Archives for posts with tag: (sur)real life

It is my understanding that skin is the body’s largest organ.

Skin has colour and texture and (I blush) smell and (I blush more) taste. Skin can be a canvas or protection against the world or just plain useful. It reveals something about personal care and your hormones and maybe even your diet.

I don’t think I have any “issues” with skin, I don’t actually think about skin a lot at all. I have calluses on my hands and fingers from rock climbing and I have other calluses on my fingers from playing ukulele. I notice that sometimes I have mysterious bruises that I don’t remember getting. I try to keep my skin clean and I moisturize regularly.

I notice that other people have skin and I’ve been fortunate enough to enjoy the skin texture (and smell and taste) of various lovers – although I never had hang ups about soft skin or not so soft skin or feet that were smooth or feet that were not so smooth (if you’ve ever had a dancer, runner or climber as a lover, you know what I mean), I loved their skin simply because it was their skin.

I don’t have issues with my skin or anyone’s skin.

Thing is though.

I think my skin has an issue with me, with my emotions.

When I’m sad or upset or stressed, my skin freaks out. It peels, it breaks out in hives, it burns and itches.

I think of my skin as a “distant early warning system”. Often, my skin knows, before I do that something is wrong. For example, it was only after two weeks of breaking out in spontaneous hives that I realized how sad and angry I was with my ex.

I woke up on Monday morning and I couldn’t fully open my left eye! It was shut from dry skin! I examined it a bit and realized – the look, the feeling of a million little needles piercing my skin and yep, you got it, eczema flare up – all around my left eye. Right eyebrow too. Totally gross.

But it wasn’t the grossness of it, it wasn’t even the pain, it was knowing that I couldn’t drive like that! I babied it all day with corticosteroids and it was pretty much settled down by about 8pm. Missed ukulele jam night and everything. Lucky for me, some make-up tricks Tuesday morning and I didn’t even look that gross when I went back to work.

Skin is a funny thing.

Ok, so, online dating is all well and good, but the “dating” part only comes into play when you actually meet the person in real life – if you don’t actually meet, you aren’t “dating”, you are pen pals. I like pen pals, but if I wanted a pen pal, I’d join a site to find  pen pal, not to date.

As I said in my previous post, I accepted a date for Friday night. He choose a restaurant about halfway between us and when I looked it up I saw it was an “upscale Italian restaurant”. Ok, nice, must remember to tidy up and look good.

He needed to push back the time, which I agreed to – real life, sometimes scheduling is a delicate negotiation.

The big day – Friday was here. Raced home after work, had a snack, washed my face, put on fresh make-up, fluffed my hair up (big hair is The Best!), put on my dress and sweater and jewelery. Looked in the mirror. Well, it will just have to do. For better or worse, this is what I look like and there is no changing it.

Left in plenty of time, because I’m going to get lost and who knows what traffic is doing. Manage to get there without mishap, but can’t find parking, so drive right past the place, take a right and hope that I’ll be able to find my way back to the main street where the restaurant is. My phone GPS is strangely quiet, usually she tries to help me, but she said nothing.

Figured out parking is in the back, so take a hard left and pray that I’m not about to kill someone. Find a spot and all I can think is the parking is really, really dark. Not happy about that, I’m meeting a stranger, so have to remember to play this safe.

Check the phone and see he has texted me. He got caught speeding and will be a bit late, he apologizes and suggests I have a drink in the bar and relax.

Ok. I text back to confirm and say that things happen. I am pretty picky about being on time, but if you are going to let me know you are about to be late before our meeting time, I’m good with that.

Red flag: I know the highway he was on, I’ve sped on it before and not gotten caught. How fast was he going to get a ticket?

Leave the car and walk to the restaurant. Hang up my coat at the staff’s welcome suggestion and get a glass of prossecco. Chat with the staff – what I’m doing there (oohs and ahhs that is a first date) and the weather and stuff and nonsense. They are very kind and keep me occupied while I wait.

He arrives and I am –

Shallow.

