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Journal: 02/10/17-02/12/17

Fri, 10th – Totally slacking on my time logging, I don’t have anything to remind me what I did during the day except for starting to completely wipe all connection to her from social media and my photos. Plenty happened that evening to remember though. I tried a highly rated Indian place for dinner and was joined by Mom & Scott, Rach & Matt, Brit, Leah & Steven, Gramma, Heather & Jeff, Doreen & Andrew, Rob & Anne. I got to sit between Leah and Gramma and had fun catching up with them. Gramma was very interested in my upcoming travel to Columbus, Chicago, NY, Barcelona, and Morocco. The more I think of it, the crazier it is, and the more I’m a little nervous able being prepared and having the energy for all of it. Gramma’s birthday card and her note (my featured image) is so awesome that I’m 100% sure that I’m going to get it as a tattoo, probably on my front ribs under the outside corner of my chest. After dinner, we all headed over to Village Tavern where Mike & Pon were ready for us. We started dancing and I noticed Gramma showed up and looked uncomfortable so I made sure she got a seat, that she knew where everyone was, and that someone was getting her her glass of wine. After a while she started to feel comfortable and I convinced Rob & Anne to join me on the floor by reminding them that Rob’s dancing was what first got Anne’s attention before they started dating. That worked and they were the wildest of the family on the floor while most of the others kept Gramma company and tended the bar. Leah, Pon, and I tore it up  and got all sweaty for the next few hours while I also made friends and danced with some new friends there. One was a girl named Hilary who when I first saw her she had her ams crossed so I went over, reached out for her hands, and she uncrossed them and gave them to me, and we danced a little. She started smiling and softened up and I thought she had a cuteness in her dimples and soft looking skin, but since I was there with friends and family, and there was something that just didn’t feel right enough, I didn’t really try to go anywhere with her. I’m not really sure when family left, the very end of the night started to get a little fuzzy. On the way home, Pon was apparently emotionally drunk and either saw Mike flirting or completely overreacted,  but was looking to me for some comfort and affection. I think because she was feeling the insecurity that comes with the turf and I was a man who she knew wouldn’t do anything inappropriate. I vaguely remember getting home and out of the car but that’s where the night ends for me.

Sat, 11th – First order of business was to find my phone which I knew was in the house thanks to the find my phone app. It turned out to be hiding under the pillows in my bed. For breakfast I whipped up some eggs and guac for me and the Momma. She was asking about my new cooking and my fresh salsa she really liked so I showed her by making it with her. I know I worked on some random stuff before my date with Rori, but nothing memorable enough I guess. After showering and getting ready, I was with her around 5:30 I think so we had a good amount of time before we were planning on skating. We ended up walking down to a park where people were ice skating, and then down to the river where we sat and swung on a swing. She helped me remember or realize that this is the last weekend living in Cincinnati and will only be back when visiting. On the walk back to start heading to our plans for the night, we took a detour to swing by a Hustler Hollywood store because she lived right by it and we had texted about any more interesting or adventurous things we’d tried and that it could be fun to look at together. We spent probably an hour and a half in there. To me it was a legitimate educational experience on the level of visiting a museum and examining artifacts from a large, and foreign world that was both ancient in it’s origins and raw needs, but futuristic in its technology and design. Every conceivable shape and tool for uses in different purposes and combinations. There were at least 10 times where I had to stare at something for an honest minute before it clicked to me how the product was intended to be used. The level of creativity and innovation was honestly mind-boggling. Once we’d seen everything, Rori made it real to me that she was willing to try anything I was curious to learn about first-hand and that this might be a rare opportunity. After probably another half-hour reconsidering everything I’d seen and the decision fatigue that comes with shopping for a wide variety of unfamiliar things as someone naturally very frugal, I had my little basket full and was ready to checkout. My little haul included drip candles that are made of a wax that peels off easily, handcuffs, little rubber cups that you can squeeze to suction anywhere on each other, some black rope for learning to tie each other up, and some rope accessories like a book that teaches basics and a little tickle tool to make sure make sure there isn’t any loss of circulation. Since that took longer than expected we had to head straight to our plans for the night, which was roller skating, immediately. The place was very interesting in that it looked like a castle, but on the inside it was like any rink I’d ever been to. It took a little time to adjust to the skates but we eventually both got comfortable and had a pretty good time. On the way home at around 10pm, I found out she hadn’t eaten since 10am. We tried to think of places open on the way home but ended up deciding that making spaghetti at her place was the fastest option that wouldn’t make her sensitive and already upset stomach even worse. After we’d eaten and she was feeling better we hung out on her couch drinking wine and talking and then started getting close. We decided to move to the bedroom where I nervously tried to think ahead about how and when to use the things I’d bought. Among the conventional things, we tried the candles first which was kinda scary but exciting, and the actual drips didn’t feel enjoyable but basically just burned me. We decided maybe I’d enjoy dripping on someone else more, but naturally being very afraid of hurting others, I didn’t really steer us there. Next we tried the little suction tubes. They didn’t really do much but they were fun to just play with and try different places on each other. Those were actually much more innocent and cute to play with than I expected and would easily use them again. I think the cute fun had us just enjoying each other so much that we didn’t get to the handcuffs or the work of ‘learning the ropes.’ I’m glad we stepped out of what was easy to try some new things and I’m looking forward to see how things go when we see each other again on Valentine’s Day.

