Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Full Circles & Embarrasments

Sometimes I feel like I'm put into unbelievable or ridiculous or awkward or highly embarrassing moments for the simple fact that I'm supposed to eventually write about them. I swear, the weirdest stuff happens to me. ON A DAILY BASIS, and sometimes it's so good, I couldn't make it up in my wildest dreams. Well, I could, but real life seems to be so much better and more entertaining. 

This has been my week thus far. Three situations that made me uncomfortable. Three situations that made me giggle. And three situations that needed to be honestly told about, aside from the people's names, we'll leave those out. 

Situation #1: Tinder Man

Dear Tinder Man,

We matched. You messaged. I messaged back a total of three times before I figured out that I wasn't interested and I was just going to delete Tinder altogether. And then a friend of mine sent me a screenshot of my ex's "secret" Facebook later that day. We noticed that said ex had been tagged in a post by someone we had never heard of. Imagine my surprise when we quickly realized it was you. Just days before you matched with me, you were hanging out with him downtown at 2AM. 

I hate to break it to you, but you're hitting on your buddy's ex-wife. That's his daughter in the photos with me that you've so flatteringly commented about. I could believe that you were set up, which I highly doubt. What does said ex have to gain from that? He's too busy getting his head shaved as I type this. Instead, this just leads me to believe that said ex hasn't mentioned us, at least his daughter, to you because you'd at least know what she looks like. It also leads me to believe that said ex's new pals have really great taste in women. 

**Tinder is now gone from my phone for the time being. I can only take so much. I also bypassed my ex-brother-in-law. Yikes. 

Situation #2: Little Girl

Dear Little Girl,

Imagine my surprise when I saw your resume at work today. Your name popped up and I got a very, very sick feeling in my stomach. I hate to think that we're going to run into each other again, like that time you happen to already be there at Panera when I was meeting my husband - at the time - to talk about our situation. The situation you so lovingly perpetuated. 

As such a young girl, you may not have realized that being picked up from your parents' house by your boss was a terribly inappropriate and unprofessional decision. Ya know, that time when he came to get you - a week or two after he decided to walk out on his family - and play around with you and your buds downtown. While you went out and had fun that night, I was at home dealing with a baby, alone, cutting four teeth. I would think that if you didn't realize how unprofessional that was, it was at least wrong to get in his car, late at night, when he was married with a child. But I guess everyone makes mistakes. 

You also went to his parents' house for a party he decided to throw. That night, I was again, at home, alone, taking care of our child. The one he planned to have with me. The one he wanted to have before I did. The child we had while I put off getting my masters degree, the masters degree I could have gotten from Johns Hopkins - where I was accepted without having to take the GRE because my GPA was so high, higher than yours, I noticed. I hope your summer was incredible with my husband. While you played kickball with him and went out drinking for Irish-fest, I was at home, taking care of a baby with RSV while he made sure your friend got home safely instead of answering the phone to bring us pedialyte. 

 So, sure, come chat with me sometime maybe we can work together too. We've already shared a lot. 

Situation #3: Young Stud

Dear Young Stud, 

What happened? For weeks you were texting me. We chatted a lot. We argued and bickered a lot. I told you things. I respected your insight. And your persistence opened my eyes to the thought of actually dating someone 6 years younger than me. You talked your way into my head, gracefully and quite intelligently. But maybe you're just a good game-player and I'm just too honest. 

That first time on the phone with you made me feel differently. "Does divorce make you a horrible person Grace," you forcefully asked me. "Does divorce make Claire a horrible person Grace," you continued. No, it didn't and you made me believe that I wasn't tainted from it, that you didn't care about any of that. Thank you. 

Then things got a little grey. Hot one day. Cold the next. I could feel it but I didn't ask why, not until our phone call a little over a week ago. We were just goofing off when you made the conversation go a bit serious. "Am I just wasting time talking with a woman," you began. 

I tried to explain how I felt but I needed something from you too. You were asking for me to divulge a lot without knowing what you wanted. You told me you were confused about what to do with me because you didn't know how I felt, that I hadn't said anything for you to know. And that's when I word vomitted how I felt. 

I didn't care about the age or our two different situations. I said I didn't need you or anything from you, it's about me wanting the person. And me wanting you, or at least wanting to see you when you got back, is so much more powerful and special than needing you. We left the conversation with you saying, "Okay, now we're getting somewhere," but I needed to go inside to get Claire and you needed to go to bed. You said you'd text the next morning and you did.

