Archive for the ‘Relationships, I Suck at Them’ Category

  • How does my birthday suddenly feel like a wedding?

    12

    As the cliche, traditional wedding story goes, the bride and groom must make every concession to please their families, while getting almost nothing that they actually wanted out of the day. I’m not saying your wedding was like that, I’m just talking about the stories and movie plots and such.

    Of course, that simply leads me to wonder why anyone wants a wedding, but that’s a wonder for another day.

    My birthday is coming up in a couple of days. Friday, to be exact. I will be 31 years old.

    I’m not one much for making a big fuss about my birthday. I had several really crappy ones and now I’d rather just be quiet and peaceful and…well, not cry. Last year was my 30th, so a couple of friends insisted that it should be a big deal. A party was planned and everyone had a great time. Including me.

    But this year, I just want to do what I want and not have to make a big fuss.

    Cut to Thanksgiving Day:

    Nana: You know I was too depressed to celebrate your birthday last year, since I had gotten fired a couple of months before. This year, we need to make sure we have a celebration for you.

    Me: …….

    The truth is, I barely noticed that she wasn’t up for celebrating. She hasn’t been a big part of my birthday, or any other part of my life, in YEARS. But, in typical Nana fashion, everything is about her, so she assumes that I must have been oh so sad when she didn’t bother to call or make time for dinner (I didn’t have family dinner at all for my birthday last year).

    What can I do, but agree? Yes, Nana, we can do a family thing for my birthday this year, if that’s what you want. Never mind what I want, of course.

    Cut to last night at dinner with my parents:

    Mom: So what would you like for dinner for your birthday? Nana said that we need to do something for your birthday this year, since she missed it last year.

    Me: Oh, I don’t know…sushi?

    Mom: Well, I guess I could figure out how to make sushi at home.

    Me: We’re eating at your place? Never mind. I just assumed we were going out.

    Mom: I’m pretty sure Nana is planning on cooking dinner for you and doing a family thing at home. (Except, of course, Mom will have to cook the dinner.)

    Me: …Oh. I didn’t realize. Sure, whatever Nana wants.

    Mom: So what do you want for dinner? I can cook anything.

    Me: Um…maybe beef tenderloin?

    Mom: I could do that. But we’d have to get something else for Dana.

    Me: Oh, right. Well, Gary hates chicken and Dana doesn’t eat red meat (or anything except chicken, really) and I’m not a huge fan of pork…Ugh, I really don’t care.

    I suppose my question is, if I have to make concessions for everyone else, why can’t someone else just plan the thing and I’ll show up? I love my Nana, but she is one of the most self-involved people in the world. I wouldn’t choose to hang out with her if I didn’t have to, but I don’t have a choice. She drives my mom crazy, too, so it’s not just me.

    In awesome birthday related news, HWLTFA is taking me for Greek food and to see Black Swan for my actual birthday. It’s the perfect, quiet celebration. The next morning, I get to have brunch with the always lovely Natalie and April. And then my friend Leslie is sort of having a birthday party for me that night. Yay for birthdays!

  • Mop-cupping, all the cool kids are doing it.

    18

    Please please tell me that when you look at the picture below, you get a little tingly in your bathing suit parts. From nostalgia, obviously, not because Marc Summers was such a stud-face.

    That’s right, dudes. Who doesn’t miss Double Dare? Okay, some of you are probably too young, but when I was a kid, it was the ultimate dream. Except they were always giving away some kind of mountain bike and I don’t know how to ride a bike.

    Thanks Double Dare, for pissing in my Cheerios.

    (Just kidding, Marc Summers, I love you!)

    A couple of weeks ago, my dreams of competing in a Double Dare stunt challenge came true. And it was awesome.

    To explain this, I’m going to have to back up a bit. So remember a couple of months ago, when I had a date? Well, so, I went on the date. And um, now…I have a boyfriend.

    I hate that word. It just sounds so juvenile. Someone please get me a new one!

    Anyway, I have a boyfriend. He has no nickname, despite being so ridiculous I think he out-ridiculouses me. I just can’t seem to nickname him.

    Of course, we can go with He Who Lives Too Far Away (We have a standing argument about who is actually the one who lives too far away, and I’m pretty sure I just won. Blogged it!). But that’s awfully long and cumbersome, don’t you think? No? Cool, we’ll go with that then…HWLTFA for short? Yes, I think so.

