Tag Archives: singles

An Important Discovery

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As with most bloggers, we get caught up in realms of reality and sort of forget to keep posting crap. I’m no different. Life got in the way. As a means of review:

  • I’ve changed jobs. Although it pained me (and pains me still), I chose to leave the museum behind as our vision and ideas for the growth of the museum no longer seemed to converge. (I think that’s the nice way of saying they went full retard. Never go full retard, man.) However it has afforded me a position at an embroidery company in customer training development, marketing and writing.
  • I’ve picked up a contract position as the production director for the local AHL hockey team, the Oklahoma City Barons.
  • I continue to write for Distinctly Oklahoma and am considered expanding my freelance services to other publications.
  • I fell in love.

Funny how that last one is just four words but is perhaps the biggest change in my life.

It’s true though. I have fallen in love and in doing so learned how to love all the more. Of course I always loved my daughter, even before she was born, and heaven knows I’ve been in love with words since I was four and I memorized One Fish Two Fish, Red Fish Blue Fish. After a series of sick, unhealthy, draining relationships (including my marriage) had taken their toll on my head and heart I had resigned myself to the life I had and found comfort and contentment in the realization. I really was satisfied with where I was and with the limits that perpetual singleness (both in coupling and parenting) tends to place on one’s life. My heart didn’t need to love anymore. And I was nominally sure it couldn’t be loved back. I was truly content.

Then came a moment of weakness. I knew I didn’t need love, but any woman needs a bit of attention now and again. I wanted to go on a few dates, have a bit of fun and then wander back into my working solitude. I revived an old account on an online dating site. (Ironically the one that I met CS Jameson so many years ago.) A few updates to the profile and a handful of new quiz questions later, I was presented with a fine selection of individuals desperately seeking either companionship, genuine love, a quick fuck, a soul mate, or just a bit of positive attention. Whatever their reason, I just wanted a bit of attention. I started messaging potential matches left and right.

When I came across one profile in particular, I’ll admit that while his profile piqued my attention for its wit, he wasn’t necessarily a man I would have ordinarily have messaged. His style and pictures and likes weren’t typically on my radar. A year prior to that I would have nodded and clicked on, not because he was awful but because he simply wasn’t “my type.” But I remember thinking “Well, thus far your ‘type’ has really sucked. Seriously, they were all awful for you and to you. So maybe you picked the wrong ‘type’.” My conscience winning out the argument, I messaged user profile GreaseMunkey, closed my laptop and went to bed.

I remember as I drifted to sleep a building hope that this scruffy, bearded GreaseMunkey dude messaged me back. Of all the messages I had sent out, I really didn’t want to endure that silent, undefined rejection of not receiving a message from him. I didn’t know why but I really wanted to hear from him. I wanted to know more. He did respond. And off we went.

Six months have elapsed now, a record relationship for me. Well of the healthy variety anyway. I was with my ex for longer but looking back it had begun to fall apart long before it ever really got started. Of course there’s hope in all things. After all, without that I wouldn’t have Abigail. I wouldn’t have started down the long, hard path of self discovery (Though I wish it hadn’t taken 27 years to get there…)

I’ve learned that though I am not wise I do have moments of clarity. In order to love, you have to allow yourself to be loved. That’s harder than it sounds. I have a tendency toward developing complexes about insignificant things. I’m bull-headed and argumentative and controlling in any given circumstance. Those things don’t make me unlovable. They make me…well, me. And it turns out me is quite lovable. As Bryan and  my relationship grows and our families are woven into the mix, I find that it isn’t just one man who can love me as I am. His family has taken to me like no other. And mine to him. He bolsters my confidence and makes me feel beautiful, talented, strong and independent. I knew I was all those things and said so, but I had never felt quite so grounded in the ideas until Bryan saw those traits in me as well. I had worked hard to discover who I am and what I like and why I believe what I believe in prior to meeting this man who would slip into my soul and fix himself a home in my heart without ever really trying.

