Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Buzzards, Vultures, Wolves and Other Hazards to Resurrecting the Dead

I'm never quite sure where to start with these blog entries or where they are going to go. Honestly, this blog has become more personal than I ever thought it would be. But since it's me, I really shouldn't be surprised. Yeah, yeah, yeah, I'll get to some sort of point of where this entry will go which is partly about sex, partly about online dating (yet again) and of course partly about dancing (because ever since I dug up that corpse, it's pretty much constantly on my mind...yes even more than sex, love and romance). Enough parenthetical remarks! And no I'm not going to make excuses for not being more regular with writing entries for this blog. If you know me personally then you know my schedule and perhaps it will naturally come up in this entry anyway.

So, here I am on the last day of a much needed break from my super heavy, intense, 50 hour a week plus job which I have a love/hate relationship with and which is becoming mostly a hate/hate relationship. Partly because of the extra issues in the particular case that are unique and on top of the normal stresses of working in the special education therapy area and which for legal and ethical reasons, I can't go into here. However it's this min-break that is allowing me to quickly write this entry. So rather than spend a page or several complaining about my job, I think I will talk about dating again since it's been awhile and this blog started out with the intention of being over 40 and dating.

About 2 weeks ago, I decided to go onto a dating site that I have used occasionally in the past but that I've been absent from for a good year. I decided to start fresh so I totally deleted my old profile and the account, then started a new account and created a new profile from scratch. I'm really busy so I only have time to check my messages about once a week. For some reason I notice this upsets some guys so I sometimes get a string of messages that increase in frustration from an over excited, lonely guy who has decided from 2 paragraphs and some bad, blurry cell phone pics that I could be his "The One." It's fine, he weeds himself out for me because since I am super independent, needy guys and I don't get along well. Don' t get upset with me and tell me to give these men some slack, I used to be a lot more forgiving in the beginning but learned the hard way that if a guy is this needy before I even meet him, I need to just delete the email without responding and move onto to the next one.

In addition to that kind of thing, I have received a message from a guy demanding why and how I know any Hebrew - the profile has a place where a person can list languages they know and their level of ability. For the record, I barely know Hebrew but do know a few words and can recognize even less when it's in print. I received another one from a married guy looking to have a secret affair. This is pretty common online unfortunately and he gets minus 10 points for that but plus 1 for being honest that he's married, since there are many married guys and guys in relationship on the Internet who pretend to be single. I'm not saying there aren't women doing the same. I don't tend to date women, so I can't comment. The other message I got was probably a spam bot/phishing message because by the time I read it, the profile had been deleted. Sometimes these are obvious but sometimes they can be eerily, coincidentally personal. This one mentioned me not getting enough sleep and opened "hey there, you. I just wanted you to know, I think you are awesome and would like to know more about you." I've had online and in person stalkers before so this tone really creeped me out before I realized, I had not posted on social networks about online dating again and I hadn't told anybody I know in real life I was either, let alone published my profile name or the site I am semi-actively on. So yeah, most likely a spammer/scammer.

Out of those messages, I have received about 2 that could be from guys I would like to meet and of those 2, 1 or both could be secretly in a relationship, or single but not ready to meet anybody in real life. I try not to care. I don't know these guys. They don't know me. I have been single for 6 years now. There things I like about being single. But yeah, I'm human. I want a partner. I want male companionship. And honestly I love sex and get lonely and horny and a vibrator alone just isn't the same.

To make matters more disheartening, when I opened the account, the site emailed me a geographical report on the top 5 states and worst states for me to find matches, based on my profile responses and while, Arizona was not in the bottom 5, I suspect maybe it is in the bottom 10. My top 5 states for matches are Massachusetts, New York, Maryland, Rhode Island and Connecticut. The economy is still bad so I won't be moving to the east coast easily or soon. But it would seem that if I want to get some romance or even just some friendly sex with a like minded person, it could take awhile, Universe forbid, since I live where I live.

It's starting to feel like dating for an alternative, kinky, polyamorous over 40, non-slutty woman in Arizona is a little like an surreal version of "I Know an Old Lady Who Swallowed a Fly." Why do I say this? Well I started dancing to yes get out of the house and mostly to have a creative outlet again but also to meet single guys. Who did I meet dancing? Um, married guys, and engaged guys learning their wedding dances is pretty much who I met. Oh and male dance teachers, 2 who are not single and 2 who are young enough to be my sons. I may sort of be a reluctant cougar, but not that much of a cougar! And as for married men, well yes, I am polyamourous but I do not date men who are married or have girlfriends unless they are in varifiable open relationships and by verifiable, I mean the wife/girlfriend personally and in person tells me I have her blessing to date her man. But more importantly, I do business with the teachers and I'm pretty sure dating someone I do business with would qualify as "shitting where I eat." I am just not ever going there. Seriously.

And now a quick semi-tangent, polyamourous does not mean a swinger (I do not judge swingers, but I am not 1) or a slut. I have standards. And I am not looking to fuck loads of guys. I am having a hard time finding one guy to have a passionate, romantic, hot and heavy relationship with who is available and who will treat me with caring, dignity and respect as well as kindness. I identify as poly because I know I can be and have been in love with more than 1 man at a time. I have in the past been unhappy about being trapped in monogamy but remaining faithful when I am not built that way. I have a theory that monogamy, like heterosexuality is a continuum and I am somewhere in the the middle, slightly more towards the poly side. But yeah any of my married, Arizona friends. To be clear, I am not out to sleep with or blow your husbands. So you can all relax.

Yeah so I'm not meeting any guys through dancing and so far no luck yet with online dating. I am determined not to get me down even in the face of the weird, deep, maddening issues that dancing with a partner, well multiple dance partners, brings out in me. I will say it, a dance partnership is like a relationship on mega amounts of steroids. Issues and different ones with different partners come out big time for me. The temptation to project them and blame them on various partners, in my case 2 teachers in particular is huge. I have to work enormously hard to step back, check myself and look in the mirror. It takes a lot of effort. So if you know me on facebook and I get a bit snitty if a certain person doesn't dance with me at a party or consecutive parties, it is not their fault. It is me. This teacher and I have already had a talk and that was before my fb post. He has to keep his students happy. I watch what he and other male teachers go through, especially him and my teacher who are very popular. They get swarmed. It's truthfully like watching buzzards and other carrion picking and fighting over a carcass. I'm disgusted by it and never want to become that, ever. I once witnessed a similar phenomena on a much larger scale when I went to some events that the artist/actor/writer Viggo Mortensen was at the center of where he was mobbed by so many women who seemed old enough to know better. It was overwhelming beyond belief and really ugly.

When I find myself behaving like or feeling like a jealous, jilted lover towards this person, I hate myself. I can safely say, the greater the connection and chemistry with a partner, especially a certain type of chemistry and connection, the worse this feeling is. Frankly I just want it to go the hell away. Sometimes I just find myself trying to avoid and ignore this person when I see them because I am not prepared to deal with this or talk about it with them and then they are so busy and I would have to chase them down like a puppy or worse or vulture and I just can't/won't do it. It's embarrassing and it isn't coming from them. It's all me. But I also have an intense desire to dance with them. I want to dance with this person badly. He is my favorite person right now to dance with, so if he gets mobbed or goes right by me and doesn't ask me to dance but the person next to me or behind me and the party ends and he hasn't asked me or I haven't been able to ask him, I want to cry. Something really fucked up is wrong with me here. It's good to know my issues I guess. But I'm really beyond ready for my ego to clear this crap. Again it is not anything he is doing. It's all from me.

I don't have this issue with my own teacher. We have other issues that come up. Or I should say I do. The latest was that I felt he didn't "get or understand me." And I tried to then translate how my brain works and made the mistake of bringing up the above teacher who I have a let's call it "dance crush" on and who has a similar way of thinking to me. In the short term it felt bad and I shut down, but in the long term it opened up things and got both me and my teacher thinking on a deeper level about how to work on our next routine. Plus it helped me trust my own teacher more.

