Does anybody read these?

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Time flies by

Am I the only person who feels like the older we get, the shorter our days seem?

Time is flying by. It's hard to believe we are half way through August. If you see the eight months that have come and gone with warp speed, let me know.

Over the weekend, I went to New Orleans. That place was awesome. More on that later, including a possible rant about the dangers and pitfalls of this always-connected society.

Now I am home. The week started off on Monday with a lecture from my nurse practitioner about not meeting my weight loss goals. This new gal is really take-no-prisoners, so I need to step up my game.

With that in mind, here are some short-term goals related to fitness.

1. Working out at least five times per week.
2. Logging food for at least 20 days in a row.
3. Wog (walk/jog) a 5k on Sept. 27 (which is already paid for).
4. Complete the 30-day tricep dip challenge, with another challenge to follow.
5. Lose 10 pounds by the time I go to Disney World in October.

I also have several personal goals that I need to work on. Yesterday I finally realized that I am in a much better place than I was at the beginning of the year emotionally, even though it took me a helluva long time to figure it out. I deserve to be with a partner who is truly my partner, who is free to love me as much as I love him (yes, probably him). This means no more people with exes or spouses or emotional baggage that is holding them back. I shouldn't have to say that and it shouldn't have taken this long to figure it out. The reality is, when God sends you the person you are supposed to be with, that person will not be encumbered to someone else. They won't. They'll be ready to love you. And if you meet someone who isn't quite there and you love them, well, let them go and pray for them until he or she can figure his or her shit out. It's not your job to figure someone's shit out for them.

Which reminds me, after I get back from Disney I am tightening the belt and getting in a better place financially, even if it means eating dried beans for half my life. I need to not rely on any other human being for anything, including my ability to pay my mortgage and/or my light bill. At some point I really do need to live like a grown-up, which means paying all my bills myself and not living beyond my means. Ideally, I would like to have my mortgage and my student loans be my only debt by the end of next year at the latest. This could be an interesting year.

Lastly, I want to get back on trying new recipes every week. I know I keep saying that, but I am for real this time. I have 70 million cookbooks and get at least 16,000 recipe emails per week. So why am I going back and forth among the same recipes? It's time to get creative.

That's it for my update. In short, shit's about to get real and it should be pretty fun. If nothing else, I promise you'll get a laugh or two at my expense along the way.

Sunday, June 22, 2014

Not a bad thing

If I had seen this video before everything fell apart, I might have used it to plead my case.

It's not a bad thing to fall in love with me.

It really isn't. Despite what you may have heard.

There's no pleading now. Ships have sailed. I don't know about everyone's heart, but mine is in 20 million tiny, little pieces.

I lit a candle today at church. I prayed that she'll be OK, whatever that means. Her place in my heart is secure, even if it gets smaller as time passes by.

Lessons learned. Tears shed. It really is getting easier everyday.

But some days I would still love to run after her, apologize for whatever imaginary grievance is in her head...but I know that's not fair to me, accomplishes nothing and will probably only end up hurting me even more in the end.

Every single nook and cranny of this part of town reminds me of her. Every single day when I go to work it's like pouring salt into wounds.

Not sure how to fix it. Not sure how to fix anything.

But anyways, back to the topic. I seriously am pretty damn lovable, and I promise that I'll catch you if you let yourself fall...



Tuesday, May 13, 2014

It's the same...only different

About this time seven years ago, someone who had walked out on me reappeared in my life rather miraculously. Folks who have been around for some time, know what it was like for me to reunite with someone who is truly my soulmate (just not the house, two kids and a golden retriever kind of soulmate) and rekindle our friendship like we had never been apart. There have been lots of tears and laughs over the past seven years, and it's hard to believe that we've known each other since 1997, because I can tell you almost every detail of the day we met like it was yesterday. And I -- this will shock you -- was pretty not sober the day we met. I was wearing a plaid flannel shirt (it was the 90s, I was in college and loved bands from Seattle) that day. We were standing by a fish tank in a house in Dayton, Ohio, talking about how much we hated John Engler. Of course, we had to be lifelong friends.

