Aloneliness

I know I haven’t posted a blog in a while. I’ve been struggling a little bit with some things that have happened as a result of my being a blogger. But I never can stay away for too long :)

Something has been happening around me at a more increasing rate than before it seems. Guys I know, be it friends or otherwise, are finding relationships left and right and I’ve become the girl that most guys want to talk about the girl they like with (and that girl they like definitely is not me). I’m proud that people feel like I’m someone they can go to for advice or to listen and I try really hard not to compare the trajectory of my life with other people’s. We all have our own paths, but I can’t help but wonder why it seems to be so easy for them to find someone and what I’m doing to become the listening friend-zone girl.

I’ve never really been the girl guys pine after. I’m not the girl who ruins some guy for all other women (not that I would want to do that anyway). I say that in the least self-hating, insecure way possible. I know I have a lot to offer someone and make a great relationship partner, it’s just been a reality. That doesn’t mean I haven’t turned down guys before or ended things with them, I’m just not that girl musicians write songs about or the one it takes guys forever to get over. I don’t know..maybe even saying that isn’t a good thing to put out into the universe. What I’m trying to say is I’ve hidden behind my disability for a long time and was extremely introverted so all those times I haven’t put myself out there, I’ve missed out on opportunities to meet people (and meet guys). I’ve missed opportunities to connect with people because I’ve been scared. I’m uptight. Though I have many hippie beliefs, I’m not really the carefree, spontaneous girl most guys seem to want or are put on a pedestal by society. It’s almost impossible to be that way when you’re born with a disability. I didn’t get into my first serious relationship until I was 22 for a reason. And sometimes these days, it seems I am still in that situation even though I’m a lot more outgoing and have a pretty full social life where I go out and meet people on a fairly regular basis.

But the big question I find myself asking is, “what if I do end up being single forever”? First of all, I know how ridiculous that sounds but I also know hands down I could be doing more to meet guys. The reality is, I’m just not willing to do that right now. Even if I had the option, I wouldn’t go out and hit up bars and clubs every weekend and I don’t want to strike up a conversation the cute guy sitting across from me at Starbucks no matter how cute or interesting he might be (if he struck up a convo, that would be a different story). Though the fear of finding myself being 45 and single grips me like an ice cold winter morning in Minnesota sometimes, I’m just too happy overall being on my own. Not relying on someone else. Not having to factor someone else in my life decisions. I can travel where I want to when I want to. I’m too stubborn to make a change and fully put myself out there right now.

I need to not put a timeline on myself. Even if I am 45 and still single down the road, that doesn’t make my life any less valuable than anyone else’s. It doesn’t mean I’m doing something wrong or that there’s something wrong with me (that one is hard to convince myself of sometimes). I just want the reassurance it’s going to happen for me at some point. The unknown is my worst enemy and I’m not always so good at having faith. But I guess all I can do is try.

For All My Friends

I dedicated a post to my parents a little while back but I wanted to take the opportunity to thank all of my amazing friends. Friends who have given me piggy back rides up three flights of stairs. Friends who have given me what I fondly refer to as the “belt loop boost” to get on and off the bus at Disneyland. Friends who may not understand what it’s like to have a disability but are always there for me when I need to vent about it or just totally fall apart. Friends who help talk me through those moments. Friends who make me laugh when I want to cry. Friends who, no matter what they’re doing, always have time for a phone call or a text message. Friends who stay behind with me in a big group when we’re walking because I can’t walk as fast as everyone else. Friends who teach me what true positivity is. Friends who have literally picked me up when I fell. Most importantly, friends who teach me what true friendship is.

It’s not my fault I was born with MD obviously and I deserve friendship just like anyone else but the reality is, it is more effort to be friends with me. You have to be aware of my limitations. You have to be prepared to lift me off the ground if I fall. You can’t walk too fast. So it really takes a special person with all of that in mind to love and accept someone and to not just be their friend, but to really be there for them as a friend.

So for all of you amazing people in my life I am lucky to call a friend. Thank you for listening. Thank you for the endless support and most of all, thank you for loving me for me and for just being there. I love you all more than I could ever say.

Bitter, Party of One

A friend of mine told me something a couple of years ago. He said I always seem to assume the worst about things. At the time, I defensively replied, “No I don’t!” but the more time that passes, the more I realize he was completely right.

