Yeah, this is one of those kind of “taboo” subjects that nobody ever talks about, except behind the backs of other people when they’re busy gossiping about other people’s relationships. So, of course, that makes it perfect to talk about here.

If you’ve known me for any length of time, you’ve seen one thing that a majority of my past romantic partners have in common–and they’re largely such a diverse group that they have little in common—and that’s not being anywhere near the same age as I am.

Of course, this is always a difficult thing to judge. I am one of those girls who doesn’t have many people accurately guess her age, thanks to a petite stature and annoyingly high-pitched voice. So, although I might find hanging out with a 22-year-old to make me feel like a creepy future cougar, the rest of the world wouldn’t give it a second glance. Likewise, I tend to have a sophistication and level of maturity in how I carry myself, particularly in social situations, that can lead people to believe I’m actually older than I appear. It makes it harder for me to be the victim of “you need to date someone your own age” discrimination, for the most part, which I appreciate.

The Guy I Am Currently Dating is slightly older than me, something I largely forget, unless we’re talking how the fond memories of his childhood and pop-culture related stuff mostly happened before I was born. Outside of that, it doesn’t even occur to me that there’s an age difference, and it’s not an age difference I find significant (more than a decade, but way less than two. :P )

It’s not an anomaly for me. When I was 20, I wasn’t interested in 20-year-old frat boys, I was dating grad students and professors with mid-life crisis issues. When I was in my 20′s and spent time actively looking to date, meet people, hook up, live the single live, etc., I’d routinely end up with someone at least a decade older than I was. The last four meaningful relationships in my life have involved an age difference measured in over a decade.

I have, of course, dated people relatively my own age…and when I refer to people “my own age”, I’m giving a 4-year leeway. “My age” means we were in high school or college around the same time, we watched the same TV shows as kids, and remember secretly drinking with our friends while listening to the same kind of music. I do not know why, but those relationships, which you think would have greater commonality, have had the highest level of drama and insecurity and unwise choices. Probably because there was no mature “voice of reason” in the relationship to keep stupid shit from happening. Dating someone my age means that, yes, we’re going through the same life struggles at the same time, and we can relate to one another…and that’s a positive. It also means it’s a negative, because neither of us has any of the answers or solutions necessary to get through that part of life together, cooperatively and sanely. Someone a decade older than me can say, “Yeah, I remember when I was your age….”, and has a certain amount of perspective on the drama that seems complicated, confusing, and the end of the world. The fact that they survived whatever you’re going through means you probably will, too.

I’ve never dated anyone younger than myself. It’s like I have internal radar that keeps this from happening. There have been times I’ve considered it, but for the most part, even someone who is technically “my age” and three or four years younger than me seems rather young and inexperienced for me to look to in a romantic context. I realise this is a negative self-imposed limitation, and there have been a few times I’ve almost been tempted to overlook the fact that someone was a few years younger, because we mostly seemed at the same place in life. I think this is just what happens after a lifetime of thinking someone being a decade older than you isn’t unusual. Or, it’s simply because I don’t like feeling old.

For some people, however, the age thing is a huge deal. The mother of The Guy I Am Currently Dating has a list of reasons why she hates me and wishes I would disappear from the planet, or at least her life, but the most repeated complaint is that she finds the age difference “disgusting”. (judgmental much?). Other people are visibly surprised when they learn about our age difference; like us, they’ve gotten so used to seeing us together, it isn’t the first thing that anyone notices. Others look at it the way I do, and think it’s no big deal what the age gap is, as long as you’re emotionally in sync.

A good friend of mine had to laugh recently when a group of us were out at dinner, and I remarked in a joking fashion that he and I could never date, because he was too young for me. He was visibly confused, because our birthdays are less than a month apart. We probably graduated in the same year. *laughs* And while I was just being my usual sarcastic self, it reminded me of how rarely I’m ever attracted to anyone “my own age”, and if I am, how rarely that materialises into a relationship of any sorts. I don’t know why that is; I don’t discriminate against people my age, or younger. Many times, I don’t even know until I like someone how old that person really is. It’s just a thing that *happens*. I think it may be as simple as many older men typically come across as more dominant and self-assured, and not as interested in playing games, and that’s what I respond to, in meeting people of any age. It isn’t that people my age don’t have those qualities…it’s just that fewer people my age have those qualities (and, yes, I’m including myself in this evaluation. I can be downright insecure and prone to causing drama. In my case, however, I think it’s more personality than age influenced.)

Why tell this story, you ask? Well, it’s because I read this article, which has to make you think: what isyour acceptable age range for dating? And, how does that differ from what society believes your acceptable age range should be? (and let’s face it, all of us care enough about what society thinks to pay attention to the talk, but not enough to let it influence life choices. At least, I hope.)

A friend of mine tells me she can’t wait to see what happens when I’m 45, because I’ll either be seducing unsuspecting 22-year-olds, or hanging out with Hugh Hefner wanna-bes. I told her she’s disregarding the obvious: that perhaps I’ll be settled down, happily monogamous, living in the suburbs, and driving a mini-van.

Her reply? “Mini-vans don’t come equipped with cup holders for martinis. You’d hate that.”

Words to live by. *laughs*

Lately, I’ve been suffering through an overabundance of feelings and angst and uncertainty about many of the big things, the big choices in my life. This is not a new problem; I suffer from it regularly, as the type of person who feels too much, shares too much, and analyses too much. However, in reality, many things in my life have been in unexpected upheaval, and “Things I Didn’t See Coming” seem to be the theme for my year, an unusual predicament for a usually extremely intuitive person. So, I felt like it would be a good time to get a quick tarot reading done, see what the cards had to say about my life. I was kind of surprised, and yet not at all, by how in sync my reading was with what’s actually at play in my world right now.

Because it’s a quick and dirty free online reading, it only deals with the Major Arcana cards, but still—I felt it was very on-point. If you’re curious about your life and want a free reading, visit Alison Day and Lotus Tarot. I’ve been using this site for years, and always find my results to be kind of freakishly on point.

Card 1 (The Tower) : How you feel about yourself now:

You feel that the disruption and sweeping change you are going through, or fear you are about to go through, will be catastrophic. You need to recognise that such upheaval can force new directions that you never dreamed possible. Subconsciously you may have wanted change, but as is often the case, the solution isn’t always as we expect. There could be problems relating to your property, or if considering a new property or move, progress will be thwarted.

Card 2 (Temperance) : What you most want at this moment

The cards suggest that what you most want at this time is some peace and harmony, a sense of control and to feel that life is flowing again. Perhaps you have been, or still are, going through some tough times regarding a relationship, financial worries or some other kind of loss. Take heart that peace will be restored – this is a time for you to be calm and patient and life will soon have a sense of normality again.

Card 3 (The Fool) : Your fears

You are afraid of making the wrong decisions. There is a warning here that fool-hardy, impetuous actions could lead to major problems. Perhaps you feel that you don’t have control over a situation, either personal or professional. You may feel unable to complete a task or stay in a current relationship and fear the consequences of your decisions. Perhaps you know deep down that what you want isn’t really such a good thing.

Card 4 (The Chariot) : What is going for you

Drive, drive, drive, that’s what’s going for you. You certainly aren’t a quitter, that’s for sure. The appearance of The Chariot tells of conflicts ending in victory, so don’t give up, battle on and you will succeed. This is a time of movement and change. Expect a journey relating to work, and if you’ve had your eye on that car, it will soon be yours.