After all my whining and complaining about not wanting to judge people on how they look, I have to tell you I do my best not to judge people based on their appearance. I do, however, have a few important caveats on this – someone must look like their profile picture (my profile picture looks like me, I expect their profile picture to look like them), if someone says they “work out”, “keep physically fit” or “go to the gym” then I expect them to be fit and healthy-looking and the most important, they must look as my dad. My dad is 72 and plays soccer at least 3 times a week.

So when he walked in and was none of these things, I was a bit confused.

But, our phone conversations were good so I greeted him warmly and we went to get a table.

The waitress offered us the choice of two tables – one by the window and the other at the back of the restaurant. I asked if it is was chilly by the window and she said “No, it is fine.” So I turned to him and said “How about by the window?” He agreed and when we got to the table he said “Oh, no, it is cold, lets sit at the back, it will be quieter anyway.” The waitress agreed.

Red flag: He didn’t ask me if I was ok with switching tables.

Waitress sets us up at the table, it is very nice. And asks about drinks, I say water and confirm that tap is great. He asks about San Pellegrino and orders a large bottle, for himself.

We get the menus and start chatting.

He decides that he will have “something light”. When asked I say probably the salmon, but I want to check with the waitress first. She comes back, shares the specials and I ask her about creme brulee – ‘cuz if if on the menu, I’m getting it! It is peach, so my end game is ready.

I’m going to have the salmon and at this point I’m hungry so I’m going to get a salad as well.

He looks at the salmon and decides he is going to get it as well.

Waitress comes back and we order – salad, salmon and creme brulee for me, for him salmon – only could he not have the sauce it comes with? The waitress agrees to tell the kitchen. Oh, and could he have something other than potatoes? She suggests risotto. He comments he has never had it before. She asks about crostini for the table and he says “I don’t know what that is.”, she explains and he agrees.  Waitress returns a moment later and gives him the choice of two risottos, he chooses the sweet pea one.

I have this moment, while I’m listening to him make these changes where I think “Oh! This guy is Meg Ryan from ‘When Harry Met Sally’. High maintenance. Yikes.”

Red flag: Ordering off-menu isn’t cool.

Caveat: Unless you have dietary restrictions and it is relatively easy to modify. Example, if there is something I really want and it has bacon on it I ask if the bacon can be removed or on the side, but that is far as it goes. No changing sauces or sides. Usually I try to order something that doesn’t need any modification.

So we settle into the conversation.

He asks me, very bluntly about being Buddhist.

When did asking someone in detail about their belief system become cool on a first date?

I talk about it as much I’m comfortable, I’m pretty comfortable, but I’m rather a private person. I like to share things with people who are looking or questioning or interested, but I don’t like explaining my journey unless you are asking in context.

He tells me, in detail about his day and meetings and what it is he is currently working on. Sounds interesting, but so much detail!

We continue talking, my salad and the crostini arrive, we eat. We talk and then he asks me if I’ve been on many dates since joining eHarmony, I remind him that I’ve only been on since late January so, no I haven’t. He said he has been on about 6. He then wants to tell me about a the first one where something funny happened and he would be interested in hearing my opinion.

Food arrives and he tells me:

“I was out with this woman for dinner and we were going to go for a walk and she was wearing shoes and brought boots and she took the boots out and I said ‘Those are sexy boots.’ and she said ‘Don’t use that word with me.'” and he asked me “Do you think I used the wrong word or was she being oversensitive? She seemed really offended.”

I sighed and said “I think she overreacted and I think you shouldn’t have said that. You were on a first date with her, you don’t know her or what her triggers and tolerances are, using a word like ‘sexy’ is very loaded to some people.”

He offered that perhaps I wouldn’t have been offended if he had said that to me, I returned “I would have tried to look at the context and tried to see what it was that you were trying to say. I wouldn’t have snapped, but I would have uncomfortable.”

Then, I went on, which I probably shouldn’t have done and recounted one of our text exchanges “We were talking about punk rock and you said you didn’t like it because there was a word you couldn’t find. I offered you some words: rebellious, anti establishment, loud, angry etc. And you texted back “Kinky”. When I go that text, I was a bit shocked because that is a loaded word and we were talking about music.”

