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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.

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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.

I’m keeping secrets again.

I’m not embarrassed by this secret, only, this time, the secret would hurt. They, if known, would cause damage to relationships and reputations.

But.

Keeping this secret has made me into a liar.

I’m dissembling to some of my favourite people, telling stories to distract and point them in directions other than the correct one. I’m making up things to serve to explain away reasons, motivations and actions.

And I hate that feeling.

Knowing that I’m dishonest.

It feels heavy in my tummy and causes me to dwell on the state of my character.

As someone interested with the truth. The Truth. Lying isn’t something that I’m comfortable with.

And I know. I know, that keeping secrets is sometimes, often, a part of my job – but that is a trust. I’m required to be discrete and keep things confidential. And I agree to this.

My personal life is different. I like to share my life with people I love, I feel like it brings me closer and strengthens connections between people – creates…intimacy.

So.

If I can’t share this secret with people who I love – it is worth keeping?

If I can keep this secret, if this secret makes me into a liar – is it a secret worth keeping?

I don’t mean…look, every action has consequences, so I’m not going to just simply tell the secret. I’m trying to be respectful of the person who asked me to keep these secrets, but I’m also trying to be respectful of myself and what I can live with.

I don’t want to be a liar.

I want to be able to be honest with the people I can about in my life.

I will keep this secret.

But.

After this, I’m not interested in keeping secrets any more.

Ditto for telling lies.

I guess every  so often all the stuff we’ve been going through in our lives catch up with us and we need a break.

I know I sometimes need a break from my life.

So, I’m on vacation.

Decided to keep the proven and traveled back to Alberta to spend some time with one of my dearest friends. It is funny how for some people it is a place that re-charges them, but for me, it is all about the people.

Took an afternoon flight to Calgary from Toronto, my friends met me there and we drove back to Lethbridge.

The week will be filled with conversation, tasty, healthy food, drinking plenty of tea and water, reading and relaxing from the last few months.

Looking forward to a great vacation!

 

Woke up yesterday with my throat aching and having gotten up during the night to change soaked sheets twice.

Sucked it up, ‘cuz Tuesday. And Tuesdays, I gotta to be at work. Too much to do and only me to do it.

Got home and barely kept my eyes open until bedtime.

Woke up a few times during the night to take meds and re-adjust so I could breathe.

This morning could barely breathe and my voice = gone.

I lost my voice!

And still very tired and congested.

Called in sick – the third time in two weeks! – drank some hot tea and went back to bed.

Slept the day away.

Hope Thursday is better…

I love Mondays.

I love waking up Monday morning, getting out of bed, eating a good breakfast, showering off what is left from the week-end, putting on nice clothes, doing my hair and make-up and…viola – ready to take on the world.

I love the potential of Mondays.

Anything can happen.

There is this moment where everything is only possibilities. Who knows what the week will bring! Could be something horrible. Could be something wonderful. There are all these unplanned moments of potential that are just ready and waiting to happen.

Mondays at work are often marked by corporate orientation. And I love seeing all the new faces that I’m going to start seeing around the place and maybe work with and probably help, ‘cuz I’m helpful like that…

Mondays at work are filled with news of what people did on the week-end, maybe they saw new films or old films, maybe they went to a karate tourney and their kids got a gold and silver medal – each! Maybe they did yard work and they are looking to hear about what I did on my week-end and I can tell them all about my climbs and my school work.

Maybe I will have to drive to another branch to drop off some diagnostic equipment for one of my colleagues.

Maybe it will be cloudy and suddenly rain and I will think about not wearing my hood and my hair will get drenched and go curlier and my make-up will run and I won’t care.

Maybe one of my friends will suddenly decide she doesn’t want to eat the salad she has for lunch and suggest we go for the mall and instead of my cheese and crackers, I will get some mall sushi. And an Orange Julius.

Maybe my friend will think about getting salad for lunch and I will tease her for giving up salad for salad and she will opt to have something that she isn’t eating like a pita with chicken.

Maybe all of those things will happen.

Anything is possible on a Monday.

Even one of my colleagues saying that I’m so happy Monday mornings that she is sure the rest of everyone feels the worse for it – they feel even more “blah” when they see how happy I am, especially on a Monday.

I don’t know.

When I smile at people, they smile back.

When I tell a joke, people laugh.

And when I tell people how good they look or how much I like what they are wearing, they seem to grow a little, stand taller and smile a bit wider.

I like Mondays. They contain all the potential of the upcoming week.

 

The conversation didn’t go like that.

And there may have been tears.

There was certainly confusion. When he asked “Why? You seemed happy the other night.” I told him I wasn’t and he said’ “Sorry. I didn’t know. You looked happy.”

