authenticity · awareness · career · dating · deprivation · faith · fear · integrity · internet dating · jobs · perseverance · self-abandonment · self-esteem

Broken Algorithms

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Stop me if you’ve heard this one: Someone asks you out.
You’re pretty sure it’s not a match, but “you never know” and you have nothing better to do, so you
say sure. The date is uneventful, confirms that you’re not a match, and ends
with a nice awkward hug, and one of those vague promises to meet up again soon.
Perhaps there are follow-up texts, that you politely reply
to, but are vague and friendly. Perhaps there are then more follow-up texts
that you begin to ignore in an attempt to give a hint as to your lack of
interest and intention. And, finally, perhaps there’s the passive-aggressive
texts you begin to receive that a) reconfirm this wasn’t a match, and b) lead you
to hide them from your newsfeed!
What’s wrong with this picture? – as the back of the Highlights magazine asked you to spot.
Well, first and foremost is the fact that you abandoned your
own good judgment, values, and integrity by agreeing to go out in the first
place. “Pretty sure it’s not a match” is usually good enough. Enough of these
situations have proved that your gut is usually correct.
This self-abandonment is the seed of the whole problem.
It’s not the dude; it’s not his persistence; it’s not his disappointment masked
as passive-aggression. – It’s you.
I’ve finished reading the history of online dating/how-to
memoir entitled Data, A Love Story: How I Cracked the Online Dating Code to
Meet My Match
. In it, the author describes
that the problem with online dating is not the sites; it’s
us. It’s us answering questions as our aspirational
self, instead of as we are. It’s us, chatting with people we only have vague
interest in. It’s us, abandoning our integrity in order to have crappy
connections with people.
I’ve been thinking about this process in relation to my job
search. I’ve realized that I do the same thing in dating that I do in job
searching: I lie. I let jobs that hold little to no interest for me get a bulk
of my attention, and then when I get the interview, I find that,
indeed, I’m not interested, but in order to be “nice” or liked or wanted or
hired, I will feign that interest. I will more often than not land that job,
and then I will become resentful that I have it. This suitor that I didn’t
want, I’m now trying to delete from my Facebook, or in this case, my LinkedIn.
Again, what’s broken here is not these jobs – it’s my
willingness to abandon my values. It’s my willingness to say to myself,
Something is better than nothing; what else have you got to do? It’s my
willingness to waste my time and theirs, so that I can put off and deny what it
is I really want.
My willingness to waste my own time … my threshold for the pain that causes is astronomically high.
But because I have a belief that this is easier than the
pain of making truer statements, of sticking close to my integrity, my
intentions, my values, and my wants, I choose the rockier path every time.
Because the alternative is to stick with myself. To be the
friend I want to be to myself. To be my
own cheerleader and ally, and to let myself know that I’m here to support
myself on the unknown path of self-esteem.
I said on the phone to a friend two weeks ago: “I’m having
trouble mustering the low self-esteem required to apply for jobs I don’t want.” Ha!
I think we call that progress; insight; growth. (Although, I am still finding myself browsing those job descriptions.)
I have to muster a whole silo filled with negative beliefs
in order to go toward jobs I don’t want. These include: I don’t know what I
want, so I don’t deserve anything better. I will only abandon myself
eventually, so I may as well do it now. There’re no happy endings in this world,
so what makes you think you deserve one.
To name a few.
And I have to bombard and drown myself in these beliefs
(false beliefs) in order to “muster the low self-esteem” necessary to undersell
myself.
The same, I’m sure, is true for me in the dating world.
So, again, what is the solution, here?
I know that it’s to not abandon myself, to continue working
on my self-esteem, to wipe away the corroded mirror I use to judge myself so
that I can get a clearer view, one that reflects esteem, joy, confidence, and
courage. One that reflects someone fun, engaged, lively, warm, and worthy. I
know that the work is to trust that if I walk away from that silo of low
self-esteem, I will be led toward a healthier source of sustenance.
And that trust… That is the hard part. That tiny sapling of
faith that I will have to hold onto as the storm of negativity swirls around
me, raging only harder the longer I resist. I will have to hold on to that sapling,
until it becomes a redwood, until the storm recedes into memory. I will have to
have faith that if I hold on long enough to my self-worth and my self-esteem,
the clouds will give way to the sun. 
Here’s hoping. 