He jumped in, “But I googled ‘kinky’ and it said all those words that you were using, so I decided to share it with you.”

I said “I realize that, I tried to take it context, it was still a loaded word to send a stranger, not knowing my tolerances, not knowing me and talking about music.”

We went on and at one point he said “This is good for me, this is great coaching, I really appreciate the feed back.”

I concluded “In this time and place, a woman could be and should be sexy, but you aren’t allowed to comment on it, nor should you. Maybe she also overreacted, but you can’t say these things to women you don’t know.”

I thought it was closed, he asked for my opinion and I gave it. Topic closed.

We moved onto another topic and he suddenly said “But don’t you think he really overreacted.” I said “You really want to keep talking about this?”

Dessert menu, then dessert came. He got a couple of bites in and then flagged the waitress and asked for a glass of milk to have with his dessert. He said “So where does milk fit into being Buddhist and not eating mammals?” I explain that I don’t drink milk because I dislike but currently am eating dairy and it has nothing to do with being Buddhist or not eating mammals, I just don’t like milk.

He says that he likes having milk with dessert or something chocolate as it makes him “feel like a little kid”.

Red flag: Gross. He just referred to liking feeling like a little kid on a date. Ew.

We are done.

He pays the bill. I grab my purse but don’t offer to split, bad me but I know there isn’t going to be another date and he asked and chose the venue, this is his to pay.

He pays in cash and we wait, awkwardly for the waitress to get the cheque and then bring change.

We leave the table, get my coat, he helps me on with my coat – very nice! – and then we walk in the direction of our cars. I request that he leave me at the corner to where my car it, thank him and we part ways.

Get to my car, get in, lock the doors start the car, text a friend so she knows I am on my way home. Text her again when I’m home.

I call him Saturday morning to say thank you and that he is not for me. He agreed and said that I really seemed to get worked up about the topic of using certain words and couldn’t let it go. Actually, I just said to him “You aren’t for me.” while he started to give me a list of my behaviour. Seriously, when you are interested you don’t have to tell someone about their bad behaviour, just say “Not interested.” it is so much kinder.

Adventures in dating.

 

 

Confession time: I’m online dating and dating in real life. The human heart is capable of many emotions at once – it is…ambivalent. So, although broken, it is open and ready to give and receive love. I recognize the juxtaposition of these conflicting states of the heart. I figure my heart and I will learn to live with the paradox.

My first phone calls (3 with the same person) with one of my “matches” went really well – he is far more laid back than his written message imply. We have a date on Friday night, dinner halfway between us at an “upscale Italian restaurant”, so I guess I have to put some effort in to looking good. Blerg.

My first meeting with another one of my “matches” went well too.

I told my brother about it last night: It was going really well, we were talking and walking and he suddenly looked at me and looked a bit stunned and he said “Oh wow, you have beautiful eyes.”

My brother said: Oh, I bet you hated that.

Me: It is the worst. I don’t have the ability to be gracious about it anymore.

My brother: Yeah, it isn’t like you haven’t heard that every day of your life.

Me: Yeah, it isn’t new or interesting. And I just kind of deflate when someone says it like it supposed to be new to me and I’m supposed to be flattered.

My brother: No, I get it, one thing you’ve every day of your life and – ]

Me: Boring. I know already. Tell me something new. A guy is like “you have beautiful eyes” or some variation and I’m like, “yes, I know, thanks for noticing”. So I said to him “Yes, I know thank you.”

My brother: Haha. Oh well, he just met you.

Same guy, as we were sitting having a cinnamon bun and a beverage, suddenly said “Oh wow, your hair is amazing, I just really want to touch it!” My response was “Please don’t touch my hair. Seriously do not touch it.”

Then he said “Oh wow, I wish I could just bundle you up and take you home with me.” I startled and he looked at me and said “Sorry that was bit creepy. I mean, you are so lovely that I’d like to spend more time with you.”

I told a friend about the “you have beautiful eyes” comment and she said “no one has ever told me that I have beautiful eyes” and I had to explain that most men who ask me out say it is because of my eyes.

