Time is Running and Passing

If you’re like me, you believe that everything in life has some sort of meaning, there’s a reason for everything, there are no chance encounters, and everyone you develop any kind of relationship with has a meaning and provides an opportunity to grow. The frustrating part is figuring out what that lesson is and learning it. Maybe for me it’s proof that the law of attraction works, because two things happened recently after I wished for them, spoke them out loud, and what’s funny is the form in which they took. The first desire I had was to find a younger man, and the other was to find a guy who is at least on his way to having his shit together and on a similar path as me.

Welp! I got my younger guy alright. As in 22 years younger. As in, I’d graduated from undergrad already when he was born. As in, he could be my son.

We work together, and he, unbeknownst to me, has been pursuing me since we started working together. I remember one or two nights driving home after work after talking to him, and really thinking about him, and just thinking, Huh. As in, there’s something there, a connection. And then we had a company party last week in which he basically asked me out, and I decided, Why not? I’d thought (hoped) he was closer to 25, but nope. He’s in college. But hey, why not have fun? He’s not in high school. So yeah, that’s my rationale.

Demetrius is a poet, a musician, and biracial, which, as you know, I have a thing for. He has smooth caramel skin and wild hair, kind of an afro but long wavy locks that just poof out. He’s a sexy young man, with confidence, and he didn’t bat an eyelash when I told him I’m 42. He’s into underground hip hop which reminds me of music I listened to in high school, and I made him some playlists of poetic artists I listened to back in the day, and that he loves, and he shared the music he’s made with me, which is surprisingly impressive. He’s inquisitive, curious about who I am, always asking me questions that, from the start were on a deeper level. The one thing he said that stood out to me the most was, when describing me, he said, “You don’t have time,” that he knew he had to get straight to the point with me, which is true, and I take to mean as Don’t waste my time, I don’t have time for bullshit, I don’t have time for nonsense or superficial conversation or negativity. How did he know that about me? Do I come across as an impatient person? He said that I’m strong, which I appreciate because that’s exactly what I want to be, and I do feel strong in many ways, but I still pray for strength every day.

I pray for strength and courage to do the right thing, and for clarity in knowing what that is. And I don’t know what this is. What am I supposed to learn from this? He can never be more than a boytoy, and I don’t have time for a relationship anyway—I barely have time for a boytoy. A voice inside my head (my voice) said, You don’t have to say yes to every hot guy who wants to sleep with you. My ego then said, Um, yes I do. Seriously. How do I say no to that? Especially when there’s a connection, and something, I feel, to be learned. The artist in him speaks to the artist in me, and it inspires me to write, and I think maybe that’s what this is all about.

But it is bad timing.

I ain’t got time to write, y’all! I barely have time to write this blog post. In fact, I should totally be doing homework right now, and if I want my life to be balanced I need to go to the gym. Most days I don’t even meditate lately. How do I fit it all into one day? Especially when all I can think about is this sexy young dude in between my legs. Let’s be real.

The other guy is someone I might have an actual future with, an acupuncturist who shops at the store. And I’d just said the other day about how I want someone who has their shit together, who’s on a similar path. Not that I know him well enough to know that, but in terms of career, we’re on similar paths. And he’s about my age, good-looking but a boring white blond guy (no offense to my blond white male readers). It’s the boring blond white guys who I end up in relationships with, when I want a sexy man of color, but you know what? It’s a total stereotype so I apologize for any offense but my experience so far has been that those guys are womanizers. And I can relate. When you’re having fun being single and independent and you can get sex pretty easily, why settle down with just one? Relationships can get boring after a while.

But surely there’s someone out there who I can be friends with, connect with, who wants a relationship with just me, and who I feel the same way towards. I would love to meet someone who I didn’t get bored with. Maybe that’s the acupuncturist. But I will say he has kind of a high voice? And I can’t get into that, y’all. Sorry. Just can’t do it.

The thing is, I don’t even want to be thinking about all this. I want to focus on school and career.

So. I am going to do that. Right now.

