Love at first site

So more adventures in dating this Sunday morning for you! Spoiler alert, I am overcome on this one and it is a sappy love story instead of the usual “wow, that sucked” story hahaha!

I met this guy on Hinge. He wrote about his kids and how they were his pride in the very first paragraph of his online profile. My kids are grown and my daughters don’t live with me but they are still an important part of my life. My son lives with me so he is a pretty big part of my picture as well!

We texted for a bit and then we video chatted. I am pretty new to the video chat way of dating but it was like a first date. I couldn’t figure out how to get my phone camera to work. Good clue to how he would handle frustration and unexpected problems! It is sad that I even notice or care about that stuff but unfortunately it is important for me to see, I have allowed people to make me feel less than and I am just not doing that anymore. He talked me through how to get it to work and it was smooth sailing from there.

Several online dates and then an in person date. I would be a big fat liar if I didn’t say I wanted to throw up for the ride to his house and probably the first half of the date! He ordered a pizza (can’t go wrong with pizza, am I right?!) and we watched a movie. Good thing it was one I had already seen because we spent the majority of the time talking. Our lives are so similar, we just clicked on so many things. Not going to lie, I could have stayed all night. TALKING, why do you have to go there?!

I read somewhere that the point of the first date wasn’t to impress the other person, you should have done that already. Nope, it is to decide if you wanted a second date. How wrong is it that I planned the second date in my mind throughout the entire first date? I am pretty sure I would not have accepted no if he didn’t want to have that second date hahaha!

So now it is several dates in and I am floored at how well it is going. There have been conflicts, I have gotten stuck at work and I have had a work crisis to deal with on a date. All fine with him. What? I am not used to having someone just roll with it and it is exhilarating and scary all at the same time.

I did not realize how much I feared another person’s reactions. I guess there is some stuff in my mind I have to work through since I am holding my breath every time something comes up I can’t control. I always just figured I was a control freak but it is so much more than that…I spent so much time trying to keep things smooth so there were no waves in my life that it just became a part of my identity. Don’t get me wrong, I work hard to make sure everything goes perfectly and that is a huge character asset. But always being on alert to put out fires is only a good thing if you are a fireman!!!!

So that is it. It is still early in the relationship but I plan on being in this for a long time to come!!

Aman-Splaining

Sitting at my happy place and reading blog posts is making me question my life. It is too early for this! Drinking my coffee at the beach is supposed to be a mindless adventure…what the hell, Amanda?!

I am “doing the work” to become a more well-rounded human. I am asking myself why whenever a thought comes into my head. Like, when you invite someone over and clean like a mad person but then say “don’t mind the mess” so they will actually look at all the cleaning you did. And for the record, I don’t do that! I may tidy up before you come over the first time but then I am all about transparency…as in, you should know that I eat dinner in the living room and don’t bring my plate and silverware to the kitchen until the next day because I only have enough silverware for a day or two and I need to wash it!

No. What I question is when I am telling someone something that doesn’t matter in the grand scheme of things but I feel the unbreakable pull to explain. When my son was little, he had this habit of telling me a drawn out story instead of just answering the question and I would say to him, “Just the facts, Jack” (Meet the Parents…if you haven’t seen it then we can’t be friends…) It is a disease…like ‘man-splaining’…’aman-splaining’?! Do you think guys get that they do that? I truly think I ‘aman-splain’ stuff because I am just the smartest person in the Universe so how could anyone else possibly understand without my input?

No one cares. If they want a novel they will buy one on Amazon. Or as my step Dad used to like to ask…Do you just like to hear yourself speak?! If people want more information they usually ask. And let’s be real, I am not the smartest person in the universe and people are GENERALLY smart enough to figure things out. If they are confused they will ask. Plus, it isn’t like I EVER talk about anything major!

So today, my goal is to say “just the facts, Jack” and not think I have to explain every little thing. Worse comes to worse, the cats always listen when I feel the need to hear myself talk 🤣🤣🤣

On a scale of 1 to 10, how well do you know YOU?