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abundance · community · debt · deprivation · finances · growth · integrity · recovery · self-care · self-support

No Soup For You.

It’s astonishing, the lengths I’ll go to deprive myself.
The thick pattern of deprivation, living small, quietly,
unobtrusively, knocks on the door of all my actions and insists on being
allowed in.
Luckily, my latest personal recipe is: Me + G-d + Friends +
Action.
I was on the phone with a friend the other day discussing
the fact that I needed a spending plan for my upcoming trip to Seattle and
Boston this Saturday. I told her that I’d already “found” $235 in my usual
monthly spending plan, which means whittling funds from other line items, like
entertainment, personal care, household purchases–line items that
fluctuate anyway, so I consider them “fundgable” when they’re really not. (I’ve
learned.)
This isn’t to say that my spending plan is a monthly set of
10 Commandments, chiseled in stone and fatal when not adhered to. It’s an
ideal, a goal, a guideline, and the actuals that I tally at the end of each
month tell me the story as it happened, instead of how I thought it would.
Usually they’re pretty close these days.
However, when my friend and I were speaking about my trip,
and we calculated aloud bus fare, BART fare, coffee&food at 4 airports in
10 days, groceries, eating out, incidentals, tchotckes, gas money… well, we
figured it out to about $400, a number I’m supposed to double check before I
leave.
Immediately, I begin mentally looking at those fundgable
categories, which I’ve already cut thick slices from this month to support the
trip. And I start to get panicked and fearful about the trip and how much I can
spend, and try to pre-manipulate how I can spend less than I actually know
I’ll need.
This, friends, is the compulsion. How can I whittle down my
needs, how can I deny what is actually true about my needs, hide them, dismiss
them, and discard them, so that I can live in a way that I misguidedly think
will support me?
Luckily, I was on the phone with my friend as we spoke all
this out, and I admitted to her that I have nearly a grand in my vacation
savings account… but, I told her like a child revealing they’ve stolen a
Snickers, I’m “supposed to” be saving it for my hypothetical trip to Paris with
my mom next Summer.
I don’t want to give up my Snickers. I don’t want to break
part of it off to eat now, because I believe I just need to save it for later,
or there will never be enough.
This is preposterous. And where voices that don’t live
inside my own head are so valuable.
She didn’t even have to say anything, as I admitted my
vacation savings money could easily provide the additional $200 that I’ll actually need for this trip. I just talked myself through it,
admitting it, accepting it, saying that I see the fallacy and the deprivation
in that kind of
save it ALL for some unknown date and live in fear
right now
thinking. And I told her I would
move that money over this week, so that I could use it in today, for the
intended purpose: vacation.
It’s not actually called “Paris Vacation with Mom” savings
account: It’s just called Vacation. And if this isn’t the time to use those
funds, when I need them, when I’m plotting to slice myself and my funds even
thinner than they already are this month, then I haven’t learned a thing.
Yesterday, I did move that money. It felt illicit, illegal almost. I felt
nervous and anxious and excited and proud to know that I was supporting a
vision for myself without putting myself in deprivation.
The ridiculous part is that I will easily replenish that money in the vacation account over the next few months. “Vacation savings” is a
line item in my spending plan every single month. It’s not like I’ll never get to go
on a vacation again because I’m using this money now.
But my addiction to deprivation and fear continues to knock
on my door and insist entry into my life and my decisions. So, luckily, today I have
an antidote: Me + G-d + Friends + Action. 

