Hope and Tinder

I recently read that the brain shows similar reward responses to matches on Tinder, Soul Swype, Bumble, pick your poison, as it does to crack (which, interestingly, is the same as being in love). That we are basically addicted to matches, especially since they are on unknown and varied schedule system (basically it’s gambling, but for love or lust). I disagree my brain works this way. In fact, I’ve come to realize my brain is terrified of matches.

Perhaps, it isn’t in response to the match or app itself, but rather to what it represents, or actually fails to represent for me. Every match, every convo, every date so far, has been a failed attempt of my ability to build meaningful romantic connection.

Before you tell me something clichè or bad advice, like “wait until you least expect it,” “stop expecting anything and something will happen someday,” “God is working on your husband,” “and have you tried *insert everything I’ve tried, only short of wearing a sign around my neck every day and changing who I am completely to be with someone,* please first, try to listen with your heart and hear the hurt in my words. Imagine the pain that I (and many others) may feel from constant rejection or failed attempts at love. The days where we wish we could just give in and choose the good enough person, because that’s better, or the times we refuse the great person because deep down, we aren’t sure we it’s real. But mostly, remember what it feels like to always be picked last at recess, to not be liked, to try to do something and do it right, and yet, each time prove to be another learning lesson or outright failure. None of these things will kill you, they teach you character and resilience, but no one would deny that they hurt like hell to be repeated for several attempts. And then, perhaps, you can understand why this isn’t an appropriate time for a clichè or advice.

A match means another time to not get it right. To move too fast, too slow, to be not the right pretty, too fiery in wit and attitude, but too boring for nightlife, to not be enough, to be too hopeful, but obviously miss every yellow flag, to be jaded and completely unhopeful, for first dates with no sparks on either or both sides, to let down guys not for you, but with good hearts, to be potentially mentally abused, to be too hopeful (repeated twice), to let down everyone rooting for a relationship for you, to have to explain why it didn’t happen.

Most people say I put too much pressure on it. The reality is, I honestly don’t. I no longer swipe looking for love or something, I learned you can’t build homes out of people. Recently, I’ve been swiping with a dull numbness, occasionally feeling a spark, but not expecting anything, and that kills me at least as much as, if not more, than expecting nothing and going with the flow (which is a phrase I hate… not a dead fish, although I try). It kills me, and I suspect at least one other sensitive person like myself, reading this blog, because it removes the hope that has always sustained humanity from the equation, removes the hope of connection, which, that desire for connection, is a precursor for, building connection, removes the hope that things can always be magical and unexpected things can happen… and instead replaces it with a somber feeling that love and connection are not real or you must settle, and that you are wrong and silly for ever believing these things, or in the magic of life.

I have never, ever felt that I needed a man to complete me or make my life better. In spite of my many flaws, I consider myself a complete and whole person (perhaps a little bruised, but aren’t we all). But I do yearn for romantic love. (Spoiler alert: these two things are not mutually exclusive). And although matches, talking to someone I find attractive, and dates terrify me, I must not give into temptation to go with the flow… I must hold onto hope.

Jesus loves me this I know…because everyone and their mama keeps telling me so!! 

First off let’s get something straight. I known Jesus. I love him. He loves me. We have a special relationship like everyone else should. So please do not take this as some post confirming your suspicions that I’ve gone off the deep end and no longer love the lord and need you to be fasting and praying for me. Pray for me all you want. It is greatly appreciated. But my soul is safe okay. 
But like the bio says…I love Jesus. I just cuss a lot. What do you mean Ashley?!?! How could you cuss and love the lord?!? That’s impossible. NEWS FLASH.. nobodies perfect. Jesus didn’t come to save perfect people. Jesus hung out with sinners, prostitutes and all other manner of imperfect creation and that’s why we are best friends. If he was looking for a perfect woman, he would have left me to my own demise a long time ago.

But before I get to far off from what my original intention of this post was let me reign it back in. So. I know Jesus loves me. People, however, seem to think it is their mission in life to remind me of this. And not in a like hey just wanted to let you know I was thinking about you and praying for you (this does happen occasionally and for those people I am eternally grateful) way.  But it’s usually more of a Hey Ashley your Facebook status (and now blog post) really has me questioning where your soul is headed and since you are so caught up on your singleness let me remind you that Jesus still loves you. 

YES!!! That’s what people do. Almost anytime I write about being single, someone reminds me that Jesus loves me. Like I forgot. But here’s the thing. No one. ABSOLUTELY NO ONE reminded me of that when I was in relationship. For nine sweet glorious months, I was free from Jesus cliches and reminders and “wait for Jesus” pep talks. 

So Jesus only loves me when I’m single? Or I only need reminding when I’m single? Or is it that my willingness to openly talk about it makes you so uncomfortable that you are absolutely unable to control yourself from reminding me that Jesus loves me so I should shut up and stop seeking love from a man and stop being a heathen?!?! Which one?! I’ll wait! 

So a few things: 

I talk about being single a lot because…well I’m single. It really doesn’t bother me as much as it used to but it’s still entertaining to vent and rant about sometimes. If it makes you uncomfortable I suggest you not click on this blog ever again. 

