Commuting And Dating

This morning on the subway, a quasi-cute guy offered to switch spots with me so I could lean against the wall instead of standing in the middle of the connecting section between cars. I usually go stand in that area because most people don’t, and there is always more space there than, say, near the doors, where everyone feels the need to congregate. For reasons I don’t understand.

Anyway.

I had my headphones on and had moved to stand in between the two guys who were already in the connecting section of that part of the train, as usual. I was reading headlines over people’s shoulders, gawking at the various ads placed around my part of the train, and vaguely listening to whatever was playing on my headphones. Just thinking and riding along, as I do.

All of a sudden, the guy behind me kind of waved his hand to one side of me – not in an annoying way, just in a way that suggested he may have been trying to get my attention, or that he was possibly just stretching. I turned my head toward his hand, and he lifted his phone up next to me and pointed at it. He’d opened his notepad on there and typed, “Would you like to stand against the wall for support?”

Since the new trains have been in play, I can’t remember anyone ever offering me that spot before. Occasionally I get offered a seat, but never the wall, nor even a doorway.

I turned to look at him, and smiled as I thanked him but declined, and he smiled back in such a way as to make him cuter than he perhaps actually was. I don’t mean that in a cruel way – I just wasn’t sure how else to word it. In essence, it was a very sweet smile, and engaging, if only for a fleeting moment, in this case. I think that’s one of the things that I like about people; when they smile at me nice. It makes them stand out to me, more than someone who is just kind of there. It makes them seem more present, or something.

I resumed my transit reverie, and not long after, I read a headline over someone’s shoulder that caught my eye. It said something about listing 5 honest reasons why the writer was on a dating hiatus, or something. I’m often curious as to why some people choose to be single (I mean, this article was obviously written by a woman, though I never confirmed it, to be honest), especially when I want to see if any of their reasons align with what mine might be.

None of the reasons listed this time did, however.

The writer stated that they were in their early 30’s, or so (bless), and seemed to be in that stage of life where all of your friends are marrying and having children, and you’re not, so you start thinking about whether or not you want to do that, too. Or something. I can’t really remember what I was thinking back then.

At any rate, there were the usual reasons like, “I don’t like the options I have to choose from” and “I’m tired of having sex with someone I like rather than someone I love”. Those kinds of things. I can’t even remember all five reasons right now.

Rather than try to read more of it over a fellow traveller’s shoulder, I started thinking about why I’m on a dating hiatus myself. I don’t think I ever would have called it that, for starters. I say simply, “I don’t date”, but I guess that’s not entirely true, either. I think I would date, if I happened to bump into someone who intrigued me. I’m just not in the mood to go out looking for someone to intrigue me. I’m lazy like that these days.

Obviously, the main reason I choose not to date right now is because I have feelings for someone who isn’t able to reciprocate them in the same way, and there isn’t really a way to replace that person with someone else. Rather, another person will come along someday who intrigues me in a different way, and that’s where my heart will go. But I don’t think it can be forced. Whenever I’ve tried in the past, I wind up feeling angry at myself for trying so hard to “settle for less” – or at least for trying to force myself to ignore my actual feelings and feign other ones. Plus, it’s obvious to me in those situations that I’m not giving it my all, and while the other person may or may not deserve more of me, that I’m not giving it means whatever it is will be destined to fail, anyway.

And that’s something, too – the people I potentially want to get to know better don’t usually feel the same way about me, and those who do are often of no interest to me. I realize that could devolve into a “poor me” melodramatic situation (and it has before), but for me right now, as I write this, it’s more just frustrating, and tiring, and not something I’m interested in diving into the thick of at this point in my life. I’d rather go home to the dog and cats and be content than try to force myself to feel differently about anyone.

I can make up all the “reasons” in the world – I don’t have time, I don’t like people, I’m focused on other things, I want to stay home with the animals, people are stupid, I’m tired, I’m broke, I lose myself in relationships and I’m just beginning to like myself again, I’m still in love with my ex, I don’t want to date just for the sake of dating, I’m complicated and no one really gets me so I’d rather be alone, I am a rock, I am an island…wait…scratch that last part. At any rate, all of those things hold at least a grain of truth, and there are still more not listed. But the simple fact is that dating hasn’t gone well for me so far – it’s difficult, and consuming and I’m not good at it and inevitably wind up feeling like a failure in life, and who wants to feel that all the time? Who wants to feel like a disappointment to someone they care about?

