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Cougar-ish Town

Coworker: Sandy… can I ask you a nosy question??

Me: Sure, what??

Coworker: Your boyfriend is younger, right??

Me: Why yes…. yes. he. is. (smirk)

Coworker: Sooooo, have you watched ‘Cougar Town’?? (smirk)

Oh gawd, is he looking for a fact-checker?!? Because I am NOT a cougar!

Confessions of a reluctant cougar….

Confession #1

A year and a half ago I joined an online dating site. During the initial setup, I set my age perimeters to younger than my (then) 39 year old self. Oh-yes-I-did!

When my sister found out that I was talking with a (then) 28 year old, she gave me a tongue lashing for setting my age preferences at an unrealistic range. I pointed out that my age range was only 5 years in either direction and that the 28 year old must have set HIS age preferences at an unrealistic range. (ha-HA!)

Confession #2

When I went on a date with the unrealistic-age-range-setter, I did NOT know it was a date.

It started with a billion hour IM session. I had never IM’d for longer than 10 minutes. I found it boring. Then, along came Scott. He initiated it with a comment about Morrissey and I was hooked. I was literally falling asleep at my keyboard, because I didn’t want to end the conversation. Eventually the IM session ended, but only for the night. A few days later, in an email, he said I should size him up over drinks.

I don’t know why I didn’t know it was a date, but I didn’t. Perhaps I was afraid if I went in thinking it was a date, it would turn out NOT to be a date and I’d wind up disappointed, or worse yet embarrassed.
Confession #2.5…. I tend to over-think things! In the end, I told myself that I was just meeting him as a friend….. UNLESS….. he kissed me.

Confession #3

He kissed me.

As he leaned in for a kiss, my first thought was, “Yesssssss! This IS a date!” But ever the conscientious fact-checker, I ever-so-smoothly brought up my doubts. No, not DURING the first kiss, but shortly afterwards. He laughed and confirmed our date night status.

Confession #4

I believe in signs.

We walked laps around Sausalito that night. It was while we were walking up a long set of stairs that he casually points at something and says, “Look”. I follow the direction of his finger, expecting to see a shooting star, a cat, or a pretty building…. but no…. it was a floor to ceiling bedroom window and through that bedroom window there was a man, standing like Leonardo Dicaprio… this man WAS king of the world! But, unlike Leonardo, this man was standing naked, at the end of a bed, pounding the hell out of some woman!

If that’s not a sign of good luck on a first date, then I don’t know what is!

Confession #5

Dating someone younger does NOT make you feel young. However, being with someone who “gets you” makes you feel ageless.

I’ve been dating Scott for over a year now. I’d be lying if I said that it’s only when other people bring up the age difference that I remember that there is one. I have my moments where I can practically feel the fine lines sprouting around my eyes. Then there are the mornings I go into the bathroom, take one look in the mirror and internally shriek…. Class-5-tornado-hair AND fine lines is enough for me to want to permanently install a keg of Oil of Olay over the bathroom sink. But then, I stop… take a deep breath, brush my hair into a ponytail and remember the wise words I once read from an interview of Antonio Banderas. He said, “Wrinkles are beautiful too….They are like carats, the more the better….” It’s even more affective if you can imagine him saying this with his accent…. Mmmm…. Um, sorry… I just got distracted for a moment. ANYway, I’m not sure if my fine lines will ever be sparkly, like diamonds… perhaps that’s just a Hollywood thing. Regardless, it’s a nice reminder that age can be beautiful too.
So yes, I’m dating a younger man…. But does that make me a cougar?!?? Hell no!  Anyone who know-knows me, KNOWS I’m a dog person! And, as fate would have it…. He’s a dog person too!
Lucky-lucky- me….. RAWR!!!

Book Burnings and Misplaced Keys….

I am not happy with my diary at the moment. I have not kept an old school diary in ages…. and I don’t know that I’ve ever filled one up. This one, all covered in diner shop coffee cup photo’s, is two pages from being filled.  It’s not even four months old and two more pages and I’ll have filled it up….

