Tuesday, October 16, 2018

Burning desire

Where do I talk about dating these days? It's tempting to put things on FB, where I know I'll get feedback, but it's not private. It's not...here! But also, here is what? I dunno.

So things with the new guy are progressing. I took him up to NJ to visit B1 and family--it went well and while I wasn't ecstatic it was as much fun as those trips usually are. New guy tries so hard not to be in the way that it can sometimes be a problem. He is also extremely deliberate. So his move. It's a huge deal for him and for our relationship. He signed a lease for a new apartment. He has renter's insurance. A move-in date. He's getting storage. Planning on getting the car registration changed and new driver's license (he got the DL today!).

Yes, I know all of this--way too much! I'm not helping him...but when I ask for an update I get all the minutia. I think that's just how his mind works. He is not moving all at once but over a few (two? three? more?) weeks, which is driving me mad. I just want him *out* of where he is now so that we can have a "normal" relationship. His move should be good for him regardless--he'll have a more rational commute and be able to stop driving to work every day (most days he can take metro). I actually think the travel time between our two houses will end up being about the same, which is not exactly ironic, but there you go. I don't think he's figured that out yet, but the reduction in commute should make it easier to see each other. And since he'll no longer be living with a clearly mentally unstable person, I can go to his place sometimes. Weird. I can't remember the last time I spent time at a guy's house. As much as I like to be home, I am kind of excited about being able to spend time in his space and see how he lives. He makes almost no footprint at my place--he leaves no trace, as it were. He has stayed over a few times and it's fine--it's good. It's like he's really my boyfriend (I wish there were a better word--we are just too old for that). 

But yes, I have a boyfriend. He's a great guy. I like spending time with him. I am occasionally frustrated by him. Is it too soon to be frustrated? I wonder if that is going to continue and be a problem...well maybe it will and maybe it won't. One of the best things about him is that he weathers my little storms of frustration like they're nothing--just a little choppy water that we navigate to smoother seas. I'd like to be less choppy and less reactive but also, that's kind of who I am a lot of the time, especially in a relationship. I get so sensitized to everything--even I find it annoying. But, he doesn't. And yes, he is very lucky to be with me because overall, I am pretty great. Ha. Also, astonishingly, I am the second person he has been on a date with who he met online. That says nothing about how long he was online and everything about how picky he is about who he contacts. But still. I have completely lost track of how many internet dates I've been on. Approaching 100 for sure. Damn. Whatever happens, I can take a little break from that nonsense and focus on a different kind of nonsense.

Grateful for: my new guy.

Wednesday, September 26, 2018

Me too

What a strange time. I find myself obsessed with the reporting about the Kavanaugh confirmation. I am stunned at the flood of revelations from women about their unreported sexual assaults. I have started wondering what in my own life could be classified as "assault." I know I've never been raped--thank goodness. I used to only think of one incident as very troubling and I also felt ashamed and sometimes when I told the story, I would leave the part out where the strange man touched my breast. But why? I hadn't encouraged him. I had been plotting an escape from him the entire encounter. Here's that story:

I was 21 and traveling alone in Europe some months after graduating from college. I was spending a few weeks in Barcelona, staying in a pension. This the same place where I met my Dutch friend but I think possibly before he moved in. That night, I went to see a movie a couple of miles from where I was staying. I planned to walk back via the long straight blocks of Barcelona to the old part of town where I was staying. Why was I walking? Was it a weeknight and too late for the bus? Did I just want to walk? I can't remember. I didn't even consider taking a taxi. It was after dark and I knew walking alone mean some risk. At some point, a man started walking next to me and talking to me. I was always keen to practice my Spanish, so at first I was ok with engaging with him, though my guard was up. I don't know what he asked me but the standards would've been: where I was from, if I was married or had a boyfriend, if (or why) I was traveling alone. I don't remember how I answered--during that trip I often told men I was married and at least some of the time I wore a ring that looked like a wedding band. I think he wanted me to go somewhere with him to get a drink. I kept saying no, I had to get home. I expected him to give up and break off at some point, but he didn't. He stuck with me during that entire walk. As we approached the old part of town, I started coming up with a plan for how I would escape him. I don't remember seeing anyone around so calling out for help was a no-go. But there was a bar right next to the entrance of my pension; I'd been in there at least once and they were friendly. I decided that if he was still with me when I got back, one option was to go into the bar and tell the bartender that he was bothering me. My first choice was to get into my building and leave him behind. The building had a heavy door that led into a courtyard. I knew if I could get through that door fast enough, I could slam it behind me and shut him out on the other side. I assume we were still talking but I cannot remember any of that conversation. I also remember assessing him physically. He was small; shorter and skinnier than me. I knew that didn't mean he wasn't strong but I also figured I could put up a pretty good physical resistance to him if it came to that. [Aside: as I write this, I'm getting upset on behalf of the younger me. This is a completely unacceptable situation. Yet, I was prepared for it.]