Here’s a song from A Tribe Called Quest that includes a sample of a poem called “Time” from The Last Poets:

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A Window Into My Life

Right now is a time of transformation for me, and I’m already feeling lonely. The time has come, or so it seems, for me to find a new community of friends, and I don’t know yet where or how I’ll find this community, given that I’m not moving into a new place yet. In August I graduate, though after that I won’t automatically be a nutritionist, so I’ll have to decide if I want to stay in Maryland and get my extra 700 or so hours of supervised clinical time in so that I can become certified in this state, or I can move somewhere else and follow whatever that state’s requirements are. The cost of living here is so ridiculously high, because all the politicians live here, that I can’t imagine staying. I was all gung ho on moving to Arizona, since my best friend expressed a desire to go there, and it seemed like a sign. There’s nowhere else I can think of where I’d have a reason to go. Although now that I think of it, I suppose I could move closer to my sister in New Mexico. I’m not crossing Arizona off the list, but I will say after reading this blog about how it’s 120 degrees and scorpions sleep in your bed with you, I got scared.

Back to the present time, since I do have at least eight more months in this state, and I want to make them the best eight months I can. I broke up with my boyfriend last week, which means I need to find a new community of friends. We’d made friends who I was having a lot of fun with, but it’s the kind of situation in which they’ve known him for longer, and it feels less comfortable asking them to hang out with just me. We only dated for four months, and prior to that I had my own group of friends who’ve since all gone their separate ways, and due to two of them forming their own relationship, and one of those having been interested in me while the feeling wasn’t mutual, there’s no chance of that group getting back together. Oddly, the two who are in a relationship are going to see me as a student nutritionist in clinic, so it’s not like they dislike me, but it’s not like it could go back to the way it was either.

I don’t know that I’d want it to go back to how it was anyway. I’ll have to exercise the law of attraction and manifest a group of like-minded friends who have similar interests, who want to be healthier and more positive, and a desire to live a more spiritual life. The problem is that then I have to take the action, and being in grad school I don’t have much time to develop much of a social life. The easiest thing to do is go to AA meetings, a welcoming environment where it’s easier to find people who like to be social. But if I truly want to meet like-minded people with similar interests, I’m probably going to have to move to a trendier, more expensive part of the city, like Takoma Park in DC, or whatever the hipster part of town is in Baltimore. There are yoga studios everywhere, including one near my house, which I can’t afford, and my former friends go there anyway. There’s meditation in Bethesda which I tried already, and no one ever talks to you, plus the traffic is too much there. Also, it’s Buddhist meditation, and I’m moving away from Buddhism, though I believe in the philosophy of mindfulness, acceptance, and being present.

I can’t say I’ve ever considered myself a full-fledged Buddhist, but I guess I’d say I take beliefs from different traditions, and meld them into my own. Lately I’ve been doing a lot of guided meditation during which I envision my spirit guides and ask them to help me, and I bought crystals and tarot cards to help guide me. It’s uncanny how the right tarot card appears when I ask a question. For example, a few days ago I asked the question: What can I learn from my love life? and I got the card “Caught in Ruins,” a card with a picture of a man and woman inside a prison, which made me laugh out loud and want to cry at the same time. But after reading the card, it turns out that there’s no roof over the prison, that the limiting thoughts and behaviors are self-imposed, that I have the power to change and stop perpetuating my old beliefs and patterns. I’m just not sure exactly how to do that yet, though I’m focused on honesty.

The problem I have with relationships is that so far, about every five years, I go through a transformation, and whoever I’m dating or married to at the time no longer fits my life. I find it hard to grow with this other person in my life. I feel constricted, suffocated, like they’re somehow holding me back, and I feel as though they don’t understand me. The path they’re on seems uninteresting to me especially because it’s often unexplored, dated, conventional. The key is to find someone I can grow with, and I just haven’t found that person yet.

