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.

Down in the Dumps

This episode with my kids knocked me way, way down.

And I’m guessing it’s obvious to my friends, or I’ve gotten them scared to death, because they are checking, checking, checking on me a couple times a day.

I can’t knock it.

First, the physical. I feel like I want to cry, like really cry. Get it out. I can’t. I just can’t for some reason. My insides are still buzzy as if they are in high alert. I don’t like this consistent feeling as it signals to me I’m waiting for something bad to happen.

Next, the mental. I’m playing some sort of waiting game. I don’t even know what I’m waiting for but that’s how it feels. I feel like I’m looking for something that’s coming and I don’t know when or how. A couple weeks back, when this feeling started, it felt positive a like great things around the corner. It’s turned into something else, like dreaded anticipation.

I have forgiven my kids and myself for the argument. I made an appt with the therapist for the 4 of us and all of them are angry and rebellious about it. They have some said things that I attribute to their Dad, but I find myself questioning if I really am “that person.” One son said “get a boyfriend already and take the pressure off of us.” Another one said “you expect too much from us and you’re always disappointed”. My toughest guy told me that no one will ever love the way I love and that’s a direct quote from his Dad. I can’t figure out if they are sort of brainwashed or if this is how they see me through their “adult” eyes now. It’s really upsetting me.

I haven’t heard from Mike which admittedly unbalanced me, but I know there’s nothing I can do about it.

I’m upset my sisters mother doesn’t want me to have a plus one at the wedding AND the fact I don’t even have a plus one to ask. I feel like the next 3-4 months of family events that I am ALONE in capital letters.

This feeling of being alone is bothering me. I’ve said it many times but I just want a relationship of some sort already.

I do see, at least, how to help myself beware of my anxious attachment. I think it takes practice as I’ve still gotten little hurts along the way.

I don’t understand exactly how my mind works in terms of the attachment. Tom and Charles were pretty close to “getting it right from go” but my mind selected Mike above them in a way I’ve been able to disconnect from Tom and Charles easily, but less so from Mike. And before anyone says much, this is me in my head, I’m not acting on anything – there’s nothing to act on. In my opinion anyone who says “we’ve been on two dates” just drew a clear line in the sand that I’m not on his radar the way he might be in mine.

My friends think I have more on my plate than I am acknowledging and it’s slightly reminiscent of last summer. Kids, men and work all culminating into concerns at one time and layering on the anxiety. I truly don’t think I’m built for the same level of intensity I was able to put out before, I don’t feel that drive that makes me so strong. Not consistently.

I will write about work in a separate post but at the moment I can’t seem to pull myself up out of my depression.

Crap Travels Downward

The day passed as most do at my new role, uneventfully.

But not in my head. In my head my world seems to be be suffocating me. My body is anxious and disturbed.

On Mikes advice, I try to speak to the x. I knew this wasn’t the right advice for me but I want to try anything at this point to feel better.

What a waste of an hour. This man doesn’t even know his own child. I can’t deal with his stupidity. Even worse, he says he can’t take care of all 3 kids because he doesn’t have the room, he’s busy renovating his mothers basement and he has a life. This lit me right up. I’ve had those kids for 2+ years full time. I need a break and you better fucking figure it out for a few weeks. His answer: no, let them stay “home”. I was livid.

My answer to him was “not my problem you live in a 2 bedroom apartment for 5 years and don’t have space, that’s been your decision, for now you need to parent all 3 of your children together”.

I know I shouldn’t be. This is a man who only cares about himself, his mother and his own satisfaction. A mother who needs a break from a full time adult child has no choice but to care for her child or they are on the street because their father basically rejects his parental responsibility.

His answer: they are 20. Well, two of them will be twenty in a week, but our youngest is 16. Either way, we are responsible for them until they are out of college. He doesn’t see it that way. Nor does he care. He’s got a girlfriend and he’s got a sleepover on Thursday so my son has no where to sleep.

Their Dad is ok telling them to get lost that he has plans.

I am not ok with that. I am not that parent. He knows this so I am left with full time care of 3 kids while the father lives his life and I have a nervous breakdown.

