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Young Love.

4 Sep

I hated him the moment he walked through the door. He looked older than his very young years. Not old; mature, distinguished, chiseled, even with a slightly round face and Great Pumpkin head. He was clean shaven and deeply tanned. He wore an aqua-green polo shirt and acid-washed jeans. His hair was close cropped and “brown” wasn’t an accurate color description; “bronze” is perhaps the closest. The same applied to his eyes: just when you thought they were nothing special, a simple turn of his head made the rich forest green hidden within the iris sparkle. He smelled like a deodorant or cologne that had the word “breeze” or “wave” in the name. He had a perfectly formed yet honking schnozzola and over-plumped pillow lips sheened with what I assumed was a balm of some sort, but soon discovered was just plain-old saliva from his habitual lip-licking. He was absolutely monstrous. In a few months I’d be head-over-heels in love with him.


I am surrounded by youth. Sometimes I forget how young they are, but I’m reminded every time I fall in love with them. It’s not as disturbing as it sounds: I work at a university. They’re all, with the exception of one 16-year-old genius that I did not love, at least 18-years-old. I know; it’s still pretty bad. But how could I not love them? Everything is so important all the time; every relationship will last forever; sex is terrifying and dangerous and no big deal; secrets abound; gossip is nourishment; fashion and music and ever-changing slang and adventures and unnecessary risks and always tomorrow and the next day and the next. This is what it is to be age 18 – 30 and in college. I’m counting the older end of the student spectrum because something happens to you when you’re surrounded by newness and the promise of something, anything and so much hope. It changes you. It does not always make you better.


“I can’t believe you guys hired him! He’s such a jerk. He talks back to professors, when he’s not interrupting them.” Good, another reason hate him, and from a reliable source, him with his dumb face and dumb hair and dumb voice.

I wouldn’t talk to him, outside of giving him work orders, this cretin who so blatantly disregarded the hierarchy of academia. “Who do you think you are?” I thought, glaring at him over the top of my computer’s monitor. Him with his sweet, minty breath, perfumed by the gum he constantly, loudly chewed, his juicy lips endless smacking away. “I hate you” I’d whisper to myself. “I hate you and your fuzzy-duckling hair and humungo nose that still seems perfectly suited to your face.”

“I hate you,” I thought. “You are dumb and awful and I hate you.”


“We should go to lunch! We’re both off that day. Come to my place for lunch.” Her place is a retirement community in a moderately wealthy town. She is my work friend, a Chinese woman that never wears a bra and brings me tuna sandwiches and oranges that are always too ripe for my taste.

She’s older than 50, but younger than 70. I think. She’s married to an older white man, hence the retirement facility, even though she works two jobs. Three, if you count the slaving away she does for him. She tells me all the time how young I am, that there’s plenty of time, but to be careful. Be very careful about men. They will ruin your life if you choose wrong. She chose wrong. She left a man in China that adored her but didn’t want to move to America. Years later, after his broken heart mended, he married. He adores his wife. Everyone talks about what a good husband, what a good man he is. My friend’s husband is not a good man, but he is stunningly handsome and robust, despite terminal illness.

She says that I deserve someone nice, a good man. I do not tell her that I think I am in love with a horrible boy in his twenties and am in complete denial and don’t want to meet any other men and have, therefore, already chosen wrong.


“Have you ever seen Key and Peele’s East/West College Bowl? It’s a skit about- here, let me just play it for you.” I finally started to talk to him. I can’t remember why.

I somehow learn that he plays football. He plays a position that I pretend to have heard of. I am immediately embarrassed by my attempt, that seems to come out of nowhere, to connect with him. He makes me uncomfortable, mostly because he’s not as ugly as I thought, once I really took a good look at him.

His very presence reminds me that I am old and yet, under-experienced.  The students always think I am 10-15 years younger than I am actually am. I hate correcting them, but lying feels desperate and foolish. His beauty – because, I have to admit, he was, in a way, beautiful – reminds me that I’m fat, and that maybe it was a bad idea to stop straightening my hair, and that though my face looks young, it is only marginally attractive, and only sometimes.

I show him the Key and Peele skit, my hand trembling over the mouse as I click on the screen. He’s too close to me. As the clip plays, he starts to giggle. Not laugh. He giggles. The way a baby does when you tickle its belly or make those loud kissing noises on their neck and fat cheeks. My friend once told me not to make those kissing noises on her baby because the sound of them was too loud and would damage his hearing. We aren’t friends anymore.

I was shocked that this lip-licking, gum-smacking, football-playing, so-ugly-he’s-actually-handsome cool kid was giggling with abandon. It was gross and horrible and probably what made me fall in love with him.

To Be Continued. . .

 

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DO NOT GO INTO THE LIGHT.

24 Jun

There was a very large, very loud insect flying around my desk, banging into the windows, the walls, trying desperately to be free from the confines of the library. Adding to its confusion and distress, I’d wager, were the huge windows made of clean, clear, shiny glass and the plants we’ve lined up on their sills. One fluorescent light glaring alone in an otherwise darkened room perhaps seemed to it, this frantic creature that terrified me, to be the sun. The sun is good and warm. The sun means outside, means freedom and fresh air, reunion with other big, buzzing, man-eating creatures.

So this poor, misled, disoriented bug flew straight for the false sun with all its might and strength and belief that what it was seeing was good and real- and was immediately zapped silent, sent off to that big scary bug heaven in the sky. I breathed a sigh of relief, but was soon after pricked with a needle of sadness, bitten by empathy. The thing wanted to be free. It wanted to live. Maybe it also wanted to eat me, but that desire was out of its control. In an effort and attempt to live, it went after what it learned meant life, only to be tricked and meet its demise.

The moral of this bug’s life, as I see it, is to give up, to accept the darkness, to embrace the fact that you are trapped, for to attempt to escape could mean your horrible, burning death at the hands of a false sun, because you chose to believe in the lie that is hope.

Or, I don’t know, maybe a bug flew into a light and I need to stop trying so hard to find meaning in the mundane in a desperate attempt to have something to write about so I can finally update this blog.

You Want a Social Life, With Friends. (And an apology.)

29 Nov

Hi. Hello. I am here, and I am going to write something.

Before I do, I thought it right for me to apologize for an issue that has been needling me for quite some time now. No, I’m not going to apologize for my six month absence. I might kind of try to explain it though, so hold your horses.

My apology has to do with some things that I’ve written in past posts about fat bodies. In one post, about that terrible wedding I was in, I implied that the kind of awful bride was unattractive because she is fat. I later went on to snidely describe her second husband as “probably weighing 600 lbs”., which again, was my attempt at negating the fact that she found love and marriage for a second time. “Yeah, another person wanted to marry her, but just look at him.” I was saying that without saying it. Probably because I was/am a coward.

In another post, the name and content of which I can’t recall and am both too jittery and lazy to search for, I claimed that proof of my self-love was the fact that I don’t weigh 300 lbs.

