Friday, never hesitate

But I did hesitate. I heard this cover last night and I’ve listened to it a bunch of times since. Most people associate The Cure with feeling happiness, lightness, get out and want to dance in the sunshine giddiness. Especially this song, right? But I find Phoebe Bridgers version better matches the feelings The Cure songs evoke in me. Have you ever listened to “Cut Here” — no? Look it up.

Music for the Mood: Friday I’m in Love (cover) – Phoebe Bridgers

The Cure always reminds me of this guy I dated in college. My first boyfriend, I guess. My first kiss (at 21!). He was the captain of the guys’ water polo team, I was captain of the womens’. He was into the Misfits, Ramones, Dead Kennedys, and all the punk bands. And The Cure. He wore black jeans and threadbare band tshirts and a studded belt. And those fat, cushy, skater boy shoes. We went to a formal once and he showed up with his hair dyed jet black and spiked all over his head. I loved it. My own hair was just growing back from having shaved it all off so mine was short and spiky too. We looked like Sid & Nancy dressed up as a polished, normal, country club couple. The picture from that night is still a favorite. I couldn’t find that one but I found this one — walking around in the rain, on a trip to Boston a few months later, when he showed up with bleached hair. I hated that look.

His name was also John. His friends called him “Johnny Utah” because he was actually from SLC and dripped all the adventure and confidence of his namesake from Point Break. My friends called him “the damned mess.” I don’t even remember why — but it became a term of endearment. He was delightful. Funny, handsome, athletic, deliciously tall, and wickedly smart. He’s a doctor now. Married, with three boys, to a girl we went to college with. I know it wouldn’t have really worked with us, at least not the me I grew into. I eventually went the opposite way in religion as an adult while he embraced our tiny, uber conservative, Christian bubble of a college and went on to marry a woman who became a pastor. No shit.

But I do wonder. I’m me, after all. Maybe I’d have become a different girl, a different woman, one that fit me and this world better? To this day, he’s still the only guy I’ve ever pursued, but also the only one I’ve ever broken up with. And that kind of haunts me. The what if and sliding doors of it all. Every other one of the handful I’ve dated has always left me, if not immediately because they were cheating (twice now) then soon after, for other women that they marry. I always said I broke up with him (the night before I flew to Cali for nationals in 2001) because he was too good to me, too nice, too into me, and it just freaked me out. Flying away for a week the next morning was a convenient ejection plan. I remember getting back and his friends were all so angry at me; I’d lost my mind doing that to such a nice guy. Frankly, so were my friends. There was just too much pressure to find your soul mate and be engaged by graduation at that place.

But, if I’m being honest, I think I actually thought that my friend was my “soul mate” and was holding on to a weird little nugget of hope but didn’t want to admit it. I think Johnny Utah knew that too. He’d spent enough time with me and my friends. He always knew there was a connection to one guy that he couldn’t replace. That friend ended up breaking my heart after college though. Something from which I’ve never quite fully healed.

I don’t like admitting that but it’s the truth. I’ve written about that relationship here before. The point is that I hesitated with that John. And here I am 20 years later. Still single. Still wondering about what ifs. And a lot about karma as it relates to another John.

On Friday, I wasn’t in love. I hesitated. Again. I told the dude from last week that I wasn’t feeling it and didn’t want to lead him on. Via text. Like an asshole. And then I blocked him so I didn’t have to know what that (probably) nice guy had to say in response. So I wouldn’t have to over-process another thing in my relentless mind. Like a technological ejection handle, minus the California sun.

I want to move on. I’m tired of reminding myself that what happened is real. That the past three years were not real. I want to meet someone that makes me not just forget but understand why it never worked with anyone else. Why “the damned mess” is not destined to be my best, forever. Someone for whom I won’t hesitate.

Who’s the Fool?

I went on another date tonite. I was really looking forward to this one. I bought $700 in jeans just to get a good pair, one that made me feel amazing. I spent all day, too long (per usual), at work but left in enough time to shower, listen to music, and try on said jeans. None made me feel the way I wanted. In fact, three of them looked like mom jeans. The fourth were great but $270 and not different enough than my favorite old pair. So, I wore my favorite old pair. With heels. And an actual attempt at full face makeup. And the good Moroccan hair conditioner. I felt good. I felt a little bit pretty.

And I’m sending all the jeans back.

