Being Brave Is Worth It

A very dear friend of mine is getting married this winter, and she had asked me to be a bridesmaid. Through a series of unfortunate events, her wedding had been pushed from it’s original date of this past February, and we are all still kind of scrambling to get all of the dates and parties and events planned and scheduled.

A couple of weeks ago, the bride had sent out a mass text, asking how everyone felt about a destination bachelorette party to either Chicago or Charlotesville in October. Only one person responded, and I hadn’t heard anything else about it. But I was starting to feel the strain. I’m already planning on going out to Santa Barbara in October, and I might be going back to Mexico in September, so my travel money is already spoken for. I kept going back and forth on whether I should say something. For one thing, she’s the bride, it’s her special day, etc. Also, no one else had said anything so I didn’t want to be a debbie downer. But I could tell that I was starting to get resentful and defensive and something needed to be done.

As y’all know, I have no problem breaking up with people over text, or ghosting people, but those are obviously people that I don’t care about that much. I couldn’t text this to the bride. So I asked if we could talk, I called her, and I laid it out.

Do you know what happened? Every concern I had about the bachelorette party was shared by the bride. She agreed with and/or understood everything I was saying, she said that she was already thinking that we might need to scale back some of the ideas, and that a couple of other bridesmaids had already voiced similar concerns.

And that was that! We had a lovely conversation, each of us felt good as we got off of the phone, and each of us was happy with the path going forward. The most uncomfortable aspect of the whole thing was working up the courage to ask if we could talk. And I think that’s a pretty common thing. We get worked up about situations or conversations before they even happen, we fear the worst outcome, and then we get too scared to take any action. Yes, the worst that could have happened was that my friend would be totally upset, would have told me I couldn’t be in her wedding anymore, and we could’ve lost that friendship. That was what I was working with going into it. But anyone on the outside would have (and did) quickly say that the bride is not that kind of woman, and that we’ve been friends for 15 years, and this wasn’t going to end it.

My one resolution this year was to fear less. Not to be completely fearless, because I don’t know if that’s truly possible, but just to fear less. Be less fearful of the consequences, and more open to the possibility that everything will work out. As my aunt says, “It’ll all be alright in the end. If it’s not alright, then it’s not the end.”

– Finch

Quick Thought: Definition of Insanity

Doing the same thing over and over again, and expecting different results. Like calling Ex. Sure, the last couple of times that we talked we had some nice conversations. But the last three times I’ve called, he has not returned my calls, texted me to say “Hey, I’m busy right now. I’ll hit you up later,” or even emailed to tell me to F-off. So why do I keep calling? Loneliness, euphoric recall, utter insanity? I think any if those will work for me excuse.

Don’t do stupid things. It’s not just a clever name – they really are stupid.

– Finch

What defines “settling”?

I think I heard in a movie once, or read in a book, that you should marry someone who loves you more than you love them. The idea being that they will always adore you, and that you don’t have to worry about them leaving. But if I had someone who loved me considerably more than I loved them, I think that I would be afraid that I would one day meet someone that I loved that much, and then I would leave the marriage, causing massive heartbreak and hurt.

A couple of my girls have recently been talking about having these feelings. M has been seeing this one guy, BA, for about six months. And we were talking about where things were going with them when she said this: “I feel like he satisfies 60% of what I want. I mean, he’s nice, he’s a perfect gentleman, we have a good time together, both in and out of the bedroom. And 60% is good, right? I mean no one ever has 100% satisfaction.” I don’t know that no one ever has 100% satisfaction, but I do think that 60% is a little low. I read once that 80% is the magic percentage. If you find someone who fulfills 80% of what you want, then that is good enough. But which 80%? If I had ten traits that my guy absolutely had to have, I think some of those traits would be rated higher than others. For instance, it is incredibly important to me that my guy have a job and that he’s able to support himself. But it is also important to me that he doesn’t interrupt me while I’m talking, as this is a huge pet peeve. Do these two things get weighted the same? If they’re each worth ten percent overall, could I do without one?

It seems that several of the people in my life are in this mode where they are trying to talk themselves into feeling something more. Is it wrong for me to want to meet someone and not have to talk myself into liking or loving them? I’m not asking that it be instantaneous – with both Tripp and Ex, it took a little time for me to fall in love. But once I did, especially with Tripp, I knew it in every cell of my body – I was hooked. If I had been with someone for six months or more and I was still waiting for the other shoe to drop, or for a sign that I was supposed to be with them, then I think I would get scared that I was trying to force something that wasn’t really there.

