Single and Sexual: The Negatives. Part 2

“My sexuality is not an inferior trait that needs to be chaperoned by emotionalism or morality.”

Alice Bag

Welcome Back! Thank you for deciding to read the second half of my rant about some of the more uncomfortable experiences I’ve had being a single sexual being. If you haven’t read the first part I encourage you to do so here. In that first half of this blog post, I talk about how I am dumbfounded that so many men think they just have permission to kiss you as an attempt to “make a move.” And how so many times we end up in uncomfortable situations because many men don’t count activity as “sexual” unless their penis is involved. (I know insert eye-roll here right?)

Reading my previous post will make the first half of this post make so much more sense. Last we left off, I had been starting to date my long time friend who we’ve nicknamed for the purposes of this blog. “Puppy.” Puppy had really been pushing a physical and BDSM relationship when I was at a point in my life that I wasn’t comfortable with physical or sexual intimacy. I was trying to keep up with him to make him happy because I have a terrible habit of being a people pleaser. Things really started to get uncomfortable when “Puppy” showed up at my door with an “object” that symbolized ownership, and he was definitely disappointed in the fact that I wasn’t excited about it.

Continuing where we left off

After he showed up with “the object,” I definitely began to notice how unbalanced everything was becoming. I understood that he was a busy guy and I tried to understand talking about feelings wasn’t something he was good at. However, the ‘kink’ seemed to be the only thing we talked about ALL THE TIME. We didn’t even have time to do anything that might count as courting or dating. Weeks would go buy before I could see him again. At one point I had asked him if he would take me see Toy Story 4. He agreed. However he was so busy he made me meet him there, and then promptly left after the movie. We had been exploring seeing each other for over a month now and I couldn’t even get a proper date.

Keep in mind, I was still grieving the loss of my last relationship, who we’re calling “Jack Daniels.” I was doing the best I could to navigate this new thing, but in hindsight I was just trying to fill a hole left by “Jack Daniels.” The responsibility I had to both “Puppy,” and myself SHOULD have been better self-reflection on what I was feeling. I was blinded by heartbreak at the time.

Image by Sasin Tipchai from Pixabay

My mother knew I was struggling, that I was depressed all the time, and that I was having a hard time letting “Jack Daniels,” go. She also knows that one of my favorite things is spontaneous adventure. Therefore one day she calls me up and asks me if I want to go on an impromptu trip. To help me shake all those feelings off and get back to myself again. YES! I was so excited.

It had been 2 weeks since I had seen “Puppy” at the Toy Story movie. It was a Friday, My mom and I were leaving on Sunday morning, and I had to work a double shift on Saturday to make sure I could afford to leave. We were going to be gone only 3 days. I reached out to “Puppy” and asked him to hang out because I wasn’t going to be available for a few days.

I did not get a text. I did not get a call. I got a SNAPCHAT that said simply. “I’m moving, I will be gone by the time you get back.” I was going to be gone less then a week… I hadn’t seen him in 2 weeks… and yet he was just moving. To be fair I knew he had been wanting to move, he had been looking at work opportunities out west. But I had no idea or indication that it was happening RIGHT AWAY. I tried to be supportive at first. I was in shock, and I couldn’t get upset at him following a work opportunity that was best for him.

I want to take a break for a moment and talk about Snap Chat. Why do so many boys insist on ONLY communicating through snap chat? Its a fun app for some things. For quick communication or visual communication. Or like I can even understand the use for sexting. However for EVERYDAY communication it is unreliable and really kind of shady. Do you like that conversations disappear? I mean I get that you guys don’t listen to us or actually read our texts anyway but do you enjoy having to re-ask questions because the answer disappeared? Seriously there are dozens of more reliable forms of communicating. SMS. Messenger. Whats App. Even Instagram is more reliable. Gentlemen, if your girl is remotely important to you don’t use an app that makes everything she sends you disappear. Grow up, be more reliable by using something more reliable.

The more I thought about it though… the more absurd I realized the whole thing was. Why was this the first I was hearing of it? He said he had just found out. Looking back though over the last two weeks all of the things that were keeping him busy from spending time together were all things someone does preparing to move. (ie: completely fixing up a car.) He knew for at least 2 weeks. He told me “originally he intended to spend a whole day with me and tell me.” However over the next few days while I was on the trip I kept trying to have an actual conversation about it, on the phone, via text. Anything other than SNAPCHAT and he just wouldn’t. Eventually he told me “I’m just to busy with getting ready to move.” Which means if I hadn’t of gone on the trip, he wouldn’t have been able to make the time to talk to me in person anyway. If I was someone he really had feelings for and respect for, why was he waiting till the last possible day anyway?

I started bringing up how the whole thing felt like just a sex thing. That it was absurd he couldn’t communicate that he was leaving, or where his feelings for me came from in the first place. To this day he still doesn’t understand why I felt that way. Why to a degree I still feel that way. Over time as I’ve processed it, I’ve realized it wasn’t feelings or love he was experiencing but a form of obsession. He had an idea of what he wanted me to be in his head and it wasn’t anything like the real me. I kept explaining that the fact that the only way he would ever communicate with me was through the ‘kink dynamic’ made me feel like our entire interaction just had to do with sex. He tried to explain that for him it was a form of affection, and connection.

I tried to point out that we skipped all the steps for that level of connection. That that wasn’t how I experienced feeling like I was cared for. That what made me feel cared for had to do with expressing thoughts on feelings. My biggest love language is words of affirmation.  He said he wasn’t good at that… and to this day I am still FURIOUS that he at one point sat on my couch and LECTURED me on the importance of communication, but apparently its only important to him when it comes to getting off.

Over time we talked occationally in attempt to make sure our friendship would remain on some level. He still never told me how long he had “feelings,” where they came from, or what about me he liked. (other than explicitly talking about kinks) Months went by and finally I was able to start going on dates again and eventually started having sexual relations with new partners. Which “Puppy” found out about. And he was devistated.

I have empathy for him I do, it hurts knowing someone who you once saw a future with is starting to move on. However he told me on some level he hoped “Id always still be his.” ….. That mentality I don’t have empathy for. He moved. I was never his. In fact he went out of his way to make sure we didn’t “define the relationship,” except for kink labels and pet names for each other. It was never me he wanted a future with, it was the idea of me, the idea of someone who embraces his kinks. Which there is nothing wrong with. He deserves someone who can embrace them. And truthfully someone who actually wants those too. To tell you the truth there is NO WAY I personally could have maintained that kink. And I am a kinky mofo. But that one was way to much for me. The best case scenario for us to maintain a place in each others lives was definitely that he moved.

I understand that “Puppy” doesn’t think or communicate the way myself or other women do. That he doesn’t understand why so much of our interactions made me uncomfortable. He’s the kind of guy that doesn’t understand that when he gives a pretty girl out in public a complement why she gets mad. Simply because she DOESN’T WANT THE COMPLEMENT, She just want’s to be left alone, to shop, or workout, or just exist. Its just another way we exist only to please other people.

Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay 

But there’s something validating in learning I wasn’t the only one. I ran into a mutual friend of ours one day while out at a networking event. We got to chatting about our lives and I started venting about my recent negative dating experiences. My friends face went stoic, as he told me he wasn’t comfortable being “Puppy’s” friend anymore. That “Puppy” had taken one of his good girlfriends out on a date for a hike. “Puppy” had started grabbing her face and aggressively kissing her. That now that girl is TERRIFIED of him. Now I know that being dominate like that is just a ‘Kink,’ for “Puppy.” That he assumes that all girls like that, and it wasn’t his intention to terrify someone.

However he never should have put her in that situation to begin with. Alone, in the woods, with a man MUCH LARGER AND STRONGER than you. That’s terrifying. I have no idea if he checked with her if she was into that kind of thing or not. But even if she was into that kind of thing, a first date in the middle of the woods is DEFINITELY not the right time or place. How does this logic escape some people?

Casual Sex is Great, But I Still Expect to Be Treated With Respect

The entire experience has left me feeling like I am a sex object to posses and not one to actually date and have a relationship with. Now I see this pattern everywhere. The thing about it that makes me the most frustrated is that I do love sex! So much, I am mature enough to handle occasional hookups and non committed sex. But for some reason my experience is becoming that I can either have it one way or the other. And honestly that’s Bullsh*t. Seriously. Men are allowed to just hoe it up and then turn around and have a white picket fence life with a wife and kids with a privilege free of the stigma. The rest of us not so much.

Why is it that because I enjoy sex and am comfortable with casual sex does that mean that’s all I am? Why does it mean someone can’t just get to know me. And before anyone argues that its because I am “easy.” First of all, go F yourself for slut shaming, and secondly I was celibate 3 years until slightly before meeting “Jack Daniels.” And I’ve done all the different ‘dating’ things for putting myself out there. And somehow I still end up more often than I would like being treated like an object, and not in a fun way.

Photo by Alexas Fotos from Pexels

Sometime after “Puppy” moved I started putting my shattered pieces that both he and “Jack Daniels” left me in. I began to start putting myself out there!

One night out on the town with a girlfriend of mine, we ended up staying out drinking later than we intended, and that’s where I met a man I’ll call “Vanilla.” He was charming, and attractive, and very very smooth talker. Tall, dark hair, and a delightfully pleasing beard. It was one of those instant connection kind of moments. I looked over and met his eyes and just knew he was checking me out. We flirted briefly and I made a strategic slip away that I knew would ensure he would come over to talk later in the night. Which he did. He chatted with my friends and we were hitting it off. He joined us after the bar was closed to an after party that ended up being a bust. He offered to take me back to his place.

I hadn’t slept with “puppy” not fully, and “Jack Daniels” was the only man I had been with for almost 6 years. (our relationship wasn’t that long but he was still the only one I had been with in that amount of time.) My friend pulled me into the bathroom where I told her I wasn’t sure if I should go. She told me she trusted the guy, there was an obvious connection and I should. She later basically shoved me into his uber lol

In the uber he told me. “Just so you know I just went through a breakup.” I drunkenly responded “Me too! That sucks though I’m sorry people are the worst.” He clarified that meant some of his ex’s stuff was still there and he didn’t want me to be uncomfortable. We had a lovely evening afterwards. To be honest it was pretty strait forward, hence the “Vanilla” nickname, however; we had a good time and I enjoyed myself. The next morning though I saw what he meant. I expected like, Audrey Hepburn posters and a few things left behind. But all of someones essentials were there. In perfect place. It looked like she still lived there…

If they had broken up it had to have been very recent. I remember thinking “Did you break up this morning DAMN!” I didn’t say anything and in that moment I realized this was just going to be a one night stand. Because even if he was telling the truth it was clearly so recent that I wouldn’t expect him to be looking for anything. Yet, when he took me back to my car trying to be a nice he got my number. I wasn’t expecting that. If this is where his and my story had ended it would have been just a positive one time causal sex encounter. But it isn’t.

After that I ran into him EVERYWHERE. I mean everywhere, for weeks for some weird twist of fate we ended up at the same bars and restaurants. And most of the time he was with a girl, a girl that always seemed to be the same girl. I was convinced he had lied to me and cheated on his girlfriend. Which caused some obvious resentment for me.

Months later I ran into him again. I had been stood up by a date I was supposed to have. So one of my girlfriends and I went out for a drink. If you haven’t met my drunk alter ego. She doesn’t know how to keep her mouth shut. Shes’s going to tell you exactly what she thinks. And I did. I called him out on his so called break up.

His intense physical reaction to that though made me wonder if he was telling the truth. IF he was, I am assuming they broke up right before I met him and then went back to trying to make it work. Which is why I presume I kept seeing them together. The rest of the night I vented to my girlfriend about how upset I was about being stood up. Full disclosure she is also, someone I’ve had a few casual physical encounters with. Life’s to short to just experience one gender 😉 Usually its just making out but it isn’t a secret that the two of us find each other attractive, and she is poly-amorous. We therefore spent some time making out at the bar.

“Vanilla,” though thought that this was us seeking his attention. Again, there are a certain amount of straight men who only view sex as one thing! And in their minds it can only involve them and their penises. After the bar closed she and I joined “Vanilla” and his friend for more drinks at his friends studio apartment. I was definitely down for a repeat of our first encounter. Especially because he was attractive, and having hope he didn’t actually cheat on his girlfriend I did hope there was something more there.

Once at his friends studio apartment. I was more than happy to separate from my girl friend and his friend and just make out in the kitchen. I was enjoying where the night was going, hoping we’d end up back at his place eventually. Because it was his friends studio apartment however, he pulled me into the bathroom. At first I was so down. I am a pretty kinky person after all and I was so disappointed to have been stood up. Things started to escalate and I was definitely enjoying myself.

Up until one little moment. There was a moment where he asked me to get down on my knees and I and suddenly I felt really small. I just looked at him. He could tell something was wrong and immediately stopped. Even though he respectfully stopped, I wanted to cry. I realized that this was someone I wanted to want to see me again. But to him, I was just a girl he could pull into a bathroom and get off. There was a reason I had never heard back from him the first time. I told him I wanted to go home and he very respectfully helped me exit the bathroom.

My friend took me home, where I vented about how small that whole thing made me feel. On the way back I started texting him just how angry I was. I went off. Like really went at him. He apologized. But I kept going. I realize now after talking about it with a counselor friend of mine that this was a “shame response.” I was lashing out because I felt ashamed. Because I felt used and small. Because of how disappointed I was that this person who seemed to have such a connection with me when I first met him, only saw me as one thing.

A few days later I tried to thank him for stopping when he realized how uncomfortable I was and tried to explain lashing out was keeping me from bursting out into tears. But I never heard back, solidifying that he just wanted to get off that night.

If you consider a woman less pure after you’ve touched her, maybe you should take a look at your hands.

Kaija Sabbah

In reality, he didn’t do anything wrong. He didn’t. There isn’t anything wrong with just wanting to get laid. I’m have nothing against just hooking up. He was respectful and receptive to my comfort level and even respectfully apologized. But I was still just a means to an end for him. I don’t currently understand why you cant have casual sex and also give them more respect than a quicky in a strangers bathroom? I am still a human being after all. And that is what still has me angry.

