I’ve figured out why the wind scares me

1-29-13-Storm Over Farm - Decatur, Texas

I was going to post this another time, or maybe not at all, but I had this epiphany about a month ago after some deep introspection, and… well… it’s eight o’clock at night, and it’s raining now….

Over the past few months I became aware that I would cringe from the wind — the more powerful, the worse it felt, especially at night, when I was alone in my apartment. This was not a behavior I’d always had. In fact, I’d typically always been a bit of a weather-junkie. But now, the sound of wind whistling too-fast through the trees, or howling into the eves and between the nooks and crannies of my old apartment building would produce a curl-in-a-ball response from me. (I could make myself be brave if I had my kids that night, but if I was alone, all bets were off.) I didn’t even realize I was doing this until I’d already written about it in my RFQ.

“…seeking someone who is reasonably geographically nearby, and who keeps similar wake/sleep hours, and who can come over and hold me on rough nights. Like when the wind is scary.”

Since becoming aware of this, however, I knew I had to make myself take a hard, honest look at why I’d become afraid of the wind. I mean, it wasn’t like I had some bad-wind memory that I’d lived through. I’d never been in a tornado or hurricane. I’d never even lost a friend or family member to violent weather. Then, during my ponderings, a random thought hit me and “clicked true” as soon as I’d thought it: This was because of my divorce.

Or, rather, because of how things went down at the end of my marriage.

When I learned my ex was cheating on me, found the love letters, it opened up a chasm inside me that I didn’t know existed. My legs literally gave out, and I collapsed, sobbing on my bedroom floor. My arms gripped tight around my ribs. It felt as though the pain would rip me apart from the inside, and I was trying, somehow, to hold myself together, to contain this impossible, desolate despair inside a small, human, skeletal frame. As I was feeling this worst-imaginable-pain-ever, smaugI was shocked that the human body could contain this magnitude of grief. Surely I would have exploded, had I not held onto my ribs…!

Which brings me back to present-day, and the wind.

It’s been three-and-a-half years. I’ve come a long way since then. But not long enough that the echoes of needing to hold myself together are not able to be threatened by the groans of a 20+ year-old apartment building, as it stands up to powerful gusts — especially common in Colorado, in the spring. It will dismantle my home; it will demolish me. It will rip me apart from the inside….

That’s why, it turns out, I’m afraid of the wind.

Now I know.

And now that I know the root of that fear, I can begin to face it.

harry potter vs dragon

Come on, give me a smile….

come on give me a smile

From my past, a year ago. (And probably other times in my life, too. How many of you can think of people who’ve said something similar? Seriously, enough with the passive-aggressive demands! We’re not puppets.) Note: this is NOT directed at photographers (looking at you, Ted, darling!), for whom it is absolutely reasonable to be expected to smile.:)

Holding Out for Harry

Harry Winston

Met a cute guy a while back, things got interesting over the past weekend. He seemed to be a great guy – “rescued” me from a douchebag on Fri night, then came over on Sunday to help install some new shelves I’d bought. And he was great with my kids. And an excellent kisser.:) We really started to hit it off.

Then, on Tuesday, while I was at work, he sent me what was essentially a booty-call text.

I was intrigued at first (like I said, he’s cute!), but then I played the scenario out in my head. Yeah, I didn’t need that in my life right now — not that fast.

Then I thought about it some more and decided I was actually kinda miffed. Seriously? We hadn’t even been out on one, real date — let alone crossed second base — and he was booty-call texting me?

So I declined, via text, and blew off my unsettled feelings. Whatever. Harmless sexting. But then he wanted to talk on the phone.

So I called him after work. He wanted to know “how I was feeling.” So I told him I was kinda pissed-off: we hadn’t even been on one “real” date (going to the home-improvement store and putting up shelves is NOT equivalent to a Saturday-night, planned-in-advance date, like he’d been on, that Saturday, with another girl he was also seeing — which I was totally okay with, since we weren’t “in a relationship” or anything yet), but here he was sending me a booty-call text? Yeah, I was steamed. Feeling kinda like I was being treated like lesser-grade. (I’d gone from “available to text chick” (different guy — long-gone) to “available to fuck” ?!?!?!!??)

He told me he was “only joking,” but admitted that, yeah, he wouldn’t have been opposed to his text being taken at face-value. I told him I wanted more out of a relationship. I gave him the WalMart/Harry Winston analogy.

He said good luck finding Harry. Said he didn’t understand why I’d “taken such a strong stance on this,” and he was now going to delete me from his contact-info.

Wow. Just wow. I responded (politely — I read my text again today, and yes, it really was honest-but-polite), but he’s had nothing more to say.

I was feeling down all day, because I’d really liked this guy. But I can’t let myself be treated like second-rate, disposable goods. I want to be treated like a rare, precious, valuable commodity. Like the unique individual that I know I am. Like a human being.

Damn, why is this such a struggle — to believe that I’m worth more than the ways that people have treated me, in the past? (Long, ugly story, my past. Not for this post.) But the point is, if I don’t treat myself like I’m worth more, then no one else will treat me like that, either. Right?

