This is the funniest article I’ve read in a long time.

I’m technically not a Generation X-er, but close enough to identify with most of the major events that defined that generation, even if I missed the bubble. (I think those born between 1978-1981 should be referred to as Generation XY, since different sources site different dates as the start/end of generations.)

Still apathetic after all these years. Time to listen to some “Smells Like Teen Spirit” and have a martini. :P

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There once was a woman who had one hundred faces. She showed one face to each person, and so it took one hundred men to write her biography”.

—Anais Nin

I must say, people end up on my page looking for some bizarre, dark, and morbid things. My analytics program has told me that recently, people found my page by Googling for “Amy Winehouse casket photos”, “Amy Winehouse autopsy photos”, and “Deaths On Atlanta Subway”.

Ugh. For those who don’t know me, I might have a very dark, Gothic kind of streak that runs through me, and I might think vampires are sexy (the Anne Rice ones, not the 16-year-old effeminate boys that glitter.), but I’m actually possessed of a pretty fragile constitution when it comes to blood, death, gore, and all that other stuff. I haven’t seen a horror flick since I was 11. You’ll never see any sort of blood or graphic violence on these pages. In fact, I’ve had to recently start de-friending well-meaning people on Facebook because they’re putting up pictures of cute dogs saying “This is Fido’s last day on earth. He will be executed tomorrow”, or because they’re putting up photos of abused children to let us know this is what happens when we don’t care. I’m all for the well-meaning causes, but my sensitive nature can’t handle seeing the photos and being reminded of the cruelty that surrounds us every day.

Anyhow, I’d originally meant to write about a topic that’s gruesome and heartbreaking in a completely different way: rejection.

I don’t think rejection is an experience any of us takes particularly well, because the natural response to being rejected is one of “What’s wrong with me? Why am I not good enough?” Sometimes, there are answers to that question: there are reasons you didn’t get the job you wanted, or a guy/girl you liked never called you back, or you put yourself out there and things weren’t a rousing success. Other times, though, that’s just the way things are, and nothing about you or how you handled the situation could have changed the outcome.

I have a number of talented, intelligent, beautiful friends in the world that I see limiting themselves due to fear of rejection, and this behaviour is so ingrained in them, I don’t think they recognize it. I have a friend who is one of the smartest people I know, but never puts himself out there to get rid of the job he hates, allowing him to find out what he really wants to do. I have another friend who is so physically attractive that there is never anyone who doesn’t notice her when she is in the room…but she lacks the confidence to go anywhere by herself, or to approach strangers without the company of a friend. The more I look around my world, the more I see tons of examples like this.

Growing up in the world of performance, I experienced a lot of rejection at an early age. It’s one world in which going on a job interview is liable to give you feedback that is hurtful enough to make you cry on the spot, but you don’t. It hurts everyone in the world to hear you’re not talented enough, not attractive enough, not graceful enough, too short or too tall, too fat or too skinny, or that you should consider cosmetic surgery to improve your image. It hurts every single person who’s been told they’re forgettable, or come across as someone the average person will dislike. But it’s part of the job, so you go home, you cry, you think mean, negative things about yourself, you think mean, negative things about everyone else, and you go to the next audition, and the next, and the next.

I also didn’t necessarily grow up in the healthiest, most loving family environment, and hearing a list of the ways in which I failed or wasn’t good enough was a weekly, if not daily, concern. The result was a tendency toward perfectionism: I told myself I would keep on working and unfailingly try to improve myself until everyone loved me and found me irresistible.

Of course, this is a far from healthy mindset, particularly when it leads you to secret, in-the-closet self-destructive behaviour, as it did for me…and many like me. But it never occurred to me that I couldn’t handle rejection or I didn’t like myself. Instead, I spent a lot of time looking at myself from a cold, almost removed point of view, seeing everything there was not to like about me and vowing to become a more perfect person. I thought being perfect would lead me to being loved, and until I got there, I didn’t deserve love or appreciation.

It wasn’t until after I moved to Atlanta and stopped performing that these issues became apparent. I didn’t love myself, and I didn’t truly expect anyone else to love me, but I’d gotten so used to hiding behind a wall of arrogance and fearlessness that said “Fuck you, I don’t care if you like me or not.”, that I didn’t consider it a problem. When a relationship ended or I got fired from a job, I didn’t handle it well. But I had no doubt that life would go on, and that jobs and relationships were replaceable. And at the same time, I was crumbling from the weight of my own imperfection.

At the end of a particularly difficult and intense relationship, I asked my partner how he didn’t know for sure that I wasn’t the right person for him. (He’d suggested we “take a break” and “see other people”, which, in my years before discovering the world of polyamoury, translated to “I’m really just over you”…which, in many cases, it does.) I remember standing in front of the coat closet in my apartment, and him saying, “I know, because when I look around the world and see attractive, capable, confident women, I find myself wondering what it would be like to be with them instead of you.”

And that was the first time I realised just how brutal rejection can be for certain types of people. It isn’t just about hearing “no”. It’s about something more personal, all the ways in which you’ve failed—failed to be perfect, failed to live up to “potential”, failed to make someone else happy. That failure has always been something I can’t live with, something I struggle with on a daily basis.

People often tell me I’m socially fearless. I’ll go up to anyone and introduce myself. If I’m attracted to someone, I’ll let that person know in a pretty straightforward way. I’ll sit in a formal restaurant by myself, and take the NYC subway home at 5 AM alone. I’ll travel the world myself…and in some ways, prefer that. There are few “dares” that get a flat refusal from me.

On the inside, though, I’m constantly struggling with the fear that someone won’t like me….and it’s no accident that I’ve not only gone through my life encountering people who don’t like me, but despise everything I embody and actively work to humiliate me or bring me down. I’m constantly struggling with the knowledge that I’m not as beautiful as this person, as smart as this other person, as gracious and likeable as another. Some days, I wonder how or why anyone could love me at all…because I never figured out how to be perfect. I never figured out, even, how to look in the mirror and see someone others will like.

I still often have the desire to act out in self-destructive ways nobody ever has to know about, to add to my list of imperfections. I often wish I could just escape from the world at large for a few months, and re-emerge as a happier, skinnier, more attractive, more accomplished, healthier person. I never do these things, but the desire for that to happen doesn’t disappear…and the belief that I’m surrounded by people who love and support me despite being so imperfect never quite sinks in.

I’m writing about this topic because recently, a few people have talked to me about how hard it is to meet people, how dating is a challenge, and even approaching people can be difficult. I do understand. Particularly in Atlanta, a city besieged by the “If everything about me appears perfect, everyone will love me” mentality, the tendency to get to know others for who they are is often not there…because it requires a vulnerability people aren’t willing to reveal. I understand just as well as anyone. In some ways, this is the worst possible place for someone with my particular set of issues to live (though Dallas is very close behind, and Miami even worse.) , because it’s filled with people with the same issues and insecurities who also have the money and the dedication to do something about what they don’t like in themselves, whether it’s apparent in a high-powered job, a new car, perfect teeth, discrete nips and tucks, or the need to appear like a carbon-copy of their best friends.

