Saturday, December 31, 2011

Lessons Learned the Hard Way, Very Hard Way

This year has kicked my junk all over the place.   It seemed like I’d get through one test and another would be right around the corner.    I wanted to throw in the towel a few times.   Fortunately, my kids, my friends and actually many of you picked me back up.
Sharing so much of my personal life has been a lot harder than I thought.  A lot of you have thanked me for the laughter or the inspiration and that has kept me chugging away through the times people have thrown rocks at me.   
When I started writing it I felt like I had a lot to say and to contribute.    I wasn’t sure how this would go and the longer I wrote the more positive feedback came.    It was overwhelming and has mostly been a thoroughly rewarding experience.
Yet just before Christmas, I had an extremely upsetting texting fight with someone I met through the blog and briefly dated.   It escalated beyond where it should ever have and although we both were wrong, I’m upset with myself for losing control.
I apologized and I accept my responsibility.   However the meanness continued coming at me.   I very well could have taken to my blog and written my side and blasted off a nasty, bitchy post.  I didn’t want to do that at the time and I still don’t.   
What was said was already hurtful.  I cried a lot, it broke my heart and was actually a little frightening.   I didn’t want to hurt him more.  Truth is, I did care about him at one time and I didn’t want him to be hurt.  I don’t wish anything bad to happen to him or anyone really.    It was hard and has made me not want to date again, especially anyone from Twitter.    Yet, I say that and I am at least talking to men again, so I’m getting closer to being back in action.
It also made me dig deep and look at myself.  I don’t have to look at his face in the mirror, only my own.   I have to learn from my mistakes and be honest with myself about what I can improve on before I can move forward.     I lost my cool and I apologized.    His actions are his to live with; I can only take responsibility for my own.
I also don’t want my voice to be bitchy and negative.  Sometimes I am sarcastic and that’s ok but I don’t want to tear someone apart.  It’s not why I do this and furthermore not who I want to be.   Through all this I realized that I want to be healed emotionally before I really attach to someone.   I want to find someone positive and strong and I’m not sure I feel at my best to do that right now.    
Through all this hurt, something close to miraculous happened.   I got an extremely kind comment from a reader saying he was my biggest fan and that he felt honored to be able to know me.   It made me sob and was exactly what I needed to hear.   I was ready to shake off the anger, move forward and look at the big picture.   Sharing like this does touch and entertain people, so I should keep doing it.
I resolved to start a comment jar with all the positive feedback I get.    I’m going to write down the good comments on a slip of paper and put them in a jar in my office.  I can pull them out when I need them.    It’s a lesson for me and maybe one for you: hear the negative comments but don’t let them stop you from what you truly feel called to do.
I wish you an extremely happy new year!  I’m working on my list of resolutions and looking at last years (yikes).   As I near my one year anniversary of writing this blog, I thank you so much for being a part of it.  It’s been a life changing experience, mostly good and I look forward to what this new year will bring.
The Single Mom
Happy New Year From SMD (mp3)

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Three Exes and The Single Mom