I am so angry. I’m so angry that I made myself sick today. I had to call the therapist for an emergency appt on the phone – that’s how worried about myself I was. I could feel the gently wrapped threads unraveling at a very fast pace.

I took another hour to speak with her. She was genuinely concerned and worried, but had little to offer at the beginning than “you are in a very difficult, nearly impossible, situation”. Yes! I know that! But I’m calling you for answers and strategies!

Eventually we got there. I got a script together for my next steps. It’s not what I expected but it makes sense to me.

I really couldn’t function properly the rest of the day.

The sexting with Mike had me feeling regretful for some unknown reason and the behavior I had with my kids was just leaving me unsettled.

I did tell my group what’s going on with me. Closest friend took me out for drinks and listened. She’s single and in her 40s not much she can add in the way of parenting. But she was there for me when I needed her. Another friend thinks the boys deserve strong consequences (read punishment). When I asked her what she would do differently she couldn’t come up with anything different but insisted she would be tougher than me. This friend is the antithesis of me – never wants to be in another relationship as long as she lives, including parenting her children or being obligated as an adult child to her mother or sisters. She does it better than anyone I know but literally hates it. Again, she was there for me.

I hate that I feel like I need a male partner to support me. Is it because I didn’t get any male parenting while I was a child and haven’t ever seen my x parenting our children? I think there may be something in there. I need male validation and partnership because this has always been a void in my life.

That evening I made another mistake texting Mike while I was at the bar 2 solid glasses of wine in and starting the third on an empty stomach. It started funny and silly but then I made a comment that maybe he could be less distant and just more like the guy I met.

The response: you are really off base. I’ve been nothing but nice to you. We’ve been out twice. I’m sorry you had a bad day and a shitty x

Nothing like being put in your place.

I reread my text and I don’t know how he went from A to Z but he did. I apologized that he misinterpreted my request for him to just be flirty while I was having a bad night.

No mixed signals in his text, eh? When you remind someone you’ve only “been out twice” it’s pretty clear that’s all it was and all it will be. I knew that. Of course I did. I was the idiot who crossed a line because I should never have text him today AT ALL.

He would have come back when he was ready for more sex and not before. But my anxiety got the better of me. I was needy and went to the wrong person for comfort. I knew he wouldn’t or couldn’t give me what I needed but, yet, I still went.

After all – no one, not one person, could help me today. I wanted to go numb. I wanted to sit in a corner and rock and cry. That might have been better than trying to be strong. Maybe I should have taken the time to let it all out. I know that only I can help myself. If I had taken the time to walk through today’s scenarios calmly in my head I would never have made the call to the x or to Mike. I can only help myself. I know this and continue to fight it.

Now I am on a bus home, sitting next to a man who (if he bumps into me once more) I might punch. Dreading the fact that I need to have a conversation with two of my kids when I get home. It can’t wait.

The other kid is with his Dad but I don’t know what he will do Thursday and Friday if his dad kicks him out.

Is getting upset over the x and some dumb text to Mike the end of the world? No. However – I’m always concerned about losing control now. It was the same for a long while with the exercise, I was so afraid to miss even one day I exercised myself into oblivion. It was very, very hard to adjust to less exercise and not crucify myself when I missed a day for good reason. This little derailment is the same. I lost some control, I knew it what happening, I took mostly the right steps to correct it and I will get myself back on track (I think).

I’m obsessing at the moment and I think that’s pretty standard process for me. My mind has to flip everything over and beat it blue before I let go. I get into my head and spin myself into an endless loop that I have quite a bit of trouble breaking. I analyze over and over to see if different actions would have different results. It’s like replaying a horrible highlight reel.

I read an article that helped with post conflict redirection through mantra, and while this helps, I need to find one while I’m in the conflict (or on the brink of making poor decision or exhibit bad behavior)

I know I cannot Define myself by what happened. It’s a bump in the road and I will inch forward and recover. I’m writing as the outlet to help stop the rumination.

I need to reinforce to myself that I am valuable. I am worthy. I am god enough, strong enough, and smart enough. I need to establish a mantra I can repeat when feeling dating or kid anxiety. Mantras cut through the noise in my head and create peace and space. I’ve learned this from almost daily meditation but I need a short and sweet one I can put in my pocket and put on repeat.

