Posts from the ‘Romance and Relationships’ Category

My Birthday Wish: You.

I’ve never struggled with what I want for my birthday. I’ve always known. Which is why I hate making birthday and Christmas lists, because what I want isn’t something I can really put on a list.

I want you. Here.

I want to spend time with you.

I don’t want to feel an absence when all I want in the world is your presence.

I don’t want to plan a day filled with time instead of people.

How do I put that on I list? How do I ask for the impossible? You have lives. You have jobs. Your world does not revolve around me and I don’t believe it should! But that doesn’t change that the thing that tops my birthday list is YOU. Your smiles and your laughter. Your hugs and your voice. Your pitch-perfect renditions of the birthday song and your off-key belting of it. Your love.  I want a day and a heart full of the people who I love best.

So, what’s the solution?

Well, for those of you who’ve been around the block with me a time or two know what I’m going to ask you to do. I’ve done it before. I’ll probably do it again. You ready?

Call me. Only for a minute or two, I know you’re busy.

Yup. That’s it.

I know you can’t be here. I know my birthday wish is pie-in-the-sky high. Everyone I love? In one place? I must be crazy. So, I’m asking for the slightly inconvenient, but hopefully doable.

Because then, I’ll still get to spend a little time with you. I’ll get to hear your voice and that’s ALMOST as good as getting a hug. I’ll hear the background noises and get a sense of your life that’s slightly more full than I can get through e-mail or text. I’ll get to hear love and laughter. I’ll get to hear one of the most important voices in my world.

Don’t have my phone number? Message me! If you’re seeing this, you have access to my facebook, twitter, tumblr and/or blog e-mail. Send me a private message. I’ll happily reply. And next Wednesday, July 2, I’ll hopefully get a call. And hear a voice. And know you’re there. (Please keep in mind, I live in Colorado, USA. UTC -7)

It won’t be perfect. It won’t be exact.

But it will be just enough.

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Pasta Day: Come food with me!

I’ll get right on writing Pasta Day appropriate lyrics to “Come Fly With Me.”  (Maybe not. I’m not the most clever of lyricists.)

The Set-Up

So last year, I discovered this artisan pasta company at my local Farmers’ Market, whose praises I will always sing.  Most flavored pastas are disappointing at best and unrecognizable as such at worst.  So, I gave them a test run and fell in love.  Pappardelle’s Pasta actually gets the flavors into their noodles, which makes for a symphony of deliciousness.  They also make sweet pastas, which is a thing I am sad to say I did not know existed until last summer.  With that in mind, I mentioned to my sister that I would love to do a true pasta dinner, wherein each course was a different kind of pasta!  Because, well, I could.

She agreed that it sounded like a wonderful idea.  We planned it for a night my parents were going to be out, so that we did not take over the kitchen in a pasta frenzy when they needed use of the counters and pots and pans.  We trolled the website for ideas and set down a menu:

  • Salad: Southwestern black bean salad.  The pasta blend flavors are blue corn, maize, jalapeño, and chili.  It’ll be a lot like a regular Southwestern salad with salsa, avacado, and cheese added in – just with pasta as the base. Served cold.
  • Fruit: Sweet fruit salad.  We’ll add some proper fruit chunks to the lemon, lime, tangerine, raspberry noodles, as well as a light sauce. Served cold.
  • Main Dish: Artichoke/Lemon/Asparagus ravioli.  We’re going to let this one be.  No need to mess with a beautiful, spinach and egg dough wrapped thing. Served warm.
  • Dessert: Chocolate and raspberry with whipped cream.  This one is less determined, but we’re going to home-whip some cream and possibly have some fresh fruit or syrup for the top. I’m thinking hot pasta with cold whipped cream, but Anli may override me.

And there we were.  I went to the Market this morning and picked up the first of our pastas, I’ll be going back next week to pick up the special order of ravioli and the dessert pasta.  We’ll hammer out the details and make a great meal on July 10.  With pictures, of course.

The Invitation

So, I mentioned this evening of pasta on Facebook a couple times and a lot of people (a surprising amount) were really interested in what Pasta Day was.  I explained, they said it sounded like something fun to do and so I told them they were welcome to do their own version.  And I offered this blog as a space to do it.

