~Thursday, July 22, 2010

UGH, Facebook. Are you trying to ruin my life?

I spent most of my lunch break on Facebook, commenting on different friends' links. One friend posted a map with the list of what each country ranks #1 in. I was kind of proud that the U.S. ranked #1 in serial killers. (Mexico ranked #1 in televisions and Canada ranked #1 in juice drinkers.)

I scroll down the page and see a link another friend posted about the new unemployment rate in the city: 10.3%. A couple people had posted serious comments about the economy, but I was feeling funny this afternoon. So I wrote:

"Apparently I've dated 10.3% of the metro population."

I leaned back in my chair, feeling so proud of my comment. It achieved so much. A dig at S. A dig at Christopher. The friend who posted the link went with me to the baseball game on Sunday where we talked about all of our bad dating decisions and I kept running on about how rare it is to find a guy who has a driver's license, job and bank account at the same time. So it also achieved an inside joke between us. It was also the first time I've even mentioned a dating life on Facebook; I don't talk about dates or feelings on there.

And of course because I think I am so funny, I keep checking back on the site for all the replies to my funny comment. The poster responds to the other serious economy posts and then turns his attention to me:

"@Sarah - To be fair... it's hard finding jobs for all of your 550,000 ex-boyfriends."

The other serious commenters respond, and then so do I:

"Well that just makes me feel old."

And then he takes the win:

"I guess you can cross off 'Date 500,000 men' off of your 30 x 30 list."

For the first time, I start reading the serious comments. The reason the city's economy is in the crapper is because our living supply outweighs our demand by about 5 years blah, blah, blah. One girl is talking about not being able to hire qualified employees in her sector, which just so happens to be the same sector as M-Joy, who always comments that she needs a new job when she gets mad at her boss. I look closer at her name, wondering if I can get the poster to make an introduction a la LinkedIn--

And then it smacks me in the face.

Her last name is the same last name as Adam's. Adam was a guy I dated about three-and-a-half years ago. He was 11 years older than me and he was too handsome, too rich, too generous—just about anything "too"—than me. At the time, I could not possibly fathom what this guy saw in average me. And I liked him too much and my self-esteem was too low. He eventually told me that he was also dating someone else and they decided to commit and make a go of things. (I wrote about it here and here. Some of my best writing was about it him. Shame.)

A quick e-mail to my friend, the poster of the link, confirmed that she was married to Adam. And judging by the age of their DAUGHTER, she was indeed the girl he chose over me.

I leaned back in my chair for the second time today and felt like doing a slow clap. Because the next time Adam logs on Facebook, he's going to see his wife's activity along with my name and my picture and running commentary that I've spent the last three-and-a-half years dating 500,000 unemployed men.

Bravo, Facebook. Bravo.

You can't just make up this kind of humiliation.

On the plus side, Adam always did think I was funny. On the plus, plus side, I got to narrow my eyes at her picture and say aloud, "I've slept with your husband."

~Monday, July 12, 2010

Adrenaline Junkie

I feel down today, a bit depressed. I had a great weekend. Friday night was spent at another painting class with bottle of sangria. The purpose of this class was to take me outside of my comfort zone; we were incorporating broken glass and joint compound into the canvases. Mine did not turn out very well and I'm blaming the joint compound. The piece was too busy and incorporated too many elements without a cohesive theme, which made it basically look like a 5 year-old's work.

Saturday I met up with Katie and her sister to go zip-lining. We drove up to the base of the Appalachian Trail and far, far away from civilization. We had to pass a ground course in zip-lining before we entered the course. My main fear was not being able to hold my own body weight while you pull yourself up the cable, but this turned out to be a non-issue because the harnesses hold 90% of your body weight. I was surprised at how safe zip-lining is. We went out with two guides: one who went ahead and waited to catch you at the other end of the line and one who hooked you up to the steel cable. You break yourself by—get this—taking your (gloved) hand and applying pressure and creating friction on the cable. For the faster runs, one of the guides would set out a rope some distance from the end that you would just crash into to slow you down. It's all very high tech.

Everyone was a bit nervous, but after the ground course, I wasn't. Up in the tree tops, we were always connected to something. Even when we were climbing up ladders and walking across rope bridges. If you did slip, you weren't going to go very far. It got to the point where I didn't break as hard as I should have, which made the guide have to catch me on more than one occasion, but that was okay because he was kind of yummy. I assume he was also several years younger because he told me he just graduated from my alma mater, and I can't believe I am now old enough to find this inappropriate.