Also, I don’t hate men. 

I love Jesus. I know he loves me. 
In conclusion: if you have ever responded to anything I have written with a reminder that Jesus loves me…thank you…continue to do so if you feel inclined but know that I will be giving some serious side eye as I read the comment. I know it comes from a place of love but I just want to make sure you know how it comes across. 

Also, continue to pray for your girl. Clearly I can use all the prayer I can get. And not just because I’m single!! 

Random thought: Social Media Prayer

I wonder how different the world would be if everybody who usually only says that we need to “pray on it” would actually offer a solution or support or some type of guidance in order to address situations.

In a world full of #pray4everybody, it seems that people are on autopilot just to clear their conscience. Yes, continue to pray and show them that you support them and are thinking about them, but what are you doing to HELP them?

That’s just my two cents…

When choosing you is painful but absolutely necessary

Word of advice. Don’t listen to Adele “Love in the Dark” if your life ain’t together. It’ll have you at work, typing notes, trying to sing with a sore throat almost in tears. Or maybe that’s just me. But hey here we are. 

So if you’ve made it this far and got here by clicking on the link on my Facebook page then you are probably already aware of my terrible luck at love. But if you wandered here after reading one of my dear friends’ posts linked on their page, let me fill you in. Long story short: I have terrible luck at love. Even longer story even shorter: recent break up, 9 months (my longest relationship at almost 30), and he walked out leaving me at at Salsaritas. If it wasn’t for their queso and pineapple salsa I would have probably never gone back. 

So. Again. Adele. “Love in the Dark.” Listen to it if you haven’t. Listen again if you have. Cry if you need to. Proceed with this post when done. 

Sometimes choosing yourself is the most painful thing you can do. It is often that way for me. As a hopeless romantic, I long for the day I fall in love (again) and we ride off into the moonlight to start our happily ever after. I often doubt it’s actually meant to be for me but that’s another post for another day. What I have learned about myself in the few relationships I have had is that I will give 110% as soon as I care about you even a little bit. I will bend over backwards and find ways to part the sea if it means making you happy. What I have learned about other people is that this is typically not reciprocated.

So after giving so much of myself for any amount of time, the moment always comes when I have to make the ultimate sacrifice and choose myself. And it always sucks. I always feel like I’m betraying someone even though I’ve just spent any number of days, weeks or months betraying myself. 

Most recently, I spent nine months, miserably loving a man who was convinced I was not as amazing as I was presenting to be. He was scared and so I suffered. I gave, and gave, and gave in hopes that he would believe that I was who I said I was. And yet, he still walked out. No amount of love on my part could have made him stay. That was his stuff. I often took responsibility for his stuff. I do that a lot. 

But as is usually the case, they come back. They always come back. And up until this point in my life I usually took them back. But please refer to my bio. I mean it when I said 29 years and 9 months was the exact age when I became too old for this shit. This shit being not being appreciated, love not being reciprocated and having to be lost before being taken serious. 

So I chose me. I chose me even though it hurt like hell to do so. I chose me even though I could hear the tears in his voice and knew how much it took for him to write the emails. I chose me over the flowers. I chose me over the words. I chose the me I was now over the me I was for nine months. I chose my best life, even if it is a single life, over a life of frustration, fear, and sadness just for love. I chose me as my heart broke for this relationship one last time. And even though there was a very loud voice in my head saying take him back, he means it, it’s really what you want…I still chose me. 

As the days pass so does the pain. The relief I felt was almost instant and my clients and coworkers noticed it even if they didn’t know what it was. Choosing me was painful but necessary and I vow to do it every time the opportunity arises moving forward. Call me selfish, or mean, or tell me I’ve built the biggest wall ever. Who knows. But the way it’s been going, no ones ever chosen me before so if no one else will…I will. 

Not going to lie though, still secretly holding out for the day that someone does choose me and oh will I choose them with all that is in me…we shall see. 
“You have given me something that I can’t live without. You mustn’t underestimate that when you are in doubt. But I don’t want to carry on like everything is fine. The longer we ignore it all the more that we will fight. Please don’t fall apart. I can’t face your breaking heart. I’m trying to be brave. Stop asking me to stay.

I can’t love you in the dark. It feels like we’re oceans apart. There is so much space between us. Maybe we’re already defeated. Ah-yeah-yeah-yeah-yeah-yeah-yeah everything changed me. 

We’re not the only ones. I don’t regret a thing. Every word I’ve said. You know I’ll always mean. It is the world to me. That you are in my life. But I want to live and not just survive“- Adele

Pre First Date Thoughts

I just touched up my make up and am heading down 12 floors in an elevator, gonna stop to pass some time, maybe have a shot or something, to take the jitters off… Cause I’m currently less than an hour out from a first date.

Ok. Hold on. People who text and walk in NYC are the absolute worst, can’t walk…

Ok. I’m back in my favorite place to grab an after work caipirinha. Yum. I can feel the alcohol. He made this one well.