He was 35 minutes late, y’all. Thirty-five! Sure, he texted. But far too late for me to arrive even half as late. The place he picked, a piano bar, was completely empty, closed 1 hour after I arrived and allegedly 30 min after I closed my tab and left. But when I left (because he said he was only 2min away), they locked up. I walked across the street to look at the Kennedy Center reflecting on the water. Stunner. You’re welcome.

He showed up 5 mins later. No hustle. But … an apology. For being late. I’ve been lacking in the apologies department for transgressions far more severe than being late. Still — I don’t like excuses and I loathe lack of follow through. This is strike two.

He’s just okay. Not as attractive as his photos but, truly, that seems to be the norm if I’m reading guys’ profiles correctly. They experience it all the time with women. I haven’t been on a good date in so long that him being slightly less attractive than his thirst trap pics was fine. Nice lips. Great arms (and abs, from his absurd gym photos). But tiny hands. He holds a pinky out for his drink. He talks with his mouth full and chews with his mouth open. He’s not at all what I dream about. But neither was John.

Butt… Aside from zombie tv shows and a few other questionable likes, he has good taste in movies and music. He prefers musical scores — they make him feel while he runs or works out or just does his daily whatever. We have some similar feelings about certain movies, actors, genres. He’s not very into sports. He has horrible decorating taste — blue Christmas lights strung around the perimeter of the room? What, is this the Smurfs’ college experience?? He also hasn’t yet gotten a Christmas tree, after three days of saying he was. I don’t buy a real tree and think it’s an irresponsible waste of trees but this is yet another matter of follow-through.

He doesn’t have a car. Lives within the property community he manages; just over a mile and on the same road as John and his “wife,” because of course he does. He doesn’t seem to aspire to more than assistant property manager or whatever the title is. Which is fine, but he also doesn’t seem to really like it. Graduated from Howard in 2008 after several stints in community college. This is also fine but he doesn’t seem very smart and I need that. I’m not trying to be rude but he’s an odd communicator. Great via text but texting does not a relationship make. Conversation in person is just a bit odd. He isn’t someone I’m very interested in having more conversations with. And he had to use a calculator for 20% of $30.

What is wrong with me? He’s fine. He’s moderately funny, moderately attractive, attentive enough, and seems to like me a lot. Wants to see me again. Thinks I’m pretty. Says I’m sexy. Tells me nice things and good morning every single day. And we have a plan for Saturday.

His texts make me roll my eyes though. Hard. From learned cynicism or from actual disinterest, I’m not sure yet.

So. Do we settle? Or keep hoping that someone I get along with as well as John but want to fuck as badly as Josh Duhamel or Michael B Jordan or Dave Grohl or a Watt brother, comes along tomorrow? Yes. My tastes are disparate. I like what I like.

Fuck.

Fuck you, John. Fuck you for fucking everything up.

I hate this.

Music for the Mood: Baby I’m a Fool – Melody Gadot

I’ll be the one to catch myself this time

Thank you, Adele. Indeed, I will

Music for the Mood: To Be Loved – Adele

I have realized that I have zero physical attraction to John now; almost disbelief in my repulsion when I see a picture of him. I do not in any way want this man back in my life, I do not desire anything he brought into it, and I cannot understand now even my most basic physical attraction to him. I have none now. It’s gone.

The past couple days I have been amazed by how little I feel for myself. I’m lonely, sure. I don’t like being 42 and lonely. And I am still angry that I have to work through this on my own. But I cannot describe how little feeling I have left toward John. I’m enjoying getting to know new, (seemingly) amazing guys through online dating and through my grad school cohort. I’m skeptical AF about who they really are, but that comes with the betrayal ptsd, right? I’m forcing myself to move anyway.

I think it’s a positive sign that I’m able to look at someone and at least wonder what it will be like to get to know them. I’m weirdly anxious about the physical and I hope that goes away.

My interest in John was always more than sex. I love sex, generally. That has very little to do with John, much to his chagrin, I’m sure. The physical was something I endured and willingly engaged in, and it definitely got better over time. In fact, that was our last in person conversation in September – how good it had gotten. Though he expressed that a man wants to believe that he’s always been good, that isn’t how it works, boo. Anyway, I loved the physical warmth of him most, and I know it will take a while to stop missing that. To stop missing the warmth of his arm around me, or his hand stroking my ass while we talked in bed, or the warmth of his hand holding my breast like he owned me while we fell asleep. I do not miss his snoring. But more than any of the physical, I loved talking with him about life, about how humans interacted, about how we observed the world. We thought the same way about seemingly everything and it felt so good to have another soul to dance with.

