Monthly Archives: July 2012

Adventure!

As in, I’m going on one!

I’m heading out to Colorado for a exciting, women’s only retreat up in the Rocky Mountains and absolutely CAN’T WAIT for it.

It’s been awhile since I’ve been on a real trip.  My vacations lately have been more of the “day off to run errands” type.  Or – even better – the “a few days off to do housework” kind.  Exciting, eh?  Yea, that’s what I thought too.

This comes at a really good time for me — I need a way to reset, restart, rejuvenate.  This trip might be a touch more meditative/spiritual/yoga-ish than I’d like, but I might be surprised at how much I enjoy the down time.  A lot has happened to me in the past few months and with the exception of therapy, I’ve actively tried to not think too much on it (starting this blog back up has been an exercise in attempting to NOT ignore it all anymore) and I think I need to process and let go.

But even without all the “chicken soup for the soul” kind of stuff, this is going to be an awesome trip — I mean, we’ll be mountain biking.  Need I say more?  I do wish I was in better shape for this trip, but I’m still gonna haul my butt to every active thing they’ve got planned for us.

All I know is that with all the hiking and running and biking and the views and the mountains and women I’ll meet … well, the most challenging part of this trip will likely be talking myself into getting back on the plane home.

I will be blogging either not at all or very sporadically between now and when I get home and settled back in … don’t give up on me!  I’ll be back!  If I decide to bring a computer, perhaps I’ll post pictures to make you jealous…

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More on anonymity

I was reading yet another poignant article on The Rumpus and it got me to thinking again about how I’ve chosen to remain anonymous in this space (you know, as anonymous as one can get on the big ol’ world wide web).

And I’m starting to think that one of my problems — something at the core of everything that I deem “wrong” about myself — is my basic inability to share myself with other people.  Ironically, not complete strangers, mind you, or people that I meet only virtually — you guys probably hear more than you want — but with anyone that holds a spot in my “in real life” life.

I’ve always thought of myself as someone who simply was private.  Someone who took a little work to get to know really well. But as I look closer, I find that with the exception of one, perhaps two people in my life, no one really has any idea what’s going on with me.  I’m not private, I’m utterly closed off.

Most of my friends would respond, if asked, that I was just fine and doing well.  “Sure”, they’d say, “she’s still single and I know she’d love to be in a relationship, but her job’s going great, she’s always busy and up to something fun.”  In fact, many of my married with kids friends would probably admit to being a little jealous of my lifestyle, as theirs no longer allows for the independence and spontaneity that I enjoy.

Now, my family?  None of them have absolutely any idea that there’s anything even close to out of place in my life.  Depression?  They’d never think it. Lonely?  They look at all my friends and activities and would it would never cross their mind.  Struggling with being single?  They’re quite sure I’m single by choice.  I’ve never been one to share much of my social/dating life with them, so no information now isn’t a change.

This leads to the question:  why?

The answer is a little complicated, but it boils down to a few bullet points:

  • I don’t want anyone to know that there’s anything wrong with me.  I don’t want the pity, the knowing glances, the “oh you poor thing”.  I don’t know how I would handle anyone wanting to talk to me about the problems I’m having.
  • It’s easier to just act happy — I think it makes me more fun to be around.  And it helps me — sometimes putting on that mask makes it become reality for at least a little while.
  • I already think bad things about myself and hate myself for them — why would I want the people I love thinking those same things and perhaps coming to the same awful conclusions as I have?

Seems a little ridiculous once I put it in black and white.

A little background:  growing up, my family didn’t talk much.  We joked, we laughed, we teased, we had fun, but we rarely talked about anything of consequence.  When I came out to my parents, that was one of the first times that I had spoken frankly and openly with them. So, for me to, say, make this blog public to friends and family?  A little terrifying.

But if I’m honest with myself, I’ll notice that I spend a lot of energy keeping myself closed off.  A simple example… I don’t tell people, “No, I can’t go out on Thursday because I’ve got a therapy appointment.”  Of course not.  I give a vague excuse and move on, hoping they won’t press for a more descriptive answer.

