Behavioral Patterns of a Cow

Disclaimer: I am writing this after getting a solid 15 minutes of sleep. I may feel differently when not sleep deprived, but since these thoughts are what kept me up, I’m not sure.

“Why buy the cow when you can get the milk for free.”- Anonymous

Last night I laid awake, not in my own bed, tossing and turning while contemplating this saying. After what has become a pretty routine night of tv, cards, recapping the day, and genuinely great company, I could not fall asleep due to the realization that…I am a cow.

No, I am not beating myself up for my weight struggles. Yes, I have done that this weekend as I failed at what was supposed to be the easiest way to lose weight ever. This is not that post.

This post is a realization that it’s me, I am the problem. I have always been the problem.

Let’s be clear, I’m not out here acting crazy, keying dudes cars, calling girls phones, throwing fits and generally being a terrible person. Most men that I’ve dated have noted that I’m wonderful, amazing, and exactly what they should be looking for. Should being the key word. They aren’t, but they should be, and if they were, I would definitely be on the top of the list. Often times when they think they are looking for it, they pop back up. I’ve come to realize that even then they typically still aren’t. No matter how many chances you give them.

I can’t fault them for it. Everyone is entitled to their own level of readiness. Everyone is entitled to their own version of commitment. I’ve decided that the trick is finding someone who wants a version as similar as possible to the version you want. Until now, I didn’t realize how it important it was that they want that now and not later.

I am well aware of my dating history. I was there for all of it. I made all the decisions with a clear mind. I was not under the influence of any sort of drugs or alcohol. The only thing that clouded my judgment was the hope of love. For me, this is quite possibly more powerful than any drug.

And that’s the key to this whole thing. I have the tendency to dive head first into things, all for the chance of love. My entire life I was lead to believe that that was the way things go. You grow up. Along the way you meet someone. You vow to spend your life together. You have babies and you live happily ever after. Granted, I have done things out of order, but that doesn’t seem to stop other single moms from finding love. So I hold onto hope. And at a potential sign of possibility, I’m all in. It’s not healthy but it’s the way I am. The reality is, however, I’m 30, single and in yet another situationship.

Situationship: a situation that looks like a relationship but for one reason or another is not actually a relationship no matter how much you want it to be. Usually results in one person getting everything they want without much commitment and the other constantly questioning their self-worth.

I am always the other, and lately I’ve been struggling with the thought that it’s probably because I am the cow. I am giving away the milk for free. There is no need to buy.

What is the milk:

Someone who listens and genuinely cares, someone pretty to look at, laughter, entertainment, easy going, little to no drama, home cooked meals,tasty desserts, stability, maturity, consistency, friendship, acceptance, support, and sometimes, what people think of first when they hear that saying, sex.

To me, I am not giving these things away without thought. If someone is getting them it is because I can see it leading somewhere and I am choosing to share these things with them. As mature and consenting adults I figure that things can grow into something more. I have hope.

I am a hopeful cow.

What I’m coming to terms with today is that while all of that may be true, it still doesn’t mean that the other consenting adult has to have hope as well. At least not for this situationship. They are completely allowed to accept the milk with zero intention of buying the cow. It is my job as the cow to determine their intentions, listen when they tell me their intentions and decide if this is a situation I want to be in. I may be a cow but I am a free cow. I am not required to remain in any one pasture giving away milk if I don’t want to. I’m also not required to avoid a pasture just because it doesn’t look like the pasture that people in my life think it should be. I’m also allowed to change my mind about what pasture I am in or what type of pasture I want to be in, at any time.

Lately I have been a happy cow. I’ve gone on dates, I’ve had fun nights in, I’ve felt comfortable being myself, I’ve learned that it is possible to be broken by a narcissist and recover and not have all future relationships tainted as a result, I’ve felt safe, and stable, and secure. I’ve laughed and joked. I’ve had good sex. I’ve practiced listening to myself above all the noise of everyone else’s opinions.

I’ve also given away probably some of the greatest milk I’ve ever produced…for free. A conscious choice on my part. One that I have checked in with myself about regularly since making it. One that kept me up all last night.