And I’m not ungrateful. I am very lucky that I have eyes that see and that people find attractive enough to want to be around. I am lucky that when people ask me out that one of the things they want is my eyes on them – they want my gaze focused on them. I’m lucky that the way I look appeals to people and they find me attractive enough to want to be around and feel good to be seen with me.

But.

Am I the only one who laments that the physical is sometimes distracting? The physical says nothing about the personality or character of a person. I get that people judge you first on how you look, but about those second and third and 48th judgments? I do the best with what I have inherited from my parents, I try to live within my body in a way that expresses my character and makes me feel secure and safe and comfortable. For me, there is always a moment of let down when I meet someone in person after emailing them or talking with them on the phone – they get distracted, suddenly they don’t want to talk about ideas, they want to talk about how I look.

They want to touch me.

I feel ungrateful.

I just.

Sometimes I want to leave my physical expression behind, I want to shed my skin, where I intersect with the world, take it off and walk away. I want to be pure energy. I will be a beam of light made up of only of my character and ideas. I will speak to people telepathically, my laughter will sound like water over pebbles. I won’t have eyes or hair or skin or lips or anything – just light.

I want someone to see me clearly. Without getting distracted by the physical me. Get to know me inside out.

This recent upset, break-up, ending of a romantic relationship has made me take a hard look at some of the things I say and do – re-evaluating of the person narrative. I think I’ve written about how I’ve been bingeing on articles about surviving a broken heart but I’ve also been reading articles about how to start dating again and how to deal with depression.

I have /have had issues with depression. I’ve been medicated for depression. I’ve seen a counsellor and psychiatrist/psychologist for depression, the psychologist while I was on the meds. The meds were in the SSRI (Selective Serotonin Re-uptake Inhibitor) family and were, as my doctor put it “A band aid, the lowest dose possible, this is what I prescribe little grannies who are feeling blue.” My doctor, partner and I all agreed at the time that if I was going to take meds it would be in conjunction with seeing a psychiatrist or psychologist or counsellor to monitor and assist me get back into healthier ways of thinking. My partner and I both had/have degrees in psychology so it was easy, we were on the same page about me getting healthy. The meds would help, but we never considered them a long-term solution, I didn’t want to take them for the rest of my life. I owe my partner at the time full credit for helping me make such a sane decision – it changed my life.

Today I read this article: “Why I Don’t Like the Term Mental Illness” and I’m really impressed. I like how the article talks about there being no evidence for depression having a genetic basis or it being linked to any structure of the brain. The author talked a lot about the difference between the mind and the brain – on being a concept we use to explain our thoughts and process and the other being a physical structure.

A friend of mine recently asked what I do to manage my depression. And I didn’t have a good answer. What I know is that the support I received from the psychologist helped me re-align my thoughts and replace unhealthy thoughts with healthy thoughts. She helped me become stronger and built up my resiliency. And I tell you, even today I use a lot of things she taught me and remember the things she helped me discover about myself. When things aren’t going well I ask myself “What am I doing?” and then I follow-up and ask “And how is that working for me?” If it isn’t working, I change what I’m doing and thinking.

Powerful stuff.

I have to tell you, when I talk about my depression and how I got to great lengths to manage it, I’m not managing my brain, I’m managing my mind – thoughts and thought processes – I’m correcting my thoughts constantly and retraining my brain to think in healthy ways. I know that my thoughts work best when I’m rested, so I get 8 hours of sleep a night (or thereabouts), I know my thoughts are healthier when I get up early and go to sleep early, so bedtime is 10pm and wake-up time is 6am. I know my thoughts are healthiest when I don’t eat a lot of junk food or drink a lot of alcohol. I know my thoughts are healthiest when I have balance between spending time alone and with people, spending time at home and spending time out, so all of that gets managed and I keep track constantly of how I’m thinking and what I’m thinking.

And I rely and lean heavily on my support system. When things go off for me, I take a step back and think it through. If I doubt myself I ask for varying opinions, often I get dissenting ones but that helps me through too. From there I ask more questions and then, if it involves another person, I ask for clarification. I never assume I know the answer and try to be sane about what I think is really going on. I try to assume the best about a person and not the worst.

