Wednesday, October 5, 2016

72 Days.


This is a new blog experience for MeMe and I have debated a while about whether or not writing it would be helpful or hurtful - to me, to other people. But I think in revisiting the draft that follows, I have found some measure of peace, and I shouldn't be ashamed in admitting I made a mistake.

Yet another mistake. Gawwwwwd.

But that's why you guys like me, right? MeMe fucks up sometimes but she rolls with it. Maybe that's why? I'm just spitballing. I don't really know, to be honest.

I found someone and I dated him for 72 days. And I was happy as hell for... about 60. So happy, in fact, I was convinced I had finally found Him. The One. The Future Husband. We would travel and hike and then we would live in the woods and make little splints for injured squirrels and drink our coffee on the porch every morning and I would never have to worry about outfit options because everything in the closet was now flannel and there was probably a rain barrel and a garden and maybe a hawk that built a nest in the tree in the yard and we called him Stanley.

I don't know why my imaginary future life looks like a scene from Grizzly Adams but that's where I'm at.

But after a while I stopped being happy. And I started to feel like it was slipping away from me, all the good things I had felt before. But I wasn't ready to let that go and I clung to it, too hard. In my fear and frustration I clung harder and harder, and all it did was push it away.

In one final spectacular blow up, I realized I was never going to get it back. Because it wasn't just me. I wasn't just pushing it away, he was pulling it away, and I was chasing after it like an idiot.

Horrified, I realized I had just gone back to my pattern. I had tried so hard and been so careful and cautious, but I was right back where I always ended up. They start out so great and then they gradually, slowly, stop being great. And then somehow I take the blame for that. And as I get more and more desperate to hold onto it, I act crazier and crazier.

And then they can sit back and smile and laugh and shake their head and say, look how crazy my girl is. Do you see what I put up with?

Except it shouldn't be that way. I have a hundred amazing relationships with people I interact with every day, and I don't go around acting psycho or yelling or taking offense to everything. The difference is that these people, my acquaintances, but more so my amazing friends I am SO constantly grateful to have, they care about me enough to listen to me. To not want to upset me or push me. To hear me when I talk and to do their best to respect me and my needs, and to be sure their needs are vocalized as well. To tell me when I am wrong and also to admit when they are. These are human relationships and I treasure them.

So why do I always end up screaming so hard to be heard to the men I am dating?

I am sad, because I saw something in someone that made all my little dreams come true. But it didn't last and that means it wasn't real. I don't know if I feel like I am closer now to finding that, or further away. I don't know how I can keep dating when my trust and faith in men are always twisted and used against me.

I am angry because I feel betrayed and mislead. I am angry because I didn't put enough trust and faith in myself to speak up sooner and to walk away when my words fell on deaf ears.

I am also not blaming. I still think he is a great guy overall and he made me very happy for a while. Maybe one day I will thank him for giving me a sense of peace, even temporarily. For me the small things are meaningful. To fall asleep on someone, to let them hold me and not want to run, to enjoy being challenged. Those are positive steps in my life and I feel I made progress as a person.

But it didn't work. I need to be heard and I need to be respected, and he has his own issues that were becoming apparent. That's okay. That's human. That's forgivable.

Right now, however, I'll focus on licking my wounds and dealing with mine. That is my priority. I am my priority.

I'm including the draft of the day I realized I, MeMe, for the first time ever, had fallen in love. It's sad to read it now, knowing how much things changed, but it makes me happy because he helped me tap into something I didn't know I was capable of, and that is always the one small benefit of my many many mistakes.

Progress. Fucking progress.


"Now I know I've got a heart, cuz it's breaking."


8/16/2016

I'm writing this blog in advance, and keeping it as a draft until the moment is right. Or less weird, maybe. That works too. Guess we will see.

But there's things I'm excited to share with you. Those things are a boy. And feelings. And all those weird crazy things normal people probably experience but are entirely new to MeMe.

Yes. I met a boy. A blog-post-worthy boy.

I dumped the Asshole, as you'll recall. One more fling with dating that blew up in my face. That momentary horror where his true personality shone out, and I glimpsed what a future would be like with him. That constant, repetitive pattern of being made to feel like shit and then being told I'm crazy for feeling that way.

I was tired of it. I dropped him immediately, and I'm so proud of myself for doing so. MeMe two years ago would have convinced herself she WAS being crazy, and too emotional, and would have stuck it out, hoping to get back to that sweetness she had seen in this man once. A waste of time.

I loved my blog for giving me that strength. I loved you all for your conversation and your discussion, and for the experiences we have gone through. I would have gotten caught up in it, otherwise, there's no doubt in my mind. I would have let myself be talked into being smaller, and let myself be controlled and ruined, until I either blew up or shrank away to nothing. If I had never done Kissing Frogs, I would not be the same strong-ass, sassy rude freak I am now. And I love this girl.