I’m not socially fearless, by any means. But what I’ve learned is that if you don’t forget about yourself long enough to reach out to others, you’ll spend your life by yourself. Nobody is perfect, nobody is out of your league, and even if rejection hurts, it doesn’t always have a single thing to do with you. No matter how great you are, everyone will not like you. Everyone will not be charmed by you, find you attractive, or even care to converse with you. Some may even instantly dislike you, for reasons that don’t matter and you may never know.

The important thing is that some people WILL like you, find you attractive, want to get to know you, see something special in you. And the person you’re afraid to talk to? Well, he or she has a secret list of insecurities and fears and baggage just as long as yours.

So, talk to a stranger. Go to a movie by yourself. Apply for a job you don’t think you’re good enough to land. Ask that person you’ve had a secret crush on to go out on a date. And if there are things you’d like to improve about yourself, whether it’s getting in shape or going back to school, it’s never too late to make those changes. In fact, if you’re like me, you try to re-commit yourself to building a better life pretty frequently.

Being open to whatever comes along seems to work the best for me. Trying too hard to make things work and beating myself up over my repeated “failures” is a personal self-destructive trigger, and will send my life in a direction I’d rather not go. In the immortal words of a legend, “You can’t always get what you want..but if you try sometimes, you just might find you get what you need.”

Life has a way of pointing that out…even if you don’t know what you need, the Universe sometimes seems to.

Forget about yourself for a little while. Try. Take a chance. Put yourself out there. And whatever comes back, know that you’re better for the experience, because it’s never about the results. It’s about knowing you don’t have to be perfect in order to be loved, liked, appreciated, or successful. If you did, none of us would ever be happy or do anything worthwhile.

This last week wasn’t really the most stable one, at least when it comes to interpersonal dynamics, friendships, health, money, and emotional well-being. Other than that, of course, it’s all been pretty boring.

Rather than writing about the tons of interesting…and mostly personal and off-limits….anecdotes that passed through my life this week, I’ll just fill you in on the list of life lessons I learned that have helped me grow into an older, wiser, and more perceptive person.

1) There’s often a very fine line between friendships and romantic relationships, and that line is not always—not even half the time—defined by whether or not you’re sleeping together. In fact, “defining the relationship” is probably one of the most traumatic experiences that occurs between people. Life is way more complicated than that.
2) When it comes to people you once allowed yourself to care about, merely the passing of time and the changing of the relationship does not result in you caring less. The reasoning behind who emotionally affects you a certain way, and why, defies reason. Life is complicated like that.
3) When it comes to people with whom you shared a connection, and then stopped liking or respecting for a bit, time not only heals many of those issues, it allows you to again see the things you liked about them in the first place. These things typically fall into the “Too little, too late” category. Life is complicated like that.
4) When it comes to people with whom you shared a connection, but probably should have liked a little less than you did, the desire of those individuals to want to sleep with your best friend(s) is an instant cure for any of those uncomfortable feelings. That’s one of those few life lessons that’s totally not complicated at all.
5) When it comes to other people whom you like, but struggle to communicate with in a conflict-free way, there’s always talking about the weather. The untimely arrival of Fall means Atlantians can avoid awkward and conflict-free conversations for at least the next two weeks.
6) When it comes to other people, virtually everyone wants what they can’t have, and when that thing becomes attainable, it’s almost always less interesting. In the rare cases this is not true, you’ve stumbled on to something good. At that point, life gets a little less complicated, with the exception that you will continue to want what you can’t have, and what you don’t really want.
7) Alcohol is a better and more successful treatment for those with mystery House-like diseases and anxiety disorders than are any drugs, prescription or otherwise obtained. I don’t understand it, but martinis and good company heal things.
8) Reality TV is not a contributing factor to any illness, but it won’t be long until doctors start putting it on health questionnaires and psychological inventories.
9) When it comes to knowing how you can expect to get along with others in your life, Meyers-Briggs is right almost without fail…in my not limited personal experience. :) They’ve figured out a reasonable way to navigate the complexity of life and predict which of your friends you will ultimately end up fist-fighting at some point.
10) It doesn’t matter how often you talk to your parents, or how far away they live. They will undoubtedly call you at the most inconvenient time, every time. It’s like they *know*
11) When someone is telling you that you don’t listen and therefore are not as sensitive to the feelings of others as you think, and your mind is already formulating the appropriately indignant rebuttal before that sentence is even finished, they may be right about you.
12) That couple that constantly breaks up and gets back together? It surprises no one when they get back together. If I worked for Hallmark, I’d design a card for that.
13) Overhyped parties where the premise is that everyone should dress kind of the same are, unsurprisingly, the most boring parties in the world.
14) Open mic night at comedy clubs are typically painful experiences. Very few people can ever say their first time was amazing, noteworthy, and memorable. Open mic is no exception.
15) You’d be surprised who doesn’t seem to remember you, or expect you to remember them, when they send you an e-mail. Perhaps I just have a far clearer memory than most.
16) It *is* possible for me to get from PJs to “ready to go out” in 15 minutes. An award should be given.
17) When I am 94, I will be Andy Rooney.
18) Witty sayings should pay more, even if you don’t print them on a T-shirt.

That was my week in a rather large nutshell. This upcoming one won’t be nearly as exciting…the highlight being my dizziness test on Wednesday. Considering I have panic attacks and other unsettling physical and emotional reactions to my unexplained vertigo, 75 minutes of doctors moving you around and saying “Are you dizzy yet?” doesn’t sound like a good time.

Keep your fingers crossed for me. A speedy diagnosis means more good times will be shared, and I’ll have less time to sit around and think about life. :P

One of the very best things about being an online diarist…or, in a less fancy-sounding word, “blogger”….for over a decade of my life is that when I get in one of those introspective moods, there’s a record of my life, often in a form I don’t remember writing. Of course, rarely does the record reflect the whole story, and when I’m 90, I’m bound to be quite confused about what actually happened, to whom, when, and why. But, on occasion, the record makes me smile.

I found this old, old, old entry on one of my previous journals. It was before Jaded Elegance was even a concept, and I somehow had more friends interested in my life than I do now. (there was no Facebook back then, and yes, my life was tremendously more interesting. This entry, I can only assume, has something to do with being cheated on by a lover who garnered my trust, my promises of monogamy, and yet simply “just wasn’t that into me”.

The funny thing about the recollection of events and truth is this: it’s so often subjective. In it, I make statements that were true *at the time*, regarding the type of relationship I was looking for, the type of person I found myself attracted to, even the way I saw myself. However, the flaw in this story is that a year prior to this entry, those things weren’t the case…and a year later, they certainly were not.

