Sunday, January 25, 2015

Remember, Every Night is Ladies' Night

It was about 2 weeks ago that I declared to a complete stranger and a friend
"I hate ladies' nights."

This was not a good way to respond to an extended invitation to go out with some women later that week, yet there it was.

I'm not sure how this conversation went precisely, because memories are a tricky thing, but I can try to recreate what I believe truly happened.



Me, instead of back peddling, charging forward.  

"I've been thinking about it and I don't know if I am going to find and meet a man, but I know where I am definitely not going to find him.

He isn't: 
1.) in my house (and if he is there, he's a creepy stalker) 
2.) at my parents' home or
3.) at a girls' night."

I think there was some feedback at this point, but the truth in my logic was finally finding words and I didn't stop.

I went on to explain that I keep getting invited to girls' nights by my women who are primarily married and dating. They want to hang out with all women. They get excited about these times, while I fight off mounting feelings of frustration or even anxiety when invited to one. For me, every night is ladies night. It's called going home.

When I unlock my apartment door I might as well yell inside "Welcome to ladies' night. WOOOOOO!!!"

Or really upon entering any establishment:

"Helloooo coffee shop. This lady has arrived, so the drinks are on me!"

Not sure how to respond to a "Let's do a girls' night!" I may respond with sound effects. Sound effects are highly open to interpretation and aren't exactly lies.


What do those mean? It's up to the listener to decide.

What I am doing in that moment is doing mental math. I'm tallying up all the hours I will be surrounded in the land of women and all the money I spend in that world. And I am freaking out. "Nooooo. How am I going to ever find someone if I am spending all I have in this insular bubble?? I'm not. I'm just not! Men don't like to  go to wine painting parties. And I don't either!! I can't afford this." 

Meanwhile what I really want to do, if  not be with a significant other of my own, is hang out with BOTH sexes. Provide the opportunity to meet someone. To not sit around and hear about husbands and boyfriends or kids when they aren't around. I'd much rather be around all of them and get to know them.

Is this too honest for you?

With my wits about me I realize that it is nice to be invited to things. And I also see that possibly women who are requesting these events are striving to strike up balance in their lives. Possibly they are feeling an inequity in how their time and money is being spent. So much time around their spouse/ boyfriend/ kids is time not spent around other women.

So if that is sound, then logically it holds that the feelings that I am experiencing are equally valid and true. I have an over abundance of "girl time" with myself and 80-90% of my free time activities are spent with women and it's too much. I need something in the middle.

So, if you invite me to anything girly in the coming future, thank you. I'm grateful. But can we make it a Co-Ed night? Dinner party, poker, laser tag, dancing, bowling, movie, whatever??
Bring men, women, and children and we'll have a good time.

Sunday, January 11, 2015

Weekends are for Thinking

Can you recall the look on the Dowager Countess' face when she asked "What IS a weekend?"

It looked like this:
And up until a few months ago, I would have asked the same thing. What is a weekend? What do you do with one?

I made a great change in my life. One that forced such questions on me. And it has taken quite awhile to realize it, but I changed jobs. 

I changed careers, really, in August, and I didn't tell you about it. I stayed basically silent because I didn't know the proper "how to's" that the circumstance required.
I didn't know how to tell my (former) co-workers; I didn't know how to share the news, so I basically skirted all of the issues.

Not until about Thanksgiving did I start to realize  the changes. I wasn't mashing potatoes with children for a 35(ish) guest feast at school. I wasn't brainstorming a secular, though recognizable, song to sing at a winter themed gathering. I wasn't teaching.

Sticking to my rules about being positive and not sharing things I haven't fully processed, I can't get into the "whys" of resigning from the teaching world. But I can say that I changed careers and it was (and is) a good thing. 

Now, I'm a writer--a copywriter. This too hasn't sunk in. When someone asks me what my job is, I go blank. I can't do my well practiced explanation of seven years:

I'm a teacher. I teach kids from 5 years to 12 years old. They are deaf and teach them to talk. No, I don't know sign language. Yes, they use devices like hearing aids or cochlear implants. 
(Can you imagine trying to explain this at parties? It was challenging.) 

Now what do I say? My new career is still in mental line to register as a job, so there's typically a long pause, and I ask myself, "What do I do?" It's an uncomfortable moment, but indicates how little the reality has dawned on me. 

To explain why my thoughts are so backed up, I am already a slow processor. Very very slow, especially with things that matter and will change my life. Maybe I am slower than the slowest snake at digesting things. And like them, I tend to swallow things whole instead of biting off more than I can chew. 

As a background, I've been working steadily full-time teaching at school, working internships on nights and weekends, working side jobs (wedding coordinating and Etsy store), volunteering, taking classes and applying for jobs for so long steadily working towards the goal of changing careers that I didn't know what a weekend was.

Then I actually changed careers and paused my University of Missouri St. Louis classes and wedding coordinating, and felt a gap open around me. You would think it would feel good, but it's like stepping out of a concert and hearing a ringing in your ears that isn't there. What should feel good is disorienting. 

Part of this disorientation lies in my growing awareness of the changes I set in motion. I have to label things out, since I didn't take the time (or couldn't take the time) in August. 

These are my work clothes.
This is my commute.
This is my alternate route to work.
This is my desk and computer and chair. 
These are my co-workers. 
This is a nice place for lunch.
This is the way to go home. 

If it sounds detached, it's because, for me, that's where I'm at emotionally. This time (and typically) I've not processed huge life changes. [And when I have taken the time, it backfired and missed opportunities that would have been open to me 4 days earlier.] So I jump and feel my way through later, which is something I'd like to unlearn.

But that is something I'll have to try next time. All I know now is, I have weekends. I have Saturdays and Sundays to think about this new career and possibilities and how I feel and think and wonder about everything that happened these last 6 months.