3/17/12 St. Patrick’s Day weekend with my sister and brother-in-law in Charlotte. Had an amazing time drinking and walking around all day (2 things I never do!)
3/19/12 My nephew, Lane, was born! He was a really big baby- 9 lbs 10 oz!
3/24/12 My Brookie got married! Above is the Bridesmaids’ (and Bridesman’s) luncheon. Below is the happy couple.
3/31/12 Altar Ego Fashion Show which featured some gorgeous table designs by your’s truly and a brilliant team of event professionals.
4/3-6/12 Seattle, Baby! My old college buddy, Brittany, and I went to visit my old college roommate, Brad. We saw all the main touristy-type sites, plus Brad knew the best local places to visit to get the true Seattle experience. It was really refreshing to be able to spend time with these people I haven’t seen in years and still feel like we were close. I think that’s something you have with college friends that you don’t really have with people from other times in your life. In college everyone is growing and changing, so it never seems weird that they’ve evolved, you know?
More Seattle pics:
3/31/12 I got the keys to my new apartment! Yay! Finally a place of my own. I didn’t really move into it until after I got back from Seattle, though, and I’m still steadily working on making it a home. There’s a lot of stuff I need/want, but the best part about it is my brand new, grown up bed!
I’ve also been busy planning weddings and my sister’s baby shower:
Days keep passing. My life moves on every moment. And I feel like I’m missing out. I feel like I’m missing out on THE fundamental experiences of life.
I’ll turn 28 years old in three months. It sounds young, but it doesn’t feel young- especially not for a woman. Think about it- the potential for pregnancy complications and birth defects increases dramatically at age 35, which means I need to have children in the next seven years. And even though that sounds like a fairly decent amount of time, you have to consider the time necessary to meeting, dating, and marrying the man who would be the father of my children. Because, I’m sorry, but I’m not a person who would be strong enough to raise a child on my own. Suddenly, seven years doesn’t feel like that much time, does it? I think about my sister and her husband. They started dating in high school and got married when they were 21. He turned 30 this past November and she’ll turn 30 in four days. They are expecting their first child in June. Nine years of marriage, and almost 12 years together- that’s what they got before they had children. And they still have plenty of time to have more kids if they want to.
But I’ll never have that. It’s impossible. I know not all relationships are the same. Every person is different- no one has the same path in life. I don’t know exactly how to put it, but it makes me sad – that kind of relationship was NEVER a possibility for me. It’s unfair.
I’m turning 28 in three months and I’m not just upset that I haven’t had kids or a long term relationship. What bothers me the most is never loving at all. And never being loved. In Twenty-Five, Abigail told Ben that no one had ever made her feel pretty, that no one had ever cared about her, or even liked her. That’s me. It’s a true for me now as it was three years ago when I wrote it. I can’t figure out why. It seems so incredibly unfair to me. I can’t understand what I’ve done to deserve going through life completely alone. Unless you’ve gone 28 (or more) years completely single- you have no idea, no idea whatsoever how it feels. I can’t even describe it really. Some days I’m fine. It doesn’t even register on my radar that I’m a single person. Other days, everything reminds me that no one loves me, and at this point, the likelihood that anyone ever will seems to be steadily decreasing. You can’t imagine how that kind of thing affects your self-worth and overall happiness.
The absolute worst part of it is that I have no one I can really talk to about it. The few people I have in my life who do genuinely care about me don’t understand, no matter how much they try to. Comments like, “It’s better to be with nobody than with the wrong person,” are not helpful. Getting advice on dealing with being single from a person who hasn’t been single since they hit puberty is not helpful. I appreciate the thought, but it doesn’t make me feel any better.
So many instances have happened recently to bring on this onslaught of self-pity. I’ll mention the two that are most prominent in my mind. I was at a meeting a couple of days ago with a couple and their officiant, planning their wedding ceremony. The officiant asked them to share something personal about themselves to be included in the address and they mentioned their belief that one of the great things about marriage is having someone who is always your fan: someone who cheers you on and supports you no matter what. The officiant likened it to being each other’s # 1 fan. I teared up a little during the meeting, it was so sweet. Then later, thinking back on it, I teared up again, realizing that I had no one who could claim to be my biggest fan, and no one I could claim to be their biggest fan.
The second instance happened during the St. Patrick’s Day Bar Crawl I went on with my (other) sister and her husband. At some point in the evening, my brother-in-law told a story about how he once almost punched a guy my sister hugged while they were out at a bar. Apparently, she used to date the guy, and my bro-in-law was drunk and jealous. I know girls aren’t supposed to want their men to be jealous, but a little bit of envy shows passion. And once again, no one has ever felt that kind of passion for me (nor have I felt it for anyone else).