I don’t, and I can’t even stop feeling like I let my friends down constantly, let alone someone with whom I am in a romantic relationship. I mean, it’s never all bad, of course. Sometimes it’s amazing, to feel connected to someone else. It’s amazing to feel like I’m in love, and that I am loved in return. It’s amazing to not feel alone in the world sometimes. But when those feelings go away, what replaces them feels worse, usually.

I think mainly I don’t date because I’m afraid of feeling all that again. Which I realize I’ve written to seem like it’s a reason, but I know that – like the entire above list – is not a reason so much as it is an excuse.

And for now, I am fine with that. Not great, but also not forever. For now, though, I am fine with making excuses. When that changes – and it will – I’ll make the choice to do things differently again. But it’ll be my choice, and therein is where I find my satisfaction.

Because the understanding that I am actually okay either way is perhaps the most amazing feeling of all.

On Dreams And Adapting

I had a dream about one of my exes last night.

Well, not exactly about her, but all the ridiculous drama – particularly near the end – featured quite heavily throughout. It’s likely my own fault for watching Bachelor in Paradise, but still. It’s had an odd effect on my waking life mindset today.

I’m angry.

Not raging mad, or anything, just a kind of over the bullshit feeling. It feels rather empowering.

Of course, I’m also exhausted, so that is likely feeding my grumpy ill-temper, as well, but whatever. I’ll focus on the empowering part!

It’s weird to stand outside of someone else’s relationship – romantic or even just friend-wise – and see a glaring imbalance within it. Weirder still is standing inside of your own relationship and seeing it – yet accepting it, anyway. Even helping to perpetuate it. Such an odd sensation to kind of hate it, and kind of hate yourself for standing for it, yet still kind of assuming that maybe that’s how it’s supposed to be. Maybe just for you, maybe just for this relationship, but still accepting it nonetheless. The logic side of you is disgusted with the whole thing. The emotional side of you is more conflicted and unsure how to proceed, so you just kind of sit there inside of it and wait for something or someone to tip the scales in a different direction. Sometimes you even think it’ll be you who tips them – just maybe not quite yet.

The ex in my dream was a compulsive liar, I think would be the term, in real life. I knew this very early on, and I adapted to basically take everything she said with a grain of salt. I think I spoke to this before, in that not believing her became a habit which was then transferred into my next relationship, until I realized what I was doing and willed myself to cut it out and treat that new relationship as the wholly different entity that it was. I still catch myself being quietly sceptical of those around me sometimes, though. I’m not sure if it can all be traced back to that relationship, or if I just have trouble trusting people in general. Same result, either way, though.

Anyway, the lies weren’t necessarily huge, and weren’t usually hurtful towards others. I figured it was kind of a defence mechanism to keep people from getting too close to the real person inside; that it likely stemmed from some deep inner self-hatred, the source of which I was never privy. It was always clear, however, that it had nothing to do with me personally. It was just a part of who she was, and I decided I couldn’t pick and choose which parts of a person I would love, so I chose to essentially ignore some of those parts, instead.

I do that will all living beings, really. No one is perfect, so I chose which parts I like and ignore the rest, if the parts I like outnumber and outweigh the parts I don’t, I mean. Like, I don’t love that Flynn poos on the mat more often than she poos in the litter box, but I love Flynn for much more than where she poos, so I adapt and tolerate and go on loving her fluffy self. I chose to deal with the things I don’t like because there are so many more that I do.

Same with the lying ex. I didn’t realize at the time how far-reaching some of the effects of those choices I made then would be, but still – I didn’t make them blind. I knew pretty much exactly what I was doing. I remember deciding to just adapt and go with it. I remember making excuses for that decision. I remember not being surprised when it all came back to bite me, but still being incredibly hurt by it. Not that I thought it wouldn’t, or that I was special, or that I could change her with my love. Nothing like that. I think it was more just choosing to adapt to it – to change myself a little bit instead.

