grown-up

Well. I forgot this still happened.

Over the years, I have been told, repeatedly, that I am a bit of a tough sell in the dating world:

  • I’m tall and I ALWAYS wear heels;
  • My personality can be brash, especially once I have established a certain comfort with the person;
  • My personality can be extremely reserved (I swear!), if I don’t know the person and haven’t determined if I want to know them – the more someone pressures me to open up, the more I dig in my heels, get annoyed and shut them out;
  • I used to box -for every guy that says, “oh, that is so hot, I love a woman who can handle herself” and means it, there are 3 that PISS ME OFF by saying “oh, that is so hot, I’ll be sure to stay nice around you, haha, don’t want you getting angry” (thank you for the implication that I have anger management issues and am totally cool with domestic violence – in the face of such flattery, how can I resist?) and 2 more that lose all interest because “that isn’t very ladylike” (handle your frail male ego quietly, boy, without insulting me to restablish your testosterone. #brash);
  • I blog about my life and all the characters that pass through it – especially the absurd ones. As one guy told me, “I don’t want to be blog fodder.” Reasonable. Don’t be a ridiculous jackass and y’all should be safe;
  • I am extremely busy, and I will never ever drop my activities (boxing/dancing/writing/volunteering/friends/family) for a guy. I will get creative with my schedule, sure, but don’t expect me to be free, last minute. Get in line. As a guy increases in importance in my life, so will the time I allocate to him – within reason. I am a boxer/blogger/dancer/accountant. Presumably, that is what attracts said males to me in the first place – I cannot change who I am, and what I need to be happy. In my experience, most guys get ruffled at the concept of having to wait and of not immediately being a priority in a girl’s life. Unfortunate, as my purpose in life, surprisingly, is not to pander to a male ego.

I should go into PR. Really, after such a sales pitch, what guy WOULDN’T wanna date me?!

Not gonna lie, for all my snarky irritation above, constantly getting the feedback that I am too atypical to date messes with my head. What is the point of being an Amazon if I gather cobwebs? Not gonna lie, I’m enjoying maintaining my #skinnybitch body, and improving my fashion and appearance, because a) I like getting compliments b) I enjoy feeling fabulous and c) men are superficial creatures and will overlook a lot of character flaws for the sake of a trim waist and a pert bum. Not gonna lie, I don’t miss the immediate tension that happened every time I mentioned I was a boxer – identifying myself as a dancer/blogger produces neutral reactions. Sometimes, I wonder if I’ve become a sellout – that is what being single for 6.5 years will do to a gal.

Anyhow.

I’ve run into a new road-block to my dating success. I don’t know why it surprises me, since it a known struggle for some dudes – it just has never happened to me:

I am a successful, ambitious, career woman, on a path to enjoy good professional growth (through a combination of hard work, some luck, and white privilege).

I’ve been on a couple of dates with a guy 3 years younger than me, who is still in the early stages of his career – he has everything it takes to make it far, and achieve great success, but at the moment does not have too much to show for it. I think that is impressive: it is so bloody hard to pursue a goal without tangible evidence that one is getting closer to success. Awful. Many people quit. So to me, his story and his circumstances are praiseworthy. Instead, following ONE conversation where I mentioned my job ONCE, he’s made a few comments along the lines of how hard my job is, his job is nothing special, how simple I must find him, etc. Aka, he passively wonders why I would be interested in him, given my career?

It’s so odd coming face-to-face with a variation of my own insecurities. I used to feel Beaut was too hot for me – why would he be interested in lil old nothing-special me, given his hotness, he could have any girl he wanted (lol, turns out I was closer to the truth than I knew. Sigh! #lessvanilla). While I am delighted to realize I no longer suffer from that particular insecurity – any guy, regardless of his abs and hotness, can reasonably be interested in me, because I am AWESOME and hilarious and smart and good people – I remember how there was no way of convincing former me of that. I didn’t believe it, therefore it wasn’t true. And here I am. My career (which is solid, but by no means spectacular – I ain’t no Richard Branson, Sheryl Sandberg or Beyoncé) is generating the same level of insecurity in boys as Beaut’s abs did in me.

I wonder if the Universe is laughing at me?

