Sunday, June 26, 2011

A Quiet Sunday Morning

I'm taking it easy today. I've been feeling down again the last day or two, so I'm giving myself a break and spending the day with books and music. I'm connecting with one song in particular, which a recent post over on The Ruckus reminded me of. It's a new one by Mumford & Sons, one of my favorite bands that I've mentioned before. I hope you enjoy it.



If you can't see the player above, then go ahead and click here and you should be able to play the song that way.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Not Letting the (Lack of) Bastards Get Me Down

I really don't want this to turn into a dating blog. There are a lot of good ones out there already (including my friend Single Blonde's), and that's not *all* I have going on in my life to write about. But right now it does seem to be the predominant theme...

After last week's minor meltdown I decided that instead of moping at home alone, I should stack my calendar full of fun activities with people I enjoy. So I made happy hour plans with one friend, and contacted another to see if she wanted to catch up (since she had the nerve to go on a cross-country road trip for two weeks without me - hmph), and then this crazy thing happened - all of the sudden I had four guys with real potential messaging me on OkCupid. I didn't change anything on my profile, I didn't change my photos, nothing. Just out of the blue. And then, just as suddenly, I had dates on the books with three of them. It's to the point where I can't even really keep them all straight in my head (especially since two of them have the same name, with the same spelling, which is really going to throw a wrench into things when one of them calls). I had my first date with one of them on Monday. He seems like a pretty cool guy, and I'd definitely go out with him again if he calls. The next dates are this Saturday and next Monday. The other one, well, he may never happen because he turns out to have some... issues.

The details on the guys and the dates aren't nearly as important as what I noticed about myself. Namely, that the moment I had some interest from these guys and some dates in the works, my mood completely shifted from down and out to happy and giggly. And while a good mood is, well, good, I shouldn't let it be so heavily determined by an external factor that's so out of my control. I'm just not sure how best to do that. It's really difficult for me to talk myself out of those places, because everywhere I look I see evidence to support my feelings. Maybe the best lesson I can take away from this is just to be more self-aware about how I'm feeling, and how quickly it can change.

On a completely unrelated note, I was totally excited yesterday when I read The Ruckus and learned that one of my current favorite artists, Laura Marling, has a new album coming out in September. Here's the preview. I heart her.

And yes, I just used a noun as a verb. Sue me.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Not a Father's Day Post

There are lots of signs when I get depressed. I eat more. I drink more. I sleep more. I lose interest in activities that I usually enjoy - cooking, listening to my favorite musicians, watching TV even. I fantasize about buying a motorcycle and riding far, far away. But the main thing, the thing that always catches my attention, is that I cry over absolutely nothing.

Today I texted a friend to see if she wanted to meet up this afternoon and grab a beer. She responded that while she'd love to, she already had plans to get together with her family for a Father's Day BBQ. I'd completely forgotten that it's Father's Day, and of course I understood why she couldn't get together. But that didn't stop me from tearing up immediately.

Lots of factors led to this most recent bout of depression. I'm frustrated in my job but don't see many concrete opportunities opening up anytime soon. My dating life is nearly nonexistent, and the one guy who I thought had potential disappeared all together. I feel abandoned and villified by my entire family. I'm unhappy with my body. Et cetera, et cetera, et cetera.
But honestly, the main reason is probably that I haven't been diligent about taking my meds regularly. I've been getting in bed at night to read and then not wanting to get back up to pop a couple pills. I mean to take them in the morning, but often I forget. It wouldn't be such a big deal if it only happened once or twice a month, but it's been happening three or four days a week, and that adds up.

I know what I need to do. I need to take my meds every night (and brush my teeth before bed while I'm at it, too). I need to force myself to go out and be social even though I don't want to. I need to not make a batch of oatmeal raisin cookies at 9:30 on a Saturday night and then eat every last one while wallowing in self-pity. I need to ignore all the people who will tell me to "cheer up" (eff you) and "look on the bright side" (there's a bright side?), because if I don't I'll strangle them, and I don't exactly think prison will agree with my delicate disposition.

