Part One, Step Three: Profiling and Deconstruction

I keep rewriting this entry. It is too close to the skin I think.  I am trying to stay away from the turmoil of my divorce but I keep landing there on this one. Therefore I am going to try to explain without being too “in it”.

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My marriage broke up for a lot of reasons, but one of the crowning jewels, was an intrinsic lack of honesty.

My former best friend dated my wife a long time ago and now they have officially moved in together (my 7yr old let me know). I don’t think either one of them was particularly honest about being over the other, to the world or themselves. My ex thinks I was dishonest about many things, chief among them ..I don’t know, she won’t tell me..really, she just tells me I’m a lying liar filled with liar filling but won’t tell me about what (I’d at least try to be fair and tell you, what I am a dirty liar about, but I can’t. So she will just have to write her own blog).  In fact she can’t tell me because I’m such a lying liar..it’s a bit like chasing ones tail. True story. I can’t make this shit up.

A year ago, I helped orchestrate this aforeTelenovelamentioned, former best friends’, wedding AND I was in it along with my daughter..just think about that ( if you can keep it straight in your head, good job!). It just gets better or worse depending on your viewpoint and love of Other Peoples Drama (OPD). It’s like a lesbian telanovela!   

It may surprise you to hear that you can be open or poly or non-monogamous and still cheat. It’s in the details, it is in the truths you tell yourself and your partner(s). Many people can make this work, adults that say what they mean, and mean what they say. My situation doesn’t negate my desire to find a version of my own happy ending(s?). In its own way, it has made me more vehement.

The most difficult part of this is realizing,  I am happier. I am all kinds of flawed but I’m 52ca756b69bd37233cd47fbb34c18051okay with it. I like myself. I like my life. I missed being this person, whom I like. I wasn’t, for a while and it’s good to be back. Which it feels  incredibly selfish to say, since the cost is my daughter’s sense of security and family. While I can honestly say I wasn’t the one who wanted this,  the truth is, I’m grateful. I look forward to the day that I’m able to say “thank you”, without rancor.

There are many reasons for the Great Separation and Divide, and it wasn’t just honesty about actions, it was honesty about who we are and what we want. We let a lot of things go into the “We’ll figure it out” pile, until that pile grew and grew and came toppling down.  Opposites may attract but that doesn’t mean they stick. I think we loved one another but stopped liking each other, and that isn’t sustainable.

So what does all of this mean for dating and profiles? The result is,  I know who I am. I have had a little time to get wrist deep and tear myself apart. Despite the pain, I like the process of breaking and rebuilding. When everything I defined my world by, fell apart, it was just me and I had to decide how I was going forward. I couldn’t blame anyone else for not taking care of my own shit.

I am obnoxiously upfront in my profiles. I want to start from a different place with anyone that might want to say hello. I am arrogant, elitist and dramatic in them. Why? Because I am all of these things. If you aren’t secure enough to approach and face the world with confidence; if you aren’t intelligent enough to put me in my place; if you are reserved and want quiet, conservative restraint; if you want sweet touches and gentle love? I’m not the girl.

I decided that I would throw out the whole “trying to look attractive” idea and see what happened when I  set firm filters and just said “I am this” and  “I want this”, no negotiations.  LoveLatte-in-post-half-width

So far it has earned me a few excellent new friends (it’s not all about the naughty stuff), good conversations and some excellent ROI on a few precious  extra-curricular hours.

I have gotten various reactions, most of which have been both positive and eye-opening. Yes this experiment has been about dating and sex but more so, I am finding it is about a desperate need to connect with another person in a real and genuine way.  Is this about aging?  A larger commentary on the culture as a whole? I don’t know but I have some theories…

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Part One, Step Two: Making a List and Checking it Twice

One year ago I signed a new lease. Yeah this was a literal lease for a new apartment but also the more obnoxious and harder to articulate, new lease on …my life.

How trite does that sound? Quite enough I think, lets move on.

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My keys are defiant.

I was looking for a new place in winter, with no time, few options and a decent list of requirements. Like anyone else looking for a new place to live, I had a list of needs I couldn’t compromise on; distance from my daughter’s school, rent,  number of bedrooms (2), decent neighborhood, something that didn’t make her feel like she was seeing the utter wreckage of her mother’s life in the form of an unacceptable living space. Normal stuff.

It occurred to me while I was checking online, making calls and visiting the few acceptable options in the area, that I put more conviction and sense into finding an apartment than choosing a partner. Sad but very, very true.

Why didn’t I have the same list regarding my own requirements and needs? Options that had to be met before I was willing to do a walk-through or waste the gas? I wasn’t going to look at an apartment I couldn’t afford or fit into, that required too much travel or was in the ghetto. Why was I willing to accept the equivalent of unacceptable lodging, in a human being?

