Saturday, March 7, 2020

Uh-Oh, Love Comes to The Angry Redheaded Lawyer's World

Yes, I borrowed that from a Talking Heads song called "Uh-Oh, Love Comes to Town". I'm a Talking Heads fan and mastered that category in about 5 seconds in SongPop 2. I really don't care if you call it cliche since I'm a "smart" type and their music is billed as "for smart people."

I've had a lot going on and got news that obliterated any concern or regard for my nasty divorce. Over time, I was starting to feel romantic love towards Mr. Big Stuff. A lot of the tenor of things started to change & more recently he'd invited me to travel with him and visit him in other places. My thought was "I'd travel for a guy who loves me but I don't want to go someplace to find that guy going out on dates with other women or him introducing me to some local ho he's carrying on with like I'm going to share or something." He knows my history and my feelings about such things. I may have lived in NYC long enough to be a native New Yorker but there's still that whole Christian upbringing in my core so I don't do polyamory or sharing with others or playing second fiddle. I either have to be the bottom bitch or there has to be no rank. This guy is someone it's much easier to talk with on the phone than to text with. He might be one of the few Millenials I've met who is good with the in-person interactions and offline conversations.

I was thinking "I do NOT want to fall in love with guy if he doesn't love me" so I felt I needed to know the answer to the $64,000 question: Do you love me?

The very idea of asking that question was nerve wracking to me. I probably realized I had those deeper feelings over a year ago but I didn't really want to own them until I knew where I stood with him. He's been doing a lot of travel and had to deal with the coronavirus craziness in China though he had no illness, had never been to Wuhan or the Hubei province. The guy had to do self-quarantine for a month in 2 separate countries (2 weeks in China and 2 weeks in the US). After that, he came to visit me. I told him we could go out as much as he wanted since I'd go nuts if I'd had to be confined for that long. Currently, I have to self-quarantine because I have at minimum a cold and want to make sure it's not actually the coronavirus (there are currently 11 cases here & the second confirmed case was a lawyer who works in Midtown East who went about his merry way while having milder symptoms then got hit with it; during that time, he hung out with somebody who works at Kings Civil Court, which had to be sanitized because of this--I've not been to Kings Civil in over a month but still, if you do appearances you're often going to many of the courthouses and who knows what appearance attorneys may have had contact with that employee who then went to other courts?). It's gotten to be a big issue in NYC, a land with lots of people who are on public transit and in a smaller space. This is not good for those living in NYC.

But finally, I had the opportunity to talk to my sweetheart and asked the question. He said "yes."

I was legitimately shocked but maybe I should have known. He made me ask about exclusivity after calling me his girlfriend without notice to me at this event we went to. He also told me he's not a guy who tells you how he's feeling in words but shows you in his actions. His actions have indicated love & sweetness for quite a while in the past few visits we've had and in our interactions (we talk to one another more than we had in the past after making up from a major fight). Friends of ours have heard about the other one. He told me friends of his know who I am and I mentioned that mine also know who he is.

I hadn't thought deeply about the future but I did come to the realization that I could leave NYC and live elsewhere with him if that was something he asked. I've had over 12 years here and would like my own space sometime. My law licenses are transferable to many places and a name kept popping up in my head: John Hughes.

John Hughes is the guy who did "Home Alone", "Sixteen Candles", "Pretty in Pink", "Curly Sue" and many other films. He had a Hollywood career but he didn't live in LA. He lived in Illinois in a suburb of Chicago even during his peak. He still maintained his career despite this and didn't succumb to the leftist nonsense or change who he was.

Considering we have the Internet and so forth today, there's no reason you couldn't still have an entertainment career and an oasis from leftist loons, high taxes and rent that's too damn high. So I felt like "if I get remote gigs and have things rolling in the entertainment world, there's no reason I couldn't move to someplace where I can motion in using my law licenses and still do what I'm doing now." I wouldn't feel like a failure if I didn't live in my hometown, where I have lots of emotional baggage. A new place that lacks such baggage and associations with my family could be doable. Greater distance from crazy relatives could even be advantageous for me and Mr. Big Stuff.

Being someone who vowed she'd die in NYC, this is a huge leap for me. It's me saying "that's something I'd do for love but love wouldn't be the sole reason by a long shot." The reality is I'm not going to live in a place where criminals have more rights than me (see the new bail reform laws) and I don't want to be stuck with no property to call my own in my 60s + have to have roommates. A cheaper cost of living and being able to get my own place would definitely be selling points for me. Places where the values of common sense, personal accountability and respect for laws/other people would also be good to consider. I need to travel more first but since I did traveling in November, I felt like "I could go elsewhere and feel some peace there."

