Purposefully Seeking OCD

I’m going to admit something.. you probably already know, but something I’ve kept hidden from myself. Its how I process, I know this.. I just… well.. its hard to see what you’re hiding from yourself, because… well.. you’re hiding it from yourself.

See how that works?

I’ve been trying to re-build my life for years, with the most progress happening this last year since the divorce. I may or may not have had a “breakdown” years ago. Its hard to say, and never was diagnosed. But looking back, I have to wonder.

All I know is that somewhere along the way, I forgot how to be a functional human being. I honestly blame my ex, but in reality I should blame myself. I stayed where I should have fled.

I’m discovering little things on my road back to humanity. I forgot what it was like to take joy in doing something for absolutely no reason other than I wanted to. I forgot what it was like to actually get a real paycheck for real services rendered. I forgot that pride.

People used to call me “Monica”.. remember Monica from friends.. she was OCD, reserved, a great cook. Everything had its place. It drove her crazy when something wasn’t where it belonged.

Thats how I used to be. Seriously. Everything had its place. Somehow during the battle with my ex (who believed that everything went wherever he decided to leave it, and that fairies would move it back to its spot), up until even today, that particular OCD has gone away. (not fully, but for the most part yes.)

I was actually having a conversation with my best friend where she began to talk about how she now has my OCD… well not exactly, she’s much more of a clean-freak than I ever was. I started looking around my apartment and realized that.. I no longer have any of the “functional” parts of my OCD.

Seriously, its like apathy has taken over OCD. Like I am (was) functioning defeated. Like I’d given up.

So I’ve decided that I’m going to get it back. I’m happier with things in their place. I’m happier with a cleaner/neater apartment.

And so, I’ve been slowly digging myself out of this hole I’ve built. I can almost see my dining room table again.

I’m making a new list of “rules” and will be practicing doing them until I get back to where I was… ok maybe not the insane OCD crap.. but functional. Where I can have someone over maybe without saying “Oh, umm.. just close your eyes.”

(Btw, I have managed to rid myself of my “I need this” hoarding OCD, which I am not seeking to take up again. Thanks but that’s one I can do just fine without.)

**** For you that are grossing yourselves out with your imaginations, please understand that my mess is clean mess. I don’t have left over food containers all over, or crumbs everywhere. Its just old things to get rid of, papers to file, clothes to give to goodwill.. and some canned goods to put away.

Advertisements

The Bad Good Boy

If you remember, I posted about my adventure with Hock a week or so ago, and I mentioned that I thought he was a relationship guy and that he had some kind pain or trauma he was hiding.

He does. I asked him about it actually. One of those dreaded.. “Why are you single?” questions.

A few months ago, he got out of a bad relationship. He now wants to be a bad boy and get out there and just have some fun.

Picturing him as a bad boy cracks me up. Hilarious.

He was honest with me about not wanting to date, and to be honest after the whole Luke thing, not dating never sounded so good. So we had a good chat about how neither of us is wanting to date right now.

He has yet to ask me about myself btw. Which I find strange and yet comforting. I hate talking about me (I know you don’t believe me) and its oddly comforting that he seems to care less about my past. Meaning that with him I can completely escape and be whomever I want to be.

Maybe Cleopatra.. Hmmm…

A few days later, he sent me an invite to a party he’s throwing that some of our mutual friends are going to as well. Its not a date.. just an invite.

I haven’t decided yet if I’m going to go. There’s a $18 fee to get in, which he didn’t offer to pay, and I’m not sure I can afford (or should afford?) right now.  I don’t really want him to pay either, as then it would feel like a date and I’m sure my anti-dating anxiety would get started.. it would change the entire tone of the event.

So I may go.. or I may not. I just don’t know. But it is nice that he wants to see me.

Freedom Party 2009

Last night started out depressing.  Sure sure I set it up last minute because I’d just remembered the day before what day yesterday was. Next year, I’ll plan better.

The whole “party” idea started the day before last as I admitted to Evie on the phone that December 1st was the one year anniversary of my “singleness”.  She said that we needed to celebrate.  Needed… HAD to celebrate. She insisted. I was perfectly fine just being happy I was single, but she insisted that we mark the occasion.