All of a sudden I’ve got the urge to burn it, one page at a time. I don’t want to reread what these last four months have held for me…. No, I just want to burn it…

Problem is that I don’t have a fire place. I could rip it up into little pieces and go at it in a meticulous-ever-so-slightly-off-her-rocker sort of way. But that’s not it at all. I had this idea, when I started writing, that I would be in a better place at the end of the book. But I’m not. I’m not in a worse place either… but I’m certainly not any closer to being where I want to be.

Maybe I can rip it up in and put it in the blender and make a sort of mulch… then put it out in my garden… oh, wait… I’ve not got a garden. That would seem a bit symbolic and meaningful. Sort of like planting a placenta. Except, it would be my words that sprang from my brain….. and not some icky substance that came out of my uterus.

And…. in her own A.D.D way, she abruptly changes the subject…

When I was a little girl my parents split up more times than Posh Spice (um, Victoria Beckham to those non-musically inclined readers) changes looks. And each time… I knew… I KNEW that this was just a blip on my little life’s radar…. that sooner or later, mommy and daddy would get back together again. AND they did. They always did.

But the thing of it was, that it was this vicious circle…. of arguing, threats, blowups, and moving apart… like the directions on a shampoo bottle… lather, rinse, repeat…

I think that in my early relationships I repeated this cycle. Because there is some kind of comfort in the getting back to the familiarity of where you were… even if it was dysfunctional as hell.

As a child and from a child’s perspective, it felt as if life always worked out. That mommy and daddy always ended up back together…

As an adult, I’ve learned… through trial and error… that life does NOT always work out. That sometimes things don’t get back together… and you must move on.

This has been a painful lesson. Though, I hope… in the long run, one that allows happiness in.

I, for a while, didn’t feel like I had any sort of compass to guide me. I didn’t have any solid example from my parents, I no longer have religion…… but finally… FINALLY…. I’ve found my compass in an unusual way:  I ask myself, “WHAT advice would I give Sonora?”  I love Sonora more than any other human on this planet. I want her to have a happy life, for her to find her passion and pursue it,  to not waste her days in dead end jobs or going nowhere relationships….. but rather for her to thrive and be happy. That is my goal, this happiness, whenever I disperse any sort of advice her way.

Interestingly enough, it’s not so easy to give myself advice… so lately… when I find myself in a bind, as to what I’m supposed to do. I ask myself what would you tell Sonora.

Funny… I don’t always like the advice I would tell Sonora. In fact, some of the times I fight it. Like today…. I “broke off” dating with the man I’ve been seeing for the last two months. It was a very hard thing to do. I am totally into him… but there were certain things that he and I didn’t see eye to eye on… these were deal breakers for me. I knew that I would continue to be hurt…. and not happy…. if I were to try to ignore and pretend that I was okay with certain things. So, I told him how I felt…. and we decided to “take a break”…. which everyone knows is code words for: relationship ended.

I cried. I cursed my lack of luck in love….and then I did what anyone with *O.W.D would do… I walked.

(*obsessive walking disorder)

The second I closed my front door I knew that I’d forgotten my keys. I practically dumped my purse out on the lawn… but no keys. I swear I’ve never said the F-word as often as I’ve said it in the last two days! So, I have to climb my fence and use my garbage can to climb through a window. Thankfully it was warm enough for me to have had the damn window open. NOT that it was warm… but I was airing out my house.

ANYway… I climb in and get my keys. I take off walking… I decide to go to Taco Bell, since I really had not eaten and it was a destination with some distance to it. I get to Taco Bell and find that they are still under construction for their remodel and only the drive thru is open. DAMN IT! I contemplate getting in line with the other cars….. but decide that I would just piss somebody off who could see through my NOT having a car facade. I opted to walk to McDonalds instead. I hate McDonalds. Though, I do love a McFLurry.

I walk off with my McFlurry…. and think… because that’s what I do when I walk, I think. I decided that at some point in this evening I was going to force myself to write. So, after a bit of sushi and wine… and then a bit more wine…. here I am writing.

As I walked home, I past the spot where the psychic I see puts up shop and has her readings. The sign says she’s in today…. so, I think, “why not….”  She knows me. I’ve been to her a few times, though not lately. She always needs something to hold that is “personal”… I never really come prepared, so I always end up giving her my keys.

