Again, Don’t Be a Dick 

I play a pickup sport most Wednesday nights with a group of friends. I asked David if he wanted to join since he’d expressed interest, and I was curious. You can learn a lot about a person from their behavior on the court or field, and I was pretty sure I knew, but why not? He was as cool as I thought he’d be, and made space for a younger player to more fully participate. That’s exactly what I want to see. If you can drop your ego and need to score for someone who isn’t as capable because it’s the right thing to do, I’m in. 

Not so much one of my friends, who regularly runs over people to score. This isn’t the Olympics, it’s a casual pickup game. Same friend took it upon himself to interrogate David about his church attendance, and this morning sent me a string of 17 text messages advising me to not pursue a relationship with David because he hadn’t played into this guy’s interrogation. Yeah thanks, but we’ll sort this one out ourselves. 

I could talk about jealousy and projections, but it sums up to this: a guy made a strong enough judgement from a 30 second conversation to interfere in my decisions without first asking me what I want. No thanks. On my planet we listen and take in information first, then we think about offering opinions. We don’t make a lot of baseless assumptions and hide behind a facade of concern, if we bring something up, we stand behind it. 

I told him I thought it was an important enough issue that I thought we should discuss the matter in person. This friend then backed off and said I didn’t owe him an explanation. 

Huh? Pretty sure that’s exactly what you just said. And you’re not getting one because you were right the second time. I owe you nothing. Now try not to be a dick. 

Standing in Line During the Holidays

Well Merry Christmas, Mrs. Watson. You made my morning.

I was at the Post Office early this morning to send a package to a friend. I would not under any circumstances describe myself as a morning person, but I had already gotten my oil changed and hit up Home Depot before the mailman rolled back the steel partition, and I wasn’t the only person getting business done early. Those December lines, right?

I was wearing a beanie with my university’s logo emblazoned on the front, and the woman in front of me, for whom I had held the door, was wearing a jacket in the same color. Which I didn’t notice at first because I was on my phone, already avoiding eye contact and any conversation. When I’m with strangers in public, my default is Do Not Engage. Rude? Maybe, but I still get triggered by weird shit and I like to avoid that, especially at the start of my day. The two women in front of me were already engaged in a conversation soaked in negativity, and I was still thinking about the gorgeous sunrise I had witnessed while driving around town. No thanks, leave me out of it.

My hat was too much temptation, and the woman in front of me asked if I had attended the university I was promoting on my forehead. Yes ma’am, my first degree was from there. She told me her husband had also graduated from my school, and we started talking about football and coaches and salaries and fun things like that. She knew her stuff, and was interested in me and what I do. It made the line pass quickly, and she had her turn and slipped out the door to head home before I could tell her “Merry Christmas”.

Well Merry Christmas, Mrs. Watson. You made my morning.

 

Setting Fire to the List

Those lists of mine? They exclude too.

I like lists. They’re my comfort zone. I like checking the box, marking through the words, finishing a task and clearly stating the thing. Whatever a list is for, I like it. They’re also a crutch for me and they get in my way.

I still use to-do lists. I find that if I don’t I’m not as motivated or I forget. Since I’m a performance-oriented human, I dearly love to cross an item off my to-do list. I knocked out my entire list today and you’d think I’d found buried treasure. If I make a list of the things I want to get done in a specific amount of time (I’ve finally accepted I only write lists for that day and only write what I can reasonably accomplish that day), there’s some measure of sense to it. Do I have a work deadline? Meet the deadline. Do I need to wash clothes? Do that. Oh, haven’t made Grandma’s Christmas stocking yet, I’ll get that done tonight. If I have trouble fitting in yoga I write it down too. I even wrote down to bring my trees in the house (potted citrus and avocados that do not like the cold) to make sure I didn’t forget to do that today.

But lists are by their nature limited and exclusive. What happens when it’s not on the list? My favorite tool becomes a trap of sorts. Let me illustrate.

How many times have you heard a girl say she has a list of things she’s looking for in a guy, and the first thing on the list is that he’s tall? What the hell does that have to do with anything? The average height for an American male is approximately 5′-10″, and they declined to provide me with the standard deviation, but I’m guessing there is a lot less above 6′-0″ and a lot more below 5′-10″. And I’m not sure why it matters, because that’s something most people can’t do anything about. What else is on your list?

More importantly, what isn’t on your list?

When I was in design school I was the last year before design tools turned over from manual to digital. The process of design, which is limited by one’s ability to manipulate the communication tool used, became very limited by the steep software learning curve. The class two years after us couldn’t design a roof to save their lives because the software didn’t automatically draw a roof for the buildings they designed, and they usually left roofs till last, meaning they put no time into them. Their designs were shit, not because they lacked ability but because they were relying on a tool that excluded so much. Those lists of mine? They exclude too. They almost always exclude me time, things that bring me joy, spending time with people I like, things that will improve my well being and things that will help me be much happier as I knock out all of the things on the list.

I don’t usually do New Year’s resolutions, but I might need to reconsider how I make lists and why I do it in the first place, and the timing is working out to make that change in the new year. And no, I’m not putting that on a list.

Done for the Year

My emotions need a break, and I want to do things that are comforting and not the least bit stressful.

I mentioned in therapy yesterday that I am done with 2017. I’m done with work, done with social engagements and all I want to do is sleep in comfy pajamas and bake in between reading books and sipping tea. Really, in two more weeks I can do that, but I don’t want to wait two more weeks. Even a week and a half.

