You Have Value

A friend from college posted on the Facebooks today asking for friends to share a memory they have with her – something positive, because she’s having a tough time. This woman was a bad ass in college; she was a sorority sister of mine who was a known local DJ and even though she was popular she never let it go to her head and she was always very genuine. Shortly after college her and her boyfriend were in an accident where they were hit by a drunk driver. Her boyfriend did not survive the accident and she was left with severe brain damage. She had to relearn how to speak while she grieved the loss of her boyfriend – while she was in her early 20’s. In her late 20’s she fought hard and ended up going to Purdue and getting a masters degree. So yeah, she’s still a complete bad ass. But, even bad assess forget who they are and need a boost from friends from time to time.

I commented on her wall that I thought then and still think now that she’s a bad ass, for being strong enough to get through that obstacle and strong enough to ask for help now – which is just as important if not more. She’s someone I’ve loosely kept up with through Facebook and have messaged her with my support – letting her know that I can understand mental health struggles.

Recently I’ve forgotten my own value. I don’t feel valued at work, a recent “rejection” of sorts with my ma has me feeling dejected, I’ve been eating like crap (valuing myself very little), and this house limbo bullshit has me on edge. I haven’t been in a relationship since March of last year – June if you count that super painfully awkward debacle with Nice Guy. I’ve been talking to my therapist about waiting to move into the house, get healthy habits established for a while, then signing up on some dating site and see what’s out there for me. I think I should really wait for the time to be right, for ME to be right, before I try to find a partner.

Well, with the news that the house closing was being pushed ANOTHER week, I said “Nope! Screw that, I ain’t waiting!” and reactivated my account on a dating app just for funsies – to see what’s out there.

Again, just like the previous foray into dating apps, I was overwhelmed pretty quickly with the amount of “no, thank you though” guys that were messaging me. I just don’t respond well to “Hey beautiful.” But there were a few that messaged me that I thought were cute, they were “my type”, and they didn’t say anything offensive (yay!). I was heading to the annual business women’s conference with my ma this week so I gave the few eligible bachelors my Sideline number (fantastic app where you can have another phone number that routes to your actual one) and disabled my dating app account for the weekend.

I know my self-value should come from within. Most of the time it does. But sometimes, my self-value crumbles from the weight of all the bullshit of the exterior world and usually, as a serial monogamist, I’ve got my partner in crime to help pick me up when I’m down. Being single though, I have my cat – who’s super cute and all, but she mostly likes me when I’m feeding her or giving her exactly 3 pets and 5 scratches behind the ears – NO MORE, NO LESS! Well, messaging these 3 strangers for the past 3 days has made me feel valuable again. No, they didn’t say anything about how amazing I am or try to flatter me to death – nothing over the top like that. But they’ve SEEN me. Texting with them I’ve been myself and they’ve responded enthusiastically. I feel attractive again. (no, no nudes were involved) I feel like I CAN attract my partner in crime.

It’s painful to admit that I haven’t felt that way in a long time. It’s also embarrassing to admit that I haven’t been able to find that from within myself – I’ve found it through three strangers on a dating app.

I’m trying not to analyze this too much or judge myself too harshly, just embrace it and help it grow. Ok, so I briefly forgot my bad ass-ness but I think this glimmer of it is enough to hold onto and build it up like an epic snowball that I can just keep rolling around until it’s big enough to knock down a skyscraper.

Yeah. . . I’m not really sure where I was going with that.

Anyway. I feel a little better today and I’m going to embrace that. Embrace it and NURTURE it.

 

Judgement-free zone!

I want

I read this article right here and it made the below just come bubbling out of me like a tapped bottle of beer when I had been thinking these past few months that my feelings were just cool being dormant for a while. That’s a big fat nope! Maybe it’s the colder weather that’s got me wanting holding hands and kissing and mixed tapes. 
I want a partner in crime. 

I want someone perfect for me when I don’t even know they’re perfect for me (as in perhaps they occasionally annoy me by challenging my core beliefs or drag me out of my shell more often that I’d prefer). 

