This Christmas

It’s crazy how much can change in the space of one year.

This time last year, I was involved with Michael, looking forward to him flying up on the 26th and ringing in the new year together. One bout of pneumonia, two bouts of bronchitis, two attempted breakups, one successful breakup, a bit more personal and emotional growth, one fateful Halloween party, and one amazing man later, and here I am — MUCH happier, much more at peace, and much more content, plain and simple.

I learned to truly listen to my gut, which I had kind of tuned out for a year and a half. I regained my self-respect, and I decided, once and for all, to stop putting up with shit from people. When I was finally able to step out of my situation and see that it wasn’t working, that I was being played, and that I deserved much better, it was liberating. I became my own hero, rescuing myself from yet another dead-end relationship, and having the wisdom and nerve to walk away from a toxic situation. Initially, Michael tried to get in touch with me a few times. He left a couple of long voicemails saying he didn’t like where we were {sorry, sweetheart, there is no we anymore} and that he hoped there was some chance that we could get back to the way we used to be. I’m sorry, what way is that? The way I blindly accepted your bullshit? Or the way I let things slide even though I knew you weren’t being honest with me? Or maybe it was the way I kept taking you back, even though my gut was screaming at me to cut my losses and run in the opposite direction. His last voicemail was the day after Thanksgiving. He had texted me a random Thanksgiving meme, and apparently I was supposed to go weak in the knees and come running back. His message said he had hoped I would have called him on Thanksgiving. Honestly, I was thankful not to still be dealing with that clown.

I haven’t spoken to him in more than a month. I blocked his number on my phone so that his calls {there have been a few, but not in the past couple of weeks} would go straight to voicemail. I’m hopeful that he has finally gotten the message through his thick head and will leave me alone. It’s a blessing, actually, that he lives so far away because the chances of him showing up on my doorstep are slim to none, especially since he now has custody of his kids.

I’m looking forward to this Christmas with childlike anticipation, not because of presents, but because I’ve found someone who makes me happy in such a simple, good way. It’s not about money spent, but rather the time spent together, the joy of seeing each other, and the happiness of just being with someone I fit with so well. A couple of weeks ago, Rico came up for the weekend and we had so much fun. He actually met my parents, who both really liked him {I wasn’t surprised}. This feels more real every day. We spent the weekend cooking together, watching movies, introducing him to my favorite pizza place, people watching, looking at Christmas lights and displays, holding hands, and just enjoying each other.  I think, that’s what it really boils down to. We’re living out loud, in the moment, happy with each other and excited to see where this goes.

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Mama Needs Some Sugar

Maybe it’s because winter is upon us, maybe it’s because Christmas is right around the corner, or maybe it’s because I am, by nature, a very affectionate person. But more and more lately, I’m craving physical contact. I miss holding hands and kissing and being in someone’s arms. I miss just being close to someone, running my fingernails lightly down his arm, or getting a back rub {one of my guilty pleasures, for sure}.

For the most part, hugs from my daughter are all I get. Don’t get me wrong — I love and cherish every hug, especially at her age. But I realized last week at the hair salon how much I really do miss just being touched. As my stylist was washing and styling and drying my hair, I was struck by how nice it felt to have fingers running through my hair. Stop it — I’m not attracted to my stylist! But I do love having my hair played with, and I could have sat there all day getting prettied up.

Christmas is coming, and it’s bittersweet for me. I love the music and good cheer and the get togethers that seem to spring up at this time of year. But I long for someone to spend it with, to drive around looking at Christmas lights with and make snow angels with and watch corny Christmas specials with. It’s only been about 3 months since I’ve been with a man, but I seriously feel like I’m going through withdrawal.

Maybe I should get a sign like this guy and walk around getting hugs from strangers. Actually, when I was in Vegas a few years ago, I was heading back to my hotel room alone at 3am because my ‘friends’ had decided they’d rather hook up with some random Irish guys. I was exhausted and bummed out and frustrated, trying to figure out how to cross these bridge things to get to my hotel, when I came upon a guy with a ‘free hugs’ sign. At that time, I was nearing the end of my marriage and hadn’t been physical with my {now} ex-husband or anyone else in at least a year. The guy looked at me and smiled, so I walked over and got my hug.

I’m not even picky about what kind of hug I get. It could be a friendly hug, a quickie hug, a one-armed hug, or a hug with a pat on the butt {or, as I like to call it, a hug with an exclamation point}. Just gimme some sugar {and don’t get me started on kissing}!

Cuffing Season?