If you like, we’d love to have you RSVP in the comments or via my email (rjlouiseblogging [at] gmail [dot] com) as willing members of the Pasta Day.  You don’t have to use Pappardelle’s (they’re convenient for me, as they come to my local Farmers’ Market) or even do an entire dinner of pasta.  Just try something new.  Find a pasta that you’ve never had or a sauce you’ve never tried or a recipe you thought looked fun.  Make a casserole!  Make a salad!  Make a dessert!  Make up a recipe! Make your own pasta!  (I would not say no to a recipe for Stuffed Shells or homemade noodles.) I don’t care what you do or how you do it, but if you like, you are welcome to make Pasta Day a Thing.

Once you’ve tried your new flavor or recipe, e-mail me pictures of the results!  And, of course the recipe.  If you have a blog, send me the link to that!  You’ll feature as a guest post (hence why I’d like the RSVP, to give me an idea of how many people each are taking over my blog for a day) and have a chance to see the recipes everyone else put together.  Do it on July 10, do it in your own time, but do something new.  Try something interesting or strange or crazy.  I’ll be right there with you.  I mean, seriously, FRUIT-FLAVORED PASTA.

Just come, and enjoy the memories food can make, even across states and spaces.

And then reap the rewards of other people’s Pasta Day adventures.

P.S.  Feel free to share with strangers.  I don’t care if they tromp all over this space.  Especially if it means pasta recipes.

An open letter:

Dear Friends: past, present, and future:

I’ve come to a realization, lately.  And it’s not a pretty one.  Most of you only want to be my friend in three situations:

  1. When you need support or help.
  2. When I’m right in front of you.
  3. When we’re alone.

I wish I could say, you know who you are.  But you DON’T!  Some of you have NO CLUE that you’ve been treating me like this.  Now, I am not innocent in this.  Some of you, I’ve just let you do it.  I’ve never told you it bothers me or that I think you’re doing this.  Others I have called on it and, well, I’m sorry to say it’s not getting better.  And yet others, I have reciprocated similarly until recently.  I have made an earnest attempt to change my behavior and be a better friend to those I was treating badly and have tried to tell those culprits who are by far the worst perpetrators of these attitudes how I’m feeling.

But that’s not been working.  And I know several of you read my blog and those that don’t, well, that’s not my fault.  I put it up on Twitter and Facebook.  It’s not my job to make you invest in my life.

What is my job is to be your friend every day.  That is what I strive to do and what I would like to continue doing.  I hope you, as my friend, will join me in this quest to be friends every day (and no, that does not mean I expect to hear from you EVERY DAY FOR THE REST OF OUR LIVES).  But, for those of you who insist on doing one of the above three things, things are going to be a little different from now on.

  1. I will not be able to emotionally invest in your problems or be your advice machine until the time comes that a) you will do the same for me reliably and b) I hear from you in other situations.
  2. I will be politely interested in your day to day life, but will no longer work so hard to remember the fiddly little details across weeks and months or send you the little gifts or messages that let you know I’m thinking of you until a) you will do the same for me reliably and b) demonstrate an ability to consider my existence outside our face to face conversations.
  3. I will happily spend time with you in the company of multiple individuals, but I will no longer reserve personal time for you (in my apartment or one-on-one time in a public arena) until you demonstrate a desire to have me part of all your life.

Now, I don’t expect you to just magically figure out how this is going to work now.  I really don’t know myself.  We’ve been in bad patterns for years and it’s time to break them.  Here are some ideas for each behavior:

