Hello.

This is my personal blog. This is where I explore the various pitfalls and triumphs in my life. It's a cheap form of therapy, I know...but I don't hold things back here. I don't expect you to agree with what I have to say, but everything I write here is the truth from my perspective...and I won't apologize for it. If what I say offends you, angers you, or effects you negatively in any way, my apologies. Feel free to not come back...I won't mind.

Thursday, March 28, 2013

To do, or not to do; that is the question.


OFF-TOPIC

I had an interesting phone call this afternoon. By “interesting”, I mean “horrible”...but I’m pretty sure that I deserved it. In fact, I know I did.

It was from Amanda. She read what I wrote on Friday night; it upset her and she let me know it. I erased the message and I'm not going to transcribe it here. Suffice it to say, it was angry.

Amanda...this will be the last time I address this subject, or address you, directly or indirectly in any way and on any media. If you contact me first would be the only only exception, but I don't expect you to contact me at all and that's okay. This doesn't preclude you from talking talking or writing about it. Feel free to link back to Friday's post or this one or whatever, if you want. I have removed you from view on all forms of social media we shared. My active and, as much as I can control, passive presence in your life is at an end. I will still be attending TFW in May, but I promise to study the the event map closely and avoid the "Sacrament" table. Any other chance encounters that weekend will be beyond my control and I will not blame you if you act like I'm a complete stranger.

This blog is my own form of therapy. It's where I write about what I'm feeling, what I'm thinking, and what's going on in my life. I don't edit myself here. I can't afford traditional therapy and, try as they might, most of my friends and family are either unable to understand what I'm trying to work through or have their own problems and (understandably) have no interest in lumping mine in with theirs.

I have tried not to shy away from my feelings here. When I'm down, I explore it. When I'm up, I explore that too. Sometimes it's course, sometimes it's painful, but it is always the emotional truth from my perspective.

I was hurt on Friday and I needed to figure out what was wrong wrong and why it happened. I'm still 90% certain there's something wrong with me. That being said, if you'd bothered at all to care as much about my past relationship experiences as you care about your own "baggage", you wouldn't have been surprised by how I reacted.

I don't apologize for what I wrote. It was the way I saw things then (and now) and writing about it did help me feel better about what happened.

However, I do apologize for upsetting you. I am deeply sorry for causing you pain. I don't expect you to forgive me, or even acknowledge that I apologized, but I am sorry.

I hope you have a great life from this point forward. I hope you meet someone great that makes everything wonderful for you in ways ways to which I wasn't able. I hope you reach the many goals you have in life and find peace. Good luck!

- - - - - - - - - - - -

ON-TOPIC

I saw something on Facebook today and it gave me pause. I can't seem to find it again, but it was one of those inspirational photo quotes that people (myself included) like to post. It was only three words...

"Do, don't be."

It's a pretty Yoda-like concept and I'm sure there are many interpretations. I'd be interested to hear what your take would be...comment below.

I was stuck in a particularly grueling "render hell" shortly after I read it and I had time to contemplate what those three simple words meant to me and my life.

In its simplest form it came down to this: I am still allowing crap to happen to me instead molding my own fate. Too much planning, not enough achieving.

This is a problem. I've always been a planner...from the inconsequential to the far-reaching. I make lists, I keep a calendar, I schedule almost everything from from doing laundry to dates to what I'm going to eat in a given week. I conceptualize before I realize.

Call it my OCPD...call it my Type-A personality...call it whatever you want.

It's killing me. Killing me emotionally, killing me creatively...making my life less enjoyable because I'm not actually living it.

"Life is what happens when you're busy making other plans."
Beautiful Boy by John Lennon

Wise man, that John Lennon.

I'm not going to stop being organized. I'm not going to start wearing dirty clothes and quit brushing my teeth. I'm not going to stop being a responsible, contributing member of society. You don't have to worry about that.