Back to the tarot cards, another good example happened the same night, when I asked the cards what I needed to learn about my career path, and I drew the card, “Wishes Fulfilled,” which was a good feeling. Last night I asked the cards what I needed to learn right now, in this moment, while feeling lonely and wondering where I’ll find a new community, and lo and behold, I drew the card, “Sangha-Community,” which read that I need to find a new community. Too bad the cards don’t tell me where to find this community. I think ultimately the idea around the cards (and meditation for that matter) for me is to use my intuition, to follow my gut and do what I know in my heart is right.

By the way, the tarot cards are the Akashic Tarot Cards from Sharon Anne Klinger and Sandra Anne Taylor. Lately I’ve been drawing a lot of cards to do with writing and publishing, which has always been my dream. The problem with my writing is that it doesn’t offer help to anyone else; I’m just offering you a window into my life. Yesterday I listened to a podcast interview that Oprah did with Sue Monk Kidd, and Sue Monk Kidd said something along the lines of—or rather, this is my interpretation of what she said—which was that it took her being vulnerable and honest to put her writing out there. And that is MUCH harder than it may sound, for me. Kidd’s first book was a memoir, decades before she published The Secret Life of Bees… So maybe the ticket for her was to write fiction, which some may say is thinly disguised memoir.

That being said, I’m not going to not become a nutritionist, although I will say I’m already becoming discouraged. When I started, I’d gone to the orientation in which they told us there were all kinds of jobs everywhere, and you could make $95k, etc. But last semester I was sitting at lunch with some of my classmates, one of whom casually mentioned in passing that this wasn’t a career path you follow for the money. Then last night someone posted on our private Facebook page that she talked to an RD (registered dietician) who told her she’d never heard of a CNS (certified nutrition specialist), and that basically it’s much harder to find a job for a CNS than an RD. A lot of comments followed that revealed this is not the easy career path I thought I’d chosen.

So I may end up writing about nutrition at some point. Whatever I do, I find it hard to imagine balancing a relationship, career, social life, and physical exercise all in one life, since I’m imagining myself spending all my free time writing a nutrition blog. But this is not exactly how manifesting the life you want works. Haha!

One thing I’ve learned is that the idea is to follow actions that come smoothly. Not without action or work, but to explore different avenues, and when doors open, they’re meant to be. If I have to force something, it’s probably not meant to be. I just have to remember to take it one day at a time, one foot in front of the other, and try not to project into some unknown future. My biggest fear may be coming true: that I’ve chosen the wrong career path, again, and now I’m even deeper in debt than before, six figures this time. It could be that I tried to force something instead of following my passion to become a writer. But on the other hand, if my biggest fear is coming true, it’s because I’m making it into a self-fulfilling prophecy. I do love nutrition, and have already been spending way too much time on my first two clients, out of sheer interest, so that’s worth something, right? My deepest interest lies in spiritual matters and finding one’s purpose, so maybe I can somehow tie that in with writing and nutrition… Everything happens for a reason, so it could be that I needed to take this winding path to come back to my origin, and maybe I can somehow tie these things all in together.

I really have no idea how I’m going to do that. But then I guess that’s what life’s all about.

PS: I feel that it would make more sense to separate this into three different posts: one about career, one about relationships, and one about community. In each post I’d explore each topic in more depth. But, I have homework, and then work, so I’m going to publish this meandering post as is.

 

Wish Upon a Star

As you might have surmised from my previous post, Hawaii wasn’t the utopian paradise I’d hoped for, which proves that we each create our own reality. The mornings were my favorite time, when I was alone in quiet on the balcony, and I only regret not having gotten out to walk on the beach at sunrise. But on the 27th floor of a high rise in Honolulu blocks away from Waikiki Beach, I didn’t want to go out only to return and wake my now ex-boyfriend.

