The Shapewear Incident of 2018

Putting oneself out there, wading the murky waters of modern dating, I assure you, is not for those with weak constitutions. It wasn’t too long ago that I would rather have plowed my head directly into the sand/gravel/mulch/concrete before I ever set out on any social engagement all by my lonesome. Fortunately, things change. People change. I have changed.

I afternoon at museums and imbibe at dive bars by myself, afterwards. I drive hours to participate in beach-side baby goat yoga, taste-test local honey, and drink microbrews on the hill until they kick me outgently encourage me to go home. I walk to the park, around it, around it, around it again, and then back, just me, myself and my thoughts. Sometimes I’ll bring my little dogs, but then I spend much of our time trying to distract them from the fact that there are other dogs at the park, too (heavens!). I’m equally amused and embarrassed when they get reactive from the confines of their little stroller, rockin’ and ‘a-bouncin’ as my five-pound mini-mexi-munchkins carry on ferociously inside the zippered buggy. It’s surely a sight to behold, and then there’s me, trying to hide in my own jacket’s hood. Nothing to see here! Where will I hide when (if?!) jacket season ever ends? It’s supposed to snow up to a foot on Saturday…

That temper tho

So, I had a date this past weekend. His name is … let’s just call him M, for now … he’s a bureaucrat (whatever that means), has an identical twin, and he’s originally from Florida but has been living in DC for several years. Everything seemed to be going pretty well… big drinks, good conversation, no awkward silences, a few shared laughs. Afterward, he walked me to my car. As he walked away, I caught a glimpse of my reflection there on driver’s side window. Ummm .. why is there this odd patch of stark-white on my belly? Oh, SHITBALLS, that white thing IS my belly – but whyyyy is it out and about?! Classic MazieCakes, I guess I raced through my bathroom routine (that was a huge margarita at 4 in the afternoon) that required fastening shapewear crotch hooks (first date!), and somehow (tequila!) managed to forget to pull my shirt back down, which wedged snugly under my right boob. So, not only did I show off my belly, I showed off my well-used beige Spanx! So hot.

My gentleman caller played it cool when I texted him with my wardrobe malfunction confession (“we could have gotten ice cream and you could have told me about my shirt tucked in my bra!”), said that he thought I was just “showing off midriff”, followed by maybe a few too many ‘laughing so hard I’m crying’ emoji’s. At the very least, we both walked away with a funny story. This is the sort of first date story that could be shared over and over for generations should we ever have grandkids. (Haha. That’s a little joke.)

In an effort to feel more amused and less mortified by the “Shapewear Incident of 2018“, I posted about my date on FB/IG. My friends always keep me laughing at myself in times like these. Aaaand a friend from college suggested I start a blog. (You know what this means? They like me! They really like me! They recognize my vulnerability and appreciate the humor with which I present my … situations.) I replied, “who’s to say I don’t have one, already?”, and now … NOW the requests are rolling in for more details. It’s kind of funny though, now that I actually have a few followers (hello, followers!), none of which I actually know (correct me if I’m wrong, guys!), I feel way more self-conscious about my bloggings. I haven’t shared my blog with anyone I know and I’ll admit that I’m a little nervous to. My regular followers know some of the dark and disturbing places my mind wanders off to, but I’m not really sure that my peeps are quite prepared for the amount and depth of hate, anger, sadness, and despair I come here to unleash. I’ll think about it.

… I am trying my very hardest to be strong this week, next week, this month, next month. Anniversaries abound and I’m uber-sensitive to all of them, even ones I don’t know about. The only things I haven’t managed to unpack in my cuteaf condo are a solid 18 years-worth of photos, cards, and memories. They live in boxes and storage bins labelled, “Not Yet”, but I’m not sure “yet” will ever happen irl. Looking at photos of us literally gives me chest pains and what I suspect are heart palpitations, which feel like a weird flutter in my throat. Also, all the wet stuff seeps out my face.

