Friday, December 30, 2016

In A Month

In a month I'll be 28. I may be a few pounds heavier or lighter. My hair will be just a tiny bit longer. I'll be packing for my first solo trip. Maybe I'll have met someone new. Or maybe that one will have bounced back from his temporary loss of sanity. 

In a month I'll have that day in my sight. A year of so much will be coming to a close and I'll be finishing it off with a kiss from an Australian stranger. Or maybe he'll be from the states or Europe. It doesn't matter, because it'll all come full circle in a magical way.

In a month I'll be able to say that I survived a year alone. And I don't mean that in a sense of singleness. But I survived a year alone when I needed a partner. I raised a beautiful little girl alone for a year. Of course my parents helped me, her aunts and uncles were there too. There's a difference though when you get home at night and lock the front door. Actually, now I lock the storm door too. 

In a month I'll have a finished manuscript. That's the scariest part of all because that's when I can fail. I don't plan on allowing that to happen. I'll just try something else. But all that work, the tears, the worries and the thoughts that are constantly taking up space in my head can be divulged and thrown out to the wolves. 

In a month I hope that I've grown again. I hope that I let more of the bad go. I've never professed that I'm perfect or that I've been perfect throughout the hardships. In fact, most of the time I'm a bit of a mess. But I still hold strong to the fact that I haven't done bad myself. I'm proud of that.

In a month I bet that I'll be still itching to talk someone. It's someone that I shouldn't want to talk with. I shouldn't want to care this much for. But in a month I'll also be over what happened this month. I won't feel dumb anymore.

You know, there are so many people that will try to take my writing and turn it into something it's not. Just because I put words to my feelings doesn't mean that I feel things more than others. I just know how to express it. Just because I put words to my experiences doesn't mean that I "make a bigger deal" out of them than others. I just have a good memory. So in a month, I hope that someone realizes these things. I'm abnormal for a lot of reasons but it's certainly not because I'm in touch with my emotions.

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Monday, December 19, 2016

I Became Braver This Year

Driving home in the dark, my eyes are so tired. I don't get enough sleep. I spend time staring at screens too much. I need to make an appointment with the eye doctor. I probably need a new prescription. But here I am, driving home in the dark from an evening that just included myself and my words. Coffee was thrown in there somewhere too. I left my glasses at home again. I'm distracted.

I was never the girl that people described as sweet. I mean, I'm nice to people. I'm compassionate. But I'm not a sugar-coated gal that gives cheeky grins and has a genuine lightness about her. Put me in a lineup with several other ladies and that's just not the adjective that would be pinned to my shirt. What words could be used though? According to my friends: unapologetically caring, committed, vivacious, sparkling, dynamic, intelligent, unique, loving, bold, authentic, resilient, confident, loyal and brave. You see there? Not a "sweet" to be found. I'm sticking with brave though. Because I became braver this year.

2016 is winding down and it's hard not to be part of the cliché bunch that shares their Facebook "Year in Review," except this time mine is different. It included big, sad, terrible things. I've never cried so much in a year. I've never felt truly heartbroken, devastated, blindsided or cheated before this year. I've never questioned myself so much or questioned my worth more than I did this year. Thinking about it all, it's a bit pathetic actually. Because aside from all of the times I laid in bed crying my way into the changing seasons, there were some unbelievable moments too. There were times that I surprised myself. There were moments I never thought I would have. I changed, I grew and I found myself again. I didn't become new but rather I became old, I reverted back to everything I loved.

"Hello Grace. It's nice to see you again," is an unspoken thought that I have more often than not when I look in the mirror these days. I'm more confident in that too. I have round, green eyes that strike a nerve with some. There's a wrinkle above my nose that made an appearance when I was pregnant and never left. I wear jeans again, most days actually. And heels, and odd lipstick shades and a lot of the time I walk out of the house with half my hair still wet but that's okay because those insane locks are messy perfection. I like myself and I'll openly admit it now.

But most of all, I became braver. I used to place my anxiety into a ball, gently drop it in my purse and carry it around with me everywhere I went. It stopped me from experiencing things and jumping into things and having days that were a little brighter. Now, that anxiety has been placed elsewhere. It's not gone, instead it holds steady around Claire and our future - wishing that we're left alone to grow and heal and share life together without turmoil. The progress I've made in this corner of my life has made the biggest impact though. It's paved the way for a heartier spirit and adventure.

I never thought I would ever have to walk into a lawyer's office, suck up my pride and file for divorce. I never thought I'd have to get an STD test. I never thought I'd be a single mom. I never thought I would shimmy into spandex and hit up a spin class alone - and love it. I never thought I'd learn to kickbox either. I never thought I'd have to pack up his things with my friends. I never thought I'd actually get more tattoos. I never thought I'd kiss anyone else ever again let alone some strangers. I never thought I'd be throwing a couch out the front door alone. I never thought I'd be driving in and around Nashville so much, at night and in the rain, without feeling anxious. I never thought I'd take a sip of a beer. I never thought I would demand respect from those who failed to show me any. I never thought I'd be selling so many memories right out of this home. I never thought I would go to a therapist. And I certainly never thought I'd be writing a book about my personal life and willingly want to share it with everyone, everywhere. But I did all of those things. I became braver this year because I had no choice.
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Thursday, December 8, 2016

It's Not Loaded


He looked liked someone I had known before. It just wasn't him. He stood beside me as I shook hands and made agreements with all of these important, new people. He'd squeeze my leg under the table as a way to reassure me that I was saying the right things and making the right decisions. He knew without me even batting an eyelash when I was stressed. He didn't even have to hear it in my voice. 

He was so comforting. I didn't understand why he came with me. And I would giggle under my breath when he introduced himself as my manager. I could see his chest puff up a little when the words would come out of his mouth. But I ate it up. I really couldn't think of a better person to have alongside me during this experience. 

His beard was too long. It covered up a gorgeous face and left him looking about five years older and three levels less sophisticated. I was beating a dead horse though, always picking on his facial hair decisions. I loved to annoy him or poke at him. Probably because it was my only way to relay my affection that I had wrapped up inside me. I had this man placed high on a pedestal for a large portion of my life. I should have been using him as an example of trust and consistency all along. 

Then we were driving. We had rented a black car that didn't quite fit people that stood above 5'2. My knees hit the dashboard with every bump on the road. And he told me he'd shave after we checked into the hotel. 

"Are you happy now," he screamed as he stumbled out of the bathroom. I left my Anne Klein boots right outside the door and he had tripped over them only making his frustration with me peak. My back was toward him though and I hid my giggles. 

"I know you're laughing," he said sternly. I turned around and sucked in my smile. His face was clean and he looked like my best friend again. I knew he wasn't that man anymore though. And that was okay, he was happy. He was settled. But at first glance, my stomach dropped a bit and I felt goosebumps on my arm. Why didn't I ever tell him how handsome I thought he was? 