But I was tired overall. Tired of men like this, tired of the fact that they always seem to be attracted to me, and intent on smothering me. Attracted to my wildness and strength; determined to squelch it.

I contemplated taking another dating break. A long one. Indefinitely, even. I was drawing up plans for my future and they included me, my dog, and some cats. Tout. Finis.

For some reason, though, I didn't. I felt like maybe I'd seen a glimpse of something else... not in him, but in me. A calmness, an unexpected readiness. Maybe, just maybe, I was finally ready to shove off the ghosts of the past and have a relationship with someone that didn't end in me fleeing, or them crying, or both.

Perhaps it comes of turning 30, though I hardly feel I'm ready to settle down and throw two rocking chairs on the front porch. But, although Asshole was absolutely a wrong choice, I had actually briefly enjoyed being a part of a two-some. Things were clicking in my life and it didn't seem such a horror anymore.

I went back on Tinder the day after dumping the Asshole. Why Tinder? God fucking knows. Seriously. What a nightmare.

And yet.

Smart, cute, funny... deeply nice. Something had to be wrong with him. I held off on pulling the trigger on a date, as we texted for an extended time. It felt strange, almost like I already knew him. We talked about dating, and a similar problem: lack of connection. I told him we would be friends even if we had no connection, and I meant it, even without meeting him. There was something familiar to his conversation, and I knew it was true.

Asshole texted me. He wanted to get together, he admitted he was being "selfish."

I asked this new boy out amidst text arguments with Asshole. The contrast made him downright shiny.

We met, a week later, for some drinks. I had asked to see him later in the day, suspecting we would have good conversation, but doubting we would click, as per usual.

We did have great conversation. We also clicked.

I wasn't quite sure what to do with myself. It was rare for me to enjoy talking to someone so much, while also finding them stupid attractive. Rare indeed. Rarer still, that I took his hand when we walked around downtown later. MeMe initiating physical contact? Unheard of! On a first date?? IMPOSSIBLE.

We arranged a second date rapidly, since he would be out of town for a while.

It was silly, an almost-accidental double-date with some beer and some darts, and, after my friends left, impromptu Pictionary. There are a few people in my life I can read instantly. That one-look-and-you-know connection, which makes us mean-ass Pictionary partners. I had it with this guy, this stranger. It seemed such a simple thing; I'm sure he had no idea, but when he started to draw the lines on the page and I saw inside his mind, I knew there was something to this. Also that maybe we should join like, a Pictionary League or something.

We walked down the boardwalk and we kissed at the end of the pier, under the stars, with our feet in the lake. It would have grossed me out, normally. It was romantic as hell. Yeech. But I dug it. I liked that we both walked back to the car barefoot, and that he held my hand, and that we made up constellations and his were more clever than mine.

And then he left for ten days.

I missed him. I missed a stranger. I missed him so much, in fact, that after a little over a week, I was happy when an excuse came up and I got to drive three hours to see him.

Time apart had restored my shyness, but after talking to him for a few hours, that attraction was back in full. It was legitimately hard to leave him.

Since then, we have seen each other regularly. I'm still fielding that incredibly confusing line of "how much is too much?" I've never wanted to see someone all the time before. Ever. How do I know when to quit? How have I not panicked and run by now? How is this even happening and how, how, did I get so lucky?

I did, somehow.

I've been dating a long time. I've had a lot of dates via Kissing Frogs, and a few relationships after I ended the blog. I've had a lot of blow-ups with men, especially this year. Men love to tell me I don't know what I want.

The thing is, I do know what I want. They're just mad it's not them. And, until now, it's been this abstract concept, honestly. An idea of what it should be, tweaked and tailored more every time I dated someone who wasn't It.

This guy, though. This was It. This was all bases covered and then some. I couldn't believe he was spending time with me, and more, wanting to see me as often as I wanted to see him. What could I offer someone who was, literally, everything I ever wanted? Funny, adorable, sexy, deeply compassionate, driven... What do I bring to the table for a man who has it all together?

I'm still not sure. Three weeks in, though, and I'm sure of one thing.

Today we met at a bar work on things; his thesis, my writing. He got up, asked me if I wanted anything else, and paid the tab (something I am unusually accepting of, since he doesn't act like he's purchasing me every time). He kissed me goodbye-- in public, a man who has expressed serious dislike of PDA.

He left for an appointment, and for a long while I just stared at my computer, quiet. I got up, I distractedly thanked the owner, and I got in the car.

And I cried the entire way home, all 35 minutes, because I realized that I am stupidly in love with this man I barely know.

So, how will it pan out? How will it go? MeMe has no idea, and frankly, she is absolutely terrified. No joke.

But I found what I was looking for. I found what makes me happy. I just need to figure out how that changes my life, and how to keep it.

