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:

Advertisements

Manifesting

dont-fear-failure

Lately I’ve been listening to motivating, inspiring talks that are encouraging me the way forward in a way that I haven’t pursued or utilized before. It all started with the Manifest This podcast, in which Ashley Wood interviews entrepreneurs (mostly women) and asks them how they got started. Becoming an entrepreneur isn’t something I’d planned for myself, but having my own clinic and being my own boss, working on my own time table sounds more and more enticing every day. And it goes deeper than that: doing my own thing, focusing on my passion to become a writer somehow… that’s part of it too.

In one of the interviews, Ashley interviews Mimi Ikonn, who tells her story about starting with nothing, no money, broke, working two and three jobs, and how she got Tony Robbins’ “Get the Edge” CD set, and she mentioned the power of positive thinking, to imagine your life the way you want it to be as if it has already happened, to say every day, “I am rich,” or whatever goal you may have, and to act on it, since thought alone won’t produce results. But it’s thought that begins the process.

So I got online and found a used (much cheaper) version of “Get the Edge” and have been listening to it every day on my way to and from work, and I’m telling you, it works! I used to think Tony Robbins and anyone like him was… unrealistic, I guess, that the only people who might listen to him would be career-driven people who only care about money and power, as if there could be no spirituality in that. I thought you had to already be a certain kind of person for him to appeal to you, or for you to be able to take the actions he suggests. But what he’s really about is showing you how to use your gifts to produce a positive impact on the world around you, and for me, and probably most people, it’s about figuring out how to find meaningful work that isn’t just part of being a cog in the system, and finding a way to make a living from that way of life. It is possible. If other people do it, then why can’t I, or you, or anyone else?

Then I also realized that maybe I am a career woman. That doesn’t mean I don’t have a life, although I must say lately I haven’t had as much of a social life as I’d like, but I do enjoy my job, I like that it’s not a traditional 9-to-5, I like the people there, and I want to keep learning about health and wellness, to expand and learn more. There’s always more to learn!

Whereas before I just wanted a job that I could tolerate and would pay my bills.

Why not go for more? Why not admit that you want more from life?

successful-people

And get concrete about what you want from life. My biggest goal right now is to find my own home, my own place to live, no roommates, no partners, no one else but me in my own beautifully decorated, clean space. So instead of just hoping and dreaming for that, I can research rent costs, find out what my salary would need to be to make that, and then figure out how to make it happen. I’m almost 43 years old, y’all. I don’t care if everyone in the DC area lives with their mom or partner simply because no one can afford it otherwise. That does not have to be me. Maybe I can even buy a condo? My dad is helping my sister buy a house, and he hasn’t helped me do jack, so I’m beginning to wonder if I should also ask for help… Do you know how hard it would be for me to ask my father for help? I’ll think about that later.

For now, first things first. I’m not going to move in the middle of the school year, so I’ll graduate first, while in the meantime put feelers out there for job opportunities. Who knows? Maybe there’s a job in some other part of the world that’s perfect for me.

This article appeared on my browser home page this morning, so I’m going to try to get back into my routine of getting up at 6am (5 is pushing it) and writing and reading. Note: I don’t agree with everything this guy says or does, but I do find the article inspiring, and I think it’s important to take what appeals to you and leave the rest. Being an early bird, and someone who already does a lot of what he’s writing about, it’s easier for me than someone who likes to sleep in until noon. It seems to me that those folks could do their best work at night? Whatever the case, I’m working more late shifts next month, so I’ll be able to get more personal work done in the mornings.

What I’m really getting from all this, and hope to convey to you, is to look for every opportunity to grow and have the best experience you possibly can while here on this Earth in this lifetime. I’m in AA and I love AA, it got me sober, it changed my life, it helped me get the friends I have, and most importantly AA helped me find God. But I don’t agree that there’s only one solution for everything or for everyone. I’m a big believer in finding every opportunity you can to have the best possible life you can, and never settle for less. Keep an open mind for all the endless possibilities out there, know that it is possible to live the life you desire, and never, ever give up.

giving-up

The above image was taken from Money Saving Mom’s blog.

Love and light,

TCH

Surfing and Crying

If anyone can be in a bad mood while on vacation in Hawaii, it’s me.

