Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Stuck: Beauty and the Beastly Confusion

[“I’ve always been best at rushing into things, and then running away from them,” she said. “It’s the wanting to run to things that scares me, and the leaving them in a slow and organized fashion.”]

I’ve been feeling “stuck” a lot lately, both figuratively and literally. I got “stuck” between Cait’s bathroom door and sink, which is no mean feat for a petite girl like me, but I somehow managed to get momentarily wedged in there, which was hilarious at the time. What was not so funny was getting a slug “stuck” between the bottom of my foot and flip-flop during the spur-of-the-moment 4 mile EpicTrek Alli and I took last night to find the best view of the heat lightning across the lake. Or getting a beetle “stuck” between my toes later during the same adventure. (Alli seemed to enjoy my utterly girly shrieks though, so it wasn’t all a disgusting loss.) But most aggravating of all, I seem to be “stuck” somewhere half-in and half-out of a relationship with Mr. Perfect.

I feel as though I am in a science experiment no one ever decided to tell me about. There’s the control group: women who have been broken up with; the standard: women who are in relationships; and then me, toeing the line somewhere in the middle because although he opened the “friends” door, Perfect neglected to throw the chain off—AKA: things are pretty business as usual. I am beside myself with confusion.

My hypothesis: although we both know that in the overall scheme of things, a relationship would not be the wisest thing to start at the moment (hence that discussion a week ago), neither of us are exactly willing to let go. Or, it seems, really change anything. Apparently, Perfect got the Hostage Relationship memo, because he’s doing his own job of keeping me quiet, close and (somewhat) satisfied rather well.

Being “stuck” and confused does not suit me. I am someone who is constantly in motion, be it physical, or, in the odd moment you can catch me lounging and seemingly doing nothing at all, most likely mental. For example, the time during my morning shower when because I am “stuck” doing the things I do by motion memory in my 10’-by-4’ white cubicle is my most mentally productive. That’s when I come up with my best ideas, revelations, and thoughts. Now that those wheels are clogged and slow with relationship un-bliss, I am not a happy camper.

I feel an overwhelming desire to get out of the city. But then, I get “stuck”. Where to go? What to do? I don’t want to go home yet, or to go ride my poorly neglected (and apparently, ever increasingly wide) pony, because Cait and Alli and I are going on a road-trip next weekend to go swimming with waterfalls and my fixed (read: nonexistent) income doesn’t allow for another tank of gas to be bought. So, that leaves me “stuck” in the city until the 3rd or the 4th, and I’ve already done all the requisite city things to keep busy—strolled Church Street, shopped, took myself out for tea, went grocery shopping, visited friends, went to the beach, etc. I have a slight feeling that my urgent desire to physically flee Burlington may be directly correlated to the fact that I am “stuck” emotionally, and there’s nothing I can do to evade that problem short of having another one of those lovely chats I am so not fond of of the “what are we doing, again?” variety.

What we are doing is what’s confusing me. I know, I know, I was the one plotting to keep this relationship hostage—I just didn’t plan on it actually happening. I’m “stuck” somewhere in between trying to figure out the right amount or timing of texts and messages to make them “friendly”, while Perfect is still sending me my morning wake-up texts. Our conversations, though while a little more awkward than originally—let me tell you how hard it is for two very sexual people to try and purposefully cut the “sexual things” out of their communication for the sake of being “friends” and not “overly friendly”—are still frequent and charming. I am still the first person he responds to when he gets coverage, and I still take priority when he’s out with his friends, but is still texting with me. He is still the first person I think of to text whenever I have news or am bored out of my mind, which is frequently. We are “stuck” being large parts of each other’s lives, but with no idea as to where or how we’re supposed to fit. It’s an odd transitional period that doesn’t come with any sort on instruction manual or handy survival guide—I’m having to make the rules up as I go along. A “stuck” girl is a girl in trouble.

What does a “stuck” girl look or act like, you may ask? Look for a girl with two primary facial expressions at the moment—perplexed/frustrated or zoned-out/bored-to-near-tears. Look for a girl who’s a little bit flustered—possibly saying or doing things that aren’t in agreement, or frequently losing track of her thoughts or what she was saying. Appearance-wise, she’ll look as pulled-together as normal, although when you look into her eyes they may be a bit panicked. A guy’s name will (totally uncontrollably) be every third word out of her mouth. There will be some obsessing going on, running the gamut from about him, to about her, to about life, to about the date on the milk carton and wondering if it’s ok to drink it one day past the sell-by date. A “stuck” girl will try to distract herself from her “stuck-ness” many different ways, so look for someone busy, busy, busy with self-made hobbies or activities of really no importance, or a To-Do list a mile long. Or for your best example what a “stuck” girl looks like, stop by. I’m usually home and in need of distraction from being "stuck."