Plus, I’m a girl who likes a little bit of a cushion. I want someone to love at least 90% of my traits/personality. That way, if I piss them off, I have a little bit of a buffer before we start getting too close to the magical 80%. It just makes good numbers sense!

– Finch

We’re both in the same boat

I have this problem with jealousy. I have such amazing friends, and they frequently live their lives in the ways that I (sometimes) wish I lived mine. For example, R always seems to have an amazing boyfriend who is perfect in every way, and if they break up, then she goes on to date an even more perfect guy. Or J will go out and meet three hot guys, two new besties, and a former NFL player who invites her to chill with him and his wife in Spain for the summer. M just got a job where she is making almost double what I make, and her brother makes over $100,000 and he is three years younger than I am. So it’s not that surprising that I have issues with envy.

Only, R and I were hanging out the other day (pre-SXSW) and I finally brought this up to her. I was telling her how much I would absolutely love to be in her shoes when it came to guys because she always has this bevy of menfolk who crowd around her and worship the ground that she walks on. And they’re not cretins either – these are incredibly hot, employed, all-around decent fellows. I just felt as if she had this streak of luck that I had only ever dreamed of, and it would be nice to know that I could always have a date if I wanted one.

“I can see where you’re coming from, but believe me, it’s not the way it looks from the outside.”

“I know. I am completely aware of that. But from the outside, your grass is not only green, it’s a freaking jungle.”

“But the way I see it, we’re both in the same boat. We’re both looking for that new person, the true love, and whether we’re seeing several different guys or taking time to figure out what we want, we’re still ultimately not where we want to be yet.”

Here’s the thing with R – she is not only one of the most beautiful women I’ve ever met, she is also incredibly intelligent and self-aware. Which makes her absolutely perfect, which is very hard to live up to. I thought a lot about what she said, and she was right.

Because, here’s the thing. I’m not very good at dating multiple people at the same time, and I’ve never been very good at casual dating. If I’m not totally into someone, what’s the point in continuing the relationship? It’s one thing to say, “Yeah, we’re never going to get married, but this is really fun, and let’s just make this last for a while.” It’s something else entirely to say “We don’t really get along, and the sex isn’t that great, and we want completely different things out of life, but we’re too scared to try something new, so let’s just stick it out.” I think that too many people get caught in that second situation, and I have never wanted that for my life. Plus, I feel like time works in weird ways for me. I haven’t even been divorced for a full year yet, but I feel like I should already be in a committed relationship working towards marriage number two. And it’s probably a really great thing that I am not there – I doubt that that relationship/marriage would last very long if I rushed into it.

As it turns out, my jealousy was pretty misplaced. Do I want the experiences of getting to date several nice, cute, smart guys? Sure. Do I want to go through all of the drama and the game-playing that goes with that? Not even a little bit. Do I want to go out and meet tons of new people and have them invite me to exotic locales? Duh. Do I want the hangovers and the missed connections and the exhaustion? Not really. I’d love to make more money, but I also love the flexibility that I have with my job and the fact that I really do only work 40 hours a week. And let’s be honest – I don’t live the lives of my friends. I have absolutely no idea what goes on in their heads on a day-to-day basis. It’s pretty easy to think that the grass is greener on the other side of the street. But we rarely see the work that goes into that lawn, or what goes on inside that house. Maybe we’d be better off if we worked on our own grass rather than comparing it to the landscaping of someone else.

– Finch

Sometimes people can’t hear you

I was so freaking mad yesterday, and you know what I was mad about? Movies. Specifically, about $200 worth of DVDs that Ex “borrowed” last summer. These included the first three seasons of The Clone Wars, all of which he had purchased for me as birthday presents; High Fidelity and Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, which I had owned long before we got together; and Love and Sex, which was Tripp’s and my movie, so I think Ex just took that to break the DVD. He was supposed to bring them back, then he couldn’t. Then he was supposed to mail them back, and he forgot. Then he “did” ship them back, but they never made it to me, and he had no delivery confirmation or insurance placed on them.