I don’t know what it means. I don’t know what I’m expecting from writing this other than getting it out of my head. I don’t know if anything will change.

I know that there are things that I want in life. Being a lonely hopeful cow is not one of them. I want to be loved. I want to be in a committed relationship. I want someone to be proud and excited that they get to have all the milk, and the cow. I don’t want to forever give myself away for free. I want to be shown off. I want to be enough. I want to know what kind of hitler-esque asshole I was in a past life that seems to make these thing impossible. But most of all, right now, I want a nap.

100 First Dates Only to Realize You’re the Problem

I have admitted to being a first date queen, followed by a good second dater, but not really more. I have always thought I wanted a marriage and a good man. But after 100 first dates in my life (exaggeration, I surely have not had 100 first dates), I am not sure that I want nor necessarily deserve that.

I have met a guy a little over a week ago and on paper he seems to be what I want. I’ve been down this rabbit hole before, thinking it should be what I want, but then I’m not sure. And the few times this has happened, they have seemed very sure. And for me, surety after a week is a bit much for me. I know I run.

I easily feel suffocated. I’m learning I can be a selfish person, but recently a friend told me maybe it is ok, maybe I’m just human, and maybe sometimes you have to be. I think she’s right, but I also wonder if that makes me a good person for a relationship. Remember when I wrote that poem about the garden? A substantial piece of that was my need to be free and uncontained. I dont know if that is fair for another human, who has especially been socialized in the context of our society to have deal with. I also come with a lot of baggage too. While the thought of someone helping me to unpack it all is lovely, I have found many men to unknowingly, unintentionally, but still confidently judge the things in my bag. Or try to fix it all. I understand why. I think it is sweet. I do not like it. Yet it’s unfair to come to a place with this and not expect them to have opinions.

Giving up weekends and all my nights has never been appealing to me. I like to choose carefully with whom I spend my time and how. I need days to myself. I need freedom to pick up and go. Men have lots of expectations of children (I get it, babies are prized in our society), women’s place in their lives and behavior… and while I fit bits and pieces, I rarely fit that picture enough for me to feel comfortable in that either they’re settling and will eventually become unhappy as I open up more or that I am minimizing parts of myself to be more appealing. I understand compromise. But I will always be a f bomb dropping, not really wanting children, womanist, with a free spirit. I can improve my character, but these are part of who I am.

Another friend told me that this is just the product of being single too long. You have to learn to share your space and life again. Maybe. Yet I watch others able to navigate this. I fear that the real issue is that deep down I dont really want this or worse, I am not cut out for relationships. I know less than two weeks is too soon to be jumping to conclusions, but if someone else knows, shouldn’t you? I didn’t used to be this person. I used to fall fast and hard. And occasionally, when the chemistry is so strong I do (this has happened once in the past couple years, but I fear he was ambivalent as I am in this post).

So some may say – maybe this guy just isn’t the right match for you. But there is this gnawing fear that if I hang this up, I say no, I step away, that I will be saying to the universe, “please don’t send me anyone else.” That it isn’t that he isn’t right, but it’s me. And that I will be deciding then, I’m not cut out for this. Which may be the answer. But maybe I’m not ready to admit it.

I also think online dating adds this additional pressure. You meet someone and the objective is do we want to date or nah. I miss meeting people in real life and then building a connection and feeling that chemistry just serendipitously.

Lastly, I wonder if my heart has not been fully healed from love past. I wonder if someone is still holding onto my heart and my heart to theirs. I wonder if that is at play. Could be romantic, could be a familial or platonic wound. Trauma period is probably playing a role.

Until I figure it out, maybe just one more date.

The Cost of Moving So Much

Friendship is like a delicate, but favorite recipe. It requires time and effort, loving care, and to be present to make it turn out right. But it’s worth every effort, because it’s the sweetest, tastiest cake you’ve ever made (all my favorite recipes are cake). But without those things, it is difficult to make it come out right. And sacrificing that favorite recipe is one of the biggest costs to moving and following your heart and dreams.

