Monday, May 31, 2010

Feelin' good


JT and his girlfriend have recently broken up, once and for all, and he's having a hard time with it. Consequently, we've been spending a lot more time together, as he needs a friend and we can see each other without stressing about how the girl is going to react. We're being very communicative, and making sure he's not rebounding with me or abusing our friendship. Minus the heartache he's experiencing, and how sad it makes me to see someone so sad, all is well between us. We're just friends, and we're good.


Last night, JT and I were lounging on his couch and talking. He asked "How are you? Any unmet needs or concerns?"

"Not really. I'm good."

And I meant it, and it feels amazing.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

My Dope Box

Relationships are a lot like recreational drugs. They both make you feel good, make you forget the outside world, and help you not be alone during the bad times.

Consequently, coming off them is also very similar.

For example, it's a week, a month, or even a year since your breakup. You think of something that you know your ex would appreciate and you pick up the phone to call them, only to remember that you can't. Because you broke up, and, for whatever reason, are not on speaking terms.

It sucks.

Sometimes the craving to call them is so bad, you have to call someone else, anyone else, just to get it out of your system.

Just like drug withdrawals. Instead, they are person withdrawals. Your brain is still programmed to want to share your life with that person, and it's hard to resist doing so.

Fortunately, just like drug withdrawals, it gets easier over time. You find comfort in other things and people, hopefully healthier outlets, and the desire to call that ex dulls, and the pain of not being about to do so eases. Every once in a while, you might still get a craving, but they pass quickly. Of course, it's hard to remember in the heat of a particularly poignant craving, but it really does get better.

Another similarity is the dope box. For a recovering drug addict, their dope box might include a marijuana pipe, a joint roller, a syringe, or whatever paraphernalia their particular addiction required.

My dope box is a little cedar box that contains a year's worth of love notes, and probably should contain a certain pair of earrings. Of all the things I've collected from boyfriends past, these are the things that are just too personal to actually use or display. I do have some gifts for boyfriends past that I have out or use, like some jewelry, a book, a glass sculpture, and they often do remind me of the ones who gave them to me, but not like the notes or that pair of earrings do.

And I just can't bring myself to get rid of it.

Like a successfully recovering addict, I have no intention of doing anything with the items in my dope box. Every once in awhile, I might see it and read an old note or two, but I mostly keep it tucked away, with a mental note of sentimental value and a reminder of how far I've come since then.

I miss the writer of those notes sometimes, but I don't crave him anymore. In fact, since the writer leaving on a mission was the reason we broke up, I was prepared in advance for the relationship's end, which could be likened to a nicotine patch or a step down program, if I were to keep making the metaphors.

Incidentally (meaning I was planning this post before I found out), the ex I was most addicted to just got engaged, and I'm feeling rather unsettled about it. I don't want him back and I don't usually crave him specifically anymore, but it's still weird. It also means that all of my ex-boyfriends are engaged or married, leaving no one in the same single predicament I'm in. That probably deserves a post on its own. Also, sadly, the version of this ex that I know wasn't ready for a temple wedding, and hearing that he's getting married in the temple, I don't really believe he's ready, even though enough time has past that he could be.

You can, honestly, be addicted to anything - food, drugs, sex - anything that stimulates the pleasure center of your brain. As always, the first step to recovery is admitting you have a problem.

Friday, May 21, 2010

Hello, again

It's been way too long since I've blogged on here. I've felt, because I'm not dating anyone or really that bothered about it that I didn't have enough to say to actually contribute to the blog. I realized, however, that it is precisely because I'm a single woman that I DO have something to say in reference to this blog and its overall message.

Unfortunately, I still don't think I have much to say today, but I'm going to say it anyway.

I'm at a point in my professional life--a very specific point, as I'm typing this at a conference for my current field--where I've realized I don't care enough about my field to want to continue in it. It's important, yes. Very important for a lot of people (no detail, because I'm trying to keep this as anonymous as possible) and I'm glad I can help in my small way, but I don't have the passion for it that makes me want to advance and become something bigger than I am. I just don't. Campbell observed a few weeks ago, "you've got to get out of here--this job is killing you", which prompted a brief discussion about "Joe vs. the Volcano" and the soul-sucking evil of fluorescent lights.

It's true, though. I sometimes dread going to work because I know that I'll be confronted with certain stressors. I love my office, I mostly like what I do (besides answering phones), and I like my coworkers. It's finally comfortable for me there and I'm glad, but I am tired. There's a lot of turnover in this field, and I can finally see why. It's incredibly stressful some days. It's incredibly hard to keep from absorbing everything that's thrown at me.