But there is a difference between looking happy and being happy. And I think I have one of those faces that falls easily and naturally into a smile. Most of the time I look happy.  I smile a lot so I look happy. Even when I’m not particularly happy. Even when I’m completely not happy.

So, I explained, “No I am not happy.”

He was sorry, explained that he didn’t know, said he wouldn’t call me again.

Ok.

He called back half and hour later and asked if we could be friends. And I thought of him touching my legs, kissing my hand and calling me “Sexy” and it seemed to me that I don’t want in a friend. Maybe these are traits that other people really dig in their friends, but not me.

So I declined.

And I think, maybe, that hurt him a bit. As much as someone can be hurt by a complete stranger. And I’m sorry for that, I’m sorry that I wasn’t clearer when I said “I don’t want a boyfriend and I don’t want to be a relationship.”, I just didn’t know to be clearer.

So, now I have an ex-boyfriend. I mean, as much as a complete stranger who claimed he was my boyfriend can be be an ex-boyfriend.

I already think of it as “do you remember that time that I tried dating again and what a complete disaster that turned out to be?”

 

 

 

Two dates later and I’m confused about this whole thing.

On the second date I thought I was clear in terms of not wanting to date and certainly not wanting a boyfriend. Someone must have misunderstood something ‘cuz by the end of the date he was doing this crazy dance telling me he was my boyfriend.

Look, I’m probably a menace to dating and to relationships.

And you know, this isn’t a reflection on how I feel about myself or what I think about happiness and if I do or don’t deserve happiness or someone to love me.

I am just not sure my version of happiness includes a boyfriend.

And seriously, why do I have to define anything now anyway?

I mean, I don’t actually even know this guy. We are still strangers. And I’m letting him hold my hand and touch my knee. Someone I don’t even really know.

I feel kind of ridiculous about it.

I’m not good at this sort of thing and I don’t think it is from lack of practice but simply from just not being good at it. The people in my life are aware that I’m socially awkward and you know, I’m actually pretty comfortable with my awkwardness. I figure I dress appropriately, I know my manners and I’m friendly – whether I know exactly what is going on in any given social situation is beside the point, people are generous and if you treat them with respect and let them know you don’t understand or feel lost, most people will forgive your mistakes, at least, this is what I have found.

But dating, I don’t have a clue.

It seems very intense to me – he talks about feelings a lot and the future and about what he needs when he comes home from a day at work. And you know, I’m trying my best to enjoy just getting to know him and figure out if I want to keep getting to know him or if I want to not date.

I need space and silence and I need time alone with my friends and family and by myself. I want time by myself and it seems like sometimes he intrudes on that. I turn my phone on and I’ve got a text from him, calling me “Sexy” and saying he hopes I have a great day.

I’m ungrateful.

I think a lot of people, a lot of women, would love someone who did that – a “no-special-reason-just-thinking-about-you text”. But all I can think is “Seriously, that text just cost me 75 cents. Also, ‘Sexy’ is not my name.”

Which I don’t think is what I’m supposed to think.

I’m probably supposed to think “Oh, look, my boyfriend was thinking about me while he was at work and thought about me so much that he decided to hope that I was having a good day. And he thinks I’m sexy. Or perhaps he has forgotten my name…how lovely!”

Perhaps my wiring is faulty?

The third date he wore a cologne that I’m mildly allergic to, so I spent the entire night hoping that he wouldn’t get too close and put me into anaphylaxis. In the morning I woke with a very dry throat and felt kinda crappy and felt like that all day.

This, of course, was only topped by our second date when he tried to kiss me and I had a full-blown panic-attack – tears, hyperventilating, the whole bit.

So, I know what I’m saying when I say “I’m a menace to dating.”

Which of course is only topped by his daughter phoning me after our first date asking me what I like about her dad.

This is such a mess. And I still barely know the guy!

i just thought that I was ready to do this dating thing again, get to know someone with the intention of entertaining a romantic-type attachment and relationship. And here I have this guy in my life who wants to do that, who wants to be that to me and all I keep thinking is “I think I’d like you better if you dated someone else who isn’t me”.

How is that conversation supposed to do anyway?

me: Look I think you should see other people.

him: I don’t want to see other people. I only want to see you.

me: I don’t want to see you, so I think that other people is your only choice.

him: Do you want to see other people?

me: I don’t even want to see you. I want more time alone. I want my time back.

him: But –

me: Look, you are probably a really great guy, you just aren’t a great guy for me.

And look! No tears.

Must be off – family BBQ and dinner and movie with a dear friend tonight!

I didn’t really expect the guy to phone.

This isn’t a statement on how I feel about myself or dating or even a comment on if I thought the guy was for real or anything, I just. So many say they are going to do something and don’t.

So.

Yes, I was surprised when he phoned.

And none of that nonsense about the “three-day rule” either, he called me about 3 hours after we exchanged numbers.