Wednesday, September 7, 2016

Writing Exercise

The grass in the backyard had grown long again in circular patches, deep green and bright. Rings of it marred the otherwise pristine lawn like docile alien crop circles.
Steven would be furious. He’d blame Jamie for not mowing the lawn well enough last week, no matter what I told him about underground heat from the septic tank. There’d be a fight. Everything these days lead to a fight, it seemed.
I pulled on a worn pair of boots and shuffled through the dew to the shed, sorting clumsily through gear until I found the weedwackers. After a few uneducated attempts, I succeeded in starting it, and allowed myself a moment of triumph. I’m unfamiliar with tools, with gardening gear, with anything related to the Great Outdoors. The Outside is Steven’s domain, not mine. This was “Man’s Work.” He always said it jokingly, but underneath his words I felt the tension in them pressing upward like water moments before a fish breaks the surface. He would be quietly furious if he knew I was encroaching.
Regardless, after a few practice strokes I felt confident enough to turn my new weapon toward the grass, and evened out the grass relatively well. The few gashes in the earth where my hand trembled I pressed down firmly with my heel, none the wiser.
Satisfied, I cut the engine and listened for a few moments to the serene noises of the neighborhood; children laughing as they darted through a cold sprinkler, the slow rumble of a car engine, birds competing with a distant lawnmower. I returned the weedwacker carefully back to its rightful place and trudged inside.
Days are busy. The morning is for cleaning—dusting, straightening, vacuuming, and doing the breakfast dishes. A cup of coffee at noon and half an hour of television, and then it’s assorted paperwork, usually bills but often times mailings and pamphlets for whatever charity needs my assistance that week. Hungry children and homeless wildlife plead at me from colorful pamphlets and I, God, pick and choose those worthy of my attention for the month. I settled on Make a Wish Foundation this time around. I liked the idea of those dying children with their optimistic chins in the air, meeting princesses and actresses, staging shows, traveling, living and laughing, their reality blurring as sickness and fantasy intertwined.
At three, dinner is planned, arranged, and put it in the oven, which leaves about an hour before Jamie and Hannah get home from school and Steven returns from work expecting his dinner. Which, at exactly five-thirty on weekdays, I set on the table with perfect practiced ease.
Tonight it is vegetable lasagna, an attempt to work in slightly healthier meals to combat Steven’s slightly high cholesterol. The moment it is placed in front of him I can see that he’s displeased. He has eyebrows like storms, and they’re brewing, moving in a front across his face. I set my shoulders and brace for an argument, but Jamie saves me the fight.
“What is this crap?”
Steven turns to him immediately, switching on. “Jesus, Jamie, watch your damn mouth. Don’t talk to your mother that way.”
Jamie casts a baleful brown-eyed glare at me from across the table, and though it has been years since he’s been permitted to say the words aloud, I recognize them in his expression: She’s not my mother. Steven has thrown fuel into the fire with that jab, and Jamie stares at me, the one who will be punished.
“Just take one bite, and if you don’t like it, you don’t have to eat it,” I offer quietly.
I smell like grass for you, I want to tell him. I am not your mother.
It’s too late, however. Jamie has presented his father with an opportunity, and Steven, whip-smart and determined, never hesitates to reject an opening.
The shouting starts, escalating like an oil fire, and within two minutes Jamie has slammed down his plate and stormed from the room.
Steven sits at the head of the table breathing heavily. There’s a look of satisfaction on his face he tries to hide. The storm eyebrows have ebbed, draining downward into something like contentment.
I take a small bite of the lasagna, which for all the complaints is really quite good.
“Can you believe that kid?” Steven demands, his eyes still bright with adrenaline. “What the hell has gotten into him lately?”
“He’s fifteen,” I offer passively, not interested in getting dragged into another round. This is Steven’s game, not mine.
Steven shakes his head, my answer doing nothing to placate him. Something new is bubbling in me. His eyebrows have cleared, but I have summoned his storm into my gut.
“I didn’t talk to my father like that when I was fifteen. And if my mother put dinner on the table, we ate it, none of this complaining bullshit.”
Abruptly I stand, dropping my fork on the table. It falls with a clatter, louder than I anticipated. Hannah, always quiet, who sits so still in these moments I often forget she exists, raises her wide cartoon eyes to me and I almost hesitate.
You were going to say the same fucking thing,” I hiss. The storm seeps out of me into those words, setting them ablaze. It shocks Steven for a moment, this reaction from me. It’s enough time for me to retreat before he yells his usual lines at my back.
This is my house. No one respects me. I keep a roof over your ungrateful heads…
His bluster fails to impress me anymore. He wants me to return, to scream and yell, but I’ve found over the years that refusing to rise to his bait is the only way to truly disappoint him.
Jamie’s room is unusually quiet, and I knock tentatively.
“What?”
“Can I come in?”
“I don’t care.”
Gingerly I eases the door open a crack. Jamie is prone on the floor, sorting through albums. He’s nostalgic, at fifteen, for an era he never experienced.
“Do you want me to bring you a plate?”
He doesn’t look up.
“No.”
“There’s a pizza in the freezer; I could warm it up for you…”
“I don’t want anything!” he snaps, looking over his shoulder at me with all a teenager’s ferocious disdain. “Just leave me alone, Kendall. For fuck’s sake.”
He adds the curse carefully, gauging me. I meet his eyes firmly and nod, though my feelings have been hurt. I search for something to add, something to bridge the gap between us, but his attention has already been drawn back downward, to faces of dead vocalists and retired druggie guitarists he’ll never see play in person.
I have been effectively dismissed, and I close the door gently and walk away.
I can hear the television in the living room, which means Steven had taken his meal in there and was probably relaxing with a beer. Silently, I returned to the dining room and gathered up the untouched remnants of the dinner. My lips tight, I scraped the pan into the garbage and began running hot water for the washing.

