Oh, Joy!

While at work, I decided to walk to Farragut Square for lunch the other day and found myself missing Prince Charming terribly. I have no idea why…maybe because it was a beautiful day and I saw the folks having lunchtime picnics and enjoying the Outdoor Office the park has set up for the summer. Maybe it was because I passed (for the umpteenth time) the Subway he bought his lunch from every day for months on end. Maybe because I work pretty close to the office he worked at before things went south between us and he moved west. Side note: I also work practically next door to the hair salon Him went to for his haircuts and I feel/think absolutely nothing. However, I did not miss the Prince long…remember, this is the same guy who could not even meet at Metro Center to ride the train home. I guess The Mormon was always lurking just below the surface.  Chalking it up to missing someone being part of the process. And even though I am masturdating’s biggest fan, companionship and attention are natural, normal things I miss from time to time.

But now that I have had time to think about it, I missed Prince Charming because I miss sharing my day with him and this was a week to share with that special someone (other than yourself) and he was the closest I have had to a special someone.  It’s been an interesting time at Seattle Grace…surprisingly, I have been bonding with the male Meredith…he and I talk a lot (usually after hours) and not just about work; Lexie has been a little distant but thinking she misses the OR Nurse. Karev is flat out weird, Arizona is getting frazzled bit still cheerful and George is just George. The biggest surprise is Yang and I are bonding (I will probably never be her person but I am becoming her go-to girl) and all it took was a major mistake to bring about both a peculiar and amazing turn of events.

At work, I am a loner….Meredith and Lexie share an office so they are always together, laughing and talking; Arizona and George have their work spouse relationship. I sit in the middle of the office, surrounded by folks wrapped in their own little bubbles. Karev is in the Office No One Knows Exists (the light switch for that office is in another office, that is how much of an afterthought it is). Yang is in her office separated from the others by walls and a door. But I see things, I hear things….everyone is scared of Yang because of her diffident attitude, bipolar personality and when she is displeased, she can be quite scathing.  There are a lot of eyes and hands on simple documents because everyone is deathly afraid of making a mistake; there is a lot of throwing folks under the bus for the same reason. Also, Yang waits until the day of to meet any deadline, so there is that pressure. And Seattle Grace is preparing for their Annual Conference, which means a lot of deadlines and frazzled nerves.

At this conference, the Hospital gives out awards (a lot of them), so the first order of business is to determine award winners. Which Arizona and Meredith had done; Yang compiled a list of them all and instructed me to break down said list and add on some informative details: nominee, nominator, organization, award they were receiving, etc. And I did so….except somewhere along the line, a mistake was made and the award winner in one of the categories got mixed up. Which was embarrassing and as Yang put it: a VERY serious mistake. The woman ranted, raved, yelled and was determined to get to the bottom of it…except instead of tracing the timeline of events, instead of asking had the person we mistakenly sent the announcement to ever been placed in the winner’s column at one point (the sheet had had multiple edits) she accused of Meredith and Arizona of being sloppy and careless.

I stepped in and told Yang it was all my fault; if there was any way to make this right, please tell me. I was her assistant and as such, her eyes and ears. If anyone was to blame, it was me for not double checking my work and if she wanted to terminate the agreement with the agency, I understood. And I meant it. I felt so badly because it meant: 1. I would be out of a job due to incompetence; 2. Yang had embarrassed herself in front of her peers (the man she snatched the award from was a Judge) and 3. The Judge was probably PISSED.  So yes, I owned it because at the end of the day, it left my desk on Yang’s behalf and I was not a good pair of eyes and ears. You know me…. I have no problem (eventually) owning my shit and have been known to own other folks’ shit too.  Well, no one knew what to do with my admittance; everyone just kind of looked at me, each other and the floor…not necessarily in that order. Yang finally spoke up and said it was an “unfortunate incident” but mistakes happen. Best thing to do is to learn from them and move forward. Just proof that the Hospital had to step up their quality control practices. And then she extended my contract until the end of the year!

