Tuesday, May 20, 2014

That Woman

I want to be that woman: the woman who sees the value of what she has to offer in a relationship and to the world, and won’t settle for anyone who doesn’t see it too.

I want to be that woman: the woman who doesn’t accept placeholders in her life, because something is not always better than nothing.

I want to be that woman: the woman who is confident enough to realize that she deserves common courtesies and shouldn’t have to rationalize their absence.

I want to be that woman: the woman who acknowledges sadness over lost opportunities, but knows that one day there will be new ones on the horizon.

I want to be that woman: the woman who fills her life with fun activities and interesting experiences with friends she loves, and who knows her life is full with or without a romantic partner.

I want to be that woman: the woman who knows that even when she has bad days or weeks or months, they won’t last forever.
I want to be that woman: the strong and brave one her friends see.

I want to be that woman.

Monday, May 19, 2014

This Girl

I don’t want to be this girl: the girl who hears, “I’m not ready for a relationship,” and her first instinct is to say, “What if we take it slow?”, as if, if she’s just patient enough, he’ll come around.

I don’t want to be this girl: the girl who knows deep down that people really do exactly what they want, but tells herself that maybe this person wants something different from what he’s doing. 

I don’t want to be this girl: the girl who sends a simple, “How are you?” text, doesn’t get an answer, and then rationalizes all the reasons why this could be, when she knows that really it takes about 3 seconds to send a polite response.

I don’t want to be this girl: the girl who agonizes over why he didn’t respond, when the answer is quite clear: he didn't want to.

I don’t want to be this girl: the girl who feels so sad over a lost opportunity with a man (boy?) she barely knew.

I don’t want to be this girl: the girl who the rest of the world calls “strong” and “brave,” but who hates hearing those words because she feels like she never lives up to them.

I don’t want to be this girl: the girl who feels so fragile and lonely inside.

I don’t want to be this girl.

Monday, December 30, 2013

Letting Go

I cannot change the fact that he lied to me. He lied about loving me, or else he wouldn't have left me the way he did. And I cannot change the fact that I believed him, or that I loved him. But I can change how I feel about it now. 

I can choose not to feel foolish anymore. Instead, I can be proud of the fact that I loved honestly and openly. That was genuine, and even a little – dare I say it? – brave, and so I shouldn’t feel foolish for it. Instead, I should remind myself that those are the hallmarks of how I want to live my life, because they are better than hiding my heart away.

I can choose not to see myself as broken. I wasn’t the one who lied or misled. I wasn’t the one who refused to open up or be honest about where I was at emotionally. Those were truly hurtful mistakes, and I should remember that I do not want to be with someone who makes them repeatedly and to my detriment.

I can choose not to keep taking this out on myself.  I do not have to sleep 13 hours a day, mostly during the daylight hours. I do not have to eat entire batches of chai spice sugar cookies in one day (they really are the best cookies on the planet, like a more interesting snickerdoodle, and if you haven’t tried them you should go make them right now). And I do not have to keep wallowing in how hurt I am, because none of that will change what happened. I should focus on doing the things I enjoy, with people I love and who love me back, and reminding myself that life goes on, whether I want it to or not, so I might as well enjoy the ride.

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Let This Make You Better

In times of crisis, when I feel grief or fear change or experience loss, I tell myself, "Let this make you better. Take the rug being pulled out from under you as an opportunity to land on your feet, strong and purposeful and assured in the knowledge that life will go on, because that is what it does."

And then I eat a cupcake.

Monday, October 28, 2013

Leap of Faith

Today is my last day at my job. I'm starting a freelance career, and with it a new phase of my life. Striking out on my own is scary. I'm used to the security of a regular paycheck, employer-provided health insurance, and an easy job I know I can accomplish with minimal effort. In many ways it was incredibly comfortable, but it also made me miserable. I wasn't challenged. Worse, I didn't feel valued or like I had a purpose, which made me even more miserable.

I have a bad habit of staying in comfortable but unhealthy situations . There's something about the familiar that seems so safe, almost homey. When it's healthy, it feels like a cocoon: warm and perfectly suited to me. But when it's unhealthy, it quickly becomes more like a straightjacket. I feel static and stuck, too constrained to be happy but too comfortable to make a change.

After years of unhappiness in my job, I finally took a leap of faith earlier this year. After arguing myself in circles, I scrounged up the courage to tell my boss I'd be leaving at the start of 2014. I started pursuing freelance work, and slowly, things fell into place. Small jobs came my way through word of mouth, and then two bigger ones, including the first one I ever bid competitively. I built a website, I met with clients, and I realized that I felt revitalized - excited, even. I suddenly had more work than I could do while keeping my day job. So two months ago I told my boss that I'd be leaving earlier than planned, and now here I am: doing work that I actually enjoy, for clients who value my contributions (or seem to, anyway). And while I'm still terrified about the loss of security, I already feel happier.

