I don’t want to call myself pathetic, but…

I was filling out a journal prompt today which asked, if someone really wanted to understand you, what would they watch, read, and listen to? The “watch” part started me off, and it was pretty easy – obviously The West Wing! What other show so perfectly encompasses my ego, my belief in something greater than myself, my hopeless romanticism (Donna, CJ, Josh, Toby…)? Then I immediately thought of Kate Winslet’s character in The Holiday. Okay, she’s a bit of a pushover at the beginning, but by the end, she finds her gumption. At one point she talks about feeling like the sidekick in her own life, rather than the leading lady. I *might* feel like that every now and then. Or more often. Then Norah from Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist came up. Yep, definitely resonate with her. Oh wait… isn’t she a bit of a pushover, always going back to the callow ex, finding her happiness only when she gets a boyfriend? I’m sensing a bit of a pattern here.

A couple of weeks ago, I cleaned out all of my journals, wanting to start fresh. As I was skimming through them, checking to see if there was anything I needed to keep, I was absolutely struck dumb by how many times I had written about wanting a relationship, or feeling out of touch with whomever I was dating at the time, or wondering why a relationship had not worked out. Easily 70% of my entries had to do with my love life, or lack of one. And you know what? It pissed me off!! I mean, really f’ing pissed me off! I am successful, financially secure, funny, cute, smart as hell, valued at my job, beloved by my friends and family. Why was I wasting so much time and energy on my love life? As I read through and got angrier with myself, I kept thinking, “What could I have done with all of this wasted time? If I hadn’t been wondering what was wrong with me when my relationships failed, I could have started a business, taught myself to play guitar, learned to make macaroons. This is BS!”

Sure, of course I appreciate the fact that I have learned from my past mistakes and am a better person for the soul-searching that I have done. However, there was WAY too much whining going on there. Because let’s not pretend that I only poured my heart out to my journal. Oh no, I cried to my friends and my mom and my sister. I sought out tarot readings to find my flaws. I worked out and starved myself to appear prettier, and therefore more valuable, to the opposite sex. And I gotta tell you, I’m more than a little disgusted with myself. Instead of celebrating the massive amounts of love that I do have, I cried about guys who I rarely think twice about. Instead of utilizing that time to better myself overall, I punished myself for things which were not my fault.

So yeah, after going through the journals, I felt more than a little pathetic. And I decided that I didn’t like that feeling. I decided that I would rather focus on my mental well-being. I would rather focus on my friendships. I would rather focus on achieving goals.

And so, I will be revisiting that initial journal prompt. Because I want to associate myself with strong women who are saving themselves, who are acting as good friends and good citizens of the world. Not the women who are only happily ever after once they get a boyfriend.

– Finch

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Psyching Myself Up To Date

Part of the problem of being an introvert who loves my dog more than I love most people is that it’s really difficult to meet potential dates out in the world. I don’t really go “out” places, and when I do venture forth from my home, I’m pretty sure I have my resting bitch face on. I don’t mean to, but if I’m at the grocery store or the gym, I’m just trying to get stuff done so that I can go back home. This has always been the allure of online dating; I can scroll through numerous pictures and profiles, converse with people without brushing my hair, and not have that awkward in real life fumbling until we’ve at least established some basic commonalities.

Recently, I ventured back onto OKcupid; this latest try lasted about four days. I was talking to five different guys. One of those conversations had moved over to Facebook Messenger so that he could send me pictures from his recent trip to Alaska. I was making many matches, and I was gaining plenty of admirers (duh). Here was the problem – I didn’t care to invest any amount of time getting to know any of the guys I was talking to, and I was beginning to resent the call on my time that having to message them back was taking.   When I would be notified that I had made a match with someone, or when a guy responded to me, I had no excitement whatsoever. In the past, when I first met Dan or Jay on OKC, I would get total butterflies when they messaged. I couldn’t wait to get online and see what they said! With this latest round of guys, I’d get the notification that I’d received a new message, and I’d delete it and think, “Yeah, yeah, I’ll get to it later.”

