Now Serving Side Dishes

My friend and I spent the weekend in Vegas.  During one of our conversations, she said she didn’t understand why people seem to be dating with contingencies or backups.  I told her she’d been married too long and didn’t know how savage the dating world really is. But the more I thought about it, I realized that side chicks, backups and contingencies are the dating norm now. I think there are several explanations for the trend.  Dating seems to be moving away from “traditional” courtships.

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So I Married a Narcissist

Narcissistic Personality Disorder: People with this condition are frequently described as arrogant, self-centered, manipulative, and demanding. They may also concentrate on grandiose fantasies (e.g. their own success, beauty, brilliance) and may be convinced that they deserve special treatment. 

This past weekend I went to visit with a friend of mine who had not met my former husband.  Since we were in Socal near their place of residence, I had them meet my daughter and I at the hotel.

On the way out of the valley and into downtown LA I needed to go by my friend’s house to allow my daughter, myself and travel companion to say goodbye and thank them for the hospitality. We took the other parent (OP) with us.

When we arrived at the house, my friend was gracious and welcomed the OP into her home.  Of course OP turned on the signature charm with the line, “Very nice to meet you. I’ve heard so much about you.”  I couldn’t remember if it was true or not, but this was OP’s standard line when meeting new people.

My friend and her husband lead us  into the backyard where we sat down to chat for a while to allow the girls time to play before taking off.  Sitting at the table next to my former spouse is always awkward.  It’s not because of hate radiating from my being, but because I am not sure what to do with myself.

The standard issue questions were asked as the conversation went on. My friend asked OP about their family.  Delved into an issue OP has with their brother. But then, it was time for the OP show.  The part where tears start to fall from their eyes as the pledge their eternal love for me.  Which always makes me very uncomfortable because I don’t know that OP knows what love is. The follow up is an admission that they feel bad about how they talked to me.  Which, is a lie.  The same language and venom comes out from time to time.  On those days, I shut them out for a few weeks in order to get my point across. I know that I no longer have to tolerate the abuse that lead to my first bout of depression while I was pregnant.

I was very vocal this time about how I felt hearing the words love related to me from OP’s mouth with a long gagging sound. It’s immature, but it also allowed them to know I did not buy what they were selling.  As OP uttered the apologetic words about the way we talked to each other, I let everyone know I was not sorry for the words I had said.  I had spoken the truth. I had become enraged by OP’s selfish nature.  I may have called names and used foul language, but I do not believe that speaking quietly and with love could change the outcome of our marriage.  I am aware that to my friends I may have appeared harsh. I admitted to it sounding foul, but what I was saying didn’t come from a place of anger, but a place of recovery.

Narcissist are quite charming.  So charming, that other people believe their elegant words.  They believe that there is sincerity in every word they utter.  They have no idea how brilliant narcissist is at manipulation. Narcissist strive to put forward a socially exciting personality. They can not control the way people perceive their awesomeness if they aren’t socially acceptable.  The problem with the narcissistic personality is that when they are not in the lime light and being praised, they become despondent and often act out.

I have met very few narcissists in my life, two, in fact. One was my husband and the other was my former best friend.  The entanglement with these personalities can make breaking the bond difficult.  The narcissist does not recognize your suffering from their needs. Thier time is consumed by thoughts of the next thing to boost their ego which makes them far from sympathetic. The narcissist will often “call out” their spouse in front of people, whether or not the reason is valid. With all of that said, I will admit, had their not been the big lie that was a deal breaker, I probably would not have been able to leave the situation. Because the narcissist is charming and fun to be around.

Mostly I didn’t want to give up because I did not want to fail at marriage.  I wanted a life long commitment like OP’s parents had. My belief that children from an unbroken home were better at commitment and had better marriages was challenged. Just because you have role models doesn’t mean you will follow in their footsteps.

I saved myself to provide a new type of role model for my daughter. A happy role model who was unencumbered by people’s perception of her.  A role model who would only show her daughter relationships that enrich both of their lives.  A mother who could dedicate her attention to what was really important. This woman would not have existed had she not broken the bond of marriage with her husband.

After the Starbucks wrapper incident…

About a year ago, I wrote a story about a date in the sweltering heat that went awry at the end. Let’s call this dater, Joe.  After our date and telling me he wasn’t attracted to me once we met, Joe texted me out of the blue. It had been a few months and I had already deleted his contact information.  I remembered his number because of the unfamiliar area code.

