Sunset at the Kennedy Center: Second Date with Dr. Nutrition

Last night was my second date with Dr. Nutrition. He sent me an e-mail last Friday (just under 24 hours after our first date) asking if I'd like to go to the Kennedy Center or Jazz in the Garden...or both. Two date options! I was impressed. But with my busy social calendar and my plans to go out of town for Labor Day, yesterday was the only night that worked for me.

There are so many awesome things to do in DC that are free--and I don't mean just museums. Every day the Kennedy Center has a free concert that's open to the public. Dr. Nutrition had been there a few times before, and apparently they bring in pretty big names. If you're in DC (or visiting), check it out!

The concert itself was pretty great. The only thing about it was it was difficult to talk during it, and kind of like seeing a movie with a date, there's a lot of sitting there next to each other not interacting. We exchanged a couple of funny observations, like how the lead singer was playing a guitar but we couldn't hear the sound and how the keyboardist would oddly interject a few lyrics at random times. The sitting next to each other but not talking proved to be not a good thing for this reason: I started to panic. Thoughts of "WTF am I doing?" and memories of SCL were swarming in my head--everything from, "I feel so uncomfortable being with a new guy" to "The last time I came to the Kennedy Center was with SCL" and "Oh god, I'm going to vomit." I don't know what came over me, but I was feeling anxious and was thinking of excuses to bolt.

But, I'm trying to remember that thoughts usually pass--just like emotions come and go, the things in our head come and go. Rather than believing every little thing I think, I try to acknowledge the thought and then drop it. By the end of the concert, I felt much calmer and more open to spending time with my date.

We ended up spending three hours on the rooftop terrace of the Center, which has a fantastic view of Georgetown. It was really quite beautiful, especially as the sun went down. Unlike the last date, this time I felt like we were in more of a dialog, and I felt more and more comfortable with him. I can't get over how self-aware and positive he is--it's such a change to talk with someone who knows what he wants and is excited about the journey. And it doesn't hurt that he's also really, really cute.

We talked about online dating--and how it's difficult on the one hand to say, "Love will happen when it happens" and being intentional about kind of looking for it. Ultimately it's about expectations--being open but not insistent that things must go a certain way. For someone like me, who tends to fall fast and hard, it's a good thing for me to be slowing down and not jumping to conclusions.

But, I think what really got me and made me swoon a little bit was when we were talking about how we choose whom to contact on dating sites. He said, "The pictures are really important to me. Most people talk about the importance of a person's smile. But I look at the eyes. I look for light, for exuberance. People can fake a smile, but the eyes reveal something deeper." *swoon*

We kissed not long after that. My first thought was, "This is nice, but different from kissing SCL. It feels sort of weird." Seeing as how I haven't kissed anyone else in two years, I guess that's probably not an abnormal thought. But despite the initial weirdness, there was a great energy between us.

At that point it was 10 PM and we both had to head home. It wasn't until I got on my Metro car that I realized we never ate dinner! I guess that's what good conversation can do to a person. I think it's safe to say a third day is on the horizon, and I'm really looking forward to it.

Let Me Take a Swing at That

I held my first golf club when I was 6. It was an antique wooden club that had belonged to my grandmother, and I carried it with pride to my first golf lesson. Golf was pretty much an expectation in my family--my grandparents had taught both of my brothers how to play, and just because I was a girl didn't mean I was off the hook. I took golf lessons for three summers and even won a tournament. But once adolescence kicked in and I became preoccupied with attempting to be cool, golf fell off the radar screen. Until yesterday.

Mr. Graphic Designer contacted me via OkCupid, responding to the part of my profile that refers to how I like nerds (I've since edited that section) and how he could kick my ass at Scrabble. "You probably could because I've never played Scrabble," I responded. I know, what kind of person hasn't played Scrabble? This kind of person. Growing up with athletic brothers I was always playing sports, not board or card games. But, Mr. Graphic Designer also had an affinity for golf, and when I told him that I actually like watching golf on TV (I attribute this to being subjected to countless hours of golf broadcasts on our single TV), he could barely contain himself.

He invited me out for drinks, but I said, "Hey, let's go to the driving range." Again, an awesome response--and one I really was genuine about. I'd rather go do something for a first date anyway. We made plans to meet at the East Potomac Park driving range. He'd let me borrow his clubs--a very kind gesture seeing as how freaking expensive golf clubs are and I haven't played in 15+ years.

So, as I was getting ready for my golf date, I was actually talking to another guy (Dr. Scientist, not to be confused with Dr. Nutrition) and awkwardly trying to pretend like this date was with a friend. "What are you going to wear to play?" he asked. I said, "Um...I dunno, some khakis and a collared shirt?" He said, "You're going to be drenched in about five minutes." And he was just about right--except that it really only  took two minutes before I had sweat through my clothes. Damn this return of 90+ degree weather.

Backing up, Mr. Graphic Designer--a really nice guy, definitely nerdy, not really my type. I knew it pretty much right away, and thus I felt not even a slight sense of nervousness about the whole date. In my limited experience, a good date comes with at least a few nerves because there's some excitement about where it might go. Sadly, there were no such feelings about this one, but I was still pumped to play.