But again, things got grey and you went MIA. The last time I heard from you, you were texting me to tell me that the snap I glanced at after you posted didn't have anything to do with me. Admittedly, I didn't think it did. "Tired of seeing people waste time," was as far as I got before the photo vanished. I sarcastically replied with "Yessir. Glad you felt the need to clear that up." And that's the last I heard from you.

I've texted you a couple of times. I told you that you were so damn confusing the day after this snap interaction. Then after the weekend I acknowledged your passing birthday. And then today, I sent you a snap asking if you were still ignoring me - because my curiosity has been peaked. How do we go from that type of conversation and you caring enough to let me know that a certain "snap" didn't have anything to do with me, to you disappearing and to now my surprise ... unfriending me on Snapchat no less. See above screenshot. That seems a little immature? It at least seems super shady, and pointless.

I can draw my own conclusions. Something shady is probably going on, I'm not dense. I can also take a hint. But like I said, my curiosity is peaked. Why do people act so strangely? I'm so used to be completely open and upfront with myself that it confuses me to no end when they act so, well, weird. I hope one day you tell me. I hope you're okay.

Monday, September 26, 2016

Let's Not Waste Time

I don’t like wasting time. That’s probably why I can be easily frustrated. It’s also probably why my to-do lists are always raging and I take on more work than I should. I want it all, I want it done and I want it now. 

That doesn’t mean I’m super spontaneous. It doesn’t mean that I don’t juggle the outcomes and make the right decisions, it does mean that I don’t pussyfoot around issues. I feel like a lot of my life – my time – was already stolen from me. I refuse to let that happen again. 

I’m going to see the places that I want to see. I’m going to allow Claire to do and try all the things. I’m going to get the tattoos. I’m going to talk and be and experience things with people that challenge me. And I don’t have to get permission or validation from anyone else for any of those decisions. The opinions of those that don’t support me, us, my goals, Claire’s dreams … they can ever-so-eloquently suck it. 

I’ve always went after the impossible. Not in a literal sense and that could be me being a little dramatic, but in terms of what others thought were realistic or practical … that’s never been my “thing.” For example, I have a B.A. in Communication. And I distinctly remember being a semester away from graduation, visiting home sitting inside my high school’s front office listening to one of the administrators – whom I love dearly – talk about how someone we both know was “wasting his time” working on a marketing and communication degree. He won’t be able to support his family, he said. He won’t be able to do anything with that, he said. I smiled coyly and shrugged, I wasn’t about to argue because I knew there could be some truth to that. But I was different, I'd prove them wrong. 

I’m coming up on six years of working as a freelance writer, I haven’t gone a day without work within that time. I’ve lost jobs. I’ve gained better ones. I started making only $35 a week and now I can pay our bills on my own with wriggle room. Could that change tomorrow? Yes, but it’s so worth it. The impossible and all. 

That impossible way trickles over into other parts of my life as well. I've said already that I won't be bringing a pen and paper to my next relationship. I may have a list of what I'm looking for but that doesn't include a particular job, pay scale, age or amount of education. You can have a college degree and be a complete asshole. You can be 21 and be more of a man than the near 30 year-old I spent a decade with. You can have an amazing job and be the laziest person I've ever met. You can make money that supports your family but not really care about your family much at all. 

Instead, if I meet a man that has never read a book and can't string together a grammatically correct text to save his life but he's kind and warm, I'll notice. Instead, if I meet a man that by society's standard is too young to handle me, but he proves otherwise by his conversation and insight, I'll notice. I'm just not looking for things that can be tangibly measured. Ambition, drive, passion, consistency, communication; instead, I'll be going by the immeasurable. 

What does all of this have to do with wasting time? Well, when you're living your life by impossibilities, every second counts. There shouldn't be a day that goes by that I'm not working toward my goals of publication. There shouldn't be a day that goes by that I lay numb to inspiration. There shouldn't be a day that goes by that I forget to infuse life into Claire's day. And there shouldn't be a day that goes by that I forget about people who matter. On the other hand, I ask that you not waste my time either. 

Recently, I again feel like my time was wasted. Reeled in and then cast aside, being single is rough. "Welcome," Brooke says. She's so in tune with how I'm feeling right now. Watching men make an effort as you brush them off and then finally when you soften a little, they're done. It's really easy to get attention, it's easy to keep that attention but it's hard to sustain the truth. 

Talking everyday. Warming up. Letting guards down. Effort shown. Shutting down. Ghosting. Ignoring. 

The pattern is confusing. It's hurtful and disappointing too when you expect more of someone. Let's not waste each other's time. I've come to learn that every minute of my life is precious and I'm tired of using it on people that don't find me worth theirs. 

