Sex, Tinder, and More Than That

12 01 2018

On changing up my dating life patterns and getting something better than before

Since getting back on Tinder in October of this year, I’ve matched with over 300 people, had conversations with 30% of them, and gone out with maybe, maybe 10 different souls.

Love_Sex_Tinder

It’s strange to me because 300 seems like a pretty big number and yet, I feel more disconnected than I ever have in my dating life. It’s as if the more people I match with the less likely I’ll find anyone of quality.

I know, I know, Tinder was created specifically for quantity. It’s designed so you want to keep coming back because someone hotter and funnier and smarter could be just a swipe away.

 

I get that we’re all throw-away people to each other now.

 

That we find ourselves rating our worth on the number of matches we have.

Yet, even though 300 people potentially would fuck me based off of a couple of photos, that doesn’t mean any of them would ever like being around me.

Like many people, I enjoy sex. I also have a higher sex drive than most people, men and women alike. It’s often not difficult to find someone willing to sleep with me. Yet, no matter how much I enjoy sex, one night stands, fucktoys, fuckboys, fuckgrrrls (is this a thing?), no-strings-attached, friends-with-benefits–it’s all becoming rather tiring.

It’s time to go deeper with someone–not physically deeper–emotionally, spiritually deeper. It’s like we’re all afraid to actually get to know someone. We come with excuses that are worse than the ones that George and Jerry and Elaine always seemed to find. Hands are too small. Nose is too big. Beard is weird. He still eats Chef-Boyardee. She does this annoying popping thing with her toes. He texts too much. She doesn’t text enough. He sucks my nose when we’re making out. She pees a little when she sneezes. etc. etc.

 

But why the constant excuses? Is it fear? Is it FOMO? Is it actually justifiable and we should know they’re right from the beginning?

 

I’ve decided to slow down. To rid my expectations of other people. To attempt to learn something from everyone I meet. To stay curious and open to the exploration of other souls–and at the same time, my own.

 

The Tinder culture is addicting. It’s like junk food, it tastes delicious but it’s just a bunch of empty calories nothingness.

 

You keep wanting more but it’s not good for you. Instead of rotting your teeth though, it rots your soul. It makes you feel both wanted and rejected at the same time. It makes you think that the possibilities are endless and you should never settle. And of course you should never settle, but you should also not keep repeating a pattern that fails to live up to anything substantial or meaningful.

tinder_junk_in_and_out

I’m not sure if it’s a waste so much as a distraction. A tool that we use to keep ourselves occupied, to keep opportunity available, to see just how fuckable we are on a surface level. Because we all want the possibility of connection, even if it’s just for a night, but many people, whether we want to admit it out loud or not, many of us want something more, something with legs, something closer to longevity.

Maybe all it takes is putting down the phone and looking around, interacting with people in real life situations. It at least seems more fulfilling to talk to someone face to face, see if anything is there, and act upon it if there is, walk away (quickly) if there isn’t?

All I know (which isn’t much) is that I have to stop thinking Tinder is the answer. To be honest, I can barely even remember the question, but I think it has to do with how we uncover love in its long form.

My plan is to create new habits and knock off the bad patterns regardless of how long it takes or how hard it is because I want more–and I’m going to get it.

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9 Random Thoughts: New Year, Same Me

11 01 2018

Random Thoughts Are Back, You Are Welcome!

1.
Part of my New Year’s Resolution was to get shit done even if I have a hangover. Now, as I’m getting shit done with a hangover I wonder if I’m possibly not so great at making new year’s resolutions and resolve to make better ones next year, like resolving to take more naps.
2.
Turned on the news and they keep yammering on and on about some lost secret spy missile. It’s like the media doesn’t understand what ‘secret’ mean; sort of like how Trump doesn’t understand what “genius” means.
3.
So, I’ve watched the first two episodes of the new season of Black Mirror. I’ve read a lot of commentary that says this season is dull. I don’t find it dull, but I do find the stories thus far to have things occurring in them that I’ve either read or seen in other forms. For example, some of the elements felt very George Saunder-ish and it made me realize how few satirical television shows exist. That’s something that would be great to see, someone capable of pulling off the humor of satire without making it too dark or too slap-stickish.
4.
There’s been this dead squirrel on the sidewalk along the path that I run for at least a month now. I have witnessed it withering away day after day, as I too slowly shed pound after pound helping to prevent my entire withering away a little while longer, at least that’s the point, right? In any event, the squirrel barely resembles a squirrel anymore whereas I thankfully still resemble myself.

