Start with the Beginning


So now that I’ve decided to embark on this fabulous journey of ending the resentment in my heart.. I wonder where to begin?  I’m honestly unsure and I have only come up with a couple of self help books that aren’t entirely about religious forgiveness and seem like they might work for me. A couple websites and blogs seemed good but once I delved in many of them seemed to think forgiveness could be achieved by simply saying “I forgive xyz” and moving on. And maybe it can be. But I haven’t found myself able to do that yet. 

My instinct was to start at a place of understanding–understanding what I am angry about and why I am angry about it. So I got very still and quiet and thought back 10 years ago to the beginning of this madness to see if I could connect to anything I felt then. 

I was surprised. It didn’t take long to tap into some feelings. I put pen to paper and began writing lines. Some long, some short, about things that had hurt me, embarrassed me or somehow affected me and stuck with me from my time with The Friend. Immediately I knew it wasn’t a lost to be shared here. 

That’s an odd feeling for me. To want to keep something regarding this situation close to my vest instead of sharing it all here. But I think it boils down to the embarrassment and stupidity I feel. I will tell you the first 10 items we’re benign and banal and stupid. Stupid to still be mad about them. But here I am. 

I didn’t worry much about writing the reason behind the action down or the reason why I was mad. I just listed the things one by one. It was routine. It came easy and without emotion and I worked diligently to list things arranging them according to a timeline. This happened before that. That was before another thing.   And then I came across the item that got me the most. 

I’ve written about it here before in passing. It’s a story I’ve told to people as a funny “isn’t this ironic and proof that my life is pointless?” story. But it isn’t as funny to me as id like to think. And it is painful and embarrassing.  And I didn’t acknowledge it at the time because it was so shameful. 

I’ve mentioned before that I’ve had a bad Valentine experience. Sure, I still love the candy coated holiday, but this incident makes it hard to pass a card aisle without feeling a twinge of hurt. 

I was in college, just 21 and thought I thought I knew a lot it turns out I didn’t know much of anything. The whole thing with The  Friend was new, about a month old. It was an adrenaline rush constantly. It was intoxicating to be with someone who seemingly wanted me so badly and then at other times couldn’t have me near. It made no sense and yet it drew me in. 

It was February and my girlfriends were all planning huge things around town with beaus. I played it cool because I hadn’t really been taken ALL OUT for valentines before. My anniversary with The Boyfriend was the 15th so much of my celebrating happened then. I didn’t mention plans or hopes for the holiday until a few days prior The Friend asked me what my ideal Valentine date would be. 

Giddy, I delayed answer until I talked to my good friend with more experience than I. She told me to look at movies playing at the historic Tennessee Theatre because they often showed romantic classics. As luck would have it, An Affair To Remember was playing. A favorite of mine, it is a poignant story about..an affair. How PERFECT? 

Shit like that really played me at that time. It seemed poetic and perfect and so I told The Friend about the movie and the sushi that would pair. A mix of classic and modern. A sweet tale of affairs and love and irresistible magnetism. 

The day approached and plans were made. It was evident that we were exchanging gifts. We talked of this fact for days beforehand and I painstakingly chose a card and candies for a new gentleman suitor. The evening rolled around and we were chatting about swapping gifts when he let me know he’d come by my place after he was finished. 

It was matter of factly stated–after he was finished. Finished what? Your guess was as good as mine. He didn’t respond, didn’t elaborate. And didn’t show up. 

I texted him a few times. Called and found his phone shut off. His AIM away message was up for hors without coming off “idle”. It was 2006 and these were the best stalking tools I had. At 11 I was angry. At midnight I was bitter. And at 1 am I threw the card and candy in the trash. If he didnt want to go to the movies or see me, he should’ve just said so. 

I went to bed defeated and sad. I cried a little. And I might’ve ended the story here but it got worse. 

At 2 my phone rang and he was finally here. And against my better judgement I let him in. He acted like nothing was wrong, nothing abnormal about saying you were on your way somewhere and showing up at 2am. He gave me a valentine card that, when I opened it, was a joke about someone else and didn’t even say happy Valentine’s Day. And finally, when I incredulously asked what happened to him, he told me. 

