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Butterflies and Dirty Habits

6 Feb

butterflies

Allowing myself to feel again is not easy. On Sunday, Skating Guy and I went to a movie. We saw Hitchcock, which was eerie and terrific, with Anthony Hopkins outdoing himself, and Scarlet Johansson being her regular admirable self.

That morning had been so rough on me, that I was very close to cancelling the date altogether. It seemed wrong, suddenly, or rather – wronger – to be out with another man, while I was still technically married, in the process of separation. But as we sat in the darkness of the theater, absorbed in the film, though slightly distracted by each other’s presence, my hand was in his and our fingers were playing around, holding, touching, tickling one another, like each of our hands had a life of its own, a background story and a personality, and together they completed one another. And I felt happier than I’d been in a while. I felt optimistic.

It was a rush. It was butterflies and sparks and all that stuff you yearn for when you’re 16, and sober up from when you grow up and realize that a serious relationship is much more stable and predictable than all of that. I’d truly forgotten about the butterflies. How comforting it is to know that they exist!

So here we are. And what do we have before us? A thing. This is definitely becoming a thing. I’m not quite sure what kind of thing exactly. But it’s a thing, an easy thing, a thrilling thing, a thing which brings some good old fashioned light hearted fun into my complicated present.

Unfortunately however, along with the light-hearted uncomplicatedness, comes also my dirty habit of overanalyzing everything, and constantly searching for clues that can account for my insecurities, proof that all of this wonderfulness is somehow faulty, that I’m not worthy of it, or that he’s an asshole like all men apparently are. A text message lacking punctuation and emoticons, becomes a sign that he is tired and has had enough of me. The same goes for a message that is not instantly answered. And it makes me realize how shitty text messages are, and how I hate that I obsess over them, how bad it is for my mental health to be as attached to my phone as I am, to check my messages and emails and refresh my Facebook page more often than I smile, or glance out the window, or take a deep breath.

But I’m optimistic still. I think there is a learning curve for everything, and I am a diligent student. I’m learning what it is to let go of the past and to welcome the future. Scratch that. I’m learning to welcome the present. And this is, perhaps, another lesson. I’m learning to enjoy the present, which I’ve always tended to discredit.

Skating Guy is here now. He wants to take me to the opera, and cook for me, and tell me that I’m special. And I’m going to let him. Even if it ends tomorrow, even if he disappoints me, or I disappoint myself, it’s not all about tomorrow. Today counts for something, doesn’t it?

Those Who Never Fall Have Never Tried Anything New

25 Jan

 skating

Part 1: Standing Up and Falling Down

Baby has finally figured out how to stand! Well, finally is a slight exaggeration, he’s not even eight months old yet, but he’s been trying really hard for the past two weeks, and I was so proud of him when he managed to do it on his own! And now that he’s learned this new trick it’s literally all he ever wants to do. No crawling, no rolling over, seriously mom, that’s so 2012, he seems to be telling me. So everywhere I put him he grabs onto something and stands, smiling at me with the joy of accomplishment, making his little excited-noises: Heh! Heh! Heh! Often he gets so excited that he loses his balance and falls. I’m usually able to break his fall, and I surround him with pillows as he plays, so that helps, but every so often, I miss, he misses, and he bangs his head and cries.

I felt terrible about this the first time it happened, and the second time, and the third. But then I realized that the only way that I was going to be able to prevent him from banging his head was if I never put him down for a second. I’m still trying to minimize injury, but I accept the fact that head-banging, and I mean that in the literal sense, is a part of growing up. So now, when he falls, I pick him up, give him a hug and say as calmly as I can: That’s OK Baby. You fell. Falling is a part of life. Sometimes mommy falls down too, but the important thing is that she gets back up again.  Those who never fall have never tried anything new. As he calms down I kiss his belly which makes him laugh and forget that he has ever fallen. And within two minutes he’s already squirming around, wanting to get back to it.

Part 2: Ice Skating and LOWLOWLOW Self Esteem

My girlfriends and I have decided that we are sick of movies and coffee shops and we are going to start doing more unconventional things when we go out. So this week we went ice-skating. As we were standing in line to pay for our skates, the ice-instructor-guy started chatting with us, well, with me. He asked if I had read any books by Margaret Atwood, if I read a lot in general, if I liked Haruki Murakami, and finally if he could come skate with me later.