We broke up a few nights ago, at 2am when he came to bed and asked me if I still loved him. How do you break a 65-year-old man’s heart? He’s been single his entire life, and now I can understand why. And it’s not that he’s old, it’s just that he’s too old for me; the age difference is too much. My energy level was much higher than his; he became winded after hikes that were easy for me. No matter how many times I asked him to eat with his mouth closed, to avoid talking while his mouth was full, he did it every single time, and that alone tried my patience. As much as I want to be an all-loving, accepting, tolerant person, I cannot deal with repulsive table manners, let alone the rude way he talks to people. And the thing is, he’s the nicest man with the best intentions, and doesn’t know that it’s rude to yell, “Hey!” or “Yo!” at the ticket person at the gate. Sometimes I’ll be in some other part of the house, and he’ll yell, “Hey!” to ask me a question, and it was little things like that, the ankle biters, that really got to me. And did I mention that he does this thing where he elbows me to get my attention? Yep. In bed, when I’m drifting off to sleep, to ask if I’m awake. And I am like Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde when someone awakens me from my glorious, much-needed slumber.

I could list dozens of positive things about him, but the negatives are even deeper than what I’ve mentioned. The biggest being that he doesn’t listen to me. He wears hearing aids, so he couldn’t hear me unless I didn’t want him to, like when I was trying not to awaken him in our tiny studio apartment when I’d wake before sunrise—so I know it’s not like I’m a picnic to be with. Most people, being night owls, would not want to room with someone who got up that early every day.

But back to the listening issue. When we’d talk, he’d say something, I’d start to reply, but then he’d railroad right over whatever I was saying to add to his own conversation. After a while I just continued talking, not stopping during his interruption, but it didn’t matter, because he also refused to stop. And it wasn’t because he didn’t know I was talking—he can lip-read, so he could see that I was talking, in case he couldn’t hear. It was maddening.

One night we went to an AA meeting, and they asked me to lead the meeting because their speaker didn’t show up. So I had to speak about the second step: Came to believe that a power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity. Having had a lot of experience with surrendering to a higher power when things don’t go my way, I spoke from the heart, and people responded. I thought he might say something about it afterwards, but he didn’t say a word.

The thing is, it felt like we’d been married for years, and not in a good way.

There’s more, but it’s not worth continuing on about it. Suffice it to say it was a tense, uncomfortable vacation. He had two friends who lived there, who we visited: one of whom became wheelchair-bound two years ago, and the other whose son committed suicide four months ago. The air was heavy, the energy dark. So I prayed and meditated every morning for my own peace and for the sad souls around me.

Meanwhile back home my dad’s wife went off her rocker, and every day has been like an episode of Jerry Springer. The short version of the story is that she was diagnosed with a mental illness a year or so ago, and appears to be addicted to drugs. I already knew she had a pain pill and/or sleeping pill problem, but my dad was alcoholic, and they both were pretty quiet about their issues that were none of my business anyway. My dad quit drinking due to the fact that alcohol no longer worked for him while on his diabetes medication, much to his disappointment and frustration, and I tried to convince him to try AA or church or anything besides being alone and white-knuckling it, but that conversation went nowhere.

The latest with my dad’s wife is that she left him for another man, after she and her family led him to believe she’d disappeared (they let him file a missing persons report, without letting him know she was safe and alive), and after my dad tried to get her put in the psychiatric hospital (she’d been thrown in jail, and her psychiatrist said she’s a danger to herself). She owns four guns, that she took with her. I can only pray that this ends safely, peacefully, and soon for my dad, who doesn’t deserve this at this stage of his life. No one does, at any time, but he’s 72 years old, and not in good health.

But I will say that Hawaii wasn’t all bad. The boyfriend and I did the best we could. We both tried hard to be nice, and we succeeded for the most part. It was just an underlying tension, a knowing that this wasn’t right. The thing about Honolulu is that it’s a big city, with lots of people, traffic, buildings, and tourists everywhere. We drove out to more secluded areas and most of them were crowded with tourists. But we got to see the Missouri at Pearl Harbor which was far more interesting than I had expected, and I got to see my stepdad’s uncles’ memorial marker from where he’d died on the Oklahoma, which will mean a lot to my stepdad. Plus we found some truly secluded areas, in particular, a path in a rainforest that led to a waterfall, which we gratefully stumbled upon. The scenery outside the city was breathtakingly gorgeous, and even some parts of the city were beautiful too.

