I’m going to physically beat on you every night after I come home drunk, because I love you.
I love you so much, child, I going to let my boyfriend touch your private parts.
These are the extreme situations. This is NOT what I’m talking about.
I end every year with a reflective assessment of who I do genuinely love and who I’d rather not express love towards. Then I make a quiet offering to the Universe, and I contact every single person I genuinely love and let them know I love them before the clock strikes twelve.
Call me superstitious, but at this point in my life, if I don’t account for those few blessings, I just feel lost.
2013 ended strangely. I simultaneously gained appreciation from people I just started to know, and was blatantly disrespected by people who claimed to love me. It’s frustrating, really. I thought my attenuation of nonproductive behaviors would’ve been beneficial in these situations, but, alas, no.
Here’s the thing: I’m an emotionally intelligent, self-aware, multi-cultural individual. My curiosity drives what and who I engage with, and I proceed in life trying to have more fruitful engagements than redundant ones. More happy moments than dramatic moments. More friends then fucks.
I cannot lie to someone I’ve established a connection to. I cannot lie to someone I respect. In fact, it’s easy to catch me lying; I have a very expressive face, and the details are clefted and contorted, saving any verbal expression of what I’m really feeling. So instead of trying to adapt that behavior, I just don’t lie.
The problem with that is, the normals prefer functioning in a miasma of constant non-truth in order to feel fulfilled, and it seems those people are instantly drawn to me. It’s not something I induce; I’ve walked into rooms, reserved and observative, and people just glom on to me. Immediately I pay that person respect and a compliment while also trying to figure out the end game. Side effect of being a former bureaucrat; you just can’t believe someone thinks you have on a lovely dress unless they’re trying to get money or
votes endorsements outta ya.
While these individuals are fun, charming, engaging, and very complimentary, they expect all of that back in return. Thus I spring the honesty on them. I’m emotionally indifferent. I’m not good at noticing things. I probably won’t be interested in that movie/book/performer. That doesn’t stop them, and to me it’s a relief, because, despite our differences, he or she finds me interesting, and I should honor that.
So we’re friends, we hang out, we collaborate artistically, time passes and the expressions ramp up to, ‘I’m so glad we met!’ ‘I love you so much!’ ‘What was I doing before we got together?’ All great compliments. My faith and my life experiences allow me to be open and giving, at the risk of being harmed, but I’d rather have those shining series of events then plan for failure.
Usually, 90 days into the blossoming connection, the ‘I love you, but…’ starts. The friendship/connection/love affair buckles under the weight of refrained concern. ‘You don’t compliment me enough.’ ‘How come you don’t like <enter a name>?’ and the all-time classic, ‘I can’t believe you did <something that occurred so long ago and didn’t seem like a relationship-crippling issue then, plus I’ve forgotten about it>!’
Where is this coming from? I wonder.
And that’s when it all comes streaming out. Everything this individual said they enjoyed about me, appreciated about me, is now detrimental to his or her ability to continue being connected to me. ‘You’re so confident and in control!’ turns into ‘You’re so cold and distant!’ ‘I love the way you carry yourself!’ turns into ‘You don’t care about me!’ ‘You’re such a talented artist!’ turns into ‘I can’t compete with you!’ And from there, forty-two specific points fleshed out in a never-ending critical analysis. I let him spout, because I know out of previous experience, this is the most dominion an insecure person can effect on another human being.
It’s my fault, really. Insecure, effeminate males and insecure, psychologically troubled females love to feed off me, and I let them. While I try to surround myself with talented, forward-thinking, entrepreneurial people, it’s the insecure ones whom blow the trumpet of dissonance loud and proud. And I have very sensitive ears. I coach myself through these I love you, buts by reminding their opinions of me are none of my business. If they express them, it’s because they need to feel empowered, and judgement is the only tool they have in the tool box. I don’t have the quantitative data, but I’ve been through so many of these relationships I can qualify thusly: the closer to zero instances of accountability over a population greater than four unrelated to the subject, the more likely the subject wields judgement as a defense mechanism.