Some photos, I’ll admit, may conjure a smile remembering how in love we were for so long, followed by that hollow, flutter-throat feeling. More recent photos, like the ones that pop up on my FB memory feed (really, I hate FB), I actually find physically revolting. No longer the uniquely strong, beautiful woman I fell in love with, the last few years brought changes that I struggled to tolerate. Like, working in a pet store and selling animals. I realize that we need jobs and paychecks, and I watched her struggle with unemployment more than once, but selling animals completely violates my values – values that we used to share. And then, she and New Girl go out and BUY a fucking messofadogbreed from a crap-ass breeder who advertises on a notorious Amish puppy mill website … !!! …

WHO THE FUCK ARE YOU because there’s NO WAY you’re the woman I fell in love with! The woman I fell in love with was full of passion and empathy; she had strong convictions and stood up for what was right; she made the world a better place. This new woman is part of a whole range of problems, from animal welfare, breeding and selling, to another bankruptcy, an added foreclosure, even another replacement girl at the ready when the old one got difficult – well, I guess that’s really nothing new, is it?

But, I stayed, despite it. I stayed because I decided to stay a long, long, long time ago. I’m not even sure if it was my choice … I felt such tremendous pressure to make it work, to come back from Seattle, to give it another chance, to “prove them wrong”, over and over, in true Love Bomb style.

And for a while, I was happy in the staying. I really was. We had a number of wonderful years together, sharing lives, our business, our home and furry family. I wanted for us to live happily ever after, and for a while, I could see it – clearly. But, there were also periods of great doubt, regret, and yes, even curiosity about “what could have been” had I not hastily blurted, “Okay!” when Love Bomb asked if I’d be with her one Sunday afternoon.

What’s most painful is that after all the staying I did .. for all those years, she just .. didn’t.

She wouldn’t stay. She wouldn’t even consider staying.

I put in years upon years of staying. I fully let go of things that one held immense meaning to me, like getting married, buying a house, having babies – all in the interest of STAYING.

And why? Because she couldn’t bear to be alone? Because she wouldn’t let me go even if when I tried?

Once again …

IT WAS NEVER UP TO ME.

Now, I live with the knowledge that by staying, I gave up. I gave up on my life, gave up on my future, goals, and dreams … I gave it all up for her. And in return, she tossed me out like an old cat when a cute Aussie kitten trot past. You were always a sucker fool for an accent. #eatyourfuckingtoast

Finally, at the end of nearly 19 years, when push came to shove (as in, a firm shove out the door), I still made one last decision – to stay. I genuinely wanted to try to figure things out, not toss it all away — after all this time, after all this staying.

But she, she was already gone. And it was never up to me.

I gave it my all and I gave it all of me. Photo credit: @wisdomshewrote
In the end, I stayed so long, all I really wanted to do was stay some more.

#annas43rdyear

I am having a hard time with this blog thing lately.

I start something, then decide that it’s not interesting or engaging to anyone besides myself. There are currently three “drafts” sitting in limbo, I can’t decide on a direction for any of them.

So, I’ll try again. It’s not like nothing has happened worth mentioning: I went out on a date – a real date, with a boy, at a restaurant. I celebrated my 43rd birthday, complete with a small gathering of some of my dearest friends and a head-sized margarita. I sent a letter to my landlord and asked if I could buy the condo unit I currently rent from him. It’s been an eventful week!

Mostly, I’m struggling with which direction I ultimately want to go with this blog.

“… Engaging with other bloggers is so important. I didn’t realize until I started engaging more with other people that that’s what blogging should be about. It should be about community and people, not writing about yourself and hoping someone will listen. It’s a way of helping, educating and making a difference.” -Giles Jordan, Giles Meets World, The 10 biggest mistakes I made in my first year blogging.

How can I engage … uh, you (are you out there? anyone? anyone?) … when I’m not even sure how I feel about just about everything these days? It certainly won’t be my witty writing or fantastically funny jokes. Right? Right. But that’s one of those things I’m here to work on – improving those writing skills, telling a story, drawing insightful conclusions, so on and so forth.