dating · fear · fortitude · integrity · love · uncertainty

Drowning in a sea of pearls

It is unclear if things have devolved in 25 y.o. land, but I
get the sense from his flirtatious texts that perhaps our intentions are not
aligned. It is unclear yet if I will bring up what mine are, ask him his, and
accept what comes of that. Sitting in the ambiguity is uncomfortable. It is
unclear whether sitting in the ambiguity is supposed to be my lesson, or a
lesson here. It is unclear if saying: 
“I don’t know yet if I like you but I
would be interested to find out. If that’s something you want to explore, then
it would be nice to go out again. If not, that’s okay too.” 
is too forward or
just right. Is it pushy, clear, honest, forthright, demanding, off-putting, or
too soon?
I get Goldilocks’ dilemma.
And I have a hard time letting go of the questions. Even
with my full life.
One of the things the male co-author writes in It’s Just a F***king Date is that not every date works out, and then
asks, did I get my heart broken? Sure, but not as much as I would have [if I
didn’t remember it’s just a date].
So, am I heartbroken? No. I don’t even know whether I should
be – what this is. Which, perhaps, is an answer. But I don’t like that
“perhaps” hanging out there like a scab of uncertainty. Am I sad? A little.
But, like above, not nearly as much as I could be. I mean, it was two dates. I
went a little bananas, as we all read, and then I came back to center,
remembered I’m awesome, and went about my awesome life. If this is someone who
wants to join me on my path of awesome, great; if not, as above, “That’s okay
too.” Cuz it really is.
I JUST WANNA KNOW.
Should I erase that name from my date book, or not?
I mean, I have read He’s Just Not That Into You. I do know that if someone isn’t asking you out,
that has a meaning. I do know that sexy texts (which I’m replying neutrally to) are not a pathway to romance. But
I want him to fucking say it. If that’s the truth, if you’re not into me, if
you just want to fuck me, then say that. It saves me a lot of headache. If,
because we had a very intense make-out session, I’m now relegated to the
“hook-up” file in your own date-book, that’s fine too. Just let’s me know, once
again, that the heavy necking should be better left to a time when its earned
itself.
There’s nothing wrong with heavy necking, making out, or
having sex. Don’t get me wrong. But, having recently been very clear with
someone what my casual intentions were, getting those casual needs met, and
closing the casual door behind him as he left, I got to see that although
I acted with integrity, asked for my needs to be met, felt proud of my behavior and was very happy with
the result, I also got to see that what I really want is someone who spends the
night. I want to be that person for you too.
So, hooking up is all well and good, and it is also not yet
decided that if the 25 y.o. says ‘I don’t want to date’ if I will go forward with
something casual, since the previews indicated a blockbuster movie. But, I want
to find out first if there’s an art film playing here, before I buy a ticket
for Bourne 17. 

abundance · adulthood · integrity · maturity · progress · reality · recovery · responsibility · San Francisco · synchronicity · work

Breathing Room.

