Oh Hello!

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Hello? Is it me you’re looking for? I hope so because I’ve been gone for quite a long time. Last time I was on here I was just as socially awkward but younger, single, and much more unsure of myself. I was trying to find out who I was amidst the twenties New York dating scene, which pretty much dwindled down to: lonely, frustrated, confused, and mildly depressed. Well…A LOT has changed. I’m no longer lonely or confused and I’m only slightly frustrated and depressed. Oh and I’m gay and married. So… how did I get here from swiping hard lefts on weird men? Let me share.

Well before there was the “spectrum of sexuality” we feel so comfortable in now, I had definitely been attracted to women but it wasn’t as accepted as it is today. I had just pushed those feelings aside because I was afraid of being gay because it meant you were different and I desperately tried to fit in even though I just never really did. I didn’t need something additional to put me on the outside looking in. So the closet became my safe space. I was afraid I would have no friends in high school, I was afraid the friends in college that I did have would stop being friends with me, and then by the time I was in my twenties I felt I missed my “college experience” to mess around with girls and now had to find myself a serious boyfriend who was husband material. I had to stay on track so to speak.

This isn’t to say the relationships I had were fake. I had genuine feelings for the men I have dated. The hardest part about meeting a woman I truly loved and coming out was wrapping my head around the fact that I could love a woman and could have loved a man too. I had a hard time validating that my feelings in the past were real. But they were. My first boyfriend was amazing. Was he kind of like a woman? Yes. He had long hair, he gardened, he was sensitive, he played folk guitar, and was a soft passionate lover. But he also had a penis. He looked like a more feminine version of Judd Nelson in The Breakfast Club. I learned a lot from that relationship and I can’t just disregard it because I married a woman. He helped me understand that I am lovable and deserve to be treated with respect. Before him I was just hooking up with guys who would use me and he showed me that I didn’t need to just give people my body in order for them to pay attention to me and that attention didn’t mean love. But the best thing he did for me was let me go. When I graduated college he was still attending. I wanted to stay in the relationship because…naive me…I thought I was going to marry him (he was my first boyfriend!). I remember him telling me that I couldn’t stay in Delaware especially for him. I had to move to New York and meet other people and live my life. I am so thankful to this day that he did that…even if he was just trying to get rid of me. Love can be so blinding and I couldn’t see that I would have been miserable in Delaware and we probably wouldn’t have ended up together because we didn’t know each other that well and he doesn’t have a vagina.

So I serial dated my twenties away. Babbling with Bev was a testimony to my experiences. They were pretty much horrific. You can go back and read but overall it was not pleasant. The people I met were not quality people but I did come out with some pretty good stories. I also had no idea who I was or who I wanted to be. I was following a path someone else laid out for me and that’s why I was constantly disappointed and so angry and frustrated. I was dating guys in search of finding a husband because that’s just what you did. I was working at a 9 to 5 job in an office because that’s what you did. I was so unhappy with these choices and never thought to think for myself. Eventually I got so depressed I just stopped doing everything…except visiting Burger King. In my late twenties I went into a deep depression, smoked a lot of pot, and ate a lot of fast food, which makes for a very lonely and sad life. I could barely work let alone meet anyone and as my brother would say, “I looked dead in the eyes”. I was on antidepressants, which weren’t helping, and felt so stuck. I needed change, a kick in the ass, I didn’t know what but something! I’m not sure what it was but celebrating 30 was a turning point and something clicked and my perception shifted. I decided to try a new integrative doctor who combines holistic and western medicine which changed my life. I got diagnosed with leaky gut syndrome (sounds just as awesome as it is), IBS, PCOS, an inability to absorb nutrients from food (super), multiple food allergies/sensitivities including gluten and dairy, all which exacerbate depression and anxiety. So I guess you could say I had a lot going on. Working with the doctor to figure out a nutrition plan, supplements, and exercise plan helped me to feel better and be able to function but I still felt like something was missing.

I started to get back out there and get my life back. Figuring out what I wanted to do for work was priority number one. I tried comedy, writing, working at a temple, a whole bunch of random things but everything led me back to social work. I felt more myself than I had in a while when I got into private practice. This was a great step but I wanted to share my life with someone. So the swiping commenced…again. This time was different though. When I was setting up my profile and preferences I wasn’t on autopilot. For some reason I paused when it came to, “Looking for”. You had three choices: men, women, or men and women (which now I know would not be PC). So I chose both. Why not widen the pool and see what’s out there. What happened next was a huge regression. I began to treat myself as I had before my first boyfriend. I thought all people wanted from me was sex. I was so new in the gay world. I had no idea how to approach women besides in a sexual way. I went on a date with one girl and we hooked up even though we had nothing in common and I swore off women forever. I remember being at my friend’s birthday party and telling my friends the news. I was proud of my experience and excited to tell them which was progress for me. But I was also still uncomfortable with it and spoke about it in a bragging way almost like it was a conquest… like talking about it the way an ahole guy would. Like, “Yo I hooked up with a hot girl last night”. Not cool. I remember complaining though that it wasn’t good and I felt uncomfortable and that it wasn’t for me. One of my friends, the genius that she is, said, “Well why don’t you give someone else a try? Maybe she wasn’t for you?”. The thought hadn’t occurred to me. I thought I had given it a shot so now I could go back to being straight and just file it as one of my crazy sex stories. It took me a month, but after a few more awful dates with guys and feeling like I was just not connecting I started searching again for women.