And one morning, out on the balcony, just around sunrise, I looked up during my meditation, hearing the sudden rainfall, and there was a rainbow.

And I knew it was a sign of good things to come.

honolulu rainbow

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

Ex-Boyfriends, FWBs, Relationships, Etc.

Mark and I had decided to be “friends with benefits,” but we still have feelings for each other, so the fwb thing just ain’t happening. Yet he “can’t be in a relationship with anyone who’s divorced and been hurt by the divorce” (his words) because it triggers childhood trauma from his mother feeling lost (for years) after her divorce from his dad, and subsequently neglecting her kids as a result. She apparently paid more attention to her boyfriends in search of a new husband that never came along. How that situation is anything like mine, or how she and I are anything alike–other than in the way that we’re both human, and all humans experience pain, and most single people our age or older are divorced–I fail to see. I do want a husband, although some days I think I’d be just as happy (or possibly happier, lol) with a boyfriend who lives in a different house who I see maybe twice a week for the rest of my life (lol).

Luckily, Mark’s in therapy. He has OCD, as I’ve mentioned, and suffers from unwanted, intrusive thoughts, and when we’re apart he re-lives the pain he felt as a child when his mother neglected him. I can’t pretend to understand any of this—I’m just telling you what I know. Maybe he feels like I’m neglecting him? He wants to be with me all the time so maybe that’s it.

I’m not sure if any of it matters, because after I talk to him today it’s likely we won’t talk again because I don’t think he can deal with it. I’d be willing to try, because I already know that everyone has issues, and you just have to find someone who’s craziness complements your own, and who’s willing to work with you through theirs. But he probably won’t be willing or able to do that.

The way I see it, you (I) can spend your life trying to find someone who’s perfect, only to be constantly disappointed. Eventually you (hopefully) come to realize that when you find someone new they may be amazing in the beginning, but eventually you find their skeletons, they find yours, and what it boils down to is a decision to deal with each other’s skeletons, and how you communicate that with each other. You’re going to have childhood issues that come out sideways with each other, so you can choose to deal with it together or not.

It’s not that we should settle for any old person who comes along. What I’d like is someone who I enjoy spending time with, who I have chemistry with, who treats me well, and who I trust. It would be great if that was Mark, but I don’t think that’s happening.

In the meantime, my ex emailed me again. He had sent me an email before that he’d been on NPR (eyeroll) for an educational interview about the field of research he does. He’s an academic superstar complete with a PhD, big salary, and high status. Good for him that he has that going for him… but really? I’ll probably never have that in my lifetime, but you know what? I don’t care. I don’t think I’ll be on my deathbed one day regretting that I didn’t get a big job that put me on NPR. I sense he’s feeling me out, trying to see if we could be friends, maybe even get back together, but guess what?

Nope. Ah to the nah to the no no no.

That break-up killed a part of me that will never come back, and probably for good reason. I’m no one’s doormat. No way in hell am I going back to that. It’s too late now. We tried and it didn’t work. I won’t be treated that way again. Dating Mark is like having a girlfriend who’s on her period all the time, but at least he’s nice to me. And respectful. And he can either stay with me and work it out or not. Who knows? Maybe he’ll grow up and get his shit together, come back to me in a year after so much therapy and want me back. By that time I’ll probably have already found someone else who’s already got their shit together, or at least working on it, because no one really has it all together.

But if not, then I guess the time just hasn’t been right yet. I’m getting closer though. I can feel it.

Here’s a song I dedicate to my ex, Steven:

Friends with “Benefits”

“Lust rushes but love waits” – Bridget Devoue

One morning this week I woke up early, thinking about making an unwise decision, so I prayed to my higher power, which I call God, and asked for guidance. And then I went to my favorite source for inspirational quotes, Pinterest. And the above quote answered my question. It appeared on my home page, the very first quote. If that’s not a sign, I don’t know what is. Of course I want love.

