5 Great Things in My Life Right Now

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Good things are happening in my life.

I tend to blog or journal only when things are not going well. I think most of us do that. We need a place to vent and collect our thoughts. There’s nothing wrong with that, but… if it’s ALL you do, you’re kind of manifesting the crappiness by putting your energy there, rather than in positive places.

So anyway, I thought I’d share some things I’m pleased about:

1. My house is my beautiful home.
I’m beyond happy I decided to sell my old house and buy the one I have now. Not only is it a nicer home in a nicer neighborhood (holy shit, I have legit mansions for neighbors!), but I am saving money every month on mortgage payments and utilities. But one of the coolest effects of being in the new house is how much it brings me back to how things were, before my Mom had her brain injury and I was perfectly happy being an independent single woman.
This house reminds me of my old one, the one I put lots of work into and personalized until it was my own space. Not only is the layout similar, I’m treating the space like it is MINE. Meaning, I have been turning it into my haven, my place to relax and be calm and happy. I’m phasing out my old, function-only stuff that reminds me of days better left in the past. There’s something to be said for choosing beautiful items to surround you. I know, THINGS are not important in the grand scheme of life, of course. But we do need some things, like furniture, bedding, and lamps. So why not hunt around for ones you truly love to look at, touch, and use? It’s been really fun and I love walking into my home at the end of the day and feeling this cool energy that’s manifesting more and more all the time.
Another benefit? The animals seem very happy there, too. Poor arthritic Hurley appreciates that we have more carpet again. The cats have more windows to sit in, and my Mom bought them their own water fountain. The dogs don’t have to navigate around a big pool right outside the back door anymore, and they have more room to lounge in the sun now that I put the patio in. (I do need to try to break them both of their bad habit of using the patio as a toilet… I am currently hosing things down every day and trying to coax them back into the grass.) They also seem to enjoy our mellow walks every night up and down the street. Hurley cannot walk very far these days, but he loves the grass over at the Mormon church that’s 4 doors down from us. Not sure what it is, but he could spend an hour just wandering around and sniffing every single thing if I let him.
Anyway, it is just so nice to be comfortable in my home again and feel like it is a perfect home base for me, my pets and my family.

2. Got a job interview.
I’ve been quietly talking with a company for almost two months now and finally, this Thursday, I have a phone interview with the person who could be my next boss. It’s another marketing job, and it would be a slight pay cut, but I am still psyched about it because: it is 100% telecommute. I could work from home and not leave my babies every day for 10+ hours! And I’d be saving so much money on gas, food, and wear and tear on my car. I would also be away from the negativity that is my currently work situation and maybe even be more challenged and motivated under a different boss. I’m so burned out from being the ‘voice of reason’ over here–I feel like there are multiple times a week someone panics/overreacts to something and I am able to calm them down, but that role gets tiresome pretty damn fast. Anyway, I hope I am not jinxing anything by writing about this here, but at this point I’m just excited that this opportunity is not off the table yet. A friend of my sister’s works there and she has been batting for me all the way from day one when they created this new position and now they are finally ready to hire and I like to think I’m a top candidate. Fingers crossed!

3. Nephew is on his way!
Two weeks from Wednesday, little Samuel is scheduled to join our family. This time around, my sister has had a MUCH easier pregnancy (no cancer this time!) and the baby is doing just fine. I just adore my niece more than anything, and I can’t quite get my head around how it’s going to be with not one little adorable kid to spoil, but TWO. I felt this way before Rose was born, too… unsure how it was all going to feel and if I could find more love in my heart, so obviously I am confident that we’re going to have a great time with this new unknown! I’m excited to see how Rose reacts to being a big sister and all the times I will be able to “steal her” so her parents can have some one-on-one time with the newbie. I now have a car seat installed in my car and it’s been awesome knowing I can go pick her up if I want to spend time with her. Right now, i am beginning to set up my 3rd bedroom as a kid’s room/guest room, too. I’m in the market for a crib/toddler bed and a chair-top high chair. It’s really fun! I love being an aunt. Love it, love it.

4. It’s often like it never happened.
So, when it comes to ‘getting over’ the horrible asshole ex, I am doing better all the time. A main reason for this is because I am out of the house that totally felt like OUR house (not MY house), of course. But more than that, I have returned to my previous state. As I mentioned in my first section above, I did well being an independent single woman, with my own house and no desires to date again. Now I am back to that, essentially. I transitioned pretty well back to single life, if I don’t say so myself. I love sleeping alone. I love being able to sing and dance around the house and put things where I want them. I love the lazy mornings where I don’t have to get dressed right away and can just lie in bed and read, or the nights I get a burst of energy and start working on a project or cleaning until 1am. So not only does my current house remind me of the house that was “the most ME” of any I’ve lived in so far, I’m mentally working my way back to being totally cool with not having a man in my life.
I miss certain things about being in a committed relationship, but those things aren’t better than what I have now, if I really think about it objectively. I mean, one of the things I liked about the last relationship was the fact that he never gave me crap about anything I wanted to do on my own, so I just did it. Well… that has not changed, now that the relationship is over. No one is STILL not giving me crap about what I want to do. 😉 And it’s not like I had sex in my last relationship, so THAT hasn’t changed, either. In fact, it’s better now in one sense… I can fully enjoy my silly crushes on celebrities without any sarcastic/teasing comments or anything. My Ben Barnes crush is more potent now than EVER because the dude is finally enjoying some success in his career. He has been so great in The Punisher and Westworld. So great, and so effin’ hot. I can’t with this guy. I’m ruined for all real-life guys unless they look and sound like him.

5. Writing is creeping back to life.
Another thing I am hesitant to jinx, but I’ve been thinking the way I used to about my book(s). I am back to creating playlists and writing out snippets of possible dialogue when they come to me. These are all things I once did automatically when I was deep into writing my novels, so I am happy as hell these things are coming back. I wasn’t doing this stuff for at least a year (it coincides with the fucking Dolphinaris activism stuff, followed by political activism… I got carried off with the work there and my creative side took a huge and debilitating hit). But now I am waking up again and I’m going to finish writing my current book very soon. I haven’t written more than a couple handfuls of new words so far, but that’s OK. It’s coming. I can feel it. I am SO, so, so damn grateful, because this is ME. This is what I do, what I am proud of. If I do not have my stories to tell and my characters, I am hollow. I’m filling back up again, though. I’m feeling more grounded and centered than I’ve felt in a long time in regard to “what I do.”

I have new goals I’m developing now and trying to put concrete visions into, mostly regarding health and how I spend my time each day, but that’s all stuff for another post. Either way, the point is, my life actually sounds pretty fantastic when I write about it like I did here on this post. That’s cool. I could have written about all the things that suck, that stress me out, that I dislike and I feel helpless about, but I didn’t. So that’s a step in the right direction, I think. I don’t need to fixate on that crap. But it’s fine to fixate on the GOOD. Hell, yeah.

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My past choices and actions tend to suck.

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On one hand, I do pretty well every day.

I have a very nice house of my own. I get up. I get ready and I drive 45-50 minutes to a job I do not love. While at that job, I do my best to be a solid employee and do all my work well. It’s a thankless job and at the end of the day, I drive home for another 45-50 minutes. I am a safe driver and I obey traffic laws.

I’m obedient to the wheel.

…You know the one.

The one that we’re all yoked to when we choose to live in society like ours.

If you want a place to live, and food to eat, you have to work. And work is rarely rewarding or fulfilling, it seems. We do this crap on what feels like an endless loop, moving toward… what?

Retirement, I guess.

We can finally, hopefully, enjoy free time and go do the things we want to do…when we are old and our remaining time limited. Yay. That’s cool.

I have been thinking a lot about ‘remaining time’ these days, and feeling reflective. I look back on choices I have made and cringe almost every step of the way, these days. I have taken some strange paths that, in retrospect, make me long for a whole pile of do-overs.

I wonder how different things would be if I had been a better girlfriend with a couple of past relationships (I’m talking the early ones, back before I met X and began the Real Mistakes). I hadn’t learned yet to not be selfish, and to not be jealous. I was threatened by things like friends-who-were-girls, and friends-who-did-drugs-and-partied, and hobbies and work, back when I was under 30.

If I had learned to not be a jerk earlier, would I have married my high school sweetheart? He was the only one that, to this day, I truly felt intense PASSION with; the only one to drive me absolutely insane with desire. What if I had done things differently and held up my side of the relationship better? If we had stayed together, would we have had a kid or two? I’ll never know; I didn’t go down that path.