I make no qualms that I am career and ambition driven. I have moved *gulp* 4 times in the past 6 years, all for career, none for heart. Each time it gets increasingly harder to make friends and maintain friendships. Things get lost on translation, I am confronted with more demons, other people in the past tribes get closer, you become a pleasant visitor to the party, but not a regular. You have a lot of friends, but no bridesmaids invitations nor a secret holder, because no matter how hard you try, moving and shaking has a cost each time. And each time the cost deepens.

You try really hard to hold on. You love them and they love you, but never knowing when you’ll return, and in some places, never returning, it changes. And what’s hard is that no one can quite grasp what that means unless they have been there too. So it may even seem to them, nothing has changed, but you feel it.

Today, I scurried quickly out of a banquet dinner for a bunch of first year students in a summer program, practically in tears. Because in five short weeks, you could feel the community they had built, and I felt like an intruder with no home. I haven’t had a full blown tribe or community in years – like I belonged. I am craving that. And that craving is oddly burdening existing friendships because I simply feel tolerated at times, but not included. And it’s rightfully so! Some of it is because of my own tendency to withdraw and become quite cold when I’m feeling misunderstood or outcasted. This is probably from being unmercifully bullied as a child and so spending a while searching for belonging as a young adult. I learned to shut off and shut down. Never let them see the real you (I totally identify with the queen in Frozen). Other parts of not being included is that you simply cannot be included. You dont exist in that time and space.

Many women can live without that tribe. I am not one of those women. I have learned this painfully the past year. While I struggle sometimes to understand why someone may want to spend a ton of time with me, I’m grateful for having women and men who have cherished me as part of their group. Who have welcomed me. I don’t need a large group (actually prefer it to be smaller), but I need it. And I need it close to me. I need to feel included.

Lately, I feel more of a burden than anything to my friends. I also think having a group allows for shared connection among one another where you don’t feel you need to hide or go silent. It also gives you multiple reality checks that I think is helpful. I am optimistic that it can be developed again. I’ve developed it a couple times in my life, and hopefully, in my older age now, I haven’t become so far gone as to not be able to create it again. I’m rusty, sure. But I hope I can find that community, rather than feeling like a stranger in my life.

Moving and change is wonderful. But everything comes at a cost. I’m hoping to buy back some of this one.

Happy Birthday Harry

It is no surprise to anyone that I am a huge Harry Potter fan. Those who aren’t fans may consider me a super fan but I’m a fan in that I have a tattoo, several clothing and jewelry items, and watch the movies often. I also fantasize about a Harry Potter themed wedding. I’m not so much a super fan in that I don’t dress up on a daily basis, or stalk the actors, or quote the movies and books in normal conversation. I’m kind of like an average super fan. Just enough for it to be quirky.

Anyways, today is Harry Potter’s birthday!

The actual character, not like the date the first book was published or the date the movie came out but just literally the characters birthday. And it makes me happy.

I’m not sure I’ve ever gone into detail as to why I love Harry Potter so much. Other than the fact that wizards and magic are just generally awesome, Harry for me is like an old friend who showed up in a time of need and while we may not be as close as we once were, he’s always there and always provides a source of comfort.

I must confess, there was once a time when I was anti Harry Potter. I judged it without knowing and had this Christian engrained mindset that anything having to do with witches and magic was obviously the devil incarnate. I am ashamed of this, but I have made peace with it and Harry has forgiven me.

Things changed when I was in my senior year of high school. I took whatever the name of the library class was as an easy grade. I was 17, pregnant and not really in the mood for most things. We had to read a book and write a report on it. I scanned the shelves and landed on Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone. Call it fate, call it divine intervention, call it what you want but I found the book and never looked back. I read the book and instantly fell in love. Harry Potter transported me to another world. Where I wasn’t 17 in high school, fighting with my daughter’s father all the time, sick of watching TV, gaining what would be 100 pounds, and feeling more and more lonely as the days past. Harry Potter provided me relief and a break, comfort and peace in what would be the beginning of the rest of my life.

