The L Word

Dear Reader – how well do you know me? Do you know me personally, or just from my blog?

If you know me personally, you know that I don’t speak nearly as well as I write. I appreciate the ability to be able to go back and edit my writing. You can’t do that with speaking. I often stutter and stumble over my own words when I try to talk. It’s kinda awful!

And then when you add touchy subjects to that, I’m just an utter mess! I speak incredibly slowly with lots of pauses (think Trump + Shatner.) When I’m writing, I’m able to type as slowly as I want so I can choose just the perfect word to describe my thoughts, often using a thesaurus to help me. When I’m talking about something that might be misconstrued, I try to slow down my speech and select my words with great care.

I’m sure that comes from years of being abused. I learned from living with them that I had to choose my words very carefully. Maybe if I said it just right, I might not piss off my partner. If he’s at all uncomfortable, he’ll use it as an excuse to abuse me for hurting him. Not Jack, but all of the others.

Depending on my audience, I might still fail miserably at being able to get my point across, even with taking the time to painstakingly choose my words. Looking back at it now, maybe that was part of my problem with Jack the other day – he’s not like them; I don’t have to tread as carefully with him as I did with them. He’s not going to lash out at me for saying the wrong thing. He won’t attack me the way they did.

The other day, I was trying to express something to him. It was a difficult thing for me to share with him, even though I wanted to. I tried to find the best way to tell him without freaking him out. I danced around it, never quite knowing how to express myself.

Dear Reader – you know when you’re still new in a relationship, and you’re unsure of the other person in so many ways? How do they feel about situations? How do they feel about me? What is the best way to communicate?

The other day, I told you that my Higher Power wants me to follow this path with Jack. I wanted to tell Jack how my HP passed this info to me (it was through a failed blog post – hard to explain.)

*Side note – Did you know that I have a number of “Private” blog posts? I’m thinking of some day turning portions my blog into a book, including those private posts.*

I think I kinda freaked Jack out. I was beating around the bush and talking in code instead of getting straight to the point. I’m guessing that a large part of his confusion came from when I referenced my tattoo (which happens to be the L word.) I can see how that might make him think I’m trying to say that.

I think he assumed that I had blogged that I was in love with him. I hadn’t – it was nothing like that. Honestly, I don’t think that I have blogged anything more than what he’s said to me.

But, well… back to me being awkward – I stumbled over my words and I’m fairly certain that I gave him the wrong impression. It was completely my fault for not being open and direct with him.

When will I learn? Being direct (with someone who isn’t abusive) is usually so much better than beating around the bush. When you’re direct, you don’t force someone to guess what you mean, there are no misunderstandings, and everyone is on the same page.

Besides, even when I do feel that, I know that the woman never says it first. I’ve dated long enough to know that that’s the fastest way to scare a man off (which is funny because I’ve only ever said it to one man.)

The good thing that came from all of it – now I know where he stands on that particular topic, which is kinda reassuring.

Defined

Alright, Dear Reader. You’ve heard me say that Jack isn’t like the others. I’ve told you that his personality is just so completely different than most of the men with whom I’ve been in an LTR.

I think I briefly touched on the fact that he’s also different than the others physically. Every single one of them had a tattoo, a piercing, facial hair, or a combination of any of those. He has none of those. He appears more wholesome because of it, something which is quite new to me. His very skin reminds me that he’s different from the rest.

The rest of them ranged from an “Average” body type to “Big and Tall” and beyond. Never have I ever dated anyone who has an “Athletic” build or “Thin.” Jack is a mixture of those two. Can I just say – Oh Holy Yum, Batman!

As we’ve gotten closer, I’ve been able to become more familiar with his body. Dude’s got abs! I’ve never dated anyone with abs! And the definition of his triceps? Kinda makes me weak. I love running my fingers along that line when he’s flexing.

Okay, ladies. Have you ever seen a man with really nice muscles? They’re not massive, but they’re defined. It’s almost artistic. Graceful. Like a male Cirque du Soleil aerialist, he’s lean as opposed to bulky. Mmmm-hmmm!

My first boyfriend after my divorce had a huge beer belly. I didn’t mind – I don’t judge people by their looks. But, somehow, he had these thighs that were really well defined. I thoroughly enjoyed looking at and touching the definition of his thighs.

It’s kinda the same with Jack; I just really enjoy the definition of his muscles. Mmmm!

At first, I wondered how he could be interested in me when he has a body like that. This last weekend, he showed me something that eased those concerns for me, which was really nice. Now I can enjoy his body without feeling completely inadequate.

