Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Cleaning House - random thoughts

For every 5 college roommate horror stories you hear, there is always a person who absolutely loved their roommate. I am that person. Times three. I was very lucky with my freshman dorm pot luck roommate Miranda - I never saw her. Then I lived for two years with Elaine the UNT soccer player, who was very different from me, but yet the balance worked. Last was Lauren who had transfered from Tech and loved to dance around our living room to Madonna with me. I got very lucky. Or maybe I'm just a good judge of character. Either way, I still keep in contact with both Elaine and Lauren. Since Elaine is currently in Russia studying Russian, our contact for the past few months has been via internet - Facebook and such. She is an avid reader of my blog and offered up this tidbit of wit and wisdom regarding my Fairy Tale blog.

"Maybe you won't be awoken from a deep sleep, be given legs by a sea witch, or fly on a magic carpet, but you will write your own unique, intensely special fairy tale--who wants those others anyway--they've already happened to someone else. Just enjoy your career, your friends, and you--a lot of people would love to be young, attractive, well-loved, and successful, so keep in mind that you are probably the envy of many!"

Oh Elaine. Leave those commies and come back to Texas. On Sunday afternoon when I went to update this blog, I stopped by Facebook and read her message. It was eerily similar to what I was about to post. After David and I broke up, I promised myself that I wouldn't become one of those women who covered their own self hatred and doubt with contempt and cynicsm of men, relationships and love. And, by all evidence in my last blog - I became that person. Needless to say, last week was NOT a good week for me emotionally. And I would like to sit here and tell you that it was someone else's fault...but it was mine. I shouldn't call. I shouldn't care. Regardless, despite my lack of glass slipper or house of dwarves, I do lead a rather charmed life and I should be more thankful and appreciative of it.

When I was younger I always heard people say that college was the best years of your life. I'm very concerned what the rest of those people's lives were like. They must have sucked. College was fun, but I felt like I was frozen in time and in mind. I didn't grow very much and I didn't really care too. I mean, the most growth I made was deciding that I didn't like shots of vodka and that draft beer is better than bottled. Even through my first full year of teaching, I didn't notice much of a change in myself. I was still desperately trying to hang on to the wild party girl of college and ended up being miserable with both feet stuck in different places. With the fall semester of my 2nd (and a half) year of teaching almost over, I am noticing changes and maturity in myself more than ever.

- I bought couches. And I'm excited. I think it was probably a highlight of my entire Thanksgiving vacation. I'm already concerned about stains.

- I'm okay with saying "No, I'm done drinking." (after 3 beers) or "I'm going to call it a night and head home." (at midnight)

- I iron. And not just pants. I iron the difficult shirts too! And cute jackets!

- I drink coffee. And it's not made for me by the nice people in the drive thru at Starbucks. Well...most of the time.

- I stand up for myself and defend what I believe at work. And not because I'm being defensive because I feel like a kid getting in trouble in the principal's office. But because I honestly know I'm doing a good job in the classroom - and I have the evidence to back it up.

- My Saturday night last weekend? Spent at Half Price Books and in bed watching a movie and reading. And it was splendid.

- My apartment has been consistently clean for three weeks. And the laundry is done. And apparently ironed! See above.

- I'm walking away. He's not worth it.