This post probably makes me sound crazy. At least, if you are a guy, you are jumping to that conclusion. I don’t know- maybe I am a little insane, but I don’t think I am in a bad way, and truth be told, I think guys like to use the “crazy woman” explanation any time a woman behaves in ways they can’t (or won’t try to) understand.
I don’t expect to accomplish anything by writing this, except maybe a little relief. I know it’s not the first time I’ve indulged my sadness and bemoaned singledom via the blog, so for those of you who have read through it more than once, thank you and I’m sorry.
If my life were a movie, here’s how last weekend would have gone:
I would have dreaded going to the 3-day conference about the unique technology we use at the office where I work in a job I’m way over-qualified for. Because the conference really had nothing to offer me- I’d be leaving this job I’m way over-qualified for soon. But I’d put a smile on my face and cheer in my voice and go along with the seemingly pointless classes and group activities. At the end of the first day, I’d carefully curl my hair, apply fresh makeup, and slip into my brand new dress to attend the opening night welcome reception along with my co-workers. While saving a table in the over-crowded hotel restaurant, I’d spot two very cute young men at the next table over, and being bold, would walk over and introduce myself. We’d laugh, flirt a little, then I’d rejoin my party and the cute boys would have spent the rest of the evening thinking what a cool chick they’d just met.
The next day, I’d go to more classes, say fabulously witty things to all the conference presenters, and get an email from one of the graduate schools I’d applied to saying they’d made a decision regarding my application. I’d bite the nails for the rest of the day, just waiting until we had a long enough break for me to check the school’s graduate website to see if I’d been accepted. Finally, finally! the classes would be over for the day- I’d rush up to my room, log into the site and Yes! I got in! They wanted me! Armed with new confidence and excitement for the future- I’d get ready for the huge sports-themed party the conference was throwing. Hair curled again, makeup re-applied again, and skinny jeans plus totally awesome black and pink Bowling shirt. I’d enter the party with my co-workers, head held high, wondering when it would be appropriate to tell my boss that I’d be leaving for school in August. The first person I see is one of the cute boys from the night before. He’s dressed as an old-timey football player, complete with leather helmet, and he looks adorable. He slyly makes his way over, looks at me with that “Hey, I recognize you,” look, and slowly says, “Rachel?” I grin, and say back, “Joshua?”
Somehow, Joshua and I end up talking away from my group. He offers to get me a drink. We spend most of the party talking and dancing and as things are winding down, he walks me to my room and kisses me goodnight. I can’t believe this is happening- the best news of my life on the same day as the best kiss of my life.
The next day, we spend as much time talking together as conference demands will allow. He’s working, I’m attending. I tell him about getting into school, and he’s impressed by my intelligence. When the conference ends later that day, he insists on getting my number and email address- the long distance doesn’t matter, he wants to keep getting to know me. A few days later, he’d show up unexpectedly in North Carolina at my office with a bouquet of flowers and the insistence that he knew we had a once-in-a-lifetime connection.
My life is not a movie.
What actually happened:
I was kinda looking forward to the conference. I’d never been to Dallas (where it was being held), and hey, anything is better than answering the phone all day long. And for the record- I didn’t have to answer the phone a single time while I was at the conference. Also for the record- we didn’t leave the hotel once while we were in Dallas. So I might as well have been in North Carolina.
At the end of the first day, I did indeed curl my hair, re-apply my makeup, and put on a brand new dress I actually bought for a rehearsal dinner for my friend’s wedding, but wanted to test out somewhere not as important to make sure I actually liked the way it looked and was comfortable enough to wear all night. When we got to the reception, I did hold a table for our group, and I did introduce myself to the two cute guys at the table behind ours. We talked for a few minutes, the other guy, Jason, was the one I was initially attracted to, but the next night, he seemed kinda douche-baggy. But anyways. After a few minutes of (probably badly-executed on my part) flirting, I returned to my group and the boys returned to theirs. I wondered for the rest of the evening if I’d get to talk to them again, they joined a table of “Woohoo” drunk girls who insisted on shouting and singing random songs for the remainder of the reception. Joshua did shake my hand again and say it was nice meeting me as we (my group and I) were leaving.