The time that I look forward to is early morning when the sun’s rising, and I sit alone on the balcony of the 27th floor of this time share right in Honolulu, in Waikiki Beach, and I look out at the vast city buildings, and the even more vast sea and sky beyond that, and I do my meditation to connect with my spirit guides, and I close my eyes and pretend that it’s a crystal city, that light’s pouring into my crown chakra from the outer reaches of the atmosphere, and orangey-red lighted roots extending up from the core of the earth into my root chakra, and that my arms are outstretched, creating electric static lights to the outer reaches of the universe, like one of those old glass spheres that makes squiggly lights run through it while simultaneously running along the outside of the sphere. I imagine I’m flying out over the city and to the sea, and I pretend that there’s not the occasional ambulance siren going off, no motors from city buses, no buzzing from the window unit behind me, and that I’m okay with not going back to the north shore, which is where I’d rather be.

The only people at the north shore are rich hippies, or well-to-do people with more interesting taste, judging by the minimal and quaint cottage-y local shops and art studios, and best of all, the beach is bare. The water is too rough this time of year, and I don’t swim anyway, so I’d rather be walking there. Waikiki, where I’m staying, is lined with shops ranging from Forever 21 to Rolex, and so many people on the beach you can barely walk. I have never seen so many people on one beach.

This morning when I woke up, I decided I will look into surfing lessons. My boyfriend mentioned it last night, and I immediately said no, because the truth is, I’m scared of the water. He’s more of an adventurer, which I admire, but I’m also fearful. Water over my head just scares me. I don’t like it in my ears and eyes, and especially not in my nose.

Last night we met a surfing instructor, a guy at an AA meeting we decided to check out. Last night I had a dream about this (good-looking, dark-haired, ex-military) guy, that he was my boyfriend, and I was being unfaithful to him, with another surfer who I know from Maryland, a tall and beautiful dreadlocked, half-white, half-black young musician who moved to the Outer Banks, but not before giving me a beaded bracelet and ring that he made, which have an eye on the center beads, and I wear them all the time.

That’s what I like about my current boyfriend. He’s fun and he likes people, and people like him. But being alone with him for this long of a time period is driving me nuts.

Every little thing he does lately annoys me, and when I find myself internally criticizing, trying so hard and unsuccessfully oftentimes, I don’t like myself for it. Why can’t I just let someone be themselves? Do I not love myself enough to let other people have their own journey? But the way he chews and talks with his mouth open, or loudly exclaims at the price of something while shopping, or beams at the Starbucks across the street, or complains that the moderate hike is too hard for him, I want to scream. I feel like a teenager, and he’s my embarrassing parent, hindering my personal growth and freedom of self-expression.

Being with the same person 24/7 is not easy, especially in a studio apartment without the personal time and space that I crave so much. The thing is, I’m going through another stage of spiritual growth, and history has shown that I don’t stay in relationships when that happens. Which means I may never be able to stay in a relationship… but I won’t worry about forever and never today. What I will say is that my beliefs are changing, and I have yet to find a way to stay with the same person when that happens, when the beliefs are fundamentally different, and I find it intolerable to stay with someone whose beliefs are radically different from my own, or who’s on a different path. The thing is, how often do we find those who are on our same path? For me it has been rare, though I wonder if it’s just because I simply haven’t been in an area among people whose views are more aligned with my own. On the other hand, everyone has their own journey, and it’s impossible to be on the same one with someone else, at least all of the time… isn’t it? There are only two people I can think of in my life who I’ve been on a similar journey with, and that’s just a similar journey and not the exact same path at the same time.

I want to write so much more but my laptop battery is dying and I don’t want to wake my boyfriend, who’s pretending to sleep in the bedroom so I can have space out here on the balcony where there’s no outlet to plug in the laptop. The good news is that we’ve decided to relax on the beach today, a beach we found where there are hardly any people further north from here though not quite at the north shore where the waters are too rough. So far we’ve been running around trying to fit everything in and we are exhausted.

Maybe today I’ll gather the courage to try surfing, and allow my boyfriend to be his own Southern, dad-like self, and I’ll… well, I’ll just try to be nice.

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

On the Tip of a Melting Iceberg?

Yesterday I went to an herbalist at school to try Chinese herbs for my anxiety and depression. I’ve been on Wellbutrin for a few months, after having been on Prozac for a year, and I’d like to try something more natural for my body. The Prozac made me feel fatigued, and the Wellbutrin makes me feel mildly numb or apathetic. Not completely robotic, but not completely human either. Feelings should be felt, even the painful ones that I don’t really want to face, ever. Not that I’m experiencing painful feelings at the moment, but I’m just saying.