He took a girl to eat at Nama sushi bar and watch An Affair to Remember at the Tennessee Theatre. 

He took someone else on a date I planned. I yawned, said I was sleepy, and he left. Happily. 

I’m not sure devastated covers what I felt. I walked to the bathroom and turned on the sink and washed my face. The florescent light was harsh at 2 in the morning. I slid to the floor and sat. And I wanted to work up a cry but it didn’t come. I just felt stupid. And ugly. And unworthy of anything good. Because I had the audacity to believe someone wanted to care about me. And look how it turned out. 

That moment stuck with me. I eventually picked myself up and saved face by acting like I didn’t notice what had happened to me. I was cheerful and happy and glad to be around the friend at any time. What, me worry? Of course not. I see my position now. Since you’ve cleared it up I’ll play it well. 

I beat myself up a lot for having such a childish thought. A date. How stupid. And to think it mattered to me. How silly. 

When I wrote this memory down I dropped the pen at the ending. I was so angry. Angry with him. Angry with me. 

Angry with me… I say for a moment and tried to get into the anger I had at the time. I closed my eyes and I was in that bathroom. Painful hot tears stinging my cheeks. I was angry. There was no one there to fix what had happened. And there I sat, a big pile of stupid.  

But was I stupid? Today Me, at thirty one, wanted a hug. I wanted someone to tell me it was okay. I wanted to hug the me on the floor and instead of saying “he’s so dumb” or “don’t care about that jerk” I wanted to squeeze me and say “it’s okay to care. It’s okay to cry. It’s okay to think that you deserved a date.”

Real people care about real people. And it’s okay. It’s trendy. It’s cool. It’s normal. It’s what we are on this planet to do–connect and care. It’s. Okay. 

I spent so much time trying to correct the wrong problem. I wasn’t wrong for caring I was wrong for not seeing that you can’t stick around for someone who doesn’t. And if I had chosen to give myself empathy in that moment instead of running from my embarrassment I might’ve had a different outcome. 

When I began writing this memory I thought my sentence would be “I forgive you for lying about a date”. But my sentenced ended up more about me. 

All this time I was looking for someone to save me. It was me all along. I could’ve done it. But I didn’t.  I forgive myself for running. For feeling embarrassed. And for thinking caring was wrong. 

But mostly I forgive myself for not begins my own savior. It’ll come. 

On Forgiveness


When I really get down to brass tacks and think about wanting to start my journey away from The Friend and the resentment and anger I feel toward him, I always think of this blog.

This blog is a scandalous monument to the stupidity that was that relationship, and it’s so obvious now when I go back and read posts.  I started this blog because I was skinny and cute and wanted to meet someone and I thought I was going to have fun and meet someone to spend my life with.  But all the quest ever was about–all I ever wrote about–was the past with The Friend, the mistakes I made, and the times we were meeting up when we weren’t supposed to be.

I am embarrassed, terribly embarrassed, about my past mistakes.  I am embarrassed that I continued to make them FOR YEARS, that they cost me my job, my life, my house, my friends.  I mean this shit festered FOR YEARS and I even stood here time and again and ranted and raved about how wrong I knew it all was, how much he hurt me and hated me and made me hate myself.  AND I STILL TRIED TO MAKE IT RIGHT.

I am an idiot. A fool. Stupid. Wrong. Desperate. Fucked up. I have issues. I have unresolved issues from childhood. I have unresolved issues from adulthood.  They should take my adult card.  I should have to relinquish decision making to someone else.  I should be locked up.  I am bad.  I am mean. I am wrong. I am gross. I am ugly. I am disappointing. I am a burden. I am a failure. 

This literally plays on loop in my head any time I have a quiet moment and I think about my anger and resentment.  It has gone from anger and resentment for The Friend to anger and resentment for myself.  It’s holding me back and it’s making me angry that I am so angry.

I am embarrassed.  I really am.  And it makes me defensive.  I think defensiveness comes out in really different ways for a lot of people.  My defensiveness is anger.  It takes very little to upset me these days.  “These days”=the last half of my twenties and the first years of my thirties, if I am honest.  So if someone makes me feel silly or embarrassed or hurts my feelings?  I am pretty angry about it.  Depending on who you are, I might lash out.  I might blocked you if it’s on social media. I might tell you off if I know you well enough.  If I do know you well enough, I’ll say really ugly things. Things you can’t take back.  And it bleeds from one person to the next.  If I am mad at person A, then I go through a list, sometimes mentally, sometimes verbally, of people I am upset with, angry with, disappointed with, sorry I hurt but feigning anger about.

