I am done suffering. I have sufficiently grieved my last relationship, suffered through a premature attempt at being friends, and I am now done with that chapter of my romantic life. I want to mingle with people…perhaps go on a casual date or two.
I’m still not ready- or at least I think I’m not ready- to be in a serious relationship, but that’s irrelevant now anyway. I’m not in a position where getting serious with someone is even an option.
So…dating. I haven’t dated in over two years, and I forgot how terrible it is. I’ve only just grazed my toes over the dating pool and I’m already not enjoying it. I haven’t even waded in to my ankles yet!
The toe-grazing began a few weeks ago.
I was feeling quite depressed one day and thinking about how hopeless my romantic life was, when a guy from my previous campaign job randomly reached out to me. Initially I thought he was trying to network because he was asking me what I was up to professionally…but then he invited me to visit him in the city, and that’s when the alarms started going off.
Why does he want to hang out with me? Did he ask me out on a date? Is he dangerous?
While I had worked with him before, we had a strictly email relationship, thus, I had never met him in person. This made it even more unusual and a little scary that he wanted to meet up.
I called a different coworker, one who I actually knew in person and who was also friends with this guy, to get the inside scoop on this potentially creepy guy. My coworker affirmed that this guy is simply very friendly and no, he’s not dangerous or creepy, but yes, it could be a date. He said there was only one way to find out.
Well, I went to find out! My sister, her friend, and I all drove into the city and we met up with this guy and his friend. It ended up being a super fun, casual night of chatting and getting to know each other. We did a little bit of bar hopping and then called it a night around midnight.
I surprised myself because after that night, I began to really like this guy. During the months following the infamous breakup, I thought I was closed-off to being attracted to someone, but my sudden attraction to this guy proved me otherwise. My hardened, bitter heart was not that bitter or hard after all.
Then I did what most people with crushes do: text their crush and obsess over their text messages. We didn’t text much, and I did most of the reaching out, but he had sent me a selfie and told me that he “enjoyed me.” I was super excited about this crush.
The excitement spanned about two weeks before my crush was crushed by reality.
We met up a second-time, but this time we met halfway. The whole thing was set for disaster: we met up on a Wednesday after work, aka the most exhausting day and time for working professionals with 9-5, M-F jobs. Plus we had both driven through tons of traffic.
Overall, we had a nice time, but it wasn’t quite as glamorous or as enthralling as the night out in the city. I also later realized that we weren’t on the same page. It wasn’t a casual date. It wasn’t a date at all. He wasn’t attracted to me, or maybe he wasn’t attracted to how far away I lived from the city.
Nevertheless, this rejection was a disappointing discovery. Rejection, however, is unfortunately integral to the dating process. If I want to start wading back into the dating pool, all the rejections need to drip away rather than drown me.
A podcast I was listening to today explored rejection’s role in growth.
“Rejection is redirection to your soul’s highest evolvement.” – Sahara Rose, Highest Self Podcast ep. 212: Even Stuff That Sucks is Redirection
While rejection isn’t necessarily a negative thing, it doesn’t immediately resolve the issue of loneliness or wanting to meet new people or wanting to go out on dates.
So what is a twenty-something suburban girl to do?
The answer, my dear readers, is return to the dreaded world of online dating. I’m a little embarrassed, but I have four dating apps downloaded on my phone now. I’ve only been using one lately, and it’s been causing me to cross my fingers in the hopes that the non-creepy-email-city guy will suddenly be a teeny bit interested in me. Long story short- online dating is a nightmare.
Dating apps aside, I’ve also been hanging out with my friends and reaching out to people I haven’t seen or talked to in months or even years. These people I’ve lost touch with are solely friends, but it’s interesting to reconnect. Not quite as thrilling as a crush, but it’s thrilling enough.
Do you have any tips for mingling/dating? Let me know in the comments!
I’ve begun watching Sex and the City, and it is an addictive show. First of all, I love 90s/early 2000s shows, and I also love shows that center around a group of friends that I can connect with. Lately, I’ve been connecting with Miranda in Season 2, who so far is bitter in regards to dating. She is closed off to getting serious with someone because every person she dates proves to be scum.