It was a Sunday morning when I mustered up the courage to contact a cute girl I had matched with on Tinder. It took all my brain power but I managed to come up with the witty message of, “Hey Lauren!” Worked like a charm. Within minutes she asked if I wanted to switch from the app to texting on our phones. From that day on we have texted every single day and four years later we are married. Definitely not without our ups ands downs but for better or worse I found my person. We aren’t perfect. We fight, we are moody, we annoy each other, we see each other at our worst, but we still want to be around and there for each other and love each other more every day. Everything I wanted in a partner was always in front of me but I wasn’t looking for it. I’m so happy I got out of my own way and stopped caring more about what other people thought and cared more about what makes me happy. Even though going through depression and dark times suck, it showed me how resilient I am and led me to the place I am now. It’s not perfect but it’s good and has room to get even better. I’m excited to see where life takes me and excited to be on this journey with my partner in crime.

I guess what I got out of all those bad dates and awkward moments is that it can all lead to a good place. Don’t give up and when you feel stuck then try something new. Until the next babble.

Queen of Awkward Moments

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Like the popular section in magazines, who wore awkward best?  This is a really hard call since there are so many similarities: similar hideous floral dresses, equally horrible haircuts, and the failed attempt to smile/look happy.  They both perfectly capture the look of discomfort that let everyone know how awkward you felt at that age.  It’s safe to say that this contest has no winner but I definitely lose since one of these pictures is me.

The upside to being awkward at a young age is that it prepares you for the plethora of awkward moments that are bound to come through out life.  Go West might be the “King of Wishful Thinking” but I’m the Queen of Awkward Moments.

Last Saturday was a perfect example.  I woke up at 5:00 AM to the sound of pounding on my wall.  I got up to see what the hell was going on and was displeased to discover my roommate having hardcore sex in the living room, whipped cream and all.  As I turned on the lights we both screamed and I ran back to my room disgusted and weirdly kind of hungry.

I laid there for the rest of the morning pissed off and trying to figure out what I could say.  Plenty of aggressive and angry digs came to mind but as time went on I realized that I had to be assertive and just make the best of the situation. I finally decided to come out from hiding and my roommate was cooking in the kitchen.  I was mustering up the courage to give the speech I had been working on for the past 5 hours when my roommate asked if we could pretend like nothing happened and assured me it wouldn’t happen again.  That seemed a lot easier than going into my courtesy manifesto, so I let it go.

I decided exercising would be a great way to start fresh so I got dressed and went to the gym.  I was running on the treadmill listening to my exercise mix filled with rap, hip hop, and mash ups that make you move.  I don’t dance on the treadmill but when a song I really like comes on I sometimes run to the beat.  Unfortunately as I got really into “Blurred Lines” I lost my footing and went down on the treadmill like a sack of potatoes on a conveyer belt. I slammed into the machine behind me at full force and the entire gym got silent and three employees darted towards me.  Everyone wanted to make sure I was ok but the attention was like adding insult to injury at that point.  I didn’t need a spotlight on my moment of embarrassment but there was no one working the lights.  I assured them that I was fine, gathered my things, and went home.  I had no broken bones, my ipod was working so there was nothing really damaged besides my ego.  I was used to that by now.

The day dragged on and I had a busy night in the city.  I had been MIA for some time and decided to jump back into my social life head first.  I had been sick for a while and hadn’t gone out but then I got used to staying in, which was a cycle I was about to break.  I got a reminder about a few events people posted on Facebook and realized that a friend, maybe acquaintance would be a better word, I hadn’t seen in years was having a birthday party in the city.  I was mapping out my whole night and was feeling good about the social progress I was making. The gym and roommate sex incidents from earlier were fading away and I had hopes that the day would end a lot better than it had started.

I arrived at the bar of the estranged friend and could not find anyone I knew.  As I headed towards that back I realized there was another back room where the party was probably taking place.  As I entered, I saw my friend along with his immediate and extended family having dinner.  When I made eye contact with him he had a look of shock on his face and his family just looked confused.  It was too late to pretend I didn’t see him and walk out, so I had to make a grand entrance.  I put a smile on my face and went and gave him a big hug.  He actually said, “Wow Bev, haven’t seen you in years.  Wasn’t expecting you.  Good to see you.” It was like I had run into him at a random bar.  Thanks for the comforting words and letting me know I was accidentally invited!  I had to sit there for an hour while his family interviewed me.  I was mortified.  It was like being on a bad first date.  Unwelcoming questions, checking your watch to see if you stayed an acceptable amount of time, and just a feeling of discomfort that spreads through out your body.  Finally after an hour I said I had to go to another birthday party and hugged him goodbye.  His mother was so sweet and gave me a hug and went to give me a kiss on the cheek but got me smack on the lips instead.  As if the situation wasn’t embarrassing enough.  Red faced and in a hurry, I left the bar.