Mark asked me to be his friend with benefits. I’d reached out to him earlier this week, letting him know that I consider him a friend, in response to his initial request to remain friends. Initially he’d suggested we be friends “to ease the pain of the break-up.” I thought (hoped) he wanted to remain friends so that he could go to therapy and heal his mommy issues, then hopefully come back to me. I thought he didn’t want to tell me that in case he wasn’t able to heal, or wasn’t able to be in a relationship with me. What I’d forgotten was that when a guy wants something, he says so, directly. I also forgot that I could’ve asked him specifically if that was his aim. Instead I said that I didn’t see how being friends would ease any pain, but that I’d consider it, and then I decided to be his friend. It took him less than 24 hours after that to come back and suggest that we be friends with benefits. At first I was hurt. Then I was angry. At the same time I felt satisfied that he’s missing me, even if it’s only in that way.

Th next morning I woke up and thought, Eff it, I’ll do it. I don’t have time for a boyfriend while I’m in school so it’s not like I’d be closing myself off to anyone since I’d be already doing that (or so I told myself). But it would be on my terms. And I came up with a long list of what my terms would be. For one, I’m not spending four nights a week with an FWB. He gets one to two, and I’m not spending the night. Secondly, I’m not going over there on nights I spend with my friends, unless he wants to see me afterwards, around midnight. I’m not taking any baths with him like we did when we were dating. He pays for my meals and movie. He comes to my house on occasion, when I don’t have time to drive to his house. I’m not meeting his friends or family. While most of these terms may sound like a dream come true for a commitment-phobe such as himself, these are all things he wanted in the beginning, before we started dating, when he’d asked to be FWBs at that time. What he wanted, and presumably still wants, is a girlfriend who he doesn’t have to commit to, but who will commit to him.

Been there, done that. He can talk to the hand, my friends.

But it is enticing. I am human. If he did all of this on my terms, and I stayed open to meeting other guys, even go on dates with other guys at some point, I’d be getting the best of both worlds. I can’t promise y’all I won’t still do it. But I’m pretty sure I wouldn’t be able to be open to meeting other guys. And I’d be spending time I really don’t have on a guy who won’t commit to me, when I could be meeting someone who will give me the love and attention that I deserve.

I got clarification on why he left, and what his plans are. He feels that he can’t date anyone who reminds him of his mom. The way he described her to me, I can’t relate to her at all and feel that I’m nothing like her, so I asked for specifics. He said that when he was a kid she’d gone through a lot of pain after her divorce and that she’d felt unwanted, was lost and had a lot of casual sex. He’d already told me previously that his parents divorced when he was three, so she must’ve been in a bad place for many years, and at one point he walked in on her having sex with her date in the kitchen at a friend’s house where they were all hanging out.

After my divorce, I dated a couple of guys and then I met the guy I fell hard for, we broke up, and then I started online dating, where I met Mark.

I did have a friend with benefits right after my separation, and this is not uncommon for someone in the process of a divorce. Nor is it uncommon for anyone in America over the age of 20 to have had casual sex at some point. And everyone has felt lost. Everyone has felt rejected. And in my case, I was the one who’d done the rejecting, though prior to that I felt unwanted, which was incorrect. The marriage simply got boring, and I had changed: I got sober, he smoked pot, I found God, he had no interest in spirituality. We lived two different lives.

None of that matters but I pointed it out to him anyway. It’s not going to change his mind, and at this point I’m not sure that him changing his mind would do any good. Also, regardless of whether or not I’m like his mom, I remind him of his mom, and that’s not going to change.

