Thursday, December 29, 2011

Day Twenty-Eight : Sigh

I have to admit, this project is killing me in some ways.  No more deviations except returning a Merry Christmas text with a "you too!".  But between work going to hell and my brain spinning with what-to-do-when-I'm-unemployed checklist, spending Christmas with my parents' tense-filled power struggle of a marriage and no one to hear my frustrations on that score during pillow talk, and a weird moody gloom that I am having a hard time summing up the gumption to kick in the balls, I am feeling alone.

I should probably just masturbate, but I think at this moment it will actually make me feel even more alone.

Perhaps it was all the Christmas engagements that did it.  And a lot of them were the second ones for a lot of friends - some younger than me.  Really, am I that undesirable?  The whole world is conspiring to say "yep."

On the long drive home from a most unsatisfactory Christmas, this song came on my ipod.  Thanks Liz Phair for summing me up right now.

Fuck and Run - Liz Phair

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Day Seventeen : Cycle

As a result of not being able to take birth control, yet being in a lot of long term relationship based on the rhythm method, I am scarily attuned to which point my body is in the whole month.  And right now it is full on PMS phase.  The type that makes me want to drop to my knees and hold myself in existential loneliness and have someone wrap their whole being around me while in a horizontal position.

I also realized today that this emotional/hormonal wave occurs at my peak ovulation point.

Ah, I get it.  Nature moves us to desperation and loneliness so that we move toward someone in order to reproduce.  Fuck you, ovary, now that I've figured out your great connivance I am spending the rest of the evening packing for some time away from the city instead of pining for what is simply an annoying (and for me, unneeded) biological process. 

I should probably just masturbate, but I don't think that will help at this point.  Besides, I spent a couple of hours last night researching being a nun, and I might as well just get used to it.

I also discovered that the order of nuns I am most interested in joining requires you to keep a journal about the times you hear the "calling" to be a nun.  I feel like this blog might do it in part.

Day Sixteen : Redemption

I went for a long run - 8 miles - probably the longest continuous run I've ever done in my life.  It was a weird meditation feeling my body hum and hurt and litening to music.  I feel strong.  I'm going to get through this.  I'm going to like being alone.  Who's running all these miles?  Me.  No one else can do it for me.  I need to remember that anyone else is just an accessory.

No boy exchanges today.  Good.

Day Fifteen : Relapse

Two things happened yesterday.  The first is that one of my tires randomly blew on the way to the doctor's office, causing me to dovetail into another lane narrowly missing what would have been a pretty bad side collision and costing me several hours to resolve.  The second was that, when I checked my phone after returning from walking my dog, I found a message to someone who thought my number was my father that the sender had found "her" dead in her apartment from either a fall or heart attack.  Of course, I immediately thought of my sister.  Dead siblings, no bueno.

So, understandably, I got a little upset and called my father to find out what the hell was going on.  He managed to assure me that it was just an uncle letting him know that my aunt's mother had died, and had gotten the wrong "E" in his phonebook.  And, yes, while it was very tragic that someone was dead in apartment due to unknown causes, I would be fine, just fine.

After I had hung up the phone, I saw that I had gotten a text from a number that was all too familiar because I had erased it far too many times.  "How's life?"  it read.  How fortuitous, I thought.

I sat on that one for an hour and a half, trying to do everything in my power not to respond.  But there was a part of me that leapt up at that - mainly because (to my mind) it showed me I was not the only one missing things.  "Surviving," I wrote back.  It was a fair answer.  "Same here," came the reply.

Perhaps I should've left it at that, but I had to know.  "I don't mean to sound all un-southern woman-like, but are you just inquiring about my health?".  "I'm still at work, but are you doing anything later."  And then two minutes later "and I was just checking in on you in general as well."  For some reason, the latter addition made me miss this person because he is weird and awkward and restrained, like me.  And so I said I had plans until 8:30, but would let him know my plans after.

I paced and paced again trying to find things to do and 8:30 came.  So, I did the next best thing to ignoring him.  I told him I needed a book and a bed and then took a double dose of Ambien to render all driving impossible and locked up all communicative devices.  This morning, I checked and it just said "cool, talk to you later."

I spent dinner with some friends trying to convince myself this wasn't a relapse in the real sense of the word, and explained to one that maybe my reasoning is that I'm not quite ready to let go of the person, just the unhealthy feelings in interactions with this (or any other) person I think I have feelings for.  Like maybe I'd kind of like him to be around on the 87th day when I finally get my shit together.  Or to feel like, even if he's not I'll be okay with that.  She remained unconvinced.  I suppose we will have to see.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Day Fourteen : Hugs

I am having a debate with one of my sponsors about the not masturbating part of this whole celibacy thing.  I would agree that she has a point - I have already put the energy in the same places I put it prior to celibacy vow and right now, with work being slow and other lack of stimulation (just books books books and running running running), I still have all the energy inside with no new place to direct it.  I take that back, there are new places to direct it, I just need to figure what they can be.  Or direct it harder to the old places.  Point being, I haven't given up, although I really thought the higher mileage on my running would do it.  Triathlon next?  No, no.  Not yet.

Her point was the unintended result of giving up getting off is that it makes me miss certain people, who, while I am still being good about daring not to speak their name, still linger a little bit.  My fear is that breaking that vow to myself isnt' really going to change that.  Even if I were to substitute some other visage for the main character, it's still thinking about men, and again, no men-thinking-about.  Enough already.  I've made it two weeks.  72 more days of this is not going to kill me.  But if it does, I hope it's by spontaneous combustion so they can finally figure out that's what is causing it and save a few lives or something.

Anyway, back to the theme of today and my earlier "touch" entry.  I need good non-sexual hugs.  So, readers of this - the privileged few who are near and dear to me - send me lots of hugs, as many as you can.  Not lame one-amed hugs, but big bear hugs and cheek smooches.  Happliy family totally non-sexual (I swear) hugs.  Besides showing support through time of other doubts in my life, it's keeping this monkey from fading or doing other unhealthy monkey-like things.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Day Thirteen : Anticipation

Sadly, today I am living in anticipation of some sign from boyville.  I'm not sure what prompted this, maybe at the heart of me, I'm longing for a certain kind of giddy contact that I am not necessarily getting right now.  Or maybe it's that work is so slow, I spent most of it either reading boring manuals, number crunching to try to squeeze more savings out of the really hard rock that is my budget right now, or looking at the lives of strangers on facebooks while trying very hard not to look at the lives of strangers that I am interested in in boyville fashion.

Facebook is really a killer that way.  I wish I had the discipline not to use it at all, because it proves that people are all out there not being so celibate and seem happy that way.  So right now I am reminding myself that this celibacy project isn't necessarily about being miserable, just about learning to be content without certain things so that when they do come back into my life, I can enjoy without too big of a downfall.  It's just quiet time.  Still, part of me wonders how many miles and how many books before I'll stop wondering (and to my credit, this wondering has really been reduced a lot) if I'll ever get another shout-out from certain corners, and also wondering if ignoring the prior shout-outs was the best idea.  On a practical level - I know it is.  One a not-so-practical level (where I function most of the time), I am missing certain things.  I need to just admit that I miss them, let that bad air out into the universe and move on.