But now, knowing what I do about how little he values individual people, individual humans, especially those that pour so fully and unselfishly into him, I cannot. I just cannot make myself feel interested in the thoughts or feelings of someone so inadequate.

The sheer volume of people discovering this site is overwhelming. I hope you are finding something here – a normalizing, validating story. And if you’re just an unfortunate friend or acquaintance of John or Crystal, well, I sure hope you find what you’re looking for too.

I’m all good. Or I will be. Take care of him. Take care of her.

They deserve what they sow. As do you.

Why do I keep writing here? Because I can. Because I know there will still be bad days and sad days. Because it helps me. Writing has always helped me share what I never feel comfortable sharing with the real world. I feel more understood and seen in this community than anywhere.

Why did I create a social media presence and share this blog there, with their friends and family? Because I can. I want to be a real person with feelings to these people I’ve “known,” people I thought I’d one day actually know. Why not? After all … John showed zero compunction over more than THREE YEARS while he knowingly destroyed everything I believed to be true about myself and about him, about them, about us. Why not destroy that for him now? I have no obligation to give any fucks.

And I assure you, I do not.

It’s looking like a limb torn off…

Having a real Detlef Schrempf kind of day. And, yes, I know the title of this post comes from a different Band of Horses song but, honestly, those words are all too sad and loving. I’m more in the sad and unloving camp today.

That’s the thing about heartache, right? Especially the kind caused by a blindsided betrayal. You vacillate between disbelief and anger, aching to quench your thirst for retribution, and then sometimes, you still feel the disbelief but also just want to remember the way they looked at you, and hope they treat her better.

As much as I loathe thinking about it, I do hope John actually loves Crystal and wouldn’t dare cheat on her again. Let alone for more than three years, again. I still cannot wrap my brain around it. Certainly not my heart.

I don’t know how other eyes look at you. I hope everyone around you finds out who you really are. I’d like to know how those eyes look at you then. You certainly know how mine did. Once.

I’m looking forward to looking at someone else like that again, sooner than later.

When eyes can’t look at you any other way,
Any other way, any other way
So take it as a song or a lesson to learn
And sometime soon be better than you were
If you say you’re gonna go, then be careful
And watch how you treat every living soul

Music for the Mood: Detlef Schrempf – Band of Horses

For whom the bell tolls

I know this references death and the interconnectedness of humanity. I cannot help but think though that wedding bells, at least the ones today, also mark the death of a collective us.

I have to assume the wedding is still on, that at 4pm today, he will marry her. That she will still choose to marry him. That they will say those vows I found on my computer — vowing to be “generous with my time” which is the antithesis of him, but also not even a whiff of a vow to be faithful, though I, and really anyone who deigns to get married, must assume is implied. And yet, already violated.

Really wish I didn’t care. That just hours shy of a month to the day since I discovered that ceremony script, and the guest list, and the venue contract, and the pictures — all confirming a dark, duplicitous, unbelievable side of the “good” man I loved — that I would have somehow been able to compartmentalize by now.

But I cannot stop thinking about it today. Every moment of it. I’m with my family and trying so hard to keep everything tucked beneath the surface. I hope they don’t wish I hadn’t come here. I really have tried to keep my melancholy and the manifestations as impatience, crankiness, and general malaise at bay. Actively gritting my teeth, baring a smile, and partaking in conversation, food, and drink. I’ve consumed more calories in three days than I have in three weeks for the sake of appearances, for normalcy, for not further worrying my village.

Being with my family is the highlight of my meager existence and the lack of it is generally the biggest source of ache. But these days have been a bit difficult, as much as I do not want to waste them or take them for granted.

This time is too precious.

This day though is too hard.

I’d rather be dead, or at least drunk, but instead, I’ll try being distracted. I’ll run errands and get out of the house just so I can stop fixing my face, cry in the car, punch at the air, think out loud in solitude, even if just for a brief reprieve.

I don’t know if the bells will be ringing. But I assume they will. Cowardice is too strong. And when they do, I am positive I will be able to hear them in my soul.

Mood music: For Whom the Bell Tolls – Metallica

Edit: It happened. Side note: Can we agree on how truly and remarkably hideous this is? (figurine? cake topper?) Wow.