And we have been for the most part. I adored him, and I thought we'd be married and have kids, because I thought we were that kind of soulmates. And, had he not been gay, I am 99 percent sure we would have been. Of course, that sticky little point led to a lot of problems between us and a lot of heartache for both of us. He, because he couldn't love me and didn't feel like he could tell me why; and I, because I loved him with my entire heart and didn't understand what I was doing wrong and why things weren't going the way I thought they were supposed to.

Ultimately, rather than tell me why things weren't working, he disappeared off the face of the earth. It was before cell phones, but landlines were disconnected and emails bounced back. My belongings that were in his possession were returned to me unceremoniously in a box in the mail with no return address and no explanation.

Sparing you all the gory details, I will say this is not a good way to leave someone who likes to blame herself for all the world's problems. It took me a long time to recover, and as I sit here right now going through a similar situation and feeling all the same feelings of rejection, negative self worth and blame, I am wondering if things are ever really OK.

Before I moved to Nashville, I was riding in the car with my mother and my aunts from Detroit back to Ohio. I was sitting in the back seat, when I looked over and saw his car next to us. When he passed us, I saw that he had Georgia plates, and I remembered that the last time I saw him he told me that he was going to move to Atlanta when his parents retired to their property in East Tennessee. I told him this story when I found him later, and he never saw me that day. Oh, and did I mention that I-75 is one of the largest roadways in the United States? When you think about it that way, seeing him that day had to be a miracle.

When I moved to Nashville, I knew he lived in Atlanta from that encounter on the highway. I knew his parents lived outside Chattanooga because he had shown me their retirement property. At a friend's urging, I looked them up and reached out to them. They gave him the letter I wrote to them, and he contacted me. And I will never forget that day I came home to Carol's house and saw an envelope with his handwriting on it on the kitchen counter, mostly because it was a day that I never thought I would see. I thought he hated me. 

So, let's fast forward to 2014. If you have been following me since February, you know that I found myself in a very unexpected relationship that I believe ended because the other person involved couldn't reconcile her feelings about me with how she thought she was supposed to feel. Throughout our relationship she kept telling me that she was crazy about me but it was complicated and she would explain it, but she never did.

Sound familiar?

Anyhow, we tried to be friends and I thought we were doing pretty well with it, but ultimately she declared our friendship "awkward" and walked away with no more explanation than that.

I should've been getting a sense of deja vu about the whole thing, but I was too busy being sad that someone I cared about so much was walking away from me. I have also spent a lot of time trying to figure out what I did wrong to make someone go from loving me and being crazy about me to completely discounting my existence as a human being, deleting (and/or blocking) me from all aspects of her life and treating me rather cruelly. It's so odd, because I never would've imagined myself in this situation, and at the time I didn't feel like our relationship was so big, but this is a lot more painful than I ever thought it would be.

And then last night, I was telling someone who told me he had no gay friends the story of me and Mike. And then it hit me.

When Mike walked away (also because he couldn't reconcile his relationship with me with his sexuality), I never thought I would see him again. I blamed myself because I didn't know the truth. All I knew was that I didn't know how I could go on without my best friend in my life anymore.

But then, several years later, once he and I were both in better places, God had him drive past me on one of the busiest and largest interstate highways in the world. And, not long after that, we were finishing each others' sentences again. Yeah, it's different now, but all I really wanted was to have my friend in my life, and I do. And it's exactly what God always intended for us.

And nowadays, it's easier. I've had the same phone number for 15 years. You can pretty much google anyone and find them. And as easy as she blocked me on all that social media, she could unblock me.

Well, I take that back. Contacting someone when you're ready is easier. But getting there is still a big, giant pain in the ass that requires tons of work. And prayer. Everyone just pray that I will heal and she will find her way in life. In times like this, it's good to remember the words of Mother Teresa: "I know God will not give me anything I can't handle. I just wish he didn't trust me so much."

Friday, May 02, 2014

Realizations

I think I might need to rename this blog, "I go to therapy so you don't have to!" This has been a week of stress, heartache, sadness, and -- perhaps most importantly -- self-reflection and realization. Expect to hear a little bit more about self care in the future.

I don't have much time to write at this minute. It's the busiest week of my year at work, and I did not need someone to upset my apple cart but being a jerk earlier this week. While I didn't have time for grief and loss, I have spent all my free time realizing a lot about myself and the behavior of others.