But, it’s not just his muscles. My daughter commented on the fact that he’s the most handsome man I’ve ever dated. I would have to agree. Granted, I once dated a model, but that was when we were kids, so Jack is easily the most handsome man I’ve dated.

To see him smile down at me with his perfect smile makes me putty in his hands. His features are finer than most alpha male features. Let me tell you – it works for him! (And me.) lol As I was typing that, I was picturing those drawings of cavemen with their large foreheads and thick features. No more neanderthals for me!

Yay!

Fearful Faith

Yah – I know. You can’t have fear if you have complete faith. Is there such a thing as partial faith with a little fear?

My Higher Power was fairly vocal last week, letting me know that I’m supposed to follow this path with Jack, wherever it goes. At face value, that sounds fine. If my HP wants this, it must be the right thing for me in the long run, right? I might not always understand, but if I do as my omniscient HP wants, it should be worth it, right?

Like – that thing with F. On the surface, it looks like a short term mistake which I escaped fairly quickly and unscathed. But, if you look a bit deeper, you can see that I learned a valuable skill during the brief interlude, something that I needed to gain.

Dear Reader – if you’ve been with me for any amount of time, you know that I’ve had some fairly painful experiences with men. You know why I would have good reason to be fearful when it comes to the idea of being vulnerable with men.

You also know that I’m a runner. I’m more than willing to walk away from something that makes me uncomfortable. I spook easily. My time with Mr. Cuddles proves that. Having my HP back up Jack helps me understand that this wasn’t just some silly whim of mine – this is predestined for a (supposedly) good reason. Once I’m in something, I stay (probably too long for my own good) but until I’m actually in, I’m more than willing to quietly walk away. My HP let me know that that option wasn’t open to me right now.

However, my HP also told me to follow things through with my ex, and you know how that turned out. Again, at face value, it seems like my HP might just be a petulant teenager with a joystick, just out to see how messed up he can make my life. But, maybe I needed to spend that time with my ex so I can learn what I don’t want. Or to give me a strength that I didn’t have. Or any other lessons I may have unknowingly learned while I was with him.

So, I guess I just have to have faith once again. Maybe I will learn something about myself. Or about men. Maybe I will gain a self-assurance that I don’t have. Heck, I really don’t know why I’m supposed to be doing this here and now. Honestly, I’m having fun, so I’m not objecting.

But, there is still a bit of fear there. I guess I just keep walking the path to see where it leads. How much can that hurt?

Our First Weekend

I finally did it. I spent the night with Jack. Actually, I spent a couple of nights with him. It worked out really well that it was a long weekend, so we were able to spend lots of time together. It also worked out well that his roommate wasn’t there for the first night so we had that night and most of the next day just to ourselves.

The first evening, he took me to an evening Christmas parade in a nearby town. Really the only word to describe it was “cheesetastic”. It had a drumline whose beats were recorded and piped through the loud speakers, dancers with choreography circa 1985 and outfits that I’m sure were featured on Saturday Night Fever, and the color guard were twirling their flags, looking like they could do it in their sleep. There were floats, stilt walkers, roller skaters and the magic of falling snow in a snowless place. Had it not been so well rehearsed, it would have been mayhem. And they had a really good Santa. It was kind of amazing.

Afterwards, we traipsed through the nearby malls and enjoyed each other’s company. The malls were all decked out for Christmas – beautifully decorated trees, lights, and Santa with his sleigh and reindeer flying motionlessly overhead in the mall. A pianist was playing soft Christmas tunes that carried on the coffee-scented air. We shared opinions, laughed, and got to know each other better. I even sat in a Tesla (inside the mall!)

As expected, I barely slept the first night. My first night with a man is always spent with me thinking through most of it. I did get a little sleep, though. Thank heavens I wasn’t cranky the next day, so I must have gotten enough (at least, I don’t think I was cranky?)

In the morning, he took me to this great diner for brunch. How can you beat pumpkin pancakes, amIright? It turns out that it was right up the street from where The Chicken Place used to be. I guess I had to see it with my own eyes. Sick and twisted, right? The place that had been a warm and cheery family tradition with individual specialty shops, reindeer, roasted chestnuts, and Mrs. Claus for years was now an empty grounds with bulldozers, contractors’ trailers, and an industrial chain link fence. I guess it kinda gave me closure.