Now, let's go make some pumpkin cookies.

Thursday, September 22, 2016

It just hurts

I had to hold myself back from jumping out of the car. But I am too tired of being the one who cares. I cried today. I am crying today. And I haven't done that in a while.

This is an entirely new feeling. It's so new that I don't even know what to call it yet. I am relieved. I am confused. I am still heartbroken. Not because of the marriage but because of the person. The person I had put on a pedestal and the person that has a face that I used to love so completely, he didn't even say goodbye. He didn't find me deserving of a goodbye, let alone an explanation to all of this. I didn't get final words. I didn't get any effort. I shouldn't be surprised, and I'm not. But I am hurting.

He may have been upset when he walked away. But he's never been too upset to change or to say something differently. I wanted him so badly to get back out of that car and apologize. I wanted him so badly to get back out of that car and say anything. He could have just said "sorry," or "bye," or "if you need something I'll still be here" or "you're doing a great job." He didn't.

This year was cliche, because it's easily been referred to as a rollercoaster. But I also dubbed it the "Shit Storm of 2016," because that's exactly what it's been. I've been weighed down so heavily. He left, he's partying, he's forgotten about us, he wouldn't bring us milk, he lost his job, he didn't tell me, he hid from me, he spent more time and money at the bars, he refused to keep up with part-time work and then, he enlists in the army

"I'll see you later," he says to Claire. 

We're on the best terms that we possibly can be. I still haven't gotten my questions answered. I still haven't gotten to have my say or truly stand up for myself. But I do believe that he doesn't want to make anything harder for us, he knows how terrible his actions not only have been but still are. He knows how thankful I am for that, for at the very least, not pushing the knife in further.

In the meantime, I am still on my own in every sense of the word and at the same time expected to succumb to the wishes of others when it's truly not in my nor Claire's best interest. Give us space. Give us time. Please stop expecting me to do so much and try putting yourselves in my shoes, just once. When you're mad about the situation, know that I am well aware of how it has affected not only myself and Claire but those around us. And if that bothers you, take it up with him. He's proud of the fact that he wanted this, that's how he explains it to people.

"I asked for a divorce," he tells others. 

And that's a good enough answer in his eyes. But for those wondering, I was never asked. I was told. I was forced and I was given no choice. I fought for two solid months, every day. I was going to compromise beliefs and promises made to me. But in the end, when I realized how much disrespect we were receiving, I did what any good woman and good mother would do. I put our lives in my hands and took them out of the ones that had betrayed us. I positioned us to succeed rather than self-destruct along with someone that was digging very deep holes. I didn't allow him to watch us fail alongside him. He doesn't blame me for any of it, so I wish others would stop. 

A few weeks ago I was upset because the divorce wasn't finalized on the day I had anticipated. I told him, "I'm upset because I don't want to be married to you anymore." That's about as strong as I've been through this, I had come to that point. I was done and okay with it. In fact, I reveled in it. I could find someone better for me, eventually better for Claire too. I had come to the realization that I would rather be alone than be living with a stranger, someone living a life outside the home he liked better than the one with his family. I never want to feel that again, I feel it over and over again when I see him.

And now, I don't know if I'll ever see him again. This could be his escape from what's he's done. Leaving me in his wake and knowing I'll take care of all the important things. Then again, I may see him in a few months. I won't be surprised either way. It hurts me nonetheless, but not in a way that makes me crave what we used to be. I need something better than that, something different. It just hurts, plain and simple. 

I don't have any closure. It's all just left hanging open.

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Three Days With Tinder

Nope. Nope. Nope. Nope. Nope. Nope. Nope. DAMMIT, I could have liked that one. Nope. Nope. Nope. Nope. Maybe. Nope. Nope. Nope. Nope.

(if you didn't catch it, that dammit was when you're on a nope spree and x someone too fast and realize too late that you may have actually wanted to say yep!)

After a Friday night of coaxing, I did it. I downloaded the damn thing and braved the embarrassment. I was on it months ago, some of you even saw me. Shamelessly, and a bit shamefully, I, along with some other pals, were swiping away looking for my now ex-husband to pop up. I'm not sure what it would have accomplished other than more hurt, but we did it anyway and I got some memorable giggles out of it.

But this time, Brooke wanted me to actually try something. "It'll at least give you something to write about," she said. 

