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Death To Mellow Mushroom, and Aggressively-Passive Communication…..

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

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