0

A Risky Return

I paced the floor anxiously.  I stood up, sat down, stood up, sat back down.  I let out a disgruntled moan.

The time had come.  My cousin and his wife would be returning from their trip in only a couple short days and I needed to make a decision on where I would go next.
My mother and I were meeting in Bali in a month’s time, so it seemed silly to begin a new job and settle down in a new place, only to have to pick up and leave soon after.
I didn’t want to stay where I was so I considered travelling for the month, but was seriously low on funds.  I tried to find a temporary job doing farm work or fruit picking, but did not receive a single response.
The only option that really appealed to me was returning to the surf town.  I reasoned that I could get my old job back, have a few couches here and there to crash on, and that it was necessary because I really truly missed my friends and needed them in my life.  All that was true, but maybe the real subconscious reason for my decision was that I wanted to see Nick, even though my heart started pounding and my skin started sweating anytime I thought about seeing him.  It had been nearly a month since his announcement and I had yet to respond.  I knew that seeing him would be inevitable, so I decided to try and be the bigger person and call a truce.
My fingers trembled when I dialled his number.  After an eternity he finally answered, I took a deep breath and firmly spoke my peace.
“I’m trying to be happy for you, because I know that this is all you’ve ever wanted,” I told him.
“That’s not true -” he interjected.
“Do NOT interrupt me.  I’m speaking now,” I spat and he shut right up.  “Anyway, I’m coming back to town and I know we have all the same friends and I know I’ll have to see you so I wanted to tell you that I don’t hate you and that we’re cool, but in no way can I ever be your friend.”
He said he understood and thanked me for my call.  I hung up the phone and got to work planning my return.
Oh dear God, what have I done?


I had changed and so had the town.  It was noisier and more chaotic than I had ever remembered, chalked full of all the visiting summer vacationers. I felt reborn and vowed that this time around I would be the most social version of myself and say yes to every experience offered to me.

I met up with Kyle and the two of us walked the beach.  Of course, the second person we ran into was Nick…  He and Kyle chit chatted, while I stood off to the side.
“Nice to see you,” Nick smiled at me, “Otis is in the truck if you want to say hi.”
I spent the rest of their conversation cuddling Otis, who had become a full-grown dog in my absence.
After finally escaping the awkwardness that felt like it lasted a lifetime, I received apologies from both guys for putting me in such a situation.  I told them both not to walk on eggshells around me and that I was fine, but the minute I walked into Kennedy’s house I began drinking heavily…

That night we celebrated my return with an epic chicken dinner cooked by Jill, followed by lots of wine and joints and cigarettes, followed still by a quick ride into town where we would proceed to dance the night away.  I met up with heaps of friends including one in particular who had messaged me earlier in the day named Fred.

… A little backstory on Fred: He and I met shortly after I first moved to town.  Jill and I were sitting on the beach and a group of guys walked by and called out ‘cheers!’ to us while simultaneously tipping their beer bottles in our direction.  They were cute, friendly and drinking so we decided to join them.  They were a group of local street artists and I hit it off particularly well with Fred.  We all ended up getting loose at the bar.  Fred and I snuck out the back to smoke a joint and laugh about our same stupid sense of humour.
“You’re really cool, we should be best friends.  No, seriously, we should be best friends,” he insisted.
After that, we chatted back and forth and he ended up meeting me at the drum circle.  He insisted I come to the bar to have a drink and dance with him. It was getting late and I had work in the morning so I told him I was heading home.  He leaned in to kiss me.  In all my stoned glory, I dodged his smooch and yelled out, “Did you just try to kiss me?!”
“Um, yeah that was my intention…”
I was all too aware of some of his chick friends standing out of his line of vision and filming the entire scene on their phones.  I felt so incredibly awkward, truthfully, I was attracted to Fred in a lot of ways and I was curious to kiss him, but I had just started dating Nick and didn’t want to betray him.  Instead of explaining any of these things, I just turned around and ran out of the bar.  After that, Fred and I were less friendly, but we’d still chat here and there, I’d run into him every so often and we’d have a drink together…

But this time, dancing at the same bar where he first made a move, I didn’t turn away when he leaned in to kiss me.
When everyone began parting ways and heading home for the night, Fred turned to me and asked me to spend the night with him.  Back at his house, drunk and turned on by the prospect of a new partner, I threw him down on his bed and attacked him with all the prowess and seduction within me.
He was tender and attentive, thumbing my nipples and kissing my breasts.  When he took off his pants my jaw dropped at his size, the largest I’ve ever had without a doubt.  He fucked kind of fast, which was slightly painful, but I managed to slow down the tempo.


 

I woke up, naked and sprawled across his bed.  My mouth was dry and I was disoriented, but something had woken me up.  It was an older man standing in the open doorway, we made eye contact before he slammed the door shut in embarrassment.  I had a sudden flashback of stumbling into a grandiose house, chalked full of expensive looking art pieces.  And then it hit me: Fred lived at home.  Fred lived at home and we had just spent the entire night having loud, boisterous sex.  I was mortified.  Even more so when I had to get up and be introduced to Fred’s dad and even more so when he had to drive Fred and I into town because apparently we had cabbed into the middle of butt-fuck no where and Fred had lost his license earlier in the month due to a DUI.

