Tag Archives: friend

Happy

I’m really struggling these days, so I thought I’d switch gears around here and list some of the things that make me smile, laugh and be happy.

  1. Sometimes I forget how happy music makes me.  The other day I was feeling especially down, but proud of myself because I had forced myself to go for a run.  As a reward, I brought a big speaker into the bathroom with me, got my favorite playlist going, and belted out the songs while showering.  This was surprisingly therapeutic (though my neighbors may not have appreciated it) and I think it’s only a matter of time before I’m “discovered”.
  2. The upside to some of the insomnia I’ve been having is that once or twice a week I get out of bed extra early and take Belle out for a dark, quiet, peaceful morning walk.  We hit the sidewalk around 4:30am, so there’s not a whole lot going on, and the crisp, fall air wakes me up in a way that my alarm clock never can.
  3. I’ve always had an anti-green thumb: I’m pretty sure the underground plant network warned all plants to stay away from my house or face the dire consequences.  But since my roommate moved in a year and a half ago, I became the caretaker of the two plants she brought with (both from her mother’s funeral).  Talk about pressure!  They were both doing poorly when they arrived — her last place of residence had her (and the plants) living in the basement and both the cats and dog got at them.  Somehow, someway, I managed to turn them around — now one of them is big enough to stage a coup on the house, and the other looks all perky and green instead of mostly dead.  Every time I look at these plants I feel a slice of pride for making them grow.
  4. I work in I.T. and because it’s for a small, private company, I basically have my hand in anything computer-related, from servers to network to security to hardware to software.  But what I most like doing is helping people solve their problems.  About two weeks, I managed to salvage a guy’s computer — he had really mucked it up — and I later got an email from him:  “I’m married but I have to tell you that I love love love you… thanks for much for your help.”  That made me smile for days.
  5. I’ve started getting more consistent with getting back to running, hoping that through sheer force of will I can make myself feel better (running has always been how I’ve kept my moods in check).  Even though it hasn’t really had that overall “pick me up” effect that I was hoping for, I will say that there’s no better feeling than finishing a run — especially a long one, like the 9 miler I did this weekend — and knowing it was all me.  No one helped, I didn’t cheat it, I pushed my way through it and it’s entirely MY gold star.
  6. At night when Belle climbs onto the bed, she burrows and snuggles into my body, settles herself in and then lets out this big, contented sigh and falls asleep.  Makes me love her even more (until she starts to snore, of course).
  7. Every year, I take 3 of my best friends out for their birthdays.  It’s something we plan months in advance (they all have husbands and kids so they are notoriously difficult to schedule something with), and each one of us looks forward to it.  We haven’t done this even once without having at least one long, drawn out, can’t breathe laugh-fest at the table … and there’s nothing better for the soul than laughter shared among friends.
  8. No matter how bad my outlook gets, I know that if I ever go into a really bad place that there will be people around me who will notice and help pull me out.  The comfort I get from that is beyond words.

So, what’s your make-you-happy thing?

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Full circle

Well, things got interesting late last week.

Remember how my roommate, K., had done the stereotypical lesbian two-dates-and-move-in-with-her-girlfriend thing?  That was about 6 months ago, and apparently they’ve now hit the relationship expiration date:  my roommate has left her and moved back in with me. I kind of knew that it was going to happen… they had been fighting and bickering for 5 of the 6 months they were together — they didn’t give themselves a chance to ease into the relationship and missed that special window of time when it’s easy to dump someone because you’re not trying to pick out curtains with them at the same time as you’re trying to get rid of them.

So, last week, I got a call at work:  “Is it okay if I move back in?”  How could I say no?  I knew she was unhappy — one of those relationships where when it’s good, it’s great, but it’s more often bad or worse — but I wasn’t actually expecting her to cut bait and leave.  I got home that day, saw her big ass bottle of raspberry vodka on the counter and to my surprise, knew she had followed through. K. isn’t one for being on her own, much, but end it she did — I’m proud of her for doing so.  She had been staying because it was easy, but not necessarily because it was the right thing to do, ya know?

I’m ambivalent about her moving back in, to be honest.  To be fair, she’s one of my most favorite people in the world and I’ve found that it’s good to have someone in the house again — not that talking to my dog Belle wasn’t satisfying conversation.  And having K. around on a regular basis gives me less chance to wallow in my moods — and for someone who messes with depression, wallowing is like the gateway drug for a full-on depressive binge. Wallowing = seriously not good for me.

But her being around makes my relatively new healthy decisions a little more difficult to make on a daily basis:  K’s one of those lean, muscular, in-shape types who eats junk food non-stop and has some of the unhealthiest habits I’ve ever seen (especially for someone who’s in the fitness industry — she’s a personal trainer).  She’s aware and supportive of my situation, but unfortunately I like to use food to bond with people.  Nothing like spending time with someone eating pizza and ice cream to cement a friendship, right?  See, I know K. won’t say no to that kind of invitation, while if I cook all healthy and such, she’s likely to go out and find someone else to have dinner with.  I’d rather her eat with me.  See how that works?  Companionship wins out over healthy eating every damn time. I suppose I’m feeding one of my needs, just not necessarily the healthy one.

And then there’s the whole bit about how I have an on-again-off-again impossibly unrequited crush on her.  She’s not interested — this much I’m quite sure of — but that doesn’t stop me from occasionally having weird bouts of jealousy when it comes to her bringing home girls.  I can’t help it, I know it’s not rational, but I don’t like her being with other girls while she’s in my house. It also doesn’t help that her bedroom is directly above mine… it doesn’t take much imagination to figure out what’s going on up there, if you know what I mean.

With her having moved out, the crush was a thing of the past — out of sight, out of mind, basically — but now that she’s back, it’s like I’ve got to go through the withdrawal process again. Which kinda sucks. At least there are no sex buddies hanging around yet, but that’s just a matter of time.

