Even though I am very much loved I am completely alone. Sometimes it just gets to me and I cry, like now… But I chose this. I chose to walk away, to trade being alone inside of a relationship for being alone outside of a relationship. 

The funny thing is, it’s actually hope that kills you. Inside that relationship there was no hope for things to get better and so I survived on duty. You’d be surprised at how much can be done out of duty… Outside that relationship there is hope that maybe someday I won’t be alone but the fear that I am too damaged quashes my hope far too often and self-preservation will probably never let me even date successfully, guaranteeing that love will have to sneak up on me if it’s ever going to work. 

I’ve made great progress though.  (Go me!)  I actually belive the people who hug me and tell me they love me, I believe they mean it. That’s a big step for me. But I’m an all-or-nothing girl, if I love you, I love you. Completely, 100%, do anything for you, love you. And that’s not how those people love me, they have lives that I am a part of but not all of. They can’t love me the same way I love them because they already love somebody else that way. And for those parts I am included in, I am in heaven – but I think some of my people feel like I’m trying to drown them because I am too deep… for the other parts of their lives that I am not invited in to, well, for those parts I am alone, very, very alone. 
But it was my choice. Of the two choices I was left with I’m pretty sure I’d choose it again. 

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Yep, that’s a phrase I overheard while giving someone a pedicure today.  It was spoken with sympathy and hopeless for the man the two women were discussing.  At first I laughed (only in my head, I didn’t want to seem like I was eavesdropping on their obviously private conversation) because it’s a funny word picture… but tonight it makes me cry because it pretty much describes me and embodies all my fears of being intimate in a future relationship.

My ex told our youngest daughter that I was “horrible” in bed.  It’s totally true, I will own that statement.  Our sex life was all about feeding his addiction and therefore not at all about meeting my sexual needs, not that I even knew I had sexual needs for the majority of our marriage…  Couple that with my childhood teaching that all sex outside of marriage was bad alongside no teaching whatsoever about what sex within marriage was supposed to consist of and my poor ex husband had 20+ years of me laying there like a log while he got his fix, sometimes multiple times a day.  A few times a year he would insist on bringing me to orgasm and a even fewer of those times it actually worked but it was a mechanical sort of thing on my end and a pride-soothing accomplishment on his.  So I own it, I am Bad In Bed.  But for him to tell our daughter makes him an outright Ass, something he refuses to own, although not what this post is about…

So one of the biggest reasons for staying single for the rest of my life is that I will never be made fun of or described to another person as being Bad In Bed.  I will never again feel that my sexual pleasure is more effort than it’s worth to another human being.  And honestly, my ex – being the one and only man I’ve ever slept with – he never really gave me any true sexual pleasure so if I went the rest of my life without it I wouldn’t really know what I’m missing and therefore be (mostly) ok with it.

Or at least that’s what I tell myself.

My friends at school looked at me with pity, love and concern when I told them I had 20 years of Wham, Bam, Thank You Ma’am.  One gal said “Oh honey, somebody’s going to rock your world!” and then they all tried to think of who they knew that I could date… <insert flat stare here>

But if my world is never rocked it will be easier to be alone.  I can stay a sack of potatoes in bed, breathing through my inspiration-for-alien-movies CPAP mask while tossing and turning all night long, so much so that my FitBit said I walked 50 steps last night…  All of this won’t bother anybody if there isn’t anybody to bother.

There isn’t even anybody to ask about having sex, especially again, after divorce.  Nobody in the church will talk about it, I can’t find a counselor who takes appointments in the evenings, when I’m out of school and I’m not comfortable talking to any of my friends about it.  So what do I do?  Watch porn as an instructional aid?  I mean I’ve seen it before, mostly in the earlier years of our marriage with the ex and it just never seemed like it was real, it’s so much of a show and a lot of yelling.  But seriously, I have no clue where to get this information – how am I going to know what guys like?  I’m not even sure what I like, how can I tell a guy what to do for me?  Are there rules about good sexual etiquette anywhere – should I be shaving or waxing or ???

I kind of feel like I need a class, or what would be really helpful is a sex therapist or maybe even a surrogate – someone to practice with that I have no emotional connection to so they could teach me what to do – and what not to do, help me get over my insecurities through practice and encouragement…  But that would probably be the most unacceptable thing of all, at least in the church anyway.  It would come down to paying for sex, soliciting a male prostitute… But I feel like it’s what I need.  Regardless though, I wouldn’t even know where to find one so that’s kind of a moot point.