Next topic. I have a soul mate best friend. Her name is Amy. She is the Laverne to my Shirley, the Rhoda to my Mary and the Michelle to my Romy. Unfortunately, she is married, has a baby and lives in Maine. I mean, it's not unfortunate that she's married (I love Zam) or that she has a baby (Emma and my nephew will be married someday so that Amy and I will officially be related), but it's unfortunate that she lives in Maine. For some reason, on Sunday night, both Amy and myself had a few hours to talk to each other. I was having a quiet evening, and both her babies (daughter AND husband) were asleep. And we talked. Not just about how our holidays were or funny stuff we had seen on tv...but we REALLY talked. About kids, life, marriage, family and self-esteem. She's probably the one person outside of my mother and father that can truly anticipate my feelings, thoughts and needs before I do. I don't even have to tell her how I feel - I can describe the event or situation and she just knows. And vice versa, of course. I really feel blessed that her dad got out of the Army and moved the family to my hometown. Anyways. Amy and I were talking about our positions in life and how it was funny that we were becoming adults, seeing as how she was the first person I told about my first kiss. For all my life, I was the youngest by age. I was forever trailing around my older brothers, desperately trying to act their age. I became a true "teenager" last, didn't drive until I was a junior in high school, and was left at home from the bars in college because everyone else was 21, and I wasn't. I hated being the youngest. I hated how certain people in my life were so condescending towards me and my age just because of the fact that my parents accidentally got pregnant with me just a little after their own parents did. Anyways. Maybe the fact that I feel like I'm "behind" everybody as far as love and relationships go is because it brings back those feelings of not being "old" enough to do whatever everyone else was doing. I miss Amy.

Amy once told me something in passing, which I doubt she even remembers, but it has truly stuck with me since she said it. She told me once, in the most loving and sincere manner possible, that it was going to take one hell of a guy to settle me down because I can be a very difficult person to deal with. Thankfully, knowing Amy in the way that I do, I knew that she meant it from a place of love for me and pure devotion to me. :) But, to a certain extent...it's true. I am independent. I know exactly what I want, when I want it, and how I want it done. I don't accept second best - in anything. I have high standards for myself, as well as others and I hold myself (and others) to those standards. Granted, I understand that there is a certain amount of cooperation and compromise that is necessary for any and every relationship to last, but...at the cost of who I am and what I believe in? I don't think so. So maybe not everyone hangs their clothes in the neurotically organized manner in which I do. (Only white plastic hangers, all clothes facing the same way, according to style or season) That's fine - it's not my clothes. Maybe their way to get to the restaurant or movie theater is different. It's whatever, as long as we get there. (But don't argue with my Delilah navigation system!) But, for me to completely change who I am because you can't handle it? I don't think so. GS tried that. He "fell" for me because of my passion, independence and my ability to tell it like it is....but for some reason, when those characteristics were used during an argument (in the most rational and reasonable manner, of course) he didn't like them anymore. Sorry buddy. You can't order an ice cream cone and then send it back because it's too cold.

Well....I think that about covers it for now. My brain hurts and it's time for some mindless activities. Tonight on MTV Tila Tequila meets the parents!!! Oohh....drama...goody.

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Once Upon a Time...

there was a little dark haired girl who played The Little Mermaid in her pool during the summer, and who truly believed that, per what her daddy said, she WAS a princess. This little girl believed in love at first sight, Prince Charming, white horses, fancy balls and everything else Disney promised via Sleeping Beauty, Cinderella, Snow White, Aladdin, and The Little Mermaid etc. This little girl dreamt of her own prince - tall, dark and handsome sweeping into her life and carrying her off on fantastic adventures.

She believed in the fairy tale.

Then she grew up.

Fairy tales are like crack cocaine for little girls. While they're young and addicted to Disney, they have that false sense of how the world works. Unfortunately, the withdrawal from these cartoons can be quite difficult as the harsh reality of the world becomes apparent. There are no white horses, no princes, no sweeping-of-the-feet. There are crowded bars reeking of desperate pheromones seeking a quick hook up. There are complicated romantic liaisons and betrayal. There are nights full of sappy romances, lots of ice cream and tears.

Yes, I'm mad.

I feel like I was brought up on this rosy and sugary image of what love is supposed to be like and I was let down. I don't have the fairy tale. I don't have the prince. It doesn't exist.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Special Ed