#Iaintspendingtimereassuringyouboy #brash

To be or not to be a Queen B

To put it mildly, I’ve been rather cranky lately. Most of August, and all of September. A quick tour of my blog posts from the past two months will confirm this.

Chatting to one of my girlfriends I tried to put into words my concern that I’m turning into a bitch, a girl who has stopped caring about others’ feelings and just goes through life filled with anger and negative energy. To prove my point, I exclaimed without any trace of irony, “I mean… I wear black on purpose, now!”

She suggested that maybe Vanilla has a long ways before reaching true Queen B levels of bitchy? Maybe I was still at the Vanilla B levels of bitchy?

Bah. Maybe.


I’ve developed an assertive efficiency that borders on unpleasantness at work – I’ve significantly decreased the amount of time I spend massaging people’s feelings. I am a manager: I explain what I need and why, offer the opportunity to brainstorm on the best/most convenient approach for everybody involved, and then I expect it done. To the extent it doesn’t get done… Well. I’m not in the mood to make friends in the workplace. I swear a lot at work. I know I am getting thisclose to being a drain on people’s energy. Part of my says, “not my problem. If ppl just did their jobs, I wouldn’t be so frustrated.” Logical, true. But I recall a version of myself that was capable of taking a deep breath, assuming positive intent, and bringing a smile to my coworkers face. The memory of that Vanilla feels very distant.


Since writing I’m going on a peniscation and unfollowing Beaut on social media, I’ve felt better: it is always a relief when secrets are out in the open – shame can’t survive in daylight. However, Beaut and I got into a huge fight on Monday. HUGE. I sent him the “peniscation” post and told him that I refused further communication with him until he’d read it from beginning to end – he owed me that much. So far, he hasn’t read it. Can’t say I am too surprised. Resigned at having more proof that my purpose in his life was to be convenient and amusing.

Yesterday was kizomba class. He was there. It was the first time seeing him since our fight and my friendship-ending ultimatum. I was worried – would I be able to handle it? My cousins believe that I need to change dance schools STAT. I refuse to. I have found a school where the teacher, price, schedule, students, location all suit me perfectly. Leaving because of Beaut’s presence would just be handing him one more victory over me. FUCK THAT.

Anyhow, surprisingly, it went just fine. I concentrated on the steps, listened to teacher, smiled at all my partners and enjoyed dance class. When it was Beaut’s turn, we danced without a hitch. He asked me if we were cool, now? Vanilla B gave him an amused smile. “No.” And turned to greet my next partner, dismissing him.

DD claims that I am a prodigy. She is the world acclaimed professor of the highly coveted topic “Lessons in Contempt and Ignoring Nuisances 101”

  • Lesson 1: Don’t look at them. Look past them.
  • Lesson 2: They don’t exist, therefore you no longer see them at all.
  • Lesson 3: Reduce their voice to annoying background noise – no intelligible words therefore nothing you need to respond to.

Intuitively, I did all three, and it didn’t cost me that much to do so. Part of me is relieved, because another 1-2 weeks of this and the contempt I feel will fade into indifference, meaning that I’ll be completely at ease sharing the same oxygen as him at dance school. Part of me is completely freaked out because only a Queen B is comfortable denying others’ existence, and reducing them to invisibility.


Every day I struggle with the temptation of forwarding the “peniscation” post to Main Girl, and watching their interaction implode. I’m ashamed of my glee at the possibility of tripping him up, and my complete unconcern with using Main Girl as road kill to achieve my means. Yet, like Queen B herself, I am enjoying finally acknowledging my hurt pride, and anger. It is empowering to be able to say, “Yes. I am angry as fuck. I will not be ashamed of how I feel.” Or as B puts it, “What’s worse, lookin’ jealous or crazy? Jealous or crazy? Or like being walked all over lately, walked all over lately, I’d rather be crazy.”

Pity that my anger won’t produce a multi-million record deal and artistic recognition. #lemonadeismyfavoritealbumof2016


This morning, I was taking public transportation, irritated with the world, brushing past ppl with sighs of annoyance, careless of whether or not I jostled them. Then I noticed a young girl, with some sort of palsy and mental health troubles, standing at the bottom of the stairs, looking fearfully up the loooooooooooooooong flight of stairs. With dismay, as countless people pushed past her, causing her to struggle with her balance, she looked at the out-of-order escalator next to the stair case.