Getting back to the break-up, this is the reason that I was so concerned about him going off his antidepressants – he had nothing in place to help with his thoughts and feelings. He was relying on meds alone and the belief that our relationship was the source of happiness. His thoughts may have been as ill and pervasive as they were when he was on his meds. I didn’t really know him or his thoughts that well, but the glimpses that I had, the things he sometimes said to me, there were some errors in logic happening there. Without help and guidance in correcting our thoughts, finding clarity, they remain foggy and we can’t see the way clear.

I really enjoyed this article because it enforces the experience I have had with depression and my choices and ongoing commitment to myself to live without taking meds for my depression. I regard my depression as “illness” as maybe the author does not, but I regard it more as an “illness of logic”, as if logic can be thought to be ill or diseased and not just incorrect or fallacious. I tell myself every day, many times during the day that I am stronger than the chemicals in my brain, that I am stronger than my depression and my logic sounder and more reliant than my feelings, which are sometimes out of control. I tell myself that those feelings are mine to control and any actions I take I claim full responsibility over – depression is not an excuse, it is my dragon to wrestle with.

He never bought me flowers. Not even after a fight, because we never fought, not even at the end. At the end it was just, The End. By text. I never bought him flowers either. On our second date he picked a flower from a pot on the sidewalk and gave it to me, I thought that was very romantic.

We never learned Japanese together. We talked about it. I bought us both copies of “Japanese for Busy People” and I brought my copy with me to his house every week-end but we never so much as cracked them open.

We never swam in his pool together. We met in September and the weather wasn’t warm enough to swim and it just got colder from there. Same for hanging out by his koi pond.

We didn’t go for long walks on the beach. We walked along the beach near my home once. It wasn’t long.

We didn’t get arrested together for anything. Lacking of trying, probably.

I never met any of his friends – time together was hard to find and we kept being “selfish”, we wanted private time together, together alone. I was supposed to meet some of his friends the next week-end, but he broke with me instead. Never watched one of his hockey games.

We traded books, but neither of us finished any of them before he ended things.

We didn’t cross any time zones together or go through customs together or get on a plane or a boat. We never picked each other up at the airport.

He didn’t spend Christmas with my family and we never kissed at midnight on New Year’s Eve. We didn’t listen to Alan Maitland’s reading of “The Shepherd” on CBC on Christmas Eve together.

We didn’t blow bubbles for his cats to chase.

I never made him a birthday cake or planned a surprise party with all his friends.

He never held me when I awoke crying in the middle of the night.

He never checked the closet or under the bed for monsters.

He didn’t help me hang pictures on my parents’ walls.

He never met my parents.

We never attended a party together, never dressed up and took a picture of ourselves to see how good we looked together.

I don’t have any pictures of him.

We didn’t have a song, or a regular place we always went and ordered the same thing.

He never tried rock climbing. I never tried scuba diving.

We never drank my favourite beer that he was aging for us for one year. The beer we planned to drink in October 2015 and compare the aged beer with the new stuff. (He still has 6 of my bottles!)

I never told him about the first time I had sex.

I never told him about the worst meal I ever had.

Or the best.

We never assembled Ikea furniture together.

We never prepared cinnamon infused duck breast with butternut squash ravioli.

We never hosted a summer BBQ and pool party at his place.

We never argued about his son getting a job and going to post-secondary education.

He wasn’t the one I turned to when I needed help or support. I felt I didn’t know him well enough yet. I was still learning him, finding out if I could rely on him, finding out if he was strong where I am where I am weak. My support system is strong, I wasn’t ready to add him to it.

I didn’t leave stuff at his place, intentionally. Didn’t have a drawer and didn’t leave a toothbrush or body wash there. He only visited my home twice, only stayed the night once. We had sex in his car more times than in my bed.

He never came to a ukulele jam night and saw me do a song for open mike. Both of my ukuleles visited him and I practiced them but he never saw me perform. We never performed a duet for open mike at my ukulele jam. He never tried to play ukulele.

We never revisited our feelings or intentions or mutually agreed that we would spend more time together – the shift from spending Saturday afternoon to Sunday to Friday evening to Sunday just happened due to circumstance and scheduling and not an agreement that we were ready to spend more time together.