Dance in general brings out a lot for me and I've talked to a couple other students who say the same. For me I love it, but it's a constant reminder that I did not become a professional dancer/performer and that the desire to be a professional dancer is still very overwhelmingly large. It's extremely painful. I want to be dancing all the time. I want to perform. I want to compete. I wish I could work at the studio. Every time I dance, is a reminder that through injury and childhood sexual, physical, emotional and verbal abuse that a dream was killed, embalmed, burned and buried by me. It was my coping mechanism when I go injured. I am still afraid to admit this except in this blog and to a few friends. I haven't even shared this with my dance teachers. If I had the time and money, I would seriously start competing on an amateur or pro-am level.

The other thing is while I have acquaintances from all walks of life, all religions and all types of political and social and sexual persuasions, I am closest to deep, creative, artistic types so the people I would most likely become close friends with are the people I do business with at the studio and that's the staff and owners. So I go and have a necessary thick professional boundary with people in L.A. if we met in the art or poetry or film world, I would probably become if not best friends with, at least close friends who I'd socialize with a lot. But here, and again not from them, it seems I can't and I understand why. I don't even ask. I don't want it to be awkward. Plus they see me and I see them at the studio. They tell me of cool things to go do, but I have nobody to do them with and they don't ask me to do it with them and I don't feel I can ask them to come with me either as a group so I don't. It isn't their fault. It's just the nature of how the culture works right now and business is business and it's my issue. I can try to find some other artistic outlets where I can meet other creative people who I am not paying money to so it isn't a conflict of interest. It's just much harder than it was in L.A. or San Francisco, or Seattle or London. Plus in all of those places I was friends and did socialize regularly with art/writing/film teachers and mentors.

I need to come to an ending for this entry. Where did I begin? I didn't even mention sex too much. But I did if you caught it, come out (I already was out to most of the world, but not in Arizona) as a kinky polyamourous straight woman and not just a vanilla straight woman. Oh yeah, online dating. So yeah, to pull some pressure off my dance teachers and to find some available male companionship, friendship and possibly someday romance, I am trying online dating again. It's only been a couple weeks and I'm struggling against being jaded and frustrated by it. I am going to try to be patient. And most of all I'm still determined to not chase men for any reason, including dancing. OK comment at will. Talk to you next time which for this blog could be next week or a year from now. <3

 

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Meow, dancing cats, litter box digging and "putting out fire with gasoline" again

I sat down last Sunday to write an entry but was in such a funk, that all I managed was a whiny near miss of nothing but sheer pathetic crap. I'll most likely never post it. Anyway, we all have those days or weeks and hopefully not months or years like that. Thankfully my super introspective, melancholic moods are very short and I can usually laugh myself out of it with a good dose of inappropriate, raunchy humor mixed with self deprecating hilarity.

Anyway, one of the things I want to talk about today is something I think other smart, talented and fearlessly offbeat women also go through. I know that amongst my friends, I am not the only one and that's the cattiness of women towards women which stems from I think jealousy, envy and the dark side of competitiveness when the competition is hidden rather than friendly and out in the open.

I never understood this pathological need to not just keep other women from bursting out of the cage we all share but to utterly destroy any female who dares to even try. I have zero patience or tolerance for it at all. And as an adult nothing brings the bitch in me out faster than some other woman feeling threatened by me or any other woman or offended by our very soul shining because they fear letting themselves shine as well and mistakenly think that if one of us shines then it will interfere with their success somehow. As women, especially now when we are under a fierce political backlash by the extreme right, we need to stick together and support each other. We are extremely powerful and we really need to stop participating in the suppression of our own power, strength and beauty. At the very least we need to get out of the way of those who have the courage to attempt to even begin the work of severing the bondage we convinced ourselves we need to be in.

The other thing I wanted to start exploring is my passion and obsession for dance and performing as well my competitive drive which is very much there but not in a dark way. I truly want other dancers, performers and artists to succeed. I think these two themes will weave together and my hopeful re-emergence into one arena in a particularly ultra conservative part of the United States has dug up a need for healing and letting go broken dreams of the past as well as this idea of the war on women by other women and how we are really, and I apologize for the cliché, our own worst enemies when we behave like junior high school "Mean Girls" towards each other.

I'll start with dancing any my personal history in dance. A few years ago I wrote an essay that appeared in http://poeticdiversity.org about where my writing urge stems from and while being mostly complete, I conveniently skipped over my first artistic passion which is dance. But that's because my initial urge to write came from my desire to escape some horrific aspects of my childhood and has now evolved into the opposite which is the desire to dig up, unleash and explore as honestly and in as raw a way as possible the very things my ego naturally tries to bury and hide even from itself.

Anyway, I started performing probably before I could really talk or walk very well. There is a photo from me when I was only two years old, standing or dancing on top of a miniature, wooden, red piano while singing into a pink rattle to a song on the Mike Douglas Show. Indeed I knew for as long as I could remember that I was going to be a dancer and/or a singer. At the same time I was both profoundly shy and extremely uncoordinated. I never crawled which at the time, pediatricians didn't know was a problem but which experts now know is a crucial part of childhood development. I also was a "crib rocker." I would rock my crib so hard as a baby that I could it traveled from one side of the room to the other and made a noise so loud, that it sounded as if it would break the floor and fall through. I guess one perspective would be that all of the above could be a sign of possible autism and another would be that I was dancing my crib. I don't know if one is more correct. I actually think both are true, but that the latter is more helpful and the former is more limiting but makes other more comfortable because it's a nice superficial explanation. I do know that my oddness disturbed my mother who loves me profoundly and who is pretty free-spirited herself. She told me I came out of her womb with eyes that looked ancient and like they could see into the void and how calm I was frightened her and that my crib antics also disturbed her. I think she knew from her own experiences that I would have a tough time because I was female and different, even more different than she was growing up.

The reason I mention all of the above is because it might explain why at the age of six I was enrolled in a small ballet school in Kennewick, WA which in a bit of interesting synchronicity happened to be in the same former church that the preschool, then already defunct, I had attended had been in. I wish I could remember the name of the school and it's owner/teacher. I can remember the name of the establishment I attended next but not my first. Although I do know that the proprietor was not Russian but trained by a Russian ballerina who had defected to the US and that she was training us in the strict Russian style. This meant we had to force our turn out, do posture drills that meant sucking our stomachs and butts in as far as we could to attain a desired flat as a board look. It also meant that she carried around a long wooden pointer, read stick that she banged on the floor in time to the music and also hit our legs and feet with it, but not hard as she would wander around the large room, inspecting our technique. As a result, I was both terrified of her wrath and in love with trying to please her. I would practice my posture and technique obsessively at home. But I would beg my mom not to make me go to class, yet always returned from lessons glowing and happy. The latter I know is what made my mother insist I continue.

At that age, because I never got much praise from her or my next teacher, mistakenly assumed that I was not a very good dancer but I still loved dancing. My self worth was very low anyway because perhaps I knew I was "strange" and also because at this time I remember that my parents were having really terrifying arguments and indeed this was the beginning of the end of their marriage. About nine months before they finally started divorce proceedings and separated for good, we moved to a condo in a sub division of the next town over, Richland, WA and that's when I began attending the Lundgren School of Ballet where Madame Lundgren did not carry a stick but she also did not give praise easily. She did however correct me often and tell me at age nine that I needed to lose at least ten pounds. I was not fat. I may have still had a baby fat belly but I was also an early developer. Therefore, I did not have the zero curves body of the still slender, non-pubescent girls who also attended the studio. I think it was here that I first developed a real loathing of my body and an obsession with being thinner while fighting extreme hunger from working out with the intensity of a young athlete because contrary to what the ignorant thing, dancers are athletes and dance is a sport. I now know that, in reality I probably was one of the better dancers at both schools, because I got so much correction and advice from both my first teachers. In the Classic Russian style of ballet training, if you aren't any good, the teacher either ignores you maybe sometimes lightly compliments you if it's a small studio because it's a business and they need a certain number of students.