That weekend, thank God, was an “off” one, when Jamie and Hannah’s mother Meredith screeched up in her perpetually shiny Lexus and loaded them disdainfully into the white leather back seats.
A divorce lawyer for the wealthy, Meredith had deemed herself too busy to maintain full custody of her children. An excellent attorney, her and Steven’s divorce had been a breeze, their split as neat and tidy and shiny as the Lexus.
I knew she hated me, the New Wife. But not for the usual reasons. As she careened into the driveway and instructed the kids to get their things, she fixed me with one of her long, measuring looks, and I knew, as always, she found me horrifyingly ordinary. A B-cup of disappointment. The other flashy ex-wives had bleach blondes with big teeth they could complain about over espressos, tsking in disdain over the predictability of men, but I gave her nothing. If anything, Meredith was far more glamorous than me. Slim-hipped and tall, she was constantly aglow and pristine, like one of the posters between the mirrors in a salon. I pictured myself pointing to her unsmiling face and telling a stylist with long silver scissors, That one. Give me the success and cold sexual charisma.
I was younger than her, at least. I had that cliche going for me.
“Kendall,” she greeted me. Never a Hello, or a How are you today, you terrifically boring creature? I didn’t take it personally. Meredith spoke to everyone like she was about to begin a sudden business meeting that would end in at least three terminations.
Sometimes I marveled that she and Steven had made it as long as they had: two Type A’s, equally convinced of their own superiority. Meredith didn’t grasp his attraction to me, but I did. Meredith was work, commitment, difficulties. My blandness is a blessing: I am easy. I am a relief.
I could almost see the same thoughts flitting through her mind as she sized me up. I’ll bet she found them comforting.
With a slight smirk and a toss of that unrealistic hair, she picked up Hannah’s makeup case and settled it into the trunk, long nails catching the sun.
“We’ll be back by noon on Sunday,” she told me briskly. “I have an appointment at two I can’t miss.”
“I’ll be here,” I laughed forcefully. She smiled, almost genuinely, and I knew she took some pleasure from that image of me awaiting their return.
Where else would I be?
“Bye, guys,” I called, tapping on the windows. Hannah, small and delicate in the front seat, waved timidly, but Jamie pretended not to hear me over the noise of his headphones.
Meredith chuckled, observing the exchange. “Don’t take it personally. Teenagers.”
“Little pricks,” I offered with a smile, waving once more at the boy who was ignoring me as hard as he was physically able. “But that one sure can be a piece of shit when he wants to be.”
I managed to startle her. Perfectly sculpted eyebrows rose and she paused, seeming to see me for once. Boring, bland. Critical of her parenting. I saw her writing my pink slip in her mind.
Kendall,” she laughed breezily, in a chiding manner. Jamie’s attention had been pricked; I could see him listening hard through his self-imposed distraction. The windows on the Lexus were cracked. Hannah was watching me nervously with her always-anxious eyes, darting them between her brother and her mother and back to the woman that cleaned her house and made her dinner.
“Sunday. Noon,” I repeated, reverting to my docile expression. “We will see you then.”
You will. Isn’t Steven out of town this weekend?”
The barb was pointed and it hit its mark. A retaliatory reminder of my station. I was Steven’s servant, here to collect his children, to send them out again, to clean up after them and to never, ever to call them pricks.
“Denver, yes. Back Monday, though. Just a short trip this time.”
That perfect smirk.
“You’ll have a quiet weekend. I’m sure that will be nice.” No one wants to be around you.
“I’ll enjoy it.”
A tight smile, and one more wave to Hannah. Meredith loaded into her seat, and I watched them with a strangely distant feeling as they drove off. I wondered what my step-daughter would grow to be. Would she be cold and firm like her mother, controlling and abrasive as her dad, or had she somehow escaped those genes?
I felt sorry for her. Sometimes she seemed the only normal one in the family, the only soft creature in our hard household. I had no skills as a mother, and I knew that. She couldn’t rely on me for aid.
I was left alone.
Meredith was wrong though, thinking she could lord that over me. I was used to an empty house, my confines every day as Steven worked and the kids studied. This was no punishment; this was my habitat, my territory. Every afternoon they came back and invaded it.
Today, the animal in me was awake, and wanted to pace.
