decisions.

I’m not sure how but I tend to find myself in sticky situations more often than I feel should be considered normal.

At the moment, I am (largely by accident and odd circumstance) staying with a person I once dated. I don’t think the situation can last much longer, my conscience can’t allow that and my feelings for him likely won’t return to the romantic kind; but at the same time, this past week has been so therapeutic for my girls and I. We desperately needed to get away and have some time and space to ourselves, even though I’m not a proponent of the notion that the end justifies the means.

I think life happens all cock-eyed at times for a reason though. At least, I’ve found that it does in my case. Still, this living situation (albeit comfortable) does not feel right to me on a strictly moral level. For one, I don’t believe in living with someone I date anymore. I learned that lesson the hard way a long time ago; but second, I do not want to date this man again. As much as I wish that weren’t the case, as much as he’s tried to prove himself to me these past couple of weeks, I just can’t see us together anymore.

My last relationship changed me, as I suppose relationships often will, but I learned things about myself through that experience that have change my perspective on a few key things and I wonder at this point if “settling down” is something I’ll ever truly be able to do.

For the moment though, I’m grateful to have a reprieve from the stresses of living in my father’s house. This little break isn’t without its own complications but it is a break nonetheless..

And we desperately needed it.

change.

This is a topic I dwell on a lot lately. I’ve learned how to sense some changes coming, learned how to prepare myself for them, how to toughen my core in hopes of softening the blow, but some things still catch me off guard. Sometimes, change completely knocks the wind out of me and in the aftermath, I often find myself (as I do right now) piecing through the rubble in search of some valuable lesson to keep tucked away for use the next time around.

The good news is, there’s always something valuable there. The bad news? I usually have to come to terms with some harsh losses in order to find it.

Control and release..

Over the years, I have been the recipient of both extreme acts of kindness and extreme acts of cruelty. The extremes have at times seemed almost paranormal. “Real” life isn’t supposed to play out as it does in the movies but I’m one of those people, for whatever reason, who experiences it all in dramatic excess and honestly, it gets exhausting.

Hanging out with a friend yesterday, I began to suspect that a lot of people think more highly of me than they ought. It’s not something to complain about, I just know who and what I am. I know that having to deal with life isn’t something ‘admirable’.. it’s just a basic part of survival.

As human beings, we almost all go the path of least resistance. We learn to be strong only when forced to — only when change comes along to engineer the next valuable lesson.. not because we’re made of different stuff than the next guy.

But that’s the beauty of change.. because when we are no longer able to change a situation, we are finally challenged to change ourselves.

loyalty – placed and misplaced.

trust.

Over the years, I’ve struggled with issue of loyalty and trust. I’m a loyal person by nature, though I’m not sure how that is considering the family dynamic I grew up in. Maybe my loyalty sprung forth from the desire to have someone who was truly loyal to me. We inevitably give to others that which we ourselves most desire.

I admire people who can turn off their feelings enough to handle life efficaciously. Then again, I also admire people who can allow themselves to feel.. to truly bond and connect to another human being to the point that it makes them feel exposed, vulnerable, afraid.. because only then can you really know the depth of love. When you’ve pushed past all of that fear and found only trust.

In the end, in that final breath we breathe, I imagine that those of us who were “feelers” find the most peace at the end of life’s road. The knowing that they didn’t waste their lives being too safe with their hearts. I think that’s what warms those final moments for most people. Knowing that they loved, and were truly loved in return.

My last relationship was safe. In fact, it was a little too safe for me until the very end. I kept my feelings at bay until the last few weeks and now, I wonder if he knew all along that he was moving away. I wonder if I was just a distraction so I can’t help but feel as though I wasted my love on someone who (perhaps) was only using me.

It’s a scary thought, but one I’ve come terms with over the last few days. Whether it’s true or not, I’ll probably never know. He pursued me hard. I grew to trust him, to believe him, and in the end, for better or for worse, I did choose to love him. Would it have been wiser to choose differently? I don’t know. Time will tell, I suppose, but I did choose to love and soon thereafter, he chose to leave.

