Making Use of Uselessness

Has it really been over a year since I’ve updated this? My, how time flies.

A brief compacted version of my year: Things with Jack worked out. I love him more than I can ever express and his support has been unbelievable. I moved in with him in February and ever since it’s been me, Jack, and our cats Mr. Waffles and Ursa Meowser. (And our awkward roommate, though that’s a tale for another time.) Life with Jack is happiness.

Now onto the topic at hand.

Have you ever been in a situation where you can finally exhale but upon doing so, you have no clue what it was ever like to breathe properly in the first place?

When I moved in with Jack, I immediately found myself a good paying job in the childcare field, a profession I’ve worked in for pretty much my entire adult life. I know it inside and out and can proudly say that I’m one of the best damn preschool teachers around. It was a corporation so I knew that things would be different from the private schools I was used to, but what I didn’t anticipate was that the exhaustion I’d felt at my previous job followed me to this one. The parents loved me. The kids loved me. The school was overjoyed at my teaching methods, creativity, and attention to detail in the classroom. I, however, was screaming on the inside. It wasn’t in me anymore. My patience with the children was at an all-time low, though I’d never show it, which led to spiking stress levels. I started to get sick a lot (which I’ve now discovered are from migraines, which I’d never had before-Wee!!) and would push through the day only to come home exhausted, mentally and physically.

Don’t get me wrong, both of us having decent paying jobs was nice! We could afford to go out to museums, take day trips to the beach, eat out (and even opt for appetizers!). For the first time in five years, I didn’t have to wonder if the bills were going to be payed or if I had to choose between food or gas. Unfortunately, due to my stress, I was often too sick to do any of those things. Most weekends were spent at home, Jack taking care of me as my head pounded, belly ached, and anxiety levels grew.

One weekend, we agreed to spend some time at the beach with an old friend of mine. It was a welcome vacation who’s only downside was my nagging inner anxiety of the idea of going back to work when we returned. Friday afternoon, Jack and I waded out into the ocean as far as we could, scanning the horizon for dolphins and enjoying the sounds of the surf all around us. This amazing, thoughtful man turned to me and told me to quit my job. He could tell that it was the source of my sickness and sadness. He encouraged focusing on my art (which has always been a dream) and that, even if we have to pinch pennies here and there, he could take care of me. Actually, properly, take care of me. I’m pretty sure I cried right there in the ocean. My whole life I’d been the only one carrying the weight of finances on my shoulders. I never imagined I’d actually be able to focus on my art without the worry of working 10 hours a day just to make ends meet.

When we returned, I put in my two weeks notice. My boss begged me to stay and even offered me the position of art teacher which would have been my DREAM job just a few years ago, but at the moment just sounded exhausting. Besides, I’d just recently started doing pretty well at my side business of painting pet portraits. The last two weeks were brutal but I made it through, eager to jump into my new life of art!

Then, a week or so later, hurricane Harvey struck. The city I live in was devastated. Jack and I were extremely lucky to not get flooded but a good 3/5 of the community around us was completely destroyed. Suddenly purchasing paintings of pets was the least of peoples’ concern, and rightfully so. I haven’t had a single commission since. It’s disheartening but a reality I was prepared to face.

Since then I’ve tried to focus my art on my own original pieces as well as fan art pandering to my beloved nerdy community of whovians and the such.

I’m not making money. Sometimes I feel useless. Lazy. Uninspired. Like a leach. It’s not a good feeling.

Fortunately, because I have the most amazing man in my life, that yucky feeling is starting to fade. I’m not useless! I paint. I draw. I work out. I’m going back to school in the spring. I meal plan and prepare recipes. I cook and clean the apartment. I ensure that when Jack comes home, the only thing he has to worry about is snuggling his girlfriend and cats and whether or not I need help with dinner. And ya know what? I love it. Sure, we may not have much play money and I’ve come to terms with the fact that it may take some time to start turning a profit with my art but that’s okay. I’m not crying in the middle of the day. I’m not reluctantly spending half of my weekends cleaning the apartment. I’m not convincing myself every week that my health is worth less than my job.

I’m not useless. I’m just learning how to breathe again.

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Saying It

So Jack and I have been together for almost a month now, which really isn’t very long in the adult dating game, but we feel like we’ve been together for ages. I guess talking for hours a day every day will make things seem that way.

This past weekend he came here to visit and, as always, we had a fantastic time together. It’s so nice to be able to just be our weird selves around each other without having to hold back or tone down. He told me that he keeps anticipating me telling him to stop but it doesn’t happen because I’m just as goofy as he is.