In the end, I am that sack of potatoes.  I don’t know how to be anything else, I’m not sure I CAN be anything else without help and there’s no help out there.  So, if I ever manage to date someone… and it develops into a real relationship… and I trust him… and he loves me as much or more than my best friends do… then yes, I plan on sleeping with him.  Or should I be completely transparent – I plan on having sex with him.  Because the one thing I refuse to do ever again is to chain myself to another marriage bed occupied by a sex addict.  So if I have sex with this future, possibly non-existent guy AND he doesn’t run away screaming… and I don’t run away screaming… then, maybe, I’ll marry him.  Poor bastard.

I took a quick look back over my posts so far this year and realized that I haven’t said much, if anything about Beauty School and it’s become such an important part of my life!  So here’s an overview from the beginning:

I walked into school for the very first time right after I moved to Montana.  A man was at the front desk, (later I learn his name is Rayalf), and he called one of the teachers up (who turned out to be Kammi).  While I’m waiting for Kammi I notice a tall man with blue hair – that was Kyle, who turns out to be my Cwtch…

Kammi takes me back to her office and tells me a little bit about the school, introduces me to the owner, Misty, as “the girl with the nail hours”, assures me I am all set to start with the next class.

The school is much smaller than I expected it to be, in the bigger city I left I used to go to beauty schools all the time to get my hair done and this school is barely a quarter of the size of any of those and yet there’s between 30 and 40 students and three instructors, hmm, this could be interesting…

Fast forward about 3 weeks, I show up to the school and meet my 8 other classmates.  All nice girls and we range in age from 18 to me at 43.  The girl who was in her 30’s dropped out after a couple of months so now it’s just me and the younger ones, lol.  We spent roughly 8 weeks in the back room doing book work and practicing on mannequin heads before we were allowed to move to the front and work on the public.

Just writing this out I realize that none of this is the important part.  The people there, the other students and the instructors are what has made this experience so life-changing for me.

There’s lots of swearing, even from the instructors.  Anything that can be turned into a sexual innuendo is done so with a vengeance and everybody laughs like it’s the funniest thing in the world.  Rayalf, in particular, loves practical jokes and almost everyone affectionately calls each other Bitch or Dude, depending on the mood they’re in.  It’s a circus of chaos and craziness.  But here’s the thing – these people are a family.  They’re real.  In spite of the bickering and the arguing they get along most of the time.  They share their supplies and food with each other.  They listen to each other’s stories,  empathize and hug.  And aside from their moral standards being vastly different than my own they have a much healthier outlook on sex and sexuality than I do.  Granted, probably 99% of all people out there have a healthier view of sex than I do but these people are open and honest about it while at the same time being accepting of me and my beliefs, encouraging me to heal but not pushing me to go outside my moral boundaries.

Some days are hard because I can get overwhelmed with all of the emotions that go on in a building of 30 women and 2 men ranging from 17 – 60.  Even though everyone is always nice to me I can still be affected by the people around me being negative and petty to each other.  I have gone outside and cried many times.  I’ve even gone back on the happy pills because school can be so stressful.  I don’t like being on the happy pills again, I was very proud of myself for having gotten off them but I’m realizing that my body doesn’t handle stress yet the way it should.  It handles stress better than it did when I was married, way better, but it’s still not back to completely healthy… so happy pills it is.  I even stayed home one day as a “mental health” day and it was totally worth it.  I plan to take three days off a month to help preserve my sanity even though it will lengthen my time at school and cost me about $1400 in overages at the end.  Ugh.

In the end though, it is a crazy, insane kind of world and ultimately I love it.  My hair is blue with purple roots and for the first time in my life I have shaped eyebrows and fake eyelashes.  At school I have friends who love me and hug me and care about me and tell me I’m beautiful and that they’re glad I’m there.  I’ve been able to share my past with some of them and they empathize with me and are very supportive.  My favorite teacher, Kammi, just offered to rent me her spare room and be a part of her family, which I think will be lots of fun.

This group of people – this group of unchurched, largely immoral, profanity professionals loves, respects and accepts me more than any other group I’ve ever been a part of and none of them require me to become like them before being willing to give me their love and affection.

Being around these people both destroys me and builds me back up, but they build me up far more often than they make me cry.

