The king is dead.

On the night of our second date when I asked him if he’d like to come up to my apartment and have a glass of wine Rex paused before answering.

“I’d like to talk to you about that, actually.”  I waited as the city skyline shrunk behind us and lights blurred by.  “I’ve been thinking and… I don’t want to be a part of your ‘story’.”

I sat there dumbfounded.  What??  And what did that even mean??

We’d been texting all day every day for a week; he’d call me in the mornings on his way to and from work; send me sexy pics.  We’d just had a terrific date and my offer for him to come up was just to talk more.  I wasn’t ready to have sex with him.

What ensued was a long talk outside my building where I tried — and probably ultimately failed — to convince him of my sincerity about finding a beautiful relationship.  My penchant for large penises loomed large in our discussion on his end and he was very clear that he didn’t want to be “one of many” with proof of my seeing other men on the internet for all to see.

We parted that night with a sweet kiss and a hug and then I shut my front door and cried.

I was serious about opening up, loving someone, bringing someone into my life and this man didn’t believe me.

I knew before we sat in his fancy car that night that it would be a struggle for any man to date me while knowing about the blog and I had given it much thought.  How could I keep writing and be myself while also protecting my privacy and that of the man who was involved with me?

I found the solution: Just like how I am discreet in real life about my dating affairs, so would I be discreet on the blog.  In other words, I wouldn’t write about anyone else I was dating while we were.

He worried that it might not be authentic for me to do so, but nothing could have been further from the truth.  In fact, it felt exceedingly authentic.  I wanted to make this as normal a dating experience as possible for the both of us.

We kept chatting for two more weeks, met up once more, and then we had pot roast, a meal I find generally distasteful; it’s dry, uninspiring, and not the least bit nostalgic.  He loved it — practically licked his plate — and then told me he wasn’t feeling it for me.

I cried that night, too.

And then he disappeared for the weekend which gave me the opportunity to clear my head and figure out my next move.  He was tremendously polite and whenever I’d text he’d reply, but I felt like I was keeping myself on his radar.  When I finally heard back from him it was from my initiation, but then I let it alone.  I wanted to see what he would do without my constant arm waving.

By the following Thursday (a week after I’d made him dinner) our conversations were pleasant but lasted only 5 or so lines a piece.  Friday he was silent and so was I.  And Saturday and Sunday until 9 days later when I texted him this:

So, not to state the obvious or anything, but it’s been a week since we chatted.  Fair to say we’re not exploring options with one another anymore??  Or am I somehow mistaken?

Three days later — today — and I haven’t heard back.  I think it’s safe to say we are no longer dating and I am now released from my self-imposed censoring.  I will begin again to track and share my life until the cycle starts anew with someone else.  If it ever does.

What started out as something promising — checked nearly every box I had — has now devolved to a man in his 50s ghosting me.

I don’t regret one second of this little exercise, though; I learned a lot from this affair of two spirits.

I learned to allow someone else’s inertia to reveal their feelings; to believe someone when they say they don’t want me — a lesson that was nearly impossible for me to grok with The Neighbor because he never left me alone.  I learned that sometimes people’s desire for politeness over conflict will keep you spiraling a drain; I learned that when things are tough you can determine a lot about a person and how they communicate about it.  And I learned that no matter how skilled I am in the kitchen I will never, ever like motherfucking pot roast.

Starting again.

 

Febraury Photofest

I’m going to bed early.

I texted Rex late yesterday afternoon.  He had just finished the last ride of the weekend and was on a high.  He’d had an incredible weekend on his bike in the middle of no where and it had exhausted him, he said.

He texted today to say good morning and I sent him a couple of pictures of Peyton making us breakfast (literally the closest thing to breakfast in bed I’ve had in my entire life).

Then the day dragged on.

My back aches from my pelvis to my chest, my body feels contorted, my heart feels dark and heavy.  I am physically miserable, psychically stalled.

Thank God I have Peyton tomorrow, Valentine’s Day.  The single most excruciating day of the year when you are forced to remember your relationship status by every person wearing red to work for their Happy Hour V-Day dates later in the day.

I’m going to bed early.

It hurts.

 

 

 

Febraury Photofest

I am too still.

I have spent the bulk of the weekend in my pajamas save for the 6 hours I spent drinking last night with girlfriends.  Two women 5 and 10 years my junior; jaded and burnt out on men and overly sensitive about making sure we all kept our expenses the same.

My Old Fashioned drinks burned and smoked down my throat as their magic addled my brain.  Then the sadness crept in.

I hadn’t wanted to go out in the first place; I’d offered to see Rex, but I didn’t hear from him and so I’d made other plans, naturally.