One day I’m going to have to take that leap and open myself up to friends and family.  Perhaps it won’t be through this blog — there are things in the archives that might hurt some feelings or cause some friends to be a little weirded out (do straight friends get weirded out when they find out they were the object of your love?) — but in some way I think it’ll have to happen for me to move forward.

It’s occurred to me that this might be a huge part of why I’m still single, even.  It’s funny because a way-back-in-time ex-boyfriend described me as “emotionally unavailable” when we were breaking up (oh, okay — I was breaking up with him)… he wasn’t so far from the truth, now, was he?

I quit you… or do I?

Tell me… how do you quit people?

Not the bad influence friends.  Or the ones who periodically weed-whack their way through your life, destroying everything in their paths.  Those are easy … well, at least the decision to delete their number from your cell phone should be easy (actual removal is a different problem, of course).

But what about someone who’s your friend?  Someone who would be there if you needed them.  Someone who knows your secrets.  Someone who knows you just about as well as you know yourself.  Someone that (maybe, just maybe) you’re secretly in love with?

How do you quit them?

Of course, it’s not that clear cut, either.  The fact is that I’m mostly past the “in love” part.  Due to my wildly, insanely high expectations, I’ve been let down enough that I’ve started the process of letting go.  This, in turn, is helped by the fact that this friend tends to promise big, say all the right things, and then stumble on the follow through.  She still is the person I confide in most and is utterly dear to me, but even I can recognize that I’m not a priority to her.

Of course, if I’m to be honest, I was expecting my friend to act like my girlfriend in all ways but the obvious girlfriend ways.  I wanted her around (all the time), do stuff with me (all the time) and put me first (all the time).  Isn’t that what friends are for?

But still – quitting her entirely?  That’s what my therapist is suggesting.  I knew she would — I almost didn’t bring it up because I knew this struggle would ensue.

I think I can keep the friendship; I’ve been here before, having a total crush on a friend who’s completely and obviously not interested (historically, these have always been straight friends… the fact this one is gay is an interesting twist).  And I’ve always managed to work my way through it and find the light on the other side.  Kept the friendship.  Pushed my way through to a place where the friendship wasn’t some form of exquisite torture and in return I received the gift of a true, equal relationship.

I’ll just do the same thing this time around.  Mold and manage my expectations into something that resembles reality — and what a normal “we’re just friends” friendship looks like.

I tell my therapist this; she’s not convinced.  Thinks — and perhaps rightly so — that this friend takes advantage of me.

It’s true:  our friendship is lopsided.  It used to be that I absolutely went out of my way for her. I would wait around for her to show up to go out, make her dinner, buy her things just because I knew she’d like them.  In return I usually got the attention I wanted — that’s all that I ever really wanted from her.  But she would dole it out in a manner so frustrating to me … I wanted everything, she just wanted to be friends.

But since then, I’ve definitely gotten better and reeled things in.  I’ve mostly dropped the puppy dog act (I was starting to get fleas, I think) and no longer make concessions for her.  Of course, even with this progress, I still sometimes leave myself open to getting hurt by her.  I’ll expect something that perhaps a friend shouldn’t expect and she’ll let me down.  The most recent episode of this had me in tears.

And so, do I quit her?

No matter which path I choose, there will be grieving involved — either losing a friend entirely or losing the fantasy I’ve been trying desperately to enact in real life.

I have to admit, there is some temptation to the full-on quit — I see the world in such a black and white way that act would fit my world view:  either I can have her entirely or not at all.

But the world is lonely enough without losing another friend, isn’t it?

It might not be the best decision I’ve ever made, but I’m guessing it won’t be the worst, either.  The time between now and when I’m free of the crush will be challenging, but I know that the core friendship that we share — outside of my wild ideas — is worth saving.

So, no quitting.  I’ll leave the option open, but for now?  I’ll give it a go.