Feeling a little lost today and not sure if anticipation is what I should be feeling because that seems to implicate an expectation of an event.  How about expectation of the good times I have planned this weekend with me and my friends and just me myself (I am learning to really love long-distance runs).  And how about not sleeping through my alarm clock for the third morning straight?  Now there's a communication I'm in control of : "Yes, alarm, I hear you and will respond accordingly.  Let's get up, get moving, and get on with our lives."

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Day Twelve : Pressure

I'm not really under a lot of pressure these days - although sadly in my chosen career that usually means a lot of pressure to find another job.  Perhaps, like boys, this is a tired conversation topic for friends.  It certainly is one for me.  My days on the job are mostly spent drafting contingency unemployment plans.  While that, and the fact I've been squirreling away savings for some time now has reduced the scariness of a doomsday scenario, the prospect of losing one's employment is never pleasant.

Luckily, it also completely destroys libido and forces me back to reality, where man obsessions commonly do not lie.  So, in a strange twisted way I am glad for what is looking to be a suddenly shifting dynamic in my life.  It numbs the sex bit right out of existence.

Another thing that has also helped in that regard was a visit with some friends yesterday evening who may even possibly put my boy dramas to shame.  The obsession, the analysis, the unhealthy behaviors, the no good cheating bastards followed by more no good cheating bastards.  And, well, the raunchy sex talk spawned by a recently witnessed case of diphallia.  Don't know what diphallia means?  Look it up.  It'll cure you of the penis for awhile.

I wonder why these girls - all of whom are senior to me by at least four years keep going through this, and it occurred to me that if I don't make some changes (like this project), I could end up there as well.  It's not that I find them contemptible, it's just that they seem unhappy when there are so many other things to make them happy.  When, finally, we got off the topic of love lives (me non-conributing, and proud of my resolve not to) and blowjobs (me not contributing on principle, blech) and onto books, we all found common ground.  The girls who had read Eat Pray Love high fiving each other at how awful we thought it was, a search through a friends bookcase for new reads (my cutdown on expenses has turned me more toward friends' bookshelves than Amazon - my parents' books are definitely getting raided this Christmas), and then a discussion on if Justin Bieber had a perfume, what it would smell like (Christmas trees and semen in socks) made me realize these girls weren't unhappy - it was just this one troubling aspect of their lives that bothered them.  Sever it - like a diseased limb - and that's gone.  At least that is how I am starting to feel.

However, the reason that is easier said than done is the pressure.  The pressure to find the perfect man particularly as the clock ticks.  I have decided to do without it.  Instead, I am turning my pressure to picking up the pace on my tempo runs and seeing just how scroogy I can be with my cash - which is oddly satisfying as it has been an interested exercise in real need versus want.  Right now it is about bare necessities and that is okay.  It is also definitely about less nights on the town and less drinking - both good for my health and my wallet but also in another way.  Less risk of bad judgment male entanglement, and that will do for now.  Pressure relieved.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Day Eleven : Patience

"Good things come to those who wait."  Okay, fine, but let's juxtapose that with romance's race to the finish - something my competitive heart finds itself wanting to do when exposed to facebook feeds of consummated loves and babies.  I start to think "actually, impatience looks like it does a body good."  On cold winter evenings like tonight, I have to wonder if it's fair to "wait" through feelings of loneliness, dejection, and, let's be honest, the raw raging libido of a 33-year-old woman.

The conclusion is that I have to still be patient and believe the work is doing its thing while I turn my life to other things.  That the things I deny myself right now will taste sweeter when it's over - if I even need them - but will be better for me because I can enjoy them in moderation, like a nice stable person.  I am slowly learning the art of powering through various pains in my life by assuring myself it will pass, and perhaps there I am allowed to be a little impatient.  But honestly, to expect patterns I have spent over 20 years building to go away in only eleven days is dead unrealistic.  So, patience appears to be the only option, and I'll keep giving it a chance.

Besides, I'm in no hurry for babies anyway.  Also, friends please stop naming your babies retarded celebrity-sounding names.  Freakonomics put it brilliantly - today's elegantly exotic name is tomorrow's trailer trash.  Just a thought.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Day Ten : Check-in

Ten days in, and it's time for a check-in.  If you'd ever had to go to groupt therapy, here's how it goes : a lot of people talk about themselves for way too long.  You are silent.  The leader turns to you and says "why don't you check in?".

It's a nice general phrase, meaning you can talk about anything from current life events, your diet, your drug habits or your emotions.  This time I choose to check in with my distractions, because this morning my celibate self woke up wrapped around a few pillows that had arranged themselves into a manshape thinking of responding to last cat-mouse game rat for a cuddling session which, even if it had ended well, would not have ended well.  That makes sense right now, I swear.

So, distractions, i.e., what I talk about when I don't talk about love.  (Sorry, Raymond.)

Reading : Er, pretty much an orgy.  When I'm not reading or otherwise distracting myself, I'm thinking about reading.  Perhaps to the point of overkill.  Did I need to add 200 more "to-read" books to my list on  Maybe not, but at this point it is likely, given the effectiveness of this distraction - partcularly at bedtime, which is always the hardest - I might just get through that list.

Running : Check, no seriously check.  Haven't missed a running day.  Missed a few PureBarre days, but I can spare 'em.  Classes are expensive and my knees needed to be spared after yesterday's long run.  I love how running makes me feel, and how it makes my body look and I love it enough to keep doing it regardless of the weather.  My cheap streak right now won't let me go too nuts on winter gear, but thankfully I am good at improvising and layering.  Also, have I mentioned before that celibacy makes you fast?

Russian : Kaput.  No, seriously, I've really done no Russian, and that's been okay because the first two distractions are fine.  Russian to me needs to be more goal-oriented, like traveling there.  The earliest time will not be for awhile.  Still, need to keep it in mind on those days that nothing else is doing it.

Writing : Well, here it is bitches.  Granted, trying to get three entries together in a day is a little daunting, but as long as they're done, they're done.

Friendtime : Again, check.  I've needed a quiet weekend, partly to take care of some things at home, partly because I am saving money right now.  But I've seen some friends, had some very good talks and drank just enough coffee and booze to balance each other out.

Rethinking : I am still unhappy at my job, but I need it and need to make the best of it.  A friend of mine from college who entered the corporate law world far ahead of me (and has now left to start her first semester in archeology this winter) had an excellent response to an email I sent her when I was burnt out.  I told her all the smartass answers that went through my head on a daily basis and asked her if it was normal.  "Complete, I used to do the same thing," she said.  "But then I realized if I was really that unhappy there, maybe I should do something else."

