Crazy Stalker Ex Girlfriend and Collections

I’m doing my job by being the crazy stalker ex girlfriend that really doesn’t work anywhere else. I’m a Billing Specialist.  It’s a hybrid position that was created as an idea.  I was put in place and it has kind of evolved into what it is.  It’s client facing finance.  It’s customer service.  Whatever it is, for this company it is me and I love doing all of the things a crazy stalker ex girlfriend would do.

Reviewing the Contracts

We look over contracts and want to make sure what they have paid covers the cost of what we offered.  We want to see if there’s wiggle room to maybe reduce services and lower costs.  We want to see if it’s worth the time and effort to really go after someone for the debt.

You promised forever and you are going back on your word by taking the love that was promised.  I usually take this moment and try to remember the real moments of love and connection.  I want to remind myself that it was really special at one point, so I don’t get bitter.  I like to push them away but let them leave. I don’t want to be the one to end it because I want to know that I did all I could until the very end.   I’ve learned that about myself.  I can’t be another person to reject them because in the end I still care and love them, but maybe it’s not enough. Maybe I hold too tightly to the good and purposely ignore the bad.  Most of the time the bad really is terrible.

Stalking

I get to call customers repeatedly.  I get to leave messages and voice mails.  I send emails. I’ve faxed and mailed invoices.  Every day, until we’re paid, I get to reach out and make myself known.

Sometimes it’s about an outdated contact.  In those cases I do a Google Search or check LinkedIn.  I’ve texted someone from my personal cell phone. I’ve even checked someone’s personal Facebook profile to make sure they’re still around all in the name of getting a payment.

We all want to know, right? Where are they? Who are they with? Are they just as heartbroken as we are?

Begging

I’m not asking anyone for love or validation, but I get to beg them to pay us.  I ask repeatedly for what was agreed on.  You signed a contract. We gave you what we promised and now you owe us.

I suppose this could also be about getting closure but I’ve learned you can’t get that from an ex.

Record Keeping

In collections, you document each interaction.  You want to know when you called and what efforts were made.  That way, when you enact your collections leverage, you are justified.

Toward the end, the good and the bad are measured and weighed.  We want to know when the scales tip and it’s no longer worth the effort. We want to know what was good and what was accepted because of the good and is the good still there? Is it even enough?

Your Lesson Here

The lesson is this stuff works in collections, but not love relationships. I’m at a point in my latest relationship where we’ve pulled so far apart that I can’t imagine being able to fix it.  I’m seeing that I need to acknowledge and cherish the good but let it go and move on. I’m back in self care mode, and it looks like the perfect time to be the crazy stalker ex girlfriend, but I’m trying to keep that focused and restricted to work. I’m trying to not keep dibs but I want to know where he’ll go from here.  In quiet moments throughout the day since we last parted, I keep telling myself not to do all that I want to because that will drag out the pain instead of healing it.  I keep picking up my phone to read our last texts and start texting something new, only to put it down and remind myself that I will be okay when I decide to let go and move on.

I will hold each cherished memory and balance it with the bad times.  I’ll take the masterpiece of who he is off of my pedestal and strip away layers I added to see the truth of who he was and areas I need to work on that I could only see in the hindsight of my relationship with him.  And I’ll be alone for that healing and recovery because that’s also part of honoring who we were and the memory of the babies we shared and lost.  I don’t have to stop loving him yet.  He doesn’t have to be here to experience that either.  I can release him moment to moment and day to day.

I suppose that lesson for you is more a lesson for me. Tonight there will be whiskey and a cigar on my porch. I’ll read old texts and have a good cry. Maybe even watch some of the shows we watched together. And tomorrow will be a new opportunity to remember to love myself in spite of what I might be feeling. 

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Romantic Love

For the first time, I was given a topic to write about.  The person that made the suggestion is close to my heart and at first I was eager, even excited to write about love, trust, commitment and patience.  It should have been easy to bang this one out and call it a night.

It was a Friday night and I was home alone, enjoying the quiet with the television on (really rare) and the many app alerts from men that honestly thought I would want to meet them in a way that was clear to me was just to fulfill a sexual need.

Love

I wasn’t feeling love.  At one point a man asked why I was being so mean to him.  I told him he sounded like he just wanted to feel the back of my throat and I wasn’t interested.  He kept trying to guilt me into seeing him and he stopped when I told him I didn’t know how else to explain he was making me feel like a whore.  I could have blocked him, but he would never learn, and he’d just find me on another app.  (It happens often enough now.)

Trust

I wasn’t feeling trust.  I couldn’t trust the men I was talking to that wanted to spend time with me last night.  There was the beautiful attorney with auburn hair and blue eyes.  I could totally trust his intentions when he messaged “DTF.” He got to the point of what he wanted from me.  There was an offer for Netflix and wine and another for Netflix and a massage.  I laughed because I have Netflix and Hulu at home and I can save the gas, and know that no one is secretly hoping to feel for my missing tonsils by the end of the night.

Commitment

My commitment last night was to my New Year’s resolution of taking care of myself because I wasn’t in the mood to make someone else feel better than I wanted to make myself feel.  It wasn’t a complete bust.

Patience

Patience looked like a phone call last night. I had a conversation with a man that was all over the place and left me laughing so hard.  He admitted that he wasn’t putting his best foot forward and his one sided conversation did require patience.  Once I settled into the idea I wasn’t going out with anyone, I decided to stay in and took off my makeup and clothes, enjoying a night in my underwear on the phone and sipping tea.  At one point he told me I was intimidating.  He said it was my looks, and the way I wear my clothes and string along words.  I told him I was determined to find someone smarter than me and he said that is why I will never find a date. I’m asking for too much.  My patience paid off because that observation made my night.

