Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Whoever Said "The Fun Lies In The Not Knowing" Clearly Has No Idea What Fun Is.

I received the strangest email today... 

Tina, 

It's been a while since you posted it and you're hopefully very much moved on, but I wanted to let you know that regarding the redheaded douche, you dodged a bullet. I've known that particular redhead for a while now and very few people are happy with his dating style. He's a great guy, and a lot of fun in the beginning, but he's a much better friend than he will ever be a boyfriend. Definitely not worth wondering "what if". I hope you're very happy with the guy you're dating now, or just with yourself ;) 

Every day, I’m reminded that I simply have no idea what’s going on. Ever. 

I spent a lot of time getting ready for this most recent bird show that I displayed and sold my artwork at. I took time off of work to finish drawings and spent almost the rest of the little money I had saved on nice frames, prints, mounting boards, etc. I was completely prepared to go in and rock the house. I imagined not only making my money back, but completely replenishing the savings I had depleted in preparation for the event. This was going to be my most successful show yet. 

I had difficulty sleeping the night before for fear that I wouldn’t wake up in time to meet my parents at 5:00am so we could be in Henderson ready to set up no later than 6:00am. I ended up catching about three hours of sleep on the couch with the television on and Bailey sleeping on my face. Comfortable. 

As I was getting ready the following morning, a feeling of dread suddenly came over me. Without knowing why or where the feeling came from, I knew that I wasn’t going to make any money that day. I tried to shake off this feeling. I reached into my toolbox of self improvement tricks and reminded myself that I was worthy of being successful and that I deserved to have prosperity. I took some deep breaths and told myself that I was ready and prepared to have an amazing day. It sort of worked. 

We set up on time and I was very proud of my display. My pictures looked great, my frames looked even better and my prints were laid out professionally. I was ready to feel like a profitable artist. 

I sold an original within the first hour. I was ecstatic. Five hours later, I hadn’t sold anything else. The final hour of the show, I sold three prints. Both purchases were from people who bought from me at the last show. I had mixed emotions. Okay, that’s not true. I was devastated. 

My ego wasn’t hurt. All day long, I was told what a fabulous artist I was and how much talent I possessed. Many people stopped to admire my work. The compliments were endless. But, people weren’t there to buy art. They were there to buy cheap bird toys, bulk food and maybe a parakeet or two. The only thing injured in the whole event was my now non-existent savings account. 

I really thought I knew what I was doing. Yet again, I was shown that I have no idea what the hell is going on or what decisions I should or shouldn’t be making. For only the millionth time, my analytical personality failed me and the unpredictability of the Universe took it’s victory lap. Yeah, yeah... good show. 

The hard part of realizing that I have no idea what’s going on is that I can’t change certain aspects of myself. I can’t change the fact that I am the kind of person who is always searching for answers and the greater meaning of things. I can’t change the fact that I am a planner and that I will always want to know what’s next. I do not “go with the flow” nor do I sit back and “wait for things to unfold as they will”. These concepts are foreign to me. I envy those who can live in the moment and have no desire for a five year plan. It must be nice to have that kind of mental freedom. 

I haven’t been in a place of “what if” when it comes to the redhead. I got blown off... when that happens, I move on. The only “what if”s I have in my life are the ones where I bailed out of fear. Since this has happened often in my past, there are a lot of “what if”s. Yes, it kinda drives me crazy. But, like everything else, I just try to push forward and get to the next step in my journey. 

It helps that Rob has surprised me. He’s not at all like I expected him to be. He’s the furthest thing from a douchebag that I’ve ever met. He’s sweet, gentle, sensitive, quiet, laid back, full of humor and is a master of living in the moment. 

As you can probably imagine, I don’t know how to handle this. Douchebags? I got that... sweet, adoring, complimentary and cuddly teddy bears who make me feel beautiful every time they look into my eyes? Yeah, that’s a little intimidating for me. As the queen of self-sabotage, I almost feel like a recovering drug addict who’s just been dropped into a valley of cocaine sand dunes. 

How long can I keep up the facade of having it together before he realizes I have absolutely no idea what the hell I’m doing? With anything? How long before my bullshit becomes obvious? How long before he looks for an opportunity to pack up his things and leave? Believe me, this course of action is much easier than dealing with me and my brain. 

Ever since the bird show, I’ve been stressing out pretty strongly about my financial situation. I am still struggling to get a good schedule at work, the money has not been as consistent as I’d hoped, the idea of trying to find yet another restaurant to work in is unappealing and I am still attached to all of my current luxuries. Most importantly, my apartment. I’m very afraid of losing my independence and having to move in with roommates again. I’m not ready to give up, but I’m discouraged with my current outlook. 

I’m afraid I’m entering into another relationship destined to fail. I already find myself looking for reasons why it probably won’t work. I’ve had fifteen years of experience in this practice. It’s a tough habit to break. He tried to leave the other day after I had an emotional breakdown and I convinced him to stay. If he tries to leaves again, I know I’ll let him go. I know better than to keep begging. 