Sort of makes me wonder if there’s a room somewhere where
all people do is breathe? Maybe that’s called a meditation center. Or a
hospital.
In any case… yesterday, the interior design company I’ve
been temping with these last few weeks (and on and off during the last year)
asked me if I’d like to come on with them for a temp gig for a full, firm 6
weeks (possibly 2 months, but 6 weeks firm)?
Of course, I said yes. !
This gives me 6 weeks to really have the mental space to
look for permanent work, while not freaking out about bills being paid or not.
I know, now, that I not only will have July rent paid (HUZZAH!), but I will
have August rent paid. I haven’t known if I’d have two months’ rent in a row in
a long time. I can’t tell you what a relief this is.
I noticed how much more I was breathing after I was asked
and after I accepted. I have a tendency to hold my breath, or breathe
shallowly, when I’m stressed out. Most people do, I think. I realize it’s not
only then though. Sometimes the muscles of my stomach are in contraction even
when I’m sitting by myself at this computer writing this – or at my breakfast
nook, writing my morning pages. Why on earth would I hold my breath, or be all
tied up when there’s nothing to stress about? I dunno.
But, I recall what was said at a meditation I went to a few
weeks ago, where the facilitator suggested we allow ourselves to have “abs of
jello.” People snickered, because really, we all probably are holding (well,
not maybe ALL) some sort of tension
around with us.
The way that I walked into work yesterday, and the way I walked out of
it were two vastly different ways of
being. I was angry – as you might have learned from yesterday’s blog – and all
bolted up in worry and fear. I did also leave the building at noon to head downtown to meet up with a group of folks for an hour, which was unbelievably helpful – and I
began to notice, then, the whole tightness of my belly thing – the not properly
breathing thing. I hadn’t been asked to stay on yet, but I began to notice that
I didn’t have to hold my body in freak-out mode.
When I was asked to stay on, if you could visualize that
metal bib they put on you at the dentist as a cape, and watch it fall to the
floor with a thud, then you’d know how I
felt. I felt acres lighter. It’s huge. It’s a big thing.
And… it means even more that I have to show up for this
position for what I’m being paid to do. It means getting to work on time,
basically, and not hanging out online that much. That’s cool. I mean, I set my
alarm for 6am yesterday in an attempt to get to work earlier (aka “on time”),
but didn’t make that. I snoozed til 6:30. So, this morning, I tried again. And
up at 6am as I was this morning, I might have to wake up earlier still to
ensure that I have the…breathing room… to do everything that I do in the
morning with more ease and less stress – a constant look at the clock – even in my
meditation feeling crushed by my awareness that it’s ten minutes I “don’t
have.”
Although I cringe at the thought of anything earlier than
6am, it’s really not that big a deal. I’ll gripe about it some – but the
benefits will be way worth it. I won’t hold my gut in as I write this in the
morning, or as I’m cooking my ubiquitous eggs.
It’s hard to not imagine that some of the work that I’m
doing around money isn’t related to this sudden
“windfall.” I’ve been in a limbo of not knowing whether I have work from week
to week and day to day for the last few months. And now, “suddenly,” I’m asked
to stay on for 6 weeks – 6 STABLE weeks?
I sent out those letters last week to former employers (see:
Bollocks) letting them know that I was a lousy employee and that I was trying
to do better. And in the intervening week, I have been trying to do better –
and think I’m progressing along those lines.
Also, it’s hard to imagine that my work of freeing myself
from “wrong” sources of power and validation (see: yesterday, and the entire
history of my life…) aren’t in some way influencing the curvature of this road.
Sure, it could all be “coincidence.” Nothing to do with
anything, but I don’t believe that, personally. But. Nor do I believe that I am
“rewarded” for “good” behavior (and thusly, punished for bad). I rather believe that as I let go of behaviors
which aren’t serving me, I’m more available for the good things the world has
to offer. Usually those things were available all along, but I’ve been too busy
peering down the dry well, begging it to be water, that I miss the river.
Whatever the cause and effect, or lack thereof, I’m
grateful. Hugely. I bought a (cute, but) cheapy new notebook for my morning
pages yesterday. I intend to take another look at how I planned to distribute
my funds this month. Because the truth is, even though I hadn’t planned or had
money in the item lines of entertainment, or notebooks, or toiletries – the
reality is that I spent money in them anyway.
Last night, I found a note from February when I was meeting with some
money folk, and there’s a huge note-to-self that says to be honest about my needs, so
that I don’t overspend.
This month, instead of having been honest about what I
really need, I wrote up a meager, scarce, and skeletal spending plan, and of
course I haven’t stuck to it. Be honest about my needs. They’re not
overwhelming, they’re not indulgent, they just are what they are.
And I can allow myself to own and take care of them, while I breathe into my abs of jello. 
adulthood · commitment · growth · honesty · integrity · progress · recovery · responsibility · work

Bollocks.

Through a series of work I’m doing right now, I sent out a
stack of three letters to former employers yesterday, each with a variation on the theme – I was an
unprofessional employee, I am sorry for how I behaved, and I aim to be more responsible in my
jobs now and going forward.
The messed up, fucked up, I-don’t-want-to-do-this part of all
that is… that now I have to stick to my word – the word about being a better
employee going forward. This means, fewer endless hours on facebook while at
work (if any at all); it means taking my breaks so I’m refreshed to actually do
work instead of sit and stare at whatever I’m doing; it means being efficient in
my work. I means, basically, doing what I’m paid to be doing.
I don’t like that. And, yet, I know how completely necessary
it is. I’ve been talking here about responsibility lately, how I don’t want it, but that I do want the things that come to people who are responsible – in their
work, extracurricular, and home lives. So, if I want what they have, then I
must do what they do.
I don’t have to.
Sure, I can say one thing and do another, but in truth, that feels, obviously,
worse. Better to not say anything at all, and continue to slide along on
half-steam, than to say that I’m making changes so that I don’t slide along on
half-steam and then not do it.
Most recently, having the (rated G) dalliance with the
married man, I got to see very acutely where I was either going to stick to the
letter of my word or not. I’ve had to make many an amends to women whose
boyfriends, and, once, a fiancé, with whom I’ve dallied. I told them each,
specifically, that I was making changes in my life so that I don’t act like
that anymore – that I was sorry for how I behaved, and that I wouldn’t do it
again.

