It Isn’t Always Easy

It was not easy to be happy today.

I woke up at 7:00, as usual, and as usual, I checked my email first thing.  I don’t know why I feel the need to check my email as soon as I wake up, but I do.  I had an email from a man I’d been on 3 dates with saying that he didn’t feel a “spark” and that we shouldn’t continue seeing each other.  I was utterly baffled, because it had been less than 36 hours ago that we were making out like teenagers on my couch.  I’m not sure what happened to the spark, but apparently, it’s gone.

I tried my damndest to be cautious about my feelings for this guy, because I didn’t want to get hurt when it inevitably ended, but our second date was amazing and our rapport seemed so spot on, that I let myself become hopeful.  We had just enough in common to keep us talking and just enough not-in-common to keep it interesting.  And he was nice.  And funny.  And shared my devotion to the Oxford comma.  And he kissed me first, dammit!

I can’t figure out what went wrong.  I don’t think I did anything crazy or desperate or clingy.  In fact, I was super careful not to, while still being my amazingly awesome and quirky self.  I understand that dates are for “trying people on,” but after that third date, I felt pretty confident that he’d chosen to wear me out of the store.  After we watched a movie on my couch, he literally said, “I can’t take this anymore,” and kissed me!  He’d been working up the nerve to make a move throughout the ENTIRE movie, then comes back with “There’s no spark.”  WTF.

So, yeah, it wasn’t easy to be happy today.  I repeated one of the commandments to myself, “Fake it til you make it,” but it didn’t do me much good.  All of my co-workers could tell I wasn’t having a good day.  I tried to remember, “Laugh more, cry less,” but only succeeded in keeping the tears at bay until 6:00 PM, when I arrived home.

I finally decided to force myself to do something that would make me happy, so I started a new blog.  I’m not dropping this one; the new one is under a pseudonym and with a different hosting site and is basically going to be an outlet for my misadventures in dating, love, and (lack-of) sex.  I think it’s going to make me very happy.  Especially if I can get some readers.  Writing the first post made me feel a little better.  And writing this makes me feel a little better.  Tomorrow I may work on doing some actual writing on my novel.  Because that will make me very happy.

I’m Very Disappointed

in the citizens of my state today. I voted this morning against Amendment 1, and I know a lot of my friends and colleagues did as well, but unfortunately, more people voted for it. When, when America, will you live up to your reputation? When will you stop claiming to be the land of freedom and tolerance and actually become that land?

I’m a single, straight, childless woman. The fact that the passage of this amendment does not directly affect me right now does not make the passage of it any less offensive to me. I’m ashamed. Ashamed to live in a state that would not only consider the creation of such an amendment to our State’s Constitution, but would also pass it in a majority election.

Equality should be for all- not just for those who think and act like one group wants them to.

Have we made no progress since the Civil Rights Movement? Where is our compassion for our fellow man? Our love for him? Our solidarity? What are we so afraid of?

Missing out

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.

The Plight of the Nice Guy

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).

Make sense?

Title Change

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 Love Life 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.

Young Love

They lay together

Silent, Still

Not talking, just absorbing

Each other’s presence

And she knew.

She could smell his cologne

Woody and Strong

Manly

She liked it

And didn’t at the same time.

Liked it simply for its pleasantness

Disliked it for reminding her

He was growing up

Growing away from her.

His hand grazed her leg

With purpose, she knew

But when she turned

To look at him

He snatched it away

Apologetically.

She continued gazing at

His friendly, familiar face

The brown eyes with dark long lashes

She loved to touch gently

When he kissed her.

His hand returned to her thigh

As she began studying

His pink mouth

Lips always ready for a scowl

Pointed, almost, sharp

With everyone else

But not her

With her they laughed,

Teased, and smiled

They were soft and

She liked no sensation better

In the world

Than his lips pressed firmly

To her neck.

