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…
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.