And she couldn't have been more right. I may not be super impressed by the ideology behind it all, but after three days I sure do have one hell of an experience thus far. Well, maybe not an actual experience but a classic "Grace" scenario. Also, my lucky streak is really on fire. Out of all the matches and messages, the one man I would actually go on a date with, well, he is 9000+ miles away ... IN AUSTRALIA. 

Tinder is supposed to give you local options, right? Well, my first match ... my first message on this trendy little app was from a man on an entirely different continent, where my best friend is living - the one who talked me into this, the one who said "just try it." It's ironic and hilarious and I'll be visiting her in February. So, if the shoes fits, wear it all the way to a different time zone, right?

I had to download an entirely different app to text him, which includes voice messages that I melt over. Have you ever been greeted with "G'day"? It really makes the mood so much cheerier. I totally get the appeal now Brooke. He calls snaps "snappies," he called my ex a "wanker," he calls a field a "paddock"... good on you Tinder but thanks for the cruel, cruel joke of having him literally an entire day away from me, living in the future. He is studying to be a pilot though so, he can just wing it to Nashville (see what I did there?).

Then there are the obnoxious amount of inappropriate messages. To quote a few:

"MILF." <--- How about no?

"Does mommy need a night off tonight?" <--- Mommy is going to punch you in the face if you refer to her as mommy ever again. 

"Me .. You .. Let's toss in the sheets." <--- Is that even serious? 

"Do you have any MILF money I can borrow?" <--- I'll give you creativity, but no.

I even had someone tell me that he was looking for a "trusting partner," one that he could "stick his d*ck in and not have it sizzle off." I laughed a lot but I also threw up a little in my mouth.

But here's what I have learned.

Nashville Tinder men are hairy, they all believe they're musicians, they really love "gym time" and having a "healthy lifestyle" but they're all obsessed with pizza and bourbon too. Apparently, the most popular hobby is spelunking and taking photos on cliffs in various locations around the country.

I have gotten quite a few ego boosts as well. A large handful of messages have started out with some type of compliment about my eyes, which surprised me. I hadn't really noticed them in years, so if anything, I'm happy I rediscovered something that I too love about myself thanks to this array of new dudes.

I doubt I have it much longer. It gives me a bit of anxiety when someone starts grilling me with questions or I get nervous that they're going to say something disgusting and ruin themselves. Instead I'd rather talk to the one I was already interested in before I took a dive into the deep end. I'd rather focus on one situation than juggle several men that don't give me an ounce of the warm feelings that he does. But what's a gal to do if he's confused and seemingly as though forgetting about me at his leisure?

I'll try to have fun and I'll try to not be so scared.

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Am I Insane?

It's like a hot flash, it's like sliding into an ice bath, it's like a slap in the face.

That's how I live my life. My emotions aren't small. They come in waves. Actually, they come in tidal waves and wash over me at any given moment of any given day. They're cliché and ridiculous and there are too many to count that can't handle it. Even though, most of you can't even tell.

My hands tremble a bit when I feel that panicked anxiety rush through me. After I receive a text or a phone call that tugs at my problems with guilt and making other people happy that don't deserve for me to be that person to them. It's instantaneous.

My stomach walks right out of my torso and falls flat on the floor when I can feel rejection coming. For work, from people; I handle it but I feel the soreness for days. And then I have to talk it out and figure it out, so I don't ever make the same mistake again.

My mood gets so much brighter when I am hopeful. But in a matter of mere moments my hopefulness can change to doubt. Without reassurance I live in a state of analyzing and criticizing and planning.

It's okay to feel these things fully. It's not okay to constantly react and allow them to rule my life. Feel them, talk about them but don't carry them around anymore. I'm working on it.

I have learned so much about myself this year. I like control and I like to plan and I like my piece of paper to be perfectly made. But my paper was torn. And I've come to terms with it. I've always had a physical style of mismatching clothes and eclecticism, so why can't I live a bit like that too? It's not about the piece of paper and if my pencil is sharpened and if it's crisp and free of scribbles. I've realized that I like a bit of scribbling.

Grace doesn't have the perfect husband. She doesn't have a little family that society taught her was perfect. She may never have that again. She doesn't have a job that people understand. She doesn't do or say or look or feel or act like a lot of people expect her to.

She may live the rest of her life writing about DIY projects or she may do something bigger than we all realized she could. She may date someone that no one approves of or understands. She may end up with someone that logistically makes no sense to outsiders but makes her feel something so much differently than before. She may need that. She may start traveling the world and creating new memories. She may - have already - gotten on Tinder because her best friend made her and had a hilarious experience. She may have written about that already too. She may get her next degree from Johns Hopkins, like she was supposed to three years ago. She may be a college professor when she's older and gray. She doesn't care though. The plan is to live and to figure it out later because what matters are the feelings.