My friend paid her dues through a mountain of loans, and now I am paying mine - and need to make the best of what I have.  I got called out by a boss for dropping the ball on something, but I know it wasn't undeserved and am almost relieved it happened.  I've had a hard time with my job lately, but I need to believe I am still capable of doing it until a better option comes in view.

Streamlining : Still packing more boxes to go.  Tax deductions ending December 31st will be a good incentive.  Considering I can still find things relatively quickly, I feel like I'm in good shape - not the best, but good.  I've also made a point to make a big meal I can freeze and partway cut down on frozen meal and restaurant costs for the week.  Currently have some vegetarian chili in the slow cooker and muffins.  Sadly, it had been so long since I have done this that I forgot some ingredients when I went shopping (even though they were on the list, argh!), so we'll see.  Good thing I'm not a picky eater.  At the worst this will be like last week's blueberry muffin debacle where I used a tablespoon of salt instead of a teaspoon.  A victory for my dog, who has been getting new treats this week.

Thinking of others : I called my mom today, I communicate with other people - even reached out to some others.  Check.

Keep house : Laundry going, dishwater loaded, things picked away and other clutters secreted away for now.  It'll do.

Day Nine : Mice

When I am feeling particularly powerless in my life, it often falls to me to play with a mouse.  This phrase is not my own, but comes from a friend and I don't think it could be put more aptly.  Imagine, if you will, a cat batting its paws at a poor defenseless creature.  Not to kill it - because that would ruin the game.  It's not so much fun to bat at defenseless things if they keel over on you.  Then the game is done, and you have to put the corpse somewhere.  (Shudder.)

I think there are a lot of women who play this game, and a lot of women who do it well, maybe without any real bruising.  Maybe the mouse is enjoying it too, knowing that the exercise is doing it some good and they will escape fairly unscathed.

Unfortunately for me the mouse game has two ugly turns.  (Maybe, this is because I have never been a cat person, thinking largely that they are assholes, making the comparison far too good.)

The first is that I have a masochistic mouse.  Someone who either doesn't realize the point of my swats or doesn't mind taking them.  In this case, the cat gets tired, but the mouse wants to keep on going.  Imagine this scene : cat sleeping, mouse bothering them.  Cat reachese out tiredly and deliberately squashes mouse.  Then wakes up and feels really bad about it.  Poor mouse.

Second is the mouse I'm playing with turns into a rat.  If you are not as up-to-date on animal physiology as I am, one of the main differences between rats and mice (besides size) is ferocity.  Broken down, where mouses's fight-or-flight mechanism is usually the latter, a rat goes for the former. Cat versus rat has an incredibly uncertain outcome, because the rat - although not favored in the Vegas odds - is more wily, more ferocious, more diseased and just as damned smart as the cat.  Sometimes smarter, because the rat has years of toying with other cats and rats behind it and still coming out alive.

A rat bite smarts harder than anything.  And unfortunately, tends to become infectious.  Beware the rat.  You think you have them, and they end up the victor, tearing off into other things while you're left nursing your paw.  On a sidenote, New Orleans rats, coming in the size of large possums and known to eat babies, are definitely a threat that should not be reckoned with.

There's an even deeper dynamic as to why this may be harmful for all parties.  Sometimes I do not recognize that I am, in fact, playing the cat-mouse game with a male friend.  I have gotten in this argument with a friend, because to me the cat-mouse game is one of deadly attraction, which is at its base, entirely sexual.  Not ones you have with guy friends you've known for awhile, would never sleep with, but have a tendency to get drunk and tell you that they love you which will throw the universe off for the 10 minutes you drive home from their place sobbing hysterically while thinking how simply life would be if you could just love them back instead of the rats.  (Masochistic mice not included).

However, and somewhat fairly, according to my friend a "mouse" also includes the men you hold on the side as friends because you need to feel loved and desired and that there is someone else out there waiting for you if, for some reason, you were able to stifle your total rejection of them as a partner.

So, as a kind of experiment, I hung out with one of the alleged "mouse"s on Friday night determined that the dialogue and dynamic would not go anywhere near that.  And, strangely enough, this determination defined the evening as being very un-cat-mouse-like.  It was a pleasant surprise.  Admittedly, part of it was because I was freaking out about some work woes, but the other was completely divulging (with the exception of this blog address) my new project and why.  Which led them to divulge a similar project and why.  And then some laughs, some music, some small talk and a suddenly incredibly disiciplined me - who knew she had a very long run ahead of her in the morning - saying "I'm done, can we go home?".  I was home before midnight.  No romantic talk, no weird deep moments, no odd silences. 

I, the cat, had the mouse transform into another cat.  And hopefully that will continue.

Day Eight : Touch

Do you remember that experiment they teach us about in basic psychology courses?  The one where they take away two baby monkeys from their mothers?  One is handled regularly by human handlers, the other gets a meshed cage.  When I was taking this in high school psychology, they told us the monkey declined and had to be nursed back to life by the handler.  A nice protecting lie.  The monkey died and became a statistic.  Cold, but true.

It's a hard thing for me to acknowledge, but I desperately need human touch, and the need for that touch has had a lot to do with getting myself into trouble with men.  Oddly enough, this touching is not necessarily sexual.  I have been able to walk away from a ridiculous amount of one night stands with nary a thought of contacting the person again, who may only later remain in my brain as an "oops."  The addiction in my case has more to do with simple cuddling, kissing, and other ridiculous gestures that are supposed to support a feeling of intimacy.  I think the hardest part of letting go of the latest crush for example, was that he was a gifted cuddler, and added to that, an excellent complimenter.  Who doesn't want to hear that their abs look like a Grecian statue while someone plays with your hair as you listen to their heart beat.  But then, agh.  Where does that all lead?  Perhaps the other person also has a touch addiction.  And you replay these moments in your mind, trying to regain the touch, but all you've got is a steel cage.

There's got to be a way of beating that pattern of thinking.

When I was young, I understood that nuns didn't have sex, but my acceptance of that fact, I realize now, was based on a different reasoning.  Nuns are married to God = Nuns can't have sex with anyone else.  Nuns can't have sex with anyone else = Nuns are highly disciplined and faithful.  Then later I learned that Nuns can't even masturbate, and suddenly the real reasoning behind all of that became clear to me - even if at the time it seemed ridiculous.

I get it now.  While I haven't been explicit about this before, part of this vow is not, er, touching myself in a way that would have to involve conjuring up the idea of a man to give myself pleasure.  (In baser terms, no masturbating.)  And here is what it does - or so far.  It gives you so much stored frustration that you are about to explode.  In the beginning the frustration manifested itself as anger.  God help the poor woman who let her dog chase our yard cats and was the recipient of my first ever addressing of a stranger as a "cunt."  God also help the horrible woman who yelled at me to pick up after my dg after I already had, who got verbally punched with a "fat bitch."  While somewhat satisactory, this kind of anger is not what I like to feel or to demonstrate.  In the past part of what kept me from it were physical outlets - exercise, sex, cuddling, you name it.