If I had not gotten it in my head that I needed to get out of New Jersey and live somewhere different for a couple of years, would I have walked away from a future in the film and TV industry? I did something pretty stupid while taking the placement test for the New York Directors Guild of America program when I was a senior in college… I purposely threw my answers so they wouldn’t pick me. I had AZ on my mind and that was where I’d decided I wanted to be. I didn’t want to be “stuck” working out of NYC for a couple of years. So, I fucked my own chances at that career path all because I was young and my priorities were out of whack. I wonder sometimes where I would be today if I had followed through. I imagine my life would look and feel entirely different. I probably wouldn’t have moved to AZ, and I would have been surrounded by creative people and working in an industry I was (once) passionate about.

Instead… I have been working crappy jobs for just about 20 years. Selling my soul for a paycheck. I used to be really bothered by the monotony, the lack of creativity and excitement, and the absolutely boring-as-FUCK industries I had to immerse myself in and write about. I had more than a few mild meltdowns in my 20s and 30s where I was just miserable because I wasn’t doing what I loved and was simply going through motions to get money to live in a decent place and drive decent cars and stuff.

Today, I’m kind of used to it. Resigned, is the word. I am resigned to the fact that I will never get to write about things I actually enjoy or care about. I am not on “that” kind of writing career path. I’m on the boring, ‘someone’s got to write this nothing-copy’ side of the writing world. Yes, I do get to say I am a writer, which is what I always said I was going to be… but I can’t allow myself to think too long or hard about the reality of what kind of writer I am, or I want to find a gun and blow my fucking brains out.

I’m so lost without my fiction characters. They kind of faded away and I don’t totally know why. I used to have stories going all the time in my head. I used to love long drives because I’d listen to writing playlists and just THINK about my stories and characters. God, I would do that for hours at a time. And I did it from the time I was in middle school and got my first Walkman, right up until the past couple of years when I would listen to my specialized Spotify playlists as I commuted to and from work, every single goddamn day. I had been “this way” for all of my teenage and adult life. I didn’t know how to be something else, until… I no longer was.

Wish I could point to a moment where it ended, but I have thought about it, and I can’t. It was gradual.

The weird thing is, as it was fading away, I didn’t mind. I was OK with moving on with my life and my thoughts… I was OK spending my commute thinking of political arguments and animal rights activism messaging, all of the sudden. And I was OK with spending time with my new boyfriend and finally feeling “normal” and loved, and doing things I didn’t get to really do as a long-time single person. My books became after thoughts, and I dropped out of my writing critique group. I figured it was no big deal to no longer want to write.

Maybe I’m not meant to be a writer, I’d think. And that’s fine with me. I’ve changed. That’s how life is. 

But I wasn’t happy. I was something else. I’ve already talked ad nauseam on earlier posts about what went wrong with the last relationship and how I let it destroy me. So I don’t need to re-hash that, necessarily.

I wish I knew how to not feel like a traitor to myself. If that makes sense.

When did I just decide that going the easy route was ‘adequate’ and how the fuck did I convince myself that I just wasn’t destined to be anyone special at all… I was just another average person living an average life, never really committing to doing the difficult things, because chances are, I’m not going to get what I want, anyway…?

It’s funny how differently time moves when you’re young as opposed to its passing as we get older. Twenty years in AZ have gone by in a blur. I did have some great times, and I have some wonderful friends and I’ve had the pleasure of a number of amazing pets. I have a brother-in-law we never would have met if we hadn’t been in Arizona; and as a result, I now have an incredible niece, and a nephew on the way. I’m so damn grateful for all of them.

I just wish I had more of my own accomplishments to smile about.

I have severe issues with the reality that I am the end of my line… that I didn’t get to have a child. It’s the fault of two factors: one, endometriosis and the 75% probability that my Fallopian tubes were twisted and scarred to the point where egg fertilization wasn’t likely to occur without medical intervention; and two, I never was with a man long enough to be ‘ready’ to be parents with him, or flat-out didn’t want to have a child with that person because he was repulsive (X).

If I had met The One, and we were happy and healthy as a couple, I would have looked into my fertility a little more. There was a test I could have done to see how viable my f-tubes were. Hell, if I was serious enough, IVF was once a real possibility. However… HE never showed up.

And now I am 42.

I’m too old to be a new Mom now even if I found a way to get knocked up.

That makes me so, so, SO sad.

I really wanted to experience being someone’s Mom. I would have been good at it. I think about my kid-I-never-had on a regular basis. I feel so sorry I never found a way to make that kid exist. Not just because I’m alone and I will be very, very alone when I die… but because I am responsible for a person, or a couple of people, NOT being here. If that makes sense. It’s strange and trippy to really go down that path…

Anyway, Here’s the thing that happened tonight that got me thinking these sad, regretful thoughts:

Writer Ex and his wife did a live Facebook talk and I tuned in. In recent years, I have grown to think of him as “some guy I once dated back when I was really young” and it really feels like I was a whole other person when I was with him. I had to go through all kinds of phases over the past 15 years or so to get over him, to not be resentful of his success, and to finally just feel like I genuinely liked the guy as a person. And I liked his wife, too. It’s a neat thing to look at someone who is now basically “an old friend” and see him happy with his spouse and children, and not feel jealous or angry or ANYthing like that. I’m honestly happy for them. No joke. I would be honest here, of all places, if I secretly hated them. But I don’t.

Anyway, I saw them last weekend when I attended his latest book signing. It was nice. Yeah, a little awkward, because I always wonder what his wife thinks of me, really… but overall I feel like we’re all in a mature place and can trust things at face value.

So tonight I tuned in to their live discussion. The topic was the challenges of being married to a “creative.” The two of them talked about the struggles, the tricks they have learned, some insights into what works/what doesn’t, and answered questions. I asked a question, even, about how to deal with creative disappointment (bad reviews, not getting a part, that kind of thing) because it’s one thing my sister has had to learn to deal with in her marriage to her actor husband. I couldn’t ask anything personal to me, because… well, I am not married. Not even in a relationship. I have no true experience here. I tried not to think about that, though, at the time.

Until he said something about a “past girlfriend”… someone who didn’t understand what he was doing when he was sitting in his office staring into space. Someone who was selfishly unexcited about a theatre review in the paper, when he was very excited.

My stomach sank because… oh shit, was he talking about ME?

I like to think no, because he knew I was tuned in and would hear it. But the thing is, he didn’t date a lot of women and he only lived with two: me, and then his wife.

I don’t really remember a time when he came to my office to excitedly show me a review. But it could have happened, because I do know I was a crappy girlfriend sometimes back then. I was jealous and feeling unloved. I was not sure why he preferred spending time with his friends than with me, and it was super challenging to date someone who was agoraphobic and didn’t ever want to go out anywhere. We didn’t get to go on dates, really, because of his fears. (He’s since grown out of a lot of that stuff, if you’re wondering.) And, as I have mentioned on this blog before, he didn’t enjoy having sex with me. So, yeah, of course I had my reasons to be the way I was, but I still don’t feel great about how I reacted or behaved.

I feel sorry, if that WAS me he was talking about. I never intended to not respect someone’s passion and skills. I wish I had had a better handle on my resentment at feeling neglected or unappreciated, but I didn’t know how to do that, back then. I was younger and less experienced. I didn’t yet know how to compartmentalize and–as I stated when I started this post–get things done because THAT’S WHAT YOU DO as an adult.

The whole thing kind of threw me for a loop and now I’m feeling all shitty about being the non-supportive bitch in his past. I mean, people were commenting about how “wrong” that person was to not be a part of his happiness and that he was “better off” without that kind of negativity… no one needs that… and frankly, I just wanted to cry because it was a tough reality to consider.

Again, maybe he wasn’t talking about ME. Maybe it was whoever he dated right before me or something. (It couldn’t have been anyone after, because he immediately hooked up with his now-wife when we broke up.) Either way, this has been a strange and uncomfortable night.

I think I’ll go back to not connecting with them, again. I can still be supportive and even still like them as people, and as a couple. I just don’t need to engage, if that makes sense. If it stirs up regret and depression like this, it’s just not a good idea.

I’ve got too many things to sort through as it is. I have GOT to find a way to think differently about myself and find my characters and my motivation and self-respect. I need to focus on self-improvement, somehow.

After all, there isn’t much time left, really. I was just 22 not that long ago. I will be 62 in no time. This is IT. This is my life, and all that I get. I can’t keep on muddling through the mediocre slop for much longer. Somehow, I have to find the key to truly kicking my own ass into gear and MAKING THINGS HAPPEN. Find a way to have vitality and drive, to embrace the things about myself that are good and positive.

I’ll sleep on it, for now. Maybe tomorrow I’ll begin to feel like I see a path.

A path I WON’T regret, for a change.

 

 

 

Forgiveness? Not yet.