I want to blurt out every worry, random thought, new career trajectory, creative idea, or newfound expression of love for my partner and instead of being greeted with either blindly enthusiastic acceptance or outright negative rejection be engaged in a two-way conversation with questions and ideas exchanged.

I want to hold hands in public and sneak away every once in a while to steal a kiss away from everyone’s prying eyes.

I want to have conversations that we both participate in fully, and when the other is quiet, we pause to check in. Intellectual conversations, random thoughts, fleeting insignificances, grocery lists, parts of our pasts, what our futures may look like, what our favorites are, whether or not we’ll ever have a red panda for a pet.

I want exotic foreign vacations, 200 mile away road trips, camping under the stars, reading books on the beach, Disney, Harry Potter world, local hidden treasures, playing hooky for the day and lounging in hammocks all afternoon, hosted dinners with friends, New Year’s Eve parties,  private dance parties with the record player on while doing almost anything – no reason needed, fun in the daily distractions from traffic to long lines because we can view them as opportunities for time together.

I want a strong, dependable, loyal foundation. I want an equal partner. I want a partner who respects me enough to also call me out when warranted – the first time, not after I’ve already caused a bruise.

I want to be held and feel needed when I hold them, I want random fiercely passionate kisses where I can tell they couldn’t hold it in any longer, I want all the cuddles – unless I’m too hot – then I want none of the cuddles – unless I get cold again – then I want all the cuddles again, I want a slow burning passion punctuated with fireworks, I want a thousand tiny kisses and a thousand more long ones, more than any of that I want to see that look in their eye when you can tell they see nothing but you in that moment.

I want a shared humility, I want to embrace the imperfections, I want to laugh at how ridiculous it all is sometimes, I want to try to make the best of shit circumstances and know that I have a fighter in my corner because they sure as hell will have me fighting in theirs, I want someone to be mutual anti-anxiety triggers with, I want someone to hold my hand when it all seems too hard. 

I want someone to remind me of everything I forget – all of the memories I didn’t write down. 

I want to give someone my loyalty, empathy, levity, desire, adoration, intellect, attention, and strength.

The Flaw Finder

Learning While Adventuring

When I said that my trip was “eye-opening” in my previous post, I was referring to a few experiences, this one in particular.  Let me explain.

Things that I know about myself:  I can be pushy/bossy/stubborn/whatever you want to call it.  I can also be overly helpful when mayyyyybe someone didn’t even want to be helped.  These are character flaws that I have been distantly aware of.

After the corporate training in Baltimore was done for the day (two Fridays ago now), I went out to a local pub, on the suggestion of a friend, and sat at the bar. My plan was to just sit there and eat some food, drink some beer, and maybe, just maybe meet some friendly locals.  Shortly after arriving I met the “friendly local” sitting next to me, a bartender from another place off for the night, who seemed to be friends with the bartenders of this bar.  The two working bartenders, the “friendly local” off-duty bartender, and myself kept jumping into each other’s conversations so I scooted  to the seat next to the friendly local eventually and we ended up talking about his current relationship.

This is a thing I do.  I talk to people about their intimate details because that’s real, I hate small talk.  I ask questions and I love listening.  I love getting to know a person for more than their superficial representations.  Maybe I should be a therapist after all. . .

At first my new friend was just showing me photos and talking about how he and his “lady friend” had plans that night that she backed out of. Me being curious about things that are none of my business (stranger’s relationships), I asked more about how they met and what they like to do in the city.  After some more talking it turns out that the “lady friend” is actually married.  WHAT?  But. . . (it gets better) she got married while he was dating her and he only found out through (getting better. . . .) Facebook.  UMMMM. . . . WHAT?

This sounds like insanity, right? And maybe you’re thinking “C’mon Jessie, he’s just trying to play on your sympathy to try to get with you.” but I assure you that is not what happened here.

He goes on explaining to me the timeline of how all of the insanity went down (which apparently was over 2 years) and 5 minutes in I stop him so I can pull out my travel journal, rip a clean page out, and document this whole mess.  For the next 30 minutes I took notes, in chronological order, on paper, so that he could see – written down – just how ridiculous this all sounded.  “Unsolicited Advice Jessie” was in go mode and he didn’t seem to mind, in fact he’d point out where I could write in other shitty things that happened.