I didn't allow myself to tell him now though. "Go put on a shirt. No one wants to see that," I countered. His mood let out a bit then. "Yeah, yeah," he sighed and sauntered back to the bathroom. 

Fast forward a few weeks and we were back in my house. He had my manuscript in his hand and I could tell he was genuinely proud of me. He was proud of me for a lot of things. And I loved feeling that. Mainly because there was a part of me that always thought our friendship was based on him not wanting to hurt my feelings. There was a self-consciousness that was palpable within me that said, "He's humoring you Grace." 

This proved otherwise though. He was always actively supportive. He read my work when I didn't ask him to. He believed in me before he knew that I needed the push. I followed him back to my bedroom. Why this didn't feel wrong I can't tell you. He was supposed to be leaving. He was supposed to take the manuscript and finish editing it at home and then bring me back all of the abrasive notes the next day. Instead he climbed into my bed with it. I turned off the lights and muted the television. 

"How about I give you the notes as they come," he asked me. I just nodded in agreement.

Something told me not to argue with anything. I let him read while I took a quick shower and changed my clothes. I stayed in the bathroom as long as I could because he was making me nervous. That wasn't necessarily something new, he's had that ability all along I just looked passed it most of the time. There was no reason to feel it. 

I opened the door and lingered a bit in the doorway. I was staring at him while he scribbled in the margins. I loved seeing this side of him. He was more creative than you'd believe at first glance or even after your first conversation with him. 

Finally he looked up and smiled at me. "It's really, really good Grace," he said. 

I questioned him, "Why do you sound so surprised this time?" 

"Because you're always acting like it's all in your head. This talent you have, you've got to own it." 

That's when things get a bit fuzzy. He pulled out a gun from his bag. He took it apart. Put it back together. All the while I knew he could feel my uneasiness. 

"Don't even think about giving me any lip Grace," he demanded without turning his head to look at me. 

Annoyed, I responded, "Well what the hell do you think you're doing?" 

"It's not loaded. You love metaphors so listen to me." 

He patted the spot beside him and threw over the blankets to make room for me. I climbed in leaving a good amount of space between us. 

"No," is all he said as he took his arm and pulled me next to him by the waist. 

"All of that negative energy. All of those negative thoughts you have swirling around inside of you. We're getting rid in them tonight." 

"Okay. And how do we do that," I asked. 

"We're gonna shoot em."
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Monday, December 5, 2016

Did I Just Become A "Cool" Mom?


Picture this.

Claire and I are under the covers. The door to the bedroom is shut and locked because that's how we sleep every night. I can't have it open, gaping into the unlit hallway. My imagination runs wild enough without a black hole to stare at throughout the dark hours. 

She's asking for her milk every two seconds because she's fighting sleep. My hair is freed from those black ponytail holders that never come undone without a fight. It smells a bit like vanilla inside the room. Both from the  body wash I used in the shower and the spray I used after I threw on one of my oldest Victoria's Secret tees and black pajama pants that I just pulled from the dryer. The last person to wear them was Brooke. I miss her.

We slept in late, like we have been for several days, because we can. Because my schedule allows it and I could honestly give zero shits who judges the fact that we wake up at 9:30 most days and lay there counting, singing out the ABC's and doing little dances until 10. 


I was hoping she would fall asleep though, so I could sneak out and wrap up some gifts. I'll have to put together some of her toys too and most nights I'll need to finish up posts and articles instead of hole up in my office with a load of tape and sparkly, Santa-covered paper. This was my chance though, a weekend night without a deadline in sight! 

It was nearing midnight though and little girl was still chatting away watching The Land Before Time - a movie that rounds out my childhood quite nicely but if I could slap Little Foot in the face I would. Okay, okay, I wouldn't slap Little Foot, that's a bit harsh, but I'd rather not watch it again for about ten years. 

My phone was buzzing every few minutes. Texts, snaps, Facebook messages - everyone was awake and asking questions, wanting to chat and be flirty. Was there a full moon I didn't know about? I'm going to be honest here though, there was only one "he" I actually cared about talking to. The others I was just humoring and the other one on my mind, well, he was busy with someone else. 

Finally I just gave in. I threw up a "fuck this" to the plan I had in my head and gave Claire a kiss on the cheek. I went into the kitchen and popped some popcorn, her favorite, grabbed a movie I snagged on Black Friday, Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates, and went back into the bedroom. How harshly are you judging me now?

I have never eaten in bed before. I was worried about the crumbs. My obsessive behavior was creeping up my neck in a way that I immediately started regretting the decision. But when Claire sat up, wide-eyed still, and yelled for her "sack," which is "snack," I melted. Give the baby what she wants and let the mom relax a bit. 

I plugged my phone in to charge and laid it on the nightstand. I ignored every vibration from there on out, except for the occasional text to the bestie who was somewhere over the Pacific because I wanted her to walk off the plane to find some light-hearted and random messages from me.

About ten minutes into the movie Claire yelled, "Stop!" Her little hands were in the air, ever-so-dramatically and she was staring at me. I didn't understand but I pressed paused and asked, "What's wrong baby?"

Then she laid down. And told me to lay down. I cleaned up and obeyed my tiny, almost-two year old. Snuggled up with our noses touching, she grabbed her pacifier, shoved it in her mouth and took my face in her hands. She let out a little giggle and said, "Night Night Mommy," before rolling over and closing her eyes. She was asleep within minutes. That moment was worth the late night. It also made all questioning of my parenting skills go right out the window. 

Did I just become a "cool" mom? I think I did and these memories aren't just mine but they're hers too. I hope she looks back and remembers them fondly because I'm not forgetting a single bit. 

She fell asleep a few minutes before 9pm on Sunday night though. So, I'm not a terribly irresponsible mother. Instead, I'm just continuing to solidify the fact that we are the real-life Gilmore Girls, just switch out the Gilmore with Fleming and voila .. you've got us. In a few years we can swap out the popcorn for pizza and the milk for coffee and maybe we'll get our own show. 

I doubt myself a lot when it comes to being a single mom. I feel very guilty all the time that she's not getting the life that I had imagined or thought I had promised her. But then there are nights like this that I realize are ending up to be so much better than what I had planned. These real minutes together are so much better than ones that are forced or fake. She'll come out stronger from all of this too, I won't allow it to go any other way.
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Sunday, November 27, 2016

I Tried To Relax, I'm A Handful


It's 12:47AM and I am so tired that I'm completely awake. The television is off. This side of the house is filled with street lights creeping passed the sides of the dining room curtains and the kitchen clock is ticking away. It's all so surreal. It's all so loud.

Do you ever have an out of body experience where you start questioning your reality so much that you freak yourself out just a little? Or maybe just an "out of mind" experience? Am I alive or just a character in someone else's story?

