#Throwback Thursday: You Seemed So Perfect On Paper, But Then We Had Date #2

Originally published 5/26/14

I keep thinking I know what qualities I would like in a mate, but the last two men really have me second guessing myself.

I met Mark on Match.com and he was nice, smart, funny, self aware (a big thing with me), a good listener, thoughtful and cute. Ok, I thought, this time I have all the bases covered! This is going to be easy.

Then the self awareness turned into him telling/texting me his every thought and insecurity. All day long. By the second date, he was asking me if I was into this thing long term (uhhh, I don’t know?) and then proceeded to tell me that he was just scared and insecure about where this was headed.

I always thought I was an open minded and compassionate person, but I found myself wanting to yell “Man up!” So, I’m thinking don’t share that stuff so early. It feels a little pressure-y and makes me feel like he lacks confidence which is a turn off. I don’t want to be responsible for anyone’s emotional well being if I decide to bow out on date 3.

So one night after a few drinks (nothing good was ever said after a few drinks), I said to Mark, “Mark, it’s good for a man to be sensitive, but they don’t need to express every single feeling and insecurity all the time…” Who knows what else I added to that way too informative comment. So we quit talking soon after. Shocker.

Then a couple of weeks ago, I met Adam. Again, perfect on paper. All the “right” qualities on the surface. He did almost the exact same thing Mike did. First date was awesome and then second date I felt like I should invite him to lie down on the couch and ask him for a copay.

I always thought I was evolved enough to let men get into their junk and not be put off. Turns out, it’s very offputting. It feels like they are constantly analyzing their baggage and then handing it off to me for checking. I can understand sharing things when you’re a bit into a relationship, but it can sure suck life out of the second date.

So. I don’t know what it is I should be looking for anymore. It obviously goes way beyond “perfection on paper”.

You Take The Good, You Take The Bad, You Take Them Both & There You Have…The Facts Of Life

As I get older, I am more able to appreciate people’s strengths and be more forgiving of their weaknesses (as perceived by me, obviously). The black and white perspective of my youth has shades of gray and the judgement that comes with being newer to the world has faded. Life is full of nuances and a feast of all different people. Not everybody can be every thing.

My dad isn’t super plugged into my life, but anytime I need help he is there. He is patient, helpful and scary smart. I choose to appreciate those things about him now instead of harping on the things he lacks. He is there when I need help and can figure out ANYTHING.

When my mom died, I unrealistically wanted my sister to take her place. But she couldn’t because she’s not my mom. Instead I grew to appreciate her thoughtfulness, generosity and pragmatism. She is there in a bunch of other ways when it counts.

We have a friend of the family who is a terrible communicator and can be very difficult to deal with. But he is also generous, assisted us in caring for my mom when she was ill and is always willing to jump in and help.

Expecting people to be exactly what you want them to be seems immature to me now. I think lovingly accepting peoples’ limitations helps us accept our own, too. What do you think?

The Grass Is Always Greener In The Other Decade

When I was 16, I had a sizable crush on a boy I went to school with and worked alongside at our neighborhood grocery store in Texas. He worked in the produce department shuffling tomatoes and I was in the floral department arranging the flowers. He was loud and goofy but, as teenage girls tend to do, I saw a different side to him. We talked and flirted and he took me to prom, but it never really evolved beyond friendship. I never quite understood why and was pretty hurt by it.

Then one day after graduation, he pranced into the store with his tiny girlfriend and her fluffy blonde hair. In my teenage eyes, he had paraded her in front of me to purposely hurting my feelings. He denied that was his intention.

Either way, I was crushed…and we weren’t so friendly after that. We fought over small things as the gulf between us grew along with of layers of animosity until I couldn’t stand the sight of him. Which worked out fine because he went to another store and my family moved back to Florida.

Fast forward 20 years to Facebook and the connecting of many friends from the past. We got in touch and he called me one night unexpectedly. I could tell right away he was calling for more than just a hello. He had something to unload.

He said how sorry he was for how he treated me and that he regretted decisions he had made. I told him we were just kids and that I didn’t hold any of it against him. He was very remorseful and I could tell he had thought about this more than once. I assured him everything was fine and we moved on.

We began speaking and texting after that and I even went back to visit friends in Texas, including him. It was a lot of fun. I felt 16 again and everyone else was just the same. There’s comfort in the presence of people who knew you when you were young. That, and the fact that I was on vacation, made the trips magical.

Over the next couple of years, we had many conversations about what-ifs and could-have-beens…us. These conversations become especially frequent if one of us was having a hard time, I noticed. We are an escape for one another. He imagines what would have been if he’d made a different choice and I think about what it would have been like if fluffy hair had never existed. We tend to think things would be better when, truthfully, they probably would be about the same.

We have stayed in touch and continue to get together from time to time, but I have to keep reminding myself it’s all a fantasy. And that’s why it’s so appealing.