I know I am who and where I am supposed to be.  I know I am doing what I am supposed to do.  Sometimes the being and the doing is hard but the knowing, the knowing makes it all worth it.

 

 

Well then, I have been in beauty school for three months now and will have accumulated 500 hours in about 2 weeks, yay!  I was able to start working on real people (instead of just mannequin heads) at 300 hours, which was the beginning of April, and so far have done 2 perms and about 4 haircuts.  It’s been fun and a little overwhelming at the same time, mostly because they don’t really teach the way I learn, so I’m trying to figure out a lot of things on my own that they may or may not have told me already, lol.  But the customers have been nice and so far they’ve all been happy with the way they look when I leave so that’s a big plus.

I’ve made new friends!  Well, I’m friendly with everyone, that’s just who I am, but some people you connect with easier than others and I’ve found someone I’ve “clicked” with.  Kyle is one of the two guys at school, about 10 years younger than me, tall, good looking and while you wouldn’t know by just looking at him he is happily engaged to his boyfriend and they are getting married in July. I would have never expected that out of everyone at school he would be my closest friend at school and yet he is!

Kyle was the one to put the first “fun” color in my hair back in February – magenta pink with black tips which I absolutely loved – and he accidentally got a lot of the pink dye on my forehead and it wouldn’t come off.  He felt really bad and kept apologizing until I finally just grabbed him and gave him a quick hug and told him not to worry about it and that I loved my hair.

I was a little nervous about hugging him but in the last couple of years since I became single I realized that if I’m going to experience any kind of human touch at all I will have to have to initiate most of it so I became a hugger.  I hugged my Asian family and my friends back in the town I came from as much as I could but I don’t have anybody to hug here in Montana – except my folks and for some reason family doesn’t really count for things like this.  So I made a quick decision to give him a hug and was really relieved that he didn’t look upset afterwards.

Fast forward a few weeks to a Really Bad Day.  I was super stressed out, Beauty School, having mostly late teen and early twenty-something girls is FULL of drama, people talking loudly and lots of high emotions flying around all over the place.  Add to that the fact that I’ve been couch-surfing since October and was struggling with a bit of depression again along with trying to adjust to my new life here in Montana and it was just a really bad day.  I made it through school feeling fragile and ready to cry at the drop of a hat.  After school I posted something on Facebook to my friends about please hug everyone you know, often and randomly because you don’t know when someone is having a hard day and most people really don’t get enough physical affection.

The next morning I walked in the back door to school, which opens into the break room.  Everyone goes there first thing in the morning to put their things in their locker, their lunch in the fridge and hang their coats on the hooks so it was full of girls.  Kyle sees me and in front of  God and everybody he wraps me in a giant bear hug.  He held me for much longer than an “normal” hug, let me go and we separated enough for him to see that I was trying not to cry so he pulled me close and hugged me again, long but not quite as long as the first one.

All of the girls at school were staring at us, apparently this is not how he hugs everyone else and he does a fair amount of hugging because he’s a very friendly guy and just about everybody loves him – or is in love with him, ha, ha.  He is also quite handsome, most of the girls would like to sleep with him and tell him so to his face regularly – but besides not being interested in girls he is committed to his partner of 6 years and just laughs.

I wrote him a little note telling him how much I appreciated – and needed – the hug and that I noticed how he helps other students and the teachers, just a little encouraging note that said I was proud of him for being such a nice guy.  I’ve done similar things before and the recipients usually (not always) say thank you and it’s never mentioned again.  Kyle seemed to go around and show just about everyone important to him.  I know for sure that he showed the owner of the school – who told me later what a nice thing I did in writing the note –  and then Kyle told me that he showed it to his boyfriend and it made him cry.

I’ve never had anyone share my notes with other people before, that was pretty cool.  Because of his reaction to my note I’ve written three more to other students and while they each said thank you and really appreciated the notes it didn’t enable a connection between me and that student like it did with me and Kyle.  I don’t know if it was because they were girls or because Kyle and I have just clicked and I don’t connect as well with them… regardless I’m going to keep writing those encouraging notes and try to write one for everyone by the time I’m done with school

Ever since then he hugs me regularly, pretty much daily and sometimes often more than once a day.  I have become the envy of all the girls who swoon over him, which is entirely a new feeling for me that I’m torn between enjoying and feeling bad about, I’ve never been the girl that other girls are jealous of because of a boy!  And Kyle gives the best hugs, ever.  Even when I was married I never got a hug like Kyle’s from my husband.  Kyle hugs me long and tight, he holds on until I start to pull away.  There is absolutely nothing sexual about his hugs and I feel completely safe in his arms.  He talks to me sometimes and shares stories about his past, his childhood, what was going on in his life when he became homosexual, how some of his family reacted and a few other things that I doubt he tells very many other people.  Sometimes when we hug he tells me he loves me and I say I love him back but again, it’s not at all romantic.