When did I become two months away from being 28? Has it really been almost a year now? My name is Grace. Have you ever sat and said your name so many times out loud that it starts sounding like a word you've never heard before?

I have a daughter. I am someone's mother. I am someone's sole provider, caretaker and confidant. She's asleep in my bed right now. She's under the covers and when I go in there to lay down she'll curl up right next to me and stick those tiny fit under my back and she may even say "thank you," which comes out more like "dank you," under her breath.

I really hate that wrinkle right above my nose. That's the only true sign of my age. If not I could still pass as a carefree gal in my early twenties without a mark of real life on her. My hands show it a bit too.

Have you ever watched a video of yourself talking? Pay attention to the way your mouth moves as it forms the words. It's strange isn't it? That's you. And someone could see that, you talking or laughing or smirking, and they could fall in love with that.

My house is changing. It actually feels really good to sit here. It feels more like me rather than a part of the history. Which is so good, because it's progress. It's movement. Although I'm not used to staying put. I'm not used to non-movement. But sometimes through all the progress it's nice to enjoy the change.

They tell me that I can be a handful. Because of my way with words or all of the thoughts in my head that end up pouring out. There isn't a simplicity in my process other than the fact that I tell the truth. I'll never be simple. So maybe they're right. I can be a handful. And if you're not willing to use both hands, let's not talk.

You see, I tried to relax tonight. I tried to revel in my new sofa. The sofa that I so proudly put together myself after throwing the old piece of shit out the door into the front lawn with just these two lonely, old hands. But instead, to relax and truly clear my head, I did this. I wasn't settled until this mix of musings were typed right into my phone and sent to my e-mail and copied into my blog for you to read.

And some of you will be like, "Yep, totally been there with these thoughts." Others will be like, "She's insane." Then there will be a select few who will tell me, "Hey Grace, I got it," and I won't even be surprised when they tell me they did. I hope they tell me. It'll make me feel a little less psychotic and just plain weird instead.
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Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Don't Respond, Just Write


Don't respond, just write, Grace.

That's my new mantra.

Because I really don't even know how to respond to any of them anymore.

I'm more than a checkmark on the snap you decide to send out to a handful of girls seeking attention or validation. I'm more than entertainment for a boring night when you can't decide if you want out of your current situation or not. I'm more than someone to live vicariously through. And so are you. You're more than flirty texting and getting empty promises from someone who already knows that he or she doesn't want your kind of life. You're more than a novelty. You're more than a passing flavor.

Goodness, if there's one thing anyone knows about me, even if it's just a little bit, it's that I'm consistent. I keep my word. I won't break plans with you last minute. I respond to texts and calls. That's not because my time is free of, well, life. It's because I put value on your time. It's because I put value on you as a person. And I am so tired of not being shown the same amount of respect. I am even more tired of watching my friends deal with the tinkering of feelings and game playing.

Putting those non-actions aside, I've realized that I don't need to respond when I'm hyper-emotional about a current situation. Instead, I need to write about it. I need to breathe and come back to it later and sort through my thoughts and pinpoint the correct words that value both my own time and the other person's.

Because I really don't even know how to respond to any of them anymore.

"Hey girl," is something I received a couple weeks after a random, late-night meetup. I already said, "Hi," to you once, and you respond a couple weeks later. Why? Because you're bored. Pass.

Then there's the smooth one, who thinks he's getting something over on me with his out-of-the-blue texts and snaps. I was into it for a bit. But I'm bored now and I'm out of caring. I'm out of trying to get to know you. You can do your best to convince me otherwise. I pass here as well.

The one that I love is a hard one too. I don't know how to respond to you because I know everything I want to say or joke about but it's not the right thing to do. And all I want to do is respond to you. I don't want to pass, but I have no choice.

Maybe it's time for a clean slate. My best writing comes from when I'm in a super feely, sensitive space. But my rule is that I don't write until it's over. I've been tricked before. But this time I'm not getting sucked back into the game. I'm going to tell the story and hit the save button. Then I get to start anew for myself and all of those future books with Grace Lynne Fleming in bold print on the front cover.

Because I really don't even know how to respond to any of them anymore.
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Friday, November 18, 2016

I Do Regret One Thing

The feedback has been more than I could ask for. By what you all have been saying, friends, family and even strangers have reacted to my words. Some of my stories have made you giggle a little or blush just a bit. Other times you were slightly giddy that someone else knew how your awkward feelings felt. And then some of you told me that you cried. I know why those that know me cried. They were so close they saw the wreckage with their own two eyes. But the ones that I've never met, those tears mean that I did something right with the way I conveyed the emotions. I only hope to continue that and to never go about it disingenuously. 

Resonating in all of this brings me to my biggest regret in way of conveying emotions. It may be my only regret that I can pinpoint and get embarrassed about. In all of these months leading up to this moment; a moment where I feel good about who I am becoming and I feel strong in my singleness and I feel powerful in what I have to offer and I feel hopeful that one day this dream of an author's life will come to fruition, there's one moment of words that I fully regret. 

Let me take you back to that moment. 

***

We're back to February 5, 2016

Before he walked out the door without a glance back in our direction, he got into bed with me one more time. Thinking about sharing the blankets with him that night makes me nauseous and angry.

After the revelation that he wanted to leave. After the revelation that he drove home intoxicated. After the revelation that he had been looking up divorce behind my back for six months without so much as a peep of dissatisfaction. After the revelation that he'd been hiding alcohol and cigars in the car. After the revelation that he had been staying after work with college students instead of, at the very least, coming home to scoop up his baby girl in his arms, he told me, "We're fine." 

He coaxed me into the shower and gave me a hug before I got in. My tears were uncontrollable. I never thought that crying could physically hurt, but it can. It hurts even worse when those tears aren't wiped away but just looked at like a bother. He didn't even have the strength to finish a conversation or make a plan of action for our family that night. He was on the verge of passing out. I still have no idea what he drank before he came home. I know he kept screaming that he wanted more and I know how scared I was. 

But I listened to him. He told me we were going to be fine. I took a shower. I checked on Claire. And I climbed into bed next to him. I was uncomfortable though, especially when he came up behind me for another hug. He kissed me on the cheek and said, "Love you," like it was any other night of the week. He stayed next to me acting as though he was about to become the big spoon and I'd melt right into him. Instead I asked, "What are you doing?"

"What," he replied as though he was confused.

"You sure aren't acting like someone who wants a divorce," I snapped.

He could barely keep his eyes open. His breath still permeated the space between us with the stench of stale liquor. But we were going to be fine, because that's what he said. We'd wake up in the morning and we'd fix this. I was in denial.