“Let’s meet up in Hawaii next year with Mutual Friend,” he said the other night.

I sighed. “That is really fun to think about, but it’s never going to happen,” I replied. Just like that high school crush—a fun fantasy, but not to be.

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Photo courtesy of Columbia Pictures Television

The Biggest Fight We Ever Had

One time I almost broke up with a guy over a game of Words with Friends. We had been dating about a year, with no noteworthy fights to speak of, when the word ‘qat’ threatened to destroy it all.

I had been playing WWF for a few weeks, he was a novice. However, since WWF is basically Scrabble, I felt we were on a pretty level playing field. Everyone has played Scrabble.

It was a tight game when I threw out Q-A-T.

He was all like, ‘qat’ is not a word! You never say qat!

I was all like, it is a word and who cares if say it! Everyone uses it to get rid of Qs!

He was all like, I’ve never played WWF so it’s not fair to use that word!

I was all like, what, I have to check and see if you know every word before I use it?!

It was all very illogical to me, yet I continued to argue. Over a game. For days.

He was steadfast in his position that I was a conspiring cheater…but I was equally stubborn in my defense of qat and my insistence that he was just an idiot at WWF. I got so loud and upset on our final phone conversation about it that, to this day, I wonder what exactly was pushing my buttons.

Why was I getting so worked up arguing with a person who has an obvious problem with losing? Why didn’t I just let it go and laugh off his poor sportsmanship? Why was I willing to break up (for real) with him over it? I still don’t really know. It was all very anti growing toward the sun.

Then a couple of days ago, it came up again. No, not qat. This time he was lamenting a contest his team at work had entered and lost. He said it was demoralizing, that they weren’t appreciated and now they were all on the boat to Bitter Island.

I immediately flashed back to Qat-gate. Like it wasn’t possible that the other teams just deserved it more! Like it had to be a personal affront to his entire career at ABC Corporation! Like he was a little tiny baby who needed his binky!

Contest   noun   con·test   \ˈkän-ˌtest\
: an event in which people try to win by doing something better than others
: a struggle or effort to win something

A contest, NOT UNLIKE A GAME, means there will be winners and losers. We all know that going in. And yeah, it sucks when you don’t win, but someone has to lose. If you can’t handle losing…if it raises your blood pressure that much…if it throws you into an ocean of rage….just don’t enter.

Now truthfully, I’d expect that I’d be able to pull off some empathizing and blah blah blah no matter how silly I thought it was. But I couldn’t. So while I don’t really understand the competitiveness and the sore loser-ish-ness of Mr X, I understand my reaction to that behavior even less.

As Hannah likes to say,  ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

 

#Throwback Thursday: Where Perfectionism Exists, Shame is Always Lurking

Originally published 5/19/14

My good friend and I were taking our lunchtime stroll when I mentioned how my recent 3 week cough had gotten me to the point where if I coughed too long and hard—I peed a little. What’s that about, I pondered, since I had a C-section birth. Is it just typical aging? I’m only 40!

“They say we are supposed to be doing those kegel things,” my friend noted.

“Yeah, in the car at red lights or whatever,” I said, “I never remember to do those things.” Why can’t I remember to do things, I thought silently.

My friend sighed and unknowingly answered, “There are just too many things to do!”

I agree. There are too many things to do. And it’s pretty overwhelming when you insist on trying to do all of them. I’m in awe that we even try.

Recycle or prepare to see your face on the wall of awful citizens.
Don’t use too much electricity and get those green lightbulbs, too.
Don’t eat too much sugar. Or carbs. Or meat. Or dairy. Or fat.
Eggs will ruin your life. Oh nevermind, eggs are awesome.
Drink tea but not coffee..oh wait coffee adds years to your life..who knew.
Walk 5 minutes every hour or come to terms with an early death.
Use sunscreen and make sure it has SUV protection..oh I mean UVA.
Get teacher gifts but no more apple items for pete’s sake.
Moisturize. Exfoliate. Condition. Floss.
Use glass, not plastic everyone knows plastic contains BPA.
Eat organic. You know, if you want to live and all.
Keep your photos archived, backed up and printed if you want to be a good mom.
Get your oil changed every 3000 miles ok how about every 5000.
Do your breast exams or it will be your fault when you get cancer.
Change your air filter do you want your kid to get asthma?
Clip the cat’s nails or you’re going to suffer the consequences.
Lift weights because you know you lose muscle mass every year after 40.
Read or stay completely ignorant.
Don’t watch too much TV because then you’re just wasting your life.
Keep up your gratitude journal because people who journal have happier lives.
Back up your files and if you don’t, your hard drive will definitely go bad.
Update your iOS if you want to be in the know.
Rotate your tires or you’ll have no one to blame but yourself for that blowout.
Cut the grass or the neighbors will think you’re bad lazy people.
Take these vitamins but not these or these, but yes these, no not those, these.
Register for PTA but only if you’re a good parent.
Remember birthdays or just be a thoughtless sucky person.
Meditate or just have that heart attack instead.
Drink 8 glasses of water and no diet soda doesn’t count.
Etc. Etc. Etc. Etc. Etc. Etc. Etc. Etc. Etc. Etc.

