I had high hopes for 2012. 2011 was such an unbearable year, I thought that it could only get better. Briefly, it did. And then it all went to hell, for me and mine.
The death toll of 2012 rivaled the first five minutes of a Michael Bay movie. Loved ones and loved ones of loved ones were lost to accident, suicide, illness, and just shitty, shitty luck. When I wasn’t powerless with regard to my grief, I was powerless in the face of grief suffered by people I love deeply and dearly.
My attempts at finding love or even a halfway interested lover failed repeatedly, and early 2012 brought me a very badly broken heart and an utter loss of hope, not to mention a great deal of frustration and confusion. Many of my friends were unlucky in love and went through relationship strife as well.
There were a number of friendship upheavals about which I remain unsure, and I believe 2013 will involve some restructuring.
Things began to turn around for me toward the end of the year. Slowly, like the Titanic attempting to avoid the iceberg.
- I finally got a full time job at an amazing organization, working with phenomenal people and the best office dog in the world. I love my job. And it almost pays me enough to live on.
- As part of a last-ditch attempt to find somebody I might want to date, I showed up to a bar one evening with a book and a thirst for Scotch, and hoped that the woman I’d messaged on OKC wasn’t going to be a complete waste of time. Since I was pretty much over dating by this point, I wore the same unwashed jeans I’d been wearing for the past several days and a shirt I never checked for stains, and I didn’t bother to wait to start in on the whisky. I’ll go ahead and skip to the end of this one: She’s wonderful, hysterical, loving, caring, and has the prettiest, smiliest eyes. We just finished moving the rest of my possessions to her apartment in SF. She likes my cooking. (ETA: She has corrected this statement to make sure I know to call it OUR apartment.)
- My cat Thumper is in good health and happy in our new apartment, which is much smaller than our house in Oakland, but cozier and has many soft and warm things for him to sleep on. He even has his own chair, from which he can observe his neighbor cat girlfriend, Foxy. He and my lady absolutely adore each other.
- I opened up about a very serious topic in a very public forum and was rewarded by a show of love, support, and trust from individuals known and unknown to me.
2012 still sank, but I and many of my friends ended up on life rafts, paddling toward 2013.
I don’t think anybody expects 2013 to be amazing. But I am hoping that we all have the space to recover from losses, strengthen new and old foundations, and remind each other that we love and care for each other, that we are there for each other, and that we may occasionally want to give up on everything, but that we won’t give up on each other.
I can’t help but be a little optimistic; I’m in the best place I’ve been since maybe 2008. I’ve found love and employment, I have a roof over my head, and my cat has the most adorable mitteny paws in the world. Things are not easy; I don’t know if they ever will be. But it isn’t all difficult, and for the first time in a long time I really feel like it’s worth it to keep working, keep fighting, and keep pushing through. I am not in a place where I can say, “Bring it, 2013, I can take whatever you have to throw at me.” I am, however, in a place to say, let’s do this.
So. 2013. Let’s do this.
My dear friend Sasha pointed out that my blog composition has settled into a sort of triangle of topics. And I’m cool with that. It’s just not the topics I thought they would be. Witness:
Once again, the cats have won the internet. Resistance was futile. We’ve all been assimilated. And with that in mind, prepare yourselves for the most recent conversation with Otto, a guest blog from the abovementioned Sasha.
One of the things I am realizing now that I have begun dating again is that, while my head is in much better shape than it was a year ago, my heart is still pretty badly wounded. I recently described it as being held together with nails and bubble gum and random crap off the street, and I should probably have included duct tape and string. Seriously, you could totally list my heart on Etsy, and it would probably show up on Regretsy within hours. Upcycled heart, vintage nails, found objects, bubblegum that has only been chewed by hungry underprivileged children in Detroit. A perfect accent for your office or nursery!
I thought about that for a while, yesterday, while I was trying not to doze off during the slower parts of a mock trial (for which I was a mock juror). And I realized, I can’t really offer this to anybody. Not like this. It’s all in pieces, and the gum is kinda gross, and there’s the issue of tetanus, and is the duct tape a little grimy? And what is that?
