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Dating has been beyond interesting.  It’s helped me find a new center and understanding of myself that I doubt I would have wandered to on my own.  Relationships grow through interaction and that interaction forces us to examine things about ourselves.  At least it does for me.  Why does a particular person garner a certain response?  Why do they illicit feelings and make me recoil in a particular way?  Why am I compelled to want to be near them or why would I, even if I am very much drawn to them in so many ways, not sexually attracted to them?

I am cursed with many positive traits that can, out of context, be taken as cool and quite off-putting.  I examine things to the point they become unrecognizable.  Merely pieces and nothing whole and coherent.  I am also learning to merely enjoy the moment, like breathing in deeply the late afternoon air and enjoying a walk along the local wilderness park trails during my daughter’s softball practice.  It is nothing but a walk, something to get me moving.

The last few months have been fraught with exercising these maddening personality traits of mine, to a degree of almost uncomfortable.  Every date is examined, every rejection, every time I say, I’m just not that into him, I’m rethinking what I want in a relationship and what I expect from the people in my life.  It’s a good thing.  I’m learning that I won’t put up with a lot of shit.  I won’t be treated a certain way and that I deserve so much better than I've been allowing in the past.  

It’s sad that the men I’ve allowed to stay in my life are sweet and kind and when they are this way around me, I find myself surprised by such acts of simple humanness.  It shows how much I allowed myself to be neglected.  I’m no longer that person and I will no longer allow it.

It also means that those people who are toxic to me are no longer welcome in my life.  If they happen to be related to me, so be it.  If they happen to be friends I have had for a long time, tough, fucking shit.  It’s not good enough.

But this also means I’m expecting so much more of myself, of my words and deeds.  I have seen how I act and behave affects those around me.  I really do want to be that better person.  It’s hard.  I’ve spent so much time trying to protect myself with a barrier not much good gets up over those high walls.  I mean, how can you really be an open and loving person when the ten foot walls get in the way?

And, no matter how shitty of a person you are, you still deserve good things.  You just won’t get them until you believe you deserve them and you’re able to actual receive them.  It’s about as corny as you can get.  But it’s also true.

It’s amazing what you can learn from failure.  And I really don’t think I would call making great friends a failure.  To me, it’s a great success.  I’ve found people who I love to be around and I enjoy talking to.  I have a couple of really nice guys who I like to ride my bike with and I can go on hikes with.  I have new friends.  There is not one ounce of failure in that scenario.  These connections, if I choose to keep and nurture them, only serve to enhance and enliven my life.

Intimacy does go beyond sex, it can be built above the waist.  And, yes, I do think men and women can truly be friends, if we allow it.  

As someone who is new to feelings, I mean, really allowing myself to be immersed in “the feels”, I sometimes get overwhelmed and confused.  What the hell am I actually feeling?  I despair at times because you would think that a woman of my age and intelligence could wade through this mire of emotional dreck.  Nope, it’s like trying to clean the garbage disposal with someone’s hand on the switch.  I keep thinking, am I going to lose a few fingers in this process?  It’s lined with traps, ones I’ve set up myself to keep me from digging very deep.  I’ve kept myself numb for years and now that I’ve finally allowed myself to open those particular flood gates, I tend to, well, drown some days.  I find myself sputtering and gasping, reaching out for anything and anyone who will lend me a hand, and the panic is quite real.  My minor existential crisis come and go and I have found that I don’t have many to talk to about it.  Forced change, the kind of forced change that I’m grinding myself through, is not as common as I thought it might be.

So, I find myself confessing my escapades.  And let me tell you, I’m going through quite a bit.  The growth includes some stories, stories of the things I’m trying and doing in order to push the boundaries of mediocrity.  I’m finding myself.    It’s uncomfortable for those who have known me for so long to hear about these new found crazies.  It really is difficult to hear, because, who the hell are you?

So the new friends, the new people, they get it.  They actually are willing to listen and joyfully.  I’m a bit hesitant to share, it feels self-indulgent, it feels absolutely insane at times.  I wonder if they will ever speak to me again, but they have.  And one particular friend I’ve made is kind of awesome because we are so similar in such a fantastic way.  I think were drawn to each other because of this.  I’m hoping for a long and meaningful friendship, you really can’t have too many of those.  And they say it’s difficult to make friends as you get older.  I don’t know, I just don’t think you’re trying hard enough.

Cross posted from my own blog, here

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