squirrel
5.
Remember when you were a kid and you’d ask a parent how to spell a word and they’d yell “look it up!” So you’d get the dictionary out but then couldn’t find the word because you didn’t know how to spell it? Yeah. I bet that doesn’t happen anymore because, technology.
6.
Speaking of technology, what I love most about watching Seinfeld now is how they seemed to all survive without cell phones just fine. In fact, a many good episodes were created out of the lack of this connection. It would not / could not ever be like that now.
7.
Yada yada yada.
8.
The best part of a hangover is the following day when you are no longer hungover and you feel more alive than ever before, I can’t wait until tomorrow.
9.
It’s amazing how few thoughts go through your head when you’re specifically trying to think about random thoughts. Just try it. It could be the new way to “meditate,” because the mind goes completely blank. It’s quite amazing actually. I now know what to do when I need to clear my head.





Finding Solitude Within the Noise: Week 1.

8 01 2018

January Goal: Talk to People Less, Find Self More

solitude

Lone tree, hometown, Kansas, 2013.

After reading The Stranger in the Woods, I have been diving deeper into concepts of solitude discussed throughout the book.

In it, Michael Finkel writes:

“People who live in cities experience chronically elevated levels of stress hormones. These hormones, especially cortisol, increase one’s blood pressure, contributing to heart disease and cellular damage. Noise harms your body and boils your brain. The word “noise” is derived from the Latin word “nausea.” (pg 113)

This stuck with me. I live in Denver and though it’s not as bustling and loud as some places like New York or LA, I am in the heart of the city where there is constant traffic and construction projects. In fact, they’ve been building a new house across the street from me for the last several months, and let me tell you, jackhammering at all hours of the day is definitely nausea-inducing.

There was a moment in the book when the author reflected on how long he had ever gone without talking to a single other person, including texts and phone calls. His was half a day. Mine? I couldn’t even think of a time. Had there ever been a time when I actually experienced ‘solitude’? Maybe once for a day in high school when my parents were gone before I had a cell phone or working internet and I decided to stay home “sick” from school, but that’s not a solid memory, just a thing that may or may not have happened.

Because I am so drawn to these ideas of quiet and because I can’t really leave everything behind and run away to the middle of nowhere to live in a tent (for one, I wouldn’t survive). I decided to attempt Solitude Sundays.

Through January, every Sunday (starting Saturday night before I go to bed) I am turning off my phone and my computer and I am spending the entire day alone.

It’s impossible to escape all of the noise, particularly when one has roommates, but cutting off technology at least gets me halfway there.

Baby stepping toward solitude.

Here are my thoughts from Week 1 of Solitude Sundays.

I went to bed early for a change on Saturday night shutting off my phone around 11:30 pm (this is early for me on a Saturday as I often stay up until 3-4 a.m. drunk socializing like an asshole).

I did not set an alarm.

I woke around 10 a.m.

Of course, one of the first things I normally do when I wake up is to look at my phone to see how popular I am based on how many people sent me texts and memes and shit (usually not very) but my phone was turned off and hidden from me.

Separating from my phone was much more difficult than I thought it would be. I knew I was addicted, but I didn’t know how bad it was until it was no longer there. It is my crutch. If I leave a room, even for a minute, I come back and check it immediately just in case I may have missed something or to see the time or to check the weather or to get on Instagram to depress myself by looking at how much fun everyone else seems to be having.

I had to rely on looking at a clock (shocking), stepping outside for a second to see how cold it was (wow!), looking within myself for entertainment or lack thereof (gee whiz!).

What did I end up doing all day? Not scrolling through Tinder I’ll tell you that.

I read.

I read a fuck ton of words.

I read short stories by George Saunders. I started Ape & Essence by Aldous Huxley. I went through my stack of magazines and separated everything I had read, didn’t want to read, wanted to read. I finished several Glamours. I read half of a New Yorker.

I re-read the entire introduction and section 1 of a book on Hedgewitchery.