Of the 140 characters I had to use, I probably used less than half of them.  However, I thought about what to say for about two days.   The words were typed, I reread it a few times and I was nervous when I finally sent the cheery holiday greeting.  After I hit “send” I immediately felt lame and hope.  I didn’t expect to hear back from “Latin Lover”, our conversations trailed off this summer during a swirl of chaos in my life.   We hadn’t kept in touch, so this was a random move made possible by my friend, Jose Cuervo.
This summer, I was just starting to get attached to this extremely sexy man.  He is sophisticated, romantic, well-traveled and sensual.   He reminded me of a romantic lead in a crappy romance novel, almost to the point of being cliché.  His eyes are dark, he has thick jet black hair, and just a hint of a lingering accent.   He reads, travels and is the sexiest man I’ve ever met.  
Because I was getting attached, I became a little short with him instead of hanging back and playing it cool.   We had gone on three HOT dates and I’m sure the 2 hour distance contributed to things not going forward with us.    Sexual chemistry was off the charts, I liked him as a person, respected him and would have made every effort to have him in my life.   That was then and a lot has happened since.
So I hit send and held my breath, feeling a little angry with myself that I had actually gone through with this pathetic move.  Hey, I could always blame it on Jose Cuervo, so at least there was that.   
I walked away from my phone because I didn’t expect to hear back from him and didn’t want to sit there wallowing in my lameness.   I was surprised and happy to hear my text chime within a minute, preparing myself for it to be unrelated.   Running back to my phone, I squealed like a teenager.   It was a text from him and his words melted me to a puddle, two simple words and I was mush, “Hi gorgeous”.     
I of course played it cool and waited about 10 seconds to text him back, lol.  In just a few minutes on this cold December night, we were both transported to a sultry July evening and the thought of his kisses lit me on fire all over again.   Before long we were talking about those passionate summer nights and about getting together again now.  (his idea, not mine)   
If you’re a regular reader of my blog, you know I’m taking a break from dating to put energy back into myself.   I vowed to do that until at least the beginning of 2012.  So, I’ve almost served my entire dating rehab sentence, whew.  
However, what is different about me now is that I’m able to make better choices, to see my options differently and to not rush back into a dating situation that is going to be harmful.   Honestly, I’m not in a hurry to start dating again.  I have a lot of exciting stuff going on in my life and dating just to date, isn’t in my plan.
Oddly enough, I’ve also been talking to another ex, “Freakshow”.    We have dated a couple of times both of them really intense, the most recent was this spring.   The way we came back into contact was totally accidental because I ran into him at an event downtown.  Ever since then he’s been texting me.  He’s told me that he was a dumbass for letting me go and wants another chance.   My skepticism has been preventing me from letting my guard down and I don’t really see a difference so far.   We did have a lot of history together and I did have some “L” word feelings for him, but fortunately my brain is staying ahead of my heart, well and other parts of the anatomy. (if you know what I mean, wink)
I’ve also had to draw a line in the sand with “Southerngent”.   We’ve continued to be in touch for several months as friends but he was unreliable about making plans with me and not keeping them.  One of my pet peeves is reliability.   If he’s not reliable as friends he wouldn’t just magically be so if we dated.  Unfortunately, I had to be meaner to him than I really wanted to be when I told him I didn’t want to go out with him.   If I can’t trust him to keep plans, I’m certainly not going to trust him with my heart.  Duh.
I can’t help but to feel selfish right now but it’s definitely a good thing.   Looking back on how I feel and the strength I have to say no to these less than perfect opportunities makes me feel strong.  I don’t think I’d have felt like this if I didn’t do the 30 days of “Loving Yourself First”.    Each of those 30 days I tried to see my own worth and it has paid off for me in the present.  
I’ve had times in the past where a temptation like this, a man saying something I wanted to hear would have suckered me back in right away.  Fortunately, I am doing the things I want to do for myself and not worrying about what someone may or not be feeling about me in any given moment.  Screw it.  Well, at least for now anyway.
Although having a fun, flirty texting chat with Latin Lover isn’t necessarily the healthiest use of my time, it’s a fun little escape and nothing more.    It’s been almost a year of writing about my dating tales and I feel like I’ve come to a very good place.     I see my own value now and I know I’m not going to settle for anything less than I deserve.   I’m not in any hurry to see him if it’s not something that will be good for me, so fortunately I can be objective enough now to know the difference.    
Whew, I’ve come a long way in this year of getting my ass kicked by love.  I hope you’ve enjoyed it too and I can’t wait to see what happens this next year…
The Single Mom