I've been good with the exercise, but taking masturbation out of the equation seems to have complicated things somewhat.  And so, back to the nuns.

Yes, there are nuns who make a Catholic school student's life a living nightmare - but there are those who are kind and do amazing things.  I am pretty sure Mother Theresa could listen to the Divinyls without being the least bit tempted.  I realized that a nun's vows not to masturbate was less about sexuality, but more about reigning in a force to be directed elsewhere because all that biological desire the body has to propagate can't really disappear, as much as it would be convenient.

It can, however, be pointed in other directions.  It can make me run faster.  It can make me tear through a hard project I've been dreading.  It can make me write.  It can make me read voraciously.  It can make me observe with a sharper awareness because I am not only attuned to how my body should handle stimulus, but rather how my mind and my heart (properly sequestered from my sexuality) should.  And so, I learn to touch in other ways.  To stroke my dog on the occasions she wishes to be read to and lies across my chest.  To put my hand on a friend's shoulder to support her if she tells me something difficult.  To try my hand at potting herbs after a very long horticultural vacation.  To cut vegetables to cook, to streamlining my house, to painting my toenails a nice crimson.  Maybe, even, one day to clean my bathtub - although if that happens, I will immediately show up at the Ursulines with a packed suitcase.

Point being, lacking the touches I crave does not leave me with a steel cage and withering away.  I have the advantage of being human and not the subject of any experiment but those in which I willingly participate.  I will touch other things and take those few pulsating seconds of orgasm somewhere else.  To make big bangs, indeed.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Day Seven : Purge

Anyone who is familiar with the Master Cleanse or any other form of extreme detox (like not drinking any wine for a whole week) probably knows about purge dreams.  As you sleep, and your body starts to break up and release toxins into your system for elimination, these toxins quickly reappear as cravings.  So, for example, when I once went on a long fast, I would dream of eating whole cakes - just shoving them in my mouth, one right after another.  I would dream of cheese, doughnuts, lasagne, pretty much anything that was incredibly off limits whose memories pervaded my fat cells.  I would even wake up with a sudden stab of guilt fearing that I had, in fact, eaten these things and all my hard work was undone.

What really surprised me is the same phenomenon is happening after my celibacy vow.  My dreams are literally an orgy of men past, present, and future.  There are some surreal changes (no doubt due to my rather off brain chemistry these days).  For example, the last crush wore a yellow trenchcoat.  My ex-fiance looked fit and tan.  An ex who turned out to be gay ... wasn't.  So, I wonder if the images were kind of realities plus things I wish they had.  Except for the trenchcoat - or maybe still - it was strangely dashing.

So, of course I woke up with the guilt having to have a good talk with myself in the mirror that this is just my mind and my body purging itself of things that had resided there - the operative word being "things."  The scary part is that a little bit of the fantasy spilled over into the daytime, which involved some "no!", but also some real sifting of dreams from practicalities.  Sadly, not enough time was dedicated to the practicalities (unless you count adding 100 more books to your "to read" list on goodreads, officially outweighing number of books you have recorded as "read").  But the one tiny revelation to take away from all of this is that the blips of fantasy were contained in a vacuum - they were fantasies that have no shot at coming true.  So, if they were enjoyed, it was with that idea in mind, kind of like the way you enjoy the plot of a book as an observer - being okay with it not happening to you.  (Although the Twilight series seems to buck this theory, and so I am avoiding it.)

Still, the run is starting to take its toll a little bit.  I am not lonely, and I still have that damned Dubliners to finish (almost by god, almost).  I ran a very good tempo pace of 8:17 / mile today even if I did not feel great afterward.  I had lunch with friends where boy intrigues were mostly not discussed, except for some talk of using turkey baster to impregnate inveterately single self which made me smile.  And I realized my life celibate is kind of like my life with boys, except a tiny bit more stable.  The problem is, if you're a thrillseeker like me, stability can feel like unhappiness because there's no rushes of good and bad.  It's the same reason that bipolar people go off their meds (guilty), because mania can be the most magnificent feeling in the world - until, of course, you have to pay to play by studying the pattern of your carpet inches away from your nose where you have been lying for two days straight summoning the will to live.  Sadly, I do not exaggerate.

So, maybe the purging is my body's way of letting me know that actual stability - that is, the kind that doesn't still have these haunting desires and obssessions around - might be better.  It promises an everyday where I am functional, and escapes that are healthy.  Did a movie ever tear you to emotional shreds?  Okay, maybe Irreversible (which I wish I could reverse having ever watched) did, but I mean something affecting your actual life, your everyday functioning, your other goals?

Keep purging brain. I'll learn to keep the good and dismiss the bad eventually.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Day Six: Unhappy

It's a pretty obvious proposition that when you're unhappy with a certain aspect of your life, it makes potential problems with obsessing over boys much more of a possibility.  Nay, a probability even.  The reasons for this are twofold.  First, you, being someone who has something unsatisfactory on your plate are not an ideal person to be around, keeping whoever you are with at arms-length and frustrating and confusing them so they push you away.  And two, because that supposed need to be loved to be happy convinces you that being loved is the only the only way to resolve that other unhappiness (or distract you from it) you become clingy and needy, also pushing the other person away.  Finally, to top off both issues, being pushed away leads you into desperation, rash acts, and thus, more unhappiness.

This is a tricky problem for me to solve right now.  I'm not sure that the thing that is making me unhappy (namely great uncertainties about my job and financial future) is really solvable because I am afraid of stirring up the dragon by demanding to know where I stand, or, finding out that I am most definitely stuck in my situation.  The latter conclusion pisses me off because I don't believe in being stuck.  And the reasons I am stuck - mostly financial - are probably solvable if I just continue to plan for the doosday scenario of losing my job rather than anticipate it happening every single day.  Such a stresser puts me in escape mode, although lately it's been more of a drop everything and leave rather than desperately search for a real man mode.  So, maybe there is some improvement there.

Part of my financial bitterness is that I am a bit overextended in the housing expenses these days, which also has partly to do with a man.  When I bought my place, I was on the verge of committing to spending the rest of my life with someone.  That I decided not to do that is among one of my best and wisest decisions, and I do not regret that.  However, that decision left me paying a mortgage for two, HOA dues for two and still paying this other person back for their half of the down payment and the furniture they left behind.  I should have bargained down the furniture, but I was too tired of him and wanted him out of life desperately.  Still, it's a lot of money thrown away every month which would have looked a lot better either reasonably spent or stowed away in savings to make the thought of no more work a little less daunting.

