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

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

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

My Boredom Problem

Shortly after high school graduation (2001, represent!), I was at Barton Springs with my mom and sister, telling them all about my latest idea. Havianas were just becoming popular, so I had this great plan for making flip-flops with interchangeable straps. You could snap on different straps with different patters/colors, and make your flips totally unique! I laid it all out to them, even how I would make the prototype and how I would sell the pieces. My mom, who has more cowboy boots than flip flops, said, “Yeah, sure, sounds great.” My sister, oracle of my universe said, “Is this another one of those things that you’re excited about for a few weeks and then you lose interest?”

She knows me very well.

Throughout my life, I have had ideas, boyfriends, friends, projects that I am really, really excited about, and then I just lose interest. I become bored. It’s not even that anything takes away my excitement; I didn’t suddenly find out that someone else was already doing my idea or my boyfriend (insert laughs). It’s just that I no longer cared. And this isn’t the case with everything. My two best friends have been in my life for over 20 years each, and I’m not bored with them. I see B every single day, and July will be 10 years since I found her; she doesn’t bore me. I’m not bored at work or with my car. So this isn’t a blanket problem that I can seek answers for.

As the older readers will know, I tend to repeat-date and repeat-friend. Every time that Jay and I would get back together, everything would be great until the three week mark. It was like clockwork. At the three week point, I would start to see that everything that had annoyed me previously was still there, and nothing had changed. At that point, it just didn’t feel like it was worth my time to put any effort into the relationship, since I had brought up my issues with Jay to him and we had talked it through, ad nauseum. The same thing has happened in friendships. I’ll leave a friendship for whatever reason, then something will bring us back together, everything will be great for a while, and then I will see that the initial problems are still there, and I lose interest in trying to make things work.

I get that the relationship aspect is different than the idea/project aspect. In the relationship aspect, I’ve been dealing with people who exhibit the same behavior, no matter what I say or do. With the idea/project aspect, I just lose interest. Recently, I was telling my mom how I would like to start a YouTube channel for makeup/lifestyle, since so many of the people I regularly watch are in their early to mid-twenties, and have different life issues/styles than I do. I researched, I looked at vlogging cameras, I thought of video ideas. This went on for about two months, and yeah… I just don’t have any interest anymore. And who knows? Maybe this is the Universe’s way of steering me away from something that is not a good fit for me. But this is clearly not a new thing in my life, and it’s something that keeps popping up, so I should probably figure out why I lose interest. Hopefully I’ll figure it out before I get bored with the question.

– Finch