Tentative Maturity

My brain knows (most times) what’s right and when my brain isn’t paying attention my gut generally steps in. I don’t always listen but I have been making a very concerted effort since my breakdown to try my best. I show up for myself most days.

That probably sounds like I did something dumb. I actually didn’t. I’m just feeling a bit (well, maybe a lot more than a bit) melancholy. Dropped my first born off to college, I don’t have a partner and I’m still out of work. The sense of loss or failure is looming large and I’m working really hard to keep myself together.

I met a man online named Peter. He came to my home for drinks – it’s so hard to go out anywhere and I don’t really want to keep inviting men here, but there’s no option for a casual drink anymore. My back deck suits just fine but I hate that the kids know I have company. Going to a park feels really awkward to me and I won’t go to someone else’s home. I think I vet them well enough before they come here but I suppose one never knows.

Peter was a nice guy but I struggled with the laughter again. He looked like his photos but didn’t, hard to explain. He wasn’t unattractive but I found him less appealing in person. I am somewhat critical about how people dress because of my industry, but it’s no dealbreaker. He was just dressed too young for his age. He talked too much about himself and his business. He asked a question and before I could form a complete sentence was interjecting whatever he wanted to tell me about himself. He literally pulled his cock out of his pants as a joke that just wasn’t funny. I didn’t look. I looked him right in the eye and told him he was dumb. He felt chastised but that wasn’t my goal – what is it about me that makes EVERY man lead with sex? What vibe am I giving off and how the he’ll do I stop? The date wasn’t a complete loss, but I wasn’t really feeling great about it.

I should have cut it off immediately after the first date but I know I didn’t because I’m lonely and thought to myself I should give him a second chance. He was good about communicating every day but I began to get frustrated with the same questions. I think he must have asked me if I liked salmon no less than 6 times (I don’t). It felt like a boring Groundhog Day in most every conversation. He is a part time basketball coach so at one point during the last conversation I asked him if he liked basketball. 😂🙄. I was entertaining myself again – I knew it was time to just call it a day. We were due to have our second date this week and he was going to make me dinner (you can guess what he wanted to make).

I really am not sure if this guy was a space cadet or really disinterested. I don’t know, nor do I care. But he didn’t pay attention and he certainly didn’t ask much about me beyond “how are you” or “what are you doing” type of questions. I know this is how you gauge a mans intent. They always show you who they are at some point early on. When I sent the text today to politely decline dinner and moving forward, he replied that he was caught off guard. Probably because he was too focused on his attraction to me and not paying any attention to our actual interaction. Or maybe he just wanted to sleep with me. Doesn’t matter.

I still had a little trouble writing that text to let go in favor of having some company, any company. I knew I should have written it last week but getting my kid ready for college drop off consumed my time and thoughts. I still feel loss today. I suppose the loss is ambiguous- I am not mourning the loss of Peter – just the loss of my child to his adult life and the hope of relationship once again. The general loss of my life as it was pre 2018.

I still can’t help myself to think of each new match as future potential. I don’t know if this helps or harms the dates. I don’t believe I come across as needy, unhappy or depressed but I’m starting to feel the weight of frustration. My x has now been in a relationship for 2 years and the kids have dinner with them once in a while. I suppose this bothers me as well on some level and I think whenever a long term partner gets into another relationship there is some adjustment period. I did have a good laugh this weekend when my son told me that his grandmother no longer thinks of me as the devil and says she preferred me. More like the devil you know with my x-MIL.

The man I started to see before Covid, Scott, lives in the same state as my sons college. We have established a tentative friendship. I know he would like more, he knows I know, but he is willing to be friends.

Then there’s Mike. Why? He never fails to make my heart flutter and I don’t think he’s truly contrived, but I sort of don’t get why he does what he does. On the nights we spent together (a year ago now) one song seemed to be on repeat and he would sing it to me. It was one of the things I found so endearing. He must have been home alone and the video came on and he sent me a clip and said “every time I hear this I think of you”. Why? Why? Why can’t he just date me? Dumbass me responds with “lets have drinks on the deck”. No response. Of course. Delete yet again.

Tony is back stalking my IG. Any attempt at blocking him results in follows from made up names. It does cause “some” kind of feeling but the closest I can identify is sadness. I have no desire to reach out. If he wants to stalk, or if it’s his wife, then so be it. I’m really done now. I know it took 2 years and nearly killing myself but I can say that I am no longer in love with Tony.

I do feel I am making good choices – part of that is the choices are sincerely limited – there are not any good matches coming up for any of my friends. Part of that is the realization that I would rather be alone than with someone I am not ultimately compatible with.

But depression is seeping in much faster than I feel I can control. And this worries me….will I be able to manage the depression without becoming reckless again?

Breaking Quarantine Virginity

I think it was a big deal to decide to have the first post-quarantine kiss with Darren, but I felt pretty confident he was safe. We had spent quite a bit of time talking about where we had been, what we had done and what we were doing to remain safe.

I was probably less cautious the second time with Rich. I certainly didn’t pay enough attention to small alarm bells going off because I was too focused on the “what’s next” instead of the “right now”. That is the first time I thought forward in an effort to remove some of the things I didn’t like about Rich immediately. I allowed myself to ignore some warning signals in favor of moving forward.

It was a mistake that left me baffled to be honest.

Rich lived about 2.5 hours north of me. His profile was equal parts interesting, funny and appealing. One photo (which is always the photo that is MOST accurate) wasn’t particularly attractive to me, but all the others showed a handsome, fit and active man who was 52 years old.

Rather than tell every detail I thought I would split the post into three parts: what happened, what I ignored, and what I was thinking along the way that caused me to ignore the things I ignored!

