Thursday, September 23, 2010

Let's Do the Time Warp Again

I was watching a TV show the other night, and in a discussion among characters, it was revealed one of them invited an ex-boyfriend to her wedding. They were still friends, but it was made clear they dated for awhile. And I started thinking about the fact that I'm good friends with an ex, who will most certainly be in attendance at my wedding. Is that weird?

We never had sex...but got damn close. It's been almost 6 years since we broke up...but the last time we hooked up was 4 1/2 years ago. I don't know if that makes a difference. We are good friends. He's a good person, kind and loyal and over the past 2 years, my fiance` and I have had several double dates with him and his girlfriend. They're cool, and he knows that my ex is on the wedding invite list.

Thinking about all this has made me wonder what my other ex's are up to. Are they married? Do they know I'm engaged? I'm friends with a girl I met through one ex - if she knows, does he? What would it even matter? I don't want to know if any of them are engaged or married. I thought I might, but I really don't care. The past is the past.

Now they're just stories to tell about my life before I met my fiance`. Kind of makes me think about some of the guys my mom dated once upon a time that she's told me about. Am I someone's story too? I suppose that only makes sense. A couple of my ex's will certainly be cautionary tales I tell my kids! Don't date potheads - they may get high and set your living room on fire!

Speaking of, I think if I found out the Asshole Ex was married or engaged to the girl he was dating when we last spoke, I'd feel really icky. He said such awful things about her - told me she was easy, would do anything he told her, even told me once that she thinks what he tells her to think, shared with a table of people that she gave terrible blowjobs, oh and what else? That's right, in one of his creepy come-ons to me while they were dating, he shared that he wanted to break up with her but couldn't because she was a good dogsitter. Recipe for success, am I right? I think the reason I stayed friends with him for so long was I kept waiting for him to prove that there was more to him than asshole, that the good in him I saw when I loved him really exists...but also...I think I kind of enjoyed the validation it gave me to know that he was still a shit.

I always thought his relationship pattern of breaking up with someone and getting back together over and over (me included) was the perfect precursor to being in one of those marriages where the couple divorces and then later re-marries each other again. The thing is, with him and with any of the ex's, to me they're dodged bullets.

No, that's not true, it's not just that I'm glad I didn't end up with them and found my fiance` instead - it's also that all the bad and good relationships I've ever had in my 31 years helped get me to where I am today. Those are closed chapters in my life, and there are good reasons I don't talk to them anymore, but they were important chapters as well. I learned who I was and who I wanted, what kind of relationship I wanted for my life.

The past is in the past for a reason. Not only because it should stay there, but also because it got us to where we ended up. And where we're going to. I'm not going to say that everything happens for a reason, I honestly wish I had the courage to end some of those relationships earlier than I did, but even the mistakes taught me something that got me to this point and prepared me for these steps. There were lessons to learn, and I learned matter how long it took. Even the mistakes trained my heart for what was to come and what will be.

So, ex's of the world, thank you. I wish you all well. And if I am a story you tell, I hope that it's because our short time taught you lessons that led to your future or current happiness. As they say, all's well that ends well...or really, that just ends.

Friday, August 20, 2010


I know that all caps is obnoxious and that all caps for that particular announcement likens me to Monica from Friends when she's literally shouting from her balcony that she's getting married...but fuck it. I'm engaged!

Truthfully, bloggy friends, I got engaged two weeks ago. Actually, two weeks ago exactly from today. I wanted to tell all the people in my life and after making it official on Facebook (gotta love the internet age), I'm announcing it here and now to you nice people. You feel like friends too.

It's been almost two years since we started dating, and it's kind of unbelievable but I knew it right from the beginning. When I was in college, my roommate told me she thought I'd be one of those people who just knew instantly...and she was right. She actually told me last week that after I told her about him for the first time, she told her husband there was something very different about him. And after she met him for the first time, she told her husband not to tell me because I'd freak out, but that I was going to marry that boy. When I asked her how she knew, she said that I was more open with him than with anyone else before. So true, so true. I love good friends.