The next day, as I sat waiting for the first class of the day to start, I checked my email and saw a new message from one of the schools I applied to: a decision had been made about my application and could be found on their website. I couldn’t check the website on my phone because the password I needed was upstairs in my hotel room. So, I had to sit through 6 or 7 hours of classes just waiting, waiting, waiting. When I was finally dismissed, I went straight to my room, located the password in my red notebook, logged on and… Found rejection. A form letter. I didn’t get in. I figured I should check the other schools’ websites while I was at it, even though they hadn’t sent me any kind of notification. Another rejection from the second school. I didn’t get in. And the third school hadn’t posted anything. I started crying while my roommate showered. I laid down on my bed and cried and cried. When I heard the water shut off, I sat up, wiped my face, and tried to compose myself. I started ironing my awesome bowling shirt, then offered to iron hers. I curled my hair. She left to help one of our co-workers with makeup. I cried some more. Then re-applied my makeup and changed into my outfit. By the time I went downstairs to meet the rest of my group, I managed to pull myself together and my eyes weren’t nearly as bloodshot as they could have been.
Joshua did approach me when we entered the party. He was an adorable old-time football player with adorable leather helmet. But he never offered to get me a drink, and while we did talk away from my group for a few minutes and we did dance for a few minutes, he spent just as much time with me as he did with everyone else there. He certainly didn’t walk me to my hotel room and he most definitely didn’t kiss me goodnight.
The next morning, he was moderating the very first class I walked into. I did not know he’d be there- I didn’t choose that class because I thought he’d be there. He greeted me by name again, but then he had to work and I had to listen. We kept running into each other throughout the day and it felt flirty and nice and I thought, maybe- maybe he likes me. I also thought, maybe he’s just really good at networking. At the end of the conference, we shook hands, said it was nice to meet each other, and “hey, maybe I’ll see you at next year’s conference.” We didn’t exchange any contact information.
When I arrived back in North Carolina, my bag did not. It decided to stay in Dallas.
I tried to find Joshua on facebook, but couldn’t.
I still haven’t heard back from school # 3, but I’m not keeping my hopes up.
I went out with some friends to see an amazing local band (they are so outstanding it almost pains me to call them a “local” band, but they are from Raleigh, so technically that is the correct term) and they not only completely rocked, but my friends and I had a great time. Plus, I got hit on, which always makes things better!
I don’t really have any fun anecdotes or crazy stories to share, I just wanted to mention that I went out. If you’ve been following the blog over the past couple of years, you’ll know I’m trying really hard to live more and a big part of that is making sure that I have an active social life. It is so easy for me to sit at home alone, watching tv in my pjs, feeling sorry for myself (for what- well, everything and nothing). I don’t want to be that person all the time. I want to have those experiences that you’re supposed to have when you are young, I want to create memories. The past two New Year’s Eves, I’ve spent alone at home. I didn’t even pay attention to the clock. I was embarrassed to go out because I didn’t have anyone to kiss at midnight. And really, how stupid is that? I kissed my friends on their cheeks at midnight this year. And later I gave a guy my number. Much more productive than staying in.
Today I took down my Christmas tree. It was my first real Christmas tree that was all mine- I picked out the ornaments and the lights, I decorated it, and every night I plugged in the lights and sat in it’s glow (usually while watching television and/or answering emails). A friend actually bought the tree for me because I’d mentioned that I wanted a mini-tree to put up in the condo since I would be spending most of the month of December here. She had my name for Secret Santa at work and showed up to our Christmas party on December 11th toting a 2 1/2′ tall live tree (that’s an estimate- I didn’t actually measure it).
Full disclosure- she did text me a day or two before the party to let me know she bought the tree so I didn’t end up buying one for myself and so I’d have time to get some ornaments for it.
I’m sorry for the bad picture, but it’s the only one I have. I actually added some larger ornaments to the tree a couple days after this was taken, but I forgot to take another picture.
I decided I’d take the tree down today because it was getting very dry and I didn’t see the point in watering it again when I knew I’d have to take it down by the 30th anyways (the owners of the condo come home from their Christmas vacation on December 31st), plus the cleaning man is coming tomorrow and so I have to straighten things up as much as possible (I know, it’s completely ironic that I have to clean before the cleaning man comes, but so it goes- also, full disclosure, the owners of the condo pay the cleaning man, not me; I could never afford a cleaning man. Or this condo).
As I was removing the brightly colored shatter-resistant (a very important feature when you live with 4 cats who like to swat at anything and everything) baubles from the tree, I got to thinking about how it really was my very first adult Christmas tree. This is the third year I’ve pet-sat over the holidays and during the previous two years I didn’t even consider getting a tree. I knew I’d be spending Christmas Eve at my grandmother’s and Christmas day at my parents, ant they both have trees, so why would I need one? Especially when I’d be the only one looking at it and there’d be no gifts under it.