But it’s morning now and a good night’s rest with a phone that was on vibrate all night has it’s rewards and I’m feeling a rosy glow around the world right now.

2017 is greeting me with a transition from being in the moment to envisioning a romance that lives on beyond the days held carefully in routine and imagination. I’m exploring in words because the depth of such a reality hasn’t hit me yet.  But it will.  It’s been many years since I’ve felt romantic love that gets past infatuation and isn’t bound by a commitment stronger than fickle feelings.

Infatuation

My obsessive observations are fun, but they always dance in the fascination of infatuation.  These are moments when I will notice details about a man I’m interested in to the point that it’s creepy.  It’s a happy place where I’m willing to look at the many things I find intriguing but it rarely means I’ve given him any thought beyond objectification.  I have not at this point decided I would care for him any more than I would care for any other human being. But thinking of him entertains and excites me. It’s not a friendly practice.

Infatuation is a phase in a new relationship where I am willing to look deeper than friendship and see what feelings can be grown. It’s a place where I make that initial choice to imagine more than friendship. Everything about the person I’m into is amazing and if it isn’t, those amazing parts more than make up for it.

This is where I might entertain giving another man a baby.  No, I don’t want more kids.  If I find the one I want to keep, I may reconsider it, but I can’t tell you how many men around 35 see my mothering as sexy and want to put a child in me.

Love

There’s a time when infatuation fades into the feelings of love.  Loving someone is a choice.  When infatuation fades and the excitement gives way to reality, his behaviors that were once okay can start to bother me.  At this point, I choose.  At this point, would I be happier walking away (I don’t actually walk, but try to push him away)?  Could I be happier making space for his shortcomings, and loving him even if he’s annoying me? When I decide to be open in vulnerability, I am making a decision to allow someone in.

When infatuation fades, I’m faced with a new choice to love someone.  This is when doubts and fears become a choice to believe.  I put my faith in the person I’m trusting with my heart.  I’m deciding that even though I see so many things I can’t ignore in him . . . Even if my doubts and irritations are yelling at me, I still need him in my life.  I would rather live in a world where I get to make space for him and the ways he fails my expectations than go another day without seeing or talking to him.

Love is a choice.  You decide what you want to do and those feelings follow where you allow them to go.  This is where I might compromise and consider bringing a new life into this world.

Trust

I overthink all of the time.  It’s a superpower but it’s not always a gift.  I rarely accept things at face value and I’m often thinking of what was said, and holding it up to what I know.  I want to understand everything and my curiosity never stops.  When I have even a moment of doubt, my trust takes a step back.  Yes, I’ve been cheated on.  A few times by different boys.  I always offered the men I loved the benefit of the doubt.  I wasn’t a cheater, so maybe he could be faithful to me too.  In theory.  Hopefully.

In reality I offer my trust to a person and put my faith in their belief to be committed to honor their word.  I’m at a place where I understand how much it means to me to be transparent and I try to offer the truth at all times.  It means you see my good and bad, but I’m not going to be ashamed of that. And I recognize that even in my bad, I’m a harsh judge on myself and do what many think and can relate to.

In my marriage I lied a lot about money or how I spent my time.  It was never about cheating.  It never occurred to me to cheat.  It was a lie to cover my shame in choices I knew wouldn’t make him happy.  He couldn’t trust me and so he’d look at my grocery store receipts.  He’d find my $25 Amazon gift card because that deception was how I partied.  But he couldn’t trust me.

For that week when I had a boyfriend (is it terrible that I can laugh about that now?) there was one night with hand holding and snuggling.  There was laughter and I felt like I trusted him in that moment and that was a gift. I felt so much peace in his arms.  In hindsight, he never trusted me.  He gave me his nickname at first and it wasn’t until the day before he broke up with me that he gave me his actual name.  He was born in the states, but his roots are in Palestine and he didn’t trust that I would accept him for who he was. At one point he started dozing off and I picked up my phone to troll Instagram and Facebook.  I was off of the dating sites and I did field a text from someone wanting to flirt.  I let him know I had a boyfriend and that was the end of it. He wanted to see what I was looking at and what I was doing and it wasn’t until he ended things that I could see how much he distrusted me.

Sometimes you trust your heart, even when you have a hard time trusting other people. Save your energy on a pity party because this is a choice made in the excellence of your own pure heart. And Lord help me, this is where I know having another child would be the right thing to do.  I trust a future with a person that I want to share my life with.

Commitment

I make commitments to myself daily.  I’m committed to creating space for self love.  I’m committed to only putting things in my mouth that make me insanely happy (food joy is a reality). I’m committed to creating a life I get to live with excitement.  Commitment to anyone outside of my kids . . .

I was committed to my marriage and while I had a boyfriend I was committed to him too.  It’s not just the word I give.  At the end of the day, when the world fades away, all I have is my word and the strength of it is how I show up in this world and that matters to me.  Commitments aren’t based on a mood.  They stand firm no matter what you feel.

When I committed to my marriage, it was all that mattered.  I know marriage often talks about honor and obeying as part of that commitment.  I felt I honored my ex, even if I didn’t trust his leadership more than I trusted mine.  Obeying him wasn’t what I wanted to do, but committing my heart and my body to our marriage was all that mattered.  I felt it was enough, and while I can admit I was wrong, I still believe a marriage is about the two people in the marriage.  It’s spouse and spouse, and that doesn’t include siblings and parents and friends.