I think the best (and only) approach to this is to keep working - when I have work to do - and keep trying to find work when I do not.  On slow days, I am not to panic but relish the fact that I still have a job and also seem to have a little more leisure time on top of it.  In some ways, I am already mentally prepared for the worst, and at times I almost wish it would happen, which would be a relief.  It bears mentioning that a not unwelcome side effect of this lately has been a loss in libido.  Or maybe it's some of the medications I'm taking to deal with this.  Whatever, no looking gift horses in mouths.

But an underlying theme of this project - and one that is absolutely necessary to its success - is to figure out these problems so when I am released from little celibacy vow I won't go running for solace in the immovable and occasional restrictive arms of another person.

At least I got no communications from crushes today.  I admit to being a little disappointed, but also relieved.  Less for my mind to deal with.  How can you worry about whether someone is thinking about you when you are not allowed to think about them?  The two should cancel each other out.

I feel better writing this.  It hasn't really changed anything, but I have to keep trying and believe the wise words of my parents when they promise everything will fall into place.  God knows, beyond their own wacky co-dependent relationship issues, they've dealt with some real zingers.  I refuse to be the weak one who forgets that in order to achieve the spurious goal of a manhunt for happiness.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Day Five: Halfway

So, I had a little slide in the "no!" department, which I am going to blame on actually being constructive at work, which my brain thought gave it full permission to take a break and center back on boys.  The slide was ridiculous.  I actually went back, found the email from last crush that I had forwarded to sponsor with "sigh" comment so I could read what he sent.  Which turned out to be a guide on how much to drink at an office Christmas party, which was funny and got forwarded to a couple of other peeps.  Then spent a little while thinking of the guy - wondering if he would be around when all of this celibacy stuff is finished.

Which was then followed by the thought : "Why does trying to avoid getting terribly drunk at office Christmas parties make him think of me?".  And so, maybe this whole situation isn't really deserving of a terrible amount of thought and I redeleted and then double deleted again.  Safe.  For now.

A lesson I've learned from my own crazy ponderings is that it's best never to do things halfway.  Perhaps I'm being hard on myself, but here is what a simple perusal of that did - I wanted to immediately write him back with a witty retort to see what happened.  That I did not means either that I have a rock solid will, or more realistically, that this project is new enough and I am not yet lonely and bored enough to cave.  I suspect the latter.

So, it's worth it to remind myself that my most successful ventures in life have consisted of not doing things halfway, but doing them fearlessly and wiith full conviction that they will lead me to full self-improvement.  I once juice fasted for 26 days when I got fat (partly the product of an unhappy relationship), and I never gained that weight back (probably also helped by unhealthy relationship ending shortly thereafter).  Maybe this guy will be around to exchange flirty things with after this is over, but I don't need to care about that.  I just need to care about getting through the days (be they filled with "no!"s or not) and enjoying who I am for what it is.  And to hope, if, when this is all over and he (or someone else) does happen to be around, it won't turn me into a crazy person.  Just someone that can take love at face value in a healthy way and not expecting it to be a problem solver.

And so, more immediate projects.  Figuring out what I'm doing at work (made easier by some actual headway on a project that has been taking me far too long to do), losing the five pounds that are a result of Thanksgiving / temporarily quitting smoking and a harsh med change (still feeling it, but made my ass out of bed for barre class this morning - so far December has had a workout in every single day and the serenity is starting to sink into my bones).

So, not much to write except that I am still committed to this, so much more than halfway.

Monday, December 5, 2011

Day Four: No!

One of the most interesting cognitive behavioral tricks out there is to - when finding yourself trailing down a particularly dangerous pathway - to envision a stop sign with the purpose of halting the thought.  I learned about this one day about 7 years ago when my boyfriend at the time informed me he would be letting his ex visit for a couple of days.  The ex he cheated on with me and then continued to live with for two more years.  The ex he had broken with like two months before he and I finally got together and started a long-distance relationship, which was still very new.

Naturally, I freaked.  What he saw as me trying to control him, I saw as pure disgusting betrayal.  The fact that at the same time my father was cheating on my mother with a girl only five years older than me which was wrecking all sorts of emotional havoc in the household did not help.  It could not be denied that I did not trust my boyfriend at all, and his refusal to see things my way (although a few months later he would admit that maybe it was wrong in that reluctant placating voice designed to get you back into bed) left me with angry energy that seemed specifically designed to force myself into destructive ruminations that I could not chase away.  I spent my time angrily threatening him, running, taking a lot of baths, running some more, then picking up the phone to try to beg him not to do it.

After four days of this, I gave up and tearfully went to see a therapist.  "When you have these thoughts," she said, "just think of a stop sign until they go away."

It was only partially successful.  The makeup sex two weeks later did a much better job.  Unfortunately, that wasn't that relationship's first drama.  It continued even far after we had broken up, until recently when I have finally decided to never talk to this person again.  It annoys me that someone can need me so much with very little to give.

Point being, the whole drama had more conjured up stop signs than a New Orleans street plan, and it didn't work.  I think the issue was having to come up with the actual visual of the stop sign instead of just hearing a voice say "stop!"  Still, the concept is useful and should be adapted.

So, I've gone with my own personal favorite: "No!"  Not just any "no," but precisely the type of "no" I use on my dog when she is about to do something disastrously wrong, like jump on me when I am wearing a suit.  And this also has the advantages of having been practiced and perfected.  And to my delight, all day it has been working.

You must understand, my obsessive thoughts about men devolve into two categories.  The first is the daydreaming-castle-in-clouds-amazing-sex-not-a-care-in-the-world thoughts, which typically occur when I am very unhappy about what I am doing (for example, like the whole day I spent doing a task I can't seem to finish and hating my job with intervals of concern for my future).  The other category can occur no matter how well things are going in the other parts of my life.  This is the doubt and overanalytical category.  "Why hasn't he called yet?'  "Am I being too needy?"  "How can I get him to like me more?"  "What did he mean by that?"  "He was saying no, but his eyes said yes."  Besides that last one kind of making me sound like a date rapist, this is the category that really tends to get out of control.  Since the last person I kind of crushed on was really hot and cold, he, however unintentionally, really started grinding the obsession sparks in my tiny little head.  While I could normally shake it off to some degree, boredom and dissatisfaction also set in, so I got hit with the scenarios in which we would find each other again perfectly happily.  Daydream to nightmare and back again.

Today I have employed "no!" an insane amount of times.  Still thinking of replying to that text?  "No!"  Still thinking about that hot birthday evening in his bed? "No!"  His song comes on my ipod while running?  "No! Next song!"  He forwards me an email with a link?  "No!  Delete without even looking at like and then delete again so that it is gone forever."  (Some leeway allowed to forward link to sponsor to prove point that the "no"ing is hard but not impossible.

Can  keep doing this until these thoughts stop?  "Yes!" Just keep busy and try to stay positive about the negatives - not making them an excuse to bring you down.  Honestly, weren't men only adding to that anyway?

