Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Letter to my Therapist

Not long after James died, I was put in touch with a therapist who was also widowed young.  I saw her faithfully for about two years until she had to go and retire on me-right before the holidays.  She is seeing patients again sporadically once a month on a Saturday to wrap things up and I decided to make an appointment with her for this coming Saturday.  Since it's been 6 months since I've seen her, I decided to bring her up to speed before then. (Names have been changed to keep with my blog practices.  I also edited out some details I don't wish to publicize).

Hi Therapist,
I’ve been thinking the last few days about how I am going to cover the last six months and still have time to discuss it in an hour long visit and decided to just e-mail you a summary.  I hope this is okay.  I write the way I talk but will try to make this the Cliff Notes version.
The Holidays
My friend Guy Pal was instrumental in getting me through the holidays.  We co-hosted a Christmas potluck at my house for the New in Town Meetup group so those who didn’t/couldn’t go home had somewhere to go.  There ended up being about 9 of us in attendance.  For New Year’s Eve (also my and James’ dating anniversary-this would have been 11 years), he and I and another friend went to dinner and to hear a band play.  My birthday is in January; he put together a birthday dinner for me although I did have control over the guest list.  For the anniversary of James’ death on 2/6 (Superbowl Sunday-James’ fave team played), Guy Pal didn’t want me to be alone so we went to see a movie and to dinner.  I also “commemorated” this day by purchasing a new leather couch and love seat.  My old couches were hauled off on Valentine’s Day with the new ones delivered on the 15th.  The Sunday before Valentine’s Day, I held an “Anti-Valentine’s” Day potluck and movie night at my house, again for the New in Town group, with about 12 or so attending.  Guy Pal has become such a great friend, though we’ve had some ups and downs lately. 
Dating (or not)
In December, I signed up for one of the free sites-OK Cupid.  That lasted for about a month.  I didn’t meet anyone from the site nor did I really generate much interest, other than to have someone tell me he didn’t think we’d be a good match but wondered if I wanted to be “friends with benefits.” Um, no.  I decided that when I was replying to e-mails from guys I wasn’t interested in by telling them about James in hopes it would scare them off, maybe I shouldn’t be on the site.  In April, inspired by a few friends having various levels of luck with them, I tried Match.com despite having been rejected by them before.  Again, I gave it a month; again it went nowhere.  The biggest mistake I made there was comparing myself to my friend who is much better looking than I am in terms of not getting any results (her profile was viewed over 900 times in a month, compared to about 240 for mine).  Online dating definitely takes a very thick skin, which I don’t possess but at the same time keep feeling the urge to try.
In March, I met a guy named Cute Joe at a Meetup event.  Prior to meeting James, the thing I heard most was “You’re the type of woman I can see myself with” or “I want to meet someone just like you someday.”  That always annoyed the hell out of me because you know who’s just like me-ME.  And now I get it.  Cute Joe is the type of guy I can see myself with.  We have very similar senses of humor, he’s a genuinely nice guy, we like to do a lot of the same things, he’s really cute, he likes dogs, etc.  But, there’s just no spark there.  We run into each other quite a bit at Meetup events.  We get along great but it’s pretty clear he’s not interested and deep down, I don’t think he’s the “one” either-there’s a Spidey sense thing going on that I can’t put my finger on, but every time I see him, I can’t help but think “Man, I wish I could meet someone like you.”  It’s just as frustrating to think it as it is to hear it. 