What I am going to do is actually do something instead planning to do something. I don't know how quite yet, but I not going to plan my way into more misery. It's time to stop letting life pass me by while I'm mapping out a route to success.

It's time to do.

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Playing to strengths


Maybe the reason so many men of late have become, or come out, as bisexual is that women have grown more and more picky...or stupid.

I’m kidding, of course, but there might be a grain of truth to that. That's not what I wanted to write about today, but it's a thought that's crossed my mind a couple times recently and I thought it was apropos in light of what the Supreme Court is dealing with this week.

To the dozens of readers that read my last post and number of you who commented, both publicly and privately: thank you. It gave me some perspective on an understandably dark day. I hope you will all be just as helpful after you read this post.

I spent the weekend (for the most part) eschewing social media. When you are depressed both emotionally and physically, and financially in no shape to do more than vegetate, things like Facebook and Twitter (hell, even Pinterest) only serve to make you feel even more sorry for yourself. Instead I read a lot of comic books, watched a lot of "Star Trek: The Next Generation", did some (bad) drawing, and did a lot of thinking. Oh, and I slept for almost 30 hours in 3 nights.

Here's what I came up with...
  1. I am a great guy with a lot to offer a mate/partner.
  2. I'm better off without the women from my previous relationships.
  3. I might be taking the wrong approach to this whole thing.
  4. Microwave popcorn might be the greatest invention of all time...with the possible exception of peanut butter. I don't believe this requires any further discussion.
Point 1
I’m not going to list out all my “good qualities”. They’re there and I don’t feel it’s necessary. Also, it feels like conceit and I’m not big on conceit.

It just feels like what I have to offer is undervalued...yet I can't understand what is being valued to replace it. Are women really looking "Jersey Shore"-style jackholes, scrub serial-cheaters, and men who make themselves feel bigger by marginalizing the women whom they claim to love? I've seen and heard a million (okay, maybe not a "million", but I've heard plenty) sob stories of this ilk and I have to know, how are these guys more desirable than me? Is it because I like sci-fi and don't have washboard abs?

Am I wrong? Where are all of these women who prefer “great guys” hanging out? We’ll get to that...

Point 2
One commenter from the other night, in private, said that me writing about the wrongs done to me by Peighton and Amanda seemed kind of petty and, while I disagree with him in regards to that post, to repeat myself now would be petty, if not downright mean...asshole-ish even. So I’m not going to do it.

However, when it comes to me, my faults and imperfections, I think it’s fair game. After all, I did just write about what was good about me...the fair thing would be to stay balanced, right?

How does this relate to me being better off without them in my life? Why, I’m glad you asked.

As cliché as it sounds, nobody's perfect...myself especially. I accept that I have issues...baggage, if you will. The thing is this...you don't get past the age of 25 without filling up at least a knapsack with "baggage" and you have to accept that in yourself and others or you'll go nuts. Some people have more than that...rooms full of baggage, houses full of baggage...and that's okay. It seems that some people can't seem to surmount this within themselves...or are so shallow that they aren't willing to work with the baggage of the other person. I've experienced both recently.

I guess what I'm trying to say is this...if they aren't willing to work with you at least as much as you are willing to work with them, then there's no way it can work.

The vice versa is also true, of course. You have to be willing to be patient patient and understanding, too. Sometimes that's the hardest thing. It's something I'm working on and I'm choosing to look at my last two failures with less regret and more appreciation for lessons learned. No promises that I won't still have mopey, depressed days, but I at least have a little bit better perspective on it.

Point 3
In recent years, I've not been one to let things happen. Between my first divorce and meeting Peighton, I had one (completely physical) relationship, which was fun, and that's about it. It was only after I'd been in Oklahoma a few months that I tiptoed into the world of online dating, had a few "meh" encounters, and then met Peighton.

Since my second divorce, I've re-entered the crazy world of online dating and, not to besmirch the quality of women in central Texas, but the variety and openness of women in Oklahoma City was much more abundant than where I'm at now. Suffice it to say, I have had a run of bad luck.