While I am not dating casually and thus I am not meeting scumbags, I think I’ve become bitter and closed off to dating. One of my hometown friends pointed it out to me on the phone recently. She affirmed my suspicion that I need more time alone to heal, but she also warned not to be closed off to dating in the future. Unfortunately, I currently don’t envision myself being open-hearted anytime soon, especially considering how I’ve sabotaged my breakup healing process time and time again. It’s as if I keep picking at the scab, which causes it to hurt and bleed, yet I wonder why the scab is taking so long to heal…
Let me provide an example.
A few days before my sister graduated from college, I found out my ex was in a new relationship. While it has been about four months since our breakup, up until the week prior to her committing to someone new, we had been talking nearly daily.
Yes, I know that this was not the best way to handle a non-mutual breakup.
Unsurprisingly, we weren’t talking amicably as friends. She would confess that she missed me, that she still wanted to be with me, etc. I would reciprocate the feelings of missing her and still loving her, but I repeated that I stood by my decision to end things.
Anyway, finding out that she was with someone new caused me to completely lose all control over my emotions. Hysteria transformed to despair, and then to possessive jealousy that inspired me to hook up with my ex in her car after a night of bar-hopping together.
No, I don’t know what I was thinking because I wasn’t thinking.
I gradually came to accept the situation, albeit with some bumps that still need to be smoothed out. Those bumps are called nostalgia with a few dashes of illusion: I miss who I was when we were together, I miss how we were together, and most confusing of all, I miss who I thought she was and/or who I wanted her to be.
Clearly, I am not emotionally capable to casually date, let alone get seriously involved with someone. Instead, I want to spend time with my friends and family and mingle with new people. I want to focus on my full-time job, on teaching and studying yoga, on reading, and on creating. I think I’ve been pretty successful in doing these things, although it takes a lot more energy to do them rather than mindlessly watching TV, which was what I was doing previously.
When my energy feels low or when I get trapped in the nostalgia/illusion bumps, it’s helpful to reflect on why I ended things with her. There are a few reasons: I didn’t feel like I was being treated the way I deserved, no matter how many times we talked about our issues, and I didn’t want to be held back anymore. I didn’t want to spend so much time and energy on our relationship, partially attributed to the fact that it had become taxing and toxic. Most importantly though, I broke things off because I wanted to focus completely on myself. I wanted to be selfish and I didn’t want to feel bad about it.
I do believe that I’ve attracted more positivity into my life since releasing the heavy, negative energy of my last relationship. However, waves of loneliness crash on me sometimes, especially when my friends share stories about or pictures of their serious relationships. It causes me to crave the rush of falling in love, of being in love, and feeling at home with someone. It simultaneously causes me to desire more single friends I can commiserate with about dating, like in Sex and the City.
Anyway, I will have to manage with the occasional loneliness because I don’t want to put myself out there yet. I wouldn’t be offering my best self because I don’t feel like my best self even to myself. I want to finally allow the scab to heal and I want to smooth out all the bumps around it. Hopefully, it won’t take as long as it did when my first ex and I split, but even if it does, I want to have my own fun in the meantime.
So…tell me how it all happened.
Did it begin when you sent her a flirty text?
Did you send that text between professing your love for me
And conveying how much you missed me?
Did you ask her out on a date
Between wrongfully accusing me of dating my friend,
and expressing how upset you’d be if that were true?
Did you hold her hand after texting me
To ask if you can still see me this summer
Because you couldn’t imagine your life without me?
Did you kiss her between writing about me
And confessing that you’re still grieving the relationship?
When did you begin to fall for her?
Around the time you blew up my phone
To call me a coward
For not responding to your texts
About hopefully getting back together again in the future?
I don’t know when you finally found the closure
I tried to give you at the end of our relationship,
And I don’t know when you found someone else to love,
But these endings and beginnings seem to blur
I think you only began to respect my desire for space
Because you became distracted by her.
© 2019 Vic Romero
ALL RIGHTS RESERVED
It’s ironic how happy I look in this photo considering that graduation has not been an entirely happy time. Granted, I took this photo a day or two before the graduation ceremonies and the drama occurred.