That evening, he took me to the Seattle Center to enjoy the Christmas decorations there. They had this wonderful train set set up in The Armory (what used to be called the Center House.) After walking around it, we found out that children were allowed to control the train. How cool is that?! There were flocked trees and colorful wreaths decorating the entire space.

Delicate Christmas lights adorned the trees along our walks to and from The Armory. There was a street musician with an electric violin who was accompanied by the music he played on his sound system. He was really good. At first, I thought it was music coming from the nearby concert hall. As we passed where The Nutcracker was showing, we looking in to see the lovely decorations. It was a really nice way to spend an evening – walking hand-in-hand, keeping each others’ hands warm against the chilly evening.

His roommate arrived home shortly after we did. Together, the three of us enjoyed a bottle of chocolate wine. Those of you who know me know that I don’t like wine. At all. Blech! This was like chocolate milk. Yes please! I was able to see what Jack is like a little bit tipsy, something I hadn’t seen before. It was kind of fun to see him like that.

The second night I slept! Actually, I’m feeling kinda guilty about it. Keep in mind that I’d had very little sleep the night before, lots of activities over the past couple of days, and I was completely relaxed and comfortable. And maybe a bit more than a glass of wine. He was being totally sweet, telling me about his friends and family and … I fell asleep while he was talking to me (I’m feeling like a huge jerk!)

I’d forgotten how nice it is to wake in the middle of the night with a man’s body pressed against mine. I’d forgotten what it’s like to have a man’s side weighing down on my arm. I’d forgotten what it’s like to wake with an arm draped over me.

It was really nice to be reminded.

In the morning, I stayed way longer than I’d planned. It was just hard to go home, knowing I wasn’t going to see him until this coming Friday.

Eee! Friday! I’m glad this weekend was as mellow as it was! Next weekend is going to be chock-full of fun. I’m so excited!

Winner! 2019

For those of you who aren’t friends with me on Facebook – I did it! I won the NaNoWriMo challenge!

This year was unlike any others. 1) When I started it, I had planned on seeing if I could do it during work hours. That’s not as bad as it sounds. My boss knows that I’m not always busy. He likes me being here, available to him when he needs me, and he’s willing to pay for my time. So, I thought I’d see if I could do NaNo during my down time at work and 2) I had just started a new relationship. You know – that early time when you want to spend every free moment together? Yah – those were spent with me doing NaNo (he was so understanding!)

And then all hell broke loose at work, and I wasn’t able to accomplish my goal in the way I’d wanted.

But I still did it. Yay!

I have to admit – while I did enjoy my victory dance once I had finished my 50,000, the victory wasn’t as sweet for two reasons: 1) I’ve done it before. It’s really no longer a question of whether or not I can do it; we know I can and 2) I didn’t feel as validated. NaNoWriMo updated their website. On the old version, there was a part of the site that validated your word count. If you were short, you didn’t win. This year, that validator isn’t there. All you have to do is go in and say, “Yup – I did 50,000 words” and you’re a winner. It’s kinda lame.

Actually, that’s exactly why I don’t want to self-publish. I want someone (and agent, a publishing house, etc.) to tell me that my work is good. I want that validation. And if it’s not any good, I want the chance to go back in and make it better.

Regardless – I WON! YAY!!

Now back to our regularly scheduled blogs.

Backfired

The other morning, I woke from a nightmare about my dog, who I haven’t seen in months. I miss him terribly, but this is the way it has to be right now.

What did I do? I reached out to my ex, who has my dog. Yes, I know that just because I dream something is wrong with my dog, that doesn’t mean something is actually wrong with him, but for some reason, I really needed the reassurance that he was okay (I’m blaming my wonky hormones!)

My ex sent me a short video of my sweet puppy being derpy. He has always hated his picture taken, and he’s even more uncomfortable with someone videoing him. If I’m FaceTiming him, he’ll fetch a toy and bring it to the phone, but other than that, he’s just uncomfortable when a phone is pointed at him.

It was nice to see him, being his normal awkward self.

I thanked my ex for sending it, hoping that would be the end of it.

It wasn’t. That’s when it went bad.

The next message he sent was meant to be kind, I’m sure. It was meant to remind me of how well he knows me. It might have even been meant to make me miss him.

Yuck!

It backfired monumentally!