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Day Three: Silence

I was not expecting a test to come so quickly, but received a text from recent infatuation last night asking about my plans.  This latest infatuation, with his hots and colds had been the one to finally drive me over the edge - not, exactly, because he's an awful person just that he was exemplary of the way my silly man illness can kick into overdrive which has resulted in a lot of wasted time and worry.  And very very pointless conversations with friends when there were much better things to talk about.

I am at an early stage in this project, so the resolve was there.  I quickly deleted the message and his number for good measure.  I've actually deleted his number several times, the misfortune of which being I can recognize it.  That part felt simple enough.  I drank some tea and felt really good about myself.  Then I started reading my new book, Joyce's Dubliners.  And maybe because I found that book to be so dull, or maybe because there was a little part of my heart that leapt back ("he DOES like me!  All this disinterest was completely feigned"), I found myself suddenly pacing.  I realized that I was wondering what to do about the situation - and since the situation was inextracbly intertwined with the boy himself, this meant I was breaking my vow of celibacy by thinking about boy.


Luckily my sponsors were available for the query:  should I just ignore it or text back "sorry, busy."  After considering the options, I went for the total ignore.  First, because texting back, even to be unavailable shows that you are available enough to respond which encourages a response on his side.  And second, this boy and myself have not been a good combination for me, so it is time for him to exit stage right.  Not bothering to reply would probably do the trick a lot better.  Oddly, resolving to do it did make me feel better although it did not make Dubliners more interesting so I got on the computer and read about necrophiliacs instead.

In retrospect, the correct choice of not reply seems somewhat obvious, but in fact it is not.  It occurred to me today that there are two types of ignoring : 1) that in which you are actually blissfully ignorant of someone else and are not doing it with a malicious purpose and 2) where ignoring is actually a desperate cry for attention or a form of game-playing.  I have definitely gotten the two confounded - thinking I am awesome serene blissful ice princess while my eye is consistently on the other party seeing how they will react.

It reminds me of the ambivalent way I always felt toward a dear friend's love advice.  She always said "the best revenge is living well."  YES, perfect.  At face value, the best revenge is living well, but I would add "without regard to whether the other person notices."  My friend herself gave a perfect illustration of the potential flaw in this reasoning.  After being dumped by a waiter in a restaurant, she would consistently get gussed up to the nines and drag me with her to the same restaurant, illegally parking her shiny new $90,000 Audi right in front of the sidewalk tables.  Then she would act haughty and gorgeous when he was nearby, pointedly talking to everyone around him.  And afterwards, grill me "do you think he noticed me?"  The answer was no.  He was a jackass for not noticing her, but he did not.

I myself have done the same thing.  A long time ago when I worked in a bar I got involved with my own jackass, who also happened to be married and was a real player on top of it.  This did my twenty-four year old self very little good.  And so, after one particular night of putting up with a bullshit roller coaster ride he was putting me on - and recognizing I was far too similar to those weeping suicidal French heroines - I decided to ignore him then next time he happened to be in the bar.  But of course, I also did it the wrong way.  I put on makeup.  I flirted with men I would never find attractive.  I talked to everyone around him while not talking to him.  I laughed too loudly, flipped my hair too often and was always aware of his presence.  As I passed him, he said to me "you're ignoring me" in a tone which indicated this absolutely delighted him.  It delighted him because it showed that he knew that he still had so much power over me and my emotions that it would cause me to act differently because he was there in the room.  Trying to recover my dignity, I denied it and he just smiled.  It was infuriating.  The French film heroine(?) ruminations went on even longer until I found someone else to transfer them to.

So, I think ignoring lies not so much in the deed of refusing to acknowledge the other person, but to genuinely deep down dark deep not even care that they are in the room because you have other things to do.  And, and this is the part where you truly win, even forget that they are there.  I'm so not there yet, but I want to be.

My own experience was before social media.  Earlier in the day, before the texting, I confronted the true ignore issue with my facebook account.  Should I defriend this person?  It seemed so aggressive - particularly since there wasn't really a good reason.  With some discipline I plan on enforcing, I could keep from looking at his page - with the luck being that during my regular cyberstalking stage I learned he was not really an active user anyway.  But keeping him as a friend meant that - at least right now - I might still be pulling a "look at me!" on my own page.  "Look, I am beautiful!"  "Look, I am having fun!"  "Look, my status updates are incredibly witty!" 

I realized I had spent twenty minutes thinking about this when I decided that, although right now not the perfect solution, I would put him on the "restricted" list that could not have access to any wall posts that weren't public.  (Those that are tend to be my happy birthday wishes to my relatives that still haven't figured out privacy settings.) I have no idea if he looks at my facebook page still, but I know it's enough for me to not be trying to impress him.  One day, I will simply stop caring - maybe so much that I won't even bother defriending or even remembering that he's a friend.  It's not perfect, but it will do for now.  While I was at it, I did the same thing to an ex who had broken my heart years ago, but still reaches out to me although he is supposed to be married now.

So, electronic ignoring in the true sense is tricky, but I think it's a good first step.  The real trick will be having to deal with someone in the same room with the same nonchalance that I was never able to achieve.  I anticipate this happening at some point.  A sage sponsor pointed out that the best way for them was just not to end up in the same place in the first place, and wondered how I always seem to be in rooms with people I might want to be with.  (Hee, point of celibacy project, friend.  If I don't have a lover, I will be searching for one and that is something that needs to stop.)  I think the deliberate avoidance of the situation is good, and agree with the advice about rewarding oneself for good behavior with shoes, but I want to be able to genuinely not give a damn if someone I find attractive but who is putting me into a tailspin of either mutual (or my own) making is in the room.  I hope that getting on the path to ignoring texts and stifling my social media reach-outs will help me in that regard.

And, although I haven't been as productive today, I've noticed there is not the same buzz of anticipation remaining that there would have been if I had responded - even coldly.  I got other things done.  I ran a personal best in a 5K, I had a long and very helpful talk with my parents about some practicalities, correspondence with some friends, cleaned the house and am about to get my ass some groceries.  Normally I hate Sndays - they make me lonely and this loneliness often leads to unhealthy romantic longings and a feverish need to force things that leaves me emotionally unfulfilled.  Today, I think I'll be okay with a bath and Dubliners.  Okay, maybe just the bath.  Dubliners needs to seriously get better.

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Day Two : Distractions

My mind likes targets and bullseyes.  My mind's way of dealing with these likes involves merry-go-rounds and tea cup saucers.  Nine times out of ten the targets and bullseyes are a man - from the past or present and nine times out of ten the spinning is uncontrollable. 

Therein lies the beauty of distraction, which is the cure to all evils as long as it is not evil in itself.  Here's the point where I remind myself that I have quite a few at hand that have nothing to do with a man - well as long as I am careful not to make the end point of the distraction impressing a man in some way.  The goal is to make the distraction something that will better yourself for yourself.  This is hard for me because sometimes it feels selfish and pointless - but it is not.