Mostly without the up and downs and rejections and failures of my past, I wouldn’t fully appreciate what Bryan and I are managing through the challenges of offset work schedules, lives fully developed independent of one another and general demands of being adults. I still have much to learn and many more mistakes to make. But there is less fear of it all now. It may be that I’ve grown. It may be that Bryan supports and loves me in such a way that I feel a confidence in the process. It may be all of it and it doesn’t really matter.

Until three years ago, when I screwed up the courage to walk out on a man who resented me , I had no idea who I was. Thus I thought to be loved I had to become what was wanted or what I perceived was needed. I’d spent my life wearing the masks handed to me by others. I still wear masks, at work and in public, but now they are of my own creation. And with Bryan I can safely leave them all aside. He loves that I find joy in stupid things like sharpies and sparkly dangles and amassing a mental database of useless facts.

In him I see a strength and determination I’ve never seen before. In anyone. He honestly wants to better himself, not just for his family but because he needs it for himself. He is grounded and stable and cheerful and compassionate. Unafraid of judgement, he holds nothing of himself back. He dances like an idiot and has fun doing it. He creates as his heart directs and seeks nothing more than the satisfaction of creating it. He doesn’t need constant approval though I earnestly seek to bolster him as much as he bolsters me. I still wear masks but he gave his up years ago. I envy him that ability. He asks questions and honestly seeks to learn. He has flaws and admits to them openly and unabashedly. Altogether he understands how to be himself, thus leaving his heart open to being loved. And I do love him.

My blog is titled See Jenn Live on purpose. While I can’t promise I won’t make more sappy, soggy, lovey posts, I can say I’ll keep them to a minimum. I’m living for the first time in my life. I’m learning and loving and listening and making an attempt at translating all that into writing. It’s working so far I suppose. I’ve found the difference between content and happy. I’m happy. I’ve been told so by my close friends and family even if I didn’t know it myself.

Jenn Wants a Valentine

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The year 2011 is my do-over. Various oops-es, failed experiments, and “Aw damn” moments have ironically led me to a pretty good place. Yes, I’m divorced and living in a roach motel apartment. I’m underpaid and confused as hell as to how to get off state assistance. It seems a vicious tale-chomping circle. My car is wheezing through life and I really can’t afford a new one. But on the bright side, I’m the mother of a beautiful little girl who is blossoming into a promising young geeklet. My writing career is gaining momentum. I’ve found friends and activities that I can be and am passionate about. I’ve remembered the things I used to love like music and stupid sci-fi shows and stand-up comedy. And what is life without the things you love? I’ve established my independence and have never been more self-confident. Right now my possibilities are endless and it feels so very good. Really, the woes of my life are incredibly dim when cast in the light of my optimistic enthusiasm.

So that leaves me in a place to look for my first-ever valentine.

Comic from xkcd.com

Yeah, you read right. I’ve never had a valentine. I don’t say that to get pity or a “Poor Jenn” reaction. It’s just a matter of fact that I’ve never had a valentine. Even when I was a kid and my class mates were required to bring those cute little cards with cartoon characters and kitty cats, I never got a special note with a “Check Yes or No” message.Valentine’s Day has never (ever) been my favorite holiday. I was either perpetually single or in a rather loveless marriage. To top it off it was my ex-husband’s and my tradition to argue on every holiday. Valentine’s Day included.

For a good number of years, I would actually begin to sink into a quasi-depression around this time of year. All those cutesy little, gag-inducing goodies that grace the front aisle of every store used to mock my singleness. I didn’t actually want any of them, not being a chocolate fan or a stuffed creature lover. I’m too practical to appreciate flowers and to absent-minded to keep track of diamonds. The stuff didn’t really matter. What I wanted was someone to give me cutesy little Valentine gifts. I wanted a valentine. To add another level of complex, what I wanted more than anything was for someone to WANT to give me a valentine.

There is no depression this year. Although late at night, when my daughter is asleep and the room has fallen silent, I can feel it there. On the edges of darkness, looking for a weakness in my soul, waiting to sneak in and poison my new-found optimism.

Even sans depression, there is still the desire to have a valentine. The longing to be needed again by someone other than my kid. If you remember your single years, or are still single, you know what I’m talking about. You can be needed by your kids and parents and job and hobbies and commitments and friends, but it is so very different than being needed by the one you love. More than that, I would like to get married again. My first marriage didn’t work but that doesn’t mean I’ve condemned the institution entirely. Perhaps I’m overly optimistic. Perhaps I’m still quite young. But I’d like to believe that people in my age group are capable of marrying and staying that way.