After a few rounds on the ice I began to feel a bit less wobbly and there he was, Mr. instructor guy. Kind of cute, very young, a 25-year-old-kid basically, coming to chat to me, 31-year-old-single-mom. Well, I decided to just go with it. And since I was in a good mood, it worked. We chatted for about an hour, about books mostly, and then a bit about music, travels, cooking. Eventually there came the point where he asked where I lived and if I had roommates, and I told him I lived with my son. But surprisingly he was not totally freaked out (only a bit weirded out maybe) and he still asked for my phone number, and also asked if I’d go out with him, to which I replied that I would.

And then, the following day, there I was at home, thinking back to how much fun I had had skating with a boy, and the LOWLOWLOW thoughts started pushing their way into my head. What does a cute 25-year-old see in me. I’m not that fit. He can get a better looking girl. I’m old. I have a baby. Maybe he just felt bad after I told him I was a single mom so he took my number with no intention of using it. Maybe his friends had put him up to some bet, like getting as many phone numbers from girls as he could that night. STOP IT! GO AWAY! I hate it when I get like this. But it’s hard to shake it off once it starts. It’s the same part of my brain that produces the: “You must have done something to drive BD away”, “Baby must be mad at you for sending him to his grandparents”, “Who’s ever going to want to date you when you’re Divorced+1?” and “A good mother wouldn’t have let her Baby hit his head!”

Part 3: Yo Ho Ho and a Bottle of Vodka

I set up our first divorce-meeting yesterday. We’re going to try working together with the same divorce lawyer and try to come to an agreement without too many battles.  I had to set it up of course because if it’s up to BD he’ll never get around to it. He’s comfortable just being separated, he’d gladly keep things the way they are for a year or two until he figures out what he wants. But it’s a terrible place for me to be. On hold. Waiting for him to wake up and realize what he’s missing. His family. So I’m not waiting. I’m moving on. It’s the only healthy thing that I can do right now.

BUT after having set up the meeting, letting BD know, having him email me back saying thank you for setting it up, then having him come pick Baby up for his night with him, it was all just too much. So I sat on the sofa and stared into space, and then I decided that I needed a drink, or make that two, or make that three, and I basically got wasted and drunk-statused on Facebook. Good thing I don’t have any guy-friends to drunk dial because I would have.

I woke up this morning, still slightly intoxicated, drank a liter of water and thought to myself: Those who never down three vodka-apple-juices, have never tried anything new. Like divorce. And I smiled to myself and hit the shower.

We Don’t Need No Affirmation (Mmmm, Yeah, We Do.)

13 Jan

toys

Last night the sitter was sick and my plans for the night fell through. I found myself at home doing nothing, again.

I had a few good ideas about stuff I wanted to get done:

1. Fold the enormous pile of clean laundry on my sofa

2. Catch up on my paperwork

3. Decide who to vote for

4. Download some new running music

But instead, I found myself refreshing my Facebook page every 30  seconds, with hopes that one of my male friends would show up online so that I could fish for complements and feel a little better about myself.

Now, since I’ve been in a relationship for 13 years, I have to admit I don’t really have that many male friends anymore. I used ot have quite a few of them when I was younger, but throughout the years my stock has dwindled. Some of them got married and it began to feel somehow inappropriate to be in touch, even though the relationship was platonic. Some stopped being “my friends” and became “our friends”, others, to begin with, I had met through BD, and now with the separation and the splitting of assets would be claimed as his.

Refresh. Refresh. Refresh. Maybe I’ll strike up a conversation with this guy I knew back in the day, whom I have nothing in common with and want nothing of? Yes that sound like a great idea.

What’s the deal with women and affirmation? Why do we feel so worthless unless we’re given male attention? Most of my girlfriends will agree that the biggest mistakes they’ve made with men had to do with seeking affirmation: hooking up with someone you’re not really into, being toyed with and taking it (and asking for more), returning to an asshole ex. Why do we do these things to ourselves, and why can we not trust ourselves and the people who love us to give us all the affirmation that we need? Why does it not count when your best friend tells you you’re amazing and beautiful, but it does count when a stupid douche you met at a bar makes a pass at you?

Refresh. Refresh. Sigh.

I need an affirmation detox diet, I think. And I have a plan. Here it goes.

1. For one month I am going to write down one thing every day that is awesome about myself.

2. I am going to say nice things to myself out loud, like complementing myself on the way I look when I’m getting ready to go out, or on something I cooked when it came out nice, or on being a good mom when I feel that I’m doing well, or anything else. OUT LOUD.

3. I am afraid I am not going to abstain from interacting with boys, but I am going to refrain from interaction with people who do not actually interest me just because I am seeking attention and affirmation.

4. I am going to try in general to be a little less obsessed with FB/messaging/E mail/Whatsapp etc, which has become a bad addiction lately.

Will I make it? Can I take it? I’m not sure, but here goes nothing.