The HS Well

I am a middle-aged, childless, divorced woman. I have choices. I can become a crazy cat lady. I can be a bitter old scary witch-woman. I can spend my days swiping and getting dick pics. I can go on awkward blind dates. I can try to turn friendship into romance. I can spend months messaging, sexting, and pouring out my soul only to find out it isn’t “real” real. I can get catfished. I can say screw it and become the wild aunt who goes on adventures.

I recently had a thing with a guy. I’m calling it a “thing” because I’m sure kids these days have a word for it, but I have no idea what that word is. Anyhow, I wrote to him, “Dude, I’m a middle-aged woman sexting and having a basically online relationship. I don’t know what I’m doing, and just figuring it out as I go along.” Well, figure it out I did not.

That “thing” consisted of months of messaging daily with him–conversations, flirting, sexting, planning, sharing. It started out with his attempts at flirting, which I laughed off. I was interested in becoming friends with him; I found him intriguing. Somewhere the conversation became less friends and more dating, I’m not sure exactly when or how that happened. I had seen him while in his area and made plans to visit just him in a few weeks. That was cancelled due to schedules. I was willing to work it out even if that meant we backed off the romantic stuff and were just friends. But he decided it was too much stress and if he wasn’t going to get what he wanted (a regular girlfriend) he’d stop being my friend. He ended up cutting me off even on social media. It burned me. If I couldn’t be there how and when he wanted, then he’d rather have nothing. It hurt. A lot. Not that I was dumped, but that I was rejected even as just a friend. (If you are reading this, I’d be extremely interested in hearing how this version is incorrect. Hell, I’d be very interested in having any contact and conversation with you.) I felt that if I were genuinely worthy he would have been happy to have any contact and relationship with me. I also felt stupid, like stoopid stupid. I had called the whole thing at the beginning when I was laughing it off. I LET myself get pulled into the attention and then stepped off that cliff knowingly.

During all this I had been conversing with female friends from high school about how we get hit on now, AS divorced 40-somethings and BY divorced 40-somethings. We realized there was a thread in our stories about the men going back to the high school well. Certainly, part of this was due to social media. Easy to friend someone you went to school with, tell them you had a crush on them then, how pretty they look now, remember something that happened in ecology class. Boom, you’re in. No drink buying or dating profile composing even involved.

I’m not saying that this is wrong or devious or mean. It’s actually very understandable. And there is no saying a relationship can’t come out of it, there IS automatically connection, history, and understanding that are meaningful things. (Full disclosure: I moved my Yankee, liberal, atheist, vegetarian self to Texas (!!!) to live with a guy with whom I reconnected at our 20-year reunion.)

What I am saying, from my personal experience, is that it’s easy to get wrapped up in this online. Even if you don’t remember us because we were the wallflowers, we are still real people. Don’t message us things you wouldn’t say to us in person. We read them, we want to believe them. Don’t try to make us feel special and then just ghost us. Maybe feelings do fade in person. I get that. The profile pic, funny messages, and likes are not enough to really know someone. But please don’t tell us how you want to get to know the real us and then refuse to.

Also, don’t ever, EVER send us a dick pic. We just laugh and show it to our friends so they can laugh too.

 

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Revolt

A week ago I was on the beach attending a retreat. It was the end of a week of yoga, meditation, walking, healthy food, massages, working out, bare feet, sharing, honesty, acceptance, sleep, tequila, playing in the waves, and being around inspiring people.

I had this planned for about a year and it came at the perfect time. (Well, it would have been more perfect if it had come a week earlier before I pissed off someone I care about, but that’s another story for another time.) I was disappointed in myself. I felt stupid. I had made dumb choices when I knew better. I relearned lessons…again. I was desperate to not have been so damn foolish. I needed a retreat. I needed TO retreat. I waved the white flag at my life and my crazy mind then threw some bikinis, my “ No Shoes Nation” cap, and my yoga mat in a bag and got on a plane.

It did the trick. I headed home ready to take on the world…and my mind. A scratched, itchy toe my only ailment.

But by the time I got back to reality I had started biting my nails, my scalp itched from stress-induced psoriasis, and I had a desire to binge. My self-punishing coping mechanisms were still intact.

I thought I needed to just rest my sore had-been-walking-on-sand ankle. But it still bothers me more than a week later.

The next morning I couldn’t bite down because my jaw hurt from grinding my teeth.

By that evening I felt bursitis pain.

A couple of days later the sore throat and runny nose began.

Then the cough and congestion.

Followed by a rash.

Within a day my mind had reverted. So within a week my whole body was revolting.

It was quite quickly obvious I need to change my life and myself. But moving to Mexico and living in a rustic casita while someone makes me gourmet food and I walk on the beach isn’t a realistic option right now.

I gave myself a day of rest. Which became a forced week of what felt like punishment. I hear myself loud and clear. (I mean I DO tend to go over the top in my efforts to be understood by others. I guess I’m the same when it’s just me listening.) So now I am figuring out how to have that beach brain and body–I’m not referring to one that looks “good” in a bikini–no matter the weather nor surroundings. And how to change where I am and what I do to rise so my body doesn’t revolt.

 

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Want

This started out as a note to an individual person. But then I realized it wasn’t just about us, it’s about all my relationships and life in general.