I am sorry for writing those things. They are examples of the hatred of fat bodies – including my own – that I’ve internalized from a variety  of sources. I am working at ridding myself of that hate. Tumblr has been a priceless resource in my learning that fat bodies have value, are deserving of love, are beautiful, and can tell us nothing about a person’s health, abilities, or self-esteem.

Surprisingly, no one called me out on the things that I wrote. But maybe someone read my hateful words and was hurt. I couldn’t let that possibility stand without acknowledging how sorry I am, how much I am trying and want to change, and that I am asking for forgiveness. Please forgive me.

I’m leaving those posts up as they are (considering I can’t even find one of them, ugh) and hope that my future pieces will demonstrate my growth and sensitivity since writing them.

Thank you for sticking around as I grow.


 

You Want a Social Life, With Friends

You want a social life, with friends.

A passionate love life and as well

To work hard every day. What’s true

Is of these three you may have two

And two can pay you dividends

But never may have three.

 

There isn’t time enough, my friends-

Though dawn begins, yet midnight ends-

To find the time to have love, work, and friends.

Michelangelo had feeling

For Vittoria and the Ceiling

But did he go to parties at day’s end?

Homer nightly went to banquets

Wrote all day but had no lockets

Bright with pictures of his Girl.

 

I know one who loves and parties

And has done so since his thirties

But writes hardly anything at all.

-by Kenneth Koch

 

I never thought I’d be the type of person to have a favorite poem. I just didn’t think poetry was for me, wasn’t sure that I liked it all that much, the work of Langston Hughes and Shel Silverstein being notable exceptions. And then a few years ago I read Amy Krouse Rosenthal’s 2005 memoir Encyclopedia of An Ordinary Life.

In it she mentions that Kenneth Koch’s You Want a Social life, With Friends is her favorite poem and told a funny story about meeting its author. I read it over and over again, and the next time I was at work, I made a too-dark photocopy and hung it on my fridge.

You Want a Social Life, With Friends resonated with me. I was someone who was chronically lonely, felt confused and like a failure when it came to her career. I was absolutely convinced that “everybody else” had managed to master having fulfilling work, romantic love, and meaningful friendships. I did take solace in Koch’s assertion that “What’s true is of these three you may have two and two can pay you dividends but never may have three.” So, all I had to do – like the Disney villain I am deep in my cold, dark heart – was sit back and wait for my friends and acquaintances to suffer some loss, of a lover, of a job, of friends, because no one can have it all; look, I have proof!

I didn’t really want anyone I knew and liked to lose anything. But I desperately wanted all three for myself, and the poem was a reminder that life is full of sacrifice and compromise and comes without guarantee. Of anything. I remember feeling a chill of foreboding each time I read it after first finding it. I’d find some way to have all three, dammit! I’d beat the odds!

Now, here I am, 35 years old, feeling as lonely as ever; feeling as unfulfilled at work as I hoped to never be.

Part of me believes that there is still hope. That if I can maybe put myself on a writing schedule, something will come of my questionable talent. My current job may even allow me to pursue a second bachelor’s degree in professional writing for cheap or free. The work piece could potentially, someday come together. Maybe.

As far as love and friends? My hope meter is running on empty. Over the summer I did things that made me think “This. This is the moment when the pendulum swung to the other side with such force that I don’t think I’ll be able to move it back.” I let people borrow money, I stopped wearing contacts, and I went on a solo vacation. These events signaled to me that I was barreling towards spinsterhood at a frightening speed.

The money thing was a mistake. I should have known better. I’ve watched enough “Judge Judy” to know that owed money will destroy relationships despite one’s best efforts. Not only have I stopped asking for the money, I’ve stopped communicating with the people who benefited from my foolishness. I don’t think that they’ve noticed. And to be fair, I was – I am – seething under the surface, trying to hide my resentment, my disappointment, how used I feel. I didn’t tell them about my feelings. I didn’t hound them for the cash.

“It’s not fair,” I thought. “They have families and lovers and close friendships and now my money.” I was in communication with them until September, when the people in question suddenly stopped their correspondence. I hoped that I’d hear from them on or around my birthday; they owed me at least that much. I heard nothing. The idea of initiating contact with them makes my heart pound, my gut churn, my hands tremble. The realization that I lent the money with so many invisible strings attached makes me feel ashamed.

How is this a sign of my spinsterhood? I’m like the rich old aunt that never married, who eats store-brand canned soup and has to make it home in time to watch “Jeopardy!”. No one comes around until holiday time, because they know Auntie gives the best gifts, the poor sucker. “I mean, she’s got nobody, hardly any expenses. What does she need all that money for anyway? I’ll send her a card.” The card never comes. I open another can of chicken and rice and set up the TV tray in the living room. Alex Trebek always was a handsome man.

So that’s two friends I’ll never hear from again, or am doomed to have awkward, sporadic contact with when they feel like paying Auntie a pity visit.

The contacts thing and the vacation thing happened simultaneously. I planned a last minute, somewhat haphazardly planned vacation to St. Lucia. I’d never been out of the country alone before and I knew that if I waited until someone could go with me, I’d never travel. I spent five lonely days at a luxury spa. The island was beautiful, the weather lovely, the people damn nice. My tour guide hit on me; it was really uncomfortable, especially considering he did it after telling me that Tyler Perry movies send necessary messages of ‘warning’ to those wacky black women that want to be independent and self-sufficient and in charge.

I met two nice English ladies old enough to be my mother, one also named Ambrosia. We chatted a bit and shared one night of cocktails and a meal together, then spent the rest of the time awkwardly waving to each other across the resort. I was seated at the communal table for other solo travelers on some other night and had an Asian-fusion four course meal with a lady elementary school principal from Canada. It was both better and worse than it sounds.

There was a young, fat, attractive American girl I hoped to befriend. She was alone, was wearing a fatkini, kept her nose in a book. The fact that she made bold fashion choices and liked to read had me sold. She never noticed my smiles, which in all the sunlight and happiness surrounding me may have made it look like I had a bad case of indigestion. I was too chicken to go over and say hello.

On my second day there, I realized that I’d left my contact lens case somewhere in America. I’d recently purchased new, large, bold frames, but have always felt ugly in glasses. I can’t see without either contacts or glasses, so I had no choice. I had to feel ugly for four days in paradise.

I never bothered to renew my lens prescription. I’ve been wearing my trendy glasses full-time since August. On one had, with my nose ring and natural hair, I’m at times convinced that I look okay. Like maybe I know people that live in Brooklyn or smoke weed out of decorative glass pipes or am vegan.

But then other times I’ll catch my reflection in some shiny surface when I’m off guard or try to take a selfie and the person I see looking back at me is a sexless nerd, who read in her hotel room in a foreign, tropical country; who got suckered into lending substantial amounts of money in the hopes that somebody would love her best; who sat and watched other people dance on the last night of her vacation, wearing her ill-fitting glasses while a stray cat took pity on her and kept her company.

I don’t really like that person so much.

She reeks of desperation. Her bug-eyed stare screams “I want a social life, with friends! A passionate love life, and to work hard every day!” I wonder which one of us screams the loudest.

