Longing for Discontentment

week07

     I think I have come to the realization that I only truly feel alive when I’m hurt. This sounds sick, twisted, demented, creepy, tourturous and self deprecating but I think it’s so fucking true.

     I don’t know if I’m pessimistic or what but I tend to always look ahead to things. Basically, I enjoy the anticipation of things more than I enjoy the event. I look forward to things for days, weeks or months and when they arrive I don’t know how to truly seize the happiness of the moment. It’s as if the torture of anticipation and not being able to grasp what I perceive I want is ironically, what I really want. In other words, I can’t enjoy the happiness of the pay day because it is unteathered from the ropes of suspense. I correlate “suspense” with a feeling that sucks so therefore it works for me. This shit is complicated.

    Anyway, all this stuff hits me in the theory that I can’t enjoy something unless I feel some level of pain, some level of wanting, some level of yearning, some level of desperation. That sounds so twisted when I say/type that.

    One time about seven years ago I found myself in a good situation. I had gotten my first full-time newspaper job with benefits and all and I was 24. I had a girlfriend that I was staying with that I thought I loved at the time. I called to tell her that I had just gotten the promotion and that meant we could get a new bigger place that I could go half on because I had a steady nice income now. She was excited and so was I. I remember exactly where I was standing on a chilly November night when I hung up the phone with her to finish my cigarette before heading back in to work. I remember thinking this was perfect. I thought this is exactly how life was supposed to go. I thought, “You get a job, you work hard, you meet a girl, you fall in love, you get a place together, soon you get married and have kids then you live the life until you die.” The only problem was I didn’t feel that way. I felt blah. Just blah. I felt like the struggle was over (Boy, was I a dumb fucking 24 year old.)  So when I should have been feeling great I didn’t and I’m not sure why. Either way, fast forward six months, we broke up, she moved out and I was stuck at this place all by myself.

     I found myself living all alone, I felt overweight from all the late night fast food or meals on-the-go at work, plus I was drinking every night with my friends going to dirty bars and feeling like shit the next day. Luckily, I still had my job and I worked second shift from 5pm-1 am so I had the days off. Well, eventually I joined a gym and quit drinking and smoking for awhile. I taught myself how to cook and started really taking care of myself. I spent hours on my bike or on the treadmill and I was running towards a better life for myself. Every extra mile I ran I just did it with shear determination to fix myself. I found a will inside myself I never knew I had. Eventually, I was all straightened out and met another girl that I ended living with which eventually went down in flames too, but that’s a story for a different day.

     Anyway, I bring this story back today because I remember how during that whole transformative period I was running towards tomorrow. I didn’t enjoy all those stupid hours of excercise and cooking, I just thought about tomorrow, and the day after that to get to my goal. When I finally got there I remember feeling a couple moments of proud reflectiveness but that was it. So the message here is that I WANT TO LIVE IN TORTURE AND LONGING!!!

     With all of that said, I believe that the pain of breaking up, the pain of failure in a relationship, the pain of thinking I knew and the goal of getting to a better place makes me feel reality. I can truly feel the pain more than any home run I have hit or promotion I have gotten. I feel the burning, yearning and drive to get rid of this pain through excercise, cleaning, blogging and whatever else gets me through it. But the question is, when I get through it this time, which I will, will I enjoy it or still look forward to the next day. If you’re still reading I appreciate it.

       

    

Breaking Communication

broken-iphone-screen

  This past Tuesday night I made a fateful decision around 10 pm. I decided once and for all I was no longer going to communicate with my ex on any type of regular basis. Even though we had been broken up since August we still exchanged at least a few texts on most days. Some days the texts were just about random things like what we had for dinner or what was new with common friends of ours. Other times they would be more serious about how we got to this point. There were also the occasionally heated exchanges both good and bad. Along with that, we had hungout about twice a month since the breakup usually leading to some kind of hooking up. Anyway, I officially realized in the past week that this process has locked me in some form of purgatory. I no longer feel the intense pain of the freshness of our breakup. However, I also don’t feel like I’m getting any better.