We didn’t have a conversation and put a plan in place for him to go off his antidepressants. We didn’t agree to back off or slow down or take a break. By the time he told me his intention is was already done. You have to watch the step down off SSRIs – it is a doozy. He took it fast. Did he crash? I don’t know, I’ll never know, we didn’t have that conversation and I wasn’t there for him to ask. They call it a “crash” because it causes damage, sometimes this break. I am the damage? He even said, things were going so well with me that he wanted to feel the full range – the highs – again. He went off his meds, in part, due to his relationship with me. This is irony, right?

We never talked about irony. Never shared incorrect examples about what irony is or isn’t.

What do you do when your favourite memories never happened?

It isn’t about thinking there is something better out there. It isn’t about not being satisfied or being unhappy with the current state of affairs.

It is just.

Sometimes I get.

Itchy.

Restless.

Like. I could go home after work or I could drive all night and day and night and day and drive right out to the ocean. Just ‘cuz my toes suddenly want to get wet. And dipping them in the bathtub won’t do.

The urge to move, to change scenery.

It isn’t about leaving people who I love or finding people to replace them. It isn’t about abandoning my responsibilities or de-attaching from the things I have now. It isn’t about running away from something or running towards something.

It isn’t replacing things.

It isn’t about leaving things behind.

It isn’t about feeling trapped.

It isn’t about needing a break.

It is about roaming and seeing a bit of the world, breathing deeply and shaking things up. Just a bit. It is about running, just for the pleasure of running, going somewhere else for a while just to go and have the pleasure of coming back.

I think some people think when I leave, I mean it and I’m never coming back. It is hard to tell people “No, I just like to roam. I’ll come back, promise, wait for me, I’ll come back.” I think that fear of abandonment runs deep for some people. And that is incompatible with this itchiness, this no-reason restlessness. It is recreational leaving. It is creational leaving. And coming back.

There is a certain amount of doing nothing that I’m good with – repose, at rest – but then I’m done. And it isn’t that I want to leave where I am to leave the people who I love, it is about changing my perspective and coming back refreshed and with something new to stay.

Some people, I guess, want to run, run away. But I like to come back too.

I’ve found friends who understand this – I leave, I return, I come, I go. But how to express this urge to roam to a lover, how to tell them “No, time for me to be alone, I’ll come back, have confidence in me, in us, that I will return. Just stay here and I will bring you treasures and stories from my travels.”

How to tell them “Sometimes, I’m at a party, surrounded by friends and I see an open door and I just..slip through. I will leave you there. You will be surrounded by my friends, maybe my family, probably a whole bunch of people you don’t know and how don’t know you and I will walk away. Don’t worry, I will return to you and I will come back to you. Have a drink in your hand for me.”

“I will find the quietest room in the house, the place where guests aren’t supposed to be and will sit down there, by myself, for a while. I’m not avoiding you or anyone else, I just needed a moment.”

How to explain, “This isn’t about you and your fear of abandonment, this is about me and my need for a little time and space. A different head space in a different geography for just a moment or two.”

So, I say to my future lovers out there, to The Last Great Love of My Life, where ever you may be:

I will roam. And return. To you.

But. I guess I have to find you, first.

In addition to this whole…metamorphosis, I’m still in school!

Yesterday, when I should have been working hard on my group assignment, I was playing my ukulele and singing.

So, sometimes maybe things we love get in the way of what we should be doing?

On the up-side, it appears that I wasn’t the only who got side-tracked by other things, when I finally got on-line I was the first one to make contact and received back other replies noting how people have been out of contact.

After very concentrated time and effort, we are almost there.

Very happy with the effort that everyone, myself included, put in.

There are some details still to be taken care of, but we are so close.

In other news, went out the other night and saw Evil Dead: The Musical on Friday night.

Third time seeing it and first time in the “splatter zone”!

A good time was had by all.

And yes, we were quite “splattered”!

I’m not sure if it is possible to perform open heart surgery on yourself.

Or if it is possible to recalibrate your brain chemistry.