(postscript:  no, I never told her I felt this way, but I never needed to — she made it clear from the beginning that she wanted nothing more than friendship from me and she’s in a serious relationship anyway)

Session drama

So, I’m in therapy.  It hasn’t been long — about a month or so — but this has been a struggle since day 1 and continues as such.

By the time I get back home after a session, know what I most want to do?  Curl up into the fetal position and rock.  Nice, eh?

Therapy hasn’t been much of a feel-good, esteem-building exercise (though I’m not sure why I thought it might be that way) and rather, it’s an hour of crying and being pushed to acknowledge that at every turn I try to sabotage myself.

And yea, yea… I know… it’s good for me.  The tears and the trauma and the drama all point to her pushing me into facing some truths about myself that I’ve conveniently opted to ignore.  A lot of the therapy centers about the fact that most of my relationships have been ones of unrequited love — you know, the typical story:  girl becomes friends with Chick, girl falls in love with Chick, girl doesn’t make feelings known to Chick, Chick is oblivious (or straight or married or in a relationship), girl tortures herself for months or years on end until she finally lets go.  Whew.

But really – that’s how my life goes.  I could easily name half a dozen of my friendships that have followed that scenario — pretty much every girl that’s been a best friend.  And in every case, Chick hasn’t had any idea (other than perhaps the feeling that I was a bit of a stalker-type and too attached).

My therapist aptly noted:  “You never choose someone who will return your feelings.”  Um, yea.  No idea.  Just happens that way.

Or something like that.

Another gem from my therapist:  “You’ve got a million excuses why you can’t change your life.”  Not quite a million, I replied.  Sure, probably in the hundred thousands, but not a million.

(And yes, I make lame jokes when cornered.)

Of course, to me, they aren’t excuses, but reasons.

A concrete example of my “reasons”:  the apartment in the city.  My reason for not having one yet?  My oh-so-lovable pit bull … apartments have breed/size restrictions, as it turns out.  My therapist pointedly questioned: why not pay more for a place that will accept the dog?  I can’t afford it.  Why not recruit the help of friends and family to watch Belle while I’m in the city and get a pet-free apartment?  Well, because I couldn’t do that.  Why not?  Because why should someone else take care of my dog?  (see how good I am at this game?)

And on and on …until I end up in tears because I can plainly see how stubborn I’m being while trying to find a solution.

I’m not sure where the resistance comes from.  The apartment was *my* idea, and I felt like it was something that I really wanted to see happen.  But as my search got more difficult instead of being creative in finding solutions, I kind of just gave up.  “It’s fate”, I thought.

All this to say that I still need some work.  Until I can sit through a therapy session, confident in the direction I’m headed and the decisions I’m making, I likely still need to be there.  Even though the sessions turn me into Humpty Dumpty who breaks apart and can’t quite get put back together again.

(An aside:  this post has spewed out of me, all jumbled and feeling a little random and unorganized.  I’m usually all about the editing, but this time around?  I like the idea of the post reflecting my own chaotic and slightly dramatic feelings about this.)

Where, oh where …

… are the single ladies my age?

At the clubs?  Not really, as far as I can tell.  Whenever I walk into a lot of these bars and clubs, I feel like an elder states(wo)man without the experience to have earned the title.

I mean, it’s not like any of the young kids are auditioning for a role in the Mean Girls 2 movie, but I can see their eyes pass over me — really, almost directly through me — with a “who’s the old woman in the muumuu?” look on their face.   Followed closely by “and why’s that young hot chick hanging out with her” since I’m blessed/cursed with a few young, hot lesbian friends (all a decade younger than me… I still haven’t figured out why they continue to keep me around… other than they look ESPECIALLY hot when put next to me).

(okay, I don’t really wear (or own) a muumuu … so much so that I even had to look up the spelling of “muumuu” (doesn’t it look funny?))

All of which to say:  the clubs aren’t really where it’s happening for me.  I enjoy occasionally going out and shakin’ the ol’ booty, but I’m not really meeting anyone to go home with out at those places.