I think that maybe he has never had anyone offer him friendship and affection without strings or sexual joking attached so he probably needs the hugs as much as I do.

We’ve even started messaging each other outside of school occasionally and Kyle said he would go to a movie with me.  I asked if his boyfriend would be okay with that and he laughed and said it was cute that I asked.  He says he’s looking for a boyfriend for me but that it will have to be someone super-special.  The feelings I have for Kyle are pretty much the same kind of love that I have for my best friend from high school.  Deeper than family or marital love; a total, unconditional love between friends.  Kyle’s hugs and friendship have changed my life and made every day at school a little brighter and the hard days easier and I hope that I make his hard days easier too.

I found a word, Cwtch.  It’s Welsh and it means:  A hug that feels like a safe haven.  It’s pronounced like “crutch” except without the “r” so say “cutch”.  Kyle is my Cwtch.  I wish everybody had one and he has inspired me to hug even more people because I know I’m not the only one suffering from lack of physical affection, even in my small sphere of influence.

So I’m going to encourage you too – Go Hug People!  Go be somebody’s Cwtch.  You may never know the difference your hug can make, the life you may actually save by reaching out and touching someone, by hugging them with affection regardless of how “good” of friends you are.  People need to be touched so become a hugger!  Hug hello and hug goodbye.  Tell people you love them, it means you care about them and it doesn’t have to mean anything else.  Be a safe haven for people.  The world needs more Cwtch’s.

 The crash and burn of realizing you are only wanted when you are needed

The light-bulb moment of finally understanding that’s one of the many things he did for all those years, the one who broke you

The self-loathing at recognizing every man you’ve ever fallen for could not or would not love you back – and yet you gravitate towards another just like that over and over again

The fear that you will never be able to love someone who is different, someone who is better

The accepting of yourself – you fall fast and hard at the first drop of kindness and think it’s love 

The knowledge that this may never change

The hope that it never changes because then you would not be you

The draining wariness of constantly being on guard against falling in love

The battle between wanting to fall in love and needing to feel safe

The sadness that “safe” and “in love” have never come to you at the same time

The weariness of needing to decipher your own emotions and those around you non-stop

The utter exhaustion from carrying all of life’s responsibilities while guarding your damaged heart that still slips out the window like a teenager and falls in love with the wrong guy anyway 

The desperate need to believe in fairy tales because maybe, just maybe, you could have a happily ever after too

The sleep that finally comes to give you just enough strength to make it through one more day so you can do it all over again

Things are going well!  A bit of an overview:

I’m just over halfway done with “Back Class” at school, where it’s all book work and hand-on practice with a mannequin head and no working on paying customers.  So far we’ve learned everything except the actual cutting of hair, which the teacher said she will show us just before we get on the floor.

I made the decision to give up my nail booth at the salon I’ve been at because I just can’t afford it.  I’ve paid $800 for ten weeks of booth rent and have made less than half of it back.  The day I gave the salon owner my notice, planning to vacate the premises this week but she reminded me that I signed a contract requiring me to give two weeks notice so now I owe for two more weeks and I’m out of money…  I cried all morning – not only am I giving up something that is really important to me but now I owe for two more weeks and my only source of income currently is donating plasma.  Ugh.  Turns out that one of my instructors is opening her own salon in May and is willing to rent to me so that’s one option.  I’ve checked with another salon about only working on Saturdays and am waiting to hear back from them so that’s another option…  I’ve also applied at the local movie theater for a part-time, evening job because I love going to movies and I think the hours would be a good fit.  I have an interview Wednesday evening, yay!  And then on Monday I am planning to go to the home health agency my dad works at and apply there as well – I could easily be a personal care aid and do light housekeeping, meal prep, laundry and companionship.  I had a CNA license 15 years ago but I let it expire so I would only be able to do non-licensed care right now but that’s OK, I like helping people.