We met on Bumble in early July and text, talk and video chat until meeting in person about the 3rd week of July. Conversation started easily and at a steady but not overdone pace but really heated up to much more protracted and intense conversation the week leading up to our meeting. He made no qualms about driving down to see me and knowing he was turning around to head home the same day. Initially we planned lunch but it was a 100° day and stormy so the humidity was deadly. I invited him to my home. We enjoyed conversation and moved to kissing. It really heated up and we ended up having sex a few times. It wasn’t great but it wasn’t bad either. He didn’t spend the night and we made immediate plans to see one another again. He would drive back down and spend the night. This entire time, Rich made it immensely clear how he was attracted to me and why. He seemed very excited and hopeful about our connection. He felt very open and genuine to me. I never doubted he was really, really into me. I told him about it surgery before sex and he wasn’t fussed with my new scars. The second time he came we went it to a really lovely and fun dinner and then continued the fun at home. The sex wasn’t much better than the first time, but again, ok. In the morning, we shared coffee on the deck before he left. Conversation remained normal for a few days and then turned to intermittent text with no discussion of a phone call or when we would see one another. He continued to indicate his interest in text but the comments seemed to be contrived now. There were no more phone calls. There were no requests to see me again. After a couple days of this, assuming he was just busy with work, I asked when I would see him again and made a proposal. We had one phone call which didn’t go very well, he just wasn’t engaged and called at a bad time for me. Eventually his text became less and less over the next few days. By Sunday Aug 2, one month after we started speaking and 2 weeks since we first met, he sent one strange text in the morning which I didn’t reply to and I’ve not heard from him since.

That’s the summary of what happened. Ghosted in only one months time for no apparent reason.

Here’s what I ignored – and when I told my friends all of this they looked at me like I had two heads for ignoring so much:

He looked older than 52 in his profile: he was 58. How I figured it out: I couldn’t reconcile his timeline of marriage, kids ages and subsequent relationships. So I asked him directly. Ok, everyone lies about age but 6 years is A LOT. The lie: “is my age wrong?” he claims he didn’t know his age was incorrect on his profile. Oh, come on.

He said he was married once. He wasn’t, he was married twice. How I found out: a friend found an article about him and within the article it indicated he was married with 4 kids while I knew he only had 3 (haven’t met anyone yet who lies about the # of kids they have!). When I asked about how the reporter got it wrong, he then told me he was married for a short time and she had a daughter. The lie: “I was only married for a year or so and it doesn’t really count. No one wants to know a man is married twice.”

He realized we were no longer connected on Bumble. In all honesty, I meant to pause the app. I got distracted by a new feature and deleted all my matches and conversations, including his. How I found out: he asked, supposedly days after he saw I wasn’t there. The lie: “I went into the app for your photos while I was driving down to see you for our second date”. You go into the app for one reason after 3 weeks of constant communication, to check your messages from your matches. He had received plenty of photos of me by that point.

One night he disappeared the entire evening until the morning. We had been chatting normally until 4pm. I sent 3 text after that which went green (iMessages are blue) and I knew he wasn’t out of range. I called and it went to VM. The lie: “I got a new phone and it took all night to transfer the data and phone # over.” How many of you have gotten new phones where it took a whole afternoon/night to transfer over? Never. I need to add why this is so suspicious, it was the day before he was due to come down and not hearing from him for 20+hours (because he didn’t text first thing in the am, it was after noon) made me assume he ghosted me. The funny thing here is he said “I would never ghost you, you must know that’s not my style!” Funny that.

Then there are the things that really didn’t sit well with me:

On his first trip down I realized too late I never have him my address and sent it over. He said he had already googled me and found it. This sort of bothered me but I know we all google each other. It just felt weird that he never asked.

Every significant relationship (he had 3 other than his two marriages) he ended because the woman couldn’t make the decision to move it forward to more (or marriage) after living with them. He claimed he tried everything he could so it wasn’t his fault. At first I felt he had a lot of healthy relationship experience but I began to look at this differently as time went on. One was a narcissist, one just didn’t want to leave her town and hour away and he didn’t want to move to that town, another one was hyper focused on work and wouldn’t talk about the future, and another got pregnant without his consent. Then I found out some doozies: his daughter was the product of the woman who wanted more and he didn’t yet he kept having unprotected sex with her and eventually she got pregnant. She was also extremely volatile and always threatening him and taking away his child. His first divorce was so contentious that he was arrested multiple times. The layers of complexity were brushed away as unimportant details of past relationships.

The first 2/3 weeks we spoke and video chat it was green text (indicating android phone) and Bumble video chat. One time he said let’s face time and I laughed and said he couldn’t do that with an android phone. He then admitted he was using a burner number the entire time and gave me his real phone #. He claimed he had a few women just keep trying to contact him so this felt better to protect his information. The lie: you can google him and his real phone # comes up. I just didn’t catch this until after this happened. He has a very public company in real estate. This is the first and only time in 6 years I’ve met a man using a burner number.

He said he dated 175 women before he found his last relationship that last 4 years. 175 in a year! I looked back and in my best year I dated 35 men. He was looking for his formula. This is why he was still checking his Bumble matches and why he disappeared at the same time every day.

The morning we woke he was very, very ready to have sex and made no moves to do so. Eventually I asked and he declined. I made a silly comment about rejection and got out of bed to start the coffee. Later he told me he didn’t reject me and it had nothing to do with me. That he was trying to change the way he approached dating and not get so hung up on the sex because it made him fall faster and he was already falling for me. I wanted to believe this but it didn’t feel right. Rejection is rejection and we had already had sex multiple times the day before. The way he said the words sounded like a script from a book if that makes sense. Don’t let her think you’re gaslighting her.

He had already gone on multiple first dates during Covid. This should have given me more pause than it did but he claimed there was no connection and therefore no kissing or sex.

He claimed every relationship he ever started had began with first date sex. He spoke about his sex drive often once we addressed the conversation yet he had a little trouble in the beginning. He said he hadn’t had sex in a year after the last breakup and was really waiting to meet the right person to start his next relationship before having sex. If these were “lines” to convince me to sleep with him they had no impact on my decision to be a ho or not! When I type them out they sound like lines. Lol.

Wasn’t all of those small white lies enough to equate to one big red flag that said stop? Nope. Here’s why not:

He had a lot of attractive qualities that I liked for the long run. In particular: he was very fit and active, he liked to socialize like I did, he seemed like a good Dad, he seemed to have a good track record with relationship, he was interested in me and made it known by his communication (that’s a big one for me), he was single, clever, an entrepreneur, and looking for a LTR.

