a people-pleaser. The PhD guy asked at the end of the date if we could go out again and I just said yes. How does one say no in that situation? Then the second guy asked if I wanted to continue the coffee date by going somewhere else to eat, and I said yes even though I didn’t want to. I decided if these kind of situations come up again I’ll say, “I really had a good time but I’d like to talk to you on the phone a couple more times first,” or “I have other plans,” or “I’ll be in rehab for the next year,” etc. Anything. I could tell the guy I’m alcoholic and I’m twice divorced. That I have explosive diarrhea and need to go home immediately. Lessons to be learned, my friends. Note to self: be prepared to say no.

do-i-like-them

To top it all off, as soon as this semester ends I’ll be flying to Georgia to take my 95-year-old whippersnapper of a grandmother to Albuquerque to see my sister and her kids. Y’all, this trip is gonna be like an updated version of “A Good Man Is Hard to Find” (by Flannery O’Connor) except hopefully no shooters (didn’t the Misfit have a gun?). Hence, I am stressing.

Also, my ex-husband texted to say he’s in DC this week for work and wanted to know if I wanted to hook up with him. Lord help us all. There’s a man out there who I will love and who also loves me for me and doesn’t think of me as a good piece of ass. I just haven’t met him yet.

make-ourselves-strong

St. Patrick’s Day has had me thinking about the last time I drank, in Savannah with my second husband and his parents, when I got so drunk I felt like I’d die the next day. I’m so glad those days are behind me.

Off to work now but first I want to say that I’m grateful for the life I have today. I’m glad to be sober, to be dating, to be attractive to guys, to be able to choose, to have an opportunity to take my grandma to New Mexico.

Peace and love,

TCH

Online Dating, Hooking Up, Boy Toys… Decisions, Decisions

Everything in my world has been going pretty well lately so the only news I have to report is on the dating front. I’d been talking with a gorgeous guy from Virginia but then he dropped off the radar out of nowhere, which burned but made it easy for me not to have to stress about driving to VA. Although it’s only a few miles away, getting there from north of DC is a hassle, and I have no desire to drive even just to DC. The problem is, the few attractive guys on the dating site happen to live in VA. This particular guy lived really far into VA—not even in northern VA.

A 24-year-old boy emailed me, which at first I ignored because I’d rather not date anyone younger than 35, me being almost 42. It flattered my bruised ego, after having been dismissed for no apparent reason by VA-guy. VA-guy—who I’m tempted to just call Vag, so why not—Vag and I had texted a few times then talked on the phone. After the second call I guess he recognized there was no spark? But we’d talked for an hour each time, and I let him lead the conversation, which became boring to me, because he seemed mostly interested in talking about work and school. Next time I’m not letting a guy steer the convo in that direction for too long; I’m gonna have to take the reins on this thing apparently.

So I emailed Boytoy back, because I thought why not? How many times will I get a chance to hook up with a young guy while in the prime of my life? I don’t know if I’ll really go through with meeting him, but y’all will be the first to know if it happens. In fact, you’ll probably be the only ones to know. Because it turns out he did see that I’m 41—I’d assumed he didn’t pay attention to the details, that he’d just looked at my pictures—and he’s into (hooking up with but not dating) older women.

The problem with hooking up or engaging in any kind of secretive behavior—because this would not be something I’d advertise—is that I get paranoid that the whole world is doing the same thing, and that indeed may have been why Vag ghosted me. Maybe some pretty woman contacted him and said she was down for whatever and he was like see ya to me because I didn’t send any naked pics. Maybe that’s what all the guys on there are wanting, and I should just get mine and move on, do my own thing.

Because when I think back on it, one of the first questions he asked was for pics of me, and then he asked me how long it had been since I’d been intimate with anyone. I’d just sent him normal pictures of me, clothed. But then we talked about life stuff, except like I said he didn’t get into anything beyond surface-level work stuff.

