19 March 2017

Mr. Goodman & the Identity Crisis

Ladies & Gentleman, I have returned. So brace yourself for a tall dark glass of whine, and while you're at it may I recommend the Italian sheep's milk cheese to pair with it? Simply delicious.

Yes, I'm back, and no, nothing good can come from it.

"What happened? You stalled for months and then fell off the map altogether!"

Well, dear reader, the answer to your accusing question is multifaceted.
First, really and truly, I went through a spell where I just was not meeting or dating anyone. Depending on what your relationship status on Facebook currently reads, you may or may not be surprised to hear this. The holidays tends to be a slow season for dating for a lot of obvious reasons. I also elected to take a step back from it out of sheer exhaustion and in favor of coping with other stress factors in my life. Like family. And family visits. And family…everything. Also work. My job doesn't exactly stop being demanding…ever, really. Some months are more fun than others. Some months are more crazy than others. December tends to hover somewhere suspiciously close to both descriptions.

Second, writing this blog had started to get away from me. It was almost becoming a source of negativity for me in some ways. A reminder that after all this, STILL nothing and no one had worked out.

And finally, well…I got a little lazy. I actually wrote an entire rough story about one, Mr. Goodman, and then completely failed to post it, in part because the ending was just so…depressing. I was trying very hard not to sound defeatist, but after three or more revisions, that's still how I sounded: defeated.

So I backed away for a while and decided either the blog was ready to die off on its own or else some inspiration would strike to resurrect it. Inspiration, it seems, has come in the form of frustration.

I'll get there, though. Let's back up to Mr. Goodman. I'm going to go ahead and drop the entire would-be post here to catch you up, so you can understand how I got to the point that I did. That is to say, how I ended up having a complete identity crisis and freaking out about whether or not I'm even a basically good person. So, without further ado, a post written about 4 or 5 months ago:

Mr. Goodman & The Identity Crisis

The rough thing about dating is that other than about .05% of the time when you're hitting it off with a potential soulmate, you're doing one of two things: getting hurt or dishing it out yourself. 
Maybe the statistics on that are better for some, the "lucky ones," as they say. That doesn't diminish the fact that no one enjoys rejection, but if you're a decent human being, having to let someone else down can be just as miserable. 
Let's get to the story. The man in question is someone I met at a wedding, and it took me a long time to come up with a clever moniker for him. He represented for me something bigger than himself, honestly. He is the quintessential good guy, the one who actually treats a woman the way she deserves to be treated. He is something enormously refreshing and valuable to a society in which etiquette is unknown and decency is sparse. So please allow me to be unmistakable in saying that I have nothing but respect for him as a man, and for the sake of calling him something, let's name him Mr. Goodman. 
Things Mr. Goodman Did That I Appreciated: 
  • He called me up and left a voicemail, directly asking me on a date, nothing ambiguous or cowardly about it. 
  • When I cancelled our first date due to food poisoning,1 he was completely understanding and respectfully gave me space for a few days. 
  • The second time he asked me out, he had a place picked out: The Franklin Room. Not just a great spot, but a place he thoughtfully selected for me, remembering that I like whiskey and my favorite cocktail is an Old Fashioned. The Franklin Room has 300 different kinds of whiskey in addition to a great menu and lovely atmosphere. 
  • He was on time. He dressed up. He insisted on paying the bill at the end of the night even after I offered to split. He walked me to the train at the end of the night without making any unsolicited advances. 
  • He held a good conversation with me.
Things Mr. Goodman Did Wrong: 
  • ummmmmm…? 
  • …I suppose it would have been nice if he'd had more of a life plan?????

Yeah, obviously I'm reaching here. So please understand how much I hate myself for not being attracted to him. He's a good looking guy, but I can't help it. I feel nothing for him. And to clarify, by the time we went on a date, it was at least the third time I was meeting him in person. 
I went home that night marveling in frustration over my inability to conjure a basic attraction to this excellent human who would probably treat me exceptionally well if I were to seriously date him. I asked myself if there's something inherently wrong with me? Do I only want what I can't have? Am I intentionally choosing men who are emotionally unavailable or commitment-phobic? Or am I only attracted to the ones who are bound to treat me terribly, as history would suggest? 
I came home and had a deep conversation with my roommate about it, and I laid awake most of the night worrying over it. I stared at the ceiling, questioning my actual morality and whether or not I were destined to die alone. 
Eventually I realized I'm done. One of the side effects of writing about my love life once a week this year has been that I'm constantly obsessing over my love life. Never mind pressure from family or the fact that I have virtually no single friends. I've been putting insane stress on myself to figure out and fix this very broken part of my life. But really, it's not something within my power to fix. This is in God's hands and whatever ideal plan I once had for myself about being engaged by 25/26 and having a kid by the time I'm 30…that's clearly not what He has in store for me. Even if you aren't religious, you have to admit it's a situation I'm powerless to control. 
It doesn't make me happy. I don't feel comforted by that conclusion, but it's the facts and I've accepted them. I need to let it go and consider the possibility that love may never happen for me. I'm not trying to be cynical. It's just that the universe doesn't owe me a soul mate and I'm exhausted from looking for one. 
For those of you who stuck with me on this year's 10-month journey, thank you so much. You laughed and cried and got angry right alongside me, and now, to quote someone I once admired, we're going to "leave at the intermission."

You can see what I mean, right? Identity crisis. There's a reason I didn't date for several months, and it wasn't just holiday stress. Even when I got back into the game earlier this year, I was carrying a lot of baggage with me that directly influenced how I handled meeting Mr. Not Bad. But we'll save that for next time.

As you can see from my final comments, updating on a weekly basis became a chore that only contributed to the anxiety I had. I think due to the personal nature of this blog, I'm going to have to just post when inspiration strikes, rather than trying to schedule something. So if you're someone who is just really invested in hearing how things are going, I strongly recommend you subscribe to e-mail alerts that will update you whenever I post something new. If you are one of those people, thank you. I'm touched. We'll get through this mess together, you and I.

1 Not making this up. I actually got horrible food poisoning. I was sick as a dog for days.

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