I think I’ve spent a good portion of my adult(?) life waiting. Waiting for the right career. Waiting for the husband and family that is surely inevitable. Was I waiting to put up a Christmas tree until I had someone to enjoy it with? Probably. And that’s just stupid. No one gets anywhere by standing still and waiting.
I think I was probably also waiting to go back to school until I had someone to support me through it. Not financially. I can take care of myself in that respect (well, I try and as I’m still eating and filling my car with gas and don’t have creditors hunting me down in the street, I feel like I’m succeeding). No, I mean to support me as in give me the encouragement I need when I’m having a shitty day and want to say “screw it, I’ll never be a writer.” Support me as in, drive me to campus/work when my car is broken down and needs to be in the shop for a couple of days. Support me as in, just saying “Hey, you’re awesome and I love you.” Well. That support isn’t coming from outside sources, so I guess I’ll have to do that, too. And I can do that. Because I am awesome.
All that to say, hey! I finished my grad school applications! Yay! Lots of exclamation points, yay!!!!!!!! I have this dreadful feeling in the pit of my stomach that I’m not going to get in, but at the same time, I feel this wonderful sense of empowerment that I actually completed the applications and sent them in. I’ll never get in without applying, after all. And if I don’t get in, oh well. I try again next year. Or I take it as a sign and get serious about trying to find an agent for Twenty-Five (I know I say that a lot, but hey 2012 is almost here and I see it as an amazing new start. Who knows what can happen?).
My friend, Jaclyn, wants to write a book, so we’ve made a pact that we are going to meet once a month for a couple of hours and just write. We won’t talk or distract each other- we’ll be holding each other accountable and making sure that we are writing something. I’ve really missed the community of writers I had back in my TNBW days, and maybe this will bring back some of the motivation I had then. I’m really looking forward to it. And Jaclyn- now that I’ve put this out into the internet/blogging universe, you know we actually have to do it.
Wow. So this is the most I’ve written on this blog in a while and I hope it’s been worth your while to read, if I even have any readers left. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year! This 27 1/2 year old envisions a fabulous 2012 and a lot more, “Hey, I’m an Adult!” moments ahead. I’ll keep you posted…
I’ve been thinking about this off and on for the last several months. The nice guy. Why does he get such a tough break in the dating scene? I was recently an audience member at a comedy club and the opening comedian talked about this- how he often was rejected by women and given the explanation, “You’re just too nice.” He asked the crowd if that is really possible. My immediate reaction? YES.
How is it possible to be too nice? It seems like a ridiculous thing to say, I know, but I can’t help but feel it’s truth. And here’s why. In my (limited, I’ll grant) experience, a lot of guys are nice, but I don’t refer to them all as “nice guys.” If the only way I can think to describe a man is “nice,” then he is just too nice. If nice is the only descriptor I can come up with, then he isn’t showing me anything else. He isn’t displaying any passions or any flaws. And those are two very critical things I need in a man. I personally don’t want to be with a guy I feel I’m always going to get along with, or who always lets me have my way. Guys who are “too nice” present absolutely no challenge, and therefore, no fun.
And that doesn’t mean I’m not looking for a nice guy, because believe me, I am, but a nice guy (as opposed to too nice) is someone who treats women with respect, honesty, and consideration WHILE ALSO holding his own ground in opinions, interests, and other relationships.
So, for all the guys out there living with that “too nice” cloud hovering over your heads, my advice to you is to think about what a woman is really saying when she gives you that reason. It doesn’t mean she wants you to ignore her phone calls and texts, call her mean names, break plans, and sleep with other women. It means she needs a man who can speak for himself. Who isn’t afraid to disagree, who lives his own life with his own hobbies and friends. She wants a nice guy who is also an interesting guy. You may be those things, but you probably aren’t showing them. And if you are, and she’s still not feeling it, then the chemistry just isn’t there, and she doesn’t want to hurt your feelings (but at least she gave you a reason, instead of not returning your last phone call).
I continued my Saying Yes to Life campaign last night by spending the Halloween weekend in Charlotte with my sisters and their husbands. Here’s my costume- it was definitely outside of my comfort zone!
And yes, in case you were wondering, I did have a few people actually pay me for kisses, and I gave some away for free! I’ve never been the type of girl to go all slutty on Halloween, and I think this was a great compromise! I had a blast hanging out with my sisters and bros-in-law; I always forget how much I laugh when I’m around them.