And he wanted to arrange the dinner date.

Huh.

Ok then.

I’m not a game player, so I put it on the table. The upcoming week is going to be super busy and I don’t have time, so he can choose – either in the next couple of days or after the upcoming week. He chooses Friday, opting not to wait.

Ok.

We are back and forth about details, I state the things I don’t eat and how Fridays are early nights for me ‘cuz climbing on Saturday am.

He took it well.

We settle on a sushi place around the corner from where he is working, not far from where I work and, strangely for me, also agree on a movie, 42.

Traffic is bad Friday evening and I end up being half and hour late. Lucky for me, my phone is charged and his number is nearby, so I call as soon I realize it is going to take me time. But I get there.

The sushi place is nice, an all you can eat place, which I didn’t realize and I’m still kinda stuffed from lunch, also sushi. Conversation alternates between stalling and flowing, we grope for topics and don’t have much overlap between us, but we are both easygoing types who enjoy laughing, so we don’t do too bad.

By the time we finish, we’ve missed the movie but agree to change-up plans on the fly and head out to try glow-in-the-dark-mini-golf. The wait is half-an-hour-long, which would put us late for my bedtime. We switch-up again and go for tea (me) and coffee (him) and more conversation.

So.

Yeah.

Nice. Funny. Very easy-going. And I think at this stage of “getting to know you”, there are many things that I don’t understand and feel that I probably being too sensitive about.

So we agree to go out again, date and activity to be determined.

So.

And yes, he called. He has called 3 times since saying goodnight on Friday, told his father and daughter about me, so.

That is something right?

I’m just not sure what it is.

I didn’t hate “Cloud Atlas” so much that it caused me to stop writing. Not at all.

What did happen, though, is something that I imagine happens to many people, very few who maybe admit it.

My focus shifted and I got involved with other things.

Work has needed my attention, so to balance, I decided to put some effort into home. Struggling to strip wall paper from far too many rooms, imagine me climbing up on ladders and being very damp and cold on far too many winter evenings. And then, you get to a place where you figure between work and home there are still a couple of empty spaces, so why not add school to that? And if the squeeze is on, then squeeze with all your might and add participation in a fundraising performance of “The Vagina Monologues” to the pile!

All this left me with far too much to do and not enough time to reflect and write about it. Movie time gave way to study time, socializing time gave way to wallpaper time, gym time gave way to class time…which left me with no reflection and writing time. Ack! And look, I keep forgetting the fundraiser…

So here is me, trying to get some of that time back. The days are longer now and I’m going to try to do work and home and school and put movies and friends and books and writing back into it. I’m not sure what is going to happen next, but one has to try, right?

This week-end, after climbing, I managed to do a bit of wandering around and check in at two of my favourite stores. At Fashion Crimes, I walked into the middle of a massive sale. 50% off the lowest tag price. This made for a bit of a crowded situation and there seemed to be plenty of high schoolers with their entourages out in force looking for prom dresses. (Note: We called it “The Formal” ‘cuz “Prom” was American, not Canadian, when did this change?)

I braved it.

‘cuz even though I hate shopping, I still understand the value of a stupidly awesome deal.

I walked out with a dress that is normally 499$ for 56$. A lovely red coat dress. That, I have to tell you, I’ve looked at it for years.

Then I figured I would wander by the Fluevog store. ‘cuz it was just down the street.

I don’t know about salespeople at any other Fluevog store in the world, but I have to think that they are just as awesome as they are at my store.

After clearly explaining myself “I am not buying shoes today.” and getting a few sizes the shoes I wasn’t buying and needing more, the sales guy comes back with the boxes that I was expecting and says:

him: Here are the new sizes. I also brought you a pair of bonus shoes.

me: I like bonus shoes.

him: Everyone likes bonus shoes. They are super comfy and our best seller. I brought you bright pink becuz your scarf is bright pink and they are the same colour as the shoes. And that is an awesome scarf.

me: I love this scarf. My friend Candice made it for me. I’m not buying shoes today, but let me try on these bonus shoes.

him: Here.

me: They are very pink.

him: I know they don’t look anything like they shoes you are looking at, but try them on, they feel like you are wearing flats.

me: No way. And they are pink, but really not what I’m looking for.

him: They look amazing on.

me: (puts on shoes) Oh! Wow! These feel like flat!

him: Just remember they aren’t flats.

me: Wow. Yeah. I mean. These are great.

him: Bonus shoes, right?

me: Oh, I love bonus shoes. I’m buying these.

Huh.

So, lesson learned, really. Don’t go into a Fluevog shore unless you are ready to buy.

Lucky me, I was ready!

Rest of the day was with my friend seeing the movie, getting caught up and going to dinner.

It was amazing to see her.