She holds my keys and closes her eyes. She says that things have improved since I last saw her… that she’d always seen me in blackness…. but this time I’m in twilight.

I like this.

She says that with twilight the colors are about to break through…. and that things are looking brighter for me. The colors are near….

As for my latest “love”… she says that she sees that he’s not ready yet… that he’s unsure…

She’s correct… she’s exactly dead on.

Skeptics be damned! I left her little curtained off “office” feeling better. Feeling hopeful, because it is true… even though I had to end things today, I am setting boundaries, limits, and standards. EVEN when it’s hard to do…even when I would have much preferred to have him visit this weekend and cuddle into him… ultimately, I need to look out for the big picture….. and for myself.

I’m very sad over the end of this relationship,or whatever it was we were involved in during these last two months…. he is a beautiful man.  IF it were meant to be, it will find it’s way again.

But, until then…. I have to take care of myself.  And yes, I’m holding out for bells and banjo’s.

Meanwhile…. I need to find a place to burn my diary.  I wonder if I could make a fire pit in my backyard….

Crazy kind of love…

A recent conversation with a friend has me pondering the topic of “abusive relationships”….. What constitutes an abusive relationship? And how does a person, man or woman, get stuck in that abusive relationship cycle?? The kind of relationship where you recognize that something about it is far from the norm…. yet… you get stuck in this circle. The relationship becomes this skipping record… it becomes this process of doing the same thing, over and over and over…. Round and round and round….. Sticking to the script…. Never deviating…. Never changing….. Going round and round…. Hoping that things will get better…. Over and over and over…. Round and round in that familiar pattern. A person may want something different, but can never seem to veer off that track. It’s sad to think of the pain.

I can empathize with this kind of pain; I’ve been in that circle. There were days I wanted to scream to the sky…. There were times when I did scream. Sometimes in my car…. In the middle of nowhere. Just wanting it, life, to be ok, but feeling powerless in the ability to bring that about. I know what it is to cry until you can’t cry anymore… because you want things to change, but you KNOW that you can’t make it better. Of course a person on the outside might look in at your situation and say that you CAN make it better… by leaving. The thing is, sometimes, when in that situation, you forget that is an option.

I know what it’s like to be in the kind of relationship where a wrong look, a wrong word…. Can start a cycle in motion…. No, I was not in a physically abusive relationship. It was all verbal. It was all about giving and withholding affection, communication, and love. It was the kind that makes you think that it’s all in your head. Because there is no physical mark lingering to remind you that it happened.

There are relationships that don’t work. There are relationships that end. There are breakups. There are divorces….

But then, there are the relationships that are like alcohol to an alcoholic… bringing a woman to her knees…. Taking away reason.

Why is it that some relationships grab a hold of a person like that?? Where letting go, even when it’s the right thing to do… can feel like the world is ending.  It’s a complicated subject…. Not easily dissected in a mind spew, like this blog.  It’s just something that I was thinking about. I’ve been there…. I’ve left….  I’ve dabbled in other relationships that may have headed in a similar direction, but I jumped out of the loop before it took a firm grip.

When I see a person in that loop….. I want to grab their hands and pull them off course. Break the circle… but nobody can do that, except the person in that situation.

I have so much empathy for how hard it is to finally veer off course. To finally say “when”…. To have that doubt that maybe things would have gotten better…. But also, to have that inner voice that says, “probably not…”

A woman came into my work a few weeks ago. She got on the bus and got off in my town… on her way to the coast, where her family used to go when she was young. She had a story…. One that she shared with me… she started crying and said she was embarrassed and said she wished she was stronger. I told her that she had an enormous amount of strength… to take off, to not tell anyone where she was going… to get away…. To no longer say it was ok….. I gave her the number of a local agency where she could talk to women who knew what she was going through.

I wonder if it’s addiction ? A familiar pattern? Fear of change? Fear of the unknown? Fear that things will not be better elsewhere?

It makes me sad, to see friends stuck in this crazy kind of love…