In fact, I saw Mr. Big Stuff and went to my new friend's party last week and forgot all about the start of my transient life in 2014 until days later. This is progress. It also feels good having love with Mr. Big Stuff since he doesn't make me feel suffocated or trapped or like he's just paying me lip service. It's a lot easier since both of us have loved before and it's not like either person is unequal like it was with my ex-husband, who'd loved before me while he was my first true love.

Eventually Mr. Big Stuff & I will be traveling and we both acknowledged that it will be a test of our relationship. Will we pass it? That's a good question. I have no clue.

Friday, February 14, 2020

Making Peace With Valentine's Day and Other Musings

So you may have noticed I've not done a ton of posts lately other than reviews. This time, it's not because of being repressed by the legal system and a jerky ex's legal counsel. This reason is much nicer: I've been out LIVING life. It's really hard to live life and write about it simultaneously. Writing requires reflection, which doesn't really happen when you're out living the experiences you need to reflect on.

I've been doing a lot. I got to go on a cross country road trip with a friend I made in my advanced hosting class. It was long past time for me to take hosting classes and you need a hosting reel to do hosting jobs, hence my taking 2 hosting classes. My advanced class was really tiny, a total of 4 people (including me). Nearly everybody I've met in the industry has said to me "you'd make a great host" and I've even done a paid hosting gig. I also did a hosting audition for a fashion event and was praised for my audition but didn't get to do it at the last second due to mysterious "change of plans" I wasn't told about until I showed up at the event. I also took a personality assessment recently for a job application and got ISTJ-A as my result (which is a "Logistician"); quite informative though I have done things spontaneously and will take calculated risks. Going on this road trip is one such example of me doing something spontaneous. I got invited with shorter notice and looking at my work schedule, decided "Yes, I'll go in the midst of November and forego assignments since I've never been further west than Texas. The pros of getting to know my classmate (one of those local female friends I'd wanted for years & hadn't had any luck getting until more recently), going to LA and passing through Phoenix so I could see my gay bestie and getting to broaden personal horizons) was worth my feeling antsy about getting back on time and concern about paying bills. The weird thing is it didn't knock my finances out of whack, not even a little bit.

This classmate is someone that if you looked at our lives, you'd notice major differences and major similarities all at once. She came from much more money than I did but also had an alcoholic parent, doesn't have extended family she's close with and has also been dealing with divorce. She also made her own way and definitely didn't get wads of money from her family. She's also got more access to legitimate contacts and knows where the cool kids hang out; life ended up making her fall behind in our class but she, like me, believes God puts people into your life for a reason & I feel like she might be a good counterbalance to my lawyer style rigidity. She said I'm probably good for her since I'm really assertive, organized and will do what I say I will. I have some empathy from my own divorce experience and I didn't feel she was making that offer to patronize or attach strings; in college, I learned that sometimes you should let people do nice things for you and we got to travel in a style I've never gotten to in my entire life and would only be able to dream of at present. I also never actually got a vacation after my ex threw me out and everything happened. She didn't make me feel like she was trying to be Superman or control my life. That never happens with people I don't know well (bear in mind this was our first out of town outing).

As I've said of long road trips, you'll either be bonded for life when you're done or you'll never want to see the other person ever again. Fortunately, we ended up bonded and I got invited to do international travel. She is more spontaneous, more outgoing, more experienced at travel and I think has less cynicism than I do; she wants to go back to the West Coast when her kids get to college. She'd probably call herself more of an archetypal California girl while I'm definitely an archetypal New Yorker (Southern roots notwithstanding). Kind of writes itself, doesn't it? I felt like I was Felix Unger or Larry Appleton for parts of that trip (the character who's more rigid, fearful of the unknown and so forth). Plus, she's got the looks and male attention + intelligence so there's none of that jealousy aimed at me. She also had the same complaint I have about the South and elucidated it even better than I did. I think of her like a cool sister or BFF who's more worldly in some ways but has never been patronizing about it since we're in agreement on a lot of things.

Mr. Big Stuff and I have also been talking way more often. He's coming to visit soon after he's got no more risk of icky corona virus germs (he's over a week into the mandatory self-quarantine though he never went to Wuhan or the Hubei Province). He also spoke of a possible future road trip and he knows I'd go on one with him. That'd be another test. He'd previously told me about where he's going to be spending a lot of time in the US and says to me "It'd be good for you to get out of NY for a while."