Here are distractions to remember:


The only thing I love as much as men is a good book.  The trick now is to love the good books more, and to tear through, catalog and obsess over them the way I do love affairs.  The other important part is not - and this is really difficult - let parts of a book remind you of a certain anyone.  I can't count the number of times that a book I've read has become so imbued with thoughts of a romantic attachment at the time I was reading it that it became almost impossible to appreciate the truths the book had to offer to only me.  At some point this is probably inevitable, but it need not be. 

I've decided my way of trying to avoid this is to set goals about the volume of books to read (very helpful's lists to tear through) and make it a point to summarize them as I myself see them and not how it relates to my love life.  Sadly, love is a theme in the books, but it's important to be able to see the love (or denial of) that characters offer each other without it having to be about your own personal dramas. 

The second advantage is that the merry-go-round suddenly turns upside down into a wheel that is actually headed out to dreamy and foreign frontiers.  And reading makes you smart, and as long as you only need to be smart in yourself and not to impress a potential mate that is enough.  Besides, I've never met a man as well-read as me, and this in itself makes reading to attract a man relatively useless.  That uselessness right now is perfect. 


When I started running again, it was to relieve stress and drop some pounds.  And then, after I had been running a little while, I realized how beneficial running is for my mood and to increase my self esteem.  Running, even when it hurts or I look less like a gazelle and more like a gorilla, makes me happy.  It is one of the few times I can shut things off and start to feel hopeful.  This feeling does not always last, particularly if I still have real things to deal with, but most of the time it does.  The trivial goal of running to have a killer and complimented body that brings on the menfolk can now be eclipsed by solid statistics.  Can I run faster?  What are my splits?  Will I be ready for the half-marathon in March?  Where am I in my training?  What must I do today?  Thus, while my ass does look good in jeans, I am okay with admiring it myself.  And my statistics may be carefully (and a little obsessively) recorded on, which I can look at to remind myself I am still headed toward a goal that has nothing to do with a man being there to cheer me on at the finish line.


I love languages, and when I want to,  pick them up quickly.  The scary part about this past time is that it has often been a method for me to meet men or to potentially expand the universe of men I want to meet.  Instead, I need to focus on what languages really mean, which are a way to communicate with the universe, hear new stories, and at times, think completely differently.  (Idiomatic expressions really help with the latter.)  I started taking Russian lessons from Rosetta Stone a few months ago, and was really doing well.  The program is fun and easy to follow (and really, I'm not getting paid to plug it - I've just been trying to do this for years from boring textbooks and was really unsuccessful).  There is no reason I cannot play what is essentially a computer game that teaches me something useful for twenty minutes a day when I spend nearly four times that amount uselessly trolling facebook - often with the conclusion that there is something wrong with me that I have not found the perfect man to gaze at me lovingly in some cheesy photo.  I think a good push for the Russian will be to make it useful and I'll do it with the goal in mind of one day traveling across Russia on the Trans-Siberian Railway, an old dream of mine.


Even if it is a daily and boring update on this blog and not a beautiful piece of literature, there is a true joy in laying down what is tumbling through your head and putting it to rest.  Besides the ability to occasionally get creative, it is a also a good reminder of where you need to be and where you have come from.  Very few of my friends know about this blog, and there is a reason for that.  It's because I can write for an audience that I am not trying to charm and impress - and very importantly this audience does not include boys past and present who I may subconsciously be reaching out to.  This blog is about me, me, me trying to cure something that I find problematic, while opening it up to input from those I know can either remain objective or point out pitfalls and encouragements.


Friend time is some of the best times, particularly when it doesn't involve me whining about this or that intrigue.  The celibacy I'm shooting for in this blog is also a celibacy to be practiced around my friends (who will probably be grateful for this particular goal).  It is a celibacy of voice - meaning not overanalyzing the latest text exchange, not fishing for guesses on what my friends think about this guy or that guy, not even picking out the guy in the room I would take home no matter how innocent and giggly the proposition is.  Friendtime is for chatting about nonsense, anecdotes, joy, commiseration, but it will not be about my love woes.  My sponsors have been instructed to tell me to zip it if I even begin to discuss a man, and they'll do their jobs well.  The one exception of course, is analyzing or ridding myself of certain emotions on this blog, with the idea that the rumination is goal-oriented toward elimination and not thought entrenchment.


Be pretty for me.  Treasure my cheekbones.  Keep my toenails painted.  Take compliments well, but only as compliments and not as declarations of love.  Stay attractive but distant.  Be an awesome amazing ice princess.  Wonder why you find ice princesses awesome and amazing, but still try to be one.


There are certain aspects of my life that really need some heavy thought investment right now, and sometimes I believe that infatuations are the best way to try to avoid that.  This is hurting me.  I am unhappy in my career, but rather than confronting that dead on and either trying to make the most of it or constructively looking for something else, I am spending hours thinking about certain people, and probably even more hours cyberstalking them or daydreaming up potential scenarios that never seem to come to fruition in real life.  In fact, maybe even avoiding that real life - which actually can be totally cool - to insist on these day dreams.  Instead, I need to use this distraction to distract myself from distractions.

One of my favorite scenes in Out of Africa is after the main character's husband moves out for the last time after years of cheating.  She goes into the workroom of her coffee plantation and demands "Give me work" and then we see her functioning, if not always joyously, at least productively.  I need to throw myself into my work, no matter how much it hurts, no matter how much more my mind wants to fantasize about marrying a rock star or a doctor or a spy who will lift me, like Cinderella out of the dust, and maybe I will find that it's not so bad after all.  That I have been able to attain things that make me happy because of the work I have been given.


Clearing out the clutter and deciding to downgrade.  Another stressor that leads me into wild imaginings is my financial situation right now, which of course is linked to my work.  I am okay, but if I were to lose my job tomorrow, life would get tricky.  So, streamlining my finances, my money going nowhere, my debt, even what I own is something that should really be a priority right now.  And without dating this should help cut down on the money a bit.  It sucks dating poor losers - and I have been stuck with a few of those.  Too bad I can't ask for a refund.  What has helped is having a very detailed budget in place and a solid plan to try to survive the next year, even if the worse happens.  And to know that if I do survive the next year, I'll be able to downgrade some more and not feel so trapped.

Thinking of Others

Returning phone calls, emails - not with the purpose of detailing the great exploits of your romantic life - but to give (and receive) updates of what is real and important in the lives of people you communicate with.  Remember the beauty of stories you have learned from others.  Even the most trivial details mean something, and are often more meaningful than replaying an entire bewildering evening with a very toxic bachelor.  Also, I should call my mother more often - as long as I remember not to mention any love interest, those conversations are pretty painless.