I did the online dating thing for a month but was over it and cancelled after the first two weeks – since I paid for a month it stayed on for the full month though and those last few days were filled with prayers that nobody would try and contact me, lol!  However, I feel like I made progress, I chatted online with 4 guys AND had one date, a vast improvement over last year when I tried online dating three separate times and only talked to one guy each time with no dates.  Baby steps.  What I find hilarious is the worship leader at church, and possibly the pastor as well, seem to think I’m being “impatient”, lol.  I don’t think they realize that my actual goal in online dating is not so much to get married tomorrow  (and it’s definitely not to get laid) as it is to get comfortable communicating with someone of the male species who just might possibly have an interest in taking me to dinner.  I know I’m damaged in this area and I also know that if I don’t actively work on getting better, the part of my life that deals with romance and intimacy will never ever improve.  At All.  And since I am the ONLY single person in my church and the two guys at school are both married – and one is gay – I don’t have any chance of meeting a single man at either place I spend most of my time, regardless of whether or not he would be interested in buying me food and staring deeply into my eyes… hence the online dating.  And the random, possibly desperate sounding jokes about needing a boyfriend that may be the reason my pastor and worship leader think I’m being impatient.  I’m just trying to get over being petrified but they don’t know me well enough to see beyond what those words would mean coming from an undamaged women’s mouth.

Men are so weird!  😉  Oh and the more Keanu Reeves movies I watch the more I fall in love with him… somehow it’s just easier for me to love men that I know will never love me back, lol, which probably means I’ll be single the rest of my life but now that I’ve survived a loveless marriage I know I’ll be fine, just occasionally whiny about it, ha, ha.

I bought my father a birthday present today, his birthday is in a couple of weeks and I always have the hardest time knowing what to get him because he’s so quiet about what he wants but I think I did pretty good this time!  He plays the guitar and has said a couple of times that he wishes he had a lighter case for his 12-string acoustical guitar – the one he has weighs more than the guitar does all by itself!  So I found the local music store, they had one in stock and I bought it!  Now I just have to find a place to keep it until Dad’s birthday…

Speaking of places to keep things – I am still living with my folks, sleeping on a couch in my Dad’s downstairs office, with just enough floor space next to the couch to keep my two suitcases, two totes and a small storage box.  On top of the totes is my CPAP machine and all the assorted bits of paraphernalia that goes along with everyday life – contact lens solution and cases, the small travel jewelry case that contains a few pieces I brought here with me, gum, cough drops, books, notebooks, pens, a bag I put all of my receipts into, charging cables and the like.  It’s virtually an open “junk drawer” and irritates me to look at it because, somewhat miraculously, I have become a neat and tidy person in my middle aged singleness.  Let me stress that I am soooooo very grateful that my folks let me stay here and haven’t asked for a dime.  I would have been living in my car without their graciousness in housing me and I try my hardest to leave a tiny footprint in their life.  I cart around a laundry basket of food in the trunk of my car to make my school lunches out of and try not leave a mess in the house at any time.  I can tell that it means a lot to my dad to have me here and I love finding bits of time to talk with him and just be around him, I feel like we’re really, finally, starting to connect with each other in a deeper way.  So I feel bad for missing my stuff and my own space… but I do.  I’m ready to find my own place to rent – except that I can’t afford it until I get a job.  <sigh>  My financial aid covers all of my bills like my car payment, insurance, phone, Netflix, etc, but there’s not enough extra to pay for housing so without the kindness of my folks letting me stay with them I would be a dirty, homeless bum right begging showers off the YMCA right now.  This is just another set of dominoes that need to fall in order and everything will be fine in God’s timing…

On a fun note, I’m working my way through Grey’s Anatomy I think that if someone would make a spoof on the show using cosmetologists instead of surgeons it would be super-funny!  But seriously, I think the show is so popular because Patrick Dempsey can do the Man In Romantic Agony face really well and I think deep down every girl wishes a guy would be in Romantic Agony at the thought of not being able to spend his life with her.  I’m only at the beginning of Season 3 and most of Season 2 was spent with Derick and Meredith struggling with their feelings for each other in spite of his decision to “do the right thing” and make it work with his wife.  So far the show has nearly as much sleeping around as Friends did but it addresses some more serious life choice issues as well as some fascinating medical cases.  I’m really enjoying it.