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Do you ever get upset at yourself because you can’t seem to avoid thinking about something that hurts you? I do. Often.
I try very hard not to think about the ex and his wife, but damn it… shit creeps in there anyway and it pisses me off.
I don’t want this or need this, and I am doing pretty well with moving on. I know I am. I don’t cry over it anymore. It’s just that this odd, low-grade feeling of disappointment and loathing that pops up and says hi at the most random moments.
The thing is, I know it’s going to get better. Because it already has. I’ve even had fleeting moments where I considered writing to him to tell him I know he’s just a dumb human and I forgive him.
But, NO. I don’t want to contact him. And I don’t feel like forgiving him yet.
The reason I consider forgiveness is in the hope that in doing so, I could feel closure and I could move past it once and for all. Like most of us, I’ve read and heard a lot about the power of forgiveness and how it can make you a stronger, “bigger” person, all of that. I do believe it, too. I remember feeling better after my divorce when I acknowledged that X was just who he was, and he couldn’t change his ways and it was OK.
I would like to do the same thing with “Mason and Candi” (the names I think I’ll call them when I write them into a book someday). Eventually. If I can.
We will see.
What happened was not okay, and my heart was shattered and pissed on by that guy. It’s still surreal sometimes to drive past places we used to go hang out, knowing I will never go there again with him. That our life together was just a blip, an anomaly… something that never should have happened. But it did, so I am still working on properly compartmentalizing it.
Things fall apart.
Not much can be done other than sweep up the pieces, trash ’em and find a way not to be angry at the thing for being weak and breaking.

Doing what feels right

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I’m happy to report I am definitely buying that house now.

I’m not getting it at the appraised price, though… we negotiated and fought back and forth and the lowest I could get them to go was $2K over appraisal. I slept on it for a full 24 hours AND I viewed three other cheaper homes in case I decided to back out of the contract… but in the end I decided it wasn’t worth losing this house over $2K.

There is nothing else decent on the market right now. Nothing. Even the stuff over my price point is kind of “mehh.” I’m not going to find a move-in ready house like this again anytime soon. And I already know that the house will gain lots of equity relatively quickly… that $2K will be ‘made up’ in no time. (The seller was even saying they could just sit on the house ‘a few months’ and see the value go up to the price they wanted, so there you have it.)

I feel so good to get this resolved. At last. It’s been a long three months of not-knowing-where-I’m-going-to-live.

I still don’t have a closing date, but it could be as early as a week from today. Wow!

I’ve got to line up the movers again so I hope I find out very soon. And I’ve also got to go buy a washer and dryer, so I can hopefully get them delivered a short time after I move in. (I’m domestic-geeky-excited to be buying a washer and dryer; it’s been a long time since I’ve done that and some of them are so nice now… I’m all oooohing and ahhhing over the possibilities, and trying to determine my budget. Because I still have to be frugal, of course.)

While I am happy about the home front news, I am getting more and more fed up with this job every day. I feel like Frank Costanza on Festivus when it comes to all the issues I have with the people here…

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I always try to temper my feelings about problems with supervisors with the thought of, I’m fortunate to have a job; I should be grateful and keep things in perspective.

Yeah, that’s all fine and good, but also: life is really short. I know how diligent a worker I am, and how principled and decent I am as a person and employee. I can be at a place that’s a much better fit, I’m sure of it. I just need to find it. This doesn’t feel right, and I don’t want to be treated like I am just some kid out of college who can be ‘bossed around’ and intimidated into total submission. Fuck submission. Not on the job, and NOT when you have about 20 YEARS of experience handling content and you’re damn good at what you do.

So, I am definitely, absolutely, going to begin my job search right away. I’ve already been talking to a few old coworkers and putting the word out that I’m open to opportunites.

My instincts are telling me this is a positive plan of action. I don’t have the same fear anymore, of leaving a job, as I did when I left my last one. Now I know I CAN move on and do well, and be OK. It’s never a bad idea to leave the devil you know, because… damn it, it’s still a fucking DEVIL. Get away from it!

Here’s to whatever is next! (drinks a shot of whiskey)

Just when you think everything is squared away…

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I got some good news late yesterday: the house appraised for $4,000 less than the price I was planning to pay. Awesome! My lender called me and we locked in a mortgage rate for the loan… it is kind of a bummer, because the interest rates have gone up so much since I first began this process back in November, but there’s nothing I can do. I was afraid they’d go even higher so I locked in. My mortgage payment will be more than I wanted it to be, but again, nothing I can do to change that right now.

A few hours later, my realtor called. I know when he calls rather than texts it’s something important. Turns out, the seller is refusing to honor the appraised price and wants the full amount I offered. My realtor was surprised, and so was I. In most instances, the seller understands they need to go with what the house is worth and reluctantly accepts the lower sales price.

It figures in my case, the seller is a company that flips houses and as my realtor put it, “every dollar counts to these people.” They also say they have other buyers lined up ready to buy this house at the price they want.

I countered back last night with this: the seller accepts the sales price that matches the appraisal, or I will cancel the contract. I figured I had nothing to lose by playing hardball right back at them. Call their bluff. Right now, I am waiting to hear their response.

Yes, so I’ve been trying to decide if it’s worth walking away from this house over $4,000. At the moment, I am leaning toward walking away. I’m already at the very top of my price point, and with the added interest rate percentages, my payment keeps ballooning more than initially expected. It’s still less than my last mortgage payment, but I am really serious about cutting expenses and being as efficient as possible with my money so I can save more.

Also, because I had asked for no seller concessions, I was already paying for all my closing costs on this house. The closing costs have already added $2K to my down payment… if I added this extra $4K, that’s just insulting and I feel like a schmuck being taken by someone who’s just greedy.

Sadly, my favorite backup house is now under a contingency contract. AND, to make things even more interesting, friends of mine are the ones planning to buy it. So if I try to find a way to wiggle in there somehow, it could ruin our friendship. So weird, right? (But as my family has pointed out, they sort of jumped in there and made an offer on that house right under my nose, knowing full well I was really into that house and had my eye on it for MONTHS… it would have been a courteous thing to ask me if I was planning to put an offer in on it before they did. Hell, I didn’t even know they were seriously in the market to buy. It came out of left field when my friend messaged me to tell me they are buying that house. I was shocked, but at the time I was happy for her and her family because it’s a great house. Now, a few weeks later, I am feeling selfish… ugh. What a mess.)

I found another house last night that’s a whole lot cheaper than the current one, and doesn’t look too bad. It appears to be another flip, which makes me a little nervous given what’s happening right now, but most of the houses in my price range that are not total dumps are flipped properties… the market is so tight and there is almost nothing to choose from.

I’m going to go view the new house tonight and begin formulating my backup plan should the seller on the current one decide that being a greedy dick is more important than unloading this house.

Of course, nothing can just go smoothly. But as lots of people like to point out, everything happens for a reason… maybe there is a better house out there for me. Or something.

And the other piece of all of this… why I am in a hurrry to buy something and close on it soon… is I want to find a new job. This one has worn out its welcome in a big way. I’ve got to say it’s the culture and the energy here that are driving me crazy. They started the new year with a newly-buckled-down attitude that basically treats the three “lower” employees like we are children. I don’t know why this is happening now, because as far as I could tell, no one here now was abusing the hours or cheating the system. Anyway, now we have to use this one door for our main entrances and exits and the receptionist is informally keeping track of what time we all leave and come back. Also, my boss said this thing about “8 hours is the mininum you should be working every day,” basically telling me I should be staying here late every day for no good reason. I mean, I would certainly stay late if a project was due or I needed to finish something, but to stay late just to have my butt in the chair where he can see me…? What’s the point of that? And how much time past 8 hours are they “expecting” me to work every day? One hour? Two?

Our employee handbook is no help, because it says a full time employee on salary here works 32 hours minimum a week. And that’s all it says.

I needed to leave an hour early one day to attend my house inspection, and then come in late the next day because I had document signing for the close on the sale of my house. I ended up being “out” two hours total, and I made up the time by not taking lunch hours either of those days. Now, any other job I’ve had where I’ve been salaried would have been perfectly fine with that; in fact, my last job probably would have just turned a blind eye to it because they just cared that “my work was done” and I was getting “close to” 40 hours a week.

But my boss was a bit of a jerk about it. Even though I easily made up the time on those two days, he still said that “8 hours is the minimum” thing to me.

So I’m pretty annoyed.

I haven’t been able to telecommute much because he gets weird about it. Says I can do it “as long as I have enough work to do.” So, basically, it’s okay if I don’t have enough work to do while I am sitting on my ass in my cubicle…? What’s the message here? I don’t know. So I don’t ask to telecommute unless I have absolutely no option.