So yeah, pre date is kind of the worst. Angsty, nervous, butterflies, and scared as hell that this will be Tinder/Bumble/SoulSwipe/Match/insert other crappy ways to try to meet someone you connect with and can watch movies Sat night til you pass out and brunch with in the morning date #2019749 that goes nowhere (see Malcolm’s earlier post) for details. And so the pre date thoughts begin…

I look down at my toes and wonder why I didn’t paint them… well this was kinda a surprise, and he should know I’m a hot mess anyway.

Wondering if he is as good as he seems or is it bull like all 9374029 times?

Will this be fun? Will he take an interesting turn at the end of the night and be a baby, asshole, demanding, abusive, or weird?

Is this shade of lipstick nice?

What is cachaca anyway? I love this cocktail.

Is he the one?

Stop thinking about if he is the one. Everyone says so. Go with the flow. Be a dead fish in that way. Not ok to think nice guy is the one.

Does he look like his pics?

Hell, do I look like my pics?

Will we kiss? Ladies don’t kiss in the first date. Good thing I’m not a lady.

Is he the one?

STOP STOP STOP. Not allowed to think of people as potential mates. All the latest advice from every single and partnered person, magazine, article, self help book and auntie says so. This is why you fail!!

He wrote a book? Who TF writes a book?

This girl brought her date and her friends and had her dad meet her at this bar? Weird. But cool. My dad would do that.

Ok date. Probably, should take the train now. Damn trains. Better not be late.

This outfit makes me look curvy AF in a good way.

I hope he’s not a serial killer, despite the fact I’ve never met a serial killer on online dating.

He has nice shoulders and arms in his pics. The better to lift you with.Yassssss.

LeAnna, don’t be so lusty. Sheesh.

Malcolm would say be lusty.

Ashley would too.

I hope he calls me after.

Ahhh screw it… is he THE ONE?!?!

Time to go now and face the date!!!

Oh wait. His train is late. Better have another drink and think more thoughts!!

Dating is the worst….Kind of…

Here you are, just out and about, having the time of your life.  Not caring about anything in the world other than yourself, because why? You’re single…..AF!

In the times of the dating apps, where people are doing anything but; you often find yourself bored. Ok, let’s pick up the phone, open up an app, say a few one liners, call someone over and wam, bam, you’re done and you’ve spent no money. Perfect scenario, amirite? Especially if you don’t have to put any work into it either!?!? Bruh, come on. (Sidenote: I’m a top tier advocate for getting it in on a regular basis, just saying. We’re all human. As long as you’re safe, maintaining good sexual health practices!)

And then it happens….One of those “convenient hookups” starts feeling like something more.  You actually talk to them other than when you just need some, and go out in public with each other (which is probably the number 1 indicator this is a “thing”).  Then you start thinking, “Are we dating?”, “Is this serious?”, “Do they like me like that?”.  As soon as those thoughts cross your mind, you automatically open up to feelings and your heart starts to become vulnerable.  This freaks you out because you’ve been through this before and other times it never became anything because again, you just met on a hookup app. “Don’t catch feelings, they don’t feel the same way” constantly runs through your mind. Or maybe you do want to catch feelings. I mean, that’s the point in dating right? Unfortunately, it all becomes a mind game. Trying to figure out your partner’s next move.  “Are they really into you?” is still running through your mind even though you’ve been chilling for weeks.  Their actions say yes, their words say yes, but you still have that little bit of doubt running through your brain.

Luckily for you though, dating is pretty much the bomb at this point.  No effort to get some. Yall both like to eat, and go to the movies together. You got your ride or die. The bond is still new so you know yall on each other like rabbits (lol). You have engaging conversations, and text messages don’t take ten years to be responded to.  You feel wanted, and that’s all anyone needs, right?

And then it happens…

All this time you’ve spent, and then BOOM, they disappear. Who knows for what reason. It “just didn’t work out”, or it was “just a temporary thing”, or “well, I wasn’t really looking for anything serious”, and at this point, you’re back to square 1; Over it, completely.

And this is where the cycle begins again.  You promise yourself, you’ll be single for YEARS (Spoiler: You won’t), and you build those walls that were broken down “one. last. time.” So what do you do? Download the hookup app again.  What other place to go get your ego stroked after you’ve wasted your time dating?  It definitely helps.  Probably unhealthy though, but whatever….You’ve put up walls again.

So yeah, Dating IS the worst….

 

Thoughts I have had this week that I did not post to Facebook because I knew this blog was happening…

1. Y’all don’t want me to lose this weight? Why, because I will be out here in crop tops and high waisted shorts/ pants every chance I get if my body ever gets right. Don’t believe me just watch.

2. I think Cardi B was my spirit animal in a past life. I have zero current connection to anything she says but when I hear her I just feel it in my soul.

3. One month does not a changed man make. Let that simmer.

4. ProFlowers do not smell good when they’ve been heating up in your car all day.

5. Please don’t let me get arrested at work.

6. If I get arrested right now I’m okay.

7. I wonder if all those people who told me to start a blog will actually read this.

8. Ahhhh hell.

9. Pretty sure I’m getting sick

10. Yep I’m sick

11. Ashley, you definitely have the juice!

12. I hate odd numbers!