Once in town, we went to part ways.  He asked what my plans were for the night and I told him about a show I was meant to go to.  Not even an hour later he messaged me saying he had gotten a spare ticket and would see me there.  I couldn’t help but grin.
“Be careful,” all my friends warned, “He obviously likes you a lot.”

My friends had ditched the show and I hadn’t seen Fred anywhere.  I was just about to leave myself when there he was, leaning against the front door frame, chatting to one of the ticket girls.  When I saw him, he looked embarrassed as he pulled me close to him,
“I was just trying to guess where this girl is from.  I thought Germany, but my friend thought Russia so I had to come over and find out,” he explained nervously.
I just laughed and brushed it off, happy that I had finally run into him.  We spent the rest of the night dancing, drinking vodka and making out against the bar.  When he took me home I told him how uncomfortable I felt meeting his dad.
“My dad really likes you, I’m glad you met him.  I don’t bring girls home very often, and I want you to get to know my family because I want you to be around a lot.”
I blushed.  My friends were right, he obviously did like me… a lot.


Fred asked to see me the following night, but I told him I needed a night to myself.  He expressed his disappointment, but asked me if he could cook me dinner at the beach on a following night.  I could barely contain my excitement at the prospect of such a romantic date, but felt sideswiped when he mentioned that a couple of his friends would be joining us.  Ashamed that I had misread the situation, I desperately texted Jill and begged her to join us.
Once we were all sitting and I was desperately trying to relax, who should walk over, but Max and Brandon and Kyle and bevy of the rest of Nick and my shared friend group.  I knew they were also planning a barbecue but thought they had chosen another spot.  To my horror, they decided to join us and I let out a huge sigh of relief that Nick was not amongst them.
Long story short, we all got stinking drunk and Fred and I disappeared back to my tent, but ended up just passing out on top of each other.

I woke up covered in sweat and with a vicious hangover, I rolled over and groaned with the pain.  Fred awoke and suggested we treat ourselves to a lazy hungover day at my campground.  We smoked weed and swam in the pool, smoked more weed and got breakfast, smoked even more weed and had sex and then smoked a little more while hanging out in the jungle.  We finally left the grounds to catch sunset and smash a pizza on the beach.  We parted ways and promised to get together soon to watch a movie, but after that day things changed drastically.


Fred stopped responding to my messages, whenever I’d see him out he’d make an excuse to leave, yet he would tell me how beautiful I was and kiss me in public, but then I’d hear stories about him leaving with other women.  I confided in my friend Reese and she insisted none of it was true.
“I know Fred really well, he’s not the kind of guy who picks up random girls at the bar.  He’s a sensitive artist type.  Trust me, he’s a good one.”
Maybe so, but it seemed he had moved on from me and I wondered desperately what had changed.

On Aussie Day, high on M and feeling alone, I made the mistake of calling him up and telling him I wanted to see him.
“I’m fucked up,” he admitted, “I want to see you too, but I don’t know if I can make it back into town, you could come here though.”
“Why don’t you text me the address and I’ll try to get a lift,” I suggested.
“Yes, that would be awesome.  I’ll text you right now, I really hope I get to see you.”
I never received a message and I spent the next day wallowing in my hangover and hating myself for being such a fool.

A couple days later, I saw him out, but walked away before he could notice me.  Sitting down on the patio with my friends, I tried not to notice him leave with a skinny brunette.
When Reese arrived and I told her, she was in disbelief and disappeared to get the scoop from one of Fred’s friends.
“Okay babe,” she said upon returning, “this is going to hurt really badly, but it’s better for you to know so you can move on.  That girl he left with is his girlfriend, apparently they’ve been dating for a while.”
Ouch.
“And on top of that, supposedly he fucks a new girl every week.  I’m so sorry, he had us all fooled.”
Double ouch.

I tried to be strong and laugh it off like I didn’t care, but I fell apart.  All the Nick issues I’d buried inside came bubbling to the surface.  I told everyone I didn’t want a boyfriend, but I’d used Fred to distract myself and to replace that giant gaping, Nick-shaped hole in my life.  I cried, a lot.  I could not stop.  I left the bar and went home where I cried myself to sleep.


At 7 am I staggered into work hungover, sleep deprived and depressed.  My co-worker and I smoked a joint before starting on our cleaning duties and the weed helped numb me.  In fact, all I’d been doing since I’d returned was drinking, smoking weed and using hard drugs and the chemicals were reeking havoc with my emotions.  On top of it all, after finishing my shift, I received an angry phone call from my dad, accusing me of being a shitty daughter.
“You’re right,” I admitted, “My life is an absolute mess right now, but I’m going to try harder.”
I wanted to go back to sleep, but my tent was too hot so instead I met some friends at the beach.  The moment I got out of the water I made eye contact with a smiling Fred, walking towards me, blissfully unaware of the revelation I’d just received.
I panicked.  I had no idea what I wanted to say to him.  So I did what I do best and quickly ran away from the beach.

