On a daily basis, about fifty questions speed through my brain so quickly I barely have time to recognize I’m even mentally asking them.

I think about these things almost always. My subconscious has become so clogged with questions that it’s started solving the puzzles and riddles while I’m asleep. My dreams have recently featured math quizzes from junior high, where I had a minute to solve as many multiplication problems as I could before my teacher would come by and snatch the paper off my desk.

I hated those quizzes.

I hate what those quizzes stand for within my dreams, the idea that I’m running out of time and am still short on answers.

I also hate that in my dreams 8 + 10 equals 19 instead of 18. Every time, without fail. It’s obnoxious.

* * *

Of these fifty or so questions floating around my head, there are three in particular that I find myself asking over and over again:

Am I happy?

Am I holding myself back from experiences because the past has taught me the tearing sound coming from my chest is actually my heart reacting poorly to the juvenile stupidity of the men I’ve dated?

Have I made myself a promise in response to those experiences or have I imprisoned myself in the promise of non-experience?

(I kind of like that last one. It sounds much nicer on paper than it does when its ricocheting off the inside of my skull. On paper it’s flowery; in my head it pings, zings, and zooms with the echoing precision of a rubber ball.)

And all of these questions, these life questions disguised as math problems (because even though I’m poor at math and intimate relationships, I still know the basic underlying construct of both is simply 1 + 1 = 2), have a common theme covering them in even more psychological muck: How does one accept that the life she’s chosen for herself may not be the life she’s meant to lead or, even still, the life she wants to lead?

* * *

It started with the idea of a hiatus.

I’d take six months – from May to November – and I’d figure out what I wanted from my next romantic adventure. I’d spend the time question my own life goals, talking to my married and engaged friends to see what they’d done right (or wrong) in their lives, and at the end I’d have a better idea of where I wanted to be.

Six months turned into seven. I wasn’t ready to go back out into the pirahna infested dating pool. I wasn’t a hundred percent certain of what I wanted, of how to achieve it. I told Jilly I’d stick with it through December and re-evaluate in January.

I decided somewhere along the way that maybe I’d just wait until things with my career settled down, that maybe it would be easier to date when I felt more stable within my own life. Like waiting to invite people over to your new house until you’ve unpacked all the boxes and put things away – because it’s easier to share comfort than it is to share chaos.

And within all that, something changed. I noticed it only occasionally at first, this nagging ache in my chest when I’d read about couples or watch The Office and see the way Jim and Pam interacted or when I’d be home visiting family and catch my parents smiling at each other. It felt like my stomach growling from hunger, but it came from higher up, near my heart.

I began to feel…like I wanted that.

(Emotions are like math quizzes – they pop up on you, unannounced, and demand your unwavering attention for at least a minute before leaving you in the fetal position with the nagging feeling of having been steamrolled.)

* * *

Am I happy? Most of the time. Some days are better than others, which is probably how most of the world lives.

Am I holding myself back from experiences because the past has taught me the tearing sound coming from my chest is actually my heart reacting poorly to the juvenile stupidity of the men I’ve dated? Abso-fucking-lutely. It’s a truth that I know about myself and one I don’t try to hide from anyone. A relative told me recently that I should get back on the horse. I told her I’d shot the horse and sold it to the glue factory. I should have remembered she was a vegan…and easily offended.

Have I made myself a promise in response to those experiences or have I imprisoned myself in the promise of non-experience? I’m petrified to date again, to the point where social experiences are somewhat daunting. I’m a terrible flirt (not that I flirt constantly, which is terrible, but instead that I’m terrible at flirting) and I make a somewhat awful first impression because the “nice” part of my brain shuts down and the “sarcastic” part takes over when I meet new people. And as much as a guy might say he likes a witty girl in glasses, the blonde with cleavage instead of brains and 20/20 vision three barstools over is going to catch his eye first. It’s just odds…and Darwinian theory…with a few Marie Claire fashion tips thrown in for good measure.

* * *

There’s a final question I sometimes ask myself, one that I save for very special days because it’s a very special question. You might even ask yourself it on occasion.

How much chocolate and alcohol can I imbibe in before someone throws a ‘holic’ on the end of either word and throws me an intervention?

TAGS: , , , , , ,

Putting aside her commitment to the National Ninja Association, this young, bright and talented author has finally come out of hiding. She currently exhausts her brain capacity working for government, but spends many afternoons dreaming up new ideas for her incredibly blasphemous novel, The Absolutely, Positively, True Adventures of a Religious Prophet, while keeping her typing fingers limber. She can be reached here on the comment board or over at her blog, The Unbelievable Adventures of Claire Elizabeth Rogers.