These kinds of healthcare visits always make me think. Probe. Into the dark recesses of my mind, or soul, heart. I’d just gotten finished re-reading a passage from Louise Hay’s You Can Change Your Life from the chapter on how to change, and I’d wondered if I’d ever even read it before. She’s all about positive thinking and the law of attraction, and I’d decided to get back onto that train. But the problem is, this herbalist starts asking me all these probing questions and finally zeros right in on the center of my pain: “So what is it about your mom that you miss?”

My mom died suddenly a year and a half ago, and four months afterward I started taking Prozac. The pain was so unbearable I just didn’t want to deal with it.

So the herbalist asks this question, and that’s when the tears came, but only for a minute, and more like half a tear, because I just don’t want to cry. Been there, done that, let’s move forward.

The Louise Hay book was in my bag, I was at school, and I’d ordered it for a friend of mine who I’ve been wanting to help, trying to help for a couple of years now. But as I read it, I realized maybe I hadn’t even read this particular book before, although my Amazon account showed that I’d ordered it already on my Kindle, probably a few years ago. I know I’ve read some of her other books, but I wasn’t remembering this passage, even though it’s stuff I know. It’s just that we all need reminders—I do, anyway. Louise Hay’s law of attraction philosophy has been on my mind again the last couple of days, along with how my sponsor and my therapist have told me I don’t have to force myself to try to be single. So now I’m beginning a new story to rewire into my consciousness which is that there’s a good man out there for me, someone who loves and respects me for who I am, who will allow me my independence, who’ll be faithful, who I have good chemistry with, and the relationship will be one in which we have friends together and outside of our relationship. Because prior to this I’d been telling myself just the opposite: The pool of available, good single men gets more and more limited the older they get, I won’t find a good guy, I’ll be single forever, and if I do get into a relationship it will feel like a trap and/or won’t be healthy. Eventually that thought pattern leads to Eff this whole town I’m gonna get me a tiny house, live on some land and get some goats. (Because that’s the thought process everyone goes through, right? LOL… PS: Baby goat season is almost here and I cannot WAIT to go to the farm and see them!) These are all old ideas–about the relationship, not the adorable baby goats–but the old ideas about relationships will hold me back if I allow myself to believe them. How do I know there’s not some great guy out there right now who’s maybe going through the process of a divorce and will be ready for a relationship in the future, with me? Someone who’s really funny, and who finds me funny too.

head

The other thing is, I saw myself on video recently, twice, and it was… jarring, to say the least. It’s been bothering me ever since. First of all, I look weird. On the video I look nothing like how I look to myself in the mirror. My mouth is crooked, I move my mouth in a funny way when I speak, my face is asymmetrical, and I don’t understand how anyone finds me attractive. I’m grateful that some people think that–don’t get me wrong. And that part is not important on a deeper level; it just sparks my curiosity. More importantly, more disturbingly, I can see how people find me to be someone who doesn’t show her emotions. Mark had said I keep my cards close, or something like that, whatever the saying is, I have a poker face. It reminds me how others have expressed surprise in the past when I voiced my care or concern over an issue—they’d say, Oh I thought you didn’t notice or care. The videos were for an assignment we had to do for my clinical skills class in which we are to interview a mock client and in it we ask them questions about their health and background. We’re supposed to show empathy and comfort. The good news is that a classmate said I seem like a natural and she could see that in me, but the things is, I cannot see it when I watch the video. I don’t think my customers at work can see it, I’m sure my family doesn’t see it (but then, they don’t see a lot of things), many of my friends don’t see it, and I’m concerned I won’t be able to show it when I become a licensed nutritionist. That classmate and I had a conversation about it afterwards and she said that she herself is expressive so much that when someone tells her something shocking she can’t hide her surprise, and that for me to be more poker-faced is a positive attribute because if a client tells me something I don’t want to show it if I’m surprised or judgmental about it. This is true, but it really bothers me.

So the herbalist gave me some Chinese herbs, some that are designed to “break apart things,” she said. I love how acupuncturists and Chinese medical practitioners always describe things in a way that make no sense to anyone else but make perfect sense to them. They always use their hands when they describe it too, and they always pause before describing it (love you, K!). I’m in a hurry to get ready for work right now so I can’t elaborate, but more on that later. But I am pretty sure I’m picking up what she was throwing down there, which is that I’ve buried a lot of feelings and really need to release them. So maybe I’m on the tip of an iceberg that’s about to melt?

Sigh.

The thing is, I want to bypass all of that and get to the happy part. I just want to be happy! All the time. LOL.

But life is a process, and more layers get peeled back all the time.