Well, I was on Cloud 10 after that….yes, still felt badly about the mistake but felt better that Yang was not as unreasonable as one perceived her to be. And I would have a steady income for the next 3 ½ months…whatever happened after that, I would deal with it then. So I come into work the next day and by some weird twist, Yang and I were the only ones in the office that day. She calls me back into her office and tells me that she is giving me more responsibility: invoicing/bill paying and HR related tasks. In fact, she had some HR stuff for me to do RIGHT NOW and it was best to stay in her office to do it. So it’s a beautiful Friday morning and Yang and I are in her office, working together in comfortable silence when she starts talking to me.

She asks me about the agency, my work history and says she took a good look at my resume the night before. Then she asks about various assignments, the recent gap in employment and was I even looking for something permanent. Not sure about you, but this was sounding an awful lot like an interview, so my answer was carefully worded. Of course I want permanent…stability and consistency are important to me. It just has not happened yet, but I was content to ride the contract out, learn as much as I can seeing as I have never supported an executive of her caliber before. Yang’s eyes lit up like a Christmas tree! She got all excited and told me she wanted to bring me onboard permanently!! (I fainted inside) That’s right…Yang wants to put a ring on it!!  She likes my punctuality, dependability, my attention to details, that I was smart and caught on quickly and that I was trustworthy. It is beyond important to her that she can trust the ones around her. And I would not regret becoming a member of the Seattle Grace staff.

Her benefits include: an excellent/competitive starting salary; health/vision/dental/long & short term disability/life insurance 100% employer paid (or a monthly stipend in lieu of health benefits); 401K 100% employer matched up to 6% of my annual salary. 14 days of paid time off not including all federal holidays, Black Friday and the week between Christmas and New Year’s off with pay! AND, I get to travel (all expenses paid) to the Annual Convention which is held in a different city each year.

Outwardly I was calm, but inside I was jumping up and down, screaming OMG! OMG! OMG! BUT (and you know there is a but), she had just signed the contract to extend me the day before. Buying me out of the agency contract would be expensive, so we had two options: stay onboard until the contract had run down some; I can stay and we consider this time a probationary period where I would learn, train and we build a solid working relationship. Or I could go elsewhere where I would get more of a salary (the agency isn’t paying a whole lot) and come back to her in 6 months (if I quit, she cannot hire me for 6 months). Well, no way in hell am I leaving for her to find someone else to make permanent, so Option 1 it is. And we shook on it…since then, I have had to create my HR folder, she has given me a key to the office, the office celebrated my birthday (card and cake) and I sat in on my first staff meeting!

Naturally, all the important people in my life know about this incredible, prayer answering development and I am so happy it is unbelievable how happy I am….THIS is better than having a boyfriend! THIS is joy!!  And yes, it would be nice to have a special someone to share this news with…Lord knows, it has been a long time coming. A celebratory dinner followed by a special dessert with someone who gives me butterflies and has stars in their eyes when they look at me sounds great but let’s handle one area of life at a time. For now, it is the professional which finally may be falling back into place. I will admit, it felt weird to miss Prince Charming because indifference is creeping in. When I do Facebook stalk him now (it is more the exception than the rule nowadays), I don’t feel anything. He is not as cute, there are no rocks in the tummy, there is no wondering why. It is just me looking at a picture of a man I used to know and that’s how it’s supposed to be.

So this has been my week…a surprising one to be sure. Now time to get ready for a short work week (heading to NC Thursday night to spend the long weekend with family and Tiny Human). I will be back soon with updates and new posts. As always, thanks for stopping past and reading and as usual….enjoy your day!

 

 

The Joys of Masturdating

If you know me, if you read this blog you know I do not have the best luck with men. Be it online or in the real world, I meet the strange, weird and ridiculous. I’m used to it and have to come to expect and look for the crazy in men who pursue me. But sometimes, even I get thrown for a loop. A man answered my ad last week and obviously, he cannot read because he was shocked financial assistance was involved; he was further shocked by the amount (which is beyond reasonable given the comps research I have done). So instead of telling me I was out of his budget and asking if I would work with him, the man calls me old and homely without even having seen a picture. THEN tells me what he can afford and asks when he can see me. He is still sending emails with “?????” in the body, waiting for me to respond. Thinking I should have taken his dollars but it is all about teaching people how to treat you and with that, I don’t holler for every dollar.