Now his hand casually drifted up

And came to rest

In that crook where leg meets hip

She didn’t dare move

And scare him off

She loved his hand on her

Anywhere on her.

When she didn’t push him away

He titled his head towards hers

Examined her face like

She had his

“Whaddya think?  Will we

Make it forever?”

She laughed

A painful, heartbreaking laugh

And his mouth lit up

In that smile he reserved for her

“Don’t laugh, I’m serious.”

But she knew he wasn’t

Knew this was their goodbye

Their bittersweet ending.

They’d kiss and hug at graduation

Maybe even make love

To celebrate.

They’d write letters,

Send emails, and place long distance

Phone calls

For the first few months of school

And then they’d gently

Fade Out

Drift further apart.

This moment was the last real one

She’d hold on to him

As long as he’d let her

But she knew.

Exorcising Some Demons

I wrote the following about three months ago, trying to make sense of an insensible situation.  I typed it up, saved it on my computer, and knew that someday I’d be able to post it- that some day I wouldn’t care if the guy I wrote about read it because I’d either be over him or ready to be over him.  The funny thing about relationships and non-relationships is that no matter how badly you say you want to move on, most of the time you really don’t want to or you really aren’t ready to let go of the possibility.  I’m ready to move on.  I’m ready to let go.  I still believe he’s a good guy and I still believe that in another time and another place we would have been really good for each other.  But he’s not interested in me and he’s made that very clear.  So I’m purging myself of him.  I’m exorcising these demons and saying “I’m done,” once and for all.

            We met at a bar.  That should have been the first sign that things weren’t going to work out.  Your close friend and my close friend said we’d be perfect for each other.  The problem with that was your close friend barely knew me and mine barely knew you- how could they know if we were suited for each other or not?  That was the second sign.

            I wasn’t interested, then, in that moment.  I was embarrassed and shy and in no mood to humor our mutual friends.  I honestly wasn’t attracted to you at all.  The third sign.

            Two paths that never should have crossed.  That’s what you and I are.  Because really, what was the point?

            You made the first contact.  Said we should be friends, then asked me to dinner.  I said yes, still not interested, but thinking, why the hell not?  I’ve got nothing better to do.

            I put a little thought into my outfit, but not a lot, because I didn’t think the date would go anywhere.  Fourth sign.  And then a whole new problem: it was the best first date I’d ever been on.  Granted, I hadn’t gone on very many dates at all let alone first dates, but we just seemed to click. We talked for a couple of hours, shared dessert, closed out the restaurant, and decided to go have a drink.  I decided I really liked you.

            You weren’t cocky or buffoonish like most men I’d encountered, and God, you made me laugh.  Not only did you make me laugh, but you genuinely appeared to think I was funny, too.  Funny- not crazy.  An important distinction.

            I had to work the next day, or you did, I can’t exactly remember, but otherwise I would have had a second drink.  I paid for our drinks, maybe that was a mistake.  Maybe it took away some of your masculine power or some crap like that. But I did it and I left convinced you’d had as great a time as I did.

            But you didn’t, did you?  Because you never called, or texted, or emailed.  And foolish me, instead of taking that as the fifth sign, I contacted you.  I should have let things be.

            I won’t go on to detail our second date, except for maybe how it ended.  I was waiting, wanting you to kiss me- and you knew it, but you chickened out.  Sixth sign.  You texted me right after I left and said it had nothing to do with me and that you hadn’t missed my signals, you just were really bad at this.  It was so adorable.  I was completely smitten.  I curse that text.  Why did you have to be so cute?  Why couldn’t you have let things be?

            Do you realize that you hugged me first?  Put your arm around me first?  Without my prompting.  Why?  I’ll always remember that third date- the butterflies in my stomach as we walked my friends to their car and I wondered if you were going to make the move you’d been too scared to the last time.  We were both nervous, neither of us knew what to do, but I decided I wasn’t going anywhere until you kissed me.  So I stood up and closed my eyes and told you to do your thing.  And it was wonderful.  Absolutely wonderful.