I really could have hooked up with him and moved on with my life, but why did it have to be immediately in that moment? Why couldn’t he have hung out with the group of us for a bit and then gone back to either of our places afterwards?

I’m not saying that all my interactions with men are this way. But these instances are enough to make me contemplate why? Why is giving into your physical desires more important that another persons value and comfort? Why is it that going on a date with someone automatically means you on track to get hitched?

“There is unbelievable power in ownership, and women should own their sexuality There is a double standard when it comes to sexuality that still persist. Men are free and women are not. That is crazy. The old lessons of submissiveness and fragility made us victims. Women are so much more than that. You can be a businesswoman, a mother, an artist and a feminist – whatever you want to be – and still be a sexual being. It’s not mutually exclusive.”

Beyonce

Thoughts To Leave You With

I did not write these to bash men. And I refuse to slut shame myself or anyone else. It’s absurd that women like myself end up feeling less then simply because they have a sex drive. Just because I enjoy sex doesn’t mean I don’t deserve respect. You absolutely can have a one night stand and still treat someone with the respect a human deserves. “Puppy” really should have given me more space for physical intimacy. Of ALL VARIETIES. Since we had been friends for so long, we should have been able to get to a place to be able to have a conversation about what his feelings for me were and what he wanted from me before ANY physical intimacy happened. Including just kissing. It is UNQUESTIONABLY not okay that I was pushing myself to do things I wasn’t comfortable with physically but he wasn’t doing the same for me emotionally. And I hate that its colored our friendship for me negatively. So many times throughout the years he’s been there for me in one way or another. He really was a good friend. Yet I deserved so much better than how any of that went down.

I even vented to “Jack Daniels” about it all recently. Contemplating why we as a culture don’t really “date” the way we used to. We are afraid to just KNOW someone. Knowing someone doesn’t mean you’re committing to them permanently. His response “Whats wrong with taking a girl to dinner and then some ‘shenanigans’ afterwards?”

And all I’ve got to say is, right?! WHAT IS WRONG WITH TAKING A GIRL TO DINNER AND THEN SOME SHENANIGANS AFTERWARDS? Treating a girl to more than a night in you bed after just meeting, (or even in a bathroom) isn’t going to kill you. And it doesn’t mean you have to immediately go steady with her. Hell even if you did just have a one night stand sending a girl a quick “Thank You it was nice to meet you” text is going to make her feel respected. Its not that hard.

Don’t assume that because we like sex that means you can pull us into bathrooms, or kiss us without knowing if we want to kiss you back. Don’t break up with your girlfriends and then start sending us DM’s about how much of a ‘snack’ we are when we assume you are our friends. ( also the friend zone isn’t a real place take rejection like an adult)

When I started these last two posts, I was overwhelmed with uncomfortable and frustrated feelings. But now that they are done, its really easy to see that the problem isn’t with me. It isn’t a problem that I enjoy sex. Or that I enjoy casual sex. The fact that I have self-sabotaged by being a people pleaser has dramatically been brought to my attention. Past that, the problem is not with me. Or women like me. But with men who refuse to face their feelings. With men who continue to see women as mere sex objects, whether that is their intention or not.

I will never compromise what I am comfortable with for the sake of someone else ‘liking’ me again. Especially for people who wont do the same for me. In romantic relationships, friendships, or even with family. I already have practices in place to make sure even one night stands treat me like a human being. I am positively worth more than that. I am worth getting to know, and the men that are out there who can handle that are out there.

Thank You so much for reading these last two posts. If you liked what you read or have relatable experiences please leave comments. If anyone is interested in getting email updates for when I post please leave a comment. If I get enough interest I will work on getting an email subscription set up!

Single and Sexual: The Negatives. Part 1

Image by Prettysleepy from Pixabay

“You are all wondrously made, girls. Remember that: wondrously made, and you should carry your sex proudly, a badge of honor.

Phyllis Reynolds Naylor

Hello fellow Adventurers! I know its been a LONG time, but I am back and ready to tackle this New Year and tell you more of the ridiculous adventures from my life. I have been working on this piece for WEEKS now. Originally it was going to be a quick vent about certain things involved in jumping back into the dating game. The more I wrote the more I realized I had a lot to process and A LOT to say! So it grew into multiple pieces, I really hope you decide to read all of them!

If you hadn’t guessed from the title already this post is going to be about my sex life. So anyone who isn’t comfortable knowing about my sex life might want to stop reading now. For the rest of you, buckle in and get ready to know me just a little bit better. Specifically some of the more bizarre, uncomfortable and negative experiences I’ve had recently.

Here’s the thing, I am no stranger to sex. Sorry mom and dad if you haven’t figured that out yet… surprise! Really though my parents were pretty sex positive. Though it wasn’t something we discussed in great length or detail; they made sure I had a responsible education on the matter and it was never something they made me feel like I should be ashamed of.

Like many people my first sexual experience was less than ideal. In writing about my first heartbreak I wrote about how my college boyfriend was my first experience, however its what I consider my first real and good sexual experience. In reality, I was with my high school boyfriend and he was in the military and he basically guilt-ed me into it. He was being stationed out of state and leaving soon and made me feel like I owed it to him. He was still living with his parents at the time and we “fit time in quickly” while they were out. I was uncomfortable, I felt rushed, and it was painful. I know a lot of woman say that its a myth that your first time hurts, I’m making the assumption that mine did because it wasn’t a situation I was comfortable with and therefore wasn’t relaxed. After we broke up he told just about everyone we knew how much a “lousy lay” I was.

If you consider a woman less pure after you’ve touched her, maybe you should take a look at your hands.

Kaija Sabbah

One of the things I miss the most about being in a long term relationship is that I really really enjoy sex. And when you have a long term partner, you spend time getting to know what each others likes and dislikes are. You spend the time getting better at it. That is if you’re in a healthy enough relationship to communicate about it. My last long term boyfriend and I (Lets nickname him “Jack Daniels”) weren’t very good at communicating about most things, but sex we were really good at communicating about.

In fact as our relationship started to fall apart instead of working on what was actually bothering us, we for some reason thought if we worked even more at our sex life it would start to fix things. Needless to say… it didn’t. Because of that, I started to feel like I was exchanging sex for attention and it made me no longer enjoy sex. So after we broke up, not only was the thought of sleeping with anyone new daunting but my sex drive was basically gone.

You would think that because I was terrified of putting myself out there with a new partner, not having a sex drive wouldn’t be a problem for awhile. But for some reason this wasn’t the case. Maybe its because I reeked of desperation after the breakup, or maybe these things always happen to me but I’m better at putting up boundaries when I’m in a relationship. But people just kind of started popping up, throwing themselves at me, and “Vulturing.” Vulturing, as I’ve learned, is when people wait for a failing relationship to die to just swing in and take advantage of the heartbroken person they’ve had a crush on. It was overwhelming, and it was hard to know how to navigate because I craved love and affection so badly.

It would be one thing if these people were having conversations with me. Asking me out, or actually confessing feelings they’ve had. But that wasn’t what was happening. I was being ambushed, and its not the first time men have done this to me.

Why Do You Feel Entitled to My Body Just Because I’m Single?