I’m just struggling with this pit in my stomach I can’t seem to move past. Then I worry the pit is there for a reason I haven’t acknowledge and that scares me. My intuition is so sensitive and not often wrong. I’m not trying to ignore it I just don’t know what it’s telling me right now.

At the moment I am trying to repeat:

Whatever is meant to be, will be.

There is a time and place for everything.

This too shall pass.

I am still healing, learning and growing.

Everything happens for a reason, even if don’t understand that reason today.

The only thing under my control is me. Deep breaths. Chin up. One foot in front of the other.

Lightbulb Moment – Charles

I haven’t written about Charles yet, but the outcome is more important than the path taken to get there.

Charles was the last of the three frenzies swipes I met around the same time on Tinder. He was engaging immediately. Super interested. While this used to be my absolute favorite reaction in the past, now I proceed with caution. Anyone who tells me that I’m “all that and bag a chips” before they even met me now concerns me. Charles is really into me. I get it, I must be his type. But he’s already too smitten and I feel myself backing up before even getting started.

Charles checks all the boxes, just like the last few. Tall, handsome, educated, super-fucking-fit, intelligent and communicative. Kids similar ages. Nice parenting style.

He is handsome and fit on a level that I haven’t actually come across before. I would say men like Charles haven’t generally been interested in me, I was always too heavy.

Like Tom, he’s another talker. I can’t get a word in edgewise. He’s not interested in me, he’s interested in the idea of me. A beautiful, fit, intelligent partner. He’s described several of my physical attributes more than once so I know exactly what he likes. For him it’s all physical, I’m not really even sure how much it matters to him that I’m intelligent, a Momma, or have a career.

Sound like anyone you know?!

This light bulb hit me so hard when I realized that’s exactly how I process people!

The idea of someone. Not the person themselves. Do they check my boxes? People take time to get to know. I’m so busy checking all my boxes I overlook the actual connection or, more than likely, imagine a connection is there when it probably isn’t.

The next thing I realized: I am ALWAYS going to see myself as heavy/bigger. Always. It ain’t gonna change. I was curvy slim and athletic through my teenage years. Gained too much weight in college but lost it all in my 20s through 30. I didn’t grow up as a heavy kid or young adult so I don’t carry the same baggage as someone who has been heavy all their life. But once I had my 3rd child 17 years ago, the weight skyrocketed. Sometimes it also went down, but mostly I was well heavy for 10 years. The last 7 years somewhat less heavy. As you know, the weight seesaw finally tipped me over the edge. I was done with it. Being slim suits my perception of myself. I am more comfortable and confident in my own skin. What I’ve come to realize was the weight-shaming I thought I felt all those years is a real thing. Men talk about it to me now because they assume that I’ve always been fit and skinny. I can’t believe some of what I’ve heard from them – and now these are the men I attract.

I am under 130 pounds these days and way to skinny for my own taste (as well as anyone who knows me) but I’ve got health issues I can’t control. My bones are out but are now tightly wrapped in sinewy muscle. As long as I don’t move a certain way, you can’t see the loose skin (and there’s plenty of it everywhere).

Here’s the thing – never, have I ever, in my life been called skinny, lean or thin. Never. Maybe once before I got married. Maybe. But every bride loses weight before their wedding. Now I attract men who like skinny, toned women. That’s what they look for. Skinny. I can’t reconcile that word with me. And all of them, John, Mike, Tom and Charles speak about their dislike of heavy set women. They speak with disdain as well – they don’t understand how these people “let themselves go”. Guess what? I get insulted.

Even though I hated being heavy, fought with weight issues my entire life and chose a weight loss surgery, I still feel insulted by their discussion surrounding weight. And comparing me as a sexy, fit woman who takes care of herself as compared to “those heavy women”. Little do they know.

They have all touched my arms, shoulder and hips with delirious attention because the bone and muscle are most prominent on those areas. You would think I like this after all I’ve gone through to get here, but I’m finding it a bit repulsive in its own way. I can’t exactly explain. I believe I feel shame for being heavy and making the decision to have weight loss surgery and it’s not something one speaks about in early days of dating, if ever.