Triage.

12 Aug

My needs have not been met.

I feel like a jerk for dwelling so much on the fact that a big part of the life that I dreamed about may not come true, which is weird, since I haven’t even had two weeks to process it. I suppose I feel this way because I’ve been under the impression that I’m to just suck it up and move on when it comes to the little tragedies and heartaches I’ve faced.

It has started to dawn on me that I’ve been trying to function for years and basically failing and beating myself up about it. I just couldn’t understand why I couldn’t simply be normal and thin and do laundry and put on makeup and make my bed and pack a lunch and be on time and take showers and not scream at my parents and stop fantasizing about killing myself until I finally realized that I’ve been wandering around throughout life for the last decade plus three years with a gaping, festering wound that hasn’t been properly dealt with while adding other wounds around it that don’t fully heal and it truly is a wonder that I’m anywhere at all.

I’ve tried to make people understand the screaming void I feel inside, going without any sort of physical intimacy or love for more than a decade. And it isn’t just about the lack of sex. I see single people who’ve gone without sex for a very long time but have children, and perhaps I’m making a huge and incorrect assumption, but I don’t believe that they suffer in the same way because they can hold their child and kiss their child and feel that incomparable parent/child love and know that they are needed and wanted. I imagine that this is not the case for everyone, but it is still something that I do not and possibly will never have.

To never have been held out of romantic love, to go without feeling someone’s lips against mine, a hand in my own; to not feel the pleasure that another’s body can bring mine and to not know if my body can do the same, to continue to go on without these common human experiences year after year after year and to be expected to feel okay and to function normally? I’m starting to figure that that may have been an expectation too great for me to meet.

Perhaps it would be different if we were talking about three years instead of thirteen. Maybe if there had been a kind and gentle lover or two for me to look back on and fondly remember instead of one man-child whose pleasure was derived from the pain he caused me.

How do I make anyone understand what it does to my feelings of self-worth to admit that the only man to see my naked body mocked it? The only words he uttered were meant to criticize and deliver his displeasure? “Find your beauty from within!” everyone screams! “No one is going to love you if you don’t love yourself!” “There is more to life than sex and relationships! By the way, did I tell you all about the fabulous sex I’m having in my feminist, kink-positive, poly-amorous relationship?”

I would just like someone, for once in all this time, to acknowledge my wounds. I don’t want to be handed anymore band-aids or children’s Tylenol in the form of “Well, let’s redo your Match.com profile!” or “What you need to do is organize your closets.” I need wound care. I need stitches and sutures and cauterization. I need major treatment.

I don’t want to hear that no one knew what was going on; that they couldn’t have helped me because I didn’t say anything. The Ambrosia most people knew died 13 years ago and a zombie has been walking around in her place. I don’t know if there’s anything that can bring her back. She’s probably a long lost cause. But I’m here. Try with me.

When I was around, I don’t know, 22, 23 years old, and the wounds were far more fresh, before the gangrene had started to set in, I went to a counselor on my college campus. A black woman. She’d understand me. She’d see the blood, the tears in my flesh, how the wound wasn’t clotting even after two or three years. I don’t know how far how I got with my story. I was telling her about Christmas, about the gifts he’d demanded, and how I’d nervously driven all over the state to make sure I found each thing on the list, worried about what psychological trauma he’d inflict on me if I failed. I might have even told her about my visit to the emergency room in the middle of the night that he wouldn’t take me to. “If you’re gonna go, you’re going alone” he’d growled. She’d rolled her eyes and thrown her hands up in the air. “He was a 19 year-old boy” she interrupted. “That’s how 19 year-old boys are. I mean, really, what did you expect?” That I years later dated and was rejected by her son only added insult to injury.

Though I don’t want the focus to be all on him, I do want it to be understood how hard it is to feel normal and unbroken when the last relationship you’ve had and the only physical intimacy you’ve known is with someone who was so cruel to you, no matter their age. I can’t believe it took me this long to figure out that this has been the black cloud I’ve been under for so long. And every time someone said that boyfriends and sex were overrated and that I didn’t want one anyway and did I really want children and that I had to focus on loving myself and that I wasn’t trying hard enough to meet people and maybe it was because I went natural or put on weight or didn’t smile enough or lived in the wrong city, they dug their dirty finger deep into my wound when they should have wrapped their arms around me and said “I’m sorry. I’m sorry. It’s not your fault. You need to heal. You need to rest. ”

In the meantime, does it mean that while I heal, I must still go without physical, emotional, and sexual intimacy? Do I have to continue to starve? When you starve a thing it dies and I’m afraid that my ability to give and express love and intimacy is in fact dying.

In the meantime, while I heal, can I be brought back to life?

Retrospect.

8 Aug

I was struggling with what to write about tonight. I decided to take what was originally an answer to a question I received on Tumblr about what my first “real” relationship was like and repost an edited and expanded version of my answer below:

I’d had lots and lots of boyfriends before I met He Who Shall Not Be Named, but I “lost” my virginity to him. I was away at college and we lived in the same dorm, so that added an additional “grown up” element to the whole mess because no parents were around.

I was 19 when I started dating him and 20 when I lost my virginity. I’d grown up in a very religious household and really wanted to wait until I got married to have sex. He basically threatened and coerced me into having sex with him. There were elements that I realized years later that were kind of rapey. But once he “talked me into it” – by quoting Telly’s lines to me from the movie “Kids” which I realized with a sickening clarity while he laughed as he made me watch it after one of the first few times we had sex – I continued to sleep with him because I thought I loved him and wanted to keep him interested in me.

I was a MESS myself when we were dating: suffering from untreated depression, totally directionless in college, my dad was fighting cancer. I feel like he preyed on my weakness. He’d isolate me from my friends and family and tell me that they didn’t understand me; only he did. He told me things like “Love is an illusion” and other nonsense that basically meant “I am going to cheat on you often and generally treat you very badly.” Other girls would come to his dorm room, where I was practically living, day and night. He even tried, and failed, to set it up to have me and his ex-girlfriend fist fight over him in front of our dorm for the entire student body to witness. He did this by forging letters, arranging secret meetings. He thought he was in a Nazi spy drama.

He’d tell me that I was spoiled and “bougie” and that I needed to “learn my place”. He thought it was funny to hit and pinch and slap me to the point where I was crying from the pain. He hit me twice out of anger, once in the face. He threw me down the porch stairs in front of his house during an argument. When he bit a chunk of my flesh from the back of my hand to keep me quiet during a movie I was having a hard time following, I simply wiped away the blood and obeyed. He wanted me to do “wife” things like cook for him, clean for him, take care of him when he was sick. When I did them, he’d ridicule me and tell me I did it all wrong and that I was worthless. If I did something “right” he was surprised.

I’d pretty much shut out everyone from my life at his recommendation (translation: orders), but when I’d try to talk to him about how deeply depressed I was, he’d laugh and say I was crazy, that I was one of those nuts that wore aluminum foil helmets and heard voices.