Why don’t we have the same kind of list for relationships? Each of us should have a list of nonnegotiable needs that stop us from getting in the car, driving over and “accidentally” forgetting our underwear…I mean, never mind about that, you know what I mean. You and I know better, we need to stop looking where the rent is too high,  where there isn’t enough room for us and the locale doesn’t reflect where we are or where we want to go.

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I decided to make a list because 1) I love lists and 2) I realized I had never articulated my concrete needs to anyone, myself included.

I was surprised at both how hard and how easy this task was. On one hand I knew what I needed. I am old enough to understand what I can and can not accept. On the other hand, paring it down to absolutes seems like cutting my nose, to spite my face. I mean..I/they might change, love is all we need, RIGHT?

This is the short version of my list. I recommend the exercise, if only to see yourself a little bit clearer.

Work It

Yes have a job, absolutely, but this is about more than that. This is about having a work ethic and needing to take part in the world. Give a shit about what you do, have a purpose; please be a contributing adult that is self-reliant and independent.

Be Honorable

I want to believe in you, be honorable. Say what you mean, mean what you say. Whether this is taking out the trash, keeping a date or doing that really important yet difficult task you said you’d take care of, it’s all about trust and belief. Don’t make me have to ask if it got done, I want to believe your word no matter how small the task you have committed to. I’m not your mother and I have no desire to fill that role. If you cannot follow through, take ownership of your actions and deal with the consequences, this isn’t going to work. We’re all going to fail but it’s not the failures that define you, it’s how you deal with those failures.

Get a Hobby

keep-calm-and-get-a-hobby-4Have something you love, that you have a passion for. This keeps you interesting, and growing. This also means you love something other than me and my attention.  I have things to do, and you should too. The time we spend together should be important, not all-consuming. This eventually gets boring. Leave the house, go do something, bring it back and tell me about it.  I want to learn from people who are passionate about things, so please be one of the people I learn from and I will try my best to do the same.

Have a Village

If you are 20, you should have non-family members that have been around for at least 5 years, by your 30’s a decade, so on and so forth. It’s a giant red flag when someone doesn’t have long-term friendships in their lives, it means they can’t maintain them. Friends are the people who hold your story inside of them, they are your living history. They remember you at your worst, best and most silly and they still want to stick around and learn the rest. I should not come before them, if I do I will have less respect for you. I don’t understand discarding people, I see it as dishonorable. Who abandons the people who support them for a new thing, just because the sex if fucking amazing? I mean I get it, but we’re getting sidetracked here. The friends you have are the people who were there before and they will be there after, they are your support team and you need them. They deserve your loyalty. I cannot fulfill every role nor should I be expected to.  I don’t want to be your reason for living, or to be needed at all. I want to be appreciated and wanted, loved even, but not your everything. I want someone stronger than that.

Bring the Sexy Back

Sex is about intimacy, touch, caring, joy and exploration. I need all of these things. I have seen so many relationships die in this arena. We all need intimacy, but being clear about the form and function of my needs is often where I compromise and therefore make my biggest mistakes. I don’t believe in monogamy. I need someone who understands what the term “consensual non-monogamy” means. I need someone who is kink aware and can teach me a thing or two. Be open-minded, curious, self-assured and allergic to jealousy.  Sex is  (very) important but, the best quality version of it, is found along clear communication and trust.

12240888_10154469558055752_8896729158956311971_oThis is my list and I think you should make your own. Your needs are, and should be different. Keep in mind that there are “extras” we would all like. In an apartment it may be hardwood floors, an extra bathroom or a larger backyard. In a person it may be physical traits, or a love of cooking. These things would be great, but aren’t necessary.

What are the things you need? The things you think you can compromise on, but can’t?

When are you going to stop yelling at the 1 bedroom for not being the 2 bedroom you knew you needed in the first place? I mean, really that’s rather silly isn’t it? Yet that’s what we do and maybe this exercise can be the first step towards being responsible for our own bad choices and starting from a better home base.

Location, location, location. Now take out your pens, find a mirror and get to work.

 

 

 

 

Part One, Step One: Let’s Talk About Sex, Baby

Salt N peppaOh Salt N’ Peppa..now I will have you stuck in my head for the whole damn day. I was not trying to implant an unending ear worm with this title, but it is an amusing side effect that I can now share with you. You are welcome.

 

Recently I have begun to date men. This may seem like an odd statement so I elaborate briefly. I have had sex with men. I have had sex with women. I have dated and had long term relationships with women. I have had sex with men..and then promptly forgot they existed. Does that sound harsh? Perhaps it is, but this is how I used to see it; everyone is safe, everyone had a good time, the end. I still see it that way often.