And there was clearly something different about him from the moment we met. I just felt so relaxed and comfortable. There was no pressure, no fear - he was so calming and made me so damn happy from the start. He's the kindest man I've ever known.

Truth be told, our first date was so good that when the check came and it was almost time to say goodbye, I asked him if I could buy him a drink at the bar. Because the date was so good and the conversation so great, I wanted to hold onto it for a little longer. After it ended, he walked me to my car and surprised me with a first kiss! He called his brother on the way home and a good friend of his, telling them both that I was something very special. And I called my mom to tell her the same thing.

I've always had major commitment issues (major!) but with him, it seemed so natural and I fell so easily. There were moments where I thought it was too good to be true but I was brave enough to wait them out. I saved the wine cork from our 4th date because I felt so good about things. It was the first time I cooked dinner for him, and the first time he was in my apartment (I'm such a lady!).

I've dated a lot of creeps, a couple really great guys, but mostly just dated guys who were so-so. I always felt that something wasn't right, that I was settling, but everyone always told me that I set my sights too high, that I was looking for someone perfect and no one is ever perfect. But my guy really is. Perfect for me. I know there are people out there who are looking for someone who doesn't exist, but that just wasn't me. I always knew exactly what I was looking for, I just didn't believe such a good dream could come true.

It did.

Believe in yourself. Trust yourself. No one ever does that enough.

Now on to the really good part! Because my guy works for an airline and I am utterly spoiled with ridiculous flight benefits, we took a trip to Italy. We spent time in Rome, Florence and Venice. And my sweetheart waited until we were alone on a bridge over a canal in Venice to pop the question. Most fucking romantic thing that's ever happened to me and probably ever will. I may watch too many movies, but damn - such a perfect setting! Not to mention the loveliest and most loving man who ever was. I haven't been able to wipe the grin off my face in weeks, and I doubt I ever will. God bless the broken road.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Life is What You Make It

I can't sleep. It rained in Atlanta today, and rain pounded down on my life today. I've had a really bad day and not a great summer, to be honest with you. I tried to sneak out of bed, but woke MG...oops. "You okay?" "Yeah. I'm just getting up." "You can watch TV if you want." "Ok." "I love you." "I love you too. Sorry for waking you."


A week ago, we moved into a new apartment...together. Well, sort of together. He has more stuff in this one than he had in the last, and his name is on the lease, but we're waiting to move furniture in until IT is official. As I'm typing this, I'm wondering WHAT THE HECK IS WRONG WITH ME?

I have a wonderful man who is everything I ever hoped for and more, and he loves me more than I ever thought I would be. And I love him more than I ever knew I could love someone. So what's wrong? Why doesn't that make all the other shit in my life unimportant and incapable of keeping me up at night?

I'm so damn lucky, I know how lucky I am - I've been there, I've had shitty boyfriends, bad dates, guys that don't call - so I know I hit the jackpot here. But the thing is that when you find your soulmate (yes, dammit, I used that word), it is an incredible miracle. It's just that it's also not the end of a fairy tale. Life goes on after the movie ends. And what you don't see in the two hours that Katherine Heigl or Sandra Bullock are on screen is that work is crazy and there are other characters in the lives of our leads besides the sidekick or two that we see nodding enthusiastically and chiming in with sarcastic comments. The thing is - life is not a movie, even when it feels like one.

Family sucks. Family fucking sucks. No one can hurt you like family and no one can screw you up more. I have never been in a movie family. Much less a sitcom family with make up hugs and laugh tracks. My family is more complicated than that. There are those I don't talk to at all, those I don't talk to often enough because of weirdness and those I wish I could never talk to again but have to because, well, they're family.

I'm an only child, and my father has been pretty much out of the picture even when he was in it. So I understand all about making your own family. That's why I cherish my friendships so much and love my friends as fiercely and deeply as I do. My best friend from childhood and I call each other sisters - because that's what we are. I have a movie family if you count my friend family. I guess it's kind of like what I was saying about MG. I know what it's like not to be loved, and that makes me love more intensely.