Overall I’m hoping for good things from this second round of roommate-ing together.  She’s the extrovert to my introvert and it’s good for me to be actively pulled out of my own head like that.  I also know this is a challenge for me:  instead of going out of my way to do things for her, I’ve got to live my life the way I want to… if she comes along for the ride, great, but if not, that’s okay too.

I need to do things to like myself, rather than doing things for K. to like me, if that makes sense.  And I need to let her live her life without my judgment or interference.  Be K’s best friend and not her weird stalker, wanna-be-your-girlfriend friend.

That’s all.  Easy, right?

If nothing else, day to day life just got a whole lot more interesting.  I’ll take it.

I have absolutely no clue how this happened…

…but my college diploma turned 20 this year.  I mean, really?  Where has the time gone?  I can’t wrap my head around any kind of mathematics that allows this to be true.

I’m not usually very big on reunions.  Partially because I’m too lazy to be bothered, partially because those kinds of social scenes aren’t my thing, partially because I haven’t really been in a good place and so I’m not exactly rarin’ to get out there and answer the “how have you been” and “what are you up to” questions.

But, I went anyway — peer pressure can be a wonderful thing, right?  I headed out Friday afternoon to go back to campus — a place I haven’t been in 15 years — to meet up with one of my best friends from college.  It had been about 5 years since I had seen her last, and of all the activity this weekend promised, this was the one part that I was really looking forward to:  catching up with her, being able to go beyond the niceties and talk about how life really was treating us.

What I didn’t realize, though, was that over the course of an entire weekend, I would get to spend approximately 20 minutes with just her.  Her family is lovely — her husband, in fact, was part of our group in college and so I know him quite well — but the family wasn’t who I wanted to catch up with.

Instead of much-needed chat time with someone very dear to me, I spent the weekend engaged in banal small talk with people I barely remembered, repeatedly saying, “No, I’m not married.  No, I don’t have kids.”  At least that’s what it felt like.  I went for the promise of connecting with an old friend and in its place I got a my very own form of nightmare socializing.

One part of the weekend that I enjoyed, though, was getting the chance to walk around and see the new buildings (they went on a building spree as soon as I left… apparently, they just needed my tuition dollars to get it started…).  The fall colors were beautiful — it reminded me of all the good that came from those years and how much I envied all the students milling around.

(And on a side note, all these young kids walking around campus — when did they start allowing 14 year olds to go to college?? Damn, I feel old…)

Still, though, the visit was tinged with melancholy.  During college, I had a close group of friends who I love with all my heart, but in the 20 years since we left campus, we’ve gone in entirely different directions.  They are all straight, married with kids and deeply faithful to the church.  And me?  Single, childless, gay and not really a fan of any religious institution.  As a group, I love them for who they were and what they meant to me, but it’s a little weird to realize that if I were meeting them for the first time today, we likely wouldn’t become close friends at all.  Or even meet in the first place, realistically.

The stark differences between who am I now and (literally) every classmate that I ran into made me just a little sad and lonely.  Not that I want what they have, but – in the moment – the craving for what the world considers a “normal life” was overwhelming.  Even a slightly left-of-center life would be okay — somehow, not having a girlfriend/partner-in-crime by this point in my life makes me feel like I’ve somehow failed at what everyone else has succeeded at.

I suppose that’s one of the reasons that I usually avoid these sorts of occasions: I work hard not to get too down on myself about my life situation, but it’s impossible not to consider it when my past comes charging back into my present with a debilitating awkwardness.

But it’s time to shake it off and move forward. It was good to reconnect with my friends and reminisce over times long since gone, and  I’ll enjoy keeping in “Facebook touch” with them, hearing all about their families and activities.  But, it’s also worth it to realize that sometimes the past is best off staying there, that there’s a reason that it’s that way.  A reminder that who I was isn’t necessarily who I have to be today, that I can appreciate my friends for what they did for me then, without needing them to be something for me now.

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?

Check yes or no

Remember all those online dates I was going on?  The ones that typically weren’t going all that swimmingly?

Turns out that maybe my luck is changing.

The last one — right before Christmas — I walked away from thinking, “Not really my type, but she was nice to talk to. I could do this again.”.  But I didn’t get a reply to my “Had a good time!” text, and I wrote her off just like all the others.

(I felt like sending her a note:  “Do you want to be my friend?  Check yes or no…” yes, I’m too cool…)

But – it turns out she was just kind of caught up with the holidays (she has two small kids) and forgot to get back to me.  And after a series of texts and emails, I think I might have found a city buddy!  She lives right in the area where I’m planning on getting an apartment and we have a lot in common, from both being runners/bikers to having a lifestyle that doesn’t typically include a lot of hitting the clubs, drinking to oblivion and staying out until 5am (though every once in awhile a girl’s gotta figuratively let her hair down, right?) (figuratively since my hair is cut pretty short… not much “letting down” to it).

And I’m excited!  I don’t anticipate this thing developing into anything romantic, but we’re already starting to plan activities together:  going to a Blackhawks game, joining a book club (at a feminist book store in her neighborhood) and things like that.  Just what I’ve been looking for:  not only someone to do things with, but someone who lives where I want to be, is gay and can potentially help me to develop a larger LGBT circle of friends (you know, larger than 1).

I like that this is how my year is starting out — a little anticipation goes a long way.  And she’s got to have friends, right? She’s not glomming onto me just because she’s got no one else, right?? So – theoretically – one of her friends could be my soulmate.  Or at least someone to hook up with?  (what can I say – it’s been way too long a time for me…)

And now, if you’ll excuse me, I need to start reading so I’ve got my homework done for all the hot women that will be at the book club!