I have been unhealthy for a long time.  And people have tried to point this out.  So often someone here will remind me that drinking poison and expecting someone else to die is only killing me.  Or that if I can somehow forgive this harm that I will free myself from the chains of sadness and anger that I have worn so long there are scars.  My friends have told me that it’s unhealthy to carry the burden.  My family reminds me that it doesn’t mean I am losing or lost the battle. Or that it was okay to hurt me like that.

But I don’t think I’ve ever believed those words. I often think about forgiveness and wonder what it would look like for me.  Would it be saying I was at fault?  Would it be saying it wasn’t so bad? That I deserved it? That it was okay?

And don’t I deserve to know why?  The why is what keeps me awake.  And people try to answer it for me.  But anyone can come up with any explanation–blaming him or me (and I’ve heard both)–but it’s not from him and so I don’t know.  I can rationally accept the excuses, but if it’s not from him. Meh. Whatever.  But I may never get a why.  Actually..I will never get a why. I know this. Because I’ve asked and there is no why. There is actually no acknowledgement that anything was wrong.

And I’ve said my angry part. And I know it was heard and it was actually acknowledged but it didn’t work.  Because I am still angry.

So I decided that this year I want to explore forgiveness.  What it can really mean in a life.  And if it is possible.  And how to forgive myself.  I have decided maybe it isn’t bullshit after all–that you can free yourself by freeing someone else.  That it doesn’t mean I am wrong or that I lost.  But that I love myself.

I want to love myself again. Because that was a pretty sweet year of life, when I loved myself so deeply and was so proud of everything I did.

I realize this is a fairly self centered and indulgent post. But it is a self centered and indulgent blog as recognized by The Frisky. And I miss writing…even though I am not great at it.  And nobody reads this thing anymore anyway.  So.

I’m just gonna keep writing until I figure it out.

 

You Find an Adventure or an Adventure Finds You


I turned 30 in October.  I built it up in my mind as a really intense thing that was to happen to me, that suddenly I would not be young and fun in my twenties, but wiser and methodical in my thirties.

Things were going badly, really badly, that week and it felt like my life was out of control.  All I really wanted was to do something fun and adventurous  for my thirty years on earth.  There was a football game, away in Mississippi, on that Saturday and I planned to go there.  Things kept falling through.  I was out of money, The Friend forced me to ride in his (gas guzzling) car and I refused to say anything about it, and my aunt got sick and couldn’t go. At midnight I popped a bottle of champagne and drank it myself on my back porch, while The Friend sat inside watching TV and talking to whoever online.  At six in the morning we left for Mississippi.

I posted a few things on social media about what I wanted in my next thirty years.  But mostly I was left that weekend feeling like my “turning thirty” adventure really sucked.

Flash forward to now, six months later, and boy am I on an adventure.  New city, new job, and trying to make some new friends.  Everything feels foreign.  I moved two hours away but it feels like halfway around the globe.

I was, for better or worse, good at my job that I had previously.  I had it for nearly nine years and knew it inside and out. I was comfortable, had made connections, and did it to the best of my ability.  I had thoughts on what the future should look like with my responsibilities and had a court of people who cared to listen to those thoughts and determine what was useful and accepted my input.  I had some power and some swag, and I had some influence.  I worked with people who knew my intellectual abilities and respected them.

I should have found a better adventure to go on, because the adventure that found me is a hard one.  I lost my social network when I moved.  My social network is now my parents and my aunt and uncle.  The ladies I work with are nice but definitely are curious about why I am not married and love to remind me of biological clocks that cannot be rewound.  I don’t tell a soul here what my story is and where I have come from beyond the basics.  But if you really knew me, you wouldn’t push me about why I’m not married.  Everything happens for a reason and but for the grace of God I haven’t married anyone I’ve come across yet nor bored them children. So I smile politely and play the “I don’t have a soul” card with them.  I pretend that I am cold and unmoved by romantic gestures for the benefit of not having to say that I pick poor partners.  That I do have a heart and it is in constant disconnect and disagreement with my brain.