I really like paper but it doesn't have to be perfect anymore. I refuse to go into the next chapter, story, scene, experience ... of my life ... and use the plan in my head as the foundation for how to live it.

I don't need anything other than an open mind, a fearless heart and an "I don't give a f*ck" attitude. And all throughout what comes, I'll be raising Claire quite differently than I had expected. Sometimes I still get a bit sad about that but I also believe that this will be so much better now. She's going to learn how to take care of herself, to embrace the giggles, to do right by your friends and family, to be strong, to stand your ground, to listen to your feelings and to listen to others, to never quit, to never look for the easy way out, to never be a follower; she would have learned all of that from me no matter what. But now she'll learn how to take life as it comes and to never settle; she'll learn that from me too.

I may be insane for a lot of things. I may be insane for dreaming really big and in most eyes, unrealistically. I may be insane for not taking a pen and paper to my next relationship. I may even be more insane for sharing so much with so many people, a lot of who I lock eyes with on a weekly basis, a lot of strangers. And if that's the case, so be it. I'm insane. But I'm going to have a hell of a lot of fun.

Thursday, September 15, 2016

What Are You Eating?

I have a theory. If you took my texting history with Brooke, put it in a book format and then put it on the shelves, we'd have a bestseller on our hands. Relatable in all the right ways, hilarious in all the humiliating ones, every day gets better with this ongoing, constant conversation. Even our Skype chats are memorable, bedtime for us and morning for her, they're full of belly laughs and songs and secrets. 

Actually, if you all read our conversations you may put us in a mental institution. You're in your own head everyday, 24/7 and all of those unspoken thoughts, they're inside our phones, typed out with an infinite amount of grammatical errors and emojis. 

One day, when we're older and less likely to kill our dignity, maybe we will publish it. I'll title it, "What Are You Eating?" since that's a part of our daily conversations and you'll see snippets like this hidden throughout: 

She's gray. I'm blue.

On a wedding: 

On God's gifts: 

Examples of insanity:

Examples of Insta/Snap Creeps:


Tuesday, September 13, 2016

They Rallied

I went to see my counselor today. I like to refer to these every-so-often visits as "mental tune ups," seemingly as though in June he told me that I didn't need counseling. I looked at him and said, "Woah, let's not get too crazy now."

He was right though. I was creating a new life. I was done crying. But three months later, I was ready to be re-validated by a licensed professional that I'm actually not crazy, or over-the-top, or ridiculous: all once felt as a direct result from he who shall not be named. 

My friend sent me a quote the other day. 

"she needed time. like we all do. time to be ok. because sometimes feeling right after feeling so wrong for so long. is the hardest thing to get used to." - JmStorm

It hit me hard. Someone found my feelings and put them into simple words that could be understood by all. I tried once, to relate this feeling here. Sometimes I'm light, other times I'm stiff. But the past few weeks, I've just been light. I've recaptured my spirit that fell to the wayside years ago. My friends have noticed. Actually, to quote a conversation with one of my best friends - someone who has known me far before puberty struck...

Leah: Can I tell you something?

Me: Yes...

Leah: I like you better without him.

Me: I like me better too.

Me: Can I know why? For intel purposes?

Leah: You just seem happier. You're not as bitchy. And I didn't realize that you were bitchy until you weren't anymore.

And she's right. My home feels better. My days feel better. I rush around a lot and I have a hell of a lot to do throughout the weeks but I don't have the anxiety and stress and subconscious stomachaches anymore. I am okay.

Part of the reason I'm okay is because of the friends that I have. I've accumulated so many special people. So, when I'm feeling awful about myself. Or when I walk away from a toxic conversation with a battered outlook, I can remember that if I was really so wrong in so many ways, these wonderful people in my life wouldn't have rallied for me this year. They wouldn't have rallied for our friendship, for Claire, for my health, for my sanity, for my home. 

They helped me pick up the pieces when the pieces kept being shattered into tinier and tinier bits. We cleansed my house with sage. We packed up his stuff. We texted all day. We texted all night. We sent songs and quotes. We watched movies. We went on drives. We cried together. We ate. We drank. We made financial plans. We made plans for Claire. We dreamt. We rallied through the crisis that struck my family. 

I won't ever forget each and every one of their reactions when I told them the news. Some had tears, some had no words, some were furious, but it was all raw emotion. And that's when I knew that I wasn't learning of the loyalty of my husband during this time, but I was learning of the loyalty of my friends. 