I may or may not have done the first rite from that book.

I meditated.

I drank a cup of coffee.

I took out the recycling.

I planted herbs into a flower pot.

I finally raked the lawn.

I did nothing.

I longed to do more.

I had all these thoughts about the things I wanted to do with my phone, with my computer; ideas I wanted to look up, people I wanted to talk to. I even longed to call my mother to tell her how difficult it was to not talk to anyone all day.

I wrote down everything I wanted to do with the technology I chose to hide from myself onto a piece of paper so I could do them later if I deemed them worthy.

It was the smartest move I could make in that regard.

I journaled about my feelings (or lack thereof).

I went for a run. I took a bath. I ate some fancyass healthy food that involved quinoa and kale and tofu. My roommate came into the room and I had to say hello, which ruined the entire thing.

I didn’t let her get me down.

I stared out the window.

There were times of tremendous struggle. Times when I thought, “well, what if I just turn my phone on for a minute?”

I persevered.

solitude2

By the end of the time, I actually became anxious. I thought about how lovely it was to not have to talk to anyone and how the following day (today) I would have to start talking to people again. I begin to wonder how many days I could actually go before I went crazy (my guess is 11 days).

I wouldn’t necessarily call what I did “practicing solitude.” But it feels like a good step in that direction. My goal for next Sunday is to do less. I want to dive in deep to the inner self, see what I’ve been missing that’s been with me the entire time.

Alone?

Nah.

Not when I have myself.

P.S. I woke up, turned on my phone. I had missed three texts. One from a friend who called me “lame” for turning my phone off. And two from some fuckboy asking me to “69.” 

In other words, I didn’t miss anything (which makes me glad and sad at the same time).





My Favorite Books from 2017

3 01 2018

Short Reviews of My Top 3 Books of 2017

In 2016 I read 21 books, including the dense and quite long Infinite Jest (which is worth it, even in its intensity. I suggest going to Infinite Summer for tips on making it through). In 2017 I upped my total slightly and read 28 books– that’s an average of 24 pages a day.

The way I’ve managed to get this much reading done and still excessively binge television shows and have a social life and do the whole work thing is by waking up an hour earlier in the day and reading before I do anything else.

When I do this I get invested in the book and am then able to get my page count done in a timely manner on the regular. Of course, some days I read more pages than others, but the system seems to be working.

My friend has made the resolution to read a book a week this year and I plan to steal this same idea because reading takes me to much better places than most of my other daily activities seem to do. Sometimes it’s better to replace one habit with another one instead of trying to remove the old habit altogether.

Here are my top 3 favorite books from 2017, if you’re looking for something to fall into this year.

1. Homesick for Another World by Ottessa Moshfegh

homesickforanotherworld

Ever feel like a terrible human being? Never fear, you are probably not as terrible as the characters in this collection of short stories. Moshfegh has the ability to succinctly capture the essence of a person (the good, bad, and ugly of a person) always leaving you wanting more, but happy to have experienced the little bit that you did get.

I also read her novel Eileen, which was good but felt more drawn to the collection, as it was able to show glimpses of the humanity in all its fucked-up-ness that we often rarely get to see in creative form (which is a much more pleasant place to experience it than in reality).

 

2. Theft By Finding Diaries 1997-2002 by David Sedaris

theftbyfinding-cover

Even in his own diaries, Sedaris knows how to reveal the humor in the mundanity of everyday life. There were moments while reading where I literally spit out my drink because I was laughing so hard. Right when you think the moment can’t get any funnier he hits you with an even stronger punchline. If you can’t laugh at your own life, start with someone else’s, I suggest his, because humor is the best medicine for getting through the bullshit.

3. The Stranger in the Woods: The Extraordinary Story of the Last True Hermit by Michael Finkel

strangerinthewoodsbook

Ever have the desire to desert everything and everyone you know and go live alone in the middle of nowhere? Well, one guy actually did that, not just for a day, not just for a month, but for 27 years. If he hadn’t been a thief, he probably could have gotten away with it until he died, yet, that is not quite what happened.

As someone who is pretty introverted, what I found most fascinating about the book was the exploration of solitude–the attempt to understand why someone would not want to be around any other people.