The work itself is easy and something I am interested in. There is some travel involved, which is nice.  And I am given wide liberties with time and direction.  The individuals I serve are the best part, as I can do what I do best–advise and counsel and encourage.  But the individuals that I must work with to service these great people are difficult.  They don’t know me, and I don’t know how they will.  They don’t get to see my real skills.  I am not trusted yet because I am new.  I am still navigating the office politics waters and seeing who really runs the show and who doesn’t.  When I was 23 I was often “bossed around” by people who didn’t have the authority to do so, simply because I was younger.  As I aged and acquired largess and showed  my prowess at my previous job, the respect came along.  I forgot how utterly helpless I would feel at times, though, when someone was hateful to me just because I was new.  I have tried to the approach of an old friend–“make them your best friend”.  I am overly nice at all times.  It gets old.

It was hard to pretend like everything was fine in my old life.  Seeing people who knew what was wrong with me didn’t help.  There was always a brave face to put on but there was also knowledge that nobody believed you.   I wasn’t ever sure what to say to anyone.  I was drowning and nobody grabbed my hand. There was a lot of blame tossed at me.  Rightfully so.

So in some ways there is a sense of relief for me.  At times, during the entire duration of the stay of The Friend in my home, I prayed for change.  Because it felt like I would break if things didn’t change.  Eventually breaking became more attractive than anything. Many nights I wanted to simply not “be” any more.  I am too chicken shit to hurt myself, but I wanted someone else to do it.  Maybe a car crash or finally he’d just hit me hard enough to do real damage.  Something, anything, that would put me in a state of floating away and not struggling to keep my head above the water of life.  And that’s over.  I don’t have to struggle with that anymore.  I don’t have to be abused or harmed when I go home.  I live in a safe place where nobody hurts me.  I am straightening out my finances.  I am getting in touch with what is wrong with me and what I can do to fix it.  I am reading more, hoping to study something in grad school.  Seriously hoping that, and not just saying it for the benefit of others.

Because everything is different, I can forget the last six months and just never talk about them to anyone else.

It’s an adventure in a strange place.  With nobody here to guide me.  I wanted to do something big at 30.

Here I am.

Something Ventured, Nothing Gained


What Being With Him Cost Me

  1. I neglected my best friend, in a time of need. Her husband died, and while I was present at the end and after the funeral, a fall semester that should have been dedicated to checking on her was spent avoiding her. Because I couldn’t deal with my own stupid life.  I can’t shake that feeling and I can’t make up for it. I hurt my closest confidant.
  2. My job, that I loved and had for eight years. Enough said.
  3. Someone I used to work with that only casually knew me commented the other day that she felt like I was just a liar. Because I wasn’t honest about my life. Casual friends want nothing to do with me.
  4. I owe money to everyone I’ve ever met now.  I used to be financially responsible and I am not longer even close to independent.
  5. I didn’t see my parents or my grandmother more than twice from August to December.
  6. I had a great life up until July. I was happy, and moving toward being ready to really meet someone to share my life with. I’m back to square one and want everyone away from me.
  7. My life isn’t the same. I live in a different city, in a different place, and I miss the old stuff.
  8. I don’t trust myself to do the right thing anymore.

What Being With Him Gained Me

  1. I wasn’t lonely sometimes this fall.

That’s all I’ve got right now.  I hope in time I will see something better from this.  But for right now…it sucks.

The Letter I Wish I Had Received


Dear S,

I know I hurt you and I am sorry.  Specifically, I have hurt you since the beginning of our relationship.  I have told you several lies and manipulated you since we met, and I am sorry.  I have specifically used you as an emotional toy and played house with you a lot, all the while pursuing other people as a “real life”.  You were never my real option, and I am sorry.  A kind person would have seen how much you cared about me (and I don’t know why you do!) and felt bad that I could not return the same love and respect.  I am not a kind or good person.  I have treated you wrong. I am sorry that you ruined a relationship with someone who cared about you and left you in a mess and moved away.  I am sorry that I thought that a good life did not include someone like you, because you are a good person.  Marrying for money is a dumb idea.  Marrying for looks is even worse.  I am sorry I treated you like a second class person.