Not that my job is the most stressful in the world. Some people would thrive in this environment, but there are good reasons I didn't go into this field. There are some things I have to deal with at home that make going to work and dealing with those things at work even more difficult. I don't make enough money to really feel like I'm helping. I'm much happier when I'm creating something and not solving the same problems over and over again. Just when I finished one huge project, I discovered that something I thought was done right (done by others, no less) was wrong. I'm currently going through over 6000 individual files and cross-checking between two different databases--this is something that I wouldn't have to do if someone else had been more careful, and the sight of the 131 pages I have to check off almost had me in tears the other day. I have to do this on top of handling the usual front desk stuff (which can be pretty chaotic sometimes) and training a new employee. I'm also the knee-jerk tech support for the office because I'm not scared of computers.

Yeah, it is pretty stressful.

I long to do something different. I long to make more money so I can buy a house and build a home that is welcoming to both married and single friends and children and pets. I long to travel and improve my life. I long to get more education. But I feel stuck. I'm 35. It's a little late to be considering graduate school. It's a little late to be "irresponsible" and go for something completely different. I honestly feel like I've missed many things, and I have to remind myself that I've lived my life this way for a reason. There are experiences I'd never trade because of how I've changed and grown and become more ME.

Am I insane for even CONSIDERING things that would take me away from the stability of a salary, no matter how meager, and really good insurance? I suppose some people would say that now is the time, because I'm single and don't have any responsibilities. Well, that's not true. I may be single, but I'm responsible for more than people realize. There's a difference between 22 and single and 35 and single and I'm feeling it a lot lately.

I hope that somehow things will balance out, even if it's finding a job that pays more so I can indulge (I feel like it's an indulgence) in my hobbies and interests. Work to pay for my life, right? My single, carefree, partying, shoe-buying life, right? How about finding a job that pays more so I can help provide for others, learn the things I want to learn, and build a home? I like that option better.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Dating Supplies

Today on Art of Manliness they provided a list of things a man should always carry with him on a date - What to Carry on a First Date: The Gentleman's Arsenal. It's a pretty good list.

I always made sure I had a few things with me when I went on a date. Here's my list and response to the man's list.

1. A Hankie

I don't go anywhere without one of my own. They come in handy in all kind of situations. But I can definitely see how sweet it would be for a guy to provide one and have it as a reminder of the date.

2. Mints

Definitely mints over gum. I hate gum. The smacking is highly annoying. Freshen your breath and move on. I really like the Listerine strips over hard mints. They slide right into a wallet and don't make a lot of noise. Also, always take one for yourself before offering one to your date just so it doesn't look like you think their breath is bad.

3. Money

Ever since I started dating I always made sure I had money to cover the date just in case something happened. I also made sure I had money to get home, definitely in case something happened. I don't expect to pay for a date I've been invited on, but I plan on it just in case. And if I've invited someone on the date I plan on paying for it. I take a credit card and a twenty. They easily slide into a pocket.

4. Phone

Also something I've done since I started dating, although back then it was change for a pay phone (when was the last time you ever saw one of those?). Again, just in case something happens and I needed to get out on my own. It's never been a problem though. But I'd rather be prepared than not.

5. Dress for the occasion

For men they're saying this means carry an umbrella and wear a sports coat. Now in some parts of the world that might work. But know where you live. Here we're playing "spot the cloud" because there are none for days at times. An umbrella is a good idea here at parts of the year. So during those parts it's good to have one in the car. The rest of the time it would just be in the way. As for the sports coat, the guy will just be sweating like crazy in it. And that's not generally good if it can be avoided.

As for giving the sport coat to the girl if she's cold, I happen to think it's my responsibility to take care of myself. I've never been one to ask a guy for his suit coat at church because I know that I tend to get a chill at church because of the air conditioning being on so high and I bring a wrap. I don't wear bare legs and sandals when I know I'll be in places where I can get a chill (movie theaters). So I dress for the occasion. A light wrap can be very handy. It is easily out of the way when you don't want it, but it can also be wrapped daintily over the shoulders to keep the arms warm or the lap if your legs are chilled. A wrap is a very nice thing to have.

6. A hair tie

If your hair has any length to it, keep a hair tie with you. You never know when you might need to pull your hair back or get it out of the way. I keep one on my key chain.

~ * ~ * ~

Even now I still make sure I have several things with me when we go out. I take my own jacket to church. I keep a hair tie with me. And I don't go anywhere, date or not, without a hankie.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

A Date-ready home

According to an article I read on Glamour magazine's website, if I'm going to invite a date into my home, I have to turn into a neurotic, OCD mess with no personality.

I'll recreate the list here, with my commentary:

1. Dust the high places.
Okay, that's fair. Dusting is good.

2. Bake or cook something.

Maybe, but only if it's something you do anyway. As you may remember, Cher from "Clueless"
totally burned whatever it was she was trying to bake. Does your house have to smell of
chocolate chip cookies? No. Clean? Yes.

3. Edit your house for telling items.
Mousetraps, financial statements, self-help books (especially those about dating and marriage—I have a ton because of this blog), and medicine like Imodium…need to go!