Next up:  online.  Except online? The age range there seems to be early 20’s looking for a hookup and a decade older than me having just gotten out of a 30 year relationship and looking to start over.  I’ve gone on dates with both ends of the spectrum, and while I don’t discount someone based on age, I will say that it’s hard to find things in common with someone who’s that much younger or older.

You’ve got the girls who were barely out of diapers when Friends was the big show on TV (and sue me – despite all the homophobic references on that show, it’s my all-time, watch-the-marathon favorite show ever). Rarely will they know any cultural references I make, so at lot of my jokes go right over their head.  And my sense of humor is one of my best attributes!  This just makes me feel even older than my 42 years.  I’m always on the verge of starting sentences with “Kids these days….” which isn’t the best way to snag a second date, by the way.

Then the fine older ladies?  Somehow, they also make me feel old.  Even though I’ve definitely fallen off the working out bandwagon, I want to be with someone active and athletic — I know that to really be happy, I’m moving and sweating and working hard (and not just horizontally! get your mind out of the gutter!…but yea, that too…).  Of course, there are women in their 50’s that are still active (I intend on being one of them some day), but I haven’t met them.

So, what next?

I know, I know:  I need to join some LBGT groups.  Or do the meetups.com stuff.  I’m working my way up to that, promise.  Though I still don’t get how it is that unlike every other person I know, that I’m unable to meet someone to date out in the wild.  You know, like a chance meeting at the gym or the grocery store or the book store or out riding.  Seems like over the years it should have happened at least once, right?  Or maybe I should start getting on my friends to set me up — they’ve got to have at least ONE available single friend, right? (except the answer to that is — and has been — “NO” … “and stop asking!!”)

Any other suggestions?

Heaven on wheels

Things have been a little dreary around here, haven’t they?  Let’s lighten the mood a bit.

I recently read the following quote:  “When you stop doing things for fun and passion, you stop living and you start merely existing. ”  That hit home — the running and biking were fine, I enjoyed them, but somewhere along the line, I had lost the passion for them that I once had.

During the mess of the last few months, though, I’ve found myself a new love: mountain biking.  Whodda thunk it?

Serendipity played a role:  a new triathlete friend (amazing how I have these when I have done exactly 1 triathlon in the last 4 years) mentioned a women’s mountain biking clinic she was going to down at Brown County State Park in Indiana.  Like a dutiful friend, I followed the Facebook link and was immediately in love with the idea.

So, I knew I wanted something new to try and this was the perfect opportunity. My biggest barrier to trying out the sport — not owning a mountain bike — was a non-issue because they would have free rentals on site!

On the first morning, I gathered with my group — the Intro to MTB class — and explained that while I biked frequently, that I had never once been on a mountain bike.  The instructors assured me that this wouldn’t be a problem, but as we went around the circle, everyone else had at least a little bit of experience. I was nervous, though as it turns out, there was no need.

I got my shiny rental bike and felt immediately at home.  We learned the basics of handling:  how to lean in and out of turns, how to take uphills and downhills, front lifts and back lifts.  And it was like a language that I didn’t know that I knew, but that I was already fluent in, if that makes any sense.  I didn’t know any of the terms they were using, but as they explained the skill, my brain was, like, “DUH”.  Seemed like common sense to me.

As we headed out to the trails for the first time, one of the instructors took me aside and told me that my skills were “ridiculous” for a beginning and that I was a natural.  Of course – now I was jinxed, right?  Hee.

But once we got into the trees, we were flying along and I can’t even remember the last time I felt that free and reckless and like I was a kid again.  Mountain biking is this complete adrenalin rush:  you’re riding along these narrow single-track trails, picking up some major speed, not always able to see around the next corner.  Next to you might be a ravine that goes nothing but down.  On the other side might be trees or a hillside or another ravine.  This isn’t your everyday walk in the park.

It feels dangerous — like with every pedal stroke you might be tempting fate.  And that feeling is so addictive; I knew within 5 minutes of being in the forest that this was a sport that I wanted to spend much more time experiencing.  I like taking chances and pushing myself a little further and harder than I thank I can. I used to get that rush from triathlon racing, but now I’ve got something new.