After that unsolicited advice exercise he ended up taking me around to a few other local bars where he knew the people and I met new friends. I took a lyft back to my hotel and he walked home – NO SHENANIGANS.  (ok, but even if there was shenanigans that would be totally fine because I’m my own person and you over there can just calm down)  It was a really fun night out in a strange city thanks to what I’m writing up as, an alright guy.

 

Flaw-Finding

In my venture to figure out what I bring to a relationship and what I want from my next partnership, I’ve been trying to uncover potential flaws of mine that I’m not readily aware of.  My theory behind “uncovering” these quirks is so that I can have an idea of where trouble may arise in a relationship that I can help control on my own part.  And I’m not necessarily talking about FLAWS, because that’s a strong word, maybe just habits that could be taken the wrong way in a relationship?

The day after completing the “why am I with this person?” exercise with my new Baltimore friend (read: complete stranger who knows nothing about me and my plethora of quirks) I realized I had done it again.  I just up and gave my opinion then proceeded to point out how it was right, to an ABSOLUTE STRANGER!  I am aware that my “unsolicited advice” and in turn, my bossiness can come across as rude, domineering, being on a “high horse”,  or simply annoying.  I know, I fully understand.  Where I’m convinced I’m being helpful, others may find me annoyingly bothersome (or, if I find the right person, endearingly misguided??).

 

What to do with your Findings

I’m currently single and still attached to the idea that I have the perfect partner in crime out there (perfect FOR ME! not actually PERFECT) so while I’ve been on the path to figuring myself out, I’ve been looking at what I find from the perspective of how it would work in a potential partnership as well.

In previous relationships I have been woefully ignorant of my own shortcomings and I have dated rather nice people who were either too nice to call me out, tolerated my sh*t, or were stifled by my bossiness and thus never brought these flaws to my attention.  OR, I was just running around with my fingers stuffed in my ears pretending I was perfect despite the shouts from the crowd stating the opposite.  Who knows?

My point is that once these potentially irksome habits come to light in my daily living, I take note of them.  Having a bipolar brain has made it difficult to really take stock of who I am, what I have to offer, where I can improve, and where my best qualities are.  It’s like there’s a constant static around what I truly want to get at.  From the ages of 13 to 29 I lived most of my life in the reactionary mode.  I was constantly reacting to situations rather than actively creating my own situations (or learning to view life differently).  Being successfully medicated for the last 3+ years has given me the space between my thoughts and my actions to step back and observe more, react less.  It’s fantastic.  I’m taking this new ability and using it to better myself, for myself, my friends, and whatever new relationships lay ahead.

I’m finding my potential flaws, assessing them, and figuring out where they fit into my best version of myself – one experience at a time. 

Swearwords as motivation

If you’ve read my blog in the last couple of weeks you may recall this post here:  It’s a Process – try, fail, succeed

In that post I shared a lovely graphic that I made in the hopes of inspiring you to embrace failure.

Well, after asking a representative at Canva if I could use swearwords in a non-defamatory way with their site to make my graphics, I got just the answer I was looking for: yes.

I bring to you, my motivation through swearwords version of that graphic.  This one should not be displayed on cubical walls.  But definitely text it to your bestie if they’re having a hard time at work.  They’ll appreciate it.

Copy of When you repeat the cycle of is sitting on the other side of fear. (1)

Chronic Loneliness – Is it or isn’t it?

Ain’t No Pity Party!

Lemme preface real quick and say that this is no woe-is-me post, this is simply me indulging in my love of psychology and weird ability to observe then write about my own feelings.  Perhaps others have felt this way too and can relate, maybe even feel a little better about those feelings!

 

Single but NOT Alone!

So one time at a brunch with a bunch of people – some friends and some strangers (ok, friends of friends – for a birthday) the server was going around the long table asking who would be on the same ticket.  Apparently I was the lone single lady at the table of all couples so when the server looked at me expectantly I proudly said “Single! But NOT alone!” which added some levity to the situation (it wasn’t an awkward situation by any means, I was just being funny).  That was a couple years ago, or maybe one?  The friend’s birthday is coming up so I guess actually less than a year. . . Man.  My concept of time is awful.