But right now, all that feels a little daunting. So I'll just stick with taking my meds, and then have a nap.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

[insert sigh here]

It's been the better part of a year since I went on more than one date with the same person, and even longer since that person was someone I actually considered a viable candidate for a relationship. Late last year I took a self-imposed break from dating, and when I reentered the dating world I had what I thought were some pretty reasonable standards that I adhered to. Having failed to find anyone who fit my ideals and who was willing to see me more than once, I relaxed some of my requirements and ended up with options like truck drivers who dropped out of community college and distance unicyclists who posed for Playgirl and men who are still married but forgot to mention that up front. I'm only 30, I've been single for less than a year and I already feel like I'm sifting through the detritus of the Austin dating scene.

I've worked really hard on myself over the last year, figuring out what I want and getting healthier and becoming a better person, but things just aren't falling into place the way I thought they would. One friend keeps telling me, "You never know. A year from now you could be married and pregnant." Technically, she's right, but the flip side of that is that a year from now - or five years or ten years or twenty years - I could still be exactly where I am. Every time she says it, that implicit possibility taunts me. If I were someone who believed there was some higher being orchestrating all the happenings in the universe, I'd say that this is how it's supposed to be right now and that when I was meant to find someone, I would. But I don't believe that, so I can't take comfort in it.

I'm not a patient person. Doing anything other than being proactive is uncomfortable for me. If I see something that can be done, I feel compelled to do it. But the more I peruse OkCupid and send messages to seemingly interesting men and go on dates that turn out to be fated to go nowhere from the start, the more I wonder if there really isn't anything to be done. The reality is that there are plenty of people who, for whatever reason, do spend their lives alone. Many of them are quite happy, and I may turn out to be one of them.

But honestly, that idea makes me miserable. I'm not afraid of it - I'm certain that I could fill the next thirty years or so with a great career and wonderful friends and fulfilling outings and hobbies - but it isn't what I want. I want someone to love, and who loves me. I want to wake up and spend lazy Sunday mornings with him, eating french toast and drinking lattes while we do the Sunday New York Times crossword puzzle together.* I want to go on weeks-long vacations where we wander cobblestone streets arm in arm and marvel at centuries-old architecture and ask ourselves, in all seriousness, how we got this lucky. I want to be old and gray with him (I will dye my hair, he will not), sitting in the living room while reading books and stealing glances at each other and thinking that really, this life we've built together isn't half bad.

I don't understand how all that is too much to ask. And I don't see how all that is more than I'm meant to have. Why should it be? And yet it feels so incredibly out of reach right now.

I'm worn out. I'm sad. I'm losing hope. And I don't know what to do about any of it.


*In reality, we won't do the Sunday crossword together. I will do the puzzle and feel supremely irritated any time he tries to "help" me. For the last ten years I have insisted on completing any crossword puzzle I attempt alone. Ask my friend Alex, who sat next to me through the last two years of college classes and was often chastised for trying to "help" me with the answers. News flash, Alex: I didn't need your help - I was just leaving those blank so you could feel helpful. P.S. - I love you, man. You're the best.

Monday, June 13, 2011

News of the Pathetic

Last week in review...

I've decided to stick with OkCupid for now if for no other reason than its amusement value. My most recent hot find is a guy with this profile:

"I am a professional computer nerd, doing contract work and starting my own business."

So far so good...

"I practice distance unicycling and meditation,"

Uh oh...

"play some flute and guitar,"

Danger, Will Robinson! Danger!  

"sing, know some German and some Portuguese, and was once in Playgirl magazine."

WHAT THE HELL?!?

"I like every kind of food and every kind of music."

Way to bring it home, buddy.

It's been four days and I still can't stop picturing this guy stark naked, riding his unicycle cross-country while playing the flute. It's about as horrifying as you think.

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While traveling for work last week, my coworkers got to discussing the years they graduated from high school. Seeing as how these coworkers are in their mid- to late fifties, I wasn't surprised to hear dates that sounded like 1970 and 1975. Then one of them turns to me and says, "What about you, Erin? When did you graduate? 1988? 1989?" 