“You don’t have to do all of those things.” —People who live what must be a wonderful and peaceful existence.

Yeah. But.

Perfectionism is a self destructive and addictive belief system that fuels this primary thought: If I look perfect, and do everything perfectly, I can avoid or minimize the painful feelings of shame, judgment and blame.” —Brené Brown

Nailed it! That’s exactly how I operate.

I have often been criticized for being bossy, uptight and wanting things “just so”. Part of that I attribute to a bit of a roller coaster home life. I had no control then so, in order for me to feel ok as an adult, I need to have as much control as possible now.

But the other part, I had not considered. The not wanting to be judged. Not wanting anyone to tell me I messed up. Not wanting to look like I don’t have a handle on things. Because if I have a handle on things, then that means I am worthy and I am good enough for people to want me around. I am worth spending of their time and energy.

I know I am not alone in these feelings.

How many of us think:
If I don’t lose this last 20lbs, I am clearly not datable. If I don’t get these photo albums made, I won’t have any proof that I love my child. If I don’t remember a to ask my friend about their surgery, I am a self involved loser. If I forget to get back to a colleague, clearly I am incapable of handling my job. If I have a car wreck, it must mean I am a half wit. If I don’t play that game with my child, I am a terrible parent.

Brené talks about the usual “I am enough” type things, but what she says about permission slips caught my attention. She said a lot times, in order to stop beating herself up about things, she has to write permission slips for herself. I give myself permission to _______________.

I give myself permission to:
Be lazy.
Cry.
Take a break.
Let things go.
Be too tired to finish.
Not read a book.
Watch trash TV.
Slip up and yell.
Forget things.
Not be in the mood to deal with certain things all the time.
Let go of guilt.
Be ok with knowing I did my best.
Just get by sometimes.
Be silly.
Not sweat the small stuff.
Complain.

We are supposed to live in the moment. But plan for our future. And also learn from our past. Let’s give ourselves permission to do all or none of these things any time we damn well please.

#ThrowbackThursday: Online Dating is a Pointless Endeavor With No End in Sight

Originally published 5/19/14
“Me. You. Tonight.”

Oh brother.

I sign in for 1 month. I sign off for 1 month. I sign in for 1 month. I sign off for 1 month. Lather, rinse, repeat. It’s a vicious cycle that begins with optimism and ends in loss of all faith in humanity.

Once you sign up, you’re immediately engulfed by a sea of profiles. None of which tell you anything. All blend together.

I love to laugh. Who doesn’t? I can go from jeans to dress up. I ponder if there are any men out there who stomp their foot and refuse to take off their jeans. I enjoy snowboarding, water skiing, rock climbing, surfing, scuba, biking, skydiving… Ok I’m already exhausted.

You begin to realize that online dating is both helpful and harmful. Advantages: quantity. Disadvantages: quantity. It’s way too easy to pass by an unflattering photo. Maybe one thing in their “About Me” turns you off. They don’t have this thing or that thing. And even though I am aware that this is a jackass way to be, I can’t seem to stop myself. I see one comment or observe one attribute or hobby and then start making up this whole story about that person.

Likes sports. I bet his whole life is sports and I do not want every Sunday swallowed up by football. Works in IT. I bet he has no sense of humor and is a huge know-it-all. Spend most of my time hunting and fishing. His politics are probably a nightmare. Love motorcycles. He couldn’t possibly be family oriented.

I try to look for people whose profiles show effort, like mindedness and a sense of humor. I’m honest in mine and forthright about the fact that I have a daughter. Still, once I find someone appealing, the invitations I get to meet are usually incredibly last minute.

Me: I’m free Wednesday.
Him: I have to move my kayak.
Me: Ok
Him: Tell you what…I’ll text you after I move my kayak and we’ll see if that leaves us time to meet up after.

Thanks for squeezing me in (maybe) and making me feel soooo special. And like I have nothing else to do but wait around for kayak movers. Pass.

So we all hang in a little bit longer…just in case…someone might have their kayak already moved and be able to plan a date…and maybe make that connection that will pave our way out of the world of online dating.

Until then, we keep growing toward the sun with our valiant efforts and never ending faith, open to…whatever happens.

photo credit: Cab over water via photopin (license)

It’s Just a Grain of Rice!

Have you ever held on to something so tightly that it was almost the end of you? Held on with a death grip to something that you knew you needed to let go?