I am sorry that I got married and didn’t tell you.  I did this because I feared that you wouldn’t be my friend anymore and I wanted to keep a connection with you.  It was less about sex or intimacy and more about needing someone in my life, and probably needing to be friends with your family during football season.  So I had a giant wedding and tried to live the life I always wanted and keep you hovering in the background.  I know that you are smarter than that, and I know that you knew every single thing I was doing and were kind enough to just not mention it, probably because you were afraid that if you did mention it, I’d leave.  We are both frightened people, aren’t we?  I just show it in a much worse way.

Recently I have used you even further.  I called you in a time of desperation and came to your home and stayed with you.  I never made an effort to get a job, make a fresh start, or do the right thing.  I willfully lied to you about court dates, my legal status, and what I did with my days.  I slept them away because I was depressed.  I skipped court because I was scared.  I don’t know where I am going in life and I was trying to figure it out while in your home. I made you feel like you could or had to help me, when in fact I am not prepared to let you help me because that would require real intimacy and truth. I have a lot of things going on in my head.  I am confused about my sexuality and my values, and this translates into my behavior being damaging and threatening to you.

It wasn’t fair to you to take your life, which was a really good life–a life you should have been proud of, and turn it upside down.  I should have tried harder.  I should have looked for a job.  I should have helped you save your money, and I shouldn’t have made you feel guilty when you couldn’t get me what I wanted.  I shouldn’t have asked you for money for a car, or bail, or anything else.  I should have contributed to your household while I was there, in some meaningful way other than washing your car (and spending money to do it).  I shouldn’t have broken in to your piggy bank either, because that’s a real asshole move too. Speaking of, reading your email, facebook messages, and twitter messages was rude too. I am rude.

I should have told you how proud I was of your transformation before I came back.  I should have told you that you are a nice person and you need to stay away from people like me.  I should have seen that you are like my mother, a person who loved me for no reason other than I am a person who deserves it and yet I treat you in an abusive way—physically and mentally.  Just like my dad did to me and my mom.  He hurt me, and it makes me unable to have a real relationship.

I am sorry that when I noticed you were struggling, I didn’t do anything to help.  In fact, I made it worse by leaving at all hours of the night, not coming back for days at a time, and gaslighting you when you noticed something was up.  I should have moved on, or, if I wasn’t ready, I should have respected you and not behaved like a complete fucking asshole and followed your simple rules.  I can’t do this, because I’m an epic douche bag.  I never should have called you, probably.

I am sorry that I came to your home on Thanksgiving and Christmas and used your family’s hospitality and then still didn’t treat you well.  You asked your family to love and care for me, and I couldn’t do the same for you.

I’m sorry I got arrested three times in the fall. There is no excuse for a college educated, well taught person like me to be involved in anything untoward.  I have the wits and the means to do business honestly.  I will do that in the future.

There is no reason that someone should hurt you, because you are a human being and deserve to be loved and respected by your friends and family.  You are funny and smart.  You care about people on a deep level that makes me jealous.  I wish I could care about people and make connections with them.  I wish that I was compelled to live a good life like you are.  I am so sorry I wasted some of your youth by keeping you at an arm’s length.  I know that you are a hurt person, too, and I know that’s why I could manipulate you.  I know that you will find someone who is a good friend and a great lover and who would never ever hurt you.  And even if you don’t, I know that your life will be awesome.  I hope you can forgive me, but not forget this lesson, and I hope that soon you don’t have the urge to talk to me.  You are worth a lot, and deserve someone who is equal.   Let me be clear—there is nothing wrong with you that made me act the way I did.  There is no excuse for one person to treat a human being the way I treated you.  At all.  IT IS NOT YOUR FAULT.

Good luck,

J.


He was sleeping in the floor of the hotel because there weren’t enough beds.  The sun was flooding in under the blackout curtain, falling on his face.  His hair seemed lighter than usual, almost blonde, despite what hair he has usually being brown.  His face wasn’t tight at all, it seemed relaxed and almost a slight smile on his lips.  He was bundled up because he was in front of the air conditioner, but his toes stuck out the bottom of the covers and fidgeted a little.  I was coming back from the bathroom, trying not to wake anyone up, but I felt a pang in my stomach and almost wanted to touch his peaceful, sleeping face.