Sun, 12th – Waking up with someone else is always so much better than alone. Rolling around, snuggling, being against each other, and helping each  other wake up probably lasted a half-hour. When she said she was hungry but didn’t want to ruin her brunch appetite so I suggested we dip the strawberries we bought at the grocery in chocolate like we’d planned on doing the night before. She introduced me to an amazingly easy microwavable little cup with chocolate which makes dipping anything in chocolate super easy. After a while of snacking and talking and holding onto each other in the kitchen, we ended up on her floor briefly since she had to be leaving for brunch. I kept my promise not to make her late and we headed out, said goodbye, and that we’d see each other in a couple days for Valentine’s and that I’d try to get my rope skills ready enough for some trial by then. I took a four hour nap shortly after getting home. Even after I woke up it took a while to get up, get some food and get a couple little things done. It was difficult, but I got myself to the gym for a short workout before they closed. Once back home, I worked on very slowly trying to get caught up on my journaling while being distracted by the Grammys and texting Dan about music.

 

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Journal: 01/28/17

Reiterating her need to get things done today, but not seeming to really want to do much about it, Rori and I got up and moving around 10ish. She had her leftover Gomez for breakfast and I made myself a kind of breakfast burrito from fried eggs, salsa, black beans, and a tortilla.

After we’d eaten she finally got to show me the poem she wanted to the night before but couldn’t because we had to leave for our date. The poem was very powerful and covered a lot of what is really important and meaningful in a human life. I highly recommend anyone reading give it a look. It’s called The Invitation by Oriah Mountain Dreamer.

We talked about which lines of the poem we felt like apply to us more than others right now, listened to music, and sat in her big sunny windows while she kept asking herself what she really needed to get done today and how.

This went on for probably a couple hours while she went in circles rehashing the same handful of to-dos in her mental list of things to get done but then conceded that some of it just couldn’t be scheduled and done during the weekend but would have to wait till the week. During this time we also did some rolling around on her living room floor and she challenged me to benchpress her so I did a handful of times and then tried to hold her up like an airplane with my legs. I was able to do it, but not with much control or any grace.

We kept getting side tracked by fun little distractions with each other and would keep coming around to what she was going to decide to get done. At one point I was going to drive her to get her car worked on and then we’d go to a place nearby to play laser tag but it wasn’t in walking distance. Eventually she gave up on almost everything and we had gotten hungry so we went to grab lunch.

When we got to my car we saw that I had a parking ticket from misinterpreting the street sign. Since I had to move my car anyways I drove and she directed me to a lunch place that didn’t exist anymore so we turned around and went somewhere close to where we started.

After a big lunch that filled me up I think I was feeling a food coma coming on and said I needed some coffee. She guided me to a nice unique coffee shop she liked and we almost got in a couple accidents on the way. Once we had my drink and her cookie we sat on a couch and discussed our feelings about the different love languages. I accidentally crossed the line and pulled back a couple times from being too affectionate with her in public since she was concerned about being a distraction to people working.

went somewhere else before getting her grocery shopping done together. She was fast, didn’t get much, and bought some stuff for her kids that she didn’t have to which I admired.

This time when we got to her place I parked at the cheap 24 hour library lot a couple blocks away.

We put the groceries away, then almost immediately took some back out when we decided what to make for dinner. Some kind of burrito bowl thing I think. Good though.

Rori decided to send her friend Michelle a photo of both of our bowls to see if she put together that she was on a date. Rori makes it seem like she’s very reluctant to let almost anyone know when she is seeing anyone, and I’ve heard her say more times than I can remember that “I don’t date.” She seemed to me making some kind of exception for me, but I don’t know what that means or really what to think of it.

We moved to the couch and watched a pretty good movie after dinner. I’m sure we were talking about other things now and then throughout the movie but I don’t remember what exactly. She kept checking her phone waiting for her friend Michelle’s reaction and eventually decided to take another photo where just my hand wrapping around her arm was visible. Michelle finally put it together and I think sent a few messages and then called. Rori gave me the phone to answer and I said hi to Michelle and there was just a confused and maybe stunned silence on the other end. Rori snatched the phone back, told Michelle she’d talk to her later, and hung up. It all felt reminiscent of the kind of ‘reveal’ moment that I haven’t had for a very, very long time.