Commitment means I show up no matter what I feel like doing.  It means I love you even when I don’t like you.  It means I find ways to be attracted to you when you can’t find it in yourself to love who you are enough to take care of yourself. It means what I might feel in any given moment takes a back seat to how I want you to feel when you are the person I choose to love and share my world with.  Commitment is about duty and it’s where I find my honor.

This is a hallmark of parenting.  You commit to taking care of another person.  I don’t know any parents that stop being a parent after 18 years.  It’s a lifelong thing.

Patience

When I started taking classes at Glendale Community College, I was just out of high school and I didn’t have a car.  My Dad was picking me up and dropping me off which meant some days a class was cancelled and I had to wait.  Or I had large time gaps in my day and I would just hang out on campus until my next class.  I wrote a lot of sappy poems. I wrote in my journal.  I sat in the cafeteria and found comfort in hot tea and soup.  I would wait on the front steps of the school in the heat or the rain, and I remember telling myself to be patient. Just wait.

When my kids were born, I had to live on their schedule.  Eating, sleeping, awake and crying, awake and playing, gassy, happy, angry . . .  Their world dictated my response and I was never happy about it.  I loved being a surrogate because feeling like a single parent with an infant was hard on me (because I prefer being selfish).

When my marriage ended, I found peace in patience.  From March 11 when I was told my marriage was over, there were ups and downs and I fought hard, and not well, but I found patience for him.  I convinced myself that no matter what, when he was ready to snap out of it, I would take him back and we would work on our marriage.  That lasted until February 12, almost a year later.

I learned patience and found comfort in knowing it would be over one day.  That day came when I changed my mind about what I wanted, and the transformation that has taken place has required patience with myself.  In dating I meet many men that have been through a divorce and when we talk, I can see the heavy burden that I felt while waiting.  The day I filed for divorce was a celebration for me.  But the scars of a life that was planned and celebrated together has it’s own process of mourning.  I’m in a great place, but it has made me question how much is too much.

If you love someone, is there ever a point when you have been patient enough? I stopped being patient with my ex.  I was more committed to being a wife than being his wife and I realised it was no longer important to me to wait for him.  But where do you draw the line when you’re in love? Do you look for a line to draw? I don’t think I could.  I grew up in a home where love meant you are self sacrificing every moment of your life if that means the person you love feels it.  My parents might have lost their shit from time to time, but I grew up taking their patience for granted.  It is something I’ve tried to internalize.  I want to be that person in life and in love that was modeled, to the point where I now get to decide I won’t help anyone by being a martyr to someone else’s happiness through my self sacrifice and patience.

Patience is waiting even when you have no idea how long you’ll have to wait.  Patience is enduring and finding strength within yourself when you know you can’t find it in the person in front of you because they are relying on your strength, sustained by your patience.

Romantic Love

It’s not an easy road.  Sometimes I imagine the rewards because they aren’t always going to land in my lap.  When I put my faith in a romantic relationship, I believe it won’t fail me even though to this day, every single one I believed in has failed me.  Would I do it again? Abso-freaking-lutely.  The rewards of being in love are worth every possible risk and moment of blind faith.  The ideals of commitment I hold close to me are strong enough that I can believe someone else would hold them just as closely to his heart.

I’m making space for my next romantic love.  When my ex was leaving, I made an effort to put family pictures all over the house.  I wanted to remind us all of who we were as a family.  When he moved out they stayed for the kids.  I told them I would take them down when I painted the living room.  That was my commitment to them and seeing these pictures for all of this time is an exercise in patience. I brought my boyfriend home and while I felt fine hiding him away in my bedroom, I’m sure it had an effect on him, even if it was unspoken.  It probably influences why I’m never home if my kids are gone.

This weekend I intend to be home for the most part.  I have taken the pictures down and washed the walls.  I will start taping the trim and I will begin priming and painting my living room.  I will finish changing the last room in the home I shared with my ex because it’s time my little house becomes my home again. It will be a meditative celebration of change and it will be a space I will be excited to be in again.

Learning Empathy

I went to an empathy workshop.

I was at an empathy training workshop last night and the real lessons kept hitting late last night as I was finally dozing off around 3 this morning.  It was a class that found me through the MITT network of classes I started in July.  Through discussion and working on ideas and concepts with others, I get to take notice of my actions, and make changes. I get to see how I look at the world around me and really understand how narrow minded I am.  I get to break the confines of what I’ve always known to experience all that can potentially be.

My judgements kept me from empathy in my marriage.

 

I was hard on my ex.  Ending the relationship the way he did because he wanted happiness and found it in other people throughout our marriage was something I crucified him on. Over the last couple of years as I really got to look at my life, I understood the value of my happiness and I can see that I was depressed through most of my marriage. I loved him.  I just wasn’t happy with myself.  I’ve learned that happiness comes from me.  I can’t borrow it from someone else.  I can’t take from who they are.  I get to make my own and while I can offer a smile, I can’t put it in anyone else. Being apart was a gift but I was so attached to my role as a wife that I looked for my happiness in other ways just as he did.  The reality of his action in a marriage of our mutual inaction was a gift and without malice I can see the ways in which he fought for our mutual happiness.  I can no longer blame him for the many ways he gave me more than I asked for in the life I now get to live.

My self guided tour spends a lot of time in selfishness.

Through a self guided transformational exploration of who I am, I no longer find my value in what others think of me.  They have no point of reference in judging me and have no idea how to value me.  I am not my college degree.  The time I took to earn it was a challenge and it was emotionally rewarding, but it’s a piece of paper and means little in my job search.  I’m not my relationships.  There is value in my relationships, but my relationship with myself means more than my relationship with anyone else.  I’m not my looks.  I like attention as much as the next person, but being a sex object when I feel so much better about my thoughts and ideas that are often ignored is never a good feeling.  I have a large brain and feelings!!!!

