Don't Be Tardy for the Party

My bestie from childhood invited me to ring in the New Year in the ATL. Rather than dropping $100 on tickets to some overrated NYE party, we decided to get our club fix last night at Tongue and Groove in Buckhead. Turns out, we weren't the only ones with this bright idea and ended up waiting in line, shivering in the cold for a good half hour. Why they wouldn't just let everyone in, I don't know. Let's be real; this is Atlanta, not New York. The club was next to a damn Taco Mac and a Five Guys.

Once we finally got inside and avoided paying cover (thanks to a bartender who'd put our names on the list), we waded through the sea of peeps who were, despite rocking music, just standing there. No one except the scantily clad cage dancer was even doing so much as a fist pump. People were just milling around, overpriced drinks in hand, looking like middle schoolers at an overcrowded, smoky sock hop. My bestie, a light weight, and her friend did two shots in a row, so I figured someone ought to stay sober. 

We managed to find a spot upstairs to dance. Naturally the douchebags began to pounce. My friend, newly single and a total hottie, was deservedly getting a lot of attention--just not from very nice dudes. My overprotective side came out when one persistent asshole kept grabbing her, even after I pulled her from him away three different times. I yelled in his ear, "She doesn't like you. Go away!" He grabbed her again, and that was it. I was PISSED. I pushed him off of her and shrieked, "STAY THE FUCK AWAY FROM HER, ASSHOLE!" My bestie's friend turned to her and said, "I like her." 

Eventually we found a better spot to dance. One stumbling drunk told me I look like the girl in the Bourne Identity. I told him I live in DC. He said, "Oh, so you must work for the government?" "No, actually I don't." "Good," he replied. "One less person to pay." 

Being the sober one in a crowded, smoky club isn't the most fun thing in the world. But the other two were having such a good time that I just had to laugh and join them in dancing up on one of the stages. That's when I realized we were almost at eye level with the DJ, and I realized this was my chance to redeem the night. I was going to get this guy to play my favorite song. I started shouting, "Ceelo! Ceelo!" I made a pathetic attempt at sign language, forming a "C" then an "L" and then an "O" with my hands. He still didn't get it. So, I flicked him off with two hands and mouthed, "Fuck you!"

Hmm. Maybe should have thought that one through first. Quickly I shook my head and said, "No no no!" and did the pathetic sign language again. "Ceelo! Ceelo!" "One minute," he mouthed back. Song after song played, but no Ceelo. The music began winding down and they did a "practice" countdown for NYE. I thought all hope was gone...and then "Fuck you" came on. I started jumping up and down, both of my hands flicking the crowd off and acting a fool as I blew kisses to the DJ, my new best friend. 

Who cares if I was sober, had to deal with asshole guys, and got cigarette smoke in my hair? I managed to get the DJ to play the best song of all time. I call that a good night. 

Hopes for the New Year

You'd think an extra day at home to spend with my mom eating Thai food and watching season 2 of Dexter would've made me smile, not cry. But knowing that eventually I'd have to leave home again and return to the desolate land of my sublet room in Arlington had me in tears. It doesn't matter if I'm there for 2 days or 2 weeks; it never feels like enough.

Don't get me wrong. My family drives me nuts when I'm there. My nephew shot me in the face with a Nerf gun. My oldest brother refused to join my mom and me in Augusta to see my other brother who was on call at the hospital on Christmas, opting instead to go to an NFL game. My mom snored all night long on Christmas, keeping me up and making me want to put a pillow over her face.

And yet, I love them more than anything. I feel like I'm missing so much when I'm in DC. And I'm finally beginning to see that as long as I'm there, it will almost always be me making the trip to see them, not the other way around. In the five and a half years of living a plane ride away from home, I've been visited four times by my mom; two times by my middle brother, and zero times by my oldest brother. It's not that they don't care. It's just...I don't know. I'm the only one far away. Being a plane ride away takes out all the spontaneity of traveling, at least for those of us on a budget. It'd be so much easier if we all could just jump in the car and be together for a random weekend.

Now I'm back thinking that I do want to move, maybe not right away but eventually. My uncle in Chapel Hill is building a new house and his paid-for condo probably won't do well on the market, given the housing situation nationwide. He said, mostly in jest, "It would make my life a lot easier if you'd move to North Carolina." But, it got me thinking about what life would be like there. All of my emotions aside, next to DC the Research Triangle is probably the best place for me work-wise. I was contacted by someone there a few weeks ago who works on population issues. She'd be a great contact. And, I even met a man from there a few weeks ago that I instantly clicked with. I told him I was thinking of moving and he said, "I'd be your friend!"

I'm not into New Year's resolution (although I do plan to join a new gym when I get back to DC, only because my current one smells like a diaper.) But I do have hopes for this year--that it would be a time when something clicks. That I'd get that opportunity, meet that person, realize that one thing that will make the foreseeable future a little less daunting. That I'd realize where I'm supposed to be--DC, NC, or somewhere else--and feel at peace about it. I'm open to all of the possibilities before me.

How to Ruin Christmas for Your Mom

Step 1. Mention in passing to your mom something you think is "crazy expensive" and that you'd never purchase for yourself.

Step 2. Begin cyberstalking of this product the day after said comment.

Step 3. Find lowest price possible on product and place it into e-cart.

Step 4. Delete product from e-cart.

Step 5. Repeat steps 3 and 4 ad nauseum.

Step 6. Finally muster up enough balls to actually purchase product, justifying it as a "Christmas present for myself." 

Step 7. Receive product and excitedly begin using immediately.

Step 8. Mention to mom that you found "an incredible deal" on said product and purchased it for yourself last week.

Step 9. Watch mom's face drop as she tells you she bought you the same thing as your big Christmas gift.

Step 10. Feel like an asshole.

Close Encounters of the Asshole Kind

Who would have thought that not dating would mean more encounters with assholes? I sure as hell didn't.

Early last week I knew what I'd be walking into. I was asked, as a board member of a non-profit, to be present at a protest--not on the side of the protesters, not even as a counter-protester, but as a "peaceful presence." We were going to be intentionally few in number and that made me nervous. As it turns out, there were 15 of us among 300 angry protesters. Stomach churning, I stood silently, listening to speech after speech of vitriol, wondering how if I were to meet any of those gathered to protest in another setting how things might be different. They might say with a smile, "Hello, how are you? Nice to meet you" instead of,"You're not welcome here" with dagger eyes and clenched fists. 

While I'd been prepared for Monday's frustration, I had no idea that later on in the week when I was at a holiday party for a women's organization that it'd be crashed--by men, no less. Men who were there to intimidate and condemn. Men who were there to be assholes--to scream and yell at people gathered for a fucking holiday party. I don't know where I got the strength, but I put my hand on one of their shoulders and (mostly) silently guided them out the door.

Once they left, I lost my composure. I went to the bathroom and cried. I felt disempowered, terrorized, and furious. How could anyone think that it's actually effective for any cause to yell, to intimidate, to crash a holiday party? The thing is, I think some people just want to act like assholes. They don't actually want to further their cause or convince someone to adopt their point of view. I can assure you the party crashers did nothing but make everything at the party  think they were crazy douche bags. 

But, why do people seem to enjoy being assholes? If I've been even slightly rude to someone, even if it's "called for," I feel like a jerk. So how is that some people seem to thrive being this way? 

Which brings me to my next point, online assholes. Why the hell do people spend their time trolling sites and leaving nasty comments? Seriously it would never occur to me to actively go seeking an opportunity to be a jackass. I was in a Twitter conversation with Date Me, DC! about this, and people had a lot to say. The comment that puzzled me the most was something along the lines of, "If you let mean comments get to you, then it says something about you. You need thicker skin"

Thicker skin is the solution to dealing with assholes, huh? I would argue that thick skin--or being calloused-- is exactly what allows people to act like arrogant assholes in the first place. Interesting, when I was at the party and started crying, no one there said, "Hey, get thicker skin. They're just assholes." No, people put their arms around me, listened to me fume, and stood with me. I want to hang onto my humanity, my emotions, my ability to be hurt by other people. It's in part what keeps me from being an asshole in return, even as I'm being screamed at by arrogant pricks. 