Basically, he was cruel, he was a drunk, and he loved the way he was and did not love me. He showed me who he was right from the beginning and I chose to ignore it, thinking things with me would be “different”. I’d change him. He’d love me. We’d live happily ever after. We did not. I did not. He broke up with me over the phone; he’d simply tired of me just shy of a year. I’d served my purpose. He had no use for me anymore.

From what I gather, he’s doing just fine. I haven’t seen or spoken to him in 13 years. He was in the military, I think, and may now be a cop, maybe even for the NYPD. He has a child. If I remember correctly, these were things that he really, really wanted. He got what he wanted.

I wonder if he ever got what he deserved.

Death and taxes.

22 Apr

“Certainty? In this world nothing is certain but death and taxes.”

-Benjamin Franklin

There was a time when men were kind. And their voices were soft. And their words inviting. There was a time when the doctor prescribed Adderall. And the world was a song. And the song was exciting (as were most things when one is on Adderall). There was a time. Then it all went wrong.

I have felt this way on the inside for a good. . . two thirty years or so. If only I could feel that thin on the inside too. I mean, the inside is where it counts, right? Source

Okay, okay, so I’m mad late with the whole “Les Miserables” movie craze – Was it a craze? I mean, I saw the movie three times, twice in the theater; saw the show once on Broadway; watched the 25th anniversary concert probably 10 times or so, and regularly sing the soundtrack in the shower, but “craze” is a strong word. – but haven’t we all felt like a starving, hairless, toothless, altogether desperate, 19th century French prostitute dying of consumption?

It can’t be just me. I can’t be the only one who thinks that “I Dreamed a Dream” accurately sums up all my internal, narcissistic misery. I thought that God would be forgiving! I was once young and unafraid! Some dick took my childhood in his stride. . .  when  I was 20. Tigers probably do come at night, which is why I don’t ever want to go to a jungle or to a poorly supervised overnight at a zoo! And life has officially killed every motherfucking dream I’ve dreamed. Also, can we all agree that yes, Anne Hathaway is very talented, but still REALLY easy to hate just because. . .  everything? Okay, great, thanks.

*****************************************************************************************************************************************************************************

So like the responsible adult I am, I went and had my taxes done. I’ve gone to the same woman for a few years except for the Turbo Tax Conundrum of ’08. I like her. She’s competent and knowledgeable and chatty and personable. It’s never a surprise to me that a great deal of my appointment is spent looking at pictures of her grandkids or exchanging recipes. She’s just that kind of person. On this visit, I must have made a comment about my weight and how it’s gross, a bad habit I’ve been using as a crutch when I run into people I haven’t seen in a while. I  haven’t been quite this big in a few years, so I always try to jump the gun by saying something along the lines of “Hi ______! Great to see you! How’s things? Oh, that’s wonderful! Oh, me? Well, I gained a ton of weight, and I’m still single and childless! And get this, I’ve been living with my parents since September! Can you believe it?!? Can you?!? CAN YOU?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!” It’s important to me that people know that I know what the hell I look like and that I am wholly aware that I probably didn’t look this way the last time I saw them. If they’re going to talk about me behind my back, it’s not going to be about how delusional or deep in denial I am. Well, not about my physical appearance anyway.

I made some comment about my weight and how I was going to start working out again and blah-blah-blah-I’m fat-blah-blah-blah, and then she mentions that she lost 38 pounds two years ago and everything was going great; she was on Weight Watchers and walking miles a day and then her daughter was killed in a car accident and she gained back 45 pounds and now she wants to die. She gasped “I hate myself!”, put her face in her hands and started to cry. I was flabbergasted, as she told me all of this pretty much exactly as I’ve written it here. I started to cry too. I probably shouldn’t mention this as I’m pretty sure that most of my readers are people who know me in real life and I don’t want anyone freaking out or being weird with me, but mention it I shall: I cried because of the obvious pain she was in from losing her child, of course. I also cried because it made me think of my own parents and how hurt they’d be if I decided to end it all, which is something I’ve kept in my back pocket as an option for years now. It’s my escape plan. I was going to do it if nothing improved by the time I hit 25, then I pushed it off to 30, and now I’ve realized that suicide is SUPER inconvenient for me for a ton of reasons not limited to my commitment to “Love and Hip-Hop: Atlanta”, but I’ve got a 35-37 age range floating around in my twisted brain as a just-in-case. But seeing somebody’s parent weep in the middle of an H&R Block over the death of their child made me replace her face with my mom’s and I felt awful. I reached for her hand and held it for a while. She apologized; I asked her what for. She showed me pictures of her dead daughter’s child and husband and offered me some Pirate’s Booty. I declined.

After the appointment, I thought a lot about what had transpired between us. She shared quite a lot with me; her son-in-law is remarrying in a few months and she doesn’t know how she’s going to make it through the wedding. Her husband has never been more loving or thoughtful or romantic, even though she’s fat (her words); she’s going on her first vacation in years to see her best friend and they’ll spend every day on the beach. Because I am a narcissist, I thought a lot about myself too. I thought about the fact that if I died, that would be it for my parents. There would be nobody left. Neither of them have siblings; as I’ve mentioned over and over and over again, I have no children or husband. I was so sad for them. I wept, blasting Maxwell’s “Lifetime”, my go to “My life is OVAH!” song, through my car stereo as I drove around town, mourning my own death that hasn’t happened yet. And then I got angry.

I was angry that I couldn’t ever kill myself without causing irrevocable damage to my parents. I was angry that my only escape from a life plagued by depression and crippling loneliness was no longer, was never an option. I was angry that I’d let myself get fat and cut my hair, making me invisible and undateable. I was angry that my parents couldn’t have had just one other kid so all of this pressure to make them happy didn’t fall on my shoulders. I was angry that the nice H&R Block lady with the dead daughter hated her body, because I was pretty damn sure that mine was bigger than hers, and if hers makes her hate herself, what must she feel when she looks at me? I was angry that I was angry at the nice H&R Block lady with the dead daughter. I was angry that Maxwell won’t ever finish his blacksummer’snight trilogy. I was angry that I will always be alone and there isn’t any escaping it.

I went to the gym after driving around and crying. I’d made an appointment with a personal trainer because I’m serious about trying to make my body smaller and hopefully, healthier, and wanted to get going right away. When I got there, a disheveled, trembling man with long, greasy hair introduced himself as the man who’d be “training” me that day. He seemed familiar to me, but it wasn’t until I left that I realized who he made me think of:

I met Uncle Rico. He has not aged well and knows very little about weight training. Source.

The experience was pretty terrible. Uncle Rico wouldn’t make eye contact with me and I started to think he wasn’t physically capable, and I felt terrible that I was annoyed by what may have been outside of his control. He kept telling me that I had “great form” whilst he looked in the opposite direction as I pretended to use what was essentially an Ab Roller. Eventually, I told him that I was pretty sure I could figure out the rest of the equipment myself and that I’d like to do some cardio. I thanked him for his “help”, shook his hand, and sprinted to the nearest treadmill.

