Avoiding the Second Season Slump

Life is like a Beatles song.

Life is like a Beatles song.

Have you ever seen a really great new television series that completely grips you from the first episode to the season finale, only to tune in to the second season and be disappointed that it’s completely unwatchable? Well, that’s kind of how I feel about my life right now. Things aren’t “bad,” per se — I have a full-time job that I love, my family is healthy (though I always worry about my dad, and my dog is getting older) and… wait, that’s all I can think of. My social life currently consists of a Thursday night trivia league with my coworkers and rehearsals for a show that opens in February. Otherwise, things are way too quiet and melancholy. But I understand why I feel this way. I’m terribly lonely.

The Ex once told me that he thought I had “sad eyes.” When I asked him what that meant, he replied that he had seen a lot of gay guys who were depressed and sad because they weren’t in relationships. I shrugged him off and said that I didn’t feel that way, but I was lying. I knew that what he said was right; like so many other guys out there, I feel unfulfilled and lonely when I’m not in a relationship. I feel that way more than ever right now. Remember that Starbucks date I told you about? Well, that date turned into a whirlwind romance that crashed and burned. We’ll refer to him as Starbucks. Starbucks and I hit it off really quickly. He was super-enthusiastic, affectionate and attentive, and I was lapping it up, even if I knew that slow and steady almost always wins the race when it comes to dating. I did it to myself. You see, Starbucks had just come out of the closet and was (in retrospect, I think) eager to fall head over heels for someone. Because he was cute and cool, and because I was lonely, I got swept up in it.

Three weeks later, he dumped me while we walked around a village festival. I noticed that something was off, and when I pressed him to tell me what was wrong, he explained that he thought we were going to quickly and that he didn’t feel the same way he did when we first met. I was upset, but hopeful — he kept saying “I think I’m making a mistake” and “I regret this already” — but a few days later, he said it just wasn’t going to work. We agreed to stay friends, but after having brunch with him, I realized that this was totally over.

I know that I should have been more careful with Starbucks; he had just come out, I saw the breakneck speed that he was processing his feelings, and I knew that at any moment the bubble could burst. But I didn’t say anything, because I felt so happy to have someone treat me that way. Now I’m down in the dumps and depressed. But I don’t want this to define the next year of my life. I want to meet someone, yes. I don’t want to have sad eyes. But in order for me to go on without a dark cloud over my head like the second seasons of Revenge and Once Upon a Time, I need to brush myself off, remind myself that life goes on, and keep moving. And this blog will certainly help me do that. So here’s to 2014 being another happy, healthy, successful year.

A Pain in the Neck (or, how I learned to put things in perspective)

I wish my back was that nice...

I wish my back was that nice…

2013 has been a crazy year, hasn’t it? Between my decision to go back to school, then leave school, then starting a new part-time job, then getting a full-time job (writing and editing!), all the while dating a guy for five months and breaking up over nothing, I feel like a recap would turn into a novel. So rather than ramble on, I am going to summarize the lessons I’ve learned in the past few months.

The Ex, formerly known as Guy, is a great guy. When we decided to end things at the end of August, I was sad and a little heartbroken, but I didn’t fall into old (bad) habits or freak out. In fact, my first reaction to “getting dumped” (even though technically it was mutual) was a neck spasm. I kid you not. It was like all of the stress and upset that came with ending a relationship with a guy I really liked had formed a terrible knot in the back of my neck and refused to loosen. I drove home from The Ex’s house in such immense physical pain that I couldn’t even stop to be upset about what had just happened. When I got home, my folks and sister were also just getting home. I had called ahead to let them know that I’d been dumped and (more importantly) that my neck was in excruciating pain, and when I walked in my dad gave me a tylenol, my mom warmed up a soothing neck beanbag thingamajig and my sister handed me some Flexeril, a muscle relaxer I’d been prescribed when my neck pain started a few months earlier. I sat on the reclining chair, barely moving my face, explaining to my parents what had just happened. And that’s when something weird happened. We all started laughing. Of all the reactions to being dumped, laughter was definitely not one anyone was expecting from me.