Card 5 (The World) : What is going against you

As always, fear holds us back and so often leads to missed opportunities. Do not give up or change direction this late in the game just because you have experienced delays – stick with it, have faith and trust the universe, and you will reach the successful conclusion you are wanting.

Card 6 (The Magician) : Outcome

A time of positive action with great potential, you are full of self-belief and feeling very empowered. It’s time to show everyone exactly what you’re made of. You will have the ability to think on your feet and The Magician is an excellent omen for success.

I had an unfortunate experience last night at trivia. One moment, I was feeling fine (with the exception of the grumpiness and cramps women suffer through every month; the kind that made me want to wear a giant t-shirt and leggings and minimal makeup out in public, because I didn’t care if I looked cute in any way.), and ordered a salad, Coke, and shared some garlic bread with the Guy I Am Currently Dating. I ate about half my salad and two pieces of bread, and started to feel really awful…like someone was stabbing me in the abdomen with a sharp knife. Since I already had my appendix out, I assumed I was just having some very painful cramps at an inconvenient time (common for me; my body wants to be a little more physically delicate than it should, and doesn’t tolerate pain or illness that well. I spend two days out of every month curled up in a little ball that says “Do not approach.”.) However, the more I tried to ignore it and go on with dinner and trivia, the worse I got. By the end, I had relocated permanently to the restroom and was having a hard time standing up.

The verdict? It seems Mellow Mushroom gave me food poisoning, which is just what you want to deal with when you already feel like crap. Last night was fairly rough, and I woke up feeling a little like someone drove a truck over the middle of my body. However, I seemed to feel better until I attempted to eat breakfast. Now I’m curled up in a little ball again, writing on my blog and feeling unloved by everything and everyone, instead of doing my work.

I’ve had food poisoning 4 different times in the past decade of my life or so. Somehow, I don’t remember ever having it before then…maybe it’s an Atlanta thing. 3 of those times came from eating salads with chicken at restaurants. Three different restaurants, three different types of salad, three different salad dressings and other veggies. This leads me to believe it’s not an allergy problem…unless my body hates green stuff. (The fourth time was undoubtedly the worst food poisoning experience, and it was after eating pasta (again with chicken) at the Olive Garden.)

Do restaurants simply not know how to cook chicken properly? Or, is it that, being largely the only meat in my diet, my body chooses to reject it and is urging me to eat vegetarian meals more often? (I was a vegetarian for a number of years, and if I eat a food that I still no longer eat—I once accidentally ate pork—it will also make me very ill.) Or, is it just that items like lettuce and spinach are suspect? This food poisoning salad thing only happens during warmer weather.

Either way, it seems to pay to eat crappy food. The scale doesn’t go down, but you’re not wondering why someone keeps stabbing your stomach with a knife.

So, instead of taking a lunch break, I’ll just write a blog about stuff.

I am a person for whom many of my very best qualities are also my worst qualities, depending on the situation, and of course, who you happen to ask. One of these centres around the idea of communication; in case this blog isn’t a giveaway, I like to communicate with people. A *lot*. Most of my good friends hear from me on a daily basis, or if this isn’t possible because of conflicting schedules, get a lot of little notes and texts reminding me I’m thinking of them. I interact with most everyone close to me who uses Facebook on a daily basis, sometimes keeping a steady stream of chatter throughout the day. At one point, I was using 5,000+ minutes a month on my cell phone. Now, I’ve cut that back significantly due to time constraints, but send thousands of texts and FB messages a month. Yes, I am a big fan of communication.

Over the weekend, I had a fight with a friend, who *isn’t* such a big fan of communication. Not only is he a much busier person than I am who has little free time for frivolity like chatting, he’s also just not the kind of person who feels the need to be in constant communication all the time, especially with those who aren’t necessarily his closest friends in the world. After a few days of silence, I will naturally start feeling rejected. (“Why don’t you like me anymore? It takes 10 seconds to send a text/FB message and you don’t care about me enough to talk to me!”.) Meanwhile, my friend is more like, “YAY, peace and quiet and not being bothered by other people.” It’s definitely a huge incompatibility and personality difference, and I’m surprised it took as long to cause conflict as it did. The conflict has since been resolved, but part of me still wonders how to be friends with someone who isn’t all that into communication. Especially for me, a girl for whom communication is the lifeblood of everything I do. I mean, I *communicate* for a living. If I’m not talking to someone, I’m writing stuff for someone, or venting on my blog, or random posting on FB. Social media and unlimited phone plans were pretty much designed for me.

This led me to think about my past history with communication, and how it has occasionally led me into trouble. Aside from my drunk texting/calling/FB messaging habit (my friends used to confiscate my phone before we went out clubbing), even sober Alayna doesn’t have the world’s best judgment when it comes to communication. I have a habit of saying whatever’s on my mind, and because I’m a better writer than a speaker when it comes to uncomfortable topics, email has been one of the best things to ever happen to me.

A prime example of this involves a college boyfriend, who was really just a friend I hung out with a lot. I was attracted to him, he flirted with me, but (not shockingly) was a bit older than I was, and so I didn’t know if he was really interested. What I *did* know was that he was single, and I was going to make it a campaign in my life to turn our friendship into something more than it was. As long as he was single and I was still interested, there didn’t seem to be a time limit on this, so I never really made any moves. At that time in my life, I still had the opinion toward relationships that said “I’m a girl. I’m supposed to wait for you to make a move or express your feelings.” The more I waited around and this didn’t happen, the more I became disheartened.

One week, I heard he was going out on a date on Friday with a perky blonde dance major, and needless to say, this upset me. Rather than be an adult and sit down with him and say, “Why do you keep flirting with me and going places with me and sending me flowers if you’re not interested, and then ask someone else out?”, thereby risking the destructive face-to-face rejection, I made a beeline to the computer lab at 12 AM. (yes, this was back in my early days of college, when not everyone had internet access in their dorm room or off-campus apartment.) I sent a long, and what I assumed to be well-written, letter full of sadness and rejection and vulnerability and “Why don’t you see how I feel about you?” (for many of my teenage years, I was a walking Alanis Morissette song.)

Of course, after I hit send, I wanted the e-mail back. I spent the next two days avoiding the computer lab, avoiding any place I’d see this guy, and not answering my telephone. It was probably the most confusing and immature behaviour ever, but that’s what you get at 17: “I’m secretly in love with you, and now I’m going to be an adult and tell you—wait, no, I’m now going to hide from you forever.”

Things worked out, although not to any credit of mine. I was too busy hiding to read his very touching, romantic response, to find out he’d canceled his date with the dancer, and wanted to go to dinner with me instead. Instead, I made him take a trip to my dorm room, where, upon seeing him, I didn’t smile or offer a hug, but threw a blanket over my head. *lol* Nothing is more endearing than a girl who sees you and becomes a parakeet ready for sleep. :P

That relationship didn’t last more than a few months, and he ended up sleeping with the dance major anyway. But, I digress. The point is, it was the point where I learned something important about myself, interpersonal relationships, and communication.