Tina chatted up a beautiful man who somehow epitomized Brooklyn New York and her friend, Sina, cozied up with a handsome and grizzly older fellow.  I spent my time trying to give them each space.

I awoke on Tina’s couch alone and with an aching back.  This back ache is a symbol of my stillness, my general paralysis, and I hate it.  I need to move more, sweat more.  All this sedentary bullshit is literally breaking me.

Good thing tomorrow is a new day and I can start anew.  Thank god for the never-ending turning of our world.

My general state of being.

 

 

Febraury Photofest
Sinful Sunday

He loved the pot roast and I slept alone.

“I’m not feeling it between us.”  He made a back and forth motion with his hands at chest level.  “I think you’re very beautiful — very — fascinating, intelligent, really funny, but I just don’t know if it’s there between us.”

I sat beside him, about 18 inches away, a wine glass in my hand.  I looked away, swallowed.  I felt trapped and helpless, foolish.  Of course he doesn’t, I thought.  Men never want me.

I’ve spent the last couple of days fighting that voice and it’s left me low and energy-less.  I hate that voice.

Since none of this is happening the “normal” way for me I have been out of touch with things.  None of our dates have lent themselves to anything more than a brief goodnight kiss.  He’s responsible and has dogs and has left after every one and declined to come up after another when we instead sat in his car outside my building where I worked really hard to convince him I didn’t actually care about dick size, only the size of a man’s heart.

On the couch I continued my case, “I want to get to know you, Rex, I want to unwrap you and discover the man inside.  To learn about you.  I find you interesting and kind and sexy.  I want to keep learning about you.   You intimidate me because you’re so grown up and accomplished; I’ve never dated an adult before…”  My voice sounded desperate and clingy to my ears, but there was nothing to do.  It was all true.

I looked away again when he didn’t respond and he said something about me shutting down.  I dragged myself back up to the surface.  “You’re right.  I am.  I’m trying.  This is just so hard for me.”

I looked at him, my face an implacable mask.  He said he couldn’t read me.  I told him that was the point.

I have never felt something slip through my fingers the way that evening did.  He licked his plate, but was passing on me it seemed.

“What are you thinking?” I asked.  He said he didn’t know.  “Well, do you know what I’m thinking?  I’m sitting here wishing I could kiss you.”

He looked surprised.  “Go ahead,” he laughed.  “You should always kiss me if you want to.”

I leaned over on my knees and kissed his warm lips.  His hands stayed below my hips, perhaps on my thigh.  He began to talk.  I asked him if he wanted me to stop.  He said, No, but I felt like I was forcing myself on him.

I pulled away and he followed me, kissed me more.  I breathed him in and waited as my hands roamed his neck and jaw.  Nothing.

“I have to get going.  It’s a work night.”  It was 10:30 when the failure really sunk in.  Either there was just no chemistry between us or my strange flailing the previous two weeks had set the stage for this.

“Do you think you knowing about Hy made us both think we were more connected than we really are?” I’d asked before I’d kissed him.

“No!  Definitely not!” he jumped to say.  “I don’t think that at all.”

We stood up and I walked to the kitchen to send him home with leftovers.  He kissed me again at the island and it was intense and sweet, but still stopped short of full-blown passion.  I don’t know why.

He dipped down once or twice for more and I eagerly met his lips, but he seemed already halfway out the door.

I handed him his baggies and tinfoil-wrapped pot roast and walked him to the entryway and told him I was free on Saturday if he wanted to hang out again.  There was still so much more to say and explore, right?  The kissing was good, wasn’t it??  I didn’t know which end was up, perhaps more talking and spending time together would sort it out.

“Ok, sure.  I might be going out of town for a bike trip.  I’m not sure.  I’ll let you know.”

We kissed again and he left and I crawled into bed with the animals.

It’s Saturday night now and I didn’t hear from him about going out of town or not.  I assume he did, but perhaps not.

::

I went on a date with a man recently who was incredibly eager to meet me.  He leaned in at the bar as I sipped my glass of Chardonnay and his hand occasionally grazed my thigh.  I had no doubt of his attraction for me and I felt the chemistry buzz between us as I imagined what his body would feel like over mine.

We parted ways with a steamy, but appropriate kiss against my car under an abnormally warm winter sun, and I drove away contemplating chemistry and connections.

Another night I had a date with a different man who really liked me.  It was our second date (the first was coffee a week before and his eyes lit up when I walked into the Greek coffee house).   He texted me nervously the morning after because he was worried he might have said something that put me off, but the truth is as I sat across from him sipping cider under a chilly moon I couldn’t muster an attraction.  I tried, but it just wasn’t there.