It’s funny how the truth of one’s perceptions and feelings about the world is an ever-changing process. The more you learn about who you are, the less you understand about pretty much everything.

Suffice it to say, I don’t feel the same way now as I did in the 7 or so years since this was written. The extra 5 pounds has become 15, and experience has taught me I’m not cut out for a life of militant lesbianism, since I’m not particularly well-suited to either. I no longer remember to put the napkin in my lap or use the right fork, and in the morning, I’m more of a 4 than a 7. I hadn’t yet discovered other views on relationships outside of monogamy and happily-ever-after. And I can’t tell you the last time I baked cookies for anyone. However,it amuses me to hear the voice of a person I once remember being, and maybe it will amuse you, too.


When it comes down to it, I really can’t understand my problems with men.

I’m a pretty nice girl. I’m down-to-earth, and am attracted to people for the “right” reasons, instead of their looks or their annual income. I’m always attracted to nice,sweet,boy-next-door types who still believe in that whole one guy,one girl,love,romance,happily ever after stuff. It does not seem right or just that I am perpetually hurt by my relationships, or that it should be so damn hard to find a guy who can love me, stick around, be faithful, and not “forget” to treat me with respect and consideration.

I really do look at myself honestly. I know I’m not perfect, or anywhere near it.

But I am an extremely kind and loving person. I have alot to give, and once I trust someone, there is nothing I wouldn’t offer to those who are important to me. I am capable of almost nearly unconditional love and support, and forgive almost anything, as long as someone makes amends for their mistakes and doesn’t repeat them. I go out of my way to drop an e-mail or telephone call to those closest to me nearly every day. I send greeting cards for no reason. I bake cookies for my friends. I answer the phone at 6 AM when someone is upset and needs a shoulder. If you end up in jail, you can call me for bail, and I’m not going to hang up on you. I don’t step on bugs. Or people. I give change to homeless people. I don’t always talk to strangers, but everyone at least gets a smile. I’m not a social climber, a gold digger, a moocher, or superficial. I firmly believe in karma and treating others as you wish to be treated. Sometimes, I’m wrong. But I always apologise. I’m not judgemental or prejudiced against anyone, unless I’m given a reason. I’m not by any means beautiful, but it’s been agreed by most that I’m at least an 7. :P I’m stylish. I can throw a dinner party for 6 with nothing but pine cones, tissue paper, glitter, and a bucket of fried chicken. I’ve read at least 20 books in the last month, and none of them were Harlequin romances. I can talk about art,music,politics,philosophy,religion,and a list of other subjects, and still remain quasi-intelligent and interesting. I have opinions, and thoughts that aren’t just echoes of what other people express to me. Most people don’t intimidate me. Very little makes me uncomfortable. I have good manners, and know what fork goes with which course of the meal, and always put the napkin in my lap. I’ve never in my life been disrespectful to anyone’s family when they’ve brought me home. I watch movies and television, and listen to popular music,and am by no means a culture snob. But I can give you the plot synopsis of every musical written after 1910, and understand opera,and ballet,and a variety of other things that may put non-understanding folks to sleep. I’m not cheap, or easy. I’m not frigid, or boring. I’m actually alot of fun to be around most of the time. I’m energetic and creative and free-spirited, in more ways than one. :P I’m not suffering from any issue that involves a 12-step program. I’m not a kleptomaniac. I don’t set things on fire. I’ve travelled to at least 20 countries. I speak 4 languages. I play 3 musical instruments. I have a college degree. From a school even pretentious Ivy League folks agree is pretty decent. :P I don’t forget anyone’s birthday. Children and animals love me. I’ve flown hundreds of miles across the country to meet people I’ve only met on the internet, and they’ve instantly become among my closest friends. I’m spontaneous, and take chances. I value stability and the little things in life. I’ve been told I have alot of interesting stories. People who know me come to me for advice on a regular basis. I think I’d do really well if I set myself up as a psychologist. I’m fairly photogenic. I’m not outdoorsy, but I’m always up for new adventures. If you’re interested in something I’m not familiar with, I’m likely to learn all about it, just because it’s your passion. I have a list of at least 100 things I want to do before I die. If the last 20-odd years are any indication, I’ll cross off at least 97 of them in the next decade.

All in all, I’m a nice girl.

So, when did I trade lives with Bridget Jones?

I admit, I have some shortcomings. I’m emotional. I am the stereotype of the sometimes “irrational” woman, because I think with my heart. I can’t keep my opinions to myself. I’m way too fond of shopping. I’m not practical. I’m a little arrogant, but just because it’s a convenient way to hide my overwhelming insecurity. I think I can do anything I set my mind to…but I suck at bowling. I can be slightly pretentious, according to some folks. I refuse to “blend in” or be less of who I am in order to make sure that everyone likes me and nobody finds anything about me objectionable. I’ve been through some tough life experiences that have left a few emotional scars…but nothing that alot of love,and affection,and support,and understanding won’t cure. I’m not close with my family, because they are dysfunctional and emotionally harmful to me. I have a hard time thinking about “long-term goals”…mostly because I’m somewhat convinced I’m going to get hit by a Mack Truck when I’m 30, so it’s all irrelevant. I have a fear of being betrayed and abandoned, and take a good while to really open up and trust anyone. Mostly because of the great number of people in my life who have screwed me over and made me wonder “What’s wrong with me?” So that’s baggage some people aren’t prepared to live with. I do get that. I can only be involved with those who are genuinely sensitive, supportive, and patient. But I know there are plenty of those folks out there. Believe it or not, I completely trust that most people are beautiful at heart.

None of these are desperately fatal character flaws. I don’t think. Honestly.

Is it because I can’t lose those annoying 5 pounds? Is it because I want someone thoughtful enough to call and e-mail every day to tell me they’re thinking of me? Is it because I don’t like sports? Is it because I feel I have a right to be loved and appreciated, and deserve better than knowing when the object of my affection is out with me (a gorgeous,interesting,intelligent woman that is regularly noticed by available men…and women…*laughs*), he is staring at every other woman in the room, wishing he were alone, and wondering if he can do better?

I mean, shouldn’t I be rewarded for not being one of those shallow, marriage-chasing “Sex In The City” girls? Would I have better success in matters of the heart if I only date yuppie guys with BMW’s…because if I’m going to end up being completely screwed over, at least THEY’re going to be the one paying for dinner? I don’t understand.

