Friday, June 15, 2007

Plagued By A Pink Elephant

I've been in kind of a funky mood on and off for the last three weeks, ever since I came back from India. I still haven't figured out the crux of my angst, other than that I'm no longer on vacation. I think it's a few things. First, I don't have a routine yet and it's driving me crazy. Since joining New Firm three weeks ago, I've had my first opportunity to develop a routine based on what I want to do with my free time. It's a novel concept, and I haven't yet mastered it. I find myself becoming frustrated that I haven't figured everything out yet, that I haven't started going to a regular pilates class or started running three times a week again. My lack of discipline annoys me.

I'm also frustrated because I blew my "diet" during the past two days. Among other things, I ate a salad drenched in oil from a fast food restaurant (it was either that or starve), and then ate three South Beach bars for dinner last night (because I got home so late). Excuses, excuses. I should be better than that. I'm sure you're thinking that it could have been worse, and you're right. But, that's not good enough. I watched Em do this whole program and for 6 weeks she was the Queen of Discipline. I want to be disciplined too. My weaknesses annoy me.

Since I'm listing frustrations, let's throw the big one on top of the pile, the one that I've come to view as the pink elephant in the room during the past week. I'm referring of course to dating. I think I hate dating. I mean really, sincerely dislike it. Immensely. Dating is not fun. Sure, the dinners, the hanging out, those moments can be fun. But those moments are brief and fleeting. As one of my co-workers said the other day, "Dating sucks. It's filled with uncertainty and you don't know who to trust." I couldn't agree more.

Most of dating is waiting in a state of uncertainty. The only thing I dislike more than the idea of me waiting on a man, is me actually waiting on a man. And, guess what I've been doing during the last two weeks? Waiting. Not all the time, not even most of the time, and certainly not actively, but it's happening. Worse yet, I'm beginning to suspect that the person I've been waiting on may be more trouble than he's worth. Although I'm trying not to jump to conclusions, and am giving him the benefit of the doubt, he may be a Texter.

Despite myself, I notice the passage of time, I file away the timing of calls and texts, and promises of future communication. It doesn't take any effort. The information just filters in and sticks to me like dead flies on super sticky fly paper. I don't hold my breath. I do my best not to expect follow through, lest I allow my hopes to be raised. But I take note of everything. I'm aware of my proclivity to obsessively focus on details. It's a trait that though professionally useful, does not suit me well in the dating arena.

One solution to the waiting problem would be to fill up some of my time with more dates. Waiting on one man is a lot of needless pressure. If I had 2 or 3 in the mix, I would be so distracting by the juggling that I would notice the action or inaction of any one of them a lot less than if I had only one up in the air. It would also help to focus on me and establish a routine.

The issue I'm struggling with suddenly, to my immense displeasure and surprise, is that I find myself wanting another relationship while simultaneously feeling scared as hell to get into one. Layered atop that conflict is my inability to keep my emotions in check. I don't think I have the callousness required for successful casual dating. My emotions swing between cynicism and hope depending upon my moods or the relative action or inaction of the suitor of the moment. I don't like the fact that some one else, other than me, can influence my emotions. I find myself thinking, as I often do in many contexts, that I should be stronger than that. I should be Impervious. Impenetrable. Invulnerable. Totally In Control.

But, if I was all of those things - impervious, impenetrable, and invulnerable - I wouldn't be me. I would be cold and wrapped in steel - sort of how I used to operate in relationships, before the last one took my heart, crushed it until it bled, and then threw it away. Lovely. He was the phone booth that I stepped into, and now I'm no longer how I used to be. At some point, I'm sure I'm going to thank him for getting me in touch with my inner vulnerability. However, not just yet, because at the moment my inner vulnerability is mucking up this whole dating thing. I don't like feeling vulnerable, insecure or self-conscious. I prefer having an unwavering and unassailable sense of self-confidence.

All of this is obviously not about any one person that I may or may not have gone on a date with last week, but about where I am in my life, a piece of which is the fact that I had a difficult break-up about six months ago. That experience left me with a certain level of healthy cautiousness. I guess it makes sense that I would be cautious - and all over the emotional map - with regards to dating, after having my heart broken once before, and after having realized the depths of my emotional vulnerability. With the capacity to love greatly comes the ability to be hurt deeply.

The good news, according to my posse, is that I'm finally ready to date again. Six months ago, or even three months ago, I was not ready to date anyone. I didn't want to be physical with anyone else, and I didn't want to waste my energy on the whole dating process. I was in healing, energy conservation mode. The fact that I now find myself wanting to date has everyone thinking that I've made leaps and bounds of progress in terms of getting over my broken heart. I think they're right. It feels that way inside too. I no longer feel the weight of the walnut. Instead, I feel pent-up desire and a genuine desire to meet someone I could fall in love with and who could fall in love with me.

Does it make me weak that I would like to fall madly in love?


Pirate said...

FTPBHF (First Time Poster But Huge Fan)

Buttercup - the thing I haven't liked about most blogs in the past is they aren't actually honest. You've taken that image and thrown it out like stinky trash.

I can tell you with certainty that wanting to fall madly in love is what everyone it makes you great, not weak. If I've known anyone who I truly believe will get everything she wants in life -- it's you.

Starshine said...

I don't think it makes you weak. It makes you human. :)


You know, I've heard that weddings are a great place to meet someone! ;)

Oh, and eHarmony is always another possibility.

Buttercup said...

Pirate, You better stop or I'm going to start crushing on you more than I was when you were such a gentleman to me in Mumbai.

Starshine, I'll keep the tip about the weddings in mind for, oh, say, two weeks from now. :)

pirate said...

Ha! you don't need me, you've got Matt Dillon to crush on...

bug said...

how could weakness have anything at all to do with love? and btw, you're still a superhero :)

Sparky Duck said... worked for me baby

Buttercup said...

Pirate - He's a passing fancy.

Bug - Said like a true romantic. I'm so impressed you caught the Ani reference, or did you just catch the general reference to the transformative nature of phone booths?

Sparky, I think I'm going to do it. The idea has been percolating.

Karianne said...

I absolutely love the line, "he was the phone booth that I stepped into". Amazing.