You Say Bad Date, I Say Endless Free Entertainment

I hope everyone had a happy Thanksgiving full of turkey comas and enough pies to make you go up a jean size. Our Thanksgiving always consists of watching the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade from the comfort of our home and in our pajamas, and then pretty much doing whatever we want the rest of the day.

Today, I worked. Not out in public like most people, for whom we should bow our heads and pray that they don’t get pancaked by a stampeding crowd. I never left the computer, therefore, I “worked.” I have been selling stuff to help pay for my dog’s surgery for the last couple of months. He had a cancerous tumor on his shoulder, and if he didn’t have it removed the cancer would have spread or he would have been unable to walk, because the tumor was growing. Not having the surgery was not an option, though it was very expensive. I have a small website and webstore called Hello Leo, and I’m trying to be hip and keep up with the times, so I arranged a sale on the site during the weekend. The fact that I just used the word hip shows just how well I am keeping up with the times.

I really enjoy that I’m able to pay for his surgery this way, and we’re almost halfway there (Oh oh, livin’ on a prayer.) in paying off his bill. I’m not able to have a real job because of my medical problems, but being able to do this gives me something to do on my own time, when I feel well. It’s been a great experience for me, but when I do feel well, a lot of my time goes into it.

I miss writing. I miss working on my novel. I feel like I know where I want my novel to go, but not how I want to write it. I never get time to write anymore; to really sit down and plug away at the novel. I decided to try to remedy that with attempting to blog more. I don’t have to have a ton of time, nor do I have to sit through pages of notes and force all my ducks into a somewhat crooked little row to blog. All I have to do is have stories. This is fortunate, because boy do I have stories.

I could start with the story about how I have two bulged disks in my neck, and how funny that is since I can’t physically do anything that could have caused it. It’s kind of a dead end story, though, because apparently the bulged disks showed up in a 2009 MRI. No one told me, so instead of trying to fix it and going through therapy, I went on with my daily life, and now those disks are angry. So, thanks, neurologist that I had at the time, for not telling me this important information I needed to know. Now I’m in pain, on medication and going through therapy. Fun times, my friends.

Instead, I’m going to tell you my stories about my minimal adventures in dating over the past year from a sunny side point of view, wherein we make fun of my misfortune instead of complain about what horrible dating luck I have. These stories may not have been funny at the time, but they certainly are now. Some of them are absolutely my own fault, and I’m not afraid to make fun of myself.

As you all know, I went through a bad breakup last year. That story isn’t fun, so let’s skip it. Instead, let’s go straight to the long story short of the guy my ex’s best friend set me up with. Nice guy. Wrong time. I put the bitch in psychotic bitch. I wasn’t ready to date. I tried too soon. I ended up actually really liking the guy. I pushed him away. I say a few Hail Marys for the kid every now and then, hoping he’ll find someone better than me. We have all had this issue at one time or another. Up until this incident, I thought I was immune. You can laugh at me. It’s cool. I’m not afraid to admit that I would have ran from me too if I were him. I tried to run from me, but I kept smacking into myself.

Directly after this incident, my friend at the time tried to set me up on a date with her relative. He evidently mistook me for a porn star. Not even thirty minutes into our first text conversation, he began asking me explicit sexual questions and begging for naked pictures. Dumby over here, *points to self,* decides to give him another chance. He just went through a bad breakup too. Maybe he was upset. Maybe he wasn’t himself. Definitely, I was stupid. It should come as no surprise to anyone that this tanked. Horribly. Epically. Hilariously.

We talked things out. I agreed to meet up with him. I mostly did it because he was my friend’s relative, and I thought if she set me up with him that he must be a really nice guy and I should give him a chance. I told him that I could meet him any day or time. He picked the day and time on his own. The day we were to go out, I woke up in the dead of morning sick. By noon the next day, I was still hugging the porcelain throne. I let him know that likely I wouldn’t be able to come out that night, mostly because commodes aren’t portable or a sexy accessory. He told me he hoped I could make it. This should have been a sign, you guys, but I was too sick to be smart. Or just too stupid. He never even asked me if I was okay.

Rewind to later that day when I knew that I still was not going to make it. It was still several hours before we were to meet up, so I texted him and let him know that I was still sick as could be. Instead of being a gentleman, or any kind of decent human being, he went on a tirade about how he canceled plans for me. I found this interesting considering he was the one who picked the day and time. I also found this to be a flat out lie for the same reason. I told him off about it, because momma don’t play that game. He got super mad and basically showed his crazy, unhinged side that was inexcusable and made me nine kinds of glad that I hadn’t met with him that night. God did me a favor that night. I never thought I’d be so grateful to have been sick.