What did I do that the type of men who I fall in love with, the type who are interested in me in return, are of the variety who are sweet and thoughtful and tell me how much they care about me, how much they appreciate me, how much they are touched by me being a part of their life, how wonderful they find me, how they even suspect that they love me and look forward to seeing me all the time…but then,after all that, manage to add “But,of course, it doesn’t matter, because I don’t want a relationship with you.” Why do I find people who say “You’re everything I’m looking for”, and want to invest their time and energy in me, and tell me how close they feel to me, and even if the relationship becomes a physically involved one, it’s OK, because their feelings for me are something quite beyond friendship…but refuse to “date” me, or take me seriously, and at random intervals, run away and say “We’re just friends, you know, why are you so demanding? It’s not like we’re IN a relationship.” Why do I find guys who appear to be nice,stable,down-to-earth folks who claim they’re looking for love and a monogamous, committed relationship…but when it comes down to it, they’re willing to offer me anything but…while enjoying all the perks I’d offer to someone who actually cared enough to pursue a meaningful relationship with me. And then, to top it all off, why does the person spend a few weeks of their life telling me how special I am, how much they feel for me, indicate in every possible way that their feelings for me are what they’d feel for a “girlfriend”…and then casually point out, “I’m thinking about moving away.”, and when I get very upset, they remind me that they never claimed to actually want any kind of meaningful relationship with me…and kind of imply that even though they have feelings for me, it’s never going to mean anything…I’m just fun to be around while I’m here, on a temporary basis.

What the hell do I do to deserve to be treated with such disrespect, especially by those who claim to love and care for me, and who occasionally demonstrate through their actions that they are sincere, and not just saying the correct words?

And maybe if it were just this one person in my life who has spent a very long time taking me for granted and treating me like a “friend with benefits”, I could say that he has issues, that he doesn’t deserve me, that I have too much to offer to love someone who refuses to give as much in return, and it’s my own fault for continually putting up with it, and not saying “Value me the way I deserve to be valued, or just live without can’t have your cake and eat it too, just because you happen to be afraid or committmentphobic, or whatever.”

But,of course, it’s not an isolated incident. I fall in love with people who put so much time and energy into me, and I have so much in common with, that I start to believe they’re a soulmate…until the woman they live with answers the phone. Lately, even in my non-relationship-seeking state, my life seems to be filled with a variety of “nice guys” who are attractive and interesting, and respond to me in every which way from “You’re attractive,but not my type”, and “I just don’t see you that way” (which is a pretty new one for me, and I can accept that,especially when I don’t think I’d see that person “in that way”, either…but they have to underscore that point by being blunt enough to mention “Sometimes I just talk to you because I feel like I have to.” Oh,my gosh. Can people who call themselves friends BE a little more insulting?), to “It would be odd for me to get involved considering your current situation”, and “I can’t date you, because I think my best friend is in love with you.”. And, of course, there’s my personal favourite: “I think you’re the most amazing woman I’ve ever met, and in 10 years, we’ll probably be married and have 3 kids…but right now, I so totally can’t handle monogamy”.

What the hell? What am I doing wrong?

I see all these people out in the world who are thoroughly difficult. They don’t treat their significant other the right way. They’re self-centred, and superficial, or just plain lacking in depth. And yet, they have someone who loves them and goes to the ends of the earth to prove it.

Are people going to only chase after me as long as I’m unavailable, uninterested, or a psycho bitch?

Because, seriously, I can totally work on that.

So, to the men of the world, I am giving up on you. I’m tired of being used, or taken for granted. I’m tired of being seen as a good time in the sack you should call once a month. I’m tired of you wanting me to be your “friend with benefits”, but telling me I’m not good enough to be a “girlfriend”. I’m tired of the committment-phobia and the mind games. I’m tired of chasing after you.

You see, I’m pretty wonderful. You all should be chasing after ME.

It’s not my fault you’re idiots, and that the “nice guy” thing is a complete myth.

So, let’s call a truce, OK? You all stop trying to break my heart, to use me for sex, or to get me to fall in love with you and then refusing to take me seriously….and I’ll become a militant lesbian, and stop calling.

Do we have a deal?

I’m glad that over the numerous years, there were a few people not willing to take me up on that deal. It seems to have worked out far better.

I meant to spend some time posting a well-crafted update on here today, but instead, I spent a lot of my writing energy sending e-mail to friends and actually doing work, which is important, too. So, although I know you’re all devastated, part two of yesterday’s story is simply going to have to wait. (yes, yes, I know…nobody actually reads this enough to care about my stories. :P )

Over the past few weeks, I’ve become involved with a site called Swap-Bot, which I love. It gives me a no-pressure, random approach to creativity, as well as a chance to share with people from all over the world. I loved getting mail from abroad when I was younger, and I still have that certain little thrill when I open up my mailbox and see something from halfway around the world. It’s like a glimpse into a world you may never see. I imagine that The Guy I Am Currently Dating probably thinks this new hobby is silly, since it requires more frequent trips to the post office, and he never comments on any of my handmade/decorated envelopes, or asks what’s inside. However, since I can’t go out in the world as much as I’d like lately, it makes me happy to have the world come to me. It makes me happy to know that if I am not here tomorrow, there are pieces of me out there somewhere….and perhaps they briefly touched someone. I suppose that’s what I’m looking for…I suddenly have this desire to share, and connect, and create, and leave an indelible mark on the world, as if I don’t have that much time in which to do it.

Part of me is convinced that perhaps I don’t have as much time on this earth as I always assumed I would. Another part of me just believes living life to the fullest means living each day being aware of the possibility that there’s never enough time. Say the things to the people you need to hear them. Express your feelings. Put yourself out there. Make someone that touches your life feel valued. Put aside ego and fear of rejection and failure. Share love without wondering if it will be taken the wrong way. I think if we all tried to live that way, we’d be so much happier.

In any case, someone on SwapBot left me a lovely photo today. If it were a poster (which perhaps it is), I’d probably frame it and put it in my living room. It’s just that sort of beautiful, to me.

Only four more days until my visit with the ear specialist, and I’m hoping it’s good news, even if “good news” for me means surgery. A diagnosis, the ability to do something to improve how I’m able to live my life, is “good news for me, whatever it may be. In the meantime, I’ll be keeping myself busy with helping The Guy I Am Currently Dating with his annual Serenity screening on Sunday, and perhaps playing some trivia. I wish I were more inspired to work, seeing as the insane medical bills keep piling in, but I’m not. It’s part of that whole “life’s too short” thing.

Instead, I’ll spend another hour on so reading my biography of Dorothy Parker, which I’m thoroughly enjoying. I notice that the people that fascinate me, the ones that have had crazy adventures to rival some of mine, are also typically rather disturbed individuals in one way or another. Brilliant, vivacious, often loved by many…but disturbed. I wonder if that’s a trait I recognise in myself and feel a kinship with, or most interesting people are simply kind of crazy. ;P

A few days ago, I considered writing a post about September 11th, as I do every year. However, with all the feelings of personal anxiety and loss that have consumed my life lately, I figured the last thing that was helpful for me was to dwell on a traumatic experience that none of us will ever forget. In fact, it’s impossible to believe a decade has passed, since I can recall that day, both in a real and an emotional sense, as if it happened yesterday.