Don't get me wrong, I was not a dancing protégé by any means, and I did not have the in fashion and still in fashion Balanchine Ballerina physical aesthetic. I had breasts and hips from the age or ten. But looking back at an early recital photo of me in a very form fitting white satin leotard and tights, the costume of a playing card for a performance of "Alice In Wonderland," I was not fat. I was a normal, healthy girl. I was also still extremely terrified. I loved dancing, but I hadn't grown into it yet. Then my mother and her new fiancé decided to move the family to the Bay Area, specifically Oakland, CA where Madame Lundgren recommended my mom enroll me in the Oakland Ballet Company School of Ballet. It was at this large company school that also had a thriving professional company where I got to mingle with "real" working dancers and where my main teachers were the then artistic director, Ronn Guidi and Sally Streets. Guidi taught in a very non-Russian style. His style was both extremely encouraging and also very fun. He often sang silly rhyming songs about the steps during barre work and about the proper technique. He also constantly told us to never ever compare ourselves to other dancers but only to ourselves and to judge our talent, ability and progress only against ourselves because we were all unique and all dancers.

I blossomed and quickly progressed there. I went from being in the beginning class to the intermediate class which was taught by one of the female stars of the company who I idolized. Her teaching style was more strict and classic. I continued to take both Ballet I and Ballet II classes. I was extremely driven and I stopped begging my mom to let me stop dancing. I studied books on the history of dance, especially a book by Dame Margot Fonteyn where I became curious about other dance forms like Modern and Jazz. Remember I also loved singing. So parallel to all the ballet, I was doing, I was also constantly listening to the soundtracks of classic Hollywood and Broadway musicals like "South Pacific," "The Sound of Music," "Singing in the Rain" and "Jesus Christ Superstar." I would choreograph song and dance numbers to my favorite songs and to the rock and pop songs I liked. I would also constantly tweak my choreography to the Peer Gynt Suite.

The Oakland school had a regular recital which I was in. But the most exciting thing to be chosen for was of course the annual professional production of "The Nutcracker," which I was in two years in a row. I suspect it would've been three because there was a mix-up in the audition groups and the group I was in the first year got mislabeled as alternates and the alternate group got mislabeled as one of the performing groups but once the announcements were made and rehearsals had started, the goof could not be undone. I never complained. I was too shy and it didn't seem fair since everybody wanted to be in "The Nutcracker." I also had been beaten down by my parent's divorce and remarriages. Plus my mother's second husband had begun to display his abusive side towards both my mother and I.

After I was in "The Nutcracker," the first time, I was one of the few younger dancers to get permission to advance into the advanced ballet class, Ballet III. Ballet III was the class that the company dancers also attended. So for the first time I was in a class with mostly teenagers and adults. I was probably eleven or twelve. Shortly after, I finally got approved to go "en pointe" which was both excruciatingly painful and exciting. Wearing point shoes is a right of passage for a female ballet dancer so the pain of corns and blisters was never unpleasant or at least not too much. Wrapping my toes in tape, gauze and cotton was like preparing for battle, exhilarating.

I loved dancing so much, I would when we lived in Oakland, ride a public bus, by myself across town, then a year or two later when we moved to the suburb of Orinda, I rode BART, the subway system and then the same number bus to get to lessons. My mother and ex-stepfather turned my bedroom in the new house into my own private practice studio with hardwood floor, an entire mirrored wall with a ballet bar attached. I was in heaven. I could spend hours in my room perfecting my technique and making up my own dances.

Then when I was thirteen, the Oakland Ballet expanded it's school and opened a small studio in Orinda which was much easier for me to get to. At first I didn't want to go because I thought it would be a "lesser" studio than the main professional school in Oakland. But I soon settled in and continued to take advanced Ballet classes, but also began taking tap, jazz and modern dance, as well as a Mime class that was offered as part of a summer dance camp session there. By that time I was taking two to three dances lessons a day, six days a week. I was sure I was either going to be a professional dancer or a singer/dancer on Broadway. I hoped I would be a ballerina and my lack of ballerina body didn't bother me because the Oakland Company did not just employ the Balanchine ideal and they performed both classical and modern style ballets. However, one teacher, a semi retired professional dancer who didn't have the ideal dancer body either, began talking to me about expanding my dancing and about being careful because she noticed that like her, I had small joints, but powerful leg muscles and larger bones than my joints. She also had this issue.

Around this time, Ronn Guidi decided to try forming a Jr company of the better advanced dancers at both schools who would perform at half time shows at sporting events and possibly at school assemblies. I was chosen to take part. We would not be paid. I think it was considered a professional training and testing ground for future company corps dancers. I was extremely excited to be invited to take part. We began our first rehearsals and they went well. Then during a floor combination in class on a Saturday morning, my knee popped out during a double pirouette turn in which my teacher said, I had made no mistakes. It just gave out. My mom picked me up and took me to the ER where the dr didn't do any tests beyond an x-ray and who diagnosed me with a stretched or torn ligament. I wore a stiff brace for several months while it healed. I was not prescribed any physical therapy at all. When I was told, I didn't have to wear the brace any longer and after I had gotten some knee mobility back, I tried dancing again but it was just too physically painful.

This was the early 80's so nobody would've thought to have me do physical therapy or to recommend forgoing ballet for at least a while and instead focusing on less joint traumatic dances like jazz or modern dance or to switch to something like Ballroom which was beginning to resurge at the time. In fact I had to take ballroom dance for six weeks, twice a week, two years in a row when my mother enrolled me in "cotillion" at my Jr. High. I think it was taught by teachers from a ballroom dance studio in the hopes of recruiting young students. But because I was shy, considered weird and it was dancing with boys when I wasn't "popular" and didn't care to be, plus it was all just box steps that we learned and therefore to a trained dancer like me, very boring, ballroom didn't ever click. I think if they'd showed us a video of a ballroom competition, I would've taken notice. But I'll get to social dancing later.

Before I hurt my knee, I was in the best shape of my life. If you look at photographs of me at this time, I look like a young woman who could be a professional athlete and I say woman not girl because I was at my full height or very nearly and fully developed. I as I already mentioned was obsessed with dance. I danced. I read about dancing. I watched every dance performance on PBS. "The Turning Point" was my favorite movie. I was "in love" with Mikhail Baryshnikov and I wanted to be Leslie Browne. After I hurt my knee, it was like a light switched off in the dancing part of my psyche and I seemingly lost all interest in anything dance related. I stopped dancing. I stopped reading about dance. I couldn't watch dancing. I tried but I couldn't. I'd either change the channel or turn the television off. I know now, it wasn't that I lost interest. It was that it was too emotionally painful to face giving up being a professional dancer. I now know my injury just meant giving up the dream of becoming a ballerina and not dance in general or even ballet as a training method to strengthen muscles and flexibility for other dance forms. But again it was the 80's and I was a girl. Plus the extreme turmoil and chaos is my home life was more than enough for my mother to manage and handle so even if times had been different, she had more than enough on her hands. And at the time it seemed there was no other adult to step in and tell me, "Annette, there are other things you can do. Don't give up on dance." But because I was extremely independent and mildly autistic probably, it's possible I didn't ask or didn't know I could ask and even that some dance teachers tried to give me advice but I blocked it out. Soon after the injury and recovery, we moved to a then rural area outside of Seattle and because I didn't appear interested and I didn't ask, I didn't go to any dance school. I just buried the entire experience. If you read or have read my essay on writing, you'll see maybe why that was so easy for me to do.

No I wanted to be a singer in a rock band and an actress. I had played flute before but I sold it and got an electric guitar and guitar lessons. Here's the thing. I was still very shy. Also no boys in my high school even boys I thought were my friends, wanted a girl singer or girl in their group. But that's another blog entry. I want to focus on dance. And don't worry, I haven't forgotten about the female self loathing of ourselves and how we prey on each other in very cruel ways as a result. Just let me finish the background and the back-story and then we can stitch in the dark side of female competition.

As far as the rest of my dance history goes, I think I can make it short. Other than regular punk, new wave, Goth and death rocker style nightclub dancing in my late teens and throughout my early twenties, I didn't do any formal kind of dancing until I transferred from the University of Washington to San Francisco State University to study film production after taking a year off and working for Karl Krogstad, an avant garde and independent filmmaker. I also participated in an independent avant garde fringe theatre troop that I had started with some artists, musicians and dancers I knew in Seattle. We did one crazy performance.