I met Harry, at the same time I made friends with a classmate who would be murdered later that year. I realize now I feel the death of people I don’t completely know the same way I experience the death of book characters whom I love. As if the world has lost someone amazing and I didn’t get the chance to fully know them. I grieved him and I continued to read.

I read through all of the available books (at that time it was through Half Blood Prince) in about 2 months. I even forced my social studies teacher to finish the library copy early and turn it on so I could check it out. He didn’t yell at me for reading in class.

And then I waited. The last book came out when my daughter was a few months old. By this time, her father and I had broken up for good, most of my friends were out doing whatever 18 year olds who aren’t pregnant and don’t have babies do. I pre-ordered the book, stood in line with my sister because my mom forced her to go with me, and waited for midnight. I remember this being the first time I felt like a bad mom since she was at home and I was out doing something that I wanted to do. I got the book, I went home, and I read until 4 am. I finished the book in two days Reading during a family reunion to make up for time spent in the car when I couldn’t read (stupid motion sickness). I came home, locked myself in my room and read until I was done. I cried. I laughed. I took a break and screamed when I thought Harry was going to have to die. I cried some more and then cried again in happiness when everything ended as it should. I grieved for those who didn’t make it. I closed the book and life went on. I felt different. I grieved that the story was over. I remembered there would still be movie premieres and that made me happier. For anyone who reads this and thinks “that’s it. She’s crazy”… well…

Or be offended. I don’t care.

It’s kind of hard to explain what Harry Potter meant for me at that time of my life. I won’t say it saved me from any deep dark thoughts as it has for others but it did comfort me. And that’s what I needed at that time. For that I am eternally grateful.

As time has gone on, I’ve noticed that for some reason Harry Potter has been a way for men to try to get in good with me (didn’t think I’d make it through a post without turning it into a commentary on my dating life did you!). Something they didn’t understand or care about but somehow I convinced them to watch it with me and then they realized it might be a good way to get into my pants or something. I’ve had to stop that. I’ve decided to keep it sacred for me. To only offer this piece of me and time spent with me to people who care. To not encourage just everyone to watch and read it because they may not appreciate it. And for the most part, to not really explain my love of it to anyone and just take whatever jokes they made about it as they came. One day, someone will appreciate it and they will also let me have a Harry Potter wedding because they love me! Or at least hints of Potter (maybe?!?)

But yep. That’s it. Today is Harry Potter’s birthday. I’m about to start my period so I’m a little emotional for no reason

And regardless of what life throws my way, I can rest safe in the knowledge that Harry Potter and all its magic will be a soft place to land if I need to recenter…

A year of reflection…

If you or someone you know is dealing with depression, and needs help, please don’t hesitate to use this number. National Suicide Prevention Hotline: 1-800-273-8255

This time last year I kind of made a decision to change my life. I felt that I was suffering from possible mild depression (self diagnosed) for at least 3 months, maybe longer. I had been about 8 months out of a serious relationship and about 3 months out of a situationship I thought I wanted to be in at first but then realized I didn’t want to be. And during that time I tried to do things to keep my mind busy. Visited friends in Wisc. and Seattle, WA. Took a trip to Ft. Lauderdale. Took a random road trip with my bestie to help her get her car situation handled before her move to NYC. I felt like I was handling it OK.

And I was, kind of…but it was all just a distraction.

Heartbreak Hotel…

The break-up was one thing. I mean, people go through break-ups every day, but after you’ve lived with someone, even for only two years and they are no longer a part of your life that way, it hits you. Especially when it feels like no one else wants to be with you. Which that couldn’t be farther from the truth, but that’s just how it felt. I just felt lonely most of the time, and not wanted. I mean, the depression did start a little bit before the break up but I wasn’t really aware of it, and it got worse afterwards. I got through it, but that was only one stage of the whole process.