That evening, I was still too terrified to face him, but instead constructed a long text message.  I knew it was the cowards way out, but I didn’t want to see him and I had to get some things off my chest for my own sake.
I just told him that I thought we were friends and he really disappointed me by being like every other Aussie guy.  I explained that I never wanted a relationship, but would have appreciated honesty and a bit of respect.
He apologised for being distant and blamed it on his upcoming move, before asking me to hangout the next day.
My response?
“The reason I’m saying these things is not because of you being distant.  We live in a small town, and I’m not an idiot.”

I didn’t expect a response and wasn’t surprised when I didn’t get one.  I seriously questioned my judge of character, took a deep breath and tried to make the most of my remaining days in town, thankful that I had Bali to escape to.

 

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1

A Matter of Sheer Convenience

So I backslid.  Big time.  I reconnected with LipRing.

It started off somewhat innocently.  After not hearing from him for almost a month, I got a random message from him:
“Hey, do you still have my USB?  Can I get it back?”
My response: “SERIOUSLY?!
He was all, “Yeah, no rush or anything.  I just remembered you had it.”
I was seriously annoyed.  Not a peep from this guy for God knows how long and now he’s harassing me over some cheap USB stick that he lent me.  Just fucking replace it!
I told him that if he wanted it, he could come get it anytime.  He said he was too lazy at the current moment (even though he lives all of 5 minutes down the street) and that he’d get it some other day.  That further enraged me.
Then, he started chatting me up, asking me how I was doing.  I called him out on it and asked him if he was using the USB thing as an excuse to talk to me.  He swore he wasn’t and that it actually just popped into his mind and he wasn’t sure if I was still in town.
“Whatever,” was my reply.

A few days later, he messaged me to inform me that his roommates were out of town and that Kennedy and I should come over and have a few drinks.  I said that she was at work and I had work early in the morning.
“So?  You can still come over, have some drinks, some sex, see what happens.”
I lost it at him.  I asked him if he really expected both of us to show up at his house and fuck him.
He quickly tried to defend himself saying that he really did want to just have a couple beers and thought he’d ask us if we wanted to do something.  The sex thing was (apparently?) a quote from Anchorman that I totally missed.  He was super apologetic and admitted that re-reading his message, he could see that he came across as an asshole.
I admitted that perhaps I had slightly overreacted and we got to chatting.  Even though I still thought he was a total shit head, decent sex in an empty house was beckoning me.  After several not so discreet hints, I finally told him I was coming over.
“Really?  Even though I’m such an asshole?” he teased.
“I have needs.  But I don’t have to come over…” I told him.
“No, no, I’m just kidding.  Please do!”

The first time we had sex it was boring and over too quickly.  When he rolled off me and asked if I’d finished, I laughed and said, “Believe me, if I had cum, you would have known.”
He looked embarrassed and asked for another try.  We lay in bed chatting and then he got his second wind.  The next sex session was way better and I did finally finish.  When he pulled out, there was quite a bit of blood.  I was mortified and truly had no explanation (sometimes I just bleed for no reason… I’ve been tested for every STD and come up clean, I currently have an ovarian cyst that I tend to blame, but truly it’s a phenomenon I do not understand.)  Luckily, he was really cool about it and genuinely did not think it was a big deal (unlike a guy I dated who after a similar incident NEVER SPOKE TO ME AGAIN.)
I didn’t hang around, I went home as soon as possible.  Then I tried to convince myself that was I was doing was alright, it was just sex and I still had the upper hand.  Right?

Last weekend, it happened again.  We were chatting, both of us planning to go out, both of us pre-drinking alone.  He suggested I come by and have a drink with him before meeting my girls at the pub.  I walked down to his house and we had a couple beers and then I walked into town.  He messaged me and suggested that if I was keen, I could come by his house again on my way home.  I told him I would consider it.  The pub was closing and my vision had become blurry.  Everyone in my group was beginning to scatter and I announced that I was going to visit my booty-call.  All the girls scoffed, “You can’t have a booty-call in a town this small.  Everyone will find out.”
I shrugged, unconcerned since my introverted self is virtually anonymous in this community, and began my sex mission.

At his house, the two of us smoked a joint and then retired to the bedroom.  We hooked up twice and it was pretty good, being stoned made it a lot more fun and the fact that he was a bit more attentive was a nice touch, but I still wasn’t very impressed.  But the best part came after the sex, when our two warm naked bodies fit perfectly together beneath the thick duvet and we fell asleep cuddling to the sound of pouring rain outside.
I realized that maybe I wasn’t keeping him around for the convenience of sex, maybe I liked the occasional attention and enjoyed knowing that there was one person who was maybe, sort of, into me.
It’s sad, because I sincerely do not like him.  He’s not my type at all, I would never consider dating him and I don’t really enjoy the sex, yet I won’t entirely let him go.  Because at least he’s something.
My ex and I broke up a year and a half ago.  In that time, I have met one person that I actually liked.  That was a year ago.  Since then, I’ve met one person that I was attracted to, LipRing.  Now that I know that type of person he is, it’s obvious that he’s not for me, it’s just disheartening.

