Old, Alone and Done For

Posted in anxiety, depression, self-esteem, self-improvement with tags , , on October 29, 2014 by sexandthesinglesoccermom

Several years ago, there was a Peter Pan remake film that my children loved. Near the end of the film, as the villainous Hook is being conquered, the children around him begin to chant, as he attempts to escape using the happy thoughts of pixie dust, “Old, Alone and done for!”

Hook begins to falter, his internal fears suddenly arrested by the growing chant.

“Old, alone and done for!”

Old, alone and done for!”

Hook slowly begins to sink, weighed down by his sad thoughts and fears, until he is eaten by the waiting crocodile below.

Lately, I’ve felt a lot like Hook.

About a month ago, I tore my ACL. Surgery was required and I was three weeks post-op as of yesterday. The recovery has been humbling, to say the least. Despite my best intentions of independence, I ended up staying at my parents for three nights following the surgery, drugged and dizzy and in pain. I went home and was barely able to hobble around on crutches. I started back to work slightly over a week past the surgery, aware that life had to move on, yet by the end of each day I was wiped out.

Today, I managed to straighten my leg completely for the first time in a month. It’s a victory won through hard effort, which I know will escape me after a night of sleep. Tomorrow I will begin the process again of stretching and strengthening, until eventually, after enough months of therapy, my knee remembers what it’s supposed to do and I don’t have to grasp the simple concepts of motion all over again. It doesn’t help that nerves in my leg were cut, which leaves most of my shin completely numb. I feel like I”m dragging a zombie leg around most of the time They tell me the nerves will, hopefully, regenerate after a year or so.

Two years of serious physical fitness, nearly down the toilet in a month. Now I’m resigned to simple exercises to  strengthen my mostly useless muscles, that a month ago would have made me laugh.

I feel physically vulnerable and weak, my body incapable of things it has always been capable of–the simple act of movement without difficulty.

What I hadn’t counted on was the emotional demons this injury and surgery would conjure. Loneliness, fears of being alone, fears of being vulnerable, insecurity over aging.

Over the last three weeks, I have wept off and on indiscriminately. I have found a new fear of my singledom–now not only has it represented the fear that I am less than those who are coupled and the insecurity that my loneliness will be a permanent condition–it has also represented the fear of being incapacitated and by myself. Family and friends have helped me through the worst of things, but even they couldn’t quite compensate for the fact that I live alone. Suddenly, being single seemed to have negative impact beyond the sentimental. Now, it seemed like a practical disadvantage as well.

I’ve had to face the fear of “What if this never changes?”

Right now, I feel incredibly vulnerable, emotionally and physically. I’m trying my damndest to strengthen myself and put on a brave face. A lot of the time, I just feel like taking to my bed and hiding.

But of course, I don’t. I stretch and strengthen and smile.

“I’m getting better every day!”

“I’ll be better than ever in a few months.”

“Now I’ve got something to work for.”

I’m trying really hard to ignore that fear in my head that says I’ll be alone forever, that this is the start of a long progression of things that go wrong with my body and that I’ll never win. Because that is defeatist and just the exhaustion and residue of trauma left over from the surgery. I know that this is just a blip in my life and I need to be patient and just work at getting better. I know that I have loved and been loved and that will come again, I just haven’t met the right person yet. There is nothing whatsoever that would prevent me from finding someone who will love me and want to be with me and I just need to have patience for that as well.

Acceptance and patience seem to be the two things I need the most of lately and they are two of the things I find very challenging.

I’m trying especially hard to blot out the voices that whisper, when I’m tired and aching and lonely:

“Old, alone and done for.”

I’m vibrant, fairly healthy and far from done for. So it’s time to rally and face my demons and battle them down. I may not be able to vanquish them totally, but unlike Hook, I’ve still got a lot of happy thoughts I can reach for when those damn, pesky demons start whispering.

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Holding Out For My Fuck Yes

Posted in Dating, Relationships, single moms with tags , , , on September 22, 2014 by sexandthesinglesoccermom

I recently read an article that stripped away a lot of bullshit from my views of dating and relationships. Basically, all choices boil down to either a “fuck yes” or a “fuck no”. Whether it’s a casual sex relationship or a committed partner, do you feel that you can say an enthusiastic “fuck yes” to whatever decision you’re making? If not, then it should be a “fuck no”.