So, how about this--how about we stop tolerating asshole behavior online and in person? How about when we encounter them, we confront them instead of being silenced and blaming ourselves for feeling hurt and not having thick skin? That way, we can help stop the behavior rather than having to become callous ourselves. 

And the Winner is...

(#46 chosen by

Congrats on your $35 gift certificate to CSN Stores! (Though I hope you buy something more fun than a hamper.) Many thanks to CSN for sponsoring my first giveaway.

Happily Uninteresting

I was told, on another blog (and on this one at one point), that I write a boring blog. I suppose it was meant to be an insult, but I didn't receive it that way. In part, I have to kind of agree:  my blog is not all that interesting as of late. And believe it or not,  I'm actually kind of happy about that.

A few months ago I was blogging daily, getting tons of hits, and receiving loads of comments. Ah, those were the days. Except for the fact that I was dealing with terrible heartache. While it was a temporary ego-boost to have more readers and to have new comments every time I logged into blogger, sadly that didn't make things in real life any less shitty. If I had to choose between having a lot of blog readers and not feeling shitty, guess which one I'd pick. The same applies to being subjected to horribly awkward first dates. Fun to blog about, not fun to endure. Plus you've already got Katie blowing that shit out of the water. .

Sitting in therapy today, I struggled to find anything over the last week that I felt was in need of serious conversation. Strangely, the same thing had happened at last week's session, too. At first I felt like this was because I hadn't been reflecting on my life enough (self-judgment), but then I saw that it has simply been a time of...normalcy. Took me awhile to recognize it. Sure, the remnants of homesickness are still there, as are the ever-passing thoughts of moving somewhere else, but I'm not longer feeling like I'm in some inescapable abyss that I'll never pull out of. And contrary to my own belief that I have to work really hard to get anywhere with anything, I didn't have to do shit to get out of it other than wait and accept that was where I was. It was in the not-doing that I was lifted out. Who knows if I'll find myself back there next week or next month, but for now, I'm out. That is something to give thanks for.

Maybe my life is boring. Or maybe it's actually just what life looks like when the storm has exhausted itself and the calm and stillness set in. After the ups and downs of the last few months, I'm grateful for this unfamiliar peace. I'm grateful that the excitement in my life is coming through attending a counter-protest in yesterday's freezing cold weather, getting interviewed by a news website, Christmas shopping for my Star Wars-obsessed nephew, celebrating my friend's retirement, and eating sweet potato latkes for the first time. Non-boy related things, things I typically don't talk about in my blog. Things I keep within my own heart and my community in real life.

Maybe it's boring to read about. But it's sweet to live it. And really, that's all that matters to me.

P.S. You still have time to enter my giveaway!

Hibernation, Anyone?

I didn't go to church this morning. I meant to. I was up hours before the 11:00 service down the street from me was beginning. I even interrupted my viewing of Devil Wears Prada to piece together what could be, in a sense, construed as an outfit. A disastrous outfit--sort of too big black pants, faded black Gap tee, overly dressy cardigan (trying to make up for the rest of the outfit), and snuggly, slipper-esque ankle boots. Not to mention no shower and no make-up. I checked myself out in the mirror, realized what I had on was essentially a modification of pajamas, and put my flannels back on. (They are pretty damn cute pajamas.)

Nick & Nora Womens Flannel Kimono Coat Set - Red XL
My winter uniform
At a very base level, I did't want to leave my room, much less step outside into the cold. Really I admire anyone who voluntarily leaves their house now that it's become frigid. One of the downsides of going home for Thanksgiving was being spoiled by 70+ degree temps only to return to DC to find that the son-of-a-bitch winter has arrived. The dark cold has taken a toll on the city, it seems. I was at a Chanukah party last night, and it was as if everyone had popped an Ambien along with their cocktail. By the time I left, at the reasonable hour of 11:00, the host was nearly passed out on her couch, not from too much gelt or wine or sweet potato latkes, but from sheer exhaustion.

I say we all go into hibernation, an idea I've been pushing this idea since my first horrid winter in Connecticut in 2005. I can see how it might take awhile for this trend to catch on, but hear me out. You are forced to pack on extra weight for survival (why yes, I do require another slice of peppermint chocolate cheesecake;); take a long, deep sleep through the winter months; wake up in the spring with your pre-hibernation figure, and then indulge in some spring fever-induced romance. I think it's the perfect plan. Who's with me?

P.S. Be sure to enter my giveaway! Winner announced this coming Friday. :-)

Finals Time

I pride myself on being The Non-Student (if I have anything to do it I will maintain that status until the day I die--mark my word!), but I can't help but feel like I'm in finals mode right now. Probably because the second I landed in DC Monday night, I said to myself, "Three weeks, girlfriend. Three weeks and then you get to go back home."

It's pretty much the same attitude I had in college and grad school: quick, get over that Thanksgiving turkey coma and kick some paper/exam/studying ass! Since my project runs on the calendar year, I really am scrambling like a stressed-out student to get all the loose ends tied. The big thing I've got to do is write a report for our funder, which seems kind of pointless now because they've already cut us another check for 2011. Yay employment!

Merry Christmas II You
I see the next two-ish weeks as a to-do list. Buy this gift. Go to this party. Finish up this project. Two weeks seems doable. But living life as a to-do list is a pretty shitty way of going about life. It's just all I seem to be able to manage here lately. At least it's the holidays and I can crank Mariah Carey and buy stocking stuffers and burn candles that smell like pumpkin and candy canes to counteract the dark and cold because hello, apparently it is winter now. When did this happen?

If you're a non-student like me, do you still kind of feel like you're on an academic calendar? Are you just counting down until you (hopefully) get to eat lots of delicious food and wear pajamas all day and catch up on all of the seasons of The Real Housewives?

P.S. Enter my giveaway! That'll put you in the holiday spirit.

Happy Holiday Giveaway from CSN

*Note: This Giveaway has ended. I hope to have another one in the near future!

Peeps, two monumental things have happened this week. #1. I have surpassed 100 followers! #2. I was approached about doing a giveaway on my blog. Basically, I feel totally affirmed in my blogger identity.  And as a treat for you, the giveaway--what better time than the holidays to host my first one?! I have a $35 gift certificate to give away to CSN Stores, which has 200+ stores full of fantastic gifts--shoes, jewelry, home decor, etc. Personally I'm really eying their leather messenger bags for toting my junk around in style! 

Just what can you can get with your $35? How about...

Skyline Silver Sterling Silver Heart Neckalce $34

Alessi Banana Boys Wine Stoppers $38

Jovi Home Grace Chenille Throw $32 and up 

You can definitely find something for someone on your holiday buying list--or just treat yourself! Don't worry, I won't judge. 

To enter:
*Mandatory: leave a comment about how you'd use your $35 at CSN (1 entry).
*Become a follower of my blog or comment that you already are (1 extra entry)
*Follow me on Twitter or let me know if you already do (1 extra entry) 
*Blog about my giveaway and comment with the link (3 extra entries)

Giveaway ends at midnight (EST) on Thursday, December 9th. Make sure to include your email, so I can get in touch with you! I'll announce the winner (picked by a random number generator) on Friday, December 10th. Good luck!

Scared of Flights

Are you scared of flying? If not, you should be.

You all know how I feel about leaving Georgia to come back to DC. Nothing new about that. Even though I knew I'd be coming again in just a few short weeks, I cried per usual when my mom dropped me off at the airport. If the tears weren't torture enough, I had to go through the humiliation of the full-body scan (you know some guy is totally getting off on that shit) and a subsequent left thigh groping. There was no "patting down" going on. It was full-on leg assault. I thought the whole point of going through the body scanner was avoiding the groping? Apparently it was a double deal that day. Couple that with a two-hour delay due to "mechanical problems" and an assigned seat in the very last row and having water spilled all over me...well, I was a total peach, as I'm sure you can imagine.

But see, all of this is to be expected. Flying is a miserable thing we put ourselves through to see our loved ones. If I didn't get paid to do it most of the time, I would avoid flying at all costs. I do it enough to know that these annoyances are to be expected, and when you manage to avoid them, it's nothing short of miraculous.