To make matters worst, when I got up at 7 am for work, I politely asked if he could drive me the 4 blocks down the street as he usually offers and it was pissing rain out.
“I didn’t tell you?  I got busted drinking and driving and my license got suspended for a month.  Sorry.”
“Can’t you just drive me home?  There’s no way you’ll get caught driving in a cul-de-sac, first thing on a Saturday morning.”
“I can’t take any chances, sorry.”
Later I found out that he takes the risk and commutes 40 kilometres to work during the week.  But God forbid driving me home.  Far too dicy.
I’m finally ready to let him go completely.  It’s not summer anymore, all those people I once knew have left.  I have a new job, I’m moving into a new place, I have new friends in my life.  It’s time to leave LipRing in the past and move onto bigger, better things.
I’m not ready for a relationship, but I want the next person that I sleep with to be special.  I want there to be anticipation and excitement.

Assholes like him have no place in my life.  Convenience no longer cuts it as an excuse.

2

The Draught

As I write this, it has been 2 months.  2 months since I’ve slept with a guy, kissed a guy, had any romantic interactions with a guy.  Zip, zero, not even a flirtatious smile from across a crowded room.  Nothing.  It’s a good thing, this is what I wanted after all, but to not even meet one interesting guy and to constantly be thinking of he-who-shall-not-be-named, (and wondering if he ever thinks about me) it’s a huge bummer.

Lately, I have been really wanting to hookup with a random.  Just find a sexy tourist, throw down with him and never see him again.  No drama, no bullshit.  But the chances of meeting this hot fictional man seems slim.  Mind you, I haven’t gotten out of my comfort zone and gone out in an attempt to meet him, but a part of me sighs, “Why bother?  I’ve lasted this long, what’s the rest of the summer?”

I’ve been reflecting a lot lately on the fact that I am full of excuses.  The first reason I can think of to not do something, I take it.  Even when I am completely single I still find myself not making time to reach my goals.  Now that I am working a second job I feel that I have extra incentive for bailing on my school work and my writing.  Oh, I’m just so tired, I deserve to chill out, relax and get super drunk and high.
I feel like I’ve been pretty good lately.  I’ve been good at not thinking about him.  I know it’s stupid and not worth my time, but my mind can’t help but wander.  Luckily I’ve been so busy at work I don’t even have a spare second to allow my mind to wander.  Even on my days off I’m too busy running around doing errands, but its times like these: the off moments like right now when my mind really dwells on it.
Stupid, I know.  I hate myself for it, but how can you just turn off your feelings?  Real or imagined.  When I fall, I fall hard and it’s difficult for me to differentiate between sex and love.  Once I have had sex with a guy, I feel an emotional attachment to him.
I just need time, once enough time has passed I can turn back and say, “What the hell was I thinking?” but I’m not there yet.  I just need to focus on working towards my travel plans so I can visit a new world, with new people, food and experiences.  Where I live is so magical and beautiful and yet it’s so limited.  Those that make this their home have nowhere to expand or grow, they’re stuck exactly where they are.  But for me, this is just a launching point to a whole series of new adventures.  If I were to date someone here, I would have even more incentive to fuck off from my responsibilities. My roommate started dating someone and I haven’t seen her in weeks.  She texted me once to ask what kind of birth control I was on and if she could borrow some.  I faintly remember those days… the days when you start a new relationship and all you can see is each other, everything else, everyone else is out of focus.  Those magical, whimsical first few weeks before everything starts to go to shit.  Perhaps I’m just bitter because I’m not getting laid and have ZERO prospects.  It’s funny, because right now I don’t even want sex, but my libido cones in waves.  There will be days when all I can do is fantasize about getting thrown down onto a bed, but right now I can’t even recall what it’s like to have sex and I don’t even care. Ughhh… The draught continues…

1

I Don’t Need a Man

I need a man!
That was the mantra circulating in my brain when I first arrived.  Maybe not so clearly, maybe not in so many words, but subconsciously, over and over again, “I need a man, I need a man, I need a man!”
I wanted so badly to believe that true love would find me here.  That I would finally feel certainty in a relationship and that everything else would just fall into place.  My first few days in staff accom, I scouted out every potential suitor, but no one came close to meeting my criteria.  I considered settling just to have someone who was bound to me, someone to show me the ropes rather than me having to stake out my own space.  The psychics words rang constantly in my ears.  It’s spring, where is he!?  I wondered, exasperated.  I went to every party, every social event hoping he would be there, but no one I met held my interest, yet still I felt like there was someone out there, trying to find me.

After one particularly vexing day I went out to my favourite thinking spot: a small island attached to a nearby beach whose twisted trails lead to a perfect vantage point atop a rocky bluff, overlooking nothing but sparkling sea and crashing whitewash.  There I sat and meditated, surrounding myself with positivity and love.  I chanelled adoration from friends, family, people I hadn’t even met yet.  I told myself that I needed nothing in this world and was already so blessed.  As I wandered back home I felt content, like nothing could hurt me and that only good things could happen.  That very night I met Dan.