    I doubt you’ll ever see him comment (lame), but he does read this thing…so everyone be on their best behavior!

    HWLTFA is a sort of football fan. Mostly, he’s a Cowboys fan (pardon me while I roll my eyes). A few weeks ago, we had plans to watch the Cowboys game at his place, with his friends (who are all Cowboys fans, but for the most part, not THOSE kind of Cowboys fans). I was about halfway along the infinite trek to the suburbs when my phone rang. HWLTFA just wanted to let me know that he came home to a kitchen full of water, which was leaking in from an undisclosed location.

    Of course, this was a Sunday. The maintenance man was an hour away, and he suggested that HWLTFA clean up as much of the standing water as he could. Blah blah blah, fast forward to when I arrive to see several inches of water in the kitchen.

    HWLTFA has maybe five towels. They were all soaking wet. There was barely a dent in the water. If it were possible to dent water. I think you know what I mean.

    I surveyed the kitchen to see if there was any more efficient way to get the water out. I saw a sponge mop (meh) and some plastic cups (meh). First I tried the mop, but it was really slow. Then I tried the cups, but I wasn’t really getting anywhere.

    And then, my Double Dare brilliance hit.

    “What if you get over there, with the cups (and the bucket) and I…mop the water INTO the cups?”

    HWLTFA looked at me like I was crazy for about half a second and then the Double Dare madness hit him, too. The only thing we were missing were containers on our heads with fill lines. We rocked the SHIT out of that kitchen water.

    I was pushing the water at him. He was scooping it up in the cups and pouring them into the bucket. We filled the bucket three times in about a half hour. We cleared the kitchen of most of the water by the time the maintenance guy got there. Sadly, no one greeted me at the end with a super sweet mountain bike.

    We make a pretty awesome mop-cup team. I challenge all of you to a mop-cup duel.

  • Balance

    7

    For a really long time, my life has been way off balance. It’s been off balance for so long, in fact, that off balance feels natural and normal. Off balance is a comfort.

    Lately, I’ve been trying to find more balance. It actually all started with finally being a mature individual with a budget.

    I’ve kept a clean apartment, so it’s not a mad dash to pick things up when someone is coming over. Also, it’s just nice to come home to a clean apartment. I never really knew this would make such a difference, but it’s incredible how awesome it is to get into a bed that’s made. Walking into a closet full of clean clothes on, all on hangers, is also really nice.

    I’ve been trying to eat better, though so far I haven’t made many changes. Which is why I’ve decided to go vegan again on September 1st. This time I’m going to try it for two months, instead of one. Since I’ve been so successful at forming new cleaning habits (so far), I’m hoping that this will help me establish some new eating habits.

    If someone could get me to the gym, that would be great. I miss rock climbing, but I’ve decided to find something more martial arts/self-defense related for now. I loved Jiu Jitsu when I took it last summer. It’s expensive, but probably worth it. This time, though, I’d like to start with something that’s straight up self-defense. I can’t wait to get back to the climbing wall, though. I just need to get myself in a bit better shape. Feeling strong, physically, is very important right now. And I don’t feel strong.

    Relationships, as always, have been the hardest for me. Finding a balance in relationships with friends and family is more difficult than I thought. Adding other people into the mix just complicates things. I usually have a lot trouble with family, much to my mother’s dismay. I can’t seem to explain to her the WHY, though. A couple of week’s ago, we had lunch, because I wanted to talk to her about the trouble I’ve been having with this whole “selling myself as a writer” thing. During lunch, I got the requisite lecture about how “distant” I am with family and about how she wishes my sister and I were closer. “Because, at the end of the day, family is all you have.”

    I hate that statement. It’s just not even true. Plus, I love my sister and I would absolutely be there for her if she needed me (which…she just doesn’t). I just don’t really feel the need to talk to her everyday (not to mention she never bothers to return phone calls or emails, which makes me less inclined to even bother). We don’t have very much in common, and honestly, it’s just easier and less stressful if we don’t talk a lot. And my conservative Christian grandparents? Yeah, I just…can’t. My Nana is probably the most self-absorbed person on the planet; my Pops, while sweet, comes with a side of Nana. Also, we don’t agree on anything, so it’s hard to make conversation. Which just means that for the entirety of the interaction, I feel uncomfortable and on-edge.