This part of Montana is finally warming up and the falling precipitation has all been rain instead of snow, something I am very thankful for.  The tires on my car were wearing down and I had a noticeable bald spot on the center column of tread on my front tires, something my brother said was an indicator of over-inflation even though they were inflated to what the tire said it should be.  Hmmm…  I had taken a trip to see my best friend from high school and buy nail supplies in her (bigger) city, that was where I had my date that I posted about, and on the trip I was able to see both of my brothers who lived within an hour of my friend and my next older brother and his wife actually bought me a set of four tires from Costco!  I was shocked, amazed and overwhelmed.  I didn’t ask them to do that, I didn’t even hint.  They just offered and I am so grateful!

God is always good and takes excellent care of me through many different people.

What else?  I think that’s about it.  Being on the worship team is going well, school is going well, dating is still non-existent but I’m thinking kinder thoughts about it. My car is running fine, my health is okay, my hair color is no longer the fun magenta that bled all over every piece of fabric it came in contact with and is now a responsible, adult reddish color albeit with some nice black fading on the tips that nobody notices.  The gay guy at school seems to try and find ways for me to touch him by getting pedicures and manicures from me and occasionally touching my shoulder in the hallway and he gives me broad smiles with mischievous winks here and there – and then he ignores me all together.  Did I say men are weird?  They are.  Oh, and I put acrylic on my toenails so I can finally start wearing sandals and not be embarrassed about my toes.  There, now you’re all caught up!

I probably should not have put the exclamation point on there, my first date since I became single was not that exciting but it was a pleasant experience and was a good way to break the dating “ice”.  😀  However, it is my first date in over 21 years so the exclamation mark stays!

Jamie was the fourth guy to message me on the dating app and even in our initial chatting I knew he was not my forever after but he was polite, thoughtful and easy to talk to.  Since my primary goal for joining the dating service was to practice talking with guys with the goal of possibly finding a boyfriend he was definitely perfect for that so I kept responding to his messages.

In an ironic twist of fate I was two states over shopping for nail supplies and visiting my best friend from high school and he was nearby for a job interview!  So he texted me and asked if I’d like to meet for lunch.  Of course I said yes and I even had a particular Italian restaurant in mind (but I didn’t mention it since it was farther away) and we settled on a different Italian restaurant and I met him there.  Except that it wasn’t open for lunch.  so we picked another, nearby Italian restaurant and got back into our separate cars to meet at the new place.  Here’s the thing though, I walk up to the door of the closed restaurant and he is standing there, facing the door with his back to me, looking at his phone (starting to text me and let me know it was closed).  I say “Jamie?” and he turns around, gives me a professional smile with no joy or excitement at meeting me for the first time, shakes my hand in a business-like fashion, explains the restaurant is closed and do I know where this other place is?  It’s been 10 years since I’ve lived in this town so I did know the place he was talking about but it took me a minute to remember exactly where it was and how to get there.  I missed my turn because of all the one-ways downtown but did manage to notice that this new place he selected was also closed.  But this time closed as in gone.  As in Not There Anymore.  Just as I’m pulling into the parking garage he texts me “I’m at the restaurant”.  I’m confused, thinking the restaurant must have relocated nearby so I responded that I had gotten turned around on the one-ways and was trying to find  a place to park as I’m pulling into the parking garage.  I pass him in the parking garage!  He’s walking towards the elevator while I’m driving, trying to find a spot to park – he’s not at the restaurant at all!

This tells me something significant – the fine details are not that important to him, and that generalities are okay.  Hmmm…

I roll down my window, wave, say hi, and he says he’ll meet me by the elevators.  Very businesslike, no real warmth or emotion in his voice.  The parking garage was so full I had to go up another three levels just to find a spot.  He texts again, “I’m guessing we’re not on the same floor, I’ll meet you at the ground level of the elevators”.  I hurry to an elevator, thinking we’ll just have to get back on the elevator together to go to the second floor where I’m guessing the restaurant relocated but I get out at the ground level and hear a voice behind me “I’m here” and he walks briskly towards me and then past me, clearly expecting me to follow him, which I did.  We walk outside back towards where our second eating destination was supposed to be located but I know it is not.  He pays no attention to the fact that all of the green awnings have had the restaurant name peeled off of them, leaving an un-faded spot of brighter green against the weathered, faded green of the rest of the awning and I chose not to say anything at this point because he is clearly In Charge and I’m interested in seeing how he handles this.  We walk around two sides of the building, filled with these logo-less green awnings over the many windows, to get to the main door and it is only then that he realizes that the restaurant is no more.