Apparently I didn't read the brochure all the way through because there was also a 30-foot rappel in the middle of the course, and we were all shocked as we got to it. One older lady in our group threw a panic attack and refused to rappel down the rope. Only everyone else had gone but me, so I was stuck in a tree with the guide trying to calm the crying lady down. Awkward. By the time it was my turn, I was tired of standing out on the platform, so after the guide told me how to hold the rope, I swung out on my own and dropped in record time, once again having to be steadied by the yummy guide.

"You've obviously blazed before," he said, impressed.

"Nope. First time."

And once again, rappelling isn't that big of a deal because the harnesses are supporting 90% of your body weight. The top hand at your head is just to hold the rope for steadiness and the bottom hand under your butt is just to release so you can drop. Easy stuff. And once again it felt safe because there is a person at the bottom holding the rope in case anything happens; he is just there to spot you.

So I learned two new skill sets this weekend. I am thinking about finding a rappelling blaze and trying doing more of that.

Saturday night the girls came over to my mother's house where I was staying and we brought our own canvases to paint to make up for the disasters we created Friday night. I am much happier with Saturday's result.

Sunday I slept.

And now it's Monday and I don't have any whirlwind activities planned. I mean, I have craft night Tuesday and Saturday I'm going to the shooting range and Sunday to a baseball game. But it's not anything adrenaline pumping, and I really feel like I'm crashing after this weekend. It's known as Adrenal Fatigue and it has real, physical symptoms, which I guess explains why people get addicted to this kind of stuff. I seriously feel a bit depressed today.

I wonder if before, boys were my adrenaline: getting high when they called and crashing if they didn't.

My name is Sarah and I am an adrenaline junkie.

~Wednesday, July 07, 2010

Update on Christopher

About 3 days after I broke up with Christopher, he was laid off from his third job this recession. I say laid off because that's what he told me, but I have my doubts. His story is that the company he was working for decided to discontinue the use of all of its contract workers. Considering it is a business that depends on contract workers and contract workers are cheaper because of not having to pay for benefits, I really find this story unlikely.

I remember one morning while we were still dating, he called me before my alarm rang. He said he overslept and would be late for work and he didn't know what to do. I rolled over in bed and said very plainly to call his boss and say he was running 20 minutes late. Duh. He said that it would make him look bad. I said the company would rather get some work out of him then none, so he better get a move on. Instead he concocted this huge story about how his car broke down and it would require the rest of the day to repair, and then he promptly sat at home at watched TV all day. And because he is a contract worker, he doesn't get paid days off, so he lost a day's worth of pay because he didn't want to be 20 minutes late. I think that says a lot about his work ethic. And I also think that is a contributing factor as to why he got fired a month in the new job.

So he tells me he lost his job and I wish I was able to kiss myself for being so lucky that I already broke up with him. It would have been harder breaking up with someone who was also professionally dumped.

He has also been telling me other things, like he's sorry for never telling me he loves me, because he does. He also says that he misses me. But these are messages coming through in texts. He hasn't spoken them out loud. He hasn't driven to my apartment to tell me in person. I'm not a big fan of the text message and it all seems a little too little, too late.

I'm writing about this in one lump, so it seems like we talk all the time, but we don't. About once every 2 weeks when he calls me. The majority of his texts go unanswered by me.

I got a phone call at 4 a.m. He left some long, rambling message on my voicemail that his apartment is haunted because there was a spot on his carpet that if he touched it, it was wet and soapy, but if he didn't touch it, it was dry. I deleted the message and ignored it. The timing seems about right. Now that he is unemployed again, he's staying awake all night, probably drinking beers, and got the guts to contact me at about 4 a.m.

A couple of days go by. I get another early morning text message. This time it's him apologizing for the voicemail, saying he his doctor prescribed him the antidepressant Cymbalta and it made him hallucinate.

I sigh and roll over in bed again. Only it's not my bed. These aren't my pillows or my comforter or my hardwood floor. My bedroom has carpeting. I'm in Dallas visiting my brother and I'm in his guest room and this craziness has just traveled through time zones with me.

He and I both know that he's lying. The week prior, I just finished a huge research project on anti-depressants for work. I can't stand liars, so I contacted him to call him out on it.

"You've never taken anti-depressants before so your doctor should have put you on an SSRI like the majority of users. Cymbalta is an SNRI."

Cymbalta is also brand name and he's unemployed, meaning he doesn't have money for a brand name when generics are readily available, and Cymbalta doesn't currently have a marketed generic form.

"Threw them away. They made me hallucinate."

"Hallucination is not a side effect of anti-depressants."

"It says to call your doctor if you hallucinate."

I sat and thought about this for a second. Hallucination is indeed not a side effect of anti-depressants, but it is a symptom of serotonin syndrome, which can happen with an overdose of anti-depressants. He must have picked that up from the Cymbalta commercial, that just says to call your doctor if you experience any of these things.

