Friday, January 27, 2017

When Push Comes to Shove

My ex-husband moved out in November 2009. I was officially divorced in August, 2010. Since then, I have dipped my foot in the dating pool a few times. Most of the guys I've met have been nice, but we simply didn't hit it off. And by "we didn't hit it off", I mean, they ran screaming from our dates because basically I'm just a nervous idiot who blurts out phrases like "explosive diarrhea" as if I have tourette's when meeting people for the first time. Or maybe they thought I looked too much like a wildebeest. I'm certain that several of them just thought my butt was too big. Perhaps a couple of them realized I have issues that simply cannot be solved without thousands of dollars of therapy. A few of them didn't even make it to that first date, deciding I was definitely not what they were looking for and canceling before ever seeing me in person. (Hmmm, maybe I should be writing under a pseudonym so potential dates can't read about all the crazy that goes on in my head before I've had the chance to convince them that I'm pretty awesome despite the crazy . . .) Whatever the reason, most of my dates have not moved beyond the initial meeting. Shocking, I know.

But a couple of them have progressed beyond that first awkward meeting. I have dated two men since my divorce who not only loved me, but loved my kids like their own as well. They treated us like royalty. They were faithful and devoted. They went above and beyond what I have ever hoped for in a partner. They were generous and gentlemanly. They knew how to communicate. They put up with my moods which says a LOT about how much they loved me because, let me tell ya, I can be a crazy, irrational psychopath at times

I pushed both of them away. And I convinced myself I had good reasons for doing so.


As I look back at these relationships, I don't know if I'm viewing them through rose colored glasses and conveniently forgetting all the negative aspects, or if I'm far enough removed now that I'm remembering them clearly. It's probably somewhere in the middle, but even if I'm forgetting some of the bad parts, it still leaves the fact that I pushed two good men away, and there's really only one reason, one real reason, why. Because I'm a gutless coward. 

It's easier to push someone away than to take a chance, knowing full-well that if I give away my heart, there's a chance it'll be broken. 

My kids like to push the shopping cart when we go to the store. Whenever I let them, I cringe inwardly as I walk along, anticipating the pain I know I'll feel when they crash the cart into my ankles. I'm positive it's going to happen, it's just a question of when. I try to avoid walking too closely to them. I try to avoid stopping and looking around, fearing that they'll keep going and steamroll into my unsuspecting legs. But most of the time, I won't let them touch the cart at all in an effort to avoid bruised and bloody ankles entirely.

I like to avoid pain.

Unfortunately, when I find a good man who loves me, my heart and mind engage in a never-ending battle that inevitably leaves me heartbroken and alone. And by doing this, I don't even avoid the pain. I only avoid the not knowing when it's going to happen by preemptively ending it. Now I'm sitting here wondering how this self-inflicted pain is any better than pain that may or may not come at the hands of someone who holds my heart. The answer is - it isn't any better. In fact, it sucks. Especially when those men move on with their lives and find loving partners and I'm left thinking, That could've been me. I could've been the one.

Then I say, "Look! See? They left! I told you they would." I justify my actions with the fact that they didn't stay and fight for me, so "clearly I wasn't all that important to them and they were probably going to leave on their own anyway" easily forgetting that they wouldn't have left had I not shoved them away. It's a self-fulfilling prophecy that causes nothing but heartache for everyone involved. I perpetuate the cycle even though I know damn well that someone would have to be more crazy than I am to stick around when I was so determined to run away.

So, what have we learned here, class? 

1.  The first step is admitting you're a lunatic. (The second step should probably be trying to repair that lunacy instead of blogging about it for the world to know about said lunacy.)

2.  I know there are good guys out there. My past two relationships have set the bar so high that all but the most amazing of men will fall short of being good enough for me, and I think that's a good thing.

3.  Pushing away people who care is crazy. It doesn't eliminate pain, and being left alone while they move on sucks.

4.  I'm probably a good candidate for shock therapy. Maybe a lobotomy. Do they still do those?

5.  If I'm ever so lucky as to get a third chance, I will not push a good man away. I will hang on like a barnacle. Or maybe not. Doing that is probably a guarantee that they'll leave. I'll hang on just as much as isn't creepy.

6.  And finally, I'm still not letting my kids push the shopping cart. If you've ever been hit in the ankles, you know, you know.






Friday, January 13, 2017

Why I Can't Date

Now and then I get this urge to join an online dating site. After listening to friends' success stories, I take the plunge and sign up. After a couple days I remember why I hate online dating. After a month, I lose all faith in humanity and I close my account for a year. When my short-term memory fails me, I sign up again and the cycle repeats.

I signed up last week. I'll spare you the details of the messages I've received. For now. But I will tell you about my first time agreeing to meet someone for coffee.

