Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Mistakes I've Made

Although I'd like to think I'm perfect, let's get real.

Just 98% of me is.

But seriously, I've noticed how quick I am to point out the faults of other people, particularly the guys I've dated, without even touching on my own imperfections. No failed relationship is solely the fault of one party, so I've been thinking about my role in all of my relationships.

First off, I know that I can come on too strong when I'm really into someone. How can you blame me? I'm a former valedictorian who graduated college a year early. When I wanted to make varsity cheerleading in high school without ever having done it, I did it. When I wanted to play fast-pitch softball even though I'd never even attempted hitting a ball, I made it happen. I'm a go-getter, so why wouldn't I treat dating in the same ambitious manner?

Here's why: guys are bachelors and not bachelor's degrees. They are people, and all of those accomplishments I sought after so fervently in my life were clear attainable goals that didn't rely on the complicated emotions of another person.

Case in point: I failed miserably in keeping my high school boyfriend interested in me despite my unnerving attempts at mind games, manipulation, lies and bribery. I think I got the hint that my perseverance wasn't working right about the time he took a new chick's virginity in the back of his truck.

Creepy, immature girlfriend tactics aside, I think the lesson there is that you can't make someone stay with you or love you. There's nothing you can say or do that will just magically make it happen. It's all up to timing, chance, readiness and willingness (and there's no way in hell I'll use the word "fate" here - that's just Nicholas Sparks bullshit).

My next fault - not coming on strong enough.

Yes, this is a contradiction to my first point, but this really applies more to my recent years in the dating world.

In years past, I've struggled at playing it cool, but I definitely succeeded at it for the better part of a year when I dated the ex. I held back everything. In the beginning, I thought this was best because it meant I was giving him his space and letting him fall in love with me naturally. But what it really meant was that I had a year's worth of feelings bottled up. That was a lot to carry around.

I remember the exact day and moment when I realized I wanted to tell him I loved him. It was insignificant, really. I hadn't been able to sleep because of loud roommates, and I called him upset. He invited me over, and when I got there, he had a pair of his pajamas laid out for me to sleep in.

After we broke up, I though not telling him how I felt meant that I'd won - like I hadn't given him the satisfaction of having my heart.

But now I regret not telling him - not because I think it would have made a difference in how he felt about me, but because it shows a lack of courage on my part.

Dating is not just finding someone with all of the things you want in a partner - it's also discovering what you want for yourself. And for me, I want to be the kind of girlfriend/fiancee/wife who opens her heart completely without fear. I think when I meet the right one (not to be confused with "The One" - again, that's some Nicholas Sparks bullshit), it'll happen. I want to fall in love wholeheartedly. I think Carrie Bradshaw said it best in the last episode of "Sex & the City":

“I'm looking for love. Real love. Ridiculous, inconvenient, consuming, can't-live-without-each-other love.”

OK, a bit melodramatic. But I want that kind of love where I can just say anything without feeling scared - none of this holding back hooplah for fear that I won't be loved back.

Another fault of mine - carrying baggage.

This is a classic Tracy move. I tend to take a long time to get over people - not randoms, but the couple guys who have really made me fall for them. It's pathetic, really, but I can't help but continuously go down Memory Lane after a failed relationship and wallow in my sadness.

The good news is that I didn't torture myself so drastically with this last break up - I felt sad at times, yes, and there were some tears. But overall, I moved on with my life.

The downside is that sometimes I've brought great people through my wreckage with me - perfectly decent people who deserve my entire attention, yet due to timing, have had to witness me going through a time of healing. And sometimes, it ain't pretty.

For example, a guy I know is one of my favorite friends. We met soon after I broke up with the ex, and he and I began dating right off the bat. In retrospect, this was not a smart move on my part. I should have given myself time to decompress from the last relationship, but instead I jumped head first because I didn't want to just let this good guy go.

I quickly backed out of it pretty soon after we started dating. We may have only dated briefly, and are thankfully still friends to this day, but I can't help but still feel guilty for putting him through my weird getting-over-the-ex-but-still-trying-to-be-his-friend-even-though-I-know-it'll-never-work phase.