Right after “Panda,” my college boyfriend and I broke up, I was  determined to live it up without him. I drove into the city to celebrate New Years Eve with friends. We drank, and danced, and took pictures. It was amazing to be having fun again.  Up until we got back to our friends house, the night was amazing. At that point the 6 or 7 of us all found places to sleep in her living room. There was a pullout couch that two of us nabbed, and a few people got comfy on the floor. The guy sleeping next to me had also gone through a breakup earlier that year, with one of my really good girlfriends. He rolled over and started making out with me. I stopped it, but because I was drunk it took me longer than it should have. At first affection felt good, but this wasn’t something I was comfortable doing with my friends ex. So I got up, he was drunk and not thinking it seemed like the best option was to move to the floor.

As I joined the others on the floor, another male friend must have taken that as an invitation. Like I had moved to purposefully get closer to him or something. And also started trying to make out with me. The worst part was, the girl who I knew had a crush on him was lying on the other side of him. I know she saw because she had strategically placed herself next to him hoping she would be the one he rolled over and kissed. At this point I was thinking much faster and immediately got up again.

Hoping the first guy had gone to sleep on the couch I made my way back to the pullout. He hadn’t. As I tried to go to sleep he stripped down naked next to me, and started pawing at me. Clearly he was out of his mind because we were in a room full of people. I got frustrated and told him to stop as quietly as I could to not wake anyone else or call attention to what was happening. I moved again and found a spot on the floor that wasn’t next to anyone. I was so uncomfortable. I didn’t want to be kissing either of these people

Both of these men saw an opportunity and went for it. They didn’t ask, I didn’t give either of them a reason to think that’s what I wanted. They just thought they could kiss another human being and expected it to be reciprocated. These guys were my friends! But it didn’t matter. To make matters worse, I didn’t have any control of the narrative after that night. The girl on the floor had seen what happened and chose to believe I betrayed her, and told people I did. She never forgave me. The guy from the couch got to tell his ex girlfriend I was responsible about what happened. 

I really never have understood this behavior. I know there is the mentality that women want a partner to dramatically just push them against a wall and kiss them. But the truth is we want that from people we’ve already consented to. We definitely don’t want it to come out of nowhere from just anybody. We watch movies and television were the “accidental” drunken evening either leads to a romance or is an excuse to live out pent up feelings of attraction with someone. And that’s just not a responsible narrative. Just because we are there and YOU are interested doesn’t mean you can just attack our face. Reality Check! You can ask permission to kiss someone and it absolutely doesn’t ruin the moment.

That was almost 10 years ago and its something that I notice still happens all the time to a lot of people. After “Jack Daniels” and I broke up, someone very very close to me, we will call him”Puppy,” did something rather similar. It didn’t seem bad at first but the more I step back and look at it the more uncomfortable the whole thing makes me.

What Ever Happened To Just Asking A Girl Out?

“Puppy,” and I had been friends for at least 8 years. He was one of my closest and best friends.  I will never buy into the argument that men and women cant be friends because “sex always comes up.” It’s a childish notion. If that were true that would mean anyone who is anything other than straight would never be able to have friends. That argument says we are not in control of our actions, when in fact we are. If you just cant control yourself around EVERYONE you find attractive… you need to seek serious help. And in my personal opinion, if you’re with a partner that can’t handle their jealously over your platonic friends, just get out of that relationship. It means they don’t trust you, and more often than not its not going to work out because of that anyway.

I never really thought of “Puppy,” that way. Its definitely not that he wasn’t attractive! I just didn’t consider it. We were friends and my attentions were elsewhere. There was a moment about 2 years prior that “Jack Daniels,” and I had been on the outs. He would do this thing where he would disappear for days and sometimes weeks at a time. We hadn’t exactly split up but we were at a difficult crossroads and I was tired of routinely being put on hold or jerked around. I had dabbled in putting myself out there again.

“Puppy” knew this. We had both gone out to the pride parade and ended up having a few drinks back at my place watching movies with a group of friends. After everyone else left he just started making out with me. At first I didn’t really mind. We were just enjoying the moment. And as far as I was concerned I was tired of “Jack Daniels” treating me like an option so I could do whatever I wanted. But after awhile I realized its not something I wanted to do. So I told him to stop, and fortunately he did. He asked me if I was Okay or uncomfortable and I told him I just didn’t want to be doing that. We never really talked about it after that. Things just sort of fell back to normal so I made the assumption it was an in the moment thing and that it wasn’t a big deal. “Jack Daniels” and I made up soon after that and reconnected. I even ended up telling him about the encounter, even he wasn’t threatened or hurt by it.

It wasn’t until last year, after “Jack Daniels” and I broke up, that I realized it was absolutely something “Puppy” and I should have talked about. I was devastated after the breakup. We had been together for 4 years and had seen each other off and on for at least two years before that. “Puppy,” being one of my oldest and best friends, was one of the main people I was reaching out to to get through it. Things immediately felt different and weird. He asked me if I wanted to meet up to talk about what I was going through, and took me to get burgers. I sat in front of him and cried about it for most of the night. We took a walk and I kept talking about it until we ended up at a park, that conveniently, overlooked all the lights of the city.

This is where my gut started to realize something about this felt off/different. He pushed me on the swings, where I cried some more, and we climbed over the jungle gym and went down the slide. He kept ‘happening’ to bump into me or crash into me on the slide. Then he’d linger for a minute and I’d instinctively put my head down because I got the vibe he was going to try to kiss me. He was always a touchy person, but my gut started feeling like he was doing it more than his usual self. It all felt so…. strategic. Thank god my stomach was KILLING me from the burger place we ate at. I really needed to go home and it was an excellent excuse to head back.

I really wanted to believe that it was just his normally overly physical self just trying to be comforting. He walked me to my car. Hugged me a little longer than normal… still I had been crying all day. He looked at me, and again I immediately put my head down, where he ended up kissing my forehead.

I really want to stress that “Puppy,” has always been a really affectionate and touchy person with everyone. He loves holding his friends hands platonic, is open about talking about it, and really enjoys when a large group of friends cuddles close on a couch when watching movies. Touch is absolutely his love language. So, despite that fact that it sounds like I was being purposefully naive, it was pretty easy to convince myself he was just using his love language to help a grieving friend in front of him. Or maybe I just really WANTED that to have been what was happening.

One evening we went to the movies, we had gone to see the new live action Aladdin, we were both huge Disney fans after all. It was a packed weekend matinee, with families and kids, we settled in with our giant pile of snacks and were ready to watch. Not even 10 min into the movie he had put his arm around me, again this not being super unusual, I just relaxed into it. Except at that point he leaned over and full on starting just MACKING on me. Like intensely. I remember freezing at first because I felt AMBUSHED. I subtly tried to pull back because we were SURROUNDED BY KIDS AND FAMILIES. But he wasn’t getting the hint.

I want to take a minute here to point out something about human behavior. When we feel scared or uncomfortable. Its no longer just “fight or flight.” Its “Fight, Flight, Freeze, or Fawn.” For years psychology said our reactions were to either: fight back or run away when scared or uncomfortable. However studies are proving that many people or animals will also either “freeze” which is pretty straight forward we literally just like deer in the headlights just freeze, or “fawn,” which is the idea that we make whatever is making us uncomfortable also feel safe and wanted. For example if someone was kidnapped and had the instinct to “fawn,” they would say things that would make the kidnapper feel like they are friends and that they understand them. In an attempt to get them to let their guard down or just encourage them not to hurt them.