I asked him what’s the solution for his problem, and he said that he can’t date anyone who reminds him of his mom in any way, and he’s going to therapy. Yet somehow he can have me as his friend with benefits? He must be kidding me. I told him that no, I’m not going to do that, I don’t see how it would be easier, and that I feel he must not have loved me if he can just have me as an FWB now. He insists he loved me, that this is the second most painful time of his life next to his dad’s death. We only dated for three months, so I think he just means the trauma he’s re-living regarding his mom. What I think is the real issue is that he’s a commitment-phobe with mommy issues and his OCD makes it all worse. Because basically what he’s telling me is that he can’t be in a relationship, period, because all women he falls for are going to be human and therefore remind him of his mom, but he can be in an FWB situation because he won’t have to commit or do any work for the relationship and can keep his independence. Eff that.

This situation is so similar to Steven except Mark was nice to me and encouraged me to speak my mind. So in that way it was a better situation, and I didn’t allow myself to be his doormat. So I am moving up, my friends. And I think each of them “loved” (liked?) me as much as they were capable. But here’s the thing: they’re not capable of love. You can’t get love if you don’t give love.

I can’t help but worry about the diminishing pool of available good guys in their 40s that are out there. Everyone says this is true, and I don’t want to believe it. How nice it must be to have your head on straight in your 20s and make wise decisions that set you up for security and stability later in life, rather than to find yourself at the age of 41 with two divorces and no career or retirement money and no kids. But I must remind myself that those experiences made me who I am today, and I am doing something for myself today. And if I’d had a kid back then I wouldn’t have been the best parent I could be. It’s a huge responsibility, and I’ve spent my life trying to figure out who I am. Plus, I can’t say I felt that maternal urge except for here and there, fleetingly.

So I’m back to my positive affirmations, and trying to stay open to what the universe has to offer. My goal is to focus on my own personal growth, get through school, learn more, be a better person, and stay open to meeting someone who’s the same way, and who will treat me the way I deserve to be treated, as I will do the same for him.

I’ll also pray to forgive and let go of my resentment towards Steven. Because at the same time that I found the quote I mentioned earlier, I also came across another quote, listed at the bottom of this post.

Steven is sick, and the thing is, he doesn’t get to enjoy the good life I have. While he did hurt me and cause a lot of damage, I’m not broken, and I don’t have to experience the lows of bipolar disorder nor have I had to feel unloved by my parents. The same goes for Mark. If he’s really in as much pain as he says, he’s got some serious issues that, quite frankly, I don’t have to deal with. So really, I am actually quite lucky. I guess I’d have to say that I do hope they heal, not just for them, but for the rest of society. Mental illness and child abuse cause people to grow up and become hurtful to others, in ways that are much worse than what they’ve done and what I’ve experienced. It’s in the news all the time.

“Be an example. Show kindness to unkind people. Forgive people who don’t deserve it. Love unconditionally. Your actions always reflect who you are” – ebuddhism.com

I couldn’t decide on which song was more appropriate, so I’m posting them both.

Peace and love,

TCH

Home

Home sweet home.

Being in Georgia this week was like being in another universe. I visited my dad and grandma, and it was Grandma’s birthday, so we went to dinner one night with my aunts and uncles too. Luckily my oldest and best friend visited her family at the same time, and having her there made it so much more bearable. Overall the trip was successful, but my dad and I had an uncomfortable conversation that’s all I can really think about.

First I’ll tell you the good stuff: he actually asked for and listened to my nutrition advice, he was generally pleasant, he didn’t drink, and he was fairly easygoing (for him anyway). The first night I was there we went out to dinner with the rest of the family, and they all wanted me to be like some kind of drill sergeant barking at him what to eat and what not to eat. My uncle sat between us so he could boast about how healthy he is due to his own healthy lifestyle habits compared to how unhealthy my dad is due to his terrible eating and lack of exercise. Looking back on it I wish I’d taken up for my dad but I did what I do which is I complimented my uncle on his efforts and didn’t really say anything about my dad. I certainly didn’t insult him but I didn’t take up for him either, and I wish I had.

Afterwards I asked my dad why he wasn’t going bowling with the rest of them later (as was their plan) and he said he didn’t want to hear his brother brag about how healthy he is compared to my dad, who has type II diabetes and coronary heart disease. It’s not easy changing lifelong eating habits, and no one wants to hear how great everyone else is doing due to their lifestyle factors when they’re in ill health for the same reason. A nutritionist won’t get far shaming someone for their eating habits, and that’s just not my style anyway.