  1. Text me or call me when awesome things happen in your life.  I’ll be so much more willing to be there during the tough times if you include me in the good ones.  Step up from there: text me or e-mail me on the boring days.  Or the embarrassing ones.  Or the silly ones.  I really do not get tired of hearing about your life.
  2. A similar solution to problem one is a solution to problem two.  When something reminds you of me (like an article on reddit or buzzfeed), e-mail it or text it to me!  Or to the ten people who you think will appreciate it.  I will not be offended that I am one of several.  When I occur to you, let me know.   Every time I run across your mind will be a bit much, certainly, but nothing is wrong with letting me know you’re thinking about me once every five or six times.  Sometimes this will turn into a conversation.  Other times not.  THIS IS OKAY.  Seriously, people, this is not hard.  YOU CAN LIKE MY STATUS ON FACEBOOK OR FAVORITE A TWEET AND THAT’LL BE A SIGN!  Step up from there: call, e-mail, or text me with the INTENT to have a conversation.  Make it happen, even if it’s only a five minute one.
  3. Introduce me to your friends.  I don’t expect I’ll become their best friends or even their good friends, but I want to know the people in your life.  Your family, other people who are your friends!  I don’t want to feel like you’re ashamed to be my friend.   I want to feel like I am part of your life.  Even if I meet your family or friends ONCE and that’s it, that’s enough for me to know you appreciate me enough to include me.  But don’t parse out our friendship and act like you and I can ONLY be friends in a one-on-one situation and never a social one.  And if you’re doing this because I’ve botched a social situation: TELL ME.  I won’t be offended.  I will ask for details so I can do better in the future, but I won’t be angry.  And then, please, have the patience to try me out again in a group situation.   Step up from there: organize a night specifically to introduce not just me but MANY of your friends to each other.  We’ll find some people we like, we’ll find some people we’ll be glad not to interact with, we’ll find some people right in the middle.  No one has 100% success in keeping their friends friendly.

Okay.  There’s the letter.  It’s an open one, so there may be changes along the way.  I may decide that I’m still okay with one-on-one time with you number threes, so long as there’s public time, too.  I may decide to boot some of you to the curb.  Done.  No more. I can’t deal with it.  I have good hope, however, that this will not be the case.  I’d like very much to keep as many of you as friends as possible.

But what I will not do to keep you around is sell myself short again.  You are my friends.  You care about me.  Or, I hope you are and do.  If this is the case, I will no longer accept *implied* friendship.  I’m going to need you to tell me at the very least.  Maybe, one day you’ll do one step better and SHOW me.

Certainly, I will do my best to continue to do so on my end.

But my friendship is no longer a guarantee.  You’re going to have to give some as well.

Terrified, but ready.

Before you read this, please be aware: I am TRUSTING you with this.  And I have every faith in you that you are worthy of that trust.  Please don’t break that trust without serious consideration.

_________________

You know, I’ve been trying to find the right time to tell you this.  I’ve been waiting until life isn’t so crazy, when you’ll have time to work through the shock with all your brain instead of being distracted.  It’s not that I wanted your full attention, per say (in fact, this might have been a lot easier if I didn’t have your full attention), it’s that I didn’t want you to feel like I was rushing this moment for you.  You deserve the chance to process and ask questions when you’re ready and not a moment before.  But, in searching for the right time, I’ve realized there isn’t one. Not with news this big.

This sounds so serious, doesn’t it?  I guess it is.  It’s less of a big deal for me because, well, you’re not the first person I’ve told.  I’ve been talking with my friends for half a year and with my family for months, too.  I’ve talked to a select group of church friends and my clergyman.  And I’ve been living with this for years on my own, so it just feels like my every day life.  Except, admittedly, more terrifying now that I’m starting this dialogue.

I’m Bi-Sexual.

I know.  I’ll give you a moment to decide what you do next.  Breathe, process, PLEASE think before you respond.

Ready?  Are you okay?  Any questions yet?  Well, I hope you’ll let me finish first.  I might answer some of your questions.

First of all, I’m sorry you had to find out this way, whether it was because you follow this blog or because I posted the link on my Facebook and let it go from there.  I probably should have called.  I probably should have done a LOT of things.  I’ve spent months trying to figure out who I needed to tell face to face and the fact is, if this were a perfect world, I’d tell you ALL face to face.  Even the strangers who may be reading this.  (Please, share this with someone, if you think it will help.  I’m out.  It’s done.  I can’t and don’t want to take it back.)

But the world isn’t perfect.  It’s spread out all over.  It’s so spread out that the first half dozen times I came out were over the phone.  My best friend, who is one of the few people PERFECTLY equipped to understand what I am going through, had to find out via e-mail.  It was awful, to be so physically alone during that.  After all, when revealing something so intensely personal about one’s self, the best reassurance of love is touch.  At least it is for me.  I was terrified and horrifically lonely.  I’m so sorry if, by coming out this way, I’ve made you feel like I did those first few hours and days.

