Tonight's Top Ten: Signs that you've given up on your lovelife

10. You don't bother making the obligatory scope-out visit to the singles ward in your parent's city. (It's a spanish speaking branch anyway.)

9. You have no interest whatsoever in your sibling's single friends. You don't even try to flirt with them when they call on the phone.

8. Parts of your body that used to look fine now jiggle. And you don't care.

7. Because it is so darn hot here, you actually wear tanktops and capsleeve shirts outside the house. Despite your knowledge that your forearms are so unattractive they turn off any man who isn't blind.

6. Rather than preparing to make yourself cute before going to the beach, you try to get used to the fact that no one will see you as a babe-- to prevent disappointment when all the men ignore you. (This is South Beach we're talking about, only supermodels and latinas with perfect bodies turn heads. The rest of us look like toads.)

5. On Friday night, for fun, you go to the store to return the shoes you bought that morning and exchange them for the shoes you bought last week but returned two days ago.

4. While making that trip to the store, you wear black knit stretchy pants covered in white cat fur.

3. Then you rush home from the store so you don't miss the beginning of the movie your brother checked out from the library.

2. Afterwards, you're grateful when you're newlywed sister calls to tell you about her burgeoning sexlife because it breaks up your monotonous evening.

1. You're actually shameless enough to call your ex-boyfriend at 10 pm Friday night (letting him know you have no life) AND then leave him a message!! (confirming you have no life and the call wasn't an accident).

1A. In the message you say: "I hope you're out doing groovy single guy stuff."

AND the real #1 sign that you've given up on your lovelife:
You actually meant it.


Signs of Growth

I have not read Mr. Webcam's emails yet. I'm guessing the first one is nasty and seething and the second one, which came 2 hours later, is apologetic. Unless he is the type who likes to be punished...then he'll be begging me to marry him. Twice. But based on his high opinion of himself and his disbelief that I didn't want to even look at him, it's not likely he took criticism well. But don't worry my lovelies, y'all will be the first to know what he says.

My flight leaves late this afternoon for Ft. Lauderdale. WHeeeeeeee!!!!!

Preparing for this flight, I can see that I am growing. Not in the fat way, in the good mature way. I am doing laundry this very minute! Even though my flight leaves in a few hours. I know, I'm as surprised and impressed as you are. Last time I left for the summer, for Ireland, I left 4 loads of dirty clothes in my bedroom. It festered for 2 months and was not pretty to come home to. But I won't come home to stinky laundry again! That's growth because I'm learning from my mistakes. Not only am I doing laundry, but I had the prescience of mind to take all my winter coats and scarves to the cleaners on Monday. I got up early today and took a jog down there(literally jogged there folks) to pick them up and bought a breakfast sandwich on the way. In the rain. You read that correctly.

Not only have I conquered these masterful feats, but I defrosted my freezer yesterday! I crapped out on it the last time I tried. The little catch tray that separates my freezer from my fridge was full of water and then this inch thick block of ice lining the bottom of the freezer fell into the tray. Then I could no longer pull the tray out because the block was still connected to the sides of the freezer. It was a mess. That's when I got the brilliant idea to turn the cold back on and let it freeze that way. So my catch tray was frozen to the bottom of the freezer for 6 months. Until now.

If you knew me, and knew what a spastic irresponsible mess I am, you would understand the greatness of these small chores. I've also been to the deli twice to get quarters and more soap!

Monday I bought my ticket, and have been stressed out since. Making lists upon lists, then losing the lists and making lists to make more lists...I plan to stay for 2 months which makes this a complicated packing. I'm bringing my cat and have to bring all my papers and books so I can get work done. And I need a work wardrobe so I can get a job.

The other scary thing, besides getting ready, is that I am not good at catching planes. Especially in New York. Having to use public transportation to get to the different airports, with variable traffic times, made calculating the time to get there beyond my abilities. I have probably missed half of my flights in the last 4 years, if not more; that's not an exaggeration. I also missed planes when I lived in Atlanta, but I didn't have the public transportation excuse then. Everytime I get to the airport with time to spare I call someone I know to tell them and they cheer for me. (I can't even count how many times I've had to run up to the gate and been the last one on.)

