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.

General douchbaggery ‘n shit

It’s been a bit. Did you miss me? You know you did.. I know you did.. 😉

Spring has sprung, and so, everything at the shelter has gone full-fledged shit show. (Didja see what I did there?) Something about the warm air brings out the completely unreasonable in people. I don’t mind being busy at work, nor do I mind helping all of the animals. No, it’s when spoiled rotten human adults call 911 because the neighbor’s dog just crapped on their front yard … I just wanna slap their smug, entitled faces off. Here are some of the things Northern Virginians say to justify their general douchbaggery:

I pay my taxes. Well done. I’m sure you’re a fine, upstanding County resident, but your taxes have nothing to do with my non-profit, humane society salary. Your submission of tax paperwork does not entitle either of us to break the law or remove the annoying wildlife digging holes in the lawn or eating your hostas. You should consider using your tax refund to purchase a deterrent or two, like a motion-activated Yard Orbiter or some aluminum pie pans and pinwheels.

I’m an attorney. Welcome. Everyone in NoVa is an attorney, toots.

I have children. Congratulations on your ability to breed. Part of your responsibility as a parent is to teach those offspring to be aware of the world around them. There are and always will be wild animals outside. That is where they live.

You don’t care. Of all the insults, this one takes the taco, Tippy. To accuse me, who hath devoted her entire adult life to the welfare of animals both domestic and wild, of lack of caring is ignorant on a level I can’t even … just no.

I rescued my dog/cat. “Rescue” is an overused term used by folks who need a ‘lil pat on the back a bit more frequently than others. You don’t rescue animals from pet stores or breeders. You just don’t.

One more day till my weekend. One more day.

Oh, and speaking of the weekend…

I have a date.

Actually, I have two dates. I was asked out by two different guys in the span of 24 hours last weekend. I’ll meet with one this Sunday for drinks and appetizers, and plans are in the works for a brunch date next Sunday with the other. Both seem very kind and smart, and as nervous as I am (and I am nervous), I’m also kind of excited to see how we’ll connect in person. I’ll throw it out there that Date #2 has a beautiful 17 month old daughter. Squeeeee!

I’m still doing the low-carb thing (well, mostly) and thoroughly enjoying watching the numbers drop on the scale. I’ve decided not to aim for Ketosis, which is not ideal for those of us wading around in the dating pool (“Have you been using nail polish remover as mouthwash?”, “Oh, no, that’s just my ketones doing their fat burning thing .. so sorry!”), focusing more on being mindful of carb intake, sweets (nope, just berries now and then), and NO processed foods or grains. My refrigerator is full of what seems like a wholly unreasonable amount of cheese, from shredded to slices, crisps, ricotta, cottage, fresh moz, parmesan (by the pound!), and cream cheeses. Really, there is never too much cheese, imho. Cheese. Wine. Eggs. They’re what’s for dinner.

And after dinner, well, let’s just say I know two little dogs and one large cat who are getting their spring hair cuts tonight, but shhhhh… don’t tell them that. Malachi’s ‘do is almost done already (ah, the benes of having your own office in an animal shelter), I just need to tidy around his face, feet, and trim that ridiculous tail that escaped a trimmin’ last time. That tail is so long I mistakenly sit on it in the car and then wonder why the boy seems to be stuck to the seat. OH, sorry little dude.

I continue to work to be present in my transition. (See last entry: “Transition”) I reached out to Love Bomb to request the tent. It’s a nice tent, only used a handful of times, besides, she got virtually everything in this “divorce”. Most of the furniture, all of the gaming stuff, big TV, my kayak, the .. blankets (gotdamn I was cold this past winter). Can’t claim to still be paying for it anymore, thanks Chapter 7! Thing is, when it comes to dating profiles and interests, camping is an eye-catcher for me, and yet, I haven’t a thing offer to the adventure but paper towels. Maybe. I don’t have anywhere to store a kayak, but I can slide a tent quite nicely in my balcony HVAC closet. It will live with my luggage in there – a carry-on size roller that was originally Love Bombs’. I’ve never owned luggage. Anyway, point is, I have room for the tent, and with a little luck, it will join me on some romantic adventures.