The tears were still streaming down my face. I could barely catch my breath. My voice was catching too and every time I tried to speak all that I could muster up was a sad, guttural whine that I didn't recognize. He was snoring before I could calm myself down. Because that's what I realized that I always did. When I was upset or angry, whether at him or any other situation outside of our relationship, I comforted myself. I ended up making myself feel better.

And once I did calm down, I buried my head in my pillow. I thought maybe I could hide. I thought maybe this was just the worst nightmare I had ever experienced and I would wake up and be warmly welcomed with relief. I would be able to turn over in bed and tell him about all of those horrible feelings as I recalled the dream. But that never came true. My hardest trials were just beginning. 

Eventually I turned on my back, still trying to slow my breathing. I said out loud, "I would rather die than have you leave us." He never heard this. But I can still hear it loudly in my own ears. And it terrifies me. I regret saying it. I regret allowing him to make me feel that small. 

***

I don't want to have that type of weakness come over me ever again. I never want to regret my words. I also never want to regret my lack of words. I may say a lot. And that may annoy plenty but I'd rather let it all hang out, so to speak. I never want to be suppressed in my own thoughts ever again. I never want to be pushed to the point where I feel that hopeless. I never want to feel like I need to apologize for expecting to be heard. 

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Friday, November 11, 2016

We All Have That One

Mine has blue eyes. All of mine have blue eyes. They're trouble for me. I should steer clear from them. 

We all have that one person. That one person we still think about every once in a while. We wonder how they are. We wonder what if's and why not's and ask the question, "Should I have?" 

Even if you're married, you have that one person. Don't act holier than thou as you post all about your perfect relationship online. There's not a perfect marriage. Both of you find others attractive. Both of you have thoughts. But before you start arguing with me about it, who's your celebrity crush? Boom. You have a person then. You have a person other than your person. That's totally normal. 

My person makes my stomach hurt a bit still. He knew me better than the person I wore a ring for did. I think he always liked me a bit better too. Sometimes I even called him for advice over that same person who bought me those beautiful rings. 

Don't get me wrong though. That person I walked down the aisle to, as he gave me a big thumbs up with a silly smile, I loved him completely. I still have immense love for him. But I'd be lying if I said that I never thought about the one who came before him. 

I remember sitting in a girlfriend's car riding around those back roads with Nickelback on a loop telling her that there was no way I'd ever feel "this" way about someone else. That statement still holds true. Those feelings may have been suppressed and distanced over a lot of years but they can easily be rummaged up. Actually, they can be felt too easily. I have to be careful. 

Sometimes I can feel myself tiptoeing a transparent boundary that's been drawn between us. I have to stop myself from saying something particularly witty, yet inappropriate, or from asking a specific question. It's a bit tortuous. What's even worse is knowing that he too lingers on a thick black line. I won't cross it not even when I'm asked to. 

I have a lot of great men in my life. Some are best friends. Some I've known since my Barbie days. Some I could call and they'd be here to laugh or cut the grass for me. But this one, he's my that one. I keep things from him now because I'm scared he'll be mad. My jokes are different now because I'm scared he'll call me out on something big and it'll hurt. I'm different now and I get scared he won't like it. Not that it matters, it can never matter. 

We all have that one that we made an instant connection with and was never severed. Some of you may have been lucky enough to explore what a relationship with that person could be. Others went their separate ways and became romantic with other people and those other people were always jealous of that one. But the spark that caught fire never really fizzles out. Even after all the attempts at throwing water on it, there's an otherness about your person. It's special.

It's such a puzzle. It can be such a treacherous game. And what's even more heartbreaking is when the timing gets right for you, it's completely wrong for that one. Because when it was right for that one, you were blind and stupid and guarded and felt like there was never a chance. Then you realize the fate. You realize there's no fate. That person will only ever be that one you'll always have. 

We all have that one person that takes up a small space in the back of our minds, an even bigger space in our hearts and a larger portion of our memories. Explore that one when you get the chance. Jump right in and don't be afraid of rejection. Do it for me, would ya?

Yes, he's that one right here.

{for an extended version of this beauty and an even more in depth look at my "that one" make sure to buy my hypothetical book when it hits bookshelves}
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Thursday, November 10, 2016

I Have Power, It's A Struggle


I had an epiphany. Although, maybe I already secretly knew it.

Out to dinner with an old friend, it struck me. I have the power. Sometimes I need the reminder though. Other times, I need to remember to believe it.

Here's what I love now: I love being with a man and watching him get a little squirmy as he's overcome with the realization that I may write about him. I hold back a little to observe. I just dip my toes in at first. I like to test the waters. I want to see what he'll do. And before he realizes it, I've already written it all down in my head. It's a new kind of super power that I have.

It's a game. It's a challenge for him to get me to notice. Or to chat. Or to come over. After the coaxing ends and when I get comfortable enough to just dive in, he wins. But he doesn't really win. Because I'm not giving up too much that first time. I'm experimenting without realizing it. Besides, he loves the thrill. Once he's in it though, once the thought washes over him that he could be tangled up in my words and blasted out for the world to read, he gets a little scared. 

Should I be flattered or offended? I think it's a bit laughable that there's an assumption that I would write about him - any of the him's. They already find themselves so important, so memorable, so worth writing about. I have rules. No names. No writing until it's over. No writing until it's worth it.  

But I also have a power in my actions. A text. A snap. A phone call. I can do whatever I want and not feel stupid or dumb or rejected. I can just be. I can ask. I can live my life like a free woman and not give any man power enough over me to make me feel anything less than I am. And, of course, that whole other bag of cards I hold. The writing, the knowing and the words; the ones worth having fun with or fooling around with or starting a relationship with won't get scared or finicky about what I do. Instead, they'll embrace it. They'll activity support it.

But then comes the struggle. The power of my words holds a lot of weight. Sometimes there's a secret or two that, once released, could hurt someone. It could make them feel weird. It could change their way of thinking about me or someone else. That's a consequence of what I'm doing but I also have to be authentic in my stories.

I recently wrote about an experience that is too good not to share. It's complicated and out of left field and a little hilarious too. I want to publish it and let you read it and laugh and blush and feel a little dirty as you follow the rhythm of the words. But there's a new element to this one. It could come with a consequence that I haven't dealt with yet. It could hurt someone that I care for deeply. Or, at the very least, our bond would be a bit tarnished. I've been wrapping my head around it, keeping it in forever or continuing to follow this path I've set out for myself. "Sex and the Country," they keep telling me, that's what I need to rename the blog as I sort out my Carrie Bradshaw alter ego.

I've decided to follow the path. I'll stay genuine and continue to be an open book. I'll continue to share all the embarrassing things. I'll continue to share all the wonderful things too. But this thing, this great thing I wrote over the weekend that I've reread and allowed my friends to read and gush a bit over, that's being saved for the book because it's just too good.

In the meantime, these snippets shall hold you:

"She threw over a piece of bubblegum, "It's all I got," she said. It tasted like it was from 1997 but was better than nothing since I had no toothbrush in sight."

