Okay, I’m mostly over myself

The catastrophizing and black-and-white thinking are finally starting to subside. I am no longer interpreting a single mistake in a single relationship to mean that I have failed utterly in all relationships. It’s taken a full week, but I’m finally being rational: accepting that I have these feelings of hurt and loss and confusion, but not giving in to those feelings.

I think it was wise for me to pull back and focus on some of my closest friends during this time. It’s probably wise for me to focus on my closest friends all the time, honestly. But I think it will be okay in the future for me to also interact with other people.

I need to learn from this, and not in a self-deprecating or self-blaming way. I need to recognize that I am going to misinterpret things and that that is normal and okay. I need to remember that I did not respond to this situation by telling everyone that somebody hurt me, and I did not even tell anyone who my unhappy feelings were about. I started to try and write explanations for why I was on hiatus a few times, but each time I recognized that I was making myself sound like some kind of victim, and I deleted without posting. I think I did the right thing here. I should remember this.

I’m not perfect, but I’m not a horrible human being who doesn’t deserve to exist either.

It’s still going to be awkward existing in a space where I feel like I don’t quite fit, but I’m starting to think I will be able to handle it. I’m starting to think I can still interact and enjoy the good parts of fandom, so long as I temper my expectations about the relationships there.

I may take the approach of only logging in at certain times instead of leaving myself logged in, because being logged in makes it easy to check Twitter constantly throughout the day. If I turn it into a purposeful action, one that I have to take additional steps for, maybe that will help reinforce the boundary between that space and the space where real relationships exist.

Still ruminating

I’m just so frustrated.

I have never been great with relationships of any kind, but I thought I had gotten better. I thought I could tell when people were just being polite and when they actually liked me. But apparently I was totally, utterly wrong.

I feel like I have wasted my life trying to get along with people and not actually forging true connections.

I want to be valued and respected, but how do I ask for those things if I don’t even know who is willing to give them to me?

I don’t know where to go from here.

It’s bad, y’all

Until today, I hadn’t updated since October. There just hasn’t seemed to be much to update about. Sure, I’ve done things, but they aren’t particularly exciting. I’ve posted a few photos on social media here and there when I’ve done things like redecorate the dining room. But posting on my blog seems more “official” than social media, like I need to craft something rather than just sharing. My previous post is probably a reaction to that.

It’s also a reaction to the fact that the pandemic is still happening.

This whole situation has been wearing on me so much. I’m just tired. I want to be able to do things again. I want to see my family. I want to spend time with friends.

I’ve been spending a lot of time on Twitter, tweeting with lots of people and having fun. It’s not the same as seeing people in person, but it at least felt like being with others. I have grown to really like and care about many people there. It turns out, though, that Twitter is not a substitute for real interpersonal relationships.

A bad day turns good

I felt horrible when I left for work, and I felt horrible all morning. It was one of those moods where I would get near tears if I thought too much about any of the things that were bothering me, and when I was in danger of thinking things like “Why do I even bother trying to write? I am so terrible and there are plenty of people who are better and I’m not even writing anything important anyway.”

But I focused on work, work I enjoy, and then at lunch I ate with three coworkers and we talked about everything: kids, travel, relationships, anger, food, the ethics of eating meat. It was actually a pretty deep conversation, and it was so nice to talk and to listen. The meal was nourishing, too, roast chicken with mashed potatoes and green beans. After lunch I returned to my desk feeling cheerful, and even though a huge problem arose at 4:45 my mood wasn’t dampened.

Sean texted me shortly before I left work to ask if I’d paid the rent—I had plans to do so on my way home—and to ask me out to dinner. I happily agreed, and when I got home we went to Aspens Signature Steaks, our fancy date restaurant. You don’t have to dress up to eat there, but sometimes we do. Today, though, we just wore jeans. We shared some blue point oysters, then I had the surf and turf, a beef medallion with a lobster tail and a side of mashed sweet potato, and Sean had a strip steak with a lobster tail and grilled mushrooms. We finished the meal with the white chocolate raspberry mousse cake that is our go-to dessert; Sean also had coffee, which he said was really good. We talked the whole time, about all sorts of things. We talked all the way home, too.

It was so wonderful to have that feeling of connection, both with my friends at work and of course with my husband. I think that after a weekend of being sort of secluded, locked away to myself, I needed that.

TV relationships

One of the most annoying tropes in TV shows and commercials is that of the man in a relationship sneaking away to do something he enjoys, like watch sports. Or the flip side of this, the woman in a relationship getting annoyed that the man in the relationship wants to do something. This is a horrendous example for people who want to have decent relationships.

One of the first things you should learn when you decide to commit to someone is that they are different from you. They have different priorities and likes. If they can’t pursue those priorities and likes, they are going to be unhappy. So you can either enable them to be happy, or you can be the reason they are resentful or dishonest.

This goes both ways. The trope always seems to show the nagging wife not understanding her husband’s love of sports (or whatever), but in real relationships you also see husbands not wanting their wives to have activities that don’t include them, or other such nonsense.

I think it’s better to let the other person in a relationship cultivate their own interests and life. That way they stay intriguing and unfamiliar, and they can pursue activities that you may not be interested in yourself. It can get frustrating sometimes if you don’t feel like you have enough in common, but I think that’s better than trying to make the other person feel guilty for having outside interests. In a relationship, you can support one another and continue to be your own person. I’d like to see more examples of that rather than the stupid cliches.

7 Random or Weird Facts

I have been tagged by Chuck…and you all know how much I love being tagged :D It’s taken me a month to get around to it. I may be slow, but I do get things done eventually!