I truly care about this guy - he is the reason I still have hope in the male species, to be honest. I don't know anyone funnier than him, and he has a heart of gold. I've been thinking about him a lot lately, and I always wonder what it would be like to give things with us another shot. He treats me better than any guy ever has - despite my quirkiness and hang-ups and confusing nature. But then I get scared - I don't want to keep putting this guy through things with me, and if it doesn't work out, I will feel horrible.

Ugh, it's all so confusing. Here I was, all content with my single life, and now I start to question my choices. I'm just hoping that things will work themselves out as time goes by. For now, I'm just happy to have this guy in my life. I have absolutely no clue how he feels about me. I'm sure he's put up some sort of wall given my brush off this last time, but who knows.

My main hope is that the more mistakes I make, the less new ones I have to make in the future!

Friday, March 26, 2010

Busy as a Bee

This month has sure been a whirlwind. I've been on the go constantly - this especially becomes obvious when my DVR starts to fill up with all of my unwatched TV shows. The higher percentage of filled space is directly proportionate of how much of a life I have. Right now - 64%. Eh, not bad.

Last weekend I headed to Sonoma to visit my friend Nicole for her 23rd birthday. We stayed at her parents' house there, and the next morning, a bunch of her other friends joined us for a day of wine tasking in Healdsburg. I'm usually a bit shy (read: socially awkward) when I meet new people, especially if everyone sort of knows each other beforehand and I'm the newbie.

It's especially difficult for me to drink with new people as well, mostly because I'm not completely comfortable to act like my goofy self (not everyone gets my sense of humor), and my light-weightness comes out, which makes me feel like a teenager.

But the girls were super nice - I liked them all right away. We started the morning with drinking Cristal (courtesy of Nicole) and riding around in a limo! The tipsyness, partnered with the winding roads of wine country, made our limo rides quite interesting, I must say. I sort of fell all over the place. We went to a couple wineries and did some tastings.

I have to admit something that is probably straight blasphemy in Northern California - I'm not a fan of wine tasting.

I don't drink wine too often, and sometimes the vibe of wine tasting is very pretentious. Not my style. I don't think my occasional ghetto speak really mixed well with the high society ambiance of these places. But I went along for the sake of Nicole's birthday - this was definitely her kind of thing, so I wasn't about to not go strictly because I'm a wine neophyte.

The weekend ended well with a yummy dinner - not to mention, I finally came out of my shell and made the girls laugh with my storytelling. Ghetto speak is definitely encouraged in that.

This past week at work has been non-stop crazy. I've been booking TV appearances for a couple of my clients, so I've been out going to those (which are stressful but my favorite part of the job!) and trying to keep up with my work load. Not to jinx myself, but I feel like I'll be rounding out the week with a lot done.

Best of all, tonight I'm headed to San Diego! My sister is down there for a conference for work, but she's staying for the weekend to spend time with our cousin and the rest of our family down there. Of course, I had to join them! There's no two girls I enjoy being around as much as Robyn and my cousin Wendy. Tonight we're going to stay downtown for dancing, and I'm thinking tomorrow we'll visit my grandma, aunt and uncle. My grandma went to the hospital yesterday, which scares me every time that happens, but I think she's OK now. That precious woman is 91 years young, and I love her so much - I'm so thankful I get to come see her!

So that's where I'm at these days. Feeling extremely happy. One final crazy weekend next week (moving in with Erica just at the other end of my complex) and then hopefully things calm down from there. Not being able to catch up on my TV shows is stressful :)

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Thanks For Treating Me Like Crap

Negative Nancy came out in my last blog - I try to not complain too much on here, but sometimes I just need a place to vent.

That said, I realized I am thankful for something that I normally lament - all of the heartbreak I've been through.

I've been through just about all of it - lied to, cheated on, disappointed, miserable, morose, confused, led on, treated like the lowest of the low. And when I think of all of my experiences, particularly on a day when I'm feeling down, I start to feel sorry for myself and wonder, "Why me?"

A friend of mine is going through a confusing time with a guy. They really hit it off in the beginning, and it seemed like something was going to blossom. But now he's stopped calling her and basically disappeared.