I think a lot of people do that – maybe everyone, maybe more often women – but a lot of people, regardless. I can’t keep track of the number of times I’ve seen one person – often a guy – talk down at someone else – often a woman – and watched the woman just take it. As though maybe a part of her believes whatever he’s saying to be actual truth. And maybe it is, but it’s his truth, and she takes it on as her truth, as well. Maybe some part of me believed I deserved to be lied to by my partner; perhaps as penance for not trusting anyone to begin with (damn you, X-Files!), or perhaps just because that’s what I get when I don’t open myself up to anyone else, either. Maybe I felt I was strong enough to take it on when few others could, which in turn made me feel kind of special. Like an emotional superhero, loving those who feel they are unlovable.

Whatever the reason, it wasn’t the first time I allowed an imbalance to permeate a relationship/friendship, and it wasn’t the last. It’s interesting that watching a cheesy “reality” show could dredge up some of those old emotions to the point where they had to show up all throughout a dream that otherwise had nothing to do with them. Now it’s all swirling around in my mind again, even though I haven’t seen that person in almost 13 years now, I’d say. I guess it’s not really the specific person, anyway, so much as the feelings that evolved throughout our relationship and then escalated during our ridiculously dramatic relationship.

Like, people are mean – to each other, to other living things. Giving someone the power to hurt you is hard, especially once other hurt-y people have paved the way for them in the past. I think the kind of cool thing for me today, though, is that I’m more angry than hurt, and that’s a newer stage for me. I mean, I went through them all back in the day, too, don’t get me wrong. I was hella mad, I was vengeful, I was afraid and I was devastated. I was all over the place, dealing with that sense of loss. Even to the point of not really considering it a loss sometimes.

I remember, like, a day or two after i moved out, I went back to get the last of my things while she was at work. With her permission – she knew I was going in and that I’d leave my key once I’d retrieved the rest of my stuff, most of which she had thankfully packed for me so it’d be a quick trip. I knew she’d screw me over on a lot of it, too, because she didn’t really care if I ever got everything that was mine back, but still. It was mostly just stuff, with no real value to anyone but me, anyway. The first thing I noticed when I got in the door was that every photograph of me or us or anything to do with us had been removed from their frames and replaced with entirely different pictures. She’d essentially erased my existence from her life, pretty much overnight. That realization ruined me to the point where I stuffed as many of my remaining belongings into as I could into a garbage bag and booted it out of there, never to return.

Well, and I left my key. I’m not the asshole she expected me to be, after all.

I also accidentally left behind a few items that were personally very important to me, and never saw them again, either, which sucks. That hurts more now than the picture thing, actually. One hurt was in the moment, and the other – which was a direct result of the first – has had long-lasting emotional repercussions.

I feel like there’s a lesson in that…

Anyway. I’m grumpy today, and feeling less like putting up with other people’s crap than usual, which is probably a good thing.

I will, however, still put up with Flynn’s crap, because the things to love about her will always outweigh the…crap.

Adjust Accordingly

I saw this thing on FB that said to make a list of things that make you happy, and then a list of what you do everyday, and then compare the two and adjust accordingly.

That sort of fit in with some similar things I’ve been thinking about recently, so even though I know my lists won’t be even remotely the same, it occurred to me that I wasn’t immediately sure what would go on my happy list. And that’s a larger part of the problem than what constitutes my day job, so I figured I should start there.

Some things that make me happy, in no particular order:

  • getting people to talk about their passions (ie via The Mind Reels) and, more recently, doing reads of old timey radio plays
  • being around non-human animals, especially if I get to pet them
  • writing and other methods of creating – I have an amazing creative mind, but lack the talent to do any of it really well
  • planning things – events, trips, tattoos, etc – especially if it’s for me to partake in
  • learning – and usually challenging myself falls into that area, as well (I actually quite enjoy school and taking courses and the like – I think that’s part of what I thought I’d like about teaching, actually)
  • taking and sharing pictures (I love taking pictures, but I think sharing them with others makes me even happier)

That’s as much as I came up with on the subway. I pretty much kept it to activities, really. I guess I could include things like sunshine, mountains, the sound of waves, the smell of bread baking, ice cream, popcorn – food and salt in general, I guess, reading, listening to music…all that kind of wind down stuff I like to do. Collecting things. Watching TV.

I guess there are lots of changes I could make to ensure I am doing more of the things which make me happy during my day, but I was heading in to work, so work was on my mind. Not much there makes me happy, except when I figure something out – which falls into the learning/challenging category, but it rarely happens, so it’s not very happiness-sustaining.