Right now I can't think of any better options than online dating.

There's work, of course, but most of the women with whom I work are either way outside my age range (I'm not a Harold looking for my Maude), unavailable, or dingy reporter-types (those of you who have worked in TV know what I'm talking about...*yeesh*). Besides, workplace romance can turn sour in unimaginably horrible ways and I like where I work and respect the people with whom I work too much to try that crap.

There are singles bar-type places, but I'm not much of a bar guy and I hate the idea of shelling out mounds of cash on drinks only to drive home with nothing to show for it. Been there, done that...no thanks.

There’s always church, I guess. Here’s the problem with that and spare me the lectures. I’m not a church guy. I have a tremendous amount of respect for people of faith. However, as someone who doesn’t believe in the concept of God as most Christians accept it, I would be, at least in my own eyes, a huge hypocrite to attend church just to find a mate. I hate hypocrites.

What other options are there?

I read an article a few weeks back that more and more couples are saying that they met at Wal-Mart. I guess there’s always wandering around that cesspool (the store, not the collection of people...except on Saturday afternoons), striking up random conversations with women who appear unattached.

PTA meetings? Lots of single moms attend those...

I’ve considered volunteering, but can’t seem to find opportunities where I know I can contribute...unless I want to spend evenings at one of the hospices. They’re always looking for volunteers. Alas, I know myself well enough to know I couldn’t handle that. There’s an arts initiative thing starting in May in Waco that I’m considering...and there’s apparently an open invite to join the Temple Community Band.

I’m in a couple meetup groups locally, and they’re fun (except that they keep planning stuff eitheri last minute or near the end of a pay period when money’s tight), but I run across the same problems...age or attachment.

This is where I could use some help...advice and suggestions welcome (especially from the ladies)...Where can I go, what can I do, other than continuing with online dating only to meet women of quality...who might appreciate what i have to offer? How should I best play to my strengths?

Anyway, for those who were worried about me, I’m getting better. Better, as always, comes in fits and starts, but it’s coming. Thank you for your support and I look forward to hearing from you all.

Friday, March 22, 2013

Trying to figure out what's wrong with me...


I'm no longer dating Amanda. I liked Amanda very much. She said she liked me very much. This, of course, could have been a lie. I seem to be attracted to liars, to my own detriment. Ultimately it happened because I was tired of being marginalized and said something about it. It happened because I thought what I had to offer had value and I was honest about it.

I had originally planned to work on my screenplay tonight. Thanks to some great input, some from Amanda, but also from some good (i.e. - honest) friends, I'm ready to move into the third draft. Instead, I need to write this. I need to say something. I'm so hurt and angry right now I don't know who to turn to, how to express it. I want to cry and yell and hit things. I want to stop feeling this red hot hate. I want to stop feeling...anything.

My ex-wife, Peighton, was (is) a liar. She told many lies over the years, especially in the last months of our marriage. The biggest lie she ever told, the one that doomed our relationship before it ever began, was the one she told herself so convincingly that she made herself believe it and therefore made me believe it too...that she was actually the woman I married. That she was actually the woman with whom I fell in love. It was an Oscar-worthy performance for sure. She created this demure, sensitive, understanding persona that was truly lovable. In truth, she is who she appears now...a party girl, completely self-involved, and unsympathetic to the needs and feelings of others.

Too many lies, too much betrayal, has happened for Peighton and I to even remain friends. Maybe we can be friends again someday, but for now, with all of pain and anger floating so close to the top of my heart, we just can't. I was starting to come to peace with that...then the last couple days happened.