During the first of the three commencements I attended, I was just trying not to cry the entire time. The second two ceremonies were less emotionally intense, despite the pouring rain, but afterward, my sister went to the ER during dinner due to a potential concussion (which thankfully, she didn’t have). This caused my mom to stress out excessively. Then I moved home, which was exhausting although my grandparents helped out tremendously. The next day, I went to a family dinner with my parents and my sister, which ended in tears on my part and my mom stormed out of the restaurant. She ignored me and my sister until the following evening. Lastly, my girlfriend got an internship, which is incredibly exciting but I’ve cried a ton because of it. The last part of these dramatic days is what I really want to talk about now because the other stuff has been resolved.
I am afraid of being alone this summer, which seems like it’s going to happen anyway. This has caused me to spiral into sadness when the people around me are successful. Pretty much all my friends have jobs and/or are moving out of state/out of the country. No one is going to be local to me except for my sister, but even she has a job. I mean, yeah, I have a part-time job until mid-August that allows me to work remotely, which would allow me the time and flexibility to
- Research PhD programs
- Apply for jobs
- Study for the GREs
- Organize my life both physically (my room is a mess) and mentally (I’m a mess)
- Do my month-long, intensive yoga teacher training
So yeah…I need to be alone to do most of these, if not all, of these activities. Therefore, I will have plenty of time to accomplish these goals because I have a part-time job during these critical summer months. On the other hand, though, I wanted to do fun activities and trips and because not even my girlfriend will be local to me now…I feel like I can’t do them unless I want to go on my own.
My girlfriend said she is going to see me weekly, and I believe her but when she’s not seeing me, she’s going to be working and having fun where she’s at. Everyone is going to be having fun where they’re at. Meanwhile, I feel worried that I’m just going to be at my parents’ home, alone studying or something…which isn’t bad…I have different goals than her and everyone else for this summer but…I don’t know what my problem is. I’m jealous of everyone else, I’m comparing everyone else to myself, and so I feel bad about myself for no reason.
She said I need to change my perspective, which I agree. I definitely need to do that.
Maybe the interests and goals I have for my life will cause me to feel a little isolated from everyone, even if my friends and girlfriend were around. If I am going to be doing a PhD program, these feelings will probably continue because I’ll be spending a lot of time studying and working on the weekends, whereas my friends who get jobs with their Bachelor’s may be able to go to brunch on Sundays and mingle more.
Regardless, this gap year or two or three that I am taking sucks. I feel stagnant and alone in that. I want to find a job but I haven’t been looking even though my girlfriend and mom send me job listings once in a while…I want to figure out a PhD program I’m interested in but I haven’t been looking at that either, although I’ve talked to my thesis advisors about it. My girlfriend said I’m avoiding things and so…yeah, I am. I’m unsure why though.
I know in the past, avoidance is a method I practice when I’m either depressed or anxious. Perhaps I’m feeling a little bit of both right now. Possibly due to my graduation blues.
Do people talk about how awful graduation is? Aside from the overwhelming emotions that arise during the ceremonies, afterward is so much worse. Suddenly, you go from having tons of friends within walking-distance to having no friends nearby. All your friends become busy with their adult lives and you’re stuck living at home with your parents, who ask you daily about getting a job (if you don’t already have one, like me). The possibility of getting a job, being able to move out, and make friends/have friends feels impossible. Not only does that feel impossible, but so does working toward a doctorate because there are 100,000 steps I have to take before even applying for a program.
Maybe I’m a little depressed and anxious and I didn’t realize the depth of it until now. Regardless, it’s manageable and I’ll overcome it. Right now, I’m unsure how and I’m unsure when this will happen. I may end up having to take two years off, which is okay although undesirable. But worrying about how long things will take is not what I need to be doing right now. So first thing’s first…
- Focus on myself!!! I have a part time job for a couple of more months and I’ll be busy doing the YTT. In the evenings, I’ll need to study for it in addition to doing the work required for the other goals I have listed below.
- My path is not anyone’s path. I will find a job if I actually look for one and apply. I will figure out what doctorate program to do if I actually look at them. I will be prepared for the GREs if I actually open the book and study for them.
- I will do fun things this summer with my girlfriend and my sister. Maybe I can challenge myself a bit too by doing fun things by myself. I can’t rely on anyone but myself. I must be there for myself and not allow people’s inability to hang out with me deter me from having a good time.
- Be at peace with myself.