So all monday night I thought about what I wanted to do, asked around about who had the best happy hours, and planned on calling places yesterday morning to find out the exact happy hour things and reserve tables etc.

I woke up yesterday morning, freezing. I was cold and did not.. NOT want to get out of bed. I did get out of bed only to find that it was 45 degrees and raining. I did not feel like going anywhere, or drinking, or barhopping. But I’d promised Evie I would do something.

So I instead planned a calm evening. 6:30pm Dinner at Panera (where they have hot tea, and hot soups) and maybe a few card games or board games. Something chilling with friends. Easy. Warm. No Stress.

I post it for everyone to see, especially for my friends. I invite a group I organize, as well as anywhere else that comes to mind where Austinites might find it. I have no problems meeting strangers. I give out my phone# and email, so people can contact me to let me know to expect them or not.

Evie says she’s coming, because she promised. So when I didn’t hear from anyone all day except a few “I already have plans” or “I can’t make it”, I figured we’d just have a calm girl’s night.

About 5:30pm I get a text from a girl that I wasn’t sure I liked. We’d met before but she always seemed a little “too nice” to me which makes me uncomfortable. She was coming.  Well at least there’d be Evie to buffer, so ok we might still have fun.

At 5:45pm, Gety calls. She goes through this entire monologue about getting off at 5pm and not wanting to go home because if she goes home she’ll just stay there, so she got groceries. She picks up refrigerated stuff, so she has to go home anyway. (Even though I tell her its cold enough to just let it sit in her car) She probably won’t make it because once she’s home she probably won’t go back out. Uh huh, ok. I’m still a little skittish on her anyway from our last outing so I’m not that upset.

While I’m talking to Gety, Evie txts me to ask if I’d forgive her if she bailed. She got her period and has cramps.. blah blah blah. I told her I of course would forgive her… in a way that also said “I’m pissed at you”.

“Well you all can come over here.”

Honey if you’re well enough to host, you’re well enough to come to f’n Panera.  I told her I’d pick her up, trying to be nice and not wanting to spend the night alone with Overly-friendly girl. She asked how long I’d stay, and whatnot.  She then said she just couldn’t make it. She was already in her PJ’s, but again pleaded that we all “just come over to her place.” It was all I could do not to say “F U” and so I just didn’t respond. My mother’s “say something nice or say nothing at all” kicked in.

So I headed to Panera with a deck of cards, and a growing sense of defeat.  I was still pumped that it was “Freedom Day”, don’t get me wrong, but I was less than impressed with my friends.

I get there, order, and pick out a good spot and wait for Overly-Friendly Girl. Shortly she arrives. Breezes in actually, and she smiles an infectiously happy smile.  She doesn’t even seem disappointed that its just the two of us, and I realize that I’m the one with the problem.

I realize that I should be happy that I’m not alone. I’ve got Freedom to celebrate, and someone came who actually was happy to see me. That rocks!  Her happy spirit picked up mine, and we had a great chat.

We’d just finished eating and a gentleman came over.

“Are you Maruska?”

I looked at him stunned. I’d checked my phone just before Overly-Friendly Girl arrived. No emails or txts that anyone else was coming. I didn’t recognize this guy from anywhere, so I was pretty sure it wasn’t some kind of “fan” who just happened to run into me.

“yes…umm?” I replied hesitantly.

He quickly said he’d come to join us, and apologized for being late. Though OFG  and I were having a great conversation, I thought it was great someone else had come. I just wished he’d have given me a little heads up.

He turned out to be a great addition. We talked about lots of things, even African politics. OFG is an import from South Africa. I actually learned more about African politics and economics than I’ve ever known.  It was a good time.

After he finished eating, I broke out the cards. Funny enough neither of them had ever heard of or played “Go Fish”, so we played a game of that. Then we moved on to Rummy. We were having a blast when I got a text message from Chrissy.

“I just got off work. Are you still at Panera?”

Chrissy had to work late and so had previously cancelled, but had really wanted to come.  I told her we were there playing some cards. She said she’d be right there.

She arrives and hands me a coupon. Funny enough she just took a job working at my favorite clothing store for some extra cash, and as a benefit of her job got coupons to hand out to her friends for a 40% discount (her employee discount) on anything in the store. Totally loving her! Happy Freedom Day to me!