I have learned a few things this week. I learned that when you love someone that it's OK to let them walk away. While it hurt for me to be released from their lives, I also learned that they needed me to release them, too. They need to work on themselves and focus on what they want and where they are going before we could figure out where -- if anywhere -- we are going together. As I said earlier today, "Someone will always have a place in my heart, but she will need to seriously man up before she can have a place in my life again." And I meant it.

At the same time, pushing me away doesn't make your problems lessen, it just pushes them away and you don't have your support system. Severing ties with me will not make you love your husband, put food on the table, make you straight or help your children behave. All it does is postpone the inevitable, and now you don't have your biggest cheerleader there to help you and cheer you on.

My heart hurts, but I will be OK. I have plenty of people who do love me and who are there for me. All I can do now is pray that everyone else finds the same thing for themselves.

Take care of yourself. It's the best thing you can do. And maybe running away and hiding from reality is how you do that for a while. Just don't make it a habit, OK?

Sunday, February 23, 2014

Katy Perry kissed a girl...and no one cared

This is probably the most real that you will ever see me be.

And I am scared to death, but I firmly believe that the ability to tell your story makes you a better writer. And sometimes you have to bare your soul to do that.

A few months ago, a friend mentioned that her life was going too well and it was making it difficult to write. I chuckled, but she’s probably on to something. Hemingway was a raging alcoholic (sadly, many writers are), F. Scott Fitzgerald probably gaslighted his beloved Zelda, and Sylvia Plath stuck her head in an oven. Tortured souls are not few in writing. And, while I would never have the balls to compare my writing or life experiences to theirs, I guess maybe angst and writing go hand-in-hand. Or, maybe it’s something in our personalities that make us writers in the first place. I’ve said many times that I have no idea what I would do if I couldn’t write anymore.

But this story isn’t about writing. This story is about a recent stop on my life’s journey. I almost said “detour,” but I think detour implies that it was a path you didn’t want to take. While it wasn’t a path I ever thought I would choose, I am glad that I took it. And even though part of me feels colossally stupid right now, I know that I will look back later on and realize that this was all part of the route my life was supposed to take.

I debated whether or not I should tell you all. After all, my heart was completely and totally ripped out of my chest this past weekend, so it doesn’t even matter anymore.

Except maybe it does. I could say that I am doing it to help just one other person who is struggling with the same situation, and that would be all nice and make us all feel good. But really, I think that no one should have to be ashamed of the person they love, and I am pretty sure that if I ever find out why I got dumped, that will be the reason.

I will never forget the first time I saw her. She had the most beautiful, big brown eyes, and the most perfect smile you will ever see, even with the gap between her two front teeth. She was with her grandson, although I found it very hard to believe that she was old enough to be a grandmother. While I was instantly struck by her beauty, I was also smitten with her intelligence, her kindness, and her sense of humor. She also has the biggest heart of anyone I’ve ever met, and maybe that’s a good thing and a bad thing. She was someone I wanted to be friends with, but I instantly felt like we connected on a deeper level.

I will spare you all the details, but I will tell you this was very new territory and I never felt scared with her. In fact, I’ve never felt safer than when I was with her. Have you ever kissed someone and not known where your body ended and the other person’s began? That’s how it was. We were both wild about each other, and we had to keep pinching ourselves to make sure we weren’t dreaming. We did a lot of romantic stuff, but we did a lot of stuff that friends would do like going shopping for shoes in the middle of the night on Black Friday.

It was complicated. She had a husband, and I understood that he came first. I liked him, and he liked me. We both wanted her to be happy. I had no illusions that we would live happily ever after, although I did ask her one night if something happened to him would she want to get married, and she didn’t even have to think about it.

So, maybe I was foolish to think it could go anywhere. All I know is that being in this situation turned my life upside down. Was I OK with this, and what would I do if people found out? I decided, also perhaps quite naively, that I didn’t care. The only thing that was important to me was having her in my life.

I don’t know what went wrong. She got a new job, and she was working insane hours. She was stressed out, and she told me that she pushes people away when she gets stressed. But at some point, I realized that she was shutting me out for whatever reason. And now, things aren’t good anymore. In fact, they’re about as awful as they could be. We had a horrible fight on a few weeks ago, and I’m pretty sure that she’ll never talk to me again. So, if I wasn’t sure what I’d done to make her stop loving me before, I guess I know now. Maybe it’s better, because now I have a reason for her to hate me.