It also takes up a vast percentage of my everyday life, so it’s harder for me to check things off the happy list when the majority of non-work time is spent sleeping. Which sometimes makes me happy, too. Sometimes not, though.

I’ve also been thinking about this whole notion of relationships and how everyone seems to think we all need to be in one. I was thinking about how I never imagined nor planned out my wedding. Not as a kid, nor as an adult – I was never really looking ahead to how my wedding day would be, or which song would be the soundtrack to our first dance, or where I’d want to go on my honeymoon or any of that stuff people supposedly do. Well, except to joke that I’d walk down the aisle to the Imperial March. Otherwise, though, I was never imagining my someday forever love, nor what our lives would look like together. To me, it was a little difficult when I had no one specific in mind. To me, that was a major factor in what the rest would look like. I wasn’t looking for a generic cake-topper, so much as an actual person.

I remember worrying that I wouldn’t be paying attention and miss them whenever they came into my life. I think that may have made me more open, though, because instead of trying to find someone who fit whatever vague notions I had in my head, I was watching; noticing when my initial reaction to meeting someone in particular was different from meeting everyone else.

Recognizing that one handshake could be all I needed to let me know that love was near.

I was getting angry and frustrated at not fitting the mold that others seem to fit into – like, not even understanding it, really. But then this morning I was thinking about those people who use vision boards, or whatever they’re called; wherein a person will place photos and other objects into a sort of collage and look at it regularly, imagining those things coming into their lives. A child, a relationship, a trip, money – anything they want. They kind of meditate on it every day, and it kind of focuses their attention on those specific things, as a way of sending their wishes out into the Universe and hoping for them to manifest sooner rather than later.

I wondered if I have been wrong this whole time (ie my life) in not picturing the specific way I want my life to look; what I want my future to hold. I wondered if maybe I had been doing that – picturing and focusing on what I wanted this entire time, if my life would be any different today. If my future would have been now.

I guess it’s never too late to start.

Though I wouldn’t have missed that handshake for all the world. Not for anything.

I’ll start with the happy list, as I have a feeling other things just fall into place when you’re happy with yourself, anyway. And part of that, of course, will include paying attention to anything else I might want to add to said list.

The sky’s the limit, as they say.

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Writing Prompts – Day 2 of 12

Day 2:  The One That Got Away

You bump into an ex-lover on Valentine’s Day—the one whom you often call “The One

That Got Away.” What happens?

 

I realize that I’m not quite doing these things right, but at the same time, they are writing prompts, and I am writing about them. So suck it. I’m doing it how I wanna. Haha

Anyway…I’m going to delve into the vault of my actual past relationships for this one, just out of curiosity alone.

I was trying to figure out who I would consider to be “The One That Got Away”. I mean, every one of them dumped me, not the other way around, so in that sense, they all got away. Most of them, I was eventually glad they got away for various reasons, but there are three in particular that I miss, and still sometimes wonder what life would have been like had we not broken up. Of those three, one was unlike any relationship I’ve ever had, and was only ever meant to be temporary. It was more of a glimpse into what I would like to have for myself in the future, rather than any kind of permanent long-term thing. It was always going to end, and it was never meant to be 100%, but I feel like she’d be proud of the person I’ve become, and into whom I am continuing to grow.

She wouldn’t be proud relationship-wise, obviously, because a) I haven’t been in one for a good 7 years or so, and b) I never did find the kind of pairing she’d shown me I’d want for myself. Almost, but not quite.

So that leaves me with the other two, and they are actually more alike than different, as far as our relationships went, so for the purpose of this exercise, I can pretty much use both, instead of one or the other. In this case, they are sort of interchangeable. They are both also the closest I’ve been to realizing the kind of relationship I want someday.

They are not interchangeable as people – at all – but as far as what would happen if I bumped into either one of them on Valentine’s Day. Or any day, for that matter. It would all go about the same.

For some reason, when I first pictured this encounter, it took place in a restaurant. Why I would be in a restaurant alone on Valentine’s Day is beyond me, though. Unless it was McDonald’s.

And neither woman lives in this city, so bumping into either of them would be a surprise, to say the least. However, in my first instinctive scenario, both would be with their families. The families they built on after dumping me. Both had a child or children when I met them, and one has more now. Both are married (to men, because neither was actually gay to begin with – I’m just that spectacular for short periods of time), and both love their families; families of which I’d wanted so badly to be a part. So naturally, if I’m going to run into The One That Got Away, she’s going to be happily living her life with someone else, and – more importantly – without me.