Now, I'm no dating expert, but "He's Just Not That Into You" is my Holy Bible. That, combined with my and my friends' experiences, has opened my eyes to why people act the way they do. If someone is completely and totally into you, they call. If someone is completely and totally into you, they make the effort to establish a relationship. If they don't give it their all, well, they simply aren't worth your time.

Of course I don't expect guys to jump through hoops for me - I just mean that it's very apparent when someone likes you. They usually don't keep it a secret for long. And if someone is half-assing their affection toward you, why would you want to date them anyway?

It took me a really long time to get here. I used to take whatever I could get from a guy - I figured settling and getting a sliver of what I wanted was better than getting nothing at all. Wrong. I sacrificed getting what I deserve - all so I could end up happy for a fraction of the time and heartbroken for the rest. It's painful.

BUT....the upside is that because I've seen it all and experienced the bullshit, I feel pretty confident that I can spot bullshit from a mile away and will not let it get the best of me again*. My friend has yet to have her heart truly broken, which I always thought to be a good thing, but now I feel like maybe going through that is a necessary rite of passage - like learning to ride a bike and dealing with acne. It sucks getting through it, but you come out better in the end.

So - to all the guys out there who've hurt me deeply, made me feel worthless and overall treated me like shit - thank you. My Asshole Meter (or at least Guys Who Don't Like Me Meter) is now honed and on high alert.

*This is not to say I will not make a relationship mistake in the future. I may throw all of this wisdom out the window at some point. Hey, I'm only 24 and have plenty of time to screw things up some more.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Restless in Roseville

It happens every time.

I spend an amazing day or weekend in San Francisco, and I come home completely depressed.

Today was no exception. I had a great time yesterday visiting my friend Steve, who lives in SF. We crossed the Golden Gate Bridge, walked all through his neighborhood in North Beach, drove all over the city and ate the most delectable food.

I came home yesterday to that anticlimactic feeling that is realizing I live in a boring ol' suburb of a small, fairly ordinary metropolitan area. There's no place like San Francisco, and visiting it makes me feel like my life here is simply, well, simple.

Those things I used to enjoy about where I live now pale in comparison to the city - I always loved the commercialism here; now I wish we had more Mom-and-Pop places with original menus. I used to love the idea that I could drive somewhere in 20 minutes or less and get to wherever I needed. Now I long for a city in which I can walk to my destinations and enjoy the outdoors. The relatively "safe" people of Roseville just don't match up to the quirky folk all over SF.

So basically I've been feeling down and out about my current situation.

I know I live a very charmed life - great job, great friends, close to family, great apartment. But just because my life is comfortable, does that mean I'm living it to the fullest? I'm 24, and I've always known in my heart that I'm a city girl. What better time to live in my favorite place than in my single 20s?

I've started to evaluate what's really keeping me here. Being close to my Grams is super important to me, not to mention being just a 2-hour drive to my parents in NV. I have so many friends here, but lately I feel like many of them are disappearing. They're all married/living with their boyfriends/always with their significant others. My only single friends are a couple co-workers, and they lead busy lives already, including kids and family. So most of the time, it's just me. And Cammie. And really, I do cherish my alone time, I do. But wouldn't my alone time be so much more exciting with the hustle and bustle of the city in the background?

I attempted to get out and soak up the sun today in Roseville. I hit up Starbucks for a coffee and went to sit outside with my book (which coincidentally is called Divisidero and set within San Francisco and its outskirts).

There were no vacant tables in the sun outside Starbucks, so I scoped out one in the shade near a table where a couple looked like they were about to leave. They started to pick up their trash, and I moseyed my way over, only for some older lady to cut in front and say loudly to the couple, "Mind if I make like a vulture and take your table?" Ugggh. Apparently Vulture didn't see that I'd already had my eye on the table - had I been two beats quicker, it would have been mine. Annoying Rosevillians!

I sulked back to my table in annoyance and opened my book. I was unable to focus because I became surrounded by a group of my least favorite type of Rosevillians - rich, wannabe-hipster teenagers. Their deep conversation went like this:

Girl: Umm, guys, I think I left my phone inside the restaurant.
Group: (ignoring girl and talking about something stupid, probably skateboarding).
Girl: Like, guys. I can't find my phone. I think I left it inside.
Group: (again, more ignoring)
Girl: (searching furiously through her oversized bag) Can you guys call my phone? I think I left it inside.
Guy in Group: Why would we call it if it's inside?