A decade. It’s a long time, a third of my life. It’s been enough time for me to live many different lives, that phase that people often refer to as “finding themselves”, and since that time did in fact encompass my 20′s, it makes sense that more should happen in a decade than I’d have ever thought possible in the previous decade of my life, when I wondered if anything notable or exciting would ever happen to me.

Tomorrow, September 15th, is my 10 year anniversary: the day I first got myself on an airplane and moved my life (and whatever fit into two suitcases) to Atlanta, a city I’d never seen, to live with a guy I barely knew. The story itself is not lacking in drama, as this ex-boyfriend and I met online and kept up communication over a period of years. We met,shared some amazing experiences, and a month or so later, I found myself packing up my life to move to Atlanta. The plan was to come here for a few months, see how I liked it, see how the relationship worked.

Ironically, after weeks of discussion and debating, I committed to buying a non-refundable ticket to fly out of New York on Sept. 12, 2011. As if some angel were on my shoulder, I made a last minute change to fly out of Philly, and decided to spend the 10th and 11th with family, since I didn’t anticipate seeing them for perhaps another 6 months.

I won’t go into what happened on the 11th…a day filled with panic and fear and worry and nobody reaching anyone on their cell….but I do remember where I was. I was actually up, on my computer, chatting with a friend in Australia, when you could simultaneously hear the entire block turning on their televisions.

I spent days in the airport, from the 11th-15th, because my tickets were non-refundable, and every Amtrak and car service for miles was booked. At some point, it seemed the entire East Coast was shut down, and everyone was on edge waiting to see if their city would be next. The airports were giving the Project Runway view on things, “Either you’re in, or you’re out”.

I chose to wait it out, and predictably, every time I got close to departing, the flight was canceled. On my 17th try, with 10 minutes to go before boarding, my flight changed from “Departing” to “Canceled”, and I reached a breaking point. I swore, I threw my luggage, and caused a scene right in the middle of the lobby. Before I know it, a large, pissed-off-looking guy is approaching me, and I’m preparing to get thrown out of the airport after all my trouble. Instead, he asked what the problem was. When I told him, he asked if I had my passport and other travel documents. Fortunately, I did, just in case I decided to stay put in Atlanta for awhile.

I’ll never forget that large, pissed-off-looking airline employee. He told me that while most domestic flights would be canceled for that day, there was an international flight leaving for Air Mexico. Being somehow related to Delta, which has a hub in Atlanta, the Air Mexico flight was returning to Atlanta for refuel.

Thanks to that guy, I made it to Atlanta a few days before most airports re-started their domestic schedules, but we also were able to see “Phantom Of The Opera” at the Fox on my first night in town. (As a surprise for my then-boyfriend, and also because I saw it as positive that something I loved was right there in Atlanta, I’d booked us tickets for the closing night show, and was certain I’d never get there.)

As for Atlanta, once I got there, I didn’t like it. I wasn’t sure what I was expecting, but it reminded me more of Orlando than a major city. I mostly didn’t like it because it wasn’t New York, it wasn’t Philly, it wasn’t D.C. or London or any other city I enjoyed. I didn’t like that everything looked like someone took Brooklyn, stretched it out, and dumped a highway in the middle of it. I didn’t like that everyone had a car, and needed one, and I didn’t even have a license. I didn’t like that I was brand-new and didn’t know a soul in the city, except for the boyfriend I was staying with, who’d only arrived a few weeks earlier for school and didn’t know the place any better than I did. In short, I was homesick. I was bored. I missed the world I lived in where I had a lot of friends, always went out, and spent a lot of time being the centre of attention. I didn’t have a job, didn’t know how to make friends,found the performing arts scene to be non-existent, and the idealistic romance bit is much better when you not only don’t move in with someone you’ve been seeing for a few weeks, but you don’t move in to a single room. I spent a lot of time not being honest about myself, my life, what I felt, what I wanted, and who I was. For the first three months, I was actually miserable.

And, then, something happened. I went home, and I realised all these little things I thought I hated, I actually missed. I liked seeing the green trees, and walks around Midtown, and the run-down pizza place near where I was living. I did what people do. I started being real about my life and my future. I found a job, started making friends, and when the relationship didn’t work out, despite nearly two years of efforts to repair it, I found a place to live. It was one of the crappiest places ever, one of those places where college students live with 6 roommates in a house largely neglected by a slumlord. There were roaches, and the “living room” became a storage room populated by stuff left behind by the constantly rotating cast of roommates. In fact, it was no different from my own college days.

A few jobs later, some attempts at dating, and a new apartment, and it finally seemed like I had a home. I never meant for it to work out that way…frankly, I still didn’t much care for Atlanta and its lack of urban flair and dependance on cars (the fact that the city’s most famous citizen, Margaret Mitchell, was killed by a streetcar illustrates exactly the long history of apathy that the city has towards pedestrians.), but life worked out that way. I made friends, I had relationships, I had jobs…and when all of those things stopped working out,and changes had to be made, I considered each and every time that it was time to leave. But I never did. I “transitioned”, but I never just packed up and went back home…maybe because I don’t know there’s anyplace that is “home” for me. At so many opportunities, I could have, and likely should have, started over somewhere else.

But I’m still here, a decade and a few lifetimes later. I’m a little more jaded, and perhaps even a little more elegant than when I arrived. I still don’t know what I want to be when I grow up, but after a decade of searching and learning life lessons the hard way, I know who I want to be, and that counts for something. Once I decided to start letting people in rather than clinging to a rotating cast of acquaintances and adventures, I started to make friends…the type you can count on when you need bail money or a ride to the hospital or your roommate almost gets you evicted. Somewhere along the way, I traded in my out-6-nights-a-week, devoted-to-polyamoury, please-don’t-limit-me persona, and rediscovered the girl that stepped off the airplane and believed in adventure and love and the idea that anything is possible, and your life can be anything you want it to be, as long as you work at creating it. I’ve been in a stable relationship for a long time with a guy, and our biggest sources of conflict come from arguments over whether or not we might have a future together (Imagine! Me? Future-thinking?) and whether or not he’s willing to move, if not out of Atlanta, at least into the city. (I hate the suburbs, and that’s one part of my future-dream I’m not willing to give up or compromise. I love the people, the energy, the noise, the shops, the restaurants, even the dirt and grime and unpleasantries you encounter. I am a city girl, somewhere deep in my soul, and I think I need that in my life to be happy…so I can’t be with someone who doesn’t share that dream for the future, I think.) I am still independent, still in a situation where it wouldn’t take much to move my life elsewhere…but some of the people in my life here are like family to me. Not my family, whom I found remarkably easy to leave and difficult to visit for more than a few weeks a year, but the supportive and loving family I’ve always wanted. I have a support network. And,though sometimes I’ve seriously considered it, it’s still hard to leave.