So, when I began talking in the flirtatious way with this man about a month
ago, I knew – I felt – how off this was.
How against everything that I’d set up over the last few years this was. How,
basically, I was breaking my promise to each of them, and indeed to myself –
having promised myself that I wouldn’t behave in ways around men
that would make me feel bad about myself, or guilty, or ashamed.
And so, I stopped the dalliance with the man, and am now newly engaged in a body of work to help extricate and sever and lay to rest the last
of the beliefs and behaviors that influence me to believe that this is all that
is available to me, or what I deserve.
So, here I am, now, about work. About telling these folks
that I fucked up in the past, and I’m trying to do better. That, specifically,
I will be more responsible and work with more integrity. And, I know, now, that
I’ll have to stick to it. I know how it feels from that recent experience to
come right up against something I said I wouldn’t do – I know how icky it
feels, and against my morals. And so, now, I must take that same self-line into the professional world.
And I hate it.
I know it’s good for me. I know it’ll open doors for me, and
duh, it’s the right thing to do. But, Oh! My Beautiful Wickedness!, I don’t “want” to. Luckily, it doesn’t quite matter
whether I want to or not. Pain will always push me in the direction forward. I
don’t want to feel the pain of being a hypocrite, so I will work better. I
don’t want to feel ashamed that I’m not living to my word, so I’ll stop
accepting jobs that I know I’ll work half-steam at.
I don’t like it. It feels like an entirely new level of
adulthood to go toward this direction of integrity. But it’s necessary, and
it’s time.
I have no doubt that the opening up of this line of vision
will amount to something more in my professional life. I have no doubt that by working to a better standard of duty that I’ll feel better about myself and
less like a fraud. I know that this will take me somewhere different internally
and externally. But, still, it sucks.
It’s like this is what teenagers experience when they get
into their 20s maybe. Or, these days, 20somethings into their 30s. I’d love to learn this
now. It’s late, but it is certainly a better late than never.
I also wrote an email last night to a recent former employer to
apologize for how I ended my employment there, and to ask for clarity around
some money they gave me to pay off the last of my braces when I had them a
few years ago. He said that they had dental, so it was covered, and no
liability to me. He said that he did think I “handled the separation badly.”
And he said that if I ever needed a reference that he has “[my] back.” I’m glad
to know that the money is clear. I agree that I could have handled things
differently. And for fuck’s sake, I promise that I will handle them differently
in the future.
Change sucks. Especially when it’s good for me. 

adulthood · dating · integrity · intimacy · Jewish · progress · recovery · relationships · responsibility · romance · sexuality

Progress, Not Perfection.

