Monthly Archives: March 2014

not because you’re lonely

I am far too sensitive for online dating. There’s an entire hookup culture that is far too brash for my delicate sensibilities. For every few hundred lame messages, there is one that looks pretty good and can actually string a few complete sentences together. So, that gives me hope that the exercise is not futile.

I read something today that advised entering a relationship because you’re ready and not because you’re lonely. I don’t think anyone ever knows if or when they’re ready, but I think there’s some wisdom in the sentiment about loneliness. In the last few weeks, I’ve had a strong urge to go out and date somebody new. That’s partly because I’m a bit disoriented by it all and partly because Z has already expressed interest in dating someone new. It makes me think I need to do the same. Perhaps I even feel a little bit of competitiveness. Because Z ended the relationship, I think it would be easier for both of us, emotionally, if I am the first to “move on.” However, given our personalities, I think the reverse is more likely.

In a lot of ways, I resist relationships. However, I actually think being in a relationship is best for me. So, I’m trying to be open. The online dating thing feels like an exercise. Going through the motions. I’m in no hurry. When and if the time is right, it will happen. In the meantime, so many things about my life are absolutely spectacular, and that’s worth focusing on.

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vulnerable

I feel so unbelievably vulnerable right now—like standing naked in front of a crowd, skin unzipped revealing my insides. That’s how vulnerable I feel. When I am with Z, I am a raw little rug burn, trying to navigate how to be around each other in this new relationship.

I am now also signed up for online dating. I posted pictures of myself. I wrote a blurb. I’m out there for the world to see. Creeps might jerk off to the pictures. Students might see me and laugh. I’m doing it because, for the sea of literally thousands of people online, there are a small handful who actually look \ human, like me, like people who are also out there being vulnerable. I am doing it to find and forge connections with those people.

And let me tell you that it all feels very, very uncomfortable. I feel vulnerable. I am growing and it is good, I know. But in the meantime, trust me, it’s making me squirm.

Odalisque in Grisaille by Ingres, photo by Mark Skrobola 

heavy

Lately, I’ve been plagued with fatigue. I am exercising and working, but I am not doing anything extra. Seasonal allergies and fighting off a sinus infection(?) haven’t helped. Besides the physiological, I am also tired by stress and by the breakup and the stress of being online. Scholarship that was exciting a month ago, now feels like an insurmountable task. I am not worried. I’m still within normal, but it is interesting to see how much by body is reacting physically to the noise and change that’s going on all around me.

A few years ago, I finally embraced that I am a “delicate flower,” which means that I am super sensitive to emotions and change, and I take on other people’s energy when I am around them so much that I can literally feel myself buzzing with it for hours after I am alone again. It takes time to recover. Since tuning in to my body and making that realization, I’ve been even more careful and guarded about how I spend time and who I spend it with. Though I have been much more withdrawn because of it, I am happier for listening to and taking care of myself.

cycling

The “stepping back” is in full swing. The good parts are sleeping with new sheets and a froofy duvet cover. Eating less and more healthily. The bad is feelings of loneliness. Longing and uncertainty.

I’m entering a new phase in my relationship and in my life. It’s a bit disorienting, but I can’t honestly say that it feels bad or wrong in terms of my life’s path. I’m not sure exactly what to say about it because it’s still unraveling. In about a year, I’m sure I’ll have much more clarity over the situation.

When I got back into this relationship, someone suggested that they would be very hesitant to be in a relationship with someone who ever had depression. Okay, I agree(d), but most people I know suffer from mental issues in one form or another and that includes me. The line between the normal blues and depression is a fine one. Also, I’ve always been drawn to emotionally complex people, especially in the people I date. So, it feels like a catch-22.

Now, a year and a half later, I can’t help but feel like my relationship is coming to an end, not because of incompatibility, but just because of some bipolar cycling. Last fall I wrote about feeling manic myself. I am not bipolar. I think all people are prone to swings in moods and behavior and using the bipolar language can be really useful.