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I like men, straight men are a decent portion of my friend base, which sounds a little like “I have black friends” or “I know gay people” but it’s true. I totally know straight people! They are great, just like everyone else..but weirder. I do have very good friends that are heterosexual men, but that is very different from dating said population. When it comes to men at large,  I never gave them much of a chance beyond my sexual interest in them. Interestingly despite the common social belief that they only want sex, most of the men I encounter want more,  when I… don’t. I don’t know how much of this is because I don’t want it and therefore become more interesting, but there it is. Make what you will of it.

This past year I have decided to try something new, and attempt to actually date them

GOLDEN GIRLS

First step, safety.  I like to plan. I was fully tested and had an IUD implanted, because I am so fertile that just talking about sperm may cause me to spawn.  As you might have surmised, I like sex and therefore have a long standing run of jokes regarding my promiscuity in my younger years among my friends. Upon receipt, I sent all of them pictures of my super squeaky clean test results . Because..well why not?  I came of age with AIDS being the boogeyman that  scarred a  generation.  A clean bill of health is still pretty damn awesome, every damn time.

After the first step I didn’t really have a plan.

  • One,  I don’t know how to be a single women in her 30’s. The last time I was single I was in my mid 20’s which was a very different time.
  • Second I don’t know how to be a single MOM in my 30’s.  Adding to this, a friend of mine reminded me that single mothers are not supposed to have sex or date, they must be virginal, especially if there is a divorce and/or custody proceeding… no pressure.
  • Third, I have even less idea how to be a single HETERO woman, at any age. Straight women scare the crap out of me.

 

laci green no talking shit

This is Laci Green and I adore her:)

 

I have been going to school, working and learning how to be a single mother, and that takes up most of my bandwidth, but the dating thing has been the biggest game changer in how I perceive both myself and my world.  I know how to do my job well, how to be a student and how to be mom Yes, absolutely, all of those things have been harder since the break-up on my marriage and moving out on my own, but I had the tools to do those things. Those skills just needed to be sharpened, honed and re-purposed into multi-tools. I’m still learning and there will plenty of moments documented on those subjects but my angst on those subject bores ME, and I see no need to torture you with it (mostly).

So I will be trying to get the experiences of the last year into a cohesive series of ideas, lessons and revelations. This is of course for me, not you my faithful reader. Presumably you are better informed than I.

 

 

The Care and Feeding of Little Girls

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Last week when I was at the local Lowes, looking for the small hand saw I still needed for the toolbox my daughter was getting for Christmas, I ended up in a conversation with an older gentleman on the subject of the raising of girls. He was a tall man ( at least in comparison to my 5’2), wiry and thin with silver hair neatly coifed. He smelled nice, like something earthy and clean; he was gregarious and expressive, in the easy way of natural extroverts. While there are times I avoid such friendly individuals, age creates a notable exception to this behavior. I like friendly old people. 30+ my senior and in possession of a quick mind filled with interesting viewpoints, automatically gets  my attention.  There are many reasons for this but chief among them is that I respect and aspire to continued curiosity and  stalwart engagement with the world.

Now that we’ve touched upon my Elder Rule, we can move on to the care and raising of little girls.

I could not find the saw I needed for her, the smallest one that would allow proper handling for a smaller, lower to ground type of person. He told me it wouldn’t be in until at least Tuesday and advised checking out an orange colored competitor if I wanted to get it today.  He asked if it was for me and I explained it was not, it was in fact for my daughter. This piece of information spurred a string of questions.

How old was my little girl? Was that Second grade? Was she already into building or was this her introduction? Was there something I was working on with her?

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She was 7, yes that was Second grade. Yes she was already into tools and building and had become the household tool thief, which was why she was getting her own box. Yes, she wanted a dollhouse and I thought that would be a good first, big project ,idea to keep her busy through the winter.

He agreed and told me that many years ago, his wife had gone through 22 hours of labor, after which she asked if he saw the baby in the basket. He said, why yes he did. She informed him, good, because despite appearances to the contrary, that was to be his wished for son. She informed him she was not going through the full production process again and that he would be happy with the results of her first and final efforts.

So, he was. He took that little girl and did all of the things he would have done with a son. He played baseball and football, roughhoused and taught her the skills of his trade. He gave her a workbench and tools and she learned to build beside her father. He told me proudly that she could do anything on her own, by the time she “sprouted” around 13years of age. At that time he relinquished control of her upbringing and gave her back to her mother.  He seemed quite happy with the results and encouraged the path I was taking with my girl child.  He had stumbled onto this path when he was presented with a baby girl instead of the boy he might have imagined and he saw something another man might not have seen, an opportunity instead of an impediment. He was tickled pink that another little girl was being properly educated.

This isn’t some self-righteous, sanctimonious statement on gender. It’s much simpler than that.

His joy reminded me that it is not the hand you are dealt and or even what you do with it but how you choose to see it in the first place. That’s it.