This was going to start out as a funny blog about dating; but truthfully, I am tired of writing about that right now. Why? Well, so far match.com and my own “mojo” aren’t working so well. Lately, I’ve only encountered pathetic men who aren’t putting their best selves out there. One man I met online had the looks and the right information on his profile. “I’m looking for my best friend,” he writes. “Someone to share all of life’s exciting moments. . .” When we talked on the phone, he propositioned me for sex. And not in a smooth manner neither. From his apparent drunken or stoned state, he said to me, “Where do you go to meet men? Let’s say you’re dating like 5 or 6 at a time, like, one young gal I’m talking to meets them at a place around the corner from her apartment. If she doesn’t like them, she can leave, but if she does. . .well . . .well. . .uh. . .bada-bing, bada-boom, ya know?” And even though he didn’t get to finish his conversation with me, he had the nerve to send out mass text messages at random times to me and a few of his other lady loves with words like, “Good morning to you,” and “Happy Valentine’s Day to you.” I never responded and debated blocking his number, but I tried the upfront tactic instead by texting him: “Please don’t text or call. I’m not interested.” Immediately he texted back, “Oops. I thought I deleted you. . .I am not interested either.”
So, where is this blog going, you ask? I’m not sure. I just know I need to be shaken out of my self-doubt and worry about the future. I’ve lost faith in myself to a certain degree, and in return that’s causing me to lose faith in the whole belief of “Everything happens for a reason.” In the book, Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert, she goes through a series of life changes that lead her to Italy, India, and Indonesia -each place and the people she encounters teaching her lessons and showing her all the different ways we love one another and ourselves. All of this travel, and insight and life-changing events occur in the course of one year. Yet, if you’ve ever read the book (or watched the movie starring Julia Roberts) you may forget that Elizabeth retells the moment of being in great despair over whether to get a divorce or not. One night, she falls to her knees late at night and begins crying on the bathroom floor. She was waiting for a “sign” from the universe on what she should do so the specific changes she thought she wanted would automatically fall into her lap and she could be happy. She retells the moment when she heard a voice, possibly her higher self, telling her to get up, go to bed, and stop thinking about things. It was a gentle nudge that got her back into bed. Nothing in her life changed over night. I sometimes forget that part of the book when I demand a change from all of my daily stresses, anxieties, and over-analysis of my personal situation I’m currently in: being 36 and single.
I know what you’re thinking: get over yourself. I would like to, trust me. I know I have a beautiful house, good job, supportive friends and family, nice clothes, cool pets, and the list goes on and on. Yet, I can’t help seeing myself as a failure in one aspect of my life: the dating world. All my life, from preteen to adulthood, I’ve wanted a boyfriend. And every time I got one, I didn’t like being “tied down” to him. And, then there was the period in my late 20s and early 30s where I simply chose to shut myself off completely or date only douchebags who broke up with me via email or the silent treatment. Let’s not even go down the road of dissecting and analyzing broken relationships. It’s not worth it. I’ve moved on. What I haven’t moved on from is how to please others who want something so badly for me because I want it twice as much. This dating world I’ve entered into has turned into a personal competition and pressure-cooker on my biological clock. Once I got back into the dating zone, I thought it would be all fun and games. But, it hasn’t. It’s been me falling back into my old cycle of fear and anxiety on what I am lacking in my life. My “What if. . .?” and “If only. . .” and “Maybe if I. . .” internal chatterbox phrases have been in high gear every time I step outside of my house to go somewhere and now echo in my brain even when I logon to the computer dating site.
Friends have told me to move away from the area because there just doesn’t seem to be the right kind of man for me here. One always asks me, “How are you still single?” Another friend said she walked into a cafe by herself the other night and thought about how I must feel all the time. Others have brainstormed an idea that I should use this blog to help raise money for an expensive dating service in the area that pairs you up on a lunch date with well-to-do men. Only 1 or 2 others have commiserated with me over the trials and tribulations of their dating lives as well. While all of this advice and venting has either made me laugh, ruffled my feathers off, or made me want to sink farther into despair and hopelessness, I rally and crack jokes and look at everything with a skewed perspective. I know that they all have good intentions. They hate seeing their friend stuck in this repetitive state of angst and annoyance. They’re trying to solve my problem, cheer me on, and empathize. I in turn, keep holding out hope that maybe in a few weeks, months, or early this summer I’ll find “the one” and then all of us will celebrate and be happy and my life can move on. These are all my pressures, by the way. No one has ever told me this. It’s just what I’ve internalized through the course of living my particular life and dealing with being single in a society that emphasizes coupling as being the way to a satisfying, happy life. (Think about how excited we were to watch Britain’s “Royal Wedding” even though Prince William & Princess Kate have been living together privately for years, and you’ll know what I’m talking about.)
Thoreau once wrote, “Most men lead lives of quiet desperation.” We get ourselves into negative thought patterns or habits; and like a broken record, our thoughts just keep spinning around and around in our brains creating deeper grooves of desperation and limitations in our lives. Sometimes these thought patterns lead to addictions. Mine are perpetual worry and coffee. We’ve been comfortably uncomfortable with not changing these patterns for so long they become as familiar to us as our favorite sweatshirt or blanket. They’re ripped and torn and don’t work so well, but the thought of giving them up is too difficult to do. Side note: I actually put away my ripped, threadbare college sweatshirt a few days ago and got a little panicky that I did the wrong thing – even though it is up on the top shelf in my closet. Trying to physically and mentally break old habits is rough on the old heartstrings. I hope my “woobie” isn’t too lonely without me.
Honestly, I can’t carry this mental burden of searching for and finding my “perfect match” any longer. It’s too heavy and it’s holding me back from living. What I’m struggling with is how to let go of those addictive, negative thoughts that pressure me to feel like I have to live my life a certain way in order to find my happiness. I guess acknowledging the fact that I need to let go of this worry and revive my faith and trust in the universe and myself is a start. Oh, and the fact that I put good ol’ “woobie” on a shelf as a gentle reminder that turning “a-ha” moments into a life-changing story has got to be as good of a start as any, right?