There wasn’t really a bigger, more shiny example of this than my birthday weekend. I worked feverishly to win a contest to see and meet one of my favorite bands who were coming to town from Nashville. The contest deadline arrived and I was proclaimed the winner (I literally never win anything). I was so excited. I told anyone who would listen. The day of the show I was supposed to hear from someone about the details of the meet and greet. Unfortunately, the show came and went and I never heard from anyone. I reached out to the contest people but they weren’t able to help me. I was pissed and I was crushed. I felt so stupid for having gotten so excited about it because I automatically assumed the band was just too good to meet with a fan or found out I was the winner and didn’t want to meet me. I didn’t really entertain any other possibility, even when my super cool and positive friend who went with me tried to talk me out of it and give them the benefit of the doubt.

So when the show was over, when the band announced they were going to hang out, instead of sucking up my anger and pride and talking to them, I left. I sent them a message that night and a couple of days later I got a very nice message from their lead singer. She gave me her personal cell phone and asked me to call her. As it turned out, they didn’t even know they had a meet and greet for the show because the contact with the contest who was supposed to give their tour manager my details to contact me hadn’t. She was super sweet and offered to send me some signed merch to make up for it.

Almost immediately after it dawned on me that I’d missed the only opportunity I would have for a long time to meet a band I really loved. I was so caught up in being angry and not wanting them to think I was some clingy groupie that I didn’t just go up to them and talk to them or ask them what happened. At the end of the day, no I shouldn’t have had to even make the decision so I can’t beat myself up for the decision I did make. I was hurt. The meet and greet should have happened as planned and the band took full responsibility even when it was really only indirectly their fault. But it taught me a very valuable lesson about myself, one I think I really needed to learn. I can’t keep assuming the worst on things and assuming the worst of people. I’ve become so bitter and jaded this year and am still so unsure of myself and the value I offer this planet that I just assume people are jerks at the drop of a hat. I assume that everyone is going to let me down or that I’m not someone worth meeting. It made me really sad (still does) not just because I realized those were the core issues with what happened but because I’d felt that way and because I made the decision I did, I was left a big regret. For what I’d missed out on. I can’t get that night back.

Like I said, it was a lesson I obviously needed to learn in a big way and if there’s something I’ve learned about myself, it’s that I like to learn things the hard way sometimes. This happened in order to allow me to step back and take a hard look at the way I go through the world and exactly how much I’ve let my faith in people falter.

I can’t always choose what’s going to happen to me in my life but I can choose how I react to it. I can choose what my mind tells me, what my perspective is. I can make the conscious choice not to assume the worst because in the end, I’m the one who loses out when I do. I’m a year older now…it’s time to be a year wiser.

(The band’s called the Kopecky Family Band btw and I highly suggest you check them out. They are uber talented and I think the way they handled this really speaks to what kind of people they are).

The Hurt List

I did what might sound like an odd exercise over the weekend. I’d been having a lot of issues when it came to dating. Issues with myself. Deep seated distrust and even dislike of guys. I recognized how guarded I was on dates and how it only seemed to be getting worse. I couldn’t figure out why I would feel so sick to the point of extreme nausea before a date. I knew it wasn’t good that usually when I went out on a date I would rather be at home watching a movie or hanging out with my friends. I knew I had to stop being so closed off and not acting like myself or no one was ever going to be able to get know me. So I decided to do my own therapeutic exercise (real therapy is super expensive). I made a list of all the guys I could remember that I dated or liked and how what had happened with us made me feel. How it had contributed to my being as closed off as I am today.

The list ended up being 4 pages long. Yep, 4 pages of guys who had lied, betrayed me, hurt me, used me or made me feel like I wasn’t enough. Even I was baffled. I don’t think my list of bad experiences is any worse than any other girls’ which is probably the saddest part. We all have to weed through a lot of bad shit when it comes to dating. But seeing it there in front of me on paper was…wow.

There were two common themes through all of them: 1) I didn’t feel like I was enough, and 2) Guys weren’t worth trusting. Four pages worth of guys reinforced the idea that they weren’t being vulnerable for. Four pages convinced me that if I let my guard down, I was going to get hurt or end up acting like a fool. Four pages led me to believe that liking a guy wasn’t going to turn out well because he was either going to not reciprocate or he would disappear after a while, even if he seemed like he really liked me in the beginning. Four pages worth of guys that I let convince me that I wasn’t enough. That if only I was prettier maybe he would have stayed. If I wasn’t disabled maybe he would have called again. If I looked like the girls in the magazines, maybe the guy in college would have liked me instead of using me to get to my roommate. If I had a more bubbly personality like the other girls, we would have ended up in a relationship. If I didn’t give off “that vibe”, he wouldn’t have only wanted to sleep with me.

