Monday, October 26, 2015

It Happens Every Fall

It is fall.

It is Halloween.

It is nearly November.

What is happening that is making time go by so quickly?

Sometimes I pick the wrong music to listen to at work and I don’t drink enough water and I find myself sad. Hydration equals Happiness. I don’t do either of the things on purpose.

This morning I woke up feeling emotionally cluttered. As if I don’t have enough on my plate I’ve somehow added more. But I’ve stopped dating. I’ve deleted my dating profile online. It didn’t give me hope, it gave me dread. I’d open it to a page of smiling men and my stomach would lurch at the seemingly infinite possibilities for rejection. And the lack of choice. And the possibility of choice. I don’t want anything like that, not that way. I was right the first time – I should have stayed away from internet dating. I should have trusted my instincts.

I’m trying to clean house.

Physically and emotionally.

Apart from the Toy-nado, there seem to be piles. A bucket and box of paint from the last painting job, stacks of papers that need filed, things that should have homes but will end up in corners of closets so that I no longer have to look at them, all clutter my floor space and tables.

Inside my brain, piles of conversations litter my waking moments and poignant dreams color my sleep.

I need a sponge and bucket of soapy water. I don’t want all this cobwebby mess hanging about anymore. I want neat stacks and closet organizers and labeled shelves.

Do I sound sad all the time? I’m not sad all the time. I’m doing well, actually. But I have my limits. I have thresholds. I need to keep things simple. There is a lot of superfluousness in my life. I can’t keep it that way – won’t.

Don’t worry, Dear Uncle, I’m still seeing my therapist. No rash moves. I’m doing just fine.

It’s just fall, that’s all.

Monday, October 12, 2015

Just on the Divorce Part

Patience has never been one of my best virtues.

I am a lot of things - caring and thoughtful, warm and open, a relatively good baker, and a fair to middling artist. I'm a great mother (I like to think, anyway) and a good friend. My not so great attributes lie in cooking steak, getting gifts for people in a timely manner, calling on birthdays, and maybe (fine, I'll admit it) driving. I drive like a typical girl. Patience, however, ranks below even those things. I'm sure I've written about it here before.

So, okay, I'm not patient. Except there are certain moments in your life you just cannot speed up. Being pregnant was one of them. Waiting for visas in France (unfortunately) was one of them. Waiting for my son to start walking is another. And healing from a divorce is, apparently, one of them, too.

I want to be ready to move on. I want to be ready to date and oh sweet baby jesus I want to be able to buy a house for Luca and I, and wouldn't I just be thrilled to be able to start paying down the debt I've incurred from this whole mess? I want all of that, and I want it NOW.


It doesn't work that way, does it? "The heart wants what the heart wants," said someone noteworthy. And it works the other way too, though less grammatically. "The heart doesn't want what it doesn't want." Moreover, though, it does things in its own damn time. Which makes moving on with life a little tricky.

I was discussing OKCupid with a new friend this morning and just talking about it made me angry. I hate being rejected by this guy and the other guy. I hate going out on three dates a week to be groped by one and dismissed by another with no given reason. I hate window shopping for my next date and hoping that they won't have something better going on or - worse - three better somethings going on. 

Because that's the problem, I feel. There are just so many choices out there and all of the barriers have been taken down from us meeting our "Ideal Mate". There is always someone else who seems better - more your type, more interesting, more talkative. If you can get the Perfect Person then why would you settle for ALMOST.

This is my own insecurity, I think. Yet, I do feel that there will always be someone out there who is "better" than you. When I was in the third grade I learned that I was a pretty talented drawer. I remember drawing a whale and sharing it with some of the other students in class. I was such an awkward kid, desperately seeking the approval of a group of children who thought I was weird because I cried too much, yet I constantly opened myself up to them. I thought it couldn't be wrong. I still think that.

So here I am, a squirrelly little girl in her kitten sweatshirt, sharing a picture of a humpback whale so proudly. 

"I can draw too," said Amanda. Amanda was awkward too. We would pretend that we were dinosaurs in the playground. She was always the T-Rex. 

Amanda shared her picture of a dinosaur that was, indeed, better than my sketch of a whale. She was simply better than I was. The group of kids migrated away from my work to hers and I was quickly forgotten. I folded up the picture and hid it in my book bag, dejected.

The world is a revolving door of Amandas, I've learned. It's simply a fact: there is always someone out there better at what you do than you are. It's a statistical probability. Unless you are super human, super genius or otherwise super. It just is.

I talked it out with this new friend, trying to work out what the real problem is. Let's forget the fact that this is a person whom I came to know on OKCupid and before we could meet in real life I threw a proverbial hand grenade at him because I was so afraid he was rejecting me for someone else. He's easy to talk to and so I continue to do it, though I wonder to what end. Am I just deferring to him in the hopes that he'll find out he made a mistake, hoping he'll run out of other "Ideal Mates"? Probably. 