            My friend was happy for me, you have a boyfriend! she said, but even though I was happy, I kept my head.  I knew better than to get too excited again.  That’s what pushed you away the first time, right?  I wonder if things would have ended differently if you hadn’t left a couple days later to visit your family for Thanksgiving.  We had a great few days of texting and a phone call, but would it have made a difference if you had seen me again sooner?  Maybe it would have just sped up the inevitable.

            Flash forward- fourth date.  There’s no way I would have predicted it would be our last.  You acted affectionate, you held my hand and kissed me in public.  How could I have known a week later you were going to play the it’s not you, it’s me routine?  Did I miss a sign?  I must have.  I guess I wasn’t looking for them.  I guess I thought we were on the same page.

            But we weren’t.

            And now, months later, I still cannot figure it out.  I know you shouldn’t even be a blip on my radar, but I can’t help thinking about you and wondering if you’ll change your mind today and call me.  It’s crazy, I know.  Uber crazy.

            I want to understand what purpose was served in meeting you and liking you.  I haven’t learned anything other than that I am in fact undateable man repellant, but I pretty much knew that before and the proof only makes me feel worse about myself.

            What was the point?  Our paths will never cross again, so why did they ever intertwine in the first place?  I’m sure it really makes no difference to you, but I’d be better off if we’d never met.  Not because you hurt me or broke my heart or anything, because I’d be lying if I said you had, but because I wouldn’t have these memories to try and deal with, to try and understand.  They don’t make sense with how abruptly they ended and I’d rather not have to deal with them.  I’d rather have remained alone without the hope of something more than be alone with the loss of that hope.

7 Out of 11: My Speed-Dating Experience

I’ve tried all the methods you’ve heard or read about when it comes to meeting romantic potentials.  In high school and college I joined different clubs and organizations.  I let friends set me up.  I’ve smiled and said “hello” to random guys at Target, the grocery store, the mall food court.  I’ve stopped looking.  I joined Match.com.

And last night, I tried speed dating.

During the month between signing up and going, I couldn’t decide if I was brave for trying something new, or pathetic for paying to go to a bar and have forced conversations with complete strangers.  I can honestly say, I’m still not completely sure, but I’m leaning towards brave.

I took my time getting ready- I curled my hair and put on a cute little black dress (very casual, but still a black dress, which you cannot go wrong with), traded my glasses for contacts, and did my makeup.  I’m not going to lie, I think I looked pretty good.

It started raining- hard- halfway to the restaurant and I wondered, “Is this a sign?  Should I turn around, go home, put on my pjs and snuggle up on the couch with Glee and a mug of hot cocoa?”  I didn’t turn around though: I pressed on.

Have I mentioned before that I have the worst sense of direction?  Well, I do.  So there was no way I was going to find the restaurant on the first try driving in the dark in the rain- and I didn’t.  Even with my GPS.  Luckily, I found a parking deck pretty easily.  Unlikely, I had to walk 2 blocks in the rain in flip flops to find the right address and was convinced I was going to slip and break my neck before I got there.  But I didn’t!

When I walked in the door, I immediately regretted the decision to come- but it was just a momentary panic, dread in not knowing what the hell I’d gotten myself into.  I checked in, sat at the bar, and ordered a drink.  It took a while to start because more people came in, but when it finally did, I took my place at “Table 4” and waited for my #4 counterpart to join me.

It was a very surreal evening in a lot of ways.  I found myself smiling and laughing through most of it- I actually had fun!  I knew that most of the guys were not men I’d ever want to see again in a romantic setting, but they were all friendly and kind.  None were cocky or arrogant or gave me a “player” vibe, which completely shocked me.  At the end of the evening, I turned in my “match” sheet, selecting three guys that I wanted to possibly see again.

