Monthly Archives: May 2010

BFF’s

I was hanging out over at MWF Seeking BFF, where Rachel is on an official hunt for a new best friend, and that’s sparked some conversations among my own pals about how friendships change, evolve and how they’re harder to come by once you reach the age of mortgages and children.  I remember the days of having a BFF — someone that knew everything, that you checked in with at least once a day, who was the one person you wanted to discuss every little life detail with.

And I really long for that again.  I had that kind of friendship in high school, in college, and twice outside of college.  And while I was in those relationships, I still went through the ups and downs of life, but was always buoyed knowing that there was someone who was unrelentingly in my corner.

Now, I find myself in the situation of having friends — some that I’d consider close friends — but due to drastically different lifestyles (them:  husband and kids and me: gay, single, no kids), it’s just not the same since I find myself relegated quite often to what feels like second-class citizenship in their lives. And that’s not their fault … it’s just the way things work.

What to do?  Make friends with similarly gay, single girls.  Easy enough, right?

So, being new to the whole out of the closet thing, I’m starting to run across an issue that I never had when I was playing the role of a straight girl:  can two lesbians really be just friends?

Much like the debate as to whether (straight) men and (straight) women can be friends without romantic or sexual tensions intruding on the relationship, it seems (to me) to be appreciably more difficult when it’s two women who are involved.

In the past, it’s been relatively easy for me to navigate these waters.  I wasn’t “just friends” with too many guys (if I was, they were ones that I already had dumped) and so the relationship was always geared towards dating. The flip side of this – being friends with a chick – was easy too.  Even if I was madly crushing on the girl, she was straight, so it didn’t matter — the beyond-friendship part existed only in my head, never to be acted on.  Or on the off chance the other girl were gay she thought *I* was straight, so it didn’t matter there, either.

But now, as I try to forge new friendships with gay women, I find myself wondering, “I wonder if she’s thinking that my friendly invitation to go out and see a movie is more than just a friendly invitation?” or “Am I unwittingly sending out ‘I want to jump your bones’ vibes??”  And how do you discuss those things without drowning in utter awkwardness?

Because to acknowledge that this woman, this person that you want to be good friends with, is someone you’d never consider dating, well, isn’t that a bit of an insult?  To say, “I like you as a friend, but to date you?!  HA!  Good one!”

So, I find myself playing the game of making subtle suggestions for get togethers.  You know, the breezy, “Shoot me a text if you’re bored” hoping that it’ll turn into something fun, or the cryptic, “I think I’m going to be in your area Saturday afternoon…” to size up the potential BFF, to see if you have the mind meld thing going and she understands that you want to be her best buddy and chit chat and hang out.

And then when those implied invitations get no response?  I wonder whether A) she understood that it was an invitation or B) she really doesn’t want to be anything more than casual acquaintances or C) she’s legitimately busy or in some other way scheduled and can’t make it or D) I over-analyze this stuff too much and need a life.

Because, going from casual to real friends needs to be organic, doesn’t it?  I don’t think that I can pass a note “Do you want to be my bestest friend?  Circle Yes or No.”  I don’t want to push myself on anyone.  I want them to want to be my friend.  If I had to ask, I’d be afraid that someone would go out with me just out of pity.  And who wants that?

So, I’m currently in this no-(wo)man’s-land where I have some acquaintances, but I want more — but, just friendship.  And I’m not entirely sure how to go forward.  I’ve done the aforementioned implied invitations to no avail, and feel entirely too paranoid to just come out and say, “Hey I want to be your best friend.  You in?”

Maybe I should start trolling Craig’s List or eBay… perhaps there’s a BFF out there for hire?  I mean, really – wouldn’t that make things much easier?  I’ll have to check that out.

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Happy Friday #10: Steps

(on Fridays around these parts, I take a little time to make sure that all the happy things happening in my life get a shout out)

I’m proud of myself this week:  I finally did something that’s been on my to-do list for — literally — years.

I got in touch with a therapist and am in the process of setting up an appointment. One of those things that I’ve always thought would do me a lot of good, but fear kept me from moving forward on.

Like I touched on in my previous post, there’s a large part of me that thinks I should be able to solve my own problems — I mean, really, it’s not like I’m dealing with anything horrendous here.  And recently, I feel like I’ve been making headway on being more self-aware and figuring out the connections between what I think, what I say, what I do and how I feel about the whole shebang.

And then there’s the fact that I’ve got friends who have offered:  “you know you can talk to me”.  And yes – I can.  And I know that I have friends who truly care about me and my well-being, but in the end, I don’t know that I can make it their responsibility.  They’ve got families and their own stuff to manage — they don’t need another person to care for.