I was never especially attracted to him but when I looked at him I thought “I might grow to like his appearance more.” His body was fucking fine for a 58 year old man, better than most men I’ve been with. Like, really really fine. Damn. Lol. Anyway, I neglected to see I was dating myself with laughter – he wasn’t particularly funny and I carried most conversations once he learned most of what he wanted to know about me. This was suddenly and glaringly obvious on our last phone call.

I sort of knew from the moment we didn’t have morning sex that things were heading downhill. He didn’t let on the first few days, but it soon became apparent. Since I’m trying to listen more and talk less, I caught on to his change in conversational style pretty quickly.

In hindsight I realize Rich was much more contrived than I gave him credit for. I didn’t put stock into his many comments about me being the perfect match for him and his excitement in connecting with me. (See, growth here people!). I know it’s because I never got the butterflies with him – but he said all the right things and stuff I normally would kill to hear.

The strangest thing of all. The last text he sent was “early day for you running.” At 7am on a Sunday. I hadn’t spoken about waking early to run and I double checked that I never posted anything like on social media. At first it stopped me in my tracks like how could he have known. I never answered that text and he hasn’t text since.

So much for never ghosting next, Rich. Cause you’re not that type.

I was a little butt hurt the first week, sure. Mostly because it was pretty drastic that he just stopped texting entirely. Then I just reminded myself that when a man is interested they pursue. They ALWAYS pursue. I recall when I first started dating that I just didn’t believe this. This is a fucking fact.

I do wonder why I am having so much rejection and don’t date anyone longer than a month and generally the ones I choose to sleep with are the ones who ghost me. This fucks with my head for sure. In this case I look back and don’t see anything I did wrong. I’m certain Rich was playing a broad field and lying, I just ignored obvious signs.

At least, that’s what I tell myself.

Signs of Life

Wow it’s been a minute, right? Hoping everyone in my blogosphere has been safe and healthy. We have been very lucky.

I didn’t want to write during quarantine for a few reasons. The weight of what was happening in our world felt too heavy for the comic relief that is generally my life and I stayed so low key during quarantine that there was little to write about. The kids were quiet, no dating, no job – days passed uneventfully for the most part. I didn’t even leave my home until early June.

I had a health crisis (does this even surprise anyone anymore?) in late April/early May that lead to the decision I needed my final surgery sooner rather than later. My insides never recovered from Mexico (needless to say my outside was still hideous looking) and I began spiking very, very high fevers that became concerning to my surgeon. He decided I needed the surgery sooner than later and, to my surprise and delight, suggested a plastic surgeon to do the second part of the surgery. Long story short, I had a very major and intensive surgery June 2, spent a long while in hospital while my body tried to remember how to work, and then a longer recovery at home.

10 weeks later I’m happy to report that my heath is excellent, I am able to eat mostly normally and do most active things again. Since the hospital, I’ve been much less frightened about covid and started living (albeit very carefully) again.

Everyone has a different opinion about covid and I’m not here to debate anyone’s opinion. I spent a long, long time in the hospital around multiple doctors and nurses to form my own opinion of how I wanted to live once I was recovered and, so far, I’m glad I’ve been less anxious and uptight about living a mostly careful life. My choices may not be your choices and that’s fine, but I hope we don’t debate or politicize my decision to live the way I have chosen.

Once I decided I was ready to live more normally again I began to expand my germ circle. I visited my sister and spent time with her and her friends. I began to see more friends and welcomed them with hugs and kisses. I had allowed my children out of the home long before I ever left, but was no longer pouncing on them with Lysol spray the moment they walked in the door. I fired up the dating apps. I got my nails and hair done. Life was still too quiet, I’m still unemployed and single, but I began to feel like I could have a bit of normalcy again.

I debated what I wanted to write about. We are in such a horrible state of affairs in the USA that it still feels somewhat banal to write about dating but then I figured that’s pretty much what my blog was designed for so why not?

So, I’m back, I think. I have to see how it feels to write again. I admit I’m quite selfish with my blog and don’t read many other blogs because I’m happy to interact with whomever is here reading and I write to empty my mind.

If you’re here reading, welcome back. I’m always happy to have you. ❤️

Losing Hope

It’s very hard to stay positive and motivated. I often feel anxious, sad and desperate.

I’ve been out of work and out of relationship too long. While I do some activity to stay healthy, I’ve started eating poorly again and can feel how that’s affecting my body. I’ve started craving carbs again. I got on the scale and have hit a heavy weight I didn’t think I would see again. I promised my self after all I’ve been through that I wasn’t going to let more than 10 pounds go – so that means I’m shutting down any bad eating habits this week. I had to gain weight after the fistula but I should have stopped and watched what I was doing. I mistakenly assumed with all the exercise I wouldn’t gain but that’s not the case.

I’m in one of two places: busy or desolate. On the busy days, I can’t even handle too many things at once. When my day gets too full I feel pressure. I don’t know if this is simply a side effect of being out of work so long or an actual change in ability to perform. Busy days now don’t even compare to what my traditional busy days were like. I get tired so much faster. If I go out with friends at night I need a full day to recuperate.

I’m afraid to do my bills and look at my debt. I’ve been unable to get a handle on it. I am actively avoiding trying to do something about it.

The thought of a backup plan is a reality now and I don’t have one. I just assumed I would be able to get a job like I always have. Any job. But there are none. No adjacencies, no lower paying roles, just nothing available to me. I should try harder but I’m blocked here as well. I’m letting my life slip away from me.

The rejection from dating combined with being out of work can be debilitating but my internal pressure to find a partner, even short term, is as desperate a feeling as finding a job. I keep thinking if I can at least have one stable thing to look forward to each day a partner would be a welcome change. But that’s not happening either.