And the “one bank of time off” thing has had me pissed since the first month I was here. I feel like I was tricked thanks to unclear wording in my offer letter. I need to use PTO for anything that has me out of the office (including jury duty or to attend the funeral of a close relative).

And finally, this commute is shit. I need to work on ‘my’ side of town again.

So, yeah, I am ready to start looking but first I’ve got to get a home nailed down. I’ll lose my chance at getting a mortgage if I suddenly change jobs. Nope, I’ve got to see the financial things through, in order, and then I can move on.

 

Victory! But first… moving out.

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On January 12, two new houses came on the market that had lots of potential. Both were in a great neighborhood, only two minutes’ from my Mom’s apartment. They were just two streets apart from one another, and about the same size and floorplan. They’d both clearly been flips, because all the flooring, the bathrooms and most of the kitchen had been remodeled. I haven’t been crazy about the idea of buying a flipped property–I was hoping for character, for something that was clearly loved by its owners and had well-done upgrades, not the often-rushed and cheap upgrades typical of a fast flip.

But the market has been SO tough right now. Not much to choose from. These houses were the best I was going to find. So, i made the appointment to go view them both with my sister on Saturday 1/13.

We viewed them on Saturday and both were really great, but it was obvious one house was the “winner.” It had some more unique features, a garage, and the back yard had been 80% landscaped. That’s rare. Seems like most flips do NOTHING with the yards. I’m used to seeing dirt lots with scraggly weeds along a messed-up old fence. This house, however, had new gravel, some stepping stones, and a rectangle of grass with a sprinkler system installed. The block fence had been freshly painted, which was a great touch.

I FINALLY breathed a sigh of relief. I could put an offer in on something! I ended up offering $2k over the asking price, and didn’t ask for any concessions, so my offer would have the best chance possible. Since it was already at the high end of my price range, I couldn’t offer more than that. I felt nervous about it as it was, because I had really daydreamed about having a MUCH lower mortgage payment every month. With this house, I’d still have a lower mortgage payment, but not the $200+ I was hoping to save. Oh, well. If I wanted something decent that didn’t need a ton of work and wasn’t in the shitty part of Mesa, I’d have to pay for it.

So, I did put in the formal offer, about an hour later. I did the whole thing on my phone. My sister and I went to lunch and then I went home to work on the packing. We gacve the seller until noon the next day to respond so I just tried to keep busy as I waited to hear.

At about 7:30 that night, my Redfin app pinged. It was alert that the status had changed on that house. It was already PENDING.

Son of a bitch…! I couldn’t believe it. In the same day I had put the offer in, someone else had been even faster and had beat me to it. Dejected, I sent a text to my agent to let him know I saw the MLS change for the listing and I hoped we could find something again soon. (There was always the other house I’d seen that day, and I was already thinking I’d put an offer in on that one.)

My agent called me right after that to tell me, “Congratulations! They just accepted your offer!”

Wow, what a psych-out, Redfin app! I’m glad it’s so fast to update things, but DAMN, that was a little TOO fast. So funny that the app found out before I did.

Either way, it was fantastic news. I felt such a wave of relief after that. Like I could finally drop my shoulders and breathe deeply.

But I had little time to celebrate because I still had LOTS of packing and organizing to do. I spent the next few days and nights after work just sorting through things, throwing things away, making a pile for the Salvation Army to come pick up on moving day, and of course taping up lots of boxes and stuffing them to capacity.

Damn, it was exhausting work. My sister came to help on Sunday but she’s pregnant, so I wouldn’t let her do anything with any lifting. She packed up most of my fragile stuff in the kitchen, which was still a tremendous help. But other than that, I did the entire house top to bottom, by myself.

I also sold my sectional couch to a really nice woman, who came to pick it up alone… so that meant helping her load this monster onto the trailer she rented. I also gave her the old china cabinet my ex-husband had bought, because I’m completely sick of it and it’s a collection place for junk. It was almost more annoying to get on the trailer than the pieces of the sectional, but we did it. Women rock. We work hard.

Somehow, I got it all done while still working full time. I did take off on Wednesday, when the movers were there.

The move went well, for the most part. It’s a company I’ve used before so I trusted them and that made it less stressful. The guys were moving fast, loading up the truck. But then the Salvation Army truck showed up and the driver refused to take more than half of the stuff I was attempting to donate. They said they didn’t have room on the truck even though I had given them an estimation of what I had when I scheduled the damn pick up. Hell, I had even thought I would have to donate the china cabinet at that point, but because the woman from Facebook took it, they had that one-less-thing, so I was pissed they were being all weird about it. They also wouldn’t take my old treadmill because I had dissassembled it. Grrr! I eventually resolved myself to the idea that I’d have no choice but to load my car up and take it all to the thrift store later in the day. At least they did take a couple big pieces of furniture I wouldn’t have been able to fit in my car, so that was something. Either way, fuck the SA. They also endorse trophy hunting, and hate LGBT people, so they can forever kiss my ass. I wouldn’t even have used them if the other groups like AZ Humane Society and Habitat for Humanity could have gotten a truck out there in time.

Anyway, so I finally followed the movers down to the storage unit. I did the paperwork and got the lock and access card, and once the guys were set with unloading, I drove up to Mesa to go open escrow on the new house I was buying. I was able to do that and grab a fast sandwich, schedule the home inspection on the new house, schedule the signing of the closing documents on the one I sold, and still get back down to the storage place before the guys finished unloading. I felt ultra-efficient for that.

After that, I went to my Mom’s and dropped off my carload of suitcases and storage bins that had everything I would need to live at her place for the next few weeks. My car now empty, I drove back to my old house and was about to load up the car for the thrift store run when I looked up and noticed… the movers had completely missed an entire shelf in my garage.

Noooooo! Well, I had no other option but to get it all down and load it into my car, and drive it down to the storage unit 35 minutes away. I did that, and then drove BACK to my old house to finally take the crap to the thrift store.

Once I finished all of that, I went back to the house one more time for a final check-over and to get the food in my fridge/freezer into the coolers so I could bring it to my Mom’s. At this point I was feeling shaky from exhaustion, but I finally got over to Mom’s, unloaded the car and she and I went to a late dinner over at Cracker Barrel. WHEW. I was finally DONE with the hardest part!

The next day, I had to work of course, and it was my first time getting ready in the morning at my Mom’s apartment. But I made it in on time somehow.

One expense I am so GLAD I went for was having someone professionally clean my old house after I moved out. In the past, I have busted my ass cleaning everything myself, but with everything going on, and the nice profit I was making from the sale, I figured this would take a little stress off, and it sure did. I’m always going to do that now when I move out of a place.

I had the home inspection that afternoon at the new house. I’m happy to report nothing major was found. Two brand-new appliances were not working, so the seller is replacing those, and some minor things have to be fixed, but the seller agreed to do all of them. Awesome!

So, now I am just waiting to find out what my closing date actually will be so I can schedule my move-in. I do know it will be on or before February 15. Until then, yes, I am staying at my Mom’s apartment with the four pets. It’s been very crowded, but I am so lucky my boys make it easy by being really, really well behaved. The cats took to their new surroundings without an trouble at all and have transitioned to using only one litterbox for the time being. The dogs are now used to going for brief walks outside to do their business, and my Mom is being ultra-accommodating and sweet. I don’t know what I would do without her, really. I’m even sleeping in her bed with her every night and she only complained a little about my snoring.

Today is the appraisal on the new house and Im hoping it comes in below the amount I was going to pay. It might, because the seller only bought it in November and the very, very fast appreciation needs to be justified. They submitted a list of upgrades and things they did to fix the house before putting it on the market but it wasn’t as high as it might have been… we’ll see.