In fact, he did follow me all the way to my door. I got my keys in my hand and decided to make a break for the courtyard. As I was opening the door and telling him to go away, he managed to get very close to me, face to face, and when I refused him yet again, he said "loca!" and grabbed my breast. I pushed him away, opened the gate, slipped in and closed it behind me. I was safe.

I've told that story many times--but almost never do I include the part where he grabbed my breast. It felt like maybe I should've done more to get rid of him. That maybe I shouldn't have talked to him at all. That I was tainted by his unwanted touch. That being a victim meant I gave up part of my self-image as a strong independent person. As someone no man would dare harass because he would know I would fight back. I think mostly this is true about me--and this experience doesn't invalidate it. Also that maybe what happened was really trivial and I didn't want to deal with pity and people making it into a big deal. This is experience is what I usually think about when I say I've been sexaully assaulted--that is, I've never said it until this year. Never. But there is also something that happened when I was much younger that felt shame about for years and I don't know if it fits.

When I was 12, in the 6th grade, I had a date with a boy I'd pursued for the entire year. Finally, finally he asked me to the movies. During the movie, he stuck his hand down my shirt and groped me in a most unpleasant way. I didn't want him to touch me and I slowly eased his hand out of my shirt. I kissed him willingly, though I still remember it as one of the most unpleasant kisses I've ever had. I didn't say anything about the groping to anyone for years. I think I can count on one hand the number of people I told, while I did mention the kissing to many. I liked him so much and so wanted him to be my boyfriend--I was terrified to tell him I didn't like the way he touched me. It didn't matter--he broke up with me a couple of weeks later so he could be "free for the summer." I honestly think that touch made the idea of a man touching my breasts pretty unthinkable for many years (which--fine! I was too young for that). When it did happen, I just sort of accepted it as something dudes liked to do, but not something I would ever enjoy. Luckily, by the time I was 20, I'd had an experience that that changed my mind about that. I don't know

I have been very lucky--those incidents didn't result in major trauma or damage to my psyche. Still, what it confirms to me is that literally every woman has likely been sexually assaulted. Maybe it was a slap on the ass, maybe it was rape--but no woman is allowed to think she has complete autonomy over her body--and that is the lesson that the patriarchy wants us to learn.

Being in this headspace and really thinking hard about this stuff--not for the first time, but probably for the first time in relation to my own experiences--makes it a very strange time to be starting a new relationship.

Grateful for: surviving.

Monday, September 24, 2018

Well, well, well

A lot has happened since May. Maybe I have a...I can't say it. I've been dating someone. I said to him the other day, "we're dating, right?" And he says, "we are?" I say, "aren't we?" He says, "It sounds more real when you say it."

It doesn't feel real. Met him for the first time six weeks ago. We met via an app. You know how long that's been going on. How many years...so many years. I was fine at first. One date a week for four weeks...things were slow and then they sped up. Now, after six weeks and three sleepovers, I'm finally starting to feel that nagging anxiety that dating often brings me.

But other things. The Musician. I was booked back-to-back on the first date. First the new guy, then the Musician. The date went well and ran long. The Musician never got back to me. Really never: to this day, I still haven't heard from him. We'd seemed to be back on an even keel, but perhaps not? Doesn't matter. I sent him a multi-part text the other day wishing him well and saying it was over. I didn't mention that I'm seeing someone because that's not why it's over. For sure having a new guy gave me the courage to cut him off, but it's not the main reason.

My friend, the one who gave me the silent treatment, is back to being my friend, but we're definitely not as close. He doesn't text me as often. Which is not only fine but preferable. We may have dinner this week, though. Good. I still want to be his friend, I just don't want to be his therapist.