I don’t speak to people about how I feel. How can they help me anyway? I feel like a burden again and I don’t want to be that. So many people just don’t understand depression and I can’t manage hearing “you’ll get through this” or “you will find a job, you always do” anymore. I just can’t. I know the only way through this is to help myself but I’m genuinely stuck trying to figure out how to move forward. The feeling of being disconnected from everyone and everything is very strong. My sister barely communicates with me and I attribute that to the comment I made to her last September that was unkind. Some days I want to ask her what’s up but most days I don’t really want to hear what she might have to say. If she really cared she wouldn’t be holding one comment against me for going on 6 months. And she would reach out more often. I am always the one asking to see her and reaching out and I’m tired of it. My best friend is the same thing. I am always reaching out and asking to see her and she is always preoccupied. I can’t help but wonder if I’ve alienated them or it’s actually just that they are genuinely busy with life. I remember how everyone told me how important I was after Mexico was over and how I should never do that again – that people love me and care for me. If they do, if those words were true – wouldn’t they be trying harder after realizing how I felt back then? That I was struggling with being alone and being a failure? I know you can’t force people into relationship but I’m getting to a point where I’m feeling like I am the problem. There’s something with me or about me that makes people not want to be in relationship with me. It’s very hard not to feel this way and I acknowledge I’m having pity for myself which is unhealthy, but it’s very hard to escape. I am back to feeling like I am not anyone’s #1 and it’s horrible. My entire life I’ve spent just wanting to be “that one” to someone, anyone. I didn’t get it from my parents or my x. I don’t get it from my children. For me this is a very deep-seated emotional need. While I have found many ways to feed my own self-love, I haven’t found any way to fill the bucket enough to feel fulfilled.

Therapy would be great but I don’t have the money. I think working would actually be better therapy for me than anything. Exercise this past 2 weeks is tough because I have some hip problem which I’m hoping isn’t arthritis. We ruled our nerve damage but now probably need more X-rays or MRI’s on the hip. I’m still exercising but I need more to work out some of this cray.

Frame of Mind

It’s been a minute since I’ve written.

To be honest, I don’t have much going on.

Not much is going on. My sister got married and I’m glad the wedding is over and the relationship tips back to normal. I realized I didn’t feel very good through most of this prep. In some ways, I feel like an imitation sister. I’ve been adopted my whole life and never really felt quite like I did during the wedding. I felt like a throw-away, someone she had there because she had to, not because she really wanted to. I felt the strength of her connections with her friends and felt like an outsider. It’s not me she relies upon or me she calls for advice. I’m not even sure how to cultivate a better relationship with her exactly. I don’t get the sense it’s something she really wants – or wants more of. I’m unsure what I want from relationship with her. I suppose it’s just one more person I don’t feel important to and this seems to be a theme in my life.

I was asked to do a podcast, two actually. One was about life struggles and how individuals overcome them and the other is about strong, accomplished women. I finished the first one and found the process super interesting. In the first pass, I understood the interviewer wanted to focus on the Mexico story and travel weight-loss surgery. I was able to tell the sorry quite easily with no emotion and plenty of humor. In the actual interview, there was a significant change to my story because all my emotions were stirred up (made for a very good interview). The emotions caught me by surprise. I have pretty much buried Mexico and what happened to me. The horror of that experience is not something I want to revisit. I acknowledge I carry a great deal of shame for choosing weight loss surgery, wanting to die and subsequently what happened to me post surgery. In particular, I purposely try not to dig too deeply because of the one fact that continues to haunt me: no one came for me. Even when I begged, no one cared enough to come for me. I was dying at one point, I was terrified, and those closest to me couldn’t come.

Logically, I understand why. Emotionally, I can’t address it because I don’t see any other choice but to forgive them and accept what’s happened. They made a choice the same way I made a choice. I don’t think they didn’t come to penalize me, I just think they had other priorities. I don’t even know what I would have done had the tables been turned. Which leads me to a feeling I’ve buried most of my life and pushes me to the outskirts of my depression – I am not anyone’s priority.

We spoke about this in the interview and I definitely had a hard time working through this part of the story. In the end, we edited it out because I don’t want to upset the people who were there for me. And they WERE there. Just, perhaps, not physically. I am worried if I were to ever express the truth of how I felt that I would be considered ungrateful. After all, Mexico was my bad choice and I should live with its consequences.

Since the interview I’ve been struggling with these thoughts because, like I mentioned, I’ve buried them pretty deeply and they simply only cause emotional distress for me. I also don’t see a way to resolve these feelings other than learning to accept what’s passed and move on.

But then there are days, and unfortunately there are many of them recently, where the thought of not being anyone’s priority eats me alive.

My long time closest friend, the Spanish speaker who translated Spanish for me while I was in Mexico, changed all my bandages when I was home, my maid of honor and godmother to my son, is always too busy for me. I never see her or speak to her and I’ve grown tired of constantly asking to see her. She finds time for what’s important to her and I’m not it. Now, if I really needed “help” she would be the first one here. That’s because she finds her own value in helping others. It’s great to have a friend like that, but I love her dearly and would like to connect with her more frequently than once a month. Mind you, I’m not working and I’m very flexible so it’s twice as upsetting when I have the time to spend with her and she basically can’t find the time for me.

My closest cousin, the one who was very busy working to get me out of Mexico and who probably invested the most time in figuring shit out while I was there, comes from a massive tight knit family. Her family will include me in many functions and I love to participate. I’m so happy when I’m with them and I always enjoy myself but I go through some sort of let down once I leave them. I find myself wishing that was my primary family. Once again I feel like I’m on the outskirts looking in.

My kids have really been much better than last year and I am VERY thankful for this change. I try not to push them too far forward too fast because, again, I don’t want to appear ungrateful for the strides they have made. Logically I know kids are kids and boys are boys, but I often feel that I hold no importance. I know this isn’t true and this is just my neediness. I want more demonstrative love and this is just not their way. They really have been good kids lately and I am trying not to put them down in any way because of my own neediness.