Friday night it finally came out. We said ‘I love you’ and my heart overflowed. It was strange to say but a good kind of strange. As much as long distance sucks, it’s so beyond worth it for what we have.

I’m in love and happier than I have been in years. I don’t miss Micky or anyone else for that matter. They could vanish from my history and I’d still be happy with my geeky space nut man. Feels great to call him all mine. 🙂

Googly Eyes

I can’t get him off my mind at any time. Even when work is a whirlwind of chaos and insanity, I think of his face and I smile. I don’t remember being this caught up (especially this early on) with anyone before, even my ex husband.

Last night we decided to explore Google Hangout and video chatted far too late into the evening. It was so wonderful to see his smiling face in motion (and to see him squeeze that tight little butt for me.) He did research on activities for long distance relationships and even offered to lend me his Xbox 360 and a television so we can play games together in our spare time. Hearing him say out loud that we’re both really invested in this gave me warm fuzzies. He let it slip that he got me a gift for when I come visit next weekend and I got all giddy. Nobody gets me gifts. How thoughtful!

He went to lunch yesterday with his mother and asked her if she wanted to meet me. Apparently she gave him a hard time about having me stay with him that weekend (super Christian ethics means that’s moving WAY too fast!) but he explained just how strongly we felt for each other. It’s one thing to rush – I definitely don’t want to do that – but it’s another thing to find someone you have such a strong connection with and pump the brakes just to be cautious, causing you to possibly lose out on something wonderful. I’ve been the biggest naysayer of ‘love at first sight’ and falling for someone so quickly but I’m being proven quite wrong. She did want to meet me and I’m looking forward to putting on my best sweetheart face for her.

It was so wonderful to have our laptops in bed last night, talking side by side almost as if he were there. We spent a good minute just smiling at each other in silence and I’m always amazed at the significance of such a simple gesture. It’s pure awe and adoration for one another and it’s making me miss that kiss like a madman.

Long distance relationships are difficult but I’d wait as long as I have to knowing that sweet, silly, nerdy man is all mine.

Smitten

I. Am. Smitten.

So smitten.

Jack came to spend the weekend with me and we had a phenomenal time. Even something as simple as watching something on the couch is full of laughter and fun when we’re together. We had genuine adventures together and couldn’t stop smiling. By yesterday evening we were holding hands everywhere we went, stealing kisses and pinching butts whenever we got too close. Together we explored downtown, bar hopped all over, discovered a shitty band playing a set in an alley and pointed out planets in the night sky. By the end of the night I couldn’t look at his face without wanting to kiss him and breathe him in. We spoke candidly about the way we feel for each other – what we decided must be the true definition of a ‘whirlwind romance.’ He told me that he had to tell himself that there’s no way he can be falling in love with someone so quickly.

This is nuts.

This is so so so nuts.

But fuck I love it. This guy. ❤

The Spark

I’ve been pretty MIA for a while. I went through a period of being incredibly depressed and not wanting to talk about anything but I think a major part of that was being with someone I didn’t feel a spark with. I dated Pickle for a few weeks and, while he’s a kind and humorous guy, the embers of my feelings never really lit up. It got to the point where I didn’t even want to answer the phone when he called because I knew exactly what the conversation would be like: Bitch about work, talk about the cat, then awkward silence. Our opposite work schedules made it to where the only times we ever could speak were when our ships crossed in the mornings and evenings, leading to an extremely boring relationship. As soon as I identified this as the source of my unhappiness, I (kindly) explained the situation and broke up with him. No hard feelings but there’s no use hoping feelings will emerge that aren’t there.

I’ve been on several dates since then. Hookah guy was alright. Similar tastes in many things but he’s the type to talk at you rather than with you… plus he owns a fleshlight and that just really bothers me for some reason. I swear the one time I stayed there he was humping the air in his sleep. I think the guy has issues. He’s still trying to get me to see him often but I’m just really not feeling it.

There was the hairy young IT guy, Bill. I actually really enjoyed my date with him. We had coffee and margaritas, spent the night together laughing and goofing off. He even invited me to watch a showcase for the improv class he’d been attending the next day. It was a good one and I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t a bit bothered that I didn’t hear from him afterward. Every day on the way to work, I see him walking to his work. Every day I’m tempted to honk my horn or do something to embarrass him but it’s not really worth it. At least we had that one good date.