Here’s my defense mechanism: I back away. The person is so invested in the drama he or she is attempting to dredge up between us, my presence is no longer valued. I’ve caused unhappiness by not liking the things they like. I’ve caused discord because I cannot connect with the people they insist I should engage with. I am not a good friend, because I’m not willing to sacrifice my comfort so he or she can feel special 24/7.
You knew this about me from Day One. Now it’s a problem, and I’m supposed to be accountable for all of it? No thank you.
Recent developments were so distracting, I lamented my frustration to a trusted friend. You know what he suggested I do? Lie. Tell white lies. Make people feel good about themselves, that’s all they want. I had to shake my head at him. I’d rather be the bearer of the ugly truth than dole out pretty little lies. Then you should be okay with being alone, he closed. Yeah, actually I am.
One of my tattoos sums my principle on social interaction: I’d rather be alone than miserable.
[Flash Fiction writing prompt, time = 30 minutes]
Didn’t expect to be here again.
Then again, didn’t expect it to be me standing before her, she, crumpled against the ground, crying. From my position at the height of the stairs I’m looking down at her, legs splayed, black dog on leash to one side, dressed in all black, hair wrapped back tightly. From her vantage I must look menacing.
I wasn’t expecting to be here, like this.
I expected her to be larger.
She continued to wail with her dog in her lap. He didn’t have to introduce me, but I think he did it more for his validation of the moment than everyday cordialities.
“This is Karen. Karen, this is Sam.”
That was my cue to descend stairs and leave. I had a fleeting thought to tell him to call me, but of course he can call me. We just made up a week ago. Tonight was our first night together since the fight.
I tightened Bob’s leash and circled around the pile of woman and her dog, both of them too immersed in their drama to notice or care of my leaving. Leaving I was doing, freeing myself of any incident.
The hardest part was bringing myself back to consciousness. I had two bowls of his stew and rice in my stomach, I was high, I was well on my way to 4th stage sleep when he woke me. I pressed the heels of my hands into my eyes, coaxing moisture from the reserves, switching to my purse to get the eye drops. Fuck I hate driving like this.
Perhaps I wasn’t moving fast enough. I heard his voice approaching the car, but it was his typical admonishment of the dog. Her dog that lived with him while she was “finding herself,” the same dog I’ve grown fond of and enjoyed caring for. She had broken loose and ran towards my car. Does she think this is another one of our car rides? I felt him pacing. He needed me to leave. I needed to wake up. Finally, I twisted the headlamps on. I’m going, I’m going.
My last sight was of he and she entering the courtyard with the dog.
I eased the car up Roosevelt, down the boulevard, across Hempstead, down Chester, over onto my street, and back to the house. Bob was confused. He was used to staying the night. He was happy to be asleep on top of him. Why are we here?
I wasn’t expecting to be there when this day came, but I’m glad he wasn’t alone when she appeared. That’s the heaviest strike one woman can lay upon another without touching; face-to-face with the physical embodiment of his moving on.
Original Post Date August 28, 2013 at 11:46 AM
How can an author date when she works in solitude? Use an online dating site, of course! This is part one of a two part observation on dating in the digital age.
I toil daily at refining my manuscript for your future enjoyment. Hours and hours on the computer, who has time to socialize? But the reality of it is, too much seclusion can negatively impact the quality of your art, unless you intend to pull a Secret Window.
So I decided, okay, let’s consider our options here. Nightclubs? The whole Skrillex, Deadmau5 movement literally makes me want to rip my head apart. How does one dance to bandsaw passing through corrugated metal? No go there. Pubs are cool, but I’m not that much of a drinker anymore. In the last two years, I’ve lost a considerable amount of weight. I shouldn’t drink more than two Guinnesses…Guinnei?…in one outing. So that’s out too.
I crowdsourced my friends for their experiences with dating sites. They warned, it is like a second job. The girls had their opinions, but everyone said the same thing: you don’t know if it’ll work unless you try it. So I did. I invested in a 3 month membership, starting Father’s Day weekend, naturally, as it’s the one time of year men with children are reminded of their status with women. I launched my profile and let it sail the uncharted waters.