The main realisation was, for all my going on about how I wanted to find a sensitive and romantic guy who was going to woo me in old-school princess fashion, I didn’t. I liked being the pursuer in relationships. As I got older and became more experienced in life, it went from being the kind of girl who likes pursuing the object of her affection, to outright seducing people. There’s a very masculine quality to my personality that enjoys the chase, the flirting, the conquest. It’s probably why I’m eternally attracted to and involved with unavailable men. Even the ones who are single end up being unavailable in some way that means I don’t always get what I want, and life is a constant source of drama, and there must be something about me that is drawn to that.

This story is not the only instance of me sending communications to people that were extremely direct, and in some cases, romantically aggressive. (for the single ladies out there, you’d be amazed how much more effective and appreciated this tactic is than subtle flirting and hoping you’re sending out the right signals. But “Sex And The City” discussed this long before I ever did.) I may have never gotten together with The Guy I Am Currently Dating, had I not had enough of him showing up to my events and making me feel ignored, and sent him a pretty direct FB message along the lines of “Why don’t you like me? Everyone likes me. Why do you bother coming out to my events if you don’t like me?” *laughs*

That being said, some of the most fulfilling relationships I’ve been in have been with those who are extremely dominant personalities, who see something specific in my personality that likes to take control of situations, and beat me at my own game, so to speak. I don’t consider myself a particularly aggressive or even assertive person—I just say what’s on my mind.

But, it’s made me realise that, particularly in the world of romantic relationships, that makes me a rather aggressive and forward person. Were I not that way, I’d probably be the kind of girl with Gentlemen Callers who was wooed with flowers and compliments and romantic gestures. Part of me wishes I’d had more of that demure Southern Belle experience, waiting around for the day the guy I like will pay attention to me. I haven’t had too many of those, because that largely isn’t me…but also because the guy who goes out of his way to do that isn’t the one I’m going to find attractive. It’s the one who ignores me, the one who is unavailable because he has a demanding job, a wife and kids, or a mom that wants me dead, the best friend who likes to flirt and keep me guessing about his feelings, or the one who has a need to prove he’s more dominant than I am that somehow gets my attention. (somehow, despite all this, I’ve actually had some very good relationships…just the psychology of it is all screwed up.)

The moral of this long-winded trip down memory lane? Even from a platonic, “I want to become better friends with you” perspective, don’t tell me you don’t like to communicate with me too often or that I’m like a number of other people in your life. I take it as a direct challenge, and you are going to get an e-mail. *laughs*

I have a friend who learned that this weekend, and it made me realise that even though I’ve matured a great deal since I was a teenager, I’m still essentially that same girl who can’t stand to be overlooked or dismissed or not appreciated, and I still have an inherent need to express that….and then not pick up the phone.

It is really a wonder that I have friends, much less any semblance of a stable romantic relationship. *laughs* What’s even more confusing is how I survived almost a decade of polyamoury with *any* of the people I was seeing being willing to deal with me. If there is ever a book to be entitled “Aggressive Communication, Instantly Running Away”, I will certainly write it. :P

Lunch break over…time to go back to writing about more important things, such as plastic surgery and electricians. ;P

This weekend, some friends and I went to a small, independent gallery to see an art installation and hear some area writers/poets/all-around creative people read works of fiction that in some way related to time-travel. (though not always in the traditional sci-fi sense, which I rather appreciated.) During the course of the night, one of the author’s made a point about discussing her favourite word, a word I don’t recall, but was quite interesting and obscure.

Every writer has their own favourite words, and since I started writing poetry before I really knew what poetry was, most of mine are poetically descriptive words; “diaphanous”, “illuminata”, “aphrodisia”, “vertiginous” (the last has been struck from my favourites list, considering the events of the recent year.). As a reviewer once put it, “Alayna is fond of the dark and beautiful imagery one might only expect to find on an LSD trip, before the pink elephants kick in.”

My favourite word, however, is a relatively simple and straightforward one: serendipitous. The actual definition is something that is fortuitous, or come upon by accident, but I tend to use it in that “magical sign from the universe” way. I generally believe there’s more to our Universe than sheer randommness, and it seems that things and people are often put in your life for a specific reason, at the right time. It may not *feel* like the right time to you, and the reasons may vary, but I generally think these serendipitous occurrences are part of life’s learning curve. This is also why I’m a huge believer in karma, and not ignoring what pops up in my life. Every time I decide to do so, or decide that the way I want my life to work is how it’s going to work and that’s that, I find that life seems to fight back. It’s rather like trying to move a brick wall. On top of it, life doesn’t always fight fair. It’s easier to pay attention.

A few weeks ago, I was explaining this aspect of “Alayna’s View On Life and The World” to a friend of mine, who asked me what the most serendipitous occurrence in my life was. As so often happens, I started telling this story, and got sidetracked on a tangent, and never finished it. However, it’s a good story, and definitely a reflection of what I consider serendipity, so I’ll share it with all of you.

When I was a teenager, I went to a place I jokingly dubbed “Genius Camp”. You didn’t have to be a genius to attend, but you did have to score the kind of SAT scores that would get you into any state school when you were 12. The real name of the program was Johns Hopkins Center For Talented Youth (CTY), and it was a three-week residential program where you’d take a college course for credit (these actually helped me get through a 5-year courseload in 4 years, when it came time to attend college for real), and also have the opportunity to interact with child prodigies and amazingly gifted people all across the country. If you had a problem with arrogance or self-importance, this was also the place to fix that. :P *laughs* I attended the program for 5 years, and it was one of the best memories of my teenage years, consistently. I loved being in a place where nobody treated you like a child, found your talents unique, or expected more of you than you were able to give.

There were some girls who attended the program who were like me: not exactly genius material, but well-rounded, popular, gifted at a number of different things, but had also discovered the fun parts about being a teenager, like boys, makeup, clothes, and drinking. We were the girls who, back home, were smarter than most of the people we knew, but nobody knew about it, because we were cheerleaders, drama geeks, pageant contestants, and student council presidents. We kind of quickly found one another, and made friends. Sometimes, as girls do, we made “frenemies”.

One of my best friends was a very pretty blonde cheerleader type (who has since gone on to become a lawyer active in politics.), and we were fairly inseparable for most of those summers. It didn’t really occur to me to mind that being friends with her meant I’d always be standing in the shadow of someone who was prettier, more charismatic, more self-assured..or if it did, it wasn’t anything I outwardly acknowledged. That is, until I was 14, and I met Avery.

Avery is one of the few people I know who would be angry at this journal entry if I *didn’t* use his real name. *laughs* He always rather liked being the centre of attention, and at 16, was already the brooding emo journalist type with a snarky sense of humour and completely crazy hair. I was secretly in love with him, but at 14, that’s a much bigger deal than it really is (back then, I wasn’t as aggressive in relationships as I tend to be now. I thought if he found out I liked him, I’d have to crawl under a rock and die.).

The problem, of course, was that my best friend was also very fond of him…and she was both confident and socially assertive about it. Looking back, I see that the two year age difference made a big difference, and he wasn’t romantically aware of either of us. He was simply flattered that two pretty, smart young girls wanted his attention.

Nevertheless, we were all friends, until the last summer, when Avery turned 16. 16 is the cutoff for the program; you’re meant to be preparing for or in college by 17, so it made sense we’d never see him again. There was always a huge shindig with lots of hugs and tears for the people who wouldn’t be back the next year. Unfortunately, Avery had to leave a day early for a commitment back home, and would miss the tearful goodbyes.