I teach middle school. In every school in America there are those students that have learning disabilities and such, that require them to have special modifications in the classroom in order for the student to be successful. The modifications range from a smaller amount of answer choices, to more time to work on a major paper and finally, the most common - preferential seating. These modifications are aimed at helping the struggling student become more successful in and out of the classroom.
I need modifications. For dating.
In order to qualify for special education and modifications, it must be proven that it is the student's disability that is causing them to not be successful. And, as much as some parent's would like to think - laziness is not a disability that is treatable by the special ed department. Proof of a disability first comes in the form of observations from the teacher backed up by physical evidence. Once a group of teachers has this evidence, it goes to a committee that can either recommend the student for special education testing, or decide that the student probably does not have a disability and send them back to the regular education classroom without any modifications. After the student has been sent to testing and a disability is diagnosed, the committee meets again and then decides, based on the disability and the needs of the student, what modifications inside the classroom should be made in order to ensure student success. These modifications are then passed along to the teachers, who are required by law to implement them to the best of their ability inside the classroom.
There...now that you have the basic process down, lets apply this to my dating love life.
1. Observation and physical evidence of a lack of success.
No relationship that I have since college (except for one) has lasted more than 3 months. And not all of these relationships have been with losers - many of them have been with successful and smart men.
2. A committee meeting to decide whether special ed testing is necessary.
I'm beginning to think that my friends and family are rather tired of my endless stream of failed relationships. My brother who particularly liked one of the men that I dated told me at the beginning of the relationship "Don't f*ck this one up." Point taken.
3. Special education testing to determine disability.
I consult http://web.tickle.com
- Are You a Secure Lover: You tend to have mixed feelings about relationships. A part of you may want to have a close, loving relationship, but another part of you may be somewhat uncomfortable with commitment. It's also likely that you are afraid others will let you down or abandon you. Although you tend to be open to relationships, you may not easily reveal the true you, and potential partners are likely to be intrigued about discovering the person you are deep down.
- Why Are You Still Single: You live alone and like it, thanksverymuch. Well, at least some of the time. You prefer coming and going as you please, and you don't like to be controlled or held responsible for someone else's schedule or needs. After all, you probably have plenty of friends, a satisfying career (or other projects to occupy your time), and you may simply not have room for another person right now — unless of course they can bend to meet your routine exactly. Does this sound familiar?
- The Love Personality Test: ISTJ - Being an ISTJ means that you are one cool customer. Although few would describe you as being warm, cuddly, or sentimental, many people likely see you as an important source of support in their lives. That's because when things are chaotic or falling apart, you're the type of person who can be virtually unflappable. ISTJs like you are known for being talented problem solvers. When it comes to your relationships, you usually know how to speak up for yourself so that others know what you want. But that doesn't mean you're rigid or inflexible. In fact, you're quite willing to bend for the right person. They just need to make their case honestly.
- What Are You Looking For In A Relationship: You're ready for an adventurous, free-spirited affair to remember. And if it comes in the form of someone who shakes up your world a bit, helps you expand your horizons, then decides to stay for awhile — all the better. It's not that you don't want a serious relationship. It's just that you might rather get there with someone who's equally committed to having fun for now. Ever wanted to drive up the coast or across your town in a red convertible? Interested in staying at a restaurant so late the chef himself joins you at the table for a late night cappuccino? Or are you really more into a no-strings-attached companion?For some people, a good fling starts with someone you can spend the whole day in bed with — whether you're under the covers or playing cards in your PJs. But for others a fling is just a light-hearted approach to finding a different way to spend quality time with someone new.
4. Analyze the test results
Well, the results seem to be mixed. It doesn't appear that I have any discernable disability with relationships. Maybe it's just that I have high expectations of how I think I should be treated. Maybe it's just that I'm, as much as I would like to think I am, really not ready for that total committed relationship. I think it's obvious that I've put myself out there to love and be loved in return and gotten my heart stepped on pretty badly. I think that it's natural for me to WANT to be more cautious...but that rarely stops me from falling head first.
In the end, I guess it turns out that I really don't need severe modifications for my dating...I need modifications for dealing with exes.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Death of a Salesman, Part Deux

I'm done. I can't go through with this mental torture everytime I see this guy. I can't be running over to my friend's houses at 9:30 every night because I'm upset at the fact that I called him after our great lunch and he never returned my phone call. I am not a yo-yo, I am a person with feelings that doesn't deserve to be played with.

A few years ago, there was a book published that, before I read it, gave me nightmares.