Or wait... no I don’t. I don’t know shit. Isn’t that the whole point of this rambling mess? 

The email threw me for a loop. Between that, the results of the bird show and this man that I just can’t figure out, I’m reminded that I have no fucking idea what I’m doing. But something tells me to just keep doing it. 

I don’t know why. Maybe I’m not supposed to. Maybe that’s what others have figured out that I haven’t yet. Who knows.... 

I do know that I hate the not knowing... but perhaps this is what surrendering is truly all about. 

There is one thing I know for sure... I have a shit ton of prints leftover. If you are interested, hit a girl up. I got rent to pay. 


  

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Some Things Never Change... Until They Do

I spent last night feeling sorry for myself for all the things I think I’m not. I celebrated this feeling by doing the things I know make me hate myself more. 

I gambled money when I don’t have any to gamble. 

I drank in excess at a bar too far from home. 

I texted “poor me” messages to Rob, hoping he would say the right thing to make me feel anything but lonely and pathetic. 

I cried at the bar. 

I went to the ATM twice. 

I thought about my job and how I should be doing something different with my life. 

I wished I wanted kids. 

I made jokes to fellow bar patrons to keep myself from becoming too vulnerable and connected to any particular moment. 

I thought about writing this blog and how everyone would roll their eyes while muttering “Here she goes again...” 

I thought about how stupid it was to start online dating again. 

I thought about my wasted talent as an artist. 

I thought about my passion for writing but my lack of motivation to do anything about it. 

I came home and passed out, knowing that I would have to weigh-in this morning and face the fact that I gained more than a couple of pounds this week. 

I woke up three hours later with red and swollen eyes and drank about a liter of water. 

I read through my text messages and felt like an idiot. 

I checked my Facebook and found no solace among my “friends”. 

I tossed and turned for about an hour. 

Hungry, I got up and made some eggs and toast. 

I sat in bed, ate my 4:00am breakfast and watched recorded episodes of The Daily Show. 

I tried to go back to sleep, knowing three hours was not going to be enough for the day I had ahead of me. 

I thought about the Mother’s Day gift I had yet to complete and the potato salad I had to make. 

I checked my bank account and sighed. 

I picked up a shift at work for later in the week. 

I thought about all the work I still had to do for the bird show this weekend. I thought about how desperately I needed it to pay off. 

I gave up on sleep as the sun came up. 

I updated my Facebook status to say “I don’t know which feels more gross - the fact that I have nothing going for me or the realization that I don’t want to do anything about it.” 

I hit post, put my phone down and laid back down. 

I immediately grabbed my phone and removed the post. 

I sat up in bed and took a deep breath. It was almost 6:00am. 

I got dressed, washed my face and put on my shoes. 

I grabbed my keys and sunglasses and left the house. 

I drove to the park down the street and put my ipod on. 

I spent the next 45 minutes walking in the sun. 

I thought about the person I was choosing to be. I thought about the person I wanted to be. I saw a large valley between these two women. 

I wondered how I lost my way so quickly. I asked myself why I gave up on my dreams. I answered... “because I forgot what they were.” 

I got upset that I was waiting for the right man to come along and save me from myself. I got angry that I spent so much time waiting for this to happen that I had forgotten where I was headed altogether. 

I thought about how many times I check my phone a day, hoping for the next sign that someone out there is thinking of me. 

I thought about my friends and how little credit I give them... how I think they can’t possibly be the kinds of friends I need. And how I never give them a chance to even try. 

I thought about my cat and how she’s just happy to have me. 

I passed a house where someone was mowing their lawn... I inhaled the smell of real grass and was reminded of my childhood. 

I turned the corner and started the long homestretch in the park that would end at my car. 

I thought about the changes I wanted to make. I thought about how I wanted my upcoming week to look and how much differently it was going to be from this last week. 

I reminded myself that in each moment, I choose who I want to be and how I want to feel. 

I scolded myself for allowing a victim mentality to take over my mind. 

I walked a little faster. 

I thought about how much more I wanted to work. I thought about how selfish I’ve been in spending so much time “doing whatever I wanted”. I saw that this resulted in actually getting nothing done. 

I thought about the ebay store I’ve been wanting to start for my pet portraits. 

I thought about my traveling dinosaur blog

I got back to my car and felt refreshed. 

I came home and fed my cat. 

I made a cup of tea. My Yogi tea bag told me the following: “Real happiness lies in that which never comes and goes, but simply is.” 

I looked at the rays of sun coming through my window. 

I sat down, opened up my laptop and wrote this blog. 

I smiled as I thought to myself “here she goes again...”

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Everyone Who Is Behind Me, Watch Out... I'm Slowing My Roll

Someone told me once never to read the comments people leave on my blog. Easier said than done of course... besides, I love reading when people find my posts interesting or inspiring. But, with the good also comes the bad - because somewhere along the way, someone got hurt. And the need to retaliate can strike at any moment. 