I was late for work. I had already received about 25 emails, 5 of which had REALLY irritated me, and 1 of which was from the CFO impatient for one of my analyses. I would have been one out of dozens of people that ignored that girl.

I stopped. I asked her if she would like me to walk up the stairs with her. She stuttered a shy, anxious yes. It took us 5 minutes, when it would have taken me less than 45 seconds.

Not a Vanilla B. I’d forgotten how that felt.

Punctuality really isn’t my thing. Mornings neither.

Back when I worked at a Big 4 accounting firm, my tardiness was legendary. I periodically rolled into the office at 9:30, 10:00, 10:30… But as I worked 60 hour weeks, frequently staying until the wee hours of the morning, nobody really complained. I had my staff and all the partners trained to never bother scheduling any client meetings with me before 9:30 at the earliest, because I just wouldn’t show up, sleeping right through it. It wasn’t that I didn’t value punctuality, teamwork or the importance of good customer service, it was just an accepted fact that I couldn’t wake up that early.

When I quit that job to head into industry 2 years ago, all my coworkers roasted me on the necessary changes I’d have to make to my lifestyle, as that kind of tardiness just isn’t acceptable in most companies. At my first job in industry, I cleared it with my boss (VP Finance): as long as I showed up by 9:30, he wouldn’t consider me late. In appreciation of this reasonable concession, I made a point of always showing before 9… sometimes even as early as 8am! I boasted of my earlybird timing when interviewing for my current job, last September. My prospective boss was all admiration, but told me that most of the team started around 8:30, so really no need to come in earlier.

Inevitably, since starting my current job 10 months ago, I’ve succeeded in showing before 9am maybe 4 times. I can’t explain it. Its not a question of commute, as it is almost next door to my former job, approximately 10 minutes closer to chez moi. My body just cannot get out of bed before 7:45… which makes it pretty damn hard to get to work before 9am when my commute is 40-50 mins long! Two months ago I showed up 45 minutes late to an 8:30am meeting with my two bosses (one of whom is the CFO of the division) and a supplier – the only explanation I could offer was an apologetic shrug, and a “I can’t do mornings”. CFO-boss could see how very contrite I was, but he was confused: he is a morning-type, usually at the office typing away at his laptop by 7:30am.

Well.

Next week, on Monday-Tuesday, we (CFO-boss and myself) will be hosting an important visitor from our parent company, flying in specifically to see us in Montreal from head office in Paris. To be fully ready for that meeting (day kicks off at 8:30am! YUCK!) I need to follow up on some issues with one of our subsidiaries in Germany. Unfortunately for me, the controller in Germany is on vacation this week, so the only time I can get the required information from him prior to the appearance of my visitor is by having a 7:30am (SEVEN THIRTY!!!!!!!!!!!) conference call with the German controller on Monday morning.

CFO-boss has kindly offered to call me on my cell at 6:30am to make sure I am awake and headed to the office. This is both embarrassing and the only practical solution to this disaster in my life.

#preemptivefail

#noshame

#fml

A watering pot is not useful

As we all know, the Universe sometimes is a dick. Like, a Donald Trump kind of dick. In fact, Donald Trump’s very existence is PROOF that the Universe enjoys shitting on people for no good reason. Haphazard diarrhea, discharged over random people’s lives, at unforeseeable moments. Life is always a bit unfair, but sometimes the Universe really wants to make it very clear that life is nothing but a game of luck, and some people are just meant to drown in misery inflicted on them by the Universe’s twisted sense of humor.

Often, I think my mother was one of them. I mean, it was almost comical her unending list of painful, life-threatening diagnoses, from the age of 14 until her death, as though the Universe was trying to see just how much it would take to break her spirit and her will to live. The longer her spirit held out, the more cruel the diagnoses she’d receive. She never had a break, that one. Not once. There never was a woman less deserving of the fate the Universe gave her. After a life trying to break free of the confines of her crippled, painful, walking pharmacy lifestyle, the Universe just snapped its fingers and took her from us one night, with no warning.

The Universe was definitely a complete asshole, when it came to my mother’s life.

After her death, my therapist diagnosed me with mild PTSD caused by the stress of living with my mother’s health – the constant helplessness in the face of her health, the fear every time I’d see the caller ID flash at an unusual time, wondering if that would be the moment I got unspeakable news.