This all feels weird to me and is a side effect I could never have anticipated.

That was a long meandering way to explain the light bulb. I realize I am never going to tell my whole story to someone until I’m pretty solid in a relationship. Maybe not even ever. Im starting to subscribe to the thought that not everything needs to be revealed from my past. I’m too concerned about what a man thinks at the same time I’m trying to find a confident way to explain my wounds. I have no doubt – and maybe I’m wrong here, but this is my gut check – that a man who is so visually attracted to my “perfect thin, muscular body” (their words and it happens all the time now) is going to find issue when the clothes come off because I’m not what they expect.

The good news, I guess, is that the feeling of being insulted also makes one a bit defensive. I’ve started to think “fuck you and your ideals about a woman’s body because I am so much more than my scars”. To the point, with Charles, I found a way to tell him what was under the shirt he hadn’t lifted.

I’ve just explained so much without even telling the Charles story!

I suppose I better do that in a separate post.

I’m going to be living with my wounds, my history, my mistakes for the rest of my life. They made me the person I am today and will shape the better woman I am still becoming. I can’t revise history, but I don’t have to have verbal diarrhea anymore either. My interaction with Charles made me realize there are going to be people along the way who don’t deserve the story from me by way of explanation of my wounds. I cried in front of John when he asked what the bandage was about because of my own insecurity over how it would impact a yet undetermined future relationship with him, totally emotionally presumptive on my part and, ultimately, entirely wasted on someone who wasn’t going to be invested anyway. Charles wasn’t going to get that from me and nor will anyone else. I am glad it happened with Charles first because I wasn’t invested and I got to have a bravado I don’t often have.

We all have our preferences. I get it. John, Charles, Tom and Mike are all similar – very invested in physical appearances. I can’t allow this to bring me down any further than I already am about myself.

So Much on my Mind

Right now I feel like a could write a book. I’m no good at short versions of anything and so much has been churning inside of my head lately I wish there was a way to get it out as the thoughts happened and into the blog. It all seems so logical when I’m thinking of it, but when I go back to write it, so much seems to slip away and I end up not knowing where to start.

I felt like light bulbs have been turning on all over the place lately. I know it’s all tied up with my current situation in dating. I’m having a moment like I haven’t had in a very long time. My libido is back in full blast and it absolutely wreaks havoc on my good intentions to have better behaviors while dating.

The difference is – now I know it. And I realized I can do something about it. Maybe not the something some might prefer me to do (not drink, not have sex, not date kind of thing). I now realize if I decide to do the things I do, all I need to do is accept responsibility for what they are at face value and stop putting so much more time and wasted effort into wanting them to be more than they are

I’ve simply got to learn to accept that I can have sex, drink, be ridiculous and WALK AWAY once it’s over.

I’m going to stop feeling bad about myself after I make questionable decisions. Berating myself and becoming more anxious is serving no purpose. I need to own it.

The pressure my attachment anxiety puts on me in these dating situations has to stop. I’ve started having conversations with my anxiety similar to the way I would speak to Trixie if she ever materialized (god help us all).

Sound silly? Maybe. But if talking to myself is what it takes to own my behavior and course correct then so be it.

My dating cup is running over and I’m letting it. I feel like I’ve uncovered something big and want to see if I can put thought into practice.

My whole life has been spent looking for male approval. I didn’t get it from my father. I didn’t get it from husband. The first time I felt really and truly solid about myself the “approval” came from the wrong place (married men). In hindsight, I don’t know if that matters to what I have learned. I don’t think the man himself or the situations make any difference to what I took from them. In hindsight, I learned so much about myself and what I needed to feel good in relationship. If I had been more capable of controlling my emotions, these could have been all positive experiences. Maggie and Nichts recently have me thinking about how to reframe what I’ve been through and how I see my past. In all my recent writing about dating, and digging through my past, I finally realize I can stop needing a man to make me feel worthy.

I actually do feel worthy now. I feel alive and powerful more than ever in some ways (and weaker in others). Maybe I didn’t arrive at this place from the traditional “self-love” approach. Maybe I just filter things through my male-approval lens to understand them because that’s how I’ve always seen the world. I think I needed a solid round of decent dates, some quick turnover, some great sex as well as some rejection to realize I’m actually ok. It’s a normal cycle to be rejected one way or the other in dating. I never learned to accept it and still find myself worthy.