Another thing that I realized — one of those obvious, “DUH!” moments, actually — is that no matter who I’m talking to, I constantly edit what I’m saying.  More or less, depending on the friend I’m talking with, but there’s always parts of what’s going through my head that doesn’t get talked about, because I know that it wouldn’t make me a very attractive person — to anyone.

It’s funny, because while I can spew my words out on paper, in person I have a much harder time of it.  I think my friends must want to shake me to get words out of my mouth sometimes.  I pause, I think, I edit, I analyze, I re-edit, all in my head and all while the conversation completely stalls.  I’m so afraid of either betraying my deepest, darkest secrets (which – really – aren’t so deep or dark) or accidentally hurting someone’s feelings that it’s hard for me to spit the words out.

So, the draw of having a therapist?  I’ll have someone who’s paid to listen to me.  And not judge me.  And not get mad at me.  And someone whom there is absolutely no upside to not saying whatever’s in my head, no matter how badly it reflects on my personality.  It’ll be like confession for this not-so-Catholic-anymore girl.

I feel like I probably know the answers to my questions and problems, but I just need someone to draw them out of me, and then make me accountable for following through with them.

Certainly this can’t hurt.  And I really am proud of myself for pushing past the scary unknowns to get in touch with someone who might be able to change my life.

Rocket science

Okay, okay… I know.  I’ve been markedly absent from this space again.

Sometimes I feel like I’ve got so much going on in my head that I don’t even know how to begin sorting it out in a way that might make sense to other people.

Between an overall dissatisfaction with where my life is at right now and a very specific situation that I have going on with a friend of mine, I feel like I’ve spent my time talking at myself.  Arguing, discussing, debating pros and cons … and all with the handful of in-my-head voices that enjoy playfully tormenting me this way.

I do a lot of what I call “pre-living”.  You know, I take situations that are going to occur in the future and then spool out the what-if scenarios, ad nausea, until I feel like I’ve covered every possible outcome of an event or conversation that I know I’ll be having.

Of course, I NEVER get it right.  Truly – never.

Just happened the other day:  spent hours upon sleepless hours spawning dozens (if not hundreds) of ways that a particular conversation was going to go. I was nervous about it – I was going to be confronting a friend (and confrontation?  yea, not my strong suit…).  And not even 2 sentences into the conversation, it took a turn that I had never even contemplated.  Left me almost speechless.  Actually, it left me EXACTLY speechless.  The conversation didn’t really happen because I hadn’t anticipated the turn it took.

So.  All these situations, played out in my head, none of them right.  At least I should know what NOT to expect, I suppose.

And I can’t adequately express how much mental energy this has drained from me.  I don’t sleep well because my mind won’t stop.  And my waking hours are spent day-dreaming, too.  And I’m just tired.  Of it all.

And where has this brought me?  I think I’m going to get help.  Finally. I found a therapist right in my hometown and I need an outside voice to bring some peace to the inside voices that haven’t shut up recently.

A little background:  I was a psych major in college, so I’ve always been a huge proponent of therapy.  I understand the stigma that’s out there regarding getting help, but I don’t buy into it.  That being said, I’ve been telling myself for years now that I need to start seeing someone, but it never happened.

Some of it was laziness.  Some of it was my (very irrational) dislike of making phone calls (and especially appointments).  But my biggest fear?  That I was going to sit down with someone and they would be all, “What?  You’ve got nothing to complain about.  All of your problems are in your head and don’t even deserve the energy spent discussing them.  And you’re a big ol’ stupidhead for even being here.”

OF COURSE this wouldn’t happen (good therapists never use the word “stupidhead”).  I know this.  I understand that even though my problems might not be traumatic or out of some Greek tragedy, that they are obstacles that I need to overcome to have a happy, productive life.  But I also stubbornly held to the belief that they weren’t bad problems and so I should be able to solve them myself.  After all, this wasn’t rocket science.

And perhaps given unlimited time and energy, I could fix myself right up.  But the acknowledgement that I need help is huge for me.  I guess I just realize that there’s no reason not to start NOW.  And get happier faster.  All I know is that if the end result of me going through all this shit improves my life, then it’s worth it.

Happy Friday #9: Play ball!

(on Fridays around these parts, I take a little time to make sure that all the happy things happening in my life get a shout out)

Softball season is here again!

The past few years, I’ve been slowly whittling down the number of teams I’m playing on.  A combination of being busy, the games being late (for me! I’m up at 4am every morning, and a 9:30pm game the night before makes me rather cantankerous) and the way the game really beats up my body (my mind makes decisions that my body can’t veto… and I often end up splayed out on the field, thinking, “…perhaps that wasn’t the best idea ever….”).

And this year I had intended to stop playing entirely, with the exception of the occasional subbing assignment.

But then, at the last minute, I decided to hang on to one of my teams — my most uncompetitive team.  The team where when we won a game last year, that was our Best Season Ever!