More good stuff happened: I cooked for my dad, his wife, my grandma, and best friend, and they all really liked my food. It was fairly healthy compared to what they’re used to–I didn’t want to make it too strange for my family, who prefer fried food and overcooked vegetables, so I breaded the baked flounder and put some Old Bay in there.

Then my dad actually asked questions about nutrition, and they all wanted to know what chia seeds and quinoa are. It was all so foreign to them but they were open to it, which was amazing. It was so nice that he respected what I had to say.

He still seems disappointed in my life choices. He brought up what he brings up every time I talk to him or see him, which is this: Why didn’t you and your sisters major in math or the sciences in college? Why don’t you get a job with the government up there in DC? And then he talks about all the benefits that he’d gotten as a chemist working at the air force base. And I told him what I always told him: I tried getting a government job when I moved here and no one hired me, it’s very hard to get a government job, I didn’t know back then to major in the sciences, I thought a liberal arts degree was enough, I didn’t know what to do or how to do it. He will then bring up that he told us back then to major in math or the sciences. I do remember him suggesting that I become either an architect or an engineer when I was in seventh grade and had gotten an award for getting the highest grade in my class for both math and art. The math one was a fluke because I’m not that great at math. But I didn’t know what an architect or an engineer was or what they did, or why I should become one. I didn’t understand why that would be important, and what the alternative was. I don’t want to play victim, but it’s not like he got really involved in my life or even took me to tour colleges like other kids’ parents did.

So then I asked him point blank: Are you disappointed in us?

He said that no, he was just baffled.

So I said, Well it sure sounds like you are.

I guessed he was worried about our financial futures, and I told him we’re doing just fine, and we’ll be just fine. I pointed out that I’ve been taking care of myself since I was 18, and it seemed like a surprise to him despite the fact that I’ve told him this before. I don’t know who he thought was taking care of me. Bills and rent/mortgage was split down the middle when I was married, and I didn’t get any kind of money for my divorces.

Daddy wanted to know how much my school tuition is, and I said, A lot. I didn’t want to get scorned for borrowing more money when I already owe on my previous student loans. I figured I’ll be paying on it forever, and I’ll be working forever too, so why not do something I’m happy with? And I hope to God I’m happy with my career when this is all over.

Maybe he feels guilty or else he knows he doesn’t have any money to leave us so he’s worried about how we’ll get along. He’s not worried about my sister who’s married, but he’s worried about my other sister and me. I asked him: Do you think I’m not doing anything now? He admitted that indeed I am going to school but I learned that he thinks I won’t make much money doing that. If I ever “make anything” of myself in his eyes, he probably won’t be alive to see it because his health is deteriorating and he isn’t doing much to try to reverse or slow the progress.

It all makes me kind of sad now, reflecting back on it. It was supposed to be sort of an amends trip, though I didn’t really have a plan on that, and should’ve talked to my sponsor about it beforehand. I guess I made my living amends by going there and spending time with him, and I felt it was important to speak my mind. There’s more but I don’t feel like writing about it right now.

In spite of that, it was a good trip. It wasn’t much different than any other time I’ve been there, except everyone’s gotten older, slower, and more achy. No one can hear anything; everyone needs hearing aids. I honestly cannot remember the last time I was there. I know I was there in 2010, and I’m pretty sure I went once or twice after that, but I can’t remember it.

Being in Georgia made me grateful that I don’t live there anymore—no offense to any Georgia readers. Atlanta was fine, north Georgia is pretty, I love Savannah, but still I can’t see living in Georgia again. I did enjoy some delicious biscuits and collard greens though!

I’m so happy to be back in Maryland, back to my chosen family. One of my good friends picked me up at the airport, and tonight we’re going to the movies, tomorrow I’ll go to a meeting and the diner with my other close friends.

It’s so good to be home.

Peace and love,

TCH