Peighton still has a goodish haul of my possessions at her (her parents') place in Oklahoma. This wasn't supposed to happen, but she failed to keep her side of a promise (SHOCK! Another lie?!? No way.) late last year to have everything sorted so I could pick it up New Year's weekend. So when I got there, I just grabbed what was necessary for my new apartment and left. I had planned to go back the first weekend of this month and get the rest, but decided to postpone. It was Amanda's first weekend off from her internship since we started dating and we went to Fredericksburg. It was a semi-disaster (I'll come back to this briefly). Since then, I've tried to arrange another weekend with Peighton for me head to Oklahoma and she got back to me yesterday. I tried to be friendly, and accommodating, said I had some weekends I couldn't do it. She didn't bother to pay attention to this and suggested one of the weekends I couldn't do it. I suggested an alternate weekend, she went into default mode (i.e - bitchy and self-righteous) and said if I hadn't gotten my stuff by the end of April she would throw it all away. I remained reasonable, listed a whole string of weekends I could do it, no problem, and said pick one. She did, complete with indignation, and now I'll be going up there on April 13. That was the first thing that ruined the last two days.

Now, on to the second thing.

Amanda and I had made plans for her to come over to my place for dinner and a relaxing evening. That idea came crashing down thanks to saw mid-afternoon sandwich causing her massive stomach issues. She allegedly texted me around 4pm to let me know she was rain-checking...I say "allegedly" because I never received a text and because she and I had been talking almost exclusively via Facebook Messenger for weeks, only sending about a dozen actual text messages to each other in the last month.

I ended up having to work late, getting off at around 6pm. I sent her an IM, letting her know that I was finally getting off work and that I would appreciate her letting me know when she was heading out from Waco to Temple. She returned the IM after 7pm...repeating that she wasn't coming.

If it had just been that, her being sick and not coming, I would have have just been disappointed. It was the perfect end to a crapfest of a day. I was concerned that she didn't confirm that I got the message after I didn't reply, but I left it alone last night. I was in a bad mood, understandably, and wrote a couple things on Twitter/Facebook that, if seen out of context, could convey that I was angry at her (feel free to go read them). If she had bothered to ask, she might have known that I wasn't in fact angry at her but dealing with anger concerning my ex-wife...and the fact that I had to work late.

Then today happened.

I apologized to her for being a butt last night online, realizing what it probably looked like on her end. She didn't reply. I asked her to say something, but all she could say was to ask what I expected her to say. I then asked her why it took so long to check back in with me...three hours by my reckoning...and why she didn't use Facebook Messenger. She said,
"I wasn't even on Facebook, my phone had died and I had to put it on the charger when I was at my grandma's house. I texted you figuring you'd check it after you got off work at 5. I'm sorry that you didn't see it and that you felt like I blew you off or whatever. I wasn't feeling well and I passed out for most of the night. Either way, I'm sorry you had a bad day but the fact that you were upset and putting passive-aggressive stuff on Twitter and Facebook last night makes ME upset. This is exactly why I said I don't want to do this kind of thing... every time plans change or something, I look like this selfish bitch who just blows you off. I am serious when I say this--- you're a really great guy but I don't think we should see each other anymore in a romantic way. I am not good at the dating thing and I don't know how else to get it across, I keep saying it and you keep trying to convince me otherwise. I want to be able to stay home for a night if I don't feel well without feeling bad about it. I am not in a headspace or physical space right now where I'm a good girlfriend and I feel like I am trying to force myself into a role that doesn't fit me. I'm sorry. You're terrific and this isn't about you. This is just about me, and I realized it last night when I saw the stuff you were posting."
Yeah, I'm a great guy.

The problem with the above (besides the fact that it's a break-up via Facebook IM) is that the first sentence is a lie. She was on Facebook, all afternoon, until about 5:30pm...commenting on people's statuses and whatnot. The truth, as near as I can figure it, is that she didn't give a damn.


Like I said, I'm attracted to liars.

She's right, though...she did try to convince me that she wasn't "girlfriend" material. She demonstrated as much during our weekend in Fredericksburg and since. In Fredericksburg, what was supposed to be a romantic getaway, turned into a buddy-roadtrip because, as she said, she didn't realize it was supposed a romantic getaway. Then, when I said something about her falling asleep at the hotel without even saying goodnight, let alone doing anything else, the hammer fell. It all came out. She's not a good "girlfriend", she's not in any emotional condition for a relationship, she doesn't think she can be what I want. It  took a spectacularly cheesy romantic gesture on my part to turn it around.

I realize now that she was right, not because she's unable, but unwilling. Unwilling to think beyond "me" and think about "us". She's selfish and self-involved and never really cared about what I was feeling. Now there is no "us". In our entire time together, I was a marginalized. I was never the second thought, let alone the first. I may have been the fourth or fifth thought, if I was lucky. So now it's over and the only scars I have to show for it, besides the emotional ones, are a weekend pass to Texas Frightmare Weekend (in May) and a hotel reservation, both already paid for, neither of which are refundable. There's $155 dollars I'll never get back...unless I decide to go anyway. Fuck it, I'm going to go...I wasn't in the wrong.

Believe what you will, but I really do hope for the best for Peighton and Amanda....despite what I've written about them them and despite the tremendous amount of emotional pain they've both caused me. I wish them every happiness they can find in this world. I also doubt they'll actually find it, but then again what does that matter to me? They are both now relegated to the past.

The funny thing is, before Peighton and I REALLY fell apart, she said I was a "great guy" too. If I'm such a "great guy", then why the fuck do I keep getting in romantic situations with liars? Amanda and Peighton weren't the first...my first ex-wife, Jenifer, was a stone-cold liar as well. She said something similar once upon a time as well.

"Great guy"...my curse...my fucking cross to bear.

Which bring's me back to the original question and the reason why I'm writing this...what the hell is wrong with me?

Why can't I be attracted to...or attract...women who are honest? Why, despite every effort to be a decent, understanding man, do I keep picking women who are, at best, emotionally unable to do anything but marginalize me...and at worst, tell massively hurtful lies and betray me?

I'm genuinely curious to know what everyone thinks about this. I just can't understand why I keep going through this cycle. Like I said earlier, I'm tired of feeling this way...feeling at all.

Is what I have to offer a woman no longer of value to anyone but me? Do I need to reconsider being a concerned, passionate, honest, understanding man? Is it true that nice guys really do finish last?

I'm genuinely curious. Please feel free to be honest with me...because honesty is what this is all about, after all. What is wrong with me?

In the mean time, I've already talked to my mom tonight, drunk a whole bottle of white moscato, and I'm working on the last of my Christmas beer. I'm feeling no pain...until tomorrow morning, that is.

Monday, March 18, 2013

Live Long and Prosper


I've been watching a lot of Star Trek over the last 7 months or so. I started with "Deep Space Nine" (my personal favorite); then "Voyager" (because I never watched the whole run back when it was on the air); and now I'm well into the 5th season of "The Next Generation". I've watched all of the movies and the "Original Series" in the past and have no real interest in going back to them any time soon. I suppose I'll watch "Enterprise" next...even though I never could get into it when it was on the air. I guess not many people did...which is why it only lasted 4 seasons.

As I continue to watch more Star Trek, an episode or two at a time, my thoughts keep straying back to one thought...

Damn, it'd be cool to be a Vulcan.

Think about it.

For the few who have no clue to whom I am referring, please follow this link and catch up. I'll wait.

Done? Cool.

Given the emotional turmoil of which I have had to deal with since August, does it surprise anyone that belonging to a race of hyper-intellectuals who have ingrained logic into their philosophical and cultural psyche would be an ideal state? To a Vulcan, the complete suppression of emotion and the complete embrace of logic is almost a religion.

It's not that I think emotion is bad. Of course I love feeling happy...or excited...or exhilarated. I think lots of things are funny and I enjoy laughing and making other people laugh. However, I could seriously do without feeling remorse, loss, hate, jealousy, and anger...especially anger.

For most people, anger is an emotion that doesn't come as surprise. Something happens to make them angry, then they feel anger. For me, anger creeps up on me. One minute I'm okay, then I start talking to myself (in my head, usually) and then, before I know it, I'm angry. I call it "my white-hot rage monster". I hate that monster.

Your dog dies? That's just a part of life.

Your wife leaves you? If you feel you must...and wish you well.

Your boss yells at you? Thank you for your criticism.

Just the ability to ignore the internal emotional aspects and to look at everything with calm, cool logic? Yes, please.

I guess that's not possible, but it would be really cool. That kind of peace could only bring the personal prosperity I've been looking for of late. Not the prosperity of money, but the prosperity of self-esteem.

Until the time, whenever it may come, when I have more happy days than unhappy ones...

"Peace and long life."


Monday, March 4, 2013

Needing a win...



Dear Life,

Hi. It's me again. Despite you and I battling each other for going on 33 years now, I need your help with something.

Up to this point, you and I have been on civil terms. I can't say that you've been particularly kind to me, but you haven't been particularly cruel to me either. I still have my health, a good job, some great friends who love me despite having hours of potential blackmail material on me, and a family that supports me despite the innumerable questionable decisions I've made over the years. When I count my blessings, which is pretty damn often, these are the things that are labelled in black in my life's ledger and I am grateful.

However, when it comes to love, you seem to delight in sending your red-headed stepson Murphy to darken my doorstep.

Granted, I've had what could, at least to a less cynical man, be labelled "moral victories" in the game of love. Despite the few good years of marriage between the two, both ended in divorce for reasons not wholly, but mostly, beyond my control. Every other woman I've dated up until now has either been someone looking to use me or not someone with whom I was able to form a connection.

After my first divorce, I promised myself that I would never be used again...at least not in an any way in which I was not fully aware and a willing participant. I've stayed true to this and will continue to do so.

Since my second divorce, which granted hasn't been that long ago, my love life has been less than satisfactory. Never mind the fact that previous to this last month my biggest success was with a woman with whom I only had 2 torrid dates and it ended suddenly when she had a crisis of conscience over the fact that she was with me and dating/sleeping with another guy. Never mind mind the fact that I'm now in my thirties, with a cart stacked with "baggage" trailing behind me, wrinkles forming at the corners of my eyes, and a wanderlust that gets worse with each passing day. Never mind the fact that I have a near-phobic fear of failure and rejection coupled with a lifetimes' worth emotional and psychological battle scars. In the end, none of that matters.

I need a win, Life...not a moral victory, not a participation trophy, but a true win.
I'm not asking for a trip to the Finals, a bowl appearance, or recognition as an elite champion...all I'm asking for is a plain old-fashioned win.

Here's the deal, Life...I don't presume to think that I deserve victory. Like everyone else, I'm not perfect. I have made and will continue to make my fair share of mistakes. I have been selfish, arrogant, and on occasion a real asshole. Yet I try every day to work hard, show selflessness, and contribute positively to this world. I don't always succeed, but I do try.

You see, Life, I met this girl about a month ago. She's great. She really is someone special and in a short time I've come to care for her a great deal. Unfortunately, you have tested her quite a bit over the years and she has convinced herself that she isn't worthy of having someone who cares about her like I would in her life. You know, it's kind of funny, Life, because my second ex-wife rejected me because she felt I wasn't worthy of her and this girl is rejecting me because she feels she's not worthy of me. Opposite issues...same result. It's pretty amazing, actually, how you get me coming and going like that. Touché, Life...touché.

Anyway, so all I'm asking for is a win. Help me out a little here. Help this girl to realize that she does deserve someone good in her life and help me to remain patient and open. Help her to see that she has a chance at some happiness here and help me to see a game plan by which I can win her heart.

I'm tried. I'm tired of being the benchwarmer struggling to find purpose, counting the seconds until coach puts me on the field in the last minutes of the last game of the season...and I'm tired of collecting participation trophies.

I need a win...that's all I ask. Thank you for your consideration.

Respectfully,
-Thomas