We almost missed saying goodbye to him, but I remember my friend and I running out of class, through rain and mud, to catch up with him before his ride arrived. It was a very emotional goodbye. We both thought the world revolved around this beautiful person we’d never see again, and Avery was attached to us in the way a big brother would look out for his younger siblings, especially ones he knew would be a handful. He was extraordinarily protective, a characteristic that’s still a huge part of his personality.

I remember my friend and I not going back to class for 45 minutes, because we were sobbing and being dramatic. This is what kept us from actually being “geniuses”, this lack of focus on anything productive. We’d probably be nuclear physicists if we hadn’t had social skills. *lol*

A sweet childhood unrequited love story, right?

The serendipitous part wouldn’t come until years later, when I was in New York, and sitting at a cafe in the East Village, close to where I lived at the time. I was reading a book and drinking hot chocolate, it was fall, and this tall, skinny, artsy-looking guy kept looking at me. Me being me, I thought he was just flirting, and he was also the prime example of “my type” at that point in my life, so I wasn’t shy about flirting back.

He handed me a piece of paper, what I expected to be his phone number. Instead, it had one word on it. “Passionfruit?”

Passionfruit was the name of a secret, invitation-only club that met Saturday mornings back at the good old days of Genius Camp. Nobody would know something that random unless they’d been there, which is when I realised why I was so attracted to the stranger flirting with me.

As it turned out, Avery was a grad student studying journalism at Columbia. Needless to say, we kept in touch, and it didn’t take long to realise I was still pretty besotted with him, and because I was no longer self-conscious and 14, his protectiveness toward me very quickly became a romantic attachment.

I won’t tell the rest of the story, because it’s not part of the serendipity of it all, and it doesn’t have the happy ending I’d have chosen for the story. I will say he’s the second man in my life to have given me an engagement ring, and helped me channel a lot of my excess emotion and anger and fear into healthier, more creative channels. I never loved myself the way he loved me, and he tried very hard to get me to that point. When he finally brings down the government of some struggling country with his gritty, realistic expose, there won’t be a prouder person on the planet than me…and maybe Avery’s mom. :)

I’d be lying if I didn’t sometimes wonder if serendipity might randomly bring us back together again. But I don’t think so. I think that part of the story is done…but it’s the kind of memory that’s still going to bring tears to my eyes when I’m 90, and don’t remember anyone’s name.

But that is why my favourite word is “serendipitous”, and why I believe everything does somehow happen for a reason..even if you have no clue what that might be.

You’d think those three things don’t go together, outside of an unreasonable enjoyment of calorie-filled food that keeps me from fitting into my favourite dress from 2007 (discovering this was a huge blow to the ego, also a theme for this week in my world.), but if you put them together, you have my week.

I haven’t blogged much, and it’s largely because we all have those weeks where, after a few weeks of significant drama, the storm has died down, and everything seems quiet. And, once everything seems quiet, you can’t tell whether relief or boredom is going to set it. That’s pretty much my week in a nutshell.

I’ve gotten used to the fact that my roommate is gone. Like so many other men in my life, our years of friendship and helping each other out counted for little, and he skipped out without paying me or The Guy I Am Currently Dating any of the money he owes us. He gave two months notice, but in reality, it was three days to get the lease signed over, and then he was gone..leaving piles of crap in his half-moved-out-of-room, not cleaning a bathroom that I’m disgusted by looking at, and leaving boxes too heavy for me to deal with sitting in my living room. He’s left no forwarding address, and no longer answers my texts. My intuition tells me that friendship ultimately is a disposable, useful thing for some people, and we’ll never see him again. Yet, I’m struggling financially because I had no notice that I was going to have to spend hundreds of dollars setting up utilities, and paying our rent without any help from him, even though he moved out mid-month. It still makes me really angry when I think about it, but mostly it makes me sad. The kind of betrayal and abandonment I received from him reminds me of betrayals and abandonment that has followed me my whole life. Little is real, meaningful, and nothing is forever. Throughout life, you’ll find most people don’t deserve your friendship, much less your trust. I know this, but every time I let my guard down and someone stabs me in the back, it tears me apart all over again.

As a result, I’ve been feeling particularly vulnerable and not liking people very much. My interactions with other human beings have largely been confined to people I know and love and have earned my trust over the years. On the other hand, my interactions with newer friends in my life have been full of sensitivities and misunderstandings and “Maybe we’re never going to be that close because you can’t give me what I want/don’t know how to be emotionally supportive enough to deal with me/ send out messages that confuse me.” There have been small things that have felt like rejections and criticisms and a general feeling of “Why am I not good enough for you to like me?” in dealing with old friends, new friends, The Guy I Am Currently Dating, and others. There have also been some reactions on my part relating to situations that feel like betrayal from someone I care about greatly…although there is no wrong, no betrayal, no negativity to speak of. It is simply me not adjusting well to change, being reminded that caring means being abandoned, being reminded that I am the sort of person who seeks the attention and affection of those least able to offer it, needing validation and emotional support, and instead of receiving it, hearing “constructive criticism”.

It has made me feel very estranged from the ideas of meaningful friendships, relationships, and allowing new people in my life, in general. It has made me realise that, on an emotional level, I don’t have anyone in my life who truly understands and is able to be emotionally supportive and connect with me on a level that I value greatly. I believe it’s because there’s virtually nobody in my life I love and trust who feels on the same level as I do and is affected by things as I am—the people in my life are largely a far more logical, and often times, emotionally removed, group of people. Rationally, I know it’s a personality difference. Emotionally, it feels like indifference or “It’s not my job to help you deal with your feelings.”

I’ve learned that, when it comes to close and meaningful relationships with others, it isn’t always what people say that truly reflects how they feel about you. It’s what they don’t say that carries the most weight, the absence of support and affection and, as a friend of mine might put it, “validation”. Some people do need that in their lives, because there are so many outside forces and people who “just don’t get you” trying to tear you down. Some of this is anger: people become angry because you will not live life by their rules, and have no interest in conforming to their image of who they’d like you to be, and once that sense of powerlessness kicks in, they have no choice but to lash out or passive-aggressively say mean, hurtful things about you. Some of this is also insecurity: if you’re seen as being too self-confident, too different, too happy being different, there’s an element of that which some mistake as not being approachable. For some reason, particularly in male-female dynamics, the reaction to this is to tear someone down just enough to reveal a level of insecurity and vulnerability, and then attempt to befriend that person.

I see this, I understand this, but when it seems the world is bent on not accepting you as you are and telling you how fucking awesome you happen to be….you want and need people in your life who are going to remind you. Unfortunately, this weekend, my people didn’t offer that, but instead offered a day of being together for 10 minutes and pointing out 7 ways in which my actions, words, or behaviours failed to meet with approval, of telling me I was wrong for wanting that support and validation, and indirectly pointing out “Well,maybe you’re not as great as you think you are.”

A girl can only be on her only real cheerleader for so long, before the input and perceptions of others start to have a dramatic influence. This weekend has changed the way I view some of the people in my life and closed a door that might have led to greater connection and feeling and possibility in life. It has replaced a sense of connection and being on the same page with a realisation that I’d spent time not seeing things clearly, and as every good idealist will tell you, that’s a tough but necessary thing to give up.