Something happened during this book, something that caused me to suddenly finally feel okay for a day. Okay that I don’t have to want to be around people. Okay that sometimes I’d rather hide and not talk to anyone. Okay that I don’t have to like all the things other people like. Through his extreme outlier lifestyle, it helped me to see the facades of our daily existence and to look at solitude as a positive solution to the noise aka nausea of modern society.





At Least I have Longer Hair Now

2 01 2018

In 2017, I quit my job of 3 years, went to Burning Man, fell in love, went on road trip through the desert with lover, fell out of love while on said road trip, came back, wrote a book in a month, and then sat around and stared out the window until the year ended. I wasn’t meditating or having some deep existential breakthrough, I was literally just staring out a window.

It was a weird year.

At the beginning of the year I gave myself a theme, 2017 would be the year of patience. I would track my patience by growing out my hair and not dyeing it–this seems like a simple task for most people sure, but I am the type of person who snips and colors every month just to change it up. January found me with barely any hair on head, shaved on the sides with about an inch or two on top. (I had clearly been snipping at it for awhile.)

short hair

2016 Hair

I’m happy to say that I made it to the end, my hair is now almost to my chin, yet even though I have a symbolic representation of my theme, I’m not entirely sure having a theme helped that much.

Or maybe it did.

The reason why I chose patience, to begin with, had to do with my anger issues. The daily injustices and the real shit dramas that have accumulated over time that have helped shorten my fuse; I mostly respond by retreating, hiding in my room, stewing, letting it simmer, letting it boil, acting out with self-destructive behavior because I’m mad at myself the most.

I should have been smarter, should have saw it coming, should have done something about it etc. these ideas play in my head over and over becoming nearly paralyzing in nature.

So I run.

I go outside, no music, no podcasts, and I run the anger away. I run nearly every day and I’m still mad.

Yet, I’m patient with myself. I tell myself this anger will not last forever. That I must harness the energy of it. That I must channel that anger into something useful and not just use it to rage out on the hundreds of drivers in Colorado who don’t seem to know how to operate the cars that they drive. I am patient with myself for not being patient.

I pull at a strand of hair and watch myself becoming more and more irritable. I hold on to it, I take a breath, I wonder how many more days are left in the year so I can stop paying attention to how impatient I am.

So, I’ve gotten somewhere at least. I’ve gotten to the point where I can see myself and that seems like a pretty important skill to possess. I notice the irritability, the anger, the unnecessary clapbacks quicker than I used to. It doesn’t always stop an outburst from happening, but it’s almost as if I’m not attached to it anymore. That I can see it as a pattern of behavior that’s reactionary, that happens because that’s how I’ve been reacting for so many years, yet I no longer see those reactions as belonging to me.

I know that they do. But I also know that they don’t have to. That eventually I will feel the old impatient me coming up to the surface and I can stop her, I can replace her with a different storyline.

Undoing 30+ years on reacting one way with another may, in fact, take longer than 365 days, but I’m a bit closer than I was before and now I can put my hair up in a ponytail and (soon) whip it in people’s faces if they’re annoying me in a bar–so there’s that.

long hair

One whole year of growing hair out, so patient in 2017.

What’s in store for 2018? I’m contemplating the art of discipline. Self-control. Motivation. Hoping the patience I gained from 2017 will help, only time will tell….

 





Cat Person, Fiction, & Thoughts on Likes and Love

11 12 2017

everton-vila-140207

Are we all each other’s stories?

The other day my friend sent me a link to a fiction story in the New Yorker called “Cat Person.”

I avoided reading it, mostly because it’s the New Yorker and that’s what I do every time I have a subscription to the magazine–ignore it week after week while the guilt from not opening them piles higher and higher.

Anyway, my friend bothered me about it again; he told me people were buzzing about it on the internets, so after a long sigh, and an even longer “fffinnnee,” I went ahead and went for it.

*Spoilers ahead*

This excruciatingly painful fictional tale is about a 20-year-old woman who goes on a date with a 30-ish old guy she meets at her job at a movie theater.

As I said to my friend, “It’s good, but in a cringe-worthy type of way.”

The author examines the internal dialogue of this woman, revealing many relatable thoughts we’ve all had while dating.