He's Just Not That Into You

It's a hard reality to face. Yes, this guy is emailing and calling/texting every once in awhile. Yes, he invited me to lunch yesterday. Yes, we had dinner the other night. All of this could lead me to believe that he is in fact interested in me once again. But, if he REALLY was, I would know for sure. I wouldn't be hanging in this purgatory. I deserve better than that. I deserve someone telling me they want to be with me no matter what. Instead, what I'm getting with this guy is me desperately trying to "impress" him with funny comments and witty banter.

He said that once school started and volleyball season started, my personality changed - there were no more relaxed evenings, no more wild nights out, no more funny jokes. Well, volleyball season is over. My life has calmed down - I am more relaxed. My apartment is clean, my sense of humor is back. On one hand, he should want me back - I'm back to "normal." But on the other hand, being a teacher and a coach is part of who I am. Being stressed out is part of who I am. And if he can't handle that for two months out of the year, then he isn't really the guy for me. He never once was concerned about WHY my personality changed - stress, exhaustion, etc. I take that back - I came home tired from work one night and he made me soup and grilled cheese. And then later accused me of not caring about HIS feelings and only concentrating on mine. All he was concerned about was how my "personality change" affected HIS life. Which is ridiculous.

We were sitting at the bar the other night eating dinner and drinking a few beers and there was this weird guy sitting next to us. He happened to be the "body double" for Wentworth Miller of tv's Prison Break. Whatever. We all started talking and he asked about me and GS. We told him that we used to date, but it didn't work out. The faux Wentworth Miller asked why. GS answered "Ah...as long as we don't talk about why we broke up, we're fine hanging out together."

So, that should be my answer. I should realize that if a guy and I can't even have a rational discussion about BOTH of our feelings regarding the break up, then we really shouldn't be together - at all. And I should remind you that as soon as I began telling him how I felt during the relationship, he got all defensive and basically kicked me out of his apartment.

I guess there's my answer. If he's not willing to really listen to MY feelings then he's really not worth my time - any of it.

Right. I should delete his number from my phone - again. Unfortunately I can't delete it from my brain....

Monday, November 19, 2007

Death of a Salesman

Awhile back I posted a list of men never to date...bartenders, fraternity guys, etc. And now I am adding another type of guy - the salesman.

I recently dated a guy in franchise sales. Tall, tan, dark hair with green eyes. Smart, funny - someone I could take anywhere and he would fit in. He always made everyone laugh and was intelligent to blend into any conversation. He made people want to talk to him and be around him.

The consummate salesman.

We've broken up, but still talking occasionally and having the dinner and drinks. I don't know if I'm putting feelings or expectations on these conversations and dinners that shouldn't or aren't there but I think they need to stop. Everytime I get off the phone or leave the restaurant, all I can think about is how much fun we have together - good conversation and lots of laughs. And then I sit there and wonder (like I'm doing right now) that if we have so much in common and we have such a good time together then why doesn't it work out? But I've come to realize that it's not about our interactions...it's his JOB to make people want to be around him - that's what pays his bills.

I understand how someone could break up with him and then keep wanting to go back. He makes you laugh, he gives good hugs, he listens and he's smart. Everytime you're around him he makes you think that things could work out...but unfortunately for him, it's all just part of the game.

In the immortal words...

He makes me think "I want you to want me" but it's all part of his cheap trick.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

To me, couches are like men.

- A great place to rest my head during a nap.
- Best when simple with clean lines.
- A little bit of squishiness is okay, but not enough to sink in.
- Must be able to recline and help me relax.
- Stable and comfortable.

I am currently in the market for new couches. I am tired of the 15 year old flowered ones that I inherited from my parents during college. They tend to clash with my Ikea inspired minimalist and modern living room furniture and decor.

I am also a person who knows exactly what she likes and therefore what I want. I want modern. I want beige. I don't want fluff. I don't want huge pillows. I don't want anything frilly. I don't want 80s sleazy leather. I want elegance.

I have a picture in my head of what I want and I'm not willing to compromise. I don't care how great your sales are stupid Ashley furniture saleswoman. How many times did I tell you I DIDN'T want leather!

