bad self portraits

Allow me, if you can, a moment to be a bit…. dramatic. I have been profoundly sad for roughly 2 weeks. I want to cry all the time and I feel like I’m pretending to be someone else when I’m not crying. I want to avoid being alone at all costs and drink alcohol. Then I go out, however, and am annoyed by everyone and have 1 glass of wine and just want to go to sleep.

It’s weird going from having a very intimate perspective of a person to effectively  pretending like they’re a stranger while you try to forget the electricity you felt and still do, feel for them. It’s hard just being friends with them because what do you do with all the other stuff and how do you just ignore the elephant that’s standing in the room? I feel stupid because I didn’t know them for very long but they invited me into their lives, introduced me to some of their family, shared personal things with me, made me feel special and how do you forget that? How do they? How do you not feel a certain sense of inadequacy about yourself?

I suppose that’s what’s got me most upset, this feeling of not enough that’s sort of always screaming in the back of my head but only really gets loud when you show someone yourself and they reject it. For me, I spiral into thoughts of what’s wrong with me? How come the people I want to date, never want to date me? Why do terrible people get to have a bae and I don’t? Why don’t I know how to make good decisions? Why do I keep repeating the same patterns? How can I trust my judgment?

It isn’t exactly dating that’s got me so upset or the fact that yet another guy, doesn’t want to date me but rather it’s what it represents at this point for me. I’m going to be 30 in a week and I have nothing to show for myself. I don’t have a real career (I’m a bartender at a grocery store). I don’t own a home (I rent with 2 random women I met on the internet). I don’t have children (I don’t want them). I am single with not even a potential prospect. I have failed on all points of society’s perception of a successful life and I think oh that’s why: I have nothing to show for myself.

I don’t exactly mind that I haven’t followed the “American Dream” footpath because I think back to when my mom turned 30. I was 7 and I remember we had a house party and it was “over the hill” themed. Being 7, I didn’t know what hill she had gotten over or what that even meant and even now, I don’t really feel 30. I think about how at 44 she was a divorcé living with her parents and not eating.

I think about this customer that comes into my work, who in his late 40’s and is seeing a 27-year-old woman who told his now ex-wife about the affair causing him to get divorced. The same woman broke his foot with a flower pot when she was upset with him.

I think about this other middle-aged woman who told me how one day she came home early with her children to find her husband in bed with another man. She was unaware he was unhappy in their relationship or that he was battling with his sexual identity.

It occurs to me, fundamentally speaking, humans are messy. Life is messy and that’s okay. It is very hard to go against the grain of what the world expects of you. You do regularly have to answers questions about what is wrong with you? Why aren’t you doing this or that? To a point, you can say fuck society but when it’s all around you, at times your perseverance will be worn thin, at least that’s the case for me. Right now.

It helps me to consider the ways other people’s lives fall apart because it helps me put into perspective my pity party with a realization, life isn’t that bad for me. That’s not to say I don’t still battle with my insecurities of failure and inadequacy. I don’t know how to overcome these feelings despite the fact I know I have a lot of good qualities about myself but so often, I’m reminded that these things aren’t that important.

I went on a date with someone weeks ago who told me it was OK that I like to write, am into theatre, and do art but that I should also get into “cool” things like sports and partying. He didn’t care that these are things I’m proud of and things that I value more than sports and partying but that is so often the mentality I am met with.

I feel like I’m always being put into a box of “this how you should be” and there is no regard to whether or not that’s what I want to be or whether or not I want to accept that. I perpetually feel like I’m compromising my feelings and opinions about a situation for the comfort of everyone else involved. I don’t always know where my voice is and I’m sometimes afraid of using it.

I’ve worked jobs I hated because I wanted to not be seen as an unmotivated loser. I’ve put an unnecessary financial strain on myself living alone, because I wanted to prove I have my shit together, so to speak. I’ve gone along with things I hated because I didn’t want the confrontation despite those people wouldn’t do the same for me. I’ve remained friends with people who have hurt me deeply because I don’t want them to be sad too even though it can feel like my insides are falling out every time I see them. It’s still this box I’m shoved into or maybe I go willing into and the best part is, no one cares that you feel this way because it’s easier for them.

So I’m met with this sort of identity crisis at 30. I don’t know how to trust my judgment because it seems like I am wrong at every opportunity. Even though this episode was spawned by someone not wanting to date me, it’s more so about the perceived ways in which I am failing in life. I don’t know how to make peace with these things or how to overcome them. I think things will eventually turn around for me because at best, I am a stubborn sort of woman and perpetually curious about most things. I do know that I have people who love and care for me. I know that I do have many great qualities about myself and I know I’m not as much of a mess as it feels sometimes. Eventually, I will find the path I’m supposed to be on (or maybe I’m already on it) but in the season of life, in this current moment, I have lost the sunshine.

dating

I like dating
because I like pretending
I’m the person
I wish
I was.

I like to see
how long I can
keep the facade
before
I crack
under my
self imposed perfection.

I like playing
a role
of the charming
curvaceous
redhead
with electric eyes
and musical laughs.

I like to think
my social anxiety
doesn’t exists
because with good company
and enough alcohol
anything is possible.

I like dating
because
then it makes me feel
normal.
because,
you can’t be
single
and 30.