I still don’t have a job and there has been NOTHING to be found. I am so over my head in debt for the first time in my life that I am beginning to feel panic rising at the back of my throat. I keep telling myself I just need to get through the end of this year and things will change. I will find a job and be able to pay down my debt. It’s the first time EVER that I am truly scared about the debt I’ve created. People keep asking “what will you do?” And this is becoming frustrating. I don’t know. I don’t know what I will do. Am I wasting time not “doing something else?” I don’t even know what that can be. If I have to become a realtor I would rather die. I am good at my job and want to stay in my industry and would even consider relocation. There are just no jobs out there. Not even consulting ones. I am officially out of money by Feb 1st and have to take from long term savings to survive. This is creating an angst in me that I’ve never experienced. All of this makes me feel like I’m not worthy of being hired. I’m too old. I’m too expensive. (Even though I would take half my last salary). I’m over-qualified. I’m so disappointed in myself that it’s becoming very hard to remain positive.

Then there’s the dating, or better yet, the lack of it. Before I shut down the apps I knew I had hit a low point with my last sex date with Chris. I knew I had to stop what I was as doing because it wasn’t how I wanted to feel. There were two men, both from out of town, that I felt would make good on/off dates when they were here because I could keep them (or keep myself is a better way to say that) at arms length and not invest in the emotional chase. Sex with Dan is pretty good and we have a blast when I see him, but his communication is so horribly inconsistent I still end up aggravated. The other guy, Tom (don’t even think I wrote about him) started off well, we had two fabulous dates, and then his communication and attention plummeted. This is so fucking frustrating to me and puts me right back into the thought pattern of “why can’t I be anyone’s fucking priority?” Not even a small priority. I don’t even think priority is the space I’m looking for as much as just being someone they think about and WANT to reach out to sometimes.

I’ve gained some weight – which isn’t a bad thing but it’s fucking with my head. I had dropped so low, most would say too low for me, that I needed to regain some weight. But I haven’t stopped gaining because I haven’t curbed my eating. Even with all my cardio I’m not losing because I’m eating all the time. I don’t eat much at once but I eat all day. As you can imagine, this screws with my head after weight loss surgery. There was the sick part of me that liked being so thin. That liked seeing that low number on the scale. My goal was always 150 but I loved seeing 130. Sitting around 140-145 isn’t unhealthy but I don’t like it. I want to stay sub 140. That space felt good in my head for the first time in my life. I’m so sick of struggling with the numbers on the scale that I just want them to stay put. Weight loss surgery doesn’t cut out the demons. They are all still there and the effort it takes to quiet them is immense. The only time they recede is under that 140 mark. It doesn’t seem to matter that I’m actually in the best physical shape of my life, my arms look beautiful, my legs feel amazing and I love being stronger than ever and rarely out of breath anymore. The numbers on the scale fuck with my head worse than ever. Especially since I saw what I needed to see for the first time in 20+ years. That number on scale “helps” me forgive myself for the damage done to my body and how badly my stomach looks with its wounds and loose, hanging flesh.

Speaking of wounds, here was a little bright spot. When having sex with Dan, he gently kissed my wound. I knew it was intentional. He also made sure to tell me post sex that he loved my body and the wounds don’t bother him at all, he doesn’t even see them. I appreciated that immensely. I believe him also. It doesn’t change how I think about my tummy, but it does help to calm me down a bit, as long as I can get my weight back down.

So that gets to me to my current frame of mind: not good. Not good at all.

Not working, not dating, not having enough good, consistent sex, not having any money are all very bad places for me to be. My ability to not be depressed is quickly eroding.

I am doing what I can. I actively look for jobs and network. I continue to exercise – although I should be stepping up my game considering I’m unemployed. I bought a studio 10 pack so that I get myself into the Peloton studio and interact in person. I continue to support others in my accountability groups though recently I feel like I am being false. It’s an effort to Log into social media to be positive and emote positivity and gratefulness when I don’t feel it. I do logically understand I have much to be grateful for but I am horrible at making this a practice I believe in. It’s also why I push myself into my accountability groups the same way I pushed myself to get dressed In Workout clothes at the beginning – I will fake it til I make it. This is taking way longer than the 100 days I committed to making fitness a priority. Wayyyy longer.

This time of year warms me and depresses me all at once. I want a boyfriend. I want my person. I want the person who is going to make me a priority. I haven’t had that since pre marriage, since a childhood boyfriend. When I think about it I only feel more damaged and broken. There too many things keeping me down, and too many things making me feel like I’m not important to anyone. I know all about self love and it’s not working for me. Sure, I haves plenty of moments where I am doing a decent job taking care of myself and my family, but I don’t feel any reward in it. It’s. A horrible place to be as I think about this being the 5th Christmas and New Years that I will once again be alone.

When I Don’t Care Enough – Part 1

Sometimes, not often, I don’t really care about how I am going to present on a date.

There are some men who I get the sexual tension from quickly, and I want to impress those men with sexy heels and a hot outfit.  Other men don’t seem to give off the same vibe and I don’t get as excited about the first meeting and what I am wearing, and perhaps a little, how I look.  Frankly, I tend to prefer the men with whom I get the tension with – even if the date doesn’t get legs, the initial date and flirting is just more fun.  I love the sexual tension and I love to look sexy.  Especially now….sexy now is an entirely different thing than it was before.  My body requires little to no effort to appear sexy to a man who likes a lean, fit woman.  This is a major head trip, for me.  I love the fact that nothing is uncomfortable when I wear it any longer.  Most articles of clothing are going to look good on me no matter what.  I can wear heels all night long.  I’ve always had the feeling of “being” sexy, but now its much more prevalent since I am proud of my body  (well, the exterior, the wounds and loose skin get compartmentalized when I am getting dressed because they are under wraps).  I don’t think my behavior is any different, but removing the physical self doubt is a massive relief.

I did choose weight loss surgery after all.

And then I chose to take care of the gift of life I was given post all the trauma.  I’m super fit and lean now.  I feel better physically and find that the working out helps me redirect a lot of negative energy.  I never thought I would be the one to say it but I love how the fitness makes me feel now.  It has changed my life.

This is a bit long-winded story about how I didn’t care how I looked on a first date. I had matched with someone who wanted to meet this particular night.