It’s so simple and so clear. It also means most of my relationships have been rationalized to death and should have been “fuck no’s” long before they ended.

For years I’ve struggled so much with being alone that I kept trying to talk myself into the relationship. I employed some of the following:

“No one’s perfect.”

“Life isn’t a fairytale.”

“I’m not looking for Prince Charming.”

“I’m not going to get everything I’m looking for.”

While all of those statements are true, they were also used to deal with the fact that there were serious things going on with the men I dated, deal breakers in our relationship that I was tolerating because I so desperately wanted to be loved and wanted. With several of the men I’ve been involved with, I could have said “Fuck yes” to them, warts and all, if only their behavior toward me had been different. Because it wasn’t, I should have said “Fuck no”.

I’ve most recently been dating someone I met at a Meet-up. Quiet, smart, funny, attractive: I ended up doing something I never do and asking him out after we met. He readily said yes and we went out several times. There were red flags for me: In his 40’s with no serious relationship under his belt and no kids, a very bachelor lifestyle, a possible relocation in his future and the hint of a possible addiction that heavily influences his life choices. Still…I liked him. A lot. Then further red flags developed: A jealousy issue which caused him to behave badly, some fatalistic apathy when confronted with my reaction, conflicting sentiments regarding what he actually wants from dating me and a strong confrontational/argumentative streak after a few drinks. Our last date left things verbally unresolved and with me driving away feeling conflicted. On the one hand, he’s smart and funny and cute and has the capability to be vulnerable with me about what he’s feeling. On the other…all the aforementioned red flags.

Then I read the article and I realized I was seriously over-complicating this. There’s nothing to meditate on and nothing to work through. This relationship is a “fuck no” and I don’t need to waste any more time thinking about it. If I have to talk myself into it, it’s not right.

The more I think about it, my life is pretty good on my own. I’d really enjoy having someone I could enjoy a relationship with, but at this point, it’s going to have to be a “fuck yes” for me to be enthusiastic about it. I’m not shutting down and I’m still open to meeting someone, because I DON’T need perfection or Prince Charming. I’m just not willing to give up what I have for something that is less.

I’m going to keep holding out for my “Fuck yes”.

Ambivalent Daters

Posted in Dating, Relationships with tags , , on July 1, 2014 by sexandthesinglesoccermom

Lately I’ve been running into something which, while not new, still confuses the hell out of me every time it happens.

Men who say they want to date, but don’t really want to date. Men who make a big deal out of being interested, only to let the ball drop before the game even begins. Men who go to the trouble to seek out the opposite sex, but then can’t be troubled to put forth any effort.

Ambivalent daters are a part of dating culture I fail to understand.

Case in point #1:

A guy who circled “yes” to me during a speed dating event and took every opportunity to talk to me outside of our allotted six minutes. When I actually contact him because we chose each other, I get an email stating that yes, we should “hang out”. He elaborates that if I don’t live too far out, perhaps he can even put forth the effort to drive to where I live. Be still my heart! Upon finding out my location, he puts forth the possibility that we can just get some alcohol to bring to my house and he can crash there.

Uhm…what?

I squash the idea immediately, receiving a cocky response afterwards of “Do you actually think you can resist my charm?”

Yes. I do. When I pointedly ask him if he’s looking for anything more than a hook-up, his reply goes something like this:

“No, I’m a player who has an over-inflated sense of ego, despite the fact that I attended an event entitled “Speed Dating” not “Speed Hook-up”. I’ll try to look like I’m not a douchebag man-child by telling you I just don’t want to rush into a relationship (although I certainly want to rush into your pants), but what I’m really hoping is that I can sleep with you with minimal effort and then I’ll probably never call you again.”

I might be paraphrasing.

Case in point #2:

There was a guy who was at both speed dating events I attended. He marked “yes” to me both times. The first time we talked about getting together and then he flaked out. This time he tells me he’s busy, but could probably get together the next weekend. Today I received an email from him saying he’s “maybe” available on a specific evening. So far, despite his initial interest, I’m not exactly feeling like he’s excited about getting together. Which leaves me feeling less than enthused as well.