Because I will have romantic adventures.

One of these days.

Not desperate. Not grasping. It’s been a full year of being unattached and alone. I have finally, ironically, “found myself”. I’m proud of how far I’ve come. There are still some doozy anniversaries approaching, and I am scared. I wonder if I’ll ever look fondly upon April, ever again. 🥀

Can’t stop. Won’t stop.

It’s been a hot minute since I went to the psychiatrist. Doc went on vacation (is she allowed to do that??) last month and I knew I had scheduled something upon her return but it wasn’t until a text reminder arrived on Saturday that I remembered it.

Reply “C” for confirm. Hell yeah, I’ll be there. I need refills! Also – did you read my last entry??

Love Bomb used to snap at gently encourage me to see a psychiatrist whenever I’d get upset about virtually anything, unreasonable or not. Okay, so that time I got into a physical altercation with the lawnmower could have been construed as “unreasonable”, but it’s not like I was hurting anyone besides that self-righteous asshole mower. It’s no secret that I have a hot Irish temper (thanks, ma!) and fairly high expectations that are often unsatisfied. No, it’s not an “anger management issue” (quotations inserted on Love Bomb’s behalf) – it’s just one of those charming things that makes me an exceptionally passionate human. My passion makes me a better being, not inferior nor in need of repair.

I rolled out of bed at my typical slothful 10:15am. Why yes, I am generally expected to be to work by 10:30am, but you know what? I have a 2 minute commute (woo!) and time-clocks working the way they do with a built-in 8 minute grace-period, I most often arrive quite on-time by 10:37am. And yes, it’s also true that I sometimes resemble a recently unwrapped mummy complete with sleepy creases still embedded in my cheeks and I’m just fine with that! I work in an animal shelter, not a beauty salon. Besides, most everyone I work with knows better than to poke this bear before I’ve consumed at least one very strong cup of coffee, and the ones who don’t learn quickly.

Have I mentioned my temper?

Truth be told, I do realize that my sleeping habits tend to be excessive and that is something I discuss with my psychiatrist. I also have Fibromyalgia and Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, so if you’re feeling judge-y about my sleep schedule, just don’t.

I had every intention of heading in to my appointment and having a reasonable adult conversation with my doctor, but it became pretty clear on the 20 minute drive to her office that that wasn’t happening. The sun was shining bright warming this February day to a whopping 70 degrees, windows open, sunglasses on, playlist, set to random, was choosing awesome tunes, and then there was me: ugly-crying all the way to Vienna.

By the time I arrived, I decided I no longer wanted to go in the office for the whole 15 minutes I had reserved. I had finally pulled myself together and I just didn’t feel like crying anymore. Fortunately, it’s clear I’m not the only one who does this by the two boxes of tissue within arms reach of that familiar soft, leather chair. Still, at 8 months into our work together, I hoped I had improved enough to avoid accruing a small mountain of soggy tissues, that, despite their strategic placement, I couldn’t find a trash can to deposit them in, so I wadded them into my hand, one after the other after the other.

Doc: “So, what’s been going on? How were your Holidays?”
Self: “Well, you know, every solitary first is tricky, but I got through it.”
Doc: “I’m glad to hear that. And more recently? It sure is a beautiful day outside!”
Self: <sob>
Doc: “What is it about a pretty day like today that makes you sad?”
Self: “It just kind of reminds me of last spring, and all that happened last year.”
Doc: “I see. You’re coming up on a year now since your breakup.”
Self: “Yeah, I mean, it’s only February, so this is gonna be a long spring, but April 6th was pivotal, April 23rd was too, and then May 13th was when she officially did away with me.”

She nodded some more and reassured me that what I was feeling was okay and normal; Every first is a struggle and that may also be true of seconds and thirds. GREAT!

