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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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

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