I forget exactly how we got to this topic exactly, but shortly after the movie was over she mentioned her crazier college days. I wasn’t really able to share similar stories, but could only talk about how I was able to retain so much of my innocence through undergrad and how I actually like my innocence but how I think it can cause confusion with women specifically. Though I’m very honest and straightforward about my interest in them, I think they assume that comes with more expectations than I actually have. When they might think that I’m trying to stick it in, in reality I am trying to just cuddle and kiss them all night.

She’s very smart and insightful so she asked some good questions and I ended up telling her about my current feelings about sex and partner selection. How the only person I’d been with since was someone who I met at a  philanthropic event, who I found out volunteered and I could tell was a good person, but, kinda like Rori, had some walls up. We laughed about that a little. I talked about how thoroughly I tried to explain my situation to this girl out of fear of hurting her and she told me to shush, that she knew my situation, and to let it be. That was a gift. I also had a lot of meaning and personal conversations with her that I later found out meant enough for her to write me a letter thanking me for showing her it’s ok for her to be herself and how grateful she was for having met me. That has kind of set the standard for how meaningful, if temporary, I would want any future sexual relationships to be.

We headed to bed right after that conversation because she was wanting to go to church in the morning. I really couldn’t say exactly what I picked up on, whether her body language or verbal responses were distant or short, but once we got into bed I had to ask her why she felt distant.

It took some encouraging and questioning, and for a while her responses were too vague and evasive that I couldn’t understand what was happening. It became clear that our conversation about my innocence and commitment to holding onto it had brought something up. At first I thought maybe she was remembering and feeling the loss of innocence for mistakes she felt she’s made. I tried to tell her that I thought as long as mistakes were learned from that she didn’t have to lose anything, but could gain it back. Her response was that the mistakes she’s thinking of were someone else’s, not hers, and that she had any choice in the matter taken away from her.

I told her I was sorry and that I understood now. Knowing that there was really nothing I could say to her, the only thing I could think that made any sense to say was to tell her about the ways I had been taken advantage of as a kid and how it has been a source of guilt and confusion for me.

Her response was pretty funny and typical of her, giving her professional social worker opinion on how textbook my case was and that any guilt or shame on myself was misplaced. Regarding her own traumas, she shared a little more of how they happened. I didn’t show any reaction but let her know it made me want to kill someone and cry at the same time. She told me that she doesn’t like telling people because then they feel a need to protect her, even from themselves, and she doesn’t need to be treated differently like that.

Not long after that, in part to prove to both of us that I wasn’t going to treat her any differently, and mostly because I just wanted to, I climbed on top of her and started thoroughly kissing her. She weakly tried pushing me off her with a smile on her face so I didn’t let her move me. She’d previously told me that I do a good job of knowing when she’s wanting to play-fight, and when she really wants me to stop something. She does a good job of flatly using her words if I’m accidentally doing something she doesn’t like.

I kept kissing her and let my hands roam all over her. Again, I knew that I wanted, and was ready, for something, and that she could easily stop me if she wanted to. I led my hands around her hips and steadily between her legs, paying close attention for any indication to stop. She gave me none that I could tell, and instead gave signals of acceptance and encouragement, so I kept going. As much as I’ve fantasized about meaningless sex, I don’t know if, in reality, I could enjoy it very much or in the same way. To me, the trust, gentleness, and acceptance that is required for physical intimacy makes it just as much, if not more, emotional than anything else I can think of. Being let into knowledge of someone’s body is an incredibly personal and irreversible thing. That is even still the case in “meaningless” sex.

Once it seemed she was satisfied, I stopped and she almost went right to sleep, but she fought it and started kissing my chest. Working her way down my stomach, she had a lot of fun playing with how I would involuntarily twitch if she kissed me in the right places. She kissed her way down my stomach and kept kissing as she passed it. The knowledge that someone is choosing to take care of you in a way that doesn’t give back to them except for the knowledge that you are putting your trust in them is pretty emotional and beautiful too when you think about it.

Maybe I’m putting too much into all this, but when you’ve been in one relationship for the entire nine years of your adult life, it’s easy to take those things for granted unless they are violated, until they become fresh again, or both.

After a while, she said she was ready and would rather have me somewhere else. I told her I’d been thinking the same thing. This wasn’t the first time I’d been with someone since my relationship ended. There had been one person before, but this was the first time since I had made major steps in  grieving and fully moving on from it. It felt a little different; more real, since I’d gotten to know Rori better in a way that I have a great amount of respect for her personal values, honesty, integrity, toughness, and kindness.