While it’s over and only about four people in the whole world even knew about it (although there may have been more because my roommate says we were incapable of looking like straight people when we hugged), I feel like I need to share this part of my journey. Am I gay now? No, I still like men. Very much so. I don’t even know that I would call myself bi, because don’t think that I would ever seek out another woman to date. What I realized was that no matter whether you call yourself gay, straight, bi, whatever – you don’t choose the person you love. If you do, you’re doing it wrong, and you’re probably missing out.

I don’t even know at this point if my friendship with this amazing woman can be salvaged. I hope that it can, but I apologized for being an asshole and left that ball firmly in her court. Ironically, now that she’s told me that she just wants to be friends and stopped sending me mixed signals (which has been our dance for the last month or so), I would be OK with just being friends. In fact, I told a friend last week that I think I just do better when I only have platonic relationships anyhow. However, I was not nice, and I won’t be surprised if I never hear from her again.

Would I go back and take a different path if I had the chance? Not anything except when she started to shut me out, I would have had more of a conversation about it (because I didn’t realize she was friendzoning me; I thought she was just pushing me away to deal with stress), and I never, ever would have fought with her last weekend. I wouldn’t have never met her, or never gone out with her, or never fallen in love with her. I treasure every minute that we’ve had, even if we never see each other again.

Maybe someone will read this and have the courage to look for love in unexpected places. Maybe someone will read this and have the courage to come out. Maybe someone will read this and have the courage to deal with their own issues about their sexuality instead of hurting his or her partner. Maybe someone will just have the courage to talk to his or her partner instead of running away. After all, who would better know what you're going through?

And, maybe just maybe, someone will read this and realize that no one really chooses who they fall in love with and that it’s not our place to speculate or judge about what happens behind closed doors.

Whatever your journey, I hope it’s the ride of your life.

Song of the day: “Same Love” by Macklemore and Ryan Lewis.

(Sidebar: The title of this post comes from the fact that Katy Perry kissed Miley Cyrus this past weekend. On the lips. In front of tens of thousands of people in the Staples Center. And no one seemed to care. The times they are a' changin', folks.)

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Sunday, February 02, 2014

Worth repeating

Even though I am a writer, I have never been much for poetry. I'm more of a prose person, and I tend to prefer nonfiction over fiction.

However, about seven years ago, I wrote this poem. A guy I liked totally shot me down, partly because we were too different. Here I sit now, in a different time and in a different situation, and this time no one will tell me what I did wrong, just "I wasn't feeling it anymore. I don't know what to tell you."

I have always been the type of person who wants to be friends with someone first. So my attempts at dating always end up going horribly wrong because most people aren't wired like me. And then I take it poorly because I have lost a friend that I would do anything for.

This time it wasn't just me falling for a friend, I was pretty sure the friend fell for me too. I guess not enough to stop "feeling it" at some point. Regardless, right now I feel hurt, stupid and embarrassed because I totally got mixed signals and made a complete and total ass of myself. Plus, I am losing someone who had been my rock and was there for me more times than you can even imagine. I would probably still be sitting in Orlando crying about the Disney thing if she hadn't called to check on me.

That was a lot of lead in to revisit this poem. After eight years and a lot of different experiences, we could probably change the lines a little bit here and there. But I didn't. The main message is still the same. I'll keep praying that some day I'll find someone who thinks I'm worth keeping around.

Maybe someday ...

I'll be thin enough.
I'll be pretty enough.
I'll be funny enough.
I'll be smart enough.
I won't be too young.
I won't be too old.
I won't be too liberal.
Or maybe I'll be liberal enough.

Maybe I won't be too loud.
Maybe I won't talk too much.
Maybe I'll speak up when I need to say something.
Maybe I won't be flaky.
Maybe I'll take myself less seriously.
Maybe I won't drink too much.
Maybe I'll cuss less.
Maybe I'll go to church more.
Maybe I'll be in the right place at the right time.

Maybe I'll just take life by the balls.
Maybe someone else will, just in case I can't.

Maybe, just once, I'll be worth it.

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Sidenote

Just a quick sidenote to let you that it appears I may have been hasty in predicting 2014 to be "the best year yet." So far, it's failing miserably to live up to that proclamation.