I wanted to email Ex and tell him what a horrible person he was, explain how freaking pissed I was that he had taken these and never returned them, and let him know that he was lower than low to steal from me, especially when he still owes me $8,000 in unpaid bills (can you tell I have some pent up anger here?). Before I could dash off the email, I decided to go for a walk to work out exactly how I would tear him apart piece by piece when mi madre telephoned me. As I was explaining all of this, she started laughing, which is something she often does when I am mad abut something stupid.

“I’m sorry, I just think it’s so funny that you are mad about these movies when Ex owes you $8,000. Like, you know you’ll never see the money, but at least the movies he should be able to send back to you.”

She then went on to explain something to me which should have been self-evident, but which I very much needed to hear from an outside source.

“It doesn’t matter what you say to him in an email, or over the phone, or even in person. He can’t hear you. Do you remember how surprised you were when he didn’t understand why you wanted a divorce? You had explained everything for months, you all had been fighting for over a year, and yet when you finally said ‘I want a divorce,’ he felt it had come out of left field. That’s because he is not in a place where he can hear what you are saying. So while it might make you feel better to tell him off and curse him out, he will just continue to say the same things he always has, and he won’t understand why this is such a big deal, and you will only get mad all over again.”

This made total sense to me. How many times had I been in a situation where I just wanted to explain it to someone? “I never want to talk to you again, and let me tell you why.” “I need you to know why I can’t have you in my life anymore.” “Let me just set the record straight on why I am going to do what I am going to do, no matter what you say.” More often than not, I did not get the response that I was looking for in any of these situations. I would pour my heart out, end the communication, and then… they did not come running back to me with the correct response. Or if any of them did, it was way too late, and I no longer cared that they got it.

I did not send the email to Ex. Instead, since I get upset every time we speak, I think I should take some parental advice and not talk to him for awhile. Maybe not speaking will get my point across in a way that explaining things never has.

– Finch

Be careful what you wish for…

I just finished reading Eat Pray Love, and I was feeling very magnanimous and open with the world. So as I was trying to meditate the next morning (rather than getting dressed and ready for work), I decided that I needed, as Liz did in the book, to formally let go of Ex and Tripp. Yes, I realize that divorcing Ex was a pretty clear way of letting him go, but still – I wanted to do it spiritually as well as legally. I said “Tripp. Ex. I release you both from my life, from my heart and from my soul. I pray with all of my heart that you find happiness and that you you heal from any wounds I may have caused, accidentally or intentionally. Please go forth from my life and be happy.”

You know what really sucks about letting go? You are now thinking about this person. I had laughed about it just a month ago – why was I so caught up in Tripp getting engaged when we’ve been broken up for ten years, and I didn’t really think twice about Ex, even though we were marries for four years, and it had been only six months since our divorce. The very next night, I got the bright idea to text Ex. Because I missed him. Because I had “let him go” and put thought towards him.

So we start talking, and we’re having a fine conversation, and I’m telling Ex about this blog when…

“Would you be alright if I went out on a date?”
“Well… yeah. We’re divorced, you don’t really need my permission.”
“And we can still be friends?”
“Nope. You’re dating now, I hate you, there is no way we can be friends.” I was only half joking.

In reality, I wanted Ex to feel every last bit of pain and remorse that I went through; I wanted Ex to go through every second of heartache. You remember that movie Twister? When Helen Hunt and her aunt are upstairs at her aunt’s place, and the aunt says “He didn’t keep up his part of the bargain, to die pining for you.” Hunt kind of chokes up a bit, and says, smiling, “Was that too much to ask?” Then they laugh about it. I want to get to the point where I can laugh about it. Where I can say “I don’t care that you caused massive pain, self-doubt and hurt in my life. Just go off and be happy.”

Except, that is kind of what I did when I released him from my life. Which brings up another point. Universe?? WTF??? I ask you to make Ex happy and less than 48 hours he’s going on a date?!? I’ve been asking you to make me happy for six months!!! Where’s my frigging knight in shining armor?? You and I are going to have some words, do not mistake it!

So yes – I realize that I asked for this, that I prayed for this. And I am more than well aware that this is all for the better. I did not, nor do I ever, want to get back with Ex. And I also recognize that going on a date does not mean that he is happy. As is evidenced by this blog, I go on dates, and they don’t make me happy. I make myself happy with other things and friends. So yes, Universe, I am happy, and I really do wish well for my exes, all of them. But I’m just saying, sometimes getting what you ask for really bites the big one.

– Finch