I did my best to pay attention and do right by her, and from her non-verbal cues, I think I did an acceptable job, but her inability to verbally express anything positive that insinuates someone else has any power over her keeps me from really knowing for sure.

I went to sleep happy and content.

The First Long Call: A Big Step Toward Closure (01/06/17)

This is my best attempt to capture (maybe not in the exact flow) the first lengthy, significant contact I’ve had with Carly since I started this blog. I mentioned not long ago we texted a little about what we’re learning and she said she would be ready to start having real conversation with each other again when I was ready.

I discussed the possibility with my therapist, and my fear was I would find out I’m no longer important or special to her in any way, or the contact would bring back strong feelings for one of us and not the other. The very last thing I needed right now was for either of us to get hurt, and hurting her would have hurt me.

My therapist challenged me to have the conversation sooner than later because the risk would never go away regardless of how long I waited, and it could be a relief to find out we felt the same about each other either way. I thought it would be a relief to know although she’s moved on that I’m still a very important and special person to her.

I tried not to think of it too much until I felt some level of comfort with risking the conversation, but a few nights later I was grocery shopping and something had gotten in my head to get me feeling very sharply anxious, insecure and inadequate wondering if the guy she dated after me was better than me in every way and everything I’m not.

Shortly after I got home from the grocery store I decided I couldn’t dwell in these feelings, doubts, and questions which felt like they were eating away and corroding me from the inside like a chemical burn. I texted her I’d be open to talking soon and she asked right away if now worked. Forgetting her time zone is three hours behind, I was a little surprised and instantly froze in panic for a second but took a breath and thought I didn’t have a good enough reason not to so I agreed and she called.

We started with a bit of light conversation hearing about each other’s holidays. There wasn’t much interesting or out of the ordinary I don’t think.

Somehow the conversation transitioned to me asking her more about who she is now, and what she’s done and seen. Not with any judgement whatsoever, but it was crazy for me to hear her talk about drugs she’s seen regularly at Hollywood parties, and ones she’s tried or now does regularly herself for primarily pain management purposes. It was hard to wrap my head around how casual and informed she was on the topic as someone who I’d known as a solidly conservative seeming, traditional seeming, almost Stepford Wife like person through much of our relationship.

She had texted me earlier how she was learning about her own pattern of trying to live up to some expectation and suppress her true self in relationships without any wrongdoing or pressure from her partner, and at some point I had to ask if I probably didn’t fully know her at all. She said probably not, and hearing more about how different her life, and perspective and opinions are surprised me how little I may have known the real her at all.

Although it could be nice to be taken care of by someone behaving that way, a recurring fear I had about our relationship was that it was, and would only get more like the boring, cookie-cutter life I was afraid to get stuck in.

Eventually I just out and asked her some of the questions which had been eating away at me. When I told her she was still important to me and I was afraid I was no one to her now. I also told her I had been feeling insecure and inadequate at the thought of New Guy being everything I’m not and that now she looks back and thinks less of me than she did when we were together because she didn’t know any better.

She said none of that was true and let out a breath which also said it was a silly question. After all she had done and gone through since our breakup, and how much she seemed to have changed, I felt the need to ask. I did elaborate on some areas of comparison and was somewhat relieved to hear some of the specific ways that New Guy hadn’t been a good partner in ways I knew I had.

The strangest area to discuss my newly developed doubts and insecurities was around my performance and contribution to the physical portion of our relationship. Our unique position of being each other’s first and only before we broke up is part of what enabled those feelings. I’m much more reluctant and skeptical to accept any good about myself, but I fully accept the bad in an instant. Hearing about a few areas of strength in my ability to perform physically was a weight off my shoulders, and I immediately agreed with her only stated weakness about having room for more confidence. The area she said I was probably average I have a hard time feeling ok with because I’m tough on myself and don’t consider average to be good enough.

What made even the positive opinions difficult to hear was knowing that they were based on her experiences with other men (which was kind of the point, I know). The hardest part might have been hearing how her opinions have changed, and her encouragement for me to also have a more casual encounter myself. I don’t judge or think any differently of her, but part of me naturally found it painful to hear that something we had once treated as somewhat sacred with each other, she was no longer treating as such, and could possibly have been giving what I thought of as a precious gift to people who might not be kind enough to deserve it.

She apologized if dating someone else so fast contributed and made my feelings of insecurity and inadequacy worse. I told her the apology was unnecessary. We were broken up and she didn’t owe me anything so she didn’t do anything wrong.