This week, however, I found that spark. I’ve only been talking to Jack for a few weeks but instantly our conversation was like butter. Not only does he have the same sense of humor and witty way of speaking, he also shares my oddest quirk (an extreme hatred for all things velvet). He’s a third grade science teacher (teacher AND science nerd?!) who helped me discover just how much lab coats turn me on. We started talking on the phone in the evenings and now have a regular theme of speaking for around 3 hours a night.. which is insane. Who talks that much every night with no lulls in conversation? Of course there has to be a downside because life can’t make it easy. He lives 3 1/2 hours away which is a total bummer. This week has been my vacation week from work and since he’s off for most of the summer, he offered to come visit on Tuesday. I had such a great time that my cheeks were hurting from smiling. He ended up staying the night and making plans then and there to come spend more time with me this weekend.

Of course, as always, I do my best not to get my hopes up but there’s something so magical about actually feeling that spark with someone.

I also feel that I should mention where I stand on the Micky situation. I had already started to get past him. I hadn’t talked to him much at all and was doing my best to cram his chapter back into the book of those 6 months of hell. He spoke with me last week and said that he wanted to come visit, spend a day and catch up. We made plans for him to come last Saturday. Of course, ‘something came up’ and he couldn’t make it, though he kept me updated through the day on his excuses. Fine, whatever, it was the second time he’d flaked on visiting. He swore up and down that he would come on Monday instead. I agreed but took it with a grain of salt. Sure enough, not a single peep from him that day. Maybe it was his goal to get me super disappointed in him so I could move on. If so, way to go because I’m completely over it now. I felt extremely disrespected but at the same time, he wasn’t on my mind at all. Only Jack. He still hasn’t spoken to me since and I’m not going to push for contact anymore. Consider this my closing of the Micky chapter.

I’m just going to enjoy this flame that’s finally lit between Jack and I. I certainly missed this warmth.

 

Lost

I really need some advice on this one.

So I do like Pickle. He’s sweet and doting and shares my sense of humor and many interests. I really started feeling a flicker of feelings and it was exciting.

Ever since Micky texted me I can’t get him out of my head. I’d gotten him off of my mind and started moving on and with one text he consumed me again.

It’s made me start to compare the two and it’s not right. It’s made the flicker for Pickle start to fizzle and it sucks. There’s no proof Micky would even be emotionally available to me right now anyway. I’ve been trying so hard to put that fire out but the damn embers just won’t stop burning.

What should I do? Should I talk to Micky about it? Should I push him to the past and try to fan the flames with Pickle? There’s enough stress going on with my day to day life right now that this just makes it all 10 times more difficult. I long for the inspiration love once gave me but fear I won’t have it back. I don’t want a stone heart. I need color back in my monochromatic life.

Tough Decisions

Before I moved back to where I am now, the goal was to find a new job where I was (about an hour and a half away) so I could find a place of my own there. Missing the world of preschool, I interviewed at one in the area. I absolutely loved it. Small ratios, creativity based, an open and warm staff that reminded me of the place I worked at for years when I lived in Dallas. Unfortunately the pay wasn’t enough and I had to pass it up. Unable to find something that made enough, the decision was to move back to where my family was.

This evening the owner of said preschool called me and offered me the position of Assistant Director. This is a dream for me! Assistant director in a center that felt so warm and comforting? Like dude, their cook is a professional chef who will go to the farmer’s market in the morning and cook lunch from what he finds there that day. How cool is that?!!

The only problem is I’d have to  move back there.. right after I moved where I am now. I love my apartment and this cute little city I live in. The city the job is offered in is a bit bigger, the capital in fact. Many new opportunities. Also, Pickle lives 2 hours in the opposite direction so that would put a huge strain on our already long distance relationship.

Oh.. and Micky lives there. *chugs bottle of wine*

Taken

So I suppose I’m no longer a single woman on the prowl. Despite not being able to see each other for another few weeks, Pickle and I still talk all the time. Because of opposite work schedules it’s generally only to and from work that we get to talk on the phone but it’s become a regular thing and I really enjoy it. We’ve already started to make plans to hang out for a few days during my vacation in July and he’s even bought us pre-order tickets to the Renaissance festival in the fall. All of this future talk brought up the subject of us being officially dating and we were both in agreement that we’re pretty crazy about each other. It’s strange to call someone my boyfriend after being single a while but it’s a happy strange. My dating profiles are collecting dust and his name is the one I hope to see every time my phone goes off. I think it’s helpful, actually, that he lives a good distance and we can only talk in the mornings and evenings. It allots me the freedom to have my space and live my own life during the day with something to look forward to at the end. Here’s to hoping this goes somewhere good.