I think a lot of other people are feeling this. We’re done. This year was rough, there has been a LOT of trauma and anxiety and negative energy, and I want to just bubble up and pretend it doesn’t exist for a bit. My emotions need a break, and I want to do things that are comforting and not the least bit stressful. I want to do things that bring me joy and that are gratifying to others. I’ve spent so much energy trying to hold it together this year that I am depleted and in need of rest, rest I haven’t taken the time for because…reasons.

Maybe a re-frame is better. Maybe I’m not done for the year, maybe I’m done expending energy on anxiety for the year. Maybe I’m done expending energy on externalities for the year. Maybe for the rest of the year my energy will go toward positive things that bring me joy rather than black holes of negativity. I think I’ll be in a much better position to give in the new year.

A Hero Stepped In

I thought it wouldn’t be a big deal to replace the light. Wrong.

I’m pretty used to doing things myself. While it would be ungrateful and selfish on my part to claim that I don’t get help and support, I often don’t have what I need. People see competence and assume I can handle it, because I mostly do. I don’t see a choice, and asking for help often seems unnecessary because I can usually figure it out.

I meet up with my business partner every Saturday morning to walk several miles and talk business, the world and gossip. It’s great fun, and I pick up bagels for his wife and I on my way. He doesn’t eat gluten so I usually get the side eye, but I live for Saturday morning bagels. Client’s Brother, who I will call David, has had a lot going on the last few days, and we finally got to catch up last night. He asked if it was too late for me to come over and I said yes, because bagels and because I had early morning plans and because I was feeling a bit skittish after a couple of days of not really knowing what was going on or how I fit into things. Laken, your advice was great, I was just supportive and held myself in check a bit. It paid off, because I counter offered to come over this morning with bagels after walk and talk, and it was well worth being supportive and understanding and not reacting based on my worries for a couple of days. We had a lovely day together, and stayed in a couple bubble.

Until I left and he noticed I had a headlamp out on my car.

It has been very cold here and the wildlife are out frisking around. He lives a bit out of town and was concerned about me driving home at night with a light out, so he dug around under my hood until he figured out how to remove the burned out light. I had just enough time to get to the nearest car parts store to get a new one, and I thought it wouldn’t be a big deal to replace the light.

Wrong.

A couple hours later, after I had called to let him know neither I nor the guy at the car parts store could figure this out, he had removed the low beam light and all of its housing and wires and whatever and put it all back together with the new bulb. In the cold. In the dark. With a manual that was not nearly as helpful as it could have been. He didn’t once complain or get overly frustrated or say anything negative to me, he was just happy that I was safe and he could do something for me. Same way he’s calmly knocking down my walls, taking care of me and making me think that whatever magic it is that we have could actually work out.

Tora! 

Client’s Brother and I started dating two weeks ago, and I’m already itching to sabotage our relationship. It’s easier than working through things. 

There’s a movie titled Tora! Tora! Tora!, which was controversial for depicting both the American and Japanese sides of the Pearl Harbor attack, 76 years ago today. The title words are Japanese, roughly translating to “lightning assault”. It dramatized the events leading up to Pearl Harbor less than 30 years after Dec 7, 1941, and so many people were angry that the Japanese would be portrayed as anything other than heartless monsters. They were the enemy!

Broken relationships start wars. 

Not all wars are one that scale. Some are much smaller. Some are with ourselves. I war a lot with myself. 

Client’s Brother was supposed to let me know when he was free to hang out today, which he never did. I knew something was off, and finally asked if he was ok. Lots of reasons came tumbling out, resulting in him tackling a project and shutting out the people who have been clawing at him today. I didn’t get shut out, he was just less communicative than usual until I asked what was up. No problem, I’ve been there, and we had plans to meet up for my friend’s birthday dinner. 

It unexpectedly snowed, and he didn’t want to make the drive. Totally fair, and I had already said I didn’t mind if he skipped dinner since he’d had a rough day. I called him on my way to dinner, and we talked for some time. He keeps talking when we’re on the phone. I don’t mean that negatively, it just surprises me that he wants to talk with me so much. Three hours last night when I finally said I needed to sleep. I had to get a table though, and didn’t want to be rude to the hostess so I said I’d call back. 

In the time it took for me to be seated, he had gotten another call and said via text he’d cal me right back. That didn’t happen. 

This is where I’ll insert that my abusive ex used communication – or lack thereof – extensively in manipulating me. Now that I’m clear of him and can see how he treated me I’m horrified. I’m also really skittish and it doesn’t take a lot to trigger my flight response. This is the only thing I’m aware of that is flight as not fight for me. I fought for a relationship once, and it nearly destroyed me. Now I’m ready to bounce with the slightest reason. 

I texted a picture of dinner to him and he let me know his good friend’s aunt had just passed and he and his friend were both devastated. Life changes in a moment, doesn’t it? I expressed my sympathy and said of course he should go and I’d let him know when I got home. I’ll spare you the exchange, but I gave him space and he thanked me for it. Of course. 

But I’m ready to bounce, or worse, sabotage this relationship before it even has a chance. It’s so much easier to just walk away than it is to deal with all the triggers, all the memories and all of the realization of just how much damage my ex did to me. I hate this. I hate that after two weeks this is where my head is. He’s been dealing with shit all day, is now in the middle of grief and loss and I’m ready to return to my ice castle. No thanks, I’d rather avoid further messiness in life, I’ll stay in my fortress.

@#$$%^^&*