Okay, so I’m just going to go for it.

Date night. So, I’ve been using a dating app called OKCupid for a couple of months now. I like it better than Tinder, which seems to be a full blown fuck-fest. OKC has the option to answer questions related to things like ethics, lifestyle, and yes, even sex, which are used to “match” you with this person or that. It’s kind of nice to know at a glance whether or not you and the person who pops up have things in common and/or if you’ll be at all compatible. I gravitate to people who are low on the ‘conservative’ and ‘sexperienced’ scales, and high on ‘compassion’ and ‘giving’. What does my profile say about me? Well, OKC describes me as ‘nerdy’, ‘adventurous’, ‘progressive’, and ‘thrifty”. Three out of four ain’t bad … I don’t see myself as particularly adventurous – BUT, I did meet someone and join them on a date! Some might consider that adventurous. I’ve been known to struggle with anxiety, especially when it comes to places where I feel quite stuck, like restaurants and stylists chairs once the dye is applied. Considering how far I’ve come from my “she who faints in breezeways” history, you might conclude that going on a real date was not only adventurous, it was downright brave.

The guy I met is fairly fascinating. He’s a refugee from Romania, and grew up in New York. He has three sisters. He works for the man. He’s a devout Buddhist – he teaches mindfulness and goes on mindful retreats. He said and did all the right things. He listened intently to everything I said and made lots of direct eye contact. We match at 93%, according to OKC. There’s just one thing … I’m not sure I’m attracted to him. Which makes me feel like a jerk. I mean, it’s not what’s on the outside that counts, right? On one hand, I feel like a certain chemistry or spark is really important in a relationship. On the other, I feel like maybe I need to look past those receding hairlines now that I’m <gasp> 43 – and so is my dating pool.

43. So, that happened on Wednesday. It wasn’t nearly as depressing as I anticipated. (I hope I can say the same for Valentine’s Day – it’s coming right up.) It rained like a mofo all day, but I like the rain and I found a nice rain jacket at the house when I went to pick up the last of my things. (Thanks, New Girl – I needed one real bad!) The day flew by (despite the fact that I did virtually nothing) and I was treated to dinner and margaritas with some of my very best friends. It shouldn’t come as a surprise that the people who came to my birthday party were the same sweet af humans who came to my housewarming, and yet, I was tickled when I noticed this consistently faithful crew in this photo. I get what I need. And these be my peeps…

bday peeps
I’m the one in the green jacket gettin’ her buzz on.

The official celebration didn’t stop there; Thursday, I joined another friend (she’s gonna need an alias – let’s call her “Kate” from now on) for dinner and drinks. And tonight, dinner will be served by my squirrel rehab mentor and her sweetie. I get what I need from these kind people who surround and support me. Imma lucky girl!

And as for my cute condo? I put it on my landlord’s radar that I’d like to buy the joint. I’ve been there for over 6 months now, but I’ve really only just started to feel at home. I finally put some things on the walls and although I still have plastic bins for nightstands, I DID purchase some cute end-tables for the living room. Progress! I dread the thought of moving again and I can’t see myself leaving my job (I am so lucky to be where I am, doing what I love, with people I adore) anytime soon. It makes more sense to pay a mortgage than rent, and with the new Harris Teeter / shopping center that’s going in just a few blocks down the road, I imagine property values are going to increase in the next few years. I should probably get in on that.

As you can see, it’s been a pretty good week, overall. I don’t know that I have any specific guidance or insights for a reader, but eh, whatever. I was actually chatting with another OKC match (a girl this time) (91%) who is an active blogger. She says that a target audience is not necessary and encouraged me to “write what makes *you* tick – to hell with everyone else, pay no regard what anyone thinks”. So, for today, I’m going to run with that. And so, I’ll hit “Publish…” and clear this hurdle.