And it wasn’t just this time around. The past few times that I have tried online dating, I’ve had no interest in actually pursuing anything. I’m looking because I feel like I should be looking, like I should be making some kind of effort to meet guys. The last time I went on a date from an online site was over a year ago. Granted, I was dating Dan again from August through New Year’s, but we’re at the end of July, and I haven’t set up even one date. Every person seems to say, “Oh, it’ll happen when you stop looking, when you least expect it.” Please provide to me an example of how that is true for any other aspect of life. How often do people find new jobs when they’re not looking for them? How often do people find their dream home when they’re not looking? I get that you can be offered a job that you weren’t looking for, but typically, in any other area of life, the advice is to not give up, to not stop looking until you find the right fit. I get that love has it’s own rules, and doesn’t play out like other areas of life, but come on!

I disabled my OKcupid account on Sunday because I just couldn’t work up the energy to be excited about anyone I was talking to. Had I talked to every guy on OKC? Of course not! Had I even talked to every guy that I had matched with? Of course not! But just thinking about making the effort to get dolled up to go on a date, or even a series of dates if there was a connection, made me so tired that  I wanted to take a nap. I just want to naturally find someone who immediately makes me laugh and just fits well into my life. That may be too much to ask, but I’m asking. The worst the Universe can say is “no,” and then I’m no worse off from where I am now, which really isn’t bad at all.

– Finch

You Don’t Owe Him a Response

I know I never really gave y’all a proper ending to my relationship with Jay. Synopsis – broke up “for good” January, 2016. Slept with him once in April, 2016, while dating Dan. Jay moved to California in May, 2016. In August, 2016, Jay and I have this long talk about maybe getting back together, and he says he wants to move in, at which point I tell him that we need to date for a minimum of 6 months before I will consider letting him move in. Jay says that he’s not coming back to Austin unless he’s moving in with me. I tell him that he’s not coming back to Austin. Flash-forward nine months to May, 2017. Jay starts texting, I ignore him, he tells me really needs to talk to me, I say he can call. He just starts babbling away, until I ask him to get to the point of the conversation. He says just talking is the point. I tell him that he no longer has a place in my life and that I don’t think we need to communicate again. We hang up. He continues to text for 6 more weeks until I finally block his number. Peace and quiet at last, right?

Back to present day. Last Friday, Jay sent me an incredibly long message on Facebook, telling me that he needs to explain his past actions, he *thinks* I might have blocked his texts, and going on about how great and wonderful I was (um, duh). Only, it’s the worst email ever. He starts off by telling me that he was seeing a girl last year, but it didn’t work out. Then he literally says, “I don’t want to make this message about me, though, because it’s about you. I’m way more self-aware than you could ever realize.” Uh, isn’t bragging about your self-awareness about you, and not me?? There were parts of the message which were incredibly manipulative – classic narcissistic lessons here. Telling me that while he has dated a wide variety of very successful women, *I* am the only one who he’s ever wanted to be with permanently. First off, jackass, I am incredibly successful and you know that. Second, so I’m supposed to be grateful that you chose me over everyone else you could be dating? I rejected you. He brought up my dog, saying that he loves her and she loves him, and he really hopes he gets to see her in the future. Dude, my dog is a hoe. She loves anyone who will pet her. He told me that nobody had ever shown me that I was good enough, but that he now could. Then he ended by saying that he had so much more he could tell me, and that he hoped he got the chance to.

So of course I let all of my friends and my mom read it. There were some who felt that I owed him some sort of response. Not necessarily a nice one, but at least one that would give him some closure. Enter my mom – talking to her Saturday morning, she was adamant that NO, I did not owe Jay a response, that this message was all about him and what he wanted, and that I needed delete his Facebook request and walk away. So I did.

Because here’s the thing. With narcissistic people, you can’t explain or argue anything. They hear only what they want to hear, and no matter what you say, you will still end up at fault. And if you open that door even one inch, they will jump in and try with all of their might to  get you to engage. You don’t owe anyone an explanation for protecting yourself and your mental and/or emotional well-being. You do not have to explain why you are breaking up with someone who treats you poorly. You do not have to explain to an ex why you moved on. You DO have to take care of yourself. Truly, the only way to break free from a narcissist is to walk away and don’t look back.

I’ll finish by sharing one of my favorite lines from last year – “If you love someone, let them go. If they come back, it means no one else wanted them. Let them go again.”

– Finch

Quick Thought: A Fear of Change

I was just watching a Mr. Kate video where Kate was getting a blow-out, and her hair looked so good. Her hair is a just slightly lighter than mine, and slightly shorter. The major difference is that she does not have bangs, and I do. So as I’m checking out her video, I kept thinking that I should grow my bangs out again. It’s been a few years since I’ve been without bangs. Plus, they’re already long enough that I can pin them aside, so it won’t be a super long process.