I am okay with not dating and more than okay with the arrangements falling off. Most of the first half of my life has been spent in pursuit of something, anything to make me happy, make me fit in, make me forget the pain and to validate me. Sometimes it was drugs and alcohol, sometimes it’s shopping but usually, a man is involved. And I am done with that. For real. I appear to inspire mixed feelings in men. They never seem to want it to be just sex (and I am more than okay with just sex…either we meet via the arrangement ads so what else am I expecting or I really, really like them and I am okay with mixing friendship with intimacy as long as honesty, trust and respect are prevalent before, during and after) after having sex with me.  Noooo, they want to get to know me, tell me their secrets and ply me with compliments, attention and jealousy on a constant basis. It’s a relationship until I point it out to them….then they don’t want anything at all to do with me.  I don’t have time for the person I become when I fall for a guy (they are elevated to heights of utter perfection and I am so lowly and unworthy) and the drama, hurt and sheer WTFness that comes with the inevitable breakup are things I do NOT need.

Here are some examples of what I am talking about: Him. Prince Charming. And on the recent dating front:  there was the guy who offered to treat to dinner. I specifically asked did he mean dinner or happy hour. He said: dinner and yes, he knows the difference. Yet when we meet at the restaurant, he is handing me the happy hour appetizer menu. There is the guy who answered my arrangement ad thinking I am looking for a wine and conversation partner. At 8pm on a work night. When I specifically state I do not drink alcohol. The guy who claimed he had time and availability and wanted to meet for a real date (dinner and movie) but when I accepted, he suddenly became a super busy Executive Director Free Mason who had meetings and conferences scheduled through 2016.  Who has time for this for the wish-washiness and stupidity? I don’t.

I already know a lot of you clicked the link thinking I had misspelled masturbation and were hoping for some juicy, soft porn version of the blog today. Maybe me sharing some tips and tricks to spice up the art of self-love. Not so. Today going to talk about masturdating which is simply the art of going out/doing things alone and being comfortable with that. No hidden agendas and while being open to possibilities is a key component to both masturdating and being single, possibilities should not be the expectation.  Masturdation is an important part of being single and does wonders for those who are looking to be happily single. It is, as with most things, easier said than done and it is hardest immediately post-breakup (and by immediately, I mean anywhere from 1 day to 6 months) and when a person is just freaking tired of being freaking single. But it works if you take the time to invest in solitude, learning lessons and doing some soul searching.

First thing to know about masturdating is you cannot just jump into it. My suggestion is to wait until you have grown comfortable with yourself. If you are fresh into a heartbreak or breakup, not a good time. You have to heal, disconnect yourself from the person who was such a huge part of your world for however long. If you are one of those folks just tired of being single, you are not ready for masturdating as every outing will become some sort of “hunt” for a significant other. The end game with masturdating is happily single, not to land a boyfriend/girlfriend. So if you are one of those folks who thinks time is running out and/or you need someone in your life to complete you…you can stop reading now and just start dating. This is about building self-esteem, knowing your worth and being okay with no longer settling. This is about knowing when to get up from the table when love, respect and honesty are no longer being served and it starts with being satisfied, content and comfortable with yourself in all aspects of your life and choices.

Comparison is probably the biggest culprit when it comes to fostering/harboring insecurity and misery. If you are constantly judging your life and looks against others, you will never be happy. Never. Masturdating eliminates comparisons from your life. Over the weekend I attended a function hosted by my high school graduating class and had I not learned lessons, made peace with myself and discovered the joys of masturdating, it would have been a complete disaster. 31 years have passed since I walked across the high school stage and in that time, folks had gotten good government jobs, married, had children, moved into nicely updated PG County homes, bought cars….on the surface, they have the perfect, Hallmark lives I once dreamed of. Me? I am living in a studio apartment that has a Brady Bunch kitchen, no bedrooms and I sleep on a futon. My job(s) is on a weekly basis and there are times I can barely pay rent. But none of that matters…I am happy with my life. I am here, I am content and I don’t feel the need to think I am a failure because I made different life choices. The hands I have been dealt by life, I play the hell out of them. I don’t feel as if I will never find reciprocal love because I haven’t found it yet and they have. I have loved and been loved…just not on a long term basis and with the wrong people. Minor details.  I don’t need to compare my income, my home, my love life or my figure to anyone else’s because I’m happy with me. The only thing I need to compare me or anything of mine to is what I/it used to be.