During that phase, there were times where I felt like being alone a lot. And yeah, sometimes you need your alone time, but I got to a point where I felt better off alone, like I didn’t need anybody. Fortunately, that didn’t last too long, because I have amazing friends who I tend to miss on occasion now. lol

Friends

About this time a year ago, my ex-roomie (now best friend) moved in, and this is where I felt a lot of my anxiety and depression started to go away. I had the whole house to myself for almost a year after it being occupied by someone else for two. Just having her there helped a lot. I mean, I still liked being in my own space within the house, but I didn’t feel lonely anymore, even though we were in separate rooms a lot of the time. She helped fill the void of emptiness in the house. It was a great start to getting control back to my life. And even though we never really talked about my depression much, it’s almost as if she knew. She just had a great way of communicating and just being there for me. I mean, she’s a wonderful understanding and knowledgeable person and I’m glad I opened my home to her.

And we all know about my BFF LeAnna. I’ve opened up to her about how I felt a lot and she is always there to help talk me through things (even though I don’t listen sometimes, lol). I know I’m hard to get along with sometimes, but I’m glad she doesn’t give up on me. 🙂

Work work work work work work

Another source of my mild depression and anxiety came from work. I wasn’t feeling successful at my current position at the time and I’d unsuccessfully applied for at least 3 other positions over the last 4 years before landing my new job. I felt like no one wanted me. I got to the point where I didn’t know where life would take me next because I wanted to move up in my professional career, but without any connections or experience other than what I had, I felt as if I was stuck, and that kept me down for a long time. I love my company (gawd knows I do), but it was hard to deal with being turned down so much. I almost let myself not apply for this position, due to just not feeling like I was what they wanted. I almost let it get the best of me in that situation and almost talked myself out of it, but I’m glad I didn’t. A promise I made to myself, that I would work towards bettering myself continued to live on.

Dating, is the worst

I know I’ve said this many times before, but yes, a lot of my uncertainty and depression came from dating. Not necessarily because nobody wanted to date me, but because I felt like nobody I wanted, wanted to date me. This prompted the “I think I’m over white men” post back in March. This, along with how easy it is to ghost people, the fact that most people just want sex and then they are through with you, the fact that you think that nobody likes you; It brings a lot of bad energy to your soul. And after going through that song and dance (myself even, being the lead in it, sometimes) just does a toll on you.

BUT…

It started in October of last year; that was the last time I seriously dated anyone. After dealing with someone for months, and feeling like there was something there, only to be told that there wasn’t, I refused to let it affect me anymore, and I slowed down actively dating. I mostly turned to hooking up (responsibly!) as it was less of an emotional connection and I can easily forgot about bob from tuesday rather than talk to Scott for months and then all of a sudden, nothing. So yeah, I still have Tinder, Hinge, Grindr, Scruff, whatever you call it, but I decided to just not put my feelings out there anymore. So all in all, I turned into some sort of a fuckboy, but it helped ground me a little bit. May not be the healthiest way overall to do this, but it works for me for now. And while I have met people throughout this time, it was more so a casual thing that could have turned into something, but never did, and I’m OK with that. Not saying that it’s right, but that’s what I needed to do at the time for me.

So what prompted this blog post?

July 30th 2018 was the beginning of not letting all of this crap above control my life. On this date last year I made a decision to work towards bettering myself. I dealt with a lot of depressive situations and anxiety prior to early last year and it just got worse over time. I knew I was going through something, but being the hardheaded person I am, I didn’t seek out help. Well not in a general sense, anyway, but my friends were there to help with it, even if they didn’t know I was going through something.

When I woke up and saw this post, it was almost like a weight was lifted off of my chest. Well, the weight was already gone, but it made me realize how heavy it was this time last year. Little by little, I was freeing myself. This, this was everything I was wishing to work towards. I owned the fact that I wasn’t OK and I dealt with a lot. I put it out there for the world to see, and that’s when I decided to work towards a healthier me. No, it wasn’t an easy process and I still deal with many moments to this day, but I refuse to let that hold me down. I have to remember that I can’t let it win and with this new job offer, I feel like it’s a sign. Confirmation that everything I worked towards changing and bettering about myself was finally coming to fruition. I’m still no where I want to be, but I’m better.