Case in point #3:

Sexy owner of a restaurant flirted and made a distinct point of making sure to get my number. I gave it and commented, “I hope you’ll use it.” He said, “Oh, I definitely will.” Considering that was a week ago and I’ve not heard from him, I’m wondering what exactly he’s using it for. Lottery numbers? Why bother to seek me out and get my number at all?

It’s hard enough to make dating and relationships work when everyone is being honest about their intentions. When there are people who don’t know what they want or can’t be clear about their motivations, the waters get murky as a swamp. Say what you mean and mean what you say. It’s such a simple phrase, but one that seems exceedingly hard for some people to carry out.

Ambivalent daters: Make up your mind!

 

To Those Who Let Me Go: A Post of Gratitude

Posted in Dating, intuition, love, objectifying women, Parenting, parenting after divorce, Relationships, self-esteem, self-improvement, single moms with tags , , , on May 29, 2014 by sexandthesinglesoccermom

Last night, as I was putting my youngest child to bed, she looked at me and said: “Mommy, I know why you haven’t found the right person yet. It’s because every man who has met you so far knows down deep he isn’t worthy of you, so he has to let you go. When you meet someone whose mind is open, who’s worthy of you, then it will be the right person and he won’t let you go. All those other guys were just saving you pain because they knew they weren’t worthy of your love.”

Sometimes my children humble me and I feel like the child listening to their wisdom.

After my last dating run-in, these were words I badly needed to hear and imprint upon my mind and heart. My former boss, with whom I am still good friends, recently said that he planned to give a memo to my new boss letting them know their highest priority needed to be building up my confidence…in all areas of my life. My first tendency, in almost everything, is to doubt myself. What did I do wrong? What could I have done to change things?

My last date did several things that were unacceptable. Despite having let him know I didn’t plan to sleep with him that night, he was super aggressive and at one point said, “Are you going to make me beg to fuck you?” When he stood from the couch and pulled me up with him, I gently and playfully said, “Sit back down.” To which he responded with barely concealed irritation: “Don’t tell me to sit. I’m not a dog.” Finally, trying to defuse what was becoming a tense situation while he attempted to move our physical relationship to the next level (despite my having said “No” several times), I informed him I was on my period and that it definitely wouldn’t be happening that night. He very seriously asked, “Well, haven’t you ever had sex on your period?”

As I documented in my last blog, I agreed to a third date (more on that later), which he then canceled within days, abruptly ,and with what would have been no explanation if I hadn’t asked outright. The man who had gone on and on about how intelligent, interesting, deep, funny, beautiful and sexy I was, abruptly lost interest after I wouldn’t sleep with him. Especially when he implied he’d found someone else who would by stating “I’ve gone on a date with someone else and I think I want to pursue that before you and I go further.” Complete and total 180, within 2 days.

First of all: I’m sad that I agreed to a third date. I’m sad that I’ve grown in so many ways, but have not yet grown into a woman who feels powerful enough to recognize when disrespect, rather than desire and devotion, is what’s being offered. I feel sad that the thought of being wanted, even by someone I’m not certain I want, still makes me feel like I am “more” than being alone. I once again have to look into my own personal mirror and realize that passiveness and desire to avoid confrontation is a problem that’s led to some heartbreaking situations; it’s still present, despite my efforts to rise up, speak my truths and stand my ground. I’ll fight for what I believe is right. I’ll fight for the sake of others. Apparently, fighting for myself is something I still need to master. I know that eventually my intuition and courage would have risen and I’d have listened to them enough to have not tolerated the situation indefinitely, but my first response is still one that honors the other person more than me. That absolutely has to change. It breaks my heart that my first internal question, after the boorish behavior of my date, was to wonder why he didn’t want me. My go-to feeling is one of shame and lack of worth, which creates a cycle in which I’m always grasping at someone else who can make me feel worthy, which means I’m then willing to accept things that SHOULD be unacceptable.