In fact she had been so good to me in our relationship that I told her, since I better understood and appreciated how well she loved me, she has become a role model for how I want to give in any form of relationship: taking any chance to care for my loved ones unconditionally. Her reaction was to tell me I shouldn’t want to be like her because she gave too much of herself. I don’t think the problem is being too giving and loving, but doing so from a false sense of roles and expectations instead of out of your own sense of self. Although her willingness to give and love was unconditional, I guess her own happiness and self worth has been directly conditional on others.

As we talked about how we were doing, it was strange I was working on moving on from her while she was already moved on and trying to get over New Guy. I asked her why I was taking so long to move on. She said she had started the process of moving on long before we broke up and had been working up the courage to break up with me while also not wanting to make things harder for me while I was in the middle of grad school application stress. Apparently having New Guy really helped her get over me too. She did say she had a short while where she was mad at me or trying to be mad at me after she broke the silence and I got to tell and text her a ton of apologies.

I wished I had reasons to be angry at her to make moving on a little easier, but told her I couldn’t really think of any since she had always been so good to me. She reminded me the fact she’d been hiding and holding back her real self from me was fair reason. I guess I had already started to feel angry about that the more I understand how much she had kept from me and essentially felt lied to in many ways for a long time.

She kept insisting I hadn’t done anything to influence it but she did it herself because of her expectations for any romantic relationship. She mentioned how in hindsight she was so much more fun with other friends and guy friends than she had been with me. That makes me feel lied to, and cheated, and in a sense she had given herself to other men in a way she wasn’t giving herself to me. Ironically, more fun side of her is what I fell in love with and maybe would have softened my fears about a Stepford life if she hadn’t gone away.

The other thing she said it would be fair for me to get mad about was New Guy again. I told her again that we were broken up so she didn’t do anything wrong and I didn’t blame him at all for scooping her up asap. They had been friends from work and she said I could be mad they kept in touch so frequently. I said that wasn’t a big deal and she hadn’t really talked to him that much. When she told me she had been texting him every day for months before we broke up I was surprised and had not know it had been that much. I think she maybe made a half-hearted attempt to be transparent that they were in touch, but probably just enough to somewhat satisfy her conscience without really being enough for me to think twice about it. Even if I had know the true frequency, it probably never would have crossed my mind to question it because I trusted her without question.

Something clicked in my head and I asked her if she was telling me she had cultivated feelings for him and had an emotional affair with him before we broke up. She said yes, but it wasn’t based on much because their conversation was very surface level. I didn’t feel much consolation from the style since the substance was still her choosing to continue indulging and developing feelings for him daily.

That rocked my world. Whenever I had told friends or family how quickly she moved on I said I trusted her and I didn’t think anything inappropriate happened. I was wrong. I was wrong to trust her for that period when she had been allowing and developing feelings for someone she chose to contact every day while I was with her.

I can’t say I had never felt the spark of feelings for old friends or new people during our relationship, and even shared residual feelings to an old friend who I thought deserved to know, which even today I can’t say whether a part of me had any ulterior motives. However, part of what was going on under my nose felt somewhat different because of the daily effort in maintaining and initiating contact.

Looping back around to how it was taking me so long to get over her while she was already moving on from someone else, we discussed a bit about how she doesn’t have interest in maintaining any kind of friendship with him because he wasn’t really capable of connecting with her on a meaningful level. I asked her how she was having a harder time moving on from someone she felt that way about than me. Her response was, in addition to simply choosing him and not being chosen back (again), she felt she gave our relationship everything she could, but wasn’t able to have that chance with him because he walked away so easily.

Before I would have agreed whole-heartedly that she had done absolutely everything she could have in our relationship. It was definitely true in the sense she gave all her time and energy into doing what she thought she was supposed to do, which was giving, caring and supporting. However, ironically, realizing more and more how she had kept herself and her needs from me, I could no longer agree she had done absolutely everything she could in our relationship.

Shortly after the conversation, I remembered that while we had been discussing our future, I had asked her if she would be interested in going to therapy together. Her sentiment was therapy is what premarital counseling is for after I make the choice to commit or not. At the time she also felt the issue was isolated to me and not her. I probably would have agreed before knowing what I now know and I can’t help but wonder what couples therapy could have done if it had been able to surface the issues we’re now dealing with apart. Such thinking is futile so I try no to dwell on how we could have done more, but carry what I’m learning forward.

More and more I’ve been learning how critical it is in any relationship that each individual be a healthy and whole person first before they can have the proper intentions and balance the give-and-take of a relationship.

That, I think, prompted me to tell her how I was learning just how unhealthy I had been and how terribly I had been treating myself internally. This gave me another opportunity, which I took again, to apologize for how my poor treatment of myself was in large part what overflowed into not being present or able to see her in order to treat her as well as she deserved.