"But when his Insta name came across my phone notifying me of a new "like," the mood struck and I felt a little gutsy."

"We hugged and we both said how good it was to see each other. I was taken aback by his height and his strength though."

"His face was in the side of my neck when he said, "But I like control."

"I knew I was in trouble with that statement. His new nickname is now "trouble."

"He has nice hands. They felt good. Actually, they felt so good that I wouldn't let him turn up my sweater anymore because I knew if I felt them on my bare skin that I'd lose all inhibitions. So I stopped it. He told me I was tense. I agreed."

"And then we were kissing again and he whispered in my ear, "Kiss my neck. Then you can write."

"He's not really an asshole though. He just has a tough shell and it's coated in sarcasm and sexy eyes. Again, his hands aren't bad either."

What's hilarious about all of this, I'll probably get a few texts or questions about those above snippets. One may have it right. Most will have it wrong. That's my power and for now I'm just going to embrace it and laugh at the ones that are too scared to continue the fun.

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Monday, November 7, 2016

F*ck Apologies

Some of my most inspired moments are when I'm driving at night running through all of the new possibilities my life has now. I turn the radio up and I'm able to feel relief without being snapped back into a chokehold. I haven't sang this much since I was 16-years old. I haven't danced with this much joy since I was the same age. I have a certain type of freedom that I've never experienced before.

But I've also gotten over a big hurdle. Or at least I'm getting there. I don't have to please others. I don't have to apologize for my choices if they aren't a society standard or what my neighbor deems fit. I get to do whatever the hell I want to do and f*ck apologizing for it. And thanks to JoJo and Wiz Kahlifa, I can have the volume up high and scream about it with them too.

I've never felt lighter. My home has never felt cozier. I can wear shoes that I was once criticized for. I can buy food that I actually want to eat. I can spend the extra money I was wasting on men's pomade and throw it in the savings for a future trip. As long as Claire is secure and settled, Grace - this new, freer, wilder, independent, powerful Grace, can do as she pleases for herself, her future, her career and her goals. I like that. I am reveling in it all.

And with this newfound freedom and no-apologies attitude, I have to learn to loosen up. I've been such a tense person for so long that I've evolved into someone that never knows how to relax and just enjoy the moments. I am tense and tight in my thoughts and if you touch my shoulders you'll feel it too. I want people around me that will help with that. Teach me how to relax and have fun without worrying, apologizing or planning. I welcome that into my life.

Obviously I'm not talking about irresponsibility or forgetting that I'm a parent, but I'm 27-years-old and handed over a large portion of my life to someone that threw it away. I deserve the fun. I deserve the spontaneity. I deserve people that want to be a part of that. My life, my career, my dreams; none of that has been erased because my ex-husband made bad choices or that I'm committed to being a full-time, single parent. That isn't the definition of Grace, it's a part of my growth and I don't have to defend myself for any of my actions moving forward.

Traveling alone. Finishing a drink. Kissing strangers. Tattooing my skin. Writing about my personal life. Wearing offbeat prints. I forgot about a lot of things that I loved while I was unknowingly being molded into someone that 18-year-old Grace would have gagged at the thought of.

Sometimes I don't even recognize myself when I look in the mirror. I'll get out of the shower and catch myself as I'm brushing my teeth and I think, "Well damn, who is this?" Because I like her so much. My stomach turns at the thought of what my life might have been like if I allowed things to continue as they were.

I like to wear mismatched clothes sometimes. I like to flirt a lot. I like to fill every room of the house with music. I have no apologies to give out for being a bit weird anymore. Not to my ex-husband, whom I apologized to multiple times a day for years without realizing it. Not to my past. Not to my future. And certainly not to anyone in my present. But if you're someone that wants to help me loosen up a bit. Teach me how to live in pure moments, I welcome you. I need you, actually.

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Friday, November 4, 2016

Unfiltered

He told me that the crease down the center of my bottom lip is sexy.

He's not scared of my reactions. He doesn't criticize my passions. And he certainly isn't playing a confusing game of "who's in control." 

He's never belittled my feelings. He puts in effort. He knows me but he wants to know more. He's working to win me over. To make me feel something. He finishes conversations. 

He's a man. And when you hug him you feel both a comforting warmth and his strength. He's a big guy. There's security in his arms, both kinds. He's not scared to be vulnerable. He has no qualms about my writing. 

He gives beard burn. Or stubble rub. Whatever you like to call it. There's a bit of gray in there already too, but he's not quite 30 yet. 

He doesn't make me feel like I need to walk on eggshells to talk to him or use a strainer on my thoughts. I'm never scared of what he'll say to me. I'm never worried that he'll freak out and become abrasive. 

He pays attention to details too. From his shirt and pants to the lines of my face, he notices everything. And he makes me feel good about myself, infusing me with a new sense of freshness and outlook. 

He saw this snap yesterday.

It's a terrible photo. My crooked nose, the chub in my cheeks, the wrinkle between my eyes and the messed up mascara, they're easily seen. And without a filter, you can also see all the light freckles that come and go on my face throughout the changing of the seasons. I blame it on all the years of time spent on the ball field catching up to me. He saw the photo though. He immediately told me I was beautiful and looked like the same girl sitting on the floor of his college dorm room trying to fit the entire chapter of our history books on the one tiny notecard we were allowed to use as cheat sheets on our exams. That's a perfect example of both his memory and his subtle flattery. 

I like that I can be unfiltered with him in all ways and he still sees the good stuff. But most importantly, he's not ashamed or afraid to say the good stuff out loud. That's a man. That's a man with confidence. That's a man that isn't playing a game. That's a man that doesn't have me on the back burner. That's a man that can't tell the future and has no idea if we could or would work out but is still putting his hat in the ring and trying.  
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Wednesday, November 2, 2016

Guilty


We're literally all guilty of it. Have you ever stalked someone online so hard that you actually become embarrassed of yourself? Whether you tell anyone or not, there's a line that gets crossed and you sit there and think, "What the hell am I doing right now?" Sometimes you do tell someone though, and your friends start helping. And then an hour goes by and you make yourself blush with humiliation and think, "I am seriously wasting my life." 

I've been on both sides of the situation. Actually, I've been on all sides of the situation. I've been stalked. I've helped a friend stalk. And recently, like this past week, I stalked the ever-loving crap out of someone. The biggest issue in this particular stalking escapade was the fact that I only know his first name, the first letter of his last name and that we're the same age. Okay, I also know where he works but I'm not hopping over the crazy line completely and calling the company to ask. At least not yet. 

