Me, But Mostly Him

Welcome to my blog.  I’m excited to be here!

I’m a 28 year old woman living in Washington, DC.  If you passed me on the street, worked with me every day, even if you were my closest of girlfriends, you would know me as a very together kind of chick: intelligent, funny, attractive, confident, adventurous, motivated, successful and caring.  You’d be right.  But you wouldn’t know the whole story. 

For the last 5+ years I’ve struggled, really battled, in my relationship with my boyfriend.  It feels as though I’ve hit every up and down known to man; circled around bliss and despair over and again.  I’ve lost myself in the consumption of our relationship.  But I’m tired of battling alone and in private, really too embarrassed to talk to even my closest friends.  I come here as a release, but mostly to share my voice.  I know that other women struggle with what I do; I know I’m not alone.  Despite knowing that, it can be so hard to say it out loud.  I want us, me and you, to meet right where we are and maybe for some that will be in a great and healthy relationship, or maybe in bad one looking to just be heard, yearning to say “thank goodness I’m not alone in this.”

I don’t have answers, as you will quickly see, but I have a lifetimes worth of questions.  I wonder how I got to where I am, why I stay, how to improve it, how a woman can have a million great traits and still this ‘other,’ less-than existence in her relationship.   So often I wonder, when did my life became some of me, but mostly him?

Our story began, his and mine, the summer of 2003.  I had graduated from college a month before, he had been out for a couple of years already.  Our meeting was chance, maybe fate.  Here is how we began...

Ugh.  I didn't even want to go out tonight, but it's a rare occasion that I would actually say no to a night out, so here we go.  I met him standing at the bar.  His friend was trying to talk to mine, we were simple casualties.  His handshake was disturbingly strong, I was certain I'd be left with a bruise.  "What's that guy trying to compensate for?" I whispered, not so quietly, to my girlfriend as he walked away.  A few drinks later our groups started pairing off and there we stood searching for conversation, face to face.  He's cute enough, I thought, but he seems to have quite a chip on his shoulder.  "Where you from" he asked.  "Milwaukee."  Yeah right.  My first lie.  I'm actually from a sadly small "city" in upper Wisconsin, but Milwaukee at least sounded a little better.  At least they had a three lane highway, that had to buy me some cred - didn't it?!   The night crept by, we chatted some more, had our share of awkward silences during which we looked around for our friends to chime in, but we had officially been abandoned.  "Can I get your number?"  It has been my practice during four years of college to hand out my number, really without discrimination, sometimes it's just easier than saying no.  Most guys get a fake, but I knew this guys friends, so I needed to go legit.  I wrote down the number, kind of surprised he'd asked, but again, habit is habit, probably for us both. The next day was a great day, my best friend (who happens to also be my cousin) is back in town after his previous year's college graduation.  We always have such a good time!  So out we go, a night on the town (yes, there's a pattern here).  "I'm going to go to the bathroom, be right back!"  I made my way through the crowded bar, inevitably to wait in line for the ladies room (how is there ALWAYS a line!?) and bam, literally smack-dab into him.  The him from last night.  The him that didn't call today like he said he would.  "Hi, good to see you again," I smiled politely.  He was actually better looking today than I remembered from the night before, I could feel butterflies creep in to my stomach.  "Hey. Thanks for giving me the wrong number."  There was no expression on his face, I couldn't tell if it was a joke or if he was really pissed.  I went on the defensive.  "What?  No I didn't.  I actually gave you the right number.  You didn't call."  "No, I called.  It wasn't you."  Oh, well this wasn't going well.  I'm a world-class flirt, so I saw my opening, "Well let me make that right.  Here." I quickly jotted down my number again. "Call me." He did.  We made a date for a few days later and I was excited.  That kind of excited where you suddenly have energy you didn't think you did, a permanent grin on your face and the only things you can think of are wardrobe and losing weight immediately.  I was that kind of excited.  We met at a Chinese restaurant off campus, which in the four years since I started college, I had rarely ventured off campus, so even that was a treat.  I walked in and he was there already.  My first thought, 'what the hell is he wearing?!'  He was in a matching Celtics outfit, including hat and shoes.  Had he just come from try-outs?  I was in a strapless summer dress.  Admittedly I was carrying around a few dozen extra pounds, so it was probably a little tighter than necessary and after laying eyes on his sports gear, I felt self-conscious immediately.  We sat down and dinner went as you would expect, except for the fact that I was in no one prepared for his questions.  His presence didn't put me at ease, instead I felt under a spotlight, magnified. He wanted to know what made me special, what I was in to.  Hell, I was 23 years old and still had no idea!  I struggled for answers, made some of them up, thought about what might sound quasi-interesting.  Felt in over my head and we weren't even through dinner yet.   The check came.  Money.  Power.  We went from being on a date to "going dutch."  I paid.  I didn't have a job, had no real money, but I wasn't about to sit through the uncomfortable moments and tug-of-war about who is paying what.  I was offended, put off, but already intrigued.  What was it that night that drew us back for a second date?  Did we really think it would go somewhere?  Maybe just another 'date' for a piece of ass?  That night when I left you I felt intoxicated, intimidated, hopeful. 

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