Everybody’s story is different. I consider myself one of the lucky ones. One of the ones where depression doesn’t completely control their life. My experience is nowhere near what others may be going through and won’t mirror someone else’s experience. I am fortunate to have a wonderful support system of family, great friends, and a stable job to help keep me grounded. I realize not everyone is fortunate to have this foundation or even fortunate enough to only need this type of foundation to lift them out of depression. It’s real out there. Everyone goes through this in different ways and I just hope that they are getting the support needed to overcome. Please don’t be like me; reach out to someone.

National Suicide Prevention Hotline
1-800-273-8255

My Dirty Little Secret

I’m going to share a terrible secret with you all that I’ve tried to share in 3-5 different draft posts and have not gotten far. When I try to write it, it never seems worded right and I can’t tell where I am going with it. So, it’s possible this post makes zero sense and I guess that’s ok.

I’m a really jealous person. And especially around love, but it shows up in other areas too. But when people close to me are going on dates, getting laid regularly, meeting nice men, getting flirted with – I feel devastated. Like a complete failure and I dont understand. I just don’t.

I know. This isnt what good people do. You support your friends unconditionally, you are happy for their successes, and you wait your turn, but never enviously. Thing is, I’m so tired of waiting my turn. The jealousy thing I’m sure is a by- product of being utterly tired of it. I wasn’t always this terrible of a human.

I decided to examine my jealousy, get to know her, and understand why she is present. When I get close enough to her, she tells me we are very wounded by the world and universe. Y’all. I try hard. I might be a terrible, jealous human, but I really try to be the best human I can be despite my flaws. I try to give selflessly, for many years I’ve been the supporter and cheerleader (without jealousy), I’ve worked on myself, I try to be the kind of woman someone would want to date and marry that isn’t absolutely crazy, I am extremely self aware, I put myself out there, I’ve endured being cheated on, I’ve helped exes get better, I have forgiven, I’ve made no excuses from my past and each day, I renew a commitment to myself and the world to thrive despite any trauma or abuse that has happened to me. And you know what, I still lose sometimes. Life is like that. But there are those that only of the half work, or do the same work, or no work, and they win. Every time.

They barely work out and don’t exercise – no or minimal health issues. Put in a reasonable amount of work or minimal – either way, get promotions. Treat significant others like crap – get into relationships with the most amazing people and are happy. Lie, cheat, and are wholly awful people – get rich and run an entire country. Do half the work, put themselves out one time, make stupid choices, exist – find relationships, get laid, and/or find people who aren’t insane who want to share their time. There is a meme floating around the internet that asks, “what is the hardest lesson you learned as an adult?” One answer was something to the effect that you can be a good person and do all the right things, and life still not treat you well. I cried the first I read that.

I am sure at times that my jealousy now keeps me from being or getting certain things. Part of me truly believes that… it motivates me to want to change that and then just die from the fact that it is still there. I keep doing the work though. I know I’m incredibly lucky in some ways. When I think about how unfair life is to some people, I think about those who can’t climb out of poverty, who’s governments are murdering their family & friends, who can’t catch a break, and that many of them likely have purer hearts than mine. Trust me when I say, I know my life is so charmed at times, although by no means has it been an easy life. I feel a bit ashamed, but later, I’ll see a smiling friend engaged, on a date, with their s/o, and I know I’ll be crushed. I know how stupid this sounds. This is my dirty little (not so much now) secret. I know how it sounds.

I am continuing to sit with my jealousy. Trying to figure out what she wants me to learn. It’s hard because she brings me back to the pain and I’m not exactly sure how she wants me to address that yet. The pain is connected to an underlying feeling of being inadequate, not as good as everyone else, and that I am broken in some way. I’ve been working on that – it’s tied to some deep shit. As I write that, it makes me think – maybe I just have to go through these feelings. Endure them. Check them. Try not let them ruin me, but instead build me. I don’t know.

But what I do know, is now you all know, my dirty little secret. I’m sorry if I’ve disappointed you, but I hope someone else doesn’t feel so alone. I think we can figure this out. We can be better and ok.