This decision was the cherry topper on a good day. Yesterday  morning was the Color Run. I’ve never participated in a 5k before but it always looked fun. My mom came with me and several of my coworkers were there as well. Of course we just briskly walked it but I really enjoyed it. Around the 2.5 mile mark I started really getting into my groove and could gone another lap. Maybe this is something I’ll do more of in the future. It really did feel great to accomplish something and be outside trying something new. My hip is killing me today but I’m okay with that. At least I know it was for a good reason.

Next week my cousin is coming in to town to spend time with family and figure out her next step for moving out from living with her husband. It would be the next time that Pickle is available to come see me but I told him that she had to come first. After he and I made “us” official, I asked her what her plan was for the weekend (on the off-chance that he could still come for a day) but apparently her plan is to hang out with me and another cousin Saturday and then stay with me that night, which is great. I’ll miss seeing Pickle but it will be worth it to spend time with her. I’ve been toying with the thought of offering to let her come stay with me for a while. As much as I love my solitude, I can’t really afford this place on my own with the crap pay my job currently offers. I have major trust issues with roommates but I know and trust her so I think it would be alright. We already live similar lifestyles so that shouldn’t cause issues. It’s certainly something to consider and I’ll see what she thinks about it.

I’m glad to see things starting to change and move in different directions for me. I was beginning to feel way too stagnant and unhappy with the way of things. I began to lose track of what has always kept me inspired – the excitement of the unknown. Here’s to diving back into life. It’s time.

Friendship

I suppose that for the last year and a half I’ve gotten pretty used to not having close friendships with others. When I moved to a new state, my old friends moved on and I set out to find my own way alone. It takes time to discover who you are without anyone to impress and the journey doing so makes it take quite some time to build up real friendships. Even with my family, it’s taken time and it still has its awkward moments. Well I guess I’ve reached that point of comfort and trust with others that my old ways of being the one to talk to have re-emerged.

At the beginning of the week, Jerry opened up to me about relationship issues he’s been having with his girlfriend. Apparently they’ve been together a month. He loves her, she tells him she needs a break because she’s overwhelmed. I could tell him what I honestly think, which is that she’s not ready for love and the fact that she doesn’t feel the same way scares her into wanting to end it, but I can’t do that to someone who’s feelings I care about. I let him pour it all out and gave the most encouraging (yet realistic) advice that I could. I need to check up on him to see how he’s doing. Kinda got lost in an accidental social overdose since then.

The next day, my co-worker was an emotional wreck. Apparently her and her boyfriend got in a huge fight and he spent the night with his sister, claiming he needed a few days apart from her. Oh boy, I’d heard things before and was none too impressed the first time I met him. My opinion? He’s immature, jealous and childish while she’s losing herself to be what he wants her to be when he doesn’t even know what that is. Again, can I say that? No. She loves unconditionally and will find any way to defend him – I know her type. So I offer to let her come over after work for a drink and to let her vent. Lordy can that woman talk! I swear she gave me her entire life story. She would only take a breath from talking when her phone would go off and then she was dead to the world as she checked her messages. I took that opportunity of silence to check my phone since mine had gone off too. It was my cousin, the only other female black sheep in the family and therefore my closest for as long as I can remember. The text said “I think I got married too soon. I need to get out and I need your advice.”  Now my head is spinning. Shit just got real and Bree is babbling on about what her high school schedule was like. It made it difficult to formulate meaningful responses to my cousin. I had intended on a peaceful evening alone – like always – and suddenly I felt like an avalanche of people needing my attention and my anxiety was rising. I found myself eagerly awaiting news that Bree’s ride would be there soon which then made me feel like an asshole for wanting her to leave when she really needed that friend to lean on and listen to her incessant rambling. I listened deeply to both, gave the best advice and encouragement that I could, and breathed a huge breath of relief when Bree left and my cousin said good night.

This same week, Micky sent me a message. I hadn’t talked to him in a while but I knew that he had recently been to divorce court and that it hadn’t gone well. I didn’t press him for details because, like me, he tends to find solace in solitude. I left him be but told him I was always there to talk to if he needed me. Turns out it did not go well at all and he’s in a rough place. He didn’t see his little girl for 6 weeks, he has to sell his house, he must surrender his dogs to his ex, and he just lost his job. Damn. 2016 was supposed to be better than last year. Why is everyone so miserable?!??! He’s still in my pending que to have a long deep talk with  – along with Jerry and my estranged grandmother I still haven’t had the balls to call back. Oh and Hedburg who recently lost disabilities benefits and his grandmother just died. Sheesh.