I fell asleep on the chair and woke up feeling a little better. Of course, with the immense physical pain subsiding I now had time to feel like crap about the end of a relationship I was really starting to become invested in. But I went on with my life, started my full-time job, weeped a bit in therapy and stopped being so hard on myself. Did I backslide? A little – I got in touch with him hoping he would want to start again or try over, but when I realized that it wasn’t going to happen, I took a moment to feel awful…and accepted it. I’m sure I’m still going to think about him and feel bad about how things ended and see little reminders of our time together here and there. And I’m still a little angry that it all went south. But I wish him the best, and I hope he figures out whatever he’s got to figure out.

So…I’m not sure if it’s too soon, but I have a date tomorrow! A Starbucks date. In a moment of loneliness I signed back up for Match.com, and then received a charming email from a cute (at least in his pictures) guy. We talked a bit, exchanged numbers, I let HIM call ME, and we’re meeting for coffee. Did I mention he’s CUTE? Again, I’m not sure if I’m ready for this…but how will I know if I don’t try?

God Loves, Man Hides Behind Sign


SO 
SORRY fornot updating in forever! I’ve been super-busy with work. In fact, this update is kind of a copout because the following is a piece I wrote for work that isn’t being run because it’s a little… edgy. Hope you enjoy, and hope this doesn’t offend (and if it does, you probably shouldn’t be reading this blog).

If your eyes widened while driving past the Southampton Full Gospel Church on the Fourth of July weekend, you’re not alone. The church, whose sign is prominently displayed to anyone driving down County Road 39, decided to forego the customary “Have a safe and happy holiday weekend!” message in favor of something a bit more pointed. “The men of Sodom were wicked and sinners before the Lord–Gen 13.13,” the sign proudly read. Curiously, under the church’s name was a smaller, permanent message: “We’re a church that wants to share God’s love with you…unless you’re a homo.”

Okay, I made that last part up. But the “Men of Sodom” message was, unfortunately, very real and very sad. The church’s rather bland entrance, which lies at the end of a long, stark parking lot, brings to mind the infamous Fred Phelps and the Westboro Baptist Church, who are known for blaming homosexuals for 9/11 and who protest soldiers’ funerals. The idea of a church condemning homosexuality is nothing new, but Hamptonites—and Long Islanders in general—are probably a lot less used to the insulting hate speech than people in other parts of the world. There’s a first time for everything, I suppose.

Now, before all the homophobes and heterosexists start crying that the church was simply exercising free speech, I’m not disputing that the church is allowed to scrawl whatever drivel they’d like on their fading, plain marquee. I’m simply disappointed that, in 2013, in a country that just struck down the antiquated and (officially!) unconstitutional Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), a small group of cowards decided to use their public platform as a forum to reinforce hatred and (once again) prove that people are still afraid of what they don’t understand.

Homophobia, for the uninformed, is not “hatred” of gay people; it’s fear of gay people. Hatred develops from fear; we’re not born with hatred, and irrational fear is learned. I, for example, suffer from musophobia, or fear of mice; this developed when, as a child, a mouse scurried over my foot. I don’t know what caused the homophobia in the people of the Southampton Full Gospel Church, but I’m willing to bet it wasn’t homosexuals scurrying over their feet. If I had to guess where the church’s fear stems from, I might say it’s from their Bible, which they have chosen to interpret verbatim (if their sad little sign message is any indication), forgetting any critical thinking skills they should have learned in primary school. Assuming a member of the Southampton Full Gospel Church is allowed to question things, to form opinions about topics like politics, war, education—all of which appear in the Bible—why is it that homosexuality is so cut and dry? Of course, all this hate speech might just stem from the Anderson Coopers and other well-coifed gays of the world spending their summers in the Hamptons in the best houses with the best cars and the best clothes. Jealousy is not a good color on anyone.