So what to do with this damn thing? Will somebody really want it, as is? If I take all this crap out of it, will it hold together on its own with a little help and a little encouragement? I kinda can’t tell anymore. I know this thing still works (I listened closely and it’s still ticking), and theoretically it’s still good. But I’ve been hurt so much and so often that I can’t really convince myself that I am going to have any other experience, and I’m running out of things to hold this heart together short of encasing the whole goddamn thing in resin. At which point, it would definitely feature on Regretsy.
Also, fuck that noise. What’s the point of having a heart at that point?
Lately, I’ve been absolutely loving Florence + The Machine’s Shake It Out, which I have been informed is about a hangover, but which I interpret more personally as a call to let go of the shitty past and start anew (also, there’s no shaking anything when I have a hangover, unless it’s the bottle of Excedrin to see how much I have left, and maybe that’s what she’s really talking about, there). That is, of course, easier said than done, but still a worthy goal. The line that strikes me hardest is, “And I am done with this graceless heart/So tonight I’m gonna cut it out and then restart.” I have no idea how to do that, or if I should, but it sounds ideal.
Maybe it’s time to rewatch Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind.
Good lord, I’m wordy. All that when I could have just said, I’m scared. I’m scared, vulnerable, and every step forward requires a deep breath and determination. But I am moving forward.
I’m finished with running away.
The very first thing I did in 2011 was wake up, shower, and go to the grocery store to buy the ingredients to make Raspberry Crack† for Amanda Palmer and Neil Gaiman.
At the time, I thought: holy crap. I am leaving a year filled with pain, anxiety, emotional abuse, misery and more pain. And I am leaping into a year that begins with one of my favorite authors and one of my most beloved musical artists, as well as some of my best friends in the world (Hi Whitney and Alexei!). Around a kitchen table. At which I will be sitting. Wow.
What could possibly go wrong?
Ultimately, very little. Very little had to go wrong. 2011 was a year of trying to convince myself that I could survive the status quo. Little secret between me, you, and the rest of the internet? Almost didn’t happen. Survival, I mean. 2011 brought me the closest to suicide I have been in a decade.
Sounds dramatic, right? I guess suicide is dramatic, but I don’t intend to make a splash with the idea.
I mostly mention it to give you some context, Gentle Reader, for my mindset coming into 2012. I have spent 2011 trying to put my head and my heart back together. I have been questioning and trying to come to terms with who I am and the choices I have made. I have been wondering what my place is in this world, and if I even have one. I have been lost, personally and professionally. And with regard to 2012, I am not as optimistic as I might like to be. I see SOPA and NDAA and the economy. I see my empty bed and my empty wallet. I see my grad school loans only overshadowed by my law school loans. I see an election year that is terrifying in its lack of viable candidates and a surplus of terrifying candidates. I see rage waxing and worry that my strength is waning.
I have found strength in myself that I didn’t know I had. I have friends who are so phenomenal that it’s a little overwhelming. This blog has a nonzero number of readers (that nonzero? That’s you. You are not zero—not The Zeppo [that's Xander]. Mazel tov). I have things to work toward in 2012 that aren’t just about trying to find reasons to keep living. I’m still funny. My cat remains adorable.
So my resolutions for 2012 are:
- To remember that I am loved by amazing people.
- To come to terms with the decisions I have made to this point.
- To consciously and carefully let go of as much of the baggage I’ve been lugging around with me as I can.
- To stop carrying the world on my shoulders.
- To practice guitar more often.
- To try at least five Scotches I have never tried before.
- To find a hottie or two to hang out with/hook up with.
What, you thought they would all be emotionally intense and interesting?
My biggest resolution, and one I hope to keep more than anything is this, though: I want to live. 2011 was about survival and subsistence—emotional, physical, and economical. It’s time to find ways to live. I wish that were as easy as it sounds, but it’s without a doubt worth working and fighting for. So I guess 2012 is going to be less about just trying to hang on, and more about climbing.