At SFSU where one of the dancers in the theatre troop, a former roommate of mine had studied dance, I decided to try dancing for fun and exercise again. I still buried a huge chunk of myself and my love for dance, I think mostly because by that time I had severe Post Traumatic Stress Disorder from abuse in my childhood, on top of the mild autism/aspergers. While I was there, I took Ballet and Modern dance from Dr. Susan Sandri. One of her teachers had also been Sally Streets. Another piece of synchronicity. She is an amazing teacher but I was so locked in, she couldn't fully reach me. She once told me that if I would bring outside everything that was inside, what truly powerful and strong performer, dancer and person I would truly become.

After I left San Francisco State, I took time off from dancing to work on a documentary that never got finished for technical reasons but within two to three years, I was dancing again after moving to London to figure out which direction I wanted to take my artistic pursuits and to work as an au pair. First I briefly took salsa classes but quickly with a good friend, Nathalie tried and then became hooked on Argentine tango. I studied tango for five to six years in London and then Seattle after my then husband, who I met at tango, and I moved to the U.S. Our marriage fell apart due to issues from abuse in the marriage which compounded the other usual marital issues. I went back to tango and quickly became part of an inner circle in that community but got spooked away when my ex-husband began stalking me at tango classes and events.

By then I was writing poetry and making visual art again. Once the divorce was final, I moved to Los Angeles and thought about exploring tango but focused exclusively on poetry and other writing. I think knowing me, because that way I could bury some things about my marriage that dance might bring out. Because dance digs up everything. It truly does. It's a physical act, that unleashes a very powerful healing and transformative force, if you let it.

While I lived in L.A. the bottom fell out of the economy. My hours at work were cut. That made my income go down. The apartment building where I lived, was infested with bedbugs. One landlord said he had it fumigated properly and replaced all my infested furniture. But he only sprayed my unit so the bugs just infested all the new furniture. He sold the building to even worse slumlords who wouldn't do anything. They started eviction proceedings against me and then I broke my foot at work and couldn't walk for six months. My apartment was on the 3rd floor. I stopped fighting my landlord. I first stayed with a friend and then moved into a series of motels and finally a hostel while I was healing and later recovering from surgery. That whole period is another blog entry or series of them.

By the time I had mostly recovered, a job had fallen through, my unemployment claim was denied and I was out of money completely. I had been living in the living room of some friends' house so I swallowed my pride and very reluctantly moved to Arizona to stay with my mother and her 3rd husband. Who happily is a wonderful, non-abusive man. It was very hard. I'm very independent and very much an eclectic, free-spirit with an extreme rebellious streak. My mother is also a very strong personality but again, another blog.

I had three screws in my foot and had become extremely heavy. I could barely make it around the block without being completely out of breath. But I kept walking and I joined Jenny Craig at my mother's insistence and with her financial support in the beginning, until I found a job a couple months later. My mom is an avid fan of Dancing With The Stars so when it was on, I started watching it. I became hooked and then inspired. I could relate to the stories of the stars and if they could at varying ages and with varying degrees of past injury, dance and some of them become extremely good dancers, then what was stopping me? I also was inspired by some of the professionals on the show. I could relate somewhat to some of the stories that Maksim Chmerkovskiy told about a past injury and also to him putting his foot in his mouth, which I can do. I sometimes can inadvertently upset or offend a person or people without meaning to. Again, sort of a another blog but it will come up when I finally get to the catty portion of this bloated blog entry.

I really owe my return to dancing and my choosing ballroom dancing specifically to that show and to Maksim Chmerkovskiy (who I don't know). But also as I have mentioned before, I am extremely fortunate in finding Arrowhead Arthur Murray where I get really amazing instruction and encouragement from all the teachers there. I'm picky about dance teachers and dance studios so I thank the Universe for sending me there without having to ramble around. I also am amazed at their patience with me because dancing has dug up all of the above memories and associated emotional baggage. I know if I was ten to fifteen years younger and at my goal weight already, I would be begging them for a job. But at forty-four, almost forty-five, I'm trying to be happy with focusing on performing and eventually competing in Arthur Murray events and as many as I can afford. I work with special needs kids and it's Arizona, so it might not be as many as I'd like but I'm going to do it. And who knows, maybe I'll found a seniors dance troupe. I'm sometimes pretty fearless and even I don't know most of the time what artistic goal I'm going to tackle next. If sixty and seventy year old celebrities can dance all day, five to seven days a week and get really good, why can't I?

But besides my broken professional dancing dreams and other personal self worth and issues with shyness and insecurity, dancing has led me examine the who catty attitude us girls can have towards each other. It happens in a lot of environments. I've of course had it for most of my life. So I'm familiar with being the "odd girl out" or in the group of eccentric kids. I was a happy drama and dance nerd for the better part of my childhood after all. Plus I read Shakespeare for fun when I was eleven, before it was ever assigned in school.

I was the victim of extreme cattiness on the part of girls and women since I can remember. I don't remember it when I was studying dance, but I was so into dancing that it probably was there, but I didn't notice it. I do remember some girls at school who weren't involved in dance, bullying me at school about being a dancer. I was graceful on the dance floor but extremely clumsy in P.E.

In high school when we moved to Maple Valley, for awhile I was the only girl punk rocker in an area where even the girls chewed tobacco and everybody still wore clothes and had hairstyles from the early 70's, including bell bottom jeans. Girls there threw rocks at me and many of the boys made sexual taunts towards me. One boy who was gay was nearly beaten to death by a group of boys who used baseball bats and another of my close male friends was routinely beaten up for being different. So boys can be cruel to other boys. I want to be clear that I know that goes on. I am just for now focusing on how women are not supportive of other women and how some to a lot of us view each other as a threat when that's silly and counterproductive for everybody.

When I was an exchange student to Australia, my first host-mother, an American herself was threatened by me and told me I was like no teenager she had ever known. She didn't mean that to be complimentary. I got along really well with her husband and at the time I didn't understand why that would be a problem. Partly because I was extremely naive, being only seventeen and partly because he never leered at me or made any sexual pass at me ever. And I had been leered at by men since I was eight or nine because I looked like I could be at least sixteen if not eighteen. But that's a future blog topic.

As an adult, in the artistic crowd I hung out with in Seattle, I didn't notice too much cattiness. Most of the women in the group had also been outcasts and were also not catty. We all couldn't understand what the point of being cruel to other women was. The thought never even occurred to us no matter how mad we were at somebody. Occasionally, one of the male members of our circle would date an extremely catty woman which bugged us. I suppose then we were a bit on the feline side towards her, or maybe by contrast bitchy. I did date a guy in the group and a woman who worked at the store I managed had dated him before me. She was jealous and not nice to me but I thought that was funny. She no longer wanted to sleep with him so why did she care?

I think my lack of desire in taking part in any kind of malicious gossip or taking down of another woman in the work place when I worked in a series of office jobs, didn't help me professionally. I always wanted to do a good job and to make every place I worked better than it was before. Most of my co-workers and bosses were more concerned about office politics and less concerned with actually any quality of work. I wasn't popular and I was frustrated that working was no different from high school or even in some offices and retail stores, jr high.

When I began working with kids, I mostly work 1:1 and just have a supervisor and the child's parents to build professional relationships with. This was easier in some ways, and there was hardly ever as huge of an issue with politics and me being a threat to another woman. I'm not saying it never happened. It just wasn't as big of an issue. However in the poetry scene?! Yes, it's there to some extent. But again it's not a dominant part of the scene and it was easy for me to make friends with writers and artists who are supportive of each other and too busy for most of the petty jealousies and politics that can go on.

Now I'm in Arizona. Arizona is another planet. It's not like anywhere else I have chosen to live. So here I am at a dance studio but it's a dance studio in an extremely conservative state where some folks are very sheltered and also possibly evangelical, fundamentalists Christians i.e. easily offended or highly uncomfortable around a girl who has lived in a few different countries, once was part of a performance art piece that involved nudity, hanging raw meat and a gigantic paper Mache penis and that's probably one of the tamer artistic endeavors, I've participated in. I have friends from all walks of life and I don't care if you re gay, straight, bisexual, pan-sexual and/or if you enjoy rough sex, sex with food or sex with shoes or even sex while dressed up as a stuffed animal. As long as it doesn't involve animals or children and is both consensual and doesn't hurt anybody, it's none of my business and more power to you. I might be curious but I'm not judgmental. I really don't see how anybody chooses to love or live their life if it doesn't harm others, could ever offend G-d or whatever you want to call the divine. If G-d is love, how could it/she/he be upset by anything that is a loving act? Plus I'm single and I look about ten years younger than I am so I guess I might be a threat to some of the women. Not a real threat. I don't mess in other people's marriages. I don't date married or attached men. I've openly admitted to dating a couple of guys who were in confirmed open relationships. I know, I met there other halves and even socialized with them. But now, I am more into being somebody’s number one partner and not a second string player. My point is I'm pretty open-mined even for most places I've lived but for Arizona, I'm probably akin to a lot of folks to being the anti-Christ.