So, Mr. New Guy. He's pretty good, pretty interesting, pretty cute, pretty unusual. He's a vegan yogi with a software job. He's also got some heavy issues that need resolving before I can get 100% on board (I'm at about 85% now)...but he is actively working to resolve them. Number one, he needs to move and he's been looking at apartments. Does my mom still read this? Lord, I hope not. I'm not planning to tell her about him until he has a signed lease. But I'm itching for him to meet my friends. He is very sweet and says a lot of nice things to me--which I love but also have a hard time believing. But he believes it. Can I actually allow someone to like me this much? Can I take it? Can the issues that need resolving actually be resolved or am I fooling myself? When they are resolved, will he be gone like the wind? (Issue number 2 is both serious and easy to resolve and doesn't involve outside parties, unlike issue number 1. I'm giving him a chance and if he's sincere otherwise, I think he'll come through. That it was even an issue led to a pretty surprising meltdown on my part and I don't even know why he stuck around for that.)

This dude loves old radio shows as much as I do. Same politics. Musician. Lived in lot of the same places, notably NC. Much older half siblings. Still a very different cultural background and not a talker. I did *so much* talking on our first few dates. It's like I hadn't talked in years. He just sucked up all my stories like a sponge. He liked them and liked hearing me tell them. I've been struggling to get him to open up, and the other day he just started talking. It was like a real conversation--I'd mentioned something about my grade school years, and that reminded him of something and he told me about it. It was a major breakthrough even if he didn't notice. It all bodes well, but I have such doubts and worries. I know I will see him again. I don't know what's going to happen. Anything could happen. Anything.

Grateful for: patience.

Saturday, May 26, 2018

Well...hello

Here I am. I literally forgot about the blog. Forgot to write. Forgot to be grateful. I am very focused on improving my other habits but in the meantime, I’ve completely dropped what used to be a central habit in my life. Weird. Anyway. All goes well. I rode 50 miles last week and I’m on track for 50+ this week. This seems like a good pace for now since I’m starting to rack up some overuse injuries. Then again, I will probably push my luck and take a long ride tomorrow. Either 20ish on my own or 35 with a group. Will see how I feel. I have a late night (for me) tonight and I may just want to ride at my own pace tomorrow. Or save the long ride for Monday, which is a holiday—yay!

All that to say, work is going a little better. I’m a little more focused. I’m also just staying in most weeknights and eating at home—and even cooking most nights. Simple—like a steak or chicken breast and salad. But it’s good and I’m satisfied. This week, I actually met an old Seattle friend (Brian) for a drink after work. Caught him on FB in town for work. I invited my friend, — (what should his name be?). He came, which I didn’t expect, and we all had a good time. — was in a great mood, was really friendly. We seem to be getting closer and I’m not sure what to make of it. I really value his friendship and I can see he is making an effort to be more emotionally supportive. We’ve known each other about three years now and it’s hard to imagine things without him. He’s so ingrained in all my daily goings. He texts me everyday, so much so that when he doesn’t, I notice and I miss him. I started reflecting on all my past close friendships with men...there have been several important ones. And how sometimes it was clear it was not going to become romantic (Shawn); how we kinda sorta tried, tried again, and then timing made it impossible (Mike); and how I was rejected out of hand before things got started (K, A). I mean, I have a lot of reasons why — would be a bad romantic partner, but now the idea is stuck in my head and I can’t stop wondering if maybe I should give him a chance. He made a half pass at me about 2 (?) years ago and I rejected it very gently. It took a bit of recovery but we moved on...but was that a mistake? I thought he regarded me in a family/friendly way—almost a mother figure (ugh), but I also know that’s not quite true. I don’t know. Even writing this makes me feel a little crazy. I wonder if my ideas about relationships are too fixed...I have this idea of who my guy would be, — doesn’t fit that. But so? So what?

Speaking of dudes. I saw the Musician last Saturday (so a week ago) and I made a huge hash of it. Things with us have always been pretty clear to me. What he’s capable of giving and what I should expect. I haven’t always been satisfied with that, but I’ve mostly been reconciled. Yet, last weekend, I pushed a little and he freaked the f—k out. Dude. I don’t want to marry you! But, yeah, I don’t want to marry him, so why couldn’t I leave well enough alone? He said he had to think about it and I’ve left him alone. Ok, I texted him a celebratory pic when the hockey team won their playoff game because he’s a big fan—but that was it. He didn’t respond (expected) and I won’t be too surprised if I never hear from him again. Perhaps it’s for the best. 