A little while later, the same friend tried to set me up with a friend of hers. It’s a known fact to people who barely know me that I like older guys and that I do not drink or like guys who get drunk all the time. The friend she sets me up with is just turning 21 and new to drinking, and he was quickly becoming buds with the bottle. His second text to me ever was to tell me that he drank an entire case of beer the night before. As in, he was bragging about it and expected me to be impressed. His entire Facebook was literally filled with nothing but posts about how hard he parties. Instant block. Also, there are reasons she and I aren’t friends anymore. These two incidents and a few other ones on the side were proof enough that she really paid no attention to anything I said, nor did she respect me enough to set me up with relationship material gentleman.

Somewhere in between this hootenanny of a hailstorm, I tried online dating. I know, I know. You don’t have to say it. It was super entertaining, though. I saw no penises, so that was a plus.

One of the first people to hit on me was a 50 year old guy with no profile picture or information on his profile, who immediately came at me telling me I should date him because age was only a number and I shouldn’t be stuck up and bitchy like other women. (Way to flatter a girl.) When I pointed out that this was coming from a guy twice my age with no profile picture, he told me I was being unfair to him and started telling me to submit to him. It became obvious very quickly how controlling he was. It also gave me the ha-has to find out that the situation didn’t go both ways. If I were 50 and he were my age, he would think I was too old. I guess when you’re middle-aged and lonely and don’t find women your age attractive, you have to bully people in to dating you. Never gonna happen, dude. For the record, had he started a nice conversation with me and been a gentleman and had information on his profile, I would have given him a chance. Age is only a number, when you’re not a chauvinistic jerk.

I met a few people here and there, but no one that I clicked with or had potential any kind of long term potential with. There was one guy who I talked here and there, not so often, for a few months. We hadn’t talked enough to really meet, but he was one of the only people who got my real email address, and overall he seemed alright. I’m overly cautious about online dating, what with Catfishing and scary rapists and murderers who troll these spaces, so it took until we started talking on the regular for me to give him my phone number. I’m no Penelope Garcia, after all.

Almost immediately I seemed to be talking to a different person. This guy who told me he was more of the stay-at-home artsy type was suddenly asking me to come out at meet him at the bar to drink, where he was alone. At a bar. On a Saturday night. On weeknights. Texting me the whole time. This was happening a few nights a week. I had a Johnny to my June once, and I couldn’t do it again. Not only that, but wanting to meet a girl for the first time in a bar in the dark seemed sketchy to me. His texts often came in at midnight or so.

Suddenly I was getting the picture that he wasn’t quite who he had told me he was, and now that we were talking about meeting, it was coming out. I should have backed away then, because men who sit at bars alone several nights a week have never been my type. Not that I have anything against them. There are lots of guys who don’t like girl-at-home types of girls. But not being a girl who enjoys bars and being asked by a guy to come to one several times a week is usually a sign. I’m so glad I didn’t back away, because this has become my favorite story to tell any and everyone who will listen.

One night, we happened to be talking about a little of this and a little of that, including this mysterious job that he had, but wouldn’t tell me what he did and never seemed to be anywhere but at the bar. But I digress. The topic of religion came up. It’s pertinent to tell you that I am religious. I am far from a Bible thumper, but I have a strong faith in God and want a partner who also has a strong faith in God. This was in my dating profile. From things that this guy had said to me before, it was clear he had read my dating profile. Unfortunately, reading and paying attention do not skip hand and hand off into the sunset. Boo.

Out of nowhere, he brings up that he feels God and religion and the Bible have no place in modern society. Uh, what now? When I think back on it now, I realize he had read my profile, and he was saying this just to be a jackwagon. Otherwise, who just comes out with something like that out of nowhere? Troublemakers, that’s who. His grandma would be embarrassed. I don’t know her personally. I’m just flying by the seat of my pants on this, because I know a lot of grandmas. None would agree with his behavior.

I told him that I disagreed, and that it was in my profile that I was looking for someone with a strong faith in God to date. I was over and done with him there and then. He had spent the last several months lying to me about such things and pretending like he had faith in God just to reel me in. I wasn’t even mad that he didn’t believe in God, but the lying is what did me in; the pretending to be someone else in more circumstances than just religion. I don’t understand what he thought he was going to get out of this, but I ended up being the winner of this situation. I will gladly take the prize of a good story any day.