The four of us spent the remainder of the night talking about dating. Do’s, Don’ts, and Run like the Wind.  I felt a little sorry for Al (the one guy), but I think he came away with a much better understanding of women, and we got him to voice his male opinion on a couple topics as well.

OFG (she’s actually really cool, so I should give her a real name someday like Lynette), Chrissy, and I are all single and all relatively newly single.  We’ll probably be spending a whole lot more time together.

So maybe I should be glad everyone else bailed. 🙂

PS.. Chrissy and I talked a bit after everyone left. I was asking her to go to the art museum with me on Friday and asked her to not invite Jessie.  She said that wouldn’t be a problem. Evidently on Saturday night (Suburban Clubbing), Jessie had flirted with, hotmama-danced with, and in all other ways attempted to steal Chrissy’s new boyfriend.  Both the boyfriend and Jessie are knee-deep in hot water.  Go Chrissy Go!

Somethings Are Better Left Alone

I got a call yesterday from an old friend. You could I suppose call him a “non-date dating” friend, or a backup boyfriend… or .. well a lot of things. Technically he’s an ex-boyfriend, but our actual dating was so brief it hardly requires mentioning.

 

I hadn’t heard from him in months. Many many months.  Actually the last time we’d talked I was still in the process of divorce, and had just recently began speaking again.

 

We didn’t stop talking just because I got married, though it had a part in it. It’s more that he has always been my achilles heel, and yet I know if I really needed anything he’d bend over backward to help.  But let me explain.

 

We’d been friends and online pals for years. We ran in the same online social circle, and had many people in common.  He was strong and demanding, yet sweet and loving.. A lion, yet a teddybear.  I fell in deep like.  I loved being around him. But since he’d never seemed to return more than a friends-vibe, I did nothing about it.

 

We would flirt all the time.  We’d joke. We’d talk. He became my advisor, and he was one of the very few men in our circle that never made me his advisor.  I felt safe and comfortable with him, like nothing could ever hurt me. He wouldn’t let it.

 

At the same time though, he would admonish me on my faults. Point out things I needed to work on. At the time, I believed him. I trusted him. I loved him.  In many ways he was right, but he also put me in a constant state of adoring him and feeling unworthy to do so.  He preyed on my weakness of giving, and gave just enough to convince me to give more.

 

Then we dated. I was single, and suddenly he was single at the same time.  I’d just gotten out of a very traumatic breakup, and with his manipulations, he was the only man for me.  I fell very deep in love, need, and want with him.  We lasted two weeks, from first kiss to last.  Just long enough for us to have sex, then he disappeared and wouldn’t return my calls.

 

To say I was devastated would be kind.

 

It was just over 3 yrs before Luke resurfaced. I’d just gotten married the year before, and thought it hilarious that now that I was married Luke would show up. I called him many names in my mind, but he didn’t know, until I told him, that I was married.

 

He’d wished me much happiness and apologized for hurting me. He had gotten back together with his ex and didn’t have the balls to tell me.  I told him he was the biggest asshole ever, and hung up.  But he called back, and soon I was under his spell again.  My marriage was not going well, and I should have gotten out back then, but I didn’t.

 

He counseled me on my marriage, on what to do, what not to do.. what I needed to improve in myself.  He left me in knots so big that a friend of mine insisted that I stop talking to him. I didn’t right away, but a week later when the same friend said “Stop talking to him, or stop talking to me.”  I stopped all contact with Luke.

 

I’d never done anything like that before. It wouldn’t have even dawned on me to shut out a friend.  It was one of the best things I’ve ever done, and my friend who “made” me do it is one of the best friends I’ve ever had.

 

About 3 months later, I snuck in a conversation, and saw for myself just how controlling Luke was. Then I didn’t speak to, look at, hear from, or even read an email about Luke for 4 yrs. Then my ex-husband walked out, and I called everyone of my contacts looking for solace. I called Luke.

 

His voice was the same. His laugh was the same. But there was something fundamentally different. He wasn’t trying to control me.  Not even an ounce of it. The conversation was peaceful, uplifting, and friendly.  It was my old friend without the torture. It was amazing.

 

We talked again a few months later.  Then again yesterday.  He really is now the man that I delusionally thought he was back then.  It was good see him change.