I must have built a new wall every time I got hurt because it’s gotten to the point where I don’t even know where to begin with knocking them down. I can’t even find a sledgehammer to start the work. I don’t want to put all the blame on the guys here because for some of them, I should have known better and towards the end, I think my fear of vulnerability played into things not working out. Kind of a screwed up Catch 22 isn’t it?

I always watched movies growing up where the woman was all about her job and emotionally closed off. Then she would meet a guy who would open her up and get her to be vulnerable again and I always watched with admiration. I wanted to be that woman. I was very vulnerable for a long time but I craved being shut down and closed off. I could avoid getting hurt and then the right guy would come along and be the one to knock down the walls for me. But that’s not how it works. It’s a shame that so many of us lose our vulnerability over time. Experience makes us distrusting and jaded, just like I am now. But the only one who can knock down those walls is us. Maybe we’ll meet a guy who will help us, but we’re the only ones who can truly start the work.

I’m the only one who can feel like I’m enough. I’m the only one who can believe that there are good guys out there and that someone is going to love me. That they will love all of me and won’t lie to me, won’t only want to sleep with me and won’t disappear after a while. I’m not really sure how to do that right now still, but I’m going to try my hardest to get there. To get back to being vulnerable like I used to be without thinking that it means being weak. I know that doesn’t mean there still won’t be jerks who come my way, and that’s going to be the hardest part. Still feeling like I’m enough and keeping the faith even after getting hurt again. Guys aren’t really the enemy here, I am.  So here goes nothin’, someone hand me a sledgehammer :)

The Mind of MD

If you could get inside my mind growing up with a disability, you’d discover I have two sensitive areas. The first of those areas is being stared at. Most days, like I posted in Loving You Disability, I try to look at being stared as a good thing. I literally turn heads when I walk into a room. But there’s days…days like today…where I hate it. I’d already had a disappointing experience with a neighbor when I ventured out to Yogurtland. The was a girl sitting outside with her mom. She couldn’t have been more than 16 but as I got out of my car and walked up to the entrance, she stared at me the whole time. After so many years of dealing with it, you get used to the pattern in which people stare at you. First, they stare at your face and then they look down at your legs, then your feet. I know logically it’s not a direct affront to me. It’s just natural curiosity. People can’t figure out why I’m limping I think. But for me, on a bad day, it feels completely and utterly personal. I know I have a disability obviously but sometimes it would be nice if I could just get on with my day and not have other people notice. To just be able to live like anyone else who doesn’t have one. Walk in, get yogurt, and leave.

The second area might sound a little more out there. I can be extremely sensitive to people talking (or getting totally silent) when I walk by. For a great part of my life, I was convinced that when I had to sit in the front of the class or walked by a group of people, they would immediately start talking about me or saying mean things. As I got in my car after grabbing my gummy bear-topped ice cream I heard a girl behind me say “I would hate to be her.” Now the almost-30 year old part of me wanted to shake it off and realize (as I often do) that not everything is about me and the girls were probably talking about someone totally different. Most people aren’t nearly as concerned with me or my disability as I might they think are (which as mentioned previously can also be frustrating). But it’s something I’ve struggled with for so many years that my brain has gotten trained to automatically think that it is about me and that they were being mean because I was limping, or because of what I was wearing or even because of the super attractive tan lines I have running across my shins from a bad sunburn.

I’ve kind of lived in a mental prison of my own making for most of my life and sometimes I still put those metal bars right back up. I know both of these issues really have nothing to do with other people. It’s all my own discomfort and perception of my disability. I feel like I stick out like a sore thumb in the world so I notice when people notice that I’m different. I think this is why when I walk places I try just look straight ahead and be oblivious to what’s going on around me. People tell me guys check me out all the time but I don’t notice because I’m just trying not to notice if people are talking about me or noticing my limp. I’m not always happy with the fact I have a limp or have MD either and I say mean things to myself about it, so of course I’m going to think other people are going to be saying mean things too. Even if people were, I shouldn’t care. Do I really want my self-esteem to hinge on what some 16 year old girl or a group of girls sitting at a table that I will likely never see again think? I’m definitely still working on letting myself out of prison (and passing Go and Collecting $200…Monopoly anyone?). I’d like to say it’s something I’ll be able to fix and never have to deal with again because I feel like I say “this is probably something I’ll struggle with my whole life” a lot. And there’s some things I don’t want to struggle with for my whole life. I should be able to stop getting so upset over something I can’t change anyway. This is my life, these are the cards I was dealt. I can either play my hand the best I know how, or I can fold.