Second, my beautiful, precious child who loves me so much, has helped to inspire me toward a deeper awareness of all these thought patterns. This man didn’t cancel our date because I’m not enough; he canceled because he’s not. He’s not enough to inspire my trust or love and he’s not man enough to build my admiration. Instead of feeling like I’m unworthy, I need to feel grateful that he released me at a time when I didn’t see myself (or him) with enough clarity to make a decision that was in my best interest. I need to feel empowered to fight for myself, to love myself and to hold out for someone who really sees me. Not just someone who wants to “fuck” me, whether I am ready for that step or not, and who’ll leave for the first woman who doesn’t tell him no. I need to stay strong and realize that I am complete and worthy on my own.

So today, I’m trying to feel a sense of gratitude for all those men who released me from their lives, even when I didn’t understand why. Perhaps it is that on some level, they realized they couldn’t be the man I needed them to be, rather than it being an expression of my lack of worth. I’m going to try to have gratitude that in those moments when I felt lonely and weak and couldn’t reach clarity, something moved them to let me go. Because one day there will be a man who really sees me. He’ll see I’m often serious and introspective, but that I’m easily pulled into silly fun and I’m quick to laugh. He’ll recognize that my tranquility and ability to intellectualize situations masks strong and powerful emotions and he’ll think my passion is sexy. He’ll know that one of my greatest gifts and weaknesses is my ability give completely and deeply, but he won’t take advantage of it by always putting his own needs above mine. He’ll appreciate my sensuality, without feeling entitled to my sexuality unless I’m ready to share it. He won’t be perfect, because I’m certainly not. But he’ll be perfect for me.

I’m lonely, but I will work on believing in and trusting myself and not settling. I will choose to believe my daughter who holds my face in her hands and says, “Mommy, I don’t know why you’re not married again. It seems like every man in the world would be in love with you. You’re the most beautiful, wonderful, loving person I know and I love you so much.”

With someone like that on my side, how can I possibly lose hope?

In memory of a victorious, beautiful spirit: “To those who have given up on love: I say, “Trust life a little bit.” ~ Maya Angelous

Single Soccer Mom vs The Spring Breakers

Posted in Uncategorized on April 9, 2014 by sexandthesinglesoccermom

I recently had a 21 year old that I have frequent contact with make his interest known. When I tried to laugh it off, he told me quite seriously that it wasn’t a joke, he was interested. I made light of it, referencing the fact that when he was my age, I’d be getting ready to turn 60. There was some very flirty banter back and forth and some texting afterwards, all for fun.

Yet when I left, I started to actually consider it. What would it be like to have a fling with a 21 year old? After a couple of months of celibacy, I spent somewhat of a restless night thinking about it. Bottom line: I could absolutely sleep with him and not feel much guilt about it. The real question for me is how big of an emotional risk might exist for him. Part of me thinks that’s ridiculous, because he’s 21 and not looking to settle down with a 39 year old woman. Yet after many heartfelt conversations with him, I wonder how well he would handle a purely physical relationship with someone who is so much older. I also wonder how it would affect the friendship that’s developed between us over the past year.  Still, its flattering and frankly, a fantasy that’s been rolling around in my head since he said it. 40th birthday gift to myself???

Of course, I’m on the fence even more after going to a popular Spring Break destination with my kids. The wanton disregard for decorum, the complete entitlement and the debauchery all made me feel old. I can remember going to this destination with my family, during Spring Break, when I was 16. It was much tamer at the time, but I was thrilled to be there. All the boys! The excitement! Now, I just wished they would grow the hell up. Several of the 20-something men flirted with me even with my children present. I mostly just felt annoyed. How could they be so immature?

Then I thought of the 21 year old and I wondered if I could even go there with him. Once we were mouth to mouth, skin to skin, would the 19 year age difference really matter? Other than the fact that he’d actually be able to maintain an erection? Which frankly, sounds pretty damned good. Once the clothes are off, does it matter? I’m not sure. The one thing I’m certain of is that I wouldn’t want to even risk hurting him. Oh…and that I’m too old for Spring Break.

Maybe that should be my guiding principle when it comes to choosing a lover?