I am beginning to have questions about my recent failed relationship so I figured I would share.

First question–was it really that good? I mean, I truly had a great time with my male friend. We did a bunch of fun stuff together. Except it was HIS fun stuff. Don’t get me wrong, it WAS fun. So much fun! None of it was my idea though. As a side note I must confess that I don’t actually know what to do that is fun and adventurous. A list is called for, I think! Then the next time I find myself in amazing company I will have something to offer. But the bottom line is that in the short time we spent together the boat was clearly being steered by the captain and I was the first mate.

That brings me to my second question, do I NEED someone to steer? I already said that I don’t know what to do that is fun. I work, I watch TV and I read. What a boring existence! In my making of a list, I am going to steer my own ship. I am going to find stuff to do that I enjoy. Just like Julia Roberts in the movie Runaway Bride, I need to figure out how I like my eggs instead of just liking them the way my guy likes them. On my days off, I am going to start doing the stuff on my list. I started today by joining a gym. I didn’t stay and work out but baby steps. I joined. I love the feeling of going to a gym and working out. It is so much better with a group but that will come. And fishing! I used to go fishing with my step Dad so I think on Thursday I am going to do that. Which means tomorrow night I will go night crawling for worms. I haven’t done that since I was a kid either. And taking myself on a picnic. I used to love taking the kids on an impromptu picnic with Subway sandwiches when I was out pet sitting. I love to sit outside and look at the sky. Sounds like a good list item! There are so many things I love to do but for whatever reason I haven’t allowed myself to do them. Somewhere along the line I decided I wasn’t good enough to have fun on my own or smart enough to come up with stuff to do. I am so afraid of trying something and failing that I just concede before I even try. What the heck is that all about?!

I spent the day in a dark cloud because I haven’t heard from him. I sent a bunch of messages and I have been left unread. But when I really think about it, am I upset about being ignored by him or just being ignored in general? I feel like I am throwing a tantrum because my little inner child is being ignored and she doesn’t like that! We dated for 2 months. Not two years…MONTHS. I definitely think I need to get a grip on that reality. Fabulous time, but still only 2 months. Not even long enough to plan a vacation together without rushing things.

I updated my profile on one of the online dating sites so I can start talking to new guys. I even sent out a few conversation starters..but as I spent the day swiping through profiles it occurs to me that I don’t really know what I am looking for so maybe slow my roll for a little bit. And anyway, that was a gut reaction to my temper tantrum I talked about above. I am not lonely or needy. I have a pretty awesome life all on my own and am not truly “in the market” for someone else. Nope, the only person I need to be worrying about getting to know better is AMANDA. She is pretty awesome and fun to be around, especially when you get to know her 🙂

Professional Room Temperature Checker

Once upon a time there was a girl who only thought of herself and how to make herself happy and comfortable. She was selfish without realizing, she honestly believed that by taking care of her own destiny she would be making everyone around her content as well. “You can’t love others without loving yourself”…”you can’t make people happy without being happy with you”…”you do you” and all those cliches. People around her pointed it out (a boyfriend dedicated the song Cold As Ice by Foreigner to her at a club during a fight) or they followed her around like the goddess she just knew she was. Life was good. Or was it?!

All the narcissism was an act to cover the fact that she didn’t feel important or needed. Fake it till you make it was the true cliche she lived by–she just knew someday she would find the person who would make her want to care about someone other than herself. She even got married right away so she could have a reason to put someone else first. She didn’t know that at the time, just like she didn’t know that caring for her younger brother growing up instead of being a kid who was incapable of caring for others like a normal 4 year old was a huge reason for her codependency and whirlwind relationships.