Or if it is possible to heal old wounds.

I don’t really know about the impact time has on these things. I don’t know how much of it is bounded by the constructs of our humanity or how free-will plays into it all.

I know that many, many years ago, when I broke with my ex, I thought I would never write again.

Then I started this blog.

I thought I would never play music again.

Or sing again.

And certainly not in front of other people.

Seven weeks ago my brother walked in to the house, handed me a ukulele and said “Learn to play this. I help host a Ukulele jam every second Monday over at The Stone Cottage. The next one is four days. Learn some chords and see you there.”

So.

I don’t know how things work in your life, but in mine when my older brother tells me do something, I’m rather inclined to do it. He is a big influence on me, I have a great deal of respect and love for him. He has never steered me wrong. And, from conversations with friends who have less than stellar siblings, I am very, very lucky to have him in my life.

I started.

It was horrible.

My fingers hurt. I couldn’t get the fingering right. I couldn’t strum probably and when I showed up at the jam on Monday evening – I was completely lost.

And.

I loved it.

I don’t know what it was or why it was, but I loved it.

I kept trying.

I went out and bought a tuner. And I practiced every night. I found songs I wanted to play, that were way too complicated, but I tried them anyway.

I tried singing

My voice is…rusty and not used to singing any more. I must have hurt my throat a few time struggling for notes.

The last time my brother was over, he asked me “So, I think you should do something for the Open Mike part of the jam. You should be the first.”

I laughed because at that point I knew 3 chords and I could play one consistently. (The one I could play is open strings – C6!) But I heard myself say “Sure. I’ll find something.”

So I listened and looked.

And I found something to play.

I needed to learn and do 5 chords consistently.

I needed to be able to carry a tune, without losing my way.

I needed to learn the words/lyrics.

I started.

I played every night.

I took a cheap ukulele to work so I could practice my chords on the fret board without making noise during lunch hour.

I sang my heart out.

It isn’t perfect, but sometimes you just have to say “Enough. I’m ready, even if the song isn’t.”

So.

Last night I did it.

I got up in front of my peers, the ones who came out to the Monday Night Ukulele jam and I performed my song.

Whoa.

Whoa!

And I know it wasn’t great. After seven weeks, I’m not great, I’m still learning, but, the audience was forgiving and friendly.

And I did something that I was scared to do.

I did something that I didn’t think I would ever do again. Well, I did a few things I thought I would never do again.

And you know, the best part was looking in my brother’s eyes and seeing pride there. It was a great feeling.

It is a remarkable thing to track and observe one’s own changes.

Now that I’m learning to play music again, I’m more relaxed, my heartbeat is slower, I’m smiling more, my walk is looser and slower. My breathes are deeper, my brain is faster and can’t stop hearing music and wants to problem-solve and try, try, try.

And my heart.

Well.

My heart feels.

Better.

It is like. Is it possible for a heart to learn how to beat again? To learn how to fly again?

And what is so funny, so strange about this.  I thought my heart was just fine.

I thought I was happy.

I mean, I’m pretty happy. I smile a lot. I joke, I go out, I have friends, I have things I love to do.

But this.

Having music back. Raising my voice in song.

Well.

It is something completely.

Different.

And I love it.

I got caught up in this whole “how I learned to start worrying and hate online dating”, that I’ve neglected to say anything about all the amazing stuff that has been going on around this place.

The first part of the summer was spent working hard on a school course – trying to what? Better myself? Better my situation? Better get more designations to move up and onto other things?

After that all wrapped up, it was a lot of time out – fondue and beer nights became something of a staple with a dear friend and managed to get out with others for nights away and nights out.

Excellent times – loads of laughter and lots of getting to know new people and connect with them.

Then – a series of miracles.

I think miracles are those things that happen that seem go against the “laws of nature” or are unexplained.

In my life, miracles are when things happen just as I need them too, before I even know I need them.

A friend posted a comment on my blog and it has been about 2 years since I last saw her in person. (Are you reading this right now, do you recognize yourself in my words?) And that prompted this need to be her company again.