As far as the golf goes, it's sort of like riding a bike, but I am definitely out of practice. I was splicing,, hooking, and whiffing more often than I'd like to admit. But just about every fifth swing (usually when Mr. Graphic Designer wasn't looking, of course) I nailed it--and my ball would sail into the air. It's an awesome feeling when you do something like that right. The other times, it's frustrating as hell. Mr. Graphic Designer did try to give me a few pointers, and I let him since it seems like guys like to do that. A few of his tips actually worked.

Even though it was in the middle of the afternoon, we ended up going out to lunch afterward...and that's when things got a little awkward. We sort of ran out of things to talk about once the food came, but we both toughed it out. He drove me back to my car and invited me up to his apartment to, uh, "look at his art." I said, "Um, actually...I should" He seemed a little disappointed, but understood.

We hugged good-bye and I said something like, "Let's hit the driving range again." But I have a feeling that might be the last time he lets me use his clubs.

Just Dance

Thanks to you all for your blog title suggestions, and for really encouraging me to pick something that's about ME and not my relationship status. And many thanks to Comment Bouncer for being the one to come up with my new title: Dancing through DC.

It captures one of my biggest loves and how I want to approach this new stage of life. So, let's dance and kick some ass, shall we?

On Second Thought...After some Franzia and Frankness

I have a feeling it's going to take me some time to get used to this whole casual dating thing. I'm afraid that yesterday's post mostly highlighted Dr. Nutrition's own brand of type-A-ness and left out a lot of the good parts. In fact, I had forgotten a lot of the good parts about the date until I started talking with Katie and my friend B.

Katie had a shit day at work, but even so, she shared her box of Franzia wine with me. I told her about how I'd felt not very special during the date because Dr. Nutrition seemed so accomplished. "Fuck, you get flown all over the country to give talks!, "she said, a couple of glasses into the box o' wine. She said maybe I was committing a form of self-sabotage--that because it's only been a month since the breakup that I feel I'm not supposed to be ready to date again, so maybe I'm telling myself that I'm not good enough for this new guy. It's a pretty fucked up way of thinking.

I think she's right. I did feel some insecurity and held back talking about myself a lot (it did help that he talked a lot). I'm not sure how to say to myself, "Just be confident," but I think next time I'll be more aware of the voices in my head, telling me I suck or have nothing interesting to say. Little bitch voices, get the fuck out of my head!

Katie told me to text him I'd had a good time and see what happens. So, I did just that--said thanks for the dinner, that I'd had fun, have a good weekend, etc. I figured it couldn't hurt to let him know that I'd enjoyed myself and would be open to another date. So, when I walked home from Katie's and realized he'd sent me an email inviting me on not one but TWO dates for next week, I was beaming. We're going out on Monday.

Later yesterday evening, I was with my friend B, driving to Old Town and I started rehashing some of the date and realized in talking about it that it really had gone a lot better than I initially thought. We connected on a lot of levels and have more than just surface-level interests in common. Once I quit with the self-sabotage talk, I could see things differently. I'm looking forward to Monday, hopefully with a much different attitude on my part.

Falafel and Fitness: My date with Dr. Nutrition

You may remember from the first breakup that I joined OkCupid on a whim, mostly for my own ego boost. I talked with a few people, but never went out on any dates. Then SCL and I were back together and so on and so on...

But, I never closed my account. Maybe that was my gut saying "Keep your eyes open, sweetie." Back in April, I got a message that said, "I love Georgia. What part are you from?" I have a tender spot for those who appreciate my home state, so we chatted back and forth, nothing serious. But, then once I found myself suddenly single (and indicated as such on my profile), he asked if I wanted to meet, and we set up a time for after my vacation.

We met in Dupont. First impressions: tall, buff, handsome, same eye color as me (dark hazel), and a great smile. He'd told me he had a "place in mind" to go, but then he just gave a vague "let's sit outside." So we ended up at Le Pain Quotidien, which just happened to be the first place we saw with outdoor seating. And my roommate works there. Not exactly an ideal place for just having a drink, but it was fine. We had a very sweet waiter who was patient with us, even though Dr. Nutrition didn't even glance at his menu for at least thirty minutes.

Dr. Nutrition got his PhD in his mid-20s and now works for the National Institutes of Health. He's super fit (runs marathons, does triathlons, is a big yoga buff, etc.) and super positive. He has a very personal trainer-type personality. I could see why he does what he does--he could encourage anyone with his bright eyes and positive energy.

He did talk a lot--not really about himself and not in an egotistical way, but he's definitely a storyteller. I could tell he's had a ton of amazing experiences and is always seeking new opportunities to learn and grow. He was very interesting, but I kept wondering, "When is he going to realize that I haven't shared really anything about myself?" I sipped my one glass of wine which gave me a slight buzz, so I decided against a second glass.

Honestly, I couldn't tell how he was feeling about me at all. Was this just a friend thing? Or a date thing? I ended up paying for my drink, which gave me a "friend thing" vibe. Damn.

We walked toward the Metro, and I was fully prepared just to head home. But then he said, "I'm hungry. Do you want to get some dinner?" Sure, why not? It was 9:30 at that point, and I was pretty famished. We headed to Maoz Vegetarian for the most delicious falafel I've had in a long time. He cracked me up though--he had a folder of his LivingSocial vouchers, with a top sheet listing them all by expiration date. Type-A, much?