When an older couple in my church announced that they were celebrating their sixtieth wedding anniversary I was struck with a rather numbing realization. The chances that I can ever enjoy a sixtieth wedding anniversary are rapidly dimming. Statistically speaking, even if I were to marry tomorrow a man my same age, we would be eighty-six on our anniversary. According to the CIA, the average life expectancy of a man is only seventy-eight. It’s only eighty-one for women. While few of my friends have lived even thirty years much less sixty, I am gaining more and more divorced friends. Fewer and fewer of us will be able to accomplish what generations past are managing.

It’s not a good trend. It’s a terrible, horrible trend. And we’ve already discussed how un-trendy I am over on GeekMom.

But I have other reasons for wanting to remarry. I know a good number of single mom’s who have sworn never to sport that left hand-band ever again and for good reasons. So here are my good, geeky reasons for wanting to try marriage again.

  • I want someone who will be as excited as I am when I get to bring home explosives from work. Insurance, liability, blah blah blah…Let’s go light something on fire!
  • I want to prove that love really is for everyone. I mean the deck is sort of stacked against me. I’m divorced, chubby, a complete and hopeless geek, a total nerd, balance a full-time career with a full compliment of other activities including starting a non-profit organization, and have a kid. If that is considered baggage, I’m a freaking super-freight cargo ship. But I also believe that there is someone out there who is as excited to deal with all that as I am.
  • I enjoy experimenting with all the online dating companies in as clinical a fashion as I can manage. See the complete and hopeless geek statement above.
  • I want a wedding redo. Yeah, that didn’t go so hot. Pretty but not really what I would have chosen were I not trying to compromise with a bad match.It used to be that you only get married once but it seems most get at least a second chance. It sucks, but I’ll take it.
  • When I married the first time I had no idea who or what I was. I didn’t know that I was a geek. Well, at least I didn’t fess up to it and own it. I was not comfortable with myself, my identity, or my purpose. (Actually I had no idea what my purpose was. It is still vague in many areas but coming into focus slowly. And I’m ok with that.) You can’t expect to  share yourself with someone if you aren’t exactly sure who “yourself” is. It comes as no surprise to me now that my marriage didn’t work. Heaven knows I tried to make it but we were both young and naive, and to be blunt, stupid. The fault falls to both of us. Mine for attempting the impossible, his for not attempting anything at all.
  • I want someone who isn’t obsessed with the physical and material. Someone who can challenge me intellectually while still attracted to me romantically. I know it has to exist in one person. Thus far I’ve only located one or the other.
  • I want more kids and while single parent adoption isn’t out of the question, I feel I got ripped off during my first pregnancy. My then-husband hated the idea of it and refused to accept. It wasn’t until the last month of my pregnancy that he started to come around and then he got himself arrested and I gave birth without the benefit of my supportive husband holding my hand. The very first moment in time when all three of you see each other as a family was taken from me and I want another opportunity at that. (Only this time the number will be four, more if my husband has kids of his own. The number involved isn’t important. The experience is.)
  • As with most people looking for love and marriage, I really want to share my passions, enthusiasms, near obsessions, (actual obsessions), and joys with someone. It’s a lot to ask of a normal person. I’m seeking a geek this time around.
  • I was so very young and naive the first time around. I’m eager to experience love as a real adult. (As opposed to the pretend one I was.)
  • I want my daughter to see that grown-ups make mistakes. We learn from them and move on with our heads held high. Just because something is hard (and marriage is hard) doesn’t mean you should give up on it.

Now those are just my reasons and only very briefly synopsized. I have others that are my own and range from inanely shallow to immensely philosophical but here is not the place and now is not the time for all that. For now I must satisfy myself with wading out into the sea in search of those prophesied “other fish”.

I’ll be single again for Valentine’s 2011 but that doesn’t mean I go valentine-less for the twenty-sixth time.

My valentine-daughter and I all made up pretty for the holiday.