Fast forward to today.  I’m single.  If you’ve read my other posts you know that I rather tumultuously exited a 2-ish year relationship with an awful fraud toward the beginning of the year then briefly dated (and “destroyed” a la Dresden Dolls Coin Operated Boy) a Very Nice Guy (who I actually tried to reach out to recently, have not heard a word, not surprised) and am now very definitively single.  I have friends trying to play matchmaker but. . . yeah, no.  Just. . . no.

a party of one is still a party!

 

Friends with Benefits

I’m not talking the sexy kind here.  My “friends with benefits” are my BFFs – the ones I can hang out with and talk for hours on end about nothing, leaving them feeling worlds better than when I got to them.  My BFFs are the people I love hugging.  I *want* to be a hugger, and I *try* being one of those people who hugs people they first meet (only if the other party comes at me first) but I just can’t.  I only like hugging people when I MEAN it.  So my BFFs get all my good hugs – and I love the hugs they give me in return.  My BFFs know all of my quirks already so anything that I do/say/think that’s weird to others, they’re already on the same page with me when I’m 10 minutes into whatever random story I’ve got going on in my life.  My BFFs know exactly what to say to make me have an A-HA moment, or realize I’m just being -insert whatever I’m usually being here-, and to make me feel completely ok with everything – the good and the bad.

My BFFs live far away.  My very best friend lives in another state – that requires a plane ticket to get to.  She has odd work hours and I actually have to call her LAND LINE!  Ok, she lives in the BEAUTIFUL mountains so it makes sense, and the view from her house it totally worth it, I just love saying land line in 2016.  My other BFF lives in Indiana.  I’ve only seen her when she comes to visit and she’s got tons of people to see when she’s here so our time together is rare.  She’s also about to pop out baybay number 2.  Another BFF only lives a two hour drive away.  She’s actually going to put me through “Baby Boot Camp” with her new 2-month-old baybay so I can learn how not to break a baby.  She’s hilarious and I really do need to hang out with her more.

Locally I have friends.  There are a few people I have Deep Conversations with.  There are people I hug and don’t mind it.  There are people I love hanging out with on a week or weekend night.  There are only a couple of people I could sit on a porch with for a few hours and just talk about life.  THAT is what I miss.  THAT is what I feel like causes Chronic Loneliness, at least in my life definition.

 

Chronic Loneliness

I had heard this term while watching a TED Talk on Mental Hygiene and it was new to me, but it immediately made sense.  In the American culture, we tend to run around making these superficial connections through business or our cellphones/social media and seldom delve deeper than that with others outside of our pre-existing friends.  CONNECTIONS seem to be lacking.  I work 9-6 and when I was living with my ex, I would go home most nights and connect with him – only a few nights out of the month would I venture outside of that bubble to connect with other friends.  Now, being single, I’ve been going out a lot more with different friends and we connect, but we don’t CONNECT.  It’s still superficial.  That’s not to say my FRIENDS are superficial, not by any means, in fact most of them are the opposite, but our connections typically are.

I suppose this is something that may come with time, developing a friendship to be deeper, but part of me wants to challenge people to have a face to face conversation about the deep stuff right up front.  Just for funsies.  Get to the real human grit.  Can you make a new BFF in less than a month with a new friend?  Would it take some sort of shared trauma?  Or is that something only a romantic partner can achieve in such a short amount of time?

This whole ponderance comes from my insane desire to cuddle with someone after a really rough day today.  Someone other than my adorable kitty because sometimes she gets sassy and bites.  I’m pretty sure there are things like cuddle booty calls (ok, I know there are) but that’s not REAL.  It’s not real human CONNECTION.  And then I remembered the term Chronic Loneliness and started googling it – yay internet always giving you complexes you didn’t know you had!  But when you’ve had a rough day, you just want someone to hold you and assure you that it’s ok, you’re ok, tomorrow will be better, and there are still rainbows in the world somewhere.  People who don’t have that for years on end, I don’t know what that’s like.  I’ve been single here and there, but not really for more than a year and a half (or so) at a time.  I don’t know how I would handle not cuddling with someone for more than a year.  I mean, according to this internet article (must be true!) loneliness can lead to all kinds of wicked bad stuff.  Why aren’t we connecting more?