We met at a coffee shop near me. As we ordered our drinks, I struck up a conversation with a random girl sitting at the counter instead of talking to him because I was ridiculously nervous for some reason and instead of acting like a normal adult and just talking to him, I suddenly got really interested in the Flat Stanley this girl was holding. I ordered coconut coffee, but the woman at the coffee shop made me some sort of frozen, blended drink. I just took it because that's what I do. I don't complain. I didn't want to make her feel bad that she made a mistake so I drank what was basically a milkshake. Although, come to think of it, maybe that's a good thing because I was able to drink out of a straw instead of a cup since we all know that I would have ended up spilling down my front. Because I'm classy like that.

So we sat and talked and laughed. He's smart and well-educated and funny, and he's from Chicago so there was no problem finding things to talk about. Or at least there shouldn't have been a shortage of things to talk about. There should have been plenty of appropriate topics to discuss. But when he mentioned my blog, for some unknown reason I felt the need to admit that I had blogged about my colonoscopy. The phrase "explosive diarrhea" left my lips. Do you ever have a moment when you think to yourself, What the crap did I just say??? Oh dear Lord, what is wrong with me??? This was one of those moments. And when I say something stupid, I never, ever stop talking. No, I continue blabbering just to a make the whole situation a little worse. I'm pretty sure the filter between my brain and my mouth is broken. It's the only feasible explanation I can come up with.










I purposely averted my eyes from the horrified expression on his face and concentrated on the positives. He didn't want to make a suit of my skin so there's that.











The coffee shop is located in our cute downtown area and after a while he suggested we walk around which would have been great except that I was wearing these stupid shoes with stupid heels that I haven't worn in probably 8 years. Note to self: when you haven't worn shoes in nearly a decade there's a reason for it. It's because the shoes suck. Throw them away! And to answer your inevitable question - I have NO idea why I was wearing them! I have 15 other pairs of black shoes I could've worn. These aren't even cute so it's not like I was enduring pain for fashion! I really wonder about myself sometimes.

So anyway, although I wanted to walk, I didn't want to walk in these shoes. In the end, I hobbled along beside the guy who is like a foot taller than me. I'm not sure if he noticed I was walking like I had a leg injury, or not. Since he doesn't know me, he probably just thinks I'm a very slow walker.

After a short walk, I suggested we sit by these fountains where I immediately pulled my shoes off because that's what crazy people do on a first date - they take off their shoes. Remember the part where I said I hadn't worn these shoes in many years? Yeah, well, apparently the interior of said shoes had disintegrated, so when I slipped them off, my feet were covered in all this weird, black crap. Excellent. Did I put my shoes back on like a sane person? Oh no. No, I did not. I walked over to the fountains, thinking I would wash off the black crap in the water. When I stepped in the fountain I got sprayed with water because, duh, that's what fountains do! And the weird, black crap didn't even wash off! So, my next brilliant thought was - I'll rub my feet along the grass! Yeah, that'll do the trick! So I walked in a patch of grass, dragging the tops of my feet along the surface, trying to wipe off the errant shoe lining that I was beginning to fear had become permanently fused to my toes. Only the black stuff didn't get wiped off, and now my feet are covered in weird, black crap, water, sand, dirt, and a stray blade of grass or two. 

Let's recap, shall we? I have proven that I don't know how to walk. I'm covered in weird, black crap, sand, and dirt, and my pants are dripping wet. And then it got even better.

So this man shows me a picture on his phone to go along with a story he was telling. I decide to show him a picture that lives on my Facebook page, only instead of searching my albums on Facebook, I accidentally brought up the camera roll on my phone. The camera roll where there are 3-4 pictures of this guy that I stole from his Facebook page when I stalked him. I had sent them to my friend with the instructions, "This is the guy I'm meeting. If I don't show up for work tomorrow, have the police start here." Unfortunately, I forgot to delete them after showing my friend. So now I not only look like a complete spaz because of the shoe incident, but also a creeper. And then it got even better.

I saw a kid ride by on a longboard. Wait what? That's MY kid riding by on his longboard! My kids were at cheer practice a couple blocks away and I guess the girls ran out of water so Clay, being the little gentleman he is, rode to the gas station in town to buy them a couple bottles of water. I didn't want Clay to see me. I mean, my kids knew I was meeting someone for coffee, and they're cool with me dating, but I don't need to be introducing them to anyone when I'm meeting them for the first time! So, I sort of did this turn away and duck like you're being shot at maneuver. I think this is the point that the guy started yawning and looking at his watch.

When we parted ways, he said he wanted to see me again which can only mean that:
A. Clearly, he's deranged.
B. He thought I was mentally unstable and was afraid I might lose it and do something even more stupid if he said he didn't want to see me again.

Today, I'm looking at adopting cats. I'm not cut out for dating. Or apparently leaving my house and/or spending any sort of time in public.

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