Consider yourself warned.

So, I go to therapy. At first, the plan was to go to couple’s counseling. When that seemed to be more talk than action, I started going by myself to see what I could figure out. We attended one session as a couple, then I went back to going it alone. Turns out I like things better this way.

Last time I was there, I was talking to her about my thought slut tendencies. As well as sporadically babbling here, I also spam various unfortunate friends with texts and selfies throughout the day. I know I’m an adult, but I’m completely obsessed with selfies. The weirder and more unflattering, the better. As I was telling her about this, I got self-conscious, lowered my eyes and muttered, “I do it because I want attention.” and waited for her scathing judgement. She nodded and said, “sure!”. Then she waited for me to continue my story. (There is actually never judgement of any magnitude delivered from her oversize chair, it’s my insecurities that assume it’s coming.)

Wanting attention isn’t bad. It’s not crazy, it’s not weak, it’s not pathetic. It’s human. We all have a need to connect with others, and sometimes it comes in the form of tiny bursts of attention. I don’t always want to have a deep, meaningful conversation. Sometimes, I just want someone to tell me that my ridiculous face made them laugh. I don’t want to discuss my new journey with everyone, but I do want to be seen by people. There isn’t anything wrong with that.

It does make a person vulnerable, though. That part is rough, and in my case can lead to some serious self-doubt and overly critical thinking. It’s hard to put yourself out there, and then just patiently wait. That time between the text about my bathroom habits leaving my phone (Not even kidding. Sometimes I even have to tell someone that.) until the moment I hear the comforting notification signaling a reply, I’m filled with anxiety. What if it’s a bad time, or they don’t find me funny today? What if they’ve hated my random texts since the beginning, and I’ve finally pushed them too far? What if they never speak to me again? WHAT IF I JUST SENT A TEXT ABOUT THE END RESULT OF MY TACO BELL FOOD BABY TO A DUDE INSTEAD OF MY BEST FRIEND??? Alright, that last one is a bit more rational, and luckily I have yet to cross that particular line. But part of being vulnerable is having compassion and empathy for yourself. A constant theme in my therapy homework is to find ways to be kinder to myself. Allowing room for error. Saying nice about myself instead of rushing to point out all my flaws before everyone else does. (I always think it will hurt less that way, but it doesn’t.) Finding joy and even a little pride in the ridiculous facial expressions I make, rather than being ashamed that I don’t look like the world’s standard model for beauty. Admitting that I just need someone to pay a little attention to me.

Another part of my homework from this last session was to post my silly selfies here. I’m still working up to that one, and that’s perfectly fine. The world isn’t ready for my special brand of cartoony, Muppety goodness just yet. But you best get yo’self prepared, because it will happen.

Just walk beside me, and hold my hand.

I don’t want a love that makes me dizzy. I don’t want to fall head over heels for someone. I want it to be slow, and more importantly, steady. I want to remain standing, with my balance as firmly in tact as it ever is, and calmly say that I love the person next to me.

I don’t want this declaration to be earth-shattering or route-altering. I want these words to mean something to the recipient, but no more than any of the others I say. My love will not be a cage, it will not be an expectation. It will be acceptance, and joy in who they are.

I don’t want someone to compare my eyes to rare gemstones, or promise me eternities. I want uncomfortable honesty in telling me what they truly believe they are and are not capable of.

I don’t want or need to be rescued from anything. I won’t wait patiently in my tower of solitude for someone to notice my wistful sighing and bring me the life I’ve dreamed of. I’m chiseling myself the fuck out of there, and working towards what I want on my own. When the right person comes along, we’ll work side by side to create something that fits us, together.

I don’t want romance. I want reality. Even when it sucks. Even when it seems like hearing I’m the most beautiful woman in the world would be so much more fun than being told that I have lettuce in my hair, again. Because it’s not real. Words are just words, no thought or truth is required to be behind them before they’re allowed to exit a mouth. The next time I swoon over something someone says, it will be because they were speaking with a British accent, or quoting “Friends” flawlessly. I’m not bitter and resentful, it’s just that any starry-eyed dreams I dream these days are reserved for goals I can achieve myself, not for love.

Love doesn’t belong in the stars. It’s not an unobtainable, unreachable cosmic power. It’s here, and it belongs to everyone.

Tiny setbacks, bigger steps forward

I started this whole thing because I have nobody to tell my random thoughts to anymore. Though that in itself is untrue, I am lucky enough to have a very supportive, incredible group of friends that will listen to just about anything I ramble about, and very rarely complain. I guess what I meant was that I don’t have anyone I’m comfortable enough with anymore to share without second guessing myself. Of all the things that got taken for granted, I never expected this to even make the list, but it’s turned out to be the biggest hurdle for me.