Meanwhile, in between all the self-made reading and writing and tanning and visiting with friends, I am “stuck” dissecting over and over and over what went wrong or how I could possibly fix whatever is going on. Without a job to take up my time and mind, I have turned into a professional worrier. Possibly, a professional sign-reader. Without any clothing folding, phone answering, or customer servicing to distract me, I have taken to trying to interpret the deep and imagined meanings of all the texts Perfect is sending me. I fret the differences between the two-line texts he used to send me, and the one-line texts I sometimes receive now. (Does it mean he’s trying to blow me off?) I (try to) delve into all the possible emotions behind a “Haha”, a “LOL”, or a two-word message. The exclamation points that used to drive my perfectly punctuated self mental are now mourned like dead children if they don’t appear in a text. When he doesn’t respond to one of my non-response-needed texts (AKA: “I woke up at 7 this morning and still feel like a morning zombie after coffee. And an hour drive.”), it sends me into frantic spirals of “is he ignoring me?”s and “did he used to not respond to these?”s. I am driving myself, and I’m sure everyone else around me, crazy. But I am working my ass off to maintain the light, normal and un-weird conversations of days and weeks past, and I feel like I need to be thrown a bone before the next text I send is, “Perfect. I’m working my ass off here. Throw me a fucking bone and act normal.”

So to the age-old question: should I call him on his weirdness? Or is it weirdness made up in my own head because I expect things to be weird? Or like all women have a tendency to do that I believe goes hand-in-hand with flirting with disaster, am I thinking about this too hard? What if the problem is all in my head? But would I rather be “stuck” there, or really have hit the brakes with Perfect and be “stuck” with him in the real world? Where would it be harder for me to live with myself?

Obviously, the only thing that can really solve any of these (often asinine) questions would be to speak with the man himself. I don’t know if I’m ready to do that yet. Granted, it’s been the longest time yet that we’ve gone without seeing each other and he’s due up for a “girl’s visit” with Cait and I ASAP, but I don’t know if I can handle another “what’s going on?” conversation so soon. I know, I know—I bitch when I can’t talk to him, and I bitch about not wanting to when I could. It’s a woman’s prerogative, you know. But really, what could I say? “Stop being weird even if you don’t think you’re being weird because I’m desperately trying to maintain the charade that everything is fine and peachy here and I am fine and peachy with everything that’s happened even though I periodically burst into tears in my room when I try to open the windows and I can’t and the only thing that I can think of is that if you were here, you, in your hulking manliness and weight-lifting strength would surely do it for me if I asked nicely?”

Yeah. That would be an Oscar-winning speech.

In the meantime, I am not (physically or anatomically) dead. In fact, I was recently turned away from a research project UVM is doing on Women’s Sexuality because after answering the phone interview questions on things like sexual appetite, sexual desire and desired frequency of sex, it was determined that I would be an outlier and skew the data. Oh, yes. The libido is still alive, folks. It just has no outlet other than being beaten into submission at the gym. (I now think I understand Perfect’s two-hour gym-sessions. That poor man must be more sexually frustrated than I am, though I just clocked in my first hour and a half work-out. And have upped both the weight and the number of reps to my weight training.) Cait once said that I have “cute guy” radar like nobody’s business—I scope them out like a professional hunter, and if one is within a two-block radius, I will find them. It’s true—I do have a weakness for attractive men, and yes, I do look quite a lot. (I even found myself looking—to my utter mortification and to Cait’s amusement—when she and I and Perfect were all out for dinner one night. Hot man after hot man kept passing. It’s a wonder I didn’t get whip-lash from all the looking I was doing while Perfect was blissfully and thankfully unaware, mowing down single-mindedly on his lo mien beside me.) I am, I guess, the little girl that never grew up, and the world is my men-stocked candy store. It’s just the fact that though I may look, and appreciate, and possibly even flirt, when it comes down to it, all it takes is to get a text or hear a particular deep and velvety voice or see a certain face with beautiful bone structure, a long and straight nose, and red cheeks for me to think, “Yes, that is the most attractive man of them all. That is who I want to be with. Still.” I am “stuck” in Single Girl’s Hell—wanting, waiting, and wishing.


(I'm not 100% pleased with this post yet, though I've been, haha-- "stuck" writing it for the past four days. Expect edits in the future. I just need to clear it off of my desktop for right now, let it lie, and the come back to it when I can (hopefully) think more clearly.)

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