I learned an important lesson about pursuing what I want: I can step away from the safety net, take a leap of faith, and find myself better off than I imagined before.

Monday, December 17, 2012

"Keep it classy, lawyer dude."

I got dumped last week, but that's not what I'm upset about. I'd had my own lingering doubts over the months we'd been dating and never quite felt as head-over-heels as I thought I should. He'd been "busy" and I thought that perhaps not seeing much of him was keeping me from feeling that intangible feeling I thought I was supposed to feel with the right person, so I was waiting it out until after the holidays to see if it got better. Regardless, the rejection of getting dumped still stings a little, but I'm hurt for another reason.

Apparently he'd made up his mind about us weeks ago and (by his own admission) was just avoiding telling me. Things came to a head over the weekend when he said he'd let me know about whether we could do something on Saturday. He never touched base with me and so on Sunday morning I texted him to tell him I was irritated by his blowing me off. No response. So I texted him Monday morning and still got no response. Fed up, I decided to call him and tell him that we obviously weren't on the same page and we should probably take advantage of the holidays to figure out what we wanted going forward (I was traveling for work and couldn't do it face-to-face). He didn't take my call. What he did instead was respond with a lengthy text message telling me that while he enjoyed hanging out with me, he didn't have the "right feelings" for me. 

It's the fact that he avoided me for weeks, ignored my text messages and call, and then finally dumped me via text message that really hurts. It shows that he had absolutely no respect for me, my time, or my feelings. At the very least, he owed me the courtesy of a conversation. Over the phone or face to face, I don't really care. But I believe that if you have respect for someone, you at least give them the courtesies of being honest and hearing their response. It's what decent people do for each other, even under difficult circumstances.

In retrospect, I shouldn't be surprised at how he dumped me. When Juliette died he  expressed only minimal concern for me and never once asked how I was handling her death. I chalked it up to him not knowing how to comfort me and never having lost a pet himself. When we had our one and only fight, he didn't acknowledge that he hurt my feelings or apologize until much later. Instead, he turned the aftermath of the argument into beating himself up for his behavior and avoiding me. Both incidents gave me pause, but I was willing to wait it out a bit longer and see if he became more emotionally available over time. In retrospect, that probably never would have happened. He avoided me and my emotions when were dating, he did it when he dumped me via text message, and if we'd continued dating, he probably would have done it throughout our relationship. In short, he's an avoider. 

I, on the other hand, am a confronter, so I sort of expected myself to react much more strongly. Instead, I responded with two text messages. The first said, "Okay, then," and the second one told him that for future reference, text message was not the appropriate medium for breaking up with someone. I beat myself up for a while and wondered what it was about me that made someone respect and value me so little that he'd dump me that way. I still find myself falling into that way of thinking, but more and more I'm realizing that 1) I'm better off without someone who treats other people that way, and 2) if that really is his M.O., we wouldn't have lasted much longer anyway.

At the very least, two good things have come out of this. First, I was reminded of what an amazing group of friends I have. One friend had me over to her apartment where we watched Hot Fuzz and drank beer while she baked me chocolate chip cookies. Because she's awesome. Another distracted me by inviting me out for drinks, and countless others listened to me vent. And all my friends expressed what I would describe as the only appropriate responses in this scenario. 

A sampling, for your reading pleasure:

"Is he 12?!?!"
"What a fucking coward!!!"
"I don't even know what to say." (Yes, speechlessness is an appropriate response in this instance.)
"Dude's a prick."
"What an asshole."
"The guy's being a jerk."
"Well, that's just wrong."

And my personal favorite: "Keep it classy, lawyer dude."  

(For context, he is a lawyer, in case that wasn't obvious.)

See? My friends are an amazing, empathetic, and articulate bunch. And I am lucky.

The other good thing to come out of this is actually for all of you. I had already purchased a couple Christmas gifts for the guy, and while the majority of them are things that I can happily use myself (an assortment of locally produced hot sauces from around Texas, for example), there is one item I most definitely cannot use or return. And so, I'm giving it away to one of you lucky people.

Let me preface this by saying that it was a gag gift. You must keep that in mind.

It's a pair of these Sriracha (aka rooster sauce) boxer shorts from The Oatmeal, size XL. I imagine they'd make an excellent (free-to-you-but-will-probably-arrive-a-little-late-but-hey-free-is-free) Christmas gift or stocking stuffer.

How can you win them? Just leave a comment on this post before 11:59pm CST on Wednesday, December 19. One comment per person; any comments after your first one will not be valid entries. Be sure to include an email address so I can contact you and get your mailing address if you've won. I'll use the random number generator over at www.random.org to select one lucky winner from all the comments. So go on, hurry up and comment and get yourself some free boxer shorts!

Look at that: lemons into lemonade! I'm just like Jesus, I tell you.