Sunday, July 31, 2016

Even My Ego Has Sobered Up

A friend of mine had her baby right around the time I had Xander. It was also her first, also kind of unexpected and also frightening for her. We had a lot of good, relatable conversations during our pregnancies. It was nice to be able to connect to someone going through the same emotions I was. 

A couple of months ago, she sent me an email to touch base and see how things were. I explained that while my baby was doing well, I was incredibly stressed and sad because my relationship had failed, he had chosen his addiction and lifestyle over us and that I was moving out. I told her I was confident that we would be able to co-parent pretty well as the love for his son was never in question, he just wasn’t able to make the decision to be sober with me and I knew I could never make it work if he kept drinking. I was heartbroken and worried that my son would resent me for not staying and trying to make it work. But I knew that I wasn’t in love anymore and that it was more important for Xander to be around a positive and sober influence and that hopefully one day he would understand that my choice was because my love for him ran so deep and true. 

She then opened up to me about struggles she was having with her own relationship. However, she was unable to go into detail for fear that he would read her messages. She said that she wasn’t sure they would be able to make it work either. But she was also sad and distraught because she said what kind of man would want to be with her now that she had a child to take care of?

That thought has crossed my mind. However, she is much younger than I am so I can see how it would be more of a concern for her than maybe it is for me. For one thing, anyone around my age that is also in the dating pool (not that I plan on swimming anytime soon) is probably either a parent themselves or at least has experience dating someone with a child or children. 

My first table last night was four guys around my age, all pretty good looking and having a typical “Vegas” time. They joked, flirted and I was happy to have the attention. When one of them asked me if I was married or had a boyfriend, it was strange to say no. I immediately became self-conscious and followed it up with “Guess that means I’m crazy, huh?” and laughed it off. The least drunk of the four asked for my “story” and for some reason, I told it. The Reader’s Digest version, of course. I showed them pictures of my son. They were all very sweet and wished me luck with him. They left me a very generous tip but the flirting ended pretty quickly. Well, except for the drunkest of the four which basically just asked me to have sex with him. It is still Vegas, after all.  

This is about the right time after a breakup where, in the past, I would have been starving for male attention and hitting up bars, online dating sites or past flirts and begging for validation that I was still attractive, still desirable and still worthy of at least a one-night stand. I would be ready to jump into another superficial relationship built on drunken conversation and narcissism. Anything to get away from the voice inside my head reminding me of how alone I was. 

Of course, things are different now. 

I definitely think about what a future relationship would look like for me. I don’t drink because I can’t handle my shit. I live with my parents very happily and willingly. I lost my sex drive a couple of years ago and still haven’t managed to find it. And then the fact that any man who comes into my world from now on will, at best, be the second most important man in my life. Forever. 

It is kind of distressing. I can see why my friend would be worried about it. 

I started to write “no one wants to be alone” just now... But that’s actually not true. I have met many women - and men - that find alone to just be easier. Simpler. Yes, coupling certainly has its perks, but believe me, so does the single life. 

The refreshing part of all this is that I know whatever decisions I make with men from this point on will be made with a sober mind, which I can honestly say hasn’t happened since I started drinking when I was 20. That’s a pretty big deal. And I’m not nearly as hungry for attention as I thought I’d be. Maybe it’s because I get plenty of attention from the only man that really counts. 

A friend at work told me once that she wasn’t able to find the perfect man so instead, she created him. I feel this way sometimes. But I think we all know that the spot a son takes in one’s heart still has a few voids that only a partner can fill. 

I used to think any man I chose to be with would be lucky to have me. Which would then leave me angry and bitter when they decided they didn’t want me enough to change who they were when things got tough. I mean, the nerve! Didn’t they know who I was?? Ha.. Now I know better. The man that comes into my life now and loves me for my imperfections, my struggles, my son, my family and, most importantly, my truths... boy, will I be the lucky one to have THAT man. 

Funny how I always thought drinking made me more confident when, in fact, it just gave my ego the munchies. Now I know how to feed myself and it feels pretty remarkable. 

No shame in my work game though... if a couple of guys from out of town want to flirt with me and then throw down a 35% tip, I’m not gonna argue. Organic baby food isn’t cheap. 

Thursday, July 21, 2016

Plagiarism is the New Black

My mom has always been a big card giver. I probably have an entire moving box full of cards somewhere in storage that she has sent me throughout the years. A very large percentage of these cards were sent to me when I moved to Los Angeles to go to school. 

Her cards were funny... there was usually very little written inside of them. A lone smiley face most of the time. However, she always wrote on the envelope. A sweet little IMU right where it was sealed. Other times, she would write me a little something, but it would be on a post-it note inside of the card. She said that way I could reuse it if I wanted. And she also didn’t want to mess up the card itself if what she wanted to say didn’t come out right the first time. 

Mostly, though, she said she really didn’t know what to say. She liked cards because she could find one that said exactly what she was thinking and she was always able to find the perfect one for any occasion. 

But really, her handwritten IMU on the outside of that envelope was all I ever needed. 

There is a Facebook page that I follow called Word Porn. It is full of quotes and sayings that sometimes make me happy, sometimes make me sad... but mostly, they make me reflect. I can relate to so many. The words come right from my head, before I realize I'm even thinking them. I started saving the ones that meant the most so I could read them later and maybe find writing inspiration. Instead, I thought I’d just post them here.. the ones that really mean something to me right now as I continue moving through this transitional phase of my life. 

Sober. Single. Mom. Three things I did NOT plan on being at 36 years old. I used to be a pretty big planner. Now, I do my best to keep my shit together just long enough so that I can relax in bed at the end of the day and watch an episode or two of whatever random show takes my mind off of everything else. Things aren’t bad... they just aren’t... what I expected. 

Expectations. I guess having them is really where I make all my mistakes. Expecting people to be a certain way. Expecting my life to be a certain way. Expecting events to turn out a certain way. All that seems to result in is constant disappointment. 

As always, I’m trying to live in the moment. I’m trying to look past the world and its sadness, its problems, its despair. I’m trying to look at what’s right in front of me and enjoy it. I’m fighting every day to be the person my family needs, not the self-destructive person that chooses to be numb as a way to make life easier to live. 

Life wasn’t ever supposed to be easy. I want it to be... but that’s just not its design. However, there are some things I can count on... my mom and dad, my natural instincts, and the knowledge that a decaf coffee is truly decaf if the cafe serves it luke warm. Those constants help me wade through all the bullshit of one day and wake up to face the next. 

So I get online, I read these quotes and it tells me I’m not the only one feeling this way. Which is why I started blogging to begin with, so people might find things I say relatable and it might help them connect with their own struggles. 

And in those times when I can’t find the words, at least someone else has found them for me.