I had planned to do something quite out of character for me – I decided to go into the Peloton studios and do 3 classes in a row, in costume, for Halloween.  Alone.  Why?  No reason at all.  More like, why not?  I could. I love my Peloton classes and getting in studio is always awesome.  Plus, not that I admit this to any of my friends or family, but there is probably some attention factor in here.  Going to the studio gets me noticed by my instructors and creates a more personal bond when you interact with them on social media.  When I’m not working, the Peloton social community is my primary source of accountability.  If I make a post that I will do something, I do it.  I don’t know how the logic of that works for me, but it does.  So when I feel like I need a little push to step out of a comfort zone, I post before I think about it too much.  Then I’m committed.

The classes started at 6:30pm and would end by 10:30pm.  It was a pretty big fitness commitment and when I am in studio, it also means a push effort – I don’t want to “take it easy” on myself in studio.   All classes have a “spotlight” bike, tread or mat.  In the past, I have chosen this spot knowing I would be on camera for the studio taping of the on-demand classes.   Unexpectedly, I ended up in this spot in 2 classes -in full costume – doing classes that were so far out of my comfort zone that I questioned the sanity of these spontaneous choices.  I did a 45 minute run (I have never run that long) and a 30 minute yoga class (I never did a studio yoga class and I can’t do half the poses).  Of course, in the end, it worked out amazingly well and I had a blast and did just fine.   I loved being on camera (sort of, off to the side and in the dark, but still! Lol)

I did trip on the treadmill towards the end! Whoops! No one saw, right?

It reminded me that I like the spotlight and the competition.  My personality feeds off these things, but I forget that it does.  I should really consider how to tap into more of this part of myself – because I am good at putting myself out there.  My confidence takes a huge leap and I become like a different person.  I recall times in my life where the spotlight was on me that it brings out my type A competitive nature and I want to crush whatever it is I am doing.  I can’t create this feeling, or even call it up – but when it happens I love it.  I know athletes are able to tap into this ability to focus themselves and hype themselves up for competition, but when I try to do that, it doesn’t work the same as when it happens organically. I hadn’t actually thought of this before and maybe I should do a little research on why this happens with me.

This night, it was all organic.  Sort of.  I had set myself up for the potential something could happen, by being in costume, being present and interactive, and I was going to be equally as ok if nothing happened.  But, it did – I was noticed, ended up on camera, and made new friends.  I loved every minute.  No one was there who knew me or could judge, and the side of my personality that I normally don’t let loose too often – you can call it my cocky side -comes out.  My confidence and happiness overflow and I can affect those around me.  It’s such a natural high.

It was several hours of high intensity interaction and exercise. I loved every minute. If I could somehow tap into that energy more frequently, it would be amazing – I don’t know where it would take me because it feels boundless. However, times like this – where the energy is flowing so heavily from within – exhaust me for days. Add into it my chronic anemia, which happens to be keeping me down because it’s time for an iron infusion, and one event like this could knock me out for a week.

The bottom line was – after these classes I was going to be a mess. My hair was a birds nest of hairspray and curls, my makeup soaked through, and I would be a soppy sweaty mess. I would be able to take a shower post the last ride, but there was nothing I could do about makeup or the fact I had worn yoga pants going into the studio. Hardly the ideal condition to meet someone for the first time…..

Goodbye Marshall

This post is going to take more time to write than its worth.

But, the thought of Marshall woke me in the middle of the night and I had to have a stern taking to myself.

I didn’t answer Marshall’s phone call Thursday. Nor did he leave a message. Didn’t hear a word from him at all. And it was bugging me – figure that one out – I don’t care about him at all, had no desire for anything more or less from him, but it bugged me he just ghosted me like that.

So I text him Tuesday and a quick recap of the text went something like this:

M: Hi Marshall

Him: Hi Madeline

M: How are you?

Him: I’m well. Working and making bulletproof meatloaf. How are you?

M: Bulletproof meatloaf? What needs to be bulletproof about a meatloaf? Or do you mean you leave out the bread (that just makes it a big meatball! 😂)

M: My friend was here all weekend and we went to 13th hour haunted house and had so much fun screaming and running!! The actors loved us!! 😂🙃

Him: Yes essentially a healthy meatball. Glad you had fun.

M: Is something wrong? You didn’t exactly open up conversation in that last text and I haven’t heard from you in a while.

Him: Tried calling you Thursday, didn’t hear back.

M: You left a message?

Him: No

M: I missed that but don’t know why you wouldn’t call or text again.

And that’s it. No reply. Nothing.

So why does it bother me? It shouldn’t because I already knew I didn’t care. In our last conversation prior to this I was sort of getting sick of trying to understand his perspective on lifestyle coaching and getting zero engagement.

For instance, he wants to coach people on the importance of sleep. Since I had done quite a bit of research for myself earlier this year, I felt I could discuss this topic with him and open dialogue. He started with “I get a solid 8 hours of deep sleep every evening as tracked by my special watch.” I asked if that was possible because in my research NO humans need or get more than 2-3 hours of deep sleep per evening because you need more REM sleep. He flat out disagreed, told me his research and his watch supported it and basically shut down my information. In frustration I went back to do more research and came up with the exact same info after digging further. He told me I wasn’t looking into the right resources. When I asked him which resources he only indicated research from his coaches. He is like talking to a wall. So as much as I wanted to learn more, his inability to flex (which he claims is his greatest strength) was astounding.

I’m convinced this is a man who isn’t capable of deep relationship. He doesn’t have ANY. He has just started a relationship with his 17 year old daughter in the past year. When I ask who his friends are and who he confides in and speaks to, he can only refer to his coaching buddies.

I guess I’m am entirely confused about what self-actualization is because it feels to me like self-absorption.

Anyway, this post is about me, not Marshall.

Why did the idea of him not replying to me wake me up? I hate when people say one thing and behave differently so this normally eats at me – but I didn’t like him enough to let it disturb my sleep. So that’s when the stern talking to cane into play. I told my brain to shut down, I do not care about Marshall, I do not care that he is the only man in my life at present, he wasn’t going to fill any real voids for me and I wasn’t going to allow my brain to throw a wrench in that I “needed” to hold on to the little I had with him.

Nope. Not holding on, brain, so let it the fuck go. There will be better for me. Period.

Once I properly chastised myself I fell immediately into a sound sleep, woke up and deleted Marshall.