Another friend of mine told me that the reason she could never do what I do is because if someone said hurtful things to her, she would hide in a corner for three weeks and never write again. I admit, it does put a delay on things, but only because the last thing I want to do is write again too quickly and respond emotionally. Tim used to tell me not to acknowledge people when they lash out at me. The negative comments are always anonymous, but I basically always know who they are and I want to hit them back where it hurts. However, I learned from Tim that it is better to take some time, step back, let things cool down and then just pick up where I left off. 

I realize I put myself out there and often invite this kind of critical feedback, and people tell me that since I do so, I need to learn how to have a thicker skin and ignore the “haters when they hate”. It has gotten easier. Yet another friend asked me if I knew the girl who wrote that last nasty comment because she couldn’t imagine a stranger would be so cruel. I thought about that too... yes, I know who “she” is and, actually, it makes it better. I couldn’t help but think to myself how much worse I would feel if it wasn’t someone I had hurt in the past. If it was, in fact, a stranger who felt the need to bash everything I do without even knowing who I was. The ultimate snark. I honestly think that would be a lot more difficult to handle. 

I probably shouldn’t even be acknowledging it now... Tim would be disappointed.. but as you know, I write what I feel. When I don’t, it feels forced and fake. 

The comment has made me think quite a bit about what I’ve been up to lately, specifically with my dating. As I always do, after my breakup, I waited just long enough for the pain to subside before I jumped right back into the dating pool. With a vengeance even... I wanted to beat the onset of loneliness and the feeling of being unworthy. I figured if I just got right back to work, I could keep my mind off of everything I had done wrong and hurry up and find someone else to occupy my time. I promised myself I wouldn’t make the same mistake I had made with almost all of my exes. But in order to keep from making this mistake, I needed to acknowledge what it was. Until just the other day, I hadn’t actually done this. 

Okay, that’s not entirely true. I think I’ve mentioned in the past that I have dated men because they were interested in me and not necessarily because I was interested in them. However, I never dug that much deeper into this because it hasn’t ever taken that long to see these guys in a positive light. I can find the good in people so quickly. Humor is attractive. So even if I wasn’t physically attracted to them right away, they would make me laugh and that would enhance their attractiveness ten fold. If they turned out to be smart, even better. Fan of Family Guy? Perfect... that sounds like a good match to me. 

What I am realizing, however, is that this is not enough. I am selling myself short by settling for certain qualities that are good enough without really reaching for that person that I think is perfect for me. I even started to go through this with the redhead. I’m not sure I would’ve sent him a message first if I would’ve come across his profile online. After meeting him of course, I saw all kinds of things that I liked about him and our differences only made the idea of dating him more intriguing. But the more I think about it... we really didn’t have an enormous amount of things in common. Perhaps he picked up on this more quickly than I did which was why he never called back. 

I was talking to another friend last night about this and told him that I just wish the redhead would’ve told me what it was that he didn’t think was going to work for him. I really wanted to know. 

Confused, my friend asked me why. Why would I want to know? What difference does it make? 

Well, so I could address it in the future with other potential relationships. 

Before the sentence was completely out of my mouth, I understood where my friend was going with it. Knowing why, would I change who I am? If so, aren’t I setting myself up for another relationship that won’t work out? I mean, don’t I want someone who will like me for who I am, without having to make any adjustments? 

As we discussed it further, I told him that I had recently come to the realization that I put myself in situations that were safe. I dated guys who were crazy about me so that I wouldn’t be the one getting hurt. I always knew I would be the one leaving if it didn’t work out. I always had the upper hand. This put me in a position of power, but never one of love and vulnerability. 

My friend looked at me in silence for a moment and then pretty much told me what a shitty person I was. At least that’s what I heard. And he was right. And he didn’t have to say it anonymously for me to get it. 

Of course someone would leave me a blog comment like that. I mean, look at what I did to them? 

Slow your roll is the phrase that keeps coming to mind when I think about myself and my activities over the last few weeks. I’ve been seeing Guy #1 fairly regularly. At least to the point where he should probably get an actual name (it’s Rob, by the way) but as he has helped me see, this is not a race. If it’s going to work with us, it’s going to happen naturally and organically and not because I forced it. And what I like about how things are going so far is that I am the one that found him online. I liked what I saw, I liked what he wrote and being with him makes me feel humble and without control. Talk about something different. It’s too early to predict the potential of the relationship... but it’s not a race. And as another friend mentioned (I have so much support... it has brought tears to my eyes more than once this past week), taking some time for myself is something I haven’t really done that might give me better perspective on things. 

So I’ve been trying to enjoy the little things in life; holding my seven week old niece, seeing my parents shed their XL and XXL wardrobes for smaller clothing, having meaningful conversations with my brother, connecting with my friends, watching golf on a Sunday afternoon, throwing a strike in the pocket and enjoying a Fat Tire over a few episodes of Aqua Teen Hunger Force. 

Because the Universe is going to happen whether I like it or not. No sense in square-pegging and round-holing it. Going with the flow has not always been easy for me... but I can feel in my bones how important it is for me to embrace this idea. 

Therefore, consider my roll... slowed.