I had planned to meet up with my brother and attend a Cinco di Mayo party in our neighbourhood, but I was considering bailing.  I was just about to text him and say that I wouldn’t be making it, but at that moment he texted me, urging me to stop by for some pre-drinks.  I decided that I needed to venture out of my comfort zone and meet some new people and told myself that only good things could come from saying “Yes!” to life.  I grabbed a bottle of wine, a poncho and headed down the road.
“Come in!” my brother shouted when I knocked. I walked through the door and he was sitting with two guys I’d never seen before.  One was blonde, one was brunette, both were cute.  I was introduced to the brunette as Dan, my brother’s neighbour, and thought nothing more of it.
As the night grew hazier and more people began to arrive, Dan made a tasteless joke that launched us into a ridiculous discussion.  The two of us were laughing hysterically, deep in our own conversation and ignoring everyone else. Eventually we all headed to the party and I lost sight of him.  I was feeling pretty awkward and out of place, Dan had resurfaced but was in the midst of what looked like an intense conversation with a good-looking girl.  I was just about to leave and start walking home when he struck up another conversation with me.
“Man, I really wanna smoke some weed right now.”
“Me too,” I responded, “I was just thinking about walking to my house and rolling a joint.”
So he joined me and the two of us sat in my room rolling doobies and laughing over some obscure joke.
When we got back to the party everyone had cleared out.
“Shit, I still really wanna some this joint,” I muttered.
“We could go to my house,” he suggested. “Maybe watch a movie?”

At his house we perched awkwardly at either end of the couch.
What am I thinking, coming to this strange man’s house? I wondered
“I should get going, it’s getting late,” I started up.
“I’ll walk you,” he insisted.  “Don’t want you to get snatched up by a cougar.”
At my door, I felt overwhelmed by nerves.  I was scared he would try to kiss me and I barely even knew him.
“You’re really cool,” I began “let’s hangout sometime.”
We exchanged numbers.  Still nervous, I leaned in and gave him a hug.  His strong body engulfed mine, it was one of the most sensual hugs I’ve ever received.
I climbed into bed, grinning from ear to ear, heart pounding.


A full day passed and I didn’t hear from him.
I had just convinced myself that I’d imagined the entire encounter when my phone lit up with a text from him.  We bantered back and forth and he asked me if I wanted to hangout and blaze again.  I was nervous to see him as I was having trouble recalling what he looked like and I prayed my beer goggles weren’t too thick.  When he showed up, I breathed a sigh of relief: tall, muscular, tanned and bearded with piercing blue eyes and a winning smile.  Stoned shenanigans and movie watching followed and once again he walked me home, but this time we leaned into each other and locked lips.  It felt slightly forced and awkward and I retreated into my house feeling disappointed, but hopeful.  We made plans for a sober beach day, aka “a real date.”

When I showed up at his house he opened the door and immediately stated, “I have some bad news.”
Uh oh.
“I just got back from the doctor’s and I have tonsillitis.  I’ll be contagious for the next 48 hours, soooo I can’t kiss you.  No matter what.”
We still had our beach day, but he began to look under the weather so we cut it short.  I offered to bring him some tylenol from my house and stopped to buy him ice cream.  The store only had Haagen-dazs and I forked up the $15 for a pint.  He expressed his delight when I dropped it off, but all the way home I felt bad, really bad, incredibly low.  I couldn’t shake the feeling that I’d been played for a fool.  I enjoy doing nice things for other people, but this time it felt wrong, like he didn’t deserve my kindness and I wasn’t sure why.  I was slightly relieved when he sent me a huge thank you text message, but still something didn’t quite feel right.


I asked around about him, but could dig up no dirt.  Everyone I talked to simply said he was a good guy.
He texted me to say he was feeling way better and wanted to take me out for lunch.  We spent hours talking about anything and everything and barely touched our food.  By the end of the day we were in my bed making out and it didn’t feel wrong at all.  When he took off his shirt to reveal his Greek God-like body, I practically drooled at the sight.  We finally came up for air; it was 9 pm and I was late for a party.  We made plans for the following night and I hurried to staff accom in my makeshift toga, lips red and swollen from the night’s activities.  At the party, a few friends I’d seen while out on my date complimented me on what a beautiful pair we made.  I felt giddy.  Could this really be it?  Could it really be that easy?  Of course, it wasn’t…
The next night we slept together and I stayed over at his house.  The sex was outstanding and although I was disappointed by some *ahem* short-comings, the man more than made up for it.  I left early for work and fantasized about him all day.  Little did I know that would be the first and only time I would sleep in his bed.