Atlanta’s a lot like the Mafia. You may not like it, you may even think it has some kind of bad karma that’s making your life tougher than it needs to be but something about it will always pull you back in.

I think maybe it’s all because of that deal I struck with God on September 15th, 2001, when I was a terrified girl riding alone on a plane in the wake of a devastating terrorist attack, and still willing to face fear and risk everything for the possibility of a once-in-a-lifetime, all-encompassing love. I said, “Dear God, if you just get me there safely, I’m never going to leave.”

I sometimes wonder if there’s an expiration date on that promise. ;) My life still isn’t exactly as I’d like it to be, and often, I think it has something to do with where I live—it’s impossible to be independent in the suburbs of a city that’s been widely noted for having the worst public transit system of any large metropolitan area, and not being able to do what I want to do when I want to do it is always a problem for me—-, and the fact that I’m still not where I want to be in terms of living on my own, earning the salary I need to keep me happy, and being lazy about achieving my personal goals. I’m still letting the Destroyer Of Self-Esteem that lives in my head (and is doubled as an actual human being, in the form of the Mother Of The Guy I Am Currently Dating) limit my choices and dictate how I feel about myself.

And of course, spending the last few months scared to death by a chronic illness that a seemingly endless team of doctors have not been able to treat, nor identify, much less cure, has made me realise there’s no such thing as immortality. There are no extra lives, no extra energy pellets that keep you going. In a way, I’m exactly where I was a decade ago….on the precipice of a huge shift in my life.

I think, should I find myself able to recover from this illness and regain my life and my energy and my independence, I’ll be as elated as the first moment my plane touched down in Atlanta, and I realised “Everything is going to be OK.” I’ve had so many moments that weren’t OK, but also so many that were more than OK, that I don’t think I’d trade a single one for “Nothing special ever happens to me”.

Edith Piaf’s defiant song about regretting nothing rings true to me. I do, of course, have regrets. I’ve made mistakes, I’ve hurt people, I’ve made stupid choices. But in the end, they took me a step closer to where I’m supposed to be, and who I’m supposed to become. I don’t know if I care for Atlanta, after a decade of living here. But even after all the pain and heartache I’ve experienced in this city, getting on the airplane that day was still the best thing that ever happened to me.

I am determined that once I successfully withdraws from (prescription) Valium in a non-dangerous way that a *knowledgeable* doctor recommends, I am not taking any drugs, period. The culture of prescribing one drug because another drug made you feel bad, and then the one that works for you is one you’re not allowed to use long term is making doctors and pharm companies rich, but causing people harm. :( I feel a great disillusionment with the medical system, the insurance companies, and the pill pushing society in which we live.

Earlier this week, I went to a doctor highly recommended by a friend. After being ill for months for reasons undetermined, and accruing $30,000 in medical bills and tests, the results show I’m perfectly healthy except for a high pulse rate and unstable blood pressure, and some sinus issues. About 8 doctors have told me that my problems stem from anxiety, and so I have plans to be evaluated by a psychiatrist soon.

In the meantime, they’ve prescribed meds. Lots of meds. They gave two rounds of antibiotics for an ear infection I never had, vertigo meds for vertigo I don’t have, and started me on Ativan for anxiety and Atenolol (a beta-blocker) for my heart. Ativan was wonderful but addictive, so they switched me to BuSpar (apparently a form of Wellbutrin). Within a day, I was experiencing excruciating migraines, crying for 3 hours a day, feeling suicidal, and a host of other unpleasant symptoms. One morning, I woke up with a pulse rate of 188 (while also on the beta-blocker; I’d possibly not be here if I hadn’t been taking that.), uncontrollable shaking, and a feeling of numbness, paralysis, and loss of vision on the right side of my head. That earned me a trip in an ambulance, and a whole day of tests.

All my tests were negative, so they said I was having a particularly negative reaction to BuSpar. I had an MRI, a CT scan, lots of blood work…all showed I’m a normal healthy girl. I’ve been to the neurologist, cardiologist, and allergist, all to find everything about me is healthy.

Except, of course, I’ve been sick to the point where I can’t participate normally in my own life…so, of course, it’s possible that anxiety or another psychiatric illness is to blame. In order to alleviate my withdrawal symptoms from BuSpar, I got put on Valium.

And that’s when life got better….not all at once, but better. The ENT got me off nasal spray and over-the-counter decongestants, and the feelings of migraines and vertigo disappeared. I stopped wearing my sunglasses indoors. I made it out to social events again. I was exhausted, courtesy of the drugs, but spent a few weeks feeling almost normal.

Then, on Monday, I saw this doctor highly recommended by a friend…I mean HIGHLY, as in the girl credits this doctor with helping to save her life. The doctor was nice and all, but since I felt relatively well, I thought the worst was behind me. I asked her about cutting back on my heart medication. Unfortunately, she thought to take me off of Valium, and put me on Xanax.

I was succeeding with tapering off the Valium on my own. They started me on 20mg, and I reduced it to 5. Once I realised I wasn’t getting any more, I cut back to 2.5, where I started to have symptoms of anxiety and ear spasms again, but still manageable. Today, my first day with no Valium, I felt great.

Then, out of nowhere, BOOM! I’m on the floor, dizzy, my heart is racing, and everything feels out of control. So, I decided to give in and take half a Xanax, assuming I was having a panic attack. Almost immediately, my heart rate shot up, I became extremely anxious, started crying, and then got depressed….the kind where killing yourself seems like a viable option. My fingers and toes went numb. My pulse went from almost 100 to in the low 60′s. I started feeling hostility, as if I hated the whole world and wanted everyone to die. I’m again sensitive to light, afraid to sleep, overly sensitive to touch, headachy, and depressed. Pretty much the same symptoms I had on BuSpar.

My research shows that this doctor made a huge mistake in addressing my use of Valium. In fact, many of my symptoms are on the list of common withdrawal symptoms from Valium, and it suggests that Valium be tapered off over 4-6 weeks to avoid these potentially serious withdrawal symptoms. On top of it, it seems I can’t tolerate any type of anti-anxiety/anti-depressant med so far, with the exception of Ativan and Valium. For all I know, I don’t even HAVE anxiety, and I still have a physical illness that Valium helps reduce the symptoms of.

Either way, all I know is that this has been the worst summer of my life, and these doctors are going to have me in the psych ward by playing Russian Roulette with drugs, simply because I’m having scary symptoms that can’t be explained. And the thing that helps is the thing that’s now potentially caused me a drug addiction problem.

It kind of sucks to be me lately. I’d much rather be anyone else.