That is going to simultaneously hurt me to my core, and make me happy to see her smile.

Maybe she introduces me as an old friend. Maybe some of the people at the table already know me. Maybe she’ll tell me a little about the job she loves, and about where she’s living now. She’ll definitely share something about the kiddo(s) I know and how they’re doing now, all grown up.

She’ll ask how I am.

I’ll lie.

Even though she’s obviously happy and enjoying her life without me, I won’t want her to know how I’m actually doing. It doesn’t even necessarily have anything to do with her – or not as much as it might seem – but not having a job I love and not seeing anyone right now…just all the “nots” that she has now and I don’t. I’m jealous and sad and blaming myself for not being good enough to give her the happy life she deserves, and is now enjoying right in front of me.

I’ll tell her I’m at least okay, that things are going pretty well, I’ll brush off the relationship question and deflect everything with humour.

Then I’ll leave, because even though I’m in McDonald’s on Valentine’s Day, I suddenly don’t have an appetite anymore, and I just want to go home. I’ll flip through some old photos and memories, imagine what might have been, and allow myself to feel for a brief moment as though she’d just gotten away all over again.

After that, I’ll pour myself a drink, break open a bag of chips, and watch some TV, because no one needs to feel that much misery over someone else’s happiness.

Especially not when it’s someone you love.

Writing Prompts – Day 1 of 12

Day 1:  Breaking Up With Writer’s Block

It’s time for you and Writer’s Block to part ways. Write a letter breaking up with Writer’s

Block, starting out with, “Dear Writer’s Block, it’s not you, it’s me …”

 

Dear Writer’s Block,

It’s not you, it’s me. I feel like I’ve never really been with you, anyway. Not really. Bumps in the road, maybe, here and there, but never really blocked. Not in terms of writing, at least. In most other facets of my life, most definitely.

So maybe I should break up with you there, too.  Break up with blockage in general.

The thing is, I’ve never really been one to break up with anyone. And while I communicate much better when I can take time to write things down, it’s not something I imagine I’d ever do via a letter. In person seems the better way – the more mature way – to treat someone you supposedly once loved. Or at least liked enough to want to be with in some form of relationship or other.

I’ve always been the one reacting to being broken up with, so I don’t really have any experience on this whole side of things.

I guess there’s a first time for everything, though, right? So maybe I should say to you what I would want said to me, if the shoe were on the other foot, and if you were breaking up with me, instead. Not that I ever want to be broken up with, but still. There’s no need to be cruel about it. Still, I am sorry that you’re getting my experimental first try at being the breaker-upper. I know how much it sucks, and yet I’m doing it, anyway.

So let’s see…I guess, first of all, Writer’s Block, we’re really not very good for each other. I can’t give you what you need, and you can’t give me what I need. That’s probably why I’ve never really been with you to begin with – I don’t think either of us ever really committed to being together, you know? It’s definitely worth trying for, and fighting for, but at some point, we both just have to realize that it’s just not working. And trying to force something that doesn’t work always ends up making things worse.

Maybe there is no second of all, actually. Maybe that’s enough. It’s not working, and nothing either of us could do or change would be able to make it work between us. I feel like it’s best for both of us if we move on, but I also don’t want to make decisions for you. I do, however, have to do what’s best for me.

And this is it.

Take care, Writer’s Block. Almost knowing you even a little bit changed me for the better, so thank you for that. Going our separate ways now will make things better still – for me, and I hope someday you realize, for you, too.

Sue

Kindness and Writing

I’m not very kind to myself when I am unhappy.

I have an opportunity to make a big change, which will make me more out-of-control unhappy for a while, but may balance out in the end naturally, if I stay on top of things.

It’s weird to not be quite certain as to whether you are doing something good for you in the long run, but knowing it’ll make you even more miserable in the short term. Like, would I be doing it for the potential long term gain? Or because I believe on some level that I deserve the short term misery?

Similar scenarios have come up…pretty much my whole life, I think, but I really only noticed the bizarre nature of the conundrum within the past decade, or so. I even like to push myself occasionally, just to see how much I can take. And I can take a lot. And that, too, makes me proud.