I realized I am holding on to James because I’m not having any luck elsewhere and I don’t think there’s another chance for me so I’m holding on to the one that did want me and who can’t possibly hurt me anymore than he already has.  I keep hearing Dad “what’s so wrong with you that you can’t attract a man?” and I wish I knew the answer to that. 
I keep telling people I want a relationship, just not the commitment.  Right now, I’d be happy just to go out on a date!
In December, I had a sinus infection.  I had a bad reaction to Amoxicillin and had to be taken off of it after three days.  Nothing was prescribed to take its place so it never really went away.  In February, I tried acupuncture for it and had a bad reaction to that as well.  It went dormant but came back with my allergies, so I went back to the doctor and got an antibiotic I can actually take and I think it’s finally gone.  However, the timing of the Amoxicillin making me so sick I couldn’t keep anything down coincided with Guy Pal challenging me to eat vegetarian for a week.  On July 4th, it will be 7 months since I stopped eating meat.  Along with that, I stopped eating a lot of processed crap as well as pasta (though I do still have that on occasion).  I do feel healthier.  I have also started to exercise more: walking the dogs around the ‘hood, walks/hikes with the Meetup groups, and my co-worker and I have been taking a zumba class since April, but it’s not in an air conditioned building so it’s getting too hot for us to continue for the time being.  I really enjoy that class-for the first time in my life, I actually look forward to exercising.  Physically and mentally, I do feel better, even though I still don’t sleep.  Emotionally, however, I am a wreck.  I am much more irritable and crankier in general and cry at the drop of a hat, so I can’t help but wonder if I am releasing some feelings I buried by not taking proper care of myself after James died?  I also have reason to believe my hormones are out of whack so when I see the doctor next month I want to have some blood tests done.
Out and About
I’m still keeping myself busy with Meetup events and volunteering-probably a little too busy.  I was in Sacramento over the weekend to see James’ mom and cousin and while I was bummed about the cool events I was missing up here, it was so nice to not  have to be anywhere at any specific time.  I love the social life but at the same time, it is hard to keep up the always on the go pace.  I’ve been trying to have more gatherings with friends at my house too as I have a great setup for entertaining and love to do it.  I’m pretty much just running into the same people at this point, but it’s nice to walk into a room knowing at least one friend will be there.
But, even surrounded by awesome people I love, the bottom line is I’m still so very much alone and I just don’t feel like I belong anywhere.  I found myself thinking this weekend that I have a lot of relatives but I really don’t have much in the way of family.  And even with this active social life I have, I can still go for days without the phone ringing.
The Bottom Line
I’ve been trying to figure out how it is I have rebuilt a pretty damn good life for myself but it just doesn’t seem to be enough.  I keep telling myself that I need to just focus on the things that make me happy, which are my dogs, volunteering and having friends over and the rest will just fall into place.  Then I decided to analyze why are those the things that make me happiest?  I realized it’s because with volunteering and entertaining, I am in some small way taking care of someone else and making them happy and that is what makes me happy.  I’m at my best when I feel needed or when I feel I am contributing to someone else’s happiness-even if it’s just making sure they have plenty to eat and a good time for a couple of hours.
My life is good.  There’s hiccups (like the A/C going out and BMW having a hard time figuring out what’s wrong with the car) along the way and I do need to find someone I can vent those hiccups too so I don’t let them build up.  But in general, I have a good life.  I just don’t know how to make it so only taking care of me is enough.
So there you have it.