    My dad’s parents are easier, but they live in Tennessee. The older I get, though, the harder it is to sit around and take the lectures about conservative politics and the evil homosexual agenda. I’m expected to respect them and their beliefs (and to hold my tongue), while they hold no respect for me or mine, simply because they’re older. It’s a concept I find difficult, to say the least. So rather than put myself in the position of being uncomfortable, I just avoid the situation as much as possible.

    Friends should be easier, because you get to choose your friends. That hasn’t really been the case for me lately, though. Let’s just say, this is a work in progress.

    As for more intimate or romantic relationships, this is where I struggle the most. As a person with a very strong sense of self, I know I have to make some compromises, if I’m ever going to let myself get close to someone again. But I don’t want to lose myself or put myself on the back-burner, either. I do that too easily, mostly because I know that I’m strong and I’m tough and I will be okay. The truth is, though, I won’t be okay if I lose myself to be with someone else. My problem is striking a balance between knowing when to hold my ground and when it’s okay to compromise. It can’t be my way or the highway, but it can’t be “whatever you need,” either.

    At the end of my last long(ish) relationship, I came up with a list of ways I had felt in that relationship that I will never feel in a relationship again. These are, as they say, the deal-breakers. The things are the list on broad enough in concept that they can be applied to any relationship, with any other human.

    Rather than make a list of the qualities I want to find in a partner (as in that atrocious Hallmark movie I watched last night), I think this is a healthy thing to do at the end of a relationship. Particularly one that ended poorly. This is simply a list of warning signs. If I feel this way because of someone else’s actions or words again, I will hopefully be much more likely to walk away.

  • Friendship?

    19

    I’d just like to say that this is a terrible idea. A terrible idea, indeed. But I’m doing it anyway.

    I’ve recently determined that I am le suck at relationships. Of all kinds. I suck at relationships with family, I suck at intimate relationships. But I always thought I was a good friend. Good at friendship, even.

    Yeah, not so much.

    I’m impatient and easily annoyed and I expect things from people like, “Don’t be fucking late to everything” or “Do what you say you’re going to do” or “Don’t be an asshole.”

    Unfortunately, there’s this sort of side list of things that rarely gets discussed. Because they’re those things that you either have or you don’t. For instance:

    I am not a terribly touchy-feely, huggy person. I hug people, sure. I even touch people sometimes. But I’ve been called out enough in my fucking life about flirting, that I pretty much try to keep my contact to a minimum. Also, I was raised by a mother who’s second-favorite phrase was “don’t hang on me,” so I don’t really like constant contact or whatever. My sister is even worse about it than I am.

    Don’t come to me for advice if you don’t want me to give it to you. Because I will. You probably won’t like what I have to say, either.

    I am NOT negative or pessimistic. I am realistic. I’m more than a bit cynical, but I can see the happy good stuff, too. I’m sick and fucking tired of being called negative.

    I’m not much for the schmoop. Also, you will rarely hear the big L-word coming out of my mouth. Like, to you. I will happily type “Love you” or whatever all day about people I’ve never even met. I love cheese fries. I love cupcakes. I love my hat. But I probably am not going to look at you and tell you I love you. Unless you’re either really fucking special (and I actually love you) or you’ve made me so uncomfortable by getting up in my face and telling me you love me that I feel like if I don’t say it back you’ll eat my face.

    If you make plans with me? You best fucking show up. Or call. But mostly show up. If you constantly forget that we made plans, I will happily stop making plans with you. I have a lot to do and I don’t have time for your flakiness.

    Communication? It’s a two-way street. You can’t always expect me to plan everything and invite you to everything. If you want to hang out with me? Feel free to call, text, email, Twitter, Facebook, whatever. There are plenty of ways to get a hold of me. But don’t, DON’T, whine and complain to me that you never see me and then never bother to make the effort to try to see me.

    If you can’t figure out how to be yourself, I’m going to notice. I don’t need you to be me or like me or any such thing. Theoretically, I’m friends with you because I like you. BE YOU. But if you have the self-awareness of a rock? I may not be able to take it.

    I don’t really dig gushy compliments. They never seem sincere to me. In the face of such, I will just be self-deprecating and that will lead you to think that I’m negative, when really? I’m just fucking uncomfortable. It’s a whole vicious cycle I’d rather not have to deal with. I can handle some compliments, but not all of them. I’m weird. Yes, this is my issue. No, it’s not likely to change. There’s actually a whole post on this stewing in my brain. Stay tuned, if I haven’t pissed you off so much you’d rather not read.

    /rant

  • It’s high time for a good ramble.