Even so, when someone in my family (or a friend I love like family) thinks I suck or tells me horrible qualities they think I have, I wallow in that nastiness. Why does it hurt so much? Why does the hatefulness hurt even when you expect it? And why doesn't it get any easier as you get older? I don't understand the point of it all, repeating the same nonsense over and over. It feels like I'm in a Greek myth. But instead of rolling the boulder up the hill and having that fucker roll back down every dang time, my curse is I try hard to make people happy, I want so much to be loved and accepted, I want everyone to get along - but that damn boulder rolls the fuck down every time.

(Sorry for the swears. I'm impassioned.)

I don't know what the lesson of this latest nonsense is. And as much as I like MG's family, I'm terrified that one day the curse will come to his sweet family because what if the problems and dysfunction of my family eventually surface in his?

The really good thing I have to focus on, though, and the light in all of this drama is MG. Just like with my best friend/sister, I can create my own family. Not a movie family, it will still be an imperfect family, but hopefully one that loves and forgives and perseveres. The exciting thing about beginning a new chapter in your life is the optimism and hope that comes with it. After all, I am lucky. I am blessed. And no matter if it's raining, I am still in the middle of an incredible miracle.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Eating and Loving - At Least I'm Good at Something

Have you ever read Eat, Pray, Love? It's a beautiful, inspiring, moving book. It's personal and also universal, as the author so eloquently described today on Oprah.

I read it three years ago right before I started grad school. I think I breezed through it, read it too fast, and I picked it up again today in anticipation for the movie, which stars Julia Roberts and comes out in August. Go with your best girl friend! And have wine after!

The author wrote the book after she traveled to Italy, India and Bali the year after her divorce. It's about her journey out of that loss and into loving herself again, finding herself again. But it's also about stopping in the hustle and bustle of life to take time for yourself, to take time to appreciate life's little joys and to always strive for inner peace.

The first section is about Italy, and all the beauty and rich food that goes with that. Italy is my favorite place. I've been lucky enough to see it twice and pray I'm lucky enough to go again. One of my close friends, Z, mentioned a few months ago that it'd be fun to go to Tuscany for cooking classes, and one day, I'm going to make sure we take that trip. Hell, or just go to Tuscany! I love the food and the wine and the art - it's in the air and embraces you with every breath. I secretly hope MG proposes there, though I realize I'm not in a romantic comedy, nor is he a rich, famous celebrity like Tom Cruise.

Italy I get. I get pleasure. I get taking time to smell the roses (or the ragu as the case may be). And love (what she finds in Bali) I get in many ways. I love my friends and when I love anyone, I love as the verb - I love with my actions. I don't know exactly what happened to me when I was mourning my grandfather that made me ready, finally ready, for meeting the love of my life. I know that for the first time ever, I truly wanted it. I realized that I can go through anything alone, I am strong and I always survive, but that I don't want to be alone. I want someone to be in the trenches with me and I don't want to cry alone anymore. And maybe that's it, maybe that's all it took.

What I struggle with most, I think, is peace (India). My aunt and my mom told me once they believed I moved around so much from place to place because I was like a cork floating in a river, just bouncing along and moving wherever the currents take me. They were wrong, and I knew it even at the time. It didn't make sense to them to live in places like New York or DC. But I moved around so much because I wanted to, not because I was some victim of life, not thinking about or planning my next step, but just being tossed and bullied from this way to that.

I will admit that I sometimes feel a little like that cork, though. When people hurt me or things get tough, I feel like I'm in a boat, paddling along on my course, but I get knocked and pushed around, sometimes off course if even for a moment, from the force of the hurt or stress. It's hard to shake, it's hard to get back on course.

That is what I need to work on. I need to find my own power to stay on course and hold onto peace. And I think Elizabeth Gilbert is right - giving into little pleasures and immersing in love are crucial to finding inner power and inner peace. Enjoying, no, not just enjoying but reveling in life's pleasures and in love's power and presence are the things that can keep me on course and keep that peace within me strong if I focus on them rather than the weight bearing down on me. It's good to indulge in extra servings and extra hugs.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Concerted Efforts

When I stumbled back onto this blog tonight, I read my last post, which I wrote shortly after MG and I went to DC for a friend's birthday party. At the party, I mentioned running into the brother of a guy I briefly dated a few years ago. I always wanted to blog about him, but never did because he read my blog. But I haven't talked to him in a year or more so I figure it's safe to assume he no longer reads my blog.