We met up again the next day and spent the entire afternoon lying out on his deck, soaking up the sun and smoking weed.  We went out for food and then indulged in some afternoon delight.  After we finished, he went for a surf, I went home and didn’t see him again for 5 days.  In those days we texted back and forth, he invited me to some concert, but I opted out.  I was dying to see him again, but tried to remain patient and aloof.  When I finally did see him, things weren’t quite right… He immediately began talking about the concert, “You should have been there to protect me,” he began.  “This annoying girl latched onto me and wouldn’t go away.  Then she made me ride home with her, then she got locked out of her house and begged to crash at my house.  I set her up on the couch and she just kept trying to get with me, it was so annoying!”
Ummm… What?! Are you telling me this because you’re being honest or because you fucked some chick and you think it might get back to me?  Either option left me feeling uneasy.
Post-coitus, he asked if I wanted to go out for a smoke.
After we did, he put on his shoes, quickly kissed me, said “I’ll be in touch” and left. I’LL BE IN TOUCH?!  WTF IS GOING ON?!?!? And so began my descent into over-analytical chaos as I tried (unsuccessfully) to decipher his actions and words.

The next morning I felt like an absolute asshole.  I ran for 2 and 1/2 hours to try and clear my head, but it didn’t help.  I bitched on the phone to my girlfriends who suggested I chill the fuck out.  I drank an entire bottle of wine and cried.
That night marked the beginning of my internal battle.  Was Dan the greatest person I’d ever met or was he the worst?  Could I keep up a sexual relationship with nothing more or did I need the emotional support as well?  Was I crazy about him or just plain crazy?  I avoided the “where is this going?” conversation because I didn’t want to know the answer.  If he wanted a relationship, I wasn’t ready and if he wanted no strings attached, well, that hurt just as badly.  I encouraged myself to stop overthinking it and take it day by day until I could at least sort out my own feelings.


On one particularly sunny day we walked down to the beach.  On the way he turned to me and started, “So, you’re roommate has been talking to some of the girls at work” (as my new roommate worked at the some resort as Dan) “and she told them that you and I are seeing each other.”
“Umm… okay?”
“I just don’t want them knowing my business, they get so nosey especially when it comes to who I’m dating.”
“Umm… sorry?”
“It’s not your fault, it’s hers.”
He sounded thoroughly annoyed and I was too shocked to know how to respond.  This wasn’t the first time he’d mentioned keeping things discreet, this is a small town after all and he is a “local” or more local than my seasonal self.  After the conversation, I couldn’t get his words out of my head.  Why would he try to hide me?  Why would he be ashamed?  When we got back to my house he declined sex because he was “too tired.”  I felt the sting of rejection.  Later, he texted me to apologize, but the damage was done.

The next day when I woke up I felt mad, irrationally angry and just all round pissed off.  I wanted to punch him in the face.  I agonized over the situation all day.  When my mom got into town that afternoon to visit, I rehashed the issue to her over several glasses of wine.
“I don’t know what to do, he’s just soooo beautiful,” I whined.
“Listen to me,” my mom slurred, “Good looking guys are the BIGGEST assholes, you’re better off without him.”
“Yeah you’re right,” I admitted, but that didn’t stop me from booty-calling him the second I got home.


On the day of my half-marathon I resolved to let fate make my decision for me.  I’d talked non-stop over the past couple weeks about my upcoming race, if Dan texted or called at any point during the day to say “Good luck!” or “How’d it go?” that meant he genuinely cared.  The day came and went and nothing; radio silence.  I was disappointed, but not entirely surprised.  That’s when I realized something substantial.  Ever since I’d gotten out of my relationship I’d been falling into my old habit of replacing self-love with self-depricating relationships.  Rather than following my dreams and reaching my goals, I’d sought out relationships and pushed everything else aside.  It was the easy way out.  I wasn’t trying to find my own happiness, I was looking for someone, anyone to give it to me.  In barely 6 months I’d dated 4 different men!  It was as if I was swinging from vine to vine, not quite letting go of the last man until the next one was in my grasp.  I knew I had to let not only Dan go, but needed to shift my focus away from dating.  I had made up my mind and I stopped responding to his texts of “What’s up good looking? ;)”  But still, I felt the mature thing was to talk to him about the situation, let him know that I could only be his friend now.  He had left his toque at my house and I texted him to say I wanted to meet up and return it, he thanked me and asked if I wanted to hangout and blaze.  I decided that would be a good time to say my peace.  We sat out on my deck smoking, my heart was pounding as I tried to decide how to begin, but he got the ball rolling.