The Rules: #8 – How to Date Yourself

The Rules #8 - better than you treat yourself

So about a year and a half ago I was on a “guys suck” kick (after having had it up to here with a guy who didn’t understand why I didn’t want to see him anymore, after he stopped showing up for our dates (literally)), and at that point, 6-months post-divorce, all guys sucked. On the entire planet. I was whining about this to one of my girlfriends.

“Why don’t you just date yourself?” she asked.

Huh? I must have made a Mouse-has-left-the building face, because she went on.

“Why don’t you just take yourself on dates and treat yourself the way you think you want to be treated? That way you’ll know better what you like, and what you want out of a relationship, eventually.”

For about two seconds, I thought about the stupidness of dating myself. And then a light bulb went on. Date myself? My girlfriend was flipping brilliant.

For the next several months I proceeded to treat my free Saturdays (the ones where I didn’t have my kids) as “date night” — with myself. It turned out I was a pretty excellent date. Usually, we’d start the evening with a glass of wine, jamming in the kitchen to our favorite music as we made dinner — usually steak or salmon. Date nights have great food. (Which was always gluten-free and dairy-free, too, because my date had the same food allergies as me.) Then, we’d pop some popcorn, mix up an awesome mojito, curl up on the sofa, and watch a movie. (Which we would always agree on!) We’d allow ourselves to get totally sucked up into the movie’s storyline — laughing, crying, or cheering along with the heroes — and we’d snuggle under a big, plush blanket if we got cold. Sometimes we’d get tipsy, but it all ended well. I would never take advantage of myself without my own permission.

At times I would reflect on the fact that, yes, I was lonely. I would rather be sharing a night like this with someone I felt truly connected-to. But learning to enjoy a quality experience on my own forced me to confront the fact that I didn’t have that connection with anyone else, and I couldn’t wish it up out of thin air. I knew now that I couldn’t settle for dating someone just for the sake of dating, which, I think, is how I’d been operating, previously. Insert available Guy A into Slot B isn’t how life works.

And something else happened, too: I began to develop self-respect.

Now that I knew how well I could be treated by my own self on a date, I began to realize that I didn’t want to put up with being treated less-than-well by other dates. I realized I had standards — and they were pretty decent ones. They made me feel good about myself. In fact, I decided that if a guy didn’t treat me better than I was already able to treat myself, there really wasn’t any reason for me to date him. I’d be better-off by myself! Relationships should build you up, make you a better person. Not bring you down to a lower level. That’s how friendships work, right? I think dating-relationships should work the same way, too.

Unfortunately, finding this in real life is proving to be tricky. (My PTSD and trust issues do NOT help!) Hence, attraction, lifestyle compatibility, and best-friend potential criteria from my RFQ. But I think the overall goal holds merit: to find someone who elevates me, who treats me better than I treat myself. It could happen, right?

And hopefully I do the same for him….

 

Versus: Movies! (Midnight Special vs. Miss Peregrine)

midnight special vs miss peregrine

These movies seem to have very similar themes, and they are both coming out soon. And they both look good. Which would you choose? (Yes, yes, I know one comes out in March, and the other in September. But the trailers are both out now. And patience is not one of my virtues.) Vote on the poll below, and add your comments in the comments section. And thank you, in advance!:)

http://trailers.apple.com/trailers/wb/midnightspecial/

http://trailers.apple.com/trailers/fox/missperegrineshomeforpeculiarchildren/

I’m curious to see what you think!

 

Wake up, Man!

Wake up, man!

I was at a party over the weekend, and a guy said this exact line. The context was that if a woman wanted her boyfriend to drive over and hold her after she’d had a particularly rough day, it wasn’t enough that she’d told him she’d had a really, really bad day. She should also have said, “I need you to come over and hold me.” Men are simple creatures, was party-guy’s response to excuse the unsympathetic boyfriend for not being more intuitive about responding to his girlfriend’s needs. It was not the first time I’ve heard this sentiment expressed — by both men and women — about male behavior. But it sounds to me like an excuse. A dangerous one.

Now, I’m not dissing good communication. The woman did communicate by expressing how awful her day had been, though she did not add a request for her boyfriend to come over. Probably she thought it would be obvious to someone who truly cared about her. But I think maybe it could only have been obvious to someone who truly cared about her, who was also awake enough on the inside to be able to be intuitively sensitive to other people. In other words, while the boyfriend may have demonstrated sympathy (“Sorry you had a rough day”), he lacked empathy. Empathy is when you can put yourself in anther person’s shoes, at least a little bit, but it is a state of mind that only comes when you are more in touch with yourself. So to say, “Oh, but men are simple creatures,” is to excuse men from going through the deeper introspection of learning who they really are.

This clearly isn’t characteristic of all men. I’ve met plenty who are quite in touch with who they are. (And plenty of women who aren’t.) But “simple creatures” seems to be a concept that our society likes to flippantly ascribe to men. It’s a horrible thing to do, though. Not only does it unfairly dumb-down the entire gender and blow off all the hard work already done by those guys who are “awake,” but it also tells the ones who are still asleep that this is how men are supposed to be, so it’s okay if they never learn who they really are. And that is a scary, sad thought.