So next time you pass the Southampton Full Gospel Church and glance at whatever vitriolic and misguided message they’ve left on their boring old sign, don’t be angry. Be sad. Be sad for the church-goers who thought that message was a good idea. Be sad for the young children of the church who are growing up learning hatred. Be sad for the closeted members of that church who haven’t heard “it gets better” from their elders. But most of all, be glad—you’re more informed, you’re smarter, and a helluva lot more fabulous. How’s that for judgment?

Hollandaise v. Paralegal Studies

It's all come down to this.

“It’s not you, it’s me!”

Believe it or not, I’m not talking about a relationship! In what feels like the millionth time since I graduated from college, I have decided to make a change. But this time, it feels reasonable.

Since January, I’ve been attending a local community college taking paralegal studies courses. I started out strong, I was enthusiastic, I made some friends, and I had a passing interest in the material. Unfortunately, as the semester chugged along, I lost my enthusiasm and interest and became rather uninterested in the subject. I had a few friends at school to help me through some courses that proved challenging to me, but it just wasn’t working out. Then came the F.

Let me be very clear here: I have not gotten an on anything since high school. High school. I braved science, math, silent film studies without dipping below a B+. How the hell could I have gotten an on a real estate law exam?! I was stunned, but I owned it. I deserved it. I didn’t study enough, and I hadn’t listened enough in class. In fact, the was pretty helpful in the long run, because it made me realize something: I missed my old career in editing.

I immediately started to do some research, reach out to my contacts and look for jobs. And guess what? I got a job! An editorial job! It’s a part-time summer position, but it’s a great opportunity that pays well and offers a lot of experience. I’m the new summer editor for a lifestyle paper, and I couldn’t be happier. On my first day, I wrote about lobster rolls, where to find the best craft beer in the area and the renovation of a local library. I was back in my element.

I don’t regret this past semester. I did meet some great people, I tried something new and I came out of it having learned a great deal (just not about real estate law). I fully intend to keep in touch with Foula, Allie, Faye and Eileen, and I can’t wait to see what the future holds for all of us. But for now? I’ve gotta go review a restaurant. Cheers!

Aspects of Love (or Alone-Time)

Vienna by Billy Joel

I know, I know, it’s been too long since my last update. But so much has happened, I don’t even know where to begin! I’ll dish my shocking career developments another time, but today we’re going to talk about my love life… well, aspects of it, at least. So cozy up on the couch, grab some wine and popcorn (I’ve been watching too much Scandal) and listen to my story.

Remember NewBoy from last month? Well, we’ve continued to see each other and from now on he’s going to be known simply as “Guy.” Over the past few weeks, we’ve met for dinner, movies, plays, I went to his friend’s party and he went to my friend’s wedding, we’ve cuddled (among other things…maybe), and most important of all, we’ve talked and gotten to know each other. Last week, we had “the awk talk” – what are we, where do things stand, and where are things going from here? The answers might surprise you.

To sound like a broken record, I move too fast in relationships. It’s a bad habit and I’ve been working on it for literally years, as one does when a major part of their personal life is the subject of drama and intense feelings. So I resolved to move glacially slow with Guy, no matter how much I wanted to have him sweep me off my feet under the sunset. I was extremely nervous bringing him to my friend’s wedding, and even more nervous that he was coming over to my house beforehand – we hadn’t done more than kiss, and I had no idea what to expect. Suffice it to say, our alone-time together was a new experience for me, but it was one that proved to be really nice.

I’m not going to get into any details of my alone-time-life, but I started to understand something after I had time to reflect on things. A long time ago after a bad relationship ended, I had decided that if someone wasn’t extremely tender, gentle or 100% committed to someone while having alone-time, they must not be good people. After years of therapy and many awkward dates and alone time situations, I started to come to terms with the fact that, like most important personal things we deal with, alone-time is a very gray area. Getting back to my time with Guy, I was surprised that after some very intense alone-time, I felt really wonderful. We cuddled for a long while, and in his arms I felt that tender, gentle feeling that I always have issues with.