Immediately though I could hear my mom saying, “But I like your bangs!” And then I told my friend Jessica, and she said the same thing. And then I started to wonder if I would feel as cute without bangs, and whether my face would look too big or my forehead would be too shiny, and it was all down the rabbit hole from there.

I’ve always been jealous of the women who cut and dye and style their hair with wild abandon. I’ve been thinking about chopping my hair into a long bob (a “lob” for those of you in the know), but when I brought it up to my mom and her friend recently, they both shot down the idea. “You have mermaid hair!” Okay, yeah, but even a mermaid has to get tired of brushing out this mane all of the time.

The reason I don’t just take the plunge is overwhelming fear. For me, my hair is one of my signature features. A lot of my self-worth is bound up in my hair’s appearance. So what if I chop it all off, and then I hate it, and I feel that I look like a wookie?? Yes, my hair will grow back, but that doesn’t happen overnight! Even dying my hair – I was a redhead from 13 to 30, and then I bleached my hair, and I’ve been a dirty blonde ever since. Every now and then I think it might be nice to see how my hair would look in a rich chocolate brown. But if I hate it, and I try to bleach it back, I won’t immediately be able to achieve my current color, and I could really damage my hair.

This is supposed to be my year of fearing less. And in a lot of ways, it has been. I’ve added temporary pink, purple, and turquoise color to my hair throughout the year so far, and I like it. That’s a huge deal for me; I never played with crazy colors before. But a more permanent change just feels really scary. And I don’t know how to have less fear about that.

– Finch

What Is Your Motive?

I was having a conversation with a friend recently about whether it’s ever okay to reach out to an ex. In her case, she and the ex had had a very bad breakup, but she had been close to the ex’s mother, and she found out that the mother was sick. My friend genuinely just wanted to express her sympathies.

So this led into a whole other conversation about my thought process last year when the singer Chris Cornell passed away. My ex-husband had been friends with Chris, and had a great musical relationship with him. So when I heard about Chris’s passing, I seriously considered reaching out. However, every single message I came up with started, “I’m sure you don’t want to hear from me, but…”

And that had me thinking. If I was *that* sure that Ex didn’t want to hear from me, why was I reaching out? Even though all I wanted to do was express my sympathies, would Ex resent hearing from me at all? And if my only motive really was to say how sorry I was, couldn’t I send him that energy without intruding on his life? Was my motive to express my sympathy, to show that I was a kind and caring person, or to show that, on some level, I still cared for him?

I wasn’t able to give my friend a concrete path to take. However, we came to the decision (*we, as if it was my decision anyway!) that she should send flowers to the mother. My friend decided that this really wasn’t about her ex; she just wanted to let the ex’s mother know she was thinking of her. By stepping back and really looking at why she wanted to reach out, she realized that the person she needed to reach out to wasn’t the ex at all.

I’ve reached out to exes before for a variety of reasons, and most of them have been purely selfish – I wanted them back in my life, either as boyfriends or friends. I’ve been really, really lucky in that none of the exes have reacted poorly to me reaching out. It’s always been a positive experience, and in some cases, it brought me some much needed closure and/or answers that have helped me to move on. But again, that’s about me and about what I wanted.

I still don’t have a definitive answer here. The best I can do going forward is look at my motives, and see if they really serve the higher good. I think that’s the best any of us can do.

– Finch

Quick Thought: Chinese Food as a Lesson

I live across the street from a Chinese restaurant, so I am constantly smelling the tempting aromas. I keep thinking, “Hmm, maybe beef and broccoli tonight?” But then I usually just end up eating chips and salsa and calling it a day.

Here’s the problem – just a couple of weeks after I first moved into my condo, I went over to grab some takeout. Went home, ate my food, and then, a few hours later, experienced the most horrendous stomach pains ever. Not nausea or anything, but swollen belly and curling up in a fetal position pain. So I swore off the Chinese restaurant.

And then a year or so went by, and I thought, “Maybe it was just that one time. I’ll try something different.” But no, exact same thing happened. It happened again last night.

I say all of this to say, this is like going back to exes. You let some time pass, you think maybe it’ll be better this time, maybe you’ll try things a bit differently, take a fresh path… No. You’re still going to end up curled into a ball on your bed, cursing your lack of self-control. Just save yourself the pain and misery.

– Finch