I told Ashley on the couch at my house nearly a month after he walked out the door. She gasped and covered her mouth in disbelief.

I told Sam shortly after that in March. She cried on the phone to me and kept repeating, "I wish this were happening to me." 

I told Leah first. She came over a few days after I realized what was happening. "Where is he," she asked. And that was it for her, she was done. She cried for Claire the first night she spent with us.

I had to tell Lauren on the phone too, I didn't want to trouble her throughout school but she needed to know. She couldn't believe it. She had near to no words. 

I had no other option than to tell Brooke on the phone, which was one of the harder conversations. I cried so hard that night when she said, "No, this isn't going to happen to you guys."

A few other friends were mad I waited so long. But I had to spread it out. I had to keep my composure and not feel so humiliated. I even reached out to an old friend I grew up with because I needed his help with some things. He was there through the thick of it, giving me great advice, cracking a few jokes and most importantly, not sugar coating things. I still appreciate the times he "yell texted" at me. 

My two male friends, the ones that I'm closest with, they were the last to know. I was extra embarrassed to tell them. I was disappointed to tell them. I was nervous to tell them. They were there the day I needed them to be though. The very day I said that I needed to talk, they came without question.

I have to use all of this as a reminder. When I'm feeling rather down or questioning myself, I have to think of these people and all they've done for me and remember that they see something in me that I forget about. And it's not that I'm awful, or loud, or ridiculous, or too much of anything other than a pretty damn good person.


Sunday, September 11, 2016

Incapable Of Hiding My Feelings

I am completely incapable of hiding my feelings. It's not like a "she wears her heart on her sleeve" type of scenario, it's a "her emotions come out of her mouth like projectile vomit" type of situation. 

I got caught in a rainstorm yesterday, hence the photo. I always do my best thinking when it's raining. And when I was being cleansed on my way to the car, driving in the monsoon on the way home and unloading everything inside while the rain broke, I thought, "My goodness this is me in the most metaphorical of ways." I'm a constant storm of thoughts and criticism and so ... many ... feelings. They're distracting.

Okay, that's not necessarily 100% true. I am composed in public. I can joke about the hard stuff. I get things done. I am professional. But when it comes to my people, I am a ball of fire and tears and plans. And he pegged it so quickly. It's why I write.

I've said it before, I am not used to anyone - especially men - challenging me. But he does. Preconceived notions and doubts aside, I'm interested. I don't want to be though. I don't want to care and I want to blow it off because that's easier. It's easier to stay logical. 

I'm learning that I can't plan my life though. You can make plans but you cannot plan how your life will play out. We cannot predict the end game. We planned our pregnancy, but getting Claire here wasn't how I had envisioned it. We planned a wedding but some things are just out of your control in terms of forever. And whether we all believe we have a firm grip on our feelings, when it comes to attraction and all "L" words, there is a power that's bigger than our will to stop it behind it all. Some of us are just gutsy enough to relay the message, others are too scared so they run away. 

I'm in limbo again. Do I run away? Do I stop myself? Do I make myself crazy analyzing every aspect of, well, everything, like he knows I do? Do I allow myself to just feel all the feelings that wash through me? I have no idea what the right answer is. He mentioned that he didn't want me, or that I shouldn't be, lukewarm with people just because I don't want to get hurt. I wonder if he still believes that I'm being that way with him. 

He could be completely bullshitting me though. Apparently I attract a lot of them. The chatting may fade in a few days. The dream sharing may never happen again. I've heard him giggle after I say something ridiculous or annoying or predictable, just like that one time I Liked A Boy. I like his honesty, even when it makes me nervous to receive. I like his smirk. I like his random texts that include a thought that I never expected to be let in on. I should have made this entire blog completely anonymous instead of plastering my name on the home page like a huge twat because he's going to read this and easily realize that he was on my mind when I wrote it. Oops. Unless he lied about watching these posts "like a hawk," I'm not naïve enough to think that's not a possibility.

Two things will now happen.

1. He'll run.
2. He'll ask me a hell of a lot of questions.

I told you that the ones with balls with stay. 

Friday, September 9, 2016

We Met

It's time again to peek inside my big, therapeutic project. Soon, I'll be conjuring up a kick-ass query letter, crossing my fingers and saying my prayers that there's someone out there that wants to rummage through these memories and thoughts, love it and try to sell it to someone that will want to print it. In the meantime, let's keep the heat, well, hot. The views on the "I Am Free" post are climbing every single day ... even weeks after. Messages from long lost friends, roommates, strangers and e-mails that have given me so much confidence, I hope it's all a sign that somewhere in the future my biggest dream will come true.