Either way, I am excited to have a plan in place, and also that I’ve got a wonderful blank canvas to personalize and turn into a home. I’m looking forward to doing projects on this new house. Painting, changing out light fixtures and adding to the landscaping, mostly. It’s nice to know I don’t need to do anything huge like gut a kitchen, or put a new roof on the house, or any of that. Just move in and start relaxing. And then start painting. 😉

An inspired holding pattern

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I’ve got an obsession right now. I can’t stop thinking about finding a house! In my last post, I explained the situation–that my house closes next Friday, and I haven’t found one to buy yet–and since then nothing has changed. In fact, my anxiety has only ramped up in some ways.
I don’t feel as down or worried as I was, per se. I got some important things taken care of earlier this week so I’m a lot more prepared now for moving out. (I lined up the movers, decided on self-storage instead of a pod container service, and lined up my internet and cable suspensions/closed the accounts.) Just getting those things taken care of helped me feel more in-control again. Even though nothing great has come onto the market yet, at least I am almost ready to take the next sequential step. That’s something.
However, the house thing is on my mind non-stop. Throughout the entire workday I am checking my phone in case the Redfin app has updated with a new listing. Once I’m home I am refreshing the app constantly and checking my email, because sometimes a listing is sent first to my email and then goes live on the app. Plus, there’s a chance my realtor could notify me about something interesting. (Am I insane for still holding out a shred of hope that my dream house’s buyer will fall through and I can be the buyer? Probably! I bet that sale is in the home stretch of the escrow period and will close soon.)
I check it once before going to sleep, and the when I wake up I look at my phone IMMEDIATELY. I also check it a couple times while driving in to work. I can’t seem to stop.
I know it’s just because I am the kind of person that needs a plan. I require stability and things to be as non-chaotic as possible. Not having a home lined up is freakin’ bizarre, to be blunt. It doesn’t feel natural in any way. I didn’t foresee this possibility back when I put my house on the market because at the time, there were several houses I was itching to put offers in on. But then, my house didn’t go under contract right away… and then once it did, things didn’t fall together on the houses I was interested in or even opened escrow on.
I mean, it was always a possibility that I would have some time between moving out of my house and moving into the new one. I was thinking I would need to crash at Mom’s house for no more than a few nights. But this could turn into well over a month before I am in my own place again, at this rate. Every day that goes by when I don’t have an escrow account open on something is another day added on to the time I’ll be homeless. (In AZ, most home sales close between 30-45 days. All of my past closings have taken 30 days.)
In the meantime, I am packing up my place and plotting out which essential items I’ll need to keep out of storage. It’s a bit of a challenge but I’m getting through it, little by little. I do enjoy the process of purging all the extra crap, too. I tossed all kinds of old hair and beauty products that were gathering dust under my sinks, and a lot of expired/stale food found deep in my pantry. Tonight I am tackling my shoes and I plan to be aggressive about finally tossing the worn and little-worn sandals and boots I inexplicably still have stuffed in my closet. Anything mostly-new can go to the thrift store. (I’m having one do a pickup of stuff I’m donating on the same day I am moving out– I’m unloading a big bookcase; a china cabinet my ex-husband put together and I only kept out of functionality, but it really just collects stuff I don’t need, anyway, so it’s going; my beat-up treadmill; and lots of random household things.)
I’m also trying to sell my living room sectional. The thing is HUGE and I bought it specifically to fit in the space it currently occupies. It’s also never really been something I loved… again, it was functional over stylish. Not that there’s anything wrong with functional, but in my past I had this one amazing purple couch I’ve never stopped pining for. I’d love to find one like it again.
One kind of fun thing I’ve been doing throughout this process is collecting ideas. I’ve been savings photos of the features I especially liked about some of these houses I’ve been interested in, and thinking I’ll copy some of these ideas wherever I wind up going. In some cases, it’s paint colors I love, or light fixtures; other times, it’s the landscaping and even furniture/decorations.
Here are some of my favorite ones so far:

I’m admittedly so excited to finally find “my” home. I know I’ll know it when I see it. Each of these houses above gave me that excited, butterflies-in-my-stomach feeling when I looked at the listing and even more so when I visited them in person.
The one above with the cactuses and haphazard landscaping above (and the purple and white bathroom) is still available. I could put an offer on that one any time I want. The reason I’m not is because it’s the house I mentioned in my last post without direct access to a secure yard for the dogs, and the street it’s on isn’t all that nice/safe. But it’s still my number one backup option. The sellers keep dropping the price.
The other four photos are from that dream house I tried to buy (but my offer was rejected). That house remains the gold…no, the PLATINUM standard… any other house has to live up to. Tall order, especially in my price range. But now I know it’s possible and I don’t want to settle for a pile of junk.
Today, this beautiful house came on the market and I would put an offer in immediately if only it were somewhere else. It’s pretty damn far away from my Mom and sister, and would give me a legit hour-each-way commute to and from work every day.
But in these desperate and anxious times, damned if I’m not thinking about it. Here are some pictures of the Swanky MidCentury Beauty:

Lots of great ideas. It’s a lot of fun to daydream and plan. Now I just need a canvas.

Limbo

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So, at the moment I am not sure where I will be living in 2018. My house sold, and it closes on January 19. I will be moving out on either the 17th or 18th but even that’s up in the air because I’ve yet to line up a moving company… and there’s the thing with knowing what to do with my stuff in the first place.

I can either rent a storage unit, or try one of those POD storage containers. I’m leaning toward the POD for cost purposes, but the nice thing about a regular storage unit is I could go into it at any time if there is something I will need prior to moving into whatever house I wind up buying.

The stress of all of this is making me feel crazy. I didn’t think it would go this way… I was sure I would buy one of the great houses I was seeing back in October, November and December, but one by one they were eliminated from the running. One house is awesome but has no easy access to a yard, something that’s a necessity for my aging pets who are accustomed to quick potty breaks late at night or early in the morning. (The “wee” hours, ha ha.) It’s also in a kind of unsafe neighborhood and I like to walk my dogs every night so I need to feel safe walking around in the dark.

Another house was amazing at first glance, and I fell in love with its quirky charm. But then, I went back to see it a third time with the brother-in-law this time, and he pointed out lots of potential problems with wiring, structural damage and a couple other things that would be more than I feasibly felt comfortable taking on. Not to mention it would need a complete kitchen overhaul, and I wasn’t sure I wanted to do that, either.

The third house was gorgeous inside. Cozy, updated in all the right ways, beautiful kitchen and huge garage. It needed outside work on the landscaping and a good coat of paint, but otherwise seemed great. I put an offer in, it was accepted, I opened escrow, and then… I found out it was located in a FEMA flood zone. The mortgage company would require me to carry expensive flood insurance in addition to regular home insurance. The cost of flood insurance would add $135 a month to my mortgage payment, putting the house at the very top of my budget range. So I ultimately decided it would be best to cancel the contract and keep looking for something else.

Something else popped up that very same day: a 100% perfect home that was located only a five minute WALK from my Mom’s house, and didn’t need a single update. It was gorgeous, inside and out. Like something out of a magazine. I wasn’t the only person to love it, though… multiple offers were coming in. So, I made an offer above asking price with no concessions that very night and even wrote a meaningful letter to the seller explaining why I hoped they would choose my offer.

Unfortunately, they did not pick me. They went with someone who wouldn’t be depending on the sale of their own home going through–whoever they picked could just buy outright. I was devastated. And I am STILL devastated. I had been hoping-against-hope the buyer would back out for some reason and I could be considered for a backup, but as time goes by that seems less and less likely.

So now, I am obsessively checking my Redfin app for new homes throughout the day (and night) in case the right house comes on the market. Unfortunately the pickings have been depressingly slim.

And each day that goes by is a day closer to when I have to be out of my house. I am packing, slowly, but I need to kick it into high gear this weekend. I am having panic attacks (I think that’s what’s going on–my heart races, I begin crying uncontrollably and can’t function) off and on pretty much every day. I’ve been fortunate to keep it in control at the office, but when I am alone? All bets are off. I lose it, regularly. My poor dogs are stuck comforting me as I sob. And they do help… they give me kisses all over my face and make me smile again. I’m so grateful I still have them.

I feel overwhelmed and as a result, I am sometimes trapped by the inability to act, at all. I should be making more calls to find movers and I should nail down a moving date with one of the movers, but it depends on the storage thing, and THEN…

…The storage thing kind of depends on where I live in the meantime. After all, it’s all fine and good to put my stuff in storage, but where do I go with my four pets? It’s not really clear. For now, I am going to go to my Mom’s house for a few days at first. She is awesome. She’s only got a one bedroom apartment but she’s willing to let me bring all the pets here for the time being and I will sleep on the other side of her bed. It won’t be optimal but it’s the best I can do right off the bat.

I’m also looking into AirBNB rentals or month-to-month apartment leases I can afford that will at least allow me to bring two pets. My Mom is willing to look after the cats if I can’t bring them, or I will bring one cat and one dog and have Mom watch the other cat and my sister will take the other dog.

I wish I knew how long this arrangement will go on. That would help so much with the planning. But until I have an accepted offer on a house and moving toward a closing date, everything is in limbo.

It’s so hard. I really hope so much that any moment now, a new house will pop up and I can go see it and write and offer and get something underway. This uncertainty is really messing with me.

To add insult to injury, I’m still trying to get over what my ex did and work through my heartbreak. But it’s not simple or clear-cut. I hate him so much, but I still CARE, and that’s the problem. I can’t wait until I reach the point where I no longer think about him. I anticipate this will be much easier once I am out of this house and this neighborhood loaded with memories, but for now I still regularly break down in anguish over what happened, that he and Roxy are forever gone from my life and I feel relentless anger that he is so happy and moving on with incredible speed.