Masturdating is not easy. It’s biggest enemy and quite possibly its downfall is loneliness. What one needs to know is loneliness will come no matter how much you have moved on, gotten over or grown. My advice: do NOT go out at all. Not even with your good girlfriends. They aren’t the cure for the loneliness you are feeling. Just stay indoors and do what helps you get through: exercising, eating comfort foods, staying in bed under the covers…whatever.  The best advice (and really the only advice) I have for loneliness is that it is a feeling…..and feelings pass. Another foe is sometimes you just want another person across the table from you, or sitting next to you in the theater or someone to walk around the museum with. Someone you (hopefully) find attractive, can flirt with and receive positive attention from. It’s normal. Yes, it comes with a level of expectation but companionship is necessary at times. I have caved into the feeling more than once (posting ads on CL for dinner and movie partners) and all I can say is every.time I end up wondering what the hell was I thinking. Not sure if I have standards, my exes have made me kind of jaded or I’ve been alone too long.

I don’t mind being alone and masturdating isn’t just being okay with being alone. Masturdating is being alone without being lonely. It is about learning to live a full and fulfilling life BY YOURSELF. It is self-confidence, self-esteem, self-worth and self-confidence coming together; it is self-love, self-like and self-respect being all the validation you need. It’s realizing that life is just as good with a partner as it is without one. It’s understanding yourself. It’s knowing that there is no expiration date on happiness or love and that a relationship is no guarantee of both. It’s about staying single by choice until someone comes along to complement your life, not complicate or complete it. But, it’s also hard work…it has taken me damn near 30 years to heal and make peace with my pain and demons; 4 relationships to realize that if I am broken and they are broken and we just try to fix each other instead of ourselves…it’s just a huge mess. It has taken me this long to know that if efforts fall off or are not being returned…time to go. That when words are vague and/or are in need of interpretation…time to go. Masturdating is helping me to realize what I really want from my happily ever after and what I offer to someone else’s. It isn’t for everyone but for me, my happiness and my peace of mind…it’s the best thing that has ever happened to me.

I will be back soon with good news and new posts (sorry that posts have been introspective and kinda boring but that is what happens when there is no drama or chaos). As always, thanks for stopping past and reading and as usual….enjoy your day!

Fortune Cookie

We all know I have re-entered the workforce. Finally. For how long is anyone’s guess, but hoping for long term. This assignment is strange and the people are weird (New Mommy says I say this about every assignment) but it is also different because my attitude towards it is different.

I have been through a lot of assignments and dealt with a lot of attitudes, personalities and bosses…much like my personal relationships, I have learned lessons along the professional road and this time around, I am applying lessons learned. While I am happy to be back in the administrative arena (where I have always felt most comfortable as far as skills set), I am finding out there is a lot I don’t know or have forgotten. Of course that frustrates me because I feel I have to be perfect and pass all the tests because if I don’t, I get dumped. I am learning to shed that mentality; it doesn’t matter how perfect or imperfect I am, if someone doesn’t want me around…I won’t be around.

So I am learning to be patient with myself and also realizing that one cannot just jump into relationships of any type….people need to get to know each other, learn each other and grow from there. I have also learned that I tend to take and make everything (relationships, assignments and TV shows come to mind first) my One, Only and Forever. It has been rare that I have really just let go and enjoyed the moment with anything. With jobs, I am always worried that the contract won’t last as long as they say, that I am not/will not catch on quickly enough, that I won’t make permanent status; granted all of that has happened but because I worried constantly and kept searching for the next job, I really never enjoyed the time I spent with the various teams and clients. All things come to an end and I worry so much about when the end will come, I don’t enjoy the time I have with people, places and things.