Now that I’m single again, I’m finding it hard not to feel guilty about the prospect of moving on. I know he won’t suffer any guilt but I think that’s probably because he’s just been a far more prolific dater than I’ve ever been. He’s woven himself into and out of relationships since he was a teenager while I’ve gone into them more cautiously and given myself more fully to the few that I did finally commit myself to.

Part of me wishes that I could be more like that. To only give half of myself to any person at any given time so that they could never hurt all of me. And then, a wiser part of me knows that one day, even people like him meet their match and fall in love.. and when that day comes, they can only hope that the person they fall for gives them more than they were willing to give to those they’ve left behind.

I wonder if I’m becoming more half-hearted myself at times, but as I said, loyalty comes naturally to me, so I suppose even if it takes time, eventually I’ll trust again.

Hope does spring eternal.

learning patience.

Patience. When I started this blog, that’s one of the things I said that my last relationship taught me — I need to learn how to practice patience.

In truth, I never really knew if we were broken up or not in his mind, only that he wanted space, that he was leaving, and that he didn’t want to see me. I also knew that I was more hurt by the whole situation than I was prepared to deal with, so I dealt as best I could, but poorly more often as not. It’s been a tough few weeks.

Then last night, completely out of the blue, my ex sent me a text asking if I was ready to sit down and talk face to face. I agreed to go, I knew the closure would do me good, but I never expected in a million years what happened when I got there.

I have to say this about him before I say anything else though. He is an absolutely incredible human being. He’s more wonderful than I know how to put into words sometimes and believe me, I’m a writer — I’ve tried — but some people can’t be summed up in letters and words and exclamation points. They’re larger than life and entirely too good to be true and my ex is one of them.

As difficult as it was for me to really grasp how we ended up dating at all, it was even harder to wrap my head around the fact that it was over.. or so I thought.

When I arrived at his house, I was greeted by the smell of dinner being prepared for me inside. Among his many other talents, my ex is also an amazing cook but I was surprised by the fact that he’d gone to all the trouble. I’d come there under the expectation that we were saying our final farewell’s to one another, so although I was pleasantly surprised by the meal, it was also confusing.

It was good to see him again though. Even under those uncomfortable circumstances, he was as handsome and witty and charming as ever. He asked how I’d been doing and how I liked my new job. I answered as best I could without feeling as though I was giving him more information than I was ready to trust him with and once that was out of the way, he spent the rest of the dinner telling me all about all of the problems that had culminated in his deciding to move away.

He apologized for how he had treated me, refusing to talk to me in person about what was going on. He said I was amazing, that none of his problems had had anything to do with me and that he knew I didn’t deserve to be left hanging, not knowing what was really going on.

I was so grateful for that. It didn’t change what happened or how badly it hurt, but it was healing for me to know that he realized he’d been wrong and was trying to make it right.

After the heavy talk was out of the way, he asked if I’d like to watch the Game of Thrones Season Finale with him and of course, I couldn’t resist that offer. GoT was always our thing. We read the books together, we spent time on every date talking about all the plot twists and sordid affairs and by the time the new series started, we were curled up on his couch every Sunday night like clock-work, eagerly awaiting the sound of that distinctive opening theme song.

By the time the show came on, I was the happiest and most content I’d been in weeks.. but then he tried to kiss me and suddenly I was back on my guard. I wasn’t expecting to end up in his arms again, much less to find myself turning away from a kiss, but soon enough, he was asking me to spend the night and although I tried to will myself to just be happy and enjoy the moment, I couldn’t do it.

I eventually ended up leaving without saying a word, but not before he asked me if I’d be willing to come visit him once he got set up at his new place. That’s when it dawned on me that he really never did intend to break up while he was still here. He was hoping we could just transition into a long distance relationship and that’s something I always told him wasn’t an option for me. Hence all of his avoidance. Hence all of my confusion.