I’m really hoping you won’t be shocked.  I mean, you’ve known me for a while now.  And I never try to be anything other than honest.  I guess I just figured that this was my business and no one else’s.  After all, it’s my life and love.  But, at the same time, sometimes I feel like I’m surrounded by misconception.  Misconceptions that I have the power to change by being more open and honest than I ever have before.  I’ve been Bi and me for a long time – I’m no different because I’ve said it to you out loud, even though I completely understand if you see me differently . . . at least for a while.

Regardless of surprise or non-surprise, it’s the truth.  Please don’t feel like I’m asking you to accept this and just move on.  It’s taken me years to get the point where I was ready to share this part of me.  You’ll be fine, it’ll just take some time.  And I am willing to wait that time.

I can’t really tell you when I realized I was Bi completely because I was so medicated for so long.  I didn’t know what was me, what was medication, what was wild imagination, and what was latent tendency coming forward.  Suffice it to say, it’s been at least a few years since I realized I was attracted to women and men.  I’ve even fallen in and out of love with a woman, but it happened when I was so new and unsure of this part of me that I never did anything about it.  That was probably a good thing, as I wouldn’t have had any idea what I was doing and would have hurt us both a lot.

I guess it’s worth you asking why I’m coming out now.  First: I chose today because it’s a new year.  Best time to start a new phase in life.  But as to why I chose to start this process back in June, there were a lot of reasons.  I was tired of tiptoeing around the issue when related topics came up, the American presidential election was going to be filled with discussions about this and I felt like I had something to add, I was starting to feel like I was stifling myself, and the list goes on, full of trivial and not-so-trivial reasons.  Chief among them was because a lot of people don’t realize the immediacy of the LGBTQIA community.  For a lot of people, it’s something far away and not understood.  That’s where the misconceptions come from.  But I’m right here.

I’m here and willing to help you understand.  That’s why I’m coming out.  Because it hurts to see so many of my friends and neighbors in ignorance that I could be actively helping dissipate.  And yes, those comments some of you make?  Those hurt, too.  I’m hoping by being open I’ll inspire kinder behavior from my friends on ALL sides of the issue.

So what does this mean for me?  Not much.  Like I said, I’ve been living with this for years, quietly.  I think the biggest difference is that I am opening myself up for these frightening questions, as well as the few who will hate me on principle.  That’s going to be hard.  I won’t be running out to date women because the social groups that I am happy in don’t provide a whole lot of opportunities in that direction.  For right now, I feel like I’m where I’m supposed to be.  If things change, they change.  But I won’t be actively seeking a female partner just because I’m being open with you  about something I’ve known about myself for years now.

Yes, I know this is going to be hard for me.  I live in one of the most conservative cities in the US (Colorado Springs), I am a devoutly practicing member of one of the most conservative religions in the world (LDS (Mormon)), and I work in one of the most conservative cultures there is (rodeo).  I am no stranger to the fact that this is going to be difficult.  But that’s why I have to come out, you see?  If I – an active member of these communities – can’t tell people who and what I am, if I can’t help them understand that the woman I am is informed and made better by my alternative sexuality, who can?  Or teaching my friends on the other side of the issue that I’m not disrespecting my sexuality by choosing not to date women; I’m respecting me.  I’m respecting my needs.  And, in turn, I am sure that all of you–with your sure-to-be disparate responses–will inspire me to be better, too.  I only hope I do manage to inspire rather than harm.

To be clear: I’m not coming out because I feel like it’s any more your business than I did yesterday or the day I started this process.  I’m coming out because it’s MY business.

So.  How are you doing?  Okay?  I hope so.  I’ll leave you to yourself for now.  But, when you’re ready, I can’t wait to answer those questions.

Oh, and Happy New Year.  It’s going to be fantastic.

Flirting: WHY?!?!?

Okay, so I get the theory of the whys of flirting.

  • It’s a low pressure way to express interest.
  • It’s a low pressure way to suss out return interest or lack thereof.
  • It’s fun.
  • It’s a way to develop skills in appropriate interaction with those you like.
  • It provides opportunities to communicate in subtext, which is also considered an important skill.