As a wife I was very selfish and couldn’t see it without empathy.

I was rebellious in spending in ways that made me happy, justifying it as household necessities, knowing he wouldn’t see it that way and hiding all evidence of that debauchery.  For both of us, it was about control.  I did it in small amounts I felt could be justified.  He never saw the value I did and saw all of it as the deception it was.  I wanted my home to be a place I wanted to escape to, and he wanted to escape from it. I sucked my time and energy into side projects like making soap with fat and lye.  Or learning all about keeping bees and chickens. I would garden and do all I could to ignore the chaos and the lack of support I felt in my own home. I would read books back to back so I could check out of reality and school became a priority.  He wanted connection and found it in other people and I always held the idea that I did nothing wrong in isolating him because I did it in learning and ways that I felt were important to me and my family and I didn’t devote energies to other people and that meant I was faithful, right?

Last night in an empathetic perspective shift, I realized that he was looking for something to pull himself out of a marriage that wasn’t satisfying to both of us. For him, it meant walking away in the ways he needed to. For me through my attachments to being the wife I wanted to be, it was on my birthday this year when I decided something so terrible and irreparable had happened that I could justify the end of a marriage, because being rejected and abandoned for 11 months wasn’t enough. It was such a bad situation for both of us that something so drastic had to happen to justify walking away.

Empathy means I get to be vulnerable and release both of us.

I learned that through empowering myself, I have become the bully I felt he was being to me.  I get to take notice, and stop being aggressive when I know fighting back is a choice.  I know I can defend myself and I no longer need to. I shifted my perspective just enough with the help of someone else, I was able to forgive him on a level I didn’t realize I had not forgiven him yet. I went through months of repeating to myself, “Iforgivehim, Iforgivehim, Iforgivehim.” But I finally released the rest last night and it was just a perspective shift.  No crying.  No ritual or prayer.  Just a shift that let me release my ego, disconnect my emotions from thought, see it with new eyes, and let the fuck go.

Without empathy there is only selfishness and a commitment to being right and it is a pattern I took into my last relationship.

I had a boyfriend for a few days this week.  I don’t actually write about my relationships until they are at the point where I am ready to release them.  I hold close what I intend to keep and the moment I start writing, I know they may see it and not like what I have to say and walk away. With each of them, I’ve already seen enough to feel he’s not the one. It’s like a last ditch effort for me because the most attractive thing I could hear is “I’ve read your blog and it’s what makes me like you so much.” It was something I would have never heard in my marriage and it means probably more than it should now. I heard that in the last week and it was the most intense and short lived relationship I’ve had since my marriage.  There was one night that is a gift I will unwrap in memories for a very long time.

The workshop I signed up for was sent to me as a message on Facebook and I got the alert while next to the man I was with.  I brushed it off, but the next day signed up anyway, fully knowing that I may be with my boyfriend, but also knowing there was a chance I wouldn’t be.

How I met my last boyfriend.

Wednesday of last week I was doing my usual right and left swipe on a dating app. There was a man that was dragging out the conversation with a sentence a day for a couple of days.  I pushed and almost asked him out that night, giving him room to be dominant and actually do the asking.  He did and it was immediately attractive, even if the face in his profile picture was in shadow and hard to see. We ended up meeting at a bar, and as I learned from a friend that shared the workshop with me (as we continued our night at an epic viewing party in Beverly Hills we crashed), that was when I started rejecting him.

Rejecting and pulling him closer was selfishness.

It was that first gut check reaction when he stood next to me and said hello while I was looking in a different direction, and I flinched when I saw him.  It was in the ways he moved closer to me and I moved back.  It was in leaving and using my tone of voice and body language to flirt with another man, through innocuous conversation right in front of him.  It was as we were walking to our cars and his parting kiss was rebuffed in my excuse about public displays of affection.  It was in celebrating and laughing at going home by 10, asking my friend that works at the bar about that beautiful man I wanted to get to know better and a Facebook post that was a direct dig at the man’s character.

Stopping my dysfunctions is something I get to work on.

Somehow the next day I went out with him again.  I loved his dominance in telling me he would pick me up.  I was talking to two men about him.  At one point I wanted to date them but ended up sticking them in my friend zone.  They told me I should go and I was deciding against him before giving him a chance the way I did to them.  I had nothing better to do and so I met him on a second date.

But he was so good in so many superficial ways.

The physical chemistry was there.  He had a body I could cry over.  (I might have when things ended.) The third date was following a familiar pattern and when he asked me to date him exclusively, I said sure.  I mean, he was my first actual date that got a second date since that beautiful but barely understood Italian man back in May. I had coffee, and hugs in the week before, but those weren’t dates as much as meeting platonic friends I would never meet again.  It was easy to date him exclusively.  It followed the pattern of my boyfriends in Junior High.  Being his girlfriend meant no one else could steal me away.  Being my boyfriend was cool because no one else was asking me out.  I like to focus on one love interest at a time anyway.  Everyone else was just mental aerobics in bouncing from conversation to conversation.

We didn’t really talk and I never allowed him close to me emotionally. I said yes to all he asked of me, without really considering the image of the future he had in mind.  He gave me a poetic moment and it just chipped away at the ice around me.  I nearly melted at his words and given time and really given the opportunity to step away from my judgement of him, it could have been special.

I rejected him in the ways I talked about him.