I didn’t answer him. I just said that I had to go, slipped on my shoes, and left as quickly as I could.

All I heard him say as I was leaving was, “I don’t want you to go..”

I am not a patient person. I’ve never been in a relationship was so happy, so good for me, and yet so challenging to every self defense mechanism I’ve ever had. It’s hard meeting someone so perfect and then having the rug pulled out of under you. Life just isn’t fair sometimes, so try as you may, it’s difficult to make sense of it all and that’s where I was at last night. Speechless with fear, speechless with love, speechless with surprise.. speechless with hurt.

When I woke up this morning, I sent a text apologizing that I had to leave. I asked him to be patient with me and he replied back, “I understand. I just ask that you do the same..”

I’m trying.

game of thrones, bad lip reading style.

Welp. Behind my previously expressed disappointment in the Game of Thrones Season 4 finale, I figured I’d post a video of how to butcher the books in a way that actually makes me smile. One of my friends had shown me this video in the first week after my breakup when I was still feeling pretty low and even in the depths of my grief, I laughed so hard I almost peed myself at work.

Just trust me. This stuff is 100% pure gold.



ok, what?! (game of thrones finale gripe)

Valar Morghulus.

I was awoken this morning to the sound of my ex’s distinctive text notification buzzing in my ear. At first, I wasn’t sure that’s what it was because I thought I’d disabled all of that stuff for his number but no, apparently, I didn’t because after about 5 super long buzzes, I was wide awake.

I haven’t given many details about my ex and why we broke up on this blog but essentially, he’s moving away. We didn’t break up out of desire but out of necessity and since he can’t handle dealing with heavy emotions, he decided he wanted some space while he sorts out what he’s going to do and suchlike.

He hadn’t wanted to break up though. That had been my decision and he hadn’t appreciated it at all so although I’ve heard from him in the last couple of weeks, it’s been awkward and brief at best.

However..

Last night was the season finale of Game of Thrones and it was way different than the books. I mean they jumped all around from the 4th to the 5th books, added things that weren’t even there, or changed the outcome of some of the stories around completely. In fact, it was the singular most “deviant from the books” episode I’ve seen on the show so far so although it was still a fantastic episode, I was yelling, “WHAT?!?!” at the TV on more than a couple of occasions.

Then this morning, the buzzing happens. It’s my ex. We’ve both read the books and we’re probably two of the very few people we know of who have so of course, he’s going nuts about the season finale and needs me to call him immediately so that we can discuss what HBO is doing to his books. ;)

I almost didn’t call but he persisted so I drug myself up out of the bed and hit the talk button. Soon enough, we were picking the finale apart piece by piece, making sure we’d caught everything that didn’t fit the books and then somewhere along the way, he slips in there that he spent the night at his dad’s house because he’s moving away and he probably won’t see his dad again for a while.

I hate that he’s leaving but I think in retrospect, I’m glad he decided on the space. I don’t appreciate how he went about it but I think it was best for everyone in the long-run even though it certainly hurt more deeply in the short-term.

Ah, well. Meanwhile we’ll both be waiting until the fall or winter of 2015 for the next installment of the series, “The Winds of Winter” to come out so until then, I guess we’ll have plenty of time to get over our gripes about how badly HBO butchered the book-facts for the season 4 finale.

And as a closing side-note, can I just add that I really wish more people were avid book readers? It’s a little depressing to me how few people take the time to curl up with a good book on a regular basis..

But that’s another topic for another gripe..

screw you, George R. R. Martin.

Yup.

I wrote a blog recently about some of the [positive] things I learned from my last relationship. I’ve considered writing one about the negative things but for now, I’ll focus on the Game of Thrones obsession he left me with.

Before meeting my ex, I really didn’t read fiction. I’m a lover of philosophy and human behavior and most of my books reflected those interests but one night while we were on one of our first dates, the ex asked me if I read and then suggested Game of Thrones. At first I was dubious, but I decided to give it a go and once I started reading, I just couldn’t stop.