This morning, I got my matches from the event’s organizers.  2 of the guys I choose selected me, too.  And 5 other guys selected me.  7 guys out of 11 wanted more Rachel, disproving my long-standing belief that men are repelled by me and convincing me that instead, I just need five minutes of their undivided attention to make them realize how amazingly delightful I am.

Why I’m Awesome, if you hadn’t already figured it out

I’ve been in depression-mode for a while, I’m very sorry that I haven’t been posting any quality writing on the blog.  Especially since the site-view spikes I get after I post something very short make me feel guilty that I’ve not provided anything decent for anyone to read in a very long time.

The truth is, sometimes creativity takes work.  It’s very difficult (for me) to come up with interesting topics to write about for this blog, especially when I have to create interesting topics to write about for two other blogs now due to work.  Personal writing has taken a toll.  A very heavy toll.  And that makes me very sad.

But.  The other day, thinking about what I could possibly talk about that I haven’t already covered, I decided to give my readers a bit more of myself.  I’m already a pretty open book, I’m very honest about who I am and what’s going on with me, but I’m usually only inspired to share the crappy stuff.  The stuff that keeps me up at night and won’t allow me to move on until I’ve purged it here.  Today, I’m not going to do that.  I’m going to talk about my other side.  The side that is pure awesome.

That’s right.  I said pure awesome.  Intrigued?

1. I’m awesome because I have a lot of passion for very little things.  Like Softlips chapstick- it’s the only kind I’ll use.  And Sunkist soda- the best foods and beverages are orange, afterall.  And pens- if you haven’t figured out my love of pens yet, what are you still doing here?  I love writing with a pen for a couple of hours and then pulling it apart to see how much ink I have left in it.  Stupid, yes, I’m aware.  But I don’t really care if it’s stupid.  I like it.

2. I’m awesome because I’m independent.  I’m not always good at being independent, but I try really hard to be.  I work three jobs to pay my bills and I know how to change a flat tire on my own and while a man in my life would be nice, I certainly don’t need one.  My friends like me single and fully awesome.

3. I’m awesome because I have a great memory for nonsense.  I remember silly little stories like the time my friend Ashley made me walk into a tree while playing Ghost in the Graveyard as children- we both laugh whenever I bring that up.  I can recall random facts that I read somewhere that really only have a fraction of something to do with the main conversation, but I tell them anyways.  My boss asked me once if there was a song I didn’t know the lyrics to, which brings me to number 4.

4. I’m awesome because I love to sing, even if it sounds horrible.  I learn the words to songs after only a few listens and I love my long commutes simply because I get to listen to the radio and sing at the top of my lungs while dancing in the driver’s seat and entertaining the other drivers around me.

5. I’m awesome because I genuinely enjoy doing nice things for other people.  I love to make home-made ice creams cakes for the staff at work.  I go above and beyond for my clients.  I give compliments that are deserved and will make someone smile.

6.  I’m awesome because I love to laugh.  I like watching comedy specials on tv, I laugh aloud to books or movies.  I’m not particularly funny myself, but I appreciate someone who is.

7. I’m awesome because I’m pretty realistic.  I don’t make plans that are over-the-top or logistically impossible.  I don’t expect a white knight on a noble steed to come charging up to rescue me.  I know life isn’t always easy and most definitely isn’t fair.  I see myself through unclouded lens.

8. I’m awesome because I know my limits.  I’m not a good or particularly fun drunk, so I don’t drink a lot and when I do, I drink very little.  I’m not good at sports, so I only play them occasionally with family and then usually to made up rules where it doesn’t matter how good you are.

9. I’m awesome because I can type pretty quickly.  May not seem like something that’s too awesome, but I love the feeling of my fingers flying over the keys and letters and words suddenly appearing on the screen.

10. I’m awesome because I’m kinda a slob.  But an organized one.  Kinda.  I am pretty messy in private, but at work, everything has a place.  I’m super efficient and I know where everything belongs.

So, now, why are you awesome?