Thanks to his wife posting publicly* on social media, when I give in and find myself checking out her/his page, I can see what they’re doing… and they just announced they are buying a house together. So I am pissed about that, inexplicably. Like it makes a difference to my life in any way what THEY are doing… but I think because I am having so much trouble finding a house and they apparently just found one after being married only a month and already have a closing date just bugs the shit out of me. I don’t know, it’s stupid. I’ve got to get willpower back and not look at what they are doing. (*Why would she post publicly unless she wanted people who are not her friends to know what they are doing? I think she is enjoying the idea that their goings-on can bother people like me and maybe her ex. It’s kind of evil.) Anyway, I know better. But I’m weak sometimes and I look when I am particularly depressed. It’s dumb to do that. I’m trying to be better.

I will feel better and stronger, overall, when I have a plan in place. I know that.

So, any time now, universe. Give me the essential plot points to move this story along, please. I’m begging you.

Hard to like

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It’s really not easy for me to like who I am.

This is an ongoing thing for me. Most of my adult life, I’ve felt mediocre about myself. I tolerate myself, but don’t particularly enjoy who I am.

I’m wired a certain way and sometimes I want to rip the wiring out and start all over with some quality materials.

Everyone knows you’re supposed to be happy with who you are; you are supposed to “love yourself” and be happy in your own skin. But for lots of people, that’s a pretty big ask.

I like to think I’m not someone who weighs her own self-worth by what others think of her, but I think I do when it comes to certain relationships. If I think I have disappointed my family, I feel an intense wave of self-loathing that doesn’t just hit and roll back out to sea again– the wave lingers and chokes me for awhile before it eventually creeps away.

I’m kind of like that at work, too. I hate screwing up and worry that my supervisors don’t like me much. I feel like I am expendable most of the time, but that’s a self-fulfilling prophecy, really: act like you’re unengaged, and you will be unengaged, and people will start to notice you don’t take pride in yourself or your work. For me, that often means I wind up doing the minimum. I get the work done, per se, but there isn’t much effort in there if I’m being honest with myself. I am not challenged much at my work for long, and feel like I am constantly “not good enough” to be a senior manager or have any real responsibility or say in the company. So of course, I am sure I look bored and seem like I don’t care… which in turn means no one is going to look at me for a promotion. Even though I could handle almost anything, I don’t “go for it.” Lazy? Maybe. But it goes deeper than laziness for me. It’s apathy.

And finally, there’s my romantic relationships. Or lack thereof.

I am depressed by the way I look. I hate almost all of my body — inside mostly, but also out. The only thing I kind of like about myself are my eyes, but I avoid looking in them.

I do that thing in a bathroom where I don’t really look at myself in a mirror if I go in there to wash my hands or something. I just look down, maybe glance up to at my reflection to make sure there I don’t have food on my shirt or my hair isn’t all goofy, but I don’t like to look at myself for longer than a few seconds. (I do look when I am doing my hair or makeup, but I still avoid really looking at myself… if you know what I am talking about.)

I know that I am unattractive to other people. I am invisible, really. I can go weeks without someone noticing me. People wait on me in restaurants or stores, I deal with coworkers and have superficial conversations with people to be nice, but I don’t warrant any special attention — not even a second glance. Men stopped flirting with me or even saying rude shit or catcalling YEARS ago. I feel perfectly safe walking around my neighborhood at night because it feels like no one is going to bother me… and no one ever does.

Don’t get me wrong, I am certainly not saying I want to be harassed or assaulted. Of course not. That’s so far off from what I am trying to say it’s almost laughable, but I feel like I need to say it for clarity’s sake.

But there is still a huge part of me that can’t shake this feeling that I’m absolutely ordinary or even unattractive. That nothing puts me apart from anyone else, female or male. I feel genderless. I really do. I don’t feel very feminine even when I put on a dress, nice shoes, makeup and do my hair. I just feel like the usual me, just giving my mortal coil a little more effort with the window dressing, but I feel like I am doing it for myself because no one notices otherwise.

I’ve been in a couple relationships now where my partner didn’t want to be intimate with me. Once, he told told me it was uncomfortable to have sex with me, literally. And I knew I was not his usual ‘type’ anyway; it was no shock when after we broke up, he got together with someone who WAS his type. I couldn’t be angry about it; he likes what he likes, but it just wasn’t what I brought to the table. It is what it is, as they say. Heh.

In this last case, he was totally into me at first and we had lots of intimacy when things were new. But that quickly tapered off in frequency once we lived together a few months. I was ready to accept that this was normal, really, but it WASN’T normal… because he eventually stopped all forms of physical intimacy, not just sex. I’d have to initiate any hand-holding or cuddling on the couch, even… and that would get destroyed as soon as one of our pets came around, because his attention would immediately shift to talking to or petting the cat or dog suddenly on his lap.  I’d kind of grin, and push the rejection thoughts out of my head and focus on being happy anyway. It felt easier to not think too hard about it — just let myself be distracted and be happy with the friendship. Over time, that really was enough to make me feel content and nice in the relationship. I made efforts to not think about the sex thing because it was easier. How stupid. I know.

It’s so crippling to your self-esteem when the person YOU love and are physically attracted to just looks at you like, well, a genderless thing… a “close friend.” The feeling of rejection when you initiate something sexual only to be turned down through an excuse, or a joke, is really shitty. With the last one, he told me he was having issues with his testosterone and it “had nothing to do with me,” but I just didn’t believe it. Because it’s about WANTING to have to sex with someone. The underlying desire, not the actual act. I don’t think he wanted to have sex with me, and it had nothing to do with he “couldn’t.” If he’d wanted to, he would have seen a doctor or tried doing something different; he would have cared enough about me, and us, to make an effort to change or fix things.

But he didn’t do any of that, because he didn’t have the desire to.

He didn’t see me that way.

Maybe, and most likely, I am too fat and dumpy.  Maybe he just looked at me and was turned right the hell off. I know I am not “hot,” but I’m not a totally repulsive dirtbag, either. I see people a lot less attractive than me that are in happy, committed relationships or having sex.

I know I’m self-conscious of my fat and the way it looks when I’m naked. I avoided letting him see me naked after some time went by. I got ready for bed in my walk-in closet, or before he came in the room. He made a comment about how his past exes would sleep naked so I tried it, and he completely ignored me. I’d hoped he would have reached over and just TOUCHED my skin somewhere, anywhere, even just my arm or face, but he didn’t. He just kissed me impassionately goodnight — I might as well have been wearing a tank top and pajama pants like every other night — and then rolled over and went to sleep. I laid there feeling rejected and kind of ridiculous.

This, over time, eroded ALL of my self-confidence about my ability to be feminine or attractive.

All of it. Gone.

I bet it seems pathetic that I can’t be one of those body-positive people who doesn’t need a man to tell her she is gorgeous because she KNOWS she is.

But I don’t know how to think that way. I try. Even though I know I am forcing a thought, and trying to say a lie often enough to believe it, it still doesn’t work. I have been trying to like my body in this way for so long, and after this whole disaster of him leaving me, I gave up out of exhaustion and complete defeat.

I know that most if not all of my issues existed long before any relationship with a guy. So I can’t just blame them for my struggles. Nope. I know better.

It’s my fault, my problem, MY faulty wiring.

And I am the only person who can do anything to fix it.

I read the self-help articles and listen to the positive affirmation talks; I save optimistic memes to my phone to look at if I am out somewhere and freaking out inside. I write things down on paper to “bring substance to the thoughts” and I try to breathe deeply and relax. I force myself to focus on the good things in my life, and I can do that relatively easily… the problem is that I still wind up having to look at myself in the mirror again at the end of the day and BLAM, I am back to my primary challenge: I don’t like me.

I keep hoping for a breakthrough moment.

Something that will stick. Something that will plug my synapses in the correct order and my circuits will finally light up properly.

And I don’t mean medication. Fuck that. I am on two different medications and they take the edge off of things, maybe, but the real, hard work is going to come through figuring out how and why I think the way I do, and finding methods to reprogram myself to be happier. I wish it were easier to go see a psychologist or psychiatrist, but it’s a huge challenge when you can’t take time off of work and doctors only see people during workday hours. Not to mention the co-pays and costs because insurance only covers so much and only certain providers… I have been looking on and off and trying to pinpoint someone I can talk to, but so far I’ve hit dead ends. I hope to discover something after the new year.

I’m not giving up yet. I’m just frustrated as fuck that this is still such a problem for me, and until I fix it, I am probably doomed to repeat past mistakes and settle for less-than-good-for-me in all my relationships, not just the romantic ones.

I will keep on selling myself short until I truly, honestly, and bluntly understand my own worth.