Serotonin syndrome also has other symptoms, such as diarrhea and vomiting and the reason you are hallucinating is because your brain is DYING. It's a very serious disease. It's the equivalent of having an anaphylactic reaction. If you had it, you were going to the emergency room. And you aren't going to have little friendly carpet hallucinations, you are going to have paranoid ideations.

I was fed up. I knew beyond a shadow of a doubt that he was lying, so I didn't even bother to respond to his last text. I wasn't going to explain serotonin syndrome to him all the way from Texas just so I could prove that I was right.

I sat on the edge of my brother's guest bed and felt sorry for myself for a minute. Christopher wasn't always crazy, but he ended up that way after I broke up with him. I have crazy ex-boyfriends. Even worse, the crazy followed me to Texas. I rubbed my toe on the hardwood floor and wished I could have normal ex-boyfriends who aren't that into me.

And then I had a thought. There is a really easy fix to get the crazy out of my life. Delete, erase, wipe out. So I did just that.

Look at me bein' all healthy.

~Tuesday, July 06, 2010

Update on Me

I received an e-mail the other day, asking how I was doing. Usually my silences indicate that something is wrong, but in this case, it is exactly the opposite.

I have been working on my birthday list pretty fanatically. So far, I have seven items down with an eighth one to be completed this weekend. For my dance class, Harvey and I did indeed go pole dancing. It was awesome. It was in an all-girls dance studio in one of the industrial districts in town. Girls of all races, shapes and sizes were there, minimizing body judgments. We learned to walk with confidence, accentuating our favorite body parts, we learned to dance around the pole and we learned the basic swing down the pole. Best $15 I spent all summer. The class taught confidence and self love and the greatest lesson of all: no matter how you fall down, get up sexy.

For my art class, Katie, her sister and I went to a studio where you bring your own alcoholic beverage and follow the instructor paint stroke by paint stroke and leave with your very own acrylic canvas painting. There are variations of this concept all over the country. As a disclaimer, I am a terrible drawer, but I am good with use of color. It was thoroughly freeing to paint a canvas and it was satisfying to leave with my creation in hand. We had such a good time that we signed up three more times in the month of July.

I made my spaghetti sauce from scratch (thanks, Dawn) and it actually tasted like spaghetti sauce, so I am now inspired to do more real cooking at home. I am currently learning to tackle fresh vegetables.

I spent a weekend in Dallas, visiting my brother and his wife. It was hot, but I still think the South is worse. Texas doesn't have the humidity punch in the chest as you walk outside like home does. It does have flies though. I road down the street where JFK was shot and watched the cattle run down the street into the stockyards of historic Fort Worth. I think I might try Texas again when the State Fair comes in the fall.

I ended therapy. I missed an appointment because I simply forgot and my therapist told me she is delighted when a patient goes from being early every visit to not showing up because it is a sign of improvement. I told her I felt like I am okay and she said she had to let me come to that conclusion. She handed me a basket of stones and told me to pick one. I fingered through the basket and immediately snatched a smooth blood-red stone polished in the shape of a heart.

"Why did you choose that one?" she asked.

"Because it is shaped like a heart."

"Any other reason?"

I rubbed the stone. "It's red. I actually decided a couple of days ago that red is my power color. Red usually symbolizes love and romance (and communism, but I didn't say that out loud). These things indicate another person, a we. But I decided to take red back and make it a me.

"A friend of mine sent me breakup kit after Christopher. In the kit was a pair of red cuffs. She said her friend had them in black and wore only one cuff when she wanted to feel powerful. My friend didn't know this, but black is too dark for me. I don't like black. I love color, and I think red makes a greater impact than black." I looked at my therapist and decided that she may not have followed the story. "Anyway this was a couple of days ago," I trailed off.

She grabbed the stone from me and ran it through her fingers. "I think it's interesting that you were drawn to the heart stone. When you came to me a year ago, it was your heart that was broken. If you look here, there is a vein of white that cuts the stone in half, just like your heart. But the edges are smooth and the heart is whole. Now it just looks like a scar."

I liked that. My heart has a scar.

She continued, "Next to the vein of white, is a dark vein that follows it. When you came to me, you were in a really dark place, but once again the edges have been smoothed."

She handed the rock back to me. She told me to keep it in case I wanted to reflect back on it and my journey with her. She told me to view the rock as an accomplishment. And then she promptly told me she would be available if I ever needed her services in the future.

So that's how my summer has been going. This weekend, I am going zip-lining through the mountains with Katie and her sister. We are all slightly worried that we are not going to be strong enough, but then again, maybe I'll just wear red.

My heart, scarred and with a dark place


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