In this way also, I am approaching the assignment differently. It’s open-ended so no one knows how it will end or when and this time…not looking for the next assignment. I can learn from this assignment and I can see the potential for both professional growth and enjoyment here; I want to stick with it to see where it can go. Sure, it can blow up in my face and leave me hanging in the wind but worrying about that will just make it manifest that much faster. Of course, now that I am ready to be settled for however long in this little corner of God’s Professional Space, everyone and their brother is calling and emailing with great jobs and offers I would be perfect for. I have rejected them all but one gnaws at me…they keep saying they want a face to face interview (even after being told I am currently on assignment and not interested) but they are not flexible on interview times and when a telephone interview seemed a possibility, they flaked and never called. Forget them.

Now going to tell you about the job and the folks I work with. It is a non-profit in the heart of downtown DC and a public transportation dream: I have three options to get to work. Rail (20 minute trip, no transfers) or I can choose between two buses (about 45 minute trip, no transfers). The hours are wonderful (9:30-6pm) although I am still getting used to leaving work at 6 versus 5.That extra hour is killer. Hours are on the honor system since everyone is pretty independent and always coming and going. My one complaint would be the lack of lunch places in the area but I am also lazy and don’t want to wander too far in search of something other than pizza, wings and Starbucks.

We are on the top floor of an historic building in the heart of the K Street corridor and the building is so old, the windows actually open! The office is small: 5 perm employees, two interns/law clerks and me.  It is diverse enough I suppose…5 are Asian, 1 white, 1 Ethiopian and me. Everyone is polite but again, very independent and very busy which makes them seem distant. Although they did invite me to a Happy Hour with them on Day 2, so maybe not so distant. Meetings on the Hill, meetings at the White House, conference calls that last all morning or afternoon, out of town conferences and conventions, monthly staff bonding outings, briefings/hearings/lectures everywhere…when folks ARE in the office, they are in their offices with the door shut.  They trust me: I have made bank deposits, I hold checks until they are ready for deposit and I have used the company credit card to make online payments on their behalf. And I learn stuff! Every reason to not worry and every reason to enjoy. I’m trying.

You guys know I compare jobs and its people to things folks can relate to: the Island of Misfit Toys, The Team, The Breakfast Club…this assignment I liken to Grey’s Anatomy…  a non-profit version of Seattle Grace without the bonding friendships and steamy sex in on-call rooms. Allow me to introduce you to the attendings, residents and interns of the Seattle Grace Mercy West Grey-Sloan Memorial Non-Profit Association:

Christina Yang:  The woman is the Executive Director and she has a little crazy and a lot of bipolar in her. If this were actually Grey’s, she would be The Chief, no question but she has a lot of Yang’s qualities and characteristics. She even resembles Yang. She is focused, driven, accomplished (her achievements are intimidating) and can be very dismissive and distracted. She expects you to know everything and be a mind reader but doesn’t mind teaching and giving praise. Every once in a while, she loosens up enough to snack, eat Jolly Ranchers, chitchat, dispense advice and even share a laugh with the office. And she likes that I am devious when dealing with vendors and timely with completing work. Of course this is still the honeymoon phase where we are on our best behaviors with each other, so who knows what will happen if I stay longer than three months. For right now, she may be the boss I need and we seem to be happy with each other.

Arizona Robbins: Does anyone remember when Arizona Robbins came on the scene? She was all blonde, blue-eyed and sparkly. Chewing bubblegum and roller-skating through the hospital. THAT is this chick except she’s Indian (turban, not the teepee). She has a happy voice and is always cheerful, both of which I attribute to too much Starbucks. She is a manager there and excellent at both her job and in her dealings with Yang. Seriously, she goes in to see/meet with Yang happy, cheerful and confident and walks out the same way. We (meaning everyone else) go in to see/meet with Yang happy, cheerful and confident and walk out looking and feeling stupid, dazed and confused. Arizona doesn’t mind answering questions I have AND gives me the resources and research needed so I can learn it on my own (you really do retain information better that way), she gives me tasks to help her out and she was super impressed when I had the UPS guy taping labels onto packages being shipped out. In addition to her job duties she organizes monthly staff bonding activities, is the travel coordinator and generally the go-to person.