Want to know how we met? It's not exactly serendipitous or magical, it's sweet though and real.


He: Year 1; We Met

I was seventeen and ready to have a boyfriend. I had relationships in the past but nothing that truly meant something to me, well, except for Phillip. He gave me my first real dose of confidence and I will never be able to repay him for that. Not because he was an adorable, popular boy at school that liked me but when it was just me and him talking on the phone, he listened, he believed and years after high school when I was still in our hometown and he was living clear across the country, we would chat using nothing but kind words and encouragement.

I was looking for a real relationship, or as real as it could get for teenagers. And thanks to MySpace, I got lucky. I’m in no way ashamed of the fact that MySpace brought me to him – let’s be honest, you all did it once. My girlfriend and I would scour profiles of guys from nearby high schools. We’d send friend requests and usually, nothing but maybe a few messages would come to fruition. For this particular profile though, I flipped through every single photo. He had a kindness in his face that I was drawn to and he immediately sent me a message that read, “Has anyone ever told you that you look like Carrie Underwood?” And that’s how our conversation began. One that never truly stopped until February 5, 2016.

MySpace messaging led to text messaging which led to my teammate, Maddie, and I driving by his house one night too scared to pull in his driveway. The night following we did drive up, blaring Lisa Loeb while he leaned up against his clunky suburban and tried to woo me with the size of his subwoofers in the back. Little did he know that nothing of the sort would ever impress me. The entire time we were together he literally had piece of shit cars and I never once gave him shit for it. I didn’t care about his things. I cared about the way his eyes would look at me when I laughed or when he would trace, “I love you,” on my leg while we watched TV.

We flirted and met up a few times throughout the next month. He’d leave flowers on my car while I was at softball workouts, presents in the form of a plush Dory from Finding Nemo on my doorstep while I was out of town visiting colleges or surprise me voicemails while I was sleeping so I had something sweet to wake up to the next day. One time I left class and he had recorded himself singing one of my favorite Dave Barnes’ songs. It was terrible and genius at the same time. I was hooked.

I read somewhere that someday someone would walk into your life and once they hug you all of your broken pieces would fit back together. He hugged me for the first time in the parking lot of my high school and the pieces fit. The softball team had just finished passing out candy to the local kiddos for Halloween and he had drove up to see me in all of my glory – messy hair, sweatpants and Sweetheart candy-covered ballet flats from Hot Topic. I was a mess. But he didn’t care. Although afterwards he did decide to lecture me on what a real hug was supposed to be like – tighter and longer – and we continued to perfect it throughout the next decade.

In November of 2006, he asked me to be his girlfriend. It was one of my favorite and most awkward of moments. Standing in Sam’s Club grabbing supplies for my high school’s snack shop – he would skip his college classes without me knowing to meet up and see me on these every other week outings – he looked at me, eyes peering through his thick, surfer, before Beiber-was-Beiber hair and said, “Hypothetically speaking if I asked you to be my girlfriend what would you say?”

“Hypothetically speaking, I’d say yes,” I answered.


Tuesday, September 6, 2016

I Wore It Anyway

I thought I would wear it for you, but I didn't. I knew you weren't going to be there, but I wore it anyway. I wrote about it already. The blush dress and the gold sneakers; I ended up wearing it for myself.

There were so many different scenarios. And the one that my gut was screaming about ended up being the one that came true. There's something going on. You're flaking on more than just me. You weren't where you were supposed to be. I would have recognized your arms. And you would have seen me and acted like all was right between us, sweet talking by the end of the night. I hope when you come around again that you offer up the explanation I deserve. But most of all I hope that you're okay. 

I've envisioned so many nights with him. He made me picture a future. He practically forced it down my throat until I was willing to take it on my own accord. And then when I did take it, I was happy and excited. And now I'm so mad that he took those feelings from me. He cut us both short.

He could never spell my name right. Nearly every conversation we had he ended up asking me what a word meant. "Desensitized" was one of them. Maybe I'm insane, or maybe I'm just openly admitting what every woman hides inside of her own mind, but at this point I don't even care. I bought this blush dress to wear with him on a late Sunday night. And even though I knew he wasn't going to be there, I wore it anyway. 

Instead, my best friend stole the night away with me. We sang. We sang loudly. We giggled and vented. We ate Mexican too late and caught a few major brain freezes while sharing a peach margarita. Ice cream followed. And all the while, we're still talking about him and his alarming level of dumbass charm and idiocy.