Looking back at my last few posts, I guess I’m overdue for a progress report. I’m still talking to Michael, and after some very intense conversations, I feel like we’re in a better place. I feel like he’s understanding my insecurities in general and I’m understanding his. He has since unhidden his friends list, which helped. It wasn’t so much that I had this burning need to see who he’s friends with. I just really have a hard time with secretive people, and me wanting him to unblock his friends list was more a matter of principle. If he was really serious about wanting a future with me he’d unblock it, and he did {I didn’t put it quite that way. I’m NOT one for ultimatums}.

We still talk every day and he’s talking about coming to visit again in the next month or so. I’d say things are going better. I think we both have emotional baggage we’re dealing with. When we first started talking, he said he was suspicious of my motives because he couldn’t figure out why a woman as attractive as me {his words} would be interested in him. We’re working through some things and I’m hopeful.

With that said, I’m suddenly finding myself getting attention from every direction and it’s so foreign to me. I’ve never been the girl with the guys chasing her, but now I’m hearing about this guy or that guy who’s interested in me. Huh. As far as I can tell, I’m still the same person. I don’t know what’s changed that’s got guys noticing me.

First, there’s Joe, who I had kind of a FWB relationship for a while. He’s probably the best cuddler I’ve ever known. He’s about 6’5 and his hands are as big as my feet {which are not little or dainty}. Joe makes me feel small and safe in his arms. Romantically there wasn’t much there, though. We fooled around a few times, but sexually I wasn’t really into him. For one thing, he referred to his package as his “li’l wee-wee” several times. I finally told him to stop it. I told him that’s not sexy. He’s not small {more like average} but I don’t know any woman who would be turned on by a guy calling his dick a wee-wee. Anyway, I haven’t seen Joe in maybe a year or so, but lately he keeps poking me on Facebook and texting me from time to time. Maybe he’s lonely, I don’t know.

Then there’s Finch, who messages me every other week or so, saying he dropped the ball and hopes I’m single soon {I had told him I’m talking to someone} so he can have another chance. I suppose I might be flattered if I didn’t know that he messages me after each failed attempt at a relationship with someone else. I see him posting on Facebook regularly, looking for women and referring to himself as a handsome chocolate teddy bear, just in time for winter cuddling. I don’t know if he thinks I don’t see those posts or what. I told him I can’t offer him anything more than friendship but he still persists.

Next there’s Freddy, who I talked to for a while and had a couple of meh dates with. He also knows I’ve been talking to someone but messages me every few weeks, I guess to remind me that he’s still there. There was no chemistry at all when we went out, and he had a weird habit of staring at my elbow while he was talking to me. At least, I think that’s what he was looking at.

Another one is Calvin, whom I met a year ago at my friend Keisha’s house on Thanksgiving. He’s a friend of her uncle’s who happened to be there. They were all playing Pokeno, which I had never played, so he was coaching me. Nothing at all happened with him, other than playing cards and laughing a lot, right along with everyone else. Well yesterday, when I was at her house on Thanksgiving, Keisha’s uncle told me Calvin was down in Louisiana with a bad attitude. I asked why, and he said, “Because he knows you’re here and he’s not.” I was really surprised. A whole year had passed since I had seen Calvin, and like I said, our interaction was nowhere near romantic in nature. But Keisha’s uncle said Calvin sure remembered me, and was not happy that he wasn’t able to make it home {he’s a truck driver}.

And finally, there’s Nate. If anyone is a temptation, it’s him. We became friends on Facebook within the last couple of months or so. He’s seriously good looking and we’ve had a few good chat conversations online {some flirtatious, some not}. He lives much closer than Michael does and told me he’s recently single and would love to meet me. Of course, REBOUND was the first word that popped into my mind when he said that, but I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t just a tiny bit interested in meeting him face to face. I was good and told him I’m talking to someone, but damn. He definitely caught my attention. That’s all I have to say about that one {for now, anyway}.

I suppose this all might come off sounding conceited or vain. But on the contrary, I don’t get it. I’m actually perplexed by it. I’m not overly flirtatious. I don’t wear clothes that show all my business. I don’t hop in the sack with every guy who smiles at me. I’m friendly…I pay attention when people speak to me…I’m generally kindhearted and I love to laugh. Maybe it’s just that Christmas is coming and people get sentimental when they don’t have a special someone. Maybe they’re just looking for someone to fool around with. Who knows? But I’m definitely not used to the attention, and I’m humbled by it for sure.

On this day after Thanksgiving, I’m grateful that I’m in a place emotionally and mentally where I can be selective about who I spend time with. I’m ok with spending an evening on my own and don’t feel the need to constantly find some random guy to validate me or to stroke my ego {or to stroke my…*ahem* never mind}. I’m grateful to have a good head on my shoulders and friends I can count on. The past few years have been quite a ride, but I see myself evolving, and I gotta say, I kinda like who I’m becoming.