Oh and it's not like I go around announcing to folks here that I am this free-spirited. However my last boyfriend when he heard I had lived in four different countries and traveled in even more, even though I had been with a boyfriend or married for some to a good portion of my travels, said I must have slept with a lot of different guys since I'd lived in so many places. What the fuck!? huh? For the most part, people are nice here and especially at Arrowhead Arthur Murray, but I do keep a low profile as much as possible since moving here. Still I have experienced some times when I inadvertently caused offense or controversy or experienced mild to extreme cattiness. And no, I didn't announce any of my artistic experimentation or read any of my poetry, most of which would be rated R to NC-17 is it were a film and I didn't display any of my visual art, including a collage about my new found sexual freedom after I broke up with a long-term boyfriend of five years, in what was mostly a celibate relationship. I just dance and I want to get as good as possible and yes, I'm ambitious. I have fantasies about becoming a senior level champion someday. Seriously, but I want every student and every teacher at the studio to succeed, whether they are liberal, or wacky or artistic or conservative or yes, even extremely catty and threatened by us more open types. These people are my fellow team members. Plus if there's tension, then nobody's happy.

But yeah, I put my foot in it a couple of times because what happens with me and dance is, it opens me up even more. Sometimes it brings up really painful stuff like the broken dreams and the self worth crap or even the abuse baggage when male leaders over correct me for stuff that may or may not be my fault and then I'm probably kind of intensely moody and bratty without meaning to be. I even may be withdrawn in the extreme. I hope that part subsides soon. I don't like that. And then other times, I have a dance epiphany and I feel really connected and free and on fire in a good way so I get really comfortable and forget I'm in Arizona and that I need to hold my tongue and that people, especially women here do not like getting into friendly debates about art and music especially maybe if part of the debate is about sex or even more controversial homosexual references in popular disco music. My latest situation like that was Saturday and I hope I can iron out that one. I made a girl so upset, she went off in a huff. So I will apologize because my intention wasn't to hurt her. I just forgot where I was.

But therein lies a dilemma for me. I am finally facing my fears of dealing with the extremely painful and buried parts of my dark side and dance really exposes them. And I am finally reconnecting to my intense love and obsession for dance and music. I've found a really good place to study and participate in events but if I forget myself and where I am which I do when I'm having a really awesome dance day, then just by being myself, I seem to be an extreme threat to a couple or few of the other women there and I don't want to cause any problems or jeopardize my studying there. But I don't want to feel so buttoned up, hidden and repressed either. I want artistic freedom (read with Russian accent please)! I'm sure there is balance to be found somehow. I will apologize to this person and I will be more careful about which people I get into discussions with here in Arizona and at the studio. Because there are people at the studio and in Arizona who do like to talk about deeper things and who are more artistic and open-minded. We're just more of a tiny minority here than lots of other places. It's important for me to remember that I am not the center of the Universe and everybody is not exactly like me before I open my mouth.

But I am sad not that I have to try to avoid offending people. I'm an artist. I work in several mediums. I'm published. Artists are supposed to be allowed to be odd and open mindedly quirky because we're "those arty people." Sometimes as an artist, I have to push boundaries, or I'm not really an artist. And then why should I have to repress myself and keep myself caged to keep some immature, catty, jealous women from being shoved out of their comfort zones? Why do us women who are fearless, strong and powerful have to hide it? Why can't we as women hold each other up, be happy for each other's successes and if we aren't comfortable being in the vanguard, at least not try to tear down or get those who are into trouble? It's bothered me since I can remember. I don't think there is an easy answer.

I appreciate in my current situation that not everybody who is a student at Arrowhead, is there to be an artist. Some are there for stress release and to relax. They aren't there to have art challenge their comfortable worlds. So I will work really hard to consider their feelings. Who knows what ballroom dancing is going to out of me next or where it will take me? But I hope I can stop getting into these little dramas. For my part I am stepping up my efforts to not make waves either inadvertently or otherwise.

 

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Some people died, others got really ill or had some other serious private issues, I am still sad about it all but life goes on and why is this blog entry title so long, geeze lady shut up already!

Please forgive me, I have sinned, it's been 2 months since my last blog entry...

What happened? Have I been dating some gorgeous, wonderful man? Nope. And I've kind of noticed that this blog seems to just want to be a person blog about anything it wants to be about which may include dating and being over forty but also will probably inculde other topics, including some personal essays in the memoir category of things per a couple or few requests from some writer firends of mine.

Anyway...here's some highlights and lowlights of what's been happening. The bad news is that some really great people close to me or close to people close to me to put it bluntly died suddenly in the past two months. The first shock was when a really dear and amazing woman named Tina was found dead in her apartment about three full days after she had passed away unexpectantly. She was just a rare and special type of person who cared about everyone and I don't mean in an always nicey nice rose glasses kind of a way. She would definitely call you out on your crap and let you know if your head was way up your ass, but all because she wanted everyone not to be perfect but to be happy and well. Everybody who knew her misses her every day and that is an under statement. I deeply regret that when I was in Los Angeles last November, things didn't coordinate well with both of our schedules so we could see each other or she could make my birthday party.

This is why it's important to cherish people in our lives and I am really really bad at physical world appreciative actions a lot of the time. Telepathy just doesn't work for most people and it's kind of lazy anyway. Sending good vibes is pretty easy. But for some reason picking up the phone is really fucking dificult for me and increasingly I enjoy connecting vie the phone, not counting texting even less than I used to and it's never been a favorite activity. This is turining into a tangent isn't it?

A few days after Tina left the world, I noticed there was an email from my ex-boyfriend in my inbox. I assumed it was one of those nostalgic email you get or send out of curiosity or lonliness and because I was in a puddle of tears when I wasn't working, I couldn't face opening it. So I did what any good avoider would do, I ignored it for a few more days. It kept nagging at me. Not litterally. So no, the email wasn't whining things like "Annette when are you going to open me?" It just kept entering my mind because actually my ex had been suddenly on my mind for a couple weeks all of a sudden. I finally got the guts to open it and the bottom fell out of my core even more than it already was because it was an email telling me some really terrible news about his life which I won't go into specifics about because it's not my story to tell at this point in time and I promised not to say anything specific about it in my blog. Eventhough he and I are not together and we have no romantic feelings for each other because most likely both of us were actually in love with other people at the time we were dating (or I thought I was but it was a combination of extreme chemistry and lust mixed with some past life stuff which can almost always get me really confused and discombobulated, again another blog topic) where was I? Try again Annette. Although he and I aren't together and considering the whole STD which it turns out he didn't give me and it ending with me being pretty angry, I do not wish anybody I care about or know to be going through pain of any type. I really prefer to imagine all my friends and exes even my ex husband, leading happy, healthy, wonderful lives whether I'm in them or not. It's just easier and then I don't have to worry about them. Which is why when I don't hear from folks, I do worry because sometimes silence means they are going through serious shit and they are embarrassed to share it or ask for help or they like me are just avoiding even looking at it and talking about it with someone would mean looking at it.

At that point I was begging the Universe to please just stop with the crap happening to friends and anymore good people having to leave the world because the world, lets face it needs more good and great people, not less. But no, a few days after that a very close friend of my brothers who is healthy as pick your favorite cliched simile ender and insert it here, has a massive heart attack and goes into a coma, then dies about a week and a half later, leaving behind a wife and family. Really!!! Enough!!!!! Please Angel of Death FUCK OFF and leave everybody alone thanks. But nope he's a mother fucker who doesn't seem to take a vacation ever and he saved his best trick for the most recent death.