Melancholy Mermaid

Posted in anxiety, depression, parenting after divorce, Relationships, self-esteem, self-improvement with tags , , , on April 4, 2014 by sexandthesinglesoccermom

Seven years ago, I took what would prove to be a momentous trip. In the middle of a deep depression, the collapse of my marriage and the unrelenting arguments between my husband and myself, I knew I had to get a breather. Feeling like I had failed at everything in my life and not really wanting to live, I made plans to head to the beach, alone. This meant leaving my husband and my very young children, driving cross country, and being alone for the longest period of time in my entire life.  I’d only ever spent the night away on my own once before. To leave everyone behind for 10 whole days while I tried to recover from a nervous breakdown and decide what the hell I needed to do to pick up the broken pieces of my life was terrifying. I drove straight through without stopping, arrived at my beachfront condo, then celebrated my 33rd birthday alone the next night.

The ocean has always called to me and if I spend too long away from it, I start to feel edgy. My soul feels soothed in a very profound way when I hear the waves and feel the sand between my toes. In some ways, the solitude was exactly what I needed to heal. In other ways, it was extremely dangerous for me to be by myself. I didn’t feel enthusiasm for life. I thought of my marriage and I felt profound sorrow and hopelessness. My husband didn’t love me and I was pretty certain he hadn’t loved me in quite a long time, despite the fact that he was “making the best of it”. I’d made horrible choices that haunted me, but that I couldn’t escape from. I felt like I’d failed as a parent and wondered if my children would be better off without me. I’d never felt so alone and I’d never been so close to the brink of saying “fuck it” and giving up completely.

After an aborted suicide by drowning that is almost comical when narrated, I realized I didn’t really want to live but wasn’t sure I wanted to die.  Probably the less said about the trip, the better. I survived it, my husband and children joined me after 10 days. After pleading and begging my husband to stay with us for the remainder of the time, he refused and left to go back home, an abandonment which would set the tone for the future. When I returned home, scarred from my experiences and feeling fragile, I knew I needed safety first and that didn’t involve hours and hours of verbal sparring. So I asked for a trial separation, just to give us a space between interactions to retreat to…which turned into a permanent separation.

I’ve been to the beach location since then, but always in the company of other family members. When I decided to return this year, I was excited at the thought of a week away and the thought of being near the ocean. I hadn’t counted on the nearly crippling anxiety that would begin to plague me as I got closer to the trip. Memories, incredibly painful memories, began to surface and I struggled with the thought of going. I had fleeting moments where I wondered if it was a good idea, then I thought I was being ridiculous and tried to just take a deep breath. I wasn’t the same person and my life wasn’t the same.

Driving toward my destination, as my children were engrossed in their own activities to pass the time, my mind returned over and over to the past. I found tears streaming down my face and my anxiety returning. What was I thinking? I should have picked a different location. I shouldn’t have even attempted to come to this place again without support, distractions, a way to distance myself from everything that had happened 7 years earlier.

Yet as we drew closer, at the first sight of the water, I felt something in my chest ease. The excitement of my children and the scent of the ocean water buoyed my spirits. As our days have passed here, I’ve been mostly fine. A few stray moments here and there were I’ve had a hard time not getting bogged down by the memories, but I’ve mainly felt happy and relaxed. I feel like I’ve reclaimed this place I’ve been coming to since I was a child. The bad memories aren’t banished, but they haven’t completely ruined the experience for me. This has been a wonderful time with my children.

I have felt some sorrow thinking of what it could be like if seven years ago, my husband hadn’t chosen to leave when I’d asked him to stay with us, be a family with us for the rest of the week. I can’t help but muse about what would have happened if he’d taken me by the hand and said, “I love you and I want our family and I’m willing to be here while we figure it out.” He didn’t and it’s hard to know what effect that would have had. Given our current relationship, I certainly can’t even picture a life with him now, nor do I want one. Still, that’s the thing about choices: Each one means a different path in the road and a different possible outcome.

I’ve spent a lifetime believing that if I feel a moment of sadness it invalidates all the joy and it’s impossible for those two emotions to live side-by-side. For me, that’s simply not true. I feel intense joy that I’m here in this moment with my children. I feel wonderful that I can hear the ocean when I walk on the beach at night, that the stars shine so brightly overhead. I love lazing around with them and doing whatever we want, whether its going for night time swims or playing Guitar Hero in an arcade.