 

But I’m a different me now as well.  I’m no longer the massive people pleaser that I once was. I’m not the weak desperate tortured soul either. I’m no longer the masochist for love that I used to be. While I’ve always been independent, I’ve never been this independent of mind.  Its a good feeling. A good growth.

 

In some ways, its tempting to pursue something with Luke now that he’s the man he is today.  But my mind still remembers the man that he was, the man he’s still capable of reverting to.. and I keep my distance.  A few thousand miles also helps.

Happily Non-Committed

I’m in a silly mood today.  I assume after yesterday’s emotional travel back in time, that I’m rebelling and being cheerful. Whatever.

 

I woke up today with a big “I don’t care what you think” world attitude and a smile on my face.

 

I keep thinking that I’ve healed from my divorce. Honestly, I much more healed than most of my fellow divorcees of similar time lapses.. but I also see so much more to go for me.

 

Which might be why I’ve backed off dating. Or might be because I’ve yet to meet someone (other than Don) that really got me thinking about what I’m missing.

 

For the most part, I could care less if I have a boyfriend.  I don’t need one. I’m not desperate. Sure regular sex would be great, someone to go to parties with me, a snuggle partner for movies… or even just someone to call 911 for me.

 

But with that always comes sacrifices. I’d have to shave my legs every day. I’d be required to go to things that they liked whether I liked it (its only fair). I might have to change the kind of sheets on the bed or put away a piece of artwork I currently love.  I may be encouraged to have longer or shorter hair, or to wear certain things. I might have to make choices between where I want to go, and where he might want to go.

 

While these are just general things that most people will willingly do to make their new partner feel loved or make themselves more attractive to them.. These are also things that I find myself still nearly breaking into hives at the mere thought.. of “Having to”.

 

I’m no where near ready to be saddled again or have any kind of restrictions on what I do or don’t do .. by anyone else but me.

 

I do know though that when I meet the right person these things that currently have me bordering on an anxiety attack, will merely be trifles. I’ve seen myself bordering on “love” recently and with that person these things would seem silly.  I have little problem giving up things or changing things to put someone important into my life.

 

And it is that particular trait in me that has lead me to where I am and my current anti-commitment anxiety. For me to embrace that giving side, I need to make sure that the person I’m taking a chance on is worth it and not just some passing fancy.

 

I know what I want, and this time I’m not settling for less.

 

So while I may spend today dateless, tomorrow dateless.. I’m ok with that. I’m very ok with that.  I’m me. I’m free. I’m happy with that!

Maruska, The Hermit

This last week was total hermitting.  Very much needed hermitting.

 

I am a dichotomy of introverted and extroverted, of social and anti-social. I have very strong needs for both.

 

Which is why when I do too much of one, I also go to the extremes of the other.

 

Thus after an extremely social week (almost week and half), I needed… NEEDED.. a week of nothing.

 

I literally only left my apt for groceries and getting the mail, with one exception which was business related.  I hermitted until Thursday when I ventured out to Panera and then went shoe shopping… if you can count a quick lunch at Panera and shoe shopping as unhermitting.. I still did them both alone. Happily alone I’ll add.

 

It wasn’t really until about 11pm Friday night that I even mildly got a hankering for company.  I didn’t really want to be social mind you, but I would have liked the company similar to that of a roomate.  No need for makeup or getting dressed up, you can lounge around in your way too old but comfy stained sweatshirt and relax. That is the kind of company I thought would be good, unfortunately I know no one in town that would fit that bill.

 

But it was a good week. A good chilling out, doing exactly nothing week, and I needed it.

Where Can I Meet Someone?

I’ve been asked several times or at least have heard it bandied about..

How do you meet so many men? Where can I meet someone to date?

Now I could merely say “Get Out There, baby!”, but thats a little condescendingly simple and not very helpful.  Having plenty of time to waste “getting out there” helps a lot, but not everyone has that time, and there is only so long you can put off doing laundry or housework in order to put yourself out there.

So putting yourself out there takes a little consideration or you’d just spend your time fruitlessly, which half the time even if you choose how to spend your time wisely it will still be fruitless. So heres a few tips on how to make the best of it.

When I first got separated, I joined a ton of groups of various interests. Being married for so long, you start to forget what it is that you really like yourself and what things you grew to like because of your spouse or other pressures. So I wanted to get out there, see things, and learn more about me.