So, I did not sleep with my okJew on the second date. We did
however come back to my place, and have a rather heated make-out session.
It was lovely. But. I feel today no better. I realize today
that even though we didn’t sleep together, which was something I didn’t want to
do, knowing him so briefly, that I still feel a sense of sadness around it. And
in writing some about it, I realize that it’s sad because I still don’t fully
believe in my own inherent worth – that I’m more than my body.
Even when we were making out, however fun it was – and it
was, and I’m sure that if we ever do have sex, there will be no problem in that regard – but I felt not fully
present. I felt a little disconnected – and, really, I was. I was disconnected
from the emotions that can come when you are making out with someone you know,
like, and maybe even more than like. I was only acting from one part of myself,
not all of me.
And, knowing that, I notice the desire to pack “Beauty” back
up behind her glass terarrium, and say, see, you can’t be trusted. But really,
it’s not her fault. I didn’t have to come back to my place – it could have been
a short date. I didn’t have to have the extended make-out session – I could
have ended it earlier. But, I did. And this is where “progress, not perfection”
comes in. Because I really could beat myself up here, and retreat back into
isolation, and a position of “See, you really don’t know how to hold intimacy
and sexuality, so you better pack it in.”
Yes, I could do that, but I don’t think that’s the point
here. The point is that I realize that heavy teenage-like petting is a little
more than I want to do on a second date. I realize that I still want to feel
known more than that, and have more of a connection before getting so physical.
I have so much f’ing evidence of how much sex before emotional intimacy is the
cart before the horse, and so, yes, I can beat myself up for not having learned
that “well enough,” or I can be glad that I didn’t have sex when I didn’t
really want to, and be glad that I let him know it was time to go, and didn’t
interpret his erection as an obligation, as I wrote yesterday. (But, … Whoo-ee!
anyway…) 😉
So, there’s that. Of course, I begin to go all the way to,
now I better let him know what I’m looking for before there’s a
third date, and another round of, okay thanks, bye! That I need to explain what
I’m available for, and to ask if that’s what he’s available for.
Some of this sounds valid, some of it sounds unnecessary. I tend
to be an oversharer. I don’t think I need to do that, or at least, I don’t need
to do that today. I won’t see him again, likely, for another week or so, as
he’s busy during the week, and I’m camping this weekend, so I have time to let
some of this dust settle and ask some women, and see what happens.
We did have a good date, overall. In fact, it was a great
date. But I feel overshadowed by my remorse.
Again, it comes back to choice. I can choose to see this as
a failure, and head down to self-flagellation, and I’ll never get it, and how
come you don’t get that you’re worth it – that makes you so not worth it. (A
lovely circle of reasoning, that one.) Or. Or I can choose to see this as an
opportunity, as I spoke so much of yesterday. An opportunity to notice my
growth and change, and also to be happy (or at least contented) that I do notice how I’m feeling, and how I was feeling last night. I wasn’t
feeling present, and that I wasn’t feeling present is a good thing. That I
noticed it. Noticing it is the first step, I think. Then I
can work on doing something about it.
I’ve written a lot of poetry about not feeling present
during sex. Now, I know that that can extend to making out if I’m not properly
known by someone, and they’re not known by me. This person is nearly an entirely unknown
entity – of course I don’t feel
intimate.
So, I can choose to take this as information for next time –
whether that’s with this person, or someone down the line. I can choose to
allow myself a little bit of affirmation over keeping my pants on. I can choose
to acknowledge that I’ve come a long way to be so present with myself to notice
these even slightly off-kilter parts of me.
Forgive the reference… but, in the final Twilight book
(spoiler alert?), the main character, Bella, throws an invisible defensive
bubble out around herself and her family during the cumulative battle. Imagine
it almost like a Bio-Dome, to mix pop-culture metaphors. In the book, Bella can
feel as one of the opponents pokes into the various places of her bubble,
looking for a weak spot – testing the defenses, and seeing how strong it is. I
feel very similarly about this work with dating/physicality. I feel that my
bubble is being poked and prodded, and I’m getting to see where I still have
spots of weakness, or places that can be firmed up.
I am sad that I don’t yet feel that I’m worth more than my body, or that I could be wanted or
acknowledged or “seen” for more than my physical self. But, this is simply a
place of “weakness,” a place where I could use more care and strength and
affirmation, and behavior that will support the idea that I
am more than that. So, I am glad for the opportunity.
I’ve been shown where there’s work to do – and if that’s not what relationships
are for, then I’ve got the wrong game. 
adulthood · balance · dating · integrity · love · progress · relationships · romance · self-care