In the absence of bonding with people, I’ve spent more time lost in my own little creative world, a world that seems to experience and express emotion freely, and on the same deep experiential level that characterises my life. My whole life, it’s kind of been a world into which I retreat when I am feeling misunderstood. It’s a reminder to my idealistic side that what I seek from life and people does exist, even if it’s complicated, even if I haven’t met the right people to allow that to exist in my world *now*. It’s a reminder that although most people will hurt or disappoint you, life is still one giant possibility.

As a result, I managed to read the entire “The Hunger Games” trilogy in less than three days. I honestly didn’t expect to like it, but from the first book–a fast-moving story which sucked me in with its “reality show gone awry” premise and kept me interested with themes of rebellion and refusing to conform and the battle between love and survival and how some people are naturally wired to choose one over the other, whereas for others, they co-exist–it kept me wanting to read more. One of the most impressive things about the way the books were written, aside from a few particularly well-developed characters and a strong female protagonist, is that I didn’t always know where things were heading. Whenever I thought I’d figure out how the story was going to end, it twisted in another direction, and that always pleases me greatly. I dislike the predictable.

My inner ear issues still haven’t healed to the point where I can handle the movies yet, but I wish they had, as I’d love to see the first movie. I’ve heard they toned things down a bit, in terms of the violence (and none of the violence in the books is of a gratuitous nature; it is often shocking and brutal, but it makes a point. It hits on an emotional level. I’m not a great fan of violence in films, but when it’s necessary to paint the desperation and lack of humanity in a situation–say, in an epic war movie–it serves a purpose.) and they focused a little more on the romantic triangle aspect of the story. Of course, this is necessary to draw in the “Twilight”-loving teenagers, but I don’t think “The Hunger Games” is a young adult story. I think it is far deeper than what your average 14-year-old is going to take away from it.

In a political climate where our government is seeking to limit our rights more and more, and in particular, want to exert inappropriate influence over women and the choices they’re allowed to make about their bodies and reproductive rights, this is the perfect time for this movie to be released. I certainly don’t find that timing accidental.

Last night, after trivia, we also watched “Breakfast At Tiffany’s”. I’d actually never seen the film before, although almost everyone I know told me how much I’d love it. Many of my friends pointed out I’d like it because it’s an atypical romantic comedy–one that says life doesn’t always work out as expected, but still works out, and still has a certain amount of happiness to offer.” Others pointed out the extent to which I’d relate to Audrey Hepburn’s character—and, yes, I see a certain amount of resemblance—and would therefore love the movie. Still others, knowing my love of quirky fashion, pointed out I’d see Audrey Hepburn in this film as a style icon (I now understand why the owner of Dagwood’s said I reminded him of her, due to the fact I’d worn a black dress, my hair in a chignon, and black sunglasses. I just thought he was old and attempting to be complimentary, but, no…apparently he remembered this movie.) *laughs*

The answer is, yes, I did love “Breakfast At Tiffany’s” for all these reasons, and more. I know Truman Capote’s novella was a little less cohesive and a little more scandalous—even in the 1960′s, they had to make reference to important taboo plot points in a very subtle way, and other things had to be removed from the book entirely in order to get it past the censors. The movie’s Holly Go-Lightly is able to pass off her superficiality and life of sin and decadence and disorder as the mark of someone flighty and too innocent for the world in which she’s existing…yet leaves you wondering how much is an act, and how much is part of her true personality, one that has learned the art of scheming, manipulation, and pushing herself ahead in the world. Capote’s character is neither stupid nor naive, and the depiction of her character less endearing. I suspect I may like the book a little more, so I’ll put it on my to-read list. :)

The next time the mother of The Guy I Am Currently Dating calls me up to remind me I’m a trashy, gold-digging whore, someone should recommend she watch this movie. It illustrates that trashy, gold-digging whores can be some of the most charming characters in film history. ;P

As for the hipster bar food—well, that’s just an amusing anecdote. On Friday night, we went to an independent art gallery where some acquaintances of ours were putting on an event to take a look at an art installation and hear 10 local writers read pieces that may or may not relate to time travel. Some were very well-written, some were entertaining, some just lost me completely, but it was energising to spend time with that much creativity and free-spiritedness locked in one room.

Afterwards, a friend of mine suggested a bar called the Bookstore, which appeared to be the kind of hipster hangout where all the girls behind the bar were dressed more like Velma from Scooby-Doo than your typical Atlanta part-time-model-working-behind-the-bar employee, which is what you get virtually everywhere in this city. (People are NOT shy about showing off their $2,000 implants and $700 hair extensions.)

We sat at a giant table on the patio, which, even though there were five of us, 10 people could have easily fit. It was like having Thanksgiving dinner, where you have to yell to the other side of the table.

In addition, everything I ordered, they didn’t have. A friend of mine ordered some sort of disco fries, which I love—but they came with bacon. I asked the waiter if he could hold the bacon, and he mentioned it was in the gravy. I then asked if he could just make me cheese fries, to which he said “No.”. Apparently, the restaurant doesn’t have shredded cheese. They use cheese curd. Finally, I gave up an ordered cheesecake, which was a weird creamy texture custard type thing on top of the world’s hardest sugar cookie.

Ugh. Frustrated, I just wanted a martini. I asked if they could do a chocolate martini. Of course, the answer was “No.”. Despite the fact that the city’s biggest liquor store was right across the street, they didn’t have the stuff to make that. He offered to make a chocolate cake martini, which arrived in the form of clear “cake” flavoured vodka with a sugar rim and slice of lemon. Nothing about it tasted like either chocolate or cake. I don’t know what he was smoking, but they should rename it to “Slightly Less Bitter Lemon Drop”.

I then asked for my standby, an apple martini. In what I see as a theme for my evening, the response was “No”. They didn’t have stuff to make that either. I asked what kind of martini they could make that wasn’t just vodka in a glass with some olives, and he said, “Anything. Except the things you wanted.”

I settled on a raspberry martini, which was, again, a glass of raspberry-flavoured vodka with a sugar rim, and a lime.

Dear Hipster Bar Owners: A martini is not vodka poured in a martini glass with sugar around the rim.

That is all. I don’t think I care for hipster bar food. *laughs*

Today, my page has been hijacked by the world of Bizzaro Alayna. You may feel there’s just too much rationality and adult-outlooks-on-life for you to handle, but don’t worry, I’ll probably have some odd story to share tomorrow.

Jaded Elegance has never had a guest blogger before; in fact, it’s such a self-involved, Alayna-centric project that when I brought the current incarnation back to life I chose to disable comments (any real, valuable feedback would be sent via e-mail, anyhow.). However, through a project on Swap-Bot that allows bloggers to increase their exposure through making guest posts on the pages of other bloggers, while simultaneously entertaining more people, I was introduced to the lovely and talented Emme. Emme has put together a very well-written piece about self-discipline, thinking past one-day-at-a-time mentality, not being an impulsive hedonist, and generally living in a way that embodies most everything that *I* am not. In fact, I’m pretty sure that if ever I get a bright idea that’s bound to go terribly and tragically wrong (painting your room Barney-purple after a guy has broken up with you at 3 AM only to realise that the paint is designed to block out light and you have to buy 10 more lamps for your room, moving to a city you’ve never visited before because a guy you’ve known for two weeks asked you to move in with him, going camping in the woods with hippies wearing cute sandals with heels, falling for the most unavailable guy that’s likely to either reject me or complicate my life at any given point, forgiving the roommate that lost two months’ rent money gambling and suggesting others should trust him and forgive him in the future.), that Emme is probably the person I should write to and say, “Hey, wouldn’t this be an awesome idea?”