But here’s the thing: FLIRTING IS NONE OF THESE!

1) It’s a low pressure way to express interest.  Since WHEN?!  (I seem to be enjoying interrobangs quite a lot these days.  Hmmm. Oh, well!)  These days, flirting has become the primary means of communication that subject A likes subject B and we are thrown into a right ol’ MISERY if subject B is ignorant of subject A’s efforts.  This does not make flirting low pressure in the least.  HEAVEN FORBID WE SAY THINGS DIRECTLY EVER. If flirting were to go back to functioning along the lines of a precursor to directness and clarity, I might appreciate this reasoning, but I doubt it.

2)  It’s a low pressure way to suss out return interest or lack thereof. BWAH HAH HAH HAH HAHHAHHAHHAHHAHHAH!!!  So, after we put in all that effort to make it completely, perfectly clear-but-not-clear that we like a person, we spend hours upon anxious hours trying to figure out if they like us back.  We read into words, body language, Vaguebook posts, cryptic tweets, the RANDOM stuff we hear about them or from them in the halls, THE LENGTH OF THE HUGS THEY GIVE US AS COMPARED TO THEIR OTHER PLATONIC FRIENDS.  My goodness, how is this low pressure?  Again, if flirting were no longer the primary method of relationship establishment, I might be okay with this.  Probably not.  I love directness.  I hate nonsense.

3) It’s fun.  Only if you never want to be in a relationship ever.  People who tend to flirt for fun become known for it.  By the time they start flirting for purpose, their reputation is set in stone.  They are seen as incorrigible and untrustworthy, because they’ll flirt with anyone.  For those who use flirting as a tool (see one and two) to kickstart relationships, how is the performance of a lifetime fun?  It’s make or break!

4) It’s a way to develop skills in appropriate interaction with those you like.  I wish this were true.  I wish this actually worked.  But I know too many young men who only know how to engage with the opposite gender via flirting.  And some of these young men are gay–so clearly they aren’t flirting with me for purpose.  However, I would hands down rather that than the straight young men who DO NOT KNOW ANY BETTER.  These are the boys who were painfully shy (or socially ostracized for any number of reasons) and then hit puberty.  With it came a desire for interaction and some hormone-caused confidence.  So, they learned to flirt with girls, because that was the socially acceptable mode of communication.  And they never learned differently.  So, when they become adult young men, they give bad impressions left and right.  I was engaged to a young man like this (and have since had a couple friends like this).  He would flirt with anything breathing that had the right set of glands (sorry to be crude).  And, honestly, he didn’t realize he was doing it.  He knew no other way to communicate in public.  One of the young men I know who is like this is SO CRIPPLED in his development that he flirts with EVERYONE, men and women, not because of interest in both genders, but because of a total lack of education in communication.

5) It provides opportunities to communicate in subtext, which is also considered an important skill.  Okay.  This one is total BS (just like the others, I guess).  If we understood the subtext of those we flirted with, would we be stuck spending obsessive hours trying to figure out if the person we were flirting with was sending signals back?  Also, even if this is an effective teaching tool, it teaches ONE way of reading subtext: sexually.  There are many other kinds of subtext, far more useful ones, to learn than the flirting subtext.  Sorry, but when it comes to the languages of subtext, I am going to call it and say flirting is the least useful or applicable of them all.

So, yeah.  I’m annoyed with flirting (non-specifically, nothing and no one in particular).  I’m annoyed with the uncertainty and emotional turmoil that comes with it.  And I really just DON’T understand it.  I am a social cues idiot.  So, general announcement to boys who might be interested in me at any point, ever: just say something.  Because I am NEVER going to get it.  I’ll do my best to return the favor.

Just a (rather large) pond away.

Today, I am grateful for DearestBex.

I mention her enough here, I’m sure you all know who she is.  She’s my best friend who lives in England.  It’s her birthday today.

DearestBex and I met on FictionCentral.net in late 2005-ish.  She was publishing one of the most popular stories on there, and I was reading it along with everyone else.  It was an extremely raw story subject.  I could tell when she had a rough day writing it, so I started leaving very supportive and encouraging reviews, along with my technical reviews.