What I wasn't prepared for was what when I landed. I was waiting to be picked up, so I picked a quiet spot to camp out in. I was busying myself with important tasks like Gchat when an airport employee walked up to me. The guy was probably in his 60s. Nice grandfather type, or so I thought.

"Are you waiting to be picked up?" he asked.

"Yes, just coming back from being home with my family," I answered, thinking he was just being friendly.

"Well, I figured it was that or you were sitting in the time out chair."

Hmm, ok. Kind of weird, but I get it--I'm sitting alone. Old men like to relate to young women as if they're children. Infuriating, but true. I sort of laughed it off, hoping he'd go away but he continued

"People my age don't know what you're talking about when you say 'time out chair.' In my day, we just got spanked," he said.

Hmm, this is taking a weird turn. I laughed it off, this time a bit more uncomfortably, "Yeah, it's a new way of parenting for sure. Self-esteem and all that."

I really, really wanted him to fuck off. I wasn't even making eye contact at that point, trying to say, "Hey, get the hell away from me." But no, he continued. With more spanking talk. Like when he'd been spanked as a child--what the offenses were, etc. And then how he'd spanked his own children, like when his daughter had told her mother to shut up. This was an EXTENDED conversation--or, monologue I should say--and then it got even worse.

"If you'd done something like that, would you have been spanked?" he asked.


"I was the sort of kid that hated getting in trouble. I never would have said that to my mom," I said. All true.

But he kept pushing the whole spanking thing. He found at least three ways to ask me about being spanked, each time I avoided the question. And in the end, I suppose frustrated with my evasion of the spanking talk, he just outright asked, "Were you spanked as a child?"

"Not really," I said, completely horrified and just wanting him to leave me alone. What I should have said was, "Look, you fucking sicko, this is NOT a normal conversation you have with a stranger. I'm sure you get off on this shit, so go post a craigslist ad or something, but leave me the fuck alone!" 

Has the whole flying industry become sexualized? Anti-terrorism, my ass! That whole experience was completely terrorizing. Put this experience on the list of "why I want to live close to my family."

Mile High Blogging

So, I really have nothing interesting to say (what's new, right?), but at this very moment, my mind is being blown. Why? Because my AirTran flight home has complimentary WiFi (thanks Google Chrome). And that means I can do things on the Internet while flying. Like blog. About nothing. *giggle*

So, my so-so date from Friday (who insisted on TALKING through Harry Potter! I know, I should've kicked him in the balls) has sent a follow up email. I'll write him back...eventually. He wasn't writing to ask for a second date. Instead he shared that he still isn't sure if he liked Harry Potter or not. (I know, another kick in the balls is due.) Interesting. Doesn't really make this HP aficionado want to write back. 

But, in better news, I am currently heading home (On a flight! Right now! With Wifi!) for a week to celebrate Thanksgiving with my family for the first time since 2007! The last two years I've been at SCL's (one of the only good parts about this break-up is not being subjected to his parents on holidays), so I am really looking forward to warm temperatures (high of 77 today), cuddling with my Yorkie, and time away from DC. 

I'll probably be blogging some this week, but I can almost guarantee that anything I post will be even less interesting than what I've written here. 

I Saw the Sign

When I was choosing my undergraduate institution, when I decided to get my masters, when I met SCL, when I left school for a period of time, when I accepted my current job, there were signs--confirmations, gut feelings, a sense of peace, resolution, and certainty. I am hoping, looking even, for a sign in this time of discernment.

Fun and hilarious dinner with Date Me, DC!--sign I should stay? Horrible DC happy hour full of networking assholes--sign I should leave? Yesterday I even broke my own "no dating" rule and went out with someone. Even then I was thinking, "Maybe if we have a connection...would that be a sign?" (We didn't, by the way.)

I am a person of faith and I do believe that being in an open, receptive state can bring about clarity--either through signs, a gut feeling, or some other sense of rightness. I'm not going to get my answer in a pro/con list.  Believe me, I've tried that. Multiple times. The truth is there are plenty of reasons for me to stay in DC and reasons for me to go; reasons for me to move to North Carolina and reasons for me not to.

Some have warned me, "Don't make an emotional decision." As if choices that concern the heart are ever entirely logical--or that they ought to be. As if emotions are unimportant and valueless. As if this desire to make a change in my life is me just being emotional (sexist, much?). The heart is important, and so are our feelings, even as they fade and change and confuse us.

So, instead of indulging in fantasies about a new life or fixating on the things I dislike about DC, I'm trying to practice openness and patience, hoping that once again the answer will come in time. I truly believe it will.

Give Me the Green Light

If it wasn't obvious in my last post, I have been considering the possibility of moving back to Charlotte, North Carolina. Considering the possibility. Ok, that and indulging in fantasies about what it would be like to be able to afford a real grown-up apartment on my own.

In thinking about a potential move, the only real hang-up I could foresee was my job. Other than travel stories, I haven't shared much about my work on the blog (hello, relative anonymity). I'm a contractor for a non-profit. I telecommute (i.e. work from home) about 95% of the time and essentially I can do my job anywhere there's Internet and a good airport. But, since I do advocacy work, it is helpful for me to be in DC--to go to meetings, briefings, and the occasional visit with a member of Congress. So, while not essential and not part of my contract, being in DC, at least some of the time, is a good thing for me professionally, both for right now and for future work opportunities. (Although I'm really wondering if I want to stay in this rat race for the long-run anyway.)

You can imagine my relief, then, when I brought this up with my supervisor and she said, "As a contractor, I can't tell you where you can do your work. It's illegal! That and the most important part of your job is not the work you do on the Hill but the grassroots work you're doing in the field." Shew, ok! Not a barrier.Plus DC is just an hour's flight from Charlotte. Then she said, "Forgive me, I'm taking off my professional hat now and putting on the friend hat, but I do worry that you may be trying to run away from problems that are rooted in the internal, not the external."

Let me say that my supervisor/boss is like another mother to me. She's someone I've known for years, and I feel incredibly thankful to work with her now. She's wise, grounded, and an incredible listener. She knows all about my life, SCL, and my general feelings of unhappiness. And if there's anyone in DC whose perspective I would want, it's hers.

"I agree with you," I admitted. I know that I have a shit-ton of work to do on myself. Happiness and satisfaction come from within, and if I want to experience them, I will have to do that hard work no matter where I end up living. But my feeling is that changing some of the external things and improving my quality of life that way may actually facilitate doing that internal work. Right now I feel like my attempts to do the internal work are actually being hindered by the external things in my life here.

If you'll indulge me, here are a few of the external things Charlotte would offer.
  • Lower cost of living
  • Slower pace of life
  • Better weather (NC springs are the best) 
  • Within driving distance of my entire immediate family
  • Within driving distance of my best friend
  • Hub for other alums from my college 
  • Familiarity 
  • Distance from SCL (I mean, c'mon. It's tough living 3 blocks away from each other sometimes.) 
  • Good friends and mentors in the area

What I truly want in this situation is to feel like I have a choice in the matter.If I decide to stay in DC, it will be because I chose to. And if I decide to move, it will be a decision I am making for myself. Knowing I have a choice is incredibly liberating. Now I've got a lot of discerning, thinking, and journaling to do. But I believe in time I'll have my answer.

Friends in Low Places?

"All logistics aside, whom among your friends here would you want to be with you right now?" my therapist C asked.

Just minutes before I'd given her a laundry list of depression-like symptoms I'd been experiencing over the past several weeks: anxiety, inability to focus, excessive sleep, weight loss. Overall I felt like I was being pulled underwater by an undertow, or riding my bike uphill with a full-force wind gusting against me. No matter how much I fought, I could not seem to pull myself up. For a relatively competent, strong-willed person, this was proving to be...well, depressing.