Since she knew I wanted brutal (somewhat self-punishing) honesty to be shown fully my errors so that I could better appreciate and thoroughly learn to never do them again, she told me how I hadn’t been there for her enough and at times left her alone to do my own work when she was frustrated about being turned down for several jobs she worked very hard for and when her grandfather passed away. In no way do I excuse myself for those things. I remorsefully apologized and am working on forgiving myself for it. I also acknowledged for myself that she had been putting on a brave face, a mask that wasn’t true, which I hadn’t asked her to, and made it harder for me to see through while I was already blinded by my own agenda.

When she told me how she saw my depression building over time by isolating and not being interested in things I used to, she implied, if not explicitly said, she could tell for a long time I was on course for an imminent, massive breakdown.

Part of me was triggered and wanted to say “well then why the fuck didn’t you say anything to me or my family to encourage me to get any help?!” After asking in more civil terms, since I knew it was possible she had tried to warn me but I had been dismissive and blind, all she was able to say was she did express towards the end of our relationship that she wanted to get out more. She was absolutely right and I should have taken her out more and I regret not. I also try not to dwell on wondering what could have happened if she’d helped me get the help I couldn’t see I needed when she could see it.

All this talk about what we had been learning about how we both tried be who we thought we were supposed to be instead of ourselves got me thinking. I asked, since the more we lost ourselves the worse we were for each other, if now finding ourselves brought us closer together again, whether she was categorically closed off to considering getting back together. I tried to be abundantly clear I wasn’t trying or in any state of mind to even think about getting back together, but I thought it would be a tragic shame if we somehow became right together yet ended up missing each other.

Something reminded me I still hadn’t told her my side of the story leading up to our breakup. I was relieved it was important and helpful to her that she got to be the one to actually initiate the breakup since I decided not to do it myself before her trip to visit with a friend.

By this point it was almost 4am and we’d brought up but failed to end the conversation a couple times. We failed again by getting on the topic of our blogs. She’s been using her’s more as a platform to demonstrate, encourage and attract authenticity in people around her and it seems like she’s gotten really good response. Thinking more about her intentions after our conversation really inspired me to set the same example by being more fully vulnerable and exposed by not hiding behind any anonymity and being as forthcoming as possible in any blog post or conversation without reservation or embarrassment but fully owning everything past and present. She said I could follow her but I passed for now and I gave her my blog name but I think asked she hold off on looking until I felt more comfortable with it.

We said our goodbyes and I told her the conversation had been mostly good but a lot to take in so I might not be ready for another one like it for a while. She understood and said she’d put the ball in my court regarding when to talk again.

In the end it was a relief to be able to ask the questions that had gnawing and eating away at me. There were also some very difficult things to hear and find out about which would take several of days to come to terms with. I see it all as good truth to hear as knowing is a required step to accept things as they really are so I can put them behind me and move forward.

Journal: 01/27/17

I’ll fly through all the boring stuff about actually getting up and moving almost at my target time, stretching, trying to catch up on some of the big side-story blog posts, and taking care of my final medical bills.

I will say, if anyone actually reads this and you ever receive medical bills while you aren’t currently making any income (even if you have savings), apply for financial assistance on the back of your bill or by calling in about it. I had over $1.5K of expenses written off by doing that.

During the day I spent a good amount of time texting groups and people to coordinate travel plans to Chicago to visit friends, and New York to record. I finally got Dan to respond and we whittled it down to the first weekend of March, still waiting for exact timing though so I can book.

Throughout the day Carly initiated a conversation so we went back and forth about her hair color and potential associations with porn stars, which turned into a conversation about the morality of the porn industry and the concept of porn itself, which became a personal discussion about our stances on casual sex from brief mentions in recent conversations, which became a discussion about what is meaningless sex vs. just uncommitted but still has meaning, which turned into talking about how she has raised her standards after making at least one mistake.

The conversation to a bigger tangent to the subject of how men and women are expected to behave in public vs. private. That got me talking about how I think I accidentally scare women off when I’ve spoken with them for a while and then plainly tell them that I like them. I now guess that the assumption is that as a man with wiener, I must be a heartless fuck-driven animal instead of someone content to get close, kiss, and better get to know her as an actual human being. Absolutely mind-boggling concept huh? It saddens and disappoints me how culturally sexist so many people are in this way.

Anyways, since we’d gotten on the subject of my struggling with being understood, and she had in recent conversations been clear, confident, and casual about being over me, I didn’t hold back asking her opinion on how to communicate with women. At first she had not problem with the issue and told her self reasons why she shouldn’t have a problem with it, but her reasons slowly turned into remembering how hurt she was by us and reasons not to talk to me about this. I apologized and explained my position based on all the information she had been giving me. It seemed that perhaps in that very conversation she was realizing that she may still have baggage from us since she no longer had another relationship or as much distraction of dating as she had previously.