It seems like there’s a lot I’d like to sit down and write about, mostly stressful personal situations going on in my life. I’d like to update the world on the ongoing struggles with my health, and also an amazingly upsetting incident a few weeks ago that involved The Mother Of The Guy I Am Currently Dating leaving voicemails on my machine designed to tear me down, and ended with threats to do me harm if I didn’t leave Atlanta (for good measure); confusion about the future of my relationship (and specifically, if there is one there), and my ability to be independent and start all over again, should that need to happen; and the audacity of a girl in my Meetup that was not only incredibly rude to me when I interacted with her, but wrote to The Guy I Am Currently Dating to ask him out to dinner without running it by me first. I’d like to vent about the isolation that’s come with two months of illness, and the disappointment in friendships and infatuations that aren’t what you put into them, specifically when some people simply are the type you can’t get too close to, or they’ll pull a disappearing act.

Perhaps I could talk about Dragon*Con, and the anxiety I’m feeling over going, because my recent struggles with anxiety and medication have left me fighting with odd symptoms of social anxiety disorder, and because the medication I am on caused me to gain 8 pounds and feel less loving toward myself than ever before. (especially given some of the commentary delivered by The Mother Of The Guy I Am Currently Dating.) I could talk about how I’ve gotten to a point where I don’t believe anyone could find me attractive on any level; physically, emotionally, mentally, or just by virtue of being a “nice” person, and how I’m not sure how to interact with a world that doesn’t naturally emphasise my attractive qualities lately.

However, all those things seem stressful, so when I sit down to write, a blank screen stares at me, and I leave to do something else. Instead, I’ll share some of the things I’m infatuated with lately.

*Spotify. A new service that’s part ITunes, part Rhapsody, and one of the best ways I’ve found lately to discover new music, as well as share what I love with others. In theory, it can also help keep your music collection organised, but I’m afraid it takes a lot more to organise me.
*Christina Perri. A tattooed, long-haired native Philadelphian who channels a strange mix of Alanis Morrisette, Tori Amos, and Norah Jones, this girl is one of the more talented and unique voices to show up in the pop world in a long time. Her “Jar Of Hearts” caught my attention, as well as that of the radio stations, a few months ago, and immediately charted impressively on Billboard before Christina even signed with a label, or released a CD. Her first album is out in the UK right now, calledLovestrong, and is available on her website. Oh, and she’s a great supporter of To Write Love On Her Arms, one of my own favourite causes.

*Marie Antoinette One of the women in history that fascinates me to no end, I’m planning my own spin on a modern-day Marie Antoinette costume for Dragon*Con this year. And, just in time, I’m preparing to read Juliet Gray’s “Becoming Marie Antoinette”, the first book in the trilogy about this controversial coquette.

*Big Brother 13 Despite the fact I haven’t put any serious effort into campaigning to get myself on the show since making it to the final auditions way back in 2000, I still love the show just the same. And this year, I have Showtime, which means I can watch 3 hours a day (fortunately, while multitasking life.) It’s trashy, stupid, predictable, and I love it. Still cheering on the women America loves to hate, and waiting to see Rachel Reilly try to win the whole thing for her (and her cheating, controlling man.)

*Swap-Bot.Com I have always loved mail, and confess to an online shopping habit and missing the days when letters came in envelopes with stickers and handwritten love was usually involved. Today’s love letters to the world—and one another—are usually digital, and just not quite the same. (though, every once in a while, I’ll find myself getting excited when I see an e-mail from an old friend.) I also enjoy being crafty, unique, and sending little care packages to my friends…but the problem is, I don’t know many people like me. The last card I received from The Guy I Am Currently Dating basically signed his name, and the last present anyone gave me was tossed in a bag rather than gift-wrapped. Needless to say, I’m delighted to find a new hobby in Swap-Bot, where you can find like-minded pen pals and artsy folks, and even some writers and artists looking to get to know others. I highly recommend signing up and playing along!

I guess that’s all for me…ending on a positive note, so I can save my energy to recount some (if not all) of life’s dramas at a later date. See you over on Facebook! (do follow me if you’re a reader who’s not already a friend.I like to know who’s out there, but not enough to enable comments! ;P )

Recently, it’s occurred to me that I live in a city that’s not only the right kind of city for me or a place I really enjoy living, but the more people I talk to, the more people I find don’t particularly enjoy it here, either.

It’s no secret that Atlanta isn’t for me in a number of ways. I’m a city girl that doesn’t drive, and has no interest in ever owning a car. I want to know there’s a subway that will take me anywhere I want to go, when I need to go there, and I needn’t depend on anyone else for a ride or to want to go with me. I’m not staying in because of heat, cold, rain, snow, or sleet, and unless there’s a blizzard, don’t think weather is a valuable reason to cancel things. I’m outgoing, talk to strangers, walk through dangerous neighbourhoods by myself, and don’t feel odd eating dinner alone, unless the waiter sees the need to point out, “Oh, it’s just one today?”. I’m quirky, artistic, love the energy I get from crowds and a fast-paced lifestyle. I’ll never be blonde, blue-eyed, anorexic, or have perfect hair and a Southern drawl (real or acquired.) I don’t date based on how much money you make, and I don’t make my life decisions focused on how much money I make. I enjoy authenticity, drama, creating something interesting…even if it’s only yourself.

Here in Atlanta, conformity is the name of the game. While Donald Trump takes the NYC subway, very few people in Atlanta are brave enough to use it as a primary form of transportation (I have friends who are literally AFRAID of Atlanta’s MARTA train.). Not only that, the subway doesn’t serve over half of the Atlanta metro area, making it impossible for non-drivers to leave a very specific bubble. Only 500,000 people actually live in the city of Atlanta; the other 5 million live in the suburbs that aren’t served by public transportation, although many low income people have been forced to move out to the suburbs for lower rent, and walk miles each day, sometimes crossing dangerous highways.

At dinner the other night, the conversation of dating in Atlanta came up, and I mentioned an article I’d read. The article stated that Atlanta is one of the best cities in which to be single, but only if you expect to stay single. Over 80% of singles in Atlanta aren’t looking for long-term relationships. As someone who spent years being single in Atlanta, I can tell you first-hand, the emphasis is on going out, drinking, dancing, social climbing, showing yourself off, and ending up going home with someone you deem worthy, whom you’ll likely never call again, or even think of, until your paths cross socially.

Very few people are looking for friends, which is alien to me, because I wouldn’t date someone with whom I didn’t have a pre-existing friendship. I’m neither stupid nor naive. I don’t believe at love at first sight. Anyone can jump in bed together, and doing so does not create a relationship, 9 times out of 10. Friendships, on the other hand, take time and effort to cultivate, and not everyone is capable of or compatible with each other when it comes to developing those friendships. I have never had a successful long-term relationship with someone who was not a dear friend to me first, and I’ve never had a one-night-stand or friend-with-benefits turn into anything meaningful, even when I put tons of effort into trying to make it happen.