I may need to repeat these things like a mantra until I relax. I was able to do this two summers ago. During that summer, I was lonesome but at peace with it. I didn’t write much during that time so I don’t remember what I was doing exactly…I was taking a summer class and working part-time but that was it. I probably read a lot and watched TV. I don’t know how I achieved that state of mind but I will figure out how to get back there.
Anyway, tomorrow I’m leaving for Disney so I’ll try my best to enjoy myself and maybe I’ll plan a little bit about how I’m going to manage my days when I return so that I am busy daily. I’ll let y’all know how that goes.
Graduation is in less than two weeks, and my life has been a little hectic in an exciting way. This past weekend I spent my days drinking and snacking at alumni events and other University gatherings with my friends and my girlfriend, hence why I did not get to make a Sunday post this Sunday. I was recovering from all the fun.
I’ve been enjoying my last days as an undergraduate though because I’ve been celebrating with people that I care about and I also have more exciting activities planned up until graduation (I have three commencements to attend), and even after. Thus, my regular blogging schedule may continue to be a little erratic until late May or the beginning of June.
Since I didn’t get to post on Sunday because of the senioritis excitement, I will at least detail the festivities I participated in.
My girlfriend and I went on a spontaneous date! We greatly enjoy BYOB sushi places, which is what we did at a local place. The drug store near us surprisingly had alcohol (this is a novelty experience in NJ where only liquor stores carry alcohol), and we got a wine that was less than $5! Neither of us had ever found and purchased a wine that cheap (except maybe when I was in Europe) it wasn’t bad wine at all. It easily could have been at least a $10 wine.
Anyway, it was great because we at sushi and got drunk on cheap wine. Then when we were leaving, we heard live music at a bar and so we popped in. It was a male guitarist who had a great voice. We got Moscow mules, which is my favorite mixed drink at the moment, and had a great time listening to the musician at a pretty hipster place.
We’ve been to that bar before because it’s also a liquor store, and last time we did BYOB sushi locally, we got a $25 bottle of wine there. That was the most I’ve spent on wine, but it was well worth it. That bottle was from Spain and it was simply divine.
is life after college?
creation of visual art
creating your own brand
that represents deeper issues and meanings
of the universe
you travel aimlessly
to find your own purpose
on this grand, fucked up-
do you turn to spiritual practices
to see more clearly
the beauty of the mess?
is it about
working nine to five
FULL TIME FULL TIME FULL TIME
R E T I R E M E N T plans
so you can move out
of your small, carpeted childhood bedroom
and into a larger one
with hardwood floors
that you share with someone that looks at you
with stars in their eyes?
are there alternatives? what are they?
what do i want?
© 2017 Vic Romero
I was ready this time.
I squatted with my back against the empty pickle barrels, tightly grasping the pistol, waiting. My hands were clammy and shaking, and I tried taking deep breaths to calm myself down. I didn’t want to miss again, not when I only had one bullet left.
I heard some loud footsteps nearby, presumably the graceless footsteps of the enemy. I leaned out from behind the barrel to get a better look, and sure enough, there she was. She was looking around the dim basement, her expression was frustrated.
I realized yesterday that’s it’s been six months since I’ve been in a relationship. It’s crazy how much has changed since then, and how much I’ve changed. I’ve become stronger and more self-loving after having accidentally putting my heart in the wrong hands. I now realize that the awful way I was treated had nothing to do with me. Despite knowing this now, it took me a long time to believe it. I spent that time beating myself up and dwelling on the pain she caused me. Now that I believe it, I still think about it though.
I ignored the cramps in my fingers as I fervently knitted the hat I was making, pushing my pestering thoughts out of my head. Although this was a soothing activity, which was something I severely needed after being berated, it was also a mindless activity. I was trying to swaddle my bruised heart with the black yarn that gleamed with red sparkles, but it was futile. No amount of swaddling would heal my heart…I had to heal my heart myself. So I tentatively succumbed to my pestering thoughts, thinking that if I faced them head-on, I would be able to accept them better. When I started paying attention to my thoughts though, they became louder and overwhelming. I squeezed my eyes closed and began to think of something positive in a desperate attempt to push back the tears that I knew would soon be flooding my eyes. When I reopened my eyes, all I focused on were the needles in my sore hands, using the pain to create something warm and beautiful.
© 2015 Vic Romero