I had crossed a boundary, just then, with the Ex-Wife and Mother. She would report my words to Steven, I had no doubt. Probably she was already texting him.
Keep her in line.
Steven would be furious. I would be scolded like a child. Jamie would bear the brunt of it, too, sparking that constant storm that brewed in my husband. There was a hole in the hallway, fist-shaped. I pictured it getting a twin. A physical reminder of anger when words wouldn’t linger. Look at how strongly I feel. I feel more than you.
I should have been worried, but instead I felt oddly elated.
Mice bite, too, I wanted to tell them.
Maybe if I punched the wall, they’d consider my feelings relevant.
The house was unappealing, and I took the keys, eager to roam. My interaction with Meredith had left me restless and raw. I needed to walk.
I went downtown, a mile or so away. Our town was small and unassuming, cobblestones and black streetlights designed to look like they burned natural gas. Quaint, but trying hard to be. Jack the Ripper meets high-end designer cardigans and gastropubs.
I picked a cafe I knew had good coffee and sat outside on the patio. Summer was winding down, and the breeze was cool, sun warm. One of those few perfect days in Michigan, wedged between the desperate humidity and the unforgiving snow.
It was still early, and the patio was largely unoccupied. A woman sat a few tables away from me, my only companion, her face hidden by large sunglasses. She nursed a glass of wine with the attitude of someone who was getting bored with drinking but had already committed: pinky out, glass trembling slightly. There was a green bottle beside her. Sun shifted and I could see it was nearly empty.
Caught staring, she smiled at me, and raised the glass a little unsteadily in a cheers.
“I’m celebrating,” she said, with a tight grin.
The waitress brought me my cappuccino and set it down unobtrusively, casting a worried glance at the drunken woman before sliding away.
“Congratulations,” I replied with a tight smile, disinterested. I took a dismissive sip of my drink.
“I’m getting divorced,” she continued. I could feel her sharp gaze latching onto me, even through the thick sunglasses.
“I’m sorry to hear that,” I offered politely. I wanted quiet, today, and I had chosen the wrong company.
“Are you married?”
“I am.”
“He’s cheating on me. My husband.”
I didn’t want to encourage her, but my curiosity had been piqued. I couldn’t help it. I turned slightly, opening up my body to her conversation, and she clutched her wine closer to her with satisfaction.
“Cheating,” she continued. “I knew he was. I hired a private investigator. With his money. There’s a whole notebook, every detail of his affair. Schedules. Pictures. Proof. It’s like something from a movie. Long lenses and trenchcoats.”
She held up the nearly empty bottle, offering me the remnants, but I shook my head. She shrugged and took a sip from the long neck, ignoring the dark red dredges waiting in her cup.
“We’ve been married fifteen years now. That’s a long time, in this day and age, isn’t it? The funny thing is, my husband, he has a lot of money. A lot. We signed a pre-nup, fifteen years ago. With a cheating clause.”
She laughed, sharply.
“It was his idea, this clause. Maybe he was trying to control himself, somehow. I don’t know. At the time I was almost offended. I was sure he meant me, that I would be the one to cheat. But he wrote it himself, every bit. And now I have pictures and proof that he’s having an affair. I’ll get everything. I’ll get everything.”
“That’s lucky, I suppose,” I offered, unsure of how to contribute to this one-sided conversation.
“I’m forty-five years old,” she carried on, finishing off the bottle and holding up her glass, studying the oily finger smudges that caught the light. “I loved my husband, when we got married. I stopped loving my husband a few years ago, and I think, for him, more than that. And now I’ll get everything. A lot of money. I can start over. I can build a new life.”
The fern leaf in my drink had melted into nothing but thick white-and-caramel swirls, but I studied it, listening to her. Her voice rose and ebbed as she spoke like the lake licking the shore. Wine colored it, and I heard the uncertainty and the fear in her tone. Tomorrow she would wake and take two aspirin and drink a glass of water or orange juice, wash her face, and call her lawyer, voice firm and decisive as she made the arrangements to take it all from her husband and build this new life. Today was her brink.
“What would you do?” she asked. “If you could start over?”
The foam in my drink clung to the side of the cup, lace corpses of bubbles staining the ceramic.
What would I do, if I could start over?