    44

    I’ve been trying to get back to rock climbing three days a week, but life keeps getting in the way.  However, I did finally get some pictures of the blessed thing.  Yes, my ass is magic in that harness, thank you so much for noticing.

    Climbing 3

    Climbing makes me happy. According to LOB, in this next picture, I look like I’m flying. In reality, I’m about to fall off the wall. But I was the first one to make it to the top of this particular route!

    Climbing 4

    Subject change.

    Valentine’s Day brings out the best and worst in people. Well, in my opinion, mostly the worst. No, I was right the first time. Best and worst. You see, single me and relationship me BOTH think Valentine’s Day is kind of stupid. I haven’t celebrated a Valentine’s Day since I was old enough to know better.

    Having said that, I officially had an awesome Sunday (which started with a mimosa and a toaster pastry cooked in the microwave). I went rock climbing, then ate some wings with the girls (and possibly had 34 ounces of vodka lemonade). Then it was back to April’s place to watch her organize and hang out with Natalie. We drank champagne and at least 2.5 bottles of wine and had Chinese food and watched The Cutting Edge. Yes, The Cutting Edge. God, I so wanted to BE Moira Kelly in that movie. But as we all know, I can’t really skate.

    You could have seen it in action on Saturday night at a rollerskating birthday party.  I was like a baby deer at first.  Smaller skates helped a lot, but still…I have no balance.  Unless I’m dancing.  Which is what I did after rollerskating.  Oh, the sweat.  There are pictures, but I won’t post them.  I will say that April’s ass was drawing a crowd, so we had to put it on lock down.  Then my ass got a time out.  We’re a mess.

    But back to the subject of Valentine’s Day.  On Friday night, I went to see it (after rock climbing) with some girlfriends.  It was okay.  Moderately cute, but trying WAY too hard to be Love, Actually.  I made a comment that I was possibly too bitter and cynical to watch love stories any more.

    But that’s not really true.  This just wasn’t a particularly good interpretation of one, in my opinion.  It wasn’t funny enough.  It wasn’t anything, really.  Except a lot of cliche.

    I’m not the type of person who loves love stories anyway.  They aren’t real.  Love is the stuff that happens when the love story movie ends.  Love is laundry and cooking and cleaning and making a life with someone and wanting them for who they are and dealing with conflict.  Love can’t really be wrapped up in some tiny box with a pretty bow.

    I don’t like jewelry commercials.  I don’t like to watch people make out in front of me.  I don’t like cliche and mush and sap.  So Valentine’s Day?  Is not for me.

    But what I hate most of all is presumptuous, holier than thou people who are in relationships telling me that there’s something wrong with me because I’m single.  That I’m bitter because I think jewelry commercials and cheesy love stories are bullshit.  That I’m in my own way because I don’t want to watch two people shove their tongues down each other’s throats at the movie theater.

    Guess what —  I hate all of those things just as much when I’m IN a relationship.  And I can guarantee you right now that if I wanted to be married?  I would be.  But I don’t want to settle for someone who doesn’t add something meaningful to my life.  I don’t want to be with someone just to be with someone.  I love the life that I’ve built for myself and right now, I’m not really in the market to share it with anyone.  I’m not lonely.  I’m not bitter.  I am cynical, but hell…life has happened to me, it’s hard not to be cynical about some things.

    I can tell you this:  when I love someone, I love them fiercely.

    Natalie made a really good point this weekend.  Being alone and being lonely are two different things.  That’s right up there with knowing the difference between love and habit/comfort.

    I don’t have all the answers, but I do know one thing:  there is nothing wrong with being single.  There’s nothing wrong with being in a relationship (Generally.  I mean, if he’s beating you, we need to talk).  We’re all just trying to figure out what works for us, and the path is different for everyone.

    I do occasionally worry about becoming a cliche (more lately than ever).  About becoming the bitter, stereotypical, man-hating single woman.  But for today, I’m not that.  And as long as everyday I’m trying to be the best person I can be, I’m okay with being all by myself, romantically.  I know that I’m a great friend and that my friends are truly family.  I know that if one day, a man were to knock my socks off, I’d leave them across the room.  I’ve had good relationships and bad.  I’ve loved and I’ve been loved.  I’ve had my heart broken and I’ve been the heart-breaker.  That’s life.  And I’ve lived it.  And I will continue to do so with or without someone who sleeps in my bed and calls me “baby.”

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