Anyways. I think my couch search is very similar to my manhunt. I know what I want in a man - and maybe he doesn't exist. Maybe I'm being too picky. (Please refer to my earlier experience with Match.com.) But when I'm going to spend a lot of money on furniture, or in the case of men - gamble my heart, shouldn't I expect to get exactly what I want? Why compromise with my standards?

Saturday, November 10, 2007

You can't take it all with you...

I'm not a light packer. I take a huge duffel bag for a weekend trip. I am the girl with the overflowing purse that could fit a small child. I carried a 50 pound bag around Europe for 12 days and still thought I hadn't brought enough clothes. The phrase "Don't leave home without it" applies to me. I don't leave home without EVERYTHING. My packing philosophy is borrowed from the Boy Scouts. I am always prepared for every possible clothing situation. I like options.

Luckily, I have worked hard to unpack the baggage in my emotional life. I was carrying the weight of David and all that drama around with me for so long, until a good friend in college told me some very wise advice. I tried not to take TOO much relationship advice from her since she had been married two or three times and had yet to blow out the candles on her 30th birthday cake, but that's besides the point. She gave me a real gem on this particular subject.

Emotional baggage shouldn't be something that you carry around with you on a daily basis. It's something like an old trunk of stuff that you keep up in the attic and never think about. Once in awhile, you go up to the attic, rummage around in the trunk, throw out some stuff and reorganize. You shut the trunk up and don't go back there for awhile.

Baggage is not a bad thing. It's a necessary evil of life. Like bridesmaids and groomsmen hooking up after weddings. It's not always what you wanted to happen, but who doesn't get a little pleasure out of being accosted in an elevator?

Everyone has baggage and when entering a relationship, you have to be aware that your potential partner will have some. And it's not always pretty.

Baggage can come in many forms from "Mommy and Daddy Didn't Love Me Enough" to "I Gave Her My Heart and She Stomped On It." Anyway you shake it, if the person doesn't have their baggage locked up in their attic storage, run far away.

When I was little and we would return from a trip, it was always my job to unpack my suitcase and sort the clothes out for washing. I could never convince any other member of my family to do it for me. Same goes with emotional baggage. It's not anybody else's job to sift through your baggage. It wasn't my job to solve or cure David's Daddy baggage, his I'm Not Good Enough baggage, or his It's All My Parent's Divorce's Fault baggage. He was carrying the Louis Vuitton of luggage - the complete set. And, as is in real life, the cost was way to high for me to invest in that type of luggage.

I don't want to have to help any more guys to get to a better place in their life - whether it be emotionally, economically or job wise. I'm where I want to be and I deserve a guy that is in the same place. I've packed away my baggage from David, but it doesn't mean that I'll ever forget what he did or how he made me feel. It's that knowledge that has and will (hopefully) prevent me from falling into the same trap. The more I live on my own, the more I get over the "Desperately Seeking Parent's Approval" baggage. I live my life to make ME happy and satisfied. I still have the "Be Number One or Be Nothing" baggage - but I think that's just part of who I am and not necessarily something to be "dealt" with as the other two were.

Bottom line: I am relatively baggage free and I deserve the same from the person I'm in a relationship with.

Thursday, November 8, 2007

Words of Wisdom from SATC

Since being introduced to Sex and the City by my former roommate, I have fallen in love with the show. I can see myself and relate to every episode, but by far, my favorite is the last episode because of the following quotes made by Carrie.

At the end of an emotionally unfufilling relationship with the Russian:
"I am someone who is looking for love. REAL love. Ridiculous, inconvenient, consuming, can't live without each other love."

At the end of the final episode; regarding relationships.
"There are those who open you to something new and exotic. There are those that are old and familiar. There are those that bring up lots of questions. There are those that bring you somewhere unexpected. There are those that bring you far from where you started. There are those that bring you back. But the most exciting, challenging and significant relationship of all is the one you have with yourself. And if you find someone who loves the you you love, well that's fabulous."

I couldn't have put it any better myself.