George O’Malley: This guy is Arizona’s ride or die. He is brand new (he started the week before I got called in) and a manager also; apparently George and Arizona grew up together or something. I think they are boyfriend/girlfriend: they ride into the office together, they leave together, they hold all kinds of meetings together, they go to Starbucks together, they lunch together….they are joined at the hip the entire workday. But Arizona is married and George has promised to be my date to the (totally imaginary) Old Folks Prom where Lawrence Welk will be the DJ. My dealings with him are limited because unless he is going to lunch, meeting with Yang or popping into Arizona’s office he stays in his office with his door closed. He does give me a cheerful good morning every morning, wishes me a good evening every workday at 6pm and we make small talk when he passes my area but other than that, nothing. I think he is kinda cute but it’s been awhile for me so more than likely, George is just average looking, boring and his polite but distant demeanor is sending me the wrong signal of the man being mysteriously alluring.

Lexie: Raise your hand if you are still missing Lexie Grey. Well, put them down and rush on over here to the office because she has been channeled, reincarnated, resurrected…she has been something. This young lady is quiet, soft-spoken and sometimes has trouble expressing herself. She is a slight people pleaser and is so smart/intelligent, it is surprising especially when she just took 10 minutes to explain what she had for breakfast that came complete with a rundown and general location of the ethnic supermarkets in her neighborhood. She does not like tension or drama and works really hard to be likable and make others feel the same. She has not been with the organization long…9 months now and has no immediate supervisor as she likes to put it. Yang is everyone’s boss of course, but Non-profit Lexie works in a department that does not have a manager; she says she is happier this way.

Meredith: First thing you need to know, this Meredith is not a girl. Meredith is a guy but he has a Meredith vibe. Specifically, Meredith-dealing-with- her-mom vibe.  He has the longest tenure in the office (behind Christina Yang), has the most experience dealing with Yang, knows a lot about the organization and has given me lots of tips and pointers. He started out as a temp doing the job I have now, was made permanent and got promoted…all within 18 months! Yet, despite all these accomplishments and insider knowledge, Meredith still gets tongue tied around Yang and always, always has to stop right outside her office door to take a deep breath and do one last review of the work before knocking and entering. He leaves Yang’s office with a look of frustration and resignation on his face and basically spends his time in his office trying to avoid direct contact with Yang.

Karev: He’s one of the law clerks/interns and is a loner with swag, confidence and flippant/sarcastic remarks at the ready. I call him Junior Partner, which he loves….he puffs up like a peacock when he hears it. Not a lot to say about him: he speaks when he passes me and makes small talk about the various snacks people bring into the office. He does spend bro time with George O’Malley when Arizona is out of the office (meaning they make Starbucks runs together) but that’s about it. The rest of his time, he is in his office or heating up meals from home. I get the feeling that with the right person, he would open up and allow himself to be friendly and a friend. As it stands, he is the guy on the metro who barely lets you pass and says “whatever” to everything.

OR Nurse: You know the middle aged Asian nurse in every surgery on the show? The one voted to be The Last Remaining Original Character? That’s this girl. There is absolutely nothing to say about her. The other law clerk/intern, she is extremely quiet and the only time I see her is when she is going to the bathroom or to Starbucks, usually with Lexie. Her last day is this week and where she’s going, no one knows because she doesn’t say anything.

Callie Torres: I’m Callie. Remember when Callie first made her debut on Grey’s? She was the ortho nurse with a crush on George (they ended up marrying only to divorce after George cheated with Izzie) and she just did not fit in. That is how I feel: that I don’t fit in. But the entire office seems to lack cohesiveness; there is no sense of teamwork. It is as if everyone is an independent contractor brought together to put together a house. One is responsible for the foundation, one for the roof, one for the floor plan, etc. and no one consults with the others to make sure we are on the same page. I sit in the middle of the office where I feel as if I am on display….I can’t do anything without someone seeing it. There is no one here I want to have lunch with and some days, small talk is an effort. Thank goodness there are errands to be ran at least once every 10 days to get me out of the office. I am there just to do a job but I would love to make a friend. Lexie is my best bet (she at least asks about weekend plans) but she’s still a little distant. I guess I am being distant also but that is because I have to be conservative with this office and I don’t do conservative well.