  1. His message was controlling. I’m sure it was meant to be supportive or helpful, but he was telling me how I should handle the nightmare. As if he has any say in how I deal with nightmares! Still trying to control me, huh? Even when we’re not together, he still thinks he has the right to control me. He still think he knows better than I do how to handle my own life.
  2. My guess is that he was trying to manipulate me into feeling nostalgic or something for him. When I first told him that I had fallen out of love with him, he didn’t believe me. I mean – how could I not love someone who abused me for five years, right? I wonder if he still believes that I love him. I wonder if he believes that if things don’t work out with Jack, I’ll end up with him (BTW – that’s NEVER going to happen; it took five years, but I finally learned my lesson!)
  3. He tried pointing out how well he knows me. Oh holy god! That was probably the worst thing he could have done! In the time that we’ve been apart, I’ve come to a number of realizations about him and about our relationship. One of the big ones is that he never really knew me. He knew facts about me, but he never really knew me through and through. He never understood me. He never knew my true feelings because he didn’t want to know. The “me” that he knew was someone that he had constructed to support who he believed himself to be, someone to allow him to maintain his self-delusions. That wasn’t me. It never will be. He could never make me truly happy because he didn’t know what made me truly sad. He knew the 2-D version of me, but he never really saw the third dimension.

Ugh! It sucks that he has my dog. Otherwise, no communication would be my choice. He just gets me so riled up!

Until There’s a Man

I’m a wee bit steamed today. Actually, maybe a bit more than wee.

Two men – TWO – have recently done the same thing to me, and it’s kind of torquing me off. Seriously!

Do you remember Mr. Driver? For a while, he and I thought we might end up together. Except for his impossible schedule, we were a great fit. And then I met Mr. Camper. And Mr. Driver got married.

No biggie.

Except for the fact that Mr. Driver’s marriage is… less than happy. His wife isn’t performing her wifely duties. Like – ever. I’ve heard of women doing that after they’re legally married, and I think it’s despicable. I can verify that it has nothing to do with Mr. Driver’s prowess.

What does he do? He reaches out to me. For pity? No, he reaches out to me to be The Other Woman.

That in and of itself is offensive enough. The thing is, he backed off when he found out I was still with Mr. Camper. He kept reaching out to me, on and off, to find out if I was still in that relationship.

As if my answer would change just because I didn’t have a man in my life? No… I will never be The Other Woman, no matter how long I’ve been single.

I guess me saying, “I don’t want to be your mistress,” isn’t good enough. He only backs off when I say that I’m in a relationship. He reached out to me again, just the other day. I told him that he needs to fix his marriage and that I will have no part of it. He kept persisting… until I told him that I’m in relationship, at which point he backed off.

Why can’t “no” be good enough? Why does another man have to be in the picture for a man to respect that I’m not interested?

The thing is – another man did EXACTLY the same thing to me the next day! A man reached out to me, wanting to meet me. I had previously told him that I wasn’t interested (again, it was a scheduling problem.) His schedule hasn’t changed, but he reached out to me, wanting to meet me. I reminded him that I had already told him I wasn’t interested. He kept pushing, so I told him about Jack, at which point he immediately backed off.

What. The. Actual. Crap?!

Why do men do that? It’s behavior like that which prompted me to buy a ring for my left ring finger for when I go out. They see that, and they leave me alone. It’s not good enough for me to say, “No thank you.” My rejection isn’t valid until there’s a man in my life.

Men suck! Seriously!

Thanksgiving 2019

Oops! I just realized that I didn’t have a blog to post for today, so I’m scribbling one down super quick.

Although, it seems kinda silly. I have so very few readers on the days when I don’t post them on Facebook, and this won’t be posted on there, so there will only be a few of you reading this. Actually, you’ll have the next few blogs all to yourself – all the way until Monday!

Honestly – I love knowing that you read this. I’m glad you care. Today, I’m thankful for you, Dear Reader.

The really sad thing about today is that I’ll be missing so many of my loved ones. This Thanksgiving is going to be so very quiet, that I’m kinda not totally excited about it.

I guess I’ll just hold on until Christmas. It should be one of the biggest ones ever, and I’m totally stoked about it! I mentioned it last night, and Mother burst my bubble by reminding me that the weather might prohibit some of my loved ones from making it.

NOOOOOO!!!

By my feelings about all of this, I’m beginning to think that I need to make a more concerted effort to see my family more regularly. I think it’s just tough around Thanksgiving, because I haven’t seen a lot of them since Spring, so that’s a long time to do without your family.

Maybe I need to re-think the tiny house idea. Maybe I need a larger house where I can host mid-year family get togethers!

Dear Reader, I want to wish you a very happy Thanksgiving, and I hope you have your favorite people with you today. Thank you for checking in on me!