Anywho. Maybe I’m being Victorian about the whole thing and can allow myself just to enjoy the situation, in a safe way, of course. Looking at the big picture, of course I’d rather have love, but in the meantime, since I don’t have time for a relationship, why not enjoy my still-youthful, hormonal body?

Lord help me.

Here’s a song I came by Hailee Steinfield across that I’ve been listening to a lot lately. Kudos to this young lady for not going along with the effed up stuff everyone else is doing. I wish I’d had the same kind of inner strength when I was her age… um, or even now for that matter (ahem). What has become of our society? Hell in a handbasket, I tell ya. I’m half joking, y’all… but half serious.

You Don’t Have to Suffer

One of my friends relapsed, and it’s really gotten me to thinking.

The thing is, she’d had 12 years of sobriety at one time, slipped a few years ago, and hasn’t been able to stay sober since then. She’s back in recovery, had never really gone out completely—she’d been drinking on the sly after meetings starting a few weeks ago.

When these things happen, as they often do for those of us in the recovery community, it drives home how serious the disease of alcoholism/addiction really is. It’s easy to forget when life gets good. My life has been wonderful lately, and I feel invincible, like it will never happen to me, but then I meet someone who had decades of sobriety and got drunk again, or, more commonly, started taking prescription painkillers or opiates.

Some people in the community are dead-set against prescriptions of any kind, whereas I’m like, You mean you’re going to cut into my eyeballs? And this anesthesia is NOT going to put me to sleep? Give me the strongest thing you got, and double it. That really happened to me, btw, when I had eye surgery a few years ago. Now, I’m not saying I’ll down a bottle of Nyquil or Robotussin when I get sick—that would be a big no-no, and I don’t believe in those particular OTCs anyway—but I’m not above taking antidepressants, for example, as prescribed, when and if the situation calls for it.

Many of us who are alcoholic suffer from depression, and while I don’t know if it’s the chicken or the egg that came first, the point is that neither one helps the other, and I believe we really do not have to suffer. After my mom died and then Steven left me, I lost my motivation for life, and I just could not take the pain. My threshold for pain has become much lower in sobriety. The shit I’d suffer through when I was drinking is unacceptable to me now. It took me years to even make a decision to become sober, although for years I told myself I would do it, that I had to do it.

My ex-husband from the first marriage, the one in which I caused a lot of damage from my drinking, is visiting DC next month and has asked if I want to meet up. At first I said sure, and thought of how good I’d look, showing him how sober and stable and rational I am now. Now I don’t even care about that anymore. Who cares what he thinks? I’ve made my amends and honestly have no interest in seeing him or even talking to him again. Also, he hinted that he wants to basically hook up with me, and I am SO not interested in that today. With him, I mean. The guy I recently met on Match… well, that’s another story I’ll tell you about in another blog post, but I’ll give you the short version now: HOT.

Plus I think the whole idea of it has been triggering memories I don’t care to re-visit. All we did was go out to dinner and drink pitchers of margaritas or bottles of wine, and eventually I’d get wasted and make an ass out of myself. It was hard to look at myself in the mirror, knowing I was living a lie, that I hated everything about my life, and I felt like such a fraud.

A fraud. No feeling is more empty to me than knowing in my heart that I’m not being true to myself, or to anyone else. My friend Cathy who’d relapsed described herself as feeling exactly like that: a fraud. She’d go to meetings, pretend to be sober, then go home and drink. I had no idea. Just like my friend who’d committed suicide a few years ago. She seemed fine. In both cases, I’d noticed a slight pulling back, but I thought that they were just busy.

A friend of a friend recently committed suicide, also someone who’d started drinking again. Suicide seems to be the way most of us die, from what I’ve seen from my almost eight years of life in the recovery community so far. Which means their deaths don’t get reported as being alcohol-related, and we in this country don’t take alcoholism seriously enough. The thing is, I bet most of the crimes that get committed wouldn’t have happened if the offender hadn’t been drunk or high at the time. And also, many of us—probably most of us—have other problems, like my friend who died. She had bipolar disorder, and had taken it upon herself to stop taking her medication, because the message she got from her group was that no mind-altering drugs of any kind should ever be taken, including antidepressants. This is one of my big problems with AA.