My point is in this instance, I froze. I kind of just kept letting him kiss me, eventually I think he realized I wasn’t kissing him back and we went back to watching the movie. After the movie he walked me to the car, we already had plans to meet a group of friends at an event downtown after the movie and we were taking separate cars. He again kissed me. I again froze, not really knowing what to do or how I felt about it. I felt overwhelmed. I BROKE DOWN into tears on my drive downtown. I felt bombarded not only by his actions but also the huge amount of new information to take in. No matter what, it meant a complete change in a long standing friendship dynamic. I did deep down always suspect he had feelings because of the pride incident but I didn’t really KNOW. And I definitely didn’t know how I felt about it because I was still grieving my lost relationship and it was never something I had considered.

Later that night at the downtown event, he continued to “make moves.” Even my other friends at the event were concerned. They kept pulling me aside and asking me if I was okay. I kept explaining I just needed to figure out what to say to him. However this time he was finally picking up on the fact that I wasn’t really fully reciprocating. Having had a little bit of time to process all of this new information, that and a few drinks to help relax, I was finally able to tell him the truth. I was surprised and overwhelmed, I didn’t know how I felt about the whole thing. Most importantly I needed to tell him that everything that happened with “Jack Daniels” had killed my sex drive and physical intimacy was something I wasn’t comfortable with at the time. Like a good friend he said he understood. That didn’t matter to him, and embraced me.

Something about my comfort and feelings being acknowledged had a tranquilizing effect on me. Suddenly a possible future with one of my oldest and dearest friends seemed like an enchanting idea. We got along so well already, we knew so much about each other, plus hes defiantly an attractive person. The discomfort and negative emotions I felt earlier were gone and all at once I was extremely open to the opportunity.

Despite the fact that I had pushed him away all night and confessed my discomfort with sex/physical intimacy at that time. We made out on the dance floor the rest of the night, because our brief conversation made me feel safe. (I will also point out that my drunk alter ego just really enjoys making out with people lol)

It was nice to end the evening on a more positive note. The next day we went to lunch, things were different, but we still didn’t talk about what was happening. How he felt, or what he was looking for. It was so early on I thought it was okay because why push anything? As the days went by we definitely talked more often than we normally did. We flirted for the first time in our history of knowing each other. It was fun. At a time in my life when I needed to remember I was someone worth wanting, it was alleviating. But I still wasn’t exactly sure what was happening, and I still wasn’t sure what I wanted from the whole thing. I needed to keep the sex boundary because I really wasn’t at a place where I was comfortable with that with any one.

Despite that though, sex inevitably came up in almost every conversation. If you were to ask him now, he would probably disagree with that statement. He felt like just verbally exploring our likes and dislikes didn’t mean he was pushing sex. Because he wasn’t “asking me for sex” he just wanted to know. Not just wanted to know, but in his defense, was looking to make sure we were comparable enough to keep exploring the possibility of a relationship. Sex is a huge part of any romantic relationship after all, and he had some very specific kinks. VERY SPECIFIC. And truthfully my kinks were somewhat similar, so despite the head space I was in at the time, I would ultimately end up embracing the conversations. Which I acknowledge ended up giving mixed signals. Not just to him but to myself and what I really wanted at the moment. The desire to be wanted pushed me want to do whatever made him happy.

As time went on, we texted. (Or more specifically snap-chatted that will be important eventually) All the time. But we were both such busy people that we weren’t really able to spend time together. The first time we got to hang out after being downtown together we stayed in and watched movies. I remember sitting on the couch with him, as I drank a glass of wine. He kept pulling me closer and making out with me.

He didn’t even give me time or space to put my glass of wine down! It was actually rather awkward. It kept escalating to more than just making out as his hands were all over me. I enjoyed making out! However I’m not going to lie, I remember being annoyed and uncomfortable as he was so focused on physical activity I had to inconveniently kept just trying to keep my wine glass balanced in my hand. The point where he finally stopped is when he started encouraging me to start ‘touching’ him back. That’s when he checked in to see if I was comfortable, since he “knew how I felt about sex right now.” I told him no I didn’t want to go any further and we stopped. Before he left, there was a little more making out, and because it was a thing we had verbally established we enjoyed, some “spanking,” happened before he left.

Photo by Charles on Upsplash

This isn’t even close to the end of the story, however I want to talk about this for a second. The more I think about this night the more baffled I am at certain straight cis men, because somehow we have different definitions of what counts as “sex.” That night his hands were all over me. ALL OVER ME. And yes it was consensual, it felt good, I was enjoying myself. Nevertheless I still would have rather been watching the movie and drinking my wine and enjoying that TIME with him. But from the experiences I had with him. Including that night. I’m assuming in his mind, sex is only defined when a penis is involved. In fact he made a point to tell me “no penetration until your ready.” Which don’t get me wrong I appreciated. I appreciated that he was TRYING to understand my perspective and give me space. His intentions where to put my comfort first. However when I said I wasn’t comfortable with sex, I meant MY definition of sex. Which includes all of the things that for example a lesbian couple would also classify as sex. His hands exploring me EVERYWHERE, that to me counted as sex. His incorporating kinks like spanking, counts as sexual.

The next day I texted him and let him know I still wasn’t comfortable with sex still, though clearly I didn’t do a good enough job of explaining what I meant. Also, in retrospect I was at war with myself about it. I wasn’t comfortable with what was happening, however I thought that’s what I needed to do to make him happy. Or really to have anyone be interested in me. Which was my error, and very unhealthy of me. If I had made a stronger clearer boundary, our interactions hopefully would have been very different.

This is how our dynamic continued for awhile. We would talk every day, always incorporating verbal kinks and one way or another something physical would come up. And the few times we spent actual time together it was a very similar experience. As time when on I did slowly get to be more comfortable with the idea of physical intimacy and sex and I embraced it more and more. But again I was at war with myself about it and was pushing myself harder than I should have at the time. We still never talked about any sort of feelings or about the change in dynamic. So I started asking. I explicitly asked things that I thought were important. Such as: “How long have you felt that way?” and “What about me made you want to change the dynamic?” His only response was, “lets ‘define’ this later,” which isn’t an answer to either of the questions I asked. And didn’t really have anything to do with what I was asking. In no way is wanting to know how long and why someones into you asking to define a relationship.

Again though, when it came to physical penetration he continued to draw a line, which I was so grateful for. In fact it made me feel somehow closer to him. That’s when he started bringing up a very specific kink that he had. Now I cannot and will not  ever in good conscious “Out” another persons kink, OR kink shame in any way. So I’m going to to my best to tell this part of the story while not giving away to much.

This was a role playing kink. So pushing forward with it, in his perspective didn’t classify as sex. More of a dynamic and a mindset. Part of that role playing kink is something that I’ve always enjoyed and participate in quite a lot. In regards to a Dom/Sub relationship. I’m pretty open about the fact that I’m naturally a sub, and I have no shame. His specific want though, was something more intense than anything I’ve ever done.