I told family and a couple of friends that I had a boyfriend, but the reality was I knew it was temporary and described it as such to everyone that I talked to about him.  I only told my family because I wanted to spend New Year’s Day with him and invited him to join us. When my kids met him, my youngest had a gut check that didn’t trust him (he blamed it on the shape of my boyfriend’s nose), my oldest hid from him in the bathroom and his bedroom and my middle son gave him a classic autism dismissal.  He was a non person to my kids because they knew he was good enough for me, which he really was, but not good enough for them. I actually told them this.  The reality is he made me want to be selfish and enjoy him, going against my better judgement as a mom and not putting my foot down and saying no when he asked about meeting my kids.  At the time he said he wanted to grow a full relationship and make me his woman and start a family and all of that.  Instead I prepared them by saying they didn’t have to worry because he’d never be their step-dad because I didn’t think he was good enough for them.  I get to look at that on it’s own. This was me rejecting him again.

The day he rejected me was when the cost of my rejections of him broke over me.

There was a dynamic shift and Tuesday night after we were exclusive for maybe 5 days, he broke it off because he wasn’t comfortable with my male friendships that he saw as disrespectful.  And I didn’t take it well.  I mean, I could see the jealousy and the ways that it would have grown into an abusive relationship because there was nothing deceptive in my friendships when I was clearly choosing (and simultaneously rejecting) him. His rejection was immediately seen as a gift because he was able to walk away when I knew it was right, even if I really didn’t want him to. But he let me go before I was ready for him to.

I don’t usually cry for the men I talk to and date.  I see the lessons they leave and there might be a bit of sadness, but rarely tears.  This was different. This was rejection and abandonment.  This wasn’t me seeing him on a moment to moment basis, but actually imagining a few days ahead. I had this disconnect between what I knew wasn’t a relationship I was really invested in and the emotional pain from the loss of it.  I didn’t beg him to take me back but I let him know I didn’t want to lose him.  It was the first time since I started dating that I meant it more than I wanted to.

Last night I was getting ready to leave and sat on the floor of my shower crying for a relationship I never wanted to grow.  He was fun, and I loved the way it felt to be in his arms and the many other things he made me feel, but I was objectifying him completely.  The moment I felt it was mutual, I felt a familiar ache that had nothing to do with him. I felt in the reflection of my rejection all of the pain I must have given him and I was shattered. There was a lot of good in him but in my rejection, I never closed the distance to really appreciate him.  He was tender and affectionate.  He was tall and I really loved his body.  He was capable of taking care of himself, even if I saw the ways in which I would live his life differently. He was mine, and then he wasn’t and that wasn’t a choice I made for us.

I was still blinded by my selfishness.

I left the workshop feeling like I needed to give myself empathy to put the relationship and all it was supposed to be ahead of the things that were important to me as an individual.  After a reality check from a friend in the many ways I was rejecting him, I knew I was being an asshat and not giving him an ounce of the empathy he deserved.

Last night I went to the workshop I had a feeling I would be at anyway.  I signed up for the class knowing that even though I had a boyfriend, the relationship might not last that long.  I don’t know that I would tell him any of this.  It’s not that I’m showing you all I am an asshole.  I’m okay with being authentic.  I’m not really a nice person all the time.  Some people think I am because I can be, but it’s a choice. Part of me wants to make him feel better about the ways I rejected him.  I know that it is about relieving guilt and not for him. Part of me wonders if he saw it because until it was pointed out to me last night, I really couldn’t. Part of me wants to give him the power of his rejection.  He made an empowered choice for his life and I need to give him that.  The rest of me wants to honor the many ways he affected me and taught me to shift my perspective, even if he has no idea he did.

It’s amazing what stories make sense when you go through a situation and what a perspective shift can do.  In the class, I learned that empathy isn’t draining if you exchange it with vulnerability. Seeing things with compassion, understanding and love is a gift I get to give to myself.

Hopefully you can learn from me too.

Think of a person you have a hard time seeing eye to eye with.  Give voice to your frustrations.  Give yourself permission to feel what you feel. Then flip it.  Ask what they would say you are doing to make them feel the way they do.  Look at them with love.  There’s a reason, or maybe there was a reason that they mean enough to get under your skin. See their world the way they do and let go of the idea you are valued for being right.  That is what empathy looks like and in my case, it’s got a heavy dose of guilt.

Warrior Dragon Slayer

In the last several Bumble right swipes, I decided it’s not enough to be tall and beautiful and smart. I want a warrior dragon slayer.  I’m a warrior dragon slayer, so why not expect to find someone just as powerful and intense?

Yes, I prefer tall men.  I’m flexible enough to know I might find a man that could change my mind.

I have a thing for beautiful men, but I’m more sapiosexual and given the right connection, I can find something attractive in just about anyone.  I just prefer to be shallow.

I want deep conversations.  If I can delve as deeply in writing to the internet through this blog, I can imagine how much deeper I could go in communing with another person.  I crave that connection.

I was texting a man . . . a beautiful man.  It was a conversation that could have become more than words.  The cost wasn’t a value that I could appreciate.  As juicy as he was, his juice wasn’t worth my squeeze. He looks a lot like he could be a warrior dragon slayer but he’s not mine.  Imagining what we would fit like made it clear to me what I’m after.  I’m choosing to iron it out.  I welcome feedback.  I can be intimidating and maybe I’m asking for too much. I’m still going to ask for it.

I’ve had issues with my kid’s schools yesterday that I got to handle today.  This past weekend a friend of mine asked, “how are you holding up?” That’s what friends ask.  I’m a warrior dragon slayer.  I don’t hold up, and I can’t hang in there.  I handle it.  I fight like a girl.