I hadn’t paid any attention to which treadmill I picked. I was overcome with anxiety and just wanted to get away from the weight area and the stares of the South American men in street clothes lounging on the benches. It took me a few moments to realize that I’d chosen a treadmill directly in front of a mirror. I stared at myself as I attempted to walk/jog for the first time in probably two years, and I didn’t like what I saw. I was the heaviest person in the gym. I was the only person there alone, except for maybe Uncle Rico, but he worked there. All around me were families, couples, and friends, yelling over the noise of the machines in Spanish and Portuguese while I huffed and puffed alone. Between the heartbreaking experience of filing my taxes and the seemingly futile exercise of. . .  exercise, I lost it. I cried as I walk/jogged for 20 minutes in the middle of a downtown YMCA. It was probably the only time I’ve been thankful to be fat and out of shape; I was sweating so much from my forehead that it was impossible to tell that I was weeping. The expression on my face is always that miserable.

I went home and soaked in an Epsom salt bath because I read on some skinny idiot’s blog that it’s supposed to pull all of the toxins out of my body that are making me fat and depressed. I avoided my parents because I was still angry at them for keeping me alive against my will and for not being able to give me the baby brother or bitch older sister of my dreams. I spent the rest of the night lurking on Instagram and Tumblr, making myself feel absolutely worse as I watched the evidence of the greatness of the lives of everyone else scroll by.

I will go back to H&R Block next year. I will go back to the nice lady with the dead daughter. I will try to remember to not mention my body, though I hope that next year’s version of Ambrosia will be streamlined and pocket-sized and I won’t have to. I hope that the nice lady will find happiness and peace by this time next year, even if her grief is still sitting in the back of her throat just waiting to be let out. As for me, I guess I’d like to find happiness and peace too. And a different escape plan.

Eggs in one basket.

20 Mar

It was SUPER weird seeing the wonderful Joy Nash in the opening. . . fat joke. . . on “The Mindy Project” this week. I love her, both of the hers, actually, but there was so much about the scene and the “humor” in it that made me want to punch my thin mom more than I usually do.

ANYHOODLE, it’s been a while, huh? I’ve been crazy depressed and junk, so while I had a ton of HILARIOUS posts floating around my brain, I couldn’t muster up the energy to write them in between binge eating, sleeping, and not sleeping. One of the things I’ve come to love about having depression is the constant thinking that accompanies the weeping and screaming at loved ones and staunch belief that life is a cruel joke punctuated by broken dreams and interactions with terrible people. I’ve thought a lot about the stuff that’s happened recently that I didn’t believe would ever actually happen, so I figured I’d write about it passive-aggressively, semi-anonymously, in list form, on the Internet. And awaaaay weee gooo:

Things I Didn’t Believe Would Happen But Ended Up Happening (non-exhaustive list):

  • That a friendship with a decade younger performer-type person that was also a work subordinate would not only end, but end badly. Note to self: the phrases “We have so much in common!” and “We are going to be such dear friends!” will foreshadow an ugly turn of events, particularly when uttered by those that pretend for a living.
  • That I’d be knocking on the door of 300lbs. Okay, perhaps I’m exaggerating A TID, but I am certainly running late on my way to its house.
  • That my friends would rally around an asshole who thought blackface (yup, still not over that) was a great idea, subsequently shunning me, a person with YEAR-ROUND blackface. (Also, I left this part out originally because I’m a sucker who thought this would all work out much differently and didn’t want to be “too mean”, but that dickass had the audacity to compare his tasteless, thoughtless, inherently racist BULLSHIT to Sir Ben Kingsley playing “Ghandi”. God, it feels good to finally reveal that on a blog that everyone has stopped reading months ago.)
  • That I’d not only have more money in my savings than I do in my checking account, but that it’d be THOUSANDS of dollars more. Look, something positive!
  • That I’d inadvertently make wardrobe choices/have wardrobe preferences that would result in my dressing like the bastard love child of Mr. Rogers and Zach Galifianakis and be sort of really okay with that. A SECOND positive!
  • That in 2013 I’d be somewhat obsessed with Justin Timberlake. And also maybe Beyonce but I’ll never admit it.
  • That I’d want to know how many eggs I have left so I can plan accordingly.

When I say eggs, I don’t mean the kind that come in a cardboard box and are delicious hard boiled and eaten with green olives. I’m talking about my baby makin’ eggs all up in my lady box. My ovaries. As I do with most things, I decided to take my cue from television. It all started years ago; the thought was first planted in my pea-brain when Miranda’s gynecologist declared that she only had one working ovary. Most recently, it was the episode “Eggs” from this season of “The New Girl” in which Jess and CeCe take a blood test that will determine whether or not they can continue to fart around about their feelings for Nick Miller or should panic and enter into an arranged marriage even though they are probably still in love with Schmidt, but since network television finds brown-on-brown love relationships silly, hilarious, and terrifying, that storyline will fade and weird, vaguely racist sex with him will start up again before the season ends.

I was hoping that this blood test that determines the amount of reserve eggs a woman has wouldn’t actually exist outside of TV Land and that my gyno would condescendingly chuckle and pat my hand when nervously I asked her about it, but it’s for real and I went and got it. Last week, what appeared to be a 15-year-old boy took a few vials of my blood so that I could learn incomplete information that I would be able to do little, if anything, about.

I discovered during the research (a five-minute Google search) I conducted for this post (but not before having the blood test, ’cause that would have been silly!) that though this test can tell a curious broad like myself how many eggs are floating around in my – Uterus? Vagina? Eh, let’s go with liver -, it cannot determine what kind of shape they’re in. So it could be like when I was still living alone and would have three partially full egg cartons in the fridge: lots of quantity, but low quality, since two of those cartons were at least a year old. Maybe my liver will be overflowing with ovaries, but who knows whether or not they’re still fresh and will be delicious scrambled?

I never thought I’d be the kind of woman to worry about this sort of thing, considering the fact that my having the option to reproduce seems to be as likely as my being Blue Ivy’s babysitter, but I found myself starting to wonder. I don’t want to offend anybody or whatever (honestly, I don’t care, but figured a nice, normal person would start by writing that), but I find the idea of choosing to parent without a partner because you think time’s running out and you want your “chance” to be a mother dumb as shit, and yes I’m looking at you, Ann Perkins. I NEVER thought I’d be a woman who would even consider that life because kids are expensive and annoying and it takes a village to totally screw up their lives. I figured if I never married, I’d never have kids. And yet. . .

I find a tiny part of myself believing the lie that will make seasons of “16 and Pregnant” and  “Teen Mom” continue on into perpetuity: no one likes/loves me, I want someone to like/love me (forever), so I’ll have a baby. I want my parents to have the opportunity to rub my face in how cool and fun and awesome they’re likely to be as grandparents. I want to know what some kid of mine will look like, particularly whether or not it’ll inherit my sweet potato pie face and googly eyes. I want to complain about how exhausted I am to my childless friends and make them feel guilty and lonely and left out and useless. I. . . um. . . want my chance to be a mom before time runs out.