Everything else...is fine. I’ve been moderately productive at work. I’m in a better mood. I’m feeling strong even though I have all these little aches and pains. I need to take the cat for dental care, I want to visit the bike-fitter...it’s all going to happen. 

Grateful for: new good habits. 

Tuesday, May 15, 2018

Terrible

So many false promises to myself! Ok, I've been itching to talk to someone about a few things and FB just won't cut it for confessions about my absolute ineptitude at work. Yes, I exaggerate. Mostly I am not working. When I work, it's fine, I do a reasonably good job. The rest of the time, I just sit staring at my screen unable to stop distracting myself with articles, videos, and FB. I did probably get a solid hour of work done today. That's something. I roll in late. I want to leave early. I often stay late and continue to be unproductive. Also, I would like to read some books. But I would also like to knit and watch tv. Or have the tv on while I play a stupid game on my phone. Giving one single thing my focus is Very Hard. I am biking a lot. Last week, about 50 miles. Week before, 80 miles! 80 was a lot and I was very tired the following week. This week I'm aiming for 50. Then maybe I will work up to 80, then 100! I can do 20 miles in a day without too much damage, which is good. I've been on this kick since the beginning of the  year, when I did a challenge to ride at least a mile a day from Jan 1 through March 19. I did it. My weekly totals steadily inched up the entire time. I've also started tracking my food...total pain...but it helps. I'm not trying for any special food regime, just keeping the amount reasonable. The exercise and diet business is like a job on top of my job. I am cooking a little more. I'm going to the grocery store and buying food to cook--fewer prepared foods and frozen meals, though hardly zero. This is all good and positive, though I am perfectly healthy as of my last physical--at test normal. Except that one thing that I don't want to care about.

Dating. Dating. I can't even with the dating. I had what seemed like a great date a couple of weeks ago and then he disappeared. Hadn't gotten his phone number...no particular reason...and then he unmatched me. Bizarre and upsetting though I am fine. Had another date with a decent person and we went to the movies on Sunday. He is ok but now I think he might be more interested than I am. I was hoping for friends...but we'll see how it plays out.

I guess I've never been quite as keen on work as all this personal nonsense. Or is work the nonsense? I am just longing to take a big chunk of time off...weeks or months or something. I want to stop and relax and ride my bike all the time. And maybe read all those damn books.

Grateful for: a job where I can be a slacker at least for a while.

Friday, May 11, 2018

Forgot

Yesterday, I forgot to post. I remembered but then decided it was too early in the day and I would do it later. And then I forgot. So here I am, trying to figure out what I should be grateful for. Yesterday, I worked at home and I did work pretty much the full day. I had plans in the evening but then B2 (brother) called and I got lazy and skipped my plans. I wasn't meeting anyone, just going to an event in the neighborhood that sounded fun, but oh well. B2 wanted to borrow money to help pay off the bills from his youngest daughter's divorce. She was only married about a year--about a year ago! It's for the best and I sent him the money on the spot. He paid me back last time when I lent him money for the wedding. Will he pay me back this time? I mean, that would be nice, but I can afford it and what am I saving it for anyway? Am I becoming the bank of B2? Sigh.

Grateful for: making some small adjustments to my folding bike that made the ride a ton more comfortable.

Wednesday, May 09, 2018

Remembered!

I almost forgot, but here I am, trying to be grateful. Today I worked from home. It's my tutoring day so I saw my little student. She is a hoot but we did hardly anything of the lesson. She is amazed that I have been to all 50 states and said I could be famous! Sure, why not? I have been biking A LOT and I was so knocked out yesterday, yet ravenous. So today I just took it easy. I had some terrible neck/shoulder pain last night but I am feeling a bit better today. Hopefully tomorrow will be even better.

Grateful for: recovery, if slowly and a day away from the office. My student who I always enjoy seeing.

Tuesday, May 08, 2018

Why?

This blog exists as a gratitude journal and as a semi-public journal. I'm going to try using it for the gratitude part first. For a week. Every day, for a week. What? No. Will this be real? We'll see.

Grateful for: finding time to cook food I like and riding my bike a lot more these last few months. Using the bike to meet some new people seems to be happening in a real way and I'm tentatively excited about that.

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Hello

There are some certainties in life--one is that every time I make a resolution to post more often, I will break it. Another is that every time I promise not to apologize for posting so rarely, I will apologize. Who exactly am I apologizing to? Myself, I guess. There was a time when this blog was so central to my life. Like, if I went on a date with someone and it started to be a relationship, I felt I had to confess about the blog. Hundreds of people read it and parts of my life were unfolding in semi-public. Not so much anymore.