Make or Break

I had an interesting question pop into my head the other day: What makes a successful relationship? Are there certain elements that a couple needs in order to “make it”?

I posed the question to my mother, and she said that both of the people need to care about the relationship more than themselves. Huh. That was an interesting take on it. It makes perfect sense, but I don’t think it’s necessarily true. I know of one couple where the husband is a narcissist. He doesn’t care about anyone or anything as much as he cares about himself. And yet their marriage has endured. Why? Because his wife drugs herself into oblivion so she no longer cares how he treats her.

So, while my mom might be right in theory, it isn’t necessarily always true.

There are a number of studies which say that you need to be best friends with your partner in order for the relationship to work. Unfortunately, I have no knowledge in this area because I never was truly friends with my exes. I thought I was, but as I look back at it now, I realize that we weren’t really friends; I didn’t feel safe enough with them to be truly vulnerable. Is that the piece that was missing in my previous relationships? True friendship? An equal friendship where both partners were supported, respected, and admired?

I’ve read other articles which say that you have to have certain moral standards which are in alignment with each other. I’m sure that helps, too.

And then another question popped into my head. What if both of the people were just determined? What if they believed that a healthy, long lasting relationship was based solely on the commitment they each had for the other one and their relationship? Could you take two people who were seriously committed to making a relationship work, throw them together, and they could make it work?

The show “Married at First Sight” is proof that that isn’t the truth, even with professionals trying to make good matches. Although, that might not be fair. Maybe those people weren’t committed enough to the process?

So, what is it? Maybe a combination of the two? Maybe if you take two people who care about the relationship more than themselves and have a complete committment to making it work, maybe they would work?

While trying to find an article that I had previously read, I bumped into this one: Characteristics of Happy Couples. It seemed thorough. Here are the bullet points:

1. They genuinely like and respect each other.

2. They see the best in each other.

3. Happy couples have sex that isn’t goal-oriented.

4. Happy couples tend to be more nonsexually physically affectionate.

5. They are sincerely interested in what is going on in each other’s lives.

6. They make each other feel appreciated.

7. Happy couples communicate effectively.

8. Truly happy couples are committed to each other.

9. They want to spend time together, but they don’t have to be attached at the hip.

10. They don’t try to change each other.

11. They trust each other, which helps them avoid fear and anxiety.

12. They make each other feel accepted.

I like these. I think they make a lot of sense and seem to be something worth reaching for.

Obviously, no article is going to have all of the answers. I have friends who’ve been married years and even decades. I’m so curious what their trick is. Dear Reader – I’d love to know what has worked for you!

Necklace

Remember the other day when I told you the story about the lady on the dock who showed me a picture of a friend’s son? And how completely awkward I was?

Apparently, she’s over it. I showed her the dress that I bought for Jack’s upcoming work Christmas party, and she told me that she had a necklace that would go perfectly with it. This morning, she brought it in for me.

Wasn’t that sweet of her? My guess is she didn’t even remember me being a total clod; that was all me, being too hard on myself.

It got me to thinking – I really do judge myself so very much.

I saw something on Facebook which is kind of along the same lines.

I felt really sad for the friend who had re-posted it. How awful to believe that of yourself! I’m guessing that none of her friends feel that way about her. But, based on her posts, I have no doubt that she believes that of herself.

I’ve thought something very similar of myself at parties. I’ve always believed that I was the only one who felt uncomfortable or like I didn’t fit in. As I’ve learned about the prevalence of introversion, I’ve realized that I probably wasn’t the only one feeling that way. I wasn’t alone in feeling so out of place. That knowledge has given me a sense of peace.

At work, I still feel like I don’t know what I’m doing. I mean, I have no experience or training, but, I seem to keep impressing my boss. If I step back and look at it, I’m doing some fairly impressive things – all of which I’ve figured out on my own. My boss likes to brag that I’m “self-taught.”

Truthfully, I keep surprising myself, as well. My boss wanted to start a new business, so he asked me to do it for him.

And I’ve been able to do it! I’ve only needed him for a few small bits of it. (There’s a LOT involved with starting a new business!)

Today, he mentioned letting me work from home. And making me salaried. And giving me benefits. I’m not holding my breath on any of it, but it’s fun to think about. So, at least I know that he appreciates me and has faith in me (he’s always told me that he trusts me completely and believes in me more than I believe in myself.)

I’m not the kind of person who is used to or expects a lot of praise. Somehow, it seems to help bolster my self-confidence when I do get it. Maybe I should let go of some of my self-doubts and start believing in myself more.

Huh.