Or do I? I don’t know. Really, I don’t. I’m pretty damn sure that I don’t want to do it without a husband. But I also don’t want to spend my life wondering “What if?”.

I’ve been home sick all week, with a mysterious combination of symptoms that have made me believe that I’ll die before Easter and that the only thing my body is capable of producing is poop, sorrow, and occasional vomit. You can imagine my surprise when a VERY excited nurse called to tell me that not only do I have plenty of eggs in my liver, I’ve got more than the normal amount. I fucking aced that test with extra credit and everything. I’m the valedictorian of the ovary reserve school. I thought learning the “good news” would encourage me to take a shower and do a load of laundry once I can walk and stand again and log on to Match and see what Creature from the Black Lagoon has made my profile his favorite this month. But other than a brief feeling of relief, I didn’t have much of a reaction at all. I mean, it’s kind of like finding out that you’ve won a lifetime supply of eggs from Costco, but oh, P.S., to keep things interesting the expiration dates on the cartons are blacked out, you’ve got no room in the fridge for them, and somebody stole all your frying pans and ripped your stove out from the wall. So yeah, you’ve got all these eggs, but what the hell are you supposed to do with them?

What indeed.

What’s so ‘no’ about no?

13 Dec

See? ‘No’ is so easy to say that a group of middle-aged men got together and wrote a song about it and then had pretty teenaged black girls sing it. Source

I fear that when I return to my currently godforsaken place of employment in 14 hours and 22 minutes that I will have the living shit embarrassed out of me. Yes, more than usual. Here’s why:

Over the summer, a handsome man began to appear fairly regularly at the old jobby-job. In my line of work (and no, I’m not going to come out and tell you what it is) I deal with a lot of students so I just assumed he was one. All the women save for one sensible and fabulous young lady lost their minds whenever he came in. They went crazy for good reason. Picture Jason Statham’s younger, taller, balder, hotter, vaguely Puerto Rican looking brother and you’ve got this guy. I tried my best to keep my cool because I hate attractive people that KNOW they’re attractive and try to capitalize on said attractiveness and I judge attractive people with a harshness that sometimes frightens me. But not for long.

See, I figure if you look that good, something has got to be hella wrong with you. I won’t put the fault(s) I ultimately find on blast. Usually. They’re more for my own peace of mind. Since I didn’t find any right away in Jason 2.0, I figured he had to be stupid or a dick or a stupid dick and he’d show his true self eventually. Because most men and especially conventionally attractive men look past, beyond, and/or through me, Jason 2.0 didn’t phase me at first. The giggling, panting, trembling mess that I used to call my staff and coworkers wanted to know his name, so I said “Hey, what’s your name?” complete with the thug’s chin tilt and everything. They wanted to know what he did so I says to him, I says “And whattya do?” He told me while The Mess looked on like a bunch of baby deer. And that was that. Jason 2.0 was just another human male type person with a nice face. And body. Not that I was looking. Ahem.

Then his visits became more and more frequent. He was always smiling and so personable, even with me. He remembered my name. He was friendly. And I could feel my cold, dead heart start to thaw. Based on his line of work he couldn’t be THAT stupid. He had proven to be kind, even when I was a total bitch and wouldn’t give him the 20 binder clips he asked for, afraid that he was trying to pull one over on me with his handsomeness. I gave him 12 and made a big deal about it. He smiled and was polite through the whole thing.

Even though Jason 2.0 was shaving his head to disguise male pattern baldness and appeared to be wearing at least some obviously fake or heavily repaired teeth, he was still beautiful, relatively smart, and kind. I felt like a troll in his presence and made myself scarce when he came around, answering in one syllable grunts when forced into conversation with him. He had proven to be a damn near flawless attractive person which made me feel all the more ugly by comparison.

Eventually, the tide started to turn when I noticed an ever present goofiness about his personality. I’ve always been drawn to men who are basically floppy puppies in human form and he seemed to be a very eager Golden Retriever, with his big smile and enthusiasm and loud, excited talking. And maybe did I notice him looking at me, like he actually saw me as a woman and not some angry blob keeping him from the binder clips? I started to come out of my shell and actually smile at Jason 2.0 and stay in the room when he entered it. I started to think that maybe he was a safe person to like who might possibly like me back.

So I did what any girl would do to show interest in a potentially special person: I eavesdropped and I lied. While busy with other tasks I listened as he shared his Thanksgiving plans with a coworker, noting his ever present excitement over his favorite team playing on the holiday. I was unwilling to watch the actual game but made sure to find out if they won. They did, and the next time I saw him made a point of grunt-whispering (my specialty!) “Hey, your team won.”

The look on his face was so. . . bright, I guess, that you’d have thought I’d handed him season tickets. “You remembered!” he gasped. I turned red and farted out a “Yeah.” And you wonder why I’m single.

He then asked me sports-type questions and I felt my eyes start to glaze over. I initially told the truth, sort of, saying that I hadn’t watched the game as I didn’t like either team. He asked me who I did like and I lied and told him who my dad likes, as taste in sports teams seems to be genetically inherited and/or geographically based. He “reminded” me about an upcoming game between his team and “mine” and rattled off facts and figures I tried to listen to. I then shouted out names that I hoped had something to do with the sport and we had a friendly rivalry going. I had something to talk to Jason 2.0 about.

I felt particularly brave after all the fibbing I did about being a sports fan, so I sent him an email telling him how excited I was that my team was going to destroy his and thanked him for the chat. He wrote back the next day, writing that he’d be watching the game with friends who liked my team and like to “talk junk” and could see that junk-talking was right up my alley. He ended his message by stating it was always a pleasure chatting with me.

For a minute I thought that maybe I could become a sports fan. I looked up stats and read about the rivalry between the teams. It didn’t take, but I tried. His team beat “mine” by one point. I couldn’t wait for him to stop in so we could resume our good-natured teasing.

He didn’t and I was a bit disappointed, but it’s a busy time of year in our line of work so I thought I’d be brave and reply to his message. I told him I expected him to come in and brag about his team’s win, but figured he hadn’t since a one point win wasn’t anything to brag about. I then wrote the unthinkable: “Hey, would you like to get a coffee or a drink or something with me?”

And here’s where the title of this post comes in. He hasn’t written back. I haven’t seen him either. He came in looking for me on Monday, telling a coworker he had to talk to me about something and for a chunk of time much larger than I’d like to admit I was excited and hopeful. He was looking for me? He has to talk to me about something? I was ready to pick out flatware until it dawned on me: if his answer was yes, he would have written back something along the lines of “Sure. Where and when?” He’s looking for me to tell me no.

I don’t know what it is that makes ‘no’ such a no for men. Maybe it is for women too but I don’t care about them (In this context. There, is that better?). All of my unanswered messages sent on Match.com. The guy a friend tried to set me up with who wouldn’t write back to my message of “Hello! You sound great! Hope to meet ya?” The dork who took me on six dates and spent hours of valuable phone and email time that he could have spent masturbating to his Star Wars action figure collection. Why couldn’t ANY of them just say ‘no’?