And you know. Her timing was perfect – I was beginning to ached from not knowing what was going with this guy and messed up about where it could possibly lead or how it could possibly end. I was mixed up and mortified that someone I hardly knew, someone I barely met, could make me feel so…tense and unsure of myself.

I made a mental to call her as soon as I was home at a reasonable time.

The next day, one of my dear friends came by my desk to drop of a Valentine. He said “I don’t know bex, I saw this and thought of you and figured Friday the 13th was the perfect day to deliver it to you.”

I read the Valentine: If you get attacked by a bear with chainsaws for hands, I hope he stays away from your face…because I think you are cute.

I laughed my brains out and pinned it to my board.

Then, while I was away from my desk, another friend took a post-it and left me a noted that said “I heart you!” – with a kiss and a hug.

Two days later, I got a LinkedIn invite from a friend I haven’t seen in 15 years. 15 years!

I accepted and we are now back in touch.

(You know who you are. Are your reading this right now?)

And you know.

As some parts of my life end, other parts begin again and flourish.

This week was totally focused on the social event of the season – The Wedding.

New dress, new shoes, went out and got my nails done (I’ve already wrecked 2!) and have a hair appointment in the morning.

Oh yes, I went down to make sure everything was all good and the manager of the department asked “So bex, you getting drunk tomorrow night?” When I demurred “Hey, we will just have to see tomorrow night.” I posed the same question and got “Of course!” as the answer.

I’m lucky.

I’m surrounded by people who understand and know me and love me and want to have fun with me.

I’m loved and kept safe by them. I get to laugh and cry with them, I get to be a part of their family and fun times and times of distress.

There is something about people coming back just in time, isn’t there? Those telepathic butterflies that those we love “M’aidez, I need your love and kindness, contact me, come back to me and lend me your strength. Carry me in your heart.”

 

This post could alternatively be titled “The law of declining returns”.

So here is the how it worked:

He stopped holding my hand and following my car home in his car to make sure I got safely home. When I explained that hand holding was important to me, he scoffed.

Then, he stopped asking “When can I see you again?” as we were saying good-bye and didn’t drive me to my train stop.

When I asked when iIcould see him again, he said “Things are really busy for me right now, I’m not really making plans.”

After an overnight trip together, he insulted my curls, calling them “shaggy” and requested that I wear it straight instead as it looked “more sophisticated”.

Then I didn’t hear from him for 10 days.

When I asked if he was still interested in getting to know me and in the developing the kind of relationship we discussed, he said that he was probably too “jaded” to love me like I deserved, that I had a “kind, gentle, passionate soul” and that he could see us being good friends.

So, my guess is that if I saw him again he would insult my mother, burn my house down, slander my dead dog’s rep, key my car and end up stabbing me 47 times.

So, I declined.

I did exactly what I asked him to do when he was done and said “I’m done.”

I don’t fully understand the law of declining returns. I don’t understand the whole “come on strong in the beginning and treat her worse and worse every time”. I didn’t make demands about not seeing other people, I didn’t even ask. I didn’t talk about introducing him to my friends or family – he did, in the beginning. I didn’t make assumptions about who he was or why he made the choices in his life – he made those about me and my choices, thoughts and feelings.

And what I don’t understand most is when someone offers you an easy way out, a way to be neat and elegant and avoid talking about feelings and motivations and just end it, easily – why wouldn’t someone just take it and get on with things. Why avoid it and leave someone wondering if everything is ok and if you are alive – why not just end it and get on with things.

I want people to take the hurt out of the pain. It is going to be painful, endings are always a bit uncomfortable, especially after trying to get close to someone, but don’t get messy, don’t talk about feelings you don’t have and had no intention of ever nurturing. Don’t insult the Buddhist by talking about their non-existent soul.

I don’t know about this dating thing. I’ve tried it more in the past six months of my life than I have in the past…7 and half years. And I’m not impressed. The lack of civility and decorum, the lack of decency is appalling and sad.

I’m not sure how to negotiate with people out there who are like this, who claim to be genuine and nice and in the end just…aren’t.

But.

Well, look around me. I’m surrounded by people who have that, who love each other honestly and truly and treat each other with kindness.

And that is inspiring.