I might tell you more later. I focused on the Disney thing today because that's the only thing that made me cry at therapy today. I also tried a new hot dog next door, so that was awesome.

Song of the day: Wrecking Ball by Miley Cyrus. (No, I am not linking to it because the video frightens me. It also frightens me that my life this week can best be summed up by a Miley Cyrus song, but sometimes bad things happen to good people.)

The Run Disney Fiasco

(This is officially the longest post ever in the history of a blog. It's also something that I am really mostly writing to be cathartic. God bless you if you attempt to read it, but please don't think any less of me if you do. Thanks.)

I am not sure if I mentioned it here, but my running trip to Walt Disney World in October ended up being a giant fiasco, and I ended up not getting to complete the race. Only a few folks in the whole world knew the whole story because it was embarrassing. Until now. I really feel like I need to share my story because I really need to get all of the information out there about what happened. This week, as I was planning a non-running trip to Disney later in the year, I started to have anxiety about it. Even though I am not running, I still have negative feelings associated with what happened, and I still worry that The Happiest Place on Earth just might not meet my expectations on future visits.

I don't want to bad-mouth Disney. For the most part, their customer service always exceeds expectations. They do so much to make sure each and every guest to their properties has an exceptional experience. But, that can be a blessing and a curse, because that is why I am so pissed off about the whole situation.

A few days after the fiasco happened, I sent this letter to Disney. A few weeks after that, I received a package in the mail with a race shirt that I will probably never be able to fit into, a necklace and a pin. I never did get my medal, but the biggest issue with this package was that there was no accompanying documentation. No letter, no note, nothing. I'm assuming I was given some swag because they felt bad for me after the fiasco, but there wasn't even a post-it note with a frowny face to let me know that anyone cared.

I needed someone to let me know that they heard my concerns. I would've preferred that person apologize, maybe have offered me a discount to try another race later. That doesn't cost them anything. After all, they got my $130 registration fee, not to mention hundreds of dollars in souvenirs, tickets, freaking waters all day long on race day, etc., for a race that never happened. But, perhaps most importantly, I want to know that nothing like this will ever happen to me again at Walt Disney World, and that nothing like this will ever happen to another human being at Walt Disney World. No one should have to go through what I did.

I am not going to rehash what happened. I hope no one will judge me for what you are about to read. I have made my peace with what I did in this story. I am sharing it so you can see my account and the information that was relayed to Disney. Perhaps you'll even think that I am justified in being upset that I didn't receive any feedback from what I told them.

I think that's my biggest issue here. Companies all over the world train their employees to be more like Disney. If you've ever been to a Disney park, you know that it is a well-choreographed spectacle designed to provide exceptional customer service. It isn't even really the actions of the original employee who yelled at me and intimidated me that bother me at this point, it's the fact that I feel like this company that is known for it's top-notch customer service has completely and totally dropped the ball on guest relations here.