Well then.  Clearly, details are not his thing.  But he is jovial and remarks that it has been some time (although less than 10 years) since he had lived in that town as well.  I suggest another restaurant located right next door to our second choice and he says that’s fine, he hadn’t even noticed that it was an Italian restaurant too…  Yep, not a detail man.  Strange how much that bothers me, huh.  But here is something small that tells me God loves me and is always looking out for me – the third and final Italian restaurant that we wound up eating at was another branch of the one I had wanted to eat at in the first place!  I just didn’t know they had a downtown location or I would have suggested it.  God is so good!

We walk back to our final destination and I noticed that he did not take care to place himself between me and the road, something I believe marks a true gentleman, and another mark under the “Nope, this one is not for me” column appears.  He chooses to sit in the bar at a tall table, a little awkward for me but not terribly.  We each order food and I study him.  He is obviously confident in his own skin, good-looking but not quite handsome, built a lot like me, short and stout (although in his case I’m positive it’s mostly muscle), and he’s outgoing.  Friendly without being charming, brisk without being obnoxious.  His military career has definitely made a lasting impression on his life outlook and mannerisms, not so much in a bad way but more in a keep-your-distance-and-always-stay-professional kind of way.  Combined with some of the things he had told me about earlier I think that would be hard to break through and am not finding myself motivated to try and accomplish this. He mostly talks about himself and only asks me a few questions, easily and quickly rabbiting off onto tangents that pertain to him once I’ve given an answer.  A couple of times he mildly chastised me for forgetting information he had told me through texting in the days before we met but when he forgot things I had told him in those same conversations it was no big deal to him.  More marks under the “Not for me” column show up.

In the end, he didn’t offer to pay for my food or my parking, got up from our dinner to go to the sushi restaurant next door to get more food “to go” and reached out to shake my hand goodbye, once again, very businesslike.

I skipped the handshake and gave him a hug, which clearly surprised and pleased him, but only a little.  He gave me a decent hug back and we parted.  Just the experience of being able to identify that someone was not for me was worth a hug and I was grateful to him for it.  He texted me while I was driving to the nail supply store and we went back and forth for a half an hour or so, just pleasant conversation between friends.  He wound up getting the job he had interviewed for and moving out of Montana for it.  I’m glad.  He texted me one final time as he was leaving Montana to say goodbye and I wished him well.  I hope he finds a lady who is good for him someday soon.  But it isn’t me.

I just realized, I don’t fantasize about having sex with anybody, lol. When I daydream it’s about being held. 

What I long for, ever so wistfully, is to feel safe inside a strong pair of arms. To spoon and be warmed by a man who smells like a wilderness adventure, rugged and wild. I wish for a bottomless pair of eyes to stare into and find myself reflected in their depths just as he finds himself in mine. 

This is my fantasy. To be utterly and completely safe with someone who loves me just the way I am. 

Well then.  In the 14 days since I signed up I have had 169 men view my profile, 30 guys have said they want to “meet me” and 12 guys have sent me a message.  The messages sometimes don’t say anything, ,just “wink wink” but a couple of my favorites were “Well Hello Red” to “Your hot baby”, lol!  The only scary one was the guy who said, after my gracious brush-off, “You’ll like me and I’ll like you with your red hair”…  That’s a little creepy, I “will” like him.  No thanks!

The first few days made me feel really good about myself, I mean who wouldn’t get excited about getting lots of messages and want-to-meet-yous?  But reality set in when you actually start messaging people and talking to them on the phone.  Here are the top contenders:

Chris – the first day we started “talking” we messaged for 12 hours.  The next day it was 4 hours and then the day after that it was another 12 hours.  And then a few more days of 4 hour chats…  We are so very similar that sometimes I felt like I was talking to myself when I was messaging him, we are damaged in a lot of similar places, have a lot of similar likes and dislikes, it was really fascinating.  I felt like we really connected, I could totally see having a long-term relationship with this guy.  He lives 100 miles away and we exchanged phone numbers and started texting.  A day or two later we made arrangements to talk on the phone but when the time came he begged off, saying he didn’t feel good went to bed and then he didn’t seem interested in calling me after that either… We texted for another day or two and then I asked for his honest opinion of me and we ended up deciding to be friends.  The texting has completely stopped, he never responded to a text I sent him so I let him go.  If he ever manages to come to town and wants to meet me I’ll let him take me to dinner and we’ll see what happens but I suspect that he has written me off because my last text to him was a picture of me with my new I’m-in-beauty-school short haircut and fantasy color, knowing that he likes long hair…  Whatever, he won’t even call me on the phone, I’m not going to change a single thing about me for someone like that.