So, here’s to kissing strangers and spending time with family, and laughing my ass off. Saying yes is working 🙂
I’ve been trying to think of a more compelling title for Twenty-Five. You know, something that has a nice ring to it and catches your eye sitting on the bookshelf. I don’t know if I’ve mastered it, but I’ve been thinking LoveLife is on the List. If you’ve read the book, or even parts of it, or hell, just the summary, then let me know what you think of this new possible title. I feel like it does a really good job of describing the plot and high points of the book, but I’d love some other opinions. The book is still on the blog, so if you want to hit a few random chapters and then let me know, go HERE for a chapter listing.
My father is a quiet man. A strange man, I suppose. He finds pleasure in few things: beer, fishing, watching sports on tv. I often feel sorry for him because I don’t think he has any friends and I’m not sure if he’s very happy with his life. But I also love him, very much. The way only a daughter can love her father.
We’ve always had a different connection than he has with my other siblings. The joke is that I’m his favorite child, but I think over the years the joke has grown less and less funny as my siblings regard him less and less. Which also makes me sad.
Right before or right after I was born, my father was laid off from his job, so my mother became the sole breadwinner of our small family for a short time. She went to work while he took care of my older sister and I. Of the four of us, I was the only one who he primarily cared for during infancy. Our family thinks this is where our special bond comes from.
I have no memory of this time of our lives, obviously, but there’s a story Mom loves to tell. My older sister was between two and three, I was under one, and Dad was making cookies in our small Buffalo apartment. Just the thought of Dad making cookies is pretty funny- he’s really not the domestic type at all. But anyways. He was making cookies, but left the apartment for a few minutes to retrieve a load from the laundry room across the hall. When he returned, he found the door shut and locked. My sister had locked him out.
I don’t know if he panicked thinking of his young daughters all alone in the apartment with the oven on, but I’m inclined to say he didn’t. He probably kept his head- he isn’t one to panic normally. I don’t know who he called, or how (this was before cell phones) but eventually he got back into the apartment, where he found my sister and I shut in a closet, my sister playing school with me as if I were her very own baby doll. I imagine he was relieved we were there, safe, but that isn’t part of the story, so I can’t know for sure. It would ruin it to ask.
There aren’t a lot of memories of my dad from my childhood. He worked, Mom raised us. Mom did the girl scout troops, the PTA, the class trips and awards ceremonies. But I remember every Christmas morning- my siblings convincing me to wake Mommy and Daddy up so we could open presents because Daddy wouldn’t get mad at Me. And fishing- on Lake Erie in a boat with my dad, my cousin Erin, and my Uncle Jim; and on the banks of a lake at a park near our home in North Carolina. I raced my brother back to the parking lot one time, tripped and skinned my knees so badly I still have the scars. My dad put me in his newly remodeled Chevy pickup truck and drove to the nearest gas station, holding napkins against my knee. He cleaned the wound with cool water from a pump outside the station’s store, gently, like my mother would have if she had been there. And I remember hiding his cigarettes because I hated his smoking.
My friend, Myron, used to ask me if my father worked for the CIA, because he was never around, never involved like my mother.
I remember a t-shirt I had in kindergarten, “Daddy’s Girl,” it said. Black fabric with white block letters. I wore it to an outing, some sort of party at my teacher’s house where we played Duck, Duck, Goose. My mother was there. I don’t think Dad was.
I remember finding a similar shirt when I was older, middle or high school age. It was also black, but with purple, glittery, cursive lettering also reading “Daddy’s Girl.” I imagine he has no idea I ever possessed any such articles.
I don’t know if this is coming out right. I never doubted his importance in our family circle. I never resented him for not being “more involved.” He took care of us the way he knew how- by working and bringing home a paycheck.
My biggest memory- the best- the one I’ll cherish for the rest of my life, the one I’ll remember one day when he’s gone, is the day I graduated college. My parents, sisters, and grandmother drove to Wilmington, attended the awards ceremonies, and took me out to lunch before helping me pack up my college life and apartment so I could leave. That night, back in our house in Burlington, standing in his kitchen, talking about God-only-knows what- probably not even really talking, maybe me just looking in the fridge- he said, “I’m proud of you.” Then, he motioned me over and hugged me.
It’s the only hug I can remember receiving from him, even though there are pictures from when I was little. I imagine that, unless I get married some day, it will be the only hug I ever get. But it let me know how much he loves me, and being the only one somehow makes it mean so much more.