Of course the break-up and subsequent flailing about have been tough on me. But lately it had begun intensifying, and the feelings of sadness were becoming more extreme and debilitating. I've had my bouts of gloominess and mourning at different times in my life, but never had I experienced the despair of feeling like I could not get out of bed, could not take a shower, could not function normally. And it was freaking me the hell out. Part of me was hoping she'd say, "Let's get you an appointment with a psychiatrist." Let me pop some pills, let me be abdicated of any responsibility. But the symptoms were relatively new. At least for the time being it was "episodic," a "depressive state."

In addition to feeling like shit, I was feeling isolated, too. At some of my hardest moments, all I wanted was some company, to be with somebody else. But when C asked me the question, "Who do you want to be here?" and I mentally went through my list of friends in the area, I could not come up with a single person I felt I could call to come sit with me in my puffy-eyed, unshowered misery. "I can't think of anyone." The truth killed me.

Somehow in the following days I managed to get my momentum going. I forced myself out of the house, to happy hours, to friends' houses, to the gym. I bought myself ingredients to make my favorite soup and cozy new sweatpants. I practiced the kindness to self that's so new to me. And by the next week I returned to my time with C feeling like things were getting back to normal again.

Feeling normal, that is, until my weekend in North Carolina when I was reminded of what it's like to be loved and known. I cried the entire six hour drive back to DC. I kept saying to myself, "Why am I torturing myself by living here?" Hell, even if I was just as miserable in NC, at least I'd have friends there who care for me just down the road and family close by. And since then I've barely managed to get out of bed. I'm back down in the valley and feeling more discouraged than before. How can I muster up the energy to pull myself out of this shit yet again?

I see now that what I really want is what I'm lacking most here. Not friends, not acquaintances, not social groups, not outings, not happy hours. It's the feeling of belonging somewhere. Of having friends who not only are up for a night out but are there in the dark places. Of having community, connection, realness. The person I have that most with here is SCL.

My friend L said it best: "It's like you are having to fight for every ounce of happiness you have there." That's exactly how it feels--a fight, a battle both internal and external. And I'm just getting exhausted. C says it's normal to feel like there won't be anything other than these feelings. I guess in that way at least I'm "normal" because I'm just not seeing a way out of this one.

Coming Home

Homecoming is one of those compound words I never thought about having actual meaning. I know, it's not that complicated: Coming + home = Coming home = Homecoming. But that's because in high school Homecoming was just an excuse to have a popularity contest with the whole queen thing, buy an expensive dress and pretend  you are having fun at an awkward dance. But this weekend I experienced a true "coming home" when I arrived on my college campus for the first time since I graduated in 2005.

Although I expected to feel out of place therer, especially in my singleness, I rarely felt lonely while I was there. Honestly the formal events--the receptions, the dinners, etc--were not that great. It's fun to have a glass of wine with someone from your freshman hall, but I could only take so much of that. Not the wine part, the bullshitting part. Especially when my Barbie doll roommate (aka "Blondeboobs") is there, making me feel all inadequate and shit. Most of my close friends are from grad school, not my undergrad.

But, I really made an effort to make the weekend my own home coming. Instead of booking a hotel, I stayed with the chair of the biology department who also happened to be my ballroom dance coach while I was a student. I met up with my major advisor for lunch and visited my voice teacher's studio. I even made a trip (nerd alert) to the library to "visit" my senior honors thesis, bound and with my name on the spine. I saw friends from other classes who now live in the area and all claim to love it. They're even working on me to move there.

The real highlight was a four-hour breakfast I had with my favorite prof A. She and I have the quintessential relationship that my alma mater brags about--in school she was my mentor, and as an alum she's my friend. A really good friend in fact. I've been on vacation with her family. We have phone dates at least once a month. When I got to her house, the first thing I did was dump an entire mug of scalding hot coffee on  her white place mat and her pristine hardwood floors, not to mention my own lap. In any other situation, I would have been completely humiliated. What'd she do? Handed me her favorite pair of yoga pants, threw my jeans in the washer, and told me she'd done the same thing just days before. If that's not love, I don't know what is. I heart friends you can be your own idiotic self with--and who insist that you are not an idiot even when you know you really are.

It was a fantastic, peaceful weekend. I definitely felt at home, relaxed, and completely normal in my messiness. I felt connected, known, and understood. If only I could figure out a way to feel that way in DC.

Carolina in My Mind

I'm packing up to hit the road, but this time not for work. Imagine that! Tomorrow I'll be heading down to North Carolina for my fifth year college reunion. I've been looking forward to this since last fall when life looked a lot different.

I haven't been talking about  my ex SCL on the blog much anymore, but he's been on my mind this week, mostly because of this reunion. This may be the last occasion that I'd really looking forward to doing together. My college is the one place I idealize, and I smiled at the thought of worlds colliding, of bringing him into my circle of friends and beloved professors and memories. I pictured the ring that would inevitably be on my finger by then, one like this, and how I'd get to talk with my old classmates about save-the-dates and honeymoon plans. 

It was a pretty picture. And now it's another loss. 
My college town is straight out of a Norman Rockwell painting. It's got a Main Street with an old-school soda shop. The town is manicured and picturesque  in a way that normally would irritate me. I love the city, especially for its diversity and realness. But for me this college town is my happy place, the one place I've forgiven all the bad and romanticized the reality. I think we all need something like that.

But, I don't feel like I'm going to fit back into that pretty picture. I see my classmates who seem to fit right in with their gorgeous wedding photos and chubby-cheeked cherub children. They will fit, I think to myself. But me? I feel like I've fallen behind on some understood timeline, that regardless of its ridiculousness does at times like these make me feel inadequate. 

As much as I don't want it to, I realize that this weekend may bring feelings of loneliness, of grief, and I should try to prepare myself for that possibility. It's an opportunity for me to practice that kindness toward self that I keep talking about, to allow for the space to feel what I'm feeling. And, I also know it's going to be fantastically fun to be back in my college town. I've already got three catch-up sessions with my favorite professors lined up! And of course I will enjoy seeing old friends and talking about old times.

So, it will be a bittersweet weekend, but one that I'm looking forward to regardless. It's just one of those times I really wish I could share with SCL.

Let the Sunshine In

What better way to defy the impending onset of wintry darkness than belting out "Let the Sunshine In" on stage at the Kennedy Center with the cast of Hair?

For those of you who haven't seen the show, it doesn't have much of a plot. As one of my friends said, it's more of a mood than a plot. And by mood, I mean drug-induced hallucination. But, it is a rockin', energetic show that engages the audience like none other I've seen. So much in fact that at the end, they invite audience members to join the cast on stage to dance and sing with them.

Now, I was sitting in the second tier (read: nosebleed section), and I was trying to figure out if I could get down there in time. My friend and I looked at each and then booked it down four flights of stairs, only to hear what we thought was the end of the music. Damn. Not to mention people were exiting the show, so we were going against traffic. But, at that point I was determined to get my ass up there.

That was when we heard them start "Let the Sunshine In." We rushed down the aisle, and were met by two cast members who took us by the hand, helping us on stage and took us right to the very front. It was the most thrilling experience I've had in a long time, being up there with hundreds of people all dancing and singing together. And when the music was over, one of the leads came over and threw her arms around me, thanking me for coming to the show! I couldn't believe how gracious they were and how connected I felt, how I was totally feeding on their post-performance high.

I'll admit, when I was up in the balcony, I was hesitant to rush the stage. No one else in our section was moving. But then I thought, Fuck it. I'm probably never going to get to dance and sing on the Kennedy Center stage again. And I'm so glad I didn't let that fear of looking like a fool get in my way.

The Freedom of Not Dating

I realize my posts have been less frequent, which is not because I don't want to write. I do. But with my new "I'm not chasing boys anymore" attitude, I don't have any dates to agonize over with you all. While I'm a little bummed about that, the trade-off is that I feel good. Really freaking good. Not all the time, certainly, but in general, I'm good.

What I see now that I couldn't see a few months ago is that many of my motives for doing the dating thing in the first place were fear-based. Fear that I wouldn't find someone. Fear that no one would want to date me. Fear that I couldn't possibly connect with another man. For someone who just got out of a two-year relationship with the man she thought she'd marry, that was to be expected. And I don't think it was foolish or dumb to jump into dating. I think it was my way of proving to myself that I could date. But, what I realized after the disaster with Dr. Not-so-much was that I'm not ready to date.