Joe proceeded to tell me about the girl he had passed me over for and how she was nutty. She’d broken his heart a little. He had gone into wounded puppy mode with his tail between his legs to heal. It was his explanation for not talking to me sooner.  I gently reminded him he’d basically told me I was unattractive and I thought I’d never hear from him again.

And after a few weeks of my skepticism, I accepted him as a friend.  Why not? I mean, I was obviously willing to make some investment in him since I had gone out on a date with him.  Plus, guys are generally less maintenance as far as friendships go.  Bonus, they like to drink beer and scratch and so do I.  It is like a friendship that was meant to be.

We continued our friendship for months.  And then, he started sending me the pictures.  You know the ones we don’t understand why they think we want them.  He started being flirtatious and then taking it back the next day.  But this is a constant in our relationship. What I don’t understand is what happened that suddenly made me attractive. Also, how did we elevate things from friendship to this odd status? And finally, what the hell do I do with this information? I feel like that Starbucks wrapper whacked me upside the head again. Only this time, I’m a lot more stunned and confused.

The One with the Skateboard

There is always that one guy in your journey of online dating that turns out completely different than you expect. When I met him on the latest site I tried, conversation flowed like water. It was effortless and comfortable. He was an aspiring writer like I was. He was writing a mystery at the time. We talked about the difficulty of dropping breadcrumbs to make the mystery cohesive and interesting.

After just a few hours texting we decide to met at the artsy movie theater in Berkeley and watch an artsy movie with a lot of buzz. We decided to meet there. I got there before he did and purchased my ticket. He texted me about 20 minutes after I nervously Sat waiting for him in the theater lobby. He told me that he had lost his cash on the way to the theater. I thought about what to do. I mean I kind of wanted to see the movie but the point was to meet this guy. So I told him I was coming out so we could decide what to do.

When I came out of the theater, he greeted me with a giant grin. I drank in his look. It was not what I was expecting from a guy in his late 30s. He was clutching a skateboard wearing wide legged jeans and a newsie hat. It was cute but definitely made me feel old. But I hugged him. He was tall and lanky. Much better looking than his photo. Plus over minus I thought. We took a stroll Berkeley checking out a bookstore before heading to have a coffee at Starbucks.

It turns out we still got along without thought in person. After an hour of coffee and chat, I told him maybe we should call it a night. He said he’d walk me back to the car so I offered him a ride home. In the car, he told me he didn’t want to go home. He suggested we go park by the water.

We ended up parking by the water and watching a movie on my phone. So we had our own waterside drive in. I found out he wasn’t employed at the time. He had no car and his ideas of employment were gig jobs. He also didn’t believe monogomy. Which lead me to start to believe all online daters were non-monogous despite their “looking for” information on their profiles.

We had fun despite the mounting evidence we weren’t on the same page. I figured we’d still enjoy each other’s company from time to time. We could write together but he’d lost his place as a potential suitor.

We saw each other again. I think he want more than a few kisses because the next day he didn’t answer any of my texts. We eventually talked again a few weeks later on the site we met on. But it has since become just a date gone sour with a skater.

Excerpt from the Novel

Lost in TRANSition Diary Entry

The Other Parent (OP)

“It’s a delicate art.” She said.

That was my former spouse’s response to my indelicate question about how he/she hid her junk in the bikini he/she was wearing. It was the moment I realized that she was no longer ever going to be he again.  Nor could I even cling to the hope of ever seeing the man I once loved reappear. I don’t know if I had hoped to see my husband again or if I was just hoping that my husband wouldn’t become a woman.

I didn’t react. I just looked at my daughter who still called the other parent “Daddy” with a little more pity than usual!  That’s probably the wrong reaction, but I wish the other parent (OP) had respected my wishes before O was born to find a suitable name for themselves as to save my child some confusion.

We were having a lazy afternoon with OP’s mom at her hotel pool.  It was awkward. I wanted to tell her how uncomfortable I felt about being around OP, but she’s OP’s mom, not my own.  I wanted to tell her that I missed our family.  The family that she was a part of until I ran away from the train wreck that was coming as a result of me being pregnant and OP coming out.  I hoped that this weekend would reunify what was now broken, but it did not.