Well, one of my dearest friends, Porcupine, seems to have been designated as the newest lightning rod for the Universe’s bolts of utter bullshit. His is not my story to tell, but suffice it to say that at a youngish age (<35) he is on par, if not perhaps ahead of my mother, in the race of Absolutely Terrible Things Happening For No Goddamn Good Reason. I’m not talking about comically unfortunate things, like toasters that breakdown after 1 year’s usage, an abnormal number of parking tickets or perhaps plumbing issues resulting in a few insurance claims. I’m talking about out-of-the-blue betrayals – the kind of backstabbing that permanently changes the path of a career and leaves a significant financial burden; real racism – the kind that leaves scars; and other events that till I met him, I believed only happened in implausible, poorly scripted Hollywood generic movies.

As with my mother, I feel helpless, and heartbroken. Porcupine is a good man – sometimes prickly on the outside, as a reasonable evolutionary defense mechanism after all the Universe has thrown at him. But he is sweet, kind, and generous. I watch him fight with courage and perseverance against the injustices he is faced with, and I support and cheer him on, feeling irrelevant, and hoping I am not irritating him. I mourn when I see the scars forming in his spirit. When there are so few good people in this world, it boggles my mind that the Universe tries to wreck the ones that do bring sweetness and joy to others lives. Break Trump, why don’t ya? Leave Porcupine alone.

From a selfish point of view, I hate this. I hate not being able to help. I hate watching Porcupine, and my mother before him, suffer. I want to suffocate him with love, and am perpetually torn between the desire to shower him with affection, and the realization that really, that would only make ME feel better, and would probably irritate him, and be perceived as another burden – he’d have to reassure me, when really there are no reassurances for the stuff he is living through. Worse yet, I don’t want to give the impression I pity him – I don’t. So I sit back, give space, and hope that through his misery, my love and concern for him peep through – and if they don’t, I accept that really, that isn’t a big deal.

From a sentimental, superstitious point of view, I petition my mother to look out for him. Kinda like a Patronus Charm in Harry Potter, I hope she can shield him from the inferno of his life.

Life sucks. And my coping mechanisms (crying endlessly, like a watering pot) are inadequate.

#adultingisoverrated

#thisisshit

He said I had the tools

That is what my therapist told me. He said I had the tools now to handle life, and the nasty tricks my brain plays on me. I hope he is right, because I can tell I am headed towards a rough patch.

Funny how quickly my brain can turn on me. Just a few days ago, I was filled with joy and happiness, galivanting through France. I celebrated my birthday by feeling bone-deep gratitude for my life and my friends and family. Just 3 sleeps ago, I spent a sunny day at the pool watching a bunch of 4 year olds and their silly shenanigans (seriously? how do children do it? They found HOURS of fun running around a fountain and playing with foam toys in a foot of water!) and I thought my heart would burst with the simple sweetness of it all.

And then the reality of my life kicked in. Anxious about my performance at my job, feeling swamped like I can’t successfully tread water, always getting sucked down by deep currents of a work-flow I can’t keep up with but ought to be able to. I clench my Ritalin bottle, and pray those pills do their magic, and wonder why they don’t – maybe I am stupid, afterall. My room is a mess. My dating life is “interesting”. I feel my personal life start to slip out from under me – too many important errands that I can’t seem to get to, anxiety piling up like the piles of unfolded clothes on my bed. The aftermath of Brexit, the horrors of Trump’s utterances, Turkey. No happy puff pieces in the news – only pics of Kim Kardashian’s cleavage. I used to pride myself on appreciating the simple moments in life, like those kids playing in the pool, but its been 3 days and I can’t see any happiness anywhere. Worse, when I look at little videos of those children playing, the same videos that made me so happy a few days ago, I am filled with apprehension of how badly our planet, with its all its problems, will wreck those childrens’ lives. Talk about a flip-flop in world-view!

I recognize the signs – my is brain throwing all the colorful filters out the window, and drenching everything in shades of grey and anxiety.