Saturday, July 16, 2016

Keep Dating Asshole Free

I haven't done a post about dating in a long while.

Why? I don't know. I tried to move on with my life. I tried to be the girl who Does Things.

But you know what I've just gotten really good at Doing? Dating. I'm the girl who Dates. Those are the "things" I do, apparently. Maybe I should just embrace that.

I'm not the girl who Has Relationships, mind you. Those are a whole other story. But after around four years and some approximate 9,000 dates, I feel I've gotten pretty good at them. I have a 100% success rate for second-date requests. I've met some amazing people, some shitty ones, and I've learned a lot about myself.

Since I quit Kissing Frogs, I've largely kept my dating details quiet and only between me and my closest 45-50 friends.

But I'm annoyed. I'm fed up right now. I want to share a few things I've picked up, and I hope it benefits some of you in various ways. I'm happy to learn lessons in life, but I'm happier to pass them onto you so you can learn them too. And then thank me and praise me for all my infinite wisdom. You're welcome, my friend. Your gratitude has made it worthwhile.

Recently, I jumped into what, in MeMe world, amounts to a relationship. I felt very comfortable with this person, on a level I am not used to. I felt I could entirely be myself, and not only would that be accepted, but admired. It was a rare treat. Somehow men seem to see only what they want to see when they look at me, like I'm a perfect Disney Princess who wakes up singing and covered in birds and never has periods or morning breath. As basically the farthest thing from a Disney Princess, I find this very annoying. Don't gloss over my imperfections. They are still me.

On the other hand, I get the men who are attracted to the fact that I'm a bit out there-- I blurt stupid things out, I've a foul mouth, and sometimes I get drunk and flash the statues in the middle of town. This draws them in. She's wild, she's a handful! And once they've got me, they immediately start attempting to squelch all that fire that drew them to me in the first place.

Quit telling me to put my top back on.

So, anyway. With this guy, I was hesitant to get involved in the first place, because we work together and my long history of making men cry themselves to sleep over my perfection made it seem like a very bad idea to go out. But, we clicked. I felt like he looked at me and he saw the wildness and the bad breath and the attitude, as well as the kindness and the intelligence I let peek out once in a while. I felt like I was seen in entirety, for the first time. It felt refreshing.

Ten days into this new and definitely MeMe rushed "relationship" (at least common sense had me waiting to pull the trigger on labeling this), my Work Boyfriend makes an innocent suggestion that I go to the gym more often.

Hmm. Okay.

But that's not really the end of it. It went on for a while, carefully led by some questions I asked, hoping for a better response. Because there was a lot more to it than just going to the gym and being healthy. It was becoming pretty clear to me, reading between the lines, that while he seemed to enjoy and embrace all aspects of my personality, he was still trying to change me... physically. This was a new issue for me. This was also an especially dangerous situation for me, someone with a history of bulimia. Because what his comments boiled down to meant I looked okay, passable, but I could look better.

I kept waiting for a realization from him that he had hurt me, followed by the obligatory, "oh em gee, you're the hottest thing on earth and I'm so sorry, your ass is dynamite," but the apology I got was for "discouraging" me. Discouraged from what? Going to the gym??

Instantly I fast forwarded through this relationship in my head. I saw myself hitting the weights twice a week, running, eating better. I saw him casually praising my hard work, but maybe I should go three times a week? Maybe I should let my hair grow out? Maybe I would look better in these clothes and not those?

The only thing I was discouraged from was dating him. It was such a subtle change from his usual sweetness, but it blared in my head for hours, haunting me.

He was just trying to "encourage" me, he said. I thought of all the times men have encouraged me to do things that I didn't want to do. Things for my own good. For my own improvement. Things that made me miserable and dependent on them. Things I had to do to prove I was good enough to be with them. Things that made them angry if I ignored.

I said goodbye to Work Boyfriend. I'll deal with the aftermath as it comes. I'll deal with it because I am a strong woman, and I am a smart woman, and I stand my ground.

Someone suggested I was hasty in my response to his comments, and I like to think maybe I was. Perhaps. Maybe this was all an innocent misunderstanding. He had been so complimentary, before, hadn't he?

But I also saw a red flag, and I exited the situation. I look back to myself and the people I have dated in the past, and all the times I thought, "This doesn't seem good, but I'll bet he didn't mean it," and I wish I had just trusted my gut and jumped ship.

I would rather be single, alone, and covered in a literal coat of cats, then stay with someone who diminishes me. And I hope so fucking badly that you guys do the same, listen to your instincts, and leave in a hailstorm of middle fingers the moment you start to feel like you're getting sucked into someone else's bullshit ideals.

That being said (and thank you for bearing with me, you knew I would get to it eventually), I am throwing together a few generalized rules about dating asshole-free. There's layers and layers to finding and freeing your life from the Assholes, but here's a good place to start as you venture into dating someone new.

ASSHOLES: KNOW THE SIGNS 

Asshole Tricks (Please also read up on Narcissism and the warning signs) and What to Look Out For:

1)They are exceedingly complimentary... at first. Have you ever dreamed about being someone's center of the universe? No? Don't fucking lie. Well, this Asshole will make you feel like you are. You're the most perfect, hilarious, gorgeous individual... until, suddenly, you're not. If you've been bathing in a warm shower of feeling like this person couldn't adore you more, and then a sudden comment hits you like cold water, beware. Yes people are human and say stupid things. Yes we misspeak. But if you're riding on a golden cloud of happiness and suddenly they hit you with a record scratch? Run. That's the harbinger. Your bubble is about to burst.