Now, have you ever met someone and felt an instant connection? You don't even have to speak. You just see them or, in my case, you open the door and, in my case again, you blurt out, "Well, hey there," slightly creepily. This man knows me. He knows my family too. He knows about my "ex-husband," which still leaves a weird taste in my mouth to say but he brings him up delicately and with concern. That instantaneous feeling, which has happened twice now, is my excuse for the cyber stalking. 

I'm contemplating breaking something in my house so he can come to the rescue. He lingered longer than necessary on Monday. And I allowed him. He's kind and he does him job well and I want to know more about him. He got down at eye level with Claire, multiple times, and had a conversation with her. I liked that. It wasn't necessary to do. It wasn't necessary to talk about his mom either. I liked that too. Which is why I want to know more. I'd much rather him tell me than the Internet but what's a gal to do? I probably should have found him by now if he was even in the social media world. Or maybe my skills are severely lacking, there's a 50/50 chance of that too. 

Although I get embarrassed of myself for myself, I'm not embarrassed even a little bit to admit this awful habit we all have. How many of you have scrolled so hard that you're back in 2011 on someone's Facebook feed before you even realize it? You've literally all done it. So, shut up right now. You do it on Insta too. You sift so hard that you're looking at photos of an ex's sister's new boyfriend that you come to realize you've dated too. Then you screenshot it all and send it to your friends. And they do their own digging. This usually happens in bed, at night, alone, quite late, but it happens. You know it happens.  

The worst part of this entire stalking process is that it usually gets really heavy after rejection. That one person who was a little mean to us, they're the ones that get all of our attention, time and effort. And we stalk them too and their friends and whoever that one random person was that commented on their page and it's all downhill from there. It's pathetic and that's where the true waste of time comes in. Cyber stalking isn't going away anytime soon but I'd much rather spend my time scrounging up information on someone that could actually be worth it rather than an asshole who is, well, an asshole. We like people who reject us, which makes no sense. It becomes some sort of weird challenge and instead of coming out victorious, we constantly end up feeling terrible about ourselves and questioning our worth. 

Word to the wise: If someone makes you feel shitty and they don't change it. Be done. Don't work at something that isn't worth working at. Instead, follow the instantaneous feelings. Follow the ones that continue to make you feel good. Even if a little Facebook trolling is involved. 

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Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Star Light

Star Light, Star Bright,
The First Star I See Tonight;
I Wish I May, I Wish I Might,
Have The Wish I Wish Tonight



We all know the nursery rhyme. It's something we learn when we're quite small. But it stuck with me. It's still stuck with me. I love the stars. They're part of the reason I work so well at night. I look for them and I look to them.

When I was younger I kept a lot of journals. In fact, the last journal entry I have was from a trip to Hoover, Alabama. We stayed in a spa resort, hung out by the pool, took photos like the one above, ate pimento cheese with pita bread and I was writing at night. I would write this little poem out to remember after every entry. To believe in magic. To believe in dreams. To believe in impossibilities. I signed every entry with my "pen name," Isla Claire, and prayed for the day that I'd use it, ya know, for real. I needed the reminder again.

I know how to deal with rejection, especially in the professional world. I'll always get more no's than yes's and I've come to terms with that. And when you're pushing your work and heart out for the world to see, you have to anticipate the criticism even more than the support. But it's hard to hear opinions sometimes. It's hard to feel like your dreams and goals were just completely shit on.

You don't have to live in my world. You don't have to live in a world that's a little topsy-turvy and messy and where mediocrity isn't something to settle for or with. You don't have to live your life working for something that has a higher probability of not happening than actually coming to fruition. But I am, that's my choice.

I'm inspired by a lot. I can meet someone in the line at the market and create an entirely new story for one or both of us after I pay for my groceries and walk out the door. I can get a text from an old friend and concoct a brand new reality from just a few words. There's a difference between inspiration and reality though. Just because I can dream up an alternate universe doesn't mean I live in it. I just live in a world that reaches for more than a simple life. I'm sorry if that scares you or makes me hard for you to understand. Actually, I'm not sorry at all. Not one little bit. That's your own headache to bear.

I didn't go to school to become a teacher or a nurse. I didn't study something that would give me job security. In ten years I may regret those choices but so far, so good. I have steady work. I pay the bills. I own my own home. And I get tired of feeling as though I have to defend my choices, my feelings or the way my offbeat brain works. I'm not going to anymore. Embrace the weird and the different. The quick to judge always misses out on beautiful experiences and people. I never want to be one of those people. I'd regret that most of all.

So here I am again tonight, looking to the stars for guidance. Sending out good thoughts in hopes that the universe will return the favor. I say my prayers too, mostly for happiness and health, especially for Claire. Those stars have been really good to me so far. I'll keep on route to meet them one day and in the meantime I'm ridding myself of those that want to put a damper on the trip.
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Monday, October 24, 2016

We Didn't Quite Fit


I knew he liked me. A lot. But that didn’t make me feel any less self-conscious. He’d touch my leg under the table in an innocent, yet lustful, way and the only reason I’d ever pull back was so that he didn’t feel the cellulite high up on my thigh.

I knew he was nervous too. I didn’t want him to feel like I didn’t want him, because I did. This entire experience was new and exciting. But also very scary. I felt like at any minute he would take a look around at someone else and realize he was with the wrong woman. I just didn’t fit with him. I usually didn’t fit with anyone. But once he got me alone in a corner, he went for it.

Subtle lips kissed me like they’d been waiting to since the moment he walked in the door. My hands tangled into his bleach blonde hair and the butterflies in my stomach tried to keep up with the pace of my heart. My insecurities started to vanish once he began whispering in my ear to stop worrying. “You’re beautiful. There’s nowhere else I want to be looking,” he said under his breath.

***

That was the first time I ever felt complimented by him. My confidence had already been shaken but his ways always made me question myself a little more than I should have. The reassurance was warmly welcomed. It’s not that I needed constant ego boosts, if that was the case every sweet word he threw my way would lose its meaning. But sometimes I needed him to soften and give me some slack and in the moment he did our relationship changed a little. We were on an even playing field with a new sense of security.

We would always find ways to tuck ourselves away in a nook somewhere, hidden from a world we were constantly complaining about or analyzing. He’d then run his fingers through my hair saying, “Damn, it’s soft too.” Or he’d kiss my nose and tell me not to worry about its slight bend from when I was 12 and got smacked in the face with a Dixie Youth softball.

He was too sweet sometimes. And at other times he was too much of an ass. He was late a lot and he wanted to change plans fifteen minutes before we were supposed to step out the door. I didn’t want a high maintenance man. And he could never find a balance that made me feel completely comfortable. Which is why I knew I’d never quite fit. There was a short period of time I thought about running to him from my almost three-year relationship though. He could have been the distraction I needed from when I was almost 20 and feeling a bit suffocated.
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Thursday, October 20, 2016

Locked Up


Let's rewind a bit.