Have you ever known someone who thought you were waaay into them, but you really weren't? It's the most annoying thing because you want to correct the misunderstanding but can't without sounding like an ass. "Uh, dude, you're not that awesome." That was the situation with this guy.

I broke up with The X a week or two before I met Captain Confidence (a friend named him that a couple years'll see why). And we'd been dating off and on for three years. It was the most serious relationship I'd ever had at that point and the only time I'd been in love. No way was I over it. I just happened to be in a different city for my rebound.

Captain Confidence was just that - confident. And confidence is sexy, man. He was confident but not at all in a dick way. It was actually more awkward, he took himself very seriously, and suffice it to say, it was cute and it worked. He looked at me like I was a Christmas tree all lit up, exactly what a girl needs to get over a break-up.

He was fun, never asked me anything about myself so it was easy to keep things light. We had so much flippin' fun, lots of laughs and one great date (GREAT!) that ended with a walk through downtown DC to the Capitol building. We dated for 3 weeks, I think it was, 4 maybe? Not long. Ha. About half a second compared to the mucho-serious relationship I had just ended.

The other thing going on with me that summer was that I knew my grandfather had only a few months left to live. I knew I was going to spend a lot of time with him at the end and that things were about to get tougher than anything I'd ever dealt with. So I basked in that fun, I soaked it up because I knew every moment was like the ticking of a timebomb, every second was a tick-tock closer to something really hard and awful.

I've heard some pretty hilarious things from guys in my life. A guy broke up with me when I was 15 because he said he wanted "to date the whole world." Some too-cool-for-school guy at a party in New York once told me my "soul is real." Whatever that means, it's not a good pickup line, and it didn't work.

When I left DC that summer, I knew things weren't going anywhere with Captain Confidence because, of course, I knew all along they weren't - that's exactly the beauty of light and fun. But I really liked him as a person and hoped we'd be good friends. Anyway, as we were saying goodbye the morning I left, he told me, "I'll make a concerted effort to email you." It was on this quote board my guy friends have in Atlanta that same night...where it stayed until this past November because they had a party and I erased it. Guess they liked that one. (It is pretty funny!)

Needless to say, we kept in contact, you know, through concerted efforts and all. It was actualy great to have him to talk to sometimes because I knew he didn't know me well at all, and for some reason, when I was mourning my grandfather, that was comforting. It felt like an escape. Like a good conversation with a stranger at a bar. He didn't know me so he didn't know how bad I was hurting or how it impacted and changed me, which allowed me to forget all of that for a brief time. We just shared some small talk every now and then.

But, like these things often do, it all blew up in my face. I was going up to DC for Halloween and invited him out with my friends. He was wishy-washy, and then just stopped responding so I got annoyed and sent him a terse email...which opened the floodgates. Evidently, all the time I thought we were friends, he thought I was super into him and was just tolerating my advances. It's not like I was blowing up the guy's phone with texts and calls - I'm scared of commitment, my crazy is on the other end of that spectrum.

But apparently, all it took to give him this impression was to email once a week or once every other week. What else could that mean but that I wanted him baaad? He said he couldn't meet me out because he was dating a new girl and couldn't make out with me which is what I, of course, wanted. And he couldn't introduce her to me because I would be wearing a "sexy" costume...also I guess that meant I wanted him?

That email earned him the Captain Confidence nickname because I forwarded it to one of my friends. I know it sounds snarky to forward an email, but I was sincerely confused and wanted to understand what I did wrong. Instead of getting advice, I got laughter and lots of, "It's not you - it's him!" She thought it was hilarious and showed it to her husband, who said he sounded like the most confident person in the world, i.e. Captain Confidence.