For the first time in longer than I can remember, I let go.  Completely, utterly dove into the experience.  I was there in the moment, nothing in my head but the thrill of the trail and how I was going to take the next obstacle.  It didn’t matter that I was struggling in the rest of my life, being on the bike was all that I cared about.

It was heaven.  Heaven on wheels.

Doesn’t this look like a great way to lose (and find) yourself?

Let’s talk…

… depression.

For me, it slowly wormed its way in and set up shop before I even really noticed. It was my bad mood, just worse.  It was my PMS over-the-top emotions without the PMS.  A pervasive sense of loss when nothing important in my life had changed.  But it sneaked up on me; I lived like that for a long while before I even noticed the shift.

I’ve almost entirely stopped working out.  In turn, I spend that time eating and drinking instead.  I’ve gained twenty pounds (20!) in what feels like a heartbeat.

I had to go and buy fat jeans the other day.  Yup.  Shoot me now.

My therapist says that this can be attributed to the depression.  That somehow because of this thing lodged in my brain, I lack the ability to make the decision to exercise on a consistent basis.

Somehow, I don’t entirely buy that, but okay.  I guess it’s nice to have a reason handy if anyone were to ask why I’ve become such a fat ass.

Frankly, I think that I’ve been using it as an excuse.  I’ve been depressed before and I’ve managed to train through it (and use training to help as well).  And I’m starting to get annoyed with myself — this might turn out to be the biggest motivator I’ve encountered in months.

I feel a real sense of needing to make this stop:  no more brooding, crying, eating, drinking, and sitting around.

I wonder if I have it in me to do this on my own?

State of the union

Since it’s been awhile…

In most ways, things haven’t changed too much around these parts.  Belle’s still running the household, I still am not really dating at all, an apartment in the city hasn’t happened yet, and I still (kinda) have a roommate.

So – the puppy?  She’s doing well.  Still freakishly scared of storms and loud noises (she’ll bury herself under the clothes in my closet), but otherwise doing quite well.  She’s earned the right to be left at home uncaged (which is a relief for both her and me), and has only caused trouble once or twice.  And frankly, she’s still the most adorable, best dog ever.

Who wouldn’t love a face like this??

And the dating?  Yea, hasn’t really been happening.  I’ve gone out on a few first dates, but nothing more than that.  I have been going out into the city more, though — but while those nights are fun, I haven’t had any luck meeting anyone, either.  It’s just not the place where I feel most comfortable, ya know?  It’s funny, because inside the clubs all the noise and people and everything gets to be too much for me, so I head outside; I hang out on the sidewalk with all the smokers.  Of course, being very sensitive to smoke means that these girls that I talk to?  Probably not the best match.

The apartment.  As it turns out, that gorgeous face you see right above here?  No one is very keen to rent to her (she looks so mean, doesn’t she?  Sheesh…).  Breed restrictions at almost all apartment complexes bar me from moving in and my stellar credit and even my willingness to pay upfront don’t sway those opinions.  I’m keeping it at, but in the dozens of places I’ve looked into, only one would have allowed my dog.  And, unfortunately, it was in a location that I really didn’t like and wouldn’t settle for.

And the roommate, K.  She’s in the middle of a white hot, all-encompassing, new, totally-in-love relationship.  The whole joke about what a lesbian brings to a second date?  (“a u-haul”)  Not so far from the truth here.  Literally, after two dates K started living at the GF’s house (though all of her stuff still lives here… I’ve become a storage facility).  She’s spent 5 nights here at home in the 3 months of her relationship…I miss her, but if nothing else, it’s easier that she’s living with the GF rather than the GF living here (actually, I wouldn’t allow that — that was something we agreed upon when we set up the roommate thing).  I still see K occasionally — she’s still my personal trainer and will stop by to pick up clothes — but the house is a little emptier than it had been.

All in all, if it weren’t for the pesky depression thing, I would say that things are moving along much as they had been.  Close, but no cigar on that one, I suppose.