Now this ding dong is gonna come all up in my job tomorrow to tell me how he’s flattered, but oh, he just couldn’t. Hey mastermind; you could have saved us both a heap of trouble and sent this to me in a got dang email three to six days ago. Did it never occur to this nincompoop that I might be getting my hopes along with my BMI up? Why would you wait to dash a bitch’s dreams of caressing your bald head? And why would you do it in person?

I guess I should be touched that he’s doing it at all considering my track record. But I’m not because up until about seven hours ago I was delusional enough to think that he was coming in tomorrow to tell me ‘yes’ until I realized how dumb that would be, waiting a week to deliver good news. There’s a reason motherfuckers never fire workers on Monday. Those sadistic bastards get their rocks off from the wait and the week’s worth of labor. The “nice” ones are simply trying to avoid the inevitable.

I am going to get fired by a handsome-ass man tomorrow. I don’t think he’s going to offer me a severance package.

“But Ambrosia, couldn’t you be wrong? What if he did want to wait and say yes and make plans in person?” you ask. Dear reader, don’t be ridiculous. What in my history would make you think that? Remember, my last surprise was some douchenozzle I called a friend decked out in blackface. Jason 2.0 showing up to my job slathered in shoe polish is more likely than him coming to say ‘yes’ to my coffee or whatever date.

**************************************************************************************************************************************************************************

It’s now the tomorrow I was so fearful of above. There’s an hour left till I go wait in line to see The Hobbit by myself  am finished with work and there has been no sign of Jason 2.0. Actually, I can’t say that with complete certainty as I made sure to busy myself in a remote area far from my desk during the time that he usually arrives. Yes, I am a chicken.

That still doesn’t change my frustration. I’ve mentioned before ’round these parts how hurtful being ignored is. To not even deem me worthy of a response is maybe the shittiest thing ever, second only to the explosive diarrhea caused by a BK Veggie Burger. Or so says a friend of mine.

The worst part is that based on his profession he is supposed to be at least a little bit skilled in the art of interpersonal interaction. Did I miss the study that found that people respond more favorably to being ignored and possibly avoided than to be simply told “No thanks. I’m not interested/dating someone/married/involved in a plot to castrate Justin Bieber and can’t really focus on dating anyone right now.”?

I don’t know. I don’t have anything else to say that I haven’t already said before. Dating while me SUCKS.

On staying positive when everyone thinks you suck.

7 Sep

I dunno. I typed “online dating makes me want to die” in Google Images and this picture came up. Source

So, I got drunk and signed up for Match.com. Again.

I’ve only been on for a week and I’m already losing hope. I’ve read skimmed a number of self-help books on dating and they all said the same thing about online dating: RUN, BITCH, RUN!

No, all the books said that women will be inundated with emails and messages from potential suitors. However, if their inbox stays empty, it means that they are fat, or ugly, or fat and ugly (or possibly came across as boring, stupid, or crazy in their profile, but we all know that 99% of men aren’t actually reading a word in anyone’s profile). Guess what condition my inbox is in? If you guessed that my inbox is a lot like my other box, you guessed right. I’m pretty sure I just saw a tumbleweed fall out of my underwear. It’s probably on its way to meet up with its cousin from my email account at Match.com. They go there to hang out and laugh at me.

I’ve received exactly one email since joining. I’ve received four ‘winks’, which is a nonsensical method for indecisive weirdos to tell other weirdos that they’re “interested” without actually bothering to write something. Three of those winks were from men who looked to be about my father’s age, though they claimed to be younger. One of the men appeared to have some sort of tooth and gum disease. The fourth man was a lesbian.

Two men liked one of the nine pictures I posted to my profile. One of them didn’t post any pictures and hadn’t bothered to answer any of the questions, including the ones with preset responses, like height and body type. The other guy looked like a murderer. He also hadn’t answered any questions other than claiming to be 6’4 and 41 years old. He posted one shot of himself unsmiling in front of a wall of graffiti. He had on a jacket, tie, and blazer, a ball cap cocked to the side, humungous dark shades, baggy jeans and sneakers. The little I could see of his face was set in an ugly scowl and covered in mysterious scars. The next two pictures he posted were of him in the same outfit, wearing the same menacing expression, but this time dragging a similarly dressed toddler by the hand, seemingly against his will (his AND the toddler’s) down an abandoned street. How fun! An action shot!

I always write a quick but gracious note or send a polite ‘thanks, but no thanks!’ response generated by Match to all the serial killers in training that take the time to contact me. As my adult life has been utterly filled with rejection, I know that it certainly hurts, but that being ignored is far more infuriating. I mean really, how dare you? You can’t even bother to send an email that says “You’re too ugly for me to consider fucking, but good luck out there”? I’m so beneath your time and effort that even acknowledging that I found you and your profile interesting through a three-word email (“Thanks, but no.”) is too much of a strain for your delicate fingers? What, you’ve got women lined up around the block, stacked one on top of the other in your bedroom and you couldn’t get through the throng of admirers tearing off their bras to reach your laptop? Look, dickwad, we all spent a nonrefundable $100.00 because we aren’t getting laid in the real world. No one is checking for us. Unless you’re one of those utter assholes that is so busy and attractive and successful that you “don’t have time” to date and your only hope for screening meeting people is by letting a website do the work for you. If you are or think you are one of these gems of humanity, go fuck yourself, hard, often, and well.

I realize that I sound a tad angry. I am angry. And hurt. And embarrassed. And hopeless. And out one hundred bucks in this shit economy. I’m mostly so upset because those books never say what you’re supposed to do if you’re one of the fat, ugly, boring, stupid, crazy women that no one who wasn’t recently released from prison will write or respond to. They’ll spend a paragraph telling you to lose weight (REALLY?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?! I hadn’t thought of that!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Thank you for pointing that out!!!!!! ERMAHGERD, it’s a good thing you put your wealth of knowledge on paper!!!!! How would humanity have CONTINUED if you hadn’t pointed out the obvious???????????????), pay to have your picture taken (But my local Glamour Shots is closed!), or have a friend look over your profile and “correct” it for you. Ha. My friends are a bunch of liars who tell me that I’m pretty and not fat in a bad way and smart and funny and that any guy would be lucky to have me. Those con artists have been blowing smoke up my ass for years; there’s no way in hell I’m getting any honest feedback from them. Except for the one who told me to read The Hunger Games. She’s BRUTAL, which is why I don’t ask her anything.

I’m just sad, man! I don’t want to die alone, man! All the chubby chaser websites are scary, man! My immediate solution is to search only for dudes who describe themselves as “heavyset”, Match.com’s kind descriptor for “My tits are bigger than yours”. I kid you not, out of all the non-smoking, social drinking, want-to-have-kids-someday people with penises that live 30 miles away from my zip code, only 16 of them were honest enough to describe themselves as heavyset. I had to add “stocky” and “a few extra pounds” to really get the fatties to come out and play. Hell, I’m on there telling half-truths myself by describing my body as “curvy”. I only picked that because they haven’t yet added “If I sit just so, I can feel my gunt (not a typo) resting ever so gently on my upper thighs, but you’d never know that if you saw me clothed” as an option.