     This confusion is screwing up my moving on in many areas. 1) I have already had a disasterous situation with a new girl because my head isn’t all there. 2) I still find myself getting too involved in these text conversations when they begin. 3) Because I’m not getting better, I’m still dwelling on simply little everyday reminders of her. I felt really great when I made my decision to end our communication Tuesday night. Then life smashed these little nuggets into my face yesterday on the first day of my new plan:

9:02 am— I just walked into my office and the phone was ringing. It was a vendor checking on a payment status for a past due invoice. The caller was calling from a catering company in the area. The catering company is owned by my ex’s sister. I have been working here for four months… not one call from that company until then. I realize at that moment this isn’t going to be too easy.

11:15— My coworker asks if anyone knows a good hairdresser. My ex is a hairdresser. Fucker.

1:45— I back out of my parking spot to go get some lunch and I see a car that is lining up my spot for when I pull away. As I start to pull away I see in my rear view mirror that the car is the exact same as my ex minus the color. I wanted to slam in reverse and smash the car. Alas, I drive away.

3:00— Men at Work, “Land Down Under” comes on Pandora. She hates that song. I love it. (This one actually was good because it reminded me that she sucks.)

8:00— Stopped at the bar next to my house for a few to watch the Knicks game. A bunch of kids were playing music in there and for an hour it was nothing but country music. All my ex’s favorite songs. I left bar and when home to go to sleep.

     I can just see this is going to be a constant struggle. In the past I probably would have text her after any of these moments and vice versa for her. It’s just what we always did. But not anymore. I’m not caving. One day at a time and I believe I will stop noticing these things and/or be less compelled to tell her that. Whatever.

The Illusion of Change and the Cat Lady

     “If he/she really loves you he/she won’t try to change you.” This entry is going to border on rant mode but I have been hearing that statement my whole life and I would really like to break that fucker down. For some reason, I imagine the subject saying it to be a smug little one that has little to no relationship experience yet loads of advice they deem pertinent to share. They always know how to fix yours and everybody else’s problems but they sit at home Friday night and play with the cat watching Friends reruns. (I have no problem with staying home Friday nights (Maybe even with a couple drinks too…can I do a parenthesis inside of one?) nor do I have a problem with cats even if their dander corrupts my immune system like drinking a jar of MRSA. Finally, Friends is my second favorite show of all time so Friends fans don’t be offended.)

     So here is where I start my attack on the statement. Is it ok for you to change? Yes you? You, me, him, her, any of us…is it ok if we as people try to change ourselves? If I want to learn a new language, lose a few pounds or try some new foods am I allowed to? I think we all know the answer is a clear yes to that question. In fact, I would venture to say a huge percentage of the blogs on this site and all across the Internet are geared towards self-improvement.

     Now lets scratch a little deeper. How about if you have a really good friend you have known your whole life. What if that friend tells you maybe you should consider a different career, a new car or to work on your wardrobe. Would you listen to your friend? After all, you have known that person for so long. Most likely you have hilarious memories and maybe some harrowing experiences together that have no doubt bonded you two tighter. I think most people would at least engage in the conversation about whatever change would be discussed since it was from a long time aquaintence. After the discussion or repeated discussions eventually you will stay as you were or change, one or the other. I mean, there must be a difference between constructive criticism and just being bossy or mean right?

     So then the tricky part comes in when your boyfriend/girlfriend/spouse asks you consider trying something new or as the “relationship hater” calls it CHANGING!!! They say it as if the word is poisonous to the soul. Changing will melt the character you have become turning you into a shell of the person “we” all knew and loved. You will be forever ruined! Give me a break.

     If I spend 24 hours a day with this person, 7 days a week, I want their feedback. Why is it that we are encouraged to be better people each day but yet the idea of your mate changing something brings a collective sigh from the single crowd? A few years ago my ex girlfriend talked me into buying a pair of dark jeans. Once I did, I never wore light colored jeans again. I just like the dark pairs more. So she changed me because I wear different color jeans now that I like better. Does that me she didn’t really love me? In the past I was known to have a notoriously good time at parties. No fights or nothing but getting a little rowdy was normal. I stopped doing that when I was with her because I saw how upset it made her. Wasn’t it a good thing that I wasn’t getting rowdy and acting like an ass? Did she someohow rob me of the “Real Mickey?”

     I think people that like that line will say things like, “It’s not about jeans and partying too much, it’s about changing who you are as a person.” I don’t really know what the fuck it means but I’m happy that I have a better wardrobe and have less cringeworthy regrets the day after a party. Go fuck yourself cat lady!