I think it’s because it eats at one of my oldest, deepest insecurities. I believe, and have for decades, that I am too much for one person to handle. I talk too much, my interests contradict each other, I’m terrible at making decisions, I am too emotional, too silly, too bitchy, too scared… the list goes on and on. Most of it is nonsensical self-loathing, but there’s always this little voice that reminds me that so far I’ve been right. Nobody has gone the distance yet, clearly because it can’t be done.

Today, I was simply unpacking my bathroom (I moved in 2 months ago. Add “procrastinator extraordinaire” to that list.) and suddenly I found myself bawling on the floor, surrounded by barely used hair products. Why? Because months ago, when we had the discussion that would be the end of the active portion of our marriage, my husband left the house and returned within minutes sans wedding ring. I assumed he’d flung it somewhere, or put it in the garbage can. He has a great love for drama. Instead, he had slipped the ring in my pile of jewelery I had sitting in the bathroom. In my hurry to pack and get myself out, I grabbed the whole pile and crammed it in the box that got unpacked today. So I hadn’t been expecting to find it amid my tangled earrings and hair ties. But there it was. Reminding me of how hard I searched for it, and how happy I was when I found the perfect one. Bringing to mind the way it looked the first time he put it on, and seeing that it made him as happy as it made me.

I remembered looking over at his hand from time to time and feeling better seeing this ring on it. I felt like it meant he had my back, in that way I’ve always feared no one will. I also remember it being thrown at me, twice, accompanied by threats and harsh words. It was then I knew that the support I had always wanted was not to be had this time either. That the ring itself was much stronger than the man wearing it, or the words he said when he put it on.

It was unexpected, and bothered me quite a bit. But rather than spend the entire night in a puddle of regrets and abandoned volumizers, I’m getting it out and getting the fuck over it. I know this won’t be the last time something comes up, but it gets easier each time. One day, I’ll be able to simply smile at the memory and keep going without even the slightest hitch in my step. Maybe I am a lot to handle. But I’m pretty fucking worth it.

Snacks and Naps

Recently I was talking with someone about new relationships, and I noticed that everyone seems to ask the same thing when they come up. Some version of “where is it going?”. My knee-jerk reaction is to flip people off. But in all fairness, that’s my answer to a lot of questions. It’s not just that it’s nobody’s business, other than the parties involved. It’s not even that this question is usually asked in order for the questioner to then exert some sort of superiority over the questionee when they aren’t sure. It’s that I just wonder, why does it need to go anywhere?

How do you know, in the first place? Is there some sort of checklist? (While having this discussion with a friend, they suggested I refer to Disney movies. Alright, I meet someone new. Next, I will sing them a song, preferably accompanied by forest animals. Then we will ride a horse. Done.) Is there a time frame, and if the items on the imaginary checklist are not crossed off in it, will some unholy beast pop out of the bushes and devour my soul?

Why MUST things always be moving forward? We’re so motivated by these milestones in life, racing toward one after another, that we care less and less about the journey there. Inevitably, we will run out of milestones. Then what? In a relationship, you meet, fall in love, go away for a weekend, meet families, get engaged, move in together, get married, make your own family, buy a bunch of expensive crap.. and then what do you do? If you’ve spent the whole time rushing toward the next step, what do you do when you get to the top? Ideally, be content, settle into your lawn chairs and wait for grandkids, I guess. But aren’t you worried that without a new goal in mind, a next step to achieve, you’ll feel lost? In your lost feeling, what if you suddenly realized you were more focused on the race than your race partner? And then said partner turns out to be a total knob?

I know that it’s not always quite like that. But I do think that as a group, we’ve become too focused on what happens next. I don’t want that. I want to enjoy what I have, when I have it. Also, I don’t want to think about a future with anyone, other than myself and my son. It’s not that I’m sad or bitter, it’s just that I’ve finally started to figure out what I want.

I want to take naps and eat snacks. I want to be lazy on weekends and not feel guilty about it. I want to talk about stupid things and laugh so hard I can’t breathe. I want to read a book without worrying that I’m being selfish, because the other person doesn’t need my attention all day long. I want someone who listens to me, who intrigues me, who can live without me, but enjoys when they don’t have to.

Basically, I’ll be with someone because I want to, not because I feel I need to .And when I am, that’s all I’ll need. I don’t need any more rings, or papers legally making me someone’s possession. (That’s the way it’s worked for me so far, I’m just sayin’) I already have a family, I just moved and am in no hurry to do so again. Just because I don’t complete all the items on the checklist, doesn’t mean I’m doing it wrong. I’m just doing it in my own way.

I am a whole person, or will be one day. Whomever I’m with will be, too. I don’t want a “better half”. I don’t need a “missing piece”. Nobody, least of all Tom Cruise, will ever complete me. I got this on my own. I’d just like to share my Cheese Nips with someone every once in a while, that’s all.