At the same time, I feel sadness it’s just me that’s here with them. I feel lonely. If I allow myself to slip out of the present moment, I feel regrets about the past and worry for the future. I feel a desire to not go back to my “real” life, which has seemed to involve a lot of stress. I intensely want a partner at some moments and feel unhappy I haven’ met someone I want around long term. Then at other moments I wonder if I really want to give up my freedom. I can recognize that being here alone with my children creates some loneliness. I can also realize a partner might not want to play Guitar Hero in an arcade, go for night time swims and then drink hot chocolate, or do any of the other things we think are great. I realize a relationship would mean conforming to another person’s agenda and desires. Right now, neither being completely alone or being in a marriage or partnership, with all that entails, sounds quite right. Still, I’d like to try starting things off with someone wonderful and see where it goes!

So…sadness and joy. Perhaps living betwixt them is the work I’m learning to do. Mindfulness. Being present. The recognition that feelings are just feelings and come and go.

For tonight, I’ll stand outside and look at the waves and listen to that rhythm that calls to my soul. I’ll check on my sleeping children one last time before I go to bed. Then I’ll wake and see what the day brings us. I’m sure for at least one more day, it will bring us sun, sand, water, giggles, some sibling fights and seafood. I’m going to try to not worry about what tomorrow brings. I’ll face that tomorrow.

The Walking Dead, Cutting Ties and Another Man’s Baby

Posted in Dating with tags , , , on March 20, 2014 by sexandthesinglesoccermom

Soooo…the last month…well, I’ll be glad to see April and pray it’s better than March.

For any fans of the Walking Dead, I will admit that I hated the latest episode. It reminded me of all the reasons I stopped watching, left me sobbing and hating myself for continuing this emotional self-sabotage of television viewing. Really? Having the older sister kill the younger sister? Then having Carol shoot the kid because she’s bat-shit crazy and a danger to all people she encounters? I’m kind of hating this show right now. The only silver lining is that it prompted a fountain of tears that were hovering on the brink tonight, just needing that final push. I wept and it felt at least marginally cleansing, even if the knot in my heart is still not completely gone from a COMPLETELY FICTIONAL TELEVISON SHOW!

In other news, I decided to go through my Facebook friends list and cut ties. Out went the ambiguous guy who flirted for months, turned out to have a girlfriend, yet still sends me texts at 1 a.m. randomly as a “friend”. Out went the fling who turned out to be incapable of being honest and grown-up, but still wanted to be “friends” on Facebook (but wasn’t capable of actually being a friend in real life).  The guy who insisted on posting intense political rants every other day…yup, I didn’t want to hear it anymore. I’m ready to start paring down the emotional baggage. I have enough of it in my life that seems impossible to get rid of; I don’t need it on social media.

Finally, taking a page of voyeurism from “they who must not be named”, I looked up a distant ex after they viewed my profile on LinkedIn. I knew they’d gotten married in the last couple of years. What I just found out is that they have an adorable new red-headed daughter. Now, it’s ridiculous of me to feel sad about this, but it left me with a great big ‘ole lump of sadness in my heart. I knew in my heart of hearts this wasn’t a relationship that would last because of the situation. He was my first love after my divorce and his career planned to take him out of state, while my divorce decree left me right smack where I was. But…I loved him. A lot. There’s a part of me that when I saw the beautiful pictures of his new baby, stomped my emotional feet and thought: “That should be MY baby.” Again…ridiculous. I don’t even know if I’d have wanted more kids. I think it’s more nostalgia for him, longing to love the father of my children and the misrepresentation that can exist on Facebook. Maybe his life is picture-perfect and maybe it’s not. Who knows? I only know that things weren’t right between us or he wouldn’t have left and all the nostalgia in the world won’t change that.

My children and I leave for the beach in slightly over a week. A week of no obligations, the sound of the ocean (which has always been the call of my soul) and hopefully, some sunshine. I very much need the reprieve from daily life and the stresses of the past couple of months.

Oh…and I have a date tomorrow night. I have very little expectations, but at the least it will be drinks and adult conversation!