What Do I Do With That?!?!

Sitting around a table at a dive bar with two men, one of whom is young, and the other is a little older  than I am, the subject came around to dating, mostly discussing the young one’s dating life, because as he’s young and pretty, has the most active dating life at the table.  I made a comment about my lack of dating life, and how I’m cursed to always land in the friend zone no matter what, and this is where the unsolicited free advice started.

“I would argue that you get friend zoned because that’s where you put yourself,” said the young one.  And as I blinked at him, he added, “You’re a beautiful woman, and my guess is that you don’t believe that.”  He’s not wrong.  I don’t see myself that way.  Never have.  And again, before I could respond, he goes, “You’re really fun to be around and one of the most interesting people I’ve met, and so I think in order to not get friend zoned, you’re going to have to open yourself up more.”

As my best friend, the older, and wiser one at the table just cackled, I couldn’t help but squint at the young one, because these are almost the same verbatim words that my best friend has said to me on numerous occasions.  Additionally, getting this advice from a young man who has never even once made a pass in my direction, has no desire for anything other than friendship from me can sit there and so quickly and easily blame it all on my is a bit bizarre.

So, in finally finding my voice I say to the young one, “I agree.  You’re 100% right on all accounts.  The problem is, I have no idea how to do what you’re suggesting.”  And the quizzical look he gave me showed me he didn’t believe me.

I tried to explain to him that, the time in life that most people figure out how to maneuver dating is in high school.  That’s where you should be cutting your teeth on learning the dos and don’ts about navigating romance.  I, however, wasn’t given that option.  My mother had me programmed to never see myself as attractive.  And God help any boy who even remotely found me so, as she’d figure out a way to run them off.  Whether it was forcing me to break up with them once summer hit because, “I was too young for something that long and serious” or talking a boy into breaking up with me because “I needed to focus on school and not boys” or manipulating all of my guy friends to act as body guards to ensure that no other boy ever looked at me as anything more than a friend.  And when all of that is happening without your knowledge, you learn to see yourself as nothing more than the friend.

This has continued into my adult life.  I can be at a party, gathering, event with single men, and while they might enjoy talking to me, and might laugh at my wit, they never ask for my number before they leave.  They never want to get to know me better.  They never pursue me.  So, in explaining this to the young one, he blatantly says, “Yeah, but that’s because you don’t seem open to it.  You have a logical way of looking at the world, compartmentalizing everything into a neat little box, so you aren’t open to being pursued.”  My best friend adds, “They can see your ‘Keep Out’ sign that is tattooed on your forehead.

And I’m baffled.  What the fuck are they talking about?  I have no idea what they’re talking about.  I had no idea that’s how I am perceived.  When I meet new people, I always try to just ‘be myself’ and I’m now realizing, that in doing that, I’m some how also giving off an unavailable vibe.  And i have no idea how or why that’s happened, so with all this very honest advice that I’m getting, as I sat at that bar staring at them, all I could think was, “What do I do with that?!?  How do I fix a problem I don’t even know I have?”  It’s not that I don’t believe them.  I’m sure they’re right.  I’m sure they’re telling the truth.  But how the hell do I fix it because I don’t see it?

I have no idea how to do things differently.  I have no idea what personality traits I”m supposed to hide, or which ones to make bigger.  I have no idea how to navigate this in any way, shape or form.  Mostly because when I do meet a guy I find attractive, I do try to get to know him, but the way I do it always lands me in the friend zone, so in addition to not knowing how to be pursued, I clearly don’t know how to pursue either.

And it occurred to me.  How is this completely all on me?  How is there not a guy out there who would see past the ‘keep out sign’ that is supposedly on my forehead? Back in the day, I’ve learned since my mother died, there were quite a few guys who wanted to pursue me, but didn’t for either fear of my mother or fear of my friends.  As an adult, only two men dared try to be with me, both not giving a crap about my mother’s tactics to run them off, but i was too obedient to choose them over her once the ultimatum was thrown down by her.

It’s been almost 24 hours since all this truth was laid at my feet, and still, I have no idea how to fix this problem.  No idea how to ‘be more open’.  No clue whatsoever.  Perhaps the curse of the friend zone is my fault.  But since I don’t know how to fix it, I guess it’s just going to have to stay as it is for now.  Maybe an epiphany will come to me.  Although, it does suck that being myself isn’t enough.  It does suck that who I am, who I know myself to be, and the things I like about myself aren’t enough.  That I somehow now have to figure out some way to be more.  I don’t know that I want to do that.  But I don’t want to be alone forever, either.