Not a cohesive environment for reading and relaxing. So I headed to another quaint place - Royer Park.

In my 30 minutes there, here is what I experienced:

1) An older man creeping just in front of me to steal the bench I'd had my eye on. Seriously?? Did everyone know where I wanted to sit?
2) A dog (on a leash) running wild and coming up to me on the grass. His owners (a father and two young girls) followed behind him, calling his name. The dog proceeded to sniff my crotch. This is why I'm a cat person!
3) A jeepers creepers guy in a beanie walking up to me, asking if he could bum a cigarette from me. He called me "Sweetheart."
4) Cops driving up to the gazebo at the park to scope out the group of bums temporarily camping out there. Wow, maybe I live in SF after all.
5) Two drunk men from said bum group getting in a verbal altercation after the cops left - one of them swung around a bottle of whiskey as the other one called him a drunk. It finally broke up.

This was all before 3 p.m.

I became even more depressed about my living situation. Why had I believed Roseville was so great? I'm feeling restless, and I think it's time I start making a long-term plan for getting out of here.

I'm signing a year-long lease with Erica next month when we become roomies. Then I'm saving lots of dough - I'm planning a Europe trip with Mom for 2011 - Rome, Florence, Venice, Paris and London, here we come! I'm thinking by next summer, I'd like to seriously be coordinating a move to the big city.

If that falls through, apparently Royer Park has a hot gazebo where the booze runs freely. Let me think about that.

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Lying in Bars

I have this new favorite pastime - lying to people I meet in bars.

I think the allure of it is that I'm the worst liar in the world - even joking with people is hard for me, as I instantly laugh and give myself away.

But in bars, when you meet strangers, it's easy to make things up right on the spot.

Last night, Erica and I made an impromptu stop at this dive bar in Roseville. It's a hole-in-the-wall place with obnoxious karaoke and cheap drinks. We each had a Bud Light in an attempt to cheer Erica up, as she was in the midst of a fight with her boyfriend.

It's pretty easy to spot guys who are contemplating coming to talk to you. They look over, look away. Wait a few beats. Look over, look away, turn their body toward you. I can see them in my peripheral, and that's when I immediately groan inside and think, "OK, here we go again."

I'm not trying to act like I get hit on a lot. In fact, I really don't. In most cases, it's my friends who do, which believe me, is fine. I usually get annoyed when strangers come up and interrupt my girl time - especially when the guy is usually twice my age. Seriously? I mean, I'm no Megan Fox, but last time I checked, I am not the fitting type of girl for a guy my dad's age! It's just gross, if you ask me.

Anyway, so Erica and I are chatting, she's getting in fight via text, and this older man (circa 40, I'd say) walks up to us. He playfully tells Erica that texting is not allowed in the bar, and I give him a death glare. Seriously? Was my "Eff off" body language inviting this guy to come over and start an inane conversation with us?

So I decided to have fun with it.

He asked us our names. Erica replied, "Susan." I responded, "Gabrielle." I almost went for Gabriela but quickly realized I'm too pasty to pull that off.

He asked why "Susan" was texting, and she said she was in a fight with someone. I told Bar Guy it was her boyfriend and that she was upset because he'd gotten another girl pregnant. Bar Guy was amazed Susan would even put up with that, and I explained it was because said boyfriend was rich and we're just materialistic like that.

Eventually he went away. It wasn't my best lie - I could have been more outlandish, but I don't think he would have bought it.

This wasn't the first time I'd lied at the bar. One time I told some dude that I'd just gotten back from Iraq. The rush of lying is exciting! When else do you get to do it harmlessly?

It's always fun to pretend to be someone different. I've got to come up with some better stories for next time - stories that make me extra unattractive, like my name is Yancy and I'm a sales associate at the Dollar Tree. Hmmm, I'll work on it.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Compliments Just Make My Day

So I was having a low self-esteem day on Monday where I was just feeling like I didn't look as good as I wanted. I'm not normally very hard on myself because, for the most part, I'm OK with my looks. But every now and again (thanks to Victoria's Secret commercials and my tendency to have drop-dead gorgeous friends), I have an Ugly Day.