I'm not saying I'm closed off to the idea of meeting someone, but I'm certainly not going to make it my life's mission. For awhile there, I was expending most of my mental and emotional energy on men, which put me in a high-risk situation. High risk of getting my heart stomped on again. And I did.

But, once again my heart is healing. It's getting pretty damn good at that. And I'm experiencing a sense of freedom that I haven't felt...well, maybe ever. My mind isn't racing. I'm not being bombarded by winks and requests for communication and repetitive form questions in my inbox. I'm not swapping out my evenings with friends--or my quiet nights at home in my sweats--to try to pump myself up for yet another first date. Once I realized that it wasn't fun, I realized it wasn't worth my time now.

Of course I still hope to meet someone. But it's not the only hope I have for my life.

On Being a "Nice Girl": Week Thirteen of Therapy

I managed to pull myself out of the slump I was in last week through various means: Zumba class, Glee with friends, turning down dates, a Batgirl costume, and attending church. But the real kicker was the intentional focus on my self-talk and shifting toward being a better friend to myself.

I'm finding that like most changes, it's a matter of pushing through that initial stubborn, slow start where it feels as if it's taking all of my energy simply to get going. But once I've pushed over that hump, it's easier to maintain that trajectory. For example, I felt terrible when Mr. Tennis Pro, who'd been calling for weeks, finally asked me for a date and I turned him down. I hated the idea of disappointing him, even though we'd never met before.

And this is where the whole "Nice Girl" complex comes into play. C and I talked about this extensively in my session today, how girls often are taught to be nice, obliging others and putting their own desires and needs at the bottom of the list. In elementary school, I had a friend who always let me decide what we were going to play--if I were at her house, she'd say that I was the guest and that's why I got to pick; if we were at my house, she'd say it was my house and that's why I got to pick. Kind of a silly example, but I think the point is clear enough.

The remnants of the "nice girl" complex are alive and well in this 27-year-old. And I can see now how it's been a barrier to being something much better than nice--being kind. Especially to myself. I felt like Mr. Tennis Pro had been so sweet, patient,  and consistent--why wasn't I giving him a chance? I felt like I should give him a chance. But then I remembered, this isn't what I want right now. Yes, he was disappointed, but I knew that going out on a date with him was not what was right for me.

I can already see how I'm trying to change:  in my decisions to stop trying so hard in the romance department; to cut off ties with Dr. Not-so-much; to be more careful in what I choose to share on this blog (and spend more time in my personal journal); to ask for space in my office to get me out of the house more often; to let certain calls go to voice mail. It's a process, and like most things, I'm expecting a roller coaster, not a steady uphill climb. But, I do know that I am feeling infinitely better than I was just a week ago, not only because I've been doing the external things to lift my spirits but also because I'm getting a handle on changing the internal.

Heal Over, Friends

On a beautiful walk along the Potomac, Date Me, DC! and I discussed how while we are certainly feeling a bit down on this whole dating thing, our dear ones--our friends--are having even tougher times--lost jobs, broken relationships, and for one of my closest, the loss of her mother. I spent Saturday afternoon at her memorial service, in awe of this amazing woman's life and even more in awe of my friend, who read from the Gospel of John with such poise, passion, and insight. A true testament to her strength and faith.

During a much-needed nap, I got a text from my friend L who had visited last weekend, saying that she'd broken up with her boyfriend of six months--this after she'd just been through a divorce. I immediately called her, and my heart broke as she cried. All of the feelings, the confusion, the sense of "there's something wrong with me"--I got it. She didn't need to explain it. I was there with her. And I realized then how that is an internal battle we all face when the rug is yanked out from under us, and we are left with thousands of unanswered questions. 

I want to hold my friend close, to tell her in person that she is the most amazing woman I've ever met and that she deserves someone who will not leave at the first sign of difficulty. And I want it even more because I remember wanting her to be there with me when my inner critic was torturing me like that with self-doubt and self-hatred, so much so that I couldn't muster up the strength to tell it to shut up. 

I want her to know how brave she is to have trusted someone again, to have opened herself up after all of the hurt she's endured. That she is anything but a loser, despite her feeling that way right now. I want to cook for her and do her laundry, be with her as she cries and as she laughs again. More than anything, I want her to know that she will be alright. She will heal over someday.

And so will 

One More "WTF" for Dr. N

A few days ago I disabled my OkCupid account, but not before checking out Dr. N's profile one last time. 

RED FLAG. He changed his age from 30, to 28! Say what?!

I don't know what his deal is, but I think there's something else going on with this dude. 

Off to enjoy a dateless (by choice) evening! 

And I'm Like "F*** You"

First, you all must immediately check out Date Me, DC!'s Halloween blog decorations.

Second, Dr. Nutrition is a goner. And a douche. Last night I had a wine-induced Facebook defriend, phone number deletion, and email erasure rampage. And it was entirely called for. Here's why.

After last week's weird email exchange over the wine tasting, I never heard from him again. Tired of the silence, I emailed him a final time on Monday. According to the two friends I showed it to, it was upbeat, even-keeled, but also addressed the lack of communication. Essentially, I gave him an out--if you're not interested, that's fine, but it'd be helpful to know.

And the guy couldn't even show me the common courtesy of responding to my fucking email. After six dates, I think this is just plain shitty. Grow some balls and say something. You're not the great love of my life, dude. I can handle it. And come on, an email is not exactly confrontational. Even with Mr. Homeland Security and Mr. Editor, I had the decency to email them that I wasn't interested. I feel like that's just the decent thing to do. Blowing someone off? That's just plain cowardly.

I feel totally duped and disappointed in him. And the best way to deal with that is just to cut off all lines of communication.

I think this really was the nail in the coffin of my short-lived dating adventures for the time being. I realized I'm just not ready to get my heart stomped on again. I hate being alone, but I hate dealing with this kind of bullshit even more.

In Session: Week 12ish? in Therapy

Honestly, I've lost track of which therapy session today was. I must be getting into the teens, but it doesn't really matter. Here are some take aways.

What I Need:

  • Kindness and gentleness to myself, to treat myself like I would a hurting friend
  • Company of friends
  • Maybe to get away from DC for a bit (a real break, not a work trip, family trip, etc.)
  • Social time, as difficult as it is to motivate myself
  • Maybe a Vitamin B complex supplement 
What I Don't Need:
  • Stress about Dr. Nutrition or any boy
  • Stress about why I am the way that I am
  • Over fixation on self-improvement
  • Self-flagellation
Things That Do Help:
  • Exercise
  • Massage
  • Getting good sleep
  • Reading 
  • Spending time with people
Things That Do Not Help:
  • Online dating sites
  • Texting
  • Technology in general
  • Trying to fix myself
  • Shopping
Basically, my impulse is to ask the "why" questions. It's my way of coping with chaos and disconnection. And while I could just suck it up and get through this time, it might not be the way I want to do it. It's not the way I'd treat a friend, screaming at her for not being able to get it together after she'd been through hell. So, I guess I'll try this gentle, encouraging thing and see what happens.

Saved By the Bell: The Quickest (and Worst) Date Ever...And This Whole Dating Thing in General

It all started when Mr. Homeland Security texted me mid-afternoon to ask if I could pick him up from the Metro station and take him to our date. This kind of threw me off as, in my opinion, it's not something you ask on a second date. It got worse when he replied to my "How are you going to get home?" text with "Oh, you can just drop me off at the Metro on your way home." Presumptuous, much?

Needless to say, by the time 5:45 rolled around and I was heading to the Metro, I was feeling a little bit annoyed, even though I'd agreed to pick him up. (What was I supposed to say?) Then I got even more annoyed when he got into the car and kissed me--dude, we've only been out once! We do not have that kind of familiarity yet.

Then he proceeded to YAMMER ON for the next TWENTY MINUTES about the FEDERAL GOVERNMENT. Not once did he ask, "How was your day?" No, he went on a tangent about God knows what, and I was getting more and more irritated. I thought, "What am I doing with this guy? He's annoying me! He's unaware of his talkativeness and he's presumptuous. And he's bald!"