To prevent this horror and because I have two suitcases and a cat, I'm taking a cab with the money my mother just gave me, (which is how I could afford dry cleaning). Shuttle buses don't come to my neighborhood unfortunately. It's another cost of living in Jersey. If I still lived in the city I could call the BlueVan and get a pickup for $20. The cab costs $45 with tip, even though it's only 3 freeway exits away. Oh well. This is what means to live in the largest metropolis in the country.

My last laundry load is drying in the basement. I still have to collect my papers, clean the bathtub, mop the kitchen, clean out the litter box, clean my nails, collect my CD's, pack the carry-on, lock the windows, pack kitty's carrier with goodies for her, get a sandwich from the deli, take out the trash, do hair and makeup, put laundry away (though I'll probably just leave it on the bed), cancel my internet account....and I think that is it. I have 3 hours. Should be time enough.

Wish me luck. I will still try to blog from mom's house. Her computer is in the guest room so my access is good. Interesting things don't happen much down there so I may spend some time reminiscing.


Mr. Webcam Returns

In case you missed his first visit, you can read about it HERE

Contrary to popular belief, he did contact me again! He sent me an email saying "Hey. Long time no....nothing. How are ya?"

Are you kidding me? How could he possibly want to talk to me again or think I wanted to talk to him again? Well, it turns out he is somewhat of a special case. My buddy looked at his profile after I told him the story. He recognized the guy as an actor from those bad Mormon comedies like "The Singles Ward" and "RM". I thought that was hilarious. The dude even has his own page on IMDB.com. But I won't tell you who he is.

Now this partly explains his obsession with his webcam. He probably wanted me to see him hoping that I'd recognize him from the movies. Then I would become twitterpated by the mere fact of his greatness and moviestar fame. (Even though he wasn't the main character, and actors in those films can hardly be called movie stars-- as my buddy pointed out. My buddy might now notice I did not ask his permission to reference our conversations on the blog. --It was funny, give me a break.)

Well, I decided to write Mr. Webcam back. Mostly because I figured he knows people in New York :
Wow. I didn't expect to hear from you again. I'm well. I'm looking for someone to sublet my place this summer do you know anyone?

He replied expressing surprise at my surprise. Then he said he didn't know anyone looking but he'd love to chat with me again. I thought about it for a few days then sent another email. I wrote that I hadn't expected to hear back from him because he seemed pretty PO'd about the webcam thing. And I didn't like the way he talked down to me.

On Friday he sent me an apologetic email. He said he wasn't POd, he thought it was silly and something to tease me about. And he didn't think that he had been talking down to me, he was sorry. He didn't remember what he said. Maybe I was just extra sensitive because of the disturbing men I'd come across before. Maybe he should have been more cautious with me. Maybe both. But he was sorry.

YUCK! I couldn't just let that go. I spent the weekend thinking about how I should respond. (Mostly because I don't have anything else going on in my life.) Also, I'm on an honesty kick right now. If people were more honest to others within their dating lives, then I think we'd all be better off. Then we could know what we did wrong and fix it. Plus, it hurts less to know why you were rejected as opposed to spending the rest of your life wondering why, inventing horrid reasons for why you aren't good enough.

With that in mind, I wrote him a rather long explanatory email this morning. I'm nervous about it now. I didn't want to make him angry or hurt him. I thought he should know what happened. He also needed to know that I am not overly sensitive. If anything, I'm insensitive. I frequently hurt other people's feelings by saying things that would not hurt my feelings. Because most people are more sensitive than I am. I explained that to him, as well as my honesty thing.

First, I told him that my friends were all horrified by our conversation and couldn't believe I kept talking to him after the first time he called me damaged. And that it was a good thing he hadn't heard what they'd called him. (This was evidence that I didn't overreact.) Then I said I'd break it down for him, but he should stop reading if he wasn't prepared to hear it.

I calmly told him how things went down from my perspective. That he didn't respect my feelings when I told him I don't like webcams. When he wouldn't take no for an answer it was disrespectful. That I had to keep giving him reasons why I don't like them. And the fact that someone masturbated on my computer screen was usually explanation enough for other people. But he took that as a sign there was something wrong with me. That it meant I was another damaged 30 year old he'd have to deal with. Etc. Etc. I wrote that it's not appropriate to 'tease' someone that way when you don't know them. Then I reminded him of his comment: he'd "have to see how much time I'd make him spend atoning for the sins of men in my past before he decided how good of friends we could be." I told him that was emotional blackmail. And beyond presumptuous and insulting.