I am still surprised that, even though I have come so far that my brain wants to go back to its bad habits. I don’t need a man like Marshall in my life JUST to have a man in my life, they are a dime a dozen. I want the right man and he was nothing more than a placeholder. Placeholders shouldn’t wake me at night or even require thought.

Like I said, that took longer to write than it was worth. But it’s good for me to continue to remind myself I am worthy. Marshall, on his best day, didn’t deserve me.

Thank you, next.

Tonight’s date is with John. I already know this isn’t going to go well after we had our first phone conversation last night. I’m sitting here typing this berating myself for being a coward not to cancel the date after I spoke to him.

Another Chapter Finishes

I learned last week that my contract will end in my current role. I wasn’t surprised, but I was hopeful.

I suspect they did try to bring me in, but I’m overqualified and they are laying off, not hiring. I believe I made a decent impression and showed them what I can bring to the table what they do not have within the team.

In any case, my last day is next week

That also means the money dries up. I don’t want to panic, but I’m pretty anxiety ridden about not having an income. I can manage for a month or two, but beyond that I have to start to withdraw from my long term savings which makes me feel sick to my stomach.

I’m sick of running as fast I can in life and I feel like there’s no rest. It always feels like an uphill battle. I didn’t think I would burn out the way I did last year but it’s had such a profound affect on me that I can no longer think and behave the same. I don’t want to work like that anymore, I want to live and breathe. But. Money.

Same as anyone else.

I’ve been looking for a job for a solid 6 months and there has been absolutely nothing out there. Even lower levels or different industries. I can’t even get an interview. My friends who lost their jobs in ’16 along with me are in the same boat, but they are all married and have 2 incomes. I know they feel pressure but it’s a different kind.

My x has stepped up a bit more than usual. I think I’ve learned a lesson on how to interact with him so that it doesn’t cause me massive anxiety. He will push me to a breaking point and I just can’t waiver with my initial decisions. I notice when I stay the course, and really refuse to budge that he backs down and makes his own decisions, which have actually included contributing to some finances for the kids.

I’m very worried and stressed. Add a relatively newish relationship with my adult sister and my nerves are not doing well. I find myself wanting to retreat from everyone again and hide. I’m beginning to think I’m really just not a social creature. I don’t think this is a new feeling for me, I just don’t think I’ve identified it before and tuned into it. I’ve always said I don’t really like people, but more and more lately, I don’t really like anyone. My frustration with people rises quickly and maybe it’s because of my anxiety, but maybe it’s because I just don’t like social interaction. I don’t really know but I think it’s something I need to pay better attention to.

Speaking of which, I have my sisters bachelorette party Which I worked really hard to plan and now feel like I’ve been penalized for over-planning. I wanted to surprise her and make is super special and it seems she would have been happier being stupid drunk for 2 days with no planning.

Lately, I feel like I can’t catch a break.

The Second Surprise

Doesn’t matter to me that I haven’t heard from Rob. If he were to reach out I would see him again. If not, no harm or foul, it was a fun date and a great kiss.

He wasn’t the only x to resurface. This one may make older readers more nervous, but wayyyyyy back in 2014 the first man I blogged about was named R. His actual name is Dan since I’ve given up on code names I can never recall. 😂

Dan text me for my birthday, which was an absolute surprise, and asked me for drinks. I did the same thing I did with Rob, I called his bluff.

I wrote to him early this week to say I was available Thursday or Friday and I was genuinely surprised he made plans with me! He’s so flakey. I haven’t seen him in at least 2 years. But we have text and he knows I’ve been sick. And, again to my surprise, he was concerned about me – I had just found forgotten he kept in touch when I was sick – until his text came up again and I scrolled back.

I may find an old post and give you at least one of the crazy R stories because I would say he absolutely had the first exposure to Trixie. I don’t even know why he still stays in touch with me. But he does. And I’ve always liked him. I’m just OVER him now. He’s as toxic as Trixie. But he’s fun, oh so fun.

So Dan comes over on Friday afternoon to my home. The day is beautiful and we sit on the back deck. I’m an amazing hostess so I have beer for him and a great cheese plate ready to go. We enjoyed several hours together, and, unlike typical Dan, he was pretty forthcoming with his life. He’s in the midst of a horrifying and ugly divorce ( a lot of that is of his own creation) and he’s still sleeping around with women he doesn’t want to be attached to.

Dan was the first to show me how much fun a date should be. We would laugh for hours. And then fuck for just as long. We had so much fun. He became so inconsistent and I went into full Trixie anxiety mode. He admitted to me this week that he just isn’t a good communicator. He doesn’t care enough. I believe him. I also think when he finds someone he really likes, he will be able to invest. Dan is on his second divorce and has 4 kids, his plate is full and he needs to figure out his life. He doesn’t have anyone he shares with, and he needs it. But until he realizes it, he will stay stuck in the same patterns. I was glad to hear he’s back in therapy.

When he was ready to go, I walked him to his car. We had a nice big hug and I could see lust in his eyes. But Dan loves to BE chased, and (thanks to him) I realize I’m the one who wants to be chawed, not to do the chasing. I do know how he loves it though, so it felt a little like a power imbalance when I knowingly turned away. I really didn’t care. I met him as a friend and I was happy he was there, I didn’t care if there was any more than that.

Cue my surprise. He turned to leave, as did I, and before I knew it…he was pulling me back to him. Our kids was nothing short of fabulous. When I’m excited I have a kiss and sound that brings lost men to their knees, guaranteed. It’s never failed. It didn’t fail with Dan either. He pulled back and couldn’t speak. As he pressed against for more, his cock was so swollen it had to be uncomfortable. I just enjoyed the moment. He’s like the OG. I was enjoying every moment.

He asked why I didn’t do this in the backyard earlier. (I know him well enough now, I don’t have a serious consideration for that question). I replied with “yea, I can’t believe I didn’t because we could be fucking by now” and that put him over the edge. He could barely leave me (he really had to get his young child).

We both left with smiles on our faces. No promises of more. No discussion of anything. I’ve learned over a period of 5 years, Dan will come back when Dan is ready. It took me some time t accept it for what it is, but it’s all good. I like Dan. As a person and sexually.