I’ve played on competitive teams; in fact, just this season I gave up the most competitive recreational team that I had ever played on.  But the team I held on to?  Despite the lopsided win/loss record, it’s just plain ol’ fun to be on that team.

And plus, being a talented softball player (you know, for a 40-year old playing recreational ball), there’s nothing like being a big fish in a small pond to boost my self-esteem!  There aren’t many teams where I get to be considered the “star” player.

So, last night?  First game of the season!  You know, no matter how many years I’ve been doing this, there’s always something magical and warm and fuzzy about stepping on the field for the first time in the season.  Even knowing that it won’t be a stellar performance (and it wasn’t – at least defensively – for me… the team would have done better with a two-armed amputee at shortstop… no offense to two-armed amputees, of course), I was all geeked up and ready to play.

And… (drumroll, please) … WE WON!!!

Against all odds, we won our first game, tying our Best Season Ever!  As awful as I was in the field, was as brilliant as I was at the plate:  double, triple and two home runs.  Not to toot my own horn, of course.  Okay, tooting a little.  My horn, that is.

It’s good to be back.

Got some change?

My very favorite aunt is in the hospital.  After a month of battling with back pain that had her house-bound (at 89 years old she had still been driving!), she woke up yesterday morning, unable to move because of the excruciating pain.

She’s my Mom’s sister (my Mom was an “oops!” baby born 20 years after her sister) and they share the same kind of smart ass humor that was passed on to me.  Growing up, she was always the one us kids wanted to visit and stay at her house, because she was cool and fun and up for anything, it seemed like.

And so now, to see her lacking her usual sunny, everything-is-great disposition, has been hard for me.

In some ways, this feels like the beginning of the end.  And lord knows, I’m always the one covering my ears and saying “LA LA LA I CAN’T HEAR YOU…!!!” to these kinds of situations.

I’ve been fortunate in my life to not have had to deal with a lot of death.  My Mom’s parents – since she was so much younger than her siblings – passed away 30-40 years ago.  My Dad’s parents?  Still alive and kicking (though with the attitude, “well, I might not see you again because I’m going to die soon”… which they’ve had for well on 15 years now).

But now that I have 4 close relatives, all 87 years and older, it’s inevitably coming.

And if I had my way?  I’d want no part of it.

How shall I put this?  I’m a touch resistant to change (hello! after years of deny deny deny.. what do you know.. I’m gay!).  All the good-bye’s.  And things never being the same.  And the moving on.

But – but…the moving on.  Perhaps that’s the saving grace in all this.  After everything, life might not be the same, but who says being the same is good? Growing, changing, renewing… all part of the process of creating a better you.

I suppose that sometimes you just wake up and understand that you need to change and reinvent yourself.  Most times, though, I think it takes dealing with difficult situations to push you forcibly in the direction you need to head.  It’s not easy to make a decision to leave comfort and familiarity for the scariness of the unknown.  But, it needs to be done anyway.  Which is why life never stands still.

So, for the time being, I’ll use this wake-up call to do the important stuff:  the I-love-you’s and letting people know that they make a difference in your life. And in the back of my head, I’ll be prepared for whatever may come, good or bad.  And regardless, move onward.

Next?

A good friend of mine visited over the weekend — in fact, the first real, live human being to hear me admit that I was gay.

Of course, she had been trying to get me to say it for years, but that’s aside from the point.  I mean, really – who wants to take that leap of coming out to someone and their reply to be, “I told ya so!”.

All along she’s been kind of guiding me along, there for the questions and rantings and whatnots.  A resource, if you will.  She’s also taken on a mentoring role with me, pushing me to do the things that were most uncomfortable:  coming out to my straight friends, trying out the online dating thing, finally sitting down and talking to my parents and family.

The topic of conversation this time around?  Why I’m not dating.  Or really getting out at all, in a lesbian sort of way.

I told her that I had started up the online dating thing again, but remain convinced that there’s nothing but wackos out there.  Or – at least – my ad seems to attract the wackos.  Which could certainly be the case.  I’m a wacko magnet.

So, then we started going through my (short) list of friends that could either hold potential or be culled for blind dates with their friends.

Which didn’t go so well either.

One case of an interest on my part, but none seemingly on the other (not that I’ve asked or anything… that would be weird… and might ruin a friendship….). Another instance of someone who I think would like to be sexting buddies with me, but I’m certainly not interested in that (my thumbs get tired so quickly).

And there ya have it.  My potential dating social life in a nutshell:  going abso-fuckin-lutely nowhere.

We were both in agreement of this.

Her solution?  Move up by her.  Because apparently Wisconsin has a disproportionate number of lesbians.  And they’re all just waiting for ME to show up.

(poor girls)