Now, I’ve completed all 5 books and my reading life has suddenly become extremely boring while I await the next installment. I guess it’s a bit like literary pornography. With all the sordid stuff Martin throws into these book, it’s hard to find something else to read in the interim that even vaguely offers the same excitement and believe me, I’ve looked for it.

As it happens, I finished the last book just before my ex and I called it quits and I cannot help but find that more than a little bit ironic. Then again, unlike Game of Thrones, our relationship won’t be coming out with any new chapters.

Thankfully for me (in this particular instance) fiction happens to be far, far stranger than truth.

men confuse me.

It’s sort of a strange conclusion for me to come to after all this time, really. Maybe it’s not “men” though, maybe it’s men in this certain stage of their life and personal development. The time after they’ve sown all their wild oats and are starting to look around and see all of their friends marrying and starting families but aren’t quite sure yet if that’s right for them. Maybe those are the ones that confuse me.

I stayed at the office until 10pm last night hanging with the bosses. They’re so all over the place during the day that it’s only after 5pm that they can generally all get together in one location and get me up to speed on what I’m to be doing for the following day and although it’s fun, it gets late fast so I was exhausted when I finally threw myself into the bed yesterday evening.

Then, just as I was dozing off, my phone lit up. It’s a text from a very old friend. Great guy, legal worker, personal trainer, and all around fantastic human being. He’s more left brained than I am but he’s also very male so he likes to flirt, but it’s always in good fun — or so I thought.

Last night, he texts me to tell me how disappointed he is that he’s been such a solid friend to me all this time and I seem to blow him off lately. He says he doesn’t understand why I’ve changed and is tired and venting, and then he apologizes and says goodnight.

I was stunned. I just looked at my phone for a minute, caught myself dozing off, and managed to type out a very quick but very sincere apology for making him feel brushed off or neglected as it wasn’t my intention. I’ll be the first to admit that my recent breakup has distracted me from being my usual self but I think that’s a part of most any breakup. It takes a while to readjust yourself to the newness of single life again and I’m still adjusting.

This morning, I had to drive to Nashville and since that’s a 12 hour drive round trip, I left very early so that I could get back at a decent hour. Later on, I think about my friend and shoot him a text to let him know how much I appreciated his being honest with me about how he was feeling. It isn’t like him to open up like that so even though what he had to say wasn’t exactly complimentary of me, I value his friendship so I was glad he felt like he could vent.

His response?

“I actually owe you an apology for that. I don’t know why I seem to have developed these expectations of you to talk to me and behave in a certain way as if we were in a relationship that we aren’t in.”

Huh?

He and I have only ever been friends and he’s working two jobs and going back to school so it’s been months since we’ve even seen one another, therefore, I genuinely have no idea where any of that came from. I felt like I’d slipped into the twilight zone.

He’s about my age though so the only thing I can figure is that he’s having some sort of confusion about what he really wants in life and somehow, I represent something he wants and can’t have?

Sigh. Or, maybe he was just PMS’ing.

Or hell.. maybe I am.

the first, faltering steps to moving on.

Let’s be honest. Breaking up sucks. Doesn’t matter how you do it or why, there’s always the uncomfortable business of moving on and unless you already had someone waiting for you in the wings, you’re bound to go through some ex withdrawals. It’s just part of the process.

Last night, I decided to go out to a bar. I haven’t frequented bars in years but every so often, I get the urge to sit behind a glass of alcohol and people watch for a few hours. There’s really nothing in the world like watching drunk people interact with one another and if nothing else, I knew I’d probably run into some old friend.. one of the perks and curses of living in a small town.

Once I settled on my destination, my only problem was trying to find someone to go with me. In years gone by, I went out alone. I knew everyone then and everyone knew me and it wasn’t an issue.. but these days, I wouldn’t want to walk into a popular bar without someone there with me to keep myself from appearing too lonely and approachable, so after thumbing through my contact list, I settled on someone who I thought might be good company and a few hours later, we were sipping drinks and laughing and obnoxious drunks.