Then she met someone who was so much more narcissistic and self important. Now, instead of being the rule maker and the front runner, SHE was the follower. She drank the kool-aid, she didn’t make a decision or have a thought without getting his superior opinion first. And again, she was unaware. She fell right in line with the belief that she was less than, she did not think twice about the fact that she had no original content anymore. She had finally found the person who she loved more than herself. The person she checked the temperature in the room for to be sure it was perfect. She could just put on a sweater or a short sleeve shirt if she was uncomfortable, how she felt was irrelevant.

When he left, she began to wake up. She looked around and realized she was temperature checking the room for everyone in it, she still felt like she was irrelevant. Even though she tried to go back to being the leader of the pack, she knew she wasn’t happy in that role.

She is still growing and changing, she always will be. She has found a new person to love and adore, except he doesn’t have a “love me fully or you are worthless” vibe surrounding him. And the funny thing is, she feels like she has known him her whole life. With all the “if I don’t take care of me no one will” decisions she had to make in her life, it is pretty clear that He was steering her then. She knows in her heart that everything that happens, every choice she has to make are put in front of her to help her become her best version of herself. She knows that when she is unsure or worried about something she can go to him and talk freely. And when life is good and things are going smoothly, she knows that He is steering that as well. Turns out He is always with her and always ready to listen. Life is good, for real this time.

 For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope…Jeremiah 29:11

The weighted blanket of grief

This post is off the subject of my attitude for gratitude, but I need to get it out. I feel like I have changed in my grief process; and it is enough of a change that I actually can FEEL IT.

My grief has been like a weighted blanket or shawl I have worn around my body. Some days, especially in the beginning, I would wrap myself up and go to bed. I could hear his voice whispering in my ear that it was all going to be okay. And when life got hard or too many people were around me I could put the blanket over my head and just breath in the smell of my Beloved that surrounded me in my cocoon of grief, using the blanket to wipe away the tears that fell with every thought of him. It was strangely comforting to always feel that weight on my shoulders, while it was reminding me that he was gone.

The weight was so heavy sometimes that I could only manage to do what I had to do in a day and nothing more. That was frustrating at times because I was stronger in my mind than I was in my physical body. I would go to the gym, a place where I felt welcome and empowered, and I would not be able to do even the easiest of exercises. I would cry when I walked in because of all the reminders; and I would cry when I left because I was so weak that I failed miserably in my workouts. What I didn’t realize was that the blanket was making it hard to do the things I did before Al died. Even though I had not been away from the gym for a really long time, and even though I had been walking and exercising at home while he was sick, lifting my body while the blanket weighed it down was a struggle all in itself. Instead of feeling empowered, I felt defeated.

Then something unexpected happened. I woke up one morning and the blanket had slipped off a little during the night. It was still on me, but only part of my body was covered in this weighted grief. I moved my arms and they felt lighter and stronger than they had in a while. I went to the gym and although I couldn’t finish a full workout I finished more than I had before. I still didn’t feel empowered, but hopeful that maybe I would one day be as strong as I was once again.

Days and weeks past with that blanket wrapped around my waist, making it easier to move and harder to hide. The comfort of my grief cocoon was gone, I could no longer smell Al when I wrapped it around me because it was too far from my face, but I heard his voice this time telling me that I was stronger than I knew and that it would be okay. I was able to walk farther than I had before, all the way to the beach near my house before I had to stop. It was getting easier.

Yesterday when I awoke I had thrown the blanket off completely. I got up and got dressed, grabbed the blanket and left for my morning work. Except, I didn’t wrap the blanket around my waist like I had in the past. I put it next to me on the seat and went on my way. When I got home, I put the blanket on the back of the couch and took a walk to the beach. And back. Yup, I was strong enough to go there AND back. Today I was able to do almost a full workout at the gym, while the blanket was in a cubby with my phone and keys. Still ever present, but not weighing me down and making my life feel hopeless and hard.

That blanket will always be there. When I move it will move with me, when I go on vacation it will be in my carry-on. But it has lost its weight and heaviness. I still wrap myself up in the grief cocoon when life is hard, and even though I no longer smell his smell I know Al is with me. And his voice in my ear? It is saying, “I told you!”