So I look into my tool box:

  • Ritalin. To regulate my concentration, and impulse control. It isn’t working, or else the side-effect of increased anxiety is undoing any impact on my ADD.
  • Exercise. My therapist told me to never go more than 2 days without exercising – to view it as seriously as medication, that without it I would eventually need to medicate my brain’s inability to keep my emotions in check. Funny that when I need exercise the most, I feel like doing it the least. I get paralyzed by all that I have to do at work, and working out feels like a vanity. I blink, and 3 hours have gone by with nothing to show for it other than crippling anxiety about my unproductivity, and I stay late at the office to try make up for it, and skip my workout.
  • Diet. A well regulated diet, without too much sugar, helps keep my mood swings at bay. Like any female, anywhere, when I am emotional, I live off of bread, chocolate, and alcohol. Not because that is healthy, but because my soul demands it in exchange for not burning the world to the ground.
  • Friends. When I get into my funk, the last thing I want to do is to inflict my moodiness on any of my friends – besides, they are all so busy with their lives, they don’t have time for this.
  • Writing. I have writer’s block.
  • Sleep. Anxiety takes care of that, real good. I flip-flop between insomnia and overwhelming fatigue, and needing 12 hours a night.

My tool box looks feeble. I wish it looked like Batman’s bat cave.

So I am going to knuckle down, and make a list, and do breathing exercises to stop myself from crying at the sheer length of it. And then I am going to tackle one thing at a time. I will go exercise one hour a day, even when I don’t want to. I’ll eat a veggie or two. And I will pray that this will pass.

#mentalhealthisajoke

#Iwontcryatmydesk

#Oreattoomuchchocolate

#thatlastoneisalie

That time I had a panic attack in a sex shop

The Universe has kindly warned me that my latest single stretch is going to last forever. This poses something of a problem, since my dating dry spells also translate into sexual draughts: despite the fact that all white girls are slutty, obvi, I’m just not comfortable with casual sex divorced from any emotion or meaning. Don’t get me wrong: I highly enjoy my hanky panky and do not favor making gentle, passionate love over a rough, bruising, noisy tumble between the sheets. But for that tumble between the sheets to be enjoyable for me – and really, what is the point, unless it is enjoyable? –  it has to be with someone I care about, and trust. That is just how I tick. Given that my last dating dry spell lasted 17 months, and the one before that lasted 26 months, and the one before THAT 18 months, y’all can see why I was pretty disappointed by the Universe’s warning that I was doomed to a life of singledom. I’m not ok with an eternity of abstinence, especially since I’ve only recently brushed off all the cobwebs, and rediscovered what it feels like to be a woman.

So.

I decided that the solution to this quandry was to visit a sex shop and get myself some “assistance”. I might die a cat-less cat-lady, but this cat-lady wants strong pelvic muscles. #trainingcamp

On Saturday after training at the gym, I planned on visiting the sex shop next to the gym (our gym is located in vibrant area of town). That plan got slightly derailed because of froyo: Nene, 3 other boxers and I had a healthy post-workout snack. As we left the froyo place, they asked me where I was headed. “Ummmm, I have some errands to run.” I try never lie, whenever possible. Once I was sure they were out of eyeshot, I skulked into the sex shop. And froze, on the doorstep, as the door shut behind me. It turns out that I am definitely still Vanilla. Like, really Vanilla.

I saw things that despite looking at them for several minutes, I couldn’t figure out their purpose. I saw things that I did understand their purpose, and that made me nauseous. And I saw things that looked interesting, but at that point I was overwhelmed by the sheer plethora of items and nuances and variety.

I mean, why do some vibrators look as though they colorful dental instruments? Or weird mutant snail shapes? Why the fushia and the purple? So many questions.

During the time I stood there petrified, FOUR (one, two, three, four. 4!) adults in their fifties, strode in, like no big deal, confidently surveying the newest merchandise that could help them with their sex life. They all appeared unphased by the plastic penises long enough that I could wrap them around my neck like a new age fashionable scarf, or the anal plugs as big as my purse. There was a couple happily discussing the pros and cons of a wireless vibrator that looked like a purple bluetooth earpiece. When a helpful saleman approached me, I couldn’t even formulate a question to ask for assistance. My brain was so in shock, words were not with my repertoire; I just directed some hysterical hyenna giggles at the poor man. I needed a sex shop for beginners. I clearly was in the sex shop for the elite.

I left, empty-handed.