I’d love to say that I had such a fantastic time of it all that I didn’t even stop to think about my ex, but that would be a lie. I did think about him, but not in a sad or sorrowful way. I would just find myself laughing and think, “Wow. It’s nice to laugh again. I thought only he could make me laugh this way.”

I also found myself remembering happy things.. good memories.. fun times. It was a good little outing.

Once it was time to leave, I drove home glowing with something resembling optimism. I’d made it through the first week of the breakup and I’d ended it on a surprisingly happy note. I made it home safely, crawled into my bed to sleep, and dozed off soundly.

The truth is, I have no desire to linger in the past. My ex was wonderful.. really wonderful.. but our lives are taking us in different directions and I’m not a glutton for punishment. As hard as it’s been not to reach out to him, I knew that even he was receptive to it, we’d only be prolonging the torture, so I’m glad that I can spend time with other people and enjoy myself, even if my feelings for my ex haven’t begun to change yet.

I woke up this morning feeling like I’d made progress.. proud of myself for having stayed strong.. and then I reached or my phone and saw his distinctive text notification waiting at the top of the screen.

God, what a relief. As nice as it is to know that I can be reasonable about the situation and start to move on, it’s also comforting to know that I’m not the only one who misses the good old days.

things i learned from my last relationship.

Freshly out of a wonderful relationship with a fantastic man, I’m realizing a few very important things that our relationship taught me about myself.

1. I love my space — even when I have a boyfriend.

That seems like something I should have already known but since I never dated anyone who willingly gave me space without my having to demand it, I never really knew just how nice it was.

My boyfriend was a doer. He stayed on the go the entire time I knew him and I don’t know that he every really differentiated much between work and pleasure. As long as he was moving, he was in his element and thanks to his busy lifestyle, he wasn’t interested in a clingy relationship. We were a match made in heaven.

Ironically, the night we broke up though, it was because he said he needed some space. That part didn’t bother me so much as the fact that he wouldn’t talk to me about it to my face. That was the only thing I asked — give me the respect of talking to me about this in person, but he’s not one to talk when he’s upset and I wasn’t interested in waiting indefinitely to understand exactly what was going on with him, so I tried it for a couple of days and then just gave up.

Before that day though — before that ill fated day — we were a very good pair.. and I believe one of the biggest reasons for that is due to the fact that we allowed our relationship to breathe deeply between dates. It was wonderful.

2. I love being with a man whose interest in my mind outweighs his interest in my body.

This may be asking too much from most men but honestly, it is so important. My ex always thought I was beautiful but when he spent time with me, his attention was on my eyes, on my words, on my body language. He engaged me mentally even if he wasn’t the most emotionally attentive person in the world and I never felt as though he was only spending time with me to get some sort of physical gratification out of the deal.

3. I need to learn patience.

I’ve lived a hard life. Perhaps you can’t see it by way of my outward appearance but my ex found out the hard way that when things get uncomfortable for me, I run. It’s my first instinct. It’s all I know. And it doesn’t seem to matter if the thing I’m uncomfortable about is a good or a bad thing.. if it makes me nervous or scares me, whether for feeling too good to be true or too wrong to be right, I start to feel the walls closing in around me.

My ex, for all of his own shortcomings, is a rock solid individual. Once he’s in, he’s in and I hope someday I can learn that quality myself. As afraid as I am of committing, some people really are worth the effort as well as the risk.. sadly, I have yet to find one I’m willing to hang in there with.

Looking back, I have very few regrets. It didn’t last long enough but it was good while it lasted and it’s nice to be able to leave a relationship and genuinely have nothing but good things to say about the man I’ve parted ways with. If anything, I feel grateful to have been a part of his life for a little while and I wish there were more men like him out there. Unfortunately.. there aren’t.

And luckily for the world at large, there’s only one of me too.