By the time we got to the bar, I'd had enough. And like an angel from Heaven above, my phone rings. It's my friend J who was staying with me and needed me to let her into my house. SCORE. "Sorry," I said, trying to sound remorseful. "But I've really got to go let my friend in. What bad timing!" We literally got right back into the car, I dropped him off, I winced as he kissed me again and said "Sure, we'll get together some time next week!"


Everyone, can you feel it? Can you tell that I'm kind of not feeling this whole dating thing? As I was driving Mr. Homeland Security around town, all I could think is, "Why am I doing this to myself?" It felt like torture. I feel like I'm putting myself through hell right now--with SCL, with Dr. Nutrition, with all of these stupid dates that I'm not excited about. When I get a message from eHarmony, I feel stressed out, not excited. I feel pulled apart and torn open and fucked up.

I am BROKEN. My heart is BROKEN. I feel like SHIT about myself. I am TIRED of it.

When I feel this bad, I tend to make rash decisions without thinking it through. But, I just disabled my OkCupid account, turned off matching for eHarmony (why didn't I let the damn thing expire?), and have committed to really thinking through this whole dating thing and if it's what I need right now. All I know is I don't feel like myself and that something is not right in my life. And, if I care about myself at all, I will spend the time trying to figure out what that is.

My Confessions (From This Week)

So, I haven't been totally transparent on the blog this week, not that I feel the need to be, but I've definitely been highly selective in sharing what has been going on. And, my stress level remains at what seems like an all-time high, despite getting a fantastic massage yesterday afternoon. In an attempt to unwind, I'm going to write what's really been on my mind this week in the hopes that I get some relief...and that you all don't judge me too harshly. (Or, that Comment Bouncer is on her A-game.)

Confession 1: I have seen SCL three times this week. Before you yell a completely justified "WTF?!" let me explain...and then you can resume with the "WTF?!"ing. On Sunday I got home around 2:00, went to sleep for four hours, and woke up hungry, exhausted, and cranky. I got a text from SCL, "I know you must be tired and hungry, so would you like to come over and have some pizza?" At that point, I didn't even care if it was a good idea. Comment Bouncer, being the good friend that she is, asked, "Is this such a good idea?" No, it wasn't, and I knew going into it, I was tired and feeling vulnerable, especially after the wedding. But, I went anyway. I was glad to see him and sad.Then I saw him the following two days. Once to rescue him after he got stranded (long story). I offered to get him. The third time, I really can't justify. I was feeling pathetic and lonely, and basically invited myself over. Before you get too worried, nothing happened. But I definitely am hurting after the fact.

Confession 2: Dr. Nutrition is driving me bat shit crazy. On Monday morning I sent him an email, asking he'd like to go back to the wine tasting. Yesterday afternoon he sends me the following (edited a bit):
"Hi, I'm glad you had fun at the wedding. I'd love to go to the wine tasting, but unfortunately I'm reffing that night. What are you up to this weekend? I'm going to be in another state. Awesome!" 
Hmm, this is very odd, don't you think? Awesome that you'll be out of town this weekend and we can't see each other? I'm trying not to read too much into it, and since he asked me a question, I responded with the following.
"Hey, too bad you can't make it. It'd be fun to watch you ref sometime. My friend is visiting this weekend, so I'll be showing her a good time. Now that I'm home, we should get together when you're free."
This is not the first time he's been flaky. I'll see what he says back. But I'd be lying if I said I didn't feel a little anxious about it...and that I'm not compulsively checking email to see if he's written back.

Confession 3: Mr. Editor has a stutter, and it was awkward. I feel like a shitty-ass person for saying that, but our date was totally weird. We didn't have a lot to talk about, but I feel bad for not liking a guy who I am sure has a tough time dating. But, chemistry can't be forced, and I would feel even more terrible if I went on a second pity date with him. Struggling not to feel shitty though...

Confession 4: I feel like a fucking mess in general. I hate that being with SCL was the calmest I've felt since coming back. I hate feeling stressed out about my friend visiting, when all I really want is a weekend alone. I hate knowing that if Dr. Nutrition just wrote back, I'd feel a lot less anxious and could go about my business normally. I hate that I've given anyone that much power. He's not the first one. This is totally a pattern for me. And I don't know how to fix it. Being in therapy and doing exercises about helping myself recharge showed me that I really don't know how to take care of myself. I'm good at the external things, but when those don't work, I don't know what to do. I've spent a lot of the last few days in tears, very similar to back in July when SCL and I broke up the second time. Maybe it's all just cyclical, but it's disappointing  to feel back at square one, even if some of it's my own doing.

These are my confessions. Be gentle.

Last-minute Date with Mr. Homeland Security

Silly me, I thought returning home would result in an instant release in tension, stress, and anxiety. It has been anything but because I cannot chill the fuck out. There's only so much sleeping a girl can do, you know? I spent yesterday's therapy session talking with C about how I can relax. So, today I am going to have a "me" day as much as possible: a trip to Nordstrom Rack, checking out mindless fiction from the library, hitting the gym, and getting a deep tissue massage. And, there's the date with Mr. Editor! I'm also staying away from Gchat, Facebook, and eHarmony emails which are all stressing me out at the moment.

Backing up to Monday night, I decided at around 3:00 PM to follow up with Mr. Homeland Security (eHarm  dude) on his offer to take me out. It was a shameless move, mostly motivated by a lack of food in my house (hey, I've been gone for three weeks!), but I also was stressing out about SCL and Dr. Nutrition. And what better way to get your mind off of a guy than to go out with a new one? I realize how sick this all sounds, but stick with me.

I emailed Mr. Homeland Security and said, "I know this is last minute, but are you still up for getting together tonight?" I did not add that I desperately needed food. He called me on his break and invited me to a great happy hour in Alexandria.

Mr. Homeland Security surprised me--he was actually better looking than in his profile pictures. He's 35, tall, and has remnants of a North Carolina accent, which I totally dig. He was also super outgoing, funny, and very, very talkative. There wasn't an awkward pause the whole weekend. We sat at the bar, had a few glasses of wine and ate delicious bar food before he asked me if I wanted to take a walk on the waterfront.

I think what really did it for me was when we realized that his grandmother had lived in my hometown and he had vacationed there as a kid. Nothing like hearing familiar places and names to make a girl swoon. I liked his bit of Southern charm and how fun-loving he has. Sometimes his talkativeness overwhelmed me a little, but all in all, I liked him. And I felt completely comfortable with him, enough so that I let him kiss me goodnight--a first for me! I never kiss on the first date. (By "never," I mean in my limited three or so months of dating.) The wine might've helped, too. I think I feel a shift in how I feel about dating, like maybe I'm getting slightly better at it.

So, I guess I'm back on the "dating multiple people" train. I emailed Dr. Nutrition for a date yesterday morning and haven't heard back yet. In the meantime, I'm keeping my options open and looking forward to tonight's date with Mr. Editor. Wish me luck!

Update: Mr. Homeland Security just called for a second date...for tomorrow! I may make him wait a little longer than that, but I'm definitely up for another date.

She's Back!

Well, at the very least, I am home. I can't claim to be back and ready for action of any kind because despite sleeping all day and all night yesterday, I am freaking exhausted. It's going to take me a few days to recover from 18 days on the road. Not to mention a wedding where I was one of two people in my friend group who wasn't married. I may have had a break-down about that at one point.

But, I have a date planned for Wednesday--new guy I'm calling Mr. Editor. We've been corresponding while I've been out of town, and he asked me out for dinner! I'm excited to meet someone new. Dr. Nutrition and I texted on Saturday but no word on our next date. I honestly have very little free time this week. I've got friends coming into town Thursday and staying through the weekend.

I'm afraid I'm going to have to mark all as read on my google reader, so apologies in advance for being terribly behind on all of your lives. I have missed you dearly and can't wait to catch up!

Can I Go Home Yet? Because I Really, Really Miss My Bloggy Friends

Isn't that beautiful? That is lovely Santa Monica.