Instead, I was left feeling wholly broken.  I had a blast hanging with OP and Mom, but it wasn’t the same.  He was missing.  And all I could think about was how I wished my father-in-law hadn’t died.  That the world hadn’t crashed down around me and that my daughter was calling her dad “daddy” and not OP.

It’s hard to be a mom of a child who’s having to deal with something she doesn’t quite comprehend yet. From time to time, she takes her confusion up with me.  She will tell me that I want to be a boy.  It hurts me in two ways:

1: She believes “Daddy” means a man

She’s seen Calliou’s daddy and his daddy looks nothing like her own.  Still, Calliou sets a model of family that she desires to have.  So, she will call OP daddy because it fills a picture of family she’s got in her head, but her picture is slightly different.

2. I have no desire to be a boy.

I don’t like her questioning my femininity even if she means nothing by it. i love being a women.  I love being a mom.  I love that she was grown inside my belly. I love my boobs, butt and my stretch marks that I got because they are mine and all-natural.

Yes, there is still a lot of anger in my heart toward OP.  I feel betrayed, abandoned and as though nothing will ever be right again. I pray time heals these wounds, but it’s been three years and it only seems to be getting worse.

Kindergarten Diary 9.6.17

Yesterday, I was home sick so it gave me an opportunity to see what my daughter’s morning routine was.  When it came time to do playground drop off, my fearless kid who faced the first day of school without a single tear, turned into a stage 5 clinging toddler-like preschooler. Even after I showed her that her friend D from her preschool was already on the playground, she didn’t want to surrender my arm.  She didn’t utter a word.  My mom brain said be stern.  Make her go inside. My heart was breaking because I couldn’t understand why she didn’t want to go inside.  Everything seemed to be going so well.

Something most people don’t know about me is that I am painfully shy and social awkward.  I have spent many years perfecting my social face.  Being a military brat, social face was a part of my DNA.  I moved often. I had to learn to adapt to new friends and the lack of “friends”.

I tried to explain this to O last night. Hoping it would give her some comfort, but I doubt my words penetrated.  She kept repeating she only had made 3 friends. All I heard was a tiny breaking heart wanting everyone to like her like they did back at her preschool.

When she looks at her mom, I am sure she doesn’t see me as I really am. She doesn’t know how uncomfortable I am in new social situations.  She doesn’t know that I would rather be alone than introduce myself to someone new.  She doesn’t know I’d rather put up with my “friends” crap than confront them on it. I am socially insecure and I own it.

My mom texted me to tell me she cried this morning. Should I even broach the subject again? Do I leave it alone? I am just left to wonder what the answer is and if there is a magic bullet to make her feel okay with going to school.

 

 

About A Starbucks Food Wrapper

I’ve spent the month talking to a new guy.  I thought he was genuine and funny.  I couldn’t wait to meet him, but for whatever reason, our schedules didn’t really sync up until Father’s Day.  The precious free moment for both of us finally came. So, we decided to meet in the chill little island of Alameda.

I told him to meet me at the Starbucks, and we could choose a lunch spot. So we strolled the main street for twenty minutes, where I let him dominate the conversation.  (Not to mention the oppressive heat was scrambling my brain.)  I let him choose the spot and as he was opening the door, I was hit by a flying Starbucks food wrapper.  The force behind it didn’t feel accidental.  I swung around to see a couple and a man.  They didn’t look guilty. I just told my date and we both shrugged it off, and went into the establishment for lunch.

As we sat there, he dominated the conversation, but somehow, I felt the connection we’d had in chats wasn’t there. At least, not from him.  I spent a lot of time listening and trying to decide if he liked me even a little bit.  I was consumed with the fact that I was sweaty and the food was mediocre.  When I did talk, I tried to be charming and funny, but he wasn’t laughing. We even got a lot of conversation in about his ex. (I thought ex talk wasn’t for the first date.)

About midway through the conversation, he said, “I went out on Thursday and had a great time with a skinny white chick.  Not my normal type, but it was a good date.”  I was taken back.  Why would he tell me about his date? I guess I was boring him.  I wasn’t trying but in the 100+ degree heat choices for continuing the date were slim.