 

Try New Things

As part of getting out of my apartment I’ve been trying new things.  I tried this crazy thing called acro yoga and it’s pretty much using all of your muscles to stack humans in pretty ways.  If you’re really fancy, you can do “transitions” where you go from one position to another.  It’s insane.  I did three poses as a “base” and then was peer-pressured into doing a transition between two super basic “flying” poses.  I was a hot mess and my muscles were sore the next day.  However!  The people were super cool.  I went because of a friend I met through roller derby who happens to also perform circus acts – she’s pretty bad ass.  I’ve definitely got to get some core strength, and like, arm and leg strength too, but man!  It’s pretty rad when you can sit on the bottom of some dude’s feet without holding onto anything (except your fear, on the inside).

I’ll also be learning music things starting next week!  The circus friend’s boo is musically-inclined and apparently likes teaching so we shall see how that goes!  I wanna be able to play the keyboard and sing in key – make up my own songs and such.  Just for myself – for funsies.

 

Super Awkward First Date Idea!

Ok, so I heard about this on a podcast, how to fall in love with anyone and I totes wanna try it one day.  Do I have faith in it?  Not likely.  Do I think it would be super uncomfortable and weird?  YES!  Do I find it exciting to make a potential date feel uncomfortable and weird?  DOUBLE YES!  So you have to ask a series of questions, and then you have to STARE INTO EACH OTHERS EYES.  FOR FOUR WHOLE MINUTES.  As part of some leadership exercise I had to stare into a partner’s eyes for one minute and that was TORTURE!  FOUR MINUTES???  WITH A DATE???  Oh man.  Totes gonna do this ish.

Oh, and that’s related to this post because I’m pretty sure it creates a connection.  Perhaps a temporarily superficial one, but come on, there’s no going back after staring into someone’s eyes for TWO HUNDRED AND FORTY SECONDS!

Negotiating the Non-Negotiable

The Non-Negotiable

By internet definition this is something that is “not open to discussion or modification.”  In my current world this is something that hinders the development of a relationship, in other words, a deal-breaker.

 

Dating at 22

Ahh, to be young, most likely tipsy, broke, and relatively care-free again.  Recently out of college, blindly following a budding career path, living for the weekend, and barely a thought of what comes after paying rent next month.  At 22 I decided to move to Denver, I wanted to take my BFF with me but she wasn’t ready so instead I ended up taking my boyfriend at the time with me.  He was fun, creative, outgoing, kind, hilarious, weird, and. . . he DANCED.  Those were all super important things to me at the time.  The relationship ended while in Denver thanks to a combination of me being a young jerk with bipolar and warranted trust issues.  That was a good two years of drunken debauchery – which at 22, why the hell not?

The Non-Negotiables at 22

Ok, let’s be real here – I was 22 and honestly didn’t really care much about the future so why would I limit my partners based on anything other than the simple question “Do I like them?”  Also, he danced.  Not professionally or anything, but like ridiculous 80’s danced in the middle of the dance floor without any care in the world – SWOON.

 

Dating Marriage at 27

Ok, it’s been 5 years of learning from life.  Well, I should have been learning but instead I was just kind of stumbling through my existence in a bipolar mess of extended depression with spikes of mania – not the best way to experience it.  Very long story short, at age 26 I ran into a high school sweetheart who had joined the military, I moved to a depressingly remote area to be with him, it was not an actually happy or successful relationship by any means, thanks to my bipolar (random bad ideas and the lack of thought to stop them) and his willingness to go along with it we eloped and got married at a courthouse literally 5 minutes from where we lived.  He then got deployed as my dad had a stroke back home.  My dad ended up dying two weeks later due to horrendous complications from the stroke.  Meanwhile the “husband” (so weird to say still) was deployed and I had to maintain a happy facade whenever we could Skype because, you know, he was in a war zone and all that.  So, after 4 months of “Why am I doing this?” he returned and I already had the talk planned out, I wanted to divorce.   Yup.  That was my romantic life at 27.  On a scale of one to even, I just couldn’t.