Maybe only part of it is thinking I deserve it. Maybe part of it is about finding some new part of myself to be pleased with.

Twisted as that is.

I think I’m in an abusive relationship. With myself.

Then again, I think most people are, to some degree. I’m just better able to recognize it, and that also pleases me, about me.

Also – like, I usually have more than one thing going on in my daily life. And way more than that on my mind. Narrowing it all down to one topic or two to graze the surface of in a blog post isn’t meant to indicate that I only ever have one thing to talk about. Or that I want to talk about. Or that there isn’t far more that I don’t want to talk about. Sometimes I think maybe I should just focus on doing different little writing exercises, instead of trying to come up with something to say. I actually want to do more writing exercises, because they are fun, and forcing myself to do them more often might somehow improve my writing a bit. Part of me always worries about putting my writing online, because then it’s a public forum, not copyrighted, and easy to steal.

But then again, if someone really wants to claim something I whipped up on my lunch break at work was actually something they wrote themselves, then perhaps I should just be flattered, and let them have at it.

Obviously they would be in far worse shape than I!

Spirograph

If all lives really mattered, wouldn’t we all be a lot less douchey about those not our own?

So much reacting without thinking.

Whereas, some days, thinking is pretty much all I do. I’ve been thinking a lot about relationships lately. Not, like, the dating kind. Obviously I am far too angry to date. Not specifically those, anyway. Just the ways in which I relate to others, and how they relate to me. Friendships, mostly, though some family and date-ish-like relationships, too.

Tomorrow I get to spend a large part of the day with one of my longest, closest friends, and I can not freaking wait! I can’t even remember the last time we got to hang out together like this…unless you count the day we spent in a clinic while I took my first dose of Gilenya, but I’m sure both of us would have rather been hanging out somewhere else. Somewhere we could talk and laugh and be ourselves more completely. Maybe somewhere with alcohol. Haha

Tomorrow will be much more “us”. Outside of eating chips in our pj’s while watching old episodes of “V” on VHS, of course.

Anyway, I am ridiculously excited about it – about just having the plan, let alone how much fun and cathartic it’ll be to actually do it all!

Another of my longest closest friends is in town this week with his wife, whom I haven’t met yet but feel like we’re going to get along splendidly together. We haven’t created an actual plan to hang out yet, but we will…it’s just a matter of finding mutual gaps in our schedules. But since I am also off tomorrow through Sunday, I think we should be able to figure something out!

I am ridiculously excited about that, too – I don’t even care what we do, so long as we’re together for a time!

I’m not sure if I feel so close to those two people because I rarely see them, but when I do, it’s like no time has passed, or if it’s because I’ve lived with both of them before. In the same house, just not at the same time. Maybe it was the house that cemented our friendships. Maybe it was the time period – I was fully out and feeling pretty cocky about my awesomeness; I thought at the time that I was pretty open about who I was, or at least as much as I had discovered so far. So I wonder if my frustration now is in feeling like I am less open than I was? Or the same but wanting to be more? Am I just more aware of feeling like I don’t know how to be the kind of friend to certain others that I want to have for myself? I definitely feel more guarded with new people now. I hadn’t been devastated yet when I met those friends from my 20’s.

Maybe some people just better at seeing through my crap and calling me on it and moving both of us past it. Maybe my newer friends just haven’t been given the chance to get there yet.

The interesting thing to me is that – regardless of the when or the how long – none of my closest friends ever consider me to be their closest friend. Or rather, they’ve always had people in their lives who are closer to them than I am. Just as I always have people closer to me than anyone who’s considered me one of their closest friends. It’s like some weird spirograph of connections; always fluid and changing and growing and shrinking and yet somehow still working somehow.

For the most part. There are times I still long for a more balanced mutual connection – to the point where I find myself even trying to force it sometimes – but for the most part, the spirograph works, and everybody gets what they need, more or less. Trying to force something to be what it’s not just because we want it to be something else…really doesn’t work for anyone. Which I of course know, but that doesn’t stop me from trying sometimes, even though I know it’s not going to turn out the way I want it to. Sometimes I just can’t help myself, I guess. Maybe I haven’t figured out the difference between reaching for what I want versus fighting a losing battle.

Maybe I still haven’t been able to even tell the two apart.