Monday, March 12, 2018

What Does It Feel Like?

Here's the thing. I don't know that I have the ability to fall in love. I've been kicked around so much because of so many things that I just don't know. How do people feel this sort of thing? I'm so tired of treating it like duty, and having it feel like moral obligation to fall on my sword for someone else. There's this giddy thing where they can let go and fall, I think, if I'm reading it right.

There's just a constant sense of unworthiness, and then that overwhelming feeling that I'd make myself look stupid if I were to become vulnerable to something like love. It sucks, and I'm not getting any younger over here.

I used to say that the fireworks and the 10,000 Strings weren't for girls like me...and it was a defensive gesture, because I didn't think anyone would ever give me those things. I don't even have a boring hearth and home. I just have me and a lot of pets to try to fill that void. Oy vey.

Monday, February 26, 2018

Controlling the Narrative

My narrative is my own.

What I find ironic is that my ex's best friend actually thought that a) he sounded witty, b) no one would get the cut, and c) he could silence me by informing me that he'd heard oh, so many negative things about me. I think I was supposed to feel bad because he normally takes the woman's side in these things, but this is different.

My ex had been carefully constructing a false narrative for quite some time, one that looks really good from only his perspective.

It's morbidly fascinating. I almost want to know what lies my ex has spun, but at the same time, I know his modus operandi and I don't have any intention of feeding it new material. Besides, these are people who think that lying and cheating are fine, as long as they get what they want. It is, in fact, a tenet of their religion.

What I said in return to this man was true: my ex had trashed him to me on more than one occasion. Volubly. Frequently. With sincere feeling. Believe it, or don't. If he bothers to ask, my ex will lie like a rug, guaranteed.

These people have no honor.

My staff admitted to me after the fact that they caught my ex soliciting women with whom to cheat on dating websites when he was a student at the college where I am employed, in the library, where I work...WHILE I WAS IN MY OFFICE. He didn't care. I was apparently supposed to pay off his debts, buy his food and clothing, pay for his car, have sex with him constantly, and not have any expectations of him (including basic hygiene). Apparently, I should have been grateful that he was willing to lower his standards to be with me. Or something like that. I'm not entirely clear on that point.

Oh, and then he sucks up to the people you've just watched him stab in the back for YEARS. My favorite is that he was welcomed back to the bosom of his family by the very woman he used to call the town whore in his hometown, who is married to his first cousin. So nice of her to have you over for Thanksgiving, you hypocritical monster! Did you tell her that you thought she might have burned your house down? No? That was inconvenient, I guess.

Anyway. He can go to Hell or back to Manchester; I'm not sure which is worse. I just wonder what his dear, dear friend would have thought had he been present for all those jeremiads about his marriage, hobbies, profession, education, religion, childhood, et cetera...not my circus. Moving on.

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Happy Singles' Awareness Day

My plans for the evening? P90X class. Sleep. That's about it. Pizza? Maybe? I don't know. In the spirit of my wretched singleness, I'm listening to Birdeatsbaby's cover of "Sober" by Tool. My ex is a guitarist, and I bet you money he has never even attempted to play this song. Not that I particularly care...

The worst news in recent months is that my friend Wayne died, of heart disease exacerbated by influenza. I'm still angry as hell about the way the hospital in the neighboring town handled it. He should have been shipped out the same night he was seen in their ER, but they blew it off. In consequence, he didn't make it to a teaching hospital, where they probably would have caught it, until AFTER he had been hypoxic too long and was on life support. Wayne was a bonafide genius. He got a shitty start in life (if you really knew him, you know the story). He was too young to die, just short of his 48th birthday. I said I was angry, and I meant it. It was malpractice. Full stop. He died for some doctor's ego.

I lost Sister, my older Airedale, the Tuesday after Thanksgiving. I have a new Airedale puppy named Margo, and she's teething. Kevlar martial arts sleeves are wonderful- otherwise my arms would still be full of fresh lacerations from her 28 knife-like baby teeth, and I have proved to myself that I am really too old to deal with a new puppy. We're getting on with it, though, and Hairy has decided she's worth playing with instead of trying to bite her.

Hopkins is also totally off-grid. After the whole "she's just someone I hang out with occasionally" debacle back in the summer, my enthusiasm for spending time with him in any capacity shrank to damn near nothing. I can be lonely all by myself, thanks; I don't need anyone else to make me feel less-than.

My sister is in the midst of a divorce. I'm a little Forrest Gump on the subject: that's all I have to say about that.

Marvel's Black Panther opens on Friday. I wish there was a showing tonight, so I'd have something to do. I did purchase a new copy of Thor on DVD, since my ex took most of my Marvel movies with him when he left (when I pointed this out to him, he said he'd replace them, just like he'd pay me back...that lasted about ten whole seconds). The new copy of Avengers is on the way, and I got myself a new Loki action figure for my office and TIRES (!) for Valentine's Day.

