Tuesday, February 21, 2012

It's "That Girl," Now Disposable!!

It's funny when you have an enlightening moment. The heavens don't
open and angels don't sing, but oddly a tiny occurrence in your day
can cause a reckoning. Something similar happened to me yesterday. In
an instant and with a miniscule sentence I realized I was "That Girl".
No, not Marlo Thomas. I didn't go fly a kite in Central Park or throw
my hat up in the air (those of you that don't get that reference -
you're too young to be reading my blog).
So yeah, "That Girl."
A younger male friend of mine yesterday informed me that he had met a
lovely girl. This is wonderful and I passed along my sentiments as
such, because he's my friend. At that point he noted how much he
enjoyed being my friend and talking with me, and said "so long". No
longer was I his friend. This was a shock to me, considering I feel
friends should not be conditional. But there it was, laid out in front
of me in all its glory. Needless to say I was upset. I mean, he was a
nice person and one of the people in Charlotte I had connected with in
some little way. He was not a boyfriend, but someone I enjoyed hanging
out with. Then I thought about a similar incident that happened a few
weeks ago.
I had a lovely British friend move here and we were buddies. But when
he got here, he stopped calling me. Stop texting me. Stopped
everything. Now, considering these events and the less-than-favorable
dating events of the last few weeks I immediately thought, "Oh my God,
what is wrong with me?" I have to admit there was some tears. There
were obvious "feeling sorry for myself" emotions. And with the
collection of all these thoughts and happenings, I realized what "That
Girl" means, and why it made me so sad.
I'm a friendly, generally happy girl. I see beauty in little,
insignificant things. I'm smart and can often see the other side of
the story. I give good advice (even though I often don't take it). I
pride myself in being someone that is loyal and dependable. I'm a good
person to know. At least I think. And there's where "That Girl" comes
in to the picture: I'm the girl you go to when there's no one else.
When you need a shoulder, a friend, no judgment - I'm here. When you
find someone better and no longer need me - you leave. It happened in
my marriage. It happened in several of my relationships, and it's
happened in some of my friendships. When did true friendships and
relationships fall by the wayside? At what point do people just
decide, "I don't need this person anymore," and be done with it. No
second-guessing, no regret.
I mourn every friendship that has not made it through my 36 years.
Don't get me wrong, I'm happy I have met every friend, every
acquaintance that has passed through my life. But I can't help but
feel I could have tried harder. And when things happen such as this, I
wonder if true relationships, platonic or otherwise, really exist.
I'm sad that I've become "That Girl". But I would never become less of
a friend, or less of myself to change that. So I'll continue to be
"That Girl" and watch the people come in and out of my life. I'll be
the fodder for the fair-weather friend, and when they find what they
are looking for in life, I'll say good-bye. Because that's apparently
what "This Girl" does.

Friday, February 10, 2012

What will they say when I'm gone?

I had a family member pass away this week, and made an impromptu trip to my hometown for his funeral. It was sad, yes, but he had been ill for a long time. But as I was siting in the chapel of the funeral home listening to the lovely words about this well-loved man, I thought, "What would they say at my funeral?"

It hit me hard. I hadn't thought about it before. Would a lot of people attend my funeral? Would they remember the person that I am, or the things I had done?

I just don't know. I haven't accomplished much in my 36 years according to the standards of society. I have no children, no husband, no property. If I sit and think about it I get depressed. But I know there's more to it. I know someone would have something to say.

I just don't know what.

Friday, January 6, 2012

Where Has Everyone Gone?

One of my favorite movies at the moment is called "Lars and the Real Girl". No, it's not because Ryan Gosling stars in it (okay, maybe a little), but the simple, sad and all too true premise of it. He's a lonely man that buys a companion doll (yes, that kind of doll), and in the midst of his brief madness pretending the doll is his real life girlfriend, all the members of his little town play along. Because they love him, they accept his temporary lunacy and welcome the plastic anomaly as they would a real girl. Yes, it's sad that a person may be so lonely that they create a figment to talk to, to love, to rely on.