By the end of that topic she acknowledged that I hadn’t had any reason not to take her at her word previously which I took as her accepting my apology for accidentally bringing up a subject that mad her upset.

Her mention of her baggage moved us back on the debate of how much of the real her I actually got to see and be with during our relationship. She said that I got all of her, but when I brought it up it seemed she’s almost forgotten that she herself had previously confirmed that I had not when I asked, and reminded her of the painful explanation she had given me about how other people, including men, had gotten to see the real her more than I did. She said I did start to get more of her again towards the end but that isn’t the most comforting and who is to say how much that really was.

It was probably getting close to late afternoon by then and after the conversation we had I was glad I hadn’t brought up the fact that I had a second date with someone I’d previously spent the whole weekend with. I had been glad not to hear about any dates she’d gone on or been going on either. I confirmed what time I should arrive and got ready before heading out.

I was super excited for the date with Rori. I wasn’t sure how much of it was her, or that we were going to have fun and do an escape room, or just the feeling a new milestone in moving forward.

Thinking about the initial contact made me nervous since it would only be the second time seeing each other ever and under much different circumstances this time than last time.

When I navigated my way to the right door and was let in I tried to act and feel as comfortable as I could, hanging up my coat and I think just giving her a good long hug and squeeze first while asking about how she felt about what she was trying to get done before I arrived.

That girl is impossible sometimes. Thankfully she was honest about it and knew she was impossible, and I’m a very patient person for this kind o thing, but apparently the 6-7pm hour for her is when she just gets tired and grumpy and doesn’t want to do anything but just be tired and grumpy until. So essentially we just hung out in her kitchen doing nothing while I was trying to learn how to deal with her in this condition. She was pretty helpful though and I learned pretty quickly not to suggest any kind of activity. Instead I basically just entertained myself by pulling her in, swaying with her, and grabbing each others butts. She did get tired of being smothered by my kisses so I tried to meet her in the middle and think I did a pretty good job.

We also got to talking about how crazy her job as a social worker was. I think it was earlier that same day she said that she had to “do a restraint” on a kid who was flipping out. Apparently the kid was ten years old, not small for his size, and just turned into a complete animal when restrained. So much so that it took three adults to execute a restraint without getting covered in spit or anything else gross the kid could think to use against them.

Somehow our silly conversation got her to ask what I would do in a hypothetical situation where I had to choose to try to shoot her with poison dart, otherwise she would try to kill me with a gun. I felt like guns are more difficult to use than most people think and that I’d like to think I would take the chance to save us both by not trying to use the dart gun but using non-lethal defense. At some point we moved the conversation to laying on her bed where she essentially tried, yet again, to tell me that I either have too high standards for myself or too low for others. She also tried to tell me that I should somehow demand more respect somehow or something like that to which I explained how my standards change the closer I choose to let someone get to me and that if people don’t give me the respect I’ve earned then I’d rather look for other people then demand respect. The topic reminded her of a poem that she wanted to show me but we had to be on our way if we didn’t want to be late for the escape room.

We found the place easily enough in time to sign waivers and find out that we were going to be the only two people participating. There could have been strangers in our group but instead we were on our own.

The escape room experience was a lot of fun overall. I’d chosen one where we started blindfolded and handcuffed. Most of the entire challenge was a series of combination locks based on clues. A couple times we got stuck for a long time and needed to use a clue to point us in the right direction which would give us a burst of progress before we would eventually get stuck. I was pretty reluctant to use clues at all, but after a while of struggling, Rori pretty easily convinced me to accept a couple. Some clues were a little iffy in their execution also which ended up needing to be kind of freebie clues.

We were only one or two clues away from completing the challenge when time ran out. The guy running our challenge told us by far that we had made it further than he’d seen any two people go, and that only 1/3 of larger groups were successful. She was pretty grumpy anyways about not winning because she’s pretty competitive. Although she told me about it, I think she was trying her best not to let me really see it. It was pretty clear that she had a good time.

I think we made a pretty good team too. We worked individually to cover more ground when we needed, and came together as partners when we needed also, or taking turns when one of us got stuck on something. I also learned that although she’s dyslexic, if her mind isn’t rearranging the numbers, she’s very fast with mental math.

After we had our picture taken and left, we saw a wine and coffee bar on the way home and thought that sounded good so she told me how to get to one that she liked. The place was nice and comfy. We took stools at the bar and ended up sharing a 3-glass flight of Spanish red wines which was very good. I tested the limits of her comfort with public affection while we shared thoughts on the differences between the glasses.