2) They like everything you like. Everything. No seriously. Everything. Not everyone who does this is an asshole, but regardless, it's not a cute trait. They're absorbing your personality, and that won't end well. I don't care about that time you got stoned in college and talked in detail with your roommate about how you would totally date yourself. Nothing good comes of someone faking it, because it's not real. Try getting them to commit to liking something, and then backtrack. You don't actually like it. Now they don't either? Ugh gross. Go home and masturbate. At least you don't have to fake it.

3) They're sweet as hell... to you. Isn't it sort of weird that your server rolls her eyes every time you come over, though? Your best friend refuses to come out and hang? That old man he pushed into the street is crying? Nice people are nice to everyone. Assholes are only nice to you. For now.

4) They manipulate. This is the biggest one and the hardest to put into words, because there are so many levels of manipulation. "Encouraging" me to go to the gym (when I did not request nor appreciate such encouragement) is a form of manipulation. My friends can encourage me to go to the gym every day without me coming away from it feeling like my self-image has been punched in the doughy gut. Is it encouragement if it is motivated by self interest?

Guilt, anger, even seemingly innocent approaches like encouragement and compliments can be forms of manipulation. What is boils down to is being led. Are you finding yourself doing something you didn't particularly want to do because you didn't want to anger them, or make them upset, avoid a scene or awkwardness, or because you wanted to please them? Take a step back and consider their motivations. Watch for patterns. Watch for their response when you don't want to play their game. If it's more than innocent, they won't let it go.

5) They lie. Do I even need to go into this? Did you catch them lying? Was it a worse lie than telling you you look amazing and don't need to go to the gym? #Bye. And you, you be honest too, even about the small things. If you don't like sports, don't say you like sports. If you don't know what they're talking about, ask them to explain. Don't paper potential relationships with lies, you won't like the road that turns into.

Please feel free to comment if you, or someone you know, has been affected by an Asshole.

Stay genuine, my friends, and know your worth.

Monday, May 9, 2016

Dirty Thirty

My lovelies-

I turned 30 recently. This happened. I'm acknowledging it openly and proudly. I greeted this milestone with my usual level of grace and maturity.



The good news is I'm still relatively hot so I'll be able to enjoy that for another 1-2 years before I have to grow a mustache and smoke a pipe and quote Plato at random dinner parties. This is what I assume distinguished elders are doing on a constant basis and I'm actually pretty excited to attend more dinner parties. I love both parties and dinner.

Anyway. To congratulate myself for staying alive for 30 years, 360 months, and approximately 4,380 days, here's a list of some of the things I have learned in my many hours, minutes, and seconds on this earth. May it guide you to make better life choices.

THE AWKWARD GIRL'S GUIDE TO LEARNING THINGS AND BEING ALIVE AND OTHER IMPORTANT STUFF:

1) Chicken drumsticks can be used as a utensil for mashed potatoes and other softened root vegetables.

2) People like you more when you are yourself. Not all people, but seriously screw those people.

3) Your fairy-tale happy ending is there. But it's probably not Prince Charming on an impossibly clean white horse... it's a taco bar with your best friends, spontaneous road trips, or drinking tequila on a weeknight.

4) Everyone is fighting a battle. Acknowledge, accept, aid, and try to understand... but save some energy to fight your own.

5) Adopt an animal and you will never be lonely again. You will get a lot less sleep and there will be smells and substances you didn't anticipate, but I promise you won't be lonely. Text me pictures of them dressed in human clothes, I eat that shit up.

6) Catch up on "Game of Thrones." I'm going to accidentally spoil it for you if you don't and you can't really get mad at me because come on, I didn't do it on purpose Lisa and I can't keep track of which episode you're on all the damn time.

7) Take care of your teeth.

8) Eat 50% vegetables. If you cook those vegetables in a half cup of coconut oil it's fine it still counts I don't even care, butter is a healthy fat too so whatever.

9) Keep the people around who make you feel good the majority of the time. Get rid of the ones that don't. Definitely keep the funny ones. Give them my number. Ditch the ones that lie, manipulate, and drain you. #ByeFelicia those asshats.

10) Ducks rape each other. Team Chicken. Wait, do chickens rape each other? Holy hell. TBC.

11) Treat yourself with the kindness, understanding, and patience you would someone else. It makes it a lot easier to get through the hard patches when you're not fighting your own damn self. You're probably doing better than you think anyway so just chill the hell out.

12) Pay your bills on time. Get a job that lets you pay your bills on time. Complain about this job a lot because it sucks and it's boring and you have no social life, but it's easier to figure out the future when you're paying your bills on time. Then find a better job that doesn't make you miserable. I think that's how adults generally do it. I have like eight dollars in my bank account though so please don't ask me for budgeting tips.