It wasn’t a child.  It was The Friend.  And he seemed so peaceful, so happy, so beautiful.  And I wondered how I could ever be mad at such a vulnerable, almost child-like boy.  I felt sorry for him, almost.  Sorry for everything that had happened up until that point and sorry for everything I had done to cause pain in him, ever.  I don’t know why, but it struck me and the words tumbled out of my mouth.  “Everything on you is perfect, from the bottom to the top.” He stirred, but went back to sleep.  I got in my bed and watched him for a while.  Lately he’s moaned a little in his sleep.  My mom noticed too, when he slept over on Christmas.  That day he told me he woke up from a bad dream and was relieved to find that he was at my parents’ house.

But 12 hours later, after a marathon car ride, I was struck for the 100th time of being ignored in lieu of a phone, of seeing his favoriting of some blonde girl’s tweets, of him having 100s of girls like his Facebook statuses.  And I just sank into my seat.  “Maybe I’ll just go home” I told him.  Home home.  Parents home.  My threat when life is too real in our house and I can’t deal anymore.

As per usual, he never fights back.  Never asks me to stay.  Just tells me to quit bullshitting him and go.  This is us.  We teeter between hugging and hitting.  Between cuddling and cussing.  Sometimes, I say, if you were a little nicer..

But the fundamental problem is that he doesn’t think he’s unkind to me.  Doesn’t think I should have a claim on what goes on with him.  Doesn’t think it’s unfair to ask me to be a friend but still kiss me on the cheek and rub the small of my back.

So I opened my mouth and said “What I want in life can’t come to me with you in it.”

I want a companion.  I want children.  I was a life to share.  I want more than just the pain and struggle it is daily to try to figure out what’s going on the the head of The Friend.  But who’s going to date me with a best friend who lays on top of me to ask me how my day was, or who I can’t stand not talking to?  Nobody.  What I want can’t come to me. I can’t look for it fairly.  It’s a huge step for me to even realize that I can’t have that with The Friend. It’s earth shattering and heartbreaking to realize that I can’t have it with him even around.

The trip ended and as usual I waited for one last “please don’t go” plea, but it didn’t come.  And when it didn’t, I opened my mouth and called him a word I’ve never said before.

It was so odd for me to say this slur, that I felt it come out and wondered if I had even said it properly.  But the look on my face told me I had.  I felt my face go numb, my tongue draw up in my mouth.

The details of the ugly fight aren’t that important.  I just know…this is where that chapter ends.

Because of my selfishness.

Just Don’t Let Him Know You’re Weird


Another dead period for the blog.  No excuses, no stories.  Just a dead period.

I’ve felt rather uninspired lately.  I don’t know what I need to do to change my point of view, though.   Even my mother is starting to lose hope in this dating thing.  We chatted on the phone the other day, and I momentarily lost my mind and gushed just a tad about a new crush I developed on someone who I’ve been interacting with on a professional level.

“He’s just lovely. With an accent and all!” I told her and sighed dreamily.  I almost never let myself get this way. Especially with my mother.  I can’t ever recall telling her about someone I’ve had an interest in..ever.  In fact, I’m the type that no one would be surprised to hear “My soon-to-be-fiance is coming to dinner.  In twenty minutes. And he’s pretty excited to meet you for the first time, Mom and Dad.”

I can’t remember why I don’t share these things with my mother.  And then…

 

“EH.  Just don’t let him know..you know…that you’re weird.”

 

Thanks Mom. I’ll try.

But beyond the fact that I’m trying to hide my weirdness from this new gentleman (which I’ve already failed at, FYI, he came up behind my desk when I was looking at an article about Bono. He’s Irish. My cover is blown), I’m having some difficulties determining his level of interest in me.

I mean, it’s one thing to have him seek me out daily for conversations. And it’s all well and good that he figured out that I like to laugh so he started forwarding me jokes.  And then we played the “like game” on Facebook..you know, where you take turns liking posts by one another? Yes, under normal circumstances I’d be like “Dude is interested”

But for some reason I can’t decide if he’s interested in women in general, much less interested in me specifically.