The other day, I had a date with a guy who I've seen off an on since...I think early 2015. That's crazy, right? We get along well and I always enjoy hanging out with him. There've been long breaks when I didn't hear from him and we've even had a few little arguments. Somehow, I don't think he's ever made an appearance on the blog. Maybe he did, but I've gotten very loose with the pseudonyms. I think I used three different ones for the same guy recently! So...we can call him "the musician." That's what he is and explains some, but not all, of his behavior. I let it slip that I had a blog and he got curious. He really wanted to read it--to get my perspective. I think he'd likely be bored especially since he's not featured at all. And who wants to read a blog about all the other people your not-gf is dating? But if he ever does read, "hi!"

As to life. Work is slow and a little dull. On the upside, I'm not crazy stressed. I spent four weeks out west in September/October and it was pretty hard. Dad is functional but not great. He can still navigate ok but his conversation is limited and he returns to the same topics over and over. I was in Seattle for about five days and it was fine--good even. I came home and after three days was laid low by a virus for almost four weeks. I'm finally starting to feel normal and contemplating a quick December trip back to Oakland. I'm already tired.

Grateful for: a quiet time.

Sunday, September 03, 2017

My life

Well I managed one post during the week. Maybe the trick is to start small. And the obvious answer to the question of where all my blogging went is “Facebook.” I think I’ve figured this out before, but everything old is new again. This week was moderately productive at work, but more productive in my personal life of tasks. I did a lot: took my car to the dealer to fix something on a recall (the hinges on the back gate of all things); brought my book to the used bookstore (FINALLY); gave away my old TV; gave away a pet carrier for my bike (I have a better solution now);  and gave away the old red sofa. Oh—and visited my friends who just had a baby! I also ordered new covers for the heating vents—only two, just to see how I liked them, but I’ll be getting a few more, though I’m really stuck on the horns of indecision about which ones to get. The bike I fixed up a few weeks ago went back to the basement (sigh)—now only two live in the house and one is the folder. Gave the other bike out on a (hopefully) permanent loan. I’ll sell it if it comes back. I did nothing about my files. Maybe I should have a bonfire.

Today I thoroughly cleaned the kitchen floor (disgusting) and lightly cleaned the walls. I also took out lots of recycling. Moved the bench I’d had in the kitchen to where the old sofa had been in the living room. That meant moving my shoes to the closet and elsewhere. I need to get rid of some shoes but I really do wear all the pairs I have at least once a month so it’s hard to pare down. I still have to get some stuff at the drug store, order cat food, take out the garbage, clean the counters in the kitchen, and clear off the dining room table. But all those tasks are sort of “regularized.” Oh, I also made a vet appointment for the cat and a dentist appointment for myself.

Last week, I also rebooked my tickets for the trip I’m taking out to California/Seattle in September. I realized that it made sense to book a longer trip after I talked to Nancy about it. Every time I talk to Dad he asks me how I like my job, if I’ll stay at it, and what do I want to do instead. He suggests that I travel. Then he asks how old I am and realizes I’m too young to retire. We’ve had this conversation every time we’ve spoken for about a year. I asked B1 if Dad asked him about retiring and he said no. When I talked to Nancy about it she said, “he wants to spend more time with you.” Duh. So I started thinking I should go out there for a full month. I already had the September trip planned (it’s to attend the a wedding of a cousin) so I checked to see if I could extend it. I checked with the airline and for $150 (the change fee) I could rebook—and actually get a credit because my new trip would be a little less expensive (but the credit will be applied to a future trip, which is total bullshit). I checked with Mom. She understood and was fine with the change. I checked with my stepmom, Susan. She thought it was a great idea. I confirmed with my boss that it was ok for me to work remotely for that long. Then I rebooked. I’ll be out in CA from Sept 14-Oct 5 and then in Seattle until Oct. 10 (hey Amanda—I’ll be in touch!).

I know this trip will be hard. I can do it. Dad needs me. Susan needs me. I’m going to do what I can.
How do I let go of the life I always had in mind for myself that’s obviously never going to happen? How do I embrace the life I have, with all it’s imperfections and joys? That’s the other thing I’m thinking about today.

Grateful for: getting stuff done.