Anyhow, we freshened up, went to my friend’s wedding, slow-danced, had cake, and went home. In my car, we had the much-dreaded awk-talk. We agreed that continuing to take things slow was a good idea, and he said he wasn’t ready to be in a “relationship” – we only see each other once or twice a week and we both live at home, so it’s an impractical situation – but that he really liked where things were going and wanted to continue at the pace and comfort level we’d been developing. I agreed with him.

I was disappointed at first; it’s very tempting to jump into a relationship too quickly, but knowing that appears to be half the battle. Since the wedding, we’ve continued at a regular pace and I feel good about it. For the first time, I feel content to let things be. If I take one thing from my time with Guy, it’s that dating can be fun, romantic and lead to deep connections without the emotional meltdowns and panic attacks. And if I do start to feel the old habits seeping in, I’ve got this blog entry to remind myself. Have a happy Cinco de Mayo, everybody!

Looking At Life Through An Instagram Filter

A picture filled with memories and stories!

The old family summer house

Isn’t it amazing how much can be said without uttering a single word? I learned something interesting about my father the other day, and it was all thanks to Instagram! I love my father very much, but I often wonder if he thinks about anything important, or if he just thinks about what’s right in front of him (like dinner or television). The other day, I went with my folks to dinner at a restaurant about 30 minutes from home. My sister was supposed to meet us, but naturally she was running late, so rather than take up table space and waste complementary bread we decided to go for a little drive while we waited. I’m not too familiar with the area we were in, but I did recognize it from my childhood; my dad’s family used to own a summer house there, and I got to go a few times before it was sold. “Let’s go by the summer house!” I exclaimed like a six-year-old. My dad sighed and nodded. We drove down an old path and into a small, private street that overlooked the water. We pulled up to the old summer house, which was not quite how I rememberd it, I snapped an Instagram photo, and we sat there for a few moments, just looking around, listening to the birds chirp and the water hit the rocks on the beach below. I looked over to my dad, and caught a rare moment; rather than his usual stoic facade, I saw my father deep in thought. Did coming here awaken something in him?

Well, not really. As much as I love him, I admit that the man rarely reflects on things and never expresses his feelings. So to see him so deep in thought really caught me by surprise. I guess I should have expected my dad to get somewhat emotional; years ago, my grandfather announced to the family that he was moving to Las Vegas with his new girlfriend, and that he had sold the summer house. You read that correctly – he announced not that he was intending to sell the house, but that he had already sold it. My father, a man of few words, has on occasion told me how upset he and his sister were, but acknowledged that nobody ever confronted my grandfather about it. Due to recent family incidents (which I won’t talk about here, they deserve to be in the next Great American Novel… or therapy session), bringing up any part of my father’s life has been touchy. I would often roll my eyes when my dad bluntly stated “let’s change the subject” upon mention of his emotionally distant father, late younger brother, selfish older sister, but looking at my dad at that moment made me realize that maybe he wasn’t overreacting. Maybe he really was profoundly changed by the various events in his family’s history. For the first time, I think I realized that my father wasn’t being dismissive or emotionally distant when shooting down talk of his family. He was protecting himself.

“Dad, look how cool this picture looks with the filter!” I exclaimed, showing him the snazzy new Instagram photo I had just taken.

“Cool,” he shrugged.

“Are you okay? You look a thousand miles away,” I pressed.

My father paused, took a deep breath and smiled. “I’m trying to decide whether I should do the lobster tail or the steak when we eat,” he responded. In the rear view mirror, my mother rolled her eyes. I understood. I’ll probably never know what my father was really thinking in those few minutes at his old summer house. But now I know that, at the very least, he does think.

“Go with the steak,” I told him, “seafood sucks.” And with that, we backed out of the one-way street and headed back to the restaurant.

I Got Lost In His Arms (But Look What I Found)

This illustration actually fits really well, but I'm not telling why!

This illustration actually fits really well, but I’m not telling why!

Hello, dear readers! I know, it’s been a long time since my last update. But this one’s going to be good, I promise. I’ve been so busy with school! It’s been quite a learning curve. But I am enjoying it, aside from one painfully bad teacher. I’ll talk about her another time, though. Tonight we’re going to talk about romance. Hopeless romance. Nah – hopeful romance.