Happy new year, Gentle Reader. I hope your resolutions are wonderfully easy (or nonexistent). I hope 2011 has been amazing for you, and that 2012 will be even better. I hope there is no climb for you. I hope when you look around at the world in the new year, that it’s either a world you know you can live with, or a world you know you can change for the better (or both). I don’t yet know what the world has in store for me. I guess…let’s all hope for the best.
†Raspberry Crack is something I make, that my friends named, and that appears to be fairly addictive. The look on Neil Gaiman’s face when he first tasted it will be something I hope to use to get some incredibly nerdy and hot girl into bed some day.
I have finally begun to realize that I am getting rather tired of being single. It’s not so much that I am for sure ready to date and look for a love and partner. It’s more these isolated moments in my days and nights when I realize I am missing something.
Sometimes I lounge on my couch watching TV, and I realize I am missing the weight and warmth of a body—not just beside me, but with me, snuggled close.
Some evenings I read in bed, and I realize that I would rather be—get your mind out of the gutter, Gentle Reader—reading to somebody else. My favorite book to read aloud is, by the way, Neil Gaiman’s Coraline. Yes, I can be cajoled into doing voices.
Sometimes I walk down the street and I realize I want to hold somebody’s hand.
Some nights I roll over in bed and wish I were rolling over to put my arm around somebody, to bury my face in warmth and skin.
Some mornings I wish I had somebody for whom I could make breakfast. For one thing, it would be a good excuse to find out if I can flip four eggs without a spatula, not just two.
Sometimes, I miss having somebody I can call to say, “Come over. I miss you, and so do my hands.”
I wonder how long I will be okay with missing these things. It’s obviously not going to last.
Nice! Simple, uncomplicated, not in the least bit stressful. But that never lasts, does it?
However, lately things are looking like this:
One of the things I was really enjoying about being single was the utter lack of real desire I felt for anybody. Even people to whom I had been previously attracted were nothing more than a side note to my libido, which was apparently taking a nice long, deep nap. I even managed to tend bar at an event where tons of hot women were crowding my bar, all wanting my attention, all wanting what I had to offer without it even occurring to me to flirt with any one of them.
This was a relief. This was safety, of a sort. If I didn’t want anybody, I didn’t have to worry about getting in any way involved, getting hurt, or even about what I looked like when I left the house.
And I have been prizing safety above all things, which makes sense, given the emotionally abusive relationship I left late last year. I turned myself off, to the point where I felt so little when I was around otherwise incredibly attractive women that I was actually a little nervous. I was almost worried I had done too good a job. But I was good. My defenses were up, I didn’t have to worry about attraction, and I was ready to move through the world like this indefinitely.
Recently has put paid to that plan. Recently has fucked everything up. Recently…I encountered this incredible woman who is also apparently a freakin’ ninja for all the resistance my defenses put up against her. A freakin’ ninja of hotness. Now, maybe I’m in the minority here, but it just didn’t seem like I should be guarding myself against hotness ninjas. I didn’t even know there were hotness ninjas, and I am absolutely surrounded by gorgeous women on a regular basis.
Anyway, that’s an area for later research and possibly some diagrams.
The point is, she’s hot. No. What?
The point is, I am no longer in that awesome safe place. And I just don’t know how I feel about the fact that I want somebody again, or the vulnerability that attends the wanting. And I confess, there is some part of me that wants to go stick my head in the sand again, if that’s even possible right now. But I am too busy enjoying the ways in which she makes me go weak in the knees. And looking at her. I’m attributing this to her hotness ninja powers. Hotness ninjas have powers—or at least, that’s a fact I expect my research to reveal.
I’m just genuinely hoping this isn’t a mistake and that, if it isn’t, I will allow myself to have some fun. Because, you know—hotness ninja.
This is the longest I have been single—that is to say, without somebody to be emotionally involved with or sleep with on a regular basis—since I was still in my teens. This is not extraordinary. Neither is the fact that I’m totally cool with it. But I am still gonna write an entire blog post about it, maybe because it is so unextraordinary.