No matter what my feelings on sex at the time, I am really big on embracing my partners kinks. I really enjoy and get turned on by knowing I’m making someone else feel good. And until then I had been fortunate enough to be with partners who were excellent at communicating through everything, especially if it was something new or asking a lot of me. “Jack Daniels,” for example was especially good at continually checking in on my comfort level. So when “Puppy” started bringing it up, I wanted to be all about it, yet I still felt like sexually we were moving to fast.

When he brought up moving forward with some of the more non physical aspects I finally did do a bit of a better job at expressing my comfort level. I specifically remember telling him, I was definitely open to embracing that with him but reminded him I was still not ready for anything. I specifically remember telling him we needed to slow down a bit, that I wasn’t against the idea as a whole, but all of this was SEXUAL to me. When he oddly…. felt like that was his way of showing “affection.”

That didn’t really detour him from moving forward. One day he showed up at my door for a hangout (still no actual date!) With an object relating to the kink. An object that reflects the idea of ownership. Which isn’t something casual, even within the BDSM community getting to that point is a big deal. He presented it to me as a “surprise,” like one would do an engagement ring! He was expecting me to be thrilled. Instead, I froze. I really froze. I didn’t move or speak for probably a good 5 to 10 minutes. I could feel the blood drain from my face. This was to much to fast. This was so presumptuous. This was pushing something. My head spun, I went through all the things I should say, and all the things I had already said. I thought to myself, I did tell him I wasn’t against the idea, but I thought I had clearly indicated I wasn’t ready.

Photo by Andre Hunter on Unsplash

He saw the look on my face and was devastated. He had expected me to respond with glee, and instead, I wasn’t saying anything. He sat me down on the couch and began “lecturing” me about how I needed to communicate. How important communicating was and he couldn’t know unless I told him what I was feeling. This from the man who REFUSED to answer simple questions about what he was feeling. The Audacity! When it came to communication he was all about getting into deep detail about a sexual relationship but wouldn’t go near feelings or even the logistics of changing our friendship.

Story To Be Continued…

Things To Think About

I am a constantly working on being a self-aware person. I have spent a lot of time over the last year stepping back and looking at my habits and how I contribute to ending up in these situations. I see where I should be firmer in setting boundaries. I see that I have a history of being a people pleaser and how that works against my self interest.

That being said, that doesn’t mean men should be allowed to invade my personal space just because they make the ASSUMPTION that its okay. Because they HOPE I am interested in them too. It isn’t okay that I get to sit and take responsibility for my self destructive habits when they cant take responsibility for their feelings or how their actions impact other people. Maybe they didn’t know I was uncomfortable, but why did they think it was okay to just kiss me without permission to begin with? Whether I ‘allowed’ them to or not. Whether I kissed them back or not. If you do not already have an established physical or sexual history with someone, you do NOT have permission to touch them. Just because I am single and enjoy sex doesn’t mean I want you. What wrong with asking a girl out? Or telling them how you feel? Why is it their first instinct to jump directly into physical activity? Even on a casual sex level I guarantee you asking “can I kiss you” doesn’t ruin the moment. Even a kiss can be a big deal physically for some people. Stop telling yourself it isn’t.

I enjoy sex. I enjoy casual sex. Not every interaction has to be because you want a future with that person. However that DOES NOT mean I don’t also deserve respect.

Thank You for reading the first half of this story. Please check back in later in the week for the rest of it as well as a few more. In the meantime tell me what you thought. Spill the tea about experiences you’ve had that made you angry or uncomfortable. And share this post with your friends, maybe they are going through something similar and need to remember setting boundaries is okay.

“There is unbelievable power in ownership, and women should own their sexuality There is a double standard when it comes to sexuality that still persist. Men are free and women are not. That is crazy. The old lessons of submissiveness and fragility made us victims. Women are so much more than that. You can be a businesswoman, a mother, an artist and a feminist – whatever you want to be – and still be a sexual being. It’s not mutually exclusive.”

Beyonce

 

Once upon a time: First Love and First Heartbreak.

“Hearts will never be practical until they are made unbreakable”

The Tin Man – Wizard of Oz

When I was a little I was always drawn to fairy tales. And ask my mother, it was never because of the romances involved but because they were inherently dark and adventurous. Maybe its because both my parents were the type to remind me there is more to the world than settling down. Or maybe it was because at the time I had an entire world ahead of me. But in my youth I strongly questioned the honest nature of love. Currently I find myself questioning it all over again. Wondering if it were better to have kept that mentality , or to have tried over and over again like I did. Either way I’ve decided its best to express what I’m going through in my life now by going back to the very beginning.

I spent most of my early dating years being the heart breaker. I wasn’t going to attach myself to someone unless it was grand and adventurous. Even when it came to my first high school boyfriend. All my friends had one. So I thought I should to. He was nice enough and attractive enough. But there was so many other things in life that seemed important to me at the time. And that deep connection you’re supposed to have with someone wasn’t there.

I remember thriving on that feeling of being unobtainable. It felt like part of my identity a the time. However, the universe has a way of knocking you down a peg when you get too full of yourself like that. I had just started college and was ready to leave the high school version of myself behind. That’s when I met him. “Panda.”

Panda was unlike any other person I had met before. At the time life just burst out of him. The good and the bad parts. He still believed in magic. He had no time for bulls*%@. We were freshman in college and had the entire world to conquer.

I fell for this man way before I started dating him. When we first met he had a girlfriend. So we started off as friends. We had all the same classes and even worked in the same work study program together. We were freshman in the trenches together. As time went on our friendship got closer and closer. So when he and his girlfriend at the time didn’t work out it just felt natural, like we were supposed to be together. To be honest, over a decade later now, the lines between who he was with and when are blurred. If you were to ask her she’d probably tell you they were still working things out when he and I got together, however I remember trying to be patient. Regardless I know that makes me a bit of the villain here, and spoiler alert Karma did come back for me.

I will always remember the day we got together. He had been feeling distraught about his now ex-girlfriend and needed a friend to talk to about it. We went on a drive and ended up at a scenic overlook watching the sunset. We stayed there talking the whole night. Eventually a blanket came out and we huddled up close to each other to keep warm. Sparks were flying. I knew I had feelings for him but had always done my best to not let it interfere with his relationship. But that relationship was over now.

Before I knew it we were holding hands. It felt natural and forbidden all at the same time. I don’t think either of us even breathed for the first few minutes. Then very slowly and timidly, as if it were written for a movie, we had our first kiss. I felt like my entire body had just exploded. We stayed there kissing, and talking, and cuddling till the sun came up. And then without skipping a beat we went for breakfast. Like it was the most normal thing in the world.

The rest of our relationship seemed just like that. We were young and hungry for romance. Like we were two pieces of the same puzzle. Its funny to think back on it now, how naive and passionate we were. I remember our first Valentines Day together. We made a big fancy pasta dinner, packed it up for a picnic, and drove back up to the scenic overlook we had our first kiss at. We were each others “firsts” in a lot of ways. We got to explore the different aspects of romance and intimacy together at our own youthful and excited pace. He was always my “Panda,” and he called me “Bunny,” and “Baby Girl.” We burned so hot and so fast it was eventually our downfall.