No breadcrumb, this time, sadly.  Instead, I fear this conversation and the emotions and frustrations that have come from it have led me down a new path of self evaluation that is taking me further away from the life I’m meant to have.  I probably should stop this path, and just go back…but I don’t know that I can just ignore it now that it’s out there.  Truth. What do I do with that?

I have no idea….

Ciao for now,

M

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Epiphany!

Anyone who knows me knows that I can’t play games.  Not at all.  I can’t play sports, I can’t play board games, I can’t play card games, and I sure as hell can’t play video games.  And this isn’t for the reason you might think.  It’s not because I’m not coordinated, because I’m very coordinated.  It’s not because I don’t know how to win, because I do.  It’s not because I suck at these things, because I don’t.  I do, however, have a chemical imbalance when it comes to games that manifests itself in the most competitive energy ever, and it’s zero fun for any who encounter it.

As a child, the competitive streak served me well as a gymnast.  My ridiculous intensity allowed me to push myself a lot hard than any coach could push.  It also helped in school.  My complete obsession with being first in my class had me making As without having to be pushed by my teachers or my mother.  And as I got older, the goal of college, and going to the best school possible kept me focused and unphased by the normal things that distract teenagers.  This intensity, however, became zero fun whenever a ‘friendly’ game of anything came into play.  I don’t do ‘friendly’ competition.  No idea how to do it.  I don’t only want to win, because the win is the goal of course, but what feeds the competitive beast inside me is the annihilating you on the way to my win.  I want to destroy my opponent at all cost.  I want you crying, bleeding on the ground before I claim my victory.  Had I been a boy, this would have served me well in sports, I think, but being a girl, it was less than attractive.  A trait often pointed out by my mother as she tried to cure me of this competitive affliction.

One of my first memories is playing red light/green light with friends around the age of 5 or 6 and being so intense, and so intent on destroying them on the way to my win, and having my mother jerk me into the house and sitting me in a corner because, if I couldn’t play nice, then I wouldn’t play.  I wasn’t phased by this.  It got worse as I quit gymnastics and tried to play school sports.  My softball team, comprised of tween girls, mostly interested in how cute they looked in their uniforms as opposed to actually winning a game. Their lack of giving 100%, as I was, made me insane.  God forbid I struck out at the plate during softball, I’d come back, throw my bat, throw my helmet, and immediately incur the wrath of my mother. She didn’t understand this wasn’t something I could control.  I didn’t understand my peers, and how they could care less whether we destroyed our opponents or not.  And it drove me insane!  I quit playing because I couldn’t take their pacifying nature.

This fixation during games continued through high school and in to my first year of college.  And when my sorority played a ‘flag’ football game against another house during a charity game, I hit a tri-delt so hard, I knocked her out.  My intensity had actually hurt someone, and it woke me up, and in that moment I vowed to not play games any longer, since I couldn’t control my intensity and my rage.

Over the years after that, friends would often try to get me to play games.  Mostly board or card games, or invite me for game nights, and I’d go, and not want to play, and that makes other people very uncomfortable.  They don’t believe me when I tell them that my playing is disastrous.  One friend in particular pushed and pushed, and i finally decided to play scrabble, and when he got a huge scoring word, I may or may not have flipped the board up and at him, Teresa Guidice style!

As an adult, this plagues me.  I want to be able to play games with people, I want to be able to  play games with friends.  I want to just enjoy a friendly game of anything for once in my life, but I am incapable, and it’s so frustrating to not understand why I’m the way I am.  I’ve talked to a shrink about this, and after careful examination, it was deemed that this is just my wiring, and the healthiest choice I can make is to not play.  So that’s what I’ve done.  But that explanation never really helped me or satiated me.

The other night, I spent the evening with my best friend and a new friend who was waxing philosophically about some advice his step-dad had given him when he was young, and said that sometimes in life you play games for the joy of the game (a concept I don’t even remotely understand) and that sometimes you play games like you’re in prison.  Because in prison, you play to survive.  And the minute those words left his mouth, it felt as if he was describing me, and I turned to my best friend and said, “And I’ve always been in prison.”  And we had a silent moment and that epiphany hit me.

And I’ve always been in prison!

My beautiful pictureMy home town, if you’ve read my earlier blog posts, you know never felt like home to me.  I’ve said my whole life that I hate that place.  I ran from it at 18 as fast as I could to get to college.  But never did I register that I was in prison in that town.  The childhood I had was full of people at my house all the time, watching my every move.  These same friends, so connected to my mother, that I couldn’t make a move without one of them ratting me out.  She was my warden.  I was rapunzel in the tower.  I was always in prison.  I was never comfortable at home.  I hated coming home to that house.  I hated the neighborhood, I hated everything, and I see that, it was a type of prison for me.