Opportunity Knocks

So, first, some news – Remember the “SOLD” blog when I asked
all y’all to pray for my childhood home to sell so my dad and his fiancé could
move to Florida and retire? Well, 10 days after that blog, the house sold :)!!
Thank you ALL for your prayers and kind wishes! I’m really happy for them, even
though my dad is still shocked he didn’t get the price he wanted… Oh dad, you can’t win em all.
Next on the horizon, date # 2 happens tonight (this is the first 2nd date I’ve had in almost 2 years), and lord have
mercy, I’m trying to ground myself in every way possible. Stop tripping out.
Remember that I’m worthy of love and am able to give and receive love in an
appropriate way. Stop trying to script or plan. It’s not about “him.” I mean,
it’s not about wanting this person or not. It’s so much more about how do I
show up and stand in the experience of something new, trying something new. To
stand with integrity, and self-esteem, and awareness, and that fair and
balanced view thing that keeps coming up.
I don’t need a person to validate or complete me. I need to
be able to allow myself to stand without armor. I had a pretty funky
meditation/shamanic journey this morning. Unexpected, but right on track. About
my ability to receive love, and the melting of my resistance toward it.
Overbearing or absent were the ways that I learned love could show itself.
Overwhelm or rejection. I’ve carried out that pattern with my own partners, and
with myself as well. I’ve believed, and have stated in the past, that my fear
is that my needs are too great – that my needs are like a barely held back
tidal wave, and that to let them go, even in the slightest, to let them out,
would be an invitation for drowning – particularly, drowning someone else. So,
better to keep the dam contained.
It all comes back to what is the evidence for that today? Is there evidence of that today? And again, back to,
I’ve never let myself try, or others try, so really, I don’t know. Again, I
could be more capable of a thousand things, but having stopped and shunted them
all, I’d never know.
I am grateful for this “obstacle to practice on,” as is
written in a lot of the work I do with a woman one-on-one in the city. But I
said recently to someone else, that I think I’m going to begin using the word
“opportunity” rather than “obstacle.”
For a while, when I began writing that phrase with my
friend, it tasted so bitter and awful in my mouth – obstacles, fuck obstacles, I don’t need no steenkin obstacles.
I was pissed. How many more f’ing obstacles did I need in my life, I asked her.
And she told me that it wasn’t up to me. It wasn’t really my choice. These were
being presented to me, whether I wanted them or not, and it was my choice on
how I chose to use them for practice.
She was right. What do I know about my path? I want to get
from A to Z, but the “path” needs me to stop at H, J, and O on the way to
garner skills and friends and love and esteem. So, I wrote it. Thank you,
G-d, for this obstacle to practice on.
But, be it the “law of attraction”ish believing part of me,
or simply a framing shift, I don’t want to see or write them as obstacles anymore.
They’re not. They are opportunities.
These are
opportunities for me to choose – Turn Left, toward freedom and serenity, or
Turn Right, to well-worn misery. These are all mental paths, psychological
paths really. And in my phone right now, on my cover screen, I set the display
to read, “Turn Left.” It’s a reminder to me that in every given moment (what a
phrase! “given moment,” these moments are given, even gifts, if I can see it),
at any time, I can remember that I have a
choice. I have the choice to obsess about tonight or not. I
have the choice to believe in my inherent worthiness or not. These are all
choices. And my choices are reflected back to me in real time.
I’d like to choose to
not obsess, to remember that I am talented and worthy, and don’t have to sleep
with people I don’t know well, and that my house can still be off limits even
though I said I was cleaning it to make it “guest appropriate.” I was told that
I am the czar of my own experience, and further, my own body. That
I
don’t owe anyone anything.
Repeat. I
don’t owe anyone anything.
A date is not a
promise. A date is not a sexual invitation. It is an invitation to get to know
someone better. To vet each other for each subsequent date. A friend once told
me that a first date is just an interview for a second one. And so on they go.
That’s all.
So many years of believing I was promising something I
didn’t want to deliver, or was obligated to do because he was hard. Not my problem.
Sure, don’t be a tease on purpose, but he’ll live. An erection is not an
obligation. 
This is an opportunity for me to hear that and feel that in
a way that I haven’t. For me to try to see that I have assets beyond my
physical self. And for me to allow those assets to be shared and seen. Dating
can start so physically, and that part is critically important, but physical
attraction is a dime a dozen, really. (I mean it’s not exactly that easy, as
I’ve realized that too) – but sex itself is a dime a dozen. I don’t want that.
– as in hell yes, I want to get laid, like every other hot blooded person on
this planet, but I don’t want only that,
and my experience has taught me for sure that when I go to that part too quickly, I undermine myself every time, and I quash any ability for me to learn
that I am worthy for more than my looks and my pussy.
So, here’s to an opportunity to try something different. To
try to believe something different. And I am excited for tonight, and that’s
all well and good, but I’m also going to pay attention to my own music stand,
and Turn Left toward the tasks I have ahead of me right now.
Wish me luck.