I’m not particularly attracted to or repulsed by fat men. It all depends. No two fats are alike. I have no type. I see what I think I might like and then wait to see what kind of crap comes out of his mouth and then like him more or less if his teeth are nice and his brain seems to function properly. But I figure I might have better luck with the boys who are pre-diabetic, although we as a society lived through 10 years of “The King of Queens” and every romantic comedy starring Kevin James ever which makes your average Tub-O-Lard think he too deserves and can pull a hottie with a tight body who’ll be willing to resuscitate his ass once a fortnight.

Go to hell. Source

Hey, but it’s only been a week. Ariel insisted on writing the first draft of my profile and wrote “I’m cheerful and focused on the bright side of things”. I gave her major side eye and changed it to “I try to stay cheerful and focused on the bright side of things”. I initially thought it was an absurd statement to use to describe me. Cheerful? Bright side? The fact that I haven’t called Match headquarters and demanded a refund (Hey, I’ve done it. Ask eharmony.) and that I’m focusing on guys that “look like” me is proof that I do try. I created this place, this blog, as my sounding board, mostly because the co-pays for weekly therapy sessions really add up, but also because I want to make people laugh, even if it is at my expense. Look at that. Evidence of dormant cheerfulness and bright sided tendencies. Whodda thunk?

I just really want to be loved. And not 20 or 50-lbs. from now. Not when I’ve “learned to love myself”. I’m not dead or 300-lbs. I love myself, okay? I will even settle for a strong like coupled with some trips to the movies and light spanking. I just need some validation that I’m sort of okay looking and interesting and a living, breathing red-blooded woman from a man that won’t kill me or ruin my credit.

I will also settle for everything in the picture of Zach Galifianakis from “The Hangover 2”, but don’t let that get around. I don’t want people thinking I’m easy. Or that they can pay me in watermelon. Because that’s super racist.

Same boat.

14 Aug

Yeah. . . I wouldn’t want to be in that boat either. Source

Dictionary.com, one of my favorite websites (seriously), defines the idiom “in the same boat” as “in the same circumstances; faced with the same problems: The new recruits were all in the same boat.”

It’s a common phrase that those of us with some mastery of the English language probably throw around a lot. I’ve used it countless times I’m sure, but lately I’ve found its use towards me to be disturbing rather than offering the comfort that I think was intended by the speaker. If I am in the same boat with certain people, somebody pass me a life preserver and I’ll take my chances out at sea.

The first time I had to stop myself from audibly screaming out “You ain’t trapping me in a sinking ship with you!” was several hours after a family gathering. A relative was sharing the news of another’s engagement as we drove her home, and as I do with so many things, I made the conversation about me. I was happy for my family member, but felt like I was being once again left in the dust when it came to the milestones indicating a normal, healthy adulthood. The relative who shared the news with me has never been married. When I expressed my bittersweet feelings on the subject, rather than offering me the usual empty encouragements that a very single girl over 30 is bound to hear, my relative said the following: “You want to get married? I never married. Do I regret it? Well, yes, I suppose, when it comes to things like having to carry heavy packages or eating meals alone, but we’re smart, educated women. You and I are in the same boat. It may never happen for you, but so what? You’ll be just fine.”

I think I gagged a little when she said that. I didn’t want to be in the same boat with her. Her boat was leaky and lonely. She only had one broke-down oar to paddle with. The sails wouldn’t. . . sail (If you haven’t noticed, I know nothing about boats, ships, and/or sailing.).  I wanted her to tell me that I was on a jet ski racing off to the Island of Eligible Bachelors, not that I’d be “just fine” when and if I ended up like her. I’m pretty sure I cried after receiving my relative’s declaration. Those tears must have tasted particularly bitter because so far, my life is most like hers than anyone else in the family. The possibility of my being over 60 and still alone is creeping near; my relative is holding out her hand to me while I stand unsure and scared on the dock, ready to help me sail off into a lonely sunset.

Most recently, an old friend repeatedly mentioned that she and I were in the same boat. My old friend does not date and makes no effort to. In fact, she is contemplating swearing off any attempts at or offers of romantic relationships for the foreseeable future. My old friend isn’t one to talk about s-e-x, but I assume that if she did, she’d mention that she’d be just fine with never having it again. Ever. With anyone. Ever again. Forever. Yikes.

When she told me that she and I were in the same boat, at first I chuckled. Yeah, poor us. So unlucky in love. She’s the only person I know that is my age and knows what it’s like to go more than a decade without knowing the gentle touch of a man. It’s been years since she’s even been on a date. I yukked it up with her. Hell yeah we’re in the same boat! But the more she said it, the less funny it became. Did I really want to be in the same boat with someone who has given up on love? My old friend has plenty of justifiable reasons for her decision to swear off the opposite sex, but still. To not even try? And wait a minute. I’ve been trying. I’ve done online dating, I’ve gone speed dating, I’ve tolerated mediocre dates with men I wish I could forget. I’ve embarrassed myself by asking for sex because TV and well-meaning friends tricked me into thinking I’d get a ‘yes’ if I did. I can’t show my face in my local YMCA because I’ve tried (It’s not what you think, I swear!) so hard!

It’s not fair to be shoved into a boat where the captain (Skipper? Admiral? I don’t know.) has given up. The boat hasn’t even capsized, it’s just aimlessly meandering around and around, like a bathtub toy circling the drain. I understand that my old friend doesn’t want to halfheartedly row her ass to nowhere by herself, but that’s like telling a kid who studied for a test and failed that he’s just like the kid that didn’t even crack open the book. “I don’t know that shit. And you did just as bad as me.”

Maybe to some people I deserve my place in that boat next to my friend. I found myself having yet another bitch fest about my loneliness and frustration with Dick and Jane over dinner and I couldn’t shake the feeling that Dick was annoyed or bored or disgusted with me and what he perceives as my lack of effort. When I told them that a dating guide I’d stumbled across online read that women ought not rule out the bar scene after all, Dick asked me when I was going bar hopping. I stumbled and stuttered as I told him that I was afraid to go alone; I’ve seen way too many episodes of “Law and Order: SVU” to be okay with that. He rolled his eyes and muttered something about my making excuses. He found my outrage at being an unwilling passenger on the SS Pusty Dussy humorous, maybe because to him it’s exactly where I belong.

I like the water, but I’ve always been wary of boat rides, probably because that first one ended so well. I don’t want this post to seem as though I am claiming to be better than my never-married relative or my old friend who has (Temporarily, please let it be temporarily!) given up on love. I’m not. I know that I’m not. But what I do know is that I want to keep trying to swim to shore on my own. I’m not resigned to either fate; neither boat can take me where it is I so badly want to go. I’m going to keep floating alongside lots of different boats, waving at the people on board while I try to keep my goggles from fogging up. Could I try to swim harder? Of course I can. And I probably will.

But be patient with me. Just by being in the water at all I’m bucking a stereotype.