So that's led to a lot of questions on my part, as I'm sure most women would have: Do you love me? Where am I staying (I've usually hosted him when he visited here and he hosted me when he had a place to stay while doing a job here where he got accommodations at Columbia University)? Are you paying for me? Where do I stand with you? This is a guy I dated exclusively for a time when he lived here but life took him out of NYC and when he visits, I always see him since neither of us are exclusive with anyone else (when I thought he'd gotten an exclusive girlfriend without telling me, we got into a major fight where I told him to fuck off, he was dead to me and blocked him everywhere; he is the one who made the effort to contact me + apologized to me for that fight and saying we'd never been serious when we were together & this is a guy who never apologizes for things). We have discussed resuming our old exclusivity if we ended up living in the same area. He knows where the door is if he wants to take up with some other bitch & he is the one who chose to come back.

I straight up told him I'd travel to see a guy who loves me but I'm not going to pack things, pay money/lose money to then find him going out on dates or introducing me to some local ho like I'm supposed to be okay with that. Two can play that game & if he views me as "the NYC girl" it's wasting my time to invite me elsewhere if he doesn't feel anything real or sincere or has any future with me in mind. His actions have shown seriousness on his part, even more recently. I even said he acted like a guy who loved me and he didn't say "I don't love you." He didn't say "I love you" either, though. He knows I've got lots of blocks around that phrase in a romantic context & it would devastate me to say that to somebody first and not hear it back or even hear "I don't feel that way about you." In his case, I'd really feel robbed and deceived & he knows my history around it. Asking someone who's only loved one person in her entire life who then ended up betraying her in one of the worst ways to say "I love you" first is a huge ask. This is also a man who practically forced me to ask him about exclusivity after he called me his girlfriend (without advance notice) when we went to a formal event together. He told me we weren't exclusive because I'd never asked him so I decided I'd ask him, though I prefaced it with "you know I fear rejection but I'm going to ask you anyway." Something tells me he'll force me into any admissions of love. I never even said "I love you" first with my ex & I'm not a person who likes being vulnerable. I just feel like at this point, the evidence I've seen of his behavior towards me outweighs the risk of rejection. He has told me he wasn't just killing time with me until some mythical better girl shows up. He apparently also thought I'd go off and find some other guy then forget about him.

So this brings me to Valentine's Day, a day that lived in infamy for me for many years. Getting divorced years back also didn't make Valentine's Day a holiday with great associations for me. During that year, my then husband went off with his homie (a male coworker at his job who was a custodian, the job he held in the past & was also into the comics/sci-fi/gaming stuff that I wasn't) and said "I don't have a Valentine" while I was in the apartment. I stayed in, watched the movie I typically watch to commemorate it and ate alone. I've done this single person's ritual every year I was single and when I wasn't single or got invited on a date, I was out with a guy. Last year, I was on a date with a guy I met at a single's event I went to on my birthday proper. The year before, I got some boneless wings and fries at Wing Stop, had chocolate covered strawberries I'd ordered online and watched the movie I typically watch on Valentine's Day ("No One Would Tell" with Candace Cameron Bure & Fred Savage; look it up).

Today, I haven't felt a need to do a single person's ritual. My stomach feels crappy due to girl trouble but it's not that. It's not even the blistering cold outside. It just doesn't feel necessary for me to commemorate it at this point. Not sure why. Friends had talked to me about wanting to hang out but I feel cruddy so I'd just as soon stay inside and make myself something meaty (probably some turkey meat sliders since I need to eat something with meat in it) then take a shower and watch "Unsolved Mysteries." I heard a couple stories on there about people being murdered on Valentine's Day.

At least that hasn't happened, right? Maybe I just feel loved every other day of the year and have felt that more often in recent times so I don't see a need to "treat yo self" or make a big thing of it. Mr. Big Stuff doesn't acknowledge holidays or even his own birthday so he'd probably be happy to be with someone like me who doesn't have crazy Valentine's Day asks (if you take me to a nice dinner and get me something with good chocolate, I'm happy though I won't turn down roses or nice jewelry or stuffed animals and the like; plus I like getting laid so it's not like that's the only time a guy who was with me would get to do THAT). That's not most women considering Valentine's Day is usually designed to make them feel like shit if they're single. I really felt that in NC and dealing with my family but it's much easier in a major city, especially NYC since there are lots of single people here. You can go to singles parties, hang out with friends, be far away from the pressures and obligations Valentine's Day imposes on people. You won't be the only person in the office who didn't get roses or you could just order yourself roses and it's all good. Self love is important as well so I suppose I'm reframing today as about self love & being grateful I'm not in a bad relationship, have good friends, am getting my financial house in order (even delving into the world of investment), and according to one friend "lead a glamorous life." Plus, I've got more possibilities and opportunities ahead of me on so many fronts that I'm starting to see.