Mark – I responded to this gentleman’s message because it was more than “Hi” and he didn’t say I was hot, lol.  Mark is not much of a talker, has bad spelling and worse grammar but he had a kind face and was interested in coming into town (he also lived 100 miles away) to meet me right away.  But he also got sick, cancelled his trip and hasn’t messaged me since. He may message me again later and I’d go to lunch with him, we’ll see…

Jeff – This guy was fun and only lived 20 miles from time, we had snappy, witty messaging conversations and joked with each other and were getting along really, really well.  But he didn’t ask me any questions about my past and only a few questions about my present.  He answered my questions with brief replies and several times said we should meet but never even tried to set up a time.  When we finally spoke on the phone it was the most awkward 20 minute conversation I may have ever had, lol.  I think we are both more shy in person than we are in written words but he didn’t even give me anything to work with!  He spent the 20 minutes talking about himself, his job, his brother and his parents.  He didn’t ask me any questions and didn’t give me much of a chance to ask him any questions either.  When he was done talking he said goodnight and hung up.  I messaged him that it was nice to talk to him, he messaged back that he was going to bed but it would be nicer if he had someone to snuggle with…  I never responded.

And there it is, the top three contenders in the first two weeks of my latest online dating venture!  It’s not all I was hoping it will be and I have until the beginning of next month to decide if I want to pay another $30 for another month of this.  Maybe I’ll switch services, ha, ha.

In other news my ex-husband remarried last night.  I thought I would feel something, peaceful, happy, upset, sad… but instead I didn’t feel anything at all.  It’s like they’re two strangers who don’t affect my life at all, imagine that!  However, I am happy for both of them and hope that someday we can all be friends in one form or another.  I was worried about my younger daughter who had to attend the wedding even though she didn’t really want to AND her father put her in the center of the front row, causing her a great deal of anxiety on top of what she was already dealing with.  Both of my brothers drove down to attend the wedding and while I do have mixed feelings about that I am so grateful they were there because they ran interference for her.  She told me after she got home that they stood close by, if somebody started talking to her and she looked like she was getting overwhelmed they would come up, ask if they could borrow her for a minute, walk her away from the person, give her a hug and let her go.  I was so grateful and proud of them!  It means they listened to me and actually heard what I said when I talked about her.  It means they really do care about her and I take that as they really do care about me too.  Which, I knew they did before, but this feels like rare proof of it.  Thank you brothers.

 

Today was my first day on the worship team at my folks church in Montana. Well, I’m going to call it what it is. My church. This is my church now. 

Glad we got that settled…

Yesterday I practiced with the team and then again this morning before the service and I though they went well. Is always been hard for me to blend my piano playing with guitars but they were gracious and we worked the logistics of pretty good, I thought. I was a little nervous but not a lot, mostly about getting used to the sound system honestly. My playing isn’t amazing but it is sufficient for what they want me to do. 

Before the service starts every week they have prayer downstairs,  the elders gather around first the worship team and then the children’s workers and then the pastor and pray for them. While they were praying for us they kept saying things about how thankful they were that I was there and that they had been praying for someone to play the keyboard and that I was their answer to prayer… I don’t think anyone in church leadership has ever said I was an answer to their prayers. It blew me away. 
As we were walking upstairs to start the service the worship leader turns to me and says “I hope you stay here forever”.

Wow! These people really like me! I’ve never been accepted so warmly by any church leadership. 

I’m humbled. I’m honored. I’m flabbergasted and I’m a little concerned they’ll change their minds once they get to know me better… 

The actual service went as well as the practices. I hit a few wrong notes and sang at the wrong time once but overall it was good and I felt like I fit right in with the team. After the service several people shook my hand and thanked me for being on the team. I felt so loved today, by an entire church body that I barely know. 

God brought me here. That knowledge shines brighter every day. This is where I am supposed to be and I am home.