So this post was longer than I thought but this is the new assignment (one month and counting). Should Yang offer the job to me permanently, I have no issues taking it. Stability and consistency are the most important things to me now…if lack of office friendships and a little bipolar action is part of the package, so be it. I have dealt with worse. Okay, going to let you guys go now and I will return soon with new posts. As always, thanks for stopping past and reading and as usual….enjoy your day!

 

 

(Emotional) Relocation

Last time I talked to you readers, I was going to brunch with Hangout Buddy and it was quite the eye-opener. I have come to the conclusion that when guys just fall of the face of the earth and ignore me it is not them leaving me. Rather, they are “shelving” me while in pursuit of greener pastures and (I guess to them) prettier women. You know what “shelving” is: being put on hold while they pursue other personal/sexual options to see if there really is better out there.  Guys are usually different creatures with these other pursuits than they were with you, so hard to tell who is getting the true them: you or the other woman/people. Hangout Buddy is only one in a line of men who have “shelved” me, only to return without having changed, thinking things are the same and usually they are always broke.

We were supposed to go to the Mansion on O Street…first, he never looked at the text and when he finally clicked the link (once we were in the car), he says it is too expensive. From the man who has always said money is not a problem. So we go elsewhere (which was very yummy) and HB proceeds to tell me the story of his disappearance. He is dating three girls including a sugar baby living in Boston working a $10/hour job. She wants to move here to the DMV to live with him; the single mom who is screwing other men and lying about it and the British chick who wants platonic friendship only but also wants HB to pay all her expenses to England for a month long visit…oh, and he can come along too if he wants.

So while he is telling me he is averaging spending almost $4000/month in dating expenses on these women, I am broke and eating a bargain basement brunch. He suggests movies after we eat and if we hurry, we can catch the matinee. Once at the theater, the man hands me $5…FIVE DOLLARS for popcorn and soda; I ask him the last time he has been to the theater. Popcorn and soda costs as much as the movie ticket nowadays, so he hands me $12 and says to give him back any change. For real? At this point unsure if he is broke or trying to relegate me back to friend status and not to expect our time together going forward to be like the date night. Frankly I don’t care about friend status but don’t be cheap with me. To that end, he graciously allowed me to keep the quarter change from the concession stand.

It is times like these I liken the dating/relationship game (yes, it is game…it’s win or lose; either way you learn) to driving. Some folks (and this is not gender specific) come barreling down the road driving a big old bus (or maybe a MACK truck) and scoop you up underneath the wheels and you have no idea how you ended up in the State of A Relationship. You saw them coming and tried to step out of the way, but you weren’t quick enough. So there you are, bruised and bloody in a strange place with a stranger, looking for a way out of the State of A Relationship.

More than likely though, you were headed somewhere and someone offered you a ride. You were asked where you were going (note: you were quite specific with where you were headed) and the driver said they knew the way. So you sit back and let them drive….after all, they said they knew the way and did not need your directions. And you sit back, enjoy the scenery and make stops in Getting to Know Youville; The Township of Dating and spend time in the City of Sexual Pleasure. You talk about going to the State of Exclusivity…even though your driver skirts on giving a definite answer, they insinuate that it would be a nice place to go. And before you know it, you are in the State of A Relationship. Not quite where you thought you would end up and apparently, your driver did not think so either. And here is where you make the mistake: you announce you are in A Relationship (you can’t label things)….and the driver panics. They suggest you get out and wait for them while they park the car…and then they takeoff with nary a glance in the rearview mirror. And there you are, hanging out in A Relationship all by yourself, waiting for your driver to return.

The only thing is, once the driver returns, they fully expect you to still be in the State of A Relationship (with them!) and still standing on that corner. 9 times out of 10 you aren’t; you got tired of waiting, of seeing them drive other folks around and making stops in Exclusivity and in some cases, they even went as far as travelling to the country of Marriage and Commitment with these other passengers. And while they were busy doing that, you found your way out to the suburbs of Happily Single or maybe even found someone you could settle down with in A Relationship. Either way, you have moved on also. But the driver doesn’t know that because they think you still feel the same way. And you don’t. You honestly don’t. You no longer need their rides because you have gotten along fabulously without whatever it was they offered you. You no longer see them the same way because the hurt and pain they put you through changed you and helped you to grow. It strengthened your self everythings and no way are you going to put yourself through again what they put you through.