The only real basis I have for this theory is that a) his font on our messaging system fades from red to blue and delves into a purplish area…and b) he has some pictures on Facebook of him jumping around with a lot of girls that oddly enough aren’t interested in him. Because they’re old.

Now as for the first point, I don’t assume his sexuality because it’s a purple font, but because he’s taken the trouble of actually fiddling with the settings of his script.  As girly and cute as I can be, I haven’t even bothered to color the font on my messenger.  But now that I think about it, it definitely needs to be orange. So just the sheer interest in the stylistic opportunities afforded on an instant messenger is a trigger for me to think “Hmm?”

And the old ladies just seem like the type that would be good friends with a young guy who isn’t interested in women.  I dunno, color me stereotypical.  It’s not that I care you know…because I’m cool with alternative lifestyles, just not for potential mates.

So, that’s where we stand.  Even my mother has recognized the fact that I’m not exactly the most normal girl in the world and that mates might not be attracted to my ‘quirky’ set of interests.  Also I have no gay-dar.

So, with that, we’re back..

Bump and Contact


In all this dating self-inquiry that I have been doing for the better part of a year, I usually give myself the..benefit of the doubt, shall we say?

I am too inexperienced to be a flirt, too modest to possibly make the move, and certainly I am incapable of ever making a calculated move when it comes to romance and dating.  I’m just not that girl, and I never have been.

I am always affected by what happens around me.  I sort of have this tendency to look at my life from an outside perspective and see all these events that happen as being thrust on me rather than something that could be avoided or that I could possibly initiate.  Flirtation, the constant running in and out of my life.  These are things that happen to me.  Including the Bump and Contact.

Bump.  And contact.  Bump and contact.  B&C.  I didn’t know what to call it until I sat down and put my fingers on the keyboard.  It’s a phrase I’m using to describe something that I just moments ago realized has had an impact on almost every relationship—romantic relationship—that I can recall.  It’s a classic pattern that precedes The Boyfriend and comes thereafter as well.  I don’t know where I picked it up, really, I just know that most men I’ve been romantically linked to or interested in have followed a great pattern that has been terribly helpful in that I can expect what is to come.  After a period of non-communication, I happen (in all honesty it’s almost never intentional!)  to see them somewhere (BUMP!) and then there is casual contact…historically it’s been via email, though the modern era of communication has led itself to text messaging.  And thus begins the steady interaction again.

The first time I remember this happening was with someone I’ll simply refer to as The First One.  In junior high and (very early) high school, before there was The Boyfriend, there was…The First One.  He absolutely wasn’t my boyfriend, but he was someone I really cared for.  Someone who was first in a lot of ways.  Of course, there were periods we’d spend mad at one another..and we wouldn’t talk…and of course I’d angst away in my room before I really even knew was angst was.  But then, somehow, on a field trip or at the mall (I specifically remember once at the mall a bump-and-contact went off almost flawlessly) we’d see one another, and sometimes we’d speak, other times we would just make eye contact (you know..Eye Contact.) and then within 12 hours there would be an email. And we’d be on again. The pattern continued for a long time.  Once, after I went off to college, I got word that The First One was expecting a child with his then-girlfriend-now-wife.  That was weird, I guess, given the fact that he had spent endless evenings AIMing and emailing me about coming to college in the spring; I stopped contacting him or responding to his contact in September. In December, I was home Christmas shopping and distinctly remember loading packages into the car on a snowy afternoon.  A truck pulled up next to me, honked the horn, and there was The First One waiving.  Soon after, an email of “It was so funny running in to you today!” And there was the contact.  Over and over the pattern repeated.  In fact, I’m embarrassed to say that I was B&C’d by The First One on Thanksgiving last year. Facebook has really revolutionized the B&C…  but the contact of this B&C didn’t go on very long.

The Bump and Contact game has gone on ever since that initial pattern was established with The First One. The Friend and I, of course, had a little game of Bump and Contact that had begun to develop around the first of this year, but the bumps are less frequent, and the contact portion just doesn’t work without that initial bump. The Boyfriend and I have B&C’d this year (more on that later), though the very last bump did NOT result in a contact (or a blog post!).