Friday, December 9, 2011

Facing the Fear

My heart was beating out of my chest, my pulse raced and although it was cold, I was perspiring.   I fearlessly confronted this moment and was ready to face this unknown threat.   Here I stood out on a cold, starry December night armed with nothing but my cajones and anger.    I was awakened by a noise outside and ran out to see that someone attempted to break into my car.
You have to know I live in a Mayberry like neighborhood.   It’s a quiet subdivision where the biggest controversy is over someone painting their shutters the wrong shade of burgundy.  
A few months ago I wrote a piece about emotions, that there are only two emotions, fear and love and that every other emotion we feel is rooted in either fear or love.   The more I’ve thought about it the more it makes sense and the more it makes me realize how my fear of love is my strongest fear.
I had to be fearless last week for a work event.   I work in media, we were covering a sporting event and inexplicably, a famous actress, Oscar nominated and the whole nine, happened to be there.    I walked right up to her, introduced myself and asked her if we could have an interview.  No fear. 
Yet the thought of going out with someone right now is a fear that I can’t get over.  However, the more I think about it maybe I shouldn’t.   Let me explain, although I’ve dated for 7 years, getting back up time after time and putting myself back out there without hesitation, I don’t think it was a smart decision and one that only set me up for more pain.
I truly wish I’d taken the advice of many friends to take time after my divorce before dating in the very beginning, but I foolishly didn’t.   I was hit by an attraction that I couldn’t fight.  I met him completely innocently he worked at my kids favorite restaurant and after a lot of downed chicken wings and flirting it became more.    I was vulnerable, feeling like I’d never meet anyone else and I’m convinced he saw that vulnerability.   
I literally felt butterflies when I saw him, haven’t felt that before or after him but I can still remember that flutter in my tummy when I’d see him.   Now that flutter is a turning of my stomach after what happened.    I was so naïve and what started off as a total rush to with him eventually became something very dangerous.    Unknown to me, he was an addict and I was just someone he used.   It was well over a year of a bad situation that only kept getting worse. 
It came to a head when he beat me up for money.    It happened so fast yet, I can remember every second, first he threw me to the floor, next he sat on top of me and took turns punching both sides of my jaw like a punching bag.    Next, he held me down to the floor by my neck, totally cutting off all air.   After he released my neck, I had to cough and gasp for air and could barely talk.   My face was bruised, swollen and talking was painful, so much so that I went to the emergency room to be x-rayed.  I prayed the swelling went down enough to go back to work in a couple of days.  
I never saw it coming, never saw him ever hurting me.  I was one person who always had his back through everything he faced, his family had abandoned him and yet I was the one who helped to pick him back up.    He was so possessive about me that he started several bar fights if anyone had even looked at me sideways, so to think he’d ever strike me never seemed possible.    Yet he did and he had hurt me in so many ways before this that it could be a book in itself.    It was like a really bad Lifetime movie that I somehow found myself in and it was a complicated relationship to leave.  
The feelings I had for him were so strong and I felt an odd connection with him.   So much so, if we were apart we could sense things about the other one, like if one was in danger.   It was a weird connection to say the least, and very difficult to walk away from, even after he hurt me physically.   Yet, I knew I couldn’t continue like this separated myself and stopped taking his calls.  He tried for months to call me and I forced myself to ignore him although I missed him terribly.     My friends gave me advice to meet someone else very quickly to move on. 
Although I didn’t want to, it happened.  I met someone when friends and I grabbed a beer after a PTA meeting.  He was a young (very young) good looking, firefighter who caught me in his crosshairs.  He pursued me hardcore and I gave into meeting him.    Again, this was another unhealthy relationship.  I know I wouldn’t have been so vulnerable to fall in love with him if I didn’t feel like I needed to move on from my prior boyfriend.   We were on and off for several years in a messy unhealthy, emotional, sexual train wreck.   Spoiler alert: it didn’t end well and caused me a lot of pain.
Fast forward through 7 years of one dating pile up after another, I look back thinking most of the reason I keep stepping into the same pile of dog crap is because I didn’t take the time to be ready for someone to be in my life, in the beginning.  In some ways I’ve just accepted what scraps came my way.   After a lot of pain, physical and emotional I have to realize that it’s taking too much of a toll on me.   So for now, that means to stop dating.  What I’ve been doing hasn’t been working, thank you very much Captain Obvious.
I’m not that far removed from feeling the pain of the breakup I had this fall, after what I thought was someone I’d be with for a very long time.   The pain of that betrayal and loss is still very fresh and keeps me from really getting too close to anyone, friend or lover, sadly.
Through these years, I’ve let so many good guys go and kept so many bad ones.   Truth be told, I let some men go who probably would have made me very happy but I was foolish and looking for perfection.  I still haven’t found it, only realizing now after kissing toad after toad.    
I’m optimistic and hopeful that my future still holds love in it for me, but for now I can’t have that as my focus.   I know when I do find someone who is good to me, I will appreciate every moment with him and be good to him, yet maybe this time is going to help me be able to separate the good guys from the bad ones.
The Single Mom