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:

Good Guys, Bad Guys, and the Ugly Truth

John Welwood, a writer and psychologist I’d never heard of until reading his article, “Intimate Relationship as a Spiritual Crucible” (in this month’s Lion’s Roar), just became my new spiritual hero. My Kindle is charging right now so I can buy one of his books, because I feel like I just found the answer to my relationship troubles, which is this: at their worst, relationships can bring out the deepest, most painful feelings of being unloved, but when we can face those feelings, accept that they’re there, accept who we are and who our partner is, we can grow spiritually. We must have the breakdown to get to the breakthrough. The key is “not losing our twoness in the oneness, while not losing our oneness in the twoness.”

This is always the problem I run into. In the beginning, my partner is my world, which means that after some time, my world becomes small. Instead of having my own friends, my time alone, my hobbies, I spend all my free time with the guy. With my ex-husband, I eventually did my own thing all the time, without spending much time with him, and he did his own thing. It was like living with a roommate instead of a partner. Each of us swam in our own fishbowl. Then I became intertwined with Steven, and none of my free time was spent on self-care, unless it was during a period of him shutting me out during his depressive episodes, and those times for me were spent feeling abandoned and hurt while trying to ignore that I felt that way, trying to spiritually bypass those feelings, which is one of the ways Welwood says we try to avoid the pain of being in a relationship. The other way is to leave altogether, which is ultimately what happens in my relationships, hence two divorces and my current singlehood at 41 years of age.

Another Buddhist whose name I can’t remember once said something that struck me, which was that when you become committed to a relationship, what you must know is that you’re going to have times in which you feel lonely. Being married does not change that. I know this from experience, and I’d say it’s more painful than being single and feeling lonely. When the other person switches from being the one who saved me from myself (which by the way is not the role a partner can realistically/healthily play) to the one who destroyed me, or worse, ignored or did not acknowledge me, or abandoned me—it opens up deep-rooted childhood wounds of not feeling accepted, unloved, unloveable. According to Welwood, everyone has these feelings at some point because everyone has had some kind of disappointment that probably started in childhood, because that’s just life. If you want your relationship to work, you must be willing to get down to the nitty gritty reality and ride the waves when tough times come.

One important point I want to raise here is that one could use this argument as a basis to accept abuse, and that’s one situation that I can’t condone. Also, I feel that both partners must be willing to commit—this can’t be the kind of situation in which your partner constantly breaks it off while you wait around and take them back when they decide they want to return to you.

My first thought as I was reading this was to send it to my ex and tell him that the ugliness that revealed itself in the end was what happens in a relationship, no one’s perfect, I said something hurtful to him that opened a deep wound within him that could not be healed or forgiven or forgotten, and that was this: I felt that you hugged your daughter too much, and it seemed inappropriate because she’s 13 now and getting too old for that.

No matter that I prefaced it with how it was my own issue, that I felt jealous, and no matter that I explained that I have my own childhood issues. No matter that I apologized, multiple times, that I admitted I was wrong, there’s no age limit on hugging one’s child, that I emphasized that never once did I think he was a child molester or that he’d ever even thought of molesting his child. How can a person recover from that? In my case, it wasn’t possible. What I’d thought was that maybe a man should keep more physical distance from his daughter as she grows older, but that because he’d never been a father to a teenage girl before he didn’t know about that “rule,” this rule I’d created, or grown up with, because my family hugs each other but we’re not as affectionate as some families. That’s just it. Some families are more affectionate than others. What I’d wanted was for him to show his kids that I was part of the family too, that I was his partner, but instead I felt like an extra wheel to their trio of unconditional love that happens between parent and child.

My therapist suggested that maybe I purposely and subconsciously sabotaged the relationship because I began to feel it wasn’t working. He’d placed unrealistic expectations on me to skip out on visiting my sister and stepfather for Thanksgiving (right after my mom died) and visit his father in the nursing home, his father who’d abused him and who hadn’t seen in five years, who’d been living in Ohio in a nursing home for the past three years. And he’d wanted me to have telepathy, to just know that’s what he wanted me to do, so he told me it didn’t matter if I went or not, then became angry and hurt when I expressed my choice to visit my family. I changed my mind when I saw how much it meant to him that I be there for him, but the truth was that I just could not be there for him during that time. Resentment grew because I felt that he was putting a time limit on my grief over my mom’s death.

The only thing worse than being hurt by someone else, for me, is knowing you hurt someone else and destroyed the very relationship you cherished above all else.