I have a few other problems with AA, but I’m not leaving. And I’ll tell you why: AA is the only place where I’ve ever felt like I belonged. It’s the only place where you can go anywhere in the country, and just about anywhere outside of the country, and find a safe haven full of welcoming people who are there for you, and they’re not bullshitting. They really have been there for me. I’ve watched elderly people die sober in this program, and they died happy, surrounded by a loving and supportive community of people who would pick them up and take them to meetings, who’d check on them, visit them in the hospital, etc. As a single woman with no kids, that sure looks better than growing old alone. Plus, I’m an extroverted introvert, and I like having friends.

So the problems I have with AA pale in comparison to what AA has done for me, which is that it saved my life. Truly. I would’ve committed suicide by now otherwise; I’d tried before, years ago, when my drinking was starting to get really bad.

Anyway, back to Cathy. She’s a career changer like me, living with her parents for now while she’s in the process, she’s single, and she’s about 55. Her son struggles with opiate addiction, lives on the other side of the country, with her baby granddaughter. If I had a kid, how do I know they wouldn’t become an addict too? Alcoholism/addiction runs rampant in my family on both sides.

So all these thoughts are swirling around in my head, these are the things that are happening around me right now, and I’m not exactly a model member of AA these days. The only requirement for membership is a desire to stop drinking, but if I want to live a life of serenity, it’s important that I maintain a spiritual way of life. School and work keep me busy, and I’ve gotten back on Match—though I will say I don’t spend nearly as much time or put as much hope into it this time. I just want a lover and a friend, and if that happens, great. If not, I’ll just take a lover. I already have friends, thank you. Is that horrible?

These days, in the morning when I wake up I thank my lucky stars, which I call God, for my life, and at night when I go to bed, I thank God (aka a higher power, a power greater than myself) again. This life that I live today, I love it. In many ways I don’t ever want it to end, except that I want my own place. But graduating and going back into the real world to be in an actual career, this time of my own choosing of which I have limited experience and of which I have no idea if it will work or how it will work, and meanwhile my student loans will be due… it’s daunting. Two of my friends are going through it now, and it’s scary. Luckily I still have two years of living life almost like a kid, living off my student loans, limited responsibilities…

As I’ve mentioned before, I’m planning to taper off my antidepressant in favor of Chinese herbs to see how it works, although the tea makes me feel nauseous and costs more than my prescription. And the last time I tapered off I had two days of severe depression. Some say the antidepressant does that because it becomes addictive, and maybe that’s true. I want to do whatever’s healthiest for me–unless it means I have to be depressed, LOL. If I have to take antidepressants for the rest of my life to avoid the emotional hell I used to live in, I absolutely will.

In the meantime I’ll call my sponsor today, go to a meeting tonight, pray to my higher power which I call God, reach out to Cathy and another new friend struggling with sobriety. This really is all just one day at a time. Everything. When I start to worry about the rest of my life and what my future holds, this is what I ask myself: What do I have to do today? What can I do in this moment that will be the next right action to take? What would be the wise, healthy thing to do? Right now, for me, it’s to go back to sleep, wake up and go to breakfast with one of my favorite friends Kevin who makes me laugh so hard, then go discount shopping with another favorite friend Kathleen. It’s my day off, and I plan to enjoy it. I want to call my sisters today too. And I should probably go to the gym, but um, yeah, that’s not gonna happen today. You can only do so much in a day, my friends.

If you feel down, call someone for help. Even if it’s the suicide hotline. This life is all that we know. Why not make the best of it? You deserve to be happy. Instead of telling yourself all the reasons why something good can’t happen to you, ask yourself why not. In the meantime…

no-one

The above image was taken from hubpages.com via Pinterest.