Oct. 10, 2013
RunDisney
Walt Disney World
P.O. Box 10000
Lake Buena Vista, FL 32830
To whom it may concern:
On Saturday, I was scheduled to run in the Tower of Terror 10-miler, but I was unable to participate. I wanted to share some feedback from the event in hopes that changes can be made in the future so that what happened to me does not occur again. And while my situation was disappointing and embarrassing, most Disney cast members did what they could to ensure that my visit to Walt Disney World met my expectations. A few even went above and beyond and deserve to be commended, which I will do later in this letter.
We started our trip at the Expo at ESPN Wide World of Sports. While it was busy, the lines moved more quickly than I expected and I made some new friends while waiting for my bib and official merchandise. All of the cast members and volunteers at the Expo were great, and the experience even convinced my family members who were with me – my brother, aunt and four-year-old nephew -- to try a Run Disney race in the future! I also appreciated the tips to get ready for the race the next day, and I tried to follow them as religiously as possible.
Unfortunately, that is where I ran into trouble. Because of the race-day heat advisory, I took special care to remain properly hydrated for the race. This might have been OK had there not been traffic that turned the normal 11-minute commute from the hotel to ESPN WWOS into over an hour commute. This might have been OK if I had known there would be no restroom facilities available at ESPN or if at least six people – including cast members, volunteers and the bus driver – hadn’t told me that I would be allowed to use the bathroom on the bus. Because after drinking all that water and being stuck in traffic, I really needed a bathroom break, and the bathrooms on the bus were locked. When I got to Hollywood Studios and spotted the lines for the porta-potties (at least 40 people in each line), I knew there was no way I could make it, so I went up to the first cast member I saw (whose name I did not get). I told her that I had to use the restroom emergently and that everyone at ESPN had told me I could go on the bus and it was locked and if I didn’t get to a bathroom very soon, I was going to have an accident and not be able to race.
That cast member pointed at two porta-potties behind a tent and told me just to go over and use them because there was no wait and I wouldn’t miss the race. I took off as quickly as I could and headed over to those restrooms. However, as I am on my way over there I hear someone yelling and realize he is yelling at me. A cast member named Pat from North Miami stopped me and told me that I could not be in this area because it was only for cast members and volunteers. I then explained my situation and told him that a cast member sent me over here to use the restroom.
I will be the first to admit that I was not behaving as the ideal Disney guest at this point. I was in the throes of having a panic attack and I know I yelled at him and probably used poor language. I was desperate and upset and on the verge of having an accident right there in the parking lot. I had been training for eight months and all I could see was the failure and disappointment of not completing this race. He got upset with me and wouldn’t let me through. He told me I had to wait in the line with everyone else, not understanding that I didn’t have time to do that. When he got upset with me and raised his voice, it scared me and because I already had to go to the bathroom, I wet myself. No way could I run with wet pants for ten miles, so I just asked a team member to put me on a bus that would take me back to ESPN and gave up on my dream to complete the race.
 I know he was just doing his job, but every single other cast member went out of their way to make sure I that I was able to participate in the race. After I had my accident and went back on the bus to ESPN so my brother could pick me up, the cast members there even offered to get me a shower and find some shorts so that I could run, but by then I was so upset that I didn’t have the mental energy to run. When you look at that example, what would it have hurt for him to escort me over to the restroom so that I wouldn’t have wet myself and been unable to complete the race, especially after another cast member had sent me over there to use the restroom?
After spending hundreds, if not thousands, of dollars and dragging my family to Orlando, not to mention logging months of training, so I could do this race, it was very disheartening that this happened. First of all, I felt like Pat could have had a little more compassion. It didn’t hurt any of the other team members to be kind. They all understood how hard I worked and wanted me to complete the race as much as I did. But mostly, I think it is important in the future to have a few porta-potties at ESPN before people get on the bus, as well. Honestly, if so many people hadn’t told me that I could use the bathroom on the bus, I would have found a way to go beforehand, because completing this race meant a lot to me. I also probably would’ve stopped somewhere to go if I would have realized that a) there were no restroom facilities until the starting-line porta-potties (those always have lines) or b) that the last bus didn’t really leave at 8 p.m. sharp. In fact, when I left ESPN at 9 p.m., there were still people boarding the buses.
The whole situation was a comedy of errors and fraught with miscommunication. Like I said, there were some cast members who did hate to see me miss out and did want to make the situation right, including an ESPN cast member named Jamie and a Run Disney cast member named Megan (Jamie said Megan was the onsite manager for the event). Megan tried to find whatever solution she could so that I could run and even offered to mail me my medal when I told her that I just didn’t think I could mentally regroup in time. Except for being unable to run the race (which was a huge negative), our trip went well and so many great cast members provided us with a stellar experience. But I know that lots of folks participate in the races and I feel like I need to offer feedback that can help you improve in the future.
Most likely, I will be back for another Run Disney race. It is a big expense, and I am not sure when I will have the money to do it again, but it is something that I hope to experience in my lifetime. I am very sad that I missed the whole thing when I see the photos on the RunDisney website and when I saw everyone walking around Sunday in their medals and shirts. I should’ve been there with them! While I did not get the whole experience, which was unfortunate because Hollywood Studios is my favorite park and I really was looking forward to running there, Jamie and Megan did work hard to make sure that I didn’t go home with hurt feelings and I truly appreciate that. I just wish that all cast members had been so understanding so that the situation never happened in the first place.
Hopefully you will take this letter to heart and use my feedback when planning future RunDisney events.
Thank you for your time. If you would like to contact me to follow up or with any questions, my information is below.