Too bad we're now in suck-ass DALLAS. This final leg of the journey has been a total fucking nightmare so far. So bad, in fact, that our hotel is comping our entire stay. Yeah, that's how much they fucked up. I am sleep deprived, jet lagged, and cranky. Thank God this is the last place I have to go, except for Philadelphia on Saturday for a wedding. Then when I return Sunday, I will be having a several day affair with my bed.

But, there is good news to report! In the less than 48 hours that I was back in DC for a board meeting, Dr. Nutrition and I had our sixth date. Yep, believe it or not, my crazy did not scare him off, at least not yet. He was even kind enough to come all the way to where I live in Arlington, and with a bottle of wine in hand to boot!

I tried really, really hard to rally like a champ, but I was still on West Coast time and feeling exhausted from the jet lag. We went to karaoke for an hour or so, and then headed back to my place. I realized how fucking crazy I'd been a few weeks ago to make up this story in my head that this guy had just stopped liking me. I guess when you don't see someone for several weeks though, it's easier to think that something is wrong. Nothing better than a little in person reassurance, if you know what I mean.

As we were spooning, I told him that I felt safe with him, and that I wasn't sure if that's a good thing. He said, "Quit judging yourself for your emotions." I retorted, "But what if it isn't safe!" And he said, "What if it is."

What if it is. The truth is, I don't know. My gut says it is. And I'd rather go for it then hold myself back from feeling something. Is there a way to go for it and still be careful?

We're Halfway There

My cross-country adventure is about half-way done--well, half-way to being back to DC for 48 hours before leaving again. But, the thought of two nights in my own bed is intoxicating. This is the most fun one I've slept in since leaving DC at the Hotel Monaco in downtown Denver.

I got great news yesterday that our funder for the project I direct has given us an additional year of funding, so I will be gainfully employed at least through December 2011! 

In between speaking engagements, I've been spending a lot of time responding to matches online. I'm realizing that I can't put all of my hope in Dr. Nutrition who has continued to be quite silent since I left. I've decided that I won't worry about it until I get back to DC and things are "normal" again. We have a tentative date planned for next Tuesday, but I'm not counting on it.

I'll check in again soon!

It's a Beautiful Morning

Hi dearies! Writing from Sheridan, Wyoming--not exactly a place I ever thought I'd visit, but it's so beautiful here. The weather is perfect, the leaves are turning, and the people could not be more lovely. Here's the view from my hotel room.

And this beautiful park we found off of Main Street....

And my new lovely Kenyan friend is the best travel companion a girl could ask for, despite all the weirdness that is the US of A. I'm seeing the country through completely new eyes.

The best part? I'm almost completely occupied with work and hosting my friend that I have very, very little time to act like a crazy person about Dr. Nutrition. We touched base Thursday night, but I've been super busy since then. I've even regained a new sense of enthusiasm for online dating and may have a few dates lined up for the week when I return.

Needless to say, this trip has been exactly what I've needed. Tomorrow we are off to Denver. More pics to come!

Roller-coaster of Love

Let me say how much I enjoy reading all of your comments from both of yesterday's posts (Tweedlecrazy and Tweedlecrazier). Pretty much all of them resonate with some part of me, all the way from "He's a liar!" to "See, you shouldn't have sent that crazy email!" to "Maybe you should discuss this with him." I think you are all the innumerable voices that live in my head and torment/comfort me.

Here's the real deal. After Wednesday/Thursday cuddlefest/sleepover with Dr. Nutrition, I felt pretty overwhelmed with the lovie dovies and fell into my usual pattern of clinging. When I'm feeling a beautiful boy I tend to want to minimize space and time apart, and just spend countless days laying around in one another's arms. See how this is a little problematic on about a billion levels? Especially for people who want to have, you know, lives? I am a sucker for romance (or maybe it's just lust) and just can't seem to contain myself. I had the same issue with SCL where I set up a pattern of being the one to initiate our time together, and then I got resentful when he wouldn't take the initiative. Nice little trap I set up for myself there.

In truth I didn't give Dr. Nutrition much of a chance to initiate communication because I was too busy doing it. So, really how frustrated could I get that he hadn't texted or called when I wasn't giving him the space to? So, on Sunday I decided to just lay off. And when he didn't call on Sunday or by Monday evening, I got a little more antsy and called him--and proceeded to get royally pissed when I didn't hear back on what I felt was a reasonable timeline. At that point I had already constructed a narrative in my head of exactly what happened, all of which was about my own insecurities and imperfections. This, my boss informed me today after I spilled my guts, is a form of narcissism.

Shut the front door! I'm a narcissist? A girl who writes a blog all about herself is a narcissist? I guess in my mind a narcissist is an arrogant, proud person but in a broader sense, she's right. When something goes wrong, I assume it's all about me. And this was no exception.

The tipping point for me really was the unreturned phone call because I had been so direct--I haven't heard from you, what's going on. So I immediately jumped to the conclusion that this was a deliberate blow-off (it fit into my constructed narrative of him not liking me quite nicely) and then lashed out via email. So, when he did return my call (a response to my phone call, not my crazy-ass email), I felt like a total schmuck, not because I was pissed about him not returning my call earlier (justified) but that I had assumed that he would not return it period because he was an asshole. Wrong, wrong, wrong.

His reason for not returning my call might be sorta lame--"my phone died and I didn't get your message until now, I was helping my grandma move into an assisted living facility"--but it's not as bad as I what I was thinking--that he had totally changed his mind about me. It's never as bad as I think it's going to be, and it's never nearly as much about me as I'd like to think. Was he flaky not to be in touch? Yes. Was it a screw-up? Yes. Was it a deal-breaker for the potential that we have in dating? No.

Luckily, I'm about to head out of town for the next two and a half weeks, giving time for me to regain my composure and perspective. It'll prevent me from diving into anything too quickly with Dr. Nutrition or anyone for that matter. And hopefully I'll come back a relatively sane, if not totally exhausted, woman.


You all were right. I'll admit it. I let the crazy girl get to me and hit send.

Only minutes later, while on the phone with Comment Bouncer nonetheless, Dr. Nutrition beeps in. I'm expecting he's going to tell me that he's sorry, that he feels bad.

Oh no. He didn't even get the email. He had been away at his parents and his phone had died. He was calling me from the road on his way home.


But, the good news is he's like, "Don't even worry about it. I understand why you felt that way. I'm sure you were wondering why I hadn't called" And he promised to delete my psycho-ish email before reading it. His only request? That I not mention the whole thing ever again.

Self-sabatoge--you almost won! And dearest readers, you all were right.

Too Good to Be True

It makes me sad to write this post because it means my romance with Dr. Nutrition is over. I hesitantly wrote that I was a bit concerned that he hadn't contacted me since our date on Wednesday, and sadly nothing has changed.

After pole-dancing class (yes, pole-dancing--and it was hard as hell!) with my friend M, we went to have a beer. She is a dating expert, if such a thing exists, and I told her the whole story. Her response was simply, "What the fuck?!" She said, "You have a right to know what's going on. His communication pattern has changed, and he's not keeping you in the loop. You're half of the equation and you have a right to know what's going on." She also added that she doesn't have time to play the waiting game and would rather cut to the chase.

On my way home, I jokingly texted him that I was fairly certain I didn't have a career in pole-dancing ahead of me and asked if he had time to chat. No response. About an hour later, I decided to give him a call. No response. I left him a message, "Haven't heard from you in a few days and was wondering if we could chat before I leave town." No response. No response. No response. No phone call. No text. No email this morning. No Facebook chat. Nada.

I went into my therapy session with C on the brink of tears, and as soon as the door was shut, I started crying. I have so much else going on with this 3-week cross-country trip with a woman from Kenya, but all I can think about is how I just got duped by a guy I mistook for one of the good ones. You all were fooled too, right? What, with the ballroom lessons, the telling his mom about me, the "You're a beautiful person," the date after date routine? WTF?! I repeat, WTF?!

There were no red flags. No signs that he was wavering. Nothing to make me think he was just going to start being a dick and blowing me off. At least with SCL there were warning signs, even if I didn't want to admit it. I. Just. Don't. GET. IT.