It quickly came out that this guy was, in fact, atheist. I really don’t care if you’re some made up religion that prays to Martians that may or may not exist. You could wear hats and dance naked every day at 3 PM, regardless of where you are. I don’t give a hoot. I will be your friend. Some of my best friends are atheists. I’ve dated men of different religions than myself. Judgmental I am not. However, it’s a personal choice for me to want to raise a family with a man who also has a strong faith in God, whatever religion that faith may fall under. That’s all it is; a personal choice. When looking for a mate, you have to know what you want and what you don’t, and you’re entitled to have non-negotiables. That was one for me, hence why I put it in my dating profile. Heck, y’all, I would even take a guy who wasn’t religious but just had a faith in God. Seriously, not picky here.

He proceeded to berate me for this decision, telling me I was missing out on really great guys because of this. The fact that he chose to flip out on me over a personal decision said everything I needed to know about him. There was a control factor entering the picture when he didn’t get what he wanted. I was not judging him for being atheist. I never cared. I had made a personal decision, which I was up front about as to not lead anyone on, regarding wanting a partner who shared a faith in God. He went on about how he was raised religious and he knew the Bible inside and out. Then, you guys, he said inarguably the best thing I’ve ever heard to sum up an entire situation in my entire twenty-eight years on this planet. And I quote:

“You’re the kind of person that makes Jesus roll over in his tomb.”

I tried to explain Easter and Palm Sunday and resurrection to him gently, but none of those things rang a bell. He flipped out about how me saying Jesus has risen just showed that me, the “supposedly great, religious girl,” as he would put it, knew nothing about the Bible, and that he, the “atheist,” knew more than I did.

Obviously I blocked his number, because this kind of crazy I did not need. But I’ll be forever grateful for that little incident. And so will Jesus, who is not in his tomb and literally gave me an open joke at his own expense. This, folks, is exactly why I love the man upstairs.

I want to date, but then I reminisce about all of this and I think, nope, I’m good single. But man do I love the stories. I date for the stories.

As for the good dates, when I find one worth writing home about, you can be sure I will.

 

Thankful (Let Me See You Be Brave)

Some of you have been asking me lately why I don’t seem to blog anymore. See; this year. More recently, you’ve been asking why I wasn’t participating in NanoWrimo. I met a lot of my greatest, sweetest friends through there, and I was flattered you noticed my absence. The truth of the situation, however, wasn’t something I could talk about, or was willing to talk about. Until now.

I apologize if I’ve been short with you or failed to give you an answer when you asked where I’ve been. I’m also sorry if I’ve pushed you away just to avoid the truth and get rid of you, or if I’ve just plain ignored you. It wasn’t you – it never was. On Monday, the doctor found that I had two bulged disks in my neck, so I’m somewhat heavily medicated while I go through therapy for it, and I’m forever seeing pink sparkly ponies. It’s entirely possible that it’s the medication that’s making me brave enough to tell this story, or it may just be that it’s time, but I’m going to come clean with all of you about where I’ve been this year and why I’ve behaved as I have. Some of my closest, dearest and longest friends don’t even know this, as I’ve kept it close to my heart and away from the maddening crowd of life.

I started to notice something was wrong around Christmastime last year. I started feeling extremely depressed, often times thoughts of suicide crossing my mind. I had gone through a horrible breakup a few months earlier that had wore me down and broke me apart at the core, but enough time had passed for me to know that this was much more than that. I’ve always been a strong, resilient woman, and suddenly I felt like a timid little sheep facing down the cavernous belly of the beast. I was scared, but not ready to admit it.

Come January, things had only gotten worse. It occurred to me that I had started a new medication, Lyrica, to help with all of the pain I was in. When I looked up the side effects, they described the exact symptoms I was having. I went off the medication and in about a week / week and a half, I was feeling like myself again. The depression and confusion and anguish were gone and I was ready to move on with my life. But that didn’t happen.