Burning Memories

Fire heart

     I remember this girl I was friends with in high school told me that someone she trusted told her that burning all the pictures of her ex would help her get over him. It was supposed to be symbolic and was supposed to create a wall of closure for her. I thought it sounded stupid at the time but she did it anyway and claimed it helped her a lot. 13 years later I still don’t know if that’s an effective way to help rid some of the pain of a breakup but I do know that memories of your ex can haunt the shit out of you during the months after. A reminder might pop up while you’re driving to work, shopping in the food store or watching TV. You might here the song you shared, you may smell their favorite perfume/cologne or anything that lures a broken heart to more pain. I don’t want to dwell on these memories anymore. I don’t want to float back to a time I recreate as wonderful with 20/20 hindsight even though it was never that. I want to attempt to dismantle those mirage memories one at a time. Here’s some examples:

1) I saw a advertisement for visiting San Diego and I instantly thought of our trip there and I longed for it.  What I didn’t think of was the argument we got into trying to figure out what restaurant to eat at the first night where I eventually said, “Please…any restaurant in San Diego, can’t you be just be happy that we’re here in the first place.” Obviously, that led to us eating dinner in silence because she refused to talk.

2) We went to a haunted penitentiary in Philadelphia and I forgot my inhaler for Asthma. I told her like five minutes after we left the house and she said, “Well I guess you’re going without it!” I didn’t have an attack but ask anyone with Asthma and there’s a certain discomfort with not having it, especially with pyrotechnics and smokey hallways!!!

3) “You’re honestly not going to wear that are you?” We were going to the diner at 10 pm.

4) When we went to Florida for her to meet my family after two years of dating and her slogan for the trip was, “This counts as your vacation.”

5) “I don’t DO the movies.” In three years I convinced her to go to the movies with me exactly one time. It was my birthday and I paid.  Better yet, I have always had a tradition of going to the movies during the day with my dad. It’s just what we do a couple times a year. She hated it.

     The point is it seems natural to try to glorify the good things that you think you long for but most likely if the relationship ended, it ended because of all the things we might forget. Its a necessary evil that we remind ourselves of these things to fight back the suffocating wall of remembrance. There’s no need to hate, just remember the truth. It’s OK to have different passions but it’s important to be accepting of each others too. You can’t spend the rest of your life happy with someone if you’re not willing to bend for them sometimes.

I’m going to keep burning those memories until the pile of burnt ones gets higher then the pile of the good ones!

The Roller Coaster of Breaking Up

rollercoaster

     I made a mistake, I have to confess. I honestly thought I was ready to start dating again but all this did was bring a whole new round of questions and doubt into my mind. Let me recap everything that has happened.

    I broke up and moved out from my ex two months ago. I jockeyed around in that “desperation/heartbreak/misery/loneliness/question the world/wonder what was wrong with me/insecurity/will anything in life ever be right again?” phase for a month. After a month of sitting around I started to see a small glimmer of hope at the end of the tunnel. I was nowhere near feeling perfect again but I started to believe that I could do something else in this world besides wait for my next cigarette.

     I decided I would go the online dating route. Maybe I would meet a few people and see what it was like to get back out there and feel good about myself. After a week or two of meeting no one, I was surprised when I met two different ladies each within a span of three days. I liked both of their profiles and the progression accelerated quickly.  While this was happening, another positive thing happened. I realized the extra time I was spending texting the new ladies was taking my mind off my ex. Now I wasn’t purposely texting two girls at once, I simply wasn’t sure which one I wanted to meet in person so I kept them at arms length until I could figure this out. During the previous two weeks to this one, I found myself in an awesome place. I was going multiple days without talking to my ex and good or bad I felt like she was missing me. I was feeling pretty over my ex and it felt nice to know the tables has turned and she was missing me. Also, I was interested in meeting one of the new girls and I was genuinely feeling great for the first time in a few months.