It’s not a “narrative” if it’s truth

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Part 2:

My ex left me without giving our relationship a chance, and then lied to me when I figured out the truth. I am beyond angry at the feeling of betrayal and lack of respect, but mostly I am furious that someone I considered a FRIEND, someone I let into my life and gave my trust to, would treat me like an idiot. It’s hurtful and it disgusts me.

So anyway, I was just getting my mind used to the reality that he was going to leave for Florida and we were over as a couple, and working hard to find the positives in the situation. I was taking his words for truth. I only had the information he gave me.

Until one Sunday afternoon. He was home, just hanging out, and I was going out to take my Mom to lunch. I got in my car and went to the phone screen to call her to let her know I was just leaving and would be there soon.

Except, my phone wasn’t the last phone connected to the car’s Bluetooth. His phone was the last one. And so, when I opened the screen, his recent call records were right there in front of my face.

And he had been calling Andi. A LOT. I scrolled down, because of course I would scroll down, especially to see if he talked to her before October 6 and SURE ENOUGH, he had. I think he talked to her TWICE the day before he broke up with me. Probably getting ammunition and nerve to just get rid of me once and for all.

I turned the car off and went right back in the house and confronted him. He was really only angry at ME, for “snooping” and “invading his privacy.” I was the bad guy here. Apparently. Me, who never once snooped on a single fucking thing the entire time he lived with me. Shit, I never even looked in his clothes drawers. It just didn’t occur to me because I fully trusted him, and I am not someone who goes looking for trouble, I’m really not. And now I was this terrible snooper, looking at his phone record.

Whatever. I nailed him. He was caught and so of course he went on the defensive. He claimed that I knew he was talking to her, because he’d told me. Yes, he did tell me he HAD talked to her… a couple of times. Not twice in single days right before breaking up with me. Not almost every day since. He wasn’t honest. He wasn’t LYING, but he was being very deliberate in his phrasing so he couldn’t be accused of lying. I could see that, and I was so pissed off. Suddenly the guy I loved and thought was a great friend had revealed himself to be MANIPULATIVE.

That said, it did make things a little easier for me to be angry at him and look forward for him to just go. If he was talking to her that much, it was all over for me. Here’s why: I know her. She is also very manipulative and self-centered. And she was JEALOUS and angry that he had moved on and started dating me. It was absolutely transparent because she MADE it transparent: She sent the letter full of vitriol, insults, lies and exaggerations and it was a clear attempt to scare me off. At that moment when I read that letter, I absolutely and unapologetically HATED this person I’d once considered a friend. I mean… who does that? Who interferes with someone’s relationship? It’s not like I stole him away from her. HE came to ME. Hell, I even resisted and scoffed at his attempts to flirt in the beginning because he was always nothing more than “Andi’s boyfriend” and they were both kind of flaky and dramatic. In fact, I was so turned off by their immature behavior while we were doing a show together that I decided I couldn’t tolerate the pathetic drama of local theatre and stopped doing shows for about a decade. They both ALWAYS came off as needy and unable to exist on their own for longer than a few weeks. (The reason I even gave him a chance at all was because he owned up to his past behavior and said he had changed a lot since then and he actually gave me all indications HE HAD. Yeah, I feel like an idiot now, but looking back I remember how I really vetted everything he said and took my time letting him in. I trust my instincts. I think he DID change. For awhile. Not permanently, because that’s impossible.)

The thing is, with that letter she showed a loathsome side of her personality in a H U G E way, and as a result I can never see her any other way. And then, during the course of our relationship, if the topic of her came up with him, it was in passing and never in a positive context. She did a lot of bad things during their long and tumultous relationship. She cheated on him a few times. She had money issues and was accused of (and most likely did) steal from theatre companies and friends. She even started a mean gossip blog to say bad shit about people in the theatre community, and she was *proud* of it! Not a nice person. Clearly.

So, if he was talking to HER, well… by all means, I’m done. Because I can’t compete with that. She knows him better than I do, and knows the precise ways to lure him back into her web. She would certainly know the right things to say to get his attention away from me and back on her. I knew that.

But of course, when I brought any of this up, he scoffed and said no, of course not. NONE of this was about HER. It was about our relationship ending, and he “cherished” the time he and I had together, and wouldn’t have changed anything because of all the great times we had and the lessons learned (I’ll get to the lessons I learned later), and he understood that I was upset, but I was…

CREATING A NARRATIVE.

He’d say things like I was just really emotional and he understood how bad this was hurting me, and that’s why I was grasping at straws. Trying to find a reason for all of this that made sense to me. He insisted that I wasn’t comprehending the fact that Our Relationship Had Plateaued, and that this was also about What He Needed To Do For Himself. In saying this, he was trying to make me think I was seeing shit that wasn’t there. Making me try to doubt my own perceptions, my past experiences with her, and my own reactions and gut feelings. This is NOT a healthy thing to do to someone.

It’s a form of gaslighting. And it’s done by manipulative narcissist people who believe they are always right and are more worthy of happiness than other people might be.

Well, the gaslighting continued. He tried to remain nice and friendly but that was for the sake of his own convenience, not for me. After all, it would be harder to stay there at my house if we were angry and nasty to one another. One day I asked him if he knew where in Florida he and Eric would be moving–like what areas they were looking for apartments in– and he said they were considering places on the WEST coast of Florida, too.

SHE was on the West Coast of Florida. In Sarasota.

So I said, “I thought you were moving out there to be nearby to your Mom. Why would you move three hours away?”

He got PISSED at that. He got super defensive and nasty, and said, “Look, what I do after I leave here on November 2 is MY BUSINESSS. Not yours.”

Another indication that, yeah… he was going out there for Andi. The stuff about his family was mostly bullshit. Uh-huh. How’d I know? Because of his reaction, duh. He might as well said it bluntly at that point, it was so obvious. But he kept up his act, insisting I was making this “about Andi” when it wasn’t.

By the time he was about to leave, I had pretty much accepted he wasn’t going to be honest with me. I wasn’t going to know what he was doing because he didn’t WANT me to know. I believed our friendship as well as our relationship was going to be over. If you can’t just be honest with your good friends, what’s the point? But I was determined to be an adult, and see him off on a positive note. Try to remember those good times we had before all this happened, and say goodbye as mature and rational people. We went to a last dinner together and toasted each other’s “new journeys” and he thanked me for all I had been, and still was, to him. He said, “I do love you. You’re a good person.” I told him he was a good person, too. Hey, you say things enough, you can start to believe it.

Anyway, the next day he left and it was AWFUL. Gut-wrenching. I didn’t talk much about his dog here but his dog Roxy was the BEST. I loved her so much, and my dogs loved her, too. I couldn’t handle saying goodbye to her because I knew, in my heart, I would never see her again. It was so hard. I bet she thought they were just going for a ride and would be home again soon. My dogs looked for her that night and the next morning, Moose got up and looked around the empty rooms and went to the front door, because he missed them. I made the error of saying their names and both dogs’ ears went up and they looked to the door with hopeful faces. It broke my heart again.

A few days later, I had to go to Missouri for a business trip. I was having dinner alone and checked in a beer on the Untappd app, and saw he had checked in a beer recently. I opened his post and saw the beer was consumed in Sarasota. Hmm. Why would he be in Sarasota, if he was going right to his Mom’s place in West Palm Beach?

And then I saw an “Andi W.” had toasted his check-in. I opened her profile, which had only JUST been opened, and she had checked in the same exact beer, too. There it was. The proof they were together. And this was only on Monday, and he’d left my house on Friday.

I texted my sister and she wasn’t surprised. In fact, she said, they had been tagged together in a photo on Facebook. Right as I am reading that text from her, a message came from another friend, asking me “what was the deal with Jason and that blonde?” and a few more came that night. People knew. THEY WERE MAKING THEIR REUNION PUBLIC on FACEBOOK. They clearly didn’t care who knew they were back together. They were happy about it.

It was a gut punch. Even though I had suspected this for weeks, remember he continued to DENY it. He was making me doubt myself. He had been cruel to do that.

I unfriended him immediately because I don’t need to see that shit. I sent him a message letting him know I was unfriending him and I was soooo happy for them, and for her, finally getting what she always wanted: him! Hearts and fuck you, pal. You’re an asshole.

He didn’t respond. A few days later I wrote him a long note explaining how I think things REALLY happened, outlining all the stuff I wrote here, basically. I asked him to finally, please, just be honest with me. Just tell me the truth. What harm could it do at this point, really? We were 100% done, and he was in Florida. It’s not like we were going to run into one another any time soon. Just fucking man up; rip the bandaid all the way off and finally admit the truth. Stop fucking with my head.

He didn’t.