13) Say what you mean and you'll save like a hundred hours a year of really shitty conversation. Also just make a fucking decision about where to eat; you're not strategically invading a country at every meal. For Chrissakes.

14) None of us have any idea what we're doing. I don't care what Facebook says.

15) Take everything with a grain of salt. Including this. Make your own list. Send it to me. Plz.

Cheers to another 30 of figuring it the fuck out, my friends! <3



Sunday, November 15, 2015

Comfort Food: My Life is Going Nowhere Meatloaf



Oh, herro there!

Welcome to my new Awkward Girl Blog, where I, MeMe, will be exploring the many important aspects of my life with you, my beautiful readers.

Mostly, that's food. Go figure.

However I'm stepping into this without putting restrictions on myself. And yes, that means there will probably be some posts about dating. Go figure.

I eat, I date, I complain, I swear, and I make stupid jokes. Since you've last heard from me I've done very little in the line of personal growth.

Go figure.


COMFORT FOOD: My Life is Going Nowhere Meatloaf.

Every once in a while you need some comfort food in your life. Like, for example, when you realize that your life is going absolutely nowhere.

Nothing pulls you out of that black downward spiral like calorie-loaded meals you barely have to waste energy chewing. After all, you need all your energy for job hunting and crying in the shower.

 

First of all, I like to start with the best ingredients my weekly spending budget of 13 cents can buy. For my meatloaf, I prefer grass-fed beef, because it's nice to think that the cows at least got to enjoy their short pointless lives before someone shot them in the head.

Additionally I use half a chopped sweet onion because at this point no one gets close enough for it to be an issue.I really load up on the garlic too. Who am I offending? The cats?

If you cry while chopping onions, my personal recommendation is to just give into it. 

I add in about half a cup of panko bread crumbs or more, depending on if that week I've decided I'm fat or not, and season with salt, pepper, Italian seasoning, and whatever else is handy. What's cumin? Do cats like cumin?

Stir all that shit together with an egg from cage-free chickens because even God's most disgusting creature deserved some brief chance at life and happiness. I saved up for 12 weeks to buy those eggs.

All the bees are dying.

Then I chop up potatoes for the Polish Girl's staple: mashed potatoes. 

Don't expect them all to make it. This is a metaphor or something. 

No, I didn't go to culinary school, why do you ask? 

Once your symmetrically chopped potatoes are on to boil and your meatloaf is in the oven which I forgot to tell you to preheat to 350, you may find you have a little time to kill. I like to spend this time checking my email for responses to any of the many many resumes I sent out. 

Hm. Weird. Nothing yet.  

Well, no worries. Everything happens in its own time. That's what the card said, the one your mom slipped under the door after you stood crying in front of the bathroom mirror with a clump of hair in your shaking hand and barber scissors in the other for three and a half hours straight.

Anyway. Maybe those potatoes are done by now.

They cook faster if you stare at them with laser intensity.

No. They've let you down like everything in else in your life. 

So time to check Facebook. Oh hey there's your ex, just showing right up without searching for him or anything. What's that dude been up to since you broke up?   



Mostly eating, it looks like.
Wait who's this bitch he's with.

Probably like... his whore sister or something.  


You know what maybe just... put some music on, or something. Something to cheer you up.

GOD ADELE JUST FUCKING GETS IT.
You know what you should do? Send him a Facebook message. A friendly, casual Facebook message. Fun and flirty and casual. I'll bet he's just been waiting to hear from you.
"Seen."

The good news is the potatoes are probably done by now. 


You know they're done when they scald your entire face.

Go ahead and drain them. Try not to burn yourself.  

Even if sometimes that's the only way you can feel things.


 Add in lots of cream and butter because who even cares anymore.

Butter is my favorite food.


Look at the stupid, smug face on that bastard. He knows what he's about to do three years from now.

Oh, right, your meatloaf is probably about done now. It's hard to keep track of time when you're calculating how much of your youth you've wasted dating narcissists who will replace you like a cheap lightbulb the moment you've had enough. But it's probably been like 40 minutes.

Mix brown sugar and ketchup into a paste consistency to pour over the top, and bake another fifteen minutes or so.



This gives you time to figure out where she's from, her political affiliation, her taste in music, how much she wants babies, her plans for the future, and also to friend request her three cousins and one brother.


I should text him. I'll be he misses me. He's probably totally depressed. 


"Read."


Your food is almost done! It's a stomach-warming substitute for your life devoid of any love or ambition! It's the best - oh, FUCK NO, he just uploaded a new profile picture of them together. 

The timing is just coincidental. 

HELLO FROM THE OTHER SIDE!!!!!!!



After about fifteen minutes of intense sobbing, the meatloaf is done!




It's delicious!

Eat until your body has no room left for feelings.

Substitute oatmeal to make gluten free, and enjoy! Pairs well with poor life choices.