Maybe he'll come back around. Actually, he probably will. But I have a feeling it'll be too late by then. I've lost trust, but my interest is still there. And I'm not sure that's enough now. Because he could have been with me that first night. Or that second night. He could have seen me just a few days ago. And any one of those nights I would have worn it. Instead, I knew I wasn't going to see him but I wore it anyway. I was sick of saving something for someone that didn't deserve the extra thought. 

And after all that, Lauren, the best friend that ruled my Saturday night really tops it all off in a way that's truly poetic to my life. This is our conversation once we both were home safe.

Lauren: Dating websites aren't terrible.

Grace: Until I run into someone I know. How embarrassing!

Lauren: Not embarrassing. Plus if you know them and don't talk to them now, they suck.

Grace: hahaha I dunno. Seems weird. Like. eh

Lauren: I'm sure there are weirdos but there's gotta be some good ones too that don't want to go to bars and have nowhere else to look.

Grace: Yeah. Maybe. I don't think I'm ready for that leap yet. What if it matches me with {insert ex-husband's name here}. I WOULD DIE.

Lauren: His would say "men." I know you're not ready for that yet, but don't get rid of it.

Grace: Yeah I won't. I just want someone fun and taller than me and manly and passionate and will argue. Also, ***doesn't wear scarves or capris. 

Lauren: You'll find him, you just may have to get through a few shitty ones first.

Which got me thinking. What even goes on a dating profile? Should I just redirect all prospects here? That should weed out some of the bullshitters pretty quickly. Should I tell them random things that could scare them off and just get that out of the way? Should I try to be semi attractive, because at this point I have no idea what that may be....

My name is Grace. I write most of my days. I read most of my nights. I have fun working at a bridal shop. I have even more fun being a mom. I was married once. It obviously didn't work out. My clothes always seem too big, I'm working on buying the correct size. I don't have nice legs, but my hair is pretty on point. I have no gaydar so please don't try to trick me. I won't say yes to a date if you have an extreme love of skinny jeans or pomade. If a Disney vacation isn't in your future, you suck, move along. I like fall, lipstick, cranberry colors, freshly vacuumed floors and having someone else cut my grass. Please don't be creepy or weird.

I guess that could be a good start, when and if the time comes. All I know that is I'm done buying a particular something to wear on a particular date. Instead, I'll rummage through the closet and refurbish old memories. Because I bought that blush dress to wear for someone else and I'm not even sure he's real at this point, but I wore it anyway and had a pretty great night.

Friday, September 2, 2016


I'm really good at putting on a brave face. That's what it's called, "brave," or "strong" at other moments. And it's not that I don't disagree, I think I've embodied both at times throughout this tailspin of a year. But mostly, I feel embarrassed a lot. And for a variety of reasons.

Firstly, although I'm over the pull of him, I'm still humiliated that this happened. Logically and rationally, I know that this inevitably had nothing to do with me but the thought still lingers, "What the hell is wrong with me?" 

Actually, sometimes the thought sounds like, "Why wasn't I worth staying? Why wasn't Claire?" 

And then to be even more specific, "Why wasn't our family worth working on? Why didn't I deserve a conversation?" 

That's embarrassing. It's embarrassing that others may think that at some point in time. It's also embarrassing that my self-esteem hit that kind of low. 

It's embarrassing that I chose so wrong. I'm even embarrassed of his choices not on behalf of him but of myself. Downtown bars, smoke, kickball, college students, drag shows ... these are the activities that receive more attention, time and effort. Those are the activities that have been placed ahead of our history, our story and most importantly, a future. 

And then there's the victim card. I'm not portraying myself as a victim. This did happen to me though. It happened to my daughter too. Those are simple facts. He didn't break me because I didn't allow him to. I didn't allow him the option of tearing down my entire life while he self-destructed. His side of things may be mad at me for this. His side of things may not ask questions. But they should be grateful that I didn't crumble. I've kept myself and my home intact so my daughter stays the whimsical, confident little girl that's she's always been. You're welcome. You don't have to like me or care for me, but you should be praying to God that he married the type of woman I am because Claire is better for it. He would have done this no matter the woman either, I can promise you that. 

But goodness, sometimes when I leave the house for errands or I brush past someone I know around town a wave of embarrassment washes over me. I hope that dissipates at some point in time. Let's not be awkward about it, I'm already awkward enough. We can talk about it, but don't be sorry. It's not your fault. The only apology I deserve I will never receive and that's okay. Karma is a bitch and I'm allowed to be a little bit of one now too - to him. 

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