He did take the time to write back and address almost all of my points in the note, but he also carefully phrased shit AGAIN to not give me any real answers about her or where he was living. He was “staying with friends” in Sarasota. Which was hilarious, because not ONCE did he ever talk about ANY friends in Sarasota, other than Andi. The pink phone I saw in the background in the Untappd photo check-in belonged to “his friend Anne.” Who’s this Anne? No idea. He did tell me he had not been to his Mom’s house yet but “hoped to get out there by Thanksgiving.” (Wow, some sense of urgency to get back to your family, there.) And once more, he pushed the fact that I was creating that damn narrative again, wanting this to be About Andi(TM) when it really was not. He insisted a few times in this note that this wasn’t about her. I was having a hard time accepting the truth that We Were Over and so of course I would be trying to build this narrative that has to do with her.

I took a few days to absorb his words and wrote back. At that point, I was like, you know what, maybe it ISN’T about her. Maybe he IS telling me the truth. I began to see why I would create this narrative: Because he had a pattern. He tended to make big moves across country for love. He did it once, after she moved to Sarasota… he soon followed her out there. Then, of course, he moved to Arizona to be with me. And now, he would suddenly need to go to FL again ASAP… it only made sense given his history that it would be for love, again. There was NO WAY IN HELL he was as close to his Mom and brother as he said he was. He never cried about missing them before. He would go weeks without talking to his Mom or brother sometimes. It’s like he forgot I was there to notice that kind of shit for the past two years.

But still, the idiot that I am, I tried to take his words at face value, figuring, HE HAS NO REASON TO LIE NOW. I told him I hoped we could stay in touch somehow, like through Facebook, and I wished him well and told him to give his family and Roxy a hug from me. I told him what I was missing the most was his friendship. All true.

And then, on Thanksgiving…

They made it public on Facebook that they had gotten MARRIED.

I can’t begin to describe the feeling.

It was utter disgust and deep, deep anger. It made me physically nauseous and it still does, a month later. How could he? How could THEY? What the fuck were they thinking?! They had only been back together a couple weeks and rather than just decide to try dating again they dive directly into marriage? Who does that?!?!?!

Unstable, desperate and sad people, that’s who.

People trying to be something they are not.

People who have no respect for the people who gave their time and hearts to them for the previous two years. (Because she apparently fucked over the guy she had been dating, too. It wasn’t just me who was kicked in the gut when the tsunami forces of Jason and Andi, Together Again occurred. Sounds like she had just ended her relationship around the same time he dumped me, and he was apparently as floored by this disgusting elopement as I was.)

People who get married to an ex 18 days after pulling a rental van out of your driveway LOVE THE FUCKING DRAMA OF IT and WANTED TO BE THE CENTER OF GOSSIP ATTENTION AGAIN.

It’s so obvious that she, in particular, loves this shit. She looooooooves the fact that she was momentarily relevant again in a gossip community that had lost interest in her and her shenanigans. I know she loved it, because she had to stoke it. She wrote to me. TWICE. Once to ask me to not post my angry thoughts on posts she was tagged in, and another time to offer a lengthy explanation that I DID NOT ASK FOR, almost to just rub salt in my wound like a fucking bitch. She has lots of public posts and lovey-dovey photos on Facebook of the two of them now, almost like she is hoping everyone (including me and her ex) can see them.

Again. Who does this?!?

Who are these people?

Who the FUCK was I living with for two years?! I never really knew him, obviously. He was playing a role. Trying on a life with someone like me to see if he could handle a life that wasn’t constantly frought with drama, fights, money problems, kids that aren’t his, all of that. Turns out, he didn’t like the fit and just threw me away when he was done.

He took things he learned from being with me and is now presumably applying them to a life with HER. It makes me sick. And angry as hell.

I did not ever, not once, ask to be a part of Jason and Andi’s story. I only wanted my OWN story. I thought my boyfriend was honest, and loved me. I thought he valued me as a partner and friend. I thought my life mattered to him in some way.

And I gave up my own self-imposed single life for HIM. I wasn’t going to open up and let just anyone in. Hell no. I mean, I thought about dating and went on dates here and there but anyone who knew me also knows I wasn’t interested in settling or changing my awesome life unless the guy was totally worth it.

I thought he was. He convinced me he was, he really did.

I believed him for two years. I loved him with all my heart for two years.

And it was all for nothing, it was an utter waste of my time and energy, because he took an enormous shit on everything when he left. The way he handled this was so wrong. So hurtful. It’s like he took some sadistic joy in making me fall apart.

Because he COULD HAVE TOLD ME THE TRUTH AT ANY TIME.

Simple as that.

Yes, I would have been really hurt and angry when I first heard he was thinking about rekindling things with her, but at least I would have the real truth to work with. Not these half-assed, crocodile-tear-filled explanations, and these accusations of creating a narrative to suit my own needs.

The latter is way, way, WAY worse to cope with.

He has no idea.

He did the very worst thing he could have done by fucking with me. By coming into my life at all, at the intense level he did, when he probably knew on some level he was never going to stay. He gave me EVERY indication he was interested in a long term relationship. Shit, at one point we talked about getting married in his Mom’s backyard.

He never should have bothered me. He should have stayed in his tiny little dysfunctional world with her and not involved ANYONE else. Her, too. They are toxic. And the only toxins that can stand them are their own– they do belong together, because if they are together, they are not hurting anyone else.

I can’t help but think the most horrible, dark thoughts about both of them. It’s because I have never been disrespected at this level, EVER. I thought this kind of shit only happened in crappy movies. I’m humiliated and pissed off more than I knew I could be. I wish them unhappiness every single day. I send curses their way. I wish bad things to befall both of them AND their families. (Just not Roxanne… I still like her and wish I had stolen her like I briefly planned to at one point!) I do have faith that one day karma is going to beat the everloving shit out of both of them.

Oh, they’re happy NOW

…Basking in the newlywed glow, the excitement of being back together, probably the ridiculous make-up sex, and loving the anger and confusion they’ve stirred up… they LIVE for being scandalous. They think it’s romantic and makes them seem like these destined lovers. The attention this has caused has made their fucking YEAR.

(They even sent a “Guess What We Did!” card out in the mail to announce their marriage. It’s almost laughable how predictably narcissistic that is for them!)

But things will go back to the way they were before. Back when they were fighting a lot, back when life was a struggle, back when they were burning bridges and not being able to pay rent and arguing about how feelings have changed/you don’t love me like you USED to/you get so angry at me/ why would you cheat on me… ALL of it that I know happened. They are not changed people. They just had time to miss each other. That’ll fade when reality sets in, the adrenaline rush fades, the sex slows down and no one is talking about them anymore.

They THINK they are changed people. She had the audacity to say so in a public “note” about their controversial elopement. (Another not-normal thing to do.) That they learned a lot in their time apart and took some good things from these past relationships that they can now apply to their marriage (puke) together.

Riiiiight. Keep telling yourself that, princess. You’re in your 40s. You really should know by NOW that people do not change. As much as they might want to, they are still who they are hardwired to be. Sure, you can change a habit or learn a new skill, but you really can’t become this amazing person who is suddenly genuine and caring and forgiving and ALL OF THAT. It’s not possible.

But hey, they can have their pathetic little life together. They’re both classless assholes who use people. That truth is obvious to more than just me, I am sure of it. I’ve got confirmation of it. From people who are surprisingly close to the two of them, even.

So, after all of this, what lesson did I get out of all of this?

Surely there is a lesson to be learned. Something I can do differently to not have this happen again…

Not really.

I did all I could, and I was always honest and real. Hell, he even SAID so. Many times in that last month, he told me that there was nothing I did wrong, nothing I could have done differently, that I should be happy because I didn’t mess anything up.

He’s right. I didn’t.

Instead, the only lesson I can think of is a cruel and ugly one: DON’T EVER LET ANYONE ALL THE WAY IN AGAIN. He will only use your open heart for practice for someone else.

DON’T TRUST EVEN THE NICEST GUY. He will probably want to get back with his ex at some point.

JUST WHEN YOU THINK LIFE IS GOOD, SURPRISE: IT’S NOT. Just when you think someone really loves you for you, surprise: he doesn’t.

So, yay for me. I get to feel a whole new level of damage I never asked for. Never needed to learn.

I had to get over an emotionally-abusive ex when I divorced my husband. And that was easier than this. Why? Because the ex-husband was honest and he was who he was–a control freak jerk. Easy to walk away from because what was advertised on the box was what was inside. But Jason played me so well. He made me happy. He didn’t put me down or try to control anything, and I thought we were truly equals. It felt wonderful to FINALLY be respected.

Shows how much I know. I was just disrespected more deeply than I ever thought possible.

And they wonder why I am SO furious and full of intense rage. Fuck you both. Forever. I hope you suffer in ways you couldn’t anticipate–just like I am– because you both deserve it.