It wasn’t a malicious thing, but it was a thing, and my survival instincts to survive that incarceration was to be the best I could possibly be so that somehow, one of my talents could get me out of there!  And when I went off to college, I really wasn’t free.  I was still on probation, having to check in with the warden daily.  And when the warden got sick, I was yanked back into the tower for another six year sentence.

With no control on that environment, with feeling like my life wasn’t my own, the one thing I could control was whether I was the best at what I pursued or not.  I was always in prison.  My new friend’s words hit me like a freight train, and the honesty of it overwhelmed me.  I’ve been having dreams that my mother is not dead, and that I have to go back to the tower, and I’ve been sleeping horribly.  After this epiphany, I went home, cried an unbelievably cleansing cry and slept peacefully the whole night through and woke up lighter emotionally than I’ve ever been in my life.  It might sound overdramatic, but with those words, this person, practically a stranger to me, changed my life.  Thank you, Zak, I’ll be forever grateful!

I woke up in the morning to this horoscope:

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And even the universe was letting me know that the right words had hit my existence, and that I should trust them and move forward!

Tears are falling as I type this, but not tears of sadness.  They are tears of freedom!  I am no longer in that tower.  Rapunzel has been let out, and has not been stepped on by the giant, and now, she now controls her own life and her own destiny.  She has no obligations except to herself!

So maybe, now, just maybe, I can release my choke hold on my need to dominate in a  competitive situation, and can just play for the joy of the game…..perhaps, indeed.

Ciao for now,

M

Don’t Be Needy! Or Do?

I’ve never thought this was a true statement: needy For me it was a punchline.  I hate, loathe, despise, and abominate needy women.  I find them pathetic, and useless, I mean, come on!  Stand on your own two feet!  Why do you NEED a man so desperately?  I have worked very hard to be a woman who would never be desperate or needy.  And I’ve unbelievably succeeded. However, the men I’ve met recently have all had the same constructive criticism on my personality:  we don’t work because you don’t need me.  WTF?

I wrote, earlier this year, in a post here called “I Can Do It Myself!” about an ex-boyfriend of mine who started this whole “you aren’t needy enough” bs line with me.  The excerpt said:

…He dated a woman after me, and even proposed to her.  They had decided to take a break, and he and I became good friends.  Platonic, good friends.  And one day I asked him why, through all the ups and downs with the woman after me, why would he put so much effort into her, when after we broke up, he wouldn’t even give me a second chance.  He, being the cowboy that he is said, “M, it’s like having two horses in a pasture.  One is stunning, and healthy, and independent, and sure, she likes it when you’re around, but she can find her own food, her own shelter, and she can take care of herself.  She doesn’t need me.  The other one, well, she’s got health issues, and she’s a little scared of life, and she’s more fragile, and she depends on me for food and shelter, and needs me to take care of her.  Which horse do you think will get more of my attention?”  He said it so matter of factly, I didn’t know what to say.  And I always know what to say.  I didn’t that day. So, what do I do?  Do I start being more needy?  

Do I have to erase this independent, take care of myself attitude in order to be cared for?  Maybe.

The reason I bring this back up, is I’ve been watching quite a few relationships that my friends are in lately, and they are all with needy women.  Seriously needy women.  And they fight for these women.  Put up with these women.  Do friggin everything for these women.  And these men are some of the most amazing men i’ve ever met.  And yet, I’m always single.  So, it made me wonder, are desperation and neediness attractive qualities and no one told me?  Do I need to be needy in order to have a man in my life? Why, when I feel like I’m so giving, loving, and stable, am I always alone.  Yet women who I see that are bat shit crazy, needy, manipulative, and even go so far as to use sex as a weapon, why do they always have men in their lives.  Is this really who I need to be to attract a mate in 2014?

Are there men out there who want a strong, independent woman?  Are there men out there who want a partner/lover/best friend all rolled into one and not a grown child they have to take care of because she has daddy issues?  Are there men who want a drama free relationship, or do they actually like the drama as much as the women like to create it?  I suddenly find myself silently singing the anthem from Footloose that the amazing Bonnie Tyler gave us waaaay back in the 80s.

Cuz where have all the good men gone, and where are all the gods?  Where’s the streetwise Hercules to fight the rising odds?  Isn’t there a white knight upon a fiery steed?  Late at night I toss and I turn and I dream of what I need!   Oh, sing it ladies:

Where the hell is my hero? Wait, I just re-listened to that song and watched the video.  She’s totally the damsel in distress.  Ugh.  Apparently needy is in.  So where does that leave me? I’ll be pondering this one for a while.

Ciao for now,

M

What’s in the darkness??