I’m at a place where (although sometimes I momentarily forget) I am true to myself and honest with others. I can be overwhelming. I can be confusing. I can be frustrating. But having me around is still totally worth it. I’m not a typical girl, and I don’t need to be. I’m not asking for anything, but also know what I want.

I want slow and sensual. I want connection and touch. I want fun and kink. I want mess and fierceness. I want honesty and reality.

I want to help and be supported. I want to teach and learn. I want to share and be introspective. I want to forgive and be understood. I want to be uninhibited and accepting.

I want to be wanted.

 

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Reset

When I moved a few years ago, it was a pushing of the reset button. And not some random will I end up among the dinosaurs or stars unknown reset. It was to a specific time and place for specific needs and wants. And, damn, did I have plans! I was going to take over the world…or at least Dallas.

Even though I’m kinda old, you’ll recognize me from your Child Psych 101 textbook. I need to feel safe and secure—and have the knowledge I can return to that place—in order to venture out and kick some ass. I didn’t feel that. I felt like I was standing on a figurative ledge, just waiting to be pushed off. So the me kicking ass didn’t really happen. And after the (maybe self-fulfilling) push finally happened I obviously felt, and was, less safe and secure.

There was no reset button available this time. Just standing (and at moments curling up in the fetal position), dazed. And then moving. Just moving, somewhere, anywhere. There’s no safe, no secure to be found. Not in a place nor in a person.

Except wherever I happen to be at the moment. And myself.

So all those things that make me me, yet I somehow find scary? I’m starting to do them. And I’m regaining my sense of safety and security in them happening instead of for them to happen.

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Life

My life just ain’t workin’ for me. So, it’s time for a change. But the thing is, this life that isn’t what I want it to be is the result of a change. I know what I want, just not how to get it…obviously.

Living in a cute, comfortable little house with a yard for gardening, room for a big table where friends and I can eat and play, a decent kitchen in which to bake and keep my sangria cold. Grabbing a drink, laughing, and chatting with a friend. Listening to music, reading books, watching movies and TV. Going a little wild at concerts and sporting events with people. Spending time in nature and on my mat. Learning, traveling, museuming, sharing. Helping animals and kids. Taking care of someone who takes care of me. Feeling wanted and worthy. Being financially stable.

I don’t expect to get this magically by moving or taking a class or meeting a certain person. (Well, I did at one time, but not anymore.) I do expect it will take work and learning and difficult changes and temporary sacrifices. I was willing to all that with this most recent change/try, and I did. And it didn’t work. There are no promises in life. I get that. But I’m also tired of false hopes and misplaced trust. I know how and where I can get some of those things on my list. Like, for sure get them. So do I just retreat and accept that life? Or do I keep searching for a place and way I can have a life that has all of the above?

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Hindsight

Hindsight is a bitch.

It pretends to be a friend, knowledgeable and understanding. But it’s really worse than Regina George. Making you feel stupid and foolish.

It’s supposed to help you learn, make better choices in the future. But for me, it’s paralyzing. I try to learn my lesson, I really do. I apply what I’ve realized. I make a different decision than I did the last time. And then hindsight shows me how wrong I still was. Even with the brilliance of hindsight I end up hurting myself. It just ends up making me feel like an idiot and doesn’t provide assistance to actually make things better in the future. So as I sit here with all my 20/20 hindsight attempting to make a big decision, I realize it’s not helpful at all.

 

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Comfortable

In my life I have only felt completely comfortable with two people: my father and my ex-husband.

People scare me. The first panic attack I remember was in my kindergarten classroom. My mother has so many of stories of my fits when she tried to take me places: gymnastics class, to see Santa Claus, eating at a restaurant. I either was a total brat or just shy, depending upon whom you asked. But I wasn’t really; at the least I was completely uncomfortable and at the most I was uncontrollably terrified. No one understood. And I couldn’t express why.

My social phobia was debilitating when I was a kid. So many plans ruined because I couldn’t make myself leave the house, go out in public, nor even visit a friend. And the phone? That was at least as bad as talking to someone in person.

My father spent hours rehearsing with me, planning what to say in a given situation. We’d sit in kitchen chairs, holding our hands to our heads pretending they were phones while having possible conversations. It was the only way I could make a call. Sometimes even that wasn’t enough.

I was “sick” for so many parties and outings while I was growing up. My version of sick was having a panic attack, refusing to leave the house while my mom got pissed and my dad begged/pleaded/threatened. Until then one of them would finally be forced to call and cancel plans. My ex-husband actually took over this horrible, unfair job later.

Now it’s less debilitating, but I am still scared to go out in public or to talk on the phone. I just have worked so hard for so long that I can usually make myself do it anyhow.  I never feel like I fit in. I almost always feel self-conscious. I so want to be liked that I try too hard. Which comes across as very unlikable.

I know. Because I often don’t like myself. I don’t like being this way; I don’t like being scared and feeling foolish. I want to be fun and serene and easygoing and light hearted. But then sometimes I wonder, “Who do you think you are to deserve to be those things?!”  You know when I said I’ve only felt completely comfortable with two people? I wasn’t accidentally forgetting myself.

I’m still working on being comfortable with me.

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