For the time being I have a job. It won’t last much longer, which is sad, but it has provided some structure in my life, something to do with my time, and perhaps most importantly, a means of
purchasing whiskeypaying rent.
I get up in the morning, I go to work, I work hard, I go home. Sometimes I see friends, although lately not so much. When I go home, it’s to my cat and my guitar, and to a queen-sized bed that, apart from books, various pieces of laundry and things I need to put away, is empty until I get into it. It’s not the most exciting life, and sometimes, when I am surrounded by a mass of exhausted people heading home at the end of the day, I feel like I am in Metropolis.
I am loving it.
I am also loving being on my own. Not the kind of loving being on my own that comes from post-breakup bitterness, or that empowerment that comes from anger or from the feeling that happiness is the best kind of revenge. This is no longer a reaction to my ex. This is strictly for me. Healthy, right?
Well, rather than live in the moment and just enjoy it, I panicked. What if I get lost in this, become complacent? What if I get so used to being alone I forget I want to find somebody? What if I spend the rest of my life blogging about relationships without ever finding one again? What if I move to Berkeley and start collecting neighborhood cats and wearing tie dye—
And then I walked to the mirror (I was in one of the bathrooms at work for this little panic attack), gripped the sides of the sink and looked myself in the eye. “Shut. The fuck. Up. Shut the fuck up. Shutthefuckup.”
Having glared and f-bombed myself back to relative calm, I noted the following:
- I will never move to Berkeley.
- I will never wear tie dye.
- Collecting neighborhood cats is always a possibility. Also, dogs.
- It’s far too early to be worried about being alone forever.
So I think I am slowly becoming more comfortable with being comfortable with being alone. And I think if I do this the right way, it will make me more of a candidate for a good relationship rather than less. Knowing me, that’s a seriously big ‘if’, but I am gonna run with it.
One of the things I swore to myself upon coming out of an awful relationship (that capped almost a decade of serial dating/relationship experiences) was that I would remain single until at least the end of the year.
This is one of those things you swear, like when you decide you are gonna cut down on sugar, fatty foods, and whiskey, like when you decide you are gonna exercise more. Like when you decide to do anything you know you should do but are not 100% convinced you really want to do.
- Being unemployed doesn’t matter. Not being able to pay for dates or take a woman places doesn’t matter when you don’t have a woman to take out.
- I never have to clean my room.
- I have the opportunity to get my life together outside of the dating dynamic.
- I am not working my ass off to prove myself to somebody who doesn’t appreciate me anyway.
Wait, was that emotional baggage? Oops. Right, this isn’t about the women I have already been with.
- No girl to crawl into bed with. I am not just talking about sex. I am talking about that feeling when I walk into a room and know a woman I adore is in the bed I am about to fall into. I miss that feeling of wrapping myself around a sleepy girl, of enjoying the way she feels, the way she smells before I drift off to sleep.
- No sex. Just because it wasn’t necessarily an element of the above doesn’t mean it’s not an element. My mouth and my hands miss skin. My ears miss sounds. I am not going to tell you what my tongue misses, but you can guess.
- No license to stare. I don’t know about you, but I love looking at the women I am with. If I could I would just rest my chin on my hand and look. They put up with that better if they are sleeping with me.
- No license to tell her how hot I think she is. Generally, I don’t get to tell the devastatingly hot women around me how lovely I think they are (apart from those friends who think —tragically—that I am harmless). When I am dating I get to do that. Regularly.
- I miss having somebody I can wrap myself around, or grab by her belt loop and pull toward me. I miss finding dark corners for smooches and looking across the room to see that she is just as distracted as I am at the idea of those smooches. I miss that level of intimacy.
But where was I? Oh yeah, remaining single until the end of the year.
How am I supposed to do that when I find myself so totally enchanted? Some rules were made to be broken. Those rules include reducing: sugar, butter, bacon, whiskey, and women.