Suddenly, fifteen minutes didn’t seem like enough time to cover all the topics I felt needed covering, i.e.: all the things that have contributed to my recent crap-ass mood. My birthday two weeks ago. Valentine’s Day. Even the fact that my bank information was recently stolen and just how vulnerable that makes one feel, not to mention all the work involved in fixing it while also making sure the bills get paid.

Doc: “So, it’s been almost a year. Have you started to consider dating? Does that interest you?”

I put myself out there on a couple of dating apps because, apparently, that’s how a lot of singles do this. For the most part, I’ve been discouraged. The dating pool, in my opinion, leaves a lot to be desired at the geriatric age of 43. Isn’t there some theory that men get more distinguished as they age? Lies!

That’s not to say that I’m perfect. Here’s what my profile should read:

Age: Too old for this crap
Sexuality: Somewhere on the spectrum
Body type: Not terrible, but definitely enjoys tacos

It’s entirely possible that I need to lower my expectations when it comes to finding a suitable partner-in-crime. Perhaps I should reach out to the guy I met for drinks a couple of weeks ago — the one who sort of reminded me of my pop. Maybe he’ll appear less dad-like dressed casually … ? Then again, I may just put this whole dating thing on the back burner for a spell. After all, I don’t require someone to fill my heart or my bed to make me whole.

It’s never about finding the one. It’s always about becoming the one. -Sylvester McNutt
img_6798
Your bed is still warm from us and your mouth still tastes of mine. I hope she likes the warmth I’ve left. I hope she likes my second hand taste. @thedominantpoet

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I wish I could say that the 15 minutes I spent with the doc fixed all my woes. Unfortunately, it just doesn’t work that way. I wish it did. Although I’m not actively suicidal, I flirt with passive attempts at self-destruction like not wearing my seatbelt. And so, a tweak here and a tweak there of those morning meds that make my life more tolerable, and check in next month.

I may wake up late and ruminate, I may stick my head in the sand some days, but I will keep getting up (eventually) and showing up (in due time). There’s no way around doing the hard work when you’re left behind, and so I will.

Can’t stop. Won’t stop…

@decoratuscurious

Shit-list

I had planned to be on a date tonight, but apparently, I musta offended the other half of the arrangement because I’ve texted a few times … <chirp> <chirp>.

I don’t like to be on anyone’s shit-list, but honestly, the girl was already clingy and we hadn’t even met in person, yet. When I wouldn’t respond to her texts, like, immediately, she’d get sensitive – “Are you ok”? Uh, I am at work, it’s a Friday afternoon, calm down. She sent texts and photos of the event she was attending all weekend. When we discussed her return to the area, she suggested we have dinner together on both Sunday and Monday nights. I brushed that off and leaned in to Monday. Random texts kept coming in, topics ranging from “do you like leather?”, to “is it snowing where you are?”, and finally, last night: “May I call you?”, to which I didn’t reply. I texted this morning, apologized, and explained that I hadn’t been feeling well last night, followed by another text about where we should meet for dinner. It’s 6pm now, and nada.

In that case, I’ll go ahead and pop open a beer now.

If you’re going to be that weird about an un-replied-to text on a Sunday night, well, I don’t need that sort of drama in my life.

Perhaps she already rented the U-Haul. Fucking lesbians.

So, now, here I sit, conflicted and sad. Maybe this whole dating thing, even this being partnered thing isn’t my deal, at least, not anymore. There’s no doubt that I’m lonely, but I’ll admit that the thought of sharing time and space with anyone isn’t terribly appealing these days either

It’s a conflict, for sure. I sit here alone so often I’ve actually worn a solitary indent into the couch.

It’s hard all the time, but tonight feels worse than most. I sit in my crevice and wonder if I simply deserve this pain, and why … because I wanted a baby? Was that not painful enough? Can we call it a fucking draw, now?

I wish I could vaporize, I’d turn myself into a pink haze and disappear. No more pain. No more hate. No more jealousy. No more sadness. No more. Going. Going.

Gone.

#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.