While watching this film, and considering my past few months on OKCupid, I've asked myself how, in this world of so many people, are so many lonely? I watch the masses on OKCupid, looking at their profiles, and they all carry a common theme - every person mentions they are looking for someone to spend time with, to do things with; someone to enjoy life. Each person is grasping out through a deep hole of loneliness. They want a friend. They want a companion.

So at what point did we all lose each other? Did we forget how important human interaction really is? We are so focused on our own personal agendas that we forget about everyone else in the process. I spend my day at work, then come home to spend time with my dog, and myself. No one calls, no one texts. I'm simply alone. And I like it that way. I love my little cozy life, but I do admit to getting lonely. I think it's only natural. And apparently I'm not the only one.

This world has become a playground for the sad and detached. Social networking allows us to interact with other people without leaving our couch or the sanctity of our home. Smartphones allow us to send a text - a string of words and letters that have no emotion, not personal affect. Ultimately we never really have to leave our home or speak to another human being face to face. But that's our problem. We're not personal anymore. We don't have to interact. And bazinga, welcome to a world of lonely people.

I wish I could fix this. I wish I could make the world a place where no one cries by themselves at night; where no one feels like the only person on earth; where no one has to create a friend out of a doll or their imaginations. But I'm only one person. One lonely person.

Saturday, December 31, 2011

Out with the Old and In with the New

It's 11:02pm on New Year's Eve and I'm sitting cozy in my apartment with Sophie at my side. Yes, it's not the most glamorous way to celebrate the new year - no fancy dress, champagne, fireworks or kiss at midnight. But I've decided this is the perfect foray into the new year. I'm quietly stepping into 2012 with the grace of a lamb, only to steadily grow and transform throughout the coming year into something more.

I'm finally in a place that I truly feel is a home to me. And I can't wait to celebrate my first full year in Charlotte. I'm embracing my new life in the south and it's as sweet and quenching as the tea in my glass. Now that I'm settled in a place I love, I can finally work on the little things. Making friends, getting healthy, quieting the questions and contradictions - I'll be consistently bettering myself. And why? Because I can.

I look forward to taking on the new challenges that await me. I look forward to growing more familiar with a city I now gladly call home. It's time to say good-bye to 2011 and the transitions and questions. 2012 is going to be an exciting new year.

Friday, December 16, 2011

What a Difference a Year Makes

A year ago I had no idea where I was going. I was in Pennsylvania with no job, my life was in boxes, and I saw nothing ahead of me. A lot has happened in a year. I've moved back south, have a lovely job, new friends and fresh start in a wonderful city. I've clawed my way out of my shell finally and learned to embrace my life as it is.

Time has gone quickly. I moved down to Charlotte in February of this year, nervous but hopeful. I was standing at the head of a new, refreshingly unexplored path. I remember sitting with my parents this time last year and feeling I was perched at a crossroad. I knew it was time for me to make a decision on where my life was headed. Was I going to continue to sit back and watch my life pass by? Or was I going to suck it up and put myself out there again.

Well I did it. I may not always be happy with myself, and it's a struggle every day to put myself out there and meet people. But I do it. I feel I have grown exponentially this year. And it can only go up from here. I'm anticipating the coming year and hope I progress even more. This was a tough year, but worth every tear and bruise and worry. Bring it on 2012.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

How Old Am I? And Other Unanswered Questions...

This just seemed appropriate. Hell yeah.
I had the most enlightening conversation with my mother today. This is surprising considering most of our conversations end with her insulting my size, my personality, my lifestyle, my fine choice of shoes, etc. I recently disclosed to my parents that I am on an online dating site. In an interesting turn they sucked it up and only said, "Be careful." I appreciated this considering I'm 36 and it gets ridiculous when your parents think you can't take care of yourself. I have for many, many years. That being said, it started as a small comment my mother said at Thanksgiving that set the next conversation in motion. Sitting with my sister and I, she decided to explain to me that she felt I needed to meet an older man. A much older man. With grown children...This struck both my sister and I as off and we disagreed. Why? Because most men in their 40s and 50s remind me of my father, and that's just not cool. They also don't have the same likes and dislikes as me - they like Friday night high school football and I like weird sci-fi shows; they like hanging with their kids; I like not hanging with their kids. You get the idea.