After a year went by we moved in with each other. We had no idea what we were doing. We hadn’t taken the time to really get to know what kind of future the other wanted for themselves. After a year of living together things started to turn sour. The same burning hot fire we put behind our romantic passion we began to put behind our resentments of each other.

We burned each other from the inside out. We tried taking a step back and living separately but that seemed to only divide us more. Nothing one of us did seemed to be enough for the other. Our bitterness and resentment grew. Even as I sit here writing, trying to remember examples of fights we had. They all blur together and I can’t really remember what any of them were about. Some were me being selfish and putting my school grades and needs before his. Some were his extremely short and hot temper. A lot of them came from both of our needs to impress the upperclassmen above us and the kind of people that mentality turned us into.

Until one labor day weekend. After 2 years and 9 months he walked me back to my apartment sat down on my couch and told me it was over. Even though we had constantly been fighting I still hadn’t seen it coming. I was blindsided.

I completely broke down. I struggled in school. I watched as many of the people I thought were my friends chose him over me. It was devastating. I remember my mom, who had never known me to be that kind of broken, had no idea how to help me. She took me to lunch an I just started bawling into my glass of wine in the middle of the restaurant. I will never forget the look on the poor waiters face as he had no idea what to do. I mean what kind of adult openly bawls in public.

We clearly still cared for each other though. I knew at the time he hated coming to school and work and seeing me in so much pain. I missed him so much. He tried being supportive.

To this day I still hear his voice in my head telling me “baby steps Eleanor baby steps.” when I asked him how I was supposed to move on. He confronted people gossiping about me. People picked sides and it was obvious. For some reason when you’re the one showing emotion over a breakup people will make a point of making sure you know you’re being judged. He wasn’t having any of it.

We did inevitably give it one more try a month later. We lasted a couple of weeks. But we were always still fighting. We through a big party for his 22nd birthday. He was clearly in a mood with me from the beginning. Most of that night is a blur but certain moments are forever burned into my memory.

Trigger warning: Domestic Violence.

I remember trying to get him a drink and him grumbling at me. His friend that I had never met before laughing at me. A few hours had gone by and I told him I was going to go home, that it was clear he didn’t want me there and I was uncomfortable. I told him that I didn’t want to ruin his birthday. That’s when he got angry. He marched out the back door insisting that if i didn’t want to be there he was just going to drive me home. I chased after him because he was way to drunk to drive. I asked for his keys so he wouldn’t drive and reassured him I could just walk home.

This did not go over well. I reached to take the keys from his hands and he pushed me in return. Then he pushed me again. I remember him yelling but I can’t remember what about. I turned to go back to the backdoor to get back inside the house. He jumped in front of me. I tried to go around him, and this time he pushed me to the ground. I tried to crawl around to the door. I managed to get it open, he slammed it shut. Pushed me back. Again I went for the door, got it open and had my hands gripping the door frame as he pulled me back away from it feet now completely off the ground. He slammed the door again and threw me to the ground.

I remember screaming for help. Knowing people where inside at the party, my friends. As we kept opening and slamming the door again. No one did anything. This wasn’t a subtle situation, I was screaming and the door was repeatedly slamming. Finally I managed to get around him an through the door. I bee lined it through the house, grabbed my purse, and ran out the front door. By now I was covered in dirt and had lost my shoes. Two people followed me out front. Two. One was a girl I had ALWAYS been cruel to, the other was his friend I had never met before who had laughed at me earlier. Both came out to make sure I was okay.

Not a single one of my friends at that party said or did anything. The girl I had been cruel to in the past drove me home. The next morning, like many relationships with this dynamic, we ‘worked things out.’ And kept trying but not for much longer. One day, I realized he was getting closer and closer with another woman. Just like he did when he and I first got together. Karma’s a b%*ch right?

I remember lashing out. I stormed out of his bedroom and honestly expected him to follow me. He didn’t. I immediately regretted it. But it was to late. We were over again and this time for good. I had lost the first person I had ever loved. And just like my fear suspected. Not even 2 days later he had started dating this new girl.

I felt abandoned. And not just by him. More and more people I thought were my friends were making it clear they were picking sides and that it wasn’t mine. I kept my head up though mostly out of spite. I was going to be okay. They were not going to see me broken.

Sometimes I think back about it and wonder how anyone could do that to someone who was grieving. I know now that most of them never probably liked me to begin with. And maybe rightfully so I was a different person back then and I’m not proud of it. But I’ve also realized how so many people just do not want to deal with someone who outwardly experiences emotion. Its taboo. Those kinds of people honestly don’t even like dealing with their own emotions. So its just better for people to pretend they are better than you.

“Panda” and his next girlfriend didn’t last long. But it did last long enough for me to make strides in getting over him. To this day I am still pretty sure he dated her to give us both an out. He recognized before I did that we were toxic for each other. That you can love someone but that doesn’t mean you’re supposed to be with them. That we would keep repeating the same on and off pattern till we destroyed each other.

It seems strange to admit but I am grateful he dated her. Because we managed to get our friendship back for a few more years. He even helped me through a few other hard times and self doubt in the years to come.

“You’re a legend,” he would say “you’re Eleanor Mother F*ing Smith don’t forget that.”

I learned so much from that experience. How to forgive. How to keep going. That just because you love someone doesn’t mean you’re meant to be. We stayed friends for awhile. Mostly out of time and distance, though we don’t keep in touch as often. But I still miss him fondly. Not in a romantic way but I miss his friendship. I still hear his voice in my head when I’m going through hard times. So far in my life I have yet to meet someone who really saw me an knew me the way he did at that time.

Thinking back I’m amazed how far “Panda” and I have come. I am not that person anymore, I was in retrospect, always criticizing him and didn’t appreciate him when things were good. And I am really proud of how far he has come, I can say with absolute certainty he is no longer the guy who pushed me around the back yard that night. He saw that he was wrong, he never made excuses or tried to diminish the trauma it caused me.

Thank you for reading this blog. If you liked it please leave a comment or share the link with your friends, its what helps me grow!

An Open Letter to My Younger Self

“We all think we know everything when we’re young.” We’ve all heard it. I know I wasn’t the only one who thought everyone older than me was being dramatic and condescending. Of course we knew what we were doing. Right?! But the truth is hindsight is always 20/20.

When we’re young the world is so big and possibility is endless. There is magic in the optimism. As I’ve gotten older my optimism has taken a beating. I keep going over all the things I still haven’t accomplished yet. I keep thinking, this is not where I was supposed to be. How is everyone else there and I’m not?! Trust me on this DO NOT DO THIS TO YOURSELF. It’s counter productive.

There are so many things I wish I could tell my younger self. To get to a place of gratitude and self acceptance instead of self sabotage. I’ve written an open letter, to every version of my younger self:

Dear Past Eleanor,

First and for most, I love you. You’re amazing and worthy and enough. Give yourself a break, you’re doing the best you can.

You don’t always have to be so tough all the time. You care too much about what people think of you. It makes you cold. Their opinions of you don’t matter, but your opinions of yourself do. Later on you will look back and regret being cruel to people simply because you felt you needed to act superior in order to be taken seriously. Love yourself for exactly who you are because that person is amazing.