I want to believe we could’ve gotten through both of those situations, and maybe we could have. But the next hurdle to overcome would be that I need my space and time away from him, and he was not into “sharing” me with other people. I chose to spend my time with him—it was what I wanted, too. But now that I’ve had time away from him, have made my own friends, have my own haven, I don’t want to go back to that. At the time my sponsor told me that reconciliation was possible but it would have to be a different relationship.

The good part that came from all this pain is that I grew spiritually. Oh my God. Tenfold. Especially because my mother had died suddenly a few months prior to this. I’d believed he was my savior, that if I couldn’t have my mom anymore then at least I had a partner to take care of me. But the truth is, no one’s going to save me or take care of me except for me, with the help of a higher power that I call God.

Now I have a better idea of what I want from a relationship. I know–intellectually, let’s be real here–that finding a partner will not fix me. Practicing it is another thing, but I have the knowledge. I’ve spent many months beating myself up over saying those words to my ex, and I still regret it and feel ashamed for having expressed that, telling myself that no matter what I do in my next relationship, don’t ever express jealousy on that level. Writing this here and posting this is not easy for me, because I’m afraid you’ll all judge me, and I’ve wrestled with it for some time, but here it is. The ugly truth.

When I was a kid there was a song that used to come on the radio by Dave Mason called “We Just Disagree,” and in it he sings, “There ain’t no good guys / There ain’t no bad guys / There’s only you and me and we just disagree.” We are each human, trying to make our way. Sometimes we eff up. It’s what happens after that, how we handle it, that matters, where the spiritual growth comes.

I want to give this article to whoever I get into a serious relationship with next time, to say, Look here, buddy. Shit’s gonna happen. Do you want to be in this together or not? And if dude cannot handle conflict—if we cannot handle conflict together—then it’s just not going to work.

So there you go. For anyone out there who’s been following my blog for these past several months, wondering what in the world I could’ve said that was so bad, there you have it.

Now I’d rather feel the occasional loneliness that inevitably happens at some point during a relationship than be single. It’s not that I feel lonely all the time as a single person—I enjoy my solitude. The prospect of being in another relationship feels scary because I don’t want to lose the time I’ve gained building friendships and focusing on my own growth. At the same time, I want to be able to do that while in a relationship. That would be the ultimate growth, or so it seems to me.

I’m on eHarmony because the guys there want to be in a relationship, and because we each get to be honest and open about who we are and what we want, up front. Not that I put on my profile page that I’m a sober alcoholic, but I did write that I don’t smoke, drink, or do drugs, ever, and am looking for someone who’s the same. A light or occasional drinker is okay but if there’s someone out there who loves to learn about craft beers or visit wineries, they can move right along and that will be fine with me. it’s not a secret that I’m a sober alcoholic but the guy can meet me first and then decide if he thinks I’m a train wreck he can’t deal with, because I know I’m not. Guys with small children or even teenagers are a no-go for me at this point. Honestly, there are a lot of no-gos for me at this point. The most important part is that the guy not be a commitment-phobe. Don’t drag me into something that you hope will develop into something more only to realize that not only can I not fix you but I have the power to destroy you—or rather, you may feel destroyed, but you’re not. I sure as hell felt destroyed in the end, but that’s just the point at which I hit bottom, which was the necessary place to go before I could emerge a stronger, more resilient person, capable of loving and being loved. Maybe one day he and I can forgive each other, and I must say there’s no way in hell I’ll ever tell another guy he hugs his kid too much or that it’s inappropriate, but I’ll probably say or do something else that cuts his heart, just as he’ll do for me, but I believe that it’s when you can grow together through the painful times that a deeper love can develop.

So maybe I’m codependent but I am determined to learn how to be in a healthy relationship, which is why I go to Codependents Anonymous. AA saved my life—faith in God saved my life—and I’m grateful to have found a new way of life compared to the hellhole I used to live in. Maybe online dating is a distraction for me to feel better about myself by looking outside of me when the solution lies within. And I am looking within, too. After having been rejected a second time, after the ex, by a guy who uses spirituality as a means of emotional detachment, I’ve decided to give eHarmony a shot. I don’t seem to have a good “picker,” as they say in the rooms, so I’m letting an online dating algorithm do it for me. Because my picker lately seems to choose men who do not want to commit, after having chosen men who put me on a pedestal, who I wasn’t that into but knew would never leave me. It’s time to find someone in between those extremes.

Today is a good day. I’m off to Zumba here in a few, and later I’ll get to hear Sharon Salzberg speak for Tara Brach. Salzberg has written a lot of beautiful, powerful words about loving-kindness, compassion, and living life on a spiritual basis, and I feel honored to get to see her in person tonight.

00salzberg