As we ate our delicious falafel outside, things got a lot better conversation-wise. I told him about my family and my work, how I hope to travel to the Middle East and Africa next summer through work. He seemed genuinely interested in me and even joked about how he'd talked so much--and that he usually doesn't do that. "Sure, that's what you tell everyone," I said. I felt like I could tease him a bit about his neurosis and his overachieving personality. I'm used to that--I went to Yale.

But, there is something annoying about being around someone who has done and experienced so much that I felt like I had nothing new to add. There weren't many experiences I shared that he hadn't had his hand in at some point. I think he's just a really passionate person and has a lot of interests, but I ended up feeling kind of unspecial, I guess? I don't think of myself as boring at all, but he was sort of overwhelming in all of his interests, passions, and experiences. I sort of felt like I hadn't done much in comparison. Probably this is just my own insecurity that I need to get over.

So, all in all it was a decent date. It actually was pretty fun--talked for almost five hours. We parted at the Metro with a hug (no kiss) and I told him I'd had fun. I'm not sure if I have strong feelings either way about having a second date, so we'll see how it goes. But most of all, I'm just proud of myself for putting myself out there. And it's good to know there are some really nice, quality guys out there. Well, at least one.

Time for a Name Change?

This has come up a few times in comments, so I'm wondering what you all think. Is it time for a blog name change?

When I was with SCL, I really liked "Grad-Student Girlfriend." It was cute, alliterative, and captured the essence of the blog, which was mostly about our relationship.

But now I'm branching out, writing about me and not just in terms of who I am in relationship to SCL. In fact, I'd like to move away from that as much as possible--he doesn't define me. I let him define me too much before.

The thing is, I don't what to call this blog. Suddenly Single? That still seems to be about my relationship status (and thus connected to SCL in a way).

So, I need your help. I need your ideas. What would you call this blog?

Take Me Out Tonight. Meow.

Since returning to D.C. for good (and by "for good," I mean for a month...which at this point feels like a long time to stay put), I have succeeded in going out every single night. This is huge for me.

Let's get real here. SCL and I were B-O-R-I-N-G most of the time. He's much more content to sit at home, make pizza, watch The Office, and play on the computer. There's nothing wrong with this...for him. But me? I'm someone who needs to be around people, and since I work from home, I have to spend my after-work hours getting all of that social interaction I lack from not working in an office. But for the last year or so, I'd really secluded myself, convinced myself I was happy a lot of the time to hang out at home and be with SCL. It was really enjoyable, but it also made me a less interesting person.

Now that I'm going out and doing things, I am beginning to feel more like myself. And I don't feel like I'm doing it to spite him, to prove to myself how much more fun I am than SCL is. It's just that we're really different when it comes to how we like to spend our time, and for whatever reason I felt like I had to tone down my socialite tendencies. And very rarely did I ask him to do the same for me. This was a big mistake I made in the relationship.

So, last night I had a fucking blast doing one of my favorite things--singing karaoke at the gay bar next to my house. One of the groups I've recently joined was having a special event there, and I thought, "Hells yeah, perfect excuse to sing and make a fool of myself whilst drinking beers." I dragged my friends A. and B. with me, and signed them up for songs.

I find it's a lot easier to flirt on stage than off it, so karaoke is actually a good way for me to start talking to guys because I get a lot less nervous singing a song than I do talking with a new guy. Especially in a bar when it's hard to hear and other people are doing really horrible renditions of Journey, and I have to keep screaming "What?!" No, it's more fun to get up on stage and kick some ass singing Reba McIntire's "Fancy."

When I got off stage, I found about five (straight!) guys had joined the table. Now most of them were pretty nerdy, but one was actually pretty cute, although he had strangely manicured eyebrows which made me think twice about the straight thing. But he was hitting on me. Big time. Now it's been several years since I've been single, and my flirting muscles have atrophied. I felt like a bumbling idiot at first. But the thing about flirting is, it doesn't take too much long to get it back, and by the end of the night I was actually enjoying it.

That's why I decided to get up and sing "Out Tonight." Right after I signed up, the amazing Katie at Date Me, DC! showed up, despite having to be up in the wee hours of the morning. (She kicked some serious ass on "Son of a Preacher Man.") I went up to the bar to get us some beers when a woman approached me at the bar and asked if I was singing again. When I told her I'd be singing Rent, she asked if I planned to do the whole dance--and then offered to be my pole. Yikes. Well, I was at a gay bar. Later she asked if she could buy me a drink. She looked kind of heartbroken when all I wanted was a glass of water. Is it a tease to be a straight person at a gay bar?

But anyway, Well-Manicured-Eyebrows guy was upping the flirtation ante, and Katie informed me, "He really wants to bang you!" Instead of asking for my number, he asked me if I was on Facebook. Now forgive my ignorance, but is this the new version of "Can I have your number?" I guess with smartphones it's easier to look someone up that way, and you know a helluva lot more about them if you're Facebook friends. You know, like a person's last name.

The night ended innocently, but I seriously had a blast. And when I got home at 1:00 am, I had five new friend requests--one from each of the men at the table.

Maybe this being single won't be so bad after all.

26 Days Later

I'm almost up to the four week mark of this healing process, so I thought I'd share a little more of where I am right now. 