     I decided to meet the one online girl in person last Wednesday and it went better than I could’ve wanted. I thought she was really cute and I was sure I wanted to meet her again. That night, when I got home from our meeting, I got a text from my ex saying that she missed me. At that moment, I thought I was in the driver’s seat. I had met a new girl that I was interested in plus I felt like my ex was realizing the torture grip she had on me for so long was finally being lifted, something I feel scared her. Maybe just that night but she must have felt alone. I don’t want to sound like a total dick but I can’t say it didn’t make me feel good at the time. I had felt so much loss for so long and it temporarily made me feel like it was fair if she got just a little of that feeling.

     Now we can sit here and debate whether it is good or bad for me to feel that way but it really doesn’t matter because I did. I don’t want her to feel anything close to the pain I felt because after all, this is Absence of Malice but a little sadness for her is deserved. Anyway, I talked with her for a bit, nothing major and went to sleep. Then the week ended with no more conversations between us. I went out with the new girl Friday night and it went well. Occasionally, she would say things or do things that would remind me of my ex and I wondered if I shouldn’t be thinking about those things or if it was natural.

     Finally, Sunday came and that’s where the trouble started. Maybe I had a case of the Sunday Blues, (I usually get them Sunday nights at the conclusion of a fun filled weekend, right before its bedtime and the work week is going to begin.) I went to the new girls house to watch a couple movies. There was no drinking or partying involved like there was the two other times we hung out. It was just cuddling on the couch. I started to feel weird when she would come back to the couch and put my arm around her and she would cozy right in. It felt weird but not horrible, just weird. Then when it got late she asked me if I wanted to sleep over and honestly I didn’t feel like driving home and I had brought clothes just in case this scenario were to take place. I said I would and we headed for the bedroom and that’s where the real anxiety crept in.

     Just as I had done a thousand times with my ex, we took the decorative pillows off the bed, pulled the blankets down, brushed our teeth, turned the TV on and crawled into her bed. We laid there and she cozied up next to me again as some bullshit was on TV, I don’t even remember, shows you how much I was mentally present at the time. In a few minutes, she fell asleep but I was not so lucky. I thought about how uncomfortable I was and how I wished I was alone in my own bed instead of in someone else’s embrace. I spent the whole night tossing and turning in between bad dreams and missed sleep. I got out of bed an hour earlier than I had to in the morning only to get to work and sit in the parking lot waiting for my office to open. I just needed to be out of that bed.

     I don’t know if it’s particularly that I’m not ready or if it’s the girl. I don’t know if it’s because it’s the first person I have sorta gotten close to or what. It pisses me off that I had the ball rolling well and then I got all these weird feelings again. I wish healing from a relationship was like healing from a cold. With a cold you just get better everyday. With a relationship it’s like a roller coaster of ups and downs. This sucks.

The Forbidden Fruit Angle

3106075915_53bb8efc29_z

    Why do we humans have a tendancy to want what we cannot have? When we live in a world where there are so many things we can easily have, why do we still yearn for those things we cant posses, control and manipulate or command to please us? This little fact is never more true than when it comes to relationships. Let me tell you a quick story.

     A couple years ago I met a girl at my newspaper job and I instantly took a liking to her. She had a gorgeous smile and a cute laugh, and I looked forward to anytime we would pass each other in the hallway. Sometimes, I would pretend I was going to make a personal call outside just so I could pass her desk. Usually, we would get to talking and it would be the highlight of my work day. Eventually, she gave me her number and told me to call her that night so we could talk. I was ecstatic the rest of the day about getting her number. I was so enamored, I remember I pulled the piece of paper out of my pocket throughout that day 3-4 times just to look at the number and the little heart she penned underneath it. I knew she was five years older, an age difference I had yet to encounter in my dating life and I knew she had a kid but wasn’t with the father anymore. I called her that night and our relationship started a trend that would be the most toxic relationship I had ever had with someone.

     We talked almost every night and texted constantly. I was growing deeper feelings for her and I thought her feelings were doing the same. Some days were weird though. Some days she would seem distant or wouldn’t respond to my calls or texts. I thought it was weird but chalked it up to being a single working mother. Well, let me spill the beans on what was really happening, a truth I didn’t find out until a few months later.

     All while we were growing closer she never disclosed to me that she had been wanting her ex back since he walked out on her and his son a year prior. He went out and was doing whatever he wanted all while she just hoped he would return and complete their family together once again. The random times he would pop in would be the weird times when she would fall off my radar. I believe she did honestly have some intense feelings for me but had he declared he wanted her back, I’m confident I would’ve been dropped like a bad habit. Let’s remember, I didn’t know any of this because she didn’t tell me any of that. Had I known any of it or even just that he was still in the picture, I would’ve head for the hills.