I’m willing to bet that 9 times out of 10, the answer is no. She’s probably scowling at me as I eat the Hershey’s bar that was placed in my room for “emergency purposes.” (Side note: PMS is a genuine emergency.)

Anyhow, here’s her wonderful piece on the advantages of self-improvement, called “Eating Your Frog First”. (OMG! Who would eat a frog?! *guards her stuffed frog possessively*)

*********************************************************************************************************************

 


(Frog. Do NOT eat.)


Simply put, eating your frog first is taking care of what you least want to do first. I have been working on this for awhile now… all in my head. It is easy for me to tell myself something and agree to it; however, it is entirely different to accept it as truth. The easiest person for me to lie or break promises to… is myself. Perhaps the only remorse I feel is that I do not feel remorse from doing this. At least I have never let myself feel remorse. After all… who am I harming? Future Me. Future me is still an unknown person. I have yet to meet her and letting her have my consequences is so much more entertaining than accepting them myself.

What does this have to do with you?

Sometimes when one starts to make plans they tend to overlook the most obvious person affected. Consequences are put off until later, because it is always easiest to handle them later. If you do not want to handle it now… what makes you think future you is going to appreciate it? It all comes down to decisions. How we make our decisions affects everything that happens to us and to those around us in the future.

Current me cannot stand a lot of the decisions that past me made; although, I do realize that those decisions have brought me to where I am today and I would not change that for the world. That said, when big decisions come around I try to at least remember to think about future me while trying to decide how to handle them.

Past me ten years ago wanted to be an event coordinator or a curator of 16th Century artifacts. I had trained in both of those things and I did enjoy working as a curator the best; however, past me four years ago found out she could not make a living wage in this area doing that so she went back to school for accounting. Two years ago past me finished paying off the student loans for her past me and found there was no job for her in the accounting world and accounting is really boring. Current me is a personal assistant who often has the opportunity to use her varied education and life experiences (thankfully). Currently I would love to go to cooking school and learn how to long-arm quilt. Thankfully, with both of these decisions I have put future me first. Future me does not want to pay off the loans from either school or a non-necessary giant sewing machine purchase.

Current me hates exercising and cleaning about as much as future me hates having extra weight and more of a mess to clean. It’s the day to do decisions that are what I struggle with. So each morning I remind myself to eat my frog first and sometimes I actually pull on my big girl pants and do it… sometimes… yeah… I’m only human.



Emme is an eclectic individual who finds it really awkward to describe herself and talk about herself in third person. She uses the world as her accountability partner as she works through her goals. When she is not working, traveling or crafting, she loves to try new things and review them.

Today was actually quite a good day, for a Tuesday. Since I was a little light on work, it worked out perfectly that I had some time to catch up over a nice lunch with an old friend of mine, one I don’t always get to see as much as I should but often enough that it’s always a good time.

I’m a city girl at heart, but I have a soft spot for certain charms that only the central areas of small towns seems to offer, particularly in the Southeast. Sitting in the shade on a summer day (and although it’s March, at 84 degrees, it felt like summer here in Atlanta) with a good meal, good company, or a glass of wine is a particular love of mine that I don’t easily find in the bustling metropolis-like places of the Northeast I typically so love. Listening to a mellow singer with a guitar, strolling around little independently owned shops, and enjoying the world going by is enough to make you forget just how stressful life can be, if just for a short while. In some ways, it reminds me of cities I’ve loved, like New Orleans and Fort Lauderdale, where there’s something simple and romantic in the air that appeals to someone with my imaginative, artistic temperament.

If I should leave the South, there are a few things I’ll miss…and the type of restaurant I had lunch at today (where I’ve also had dinner with The Guy I Am Currently Dating on a few occasions) reminds me of exactly what and why.

I also made myself useful around the house, digging out my much neglected Crock Pot and using some of the ingredients that may otherwise have gone to waste to create a somewhat healthy, low-glycemic version of chicken pot pie; the Southern style, served without the crust, but instead over biscuits (which I may omit entirely, as I tasted the concoction when I was finished, and it was rather rich and filling.)

I must admit, I don’t enjoy cooking or doing most domestic chores—I’ve generally made it a goal in my life to eventually make enough money that someone else can handle such things for me—but spending time doing so once in awhile is a good way to make a place you live feel a little more like home. That’s something I need right now, in the midst of a lot of insecurity.

I also have to admit that I’m rather proud of myself that my chicken pot pie came out successfully! Despite dating a few chefs, I’m not the most inclined when it comes to all things culinary, and I’m a picky eater on top of it all. While I was going through the prep work needed to make the dish (something many find relaxing, and I find tedious in every way possible), I had my computer in the living room, streaming a Muse playlist from Spotify. A friend of mine pointed out I had a kitchen Muse (*lol*), so I will credit the inspirational band for helping me not screw up my recipe for the week.

After taking care of some chores around the house, throwing everything in the Crock Pot, keeping up with e-mails, writing in my journal (today was a poem-inspired kind of day), and putting a piece of mixed media art given to me by a friend in a proper frame for hanging (yeah, I still don’t know how to do that), I felt quite accomplished on a day when most people I know were suffering due to the extreme pollen count.

In terms of pollen, “extremely high” is defined as between 500-1000. Today, Atlanta hovered around the 9,000 mark. We don’t need so many freaking trees and flowers. We are, after all, a city. :P

So, it was not surprising when, on the way to trivia, I started feeling very lightheaded, panicky, and having symptoms of what my doctors call “aura”. “Aura” freaks me out in an emotional way; my body starts to feel numb and tingly, I’ll get this floaty feeling, my vision may seem blurred or spotted or as if someone poured lead in my eye sockets, and my blood sugar typically plummets, as does my pulse rate. I then start to experience extreme anxiety, and if this problem is not addressed correctly, it can lead to a panic attack.

One of my difficult problems is that I am hypoglycemic, and while I feel like I eat a ton of food, I either in reality eat all the wrong food that doesn’t nourish my body but gives it empty calories, (lunch today consisted of half a salad with chicken, and then gluten-free chocolate cake, which I felt should be enough food to hold me over to 8 PM without incident, but it was not.), or I simply don’t eat enough. (I’ve been known to feel like 800 calories a day was binging on food.) Old me used to be able to solve this problem—my body would demand something from me, and I would eat that type of food. Ironically, since my diet has gotten healthier, my blood sugar issues have become more of an issue, because they’re not being masked by Coke and Oreos. The problem is, the medication I’m on forgets to let me know I need something—my blood sugar is too low, I’ve put off eating for too long, I’ve had too many carbs, I took my pills off-schedule–until it’s too late. The cure for this is a simple one provided by my doctor: I need to eat between 1,200-1,500 calories per day, work to build up my endurance to the weight I’ve gained via exercise, limit “bad” carbs, and eat 5-6 small portions of food per day rather than what I’ve done my whole life—eat a small lunch, pig out at dinner, and fortify myself with Coke the rest of the day.

Ironically, although the weight the medicine has put on my body is not healthy, my diet is possibly the healthiest it’s ever been. Yet, I still forget to eat enough, or enough of the proper things.