This time, he had a drunk driver kill in a hit and run accident the thriteen year old nephew Max of my wonderful writer friend, Brenda. I cannot even fathom the pain she and her family are going through. She was raising him and his brother. The brother was also in the accident but survived. The boys' mother as well. But the loss of a child just entering into an important phase of his life and a child becoming a young man. It's crazy and makes no sense. Again just thinking of it and feeling even a piece of Brenda's pain makes me cry. It's too awful. All I can do is sigh and that feels paltry and trivial.

In the midst of all this I continue to work long hours at my job which is also intense because of issues my client's family is going through on top of the reason why he's my client which I can't and won't go into for ethic and legal reasons. And after work Tuesday through Friday and then all afternoon on Saturday which is a day off, I go to dance classes where I'm beginning to meet people but no single guy prospects which is fine. Dancing isn't an escape from the recent pain of others and of loss or of my deeper pain stemming from childhood trauma, past marriage trauma and other trauma. It's trying to be a healing release for all of that if I allow the energy to work it's "magic." And that's hard because sometimes it brings out to the surface all of that pain and opens up old wounds and I want to weep or tears just come which then makes me really uncomfortable and embarrased and I stiffen up or feel like being hostile. The hardest is being in this frame of mind or when this healing potential happens while I'm having difficulty with a step with a leader who's strategy is to just pull/push me physically through it which just hurts my body and makes it almost impossible not to cry so I lash out by snapping at the poor guy instead of requesting in a softer way later on that they not manhandle me when I get off time or mess up but just continue or wait until I'm back on track which only takes a second.

But the good news really is that I've rediscovered the joy of dancing again. My ex husband hasn't suddenly turned up in Arizona, at the Arrowhead Arthur Murray studio. Why would he when he doesn't even know where I am and when we haven't spoke to each other for years? The passion and intense drive to learn and perfect my technique as well as to dance as much as possible whenever I can that I had from age nine to thirteen and again in college is returning. I'm enjoying pushing my body and mind and spirit to go further and noticing when and where I need to strengthen it so that part will be able to move easier and hopefully painlessly so my dancing improves. If I can relax and let the energy heal my psyche as well as my body, I can really work on connecting with my partners and also on connecting with people again in general. It's a good thing.

I'm writing some again. I love writing. People tell me I'm good at it. I think it's tied for second with a couple other creative hobbies I do sometimes or maybe it's in third place. But dancing has always been number one. I really hope and pray that I don't allow any type of heart break take me away from it again. Oh and before I wax into a puddle of mushy mushy soppiness and extra adjectives, I am participating in my first showcase at the end of August! Please come cheer me on!

Sunday, May 6, 2012

20s versus 40s

No, This Is Not A Review Of Girls (http://www.hbo.com/girls/index.html)

So, I started watching this show on HBO called Girls, which is about young women in New York City in their early to mid twenties and it got me thinking about a few things such as the differences in how I look at dating and relationships in all their messiness now versus how I looked at things then. Why I can relate to it is, I do see a lot of the age twenties to thirties Annette in the character, Hannah, played by Lena Dunham who also writes and directs the show. I wasn't exactly like her. For example, she's a lot more disease paranoid than I was, mainly because I came of age when the fear or STDs especially HIV was just a blip on the radar of kids in their late teens and early twenties in the mid to late 80's. The other difference is that Hannah is a nervous talker. When I get nervous or upset, I shut down or completely OFF and therefore I become extremely quiet and can appear eerily calm when inside I am working extremely hard not to implode. The only tell then and occasionally now, is that I tend to fidget with any jewelry I may be wearing, a zipper on a boot or a tiny balled up piece of paper between my fingers. Sometimes I might continually brush the hair away from my face.

I think the difference now in how I appear externally is that when I was in my twenties and even into my thirties, it was often pretty obvious that I had shut down. Now, most of the time I can turn on some sort of charming mask or just appear as if I am calmly observing everything to mask any anxiety or shyness I may be feeling. But it's not the differences between the character of Hannah and I but the evolution of how I looked at myself and my behavior in relationships and on my complete cluelessness as to how men might be perceiving it and even on how men think and process the world and how different that can be from how women might view things. Like the characters in Girls, I read books and magazine articles, mostly written by women on how to impress guys and supposedly on how they thought and also like the characters, I mostly ignored the advice and cloaked my naivety in the guise of being a rebellious, post feminist who was in complete control of her sexuality and herself when inside I felt extremely beyond insecure, had no idea what I liked sexually or what I wanted out of a relationship and in fact had a lot of extremely self loathing and a very low sense of self worth as a result of repressed childhood trauma from emotional, verbal and sexual abuse at a young age. So like Hannah, who also has self esteem and self worth issues, I sometimes to often, chose to be with guys who were for lack of a better term, jerks. I would chase them and wonder why they didn't call and then call them and of course because they weren't usually very nice and I was there and available, they would basically use me.

This is not to say that I never had a real relationship. I did. I actually am mostly a person who is better in a long term relationship but those in hindsight seemed to happen by accident. My first serious relationship with a good guy came out of his desire to rescue me from the guy I was seeing at the time, who was actually one of his friends and who he saw treating me like garbage when from the conversations he and I had together when my girlfriends and his buddies would go out together as a group, I obviously was (and still am) a very intelligent, funny, artistic, talented and beautiful woman. This relationship lasted two years. It began when I was 19 and ended when I was 21. After it ended, I went back to a pattern of chasing unavailable well not men, boys who were equally as clueless as me. And not all of them were jerks. But we were all pretty confused and I was like I said before, in complete denial as to how my behavior was being interpreted by any guy I was or was not interested in.

I think at the time, I thought I was learning alot about relationships and what I wanted but I'm really not sure that I learned anything until my marriage several years later and even after that ended, it's taken another several years to see how I actually need to take a look at how my behavior effects the men in my life and to even learn how they process things and that this doesn't mean that I still can't be a rebellious, independent and post post feminist, strong woman at all. It doesn't mean becoming less myself, but more myself. It also means becoming less selfish and less self centered and more caring about what the other person is thinking and feeling and on what there perception might be. It also makes me look at what I am actually communicating to men. So for example if I meet a guy and we go out a few times or a couple times and I think I may want to see if our friendship has the slightest potential to grow into something deeper, then I need to behave in one way while still being true to myself. But if we go out and I decide I want just something physical then I can behave in another way. But most importantly if I deiced, I really don't like a man, then I can with grace and dignity, decide not to go out with him or even speak to him anymore and this ok.

I still have a lot to learn. But I hope I know enough now to kick a guy out of bed, no to not even go to bed with a guy who is a total jerk because I am actually both paying attention to his behavior outside of the bedroom and how he treats me in public, as well as to my own feelings about him. It's still hard for me to wait to respond when a guy I like calls or texts me. It doesn't feel natural but like playing a game even though all kinds of research shows that no matter what a guy says, if a woman is that available, he will usually lose interest quickly. I'm just impulsive and passionate which is ok, I guess though in order to really know how I feel about somebody and to really learn how they feel about me and what they are actually looking for out of a relationship, then this wait and see game isn't really a game but a tool to slow things down so both the man and the woman can gauge what they actually want and how they actually feel about each other. So that's my next goal, to take charge and really pay attention to both my own feelings and the perception and perspective of any guy I happen to be dating so I don't get overwhelmed and either shutdown or behave impulsively and completely blindly.

Wish me luck. This is completely out of my comfort zone although it might appear when you see me in person, like it's not. I'm not confident, I just play like I am. But I'm now taking dance lessons again so hopefully that will help change all of this. But more about that next time...

p.s. I received an email from my ex-boyfriend (that's what he is to me, I was never sure how he saw me whether is was a girl-friend or a friend with benefits or ????) that there is a test now to detect HPV in men (there is I googled this, it's not FDA approved for men but labs will still process tissue samples from men) and he tested negative so he did not give me HPV. I only was with another guy and that was in Los Angeles. But it's not important who I caught it from. And please note, while I write about dating men sometimes who are jerks and while I am obviously no virgin, I am also not out there sleeping with lots of men either. I actually most of the time in celibate. The spiciest I have gotten is sexting or im-ing but even that I've stopped doing. I'd just much rather save the spice and sass for the guy I am going to hopefully be with for the rest of my long life whoever he may be oh and for myself. Because I'm going to be with me forever and that's the best part of all.