The contact portion of a Bump and Contact is so lame, really.  It almost exclusively follows a similar pattern.  You have the bump, you make it back to ‘home base’, be it the office or your house..you give it a little while, maybe a few hours, a day tops.  And then you write the email or text.  And they all  say the same things.  “It was great running in to you” or my personal favorite “Sorry I didn’t get a chance to speak with you…” That’s for the Eye Contact encounters.  I used to get such satisfaction in getting the contact portion of the B&C, I almost felt smug about it.  Like simply seeing me was enough to make someone have to know exactly what I am doing.  I’m sorry, did I say “used to”?

Yesterday, while thinking about my post for the day, I took a walk to the university center to grab some lunch.  Being summer, it was slow, several things were closed, and choices were limited.  So I stood in a forever-and-ever line waiting on a Chick-Fil-A sandwich to come off the grill.  My senses are always up in the university center.  It’s a classic place to bump into The Boyfriend.  And even though it’s only happened a miraculous four times in  two years (the other 726 days of the year we successfully pull off the facade that we don’t live in the same zip code and word in the same quadrant on a campus map), I still try to keep my guard up during lunch hours especially.

Because the four Boyfriend bumps have been enough to send me into tailspin for weeks at a time.  Mostly because after the bump comes the contact.  Emails upon emails, questions upon questions, sewn up wounds torn fresh again.  A constant reminder that I am a Bad, Bad Girlfriend.  Bump and contact, bump and contact.

But the B&C that went down yesterday afternoon had nothing to do with The Boyfriend.  Or The Friend. And it certainly wasn’t The First One.  Not a Bachelor, either. Nay, it was a third-party that I have been reticent to include in this blog for a number of reasons..well, actually two reasons.  1) He reads this blog (or used to) and 2) blogging about him would give him way, way more validation and credit in my current state of affairs than I was comfortable with (until now).  I don’t really have a nickname for him..and I’m having trouble making one up…So, do you hear that?  You’re not getting a nickname.  Yet.

So the classic, unanticipated B&C went down right there in line waiting for a chicken sandwich.  We spoke, but I was really more interested in whether or not someone was going to swipe my long-awaited and much-anticipated sandwich than getting to the heart of the matter with…him.  But we did speak.  Which makes the whole B&C thing sort of unclear.

He joined the line, I got my sandwich, and I was on my way.  But once I got to my desk, I fired off an email.  “It was nice seeing you”. I knew I shouldn’t have done it the minute I sent the email.  First and foremost, we aren’t talking for a very specific reason.  We both know it’s best that we don’t talk.  Because we’re not friends.  Well, let me rephrase.  He probably wants to be friends.  But I am not at that point.  And I am a pretty frustrating person to be around when I’m not getting my way…so I can be totally inappropriate and tempting.  So he knows to stay away from me.  And I know to stay away for my own good too.  So the outcome of this B&C could only lead to contact (bad) or no contact (still bad because it opens those freshly healed scars. For both of us).  But the email was gone. Simple as that.  And the reply?  Did not follow form.

There wasn’t a “you too, we should catch up”.  There was no “How are you?” The response was absolutely nothing that gave me any reason to reply.  No question, no suggestion.  Flat.  Done.

Maybe earlier, when I called it “giving myself the benefit of the doubt”—maybe that phrase was an inaccuracy, maybe I’m just in denial. Selling myself short for certain.  Because as I sat at my desk yesterday, ruminating over the bump-and-contact that just went down as I picked at my lunch, the cold hard truth came rushing to the center of my brain.  And, barring a lobotomy, I can’t ignore things that sit right there at the front of my brain.

I am a calculated master of the bump-and-contact.  I’ve initiated my fair share of these things.  I’m not entirely incapable of trying to lure these men back in.  I’m not entirely the victim of these men who come and go.

I come and go too.  I bump.  I contact.  I swear people off and then send these emails, these tiny little phrases of “how are you?” and “Funny to see you around these parts” and “don’t be a stranger!”.  I know what I’m doing, more so than I’ll ever admit.

And for what it’s worth?  Nicknameless?  How are you?  It was nice to see you yesterday.  And I mean that both honestly and dishonestly.