“I wanted to talk to you about us,” he began.  “Lately I don’t feel like we’ve been connecting the same way.”
My heart pounded faster.
“This has been feeling like its headed towards a relationship and that’s not something I want, I just got out of a relationship and I’m not ready for a new one.” I felt shocked and slightly rejected.  I didn’t know how to adjust my perfectly thought out speech.  A million things rushed through my head, but all I said was: “I don’t want a relationship either.  I think you’re a really cool person and I think it would be best if you and I were just friends.”
“Yes,” he agreed, “but actual friends who hangout.  You’re a rad girl, we always have fun.”
I nodded in agreement, “Actual friends, who hangout.”
“Give me a a hug.” I didn’t want to hug him, it felt wrong when he wrapped his arms around me.  I held on a little too long.  After our talk I longed to be alone with my thoughts but he hung around for another hour before finally leaving.  “Keep in touch” we both promised. Finally alone, I felt relieved albeit slightly melancholy.  I knew I’d made the right decision and I knew things would be okay.  I began to reflect on our short-lived time together and realized something else.  Never had he given me any indication that he wanted to date me.  It was ME who had sought him out at the party and actively pursued him.  It was ME who had suggested hanging out and it was ME who made the first cuddle moves on our various movie nights.  Never had he shown any indication that he wanted to be more than friends, I was the one pressuring him.  I put so much pressure on myself and the situation, I wanted so badly to believe that this was it, that I had found the “one” that I convinced myself it was true.  What was simply a casual interaction I made out to be some grand love affair.  And really, when it came down to it, what did I really like about him anyway?  The fact that he was tall and muscular?  The fact we liked the same stupid TV shows and had a similar sense of humour?  That was where our connection ended.  Everything else I had created in my head. I felt proud that I had escaped the clutch of such self-depricating behaviour and had recognized things for what they were.  I felt proud that I had been mature and ended things instead of clinging on and causing drama.  I realized that I had come a long way from the girl I once was. I resolved to focus on only myself and let everything else fall into place.

1

It Can’t Be Like Last Time

When I was going through those early stages of my breakup, one word kept coming to mind: karma.

I couldn’t stop thinking about my ex, Roland and the shit I put him through when he left me.  I made his life miserable.  The works: 3 am drunken phone calls, showing up at his friends parties and the inevitable crying fits that would ensue after too many drinks.  I even convinced him we should sleep together a couple more times (and was subsequently mortified when he showed remorse.)  The entire time I couldn’t wrap my head around how his feelings for me could just disappear and how he could just move on with his life after leaving me.  Now that I myself have flipped the switch on my emotions, (literally overnight) I realize that it’s just something that happens.  Knowing you have to break someone’s heart in order to be happy is one of the hardest feelings in the world.  During those first days I contemplated leaving him I felt so much remorse at my crazy ex behaviour.  I now know firsthand how painful it is to make the decision to end a relationship let alone actually taking the steps to end it.  I longed to re-connect with my MIA ex, if only to apologize.  Unfortunately his engagement to an insanely jealous and insecure woman eliminated this option.  Still, I hope that one day I can look him in the eye and tell him how sorry I am.

~~~

When Roland left me, I found myself single and actually alone for the first time in 2 years.  At first I felt liberated, the way I do now.  Yeah sure I was hurt, but I felt kind of relieved and soon after I met Anderson.  He was gorgeous, tall, dark, handsome and athletic.  He was inked up, but came from a respected local family.  He was so good on paper it wasn’t even fair to any other contenders.  When we connected in our Philosophy 101 class we vowed to become study buddies.  Rather than study, we would stay up until the wee hours of the morning just talking about love, life, friends, family, relationships, basically anything besides early philosophers.  Turns out Anderson was still very much in love with his high school sweetheart and had the ED to prove it.  He gradually began to blow me off while I, in turn, proceeded to become needier and needier.  The end of this “relationship” propelled me into a very dark time in my life.

Enter the Darkness
And so I was launched into a world of drunken debauchery and poor life choices.  A world where sluttiness always prevailed over reason and where I would stay for a good portion of a year.  Rather than continuing to embrace my freedom, I chose instead to desperately seek out a new boyfriend at any cost.  I honestly believed that if I could secure a boyfriend I could a) Get over Roland and b) Simultaneously make Roland jealous to the point where he would beg for me back.  A solid plan, all in all.  The only problem was, I had never been a single adult and hadn’t the slightest idea how to approach dating.  My self-esteem was at an all time low and so I began bar hopping and bed hopping in hopes of attracting any kind of male attention and relaying that attention into a relationship.  Pathetic, I know, but I kept at this stupid shit until I started up with him.

~~~

Cut to a drunken night out after my latest breakup – a newly single me out with my best girlfriends.  Sendal’s best (and totally platonic) guy friend Dylan had met up with us for a few drinks.  We had already teased him mercilessly about recently becoming roommates with his ex.  We all agreed it was pretty clear that she wanted more than a residential tenancy agreement with him and he did his best to deny it.  As the drinks continued flowing the two of us became very hands on and I declared to all my fiends that before the night was through, we were going to make out.  Maybe I just wanted to prove that I could, maybe I wanted to move on, maybe I wanted to show my friends that I was over him, but for whatever reason I had made my mind up.  After all, he was my type: tall, athletic, tanned, blonde, familiar, safe.  Sendal encouraged me wholeheartedly (my friends love to live their slut fantasies vicariously through me.)  After an impromptu make out at the bar we were rudely interrupted by my giggling and nosey friends who insisted we go get pizza.  Even still, we continued to cling to each other like a couple of school kids and it felt so good to know in that moment that I wasn’t entirely alone.  In the cab home, Sendal and I began to discreetly conspire.  She and Suki were going to suggest we all stay at Dylan’s.  The two of of them would insist on sharing the futon while he and I took his bed.  When I insisted I just wanted to fool around, she assured me that he would never pressure me for anything else.  We snickered over our slyness all the way to his house.  Imagine my surprise when we returned to his house to find his ex-girlfriend/current roommate “asleep” on the futon!  He mumbled something about her always passing out while watching tv (the television was turned off) while we all exchanged awkward glances.  She did her best fake sleepy face and rolled over; it was pretty clear she had no intention of letting Dylan out of her sight.  So I bid him adieu and have the unfortunate memory of aggressively biting his neck.  Before retiring to bed I began plotting to eventually seduce him if only for the pure enjoyment of sticking it to his meddling ex.  In the morning I felt the full sting of my hangover and instant regret for my behaviour and pettiness.  Why the fuck did I publicly pounce on this dude I’m not even interested in?  Why did I try to take his affections away from someone who actually wanted them?  I felt hugely relieved that his roommate was such a cockblock or who knows what would have happened.  On top of everything, Sendal invited Dylan to come for breakfast so I had to make awkward smalltalk while obsessively trying to decode his feelings.  All the while I was scolding myself and thinking “It can’t be like last time.  I’m smarter now, I know better.”