I once read a story about monkey traps filled with grains of rice. The traps were planted where monkeys would find them and stick their hands in the just-big-enough holes to grab the rice. But their clenched fist prevented them from being able to get their rice filled hands back OUT of the coconut. The stubborn (and hungry) monkey would refuse to let go of the rice and were caught by the trappers.

I dated this guy once—a commitment phobe in hindsight!—who never wanted to “get serious”. This meant he was never to be counted on. This meant don’t ask him to do too many things. This meant don’t expect him at special events. This meant he reserved the right to be a disappointing mess anytime he pleased. It was in the contract. Our 4 year contract. Gulp.

This, of course, caused me to grip those grains of rice like they were the last ones on earth. I spent time trying to be good enough, fun enough, pretty enough, cool enough for him to want to stick around. Turns out, there was no one good enough, fun enough, pretty enough or cool enough to make him stick around. Because he had damage HE needed to tend to. It had nothing to do with me.

I finally let go of that rice. And I don’t miss the struggle.

What is your rice?

You Seemed So Perfect On Paper, But Then We Had Date #2

I keep thinking I know what qualities I would like in a mate, but the last two men really have me second guessing myself.

I met Mark on Match.com and he was nice, smart, funny, self aware (a big thing with me), a good listener, thoughtful and cute. Ok, I thought, this time I have all the bases covered! This is going to be easy.

Then the self awareness turned into him telling/texting me his every thought and insecurity. All day long. By the second date, he was asking me if I was into this thing long term (uhhh, I don’t know?) and then proceeded to tell me that he was just scared and insecure about where this was headed.

I always thought I was an open minded and compassionate person, but I found myself wanting to yell “Man up!” So, I’m thinking don’t share that stuff so early. It feels a little pressure-y and makes me feel like he lacks confidence which is a turn off. I don’t want to be responsible for anyone’s emotional well being if I decide to bow out on date 3.

So one night after a few drinks (nothing good was ever said after a few drinks), I said to Mark, “Mark, it’s good for a man to be sensitive, but they don’t need to express every single feeling and insecurity all the time…” Who knows what else I added to that way too informative comment. So we quit talking soon after. Shocker.

Then a couple of weeks ago, I met Adam. Again, perfect on paper. All the “right” qualities. He did almost the exact same thing Mike did. First date was awesome and then second date I felt like I should invite him to lie down on the couch and ask him for a copay.

I always thought I was evolved enough to let men get into their junk and not be put off. Turns out, it’s very offputting. It feels like they are constantly analyzing their baggage and then handing it off to me for checking. I can understand sharing things when you’re a bit into a relationship, but it can sure suck life out of the second date.

So. I don’t know what it is I should be looking for anymore. It obviously goes way beyond “perfection on paper”.
emotionalbaggage

Online Dating Is An Pointless Endeavor With No End In Sight

“Me. You. Tonight.”

Oh brother.

I sign in for 1 month. I sign off for 1 month. I sign in for 1 month. I sign off for 1 month. Lather, rinse, repeat. It’s a vicious cycle that begins with optimism and ends in loss of all faith in humanity.

Once you sign up, you’re immediately engulfed by a sea of profiles. None of which tell you anything. All blend together.

I love to laugh. Who doesn’t? I can go from jeans to dress up. I ponder if there are any men out there who stomp their foot and refuse to take off their jeans. I enjoy snowboarding, water skiing, rock climbing, surfing, scuba, biking, skydiving… Ok I’m already exhausted.

You begin to realize that online dating is both helpful and harmful. Advantages: quantity. Disadvantages: quantity. It’s way too easy to pass by an unflattering photo. Maybe one thing in their “About Me” turns you off. They don’t have this thing or that thing. And even though I am aware that this is a jackass way to be, I can’t seem to stop myself. I see one comment or observe one attribute or hobby and then start making up this whole story about that person.

Likes sports. I bet his whole life is sports and I do not want every Sunday swallowed up by football. Works in IT. I bet he has no sense of humor and is a huge know-it-all. Spend most of my time hunting and fishing. His politics are probably a nightmare. Love motorcycles. He couldn’t possibly be family oriented.

I try to look for people whose profiles show effort, like mindedness and a sense of humor. I’m honest in mine and forthright about the fact that I have a daughter. Still, once I find someone appealing, the invitations I get to meet are usually incredibly last minute.

Me: I’m free Wednesday.
Him: I have to move my kayak.
Me: Ok
Him: Tell you what…I’ll text you after I move my kayak and we’ll see if that leaves us time to meet up after.

Thanks for squeezing me in (maybe) and making me feel soooo special. And like I have nothing else to do but wait around for kayak movers. Pass.

So we all hang in a little bit longer…just in case…someone might have their kayak already moved and be able to plan a date…and maybe make that connection that will pave our way out of the world of online dating.

kayak