  • No longer sobbing on an hourly basis. Actually, not sobbing at all anymore. A few tears every few days or so, but that's about it. I think all that crying in the first two weeks really helped get it out of my system. 
  • No longer asking "why why why" about the break-up, SCL's changing mind, the relationship in general. I seem to have mostly accepted that I won't have an answer.
  • No longer that afraid that I'll never find love again.
  • Still wondering how SCL's doing, what he's thinking about, and what I'll do if we run into one another. My thoughts about him are generally positive, though still bittersweet. I keep wishing him light and love. 
  • Still feel my stomach drop when I see a picture of him or think I see him across the street.
  • Still sad about how everything worked out (or didn't) and how my heart was broken twice.
  • Now interested in meeting new people and even dating on a casual basis. I'll be sharing stories from the dates I have, promise!
  • Now focused on what will make me feel good and help me move on.
  • Now truly believing that I am who I am and don't have to change myself for someone else. I'm not going to chase after anyone. 
Of course, things are still up and down, but in general this second time around has been an easier healing process. I attribute that to good friends, feeling what I feel, a vacation, and this blog community. Thank you, thank you. 

Meet Comment Bouncer

It has come to my attention that anonymous commenters are, in general, total assholes. Seriously, some of you make going through this breakup seem like a fucking cakewalk in comparison to wading through some of the nasty shit you say to me on here. And, it was getting to me. I'd had enough. I wanted to reach through my computer screen and punch some of you in the face, but seeing as that was impossible and would probably really hurt my hand, I decided to go a different route.

Let me welcome you to fellow blog admin Comment Bouncer. She is one of my best friends, but she will be your worst enemy, nasty commenter. As she said to me earlier today, even well-meaning commenters who say stupid, stupid things will be kicked to the curb. She will outwit you, she will out-sarcasm you, she will deliver a serious verbal ass-kicking when necessary. Thank you, Comment Bouncer. You are very, very welcome here.

So, all of you who have something mean to say, go ahead. I dare you. Just know that I won't ever read a nasty comment again!

TNS's Note: Most of you are lovely and helpful, and I could just eat you up with a spoon. So don't worry. Your comments will be displayed with all of the love and affection Comment Bouncer and I have for you. 

A Brazilian Boy Named Daniel

I alluded to this in my tweets, but yesterday I had a sort-of blind date with a Brazilian boy named Daniel.

Back up to the weekend before. I was staying with my friends in Richmond, complaining about how I was going to meet men. When I moved to DC, I was in a couple, so I didn't think much about cultivating friendships with guys, mostly because I just didn't hang out with many of them other than my college best friend L. So, the wife, ever the aspiring matchmaker, starts hounding her husband about people he knows at work. He mentioned that there was a new Brazilian contractor who was my age, single, and a nice guy. But in typical guy form, he couldn't answer the question of how attractive he was.

Now, ok, looks aren't everything, but they are something.

Back up to Friday night. I'm hanging out with friends in Cleveland Park, and one of the guys is Brazilian. He starts giving me shit, and I'm giving it right back to him ("You're from Brazil, and you can't do the samba?? What kind of Brazilian are you if you can't dance the fucking samba?"), and he begins making annoying comments like, "I hope your date is ugly and can't dance."

Saturday morning comes around, and I am nursing my not-too-severe hangover, and I start getting texts from my friend. The day before I'd asked her to please text me a ranking between 1-10, to which she responded, "Well, if you were older, how would you rank my husband? I want to get a sense of your taste." Feeling slightly awkward, I replied, "Oh, he'd score very high!" As soon as I hit send, she had replied, "Or rank a celebrity if that's less weird." Yes, it certainly would've been less awkward than admitting I had a serious crush on her absolutely gorgeous husband.

Anyway, the texts start coming. "He's not particularly attractive, not ugly. He's kind of nerdy, but very sweet." Ok, this begins to worry me, but I think, "Well, maybe we'll click. You never know." Then she texts, "He's very nice once you get over the shorts." Oh. Dear. God.The shorts, as it turned out, were this hideous bright plaid that could be seen from one of the National Mall to the other.

Now let me just say what a nightmare it is for a local person to go to the National Mall on a Saturday in August. It is a big fucking nightmare! All of the things I hate about DC all in one place--crowds, lack of Metro etiquette, heat, tourists, etc. What's even worse is when people expect you to show them around and act like a tour guide. The only time I go to the National Mall is to play kickball! We eventually split up--me with the wife, and Daniel with the husband. And I ended up going home by early afternoon. I had a good time, but no love connection. Oh well.

Daniel is a very sweet guy, and I'm sure he'll find a really nice woman some day. But I'm not her.

Sending Light and Love

Last night I went to see Eat Pray Love with some friends. Like a lot of women, I resonated with this book so much when I read it. There's something about Liz Gilbert's honesty about her own psychosis that I find incredibly refreshing. There were a lot of moments when I read it that I thought, "Thank God, someone else in the world is as nuts as I am."

Say what you want about the film--whether or not it captured the book, what it left out, etc.--but what I felt as I watched is was, "This is not bullshit. This woman actually picked up her life and went on this journey, and it was hard as hell. But it was also beautiful and transforming. And in the end, she discovered wholeness."  Sure, it's a romanticization of the book, which is of course a romanticization of her journey, but still, the essence of it all is based in reality. And what I want more than anything is what she found: wholeness.

The moment I am recalling most vividly is when she's at the ashram in India and she confesses how much she misses her 28-year-old yogi lover back in New York. Richard from Texas, never one for sugarcoating the truth, replies in a somewhat annoyed tone, "So miss him. Send him light and love every time you think of him, then drop it."