It was a few weeks later that I started having severe pain in the left side of my head. It got to the point where I would completely lose my vision in my left eye. It wasn’t just a sensation. I really couldn’t see out of that eye. I went to the doctor, but no one could figure out the issue at first. I went to two doctors, and yet nothing. I was really starting to suffer and become extremely ill from the severity of the pain. While in the MRI machine, everything went completely black and I forced them to pull me out. I’ve had MRIs before and had never had that happen. It wasn’t that I blacked out, but that my whole range of vision completely darkened as if I were blind. As soon as I sat up, the lights came back on. Even after that, we still had no answer. Meanwhile, I was back to being an emotional tidal wave. I couldn’t control anything inside of me.

My autoimmune doctor was the one that that finally figured out that my blood disorder was wreaking havoc on my brain. The blood was pooling and thickening in one particular area of my brain, and there wasn’t much we could do about it. It wasn’t a clot yet, and if it turned into one, I was in trouble. If they tried to thin out the blood in any way, it would cause a hemorrhage. I was given orders to take it easy, and told that the place where the blood was the thickest was the cortex of my brain that controlled my emotions. The pressure from the thickening of the blood was causing my erratic behavior and feelings, and I just had to ride out the storm.

I kept hope alive that my problem was just that, but in my gut I knew something else was going on. I stopped being able to sleep, I wasn’t hungry anymore, and I was running around on adrenaline just to get things done because of my lack of sleep. I started taking pills at night just to knock me out and ones during the day just to keep me going. I started drinking alcohol, which I never do. Granted, it wasn’t to the point where I was drunk, but it was enough to know that I wasn’t myself. Yet the only explanation I had was the one given by the doctor, so I kept my mouth quiet and my issues to myself. I put on a fake smile for awhile, and then eventually just faded into the black and kept to myself in order to hide the emotional roller coaster I was riding until it slowly came to a safe stop, the blood thinned, and I felt like myself again.

The problem was, my blood had thinned, but I wasn’t feeling any better. In fact, I felt worse. That’s when I really started to isolate myself. I blew off everyone and everything imaginable to avoid people. I shirked my responsibilities. I didn’t care if I was being rude. I didn’t care about anything, especially not myself.

I tried everything to get back to me. I ditched everything that wasn’t me; the clothes, listening to the music on the radio, a way of talking like everyone else and fitting in. I went back to country music, I pitched all the clothes I didn’t like and got only the things I did, and I said and did what I wanted. None of it helped. I saw a piece of me shining through, but by the time that summer began to crest over the horizon, things had only taken a further tumble down the rabbit hole.

Around this time, I just completely went off the grid. When I did pop my head out to talk to a few people, I acted like I was fine, that nothing was wrong. There were only a half a handful of people who had any idea that something may be wrong. Everyone else basically thought I was being a jerk. At that point, I didn’t much care what they thought. I didn’t even know who I was anymore. Other peoples’ opinions of me sure as hell didn’t matter.

The middle of July marked the shift in the shaky ground I was standing on, and I finally fell through. It was inevitable, really. I hadn’t been fine in quite awhile, but I wasn’t ready to admit that. I wasn’t ready to give up the fight. There’s a stigma that goes with not being okay. It means you’re crazy. It means there’s something wrong with you. But that’s not the truth, and there was still a dark veil in front of me that allowed me to ignore the truth just a little bit longer. It let me fall into a false sense of security each day when I would put on my cowboy boots and my country words and walk out that door falsely confident. That little ray of hope kept me going and kept pushing me through. It kept me telling myself I was okay even after the bottom had long fallen out.

This is when the panic attacks started. I had been acquainted with them occasionally since September of 2012 after not ever having any. This was different. Out of nowhere, I was slammed with the sensation of not being able to breathe or control anything. This was happening three or four times a day, and Xanax was barely helping. I still wasn’t ready to give up the fight, but I was slowly losing it in every way possible.

It wasn’t until a friend of mine threatened to 302 me that I realized things had gone too far. This friend knew me better than anyone else in the world, had an education in psychology, and would never threaten such a thing on me unless it was one hundred percent necessary. I literally trust this friend with my life, so I was forced to open my eyes and see that I was worse off than I had been telling myself, and the person I was lying to the most was me. Truth be told, he probably saved my life that day, with that one not so small threat.

For those of you who don’t know what the 302 law is, it’s a law much like the 5150 law in California that Steve-O and Mischa Barton were forcibly committed for a mental evaluation under. If a person or persons feels that you are submitting to erratic behavior, they can force you into a limited hold in a mental institution to be forcibly evaluated for mental disorders or conditions.