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Flaming Meat and Other Delicate Areas

Again my weekly blog became not so weekly. I will work. No I am working on being more disciplined and also on not making excuses for my lack of consistency in posting. But on to the actual subject of this week's blog which is both still stuck on my attempts at not becoming bitter, hostile and apathetic towards dating, men and romance in general as well as pushing myself to embrace a new life in the deserts of Arizona while forcing myself to explore previously untried strategies for meeting new friends as well as a few I have already tried.

So maybe I can skip retreading and move on to some observations and then conclude with what I hope are my next steps. I do need to recap a little. In the first blog I mentioned that I feared I was possibly in love with a good friend who either didn't or couldn't reciprocate those feelings. Since then I have explored that and come to a couple conclusions which are: one, that it was attachment and genuine caring, over shadowed by extreme lust, the latter because he fits into a previously denied physical type preference as well as a personality type preference. I could go more into the metaphysical aspects as well, but I am resisting that area at least for now; two, I got some private replies from men from my past who I suspect maybe thought I was writing about them when actually it wasn't them I was writing about at all.

This leads me into the next set of challenges I face within myself to working on having more healthy relationships with men. The first one is related to my fight against apathy and bitterness. This is very difficult to put and will work into the second challenge I want to address which is how not to avoid irreparably bruising the fragile male ego and I know what I am about to type may hurt and/or offend some men, including friends that I care about. However, from talking to other women, I know I am not alone in my observations at all. I'm stalling I know. So here goes...

When did men as far as the dating world is concerned start acting like chicks?

I'll just let that float there a second...

Now of course I don't mean that I want some dude to drag my by my hair into a cave or control me or hit me or tell me what to do. Nor do I say that I refuse to ever take the initiative as far as approaching men or in other areas of my relationships with them are concerned. And I'm not saying that we all have to be trapped into strictly gender roles. I just mean that part of each gender's fascination with the other (if they are fascinated in that way i.e. perhaps this particular blog has a definite heterosexual bent given that I am on that spectrum more on that end, but perhaps my friends who aren't can comment on if the equivalent is happening in non-heterosexual relationships) is that we are not alike and that this difference is part of, if not the main thrust of the attraction between male and female.

What do I mean by this feminization issue? I refer to an overt expressed neediness that in the past was usually part of the male perception of certain female behaviors which women use with each other to exhibit caring but which men perceive as a ploy to get their attention and what can kill their attraction pretty quickly or what can turn a woman off if he accuses her of being needy when she does something like phone/text him daily or multiple times a day to see how he is doing too soon during the dating process. And then the female tendency to phone/text more and ask the man why he doesn't call/text her very much anymore.

The difficulty here, is that the check in phone call/text when initiated by the male during the early stages of the dating process, is part of the initial courtship phase. So the challenge for us women is to know when and if and how often to respond and in the case of texting, how long to continue or even if to text at all. And of course to manage all of this without bruising the aforesaid male ego, unless of course she is attempting to convey a lack of interest in him so he will stop contacting her.

I think I'm still dancing around my issues here. I'm loathe to go into details of a couple recent interactions, one in particular because although I'm almost certain I have lost all romantic and sexual initial excitement for dating this person, I have not lost the desire to maintain a friendship and continue an association with him as a creative colleague. So I'm stuck figuring out how to manage male energy while maintaining my attraction to it as men seem to become increasingly feminized in both their approach to dating and their expectations from women which in my perception seem to be that they want us to court and motivate them to be interested in us so that they can be passive and yet conversely communicating that they are turned off when we become too masculine in our approach.

Honestly, I was tempted to title this blog:

"Boys, Pull Your Panties Out of Your Ass Crack, Grow Some Balls and Man the Fuck Up."

But then that says more about my bitterness and apathy as well as my anger which I've commented on already ad nauseum and yet can't seem to escape from. But maybe instead, I could start focusing on the confusion, pressures and issues that both men and women face while we attempt or choose not to tackle the post-post-post-modern highly technologically influenced and therefore physically ungrounded dating world, when in fact at the core we are still hard-wired in certain ways to be attracted to certain things based on our own individual gender identification and what gender our brain and/or psychological makeup is.

I'm not sure where to go from here on this topic. I've pretty much avoided sharing any recent details for the most part. My goal for the next blog is to intentionally push myself to try a class or speed-dating or an organization like Events and Adventures or even just a couple local bars and report on what happens there. I know for sure that I'm taking a break from online dating, including serious flirtations on facebook. Although I may write a future column on the male social media stalker and messages such as "I enjoyed your recent profile photo wildly" and it's creepy implications that men on my facebook list might potentially be masturbating to images of just my face. Blech..... Also not manly. So until next time, hopefully next Sunday but I'm not making any promises, happy dating or not dating and please don't jerk off to anything I post or if you do don't tell me about it. I really don't want to know.

Saturday, March 17, 2012

The woman who is allergic to dating and relationships, yeah it's me

I've been sick for about a month and have taken I think 3 weeks off from this supposedly weekly blog. I'm still fighting this ugly resistant infection, made more complicated by the fact that I am allergic to just about every type of antibiotic except the ones that the bacteria is resistant to. I've just started yet a 4th one and hoping, praying it will work. But what does this have to do with dating, my personal dating experiences and search for a meaningful, fulfilling relationship with a man?

I'm not sure exactly. I've had a lot of time to think about why I'm still single 5 plus years after my divorce and why in that time I chose some of the more short term relationships I have been in or went through phases of rejecting just about every guy who showed any interest in me or even being unconsciously completely oblivious to it. Maybe like with antibiotics, I've somehow become "allergic" to most types of men and that isn't their problem but my own. Or is it that I just have been choosing the wrong types? You know, the types of men who I should avoid because I am "allergic", i.e. they are bad for me or I am bad for them and instead I should work on being attracted to the rare type of man who I am not going to break out into a rash over or worse causes me to go into shock.

The latter is what my former marriage did and I've so been in shock, I didn't even realize it until quite recently, as in last week sometime. For those who've known me personally for awhile, this is old news but for readers who don't my history, the short version without going into details right now is that I was emotionally, verbally and physically abused during my marriage and actually even before. I am one of the strong and lucky ones in that I left him after only 4 years. Some women never can get up the strength and courage to leave because it's been literally bled out of them on multiple levels. And the other stroke of luck is that he only stalked me a little before he gave up.

However I am still healing the wounds. I mistakenly have thought for years that I actually was completely healed and ready. I actually congratulated myself about 1 year after the divorce on being so successful at pulling myself together. This was just when I had started just short term dating. I ignored the fact that I had given up dancing yet again because my ex had shown up at a milonga (place where a person dances Argentine Tango) he knew I frequented. That was just a couple months after we separated, before the divorce was final. Obviously since even after moving to a completely different state a few months after this pat on my own back to myself, I still did not set foot in a tango, salsa or ballroom dance class or event.

For the last 5 years I have either been celibate, willingly a friend with benefits or maybe in a roller coaster on again/off again pseudo serious relationship with another person just as wounded and unready for a real relationship as I was. Now I live in yet a 3rd state and I want to date again but honestly I am terrified of attracting and/or being attracted to another abuser. This past summer I was in my mind (but turns out not his) dating someone seriously for about 3 months until it became clear from his actions that he was using me for sex. So now I'd gone from willing casual lover to unwilling and so I broke it off.

When I first posted my intro to this blog, friends on facebook posted comments like "don't worry, you'll find a guy" etc. But in truth I have no trouble finding a guy. Guys approach me online and in person all of the time. The problem is, I'm not initially anyway attracted to most of them and the guys I am attracted to either aren't available, not in my extended circle of friends and acquaintances or just not interested/attracted to me. (To that last group: What the fuck is your problem? I'm hot)! It's the age old problem of she loves him but he loves somebody else or she loves him but he doesn't even know she exists/but she doesn't exist in the stratosphere of the world that he does.