When I do this on a day when the weather plays havoc with my life, the result is simple: I have a migraine. Fortunately for me, my migraines are short-acting, and are not debilitating in the way some people experience. The scariest part is the 15-25 minutes of “aura” I will experience before the migraine, and the sense of exhaustion I feel after it is gone. The migraine itself rarely lasts more than an hour…just enough to totally screw with my day.

Today, I didn’t let it. I knew it was coming on the way to trivia, but still managed to handle the “aura” sensation without too much anxiety—a pit stop for a candy bar and an Advil helped. After that passed, I realised I was unexpectedly ravenous and needed protein; the more protein I put in my body, the better I felt. However, we didn’t do well at trivia, and that, along with the migraine, made me grumpy company. The Guy I Am Currently Dating has been extraordinarily stressed lately, and my life has just been all over the place…so I don’t often feel like we connect or talk or have things in common. Sometimes, I wonder if we even enjoy spending time together, because there seems to be this great divide between us. I so often feel like we’re not on the same page by the wonder of natural understanding that some people share, and that frustrates me. It is sometimes difficult to communicate with someone who naturally thinks and feels so differently from you, and doesn’t understand what you’re trying to say unless you explain it in detail..and even then, it’s not always so. The result has left me feeling frustrated, and rather alone and misunderstood in the world.

I was simply going to go to sleep early, but then I purchased “The Hunger Games” for my Kindle. Yes, it’s taken me 100 weeks to get around to reading it…and my inner ear problem means I can’t go to the movies, so I’ll need to wait 6-9 months to see the film on DVD. Yet, I am so shocked by how engrossing this story is. It didn’t sound like something I’d enjoy, but all I keep thinking is, “Wow…this is reality TV taken to the next level.” I already know that part of me will just want to sit around for the rest of the week reading this….and then the two sequels. Grrrrr….boooks. *laughs*

So, perhaps I’ll read for another 30 minutes before bed. However, I’ll leave you with this little Muse-ing, as I actually didn’t know I liked this song until today. It’s not typical Muse style, and the video is bad..but the words are compelling and meaningful, and the music reminds me of mid-1980′s Depeche Mode.

Muse, "Undisclosed Desires

Great strides were made today toward becoming an independent and responsible adult. By the end of the month, I will have all the utilities in the apartment hooked up in my own name, hopefully making life easier for the next time I move (should I end up staying in Atlanta.) The annoying part is how much they’re charging me for deposits, since I am “rebuilding my credit” after years of not living like a responsible adult, but they are apparently refundable if you pay your bill on time each month, for a certain period of time.

Note to self:pay bills on time.

Not much to blog about today, since I’m a bit behind on pretty much everything, but today the podcast for my Write Club appearance (which seems like years ago) was posted. I highly encourage you to check it out; my competitor’s piece is a riot, and mine pretty much sounds like what you’d get if you read my typical relationship-oriented blog out loud and added a laugh track.

Good times. :P

I mistakenly thought that once my roommate had moved out of the apartment, that all the drama surrounding this issue would be gone. Yet, not only am I still experiencing anxiety and emotional meltdowns on seemingly a daily basis, the problems are starting to affect the Guy I Am Currently Dating. He’s said he’s concerned about his physical health, which has not been good since all these problems started, but I think he’s starting to show signs of severe anxiety. As someone who knows how debilitating anxiety can be, this upsets and concerns me.

Last week, we had to make arrangements to sign the lease ASAP, because the situation went from my ex-roommate giving 60 days notice, to saying he was leaving in two weeks, to saying he wanted to leave in two days to see his parents in Jacksonville before starting a new job. We re-arranged our lives to make this work out on such unrealistically short notice, and by last Tuesday night, he was loading up his friend’s SUV and moving out.

Problem is, he never finished moving out. He asked for a key so he could come back and finish cleaning, packing and moving the next day at noon. It’s Saturday, and he hasn’t returned, which wouldn’t bother me if not for the fact that he has a key and access to the apartment when nobody is here. I packed all his stuff for him, cleaned out his room, did all the heavy lifting…all he has to do is get his stuff, return my key, and we’re done. Arrangement over.

He also agreed, after giving me 60 days notice, that he’d pay me $380 he owed me for the past half-month’s rent, plus rent unpaid from last month. Since he was supposedly leaving on Wednesday, but getting paid on Friday, we agreed that he could pay off all the outstanding utilities (totaling about $360), and we’d call it a day. Of course, Friday came around, and he told me “I don’t have the money to pay the bills. I have to pay other stuff instead.”

I, of course, became very upset. I informed him that this simply wasn’t fair; he moved out giving me virtually no notice, leaving me on the hook for all the bills, and kept making agreements that he simply broke without any concern for anyone else. The cable was set to be shut off in two days; the only reason I let it go for so long is that he swore up and down at least 7 times he’d pay all the bills on Friday.

When I mentioned this, he said, “Look, I’m being nice. The utilities are in my name. I can just call and have them shut off now, but I’m giving you 21 days to get them changed over. You’re not getting the money, I don’t have it, and if you keep bitching about it, I’ll just have everything shut off now. Accept it and move on. ”

I learned an extremely valuable lesson about letting anyone have control over my future, and it’s a giant kick in the proverbial balls, let me tell you. I also learned the truth of the motto, “Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me. If you think people change, you’re a fucking idiot.” I’d been making some advances in the arena of trusting people and allowing people into my life, and I’ve been set back approximately 5 years recently.

Today, I looked into getting all the utilities changed over into my name. Apparently, you can’t just DO that. You need to establish new service under the new resident’s name, including paying a whole crapload of deposits and fees to do so. The good news is, the utility companies are allowing me to switch things over fairly easily. The bad news is, it’s going to cost me the $400 my roommate owes me but will never give me just for deposits. Plus, I have to pay the bills that he didn’t pay his share of, and in two weeks, will have to pay rent on my own at the end of the month.

60 days notice means legally, you cannot shut off utilities on your tenant, de facto or not. It means that you have 60 days to vacate or change the lease over, and in the meantime, you cannot be evicted or thrown out on the street. He was not doing me a favour at all by saying “I’m not paying you what I owe you, and if you bitch about it, I’ll just shut off the utilities that are in my name.” He just knew I was in a position where I had no other choice and exploited that.

Today, I texted my ex-roommate to let him know that I was approved for gas and electric, and he told me that one of the utilities would be done on the 25th, the other on the 30th. I don’t know if this was because I mentioned that I was working to get things switched over by that point in time, or he was totally dishonouring the 21-day-agreement he made yesterday.

Weirdly enough, it seems like my roommate is still in Atlanta. He quit his job, left the apartment, filed for bankruptcy, didn’t pay anyone a penny, and last time I heard, was hanging out with some girl in Austell he was hooking up with 2 days before he left, and couldn’t come pick up his stuff because she had his car.

Seems like some really shady business to me. I’m just saying. I hate when I know intuitively that something weird is up and people are lying, but can’t figure out why they make the choices they do.