Next time, imma be sure to avoid the sex-shop rush-hour. I do not want any witnesses to my eventual conversation with the sales person.

Sex, even solo-sex, is an exercise in excruciating vulnerability.

Beaut debrief: where I realize Coach is wise, I’m insecure and my therapist will be rich

Beaut and I: dunzo.

Like any self-respecting anxious person, I’ve worked myself up about 2 things over which I have zero control:

  • What if Beaut ruined it for me: he was by far the most beautiful guy I’ve ever been with, possibly the most attractive guy I’ve ever met. I’ve always believed I couldn’t land myself a hottie. Now that I’ve successfully done so, is this going to take my already legendary pickiness about guys to the next level? Will I always be doomed to crush on ridiculously hot guys, who usually are douchebags, and won’t look twice in my direction? Since Beaut proved to me that a hot guy can be a nice, kind, smart and funny guy, am I doomed to wish for another version of him, which just doesn’t exist? Maybe he was a freak of nature, and I should just accept that hot nice guys are a myth, and even if they do exist, they are all taken or they won’t find me attractive enough? Will I eventually settle? I don’t want to settle.
  • What if I never have great sex again?

I confessed these charming insecurities to Coach. (Aside: that is a sign that Coach is a great Coach. His boxers can tell him anything. ANYTHING. I’ve watched him manfully navigate conversations with his female boxers stressing about their PMS and the timing of their periods for weigh-in and the impact of bloating and cravings. He tries very hard to hide his deer-in-the-headlights look, and offer reassuring noises, and only occasionally does he bust out a comment, “I’m just saying, ladies, this is one of the reasons why some boxing coaches won’t coach girls. They can’t handle this kind of talk. I’m not saying that’s right, I’m just saying I can understand why they don’t want to deal with menstrual flows.” At which point, I usually collapse into giggles, and Coach gives me the death stare.)

Coach-the-wise dismissed the great sex as a non-issue. If good sex is very important to me, which it is, it will naturally play a role in who I decide to keep seeing. Meaning, if I meet a good guy but the sex sucks, I’ll probably weed him out – it is therefore a foregone conclusion that I’ll eventually have a satisfying sex life. He also pointed out a slight double standard: any guy who admitted that he stopped seeing a girl because she sucked in the sack would be deemed a grade-A asshole. But, as SATC proved, women who stop seeing guys due to issues between the sheets are seen as empowered feminists who are confident in their sexuality. Can’t say I disagree, but really, I don’t care if I am an asshole or not: I am just relieved that apparently I will end up with a good sex life. One insecurity down, one to go!

Coach, bless him, also told me I could land any hottie I liked, if I just owned up to how attractive I am. To my insecurity that the only reason I kept Beaut interested in me for as long as I did was because of Beaut’s own considerable baggage (aka, I might have thought he was out of my league looks-wise, but he might have thought I was out of his emotional & intelligence league, so perhaps he felt I was as good as he could get?), Coach laughed. He pointed out that no-matter how fucked-up a person is, one can’t fake physical attraction. Beaut was attracted to me. From the get-go. Nothing to do with various leagues, or baggage, or anything. We can therefore conclude that I did, and can, attract hotties. So if that is my concern going forward, I should drop it: it happened once, it can happen again. If I want a hottie, I will get myself a hottie. Coach kindly refrained from calling me a superficial bimbo. Coach-the-diplomatic.

Like always, I left Coach’s office feeling comforted and way less anxious.

This morning, I was thinking over my conversation with Coach, and I had a breakthrough. I realized that I don’t actually want a hottie. What I want is to end up with a catch – a guy where I perpetually wonder “he could have had any girl he wanted at the snap of his fingers, yet he chose me.” So yes, that could be a jaw-droppingly gorgeous guy, or somebody like Coach with a magnetic personality who immediately fills the room with his presence, drawing people into his orbit just by being himself, or some successful personable businessman/artist. What I want is a modern-day Prince Charming falling in love with Cinderella. Part of me is relieved that I am not a superficial bimbo, but most of me is concerned that this is indicative of a pervasive insecurity – that in chasing guys who I inherently believe to be out of my league, I am compensating for my deeply-held belief that I am a nothing-special girl.

Once again, I’ve ensured that my therapist’s retirement fund is going to be well-padded.

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