What’s most painful is that we see ourselves in her ( we see ourselves in him too, though we all seem much less likely to admit that considering how it ends) and the parts we see are the parts of ourselves we look back on later in life and wish we had trusted our instincts and intuitions.

What I think the author does so well through these characters is show how easy it is to create stories about who other people are in order for us to like them.

Hence the cringe. It’s not that it’s so much of a mismatched non-compatible interaction, it’s that we’ve all been in situations where we just really want the other person to be who we desire them to be instead of who they are.

In fact, what ripped my heart out while reading this was that just last night I cut it off with a guy for almost the exact same reason.

Not that he had been terrible in bed or called me a whore or anything, but that I had made-up a narrative in my head about who he was–and more importantly, who I was when I was with him–a story that was not even close to being accurate in reality.

I did it because I wanted so badly to like someone that I failed to pay attention to who that person really was, until it was too late.

The female character wants the guy to be so badly who he was in his flirty smart text messages that she starts reading him in ways to reassure herself that he those things in real life. Just because someone is smart and witty doesn’t mean they’re a good person.

It’s like with this guy I was dating, he told me he’d only disappoint me. He told me he was the worst. He told me he was a terrible person. And while he was doing it, I knew I should run away, I knew that people will always tell you who they are, and yet, I stuck around.

I made him prove it.

Is it because I’m a masochist? Is it because that even though I’ve learned over and over again that you can’t change a person, I still haven’t learned it enough?

I think it’s because we’re all addicted to liking someone and being liked in return. The chase, the dating, the sex, it all just comes down to us wanting to be wanted.

alex-martinez-62348

How do we stop ourselves from filling in the blanks on questions we have about people before we get to know them? How do we stop ourselves from projecting things we want them to be when they’re clearly not those things? How do we rid ourselves of expectations particularly when there’s so much excitement when we meet someone new? Is it possible to not get swept up into the bubble of misrepresentation? Into the love-bubble? (or even the like-bubble?)

I don’t know. I haven’t figured anything out.

All I know is that I need to save my stories for my writing and quit making up fictions about people who will always tell me who they are, if I just ask and if I just listen.





9 Random Thoughts About the Million-Dollar Doomsday Condos

18 01 2015

9 Random Thoughts About the Million-Dollar Doomsday Condos

Somehow I stumbled across an article about these Luxury Survival Condos built in an former Atlas missile silo in the middle of nowhere Kansas—and since I’m from Kansas I felt like I needed to know more, but all I was left with after learning about them was more questions.

luxury

1. First the website claimed it was in a “secret” location; I kept digging and I’m pretty sure I figured out where it is; my main concern is that if I’m paying millions of dollars to have shelter after a nuclear attack, how am I going to get there in time? Am I going to take my helicopter there? And if everyone—all 70 or so people who can live there too—takes their helicopters, where are we all going to park?

2. There’s a community pool inside. How are they going to keep pool water clear for 5+ years. How do they have enough water for that? You know some bored people are going to bang it out in there at least a few times, is there enough chlorine to kill all of those tiny tiny swimmers that will escape?

3. Speaking swimmers, will there be a medical staff? How will people deal with pregnancy? One would think that IUDs would be a good addition, but if only 70 people are left in the world, they’d probably also want to start repopulating the planet and I don’t know if I’d really want to give birth in an underground bunker. What about formula, baby food, diapers?

4. Most importantly, what about death? Where do the dead bodies go?

5. And what if someone coming in has a weird contagious disease?

6. Plumbing is also a concern. I’m sure they’ve thought this through. I saw that they have the bidet style toilets to cut back on the use of toilet paper, but what if something goes wrong with the pipes?

7. I haven’t even gotten to the social aspects. Can you even imagine being stuck in a building with 70 other rich assholes? Like surviving a nuclear attack and then getting trapped in one space with a bunch of crazy doomsday people might actually be worse than dying.

8. Have they even thought about the life philosophies they’re going to instill? Like if you could start over from scratch basically, then you could get people to believe in anything. You could make up your own religion, your own customs, and relationship-structures. They’d really have a golden opportunity and I imagine that they’d just waste it on reformulating capitalism and monogamy—yawn.

9. They have security guards there. If there was an attack, wouldn’t the guys with the guns get dibs?