I had a doctors appointment lined up not long after all of this, and I had promised my friend I would talk to my doctor about what was going on. I had talked myself out of it three or four hundred times in those few days, and when I got to the doctor I planned on saying nothing to her. I wasn’t strong or brave enough to admit something was wrong. I had spent my entire life taking care of myself and everyone else around me, and I just wasn’t prepared to tell someone that I needed help. I was always the girl who didn’t; the girl who everyone went to when they needed something. And now, here I was, a shell of myself and unable to stand on my own, but unwilling to admit it because I felt it just wasn’t who I was or who I was allowed to be.

Though I had a standing appointment with the doctor for a separate issue, God had plans of his own. I broke down in the middle of the appointment, out of absolute nowhere. I just started bawling my eyes out and I couldn’t stop myself. I never cry in front of people, and my doctor knew me well enough to know that I was typically a happy, outgoing young woman who looked to the sunny side of life. She knew in that moment that something was very wrong.

I had to make a fast decision there or then about my own strength and free will. I had mere moments to agree to see a psychologist or be 302ed. At that point I almost wanted to be 302ed, because if I was, I could get away from everything. I could let the world stop and go on without me while I took time to myself to heal, because that’s what I needed most. Afraid of being pumped with medication when my body has issues tolerating it, and worried the situation would be made worse, I agreed to see a psychologist. My doctor told me I had every symptom of PTSD and that she wanted to continue to follow up with me, because what was going on with me was serious, and in no way my fault. There was nothing wrong with me.

I called the psychologist she suggested the next day. I remember thinking a lot of things about myself that fit the stigma of mental health disorders. I remember thinking something was wrong with me. Then I would think about the strangest thing – Demi Lovato and her battle with addiction and being bipolar came to mind. I remember thinking how brave she was for going public with her problems, and how strong she was to realize she needed help on her own, taking herself off of a world wide tour, and, at a mere 18 years old, checking herself into a rehab facility to get help. If she could do it with the world looking on, I could stand up and do it for myself, in this tiny little town.

The psychologist was quick to reinforce that there was nothing wrong with me. She was careful to diagnose, but overwhelming in assuring me that I didn’t have any mental health disorders. For me, it was a relief, but I knew even if I had, that I was okay with who I was, because I had sought help. I had decided to get better, instead of sitting around lying to myself for another eight months. I was simply suffering from PTSD related anxiety for all that I had been through, and it wasn’t hard to pinpoint the situation that threw me into a tailspin.

Almost immediately I was doing better and I was back to being more like myself, only a better, healthier version. I’m proud to say today that I am happier than I’ve ever been. It’s only been a little over three months since I started going to the psychologist, but I am already down to going once every two weeks, and I’ve been holding my ground pretty well. I’ve stopped caring what people say about me or what they think. I’ve got rid of people I didn’t need in my life – the ones that were causing unnecessary drama. I left the past behind me and became grateful for what I’ve been put through, because now I know myself better than I ever have.

Some days I still slip up and find myself in my room crying, or having a panic attack, but the days are so few and far between, and they’re part of life. No one gets better overnight. This may be something I struggle with for the rest of my life, or it may be something that goes away in a year. I’m careful to know when I’m losing my ground now, and not so careless and reckless with my heart. Those times when I’m falling down, I stop and take care of me now, instead of putting on a facade of makeup and fake smiles. I can deal with this on my own now, but keep up with my psychologist so I can make sure I stay on solid ground and that I keep going with my head held high. And I’m not ashamed to admit this now, but, rather, I am proud of how far I’ve come in such a short period of time and where I am now.

I know myself better than I ever have, and I’m working on getting back out there and becoming a part of society, getting into a little bit of life. I’ve learned a thing or two about dating, but mostly chalk it up to a comedic experience that leaves me none too eager to be a little fish in that large sea. When the right person comes along, I’ll know like I’ve known before, and I’ll give it a shot. (I’ll also soon share the stories of the dating mishaps on here, and hopefully you will all find them as funny as I do.) I’m not shutting down completely, but focusing on me, which is something I’ve never done before. But I have to say, I find that I kind of like it.

This Thanksgiving, while everyone is going around the table saying what they are thankful for, I can honestly say that I am just thankful to be here. There were times this year, more often than I’d like to admit, when I was taking a mix of pills just to sleep and another just to stay awake, that I didn’t think I’d be making it to see another birthday or holiday. I didn’t much care if I did or not, to tell you the truth. But I did make it. I’m here. I’m alive. I’m okay. And that’s as much as any woman can ask for.