So I deactivated my dating profile. Because I don't really need more friends but also because my poor sea-worn and battered heart cannot fathom the concept of internet dating and whatever merits it might actually have.

My dearest uncle emailed me after my last post and encouraged me to stop self-loathing. "I'm not self loathing!" I returned. But I'm certainly not self-loving.

I am worthy, said another asked me to remember. "Of course I am!" I replied. But I don't really believe it, apparently.

There is so much they don't tell you about divorce. Or the do but you don't really understand until you've lived it. Splitting assets, sharing holidays with your child, learning to set boundaries. Desperately longing for some kind of semblance of the stability you once had, but with no solid ground in sight.

The truth is I'm tired. Physically and mentally. If I don't keep myself completely busy I get sad, but if I am too busy I break down. Don't even talk to me during weeks that I PMS. 


People have lived through worse. I cannot compare my journey, but I can learn from them. I can listen, patiently. 

I can learn to be patient.

Monday, September 7, 2015

On Divorce and Dating

Although relatively little time has passed since my marriage dissolved, I have already reintroduced myself to the dating scene. I think it’s something that most newly divorced people do – some kind of weird rumspringa to reintroduce us into the single world. Maybe we’ll choose to return to the safety of our comfortable, if dysfunctional marriages? Or maybe we’ll take the chance on a “fresh start”.

Things in the dating world suck, now, though. I’m sure they sucked four and a half years ago when I went off the market but I was younger and more resilient. Or more frequently drunk. Or the distinctly possible answer is that I had simply forgotten. Forgotten that dating blows big, fat, hairy donkey balls.

Oh, you didn’t know that? You have been living under a rock.

I do think it’s worse now. Not only do we have internet dating sites, but we have Ashley Madison and Tinder.

God, Tinder.

What fresh hell created Tinder? I tried it, I actually did. And there is something super gratifying about swiping right and getting that little spinning match symbol. It’s like speed dating for the internet. But just like everything the social networking has shit on, Tinder has enforced the emotional distance created by two screens, making people feel like the possibilities of meeting another person and having a spark are infinite.  “Eh, you’re pretty great but I have three other intelligent, tall blondes in my shopping cart and I want to try them out first.”

It's the problem with "these kids nowadays", in general. This generation (which obviously includes myself) has never known a time when there weren't a hundred different varieties of literally everything - from deoderant to yogurt to TVs and yes, even their potential mate. They have never known a time when families didn't scatter like seeds in the wind over countries and continents; a time when you marrying someone from the next town over was a pretty big stretch because who's parents house would you have dinner at on Sunday? And I am simplifying it, but there was something different to that time when people's standards weren't miles high because they could look around their church or local stadium and literally see their choices for a mate. 

Now,  you can search the actual whole entire world for someone to meet, and you can narrow down your choices as much as any algorithm will allow, discluding any thug under 5'7" who doesn't brush their teeth twice a day. That is not an exaggeration. 

But I digress.

I want so badly to meet someone "organically", that I sent an email to my friends and family with a list of qualities I am looking for in a potential mate. My list had twenty bullet points including things like patience, intelligence, compassion, liking kids, reading books, cooking, having a talent and being kind. It also included things like "Has a job and a steady income", "has a car" and "does not live with his parents". 

"This is just a list of the characteristics of a good person," One person responded. Which I found sad because I have a terrible time finding people to match this list.

I put it out there that I was going to start dating again. "I REFUSE to use the internet to get a date," I said. All caps.

As it turns out, nobody knows anyone that they would like to set me up with. Not even one single person. It was disheartening.

So I joined a dating website. I am a hypocrite.

Within a week, I had received over a thousand "likes" and something like 60 messages. Within those messages I was asked if I wanted to have a threesome with two guys, begged to go on a date by someone who was married ("Will that be an issue? I promise you'll have fun!"), propositioned to 'make a salary by having a servant or houseboy', whatever that means, and asked if I wanted to make out. One guy simply said, "Nice toes." Most of them started out with a pretty stellar "Hey!" and left it hanging.

Of the men I contacted, only about a half a dozen responded, I assume because of the aforementioned too many choices. I gave my number to one person who proceeded to never contact me again and went on one date with a very nice guy who actually had none of the qualities on my list, which is to say he didn't have a job or a car, or even a cell phone.

I am trying to remain hopeful, however. I decided that my previous stance of "all men are terrible pigs and I don't trust any of them" was not attracting any of the types I am looking for. I meditate a little on my list every night, hoping to bring a positive someone into my life, rather than continue to rush into the arms of those who I actually know are going to let me down. 

Oddly enough, the hardest thing of all is being patient. I'm happy with where my life is. I'm happy with my career, my friends and family are keeping me above water even on the bad days, and being a mother to my son is like pure magic to my soul. I guess the truth is that I don't need anybody, but it sure would be nice, someday. "Someday", sort of like "forever", is one of those vaguely tangible ideas that humans are so blessed to have as an evolved species.

Though, to look at dating now I have begin to wonder if we've really evolved at all...