And that is where I am now:  relocated, settled in my new location and fending off an influx of exes, prior arrangements and Hangout Buddy all thinking I am where they left me. Even Married Man joined in sending me a text and calling me a nickname I no longer recognize, let alone go by. People don’t understand why I don’t join them in the reminiscing of the good times and the answer is simple…for me, there are no longer any good times associated with them. The few good memories are tainted with the unfair and uncalled for treatment. They may have put me on a shelf, but I did not stay there.  The men are puzzled when I speak my mind to them and it is not what they wanted or expected to hear. I no longer have to people please because when I did, they steamrolled me and hurt me anyway. I don’t have anything to lose anymore. I already lost it. Life went on without them (shocking, I know) and with each subsequent relationship, with each man after them who taught me lessons, with each “shelving”…I grew and I learned and I became better and stronger. They don’t see that though…they see me being a bitch, acting better than, holding a grudge, trying to make them jump through hoops or flat out crazy for real. And I’m not. They taught me to live without them and that is what I am doing.

Trust me, if you have ever been “shelved” (signs include being left without an explanation or goodbye OR having been a side piece. Side note: I swear I started out in two relationships being the only one only to end up the side piece), they will return to retrieve you. It could be 2 weeks or 20 years…it all depends on how long it takes them to convince themselves that they did absolutely nothing wrong. Another factor they are hoping will come into play is that maybe you totally forgot all about being left alone in A Relationship; rare occurrence to be sure,  but if that has happened you have usually forgotten about them also. You know that saying floating all over Facebook about how people never forget how you made them feel? It’s true….and what these men who “shelved” me made me feel was that I had become a stranger. A smelly, homeless stranger not worthy of a smile or a nod of their head. Men who pursued me, who always made it about more than the sex, men I had been intimate with, shared parts and pieces of my life, mind and soul with (and they shared theirs with me) and men I shared laughs and good times with all treated me as If I never existed. And now that I treat them the same way, they have no idea and no understanding why I am the way I am now… the answer is simple. Once I shed the baggage they left me with and finished the painstaking task of clearing emotional wreckage and debris, I see I have everything to look forward to and have left nothing behind. They left me behind.

When I think about how I put up with the disrespect, the mistreatment, the flip flopping from the men of my past (regardless of which capacity they held) and how I hung on in desperation because I felt I needed what they offered….I cringe and get really angry at myself. When they feign ignorance at their behaviors, outright deny their actions and/or try to make me out to be the crazy, stupid one….I get downright pissed. But when they return expecting me to be the same person they left, I don’t get or feel anything because during our time together, I taught them and told them how to treat me; allowing their behavior toward me, begging them not to leave me, taking all responsibility for not being what they wanted/needed…I did that. Not them. Why should they think they need to change? And they don’t….they will be perfect for some other woman. Not me. Because I am no longer trying to fit in or be perfect or whatever it was I felt I needed to be.

This emotional relocation has me not only happy, but seeing ME for the first time. It has me loving me what I am and no longer hating what I am not. It has me wanting to choose a guy for the right reasons and no longer allowing him to choose me for the wrong ones. Whatever I do, I try to do it with respect and accommodation but usually for the other person….it never has been a two way street. Now, I am making me the priority and no longer interested in trying to open closed doors and getting pretty miffed when the past comes knocking on my doors. I think it’s part of the New Shoes movement and I am ready to walk forward, head held high and with a rapidly losing desire to look back.

Well, this post did not go the way I wanted it to….not sure what was supposed to be here but it appears an Open Letter to Exes and Past Lovers was in order. Now to get my day started: cleaning, laundry, revising my resume and clearing out the dvr is on the agenda. Check back soon for new posts, updates on the job front and NC. As always, thanks for stopping past and reading and as usual….enjoy your day!