This is going to be a little bit of a departure from standard FCB entries. However, since I've pretty much abandoned my other blogs in favor of this one it has nowhere else to go. Feel free to skip over it if you are here for the adorable pictures of my baby. I'll understand completely.
Here I'll even give you not one but two adorable pictures of her eating her first PB&J to look at before you go:
Ok, now that that's out of the way, I'll warn you this is probably going to be extremely long... you can still back out now. No hard feelings.
It's no secret that I'm a single mama and I've apparently started dating again so I guess maybe this post isn't too out of place. I say 'apparently' because I'm still not quite sure how it happened. I had no plans or aspirations to meet anyone, but I did. Anyway, after about two years of being single I've been suddenly and violently reminded that I'm no good at dating. I'm pretty sure I've never been good at it, and by that I mean I've never done it the 'right' way. I was attempting to put this into words for the guy I've been on a few dates with and halfway through I realized it was a much bigger story than I thought when I started. I managed to condense it enough to (hopefully) not come across as a crazy person who says too much too soon. However, once I started down that path of thought I knew I had to get the whole thing out or risk thinking about it constantly. I've touched on the subject of dating before but here's the whole gruesome story, if I don't write it now I'll just bottle it up indefinitely again and I'm tired of doing that.
What it boils down to is that I don't really date. Not in the traditional sense. I've 'gotten together', 'met up' and 'hung out' but my actual "date" count is shockingly low and mostly consisting of people who I was already in a relationship with. How does that happen you ask? Simple. I've met most of my significant others in bars or clubs that I've either worked at or frequented. It's very easy to just keep meeting up with someone in a very unofficial sense and have it turn into something more serious. I've had the 'So what are we doing?' conversation more times than I care to admit. One day I look at the person I've been with for awhile and it dawns on me that we've never been on a real date, so we go on one. It's never really been an issue even if deep down I would've liked things to be a little more traditional. It's strange to think of myself as old fashioned but then realize that maybe my actions don't coincide with that. I've also gotten myself into many casual relationships that weren't casual to me. Once I like someone, that's it. I stop looking. Unfortunately for me, not everyone else shares my values. As a matter of fact, my personal history indicates the exact opposite or maybe I just attract very fickle people.
I have a million theories about why my dating history is so lackluster. They range from 'people suck' all the way to 'I'm not good enough' with every stop in between. It wasn't always that way.
I wasn't very popular with boys in school. I was overweight and dressed like a boy. No one was falling over themselves to be my boyfriend and that made me bitter so I didn't go out of my way to change things. I had two of those high school hold-hands-in-the-hallway-between-classes 'relationships' that lasted about two weeks each and that was it. My dates to dances were always friends. I had plenty of those but I was pretty lonely. Then came the first guy I really liked. It was a trainwreck and it set me up for failure for years after. You see, he was in love with someone else. Did that stop him from leading me on and telling me how great I was and even, on several occasions telling me he was going to be with me when things ended with his girlfriend... no, of course not. Since my self esteem was non-existent I went along with it. They broke up once, for a few days and he came to me. Just long enough for us to make out a few times and for him to tell me he loved me and destroy my whole world. When he got back with his girlfriend it was the first time I felt my heart break but I tried to pretend it was okay because I didn't want him to stop spending time with me. This dragged out a bit longer. We all moved in together, they broke up, we came close to sleeping together (thank god we didn't) and I told him I loved him too. He got back together with the girlfriend again (surprise!) and told her what I said. She hated me for it, he chose her over me, as usual and eventually everything fell apart. I feel like most of my relationships have been some variation of that original mess...
There are a few notable exceptions. For instance, when I was 18 I went on a real first date with a boy who I was really into. He showed up with a rose for me and we walked all over the city for hours. Before he left I kissed him on the cheek. It was perfect. We spent a ton of time together after that. He always brought flowers (my mom LOVED him for that, I never had the heart to tell her it was because he worked at a flower shop) we slept next to each other a few times but never actually slept together. I don't even think we really made out ever. It was innocent and amazing. I'm pretty sure I loved him... and then my mom died. I shut off completely and pretty much stopped talking to him. My excuse at the time was that I had too much going on, but I think that, despite his willingness, I didn't want him to see with how broken I was and have to deal with that. It's crap and false self-preservation and I know that now. I convinced myself that I had to put on a brave face and I kept it on for years.
This is how you end up in superficial relationships that never work, for the record. I got close to people but had no way of letting them know how I felt. My first relationship after my mother died lasted four years. We lived together. Yet, somehow we never admitted to ourselves or anyone else that we were a couple. We were young and our lives were falling apart when we met each other. We were doomed from the start. I knew that and I held him at a distance because of it. I never told him how I really felt until it was way too late and the damage was already done. We had a night years later where we got everything out and it was healing and cathartic but my unwillingness to open up during those years is still one of my only regrets. He ended up with other girls (including one of my friends) towards the end and I resented him for it, yet I still wouldn't tell him why. I was in head over heels in love with him and scared out of my mind by that fact. It was obvious to everyone but me. If you ever need denial lessons, I'm your girl.
It is not the last time that one of my relationships never got off the ground because I'm too closed off... Not even close. I want to blame that first debacle for my inability to admit my feelings for someone, or any feelings at all for the most part, but it probably goes deeper than that. I'm sure my father isn't completely blameless. For the longest time the only way I could say something that really mattered was by writing it down. This is how I've come to be a blogger since the internet was readily available. Before that it was notebooks and poetry readings. Anything to avoid admitting that I was human, that I had feelings, or god forbid, that I made mistakes sometimes. It's somehow much easier for me to send all of those things into the universe rather than direct them towards the person who needs to know. I've spent the majority of my life scared that if someone saw me vulnerable they wouldn't like me as much. The thing is... I'm not that girl anymore. I haven't been in a long time. Still, it's hard to shake the duck and cover instinct that comes with so many spectacular failures. I'm infinitely better at being open than I was before. I've worked very hard to tell people when something is wrong and to ask for help even before Aurora was born and it's been much easier since she came along. I think being so exposed and vulnerable having a baby and falling in love with her instantly and undeniably opened my eyes a bit, but there's still a learning curve.
I wasn't sure I was ready to date again, in fact I was pretty positive that I wouldn't be for a long time. Meeting someone who I actually like and connect with was very unexpected (and yes, I've actually told him that). But before I even agreed to one date I promised myself that this time I would do it right, from the beginning, even if it meant scaring him away at least I'd know I was true to myself. I deserve an honest, working relationship and I'll settle for nothing less, especially now that there's a little bean in the picture who depends on my sanity. The results so far have been a little shaky. But this is still very new and he hasn't run for the hills yet so I have high hopes...
Anyway, that's enough from me tonight.
If you've somehow made it this far, I appreciate it. It's nice to know that my outlet is still here when I need it, even if it's in a new form. Thanks for reading and letting me vent.