When I went to meet my friend Alanna for dinner on Monday night, I was a bit early, so I stopped by Urban Outfitters at Arden Fair Mall. I was wearing this blue and black plaid sweater dress I got on clearance in San Francisco, which I just love. As I walked into the store, I was stopped by the comments of this lady.

It was a black girl pushing a stroller (and I mention her race strictly because of how awesome the way she talked), and she said nice and loudly, "Awwwwww guuuuuurl....look whatchu got on! That's cute!"

Oh, how the comments from a random lady make my day.

In other news, I let Speed Date Guy down. I was secretly hoping he didn't like me (which doesn't seem to be too hard these days), but alas, he e-mailed me. He told me he had a really good time and would like to go out again.

Well, damn. Here I am, always worrying about a guy liking me, and now I have to let someone down whom I don't like. He was extremely nice and pleasant to talk to, but I didn't have "the feeling" one bit. So I wrote back and was very honest and straight-forward, which I know is tough for some people to do. I told him I wouldn't mind hanging out again, but only as friends. He wrote back a couple days later and said, "Well, you can't blame a guy for tryin'!" He said he's not looking for friends, and he wished me luck on my quest for Mr. Right. God love him.

This is the first time I don't have any sort of crush and am not pursuing anyone. But, in true Tracy fashion, I'm still the eternal romantic, fantasizing about "Notebook"-esque things happening to me despite my pretty average life. Sigh.....a girl can dream, right?

I just keep thinking that all of my past experiences will add up and mean something - that all of it was good for me - happy and sad moments in all - and that maybe going through all of that was like paying my dues in preparation for a good relationship in the future. You know what they say, "Sometimes good things must end in order for great things to happen." Yes, yes. Cliche and cheesy, but it's things like that that give me hope.

I'm really leaving things out of my hands these days. I figure once it's right, it'll fall into place. The girl who is going to be the new Bachelorette, Ali, said it best when she was asked what she was looking for in a guy: "I'm just looking for a feeling." That's so true! So many times we try and make laundry lists of what we're looking for - nice teeth, smart, sense of humor, family-oriented, etc. But really, in the grand scheme of things, isn't it just about how the person makes you feel? Now, if a serial murderer makes me feel something, I'm not just going to avoid external factors altogether. I just think that I don't have a type - as long as he's nice and cherishes me, that's all that matters (oh, and he's a doctor? And volunteers his time to help kids with terminal illnesses? I'll take it!).

This whole idea of "the feeling" rings true for me, particularly because of my ex. We were so right for each other on paper. It was all there, so it just had to work out. But, as luck would have it, it didn't. There wasn't that mutual feeling - that X factor, that vibe, that spark (on his end, at least). But that's OK - I'm now free to find someone even better for me!

OK, enough about guys. Sorry, I tend to always bring it back to that. My writing is jumbled, I know, but that's why I have this lovely little blog to get it all out.

My friend Nicole came on Saturday, and we went to a club in downtown Sac. I haven't been out in ages, but we felt in the mood to dance, so we went to Social. Epic evening - great music and the drinks were flowing. I could have done without that last vodka and cranberry, but hey, it was all in the spirit of showing my out-of-town friend a good time. Now, that $80 cab ride home was not so much fun, but it was the smart/safe/responsible thing to do.

I'm meeting with a woman from a domestic violence/sexual assault advocacy group who wants to talk to me about my role as a volunteer with them. This would be in addition to my volunteering at WEAVE, so I'm stoked! I love to volunteer and use my professional skills to help nonprofits. Those are the people that need it most! And since I can't help out financially, I figure my writing/PR connections can do the job so people with money can help the organization.

Ohhhh, and the best news of all - I just made the biggest purchase of my life - a new flatscreen TV! I'm frugal, people, so this is big to me. I'm used to that 0.00 balance on my credit card, so I'm going to have to adjust. My new TV is sweet - 42" of bliss and all for a great deal. Although I admit I was duped into buying the special cleaner and rag for $20. Hey, the TV was a steal, so what's 20 more dollars and helping out the salesman's commission?

All right, I've rambled enough. Time to head home, work out and watch all my beloved TV shows in HD!