Post date, I didn’t feel good about it, but I thought I’d ask if I’d bored him.  He didn’t answer the question.  But a few hours later he was texting up a storm with me.  They weren’t flirtatious like the other texts.  I didn’t know what to do with it, but somehow I feel like that balled up Starbucks food wrapper may have been a sign.

Live Your Life!

My dearest daughter,

I am writing you again just after another coward felt emboldened to take the lives of innocent concert goers.   I could care less who did it because in the end, this person is a coward and does not deserve to be remembered.

It hurts me to know a mommy like me may never see her beautiful child’s face again. But this is the world we live in.  This place we inhabit is a place of intolerance at times.  History is ripe with examples of intolerance and murder for “superior” beliefs.  One day, it’s going to be very hard for you to understand how people could be so careless,and cruel about other humans’ lives.  You will try to understand and likely fail, but there are lessons to be learned from all of this.

  1.  Do not be afraid.  Fear is a powerful drug.  It will cause anxiety and panic when you least expect.  Fear has it’s place, but don’t let it keep you from living life to its fullest potential.
  2. Respect.  Hold your beliefs close to your heart.  Do not let anyone turn you away from those beliefs that give you peace and a moral compass.  But respect that often people will not agree.  If you have the patience, try to hear their side of the argument.  If you can’t, let them know you agree to disagree.
  3. Safety is a perfect illusion.  You will be taught that one neighborhood is safer than another.  You will learn that we are are “safer” than other nations.  You will learn to value safety.  Nothing is wrong with caution, but safe only exist for moments in time.  At any moment, anywhere can be dangerous.

I am writing about these three lessons to tell you one huge thing.  DO NOT LET THE FEAR OF THE UNKNOWN DETER YOU.  You must live.  Go to the movies, concerts and foreign lands.  Enjoy living because life is more glorious when you drink it in.

With all my love always,

Mom

Fractured Fairy tale

 

It was a typical Saturday morning. I was running with O to Target to buy yet another birthday present for one of her friends. Target is my shop of choice for birthday gifts.

Walking into the store, I saw him and his smile met mine. It’s unusual for me to even notice anyone in a store but he was different. He was tall, dark and handsome. I mean strikingly so. I glanced down at O and realized I had no time to fantasize about this guy. So, we headed for the toy aisle. Picked out an appropriate toy for her friend and headed for the checkout. I gathered our purchases. O and I walked toward the exit hand in hand.

As I turned to look at her beautiful face, I saw him out of the corner of my eye. I thought nothing of it. But I could swear he was smiling at me again. I didn’t mind. It made me feel confident that someone I found attractive seemed to be attracted to me.

As I loaded O and our purchases in the car, he drove by. As I rounded the car to get in the drivers seat, he backed up. His car was as good looking as he was. He stopped behind may car and said, “Excuse me, but I think I know you.”

“Maybe,” I said.

This wasn’t my usual abrasive response. Guess I wanted to know if we knew each other even though I felt it was highly unlikely.

So he asked where I worked. No connection. He asked my name. No connection. I asked his and when he told me a light went off.

“We met at the Mexican place downtown.” I said

“Yes, that’s it. You were with your mom. I gave you my card. You never called.” He said.

“No, but are you still personal training?” I asked.

He told me no but explained he was in his last year running track professionally. I was infatuated instantly.

He broke my thought with, “You got you number for me yet.”

I did in fact give him my number and felt elated doing so. I am not used to that kind of attention anymore. And he was just “everything” in my head.

We spent the next two days furiously texting about everything we could think of and decided to meet up again Monday.

Monday came and for some reason I shared his photo with my co-worker. Something I never do. Her reaction was priceless.

“I know him. He’s my sons best friend. And he’s married and she’s amazing.”

My illusions were immediately shattered. He was no longer “everything”. He became every man I’d ever known. He was a liar and a cheat. And this time the disappointment hurt. I was into everything about him. All of it felt so real.

Sounds silly that I was so hurt, but I was. He convinced me to meet him anyway that Monday. He said he wasn’t married but peacefully co-parenting with his ex. I guess it was curiosity to figure out who he was. Give him the benefit of the doubt. But that was what I shouldn’t have done. He further destroyed the illusion by making me realize he was just interested in what was in my pants and not creating some kind of relationship. The result is loss of my faith in serendipity.