15 responses to “Crimes Committed Against Myself Are the Hardest to Defend”

  1. mom says:

    you are forgiven for the language, but I have to admit the comment about the horse had me laughing out loud (and I am at work!).

  2. Jess says:

    A few things…
    1) the f bomb isn’t light swearing, but I loved the context in which you used it. I’m also pretty sure your mom has heard that word before.

    2) I was also laughing out loud at the glue factory comment, but even more that you managed to say it to a vegan who is also easily offended (extra points there!).

    3) You don’t want or need a guy who is going to want something superficial, which is what the blonde represents to me. Besides, you have cleavage, Gunner!

    4) I have watched you blossom and grow into yourself over the last few months. Most noteably, on your birthday and at the Ugly Christmas Sweater Party. I turned to Andy at the latter, and even mentioned how happy and beautiful you looked. I think you’re more comfortable in your own skin now than ever. I also think you come off more charming and less sarcastic than you think.

    • Meg says:

      Oh, she’s heard it before. She’s married to my dad, afterall. 😉 I usually like to give her a warning, though. And thank you for all the great words and for the reminder of my nickname. I definitely need to get that into circulation!

  3. Mo says:

    The most reasonable relationship advice I’ve probably *ever* heard came this past year from a running partner.

    Running involves a lot more truth than most people realize.

    Anyway, he said that the best way to really do things was to go about your life, doing what you love to do. And if you do that, you’re going to meet someone else who also does what you love to do, because they love it too.

    So you’re going about things the right way. You’re figuring yourself out, which is really, really important.

    PS…. I volunteer to throw the day *before* the intervention. 🙂

    • Meg says:

      You are absolutely in charge of the day *before* the intervention. 🙂

      That’s really good advice and it’s kind of nice to be told by someone that I’m going about things the right way…I usually feel like I’m going about things the most wrong way of them all.

      I’m glad I know you, Mo! 🙂

  4. Jessica Blau says:

    Carry on with the chocolate and alcohol–if you’re actually worrying about the ‘holic’ and even writing it here, then chances are you aren’t one! (Besides if it’s the alcohol and chocolate that’s leading to the great posts like this one, then don’t stop!)

    • Meg says:

      Thanks Jessica!! I’m definitely a ways off from either a chocoholic or an alcoholic, though I’ve definitely been of the cusp of both at different times in my life. I definitely prefer the chocoholic – the hangover in the morning is easier to deal with! 🙂

  5. Alison Aucoin says:

    Man, it’s like you’re inhabiting my younger self’s life! My hiatus last 5 years. The good news is, it gets much better. The good or bad news, depending on how you feel about it, is that you might come out as a lesbian in your late 30s.

    • Meg says:

      I think I could do 5 years…I’m not sure how I feel about the whole coming out as a lesbian in my late 30s. I guess I’ll have to wait and see how the next 6 to 8 years goes. 🙂 Thanks for reading and reviewing, Alison!!!!

  6. Judy Prince says:

    “How does one accept that the life she’s chosen for herself may not be the life she’s meant to lead or, even still, the life she wants to lead?”

    Meg, your question made me contemplate my past and present situations and experiences in an effort to answer it. It’d be a great on a fridge magnet along with Marilyn Monroe’s “Ever notice how ‘What the hell’ is always the right answer?”

    Commenter Mo’s running partner deserves a fridge magnet, as well, for:

    ” . . . The best way to really do things is to go about your life, doing what you love to do. And if you do that, you’re going to meet someone else who also does what you love to do, because they love it too.”

    • Meg says:

      I love that Marilyn Monroe quote! I say that phrase at least ten times a day at my job…

      Thanks for reading, as always Judy!

  7. Amanda says:

    I suspect you and me? Separated at birth.

    PS: too bad the horse went to the glue people. They boast a mean tenderloin that trumps beef any day.

    • Meg says:

      Just with that comment I suspect we were separated at birth! And yes, reading you then reading me, I see scary (yet massively awesome) similarities. 🙂 Have you started the lessons yet and, if so, how are they going?!

      • Amanda says:

        Yes! The lessons started two weeks ago. It’s actually been awesome…despite the fact that not one but TWO men I dated online before meeting my last partner (who paid for the lessons) are also students in the class. WTF?! You’d think I’d dated the entire city of Toronto or something. I mean really! Mercifully, they were ones I met, chatted with somewhat idly, and then we went our separate ways without making it as far as first base, or even forming the desire to attain first base.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *