In my head, I am all kinds of confused

I’m feeling it now–the loneliness has gotten to me, and it hurts.

It has been 3 months since I broke up with J. I miss relationship stuff, but not in a way that makes me miss a relationship with him. Anytime the thought of getting back together passes through my head, I immediately remember how hurt I was when he made me feel neglected and rejected, and I vow to never go back.

I am feeling lonely. I want a relationship. Hell, I want friends. Friends! Why is it so hard to find people to share life with?

I am sad to remember that C never finished “digesting my email” from June. I emailed him a week ago to ask if he finished it and if he were playing Pokémon Go now like everybody else, but only silence has followed. 

He did not wish me a happy birthday and missed that date. I am especially sad when I remember C saying he would be my friend because he knew my best friend, Guy, is moving abroad soon. So much for that. I will stop trying.
And the loneliness gnaws at me. Fuck it! I don’t care about a long term relationship! Let me just find friends I can share my life with, who will enjoy my musings, who I can exchange delightful letters with. Why should this be so hard?

Why must I keep feeling alone?

I felt inspired this morning to write Don his poem. It came to me that I should write him a ghazal, and I set to work. 

I liked what I came up with tremendously, working on it during my commute to and from work, it felt finished by the time I got home. I got my mic and recorded reading it aloud; most poetry is meant to be spoken, and especially a ghazal needs a performance.

I had asked him his birthday, but was disappointed to learn it is so far away. I can’t wait that long to give it! I emailed him the recording this evening as a belated / very merry unbirthday gift.
Will it scare him off? Will he take my poem and vanish into the night? Will I once more find myself with no one left to write?

I cried in bed earlier. I haven’t done that in a long time. I just wish I didn’t feel so alone.

Pokémon in a meeting

Me: I can’t believe you are still playing Pokémon. Do you just sit and play all day when you’re in meetings?

J: No, I turn my phone off when I am in meetings, but then I find myself spending the whole meeting wondering if there’s a pokémon in the room.

Gazing where the lilies blow

So things with Patrick didn’t work out. I realize now that it was a poor choice of words (and really, he ought to know better, considering how often he wrote to me how he could tell words were important to me.) His response to my email dug the hole deeper; it was a long defense about being a while male and how many activities he has been involved in to help minorities and the LGBTQ community. It was unclear to me if it was an attack on me as well in some way.

I realize we probably both misunderstood each other’s words  But I was still very disappointed that he failed to tell me how old the photo was, and in that sense, I felt deceived. Can you still be friends with that sort of deception? I emailed him some days later, openly asking that question.

I received no response.

So the march continues onwards. I hope to still make new friends out of the connections I am making. 

I hope to hear from Brian (age unknown–40s?). By far, he is the one who draws my curiosity the most. He emailed me the clues to a note he left for me somewhere in Berkeley. Thus began a series of scavenger hunts, both of us leaving notes and clues for one another. We crossed cemetaries, historical landmarks, and famous shops. We shared poetry. It culminated in his leaving a work address somewhere in SF. I checked Google Maps, and it is a studio building with a directory, and I am not sure which one he works at. I know he is a carpenter, but several carpentry businesses reside at that address. I sent him a week ago and left my work address in return. I have yet to hear from him, but I do hope to. In the very least I would like to meet this amazing person who single-handedly delivered the best response I ever got to my ad. Romantic potential? Unknown–but let us at least be friends! What a fucking cool dude!

Of the penpals from Craiglist still corresponding with me regularly, these are the most interesting ones:

1. Kevin (45), a full-blooded Irishman from Wales. Romantic potential? Maybe. I am fond of accents from the UK, but I have yet to hear his voice. There is a deep sadness in him. He has shared some stories about his loss and loves traveling by train as I do. He would love to return to the UK, and I do miss London.
2. Seabiscuit (55), who takes beautiful landscape photographs and shares them with me. Romantic potential? Unlikely as he is married but separated, but I think he would make an interesting friend. I enjoy emailing him. I laughed at his last proposal–to swap awkward family stories (me with my father, him with his daughters) and share perspectives from those opposite points of view.

3. Chris (29), a PhD student at Stanford. He is highly optimistic of things and the world (including grad school). I haven’t said it, but am certain his being a white male colors the optimism he still carries about being able to change things. Romantic potential: unclear. Friendship seems more likely.

4. Alex (35), who recently began writing me. He moved here from the Ukraine when he was about 10. I normally feel that my respondents can’t keep up with me, but with him I worry I am the one who can’t keep up. He writes a lot and of so many things; it feels like he’s moving at the speed of lightning while everyone else is the pace of raindrops. Romantic potential: Maybe.

So that’s where things are at for now. Who knows where any of this is going? On the bright side, no matter what happens, all this correspondence has been helping me feel motivated to get back to work on my novel again. And that is a good thing.

The Fall Out

How quickly feelings can change! It is funny to me to see my post on jealousy now. I had started it a few weeks ago but have had so much to do these last few weeks that I didn’t get around to posting it until much later, and the same with this post…

Things have ended with C. Is it temporary? Is it permanent? I do not have the answers this time. What I do know is that any feelings for him have been replaced with pity. I feel sorry for him.

He won’t talk about feelings, any kind of feelings, and keeps me in the dark. We’ve had moments where I feel he is drawing me in, and then when he seems to realize what he’s doing, I am cast back out again. It has been very confusing. He will feel comfortable around me and let slip something personal, but once he realizes how deeply personal it is, he clams up.

We had a real nice time together, chilling and listening to music at his place on Tuesday. I haven’t had that pleasure in a long time, not since a college roommate and I would play vinyl records together and chill.

But on the same day, we had our falling out. Our humor slipped past each other, and there may have been hurt feelings both ways. Maybe my joke was too much; maybe a double entendre with a 42 year old is a bit much and hurt too deeply. It’s possible that he’s never been in a relationship before, and if he has, he never let slip any details or mentions of them. So a joke about lack of sex may have hit home for a 42 year old virgin, at least that’s the only explanation I can fathom.

Or he just became upset at me for unearthing feelings, and he doesn’t know how to handle feelings. Or he doesn’t even know his own feelings and how struggles to understand them himself.

I guess there are many possibilities.

I asked him to be direct to me and tell me if he was upset or angry with me. At least then I could apologize, but he just became silent and refused to answer. I tried to make light of the joke with a fitting set of gifts that had been in our conversation. 

When he saw me for an event we had previously planned to go to together, he returned the gifts. I felt an anger, a deep-rooted, buried anger in him. And it hurt my feelings to return a gift. If he had dropped it off at Goodwill, I would have been none the wiser. Maybe I know too much about Vikings and gift-giving, but to refuse a gift, to give it back, is practically a declaration of war and hostile intentions.

I spent a week writing an email to him. I am here for him if he needs a friend. If he doesn’t, then he can continue as he was before I met him and go back to his life as if we had never met. It is terribly sad though. As they say in the sagas, “there are few words between us now.”

He responded to the first paragraph of my email and said he was still digesting the rest, that I read too much into things. I have heard nothing else, and it’s almost been a week.

I really did like him. I had fun with him. But I guess that’s how it goes sometimes.

L’Idiot

Our team hired a new guy 7 weeks ago. We were all excited about him joining. Big mistake.

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Scene from Detective Mittens (1940): "What do you mean I only see things in black and white?"

L’Idiot is arrogant, aggressive, selfish, and rude. He makes assumptions all the time and often is wrong, but he gets defensive if you point out his mistakes. Yesterday he even threw a tantrum and vanished for an hour because the whole team told him it was wrong to do what he wanted to assume would be correct.

And he makes a lot of mistakes. He doesn’t focus on the details unless it’s to argue over the nuances of “suspicious” as it is used in two different places in a document. He then overlooks actually important details like if we need to place a hold on new accounts for a client.

I am a very patient person. People compliment me on my patience all the time: “You have the patience of a saint.” If you have worn out even my patience, then something is seriously wrong with you.

And something is seriously wrong with L’Idiot. This is just a small sample of shit he’s done:

– Cut the lunch line with no sense of shame whatsoever.
– Seriously consider stealing the banana off a fellow teammate’s desk because, “He won’t notice, right?”
– Outright refuse to help a teammate with our normal job duties when asked because L’Idiot was too busy assigning himself projects no one asked him to do instead.
– Invite himself to a coworkers birthday party and then creepily ask her for the phone numbers of her friends. (Keep in mind he is over 40 years old and the coworker who had a birthday is mid-20s.)
– Ask a coworker with too many girls in his dating pool to send some girls his way (Ewww!)
– Refuse to read documentation about our role at this job; instead, he makes sweeping generalizations about everything and makes terrible assumptions.
– Waste time, waste time, waste other people’s time. He has spent many days sitting at his desk emailing others in the company, trying to schmooze, and not getting any work done.
– Never listens to the team. We have a meeting and talk about X and how to handle those cases. 5 minutes later after the meeting, I hear him ask a coworker, “What do we do with X cases?” God.
– Doesn’t pick up on social cues. The guy has 0 emotional intelligence. People have abruptly left the lunch table where he is sitting because they can’t stand hearing him continue to rail on about shit no one cares about. We witnessed one occasion where at least 4 people sat with him (the only open lunch table) and leave within a minute of sitting down when they realized they would be better off eating alone at their desks.

There are definitely stupid questions, and he will find them. I was ready to flip some tables when he told me, “I was looking through your documentation on ABC-LA. Does it apply to ABC-MN?” No. NO NO NO NO. WHY WOULD YOU EVEN THINK THAT! One is rules for Louisiana… how would those apply to Minnesota?! Is the document titled ABC- LA and MN? No, it is not AND FOR A REASON.

Before this, my team had been fairly lucky in hiring good people who were great team players; the team dynamics were harmonious and we were a close-knit group–and we have the most diverse team in the office. Other teams would comment how cute it was that our team would sit and eat lunch together when we already spend all our time together at our desks.

But L’Idiot’s presence has quickly become toxic to the whole team, and we try to time lunches to avoid him sitting with us. He is such a miserable failure at life that I really want to talk to his references. Who could ever recommend this guy for ANYthing? And how has he gotten this far?

A Strange Thing Called Desire

Desire is a strange thing.

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Can you contain desire behind bars if you throw away the key?

At times it surges as if it were a game of whack-a-mole. The more you fight it and try to suppress it, the faster and more furiously you find yourself trying to stamp it out. The actions are all in vain, like trying to sweep away flood water when the levees have failed and the water level is only rising.

You can’t force it. Can you have a relationship without it? What happens when desire arises for someone you are not in a relationship with?

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The Virgin Queen

There are times where I feel my color–where I can feel the color of my skin, the otherness, and alienation of some DNA sequences and melanin. Those moments are a mix of what’s said and unsaid. For example, when I’ve been verbally assaulted, like one of the last few times I was in Southern California, I was walking in a sidewalk with my brother (who passes for white, easily). A car drove by and the driver screamed at me, “BLACK WHORE!” Or when, the kid who would be valedictorian of my high school, sneered at me outside of Spanish class and said, “All Mexicans are stupid.”

In the other category are those moments of reading between the lines of what’s not said but understood silently: when I walked into an office for an interview and immediately felt unwelcome. It was an office full of white people, absolutely no person of color in sight anywhere. I had this sickening realization then that no matter what I did or said, this interview would not go well for me. It was over as soon as I walked in the door and showed my face. Or that time I received a jaywalking ticket by a white police officer–and the ticket had previously been made out to a white male some 15 minutes before my arrival at that intersection. The officer hadn’t even bothered to change the gender on the ticket before handing it to me. (And just so you know, I was in the crosswalk; my error was not in realizing it was an offense to begin crossing once the hand started blinking.)

Then there are the moments where I feel my gender. The police officer story was a good example of feeling both–color and gender. It was particularly infuriating. So typical! Of course a white male gets off for the same offense. Of course! But feeling my gender still comes up on its own–and not in the monthly hormone cycle, although there’s that too.

Feeling my gender otherwise comes up not as often as the color, but certainly enough, often things you would think of in the workplace: having a male boss who does nothing to stop sexual harassment of other women or makes inappropriate sexual jokes (a coworker who admitted her dream job is to become a dancer was told, “So you want to be a prostitute?”), or being the victim of a creepy customer who keeps coming back to make small talk, or knowing there a lot of men out there paid more than I am for the same (or less) amount of work.

However, I felt myself particularly surprised to feel my gender Saturday evening while playing a game with a group of males.

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Some of us just know…

On a walk with two male friends, J and M, somehow the conversation turned to golden showers.

J is in his mid 20s; he is a very physically masculine hetero guy but complete emotional softie. M is a young-looking and much more mature gay male; he is closer to my age, somewhere around 30. The dynamic of the two is like close brothers; they are a fun pair to hang around.

Also, the funny thing is J, the straight male, seems to have way more drama and is always talking about his girl problems. On one occasion, this habit prompted someone else at our lunch table to tell him, “Jesus, you whine like a girl.”

Anyhow, back to the conversation at hand: golden showers.

J thought that they were some weird freaky shit.

M and I disagreed on account of there’s a lot worse out there when it comes to kinks, and it is it seems the least weird or innocent compared to other shit. When it comes to kinks, as M put it: “That’s just the tip of the iceberg.”

We kept walking, and M then confessed he had had a golden shower before when the guy he was with was really into them.

“But to be honest, I wasn’t really into it. It’s not my thing,” M said.

“You know, M,” I replied, “some of us just know we’re not really into it without having to try it.”

J and I then broke into laughter.

Interrupting a Kubla Kahn on 420

Despite the signs being everywhere about the significance of yesterday’s date, I admit I didn’t quite get why I kept seeing so many people acting funny and so much marijuana out in public.

We had a national conference of sorts for one of our remote teams, and my small team was invited to join their large team on a bus tour around San Francisco–one of those really bad tourist, double-decker type tours where the bus is entirely plastered with advertisements for Angry Birds.

The bus driver, Steve, was a better driver than entertainer. His jokes were bad, becoming worse with every cross street. It devolved into a painful kind of bad, and eventually his heartless commentary became the “I wish I could throw rotten tomatoes at you” kind of bad.

We had passed an intersection where a large cloud of marijuana reeked, and Steve joked, “And there goes a guy who is smoking his lunch.” Oh, Steve.

The colleague next to me rolled her eyes and muttered , “It is 420 today, Steve. A lot of people are going to be blazing today.” And then I went Ohhhhhhhhhh. Everything clicked.

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