Keep House

Something funny happens when I finally make myself clean.  I turn on music and suddenly everything goes where it should and step by step I make it until my house is sparkling.  The odd thing is the need to react to make order out of disorder shuts my obsessions off the way it's helpful to completely clean off your desk before starting a new project.  Most of the time I choose lying in bed replaying some stupid erotic moment (that is probably not as great as my memory is tricking me into thinking it is).  Hours pass, my dishes are turning into petri cultures.  Maybe this involves talking myself into it, but it's a small price to pay for waking up with some order in my life

This list has revealed my OCD side - but OCD side has saved me on a few occasions and I have to under 86 days completely man-free than I will indulge.  I hope to remember my distractions and maybe come up with some others.  For now, I am going to settle in for some dog time and reading, and let my mind roll on into a constructive wheel for awhile.  Tomorrow I am getting up early to run a 5K and then I am going to finally tackle a work project that has really been bothering me - both for its difficulty and also for the fact that it is late and causing me worry in that department as well.  Two goals, that is all and I have faith that if those aren't enough I've certainly come up with quite a few more to choose from.

Friday, December 2, 2011


I dedicate this blog to my sponsors on this interesting little mission: the Greater Kennedy and Valentine, Like The Massacre.

These have been my sponsors before, quite recently, and I miserably failed them.  I believe the adage is, however, that an addict tries three times before truly failing.  I plan to succeed on the second try.  So, these brave individuals have committed to not letting me speak of men and men-likes, or strive for a man or a man-like, and to make sure I go home in the evening and explore (ahem) my own fun avenues, twists and turns that I can offer.

A word to our sponsors, this may involve playing of angry anti-relationship music.  Thankfully you have excellent taste.

Day One: Prologue

For every woman, there is a defining moment where we realize that boys, with their flesh wands and war whoops, are maybe not so unpleasant.  For me, the defining moment was at a skating rink in rural North Carolina.  I was in fourth grade.  I looked like Little Orphan Annie with owl-rimmed glasses and I suddenly realized that I had a crush on a neighbor boy.  This crush was not mutual, although it would be at some point 12 years later when certain inescapable facts had intervened hindering it forever.

For the sake of the fakest sounding pseudonyms out there, I will call him Edwin.  Prior to this moment, we hated each other savagely - a hate largely fueled by academic rivalry and an equal talent for swimming.  I also hated him because he was good-looking and I was not, and he loved to point this out.  But mostly we hated each other because everyone in our two families thought we should love each other because we were, at heart, so alike.

Then came the magic onset of the era of schoolgirl crush.  Knowing that I didn't stand a chance, I hid my little secret in sickeningly perfumed diaries.  I hid it when he dated all my friends.  I watched him from afar.  I watched him from nearby.  Our families were close - on drunken Christmas Eves my sister and I were left with him and his brothers to devise such brilliant games as "who can survive being crushed in the couch."  Later as we entered high school (and I got just as good looking), we begrudgingly became friends.

Unfortunately, as we both entered high school his older brother made the moves on me one night when we spent the night at his family's house when my parents were out of town.  Because his older brother was in a word, one of those boys who everyone admired and who epitomized (if not truly justified) the topic of many "who would you fuck" girly conversations, I was smitten.  It did not matter that he had a girlfriend, was four years older than me, and had little future except living with his parents and laying brick - what mattered was the random nights, spread out over the rest of my high school career, of meeting in our neighborhood under various species of poplar for some intense making out.

And so, I decided he was the one.  He was the one despite all the boys I would date in high school, who would often get frustrated at my lack of emotional (and sexual) availability.  What did it was the magic combination of a clandestine affair (he was still dating the girlfriend), my wild imagination and a longing for that perfect man, that perfect kingdom, and that happiness that I knew was just waiting for me in his arms.  Oh, how dangerous.

Like all mediocre high school dramas, it ended in consummation the summer after I graduated high school, and like the majority of high school consummations it was high on the grand scale of "meh."  That fall, I went to college.  When I returned and he called,  I just ignored it.  Life had moved on, I had found other men to transfer this obsession to.  And the transferal seems to have never stopped.

It is true that I was not totally unaffected.  I got horrifically drunk at his wedding my senior year in college, and threw my shoes at a mutual friend.  (It's also true that the mutual friend then went on to be the singer in a popular band - thus making this weird high school obsession inescapable to me by two degrees.)  It is also true that four years later, when I came home from abroad and its own disastrous amorous experiments, his mother called me to ask me to talk to him because of his depression over his impending divorce.  I did not do it, not because I was heartless, just because I blamed him for the ugly pattern of becoming reliant of the dream of a man as a necessary goal to keep me happy, this sick sick obsession that kept me bouncing from bed to bed, drama to drama, daydream to crushing reality and back again.

I felt that it was only fair. 

On a New Year's Eve not too long after, when Edwin randomly called and took me to visit some of his friends in Chapel Hill, when we spent the whole car ride, and the whole of two days laughing like we had known each other forever (I mean, in some ways we had), when things had suddenly all fallen into place - from the skating rink to his car in my parents' driveway - yes, when he leaned in to kiss me, I did the perfectly logical thing.  I bolted from the car, and from any possibility of being with someone that I realized I loved dearly.  He did the logical thing of course, and married a nice girl some years later.

You see, it was all ruined, and I could not get it back.  So, as much as it hurt, I went back to the drawing board - to many many drawing boards - all of which, unfortunately contained the same formula of obsession and reliance.  Always needing someone to fuel this weird almost masochistic desire to fashion a prince out of thin air, to build a castle in the clouds, to breathe air into my eager heart.  And each time I made a mistake, I would cover it and shuffle on to the next.

In the spirit of insanity being the repetition of actions with the same results, I have determined that this shit has gotten old.  Really old.  Ever since my fourth grade skating rink revelation, there has never been a moment when a boy or man or need for one has not crowded my thoughts.  This little problem has kept me from being productive, has wasted my time, and has left other things in my life greatly unappreciated.  And it has, like Edwin, left other things that could have been appreciated by the wayside.  Enough already.

This blog is about 86 days - from here until February 21, 2012 - Mardi Gras here in New Orleans - in which I will not let a man - or even the thought of a man - stop me from living my life to the fullest by my glorious self.  Where I will stop thinking of lonely nights as lonely nights and more as nights where I can reach out and love other things, including myself.

The topics of this blog are simple and incredibly self-involved.  Remember, no one is forcing you to read this shit.  Sometimes it's heavy.  Sometimes it's funny.  Sometimes it will make no sense whatsoever or reveal my perusal of far too many self-help books.  But the important part is that I write it out, and when I hit Lent, I will be a happier person who knows she can survive quite well without thinking that she needs a penis to sort it all out for her.

Or something like that.  There will probably be a lot of hater entries too.  Those are fun.

I don't know if I anticipate any rich closures at the end, just one small little (and apparently normal for everyone else) goal to achieve.  And god, I dearly hope if there are any revelations, they aren't something cliche like "Dear God, I'm a lesbian," or I meet the perfect man on February 22, 2012 when I achieve my true self.  I will never claim to be a particularly deep person, but I'll be damned if my life is only worth a romantic comedy.