I realize I can. I can own the rejection and move past it. I can own the sex on first dates because I wanted it. I am doing my best balls-to-the-wall to push away the anxiety.

I don’t even know if I am making any sense. Like I said, it all sounded so solid and so crystal clear in my head and getting these thoughts into words has proven difficult.

I know I’m going to be fine. It doesn’t mean I won’t struggle with learning how to slow down, not push for more at the wrong time or with the wrong person. It doesn’t mean I won’t obsess a little or overthink situations. Those are just things I do. I just don’t need to overdo them.

Each man / situation gave me a light bulb moment this week so they will each get a post: Mike, Thomas and Charles (yup a new one!).

I can honestly say I’ve never had this kind of clarity around dating before. I feel like I’m seeing myself for the first time. Somehow I think I’m on the edge of something bigger that’s yet unidentified and in front of me. I feel in control in a way I have never experienced before.

It’s good to be on the edge. It’s liberating. It feels like Trixie level excitement without the crazy. Is that a thing?

I guess we are going to find out if it is or not. And hope I’m not feeding myself lip service.

Big Words: Desperation, Communication, Attachment (part 2)

I’m sure this has happened to everyone here at one point or another….you write a post and it’s a long one you’re super proud of…and it disappears into the ether.

Ugh and double ugh.

Luckily the WordPress gods got half of the post and I only have to get through the second half. I’m bummed because I think it was one of more well-written posts and I had jokes. Ha.

Yesterday I intended to write about the 3 huge words that can mean different things to different people under multiple circumstances.

I’m confident in my evaluation (of myself) in regards to being desperate (I’m not, even if it seems that way sometimes) and having anxious attachment syndrome (I do, working on that).

The last part of the post was probably another 1k words addressing that last big word: communication. Maybe WordPress saw fit to give your eyes and head a rest from my babbling for a couple hours!

I’ve really been thinking hard about communication since the John match some 5/6 weeks back. I am always open to feedback on my communication style since it’s probably the single biggest challenge I have had in my entire life.

Clearly, I don’t lack the ability to communicate well. I’ve always been intelligent, articulate and well-spoken since I’ve been able to speak. My issue is always in delivery. Pace, body language, facial expressions and in particular, tone. My character is not well represented by my tone of voice and I often, including in writing, leave a bad taste in people’s mouths or they misunderstand the message I am trying to communicate because I don’t deliver in a way they can understand.

How you communicate is almost more important at times than what you communicate.  You need to know your audience.

After a lot of heartfelt soul searching and, believe it or not, I looked backwards for my answers. They were pretty clear.

I grew up in a time that the word “hyperactive” wasn’t a word applied to a child’s  behaviors. I was a very busy and over active child needing a whole lot of attention. A mother who was too gentle beyond words, a disinterested father and an era where the only label that could be applied to me was “bad” did not provide the healthy outlets I needed for all my energy.

Why was I so overactive? Why couldn’t I sit still and keep my mouth shut like other children? I must have learned very quickly that they preferred to ignore me and I began yelling and screaming for attention I wasn’t getting. I probably didn’t know how to explain as a small child what I needed or wanted. So, I acted out. That netted my mother taking me to doctor and doctor to “fix” me and calm me down. Ultimately, since there was no solution for my “badness” they put me on a drug that my mother told me was reserved for the criminally insane: Ritalin. Since then, based on the research I’ve done, I think my mother made that shit up to tell a better story, or make me feel bad, who knows. The drug was prescribed as an ADHD drug for “maladjusted children” long before the ADHD was mainstreamed.

My mother quickly took me off the drug. I went from a vivacious, active, verbal child to non-verbal and staring at walls. She would rather have hyperactive. Her hippie cousin (this is the 70s remember) suggested a “natural” type of doctor who might help and my mother was desperate at this point. Today we would call that doctor a nutritionist! He told my mother to stop feeding me so much sugar and for rewarding good behavior with candy. He also suggested my mother put me in activities to burn out my energy rather than expecting me to comply to the “children who are seen and not heard are good children” belief.