Last night and today I have had two conversations with grownups at my son’s schools that irritated me in apologies to the point where I responded with, “it’s done.  What are your assurances that this will not happen again in the future?” It was rude of me.  I cut them off.  But it’s where I am.  I won’t sit in their victimhood of a situation they are accountable for, but had no control over.  I’m a forward moving force.

It was and still is a Mom morning between what I get paid for.  I don’t need help but the idea of being supported appeals to me.  I was responding to a text this morning and I’m sharing my edited side because I was shooting off a quick misspelled missive. I’m expanding on the rest of what I said because I’m not ashamed of what is in my heart and on my mind. I like him enough to offer a certain level of protection through his privacy.  Yeah.  I like him, but it’s not enough.

You want a powerful woman that can put you in your place and challenge you.  You want my strength and my courage, but you’re asking me to ignore my needs and that means I won’t be coming from the place of power you find attractive.  I need a warrior dragon slayer. 

A warrior dragon slayer is fierce and dominant.

I don’t expect him to pick a fight at every opportunity.  Any trained fighter knows true strength comes when we know what we are capable of, and still choose to dissolve unnecessary fights. It’s part of discipline.  You know you can lay a man out, but you feel the responsibility not to.  At the same time, I know that by his side, I walk in safety.  Confronted with another man’s interest, he doesn’t sulk in a corner or react in anger.  He knows I can state that I’m spoken for and he’ll stand quietly as I handle myself, willing to step in at any moment.  He’s confident that I wouldn’t offer my time to him unless I wanted to. He can pull me into a kiss that makes me weak and I won’t have to worry about falling.  He can carry me when I can’t stand.  Not just physically, but emotionally.  He’s my safe refuge.

A warrior dragon slayer can be open in vulnerability.

I can cry before him and he feels there is safety in crying in front of me because I am his strength and vulnerability is a shared expression of trust.  He is secure whether I’m ready to express how I feel or not, and I feel safe in pouring my darkness, my insecurities and doubts into him.  I know I won’t break him with my burdens and he knows I have it covered, but sharing the details is enough and he doesn’t need to take what I carry, but he’s willing to.

A warrior dragon slayer is faithful.

He defines himself through a warrior’s loyalty and it’s defined by his sense of duty.  I never feel like he’s looking at me as his discount prostitute, only created to satisfy his needs.  He understands that I don’t need him but want him and my desire is a gift.  He sees there are other options but repeatedly chooses me, just as I would choose him.

A warrior dragon slayer is a leader.

It’s not enough to lead through fear or intimidation.  A leader inspires his team to reach their fullest potential, exceeding their limits because he’s capable of seeing the heights of their abilities beyond their vision of themselves.  As much as I lean on his guidance, he relies on my support, growing forward and together in the ways that are world changing.  Every moment and breath in our existence matters because we are not following someone else’s path, but slashing through the jungle on our own. He sees that we’re a team and he can’t use me to get ahead because he’s only as far as we can get together.

A warrior dragon slayer knows how to interpret what I don’t say.

He’s in tune with me, willing to decipher what I don’t say.  He’s willing to learn what he doesn’t know.  He can stand in silence and I know he’s proud of me because of his quiet strength and the way he looks at me. He’ll have the desire to take care of me, but refrain from doing anything that would crush my wings and freedom because his need to take care of me isn’t greater than my need to take care of myself.

A warrior dragon slayer can take care of himself.

Figuring out life was hard when I first had to do it on my own.  It’s still a struggle and I did it with support from my family.  I’m a single mom that brings home the bacon, cooks it, cleans up after it and still manages to take really great care of myself.  I hold it together when my kids need me and when I get to go to their schools to show them that their mother is a badass warrior dragon slayer.  I support my family and friends within my capacity and the man I claim as mine has to be willing to see life exists outside of himself. My warrior dragon slayer will be able to take care of himself and my addition to his life won’t be work.  He won’t be work.

That’s not too much to ask, right?

 

 

What’s with my Motivation?

I was blocked last night.  I totally deserved it and it made me laugh.  The moment passed and the reality of what I did hit me at lunch today.  Last night my Tuesday night sitter quit on me.  I was dealing with ex texts in the afternoon. I had a costume to help with and pumpkins to carve and I just wanted to get off of my feet. I was mothering my boys all morning and running late, so I picked up my lunch and my hangry moment pointed out that I cared more about feeding myself then I cared about getting blocked by a man I was kinda into.

He was beautiful and tall and smart.  He was a feminist.  It didn’t make me ignore the parts I didn’t like.  I just felt like I didn’t have to see him enough for those parts to bother me.  We were chatting for about a week and I asked him out only to get a delayed acceptance.  It wasn’t a no, but a not now and it irritated me.

I’m very used to having men eager for my attention and when his busy life meant dinner with me would be on hold (when clearly people eat dinner every day), I had a tantrum.  I’m not the type to yell or fight.  My ex used to joke around with his friends that I am not a black woman because I don’t feed the rage that most women (in general) fight with.  I’m too calculating for that. My initial tantrum was a teasing nudge. The full-blown tantrum was to set my inner psycho free in all the terrifying ways.

Really, he asked for time.  If I were advising a friend, I would say to continue flirting with and dating others (advice given and taken).  I don’t get exclusive unless it’s something we’re mutually committing to, but flirting and giving up my kid free time are two very different levels of amazing to be reached. I would have said to give him space.  Forget to text for a few days.  Make him wait on your response a bit.  Let him see that his response was read but answer it hours or days later, and not immediately.  But I ignored my advice.

It’s not the first time either.

