Monday, 17 October 2016

Live in the Now

Does anyone else re-evaluate every dating experience in their history when they start seeing someone new? Sifting through all previous dating attempts to determine if this new guy (or girl, whatever floats your boat) is actually different from past offenders, or if he's simply another wolf in sheep's clothing waiting to pounce on your heart and tear it into pieces?

I'm imagining crickets, but in reality (given conversations I've had with nearly every girlfriend of mine, and a few dudes) I'm certain I'm not alone in this. I realized over the past few weeks this may be the biggest faux pas I make when it comes to dating, and I do it. A lot. All the time; every time I meet someone even mildly worth consideration (or in my current case, someone worth all the consideration).

Perhaps, sometimes, a little comparison to past experience can't be helped. Especially when you're trying to keep your excitement responsibly in check for fear you're about to repeat your classic mistake of loving hard and fast - and getting hurt the exact same way (though I'm not totally convinced that's a mistake per se, despite many broken pieces of my heart and tender spots where someone jabbed the knife in a little too deep). The past is the past, you should leave it behind you, don't look back, blah blah fucking blah. You cannot change the past (unless you are a time traveler and in that case I need you to go back and tell my grade 11 self not to wear a skirt to school that fateful day because she'll live to regret the entire class seeing her panties - don't ask). But what if the past starts sneaking into the present, causing you all manner of stress because some moron nine years ago cheated on you and threw you out of the house by putting your things on the lawn to be collected by your parents as you were traveling in Southern Africa at the time?

True story. No, I didn't know about the cheating until six months after the long-distance break up where we never actually spoke a word. Yes, we had been dating for four years and living together for almost one. You bear your soul to your boyfriend in an email (for lack of reliable phone access) - acknowledge all the shit the lies between you and the unhappy reality of your relationship, finally  - and his response is to have his friend call your parents to inform them when your things would be on the lawn for collection. A number of descriptive words come up when I think of this but my favourite one is: COWARD (it is truly deserving of all possible emphasis). A break up devoid of any emotional attachment from a relationship lacking in emotion and any apparent attachment. And so perpetually-single April was born and her string of disappointing and occasionally heart-wrenching dating experiences started.

I originally sat down to weave that web of a story for you. To share the relationship and break up (an amazingly epic break up, no less) that surreptitiously set up my future dating attempts. It's the tale my friends urged me to write down, and part of what motivated this blog in the first place. Stories of my dating faux pas, dating forays, and horrid tales designed to warn you all against making whatever ridiculous mistakes I make time and time again. And here I sit, realizing my biggest mistake of all time, that I make, all the time.

I am terrible at living in the now (and I am unable to say those words without Wayne's World entering my brain). I spend an inordinate amount of time rehashing my dating past when I'm starting something new in my dating present. At best, I go a couple of months of dating bliss (where I'm blissfully ignorant of bullshit and am completely twitterpated) before old wounds fester and seep into my thoughts, slowly leaking doubt and hesitation. Inevitably, the comparison starts, and my mind kicks into high gear - actively over-analyzing every minute detail of my past, looking for clues that will lend to deciphering whatever hieroglyphics await in my new relationship. It's fucking exhausting. And it creates a myriad of problems for me. Which in turn starts to create a myriad of problems (overt or otherwise) in whatever relationship I'm in.

Why do I let myself slide into this pattern time and time again? Why am I constantly standing in my own way? My mom used to tell me when I was younger that I was my own worst enemy - oh how right she was (there, I admitted it). The fact is, right now there is just no need for these mental acrobatics. Today, and for the past three months, I have no reason to do anything but smile in anticipation and full-on twitterpation. In this moment, I have no basis for doubt outside of my own shitty past experiences oozing their way into the present. So I'm going cold turkey. Fuck the past. Fuck the idiots who never appreciated what was standing before them. Fuck the guys who didn't have the guts to hack a relationship with me (since it always seemed so entirely frightening). And fuck the morons who chose cowardice. I refuse to let you interrupt my happy present, or stifle my exciting future.

According to an Instagram post (which we know is where all life truths reside), "Your past is meant to teach you, not hold you hostage." What a novel idea, learning from your mistakes. How intriguing, this whole concept of moving forward.


P.S. - As an attempt to figure out my (at times) ridiculous thought processes, I've started meditation. For reals. I scoffed at first when the roomie suggested it, but then I tried it a few times's helping. There's a clarity and focus in my every day I've struggled with finding for a long time. I'm like, so zen now (heavy on the sarcasm since I just spouted out a bunch of f-bombs and still lose my shit on the terrible drivers in this city). As per usual, there's a little bit of music in the background of this post, and lending itself to a more chill April is the incomparable Bon Iver, so check out a track from his new release (that I'm devouring on the daily):