For the statisticians in the room, here’s the figures: for the 71 days my profile was live, it was viewed 2090 times. Of those instances, I received 86 personal acknowledgments. From those 86, I went on six dates. For the demographers in the room, here’s your variables on the dates: age range 40-57, median age 42. Five Americans, one National (European). There’s your quantitative data.
Qualitative was eye-opening. I figured by engaging more established members of society I could avoid the gawky, vacuous, perverse expressions of the guys I messed around with prior to joining the dating site. I also figured, because they’re advanced in their professions, and most had children in their teens and 20s, these guys are more confident than the lower minded guys who are just gunning for you to touch their peapod.
With a large, pained sigh I announce that touch my peapod! is a universal truth. It occupies the mind of the fisherman, the attorney, the janitor, the engineer, the city administrator. Touch my peapod! Chris Rock was so right.
I can’t be upset with these guys, because they have plenty of women at their fingertips who are on that touch my peapod! as well (Think about a peapod. Closed peapod. Open peapod. Yup, you got it. You’re welcome). I went out with an associate a few months ago and was horrified to watch her straddle the first man who acknowledged her and let him grope her breasts. We were less than an hour into our evening. How am I supposed to look appealing next to that?
My problem was, I was using this dating site as a conduit towards similarly educated, similarly inspired, similarly driven individuals of the opposite sex. Silly me.
Want specifics? Click on:
Original Post Date September 04, 2013 at 11:53 AM
This is part two of a two part observation on dating in the digital age. Von throws caution in the wind, only to get regret tossed back.
While online dating offers an organized approach to matchmaking, ya gotta be spontaneous every once in a while! After all, it’s called a leap of faith, not a hushed tip toe of faith. “M”’s profile described him as a musician. Seemed real chill. So I thought, let me accept his random invitation to hang out. I asked, where to? He said, let me get back to you on that. I want to make it reallyspecial.
He chose Ringside Cafe at 7pm. A quarter til, I sent the obligatory ‘on my way’ message. I’m cutting across 22nd Ave N towards 4th when I get this text: meet at 730? I respond, sure. Already en route, I continue towards the venue and park. He sends another text. Make it 8pm? I offer to reschedule the date. He insists, no, I’ll be there, we’ll have a great time. Fine.
You remember my two beer an outing rule?
It’s 720 and I find a pocket at the bar. I order Guinness Number One.
“Oh great, this one’s gonna talk my ear off,” a voice beside me teases to one of the bartenders. I look over at the red nosed, barrel chested man introduced as “D” working down a lager. Another text from M: waiting on a cab. I share with D I’m waiting on my date. He gives me a look that is best described as salacious.
A familiar face approached my left. I gave M an embrace and noticed his blue eyes were black. He wore a cheesy grin across his face. I scanned his chosen ensemble for the evening: flip flops, cargo shorts, ironic T-shirt. Argh. D makes an offhanded comment about my date finally arriving. M orders a beer and I order Guinness Number Two.
M and I enter into an exchange about music. I feel a tap against my right shoulder. D suggested I order food while the kitchen was open. Thanks for the heads up? I turn back to my date, and his face was demonic. I ask if he’s okay, and he shifted back to stoner angelic, saying no, nothing’s wrong, you hungry? You wanna eat? Anything you want honey.
As soon as M left for the restroom, D launched into colorful commentary. Damn girl! You had to walk in here with that dress on. How’s that date going? I’m retired Navy. I’m a Seabee, you know what that means? I was in Afghanistan. I’ma give you my number and we’re gonna go out. Not if you’re wearing that dress, don’t think we’re leaving the house!
With D, it’s not touch my peapod. It’s here’s my peapod.
With impressive timing, the house band segued into “Ain’t That Lonely Yet.” I sang along and caught M smiling towards me, but his eyes were over my shoulder. I ‘m compelled to look over at what M’s scowling at, and realized D’s talking to him. I catch D emphasizing, I’ve been to war, buddy, I’ve seen some ish.
M, would you like to move?
No honey. I’m fine.
M stopped listening to the band a while ago. He stopped being on a date a while ago. He was clearly needing D to make one more comment so they could go at it. I decided to let the dogs bark, and ordered Guinness Number Three.