Anyway, y'all enjoy your day, however you celebrate it. This is the only time I remember VDay falling on Ash Wednesday, so that's complicated for the Catholics and other observant folk among us. Seems pretty legit from where I sit.

Thursday, December 14, 2017

Biological Imperative, Sex Education, and Social Mores

My grandfather had a habit of stretching his blanket; that is to say, he often concealed things, prevaricated, or confabulated. Truth was not always his thing. As a result of this, my father is brutally invested in truth, often to the exclusion of sparing one's feelings. That's one thing that was ground into us from an early age: tell the truth, because the consequences of being caught in a lie will be serious.

So here we are at the one thing to which Dad ever applied his familial tendency to con-artistry: sex education and contraception. As a general practitioner in rural Appalachia, Dad is a pragmatist about teen sexual habits...his original academic background is as an animal biologist, so he has a pretty good understanding of what makes mammals tick, and guess what, folks? We're mammals. Sorry if that bursts your bubble; however, we're the only mammals who know how to prevent conception of a new life as a result of sexual congress. So why aren't we doing a better job with that?

Denial: it's not just a river in Egypt!

This whole theory that if we tell young people to abstain from sex, keep an aspirin between their knees, pray for temptation to go away, or that they will be social pariahs if they become sexually active has little to no impact on actual abstinence. It really doesn't figure until the back-end: pregnancy and/or STDs, and then the Blame and Shame is trotted out. (That also does exactly ZERO good, so just drop it, okay?) Then the Big Bad Abortion Debate crops up.

LOOK, if we're honest about it and acknowledge that a) we're mammals, b) mammals have sex, c) sex can result in pregnancy, and d) that pregnancy CAN BE PREVENTED, abortion does not have to come up at all. What ever happened to the aphorism that "an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure"? 

Back to Daddy. His tactics were simple.

The Old 'Her Period is Medically Problematic' Tactic: "Mrs. Doe, little Janie is having these brutal, heavy menstrual periods that are keeping her out of school and preventing her from participating in band/sports/etc. . I can write a prescription for something that will make that a little easier on her every month."

The 'Focus on School, Not a Heavy Period': "Mrs. Smith, since we're doing Susie's physical for college, might I recommend a prescription that will reduce her stress and pain at That Time of the Month while she's away at school? Oh, good, it's actually the Pill, but she won't be taking it for contraception, of course."

There was also a rather memorable evening when he came home and announced at the dinner table that if we were even thinking about being sexually active, to see him or some other doctor to get birth control- because a very promising girl from our school had concealed a pregnancy from her parents for so long that she was already nearing the end of the second trimester. There was nothing for it but to have a shotgun wedding, because, after all, it is the South.

Slut-shaming girls for being sexually active, or girls who have been raped/molested, is a problem, so a lot of young women conceal it from their families until it's too late. Calling a girl a whore doesn't help. Getting her appropriate medical care and intervention in a timely manner does.

We need to step back and take a frank, unvarnished look at the consequences of not teaching kids about the consequences of sex and how to prevent pregnancy and disease...and I am totally here to tell you that you can't pray away AIDS. For fifteen years, I have worked with children who got HIV from gestational transmission- which CAN be prevented if the mother knows her HIV status and receives consistent treatment throughout the pregnancy. With heroin use going off the charts again, HELLO, new AIDS epidemic from needle-sharing and infected sex.

Pretending that something isn't a problem won't make it go away.

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Coffee Meets Disappointment

If it weren't for the other single librarians out there, I'd probably be a total basket case. We all seem to be having a few hiccups getting back into the dating realm. It's not just us ladies, either; the guybrarians are not doing a lot better overall. Maybe we're just so weird and compartmentalized that nobody else gets us...and in my case, I'm fat, so that's a big old negative right up front...just not sure what to do.

Here we are at "cuffing season", the time of year when every woman who wants to get engaged hopes that the person in her life has taken the hint, and I'm the most single-est single person alive, or at least it feels that way.

Two other things: my Airedale girl, Sister, passed away suddenly two weeks ago and I miss her so much; and my childhood friend lost her partner to cancer yesterday. That pretty much sucks, and for the record, I don't think we're really old enough to be widowed. (Hell, I haven't even managed to get married yet.)

One of the stranger aspects of my personality is that I look for intelligence as a marker for compatibility (even my celebrity crush is a cute sort of dude, but he has a double first in Classics from Cambridge- which flies my kite a lot more than the 'cute factor'). My nerdiness/brainyness is a huge turnoff to men, so even if they can get past my size (which is damned infrequent), my 'strong personality' and intellectual bent (though not snobby) are pretty much Kryptonite.