My eyes well up just thinking about it. It's a beautiful thought--go ahead and miss the person whom you love. Send them every good wish, the love of the universe even, and then...let go. 

So, dear SCL, I do miss you. I miss you with an intensity I didn't know was possible. And rather than trying not to miss you, I will feel the loss and the pain of your absence. And I send you light and love--all good wishes and good thoughts. I wish you happiness and deep, deep joy.

I'm still not sure what it means to let go of that, but I am sure it will come. 

Blog Karma

You'll remember that a few weeks ago I met up with Katie from Date Me, DC! While we lounged by the pool (that we sneaked into), she told me that she had an anonymous donor footing her bill--and that the person found her blog through my blog. Sweet! And where the hell is my cash? 

Then, I found out via Facebook that Katie got a date with a hot British man. And how did she get this date, you ask? Through my blog! The guy saw me on Twitter, read my blog, found her blog, and then tracked her down to ask her out. Of course she is way funnier than me and the topic of her blog is more entertaining and way less depressing than mine can be. But still, I'm fun, too! I swear! Especially when I'm not mopey. Which I'm working on like a champ.

So, I'm all "Go Katie!" and then I think, "Good things gotta be coming my way soon." So, dear blog world, if you'd like to send me cash, beautiful boys, or lavish other lovely things on me, I'm completely ready to accept them.  And if you have suggestions about how to make my blog better for attracting such awesomeness, let me know.

The Second Time Around

When SCL broke up with me the second time, I think what really freaked me out the most was remembering what it had been like the first time--and truly believing there was no way in hell I could go through that again.

The truth is, this time things are different in some ways. I'm no longer living in our old apartment, surrounded by SCL's things and stuff that we'd bought together. I have few if any thoughts about SCL changing his mind and wanting me back. The times when I actually feel like seeing him or calling him are few and far between. And he's not sleeping in the same place a few nights a week. All of these circumstantial things make it all a lot different--and for the most part, better. I'm not pining, not clinging, not yearning for his company like I did then.

The first time around I thought I wanted to do the break-up thing differently, try to remain cordial and even talk to SCL sometimes. I realized that was more about me wanting to treat him well than it was about treating myself well. Because it tortured me. It reminded me of how things used to be and had my head spinning, trying to figure out why it couldn't be that way again. He seemed more present for me in the break-up than he had been in the relationship, and it confused me. It made me want him back. No wonder I didn't think twice when he said he wanted another chance.

The first time around I felt like I could change to make it work. The second time around I recognize that SCL refused to change--or he simply couldn't. I don't want anyone changing on my behalf anyway. He's got to first recognize where he falls short and want to change for himself. I know better this time around.

And yet, my feelings for him seem like they're the same. I know because on my way out to dinner last night, I thought I saw him coming toward me on the street. My stomach dropped. My pulse raced. I felt like I was going to vomit and burst into tears at the same time. It wasn't him, thank God, but it took me a good five minutes to calm myself down.

I know that even though things are different this time around, some things--like my broken heart--are exactly the same.

Am I Normal?

I wish I had something brilliant to say about being in the middle of this, but today I got nothing. I'm drained. This morning I had a bunch of issues with my bike and tried to fix them myself, which I thought I'd done successfully until I was having to exert abnormal amounts of energy to get from A to B. On my way back, as I rode on the side of the busy street, I was going so slowly and my legs were burning so much that I started bawling. I almost biked over to SCL's for him to help me, but somehow I managed to pass his street and get home, tears streaming down my face all the way.

I cried, "What's happened to me?" Since when did a tight bike chain cause me not just to get frustrated, but to start crying and hyperventilating? I am a mess. A big fucking mess with unpredictable emotions and these outbursts that verge on psychotic. I feel like something's wrong with me.

I can't tell if something is actually wrong with me or if I'm just feeling bad and therefore want to diagnose myself. I know from my Buddhist reading and podcasts that thinking something is wrong with me is common for most people and is part of our unhappiness and wanting things to be different. Blah blah blah. So not helpful to me in this moment.

But sometimes things really are wrong with us. How do we know the difference?

I Saw Him Smiling.

Last week was the wedding of some mutual friends of SCL and me. I had decided months before that I couldn't go (a wedding in Denver on a Thursday? I think not), but SCL would since he was better friends with them. I didn't think too much of it until I saw the pictures of the wedding.

And he was smiling. Laughing, dancing, enjoying himself. And it killed me.

I saw pictures of myself from two weeks ago, and I could see it in my eyes that I felt deep sadness. I couldn't even bring myself to go to my friend's wedding at home last weekend, and there he was, laughing and enjoying himself and looking happy, even giving a playful lap dance to the bride. He was happy. At a wedding. Without me.

Is it sick that I want to see evidence that he's hurting? I know it really wouldn't make me feel better or make me feel less sad, but it feels like such a slap in the face to see him smiling like that. I'm envious and hurt and frustrated. And I wonder why I can't smile like that. Why does it seem so easy for him?

I know pictures do not tell the whole story--and the ones I saw probably aren't telling the story I have in my mind--that he's overjoyed and thankful to have cut me out of his life. But maybe he is. Maybe he said 'I'm done" and never looked back. I'll never know the answer.