Yes, I could excuse him. I could say that he's changing jobs or his phone broke or that he was just busy. But those are excuses, none of which I'm buying. I'm pissed off that he has yet to muster up the decency to say, "Hey, I changed my mind." For a guy who claims to be fearless, he seems like quite the coward right now. A coward I'd love to punch in the face!

So, what to do now? When it has been a full 24 hours, I will send him a final email, ending with "If I don't hear from you, I assume you don't want to see me anymore." Because I'm done with his hot-then-cold of the Katy Perry variety bullshit.

And I also priority shipped a copy of Self-Esteem because clearly I'm going to need some building up again after this disappointment.

The Waiting Game

I have nothing new to report regarding  Dr. Nutrition other than that I am a crazy person. Leave it to me to have a good time with a guy and then spend countless hours trying to figure out a reason why he can't possibly like me as much as he let on.

The thing is, I really like him. A few weeks ago I wasn't sure, but the combination of time spent talking on the phone plus a really great date this week, I find myself falling pretty hard. I'm trying not to get ahead of myself and enjoy where we are, but my natural inclination is to cling.

Tara Brach talks a lot about clinging--how when we feel pleasure, we immediately want more of it and finagle ways to hang on to what is inevitably fleeting. This could be anything--the taste of ice cream (and so we get seconds); the relaxation of a vacation (and so we plot where we'll go next); or the beginnings of a new relationship (and so we want to push it along into the next stage).

And so that's what I've been doing. I've been anticipating what will happen next, and it hasn't helped that Dr. Nutrition and I really haven't had much contact since Thursday morning. So of course I assume the worst: he's changed his mind; he doesn't really like me; he's not thinking of me. And so on and so on. My head is currently a pretty miserable place to reside.

Dr. Nutrition is a busy guy and before this week there had been plenty of days when we didn't talk at all. It's just that now I am thinking about him more, so the waiting feels longer and more torturous. I'm just focusing on chilling out and not jumping to the absolute worst conclusion.

Thank you for indulging my neurosis.

Keeps Getting Better

Yesterday marked date five with Dr. Nutrition, and it was by far the best date yet. With the late-night phone calls and flirtatious text messages, we were both more than ready to see each other in person. He'd set up this date a few weeks ago. On the third Wednesday of the month, the Bell Wine Shop in Dupont has a "Grand Tasting"--for $5, you can try 40 different wines. Granted it's nothing more than a sip of each one, but let me tell you forty sips add up. And once again, I found myself somewhat accidentally hammered. This has been happening to me quite a lot lately.

I had to smile when one of the other wine tasters referred to Dr. Nutrition as "my boyfriend." I didn't bother to correct them.

After some dinner to soak up the copious amounts of alcohol in our system, we had the awkward, "Where do we go now?" conversation. Since we were already on the red line, I said "Canada" made more sense than my place, and off we went. I got the sense that he was a little embarrassed about the lack of furniture in his room, and since last time he'd acquired a table and a dresser. Still no bed frame, but an improvement for sure.

Before things got too steamy, I wanted to talk with him about sex, as awkward as it felt. Here's my deal: as much as I hate to admit it, I am a stereotypical woman who can't have sex without feeling intensely bonded to the other person. Hell, even some hot, heavy-duty making out can make me start hearing wedding bells. No, I am not kidding. Yes, I am that emotional. But I know how I'm wired and I own it.

So, I said to him. "I really like you, and I don't want to risk messing things up by sleeping together too soon. It doesn't mean I don't want to; it's just that sex makes me feel really attached, and I don't think we're at that point yet." He said, "I completely agree." I  couldn't detect any insincerity in his voice--perhaps slight disappointment, but I'm fairly certain that he was being honest when he said he was on the same page. With that out of the way, I let my worries go and enjoyed myself. He declared the bed as a "worry-free" zone, so I really had no choice but to relax and enjoy being close to him.

At 1:30 he asked if I wanted him to drive me home. "Not really, " I said. He invited me to stay, and I spent the whole night with one of his arms under my head and the other wrapped around me. I can't say either of us slept very well, but I didn't care.

We woke up to sunshine and lawnmowers and mockingbirds, and continued to cuddle. I said, "Don't you need to get to work?" He said, "I think I'm going to work from home this morning. In fact, I think I'm already working right now." I laughed, "Oh yeah, how do you figure that?" He said, "I'm working on doing outreach to faith-based organizations." I cracked up and kissed him again, "Oh yeah, I think we've got a great partnership in the works."

Happy day.

Back in Session: Week Nine of Therapy

When I went to my last therapy session at the end of May, things were looking a lot different than they do now, to say the least. I wasn't happy. I was still in the old apartment. SCL and I were still together and fighting over the couch. She was uber preggers.Yesterday I hardly recognized her without the belly! 

With only 50 minutes to fill her in on the last three and a half months, I gave her the Reader's Digest version: I moved out; SCL broke up with me; I cried; I went on vacation; I decided to start dating; I had a beach fling; I got a crush on Dr. Nutrition. It kind of makes my head spin just thinking about it. But, with all of this going on, what was really interesting is that I wasn't too fixated on dealing with the, "Is dating a good idea?" question but rather with the insecurities I am feeling now that I've found someone I'm interested in. 

So, as cliche as it sounds, C and I are going to be talking about....wait for it...SELF-ESTEEM ISSUES! Especially around body image and food. AWESOME. Cannot wait to delve into all my bullshit about that. But, C is super supportive, and if there's anyone I feel comfortable admitting I've got issues with, it's her. Oh yeah, and all of you in the blogging world, too.

In the meantime, Dr. Nutrition and I spent another night on the phone last night after he finished reffing his soccer games. He said, "For two people who hate to talk on the phone, we sure have been doing a lot of it." A good sign, right? Tonight for our fifth date we are going wine tasting, which I'm super excited about. Oh, and if I can gush for just a moment, he, knowing how much I love ballroom dance, actually bought a package of dance lessons, so he can learn the basics and we can dance together. I like this one. 

Teenage Dream

That's how I feel right now--like I've regressed about 12 years and have a teenage crush. And, it is fantastic! With Mr. Navy out of the picture (we've since talked as friends, and I am feeling less dumb), my attention has turned to Dr. Nutrition.

Call me foolish or a hopeless romantic, but I have a good feeling about this one. I'm finding that I don't have a whole lot of desire to go on many first dates right now. (The one I had scheduled with Mr. Sayid-lookalike cancelled at the last minute, and I am debating whether or not to reschedule. The real reason I wanted to go out with him was the aforementioned resemblance to my favorite Lost Iraqi survivor.) I guess I burned out pretty fast with the 4 dates/week.

For the last two nights, Dr. Nutrition and I have stayed up way past my bedtime talking on the phone. The thing is, I don't even like talking on the phone. I'd rather have a Harry Potter owl or something. Say what you want about how brilliant cell phones are, but I swear to God, it's impossible to get a clear connection and there were moments when I literally had to ask him to repeat something five times. I felt like a grandma and questioned whether or not I should have my hearing tested.

But, despite the constant "Huh? What?" on my end, it has been fantastic getting to know him more. I think it's a good sign that we can talk for 3 hours and not run out of things to talk about. Sure, we are just getting to know each other, but there have been some dates when I haven't had an hour's worth of shared interests to go on. But, with Dr. Nutrition the conversation just flows effortlessly and even makes me forget momentarily how much I fucking hate talking on the phone. We have a date tomorrow night (wine tasting, my favorite!) and I can't wait to see him in person.

This is all so exciting and incredibly terrifying at the same time. Part of me wants to say, "Hold on, lady. You need to take it slowly." But the other part of me says, "Quit over-thinking every little thing and just go for it!" He's giving me the green light. He even told me that he's shown my picture to his mom. I feel like this is not the run-of-the-mill, "I'd like to get into your pants"  line. Again, trying not to over-think things.

Last week in the middle of thinking about SCL, Mr. Navy, and Dr. Nutrition, I thought, "Where the hell is my damn therapist? Surely she's off of maternity leave by now!" We have an appointment today. Really looking forward to spilling my guts and filling her in on what's been going on since the end of May. She's in for an earful.