It is in these groups that I am meeting most of the men that I meet.

However.. and I cannot stress this strong enough.. Never join a group with the expressed interest to meet men/women. Well unless its a singles group, and then thats kind of the purpose of the beast.

Only join groups in which you will have an interest that it shared with the other members. Join groups that you will find fun, educational, and interesting.  If you find a group that isn’t fun or interesting, quit it and find something more suited to you.

If I learned nothing else from my failed marriage, I learned this: Shared interests no matter how insignificant are key to developing relationship bonds.

Now if your only interests lie in things based in your own gender and you’re heterosexual, you may want to seek outside the box for groups.  (If you’re a girl and only interest is knitting, pretty sure most of the men you meet knitting won’t be interested in you.)

So seek out unisex interests like book clubs, wine lovers, beer lovers, art lovers, happy hour, writing groups, philosophy discussion, hiking groups.  Find something that you love and you’d love to share with your future partner.  Even if s/he isn’t at that group event, you’ll enjoy yourself and maybe learn something.

And it may seem overly obvious, but its very true, people are attracted to people having fun. So its essential that you can have fun at the group in itself.

Shared Interests groups are also awesome for one other reason. They have built in icebreakers. In writing groups..”What do you write?” or “What are you working on now?” or even a more forward “I’d love to see your work.”  In book clubs, you can ask their opinion on books. In alcohol lovers groups, you can ask what they’re drinking and what brands they enjoy. These groups make it much easier to start discussions.

Another plus to these groups is a key factor why often internet relationships fail. Mutual friends/aquantances.  If you go to a group often enough, you’ll make friends with the same people. You’ll get to know a prospective partner not only through your one on one conversations but how they react to others and how others react to them.  You’ll already have a base of friends in common to encourage you to work together.

It is also this base of mutual friends and the mutual love of the group that will keep both of you from moving too fast. You’ll get to know each other and have a better potential for a real relationship.

Other than joining groups, there are ways to meet people in other places, but its a little harder and you really have to keep your eyes open.  These other places also will hold much more rejection and less common ground. Please keep in mind that these are places to keep your eyes open, not places to stalk prey.  No one really wants to be prey. 🙂

Mailbox – If you live in a nice apt complex, time your mailbox visits to the time where the mailbox is the most busy thus giving you the chance to see your neighbors and maybe meet someone. (Do use caution with this one, since this person knows where you live, you’ll want to take things slow to make sure they’re not mentally ill or dangerous.)

Stores – Grocery stores, gas stations, etc.  If you see someone you like, take a chance and make conversation. They may be married or taken, but you won’t know if you don’t try.

Nights Out – Restaurants, bars, etc. Bars are the least likely places to meet someone for a real relationship, but its still a possibility. Restaurants aren’t bad places though. Once you get over 30, many established men eat out alone as they may not cook.

Then there is the infamous Online Dating .. and well most of us know way more than we’d like about that.

Damaged

I think I might be crazy. Really. Yesterday I had a relatively innocent conversation with a guy online and I started crying.  Not in a bad way, but in a relieved sort of way.

I looked back over the conversation later trying to find the point that set me off, and couldn’t find one.  It was simply just a regular conversation between two people talking about their lives, and briefly mentioning their divorces.

I think it was the briefly mentioning the divorces that got me initially. I rarely talk about my ex any more, and bringing up those memories tends to bring up some of my issues.

I remember we ended up talking about sex and how towards the end of his marriage he wasn’t getting any. (He wasn’t mentioning it in a creepy I need sex kinda way, but in a discussion about how dating has changed it was a brief mention) So I mentioned that I understood it since the last 4 yrs of my marriage was completely sexless.

Looking back, I can’t believe I went that long without sex as if it was just something normal.  I’d accepted it as part of my life and how my marriage just was.  It wasn’t my decision really, but something that just developed because of unresolved issues on his part.

It wasn’t until we separated that I started to truly grasp just how messed up all that time had made me. How much I’d sacrificed needlessly. How much of myself I’d shut down and turned off. I was a husk of a woman really.

Talking to this gentleman about it, even ever so briefly, brought back to mind all those emotions and feelings.. and even the slightest thought that someone somewhere might actually understand what I went through.. thats when the tears let loose.