It's just so hard not to care, not to put myself in situations like this because the part of me that's curious about him is larger than the part of me that wants to protect myself from situations like this. Because I want to hang on to something. I want to know that he did care for me, that he is feeling a loss. I want to feel less alone in this loneliness.

I'm crying. He's laughing. Is it ever the other way around? I feel so pathetic.

On Being Alone

Many thanks to Bry-Guy for sharing this awesome video with me. It's inspired me to go to a movie by myself. Happy Saturday, everyone.

A Time to Mourn, A Time to Dance

I've let myself wallow for a full two weeks. Every day I have let myself cry, not shower, and generally feel the misery and pain as much as I could. It has been a good thing. But I feel like I am getting tired of it--the isolation, the wishing things to be different than they are. Reality is sinking in, and this is my life, like it or not.

My heart is still broken, but I am beginning to see things differently. I've been listening to a lot of Tara Brach podcasts lately, and even though I thought her words of wisdom weren't sinking into my SCL-obsessed thought life, I think they really are. When I got back to my house yesterday, I said aloud to myself, "I did everything I could. I was more than enough, though I was not everything. And the failure of this relationship is not my doing." I said before that this pain feels so uniquely personal--but the truth is that much of this is about SCL, and I just happened to be the one who got caught up in the middle of it. Relationship collateral damage.

It has hurt me so much to think that SCL didn't love me--because I have been thinking it was my fault that he didn't. But really, it was about him. Damn, it's difficult not to take someone's lack of love as a personal affront, isn't it? It kills me to remember him saying how much he wanted to change, how dedicated he was to changing--and then deciding that he just couldn't do it. I never thought about him as weak, but I'm beginning to. I hope he'll eventually get to the place he wants to be. Otherwise I think he'll end up just like his parents--miserable, isolated, and negative.

So, now it's time to shift to focusing on me rather than what was lost. I won't lie--part of me just doesn't want to give SCL the satisfaction that I still care so much. That'll change over time, I think. But I do want to live my life again. These two weeks of moping have been necessary--and I know there will be dark times ahead--but I feel my attitude changing at times.

The process will still have its ups and downs, and there will be more days of moping and crying--but I do have a vision of a new life for myself and I won't let anything stand in the way of going for it.

Bawling at the Airport

Let me just say that even though my family drives me incredibly insane, including my mother, I miss them like hell when I leave. I hate hate HATE leaving them, especially when I'm returning to a situation I'm just fucking sick of. It's only been two weeks since the break-up, and I don't feel even slightly less raw or vulnerable.

I don't dare to say that I've been lucky in never really going through a break-up like this (except for that other time with SCL--bastard), as I've dealt with plenty of other shit I'd never wish on anyone. But it does mean that I'm awfully inexperienced with this kind of hurt and pain.

Basically, I'm feeling just like this--the way I did on April 27th when I was returning back to DC after visiting family. Only this time SCL won't be waiting for me, asking me to come back. For that I am both thankful and absolutely devastated.

Leaving the Computer at Home

But before I do, here's a recap of the last few days. First, right after I blogged the other morning, I almost didn't make it home. There had been a huge storm the night before, throwing off everyone's travel plans, and when I got to the gate, the flight was oversold by four seats. And I didn't have a seat assignment. Shit.

So, I did the most pathetic thing imaginable. I started crying. No, more like sobbing. I begged the woman at the ticket counter, "Please, I have to get home today. I have to go to a wedding!" So, she did some magic and within a few minutes, I had a seat assignment. In the emergency exit aisle with lots of leg room. Next to a really hunky pilot. Not too shabby. And a short hour and half later, I landed.

When I saw my mom waiting for me, I immediately began sobbing for the second time that day--so much that I could barely make out her figure in the crowd. But I threw my bags down and put my arms around her neck and sobbed like a little baby for a good five minutes. I'd been holding those cries in for over a week, and finally I just got to let go and have my mom hold me. She didn't care; she wasn't embarrassed. She just said, "Let it all out, sweet girl." God, I love my mom.

There have been a lot of tears since then, too. Even though I'm home, I still feel like shit and there are still fucking reminders of SCL everywhere I look. I did do a great act of self-care by not going to the wedding I  had today. (Yes, the one I cried about to get home--you got a problem with it?) I just felt like shit, and I knew I wouldn't be adding to my friend's happiness if I went. I'll tell her I got sick and send an extra-nice gift. I never do this kind of thing, but I couldn't handle it today. Plus, I'd made the effort to go to her bachelorette weekend and spend lots of time (and of course money) with her. Whatever, I'm not going to justify it anywhere. I never skip this kind of stuff. But I just felt like it was something I needed to do.

Instead my mom and I spent the day looking for new clothes for me. She spent a somewhat obscene amount of money on me, which I resisted at first until I realized how much she'd been looking forward to shopping together. I realized that I haven't felt beautiful in months, and hell, that needs to change immediately. I'm never going to get past this if I don't start feeling good about myself again.

Being here makes me realize how unhappy I am living so far away from my family. I hate it. I don't want to make any big decisions right now, but I'm thinking about looking into living somewhere else--another city closer to home. The beauty about my job right now is I can do it absolutely anywhere as long as I have a decent airport. So, over the next six months as I'm waiting to hear back about my continued contract, I'm going to start looking into some of cities closer to home. Because honestly, nothing is more important than the people we love, and most of mine right now are south of the Mason-Dixon line.