Ten years ago today I would be a month away from bagging a new boyfriend. That's a terrible term to use, I know, but at the time, I was probably explaining it that way to one of my girls. High fives all around, I hit the jackpot. I would eventually fall in love too. But now, a decade and a divorce later, I would also realize that I lost a piece of myself in the process. In actuality, there were several pieces that went MIA along the way. Although, the exciting bit now, being on the other side of the hardest parts of this shit storm, is that I'm starting to find those missing pieces. They've been just waiting for me to let them out. 

When I was 17 I had a lightness. I was free in my ways. And I was messy but I was quick too. I was quick in my decisions and quick in my wit and there were people who loved all of that about me and missed it. I wish they had vocalized all of this more when I was younger. It would have given me some confidence in my offbeatedness (not a word, but it is now) that I eventually ended up suppressing most of. I went far too into conforming to the normal molds we're all taught instead of following the daydreams.

Most of my t-shirts came from Hot Topic and I wore a lot of accessories that included skulls. I spent a lot of my time trying to fit in a social life since most of my socializing happened on the ball field. I didn't read as much but I was writing a whole lot. I doodled future tattoos in the sidebars of my homework. I changed my MySpace song about 20 times a week. I was all over the place in interests, in my friends and in my personality. I had an insane crush on Usher but I was also listening to a lot of One Republic and The Fray and Blue October and ... Papa Roach too. I was a little different everyday, which was what most expected of me.

Let's fast-forward a bit.

You'd find my mess get a bit cleaner. I became anxious and extremely anal about every facet of my life: my school work, how clean my college apartment was, a routine for every day of the week. I thought this was a good thing. My relationship made me better. I'm learning that was never true. I thought I stressed less with him. But that's where the worry developed. I don't know why. I'm certainly not blaming him. I do blame myself for not realizing it sooner though. The mess was a part of me. I liked the mess. I'm starting to get a little messy again. 

I'm also starting to cultivate a beautiful list of what I want both out of life and out of a partner. I may never get married again and that's okay because if there's a next time, I'll be getting married for different reasons and with different feelings. But in the meantime, I'm not scouring or hunting or looking for anyone. I'm not looking for a husband. If someone falls into my lap and we have a great experience, I'll pocket it and keep it tight and and appreciate it. I just don't need any preconceived notions put on me. For example,

Single, Young Mom: "Oh well she's probably looking for something serious. She's looking for a husband or someone to take care of her and her daughter."

That's all bullshit. I'd rather have something serendipitous happen. I'd rather have fun. And I am building a newfound pride in myself that I can take care of both myself and Claire without a man by my side, I don't need a him. I want to want. I don't want to need. 

And I do want.  I want someone to tell me that I'm being an asshole when I'm being an asshole and who actively supports my ideas. 

I want someone that will travel with me. And be excited about it.

I want someone who doesn't care that I'm not super domesticated but appreciates my eye for aesthetics. Knowing what the word aesthetics means would be a giant plus.

I want someone that will take me to the batting cages. And not have a chip on their shoulder when I'm a hell of a lot better.

I want someone that doesn't expect me to cook a lot, at least not meaty dishes because I don't eat meaty dishes and touching raw meat freaks me out.

I want someone with passions of their own and not only talks about them but pursues and participates in them.

I want someone that likes the rain as much as I do. It's so easy to thrive off the sunshine, it's harder to have clarity when you can't see straight.

I want someone that will push me and not let me sit idly watching time slip away. All of that time could be used to chase a dream or finish a project or do something worth remembering, I want someone that appreciates that notion.

I want someone that will speak up about their feelings and not be a giant wimp and miss the boat. There are too many men in my present life that give me those vibes. Your time is now, say it. Say whatever you want to me. Say everything that went unsaid.

A decade ago I was taking every day as it came and living the hell out of each hour. I didn't stay locked up so far inside my head. So I'm taking some advice from my teenage self and finding her again. I can hit the reset button as many times as I want until I feel comfortable. But my head, all that was tightened with a key, it's all out now. 
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Monday, October 17, 2016

I Think I'm Done

Freshly showered, I grabbed some sweats and threw them on to run out the door. He was waiting in the driveway. I didn't care about my hair. I didn't care about wearing any makeup. I may have sprayed some Love Spell on before I walked out though, at least smelling attractive was something I could try to pull off in those five minutes. 

I hadn't heard from him in a few weeks. Instead, he just decided to call and tell me he was on his way to pick me up. And I've been weak. I haven't argued or challenged him, instead I've just been doing what he wants, when he wants it and that's not me. It's also not what I deserve. But I was giving him this chance. 

 "Get in," he shouted at me through the window. 

 I hopped in the passenger seat. I slammed the door. And I turned to look at him.  "What," I asked. 

He creeped closer but I scooted away. He grabbed the collar of my shirt and pulled me closer. Then he slid his hand to the back of my neck, a spot it frequented. 

 "Stop being stubborn, " he said.

 I rolled my eyes and he kissed me. This time it wasn't a soft start or a question. His mouth moved to my neck and all I could think about was how the stubble on his chin tickled or gave me chills when he hit the right spot. I found the strength to push him away though. 

"You're one to talk. I haven't heard from you and I have no idea why," I nearly yelled. 

Sitting up straighter in his seat, he smoothed out his hair, "It's hard to explain." 

I asked, "Do you want to try?" He didn't answer me right away. He put on his seatbelt and started driving.

I sat with my arms crossed for a while until I realized where we were heading. That same church parking lot he broke down a bit with me before; we pulled into it and stopped. 

He broke the silence, "We were talking about furthering things." 

"Yes, so you decided to ignore me," I asked. 

He didn't answer me though, he just looked at me. He ran his hands through his hair and stared out the windshield.

"You were the one that initiated all of that though," I said confused.

He smirked and let out a sarcastic laugh, "No, that wasn't how it went at all." 

"Oh really, because it sure seemed that way to me," I replied.

"Grace, don't for one second play it off like you weren't going towards the same thing I was." 

I sat there a bit stunned and feeling like I was living in some form of the twilight zone. This was the person that flipped all of my preconceived notions and put effort into getting to know me. He put effort into showing me that age didn't have to matter. He put effort into proving me wrong about small, worrisome doubts that kept me from opening up. Of course I was going towards the same thing he was. But that was my point, he was going towards them too.

I turned to him, "I'm confused. You either want me around or not. You either want to talk to me or not. But popping in and out without rhyme or reason isn't going to work for me." 

And then he started driving again and it was silent and it was uncomfortable and I was frustrated and hopelessly torn. What happened to the mature man I was talking to? What happened to the one who made me laugh and gave me an excited feeling I couldn't pinpoint ever feeling before? 

My arms were crossed and my eyes were closed once we pulled back into my driveway. He was still silent. 

"Are you going to say anything to me at all," I asked.