I’ve gone on several dates with NewBoy. I’m going to keep him as NewBoy for now, because I don’t want to develop a reputation for writing about all my conquests like Taylor Swift. I met NewBoy through Match.com; we hit it off, much to my surprise, over coffee at Starbucks. I was surprised we hit it off because these things always feel like a crapshoot. We have a ton in common, and he’s very sweet and fun to hang out with.

As you’ve read, I tend to get really intense in my romantic pursuits. It’s something I’m actively working on, and I’ve tried to use as much restraint as possible with NewBoy because I don’t want to scare him off or throw things off the rails. But last night something happened that took me by complete surprise. We went to see a show in the city, and decided that it would be easier to take a cab back to Penn Station than traverse the subways and miss our trains. We got into the cab and I looked over at him. I wanted to hold his hand, but I didn’t know if it was appropriate. We’d briefly held hands at the theater earlier that evening, but I didn’t know how he’d feel about semi-PDA with a cab driver a few feet away. He smiled at me, and I placed my hand on his. After a moment, he took my hand and pulled me over, putting his arm around me and running his hand through my hair. I instinctively rested my head on his shoulder. After a minute, he looked down at me and gave me the sweetest kiss I’ve felt in a very long time. I was lost in NewBoy’s arms. And it felt fantastic.

We got back to Penn Station and kissed each other before getting on our trains. I felt great. But I didn’t feel euphoric. And you know what? That’s a really good thing. Rather than scrutinize the beautiful moment in the cab and agonize over what it all meant, I was able to happily look back at a tender, sweet moment exchanged with a really great guy. Who knows where it’s going to go from here? We have plans to hang out this weekend, and I can’t wait, but I don’t want to get ahead of myself or expect a similarly electric exchange. Because last night, I was there. I was happy. And no matter what happens between us next – we’ll always have the cab.

Thanks, NewBoy. Can’t wait to see you this weekend.

Someday my prince will come… via Match.com?!

Image

Happy belated birthday to me! That’s right — I’m the big 2-6, meaning I’m now paying unreasonable amounts of money for a basic insurance plan that doesn’t even cover my allergy pill prescription, but hey! I’m officially in my “Mid-Late 20s.” Why is this important, you ask? Because I can now designate that I am in my “Mid-Late 20s” on my shiny new dating profile!

Yes, I have crossed over to the dark side again and subscribed to Match.com in hopes of finding my Prince Charming. Of all the dating sites, I trust Match the most; because it’s a paid service, people are (mostly) looking for relationships and not hookups and quick flings. I was a little hesitant to join the site again, since in the past it’s given me nothing but stress and self-esteem issues, but so far I’m off to a good start.

The first time I signed up for a Match profile was about six months after my first relationship ended. I was so eager to jump back into a relationship and find that special someone who would make me and my world complete. I scrutinized over every single word I wrote, took every unanswered email as a crushing rejection, and decided that everyone I spoke to on the site would be the next great love of my life. If I knew then what I know now, I would petition for dating sites to be inaccessible to anyone under the age of 25. I wasn’t ready to join the world of “20-something year-old professional dating” because I wasn’t a 20-something year-old professional at the time. I’m still not a professional by employment standards!

But I have a different outlook this time. There are a ton of guys searching for their next boyfriend out there, and each of them probably has a similar experience to what I had when I was younger. Of the three people I’ve sent feelers to (emails, you perverts), one has replied and the conversation hasn’t progressed past our mutual love of Joss Whedon. And you know what? I’m cool with that.

So many people believe in “The One” – that one great love that will eclipse all others and bring you eternal bliss. Well, I’m going to say that everyone gets to have more than one “The One” in a lifetime. If we let ourselves think that the dude that dumped us after six months for some blonde bimbo from West Hollywood (I’m exaggerating, that never actually happened to me) was the great love of our lives, we’re going to have a pretty sad existence in the years to come. So I’m happy with trading Joss Whedon trivia with a nice guy for now. Will it turn into more? Does it really matter if it doesn’t?

I think I’m going to like being 26.