Here are the rules:

1. Link to your tagger and post these rules on your blog.

2. Share 7 facts about yourself on your blog; some random, some weird.

3. Tag 7 people at the end of your post by leaving their names as well as links to their blogs.

4. Let them know they are tagged by leaving a comment on their blog.

It gets harder and harder over the years to come up with unique things. But I’ll do my best!

FACT 1: I used to have a lot of trouble forming social relationships. I rarely looked people in the eye. I was so afraid of looking stupid that I never reached out to anyone. If a person latched on to me, I latched back, regardless of whether or not the relationship was healthy. It took a long time for me to break the cycle. I still have trouble with either being too aloof or too involved. But now I’m outgoing and even snarky. The internet really helped–being able to have real conversations with people without all the face-to-face distractions made me crave that kind of connection in all my relationships. My current job has also been a blessing. I meet so many new people each year that I just about have to be sociable. All in all, I’m really happy with where I am now.

FACT 2: I suffer from a completely illogical guilt complex. When I got cancer, I felt guilty that my parents had to pay for my treatment and make my car payment while I couldn’t work. When our apartment burned down, I felt guilty that I had ever married Sean in the first place, because after all, if he’d never met me, he wouldn’t have been living there, so he would still have all his stuff. And I felt guilty that family members had given me hand-me-downs and they’d all been destroyed. When I discovered Magazine Man’s identity, I felt guilty for the way I’d done it, even though dozens of people figured it out that way…and that guilt has made it hard for me to relate to him, to this day.

You may not believe this, but I’m better–at least a little bit–than I used to be. When I have to give up on something, when I don’t have time or circumstances change, I don’t beat myself up about it nearly as much as I used to. But it’s still a problem for me.

FACT 3: I only have one mole. It’s on my stomach. And it doesn’t stick out or anything, so it may as well be a huge freckle. I have lots of freckles.

FACT 4: The big toe on my right foot sticks out more than the one on my left. It’s hard for me to move it inwards. The other one moves back and forth just fine.

FACT 5: I am always having ideas, often for websites, for things that I think would be cool to design–not just graphically, but organizationally. But the thought of maintaining those things usually deters me. I think my strength lies in setting things up, and then letting other people use them.

FACT 6: I can, and do, pop almost every joint on my body.

FACT 7: I love rotenburos. A rotenburo is an outdoor Japanese bath. Yes, you go into it naked, with other people around. I’ve never gone to a co-ed onsen, but I honestly think I would try it. I think this is due to a random fact we’ll call 7A: when I’m not wearing my glasses, I’m less self-conscious about how I look.

There you go, Chuck! Sorry it took so long!

Update: I realized after posting that I totally forgot to tag others. I tag: Brooke, Mari, Charles, and Kayo. I realize that’s not seven, but I don’t read a lot of blogs, and of the ones I do read most have already done this questionnaire recently. So if there’s someone out there I didn’t name who wants to do this, let me know in the comments :)

Self-confident men

Somehow, once I was into my 20s, I was extraordinarily able to get along with young guys. I don’t know if I can really make a blanket statement here, but I’ve had several striking experiences that have made me wonder what exactly the deal was.

I think the first time it happened was during one of my Japanese classes. There was this freshman in class who regularly sat near me–tall, lean, with curly auburn hair. He would sit slouched in his seat and grin and joke around, and, as I learned later from the guys on my Japan trip, was apparently something of a slacker. I liked him rather a lot, so much that one day I told him I wanted to adopt him.

The next time I can remember is the kid who sold me the children’s magazine. I still reread those posts and laugh. Boy, did he ever enjoy the brownie!

I had another encounter with a teenage guy in line for Order of the Phoenix. I was sitting on the ground reading the novel when a large group of teenagers formed up in line behind me. Eventually one of them, of average height with dark curly hair, sat down next to me, and occasionally he’d make comments or ask questions. I Twittered about him here. (When he pointed out the girl in question, I was like, “Whoa, she’s hot. Good luck, dude!” I’m such a good role model…)

At one point, the apparent organizer of the teens, who was very obviously a Harry Potter freak, started singing very loudly. This girl was also the guy’s best friend, as I had previously learned. She looked over and noticed that he looked extremely embarrassed, so she yelled, “I’m his best friend! The guy with the iPhone!”

He immediately dumped his iPhone into my lap.

“Hmm,” I said, picking it up. “Maybe I’ll just keep this!”

They were just fun, all three experiences.

Also, I’ve been watching Prince of Tennis lately, and I absolutely adore all the boys in that show. They’re all so unique, but yet they’re all badass, and they know it.

I think I am just attracted by guys who are self-confident, and I like interacting with them. It’s one of the things that originally drew me, and still draws me, to Sean. I don’t think the guy necessarily has to be young–I also get crushes on older men, such as John Glover (damn he’s hot). I just like men who are slick, and who know they’re slick, and who therefore don’t waste time on trivial stuff…but who do take the time for a nice verbal joust purely for the mutual enjoyment.

Oddly, I can’t think of very many middle-aged men I’m attracted to. It could be that I still think of my dad as middle-aged, so I avoid thinking of that age group entirely. Or maybe middle-aged men just don’t exude that same confidence. Maybe they’re just plowing along trying to get through the day, whereas the carefree young man has his whole life ahead of him, and the old man has seen it all and doesn’t give a flip anymore. It’s a gross generalization, but it might fit.

Or maybe middle-aged men don’t flirt because they’re married! I don’t know.

Those of you out there who are attracted to men, or who are unafraid to analyze your relationships with them, do you have any specific age groups that do it for you? If so, which ones, and why? What kinds of men do you enjoy being around…and are those types the same types that you choose as friends?

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