Silence. He was present, but he wasn't present anymore. There was nothing. The entire situation was nonsensical. In that hour this two-way street became a complete waste of time. The chemistry between two strangers, the right amount that could really ignite a spark was minimized to nothing. 

But then he took off his seatbelt and let up the console. He pulled me over to him by tugging at my thigh and started kissing me again. I denied him at first, that's what I'm best at. I gave in though. I gave in completely. 

Then the silence started creeping in to my mind. Why wasn't I worth an answer or a conversation? I stopped him. No matter how good his hands around my waist felt. No matter how good his fingers tracing my spine felt. No matter how much more I wanted from him when he pulled at the drawstring of those awful Gap sweatpants I decided to slip into before I flew out the front door, I couldn't continue this with a silent person. 

I stopped him. 

"I think I'm done," I said. And he just looked at me.

So I gathered my things and I got out of the car. I silently hope he would follow me. I would have let him in and gave him the night. But he didn't. Instead, he waited until I got inside and shut the door. And then he left. 
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Friday, October 14, 2016

30 Minutes

Thirty minutes of his time tonight made my previous 14 hours so different.

"I feel weird," I said on the phone.

"I could make you feel weirder and stop by for a few minutes?" He says it like a question.

My hair is bigger than it was 14 hours ago. It's messy. My eyeliner is smudged in a non-purposeful way. I'd really love a shower. But I didn't care. I just said ...

"Sure, why not?"

This is not the man that I had been talking with before. The one who has been creeping into my dreams and I've been writing about and including real text from our conversations for you all to read. This is someone new, but old. This is someone present and very aware.

I wish that other one, the new one, was present and aware. I took for granted the short time that he was. And I hate that I wish that because here it is, something that could be really great, right in front of my face and all I feel is ... weird.

That's how I've always kind of felt when someone liked me and I didn't like them back and I didn't know what to do with my hands or my face and I just kind of freaked out and would pretty much say this entire run-on sentence in one giant breath like, "ohmyGodIdontwanttomakeyoufeelasweirdasIdobutpleasedonttouchmethanks."

Although, I don't mind this hunk of a man touching me in the slightest. And I should probably give him some type of chance. He doesn't live here either; just my luck. He's back in our college town. He is my friend though. Our quiet chats about Call of Duty in stat impressed him enough, actually that cannot be true because it was just my sarcasm about the game that I pretended to play with thou who shall not be named that got me through those conversations. I'm pretty sure it was just my constant use of the word "noob" that tickled him in the right places.

I have no idea when I'll see him again. Coffee was nice. His attention to my ring finger and the kiss on my neck, all of that isn't easily forgettable but neither were the feelings, or actually, the instinct and excitement I had about someone else. That's the predicament we all have though right? We compare and contrast instead of just taking someone as they are and making an opinion based off of him or her and him or her alone.

I won't say I walked away from this little meetup confused because I am not confused about my feelings or what I'll eventually want. I definitely know what I need. But that predicament pops up again, the one that so many of us have. We want what we shouldn't want. We want what we really don't need. Or at least that's the conclusion I'm coming to based on the past few weeks. I need someone that is mature enough to communicate their feelings. I want someone that will finish an argument when both of us have had our say. And I really wouldn't mind someone that kept their word no matter how small that is. I'm in no rush. I'm just learning. All of these thoughts were just compacted into a quick 30 minute conversation that I walked away from feeling a bit relieved.

I'm still hoping for that new one to meet the expectations he seemed to have made for himself. But that hope is very slim because I'm not stupid. I'm not stubborn either though, at least not about these things, and I don't live in denial. You want me, I'm here. You want to talk to me, I'm here. You just have to let me know. And this one is letting me know, this one with the beard who smells a bit like magic.
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Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Don't Be The Guy

"We would have dated back in college but you always had that ding-a-ling stuck up your ass."


Okay so those may not have been the most romantic of words, but they were still warmly welcomed. I knew him in college. We joked around all of the time. He copied off of me in statistics and was an old roommate of thou who shall not be named. It should be mentioned that he got an A in stat, you're welcome. 

Coffee in his truck and talking about the stars and the conspiracies we've both read about time travel, he didn't have those eyes or that smirk that I had been thinking about for a few weeks but he did have a solid beard and great taste in cologne. He kissed my forehead. He kissed my cheek. We hugged tightly and he kissed my neck. He said, "Yeah, I didn't know how far along we were here," when he realized nothing else was happening. I giggled.

 He's incredibly attractive but there was nothing inside that made me want more, at least not yet. That kind of upsets me though because he did something that struck a nerve. Touching my ring finger ever-so-lightly a few times throughout the night he'd say, "what an idiot," or "I knew something was off about him." That last touch though, "this won't be empty for long Grace," got me thinking...

Don't be the guy that loses her because he won't open his mouth. He and I had been talking about this. What if he had said something to me six years ago? I had a crush on him then. He would wave and be flirtatious with me but I had a boyfriend and had absolutely no clue that he would have been interested in me otherwise. He told me I was oblivious to all signals. He told me that I'm terrible at realizing when there's a man looking at me in a way that's more than just "Hey, you're just another human and I'm not attracted to you." Apparently I need lessons in all of the above. 

Don't be the guy that gets scared of his own feelings, or the woman he's talking to and her feelings and stops everything without an explanation. Why ruin something worth the experience because you're too fearful of a conversation? You have no idea how much respect and effort you'll get from the other person when you add a bit of humility to your everyday life. 

Don't be the guy that loses her because you think there might be something better or easier. This just makes you a complete dumbass. Nothing easy is worth your time, including people. And you'll realize when nothing better comes along that you had the best right in front of you. That's how life works, in fact, that's how karma works. 

Don't be the guy that's known for his flakiness or his disappearance. Mr. MIA isn't the guy who gets loyalty. He's the guy that gets that shit thrown right back into his face, which is a shame because those are the ones that need it the most. The ones with chips on their shoulders and bitterness swirling throughout their hearts, they need the loyalty the most and won't get it if they're pegged as unreliable. 

He told me I was different now though. He said that I seemed to have more confidence and it was "very attractive." I responded, "No, I think I'm just more comfortable with myself now." 

"Grace, that's pretty much the definition of confidence," he said.

"Touche," I replied.

He told me that he saw the fire in my work. He said that was "very attractive" as well. And I in turn found it incredibly attractive that he noticed and he liked it and he wasn't freaked out by the thought of this offbeat path I was trying to pave. He says so many right things that I only hope that I end up feeling the right ways. Right now he's still just the dude that lived next door and played a lot of Playstation and smelled like beer. But he's also the dude that ran into me on Cardiac Hill one morning when it was raining and made me fall flat on my butt. In turn he then walked me to my history class, waited til it was over, bought me coffee and kept his arm around my shoulders the entire time. I never forgot that and always wondered why he did it. 
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