I grabbed a cab to go to the next event on my list and the driver actually looked into the rearview mirror and asked with concern, “Are you ok”?  I was still trying to process what had just happened but mumbled, “Yeah.  East Village please.”  Onto the next circus.

I arrived at my destination and found myself surrounded by nameless bars in the hipster abyss of Alphabet City.  Why was it so cool to have a bar that doesn’t put the name anywhere in sight?  I walked back and forth down the block several times.  I gave up and decided that the bar on the corner seemed the most likely to hold a party, so I walked in and everyone looked at me like I had 7 heads.  When I stopped and took a look around I realized that I was crashing not only an engagement party but a toast the parents were giving to the happy couple.  I apologized profusely, probably making it worse, and then ran out of the bar.  I tried the tiny bar next door and of course that was where my friend’s party was.  I saw someone I knew as I walked in and they said, “There you are!  I saw you outside passing the bar like 10 times but then you disappeared.”  Thanks for the heads up! It was really good to see her and my friend, the birthday girl, but she was bouncing around the bar making the rounds.  I went to go to the bathroom and as I was crossing the bar, a group of girls entered and I was trapped.  It turns out it was all the girls I went to camp with when I was younger.  No one was rude but there also wasn’t a steady flow of conversation.  After the “Hi! How are you’s” I had nothing to say. It was a lot of standing there saying “Yeah…so” and then dead silence until the other person would make up an excuse to get out of the situation.  Why am I so terrible at small talk?  I could have just said,”I have to go to the bathroom.  It was good seeing you”, but no.  I had to be the awkward person that just stands there.  I finally got a hold of the birthday girl and got a chance to talk to her.  Her new work friend cornered me and asked if I would go have a cigarette with her.  I took this as my chance to bounce so I said yes.  I said my goodbyes to the birthday girl and headed out with her coworker.  I had no idea what I was getting myself into.

It was freezing outside.  She was blowing smoke in my face as she began the story of her new found love affair with an orthodox Jewish colleague from Miami.  I didn’t know this girl’s name but I did know that she was horny, scared of a commitment, and wanted advice on how to proceed.  Before I could come up with some sort of answer she hugged me and asked if we could be best friends.  I didn’t answer.  As I stood there while this girl was hugging me to the point of suffocation, a drunk girl and her friends walk by and she says, “OMG!  You guys are the cutest couple ever!”.  And on that note I broke up the pow wow, got a cab, and headed home.

I was happy to be in the social scene again, but when I was MIA I didn’t have to deal with these weird people or awkward moments. No wonder I didn’t go out for so long.  I wasn’t expecting to have the best night of my life but I also wasn’t expecting the most awkward one either.  I guess when I come back, I really come back. I was a bit tipsy and decided to get Burger King as a consolation prize.  I was scarfing down BK in the elevator when the door opened. I went to step out and slammed into my roommate and partner in sex who were trying to get in. There was just staring and a look of disgust on their faces.  With a full mouth I said, “Excuse me”, pushed through them, and proudly walked towards my apartment.  When I reached my door I couldn’t find my keys.  Fuck! Obviously I locked them in the apartment.  I attempted to break in using a credit card when my neighbor, with a disapproving look, found me drunk and struggling.  My credit card broke in half and I wound up sleeping on my strange neighbor’s couch instead of swallowing my pride and calling my roommate.  I had to listen to Enya the whole night and woke up to him and his boyfriend staring at me on the couch.

After the creepy wake up call I decided to try my luck at my apartment.  I pounded on the door and a grumpy roommate opened the door and had the balls to tell me I was being rude!  I was so tired and embarrassed from the past 24 hours that I just walked straight into my room, fell face first into bed, and slept for 8 hours.

I felt revived after my nap. But then the events from the day before began to replay in my head.  I had a feeling of embarrassment in my gut that wouldn’t go away.  I opened a drawer and found my fifth grade picture and it weirdly made me feel better.  It was reassuring in the sense that if I could make it through that bout of awkwardness then I can recover from anything.  It is surprising how time can heal all wounds and by the next morning I felt so much better.

But as sure as the sun rises, more awkward moments will come my way and I will think, “Holy shit.  What is wrong with me?”  But I will look back at that picture and reflect on my past embarrassing moments and realize it’s not that bad and I will come out even stronger.

In the spirit of Thanksgiving, I am thankful for my resilience and ability to make the best of awkward situations.  And hey, they do make great stories.  Until the next post!

Happy Holidays!

-Bev