Lastly, I said that I was sure he didn't have malicious intent but I am too old to let men talk to me that way. I wished him luck in his future dating endeavors.

I really held my tongue. I wanted to say some brutal things regarding what his words said about him, but I didn't. That would only serve to anger and hurt him. I hope he actually reads it and maybe learns something. I hope I wasn't too mean. I didn't want to make him feel bad, but I probably did.

Now, if we hear from him again, that will be extraordinary. If he sends back something nice then he MIGHT be worth talking to again. Though I think that's as likely to happen as Romney winning the presidency.

***OOo, OOO, he wrote me back twice. But I'm afraid to read them. So you'll have to wait. Yikes. I'd say this man has some juevos.


Finally, an answer.....?

The long time readers of this blog know I have been struggling for awhile now. Struggling to explain what is going wrong with me. For a year and a half I have not been ok. My personality changed. I was no longer able to do my research for school, I suddenly felt stupid and not up to the task. But I stopped caring anyway. I could no longer enjoy anything. Social events became acts of torture instead of fun. My hair was falling out. For 6 months straight, I woke up with nightmares every morning. Sometimes I would wake gasping or calling out. When the stress gets turned on, that happens again. As it did this morning and yesterday. I feel emotionally dead. Not depressed. This is different. This doesn't respond to anti-depression techniques. I feel like I've lost my mind. I have recurring ruminations that make me feel bad that I can't stop. The words "I'm sorry" will run through my mind ad nauseum. Sometimes I say the words out loud without meaning to...

It's PTSD. I have to have post-traumatic stress disorder. Back in October of 2004 something happened that I think triggered the response from past events. Then my cat got sick in December of 2004. She didn't die until July 2005. Watching her death, and futilely trying to prevent it was the worst thing I've ever gone through in my whole life. There is no greater pain in the world than watching a loved one suffer. That's my best guess as to the cause.

My friend mentioned PTSD. Her mother was diagnosed a few years ago and suggested my friend has it too. Her boyfriend of 3 1/2 years went home for Christmas and sent her an email dumping her. Basically with no explanation. She hasn't been right since. It's like he suddenly died for her, but worse because she was rejected too.

This week she observed that we both have the same symptoms. Since she said that, I have read up on it and remembered the course of my devolution. It all fits. What happens is that the reptile part of your brain takes over to put you in survival mode during a trauma. And then something goes wrong making it stick that way. It probably happens when people don't go through the healing mechanisms needed to get back to normal. Or because they've already had so many other traumas in the past that they are broken. But you become numb to emotion and hypervigilent, living in a constant state of fear and self-protection. It can go on for the rest of your life if you don't fix it. Most PTSDers become alcoholics or drug addicts.

I wasn't able to cry after my kitty died. I just took care of her body and moved on. Then, a month later when I was in Pennsylvania visiting old and dear friends, I broke down. Their cat reminded me of her and I had to shut myself away for two hours in the bathroom. I sat on their floored and bawled my eyes out. I think it was the first time I felt safe enough to grieve. When I got home, there was no more crying. It happened again at my mother's house, I started crying right when I walked through her front door. Then again in the temple lobby. Suddenly I felt like I could breathe. That flooded me with sadness.

I qualify for numbness and hypervigilence, the tell-tale signs. Last year I became agoraphobic. I became afraid of leaving my bedroom. I didn't like it when other people were home or my bedroom door was open. Moving to my own apartment helped, so I'm not as bad anymore. So did moving out of the second worst neighborhood in New York City. Walking past drug dealers everyday was unnerving. But I still can't enjoy being around people. Events with more than one or two others are awful exercises in anxiety.

This made my job tortuous. Imagine being afraid to leave your bedroom, but having to go to the city twice a week to lecture to 3 classes with 40 adult students! It was horrendous. It sapped all my energy, and I couldn't do it well. Getting the job in Long Island was a God-send and helped me relax somewhat. So did the breathing exercises and affirmations.