Intellectually I know that I push guys away either by being aloof and/or caustic or by being "needy" and obviously I do this to avoid getting hurt and I do it even more since my divorce. I feel more vulnerable so I just grew tougher and completely impenetrable armour. So although I've been complaining alot about being sick this past month on facebook and even longer about men, I'm happy that this blog is really forcing me to look deeply at how I approach dating and relationships and also to really ask myself what I want and what mistakes I don't want to repeat while becoming excited and courageous about meeting a guy, the right guy.

And even now I'm still avoiding revealing my type. So here it is after going over a list of guys who've given me intense butterflies over the years: I like tall guys with dark hair who are strong, alpha males but also may have hidden or not hidden sensitive side and who have a sense of humor and can get really good banter going. The eye color isn't important. The most important parts are decisiveness, assertiveness and intelligent sense of humor. Yep so a guy that may at times be a "player" because he can but he might not be either. I like to think that in my maturity I can tell the difference and not mistake a guy's charm and natural flirtatiousness for sincere romantic interest like I did when I was in my twenties and a bit into my thirties.

Oh and I freely admit, I tend to be attracted to guys in their early to mid thirties and a couple who are only in their late 20's but I addressed that one already. I think it's because I look like I'm in my early to mid thirties and not in my early forties and because really I'm attracted to people who are open to new things and who aren't bitter while I desperately fight my own slide into bitter divorced harpy spinster territory.

So I don't know. Have I answered my own questions at the beginning of this post? Do I know how to find and start a relationship that I won't be "allergic" to? Maybe. I just have to take the plunge and see. While I've been sick I've taken time off the sites I'm on which are OK Cupid, Chemistry and Zoosk. Before I started the blog, a couple of guys from one site or another were texting and/or emailing me but it never led to many actual dates. I did meet one of them but it was obvious we weren't compatible. He talked way too much and not to me but at me. Plus he kind of dissed special needs kids and that does not fly with me. I did get a nice sushi dinner though. Thankfully the realization that it wouldn't work was mutual and I never heard from him again.

Since I began the blog a couple guy friends have begun talking to me more. This is a good thing. I don't know yet if anything romantic will happen. For one I'm starting to wonder why guys who live in L.A. who never tried to flirt with me when I lived there are now joyfully making regular contact me when I've moved to another state. Don't get me wrong. I do like it. And maybe romance will blossom. Or maybe it's just a new kind of "safe" flirtation. Hopefully I haven't discovered yet another type of friendship that I'm "allergic" to. Maybe one of these guys or another one I haven't even discovered yet will be that rare find that doesn't give me hives.

So that's the end of the post. But a last note related to this blog and my privacy since it's so personal. I've been thinking about what I will do once I am in a relationship or just dating someone seriously. I wouldn't ever divulge personal details of any romantic relationship I'm in. When that time comes, I may take the blog in a different direction or just make it a more general dating/relationship column. I'm not sure. But I do know it will not be the equivalent of a reality TV show in blog form. So guys who want to date me, I promise not to kiss and tell and like I said before in the initial probationary dating stage and the process leading up to that I will never use names and just give general details.

Monday, February 20, 2012

My Evil Dead Bloody Valentine's Day




Valentine's Day...It was last week I know. I didn't forget. But how do I feel about it? In general, I'm not opposed to it but lately I'm not it's biggest fan and truthfully, I'm happy it's over. Although as much as I was dreading it this year and in a sort of "why am I still single after being divorced for 5 years" mood, I did celebrate it my way and perhaps as I would hope to celebrate it sometimes if I were in a couple. I enjoyed myself in a quiet screaming sort of fashion and I suppose if I were in a relationship it would have been more of a screaming orgasmic fashion. Wait, no I didn't silently pleasure myself. Forget I mentioned orgasms. Not going there today. Anyway...

"Huh? Quiet screaming? But I thought she said she enjoyed Valentine's Day this year afterall." What I mean is, I celebrated by eating chocolate my student gave me while watching a double feature of the uber romantic 80's classics, "My Bloody Valentine," and "Evil Dead 2." And again there was no hanky panky, self or otherwise.

Because I couldn't stop stupidly pining for the friend I now won't admit to pining for anymore and I was, like I say, questioning my single status and lamenting my non-parent being status (this is another blog entry and I will address this but not now), I thought I would be depressed this year. Also I've been internet dating off and on with not much, ok zero, success over the last several months since breaking up with the guy I was seeing this summer who I met online. So I was in one of those negative places where as a woman and as someone who works in special ed, a girl starts to feel that all men are no different than children with special needs and dating, even relationships with men are just way too much like my job, only trickier because well, you try putting a grown man in time out or telling him to use his nice words, unless it's some kind of sex game. (hmmmm maybe I could fool one into thinking it's a kinky sex game when it isn't. I'll get back to you on this...) If I'm honest, I'm still a bit in this space so please boys don't throw rocks at me or call me a man-hater. I'm not. I'm just going through a phase and hopefully writing this blog will help me find the fun in meeting new friends of the usually taller and hairier persuasion.

Hopefully next year, I'll have a better attitude towards this holiday and even if I'm still single, I will be fine being alone. I usually am but sometimes I'm not. But I will still most likely watch a scary movie or two. Any suggestions?






 

 

 

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Ah Shit. I think I'm a Cougar! or dating after 40 in Arizona when you're not an evangelical conservative teaparty person

The story so far: or about me in case you didn't know:

First please forgive alternate style punctuation. I know it can bother folks. It sometimes bothers me but I'm a post post post modern poet/writer/artist/unclassified etc and undiagnosed possible high functioning autistic or see other description so it happens.

Oh wait, that's a tangent. Those also will happen with me from time to time.

Back to the now not beginning. I'm 44. I'm single. I'm divorced. I look like I'm between age 28 and 34. Really. This is good. When I was 24, I looked like I was maybe 14 to 16 that was not good. Any guy worth dating thought I was jail bait so wouldn't talk to me or just treated me like their little sister. The guys who did apporach me were perverts and I wasn't attracted to them. Is this relevant to dating now? I have no idea. But it has taken me until now to even attempt to learn how to date in a more proactive fashion and to even approach how men might might think. Will I write about this here? I don't know.

Ok again. I'm a single woman in her early forties. In the non cyber world I tend to attract guys in their late 20s to early 30s. In the cyber dating world I tend to attract guys a bit older than me. In real life I tend to be attracted to guys in their late 20s to mid 40s but sometimes older if they have a more alternative and open attitude to life.

Also a bit of background info is I am sometime in love with off and on a friend who I don't know their real feelings for me. If there are errors in thsi sentence it is because I can't even approach this. And no comments about telling them because he and are friends and I don't want to ruin that and more importantly this guy is attached legally and emotionally to somebody else and I won't even touch that, neither would he. End of that. Do these feelings impact my quest for a real life longterm relationship? I don't know. Maybe. But since I've had crushes on more than one guy before, it shouldn't be a factor. My own fear of being vulnerable though is definitely an issue.

Anyway this blog is about my dating experiences as a single woman in her early forties. It's kind of mixed and I'm currently going through a dry spell, no clich or pun intended although it is a clish isn't it? I was dating somebody over the summer but it went from friend zone to potential romance to all out sort of fun sex but I didn't want to be a booty call so I ended it and then found out he gave me HPV so I had to have a very painful procedure experience.

So where does that leave me? I am currently on two online dating sites: OK Cupid which is free and Chemistry.com which is not (well not if you want to be able to do more than view profiles). I used to live in L.A. and now live in Peoria, AZ which is about 1 hour away from Phoenix and Scottsdale. I just got a bad haircut at the Toni & Guy Salon in Glendale that removed all my perceived sex appeal and left my high forehead looking even higher. So obviously I am feeling even more dorky and self conscious than normal. The hair guy even told me "you're a free spirit. That must be hard here. There aren't many in the Phoenix area." Then he proceeded to make my hair into some approximation of suburban boring soccer mom blah. And so now I enter the dating pool in earnest for the sake of blogdom and my own heart. All of it for your entertainment and hopefully our mutual eduaction. I will write every week at least and keep whoever reads this updated. I will never reveal names. So those I date will be anonomous and other misspelled words. I hope you enjoy it.