On the way out, we agreed that we were hungry so she suggested a hole-in-the-wall place she’d told me about before and talked up quite a bit. I got lucky with parking on the street in front of the window and after waiting a while in the car and in the cold, we got our food and headed back to her place.

The place we’d gotten the food from was called Gomez, and they have things called turtles which are a lot like quesadillas, but are packed with a lot more and are dome shaped like a turtle shell. It was exactly what I needed. I ate my whole one in the time Rori had eaten half of hers and felt just the right amount of full.

I think we pretty much headed to bed pretty quickly after our late night meal. It had to be probably midnight and 1am and Rori kept mentioning that she had things she hadn’t gotten done yet that she wanted to take care of tomorrow. I’m not sure how much of her reiteration was to prepare me mentally or herself.

Compared to the last weekend it seemed like we got comfortable and settled into sleep faster and easier.

Journal: 01/16/17

I kept waking up on the couch at Amanda’s and going back to sleep after re-situating with Chavi the pup who was doing a good job of keeping me warm and comfy. He was a good little snuggle buddy since I wasn’t successful with any of the girls I liked that night.

We didn’t really get moving until around 2pm so by the time we got out for some food it was already happy hour again which was a very strange feeling.

At one part during our breakfast/dinner I thought I saw Meaghan walk by outside. I ran out to say hi but when I passed her while she was turning into a shop I saw her face wasn’t Meaghan and I got scared off. As I was running away it registered just how gorgeous she was. Part of me wish I had stopped her so that I had an excuse to talk to her and see if she was nice, but I didn’t go back to check for her until she was already gone. Another hard lesson in talking to girls, it’s now or never so I hope next time I say something when you can so I don’t have to wonder “what if.”

Driving home I think I pretty much just tried to find music to listen to that helped time go by. I don’t remember really thinking too much on the drive except trying to remember all the things that had happened over the weekend. Jillian also messaged me about having the call we were supposed to have which reminded me that I was supposed to talk to Carly that night too so I was thinking about that too on the way home.

At home I finally got to shower after not really having much chance to over the weekend. It felt so good to get clean and get all comfy and settled to talk to Jillian and then Carly.

My convo with Jillian was nice. It was pretty heavy on my stuff but I told her I’d like to hear more about her soon. There was barely enough time to give her the story up to the point of coming home, but we were able to laugh together about how ridiculous my depression was able to do at a few points. I also tried to explain to her what it was like since she hadn’t really been able to relate when her brother had gone through similar difficulties.

Then Carly called. We spoke from about 8 to 11:30. Thankfully it wasn’t a very difficult conversation like some of the previous ones. We talked about how I’ve been doing an what I’ve been up to which got us on the topic of my new attempts at cooking. I used that as an opportunity to apologize for not doing more cooking for us when we were together. She told me how she adopted some of my really easy cooking habits since her emotions from her latest breakup give her a regular upset stomach and she didn’t care as much about taking time to cook. Now she makes hard boiled eggs like I used to and I make little muffin tin omelets which I learned because she used to. We found a couple other examples I can’t remember about how we’ve switched places in some of the things we used to do.

As we were wrapping up and saying goodnight, I decided to tell her some of the ways I felt about our last long, difficult call. I told her about how I know I did a lot of things wrong and it may seem like I’m coming to terms with it since I’m apologizing for them so much, but that it still really hurts if she makes seemingly harmless or joking references to how I sucked unless she has a real point in bringing it up for us to discuss. She seemed to be ok with that.

Then I told her about some of the less obvious ways that the last conversation affected me like just hearing about her new lifestyle and personal opinions. Her life seems so completely different than what I knew of her for so long that it’s a bit confusing and distressing emotionally to try to think about what that might mean. It makes me feel even more like I never really knew her at all.

I also told her I knew it’s not my place to ask or tell her how to live, and I don’t judge, but hearing about some of her meaningless encounters with men made me sad in some complicated ways. It wasn’t so much that she was with someone besides me, what bothered me was the possibility that she was giving such a precious thing to people who might not deserve such a gift. Essentially, I was just hoping that, if anyone, she would be sharing her beautiful self with men who were good people and deserved to be cared for in that way instead of rewarding manipulative, slimy guys for being terrible people.

It took a while to explain that to her that I didn’t know how she was meeting these guys or what they were like, but since I didn’t know, by feelings reacted to the whole range of possibilities based on what little I knew. I think she understood, but not really being able to know my thoughts, she said that I made her feel like a whore. I hope that the more I’ve explained, the more she understands that’s not what I think or how I would want her to feel. It’s exactly because I think she’s not one that I hope she’s not rewarding and getting too close to soulless man-whores instead of decent men.

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