The Non-Negotiables at 27

At this point, with this person, I had learned that I wanted someone passionate about something, ANYTHING.  I needed someone who needed more out of life than just coasting with the status quo.  I learned that physical attraction is an absolute must – I’m not talking the shallow “They’ve got to be SUPER HOT” but a chemistry of sorts, an electric pull.  I also realized with this person that I didn’t want someone who was addicted to nicotine.  The partner I was with at 22 was a smoker, which is how I started smoking in the first place, and the partner at 27 chewed nicotine gum ENDLESSLY.  I have one of those deep-seeded childhood issues with smoking and despite the fact that I’m an on-again off-again smoker, I decided that dating another smoker was not going to be good for me (I believe they call that an enabler).  I hate admitting that I was a COMPLETE BRAT with this partner and that I took advantage of the regard that I was held in, but I did.  However, I can say now that one of my non-negotiables is that my partner must be someone who can and will stand up to me when merited.  I have a strong personality and I can be pushy (yeah, yeah, I know) but with years of practice I have learned to tone that down (still working on it), but I need a partner who has thoughts and opinions of their own and stands up for themselves.

 

Dating at 32

Ahh, to be in the NOW.  I’m happy for the most part.  My life has been a choose your own adventure story that, even if I could go back to a previous page and pick a different path, I wouldn’t want to.  I have Life Things to figure out still and I’m a work in progress – isn’t everyone?  In the past 5 years I’ve spent most of the time being single, a few dates here and there from online dating sites, a few months with a very sweet but very conflicted individual, a couple years in a relationship with a complete fraud, and a few weeks recently that I’m still figuring out.  Most of my friends are married and settled into their coupled lives, some with kids, some not.  One commonality among all of those couples is that they have chosen quality partners, not a single one has a sub-par spouse.  My BFF and her unicorn of a husband (as in he’s rare and wonderful) were apparently recently discussing me and my singleness.  They contemplated what my “perfect partner” would look like and jointly came up with no clear picture.  I tried to figure this out as well during one of our long conversations when I came to visit her recently.  I came up with nada.  No clue.  This concerned me at first until I considered it further and realized that this is probably the best approach to finding a partner in crime.  I have no idea what they’ll be like, but I trust that I’ll figure it out when I do find them.  And then we shall go on the biggest non-crime crime spree ever, or maybe just hold hands on that ride from my dad’s favorite Jerry Seinfeld quote.

“Life is truly a ride. We’re all strapped in and no one can stop it. When the doctor slaps your behind, he’s ripping your ticket and away you go. As you make each passage from youth to adulthood to maturity, sometimes you put your arms up and scream, sometimes you just hang on to that bar in front of you. But the ride is the thing. I think the most you can hope for at the end of life is that your hair’s messed, you’re out of breath, and you didn’t throw up.”

The Non-Negotiables at 32

Here’s the deal, I’m beginning to think that this concept of a non-negotiable is complete BS.  Nearly everything in life is situational, right?  I actually dated an ex-heroin addict (who ended up not being over that addiction, lesson learned) which to me SCREAMS of non-negotiable.  But I entered into that relationship knowing the truth and it was a lovely relationship for the time that it lasted – there are some solid good memories.  I wouldn’t have those memories if I didn’t allow myself the chance to explore (negotiate) that potential.  Have you ever heard of “self-limiting beliefs”?  They’re nasty little things, usually on the subconscious level, where your mind is convinced that there are these made up limitations so that you believe you cannot achieve XYZ because of these utterly made up limitations.  Perhaps that’s what a non-negotiable is, a relationship-limiting standard/expectation/belief that only serves to hinder the potential progress of what could be an amazing relationship.  It’s something to consider at the very least.

 

Where to go from here

Umm. . . I have no idea.  I’ll continue to follow my heart and see where it leads me.  I’ll do my best to suspend the non-negotiables because they’re just a construct after all.  I’ll be honest with myself and others.  And most importantly, I’m just gonna be over here, doing me.  You do you, you do you.