Honestly, I’d rather have hours of manual work around my home than have long conversations with people almost any day. It’s a shitty thing but 80% of the time I don’t want to interact with a single other human being, except any potential lover – that’s when the dynamic changes. Of course this sudden wave of being “popular” would come when I do have someone that I eagerly await texts and calls from. I’ve still been talking to Pickle on a regular basis as our ships cross in the mornings and evenings. We had such a great time on Saturday and honestly, miss each other already. He wanted to come visit again the weekend after next (his next weekend off) but my cousin is coming in to town that weekend and I really need to be a good friend and be there for her. It will be good to spend time alone together. We’re such similar people but have lived completely different lives, only crossing paths maybe once a year. I look forward to building up our friendship. At the same time, if Pickle’s off weekends are the only times we can hang out, it’ll be another 3 1/2 weeks until we can see each other again which is a total bummer. But – priorities.

Having friendships is exhausting.

Pickle

Despite my great date a few weeks ago with Clove, our conversation only lasted a few more days and then dropped off. I decided to let that go. He can make the effort if he wants to keep in contact. At least it narrowed down the two people I’ve been talking to so that Pickle is the only one remaining. My dating profiles have been untouched for a while and I even got a message the other day from Tinder informing me that I will no longer show up in local matches until I reactivate it. Works for me. Juggling a bunch of shitty conversations at once is exhausting.

Well this weekend, I actually got to spend some time with Pickle. He lives two hours away and works nights so conversation is spotty sometimes but I always look forward to his name popping up on my phone. He came by on Friday evening to stay that night and spend the day on Saturday (his sleeping locale understandably dependent on how we clicked in person), something I had been looking forward to all week. First impressions? Tall, a little chubby (but I like that), big hands (my biggest turn-on), instant smile and open arms for a hug (which I gladly obliged). We clicked just as well as on the phone and as we walked to the door of the restaurant for dinner, he took my hand with an “Is this ok?” and opened the door for me. Afterward, we curled up on the couch at home and watched Netflix until our eyelids began to droop. He earned his spot in my comfortable bed for the night and was a champion cuddler. Not much hanky panky went down (thanks to a timely reminder of my fertility) but we did play around some. We had to. After having phone sex a couple of times, the curiosity was too much. Plus it’s quite difficult to be wrapped up in someone’s arms, feeling their hard sex against your thigh, and abstain from giving in to some urges. He was never pushy and was quite skilled at returning the favor of hand exploration (and now that I know what he’s working with-quite proportional to that big solid body, I can’t wait to actually experience it.) We slept like babies and set off the next morning for breakfast and to enjoy a stroll downtown. We walked hand-in-hand, commenting on shops and restaurants, me giving him whatever small tidbits of information I know about the area. We wandered into the science museum and studied the exhibits together, him occasionally smiling and offering a step stool when he’d catch me on my tip toes to look into a case. The planetarium show that morning was a kids’ film where a magical tree house transports kids to places in books. We still got giddy for the visuals and would quietly murmur our snarky comments to each other. The day was fantastic and ended with us just curled up together in bed watching silly videos and daydreaming about getting a corgi and moving to Colorado. I didn’t want him to go. He didn’t want to go. I thoroughly enjoyed our time spent. The fact that he doesn’t smoke or drink is a plus as well since I only had about 4 cigarettes altogether and had no desire to drink to feel comfortable around him. I want to be happy sober and healthy so this influence is a major asset to me. I didn’t want to smoke around him as he had previously commented on how he disliked being around the smoke and didn’t mind if I did it but would be adverse to kissing right after I sucked one down. Contradictory enough, once I finished my first cigarette in his company and we went back inside, he slipped his hand around my waist, pulled me close and kissed me tenderly on the lips commenting “This is how much I like you, to kiss you right after a cigarette.” On his way out of town I got a “Miss you already” text and a good morning one this morning. Knowing I’m on his mind just as prevalent as before is a good sign. You know, I actually had a dream that I was with him in my sleep the night he shared my bed. Strange, those dreams.

Today is Mother’s Day and I’ve told my mom that I’m all hers today. She doesn’t know what she wants to do but figures it will involve my Grandma and Aunt which is just fine with me. I’m happy and feel good so I know it will be an enyoyable time, whatever we do. I wish I could afford to take her out, get her a nice gift, treat her as she deserves to be treated – spoil her to dinner, breakfast, and the museum like Pickle did for me. Who knows what we’ll do but I can’t see it not being an over-all pleasant experience of a weekend. I’m certainly still wearing a smile from yesterday.