This is where the neurotic starts to set in. I'm not about to go through my bookcase and hide the things I don't want him to know I've read, even the copy of "The Fat Girl's Guide to Life" that's on my nightstand right now. In fact, I saw someone checking out my nightstand reading stack (p.s. I live in an efficiency, everyone who crosses my threshold enters my bedroom) the other night. They would have also spied my journal, a book by Spencer W. Kimball, and a book about World War II. Judge me for all that, I dare you.

4. Maintain some order.

This, I agree with.

5. Remove the "funny" magnets.

Currently, my fridge door has a handwritten note to myself that says, “Nothing tastes as good as healthy feels.” That’s fine, but considering I never read it, why risk looking like I have issues with food? I also have a chart for pairing wine (wino?), and a magnet that poses the question, “Was he worth shaving her legs for?” Wow. That cannot be good. And another one that says, “Girls are better than boys.” Wait a sec. Maybe I do have some kind of issue. And I almost bought Erica this funny magnet set of grown men crying. Probably should hold off on that.

We all want someone who shares our sense of humor, right? Worrying too much about what he's thinking about what's on your fridge or around your bathroom mirror is just too much work.

6. De-clutter with fewer girly items.
If you own multiple candles, picture frames, throw pillows, stuffed animals, live cats, knick-knacks, or tchotchkes, minimize! He doesn’t want to feel like he’s visiting Grandma.

All these things around my house? They have stories. Even the ugly purple fairy and that non-descript rock. Ask me about it, and I'll tell you. For example - that stuffed dog? From a teenaged friend who was sad that I couldn't have a real dog in my apartment right now. My house does not look like Grandma's attic. It looks like me.

7. Sexile your roommate.

Well, fortunately, that is one perk to not having sex. No one has to worry about certain sounds wafting between the walls. I don't have roommates now, but when I did, we were all smart enough to leave the common areas if it was clear that our male guest might want to not just sit on the couch. But the rule of not making your roommate uncomfortable or banishing them forever definitely stands.

8. Create flattering lighting.

I’m sure you don’t have laboratory-like bulbs in your home, but check for bad overhead lighting and any shadows that could make you look like the two-face on Seinfeld.

OCD, much?

Extra points for:
9. Freezing some glasses and stocking the fridge with beer (and hello, food!).
10. Knowing how to control the temperature on your thermostat.
11. Possessing knowledge of the best restaurants that deliver in your 10-block radius.
12. Putting together a date playlist on your iPod. (Click here and here for music to make out to.)
13. Arranging fresh flowers (particularly if his mom is Martha Stewart or a Steel Magnolia).

9. Yes. Well stocked fridge? Good idea. His favorite drink? Only if he told you that, and you didn't get it from Facebook.
10. That's probably a good idea.
11. You should do that anyway, but for you.
12. I have one. But I've never used it. "Oh I'm sorry, I see that you want to kiss me, but first I must put on my 'Snog Songs'" Ruins the mood. And perhaps the song. (Phil Collins' "You'll Be In My Heart", I'm looking at you.)
13. So, we don't want to remind him of his grandmother, but we do want to remind him of his mother? Incidentally, I do have fresh flowers right now, and Junior saw them last night was actually proud of me for buying myself flowers. But this currently only happens a couple times a year, nothing to stress about unnecessarily.

Honestly, just make sure your house is clean and presentable, and it will be fine. Junior didn't even care that my sink was full of dishes the first time he came over, just that he really liked that my house is a nice, little home.

Just how I like it.

Sunday, May 2, 2010

My women

I've never been one who had a ton of girl friends. I had friends, but I never just hung out at the mall with another girl. I certainly was not one who spent hours on the phone talking with someone. I just didn't do the "normal" teenage girl with friends thing. I have a handful of friends, gender has always been heterogeneous, and that's worked out very well.

But in the last year while I still maintain that I don't have "girls" in my life, I do have my women.

These are grown women. They've experienced hardship in their lives. I can't think of any hardship that more than one of them have faced actually, so there's quite the range of hardship going on. They've grown from their experiences. They've been strengthened by them. They've been beautified by them. They are a shoulder to cry on when things go bad because they've cried too. They are a smile to laugh with when things go great because they've laughed too. They are women.

I don't actually happen to live near any of my women at this time. They are spread across this country. But I know that I can always call or email and they will share in whatever emotion I am going through at the time.

Just a side note. But during my one try at therapy several years ago the therapist told me that three of my women weren't good enough friends for me because they were married and I wasn't so they were too busy for me. HA! I was the one with the schedule we were working around. I didn't go back to that therapist. It is because of their range of experiences that differs from mine that I can lean on them.

And I've begun to feel that all women are connected. We all need each other. We need to lean on each other's shoulders and provide our shoulders for others to lean on. We need to laugh together. We need to cry together. Perhaps if we all lived in the same village a hundred years ago we would've been getting together monthly for quilting bees or sock darning parties or what have you. It's that kind of a feeling. And time has simply changed how we do that.

Mother's day is next week. And while I wouldn't classify any of these women as mother figures for me, I want to take time to honor them as well. Because I truly stand among noble women.