Mom and I head out forour glamorous vacation of luxury and indulgence tomorrow morning, and I've decided not to take the computer. I just need a break from technology for a few days. I'll be back in DC on Thursday afternoon, so I'm sure you'll hear from me by then. In the meantime, know how much I love all of you, especially those who've taken the time to write, comment, and even send me things--books,  iTunes, your stories. You rock my face off. This is a good thing, btw.

Hitting the Road...Again

But this time (mostly) by choice. First, I have to suffer through a wedding (could the timing be any worse?) tomorrow. Then I'm off for a mini-vacation to the beach with my mom. I am totally prepared to let her baby me as much as is maternally possible.

I just need to get out of here for awhile. I even have plans to get out of town again next weekend. Just trying to stay busy and surrounding myself with people I love and who love me.

I must admit, though, it would have been really nice if I could've asked SCL to help me get to the Metro this morning. One of the downsides of this whole breakup is missing his helpfulness. He was really generous about things like that. Sigh.

I'll probably be blogging at some point, but it might also be a nice break for me just to chill out on the reflection. We'll see.

Thanks again to those of you who have been awesome. And to those of you who haven't been, I say, "Go fuck yourself." Seriously, that would be a better use of your time than making someone who feels like shit feel worse.

Talk to you all soon.

Think Again Thursday: What NOT to Say to Someone Who Just Got Her Heart Broken

First of all, let me preface this by saying that many of you have been absolutely supportive and lovely in the middle of all of this. If you're worried that you said something offensive, most likely that means that you didn't because you are self-aware enough to even be thinking about it.

But, if you're wondering what are some of the most horrible, insensitive things to say to someone going through a break-up, I've made a list of the worst ones I've heard so far (some even from comments on this blog!)

  1. "At least you had someone who loved you. Better to have loved and lost than never loved at all." Sorry, it's impossible to feel thankful for anything about my relationship with SCL at this point, especially its very existence. Right now I'm feeling like Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind had the right idea. 
  2. "Sometimes things in life aren't fair..realize that this guy has moved on several months before you. Pick yourself up and move on. He moved on from you." Perhaps it's getting overused but this one really deserves a big "FUCK YOU." So, basically what you're saying is get over him because he got over me? Oh, why I never thought of that. So glad you enlightened me to the fact that SCL doesn't love me anymore. 
  3. "I kinda saw this coming...knew from your blog entry that he wasn't that into you." Another unhelpful "I told you so" and using that godawful line from that stupid book. "Not that into you" is reserved for first dates and three-month undefined relationships, not partners of two years. 
  4. "The pain shows you that you are still alive." You know what else does? Me putting my fist into your face. 
  5. "[SCL]'s kinda dorky and kind of a pretty boy." Insulting SCL's actual person is really intolerable to me because first of all, I love him and second of all, he was the person I chose to be with. So, insulting him is an insult to me.
  6. "You seem to have a pretty negative view of men." Ha! Well, with a shitty father and now this shitty situation, I seem to have a pretty good reason to, don't I? 
Needless to say, any cruel or insensitive comments I receive in response to this or any post will NOT be published but might be featured in subsequent installments of "Think Again Thursday" for future mocking and cursing. So, if you're thinking about sending something insulting, I urge you to think again

What Has Been Helpful

If I wanted to, I could already fill up a week's worth of blog posts about unhelpful things people have said to me in the time since the break-up. Many of them would come from comments I've received on this blog. I really do not understand people's lack of compassion--or see someone else's pain as an opportunity to be an asshole. Saying things like "Just move on already" is NOT HELPFUL. Then again, maybe these people aren't trying to be helpful in the first place, to which I say, "Go fuck yourself."

Anyway, I had breakfast with a good friend and minister (read: someone who has been trained to deal with people's emotional shit) yesterday morning. She just listened as I told her what had happened and how scared I was about the future. I do feel like I'm at a point in my life when I'm ready to have a partnership with someone and get married. I'm scared that it will never happen for me.

I said, "I know there's really nothing anyone can say to make me feel better, but can you try?" And she said something along the lines of this:
I have seen many people in the midst of darkness--grief, loss, mourning, despair, hopelessness--just like where you are right now. And I have seen those people in time move into places of great joy and thriving and new opportunity, things they never could have predicted while in that dark place. 
 That is the hope, isn't it?

Tears are Like Nausea.

Tears are like nausea. The sensation comes in waves--it surges and then dissipates. But eventually you're going to puke, so you might as well not fight it. And hell, sometimes it's better just to stick your finger down your throat and get it over with.

I have no idea how many times I've cried since Thursday, but if I had to guess, I'd say on average it's about once an hour. During the two-hour breakfast I just had with my friend A, I think I broke down at least five times, which is just embarrassing really. The mornings seem like the worst to me, though I couldn't tell you why. I think my brain functions best in the morning, and generally I spend them alone. I do my reflecting and journaling in the morning, so it makes sense that it's when I feel the shittiest. Again, just like when I'm sick, I feel the worst in the morning and then once the sun goes down.

I absolutely hate that first moment of waking up in the morning and that split second when I have forgotten about what just happened--and then it all comes surging back. Oh yeah, I'm heart-broken. Oh yeah, I'm a mess. Oh yeah, SCL rejected my love. And then there's the feeling of FML, I have to get through another fucking day of this shit.