The next time I kiss a man I want to be sure he’s worth my time.

0

Where it Went Wrong

It’s not my intention to dwell on the past, point fingers or play to blame game, but I must acknowledge that one does not just end a 5 year relationship due to some harmless flirting at a Drake concert.
The problem existed because of how I felt about myself when I was with him.  My self esteem dropped to an all time low and I couldn’t make even a simple decision without worrying what he would think. This is not to say he was making an effort to control me, he’s stubborn by nature and I believe he began to disagree with me just because he could, even on the most superficial and frivolous of topics.  If I said it was black, it had to be white.  And it was never enough for me to admit to defeat, oh no, I’d have to be repeatedly disproved until I begged for the conversation to be dropped.
Even when choosing an outfit, he would eye me up and down and scoff, “You’re wearing that?”
“What’s wrong with is?”
“You look like you’re 12 years old, I hate that dress, where did you even buy it?  Why can’t you dress more like <insert celebrity fashionista here>?”
I was criticized about everything from the way I did dishes to how I spent my free time.  No matter how much I did, I was still told I was unproductive, in the most passive-aggressive manner of course.  I was sick of constantly feeling guilty for trying to live my own life.  I already did everything for this man and was made to feel that it was never enough, that I was never enough. Again, my intention is not to rip my ex to shreds, truthfully he‘s sweet and loving, kind and fun and for some crazy reason he thinks the world of me.  Trust me when I say that I have nothing but love and respect for him and believe he has no malicious intent.
He is who he is: a type-A, slightly neurotic, super stubborn Taurus.
I am who I am: a hyper-sensitive, even more neurotic, self sabotaging Cancer.
Our personalities just clashed.
I think a lot of his behaviour stemmed from low self-esteem.  Perhaps he felt I was too good for him and thought belittling me would raise his stock.  He had a tendency to surround himself with beautiful, trendy and generally “cool” individuals while disregarding all others as “losers or “weird” (NOTE: I proudly proclaim myself to be a weirdo and would not want it any other way).  When he was around these so called friends, he tried to impress them to the point where he bent over backwards at their requests.  If a disagreement were to occur between myself and one of his friends he would ALWAYS side with the friend, regardless of the argument.  He refused to see things from my perspective or to listen to my concerns and feelings, so eventually I stopped trying to express them.  I stopped fighting in an effort to avoid arguments and somewhere along the way I lost sight of myself.  I felt that as long as things continued the way they were, there would always be this looming sadness in me, that I would never quite feel complete.  I wanted more than anything to find myself again, and until it hit me: maybe I had never known myself at all…

TO BE CONTINUED

0

Guilt Will Keep Us Together (Or Why It’s Society’s Fault)

Continued From Before

Why do good women stay in bad relationships? Is it because we don’t want to give up and admit defeat? I think its because society tells us that as women, our main goal should be securing a husband and popping out children.
In my high school Career and Personal Planing class we were told to sit down and map out every milestone and goal from now until death. As disgusted as I was at the thought of planning my entire life at the tender age of 16, I complied. What I do remember from that assignment was that I planned to be married at 25 and have my first child before 30 and since I wanted to date someone for at least 4 years before marrying them, that made my ideal age for finding a life partner 21. Twenty-fucking-one! At the age when most Americans are finally legal to drink, I would be seeking out my soulmate.

I was about that age when I met him and I’m certain that life goal was still looming in the back of my mind. We were close friends with lots in common, he loved me unconditionally and was a good person, so I thought that was all that mattered, after all, I needed someone that was good husband material. Now at the age of 27, a part of me dies whenever someone I know gets married or has kids and I visibly cringe whenever I’m asked when I plan to marry.

Why do women put these unrealistic pressures on ourselves? Is it because we are genetically limited on our child bearing years? Women are so insecure about ending up a crazy cat lady that they give in to irrational thinking.
At 21, my number one goal was finding myself a boyfriend, I never even considered venturing out on my own and following my own dreams. It was boyfriend, or bust!