It’s okay to be vulnerable sometimes. Being tough and intimidating is part of your personality but its not all that you are. It’s okay to be soft and tough at the same time. Again, you don’t have to be harsh to be taken seriously. Tact and empathy go a long way.

Trust yourself. You do know what you’re doing. Second guessing yourself slows you down. For the next few years you will struggle with being taken over by your dark side. Embrace it. It’s part of who you are. But it’s not all that you are. Learn when and how to use it effectively. You will be surprised how quickly people respect you for it. And how it doesn’t feel so dark anymore.

Take your growth and education more seriously. I know you think you know everything right now but I have bad news for you… you don’t. You will wish you hadn’t wasted so much time not learning as much as you can. Or continually becoming the best version of yourself. You’ll feel like it put you behind in your personal life and career. But it’s okay. It’s a process and it’s okay to take it slow. It’s never to late to be successful.

Be careful who you trust. You’re going to get a lot of advice from a lot of people. Do your own research. Some people only have their own interests in mind.

Speak kinder to yourself. You are so full of self doubt and hatred. It manifests itself into your personality. Kind words go a really long way. When you start telling yourself more positive things you’re more present and kinder. You make a better impression because you are no longer self sabotaging. You attract better people to yourself because you’ve raised you vibration.

Forgive yourself. You carry so much guilt from every decision and interaction you have. You don’t have to. You are allowed to make mistakes. You are allowed to grow. If it doesn’t serve you anymore, let it go. And on that same note. Learn when to walk away from things that no longer serve you. Situations. Jobs. People. It’s one of the hardest lessons you’ll learn but it will help set you free.

Handle each problem as it comes. One day, one hour. one thing at a time. You worry so much that everything is the end of the world. That is okay. You’re need for survival will give you the best you can. But also not everything requires a meltdown. Breathe. If you can’t breathe you can’t think. Everything works out eventually. Not always the way you’d like it to but it will work out. Stressing won’t make it better.

You’re going to have a lot of hard times. A lot of heart break. Hang in there. You will get through this. Sometimes I look back and all I can remember is that I was always upset about something. I promise you will get through this. There is light at the end of the tunnel. And you will learn how to live in a happy mindset. Just keep fucking going.

And lastly. You’re feelings do matter. You will convince yourself the things you want don’t matter. You will let yourself be swayed by other peoples inability to see your worth. Don’t believe them. You’re feelings are valid. And your voice has value.

That’s probably the most important thing. You have a voice. It carries its weight. It has something to say. It can help people. It’s smarter than you give it credit for. And more creative. Use it and use it wisely.

Remember that I love you.
Future Eleanor

Look. We just didn’t know then what we know now. We did the best we could. There was a time we would give anything to have what we have now. My best attempt at moving froward right now is to count my wins. Even the little ones. What else can you do? There is always something that at one point seemed so hard to get. That once you got it was easy to forget. Getting an agent. Paying off a debt. Living independently. Mending a friendship. There is always something you take for granted that you didn’t use to have and you could lose at any point. Appreciate yourself.

Give yourself credit. You’re doing the best you can. Take a step back, take it all in. Write a letter to a younger version of yourself that needs it. Move forward as someone that younger version needed. Thank you so much for taking the time to read this blog. If you liked it follow me on Facebook and share this article with your friends. And leave me a comment. What would you tell you past self?

Where Do I go from here?

Do you know that devastating feeling of not being good enough? That all consuming emotion that encompasses your relationships, your career, or just trying to be a successful adult? I am regularly overwhelmed by this emotion. Somehow I don’t quite measure up to my own and others expectations. Like my inner demons seem to win more days than I do. This is a story of how those dark thoughts led me here; to a dive bar, sobbing over a cocktail and starting of all things…. a blog.

I know I know… no one reads blogs anymore. And fair warning I am not the best writer. But I needed an outlet I could have creative control of, so please bear with me….

I lost myself this year. I lost my mind. I had a mental breakdown. And not for the first time in my life. I am the type of person who is always breaking down about something. And this time honestly doesn’t feel any different.

Earlier this year I seemed to be failing continuously at my career, fucking up audition after audition. I’ve been trapped in a never ending cycle scraping to get by financially. Then my relationship with a close family member was severely damaged after an emotional fight. Followed very quickly with the upheaval of my relationship with my boyfriend. Resulting in what currently feels like the worst outcome that could happen: the two of us basically being in limbo. Neither of us knowing whether we should keep working at it or move on from each other. I was fucking EVERYTHING UP. Everything seemed uncertain and if there is anything that feeds my anxiety monster the most its uncertainty.

The uncertainty sent me spiraling out. I couldn’t sleep. I was forgetting to eat. I didn’t recognize myself at all. I was openly sobbing at work. I was making irrational out of character decisions. I was reaching out for every life preserver I could find. Needing constant contact with friends and family to keep from spiraling deeper. The more I tried to fix everything. The worse everything got.

The light that usually shined inside me had dissipated. I kept thinking all of it was my fault. If I had just tried harder. Hustled more. Been a little kinder, softer. Been… better. Your’e supposed to stay positive, right? Focus on the future, move forward? But I didn’t feel like there was any kind of future for me. I felt like there was this massive empty pit inside of me that nothing could fill.

That dark thought kept overpowering me. I’m just not good enough. I felt helpless. So much of it was out of my control. How was I even supposed to know what to do about any of it. How was I supposed to move forward and even begin to think about leaving parts of it behind. I had, and still have, an extreme lack of purpose. Where am I supposed to go from here?

So here is the thing, I am a Hot Fucking Mess, and I’ve decided to embrace it. There is something charming and beautiful about it. Its just who I am. All of this has made me realize its not that I’m too emotional or unworthy. I just am true to myself and my feelings. I’m spontaneous. I’m honest. I’m real. I’m not the only person who doesn’t have it all figured out. And who say’s I’m supposed to have it figured out anyway?

This is not the first time I’ve had a mental breakdown. I’ve been through this before. And I’m sure many people are tired of my shit. However, as dramatic as I tend to get I always get through it. Baby steps count as growth. And I’m grateful because I still have an amazing support system.

If anything I’ve realized I recommend falling apart to anyone. Its shitty and awful and painful. But there’s something rejuvenating about putting yourself back together again. Even if you’re doing it over and over again. You get to keep the parts of yourself that you love and start to let go of the parts of yourself you don’t want anymore.

I lost myself this year. I’m broken, raw and scared. There isn’t much I can do right now for these problems… except be patient. It took one drunken heart to heart with a random bartender to remind myself that I’m my own worst enemy and I’ve been through this before. “I’m not good enough” is my anxiety monster talking. And that bitch lies. Each time I defeated that inner demon I WAS good enough. Each time was its own story. Those stories are going to help me through this breakdown and the next one. And hopefully those stories might help you all through your own downfalls. Which leads us to right now. I started my night off planning on drinking my sorrows away and am ending it with a new goal. This blog is going to be about how I’ve overcome things in the past, and how I keep living everyday to its fullest. Doing my best to become the best version of myself I can be.

Thank you for taking the time to read this today. I am a new blog so if you want to help me grow please subscribe. Leave comments at the bottom. And share this post with your friends.