I hate the world. I hate everyone. Nothing personal, just everyone fucking sucks right now. Especially the friends who say unhelpful things like "You'll find someone else" or "At least you had someone to love." You know what I say to them? FUCK YOU.

Speaking of which another detail of the break-up: when SCL broke up with me, he actually had the nerve to say "I know you're strong enough to get through this." You know what I say to that? FUCK YOU. You don't get to tell me who I am anymore. It just sounded like a way for him to feel less bad about hurting me, knowing eventually I'll get over it. Yeah, I'm sure I will, but that doesn't change the fact that he's what I have to get over. So yeah, SCL, please don't try to comfort me. In fact, don't say another fucking word to me.

Apparently the tears have led to rage. I can't tell which feels worse.

My News

SCL and I are done. Again. I couldn't bring myself to blog about it right away, mostly because I feel absolutely humiliated and heart-broken. How could this be happening again?

Things between us had been off for several days. I felt SCL was being particularly distant and wouldn't make plans with me, even when I offered to buy us tickets to see Avenue Q. We did agree to spend Thursday evening together. I felt nervous about it, so I thought I'd put some extra effort into looking cute. I even told my hairdresser to give me a sexy look for the night. Of course SCL didn't even notice my hair.

The evening began normally enough. SCL made us pizza, we watched True Blood, and we debated whether to eat the last pint of Ben and Jerry's I bought then or later. Then we ended up downstairs in his room, talking. He seemed distant and upset, so of course I asked him what was up. He complained about work--that he felt like he wasn't going to get in done in time. But that kind of normal-life stress couldn't possibly be the reason for his being so down.

So, I said, "It seems like something else is bothering you." And then it came. Damnit. He said that he felt upset--no, uneasy about us. He said he still felt like he had no clarity about the situation with me--and that he wasn't sure how he felt about me. He did say, however, "I've gotten used to not seeing you every day." I'm not sure that was really a necessary thing to say. All it did was make me feel like shit.

But I'm trying to practice this Buddhist stuff of accepting my feelings as they came and not reacting out in anger, so instead I just continued to ask questions and listen. He wouldn't look at me when he talked, only when he finished a sentence would he look my way, I suppose to gauge my reaction.

Then the words finally came out, "There's a big part of me that doesn't want to do this anymore."

Just typing those words right now are making me bawl. I am sitting at my damn computer, hardly able to see through the tears what I'm even typing. It just hurt me so much to hear him say it again. All I could say to him was that I had tried so hard, had tried everything to be there for him and give him what he told me he needed. I had allowed him to dictate the relationship and what he was willing to give, and I really, really tried to be patient with him as hard as it was. And here he was telling me, "I'm tired of feeling uncertain about things."

I was tired of it, too. But I wasn't about to give up on him. I guess he gave out first. He couldn't handle trudging through the uncertainty. That is his choice.

I resisted his words so much. I asked him, "What about a few weeks ago in the apartment when you said you could envision a future with me? What happened to that?"

Nothing could have prepared me for this. "I can envision a future with you, and I don't think that's what I want." 

This will go down as the meanest thing anyone has said to me. Period. To have the person I love, whom I've tried to love to the very best of my ability, say "I've considered what life would be like with you, and I am rejecting that future together" has got to be the biggest personal insult I have received. It says, "You aren't enough. Your love isn't enough to make me happy." I hate him for saying that. I wish he'd thought about how that would sound and whether he felt it or not, found another way to say it.

I knew that this was the end. I started hyperventilating. I couldn't breathe. I felt like something had taken over my body--like I was having a panic attack. But eventually I calmed down. I looked at him and said, "I hope you find happiness." A few minutes later I said, "I love you very much." He said nothing.

I managed to get up, go find my shoes, and walk out the door, never looking at him and not saying another word. And then I fell apart.

Blogger Meet Up: First "Date" with Date me, D.C.!

I don't know about you, but meeting a friend for the first time is pretty much just as scary as a first date. So, when Katie over at Date me, D.C.! (perhaps the funniest/most terrifying blog of all time) invited me to sneak into a friend's pool yesterday afternoon, I was nervous, excited, and feeling slightly insecure. Would Katie like me? Think I'm cool? What if it's awkward and she doesn't want to see me again? This was my first blog meet-up, and I wanted it to go well.

Now this first date had taken a good while to plan. Katie and I live a mere four blocks from each other (some coincidence, huh?) and she's invited me to several things, including my all-time favorite activity, karaoke. Each time I've had something else going on, and I felt bad that I could never hang out. So when I had no plans yesterday, I jumped at the chance to meet up. It was the perfect day to lounge by the pool, even if it did require cajoling our way into the mega-secured apartment building (nothing like the one SCL and I shared where they'd let anyone who showed up into the building). Katie told me she had a "pool pass" which ended up being a quite useless piece of neon-green colored paper that no one checked when what we really needed was a damn key card.

But, the afternoon was fantastic! As it turns out, Katie is even more awesome than she seems in her blog---totally sassy, hilarious, and fun. Why some amazing guy hasn't scooped her up yet is beyond me because she is fucking fabulous. She also has a fantastic group of friends who are equally fun and funny, and I hope to hang out with them again some time.

I hope this is the first of many dates, and hopefully none of them are bad enough to end up on her blog. And if you haven't read her blog yet, get your ass over there asap!