My mother found relief. I was active, involved and out of the house most of the time doing my activities. She would drive me to Timbuktu if it meant she got an hour of peace. We still couldn’t see eye to eye because I became independent quite quickly – she wasn’t expecting that and definitely didn’t like it.

If it sounds like I understood any of this as a child, I didn’t. This was how she told me the story for as long as I can recall.

I learned to communicate by screaming, yelling and making a fuss because I didn’t get the attention I needed from my parents.

Doesn’t that sound like Trixie has been around for a hella long time?  Yup.  I thought the same.

I didn’t improve my communication techniques for a long, long time.  It took many, many negative outcomes and scoldings before I really understood how to behave, and how my parents expected me to behave.  When I didn’t behave, I was beaten.  Spoon, belt, hand, basically whatever was closest.  This physical abuse didn’t stop until I was 16 and I recall the day quite clearly.  It was the last day my father laid a hand on me.  I don’t recall when my mother stopped cracking spoons over my head.

Years later, when I recounted these stories my parents reply was “If your father ever really hit you, you would be in a hospital.  Those were nothing more than love taps.”  Eventually they denied it ever happened and said I made it all up.  Perhaps the first time I knew I was being gas-lighted (before gas-lighted was a word).

I didn’t begin to understand I could control my tone until I started to work.  Again, it took a lot of mistakes before I began to understand the difference between assertive and aggressive tones, how not to be bossy but authoritative.  But, learn I did, and very well.  I learned how to take what I perceived as my biggest failure as a child, my worst possible trait, and make it an asset and my ultimate strength.  This is how I became successful, I now had the communication style to communicate my ideas in a way that moved me forward instead of hindering me.  I became a valued employee and a really good leader.  I gained some pride.

Of course, there was still the personal component.  My parents style didn’t change and I married a man who was both my mother and my father combined into one.  Looking back, I married for familiarity and because I had anxiously attached.   Even then, my life was sort of pre-planned in my head and the x checked my boxes.  I didn’t understand that I never really saw him for who he was until we were already together for over 18 years.

When I look back, I believe the only romantic relationship I ever had that wasn’t from an anxious attachment was my first long term boyfriend, Randy, when I was 15.  Every relationship after Randy was formed in anxious attachment.

When children came along, the tension between the x and I as well as my inability to always control my tone, led to  my children often calling me mean.  Of course this is quite upsetting to a mother, but I am sure it is true.  Nowadays I try and explain what they hear isn’t always mean.  They have taken their fathers approach of zero confrontation whenever possible (which is probably common among teens).  They are just beginning to understand that when they ask for what they want/need, with confidence, they may be able to change the outcome.  They still don’t like my tone most days, and certainly don’t like when I go up like a bottle of pop and yell at them for one mess or another they have made.  I’m still learning how to be a better parent and communicate in a language I don’t really comprehend (teenage boy).

I view my inability to communicate appropriately as a young child and through to adulthood within my personal life as the outcome of anxious attachment.   That’s where it all started.

So here I am, at 51 years old, basically in the same situation.  I am crying out for attention and I am not communicating appropriately in order to eliminate, or at least avoid, my anxious attachments. I feel like I have never had a solid foundational relationship in my life that wasn’t founded on anxious attachment and that may be the reason I feel such a deep emotional hunger that I have to make my needs known loud and clear in order to get what I need emotionally.  I am most likely perceived as clingy because I am seeking a sense of safety from someone who isn’t able to ready to give it to me.

And then there was this in one of my google searches:

“While it may seem that an anxiously attached person would seek out someone who was nurturing and available, oftentimes they wind up being drawn to a person with an avoidant attachment style who has trouble meeting their emotional needs. While this sounds paradoxical, their intense emotions complement the missing, actually suppressed emotions of the person with avoidant attachment.

They reinforce each other’s adaptations in the painful dance of their interactions. 

Although it is painful to re-experience this insecurity, people often feel compelled to recreate the emotional climate of their childhood.”

So how do I manage my communication and behavior in order to get where I need to be?  How do I learn how to have Secure Attachment when I don’t recall ever feeling that way in my entire life?

This ain’t gonna be easy.