But these were just bandaids. No matter what I changed, the numbness didn't go away. I couldn't make myself care about anything other than my immediate comfort. And the nightmares, anxiety and instability started coming and going in waves over the summer. It still fluctuates. That's why I thought maybe I was bi-polar. Now I see that the craziness is triggered by the slightest increase in stress, it's not arbitrary. Because it started again this week. Because I can't pay my rent. I expected to get one more paycheck from one of my schools. But the last check came in April, even though I was still teaching in May! So, $600 I had counted on never arrived. I haven't yet found a summer job yet because I just finished teaching on Friday. I turned in my grades yesterday. (Yay me for getting them done in time.)

I need to go to Florida. If I can get there then my mom can help me find the doctors I need, and help pay for them too. There's a car waiting for me. Woo hoo! And I can find temp work and start paying for stuff.

So, this may be very good news. If I do have PTSD, that means I'm not permanently insane. That there is hope for me.


My Spinster Prize!!!

Sure, being a single 30 year old virgin woman has its hardships, but it's not all bad. Going to your little sister's wedding as a lonely, dried up pathetic bridesmaid is not the total nightmare that it appears. Why? Because some of us have pushy stepmothers, God bless them! Really.

My father and his wife do very well financially. They have some real estate on Miami Beach and just built their retirement home on the beach in Brazil. But Pops believes very firmly that adult children should be independent from their parental unit. His wife on the other hand, does not. Which means he has two adult stepchildren living in his house, eating his food, using his hot tub, watching his big screen tv...

Good for them. But when I have needed some help paying for medication or something, it was like pulling teeth. I always have to go through my mother. Usually he helps only helps out when mom talks to him. Even then, sometimes he forgets to send it. And you have to call and remind him.

Now, electronics from the man is a different story. He's Santa Claus if you need something technological. Last year I called him to tell him I didn't have an Ethernet card for the internet in the boho brownstone and he went out and put one in the mail for me that day. I suppose this may be a similar type of situation...

I'm not sure what prompted him (other than his wife), but Pops has suddenly decided to be very, very generous with me. Unbelievably so. I'm almost speechless about it. If I had to guess, I'd say he's trying to even things out since he gave my sister $5,000 to pay for her wedding. As the elder spinster daughter, because I've had no wedding, I got nothing. Which is how it goes and I'm fine with that. Life isn't fair and I made my peace with that fact as a child. (Afterall, I got a car in high school but my sister didn't because of the divorce.)

Maybe because he saw me in tears after the wedding, lying on his hotel bed exhausted... and I joked that my brother and I were now the losers of the family. My brother said that if a 24 year old single man is a menace to society then a 34 year old one is an 'Old Dirty Bastard'. We laughed. Maybe he didn't think it was funny. Maybe because I was nice to his wife, we kept each other company during the temple ceremony....I may never know. But I will think of this as my spinster prize.

Monday night Pops left me a voicemail saying he and his wife decided they want to buy me a car. Could I call him back to tell him if I could afford to keep it or not. WHAT!???!!! Just like that? Out of nowhere!!! I was watching X-Men when he called. Can you imagine getting that message while standing in Times Square waiting for the bus at midnight? I still don't believe this.

Of course I can't afford to keep a car. I can't pay my bills as it is. But, I'd like to try anyway. This gives me a good excuse to jump off the teaching-exploitation train and get a real job. That's what I told him. He replied that if I sell the car they would like their money back. Because that wasn't the point. Ok. Not a problem. He said they want to make my life better.

This will change my life. I'm completely shocked. My father just bought me a $5000 car! He called me this afternoon to tell me he got a 2004 Dodge Stratus from the church. (It's a used missionary car.) So, thank you Mrs. Pops. Thank you, Sis, for having a wedding. And thank you Daddy-O!

Wow. Just wow.

This isn't MY car but it's the same type and color.

Now I have to get down to Miami to pick it up. I'd like to spend a few months down there and stay with my mother. She wants to help me take care of my health. So I need to find a sublet for my apartment. Anyone need a place to stay in New York for the summer?

Don't ever let anyone tell you it doesn't pay to stay single.