Apparently, they helped.  We started reviewing each others’ works, e-mailing, and then we just became best friends.  She’s supported me through the crazy journeys of recovering from Bi-Polar, a broken heart, loneliness, identity crisis, and a whole host of large and small things that one can only go to the best of friends with.  The 1’s and 0’s have been very kind to us.

Last year, I got to go see her.  Nothing quite compares to the anxiety of meeting the woman who has been your best friend for three years, and a good friend for six, for the first time.  I had all sorts of horrible nightmares that DearestBex would hate Real-Life Me and only like Internet Me.  Nothing was further from the truth (silly paranoid subconscious).  I had the time of my life with my England family.

Happy birthday, my love.  Miles apart, but never too far away.

NOW! (And how that is a bad word.)

Everyone loves a good “now.”  There’s immediacy and warmth in it.  It means gratification and the end of anticipation–and sometimes the end of dread.  There’s urgency and wonder in a good “now.”

And then, there was “now” as it was in my childhood.  My parents used to say, as many parents do, “If you want an answer now, it’s probably going to be ‘no.'”

Welp, that took the fun out of it.

But, they were so right.  I ran into that situation not too long ago in a relationship sense.  Now = no.  Fact of life (or, at least, my life).  And that’s a problem, because the beginning of the relationship is the “Now” phase:

I want to be with you NOW.

I want to know if you want forever NOW.

I want to spend time with you NOW.

I want to be your boyfriend/girlfriend NOW.

I want to be in love NOW.

I want to have your children NOW.

I want you here NOW.

I want to know how you feel about this relationship NOW.

I want to know if we’re going to work out NOW.

. . . . . . . .

Sound familiar?  I think all of us have been through this phase.  It’s what Shakespeare categorized as “hot and hasty,”  which is a perfect description in my book.  Does anyone REALLY want forever right away? I contend no.  Same with children or the feelings of your opposite.  It’s tough, since the hormones are a great contributor to and driving force behind the NOW and they tend to have a big effect on your brain and body.  When that first high is over, you realize that YOU don’t even know how you feel, it’s hard to expect the other person to know how they feel.

I had a set of friends go through this exact situation.  When they got together, everyone expected it.  They had been flirting in the hallways for a couple weeks, they seemed to have a really adorable rapport (if a bit sickening at times), and it was just a good situation.  And then the NOW!s arrived.  They got so caught up in the NOW!s that they had a wedding and a future planned within a month of starting dating, about two months of knowing each other.  They freaked and broke up.  He was miserable, she wasn’t happy, but the NOW!s had scared the crap out of them.  It caused quite the kerfuffle in the congregation when this seemingly perfect for each other couple crashed.  Now became a pretty miserable no.

Thankfully, the space they took from each other really worked for them.  They realized that they DID really like each other, that they had MAYBE taken it too fast, and they COULD make it work.  The NOW! phase was over, and they could figure out what it was to be together before rushing into a life together.  They got married the following February, they have a beautiful baby girl, and it was all for the best.

How does this apply to me?  Well, in a thought, this is why I suck a relationships.  I don’t do the NOW! phase well.  I skip straight to the freak out and done rather than try to surf that wave.  Don’t get me wrong, I experience all those heinous hormonal demands, but what I don’t do is outwardly present.  I keep it held inside or for later conversations with my best of friends.  When someone openly displays the “now,” I get intensely uncomfortable.  So much so that I run.  Or, the poor boy, seeing my far less intense than expected cue, thinks the relationship isn’t that serious to me.  Not the case.

It’s something I work on, allowing myself to be swept up in the romance.  It’s something I’m bad at.  I don’t like romance.  I like practicality.  I like reasons.  I’m very much so a logical lover more than an emotional one.  So, after many years of getting into relationships, once my logic has been satisfied and I myself to emotionally engage, and realizing that things aren’t working, I’ve learned that I need to let those emotions in earlier in the relationship.  I’ve learned that sometimes, I need to let myself feel the NOW!s without restraint.

But seriously, people, now will still mean no most of the time.  Because I don’t want a relationship that happens now.  I want the really good that comes later.