Monday, June 27, 2011

So this guy winks at me on Match...

So this guy winks at me on Match...if that sounds like the beginnings of a bad joke and the punchline is my attempts at online dating, well it is.

When you unsubscribe from Match, your profile is kept on file for a year.  I don't know if it is viewable that entire time or not but it is definitely viewable at first.  I keep getting e-mails alerting me that X-number of men viewed my profile this week; resubscribe to see who is interested!  Umm, if they are just looking at my profile and moving on, they aren't really interested, now are they?  So I didn't take the bait and rush right online to see who these men who aren't really interested are.  I thought "Let me know when someone winks or e-mails me.  Then I'll consider it."

And then I got an e-mail that Mister X. winked at me.  The e-mail showed his main profile picture but if I wanted to check out his profile I had to pony up the $36.99 for another month.  He's not bad looking but one wink didn't really justify the expense in my book though I did feel bad I couldn't contact him to tell him my account is expired.  I figured that would be the end of it.  But no.  Match kept sending me e-mails that I'd received a wink, even going so far as to offer me a discounted price to resubscribe.  Again, I did not take the bait.  Instead, I bought my own.

I have a friend who has an active subscription on Match.  One of the (many, in my opinion) minuses to that site is you can't search by username.  Which means if that is all you know, you can end up with a lot of profiles to sort through to try to find a specific user.  Using my mad research skillz (research, cyber stalking-it's a fine line), I was able to determine Mister X's age and location which my friend and I used as our search parameters.  A sort of the results by username and voila! here we have Mister X.

His profile didn't raise any red flags other than he may have a reddish tint to his hair when the light hits it a certain way and did show we like to do a lot of the same things.  So my friend e-mailed him for me.  (Have I mentioned how much my life resembles high school?  "Do you like my friend? Check yes or no."  Okay, that would actually win me over).  She started by saying this was going to seem odd but you winked at my friend.  She told him my subscription was expired but I got an e-mail he winked at me so we pulled up his profile on her account (Hello, Stalker) and this was my way of winking back.  She gave him my username and my e-mail address so he can contact me if he's still interested. 

The next day she got a response.  He thanked her for the nice e-mail and said that he went back through the winks he sent and could not find my profile among them but if it popped up again he'd check it out.  So we searched for my profile and had no problems finding it.  I was surprised to see it showed I had been active on the site within 24 hours; I guess if you read their e-mails, it shows your profile as active?  (Note to self: check credit card statement to make sure you aren't being charged). 

Really?  So now I have sunk to the level of getting rejected via third party by someone who expressed interest in me first?  Awesome.  I'm not sure it gets anymore pathetic than that.  (I could renew my subscription and find out...).  As if this wasn't insulting enough, two days later I got another e-mail from Match letting me know Mister X winked at me. 

This morning I got an e-mail that I "sparked someone's interest."  From what I gather, that means someone clicked "yes" when I popped up as one of their Daily 5.  Of course, in order to find out who it is, I have to resubscribe.  Wouldn't it be funny if it was Mister X (assuming he's real and that isn't a fake profile used to get women to resubscribe, that is)?

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Someone Like You

In my pre-James dating days, such that they were, I often was told that the guy just wanted to be friends but he hoped to meet someone just like me someday; that I was the type of woman he could see being with.  It was always said in a way that somehow tried to convey there was a compliment in there somehow.  I always found it frustrating, however, because here's a newsflash:  you did meet someone just like me.  ME.  It doesn't get anymore me-like than yours truly.

After James died, the first guy I had a connection with, my dear widower friend, also told me he could see himself with someone like me someday.  Being that he was grief-stricken, I didn't smack him or point out the obvious.  If I remember correctly, and those early days are more than slightly hazy, when he said that I had to fight the urge to flee the room.  However, the next time I talked to him, I did tell him I felt the same way-I do remember that.  Now that the grief blinders aren't on nearly as tightly, I think we both know there's someone else out there for the both of us.  I did have someone recently tell me when she met him (here for game night) she thought we were a couple because it was clear we had a deep appreciation for each other.  I thought that was really sweet-and definitely true.

Back at the beginning of March, I met a guy at a Meetup event.  I was talking to some woman and looked across the room and thought "oohh..who's that?"  We ended up sitting next to each other for the event (comedy show) and then saw each other again a couple of days later at another event.  We were having dinner and chatting and one second everything was fine but literally the next second my Spidey sense was on full alert.  I never did figure out why but I know myself well enough to know if Spidey is activated, I need to listen!

Not long after that he started dating someone which did not work out.  I was surprised (and leery) to get a random text from him one night at the end of April saying he would see me at an event the next day and that he was looking forward to the event.  I had deleted him from my phone so I was mostly surprised he still had my number. (He was added back a couple of weeks after this happened.  And then almost deleted again-twice).