I am just at the point where I don’t care. I want the drama to be over so I can start with the new drama of living an independent life, where I have lots of time to myself (the extrovert in me isn’t accepting this as happily as I’d imagined) and I have to work more/make a lot more money. I just kind of want the negativity and source of anxiety *gone*

I don’t remember the last time I felt so simultaneously loved and unloved at the same time..because while this whole situation has made me feel abandoned, betrayed, and kind of treated like a piece of trash, the support and love and help I’m getting from the people around me has been amazing. I had a lovely dinner last night at a Southern restaurant that had adequate food but made killer old-fashioned cocktails, and conversation with good friends who really go out of their way to pick me up when I’m feeling down.

I’m off to celebrate St. Patty’s Day with some of my favourite people: the trivia folks at Dagwood’s! No liquor license, but at least they have garlic cheese sticks. And I did some drinking last night, though not too much…seems I’m becoming temperate in my old age. ;P

I have been thinking lately about how vulnerability, even showing a little bit of the true essence of who you are, can be a double-edged sword that’s often used against you. You’d assume this is a lesson I might have learned a long time ago, suffering some of the most devastating betrayals in my life at the hands of not people I looked at as enemies, but considered friends…and made a valiant effort to befriend, even if I wasn’t always terribly good at it.

It makes me a little sad that life works this way, but I think vulnerability both scares and shocks people, and when it doesn’t, it gives people ammunition they can file away to use against you. I am very open and vulnerable with my feelings and experiences on this blog, and to a certain extent, I am that way in real life, too…it just takes a certain amount of getting to know me in order to accomplish that. I am aware many people don’t like that quality in me; it requires a level of openness and comfort about who you are that most people don’t have in order to deal with an open, vulnerable person. It requires a certain understanding of human nature and emotion.

Then again, I’ve had many tell me it’s one of my most endearing qualities. I’ve even had people fall in love with me for no other logical reason than the openness of my spirit, and a largely over-emotional heart. I’ve had strangers thank me for being a person they could relate to without judgment. As I’ve said, it’s a double-edged sword.

Recently, I spent some time getting together with a new friend, as I blogged about earlier in the week, and we had a lovely time getting to know one another. As a result, we kept in touch a bit after his departure—a rather unusual thing, as in the past, I’d hear from him on a rather infrequent and “Whatever” kind of basis—and it led me to believe that perhaps a true friendship was being forged from a relatively small collection of experiences. So, when we had a conversation about some of life’s “deep stuff” a few days later, I responded to him with a level of candour and vulnerability that I typically reserve for people with whom I’ve spent far more time. He thanked me for my openness and willingness to trust him with some of my most personal life experiences (in fairness, I was aware that he was aware of some of them before ever meeting me, I just didn’t really know *what*, exactly.)

However, I haven’t really spoken/texted/e-mailed/communicated with him since then, and the friendly texts I’ve sent keeping him updated on the craziness that is my life here in Atlanta and wishing him well on his out-of-town trip have gone ignored, completely. I do realise that this may just be coincidental, but even if so, it’s a horrible and painful coincidence for a person with abandonment issues to open up to someone she believes may be a potential new friend for some time to come, only to have that person disappear. I can’t help but remember the times in my life when such issues have happened before, when someone you’re attempting to become closer to decides “She’s just got too many issues for me to handle”, and takes off. I hope that this isn’t what’s happened, and that it’s more the alternative…in the fact that the Universe has created a situation involving the world’s worst timing…but I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t hurt by the thought that my candour and vulnerability would drive someone away, someone I jusged to be made of a completely different kind of fabric, and would respond positively to my willingness to be honest and vulnerable and to form a genuine emotional connection.

Anything is possible. If I’ve learned anything, it’s that not everyone is up for genuine emotional connections. Either they don’t have the time, the interest, or the prospect is scary. Regardless, I am always hurt when I learn that the hard way.

Meanwhile, I feel like my vulnerability and willingness to open myself up to other people in the hopes that they might relate to me with a certain level of humanity has been repeatedly biting me in the ass. Over the past 10 days, both my roommate and the mother of The Guy I Am Currently Dating (two of the most vitriolic people I’ve ever met.) have used things they know about me, my life, and the challenges I’ve faced in order to threaten me, blackmail me, tear down my self-esteem, and in the case of my roommate, to call the police and 911 to tell them I might be a danger to myself or others. Even something as simple as admitting you’re on medication for anxiety—something, incidentally, that many of these so-called “normal” people drive a person to need, because a human being can only cope with so much—is something that a person can later use against you.

It’s extraordinarily hard for me to trust people, and when I do put little tidbits about myself out there to others, it’s usually because I’m attempting to connect, to show a more “human” side. Someone once told me that he hadn’t initially cared to get to know me because I seemed like a typical actress, in his mind—far more like an entertaining character than a substantial human being. I never forgot that, because it was true. For such a long time, I’d been used to using my acting skills and large personality to create a persona that was rather light and one-dimensional, and helped keep the real me protected. It worked, but I found out that it didn’t allow me to have real relationships, and real friendships, and the kind of connections I value.

So, at some point, I decided to put a bit more faith in myself and my fellow human beings, and open up a bit more. I’m still a little more cautious than most, but I’ve been hurt more than most, and have more reasons to be self-protective than most. It is very easy to become an acquaintance, but takes effort to become a real friend.

Yet, when things happen—when people I genuinely care for disappear on me after I open up a little too much (some people have a natural gift for making you feel comfortable, and lowering your guard, wise or not.), or people I thought were friends or showed a vulnerable side to in an attempt to be real and win them over end up using those things against me—I still don’t blame them.

I blame myself, and think, “If only I hadn’t put myself out there so much.”

I once saw a therapist about some issues, many of them relating to my dysfunctional relationships with men and my inability to trust. I was young, and had a male therapist who clearly suffered from the “hero/rescuer/caretaker” phenomenon. He went from listening to me, to wanting to help me, to wanting to save me…none of which was my responsibility. Yet, one day, he told me he couldn’t be my therapist anymore because he recognised this in himself, and that he was developing an inappropriate level of attachment to me and had feelings that weren’t professional.

This was, of course, the right and ethical thing to do. But being young and distrustful of men and constantly hurt by being abandoned after showing any level of need or vulnerability, I was devastated. It hurt me immensely. I worked up to the point where I could trust someone and show that vulnerability, only to have them sever ties with me because of it.

The much younger girl inside of me wonders if my new friend has made the same choices, not because of any level of attachment, but because my emotional, vulnerable side is simply too much for a rational and rather restrained person. I wish I hadn’t made that mistake, that forgetting to keep things fun and light and happy, because I’ve been interpreting his silence as a sign that my openness has damaged what may have been a rewarding friendship.

The older, more experienced girl knows perhaps it’s not that at all…people get busy, and calling and texting and e-mailing to keep in touch with little old you isn’t necessarily the first thing on their mind. But either way, it’s an instance of horrible timing that’s caused a great feeling of sadness.

I think I’m going to work on more fun, less soul-sharing for awhile. *chuckles* And if there’s anything a friend could ever use against me, and I have even the slightest inkling that one day they might turn on me or abandon me, I should just know better than to hand them the ammunition. The abandonment and betrayal the situation with my roommate has sparked hasn’t helped in the slightest, nor has the threats and hatred and gold-digging whore references from the mother of The Guy I’m Currently Dating.

As a result of all this upheaval, I’m feeling in a really vulnerable place right now. However, I probably shouldn’t tell you that…you might just judge me, or bring it up as proof that I’m imbalanced years down the road.

So, no. Like everyone else, I have no flaws, except for my overabundance of awesomeness. ;P