There was nothing he said that made that happen.  It just was.

And as he kissed me and earnestly held me close my heart sank because I felt nothing in return except his soft lips and nicely groomed whiskers.  I had to tell him, like Rex told me, that I didn’t feel it between us and if Rex feels as little for me as I did for that other man then that hurts.  Not a lot, not a little, but somewhere in the middle like when you studied really hard for a test, but still only got a B-/C+.

I really wanted this thing with Rex to be an A.

The person is undesirable to most while the body desirable to all.

 

Febraury Photofest

Waiting and waiting and waiting.

Date #4 is upon me and it’s pot roast night.  

I’ve spent the morning cleaning and deciding on my final recipe.  Mildly agitated, slightly excited.  I am so very, very out of my element.

It’s been more than 15 years since I’ve had 4 dates and no sex.  I’ve seen his beautiful body only on a screen as he has mine.  

I haven’t touched or tasted; I haven’t felt or followed my fingertips to any delicious nooks and crannies.  I feel blindfolded in an art museum.

I don’t know what is expected of me once dinner is done because I’m certain sex is not on the menu for tonight.  “I don’t do casual sex,” he told me on date #2.  

I’m not even sure I know what that means.

So I wait and follow and see what’s next.  He’s the lead on this.  Not me.  

I hope my pot roast is edible.

Waiting.

Febraury Photofest

I need a pot roast recipe.

“Hy, I just can’t do this whole blog/you thing.”

It’s a sentence Rex hasn’t said, but I’ve heard before.

I told The Russian I was Hy, we met, he got distant, I struggled to understand the new energy, he called to say he couldn’t handle it and, frankly, didn’t want to sign up for any of it.

Ultimately, I wrestle with a much larger demon than just trusting someone in general: I can’t understand why anyone would want to sign up for me.  The Russian and everyone else has “proven” this fear over and over.

Before you all jump to tell me that isn’t true — that there exists a man who will in fact want all of me — I already know that.  Of course I do.  But tell that to the darkest, most terror-stricken part of me; I dare you to get her to listen.

So you know what I’m going to do about all this crushing self-doubt and crippling fear??  Nothing.

Instead, I’m going to make him a motherfucking pot roast and chill.

 

I need a hug.

No more dreams.

No more dreams, no rest.

It’s bright inside, so no relief only clear sight.

Fear is a flavor, an experience, not something to swallow.

Love is a leap, not a lap.  So is bravery.

A girl learns to hide, a woman learns to be.

Rex offered his two cents for today.  This was his choice.

 

Febraury Photofest

Following through and opening up.

I have put it out into the Universe that I want love.  I have changed all of my online presence to reflect that.  I have written about it here, I have spoken about it with friends, potential partners, my fucking therapist.

I believe the time is right and that now more than ever I am ready, but with all this preparation and declaration I have also been brought face to face with the reality of what and who I am.  And I am scared.  It all seems completely impossible.

I have deactivated my accounts across all dating platforms.  It was getting too noisy and bumping into Rex made me realize that I need quiet in order to do this.  I had a full dance card on Sunday and by Saturday I had only kept two engagements.  Both with him.

He crowded my thoughts all week and other men were distant seconds due to their own innocent ignorance.  Why would I pretend to be only half of me with one of them when I could attempt to be all of me with him given the opportunity?

::

I came across a quote on Instagram today — I’ve seen it before.

He says you are too much.

You talk, laugh, smile, feel far too much.  But baby….

here is the problem:

He is too little to appreciate that it took an entire galaxy

being woven into one soul to make you.

I was married to that man, that little man who made me feel like I was wrong and whose own soul was in a self-imposed box.

I took up too much space on the sidewalk, he said.

I spoke too freely of my opinions, he said.

I shouldn’t need him to say I was beautiful, he said.

My art, my being, my movement through life was unacceptable.  It made him uncomfortable and self-conscious  It took me nearly 7 years to realize that his words for me were really for him.  He was a miserable shell of a man afraid of his own shadow, his own needs, and I had inadvertently married a man who personified my inner voice: I was too much.

I cried when I read the quote.  It felt all too familiar.  And I am feeling fragile today, far too vulnerable.  Telling people I want to be loved feels like peeling away my skin.  I feel raw, weak.  Like I am shivering and helpless and strapped to a tree in the goddamned sparkling snow.

Being honest about what I long for means I must demand certain things of the men I meet and of myself.  Honor and respect, kindness and compassion.  I have not had kindness in my life in so long and even the smallest glimmer of it creates a fracture in my facade.  I am suddenly and completely armorless.