The event ended up being a lot of fun but I didn't know at the time that he and the girl were no longer together though I kind of had a feeling that was the case based on something I partially overheard.  It was confirmed the next weekend when we once again found ourselves at the same event and it came up in a conversation about dating.

Over the last couple of months, we have found ourselves signing up for a lot of the same events-we have several groups in common-to the point I gave him a hard time a couple of weeks ago for knowing my schedule better than I do.  We haven't both made it to all the events we've signed up for-things come up, but we have been to quite a few.  We did an event this past weekend that he suggested and I set up.  We get along great-we have similar senses of humor so he definitely makes me laugh.  He seems to enjoy being around me-and I do enjoy his company.  He's a genuinely nice guy and as indicated by us signing up for the same events, we have similar interests.  He's smart.  He has dogs.  And he's cute (damn-is he cute!).  And he has a great voice.  He called about an event the other night and listening to his message I found myself thinking how much I liked the tone of his voice.  (It has not escaped my attention that the last guy whose voice I fell in love with I was planning to spend my life with).  But he's made it pretty clear he's not interested and there just doesn't seem to be a spark there (which I think is what the Spidey sense was trying to say).

The last couple of times I've seen him, I have found myself thinking "I wish could meet someone just like him." (Oh, the irony).  Which is followed up with: "Um, yeah, you kinda have."  (Really?  Spell check lets "kinda" slip but flags "colonoscopy"-which has nothing to do with this post-as spelled wrong?).  So that is followed up with "Fine.  I wish I could meet someone just like him but who's interested in me."  Inner Heather can be such a pain at times. 

I finally get it.  And it's just as frustrating to be the one thinking it as it is to be the one hearing it.

Sunday, June 5, 2011


Tween:  A child between the ages of 9 and 12.  A tween is no longer a little child, but not a teenager.

Tweens are those young people in a transition stage.  They are starting to become too cool for toys but aren't quite ready to give them up but they no longer fit in with the little kids.  But they aren't grown-up enough for the big kids either so they don't fit in with them either.  They don't really fit in anywhere except in their little tween world.

Recently, I was trying (unsuccessfully) to explain to one of my friends that I don't really feel like I fit in with the other members of one of the Meetup groups we both belong to.  The group is for singles over 35 and at 37, I am usually the youngest one at our events-although I don't do much with this group.  I was telling him I felt too young for that group.  I also told him I keep telling people I'm 34 because I apparently don't remember how old I am.  Of course, thirty-four is the age I was when my world came to an abrupt stop so I guess on some level I'm just trying to pick up where I left off.  I went on to tell him that on the contrary to that group, I feel too old for the 20's and 30's group I am in as most of the members in that group are around 25. 

I was having a hard time getting across what I was trying to say.  It was a couple of days later that it dawned on me that it isn't so much a matter of age as it is circumstance.  With the group of people over 35 (or the "singles pushing 50" as I like to call it), most of the members who regularly attend events are closer to 50 than 40, have ex-spouses to deal with as well as kids and in some cases grandkids.  I feel too young for this group because I have none of these things.  I have a dead guy on the dresser and two dogs.  I don't have those grown-up responsibilities like they do-I'm not grown-up enough for the big kids.

On the other side, I'm past the "just graduated but holding on to my college ways" stage.  I've done the first grown-up job thing.  I've done the first long-term relationship and marriage thing they haven't.  I'm well past the days of staying out until the wee hours of the morning and somehow managing to be awake for work at 8:00-and stay awake all day.  (Not that I don't stay out too late on a school night more than I should, but I've really cut back on that).  I'm too old to play with the little kids. 

It dawned on me that at 37, I'm a tween.  I still like to play but how I like to play has changed.  But I don't have all the responsibilities of the big kids either.  I'm stuck in the middle.  I keep referring to this phase of my life as High School 2.0.  Apparently, it's only Jr. High.  Damn.