The result of my ambivalence (I think that’s the best word for it) was Dan texting me multiple times over the weekend – telling me how badly he wanted me. Of course it didn’t start that way, the first text may have been something like ” you missed your chance” to which I would have said ” what a shame since I’m so horny. Will have to find a substitute for the evening”. 😂.

I’ve gotten more one line text from him than I expected. I don’t always reply. He’s thinking of me. It may last another day or two or maybe longer. But there is no promise of anything with Dan just like there isn’t with Rob.

I don’t care. He always comes back, as a friend…which is much more valuable to me. If we fuck along the way, great. If not, fine.

Oh, one more interesting point. I’m not so sure what to do about this. Dan asked about my wounds and how I was doing. We talked openly about my fear over showing a man. I showed him the lingerie photo and he thought it was fine for maybe one time, but said he would question what’s up after more than once. Then he said “just show me and I will be honest”. I thought about it, for a long minute. The girth, which I shared with him as well, is that I’m scared to hear him (or anyone) say “yea, that’s tough looking”. Once in a while, the softer side of Dan shows itself and he told me stories about dating two women who had reconstructive breast surgery and how he felt about it. He was honest and open. Was it strange? Yup. Didn’t it stop him? Nope. Did he go back for more? Yes. Because it didn’t really matter to him. Thats exactly the answer I want to hear, but Dan also liked me and fucked me when I was heavy, yes open minded about sizes and shapes with women. He’s not hugely discriminatory as long as he’s attracted. I thought about showing him but I chickened out.

When we were parting, and before the kiss, he ran his hands up my dress before I could stop him, and stopped on my belly and felt the wound. He didn’t say a word and I didn’t ask.

Part of me wishes I could trust Dan enough to be honest, but I know Dan and he’s more screwed up than me. I don’t invest any trust in Dan any longer. I can tell when he’s sincere for the most part, but I’m not sure I could tell regarding sex.

Anyway, the afternoon was fun and I just thought it very funny that he’s the one with me on his mind instead of the other way round. Clearly (over a period of 5 years!) I’ve been able to put him into a safe place I can control. There’s no attachment any longer and I’m happy when he comes as much as when he goes.

Relief

I can’t even begin to tell you the immense relief I felt when I woke up this Sunday morning.

The anxiety, the trepidation, the overwhelming sadness I have been struggling with for 2weeks seems to have lifted. I literally feel lighter.

I didn’t understand what was happening to my mind and body the past couple weeks. I was really afraid I was internalizing the dating rejections worse than I was allowing myself to believe since that’s a typical trigger for me.

But it wasn’t. Everything I wrote about lightbulbs and a better understanding of myself is true. The gears have shifted.

Then, I thought, how could the one incident with my boys send me flying over an edge and free falling to the point I felt crazy, hyper and needed an emergency call to the therapist.

It didn’t occur to me until I woke this morning, happy and peaceful. I lie in bed trying to understand what felt different. I was sleeping in my sisters home after a big birthday bash for her the evening before and I was definitely nursing a little hangover. I had this feeling of emptiness and joy, literal lightness.

I started to think about a few things since my brain seemed to be less foggy and muddled. I felt something within my grasp but couldn’t quite articulate it. It wasn’t until I had a almost 3 hour drive home that my mind cleared the way for me.

It was exactly 1 year ago on September 7th I had my elective surgery. I had come through, what I thought was, the most debilitating period of my life and was in a long, painful spiral downwards. The surgery was meant to give me a reset, to take back one thing in my life that I could control. Of course, we all know that’s not how it worked out for me. My emotional breakdown turned almost fatal.

I know, very well, I buried Mexico. I don’t think about it. I don’t want to think about it. I buried it in a chest somewhere deep never to be opened again by anyone. Ever. I mean it. I don’t want to discuss it or go back to it. It’s such a dark period for me that I just know I will never want to revisit it and experience the pain again. I have always been good at pushing things away and I can keep this one buried deep.

So what’s left when you don’t address the pain? Shame, embarrassment, guilt, sadness and a whole bevy of other assorted negative feelings.

The biggest and most painful of those is shame. Shame for what I did to myself. Shame for what I put the ones I loved through. Awful, terrible, gut-wrenching shame. It’s one of the few feelings I don’t often experience. I never felt shameful about my affairs I don’t think I’ve done much in my life to be ashamed of. I believe the past two weeks my mind is trying to dig up / relive / let-go of something from that time a year ago. Because it’s so suppressed it manifested as physical warning signs.

It didn’t dawn on me until I woke up from from trepidation and anxiety that I had been harboring so much shame within, but I know now that’s the feeling I’ve been struggling with. Shame is such an ugly word and it feeds the inner voice that says “I’m not worthy and I’m not loved”. I had just finished listening to a Brene Brown book where she spoke about shame – she says – in order to cut shame off at the knees you need to talk about it.

When that little nugget of advice came back to me I knew that was exactly what was about to happen. Somehow my body knew before my mind (it always does I just never quite understand it). I felt so loved and cherished and adored being around my sister and her family and friends (and my birth father) that shame had no room to keep corroding my every thought.

To make sure I kept shame at bay I also spoke to my sister and her mother. I explained that I had been feeling shame for the past year and that what I did cast such a shadow over the happiest time of her life (she got engaged the day I had surgery). I was so disgusted by feelings of shame that it was making me weak and ill all over again. They both reinforced how much I was loved, forgiven, and an important part of the family. That I wasn’t bad, I had just done something wrong.

My body was telling me it was time to move from shame to guilt. Guilt is ok. I did a bad thing. But I am not a bad person.

I cannot change what happened, but I can make reparations and take a new path. A path to a stronger, better me. A better parent, sister, friend.

I’ve been taking all those steps and doing so quite consciously. I am proud of what I’ve accomplished and even more proud that I just squashed some shame like a bug.

I’m still relieved, even 2 days later. No more panic and anxiety.

I knew something big was coming.

Unlocking myself hasn’t been easy, but I’m getting there. Reducing shame to guilt is a big step forward. I kept thinking something was going to happen TO me, but instead, something happened because of me.