The first time was when my last crush became more work than fun.  He was uncomfortable with my open adoration.  I liked how uncomfortable it made him when I looked into his eyes like I might actually see someone who was worth my time.  It’s rare and I treat that as the gift that it is. If you’re special to me, you’ll know it because so few men are.  The day that I was bored of the push and pull, I remember writing a blog post that was solely focused on the amazing I saw in him, leaving out the bits that I’m not sharing here either.  I did it to push and nudge him and it was too much for him.  I was looking for a reaction and I loved the reaction because I couldn’t continue caring for him.  I mean, I care, I just couldn’t see myself falling in world shattering love with him. I had reached a plateau and it was going downhill.

My standard is high.  He has to be capable of treating me better than I treat me.  He has to be a warrior dragon slayer because I am and he has to be able to handle the tough parts that I hold.  I never saw myself being able to pour my darkness into him because I never imagined he could hold it.  He was beautiful, and smart.  He was creative and driven.  But it wasn’t enough, so I pushed and nudged until he walked away.  I think I was hoping there was enough grit for a reaction from him, but he reserved that for others. It was like he couldn’t trust me with his demons any more than I could trust him with mine. I hear he’s happy with someone else now, and that really does make me happy.  I wish him all the best, and can appreciate that I was amused.  I grew.  He was never the one for me.

The man from last night was never going to be the one either.  I might have considered a few months of frolicking fun, but beyond that . . . I couldn’t see him ever meeting my boys.  It was a lot to ask me to wait on a dinner when I needed that visceral gut reaction that I can’t get through a device.

The way I pushed them away was similar.  I found men that couldn’t accept the amazing I saw in them because they probably couldn’t see it in themselves.  When you can’t see your amazing, someone else’s view will only feel bad and be rejected. I can’t shape their ego that rejects what I see and it becomes bigger and more terrifying than they could dream of. I was offering a kid free night to sit and enjoy company because he must be amazing for that alone, but he has to have so much more for something deeper that I just couldn’t see in either man.  I handed them the ways I was intrigued and amazed and threw out scary words like “I could fall in love,” not actually committed to that idea myself.  And I waited.  And I watched.  And my intensity burned them and they stepped away, both admitting it was “too much.”  I walked away in laughter, probably giving the impression that I was shattered. I enjoyed their rejection and there’s something wrong in that.

The bigger question is why would I do something like that?  Why would I be so attracted to men that were visibly less confident than I am? Why would I push them away with affirmations of their beauty only to enjoy their rejection because I wasn’t transparent enough to say to them that I could see they weren’t reaching the bar I set above them and they probably weren’t interested in it anyway, and we could be friends.  What is it about me that wants to kick their legs out from under them when they aren’t able to meet my expectations.  That is the part that bothers me most.

At the end of the day, I’m taking a hard look at my motives.  I’m seeing the why and the how and I don’t love what I see, but I can love myself despite it.  It’s like wanting to hurt something because it’s cute.  It’s a psychological phenomenon that I play out in the men I am kinda but not entirely into.  It’s my way of balancing their good with my aggression in a way that distances myself and won’t really hurt them.  Okay the guy from last night probably thinks I’m going to stalk him now, and I can’t stop laughing at that, but it wasn’t meant to traumatize him.

I think it’s the parts I see in them that reflect what I used to see in me.  I was insecure as a wife.  I didn’t love myself.  I didn’t look for my reflection in random mirrors.  I didn’t believe I hold all of the amazing that is me.  My oldest had this moment a few years back.  He had just transitioned to a school for autistic children and in the beginning, he was being a bully to the other children that were lower functioning.  He had been bullied by neurotypical kids at his previous school and when he moved, he saw in them what he was teased for and in a repeated cycle, continued the abuse as an abuser empowering the victim within in a way that was broken and hurting others.  I’m hurting others as a temporary salve.  It’s wrong and I need to stop it.

I’m intense.  I’m empathic.  I’m a bit of an old soul.  And I love that about me.  It was incredible to see so many articles I could identify with filtering through my Facebook newsfeed today.  It’s like the universe is pointing at the ways I was dodging a bullet I didn’t even know was coming by reaffirming the ways I am a powerhouse that needs grit in a man that can polish my rough bits.

He needs to be tall and beautiful (because I’m shallow).  He needs to be smart (for when I’m intense). He must be a warrior that can take my dark because I have large doses of dark daily and most men aren’t asked to hold it because I don’t think they’re capable.  That says more than it should about the men I’ve dated or the one I married.

First Date

There have been many bad dates.  There was one that was really special and then it turned not so special.  I’m thinking of that night here, but you can read how it ended here.

 

There’s excitement that looks like piles of discarded dresses and jeans and that mini skirt that will wait for the next date because I’m not that kinda girl on the first date.  I could be, but I’m not.  The search for the perfect outfit matters tonight.  What I wear matters because what I look like matters.  More than that, he matters.  This is more than boredom or opportunity.  I like the sound of his voice and the way he smells.  I like the way my mood shifts and optimism is born with the sound of an alert from my phone telling me he thought of me and has something to say to me.

I brush out the curls I tried to iron in and it’s a big puffy mess that ends up getting flat ironed again.  I ignore the random flyaway strands that stand erect on my head like an electrified halo, and focus on my makeup.  I don’t want to wear too much but I need to wear enough that when I look in the mirror I’m not looking back at my Dad.  I end up wiping it all off and starting over because in my excitement, my smokey eye looks like I was sucker punched and I want him to want me, not pity me.