Its just one of the things I gave up for my marriage.. just one.  Is it any wonder that when people try to get me to give up anything now that I run like the wind?

I’ve actually met some great guys, but they all want me to change something, or give something or compromise something. Whether its give up too much of my free time, or be free whenever they think I should, or dress a certain way, or grow my hair out, or cut my hair, or get a tan, or simply paint my toenails a different color.. it doesn’t matter.  The minute I feel constricted is the minute I want out.

I’ve tasted freedom, and I like it. I like it a lot!

Bringing Back Sexy

It’s been quiet here for a few days hasn’t it?  I apologize. Well, not really, because I was off having tons of fun.

My best friend from college came to visit, and it seems we tried to relive our college days.  We drank, and we drank.  We chatted up hot men, and drank.  We went to parties, and drank.

It’s actually come to a point where if I see alcohol, I get a little nauseated.

Things I learned:

1. I’m not that young anymore.

2. My liver is not that young anymore.

3. Being sick the next day is not worth it.

4. Sleep, and lots of it, is essential for mine (and others) well-being.

5. (repeat 1-4 until lesson is learned)

Now besides being sick all weekend with self-induced madness, we did have a ton of fun.  But there was one more thing that I learned.

I’ve been out of the dating game too long.

While I learned a lot of things from my marriage and divorce, the 8 years of commitment to one person also took a toll on my skills.  Dating skills it seems, if you don’t use them, you lose them.

My best friend has always been single.  Sure she’s had her short bouts of committed dating relationships, but she’s never been married or in anything that long term.  When we were in college, I would run circles around her in the “chatting up guys” department.  Now, she’s had all these years to hone her approach, while I’ve been out of the loop.

She was fantastic.  Her courage amazing.  She would flirt with abandon with men she liked. If they took too long to ask her to dance, she’d ask them.  I honestly was so awestruck that mostly I just sat there and watched.

As I watched her, I realized just how much of that I’d lost.  The confidence, gone. Sure I’m much more self-confident than I ever have been, but confidence in approaching strange men for dances has been obliterated.

My former ability to flirt casually with just the right amount of wit, sexy, and sweet, has wilted into a small pile of silliness and friendship.  While silliness and friendship worked well for me while I was married, its the “bringing the sexy back” that is truly the hardest part.

When you’re married, you’re not supposed to flirt sexy with strange men.  You can flirt sexy with your spouse, or joke sexy with others that know you’re married and joking, but you can’t just flirt all sexy with random strangers (or you shouldn’t anyway). First I have to allow myself to “bring back the sexy” before I can truly re-master the skill.

It’s been getting out of this mindset of “couple” and truly and fully into the mindset of single.. that has shown me just how difficult this process is.  Every day is a new step into being fully and truly single, I wonder when the process will be complete?

It’s All Mine.

I am shopping for a new bed.  I am single. I have some money of my own. I don’t need to ask permission or input from anyone.

Now, while I know that, I keep finding myself asking around “Which do you like better?”

These old habits are hard to break.  Throughout the years, from my mother, to my sisters, to friends, to boyfriends, to a husband, I’ve always taken everyone’s opinion, thoughts, emotions, etc. into account when doing anything (well almost anything).  So much so, that by the time I reached 30, I wasn’t really sure what it was I really liked myself.

I called it being considerate. You may call it being a doormat, though I’ve never been a “yes man” in my life. I’ve just always tried to make sure everyone was happy, and that I could live with it.

Now that I’m older and single, I find I keep having to remind myself that this is my decision and I get to pick what I like.

I keep stopping myself from emailing the men in my life right now to ask about their preferences.  None of them are serious yet.  Some of them will never actually be in the bed, or in my apt for that matter.  A few may make it into the bed with me, a couple have potential to be lifelong partners and so may end up spending their lives in the bed… but thats all maybes and could-bes.

What I know for sure is that I’m going to be sleeping in the bed.  I can’t guarantee anyone else is, and I can’t guarantee who would be with me, or what their tastes may be.  So if I want pink frills, bright colors, or a bed reminiscent of a whale, then I can do it.

This is my first real big “ME” purchase, and while it feels good, it’s also very agonizing. Its all my choice, my desire, my want.. but its also all my fault if it goes bad.

This really will be MINE.