I burrow into my fluffy duvets at night and try to be positive about being single. It eludes me.

What's a nerd girl to do? Read Anno Dracula and endeavor to not panic. I went to the movies by myself recently, which is progress considering that I haven't gone pretty much since my ex walked out.

Last year, I had a meltdown on New Year's Eve because I was overwhelmed by being the third wheel and also because my dining companion was a Korean War vet of approximately my dad's age. I had this blinding flash of 'oh, this is the best it's ever going to get' and 'I'm going to die alone and be eaten by wild dogs'. I went still, closed-off, and motionless. I wouldn't eat. I just wanted to lie down and cry.

I hope this year is better, but I make no promises. There's no light at the end of the tunnel right now unless it's mounted on a train that's about to run me over.

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

*cricket, cricket*

My therapist asked me the other day if I'd heard from Hopkins. The short answer is 'no'.

Still laughing at the bitter irony that this is the man over whom my ex ostensibly broke up with me. It was a convenient excuse, anyway.

We were blessed to have Doug Jones, the great creature/SFX actor, on our campus yesterday. His maternal family is originally from Harlan, so this was sort of Old Home Week after a limited fashion. I've been an enormous fan of his since he played Billy Butcherson in Hocus Pocus, but the role in which I absolutely adored his performance was as Abe Sapien in the two Hellboy movies. We were so fortunate that he agreed to come here, and there is already Oscar chatter about his new venture with Guillermo del Toro, The Shape of Water. I was fangirling all over the place; I rolled out a combo look of Liz-Sherman-meets-Gaiman's-Death-from-Sandman in honor of the day. I was just too worried that I'd have a total meltdown to actually speak to the man myself; as I told the bookstore manager, I was just glad to get to share oxygen in the same room with someone of such talent.

Today I'm back to reality, wearing a British sweater with a striped kitten on it; so from Goth to Twee Librarian, in a single felled swoop.

My brother-in-law rolled in last weekend and basically told my sister to pack her things and get out. She refused, so the standoff continues. He isn't happy, he says; he wants to move out west. I have some editorial comments related to that from which I will refrain, but since he has never had my sister on his insurance policy (which has forced our father to continue working to obtain her $1100/month cash price insulin as samples) and expected any income that she made to be the disposable income of their household, I'm here to tell you that his "Aw, Shucks Good-guy Persona" is bullshit. He recently spent all but about $10 in their bank account on two expensive coffee shop visits and a restaurant meal, came home and offered my sister his leftovers, and then revoked that offer when he realized that there was no food in the house or money to buy any. Did I mention that my sister is a Type I diabetic? This is a form of abuse, by the way, if you haven't clocked it yet.

She's no saint, but how would you feel if your significant other blew $60 you really didn't have, offered you their table scraps, and then decided you (who have an illness that requires you to eat at regular intervals) aren't even worthy of that?

There are worse things than being single, people, and that's one of them, right there. If you spend all the money out of spite and try to starve someone to get what you want, you are an asshole. Period.

Monday, September 11, 2017

On Becoming Invisible

I finally talked with my sister at some length about the Departure of Hopkins from my life, current revised edition.

My ex used my friendship (and his blatant refusal to understand, because it was so inconvenient for him) with Hopkins as one of the many justifications for his cheating on, and subsequently, leaving me.

The biggest irony, or the most brutal joke in all of it, is that at the end of the day, Hopkins assigned me a value of less-than. It's something that large women get used to early in the game; we're less-than human, less-than acceptable, less-than valid, less-than girlfriends, less-than actual friends...because our size is more-than average. Because society judges on appearance, it matters not what other qualities we may have, they cannot redeem us from the egregious sin of size.

I had always considered myself his friend, but he'd decided at some point that I was basically a slightly animated piece of background scenery. As he informed my aunt, under his breath one fateful day this summer, "She's just someone I hang out with occasionally."

Oh, I get it. I'm not worthy of being his friend. That might qualify me somehow as fully human. Instead, I'm not even good enough to rate friendship. I should have known. When his other (or possibly only, if I'm feeling especially revisionist) close friend from high school died a year and a half ago, he didn't go to the viewing or the funeral. He didn't go sign the book. If that's what he'd do to someone he considers a friend, what the hell could I reasonably expect?

I'm almost fifty years old, and this feeling of abandonment grates. It tears at my soul, but in the end, what can I do? Accept it, reject it; it makes no difference. It hurts. Losing people whom you believed to be friends when they chose others, or in this case, being alone, over your company just sucks. I guess that's why I have so many pets...although I wonder sometimes if it's unfair to inflict myself on them, too.