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As February begins, I realize that blogging is something that makes me truly happy.  I truly enjoy sitting down to write about my thoughts for the day.  To tell the story of me in that moment, if you will.  And low and behold, there is a wonderful blog created on wordpress with daily challenges.  Check it out:  Weekly Writing Challenge.  And today, one of those photos in their challenge moved me.  So, challenge accepted!

The picture above, well, let’s just add it again, shall we?  This picture, now below, is a snapshot Image of where i am in my life right now.  I’m standing still in an opening.  What’s behind me, we can’t see.  And that’s because the past is in the past and doesn’t matter any longer.  Ahead of me looks to be pathways of light off on adjacent paths, whereas the path in front of me is filled with a darkness that I must enter if I want to stay on this path.  Yeah, this picture may as well have been snapped inside my soul.

Where do I want to go?  Stay on my path that I’ve chosen for 2014 and forge on, straight ahead?  Even if it means into darkness?  And what is that darkness exactly?  Does darkness always have to be a metaphor for ‘bad’ or ‘wrong’ or ‘scary’ or ‘dangerous’?  Not for me it doesn’t.  In fact, I look at that darkness as an escape!  An escape from the constant need to have every single moment of my life planned out and controlled.  To walk, confidently, into the unknown and trust, yes, trust that taking a chance on something you’ve never done that has neither security nor promise of success, both of which you’ve had no choice but to pursue for 15 long years.

The light off to the side is enticing, isn’t it?  That just a few steps, and take a hard left, and out into the sunlight you go. Safe. Secure. Easily seen.  Key word there, being ‘easily.’ I’m tired of easy.  I’m tired of safe. I am ready, craving, no starving for the path less traveled.  To find out what I could be if I just took a leap of faith.

To quote from Robin Williams from Dead Poets Society:

To quote from Whitman, “O me! O life!… of the questions of these recurring; of the endless trains of the faithless… of cities filled with the foolish; what good amid these, O me, O life?” Answer: that you are here; that life exists, and identity; that the powerful play goes on and you may contribute a verse; that the powerful play goes on and you may contribute a verse. What will your verse be?”

What will my verse be?  What will my verse be? Will I find it in the light?  Will I find it in the safe?  Will i find it in the known?  Have I already written it?  Dear God and all that is holy, I hope not.  I hope my verse is yet to be written.  I look ahead, into this photo, and I hear my braver self talking to me, and she says, “No.  No, M, it’s not in the light.  It’s in there.  It’s straight ahead into the unknown.  It’s forward, the movement you’ve been prevented from taking for 15 long years, and now, now you’re free to move in any direction you like.  Go forward, M.  Go forward.  Just take that first step.  Embrace the fear.  Embrace the dark.  Make your own destiny!”

And that’s the key for me.  Destiny.  Fate.  Il Destino!  I thought my fate had been sealed the day my mother got sick, and I made the choice to give up my dreams for daughterly responsibility.  And when her illness went on, year after year, with no end in sight, I figured my fate had been set.  In fact, it occurs to me, as I look at this picture, that if I’d been shown this picture a year ago, I’d have seen that place as a sad empty place with only more darkness at the end.  Perspective is a funny thing, isn’t it?  Isn’t it interesting how life events will change your perspective on a static object?  In July, my mother passed on, and I began the slow painful process of laying her to rest and finalizing her affairs so that I can get on with my life.

Although, as my main blog Who Ate My Breadcrumbs? explains, I am so far removed from the path I originally set for myself, I need to find my way back.  Although, it’s as if, along the way, someone ate my breadcrumbs!  My way back is not clear.  So, when you don’t know which direction to go, the best thing to do is stand still. Take a look around. Make your next move with confidence.  With determination.  And that’s where I’m at right now.  I’m trying to find my way out of the place my dutiful nature took me.  I need to find my dreams again; find my hope again.  And so, that is what this picture represents to me: Hope.

I vow to myself to remember that, while the journey is important, the destination must be a factor also.  Though I don’t know for sure the specifics of my destination, I know that I want it to have the following:

  • Love
  • Writing
  • Art
  • Adventure

In that order!  And it’s a new concept for me to think about finding all that in a place I’ve never looked before.  A place I’d never dare to look before while in my cage of daughterly duty.  But, the cage has been placed outside, and I’m mere months away from being able to open the door and fly into the unknown with bliss and un-abandon!  I’m terrified to do this.  But with that terror comes excitement.  And every day I get closer to tying up that last loose end, when I can take my first step towards my new life, and it’s exhilarating.

Join me on my journey into the fascinating darkness of unknown and watch as I discover what is really inside the unknown waiting for me.

Ciao for now,

M