Is this what it’s like for other people?  Normal people?  For everyone else who doesn’t have what feels like crippling issues with intimacy and trust?

It wasn’t long ago that no one could hurt me.  I was on a pedestal far above the fray.  Fuck me, leave me, don’t text, don’t show up, cancel on me, lie to me.  Fuck you, do it.  I’m not here anyway.  It’s just a body and I’m merely feeding it.

But I am no longer hungry for that.  I want to be a human, not that thing I was for so long, whatever that was.  I want to fill my heart.

I want to fill it with a man who knows me.  Whom I can introduce to my baby, my mother, my friends.  Someone who will help me move furniture I struggle to drag from one end of the city to the other on my own.  Someone to fucking care, to tell me everything is going to be ok when I’m not at all sure it will be.  Someone to just hold me, stroke my temple, press his lips to mine and breathe me in.

::

I sat across from that small man, my exhusband, last week and the disdain and resentment in his eyes burned into me.  His words cut and confirmed what I had always known about him: he never liked me.  I let his inner road map route my life because, I’d thought, it’s what I was supposed to do.  The truth is, I should have ended our relationship 2 months in, but his interest in me was mesmerizing despite his criticisms.

Step by step he moved us closer to marriage and all along the way he rejected who I was.  Six years after I closed the book on us I have never regretted escaping his dark cloud, but I have yet to find the sunshine.  I have operated under my own dark cloud of fear of people.  He betrayed me.  He made me promises he never intended to keep and he told me it was my fault.

The Neighbor never bothered to make a promise, but somehow convinced me he was worth having in my life.  Or maybe I was just an fucking idiot and the sex and his daily rejections were my catnip.  I’m open to that possibility.  Looking past and around them my life has been filled with men whom never deserved my energy, yet I gave it freely all the same.

They were safe because they would demand next to nothing from me in return.  I could be safely ensconced in my armor of detachment; they could be easily dismissed for behaving awfully.  Deciding to open up and be myself positions me for love and hurt, but I suppose it’s time to woman up and follow through.

I can either cry about being alone and continue to play child’s games or I can change the game altogether.  Be myself instead of someone else, but the truth is that when you line up all the pros and cons of Hy there are an awful lot of cons to get past first.  I’m not saying the cons are greater than the pros, just that there are many brambles to cut back before someone reaches the castle gates.

I feel like a branch heavy with snow about to break.  Can I really expect anyone to take it all on?  I mean, can I??

And the answer is yes, because if it were anything else then that would mean I had already given up and I have only just begun.  I have only just begun.

I’ve been caught as Hy.

As I drove home from work for lunch he texted to say he had something to confess.

We’d had our first date the night before at a swanky downtown restaurant.  He was tallish, lean, bald.  A very snazzy dresser.  A good looking man whose arm ink peeked out from beneath the cuffs of his tailored blazer.

I sipped on champagne and he on sweet whiskey and as we shared our small plates we chatted about our dead pets, nudity vs. nakedness, and failed marriages.  I ranted about never allowing a man into my life that wasn’t loved and accepted by my child.  He ranted about not sending him emails at work unless the certified letter didn’t return first.

It was a really nice date topped off by a polite kiss or two and a twinkle in my eye.

What could he possibly have to confess??

“I have followed your blog since we first met at AFF.”

My stomach dropped and my eyes widened.  I was at a stop light and felt suddenly jittery.

We’d “met” on AFF well over a year ago and only recently reconnected via OKCupid where he’d pointed out the older connection.  “Small orbits,” he’d called them.

“Wait, what??” I texted back.  “What blog?”

He texted the URL.

Fuck.

Immediately I thought back over everything I’d said the night before, how I’d carried myself, how I had appeared.  Had I measured up?  Did I sound genuine?  I talked about my missing cat and my exhusband, mentioned dating my neighbor — all things that are in this blog.

Well, at least he knows I wrote the truth, I thought.



My first impulse was to post the screenshots and share, but I pulled up short and asked him for his permission(I cannot ethically post about anyone here without their permission if they know it exists.  If they don’t know, it’s none of their business; I have to protect myself first.)

“Blue pill or red pill, Mr. Orbit?” I asked him.

He said he trusted me and then we sent each other photos of our animals because I guess that’s what you do when you’ve been outted as your alter-ego and the world hasn’t caved in on you and the handsome man on the other end of the secret seems to like you anyway.

And so here we are: Uncharted territory with a Hy/Me hybrid blend and a man I’m going to call Rex.