Again, I couldn't say, "Dude, you're not that awesome," so I just told him the truth - I thought we were friends, I want to be friends, I don't have feelings for you. But it's pretty hard to convince someone you're not into them when they think you are. And things were awkward after that. If I email him, will he think it's because I find him irresistible? If I don't email him, will he think it's because I find him irresistible? If I tell him I'm dating someone, will he think I invented a fictional boyfriend to make him jealous? It all just got too ridiculous, and like I said, it's not like he knew me well anyway so I just stopped making a concerted effort to email.

The thing is, he really was a great guy. Kind and smart, all good things. We never built that friendship, but I did get a few good stories and a great new line to use. "I'll make a concerted effort to email you." I did say he looked like McFee from NCIS! Doesn't it sound like something he would say? McGee?

But besides giving me a few laughs, he served an important purpose at a very difficult time in my life. He helped me get over The X and gave a tiny escape from the hell of mourning. Sometimes people come into our world at certain times for certain purposes. And sometimes they leave our world because that purpose is complete. All we can expect from anyone during the brief moment they're in our lives is a concerted effort, right?

Moving On Up

Ugh. It's 2:24 a.m. and I can't sleep! I always have that problem when I'm super stressed, and man, am I super stressed right now. The worst is my sweet fella is in the next room sleeping like a baby all curled up with my dog. No fair!

So I figured I'd blab to you nice people! Things are still great with my guy...I still don't know what to call him on my blog...My Guy? MG? MG is short and sweet. Alright. So things are going great! I still can't believe my luck. We get along so well and have so much damn fun together. I know I've gushed about him enough in the past year and a half so I'll skip the gushing tonight. We signed a lease together a couple weeks ago...eek!

Pretty huge step for a mega commitment-phobe like me, but it didn't even make me nervous. Just excited! Not only do I get to see my favorite person even more than I already do, but it's also an important next step for us as a couple, and, honestly, for me as a person. But that's not all...

Some time in the next few months, we're getting engaged, and he's not moving in until we are. The excuse is that my mom wouldn't approve unless we were engaged, which is true, but also, it's important to me. I want that next step to really mean something big and to be a serious step forward for our relationship.

I never wanted to be one of those girls that gives her guy an ultimatum or a timeline. We had been talking about moving in together once we were engaged, and I had also been talking about wanting a bigger place so I'm not writing my dissertation on my bed. My lease is up at the first of July so at first I was picking out places that suited my budget and what I was looking for in a place...then MG had all these opinions, and I realized he thought I was picking out a place for the both of us. We talked, and it seems that his timeline for proposing somehow sorta kinda maybe lines up with when I need to move. So we picked out a place together and signed a lease.

It's a little funny because I, of course, have no idea when he's proposing, which means I also have no idea when he's moving into the new apartment. Whenever he talks about furniture or painting the walls, I like to remind him it's my apartment cuz I'm moving into it first. That is important because, as I mentioned, he has opinions, but if I'm in it first, I get to decorate! Although...who knows...

Life is crazy. And I can't stop grinning.

Friday, April 9, 2010


Guys! Sorry! I can't believe it's been SO long since I've written anything. I suck. I keep thinking about things to write, but never have the time to sit down and do it. This semester is rough!

Things are still perfect and dreamy with my sweet boyfriend! I am the luckiest girl in the world. School is good, but busy with grading, writing, researching oh my! I presented at a conference last week, which went well, and get to present at one in Oregon soon then in New York in May. Very exciting! Ooo and San Fran next fall. So things are finally coming together on that end.

I was recently reminded of a guy I dated for about a minute a few years ago when I awkwardly saw his brother at a party. The truth is I have a total girl crush on his brother's wife cuz she's incredible, but as soon as he (the dude I dated, not her husband ew) and I kissed, she peaced out. I kept wanting to say, "But wait...this doesn't mean anything...I'll never talk to him again if it means we can stay together!" Ha. I'll write more on that later, he was hilarious, but the guy totally looks like the nerdy sidekick from N.C.I.S. You know the one, McFee or McGee or something. Aw. I've always been a sucker for nerds!

I'll write more later! Promise!!

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Thoughts on Being Stranded in an Airport

I'm sitting in the Las Vegas airport...and my flight is delayed. My guy flew out here with me last Friday, and we had a marvelous weekend together. Then I stayed for a conference. Lucky for me, this airport has free WiFi. Here are some observations I'd like to share with you.