Even girls don’t seem to want to be friends with other girls; there’s this element of competition that seems to make most women view other women as “frenemies”. For me, it wasn’t until I was in a long-term relationship for years that I began to find friendships with women that weren’t based upon gossip, backhanded comments, and tearing down other people behind their backs. The people that have treated me most viciously in this city have always been women, from girls my own age who didn’t appreciate my free-spirited lifestyle and behaviour, to mothers of guys I’m dating who forget Southern class long enough to make death threats and use the C-word.

Once you’re in a relationship, it’s still a challenge. If I were still living a polyamorous lifestyle, I’d probably find Atlanta easier. But now that I’m not, I’ve noticed how little committments are respected. Both men and women will approach you, in front of your significant other, to hit on you. Friends will proposition you, saying they still respect you’re in a relationship. And ex-es will call you out of the blue to get together, pointing out that hanging out for “old times’ sake” doesn’t mean anything. Even married couples are not immune to this, and I’d imagine the rate of infidelity in the Atlanta metro area is far, far above the national average.

If I find myself single again in the future, it won’t be here. I’ve learned enough about Atlanta to know it can’t give me what I want….with the exception of more living space, a more reasonable standard of living, and a great group of friends I’d be sad to leave. But it’s not a fair trade off for low self-esteem, a general disbelief in the honesty and integrity of other human beings, being called horrible names, and driven to develop issues with depression, anxiety, and eating disorders.

There’s not a lot of value I see going on in ATL. Sure, there’s value on money, good looks, good jobs, the kind of car you drive, the image you present to others, and what you can do for me, should we start hanging out together. But there’s very little value being placed in getting to know others as a person, on friendships, on lasting relationships, and even on developing a positive mindset on how you feel about yourself that isn’t dependent upon what others are saying about you.

I think Atlanta is potentially the second-most shallow place I’ve ever lived; Los Angeles taking the cake for being the first. I’ll find it hard to leave behind the things here that matter to me…but there’s a reason everyone I like is constantly talking about no longer being here, and those that stay, find it hard to build long-term lives and relationships characterised by stability.

Don’t get me wrong. Some do, and they’re very happy. The first thing those happy couples do? They move to the suburbs, and spend 3 hours a day in a car. :)

Single or not, there’s little about Atlanta that’s for me…and most of those I’m close to seem to have similar feelings. I guess the best I can hope for is a Prince Charming that dreams of a penthouse condo and isn’t afraid of the subway. *laughs*

I had a number of different topics to write about recently, but I think the theme for the week is this: crazy people.

This particular post got moved to the front of the writing ideas queue because once again, my roommate had an out-of-town friend imposing on our hospitality, and staying with us. In the past, my roommate has had a friend whom I call The Most Obnoxious Man In The World stay with us. He eats our food, stays out at the clubs until 5 AM, wakes up the entire house by slamming doors and turning lights on, makes rude and demeaning comments to and in front of women, talks loudly on his cell phone while everyone else is sleeping, and is generally the most inconsiderate person I’ve ever met.

That is, until I met Ted. Of course, the visitor’s name is not really Ted, but he kind of looks like a Ted, so it’ll do for descriptive purposes.

On first glance, Ted seemed nice and hospitable. Despite the fact that I’ve been seriously ill for 6 weeks, behind on work, and need peace, quiet, and non-stressful situations in my life as much as possible, my roommate thought it was a good idea to let Ted stay here, AND have two of his guy friends over to cook dinner. Said guy friends are very nice and polite…one actually did cook dinner for all of us, and cleaned up, despite my objections…..but we live in a 1300 square foot apartment with a tiny kitchen, and AC that doesn’t work properly. There’s very little room, and when people are over, talking and watching TV, it is not restful. It is not a low-stress environment. It is not conducive to work, and this is why I rarely have anyone over, outside of The Guy I Am Currently Dating.

We also have 2 bedrooms, and four couches, and none of them are well-suited for visitors, in that they don’t pull out into sofa beds, or provide any level of comfort. In short, we’re well-equipped for having people over to watch a movie or hang out, but when all is said and done, they need to go home.

That being said, it’s a little annoying that my roommate keeps having out-of-town visitors we don’t have space for, but it would be the tolerable inconvenience if said visitors were polite and respectful. Last night, after dinner was eaten and cleaned up and my roommate’s two guy friends went home for the evening (it was 11 PM on a Sunday, so that seemed an appropriate time to call it an evening.), my roommate took Ted out to his favourite local bar for some drinks.

All seemed well and good until my roommate returns at 2 AM, extremely anxious, without Ted. Ted apparently wanted to drink more and more at the bar, and the next thing you know, Ted is attempting to score cocaine from guys who appear to be dealers at the bar. On a side note: Seriously, how do you know who is a coke dealer at a bar you’ve never been to, in a city that’s brand new to you? I’d like to point out that, probably because I’m not into drugs,I’ve only met drug dealers at bars/restaurants a handful of times, and in all those experiences, the offending individuals were owners/management of the venue. (and offers were declined. Don’t do drugs.:P )I would have no idea how to go to a bar and find a drug dealer. But, apparently, Ted does.

My roommate, sensing trouble on the way, told the bouncer that Ted was being a little unruly, and it was time for him to get cut off. The bouncer told Ted to close out his tab and leave, and that should have been the end of it. Instead, Ted gives his wallet, keys, cash, cell phone, and other items to my roommate, and proceeds to leave the bar in a car with the aforementioned strangers/potential-drug-dealers.

At this point, the only thing my roommate knows Ted has is my roommate’s cell number, since it seemed ill-advised to give our address to a guy riding around the area with sketchy strangers, drunk, possibly high, and very likely to attract police attention. However, the problem turned into “Where did Ted go?” and “How is he going to find his way home?”.

Finally at 5 AM, there’s a loud knock on the door, and voices. Lights go on and off, doors slam open and shut, and I have no idea who is in the house…whether it’s Ted, police, or angry drug dealers. All I know is I’m scared shitless, despite taking my evening Valium (prescription drugs are OK. :P ), and pretending not to be in the house. Finally after 6, it seemed that everyone was back in the house, and we all went to sleep…which would be great if I didn’t have to work, being Monday morning and all.

I wake up, and my roommate is on the couch, and Ted is passed out in my roommate’s bed. 2 PM, and he’s still here, sleeping it off. I find that Ted had been doing shots from my bar, and left the sticky shot glass sitting on the counter, so it was covered with ants, and the cheese I had bought to make grilled cheese this week was opened and used by not me.

I don’t understand. I’ve been a Couchsurfer for years, and have met many interesting people, and felt welcome at many different places. But I’d never dream of any of this behaviour that seems to characterise my roommate’s friends. I’d never abuse hospitality of a stranger, but especially not a friend.

I do like my roommate, especially since he’s been working on getting his life together, and has become a more considerate individual with whom to live—and because he adores my dog. But experiences like today’s make me believe I really need my own space, my own calm, and my own anxiety-free living situation. Perhaps some people are just “alone” types, while others are less bothered and feel less infringed-upon by rude visitors. I think I’m the first.