But as long as you have
a name of someone
and a story about them
you can pretend
you’re dating
So no one thinks
there’s anything
wrong
with you –
even if
you’re just
fucking.

 

electricity

I have a long list of lovers
I consider in the hindsight
of nostalgia.

I think about the tiny moments
that are shared between souls
when it feels like
the rest of the world fades away.

I am the star
I my personal collection
of romantic scenes.

Drunken bare feet dancing
in spare rooms of rental houses
with only Sinatra on vinyl filling the room.

Maybe it was on the shore of Lake Michigan
under the peeping eye of a full moon
and waves crashing at our feet.

How about when it was singing a duet
in a trashy dive bar outside of town
in absolute, perfect harmony.

What if its how the Beatles
always remind me of his stupid fedora
and how he was always a performer?

Perhaps it was the first one
and lazy rivers on summer days
with first loves’ first kiss.

I can list every way
they were all wrong for me
but nostalgia doesn’t work that way.

I replay the reels
of my comedic tragedy
that has been my love life, thus far.

And I wonder if it’s possible
for that sort of thing
to always be present.

Or if all relationships eventually stagnate
and fall victim to the drone
of everyday life.

And if thats the case,
I prefer the electric moments,
however fleeting.

 

 

 

 

marriage and children

I was laying in bed, trying to decide what to write about. I mean I was laying in bed, scrolling through videos on Facebook on my phone. You know how that goes, one minute you’re watching a 3 legged cat, the next you’re watching a clip from America’s Got Talent.

I came across a clip from the Steve Harvey show. A woman had said “I’ve always wanted to be a wife and mother. That’s all I want.” She went on to say she had been engaged to a man who then called it off and didn’t give her a clear-cut reason. She said, he’s still trying to contact her but she’s being unresponsive. Steve’s advice was to give him time as the guys obviously not ready to “provide and care for her” (which, can we please get out of the mindset that it’s a mans responsibility to provide and take care of someone else? Are you not capable of providing and caring for yourself?). He told her, she should talk to him and get to the bottom of his apprehension. I think this last part is great advice.

The comments to this video were a lot of women saying she should leave him and not waste her good fertile years on someone who’s almost 30 and doesn’t have their life together. One woman said “I gave my man 2 years. If he didn’t marry me by then, I was out!” and that just seems really unhealthy to me. I guess if you’re upfront with what you’re looking for from the beginning, fair enough. I’m almost 30 though and I don’t feel old enough to get married.

I remember being a teenager, fully expecting to get married and have a family before I was 25 and that seems completely insane now. I knew when I was 13 years old, I didn’t want kids but I kind of thought I didn’t have a choice. I thought these were just things people did and people would always say things like “when you meet the right man” (as if I’m unable to know myself well enough to make a decision) or “what if you meet a great guy who wants kids?” To me it always felt like people were saying that it didn’t really matter what I wanted and I often felt well I guess if that’s what’s expected… I guess that’s what I’ll do. This would be an awful existence for me.

As I got older however, I realized that it’s not the only thing to do with my existence. That’s not to say there’s anything wrong with wanting to do the whole marriage and family thing. I just don’t understand the rush and the anxiety about it all. I don’t understand the pressure to live life one way.

A few years ago when I was about 25, I came home for Christmas. The first question from my aunt whom, I hadn’t seen in a couple years, was “Are you engaged?”

I said “what? no.”

Her response “Well, aren’t you worried?”

“Worried about what?” I asked.

She replied, “…that it won’t happen?”

I don’t remember what I said in response, but I do remember going to pour a very strong drink after. As if my whole value in life is defined by marital status and whether or not I had kids. I don’t understand the pressure surrounding marriage and procreation. Even today, when people ask if I’m married or have kids and I say no, almost ALWAYS the next question is “well how old are you?” and then when I say 29, they sort of sigh with a false sympathy and say “well there’s still time” and “you’re still young”.Ummmm, okay?

I don’t think it’s fair to assume that every single person (woman) wants to get married and wants kids. I don’t care if I get married and honestly, it sounds stressful. I’m sure there are a lot of rewards and there are times that I see how happy my married friends are with each other and sure, it would be nice to have a connection with someone. However, I don’t think that’s the only way to find meaning and purpose or fulfillment in life. I don’t feel unloved, incomplete or empty in my life.

In terms of kids, I personally don’t want my life to be that serious. Bringing life into the world is serious business and I don’t want that responsibility. I like having the freedom to live my life on my own terms. I know a lot of people say “oh I used to say I didn’t want kids until I had them and now my life is so much better” …or whatever. Good for you, that doesn’t change my mind.

I want to reiterate, that I don’t think there’s anything wrong with wanting these things and doing these things. I do think it’s wrong to impose the same life pattern on every single person on the planet. I do think it’s wrong for society and people in relationships to pressure each other to move faster than they’re ready. It is OK to not be ready to make life that serious and if your significant other doesn’t respect that or isn’t okay with your timeline, then the relationship needs to end and that’s OK. It’s OK to not have your life figured by the time you’re 30. We are all just floating on a rock in the middle of a vacuum, trying to find a way to pass the time.

Those are my thoughts for today. Until tomorrow, friends!