    Now here’s where the “Forbidden Fruit Angle,” gets real tasty, see if you can follow this equation. I wanted her because I thought we were falling in love. The more she was distant, the more I wanted her and the more I dreamed of us being completely together. SHE wanted her ex back to reform what she thought was a happy family. He discarded her like a piece of garbage and pushed her away. This made her obsess over getting him back because he had become the forbidden fruit SHE just couldn’t have. Now when do you think the EX wanted her back? Well, when unbeknownst to me, she used me as leverage and let him know their was “another guy” in the picture his desire awoken. The process reached it’s fever pitch one Friday when he broke through her front door to confront me to a physical altercation. When he came through that door, I knew at that very moment they clearly weren’t done. This began a messy month long period where he would call me late at night to scream at me or threaten me. It took me a while but I got the picture and stopped talking to her to cut my losses. After a few months went by, she called me and begged me to give her a second chance. I was over it and my heart was extracted from the drama, which gave me perspective. Over the course of the six years since, she randomly texts me and asks if we can hangout always claiming I was “The one that got away.” I didn’t get away bitch… being used, stalked and threatened has a tendancy to PUSH things away.

     It’s ironic that in the end she wanted me because she couldn’t have me. To sum up, I wanted her because I couldn’t have her, she wanted him because she couldn’t have him, he wanted her when he thought he couldn’t have her and finally she wanted me because I didn’t want her. This thing sounds like a Greek tragedy or something. Why, I ask, do we want what we can’t have? What is it that is so attractive to us about the unattainable?

  

Blinkers are Just a State of Mind

     Sometimes when I’m driving I come to a weird turn or curve when I’m not sure if it calls for using my blinker or not. It may be that the road by name curves but my path is straight so I use the blinker to exit the main road. When in doubt I usually just use the blinker to be safe, especially if there is another driver at a stop sign waiting to see what I’m going to do. I’m happy to signal to the other driver that I’m not going to be in his way so he can continue his journey. 

     While using a blinker is necessary when driving a car, it isn’t needed or even practical in real life. We all go about our days with a plan we are trying to execute. Get up, go to work, go to food store, go home, watch TV and then go to bed. When we deviate from the plan it isn’t necessary to alert other people that you are changing the course of your day.

     Guy: Hey Steve, I just called to tell you I’m going to stop at the park to feed the animals on my way home, instead of going straight home.

     Steve: Ummmm ok. Thanks for letting me know.

     Guy: Ok bye Steve.

     (Steve hangs up the phone with a puzzled face on.)

     In the past few years of my life I have to admit I have become a slave to my schedule. I like routines and I like following the same pattern to get through the work week to get to the weekend. I followed the same basic pattern every day like clockwork. Maybe my lunch was different each day but I always made it the night before, after Seinfeld was over. While I followed that plan each day I was in a relationship and I got bored. Now I’m not in that relationship anymore and I’m ready to eradicate these patterns once and for all.

     Now, I do have to keep going to work each day, as much as I’d love to eradicate THAT ONE. But after work I’m going to do things different. I’ll start by trying a new way home. Or I might not go home at all. Maybe I’ll meet someone for dinner or go to a bar and get drunk. Maybe I’ll go play basketball at the gym or tennis. Maybe I will be like that guy above and go to the park and feed the fucking animals! The point is patterns can be good and bad. I’m going to coin a phrase like “Repetition Births Resentment” or something like that and proclaim these monotonous days my public enemy number 1. 

     When I first got out of the relationship I was struck by an overwhelming fear that my life was changing. I felt so scared that everything was changing around me and my beloved stone-pillar-patterns were falling around me. Now its been a few months and I have to say that fear has been banished. I CAN alter my patterns and schedules if I want. I DON”T have to call to let someone know what doing. I’m not blaming my ex for my patterns at all, (Plus that would go against the title of this blog) but maybe that wasn’t the best relationship for me if I became encased in that schedule over those few years we were together. When Monday comes I’m not going home after work to watch TV and wait for the next day to come. I don’t know exactly what I will do but I’m not using a blinker when I figure it out.