Pajamas are not to be worn in public. Unless you go to Wal-Mart, that seems to be a common thing there, but nowhere else is it acceptable. Certainly not the airport. If it says "Victoria's Secret," it should remain a secret. And yes, I know those are pajamas because I own a pair.

It's okay for tiny children to sleep in the aisle at the gate. Even cute. It is not okay or remotely cute for 40 year old grown adults. Also, scrunchies went out of style in 1989. So did that shade of turquoise.

Please cover your mouth when you cough and keep your Swine Flu to yourself. Old men are gross.

There's an Amish family, and I just can't stop staring at them. Why are they at an airport? Why do all Amish women have unibrows? Even if I didn't get mine waxed, they wouldn't look like that. Did they really make those dresses by hand? Amazing. I mean, they're ugly, but it's still amazing. I can barely make a sandwich.

Jersey Shore is a cultural phenomenon being discussed by people from all walks of life. Loudly. If I wanted to hear Snooki's whine, I'd turn on the TV.

I see a stranded teddy bear in the aisle next to mine. I want it.

Ew. Another old man coughing. I'm surrounded. I may contract the plague.

The woman sitting behind me literally just rested her head on my shoulder. I have got to get out of here.

Friday, January 8, 2010

If a Small Thing Makes You Angry, What Does That Say About Your Size?

I'm watching Oprah because I'm home alone, and it's cold as balls outside. I don't even know what that expression means, but it's damn cold. 21 degrees in Hotlanta the last time I checked, and we actually have some snow on the ground.

Oprah just shared something that Maya Angelou told her once. I wish I had Maya to call up when I have a problem or question about life. Maybe my new year's resolution should be to make friends with her. Anyway...

She said: "When someone shows you who they are - believe them."

That is one tall order, but so so true. I have this problem where I always see the best in people. It's a foolish mistake I've made again and again, but I always trust people and believe they can change, I believe in the good that might not really be there. This led me into bad relationship after bad relationship with the wrong guys, but my blind eyes have caused other problems for me as well.

I'm really terrible at confrontation and conflict. Sometimes I find myself wanting to laugh in the middle of an argument because I think angry people can be so funny. Don't they realize how ridiculous they're acting? Or how absurd they sound? Are you really that mad about such a small thing? But no, they don't, and yes, they are.

I've had many conflicts in my life with one person. I've bit my tongue over and over, not wanting to start World War III over something trivial; and I've made excuses every time. What's the use anyway? Any time she's ever apologized to me it's been because someone made her and/or it's come with a caveat. "I'm sorry but...I wasn't feeling well that day" or "I'm sorry made me mad when you did this" Why even bother when someone can't see anything from another person's perspective? Why even bother when she'll always fight longer and cut deeper?

But I always make the mistake of seeing the good in her and trying to forget the bad. I make those excuses for her, I push things out of my mind. The truth is that time and time again she's shown herself to me, and I've refused to believe her.

It is hard to be good. It is hard to do the right thing.

The Bible says to turn the other cheek when someone hurts us, and that always confused me as a child. As an adult, I think it means that when someone hurts you, sometimes the best thing to do is not to fight and not get dragged down to their level. Sometimes you have to walk away from a conflict so that you can respect yourself and salvage your dignity. Sometimes you have to bite your tongue in order to preserve peace, and sometimes you have to hold back because fighting will only make things worse.

She says horrible things to people she loves, she says things on purpose to hurt people, she'll do anything to feel like she's right and that she won the argument. There is no way to win with someone like that because I am not that callous, I am not that cruel, and I don't want to fight dirty just so I can get in a few punches.

I've heard 90% of anger comes from fear. That's another thing that helps me in some situations. When someone is very angry and it seems to come out of nowhere, the truth is that it comes from fear, they're very afraid of something and that fear is manifesting in ugly ways. Sometimes it's easy to figure out what's making them so fearful, sometimes it's not, but that knowledge helps me find sympathy when I'm feeling unsympathetic.

It is hard to be good. And it is hard to see the ugly in someone else. But sometimes you have to.

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