And then today, two weeks after the initial conversation she brings it up again. Yes, I went out with a lovely yet eccentric college English professor the other night and had a good time. He was 33. Another of my "guy friends" is 30; another is 26. I'm enjoying my life as a singleton at the moment. And that's it.

My mother begins to expand on why she feels the way she does. "Heather, you're never going to be first in the lives of these younger men, and these men with children. You spent so many years being second to drugs and alcohol with your husband (that's for another blog post), you need to be first. And these men can't give it to you. I mean, have any of these guys not wanted to go out with you again?" "Yes, mother they have. It happens. Sometimes you don't connect, and that's it." So my mother continues, "You need to grow up. You need to understand that you're not young anymore and you need to be interested in these grown-up things. Stop trying to be younger than you really are."

Hmmm. I don't think I can do that mom. Yes, I'm 36, but I'm independent and responsible and have a great life. I do it all myself. I have a lovely life...and I do it all on my own. I don't need a man to pay my rent or car payment. If I want jewelry or flowers, I buy them. I like weird indie music and strange ethnic foods. I go on dates, and sometimes guys don't like me. But that's okay...that's life. I'm 36, but apparently a young 36. Why should I have to change for some ideal of what a man my age or older would want? I'm not going to do that. I'm unique and goofy and an acquired taste, and I love that. I love that I can sit in my cute apartment in this amazing city and know that I'm okay. Yes, I'm 36. And yes, I was treated less than stellar for a long time. It has taken me 4 years and a lot of tears to understand that it's time for me to be who I was meant to be. It's time for me to spread my tattered, healing wings and fly. It's taken me a long time to spread those wings. And I'm not going to stop now. Why can't my evolution involve younger men that are unattached to children and ex-wives, and look at me like I'm a goddess? Why not? Is it not time for me to feel like a goddess...to feel like I deserve to feel?

So for now the conversation with my mom has just settled with "agree to disagree". She may never understand who her child really is. Even if she thinks she knows me, she still has a lot of questions to answer. And so do I. My life is too short to decide that it's ended before it's begun. I've waiting too long to answer those questions I've had and it's time to uncover all that I need to. Until then, who knows what will happen?

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Thanksgiving - The Aftermath...This Time It's Personal

Thanksgiving is over and I feel like I ate enough food to feed a small African country. I fear Sally Struthers is going to show up in my apartment with a tiny malnourished child and start telling people I'm the reason little Shakabibu is starving.
So as of tomorrow I'm back to my normal routine: eating healthy, working all the time (at least that's how it feels), yada, yada. I really need to get serious about being healthy. I mean, I'm not getting any younger.
At least I enjoyed myself this holiday. It was wonderful seeing my sister and her family. My nephews are so wonderful. They're just so funny and personable. Since I have no children, it's comforting knowing I have them in my life. And spending time with my sister was amazing. Although we hadn't seen each other in about a year, we always have so much fun together.
The Thanksgiving holiday for the most part was a success. I was able to appreciate and enjoy my family. So often I forget how important my family is. I'm alone so frequently I've learned to embrace loneliness. Evenings for my involve my dog and my thoughts. And I've become comfortable with my solitude. It's almost blissful for me. This is obviously not a good thing if I ever want to have a serious relationship. So I need to phase out of this, and being around my family this past week helped.
And this means in addition to me getting back to my normal routine, I'll be working on my personal growth and pulling myself out of my comfort zone. We'll see how that goes. And hopefully little Shakabibu won't have to worry about me eating all of his food again.