Here’s what happened that makes me think this separation is about being manic: Originally, Z was going to take a long trip for several months throughout the summer. That works for me personally because I like to have time alone and the summer is a great time to try to meet certain writing goals. This might seem like a red flag, but it’s really how we both want to live our lives, with some space, time apart, etc.

Then, things escalated. We discussed dating other people during that summer break. Next, we (and by “we” I mean “he”) decided to take a step back from our relationship altogether. Then that evolved very quickly into totally breaking up, with no plans to get back together. So, to recap, within about a month’s time, our great relationship very quickly unraveled, the stakes growing more intense each week until we were not together anymore. We quickly went from happily planning a future together to seeing other people, and basically homelessness on his part.

I still love him and believe in him, but it doesn’t feel real. It’s such a fast and shocking departure from the relative steadiness we’ve had in our relationship. I’ve cried hard a few times. As I mentioned earlier, this actually feels okay. Everything is going to be okay. But, on some level, I feel like I’ve been a victim of some unchecked bipolarism that’s just shit all over what was (is?) a really, really lovely thing.

round 2: knitting a baby blanket (with pattern!)

These baby blankets have been really fun to make! They provide a good opportunity to practice knitting. It’s a good way to get really comfortable knitting, purling, casting on, casting off, and joining in a new skein of yarn. They’re not very challenging, but they’re fun and satisfying. Also, as a doula, there are a lot of babies. So, baby blankets it is!

My most recent endeavor is making a baby blanket for a woman I work with who is having a baby within the month. I really loved the yarn I used. It’s Loops & Threads Morocco in the color “Spiced Chai.” I originally bought four lovely skeins on sale, all from the same lot. As I neared the end of my fourth skein, I realized I would need another one. Unfortunately, two nearby stores had discontinued the yarn, which is weird, because I love the color(s). Thankfully, I found a skein out in West Valley, which was, of course, from a different lot. Oh well.

The thread was Loops & Threads Morocco in "Spiced Chai."

The thread was Loops & Threads Morocco in “Spiced Chai.”

For some reason, this blanket turned out a lot more uneven than the last two. The end that was cast off was really pinched and tighter than the other end where it was cast on. I also dropped two stitches (oops!), and cobbled it back together, but I ended up with two holes, the largest being a little less than a centimeter in diameter. Not very noticeable, given the loose stitches I was using, but definitely something you can see if you’re looking.

The Materials:
I used five skeins of Loops & Threads Morocco in the color “Spiced Chai.” I used size US 13 knitting needles on the round. The needles were too big for this yarn, which might be why the blanket turned out lopsided. I liked the loose look of the knit, but in hindsight, it probably would’ve been better to knit it on US 11 needles. I can’t remember what size of needles the yarn called for.

The Pattern:
Cast on about 75 stitches. Stitch for 9 rows. Last time, I only stitched 7 rows and the border on the ends was thinner than the border on the sides, so I tried to make the ends a little bigger by adding two more rows. In hindsight, I probably should have add even more rows because the borders on the ends, were still a bit thinner than the sides.

Row 10: I knit seven stitches, marked it (with a twisty tie!), then purl stitched 61 stitches, marked it, then knit stitched the last seven stitches.

Row 11: I knit stitched seven stitches, marked it, then knit stitched 61 stitches, marked it again, and then knit stitched seven stitches.

Row 12-?: I continued to knit a regular stitch for the first and last seven stitches of each row, and then I alternated knitting and purling each row until I had almost finished five skeins of yarn. The end result was about 32 inches wide and 45 inches long.

Last 7 rows: I did a regular knit stitch for the last seven rows and then cast off.

The Final Product:

The baby blanket with border with Loops & Threads Morocco in Spiced Chai.

The baby blanket with border with Loops & Threads Morocco in Spiced Chai.

And another one, just because I love this wrapping paper! Here it is. All wrapped up.

gift wrapped

gift wrapped baby blanket

Fyi, a previous baby blanket knitting entry can be found here.