I perch on the edge of my bed, completely ready, except for my shoes.  Do I wear the ones that are comfortable? I could go night hiking in these if he wants to prolong our dinner date.  Do I wear the heels that offer solid footing? Do I wear the strappy stilettos that I already imagined framing his face by his ears? No. That will wait for the night with the skirt that I will keep yanking lower even though I know how short it is before I ever put it on. I decide on flats so if he decides to take me on an adventure, we don’t have to make up for my poor wardrobe choices.

Looking at the clock, I end up taking off the long dress and slap on jeans with a low cut top that would go well with the stilettos or the boots because really, part of me wants him to imagine these shoes right next to his ears too.  I look at the clock and there’s a whole hour before I need to leave and I realize I’m failing the girl stereo types in my excitement.

I take the time to get caught up in an episode of a show that makes me feel things and I regret it as I’m blinking away tears and hoping my makeup won’t run because touching it up would make it feel caked on.

We meet at the restaurant where I forget to wait for him to open the door for me.  I like the way he stands next to me and the air in the room is charged because one touch on my arm or his open palm on my lower back sends warmth through every inch of my body.  I follow the waiter to our table and start pulling out my chair before he has a chance to because I forget that some guys want to do this too.

He sits next to me and our conversation flows into his passions and hobbies.  Hearing him talk makes me want to share and I jump out with my excitement and I’m calmed almost immediately when I feel the warmth of his palm on the back of my hand and look into his eyes, getting momentarily lost.  At the same time, talking constantly might mask the fact that I can’t understand most of what he says.  His dark hair and thick accent are so sexy to me. My thoughts ramble faster than I can speak and I get a little tongue tied. I try anyway and my words stumble in a heap right before me.  I feel the weight of his solid thigh now resting against mine and his gaze is intense and a little hungry.  My mouth is suddenly dry and I nearly knock over my water only to see his quick reflexes save the day and his amused laughter washes away my anxiety because in that moment my clumsiness is secondary to the way his amusement makes me feel.  I appreciate the fact that I don’t drink on a first date and try not to laugh at the party foul it would’ve been if I had ordered that Cape Cod.

Our meal arrives and suddenly I’m not hungry.  I knew I couldn’t handle an entire gluten free pizza on my own, but I didn’t realize I’d get so full so quickly either. I want to pick at my food and watch him eat because he’s ravenous after a long day at work. I’m lost to the smile on his face and the smell of his cologne mingled with the scent that is uniquely his.  He looks at me like I’ve just ordered food I don’t plan to eat and there’s a moment when I understand why men don’t understand female quirks and I decide eating what I was hungry for is better than wasting a meal because of nerves.  It’s a pleasure filled moment when I’m surprised by textures and the unexpected spice combinations make me want to savor each bite. With the first taste I’m lost to a sensory moment of textures and an infusion of herbs that demand my full focus.  Eyes closed and odd sounds coming from me, he can’t contain his laughter and the sound rocks me out of my food joy bliss with a smile that doesn’t even care about what might be between my teeth.

As we eat, our conversation winds down into what you would expect from two people really comfortable in each other’s company.  Our meal is finished and we’re turned toward each other, side by side in a booth.  His arm is more resting on the seat back of the restaurant booth than touching me but I still take the moment to move closer to him so I could feel the warmth of his body.  I laugh at a joke, unsure if it was actually funny or not and inch closer and he takes that as his cue to pull me closer, and tilt my chin up for a gentle but chaste kiss.

We leave the restaurant and he walks me to my car, holding my hand like I might get lost without it.  I put my purse and leftover pizza in the passenger’s side and he leans down for another kiss.  His hands are warm and solid, but not demanding in his embrace.  His kiss is gentle and while he’s exploring, he’s also very responsive to my reactions.  He opens my car door and this time I let him.  I’m seated and he shuts my door, leaning in for a last kiss once I lower my window to say good night.

And that was when I decided he’d get a second date.

It was halfway through the third date that I could start to understand what he was saying and I chose to end it.

One day someone special will ask me out.  He won’t assume a date means I want sex, although if I’m saying yes to a date, I’ve already decided I would potentially be okay with that.  A spin on the dance floor won’t mean he has freedom to touch my derriere.  He’ll be tall.  He’ll be beautiful.  He may be a ginger, but I love blondes and brunettes too. More than that, he’ll be smart and able to shift my perspective with an observation. For now, I’m content dating myself and seeing friends that don’t want me for sex.

Blushing

I saw it again.  I imagined myself bumping around a kitchen with a man.  We were chopping produce and washing hands together.  Unlike last time, I imagined the man I keep having small talk conversations with. I felt the flush that I had when a friend pointed out I was blushing on Saturday.  Wow.  Just wow.  And a healthy dose of an epic YES!

It was just a moment and a momentary fantasy that isn’t even committed to one person.  The big deal is that there is a fantasy that involves something more serious than a single date.  It’s more serious than the crushes I commit to.  It’s about no longer being content with being a loner and opening up to the idea of sharing my free time with someone else.  That is a huge deal.

Right now my boys are banging and crashing and playing and being happy in their shenanigans. I still can’t see myself inviting anyone into our brand of crazy, but the moment came and the fantasy was real for a moment or two, and I imagined an actual person.  Take that,  anti-social tendencies.

I say this, but I’ve made solo plans for tomorrow night. Old habits die hard.

But there was a conversation . . .

What I said was, “I’m a lightweight.”

He said, “oh, a cheap date.”

I said that just last week when sipping a margarita and surrounded by friends.

What I thought was, “I don’t drink on the first date.”

What I should have said was, “are you asking me out?”

Instead I said, “yeah” and walked away, lighting up the room with a smile.