And then I wanted to cry.

Graduating in either of those years would make me about 40 or 41. And while I have nothing against people in their early 40s, I'm a full decade away from that and don't particularly like the idea that people might mistake me for being 33% older than I am.

They quickly backpedaled and said that, no, no, they thought I was more like 27 or 28, which was either 1) proof that they can't do math, or 2) their attempt to make me feel better. I'm going with Option #1.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Tired

I've been divorced less than a year, and I'm already sick of dating. I hate everything about it - the nerves, the being on my best behavior, the shaving my legs, the rejection, and the doing it over and over and over again. I hate it.

I've been on a series of bad first dates lately. Here's a quick recap of them, so you can appreciate the awfulness of dating for yourself.

First there was the guy named after a grain (I call him G-NAG for short). He was from Kansas, so I suppose the naming might have been appropriate. We had the following exchange within the first 10 minutes of meeting:
G-NAG: "So, yeah, I'm looking to change positions within my company soon. In fact, there's a good chance I'll be moving to London in a month or so."
Me: ".... So why are we here?"
G-NAG: "I know, right?"
Me: "No, really - why are we doing this then?"
And that was pretty much the unofficial end of that date.

Then there was the guy who owned a spa. He was nice enough - funny, a good conversationalist, etc. - except I felt like I was hanging out with my gay best friend the entire time. Plus, he started the date by telling me about all the nasty bacteria that lives in the jet lines for the tubs you get to soak in when you get a pedicure. Way to ruin the best part of a pedicure, buddy.

And we can't forget the arrogant jackass I mentioned before: the one who told his 4-year-old daughter she couldn't be a princess because Americans don't have royalty. I plan to resent him for the next 20 years, which is right around the time his daughter will realize what a dream-crushing ass he is and start resenting him for herself.

Another recent date held some promise, right up until he mentioned that he'd been at an all-day yoga retreat the day before (not my thing), and was a fan of eating raw food (sorry, but cashew cream "ice cream" is not ice cream), and had just returned from a weekend trip to southern Colorado during which he cross country skied with all his gear on his back for several miles to stay in a yurt for a few days. As my boss (and friend) put it, "That data point is so far outside your range, it's not even funny."

In short: those dates weren't worth the time I spent shaving my legs.

Not all the dates have been bad. Some have been deceptively good. There was the high school world history teacher who loves travel and food. We talked and laughed without any awkward pauses. I thought it was going great until an hour into it when he announced that he "had a long day" and "was tired." He never called, so apparently it wasn't going so great after all. Then there was the musician/world traveler who also had an actual career - we had fun, but I never heard from him again either.

I want to say that I'm done with dating for now, but that would be a lie. I do want to meet someone, probably more than I want to avoid the pain in the ass that is dating. But I'm still so frustrated with this whole process. The dates are either total flops, or I think they're going well but I clearly can't read the signs (are there signs even?). If I'm not suffering through hours of awfulness, then I'm getting my hopes up only to be thoroughly disappointed. I genuinely don't understand what's going on. I'm being my amazing and witty self, I'm not calling and nagging afterwards, and I don't feel like I'm trying too hard. I just don't get it. I thought I'd at least have one second date by now.

I'm not kidding myself and trying to date out of my league. I know the rule of thumb that people of similar levels of attractiveness generally date one another. I'm not targeting Brad Pitt; I'm looking for a man of average looks. I'm also looking for a smart, funny, sociable, professional man who is interested in food, travel, and books and generally has his shit together. Oh, and who is interested in me. Given my qualifications (smart, funny, sociable, professional and interested in food, travel, and books and generally have my shit together), I don't think I'm overreaching there. And yet even a glimpse of that man eludes me.

Most of all, I'm tired. I'm tired of putting myself out there and getting nothing back. I'm tired of going through all the motions with no payoff. And I'm tired of thinking I'm doing everything right when I'm clearly not.

I'm just tired of it all.

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