A very important list

I love lists.

I do. I write lists constantly.  It helps with my anxiety to see things on paper in front of me.  To-do lists are everywhere in my world.  Organization is beauty for me; it’s one of the reasons I love my job.

I also apparently love choosing the wrong guy. I am really good at it.  I find someone that seems so good for me, and then…they aren’t.  I need to break out of the patterns I have created for myself.  I need to be specific.  I need to be picky.

So, in true Brianne fashion, I have created a list of qualities that a potential partner must have. No settling.  Not anymore.  I’m too old to settle and I have two amazing little girls that don’t deserve to have someone in their life that isn’t going to be there long term, or isn’t going to be a positive role model.

There are some incredibly random items on this list, but trust me: they are all there for a specific reason. I am an open book – if any items need clarification or explanation, I’d love to provide it.

  • Tall (5’10 or above)
  • Well groomed
  • Smells good
  • Has post-secondary education
    • Doesn’t matter what type of PSE
    • Doesn’t matter if they graduated or with what degree/diploma/certificate
  • Has a stable job
  • Owns a car
  • Lives on his own (not with parents, roommate, etc.)
  • Owns at least one suit
  • Good grammar/spelling
  • Smart
  • Good sense of humour
    • Is funny
    • Thinks I’m funny
  • Can participate in witty banter
    • Sarcastic
    • Appreciates my sarcasm
  • Good relationship with parents, but not overbearing
  • First date must be an actual date
  • Friendly with wait staff, store clerks, etc.
  • If he has kids, must see them on a very regular basis
  • Likes at least one sport
  • Can recognize at least one Matthew Good song
  • Punctual
  • Swears, but not every other word
  • Doesn’t vape
  • Drinks but not every night, and not to excess
  • Does not speak negatively of any exes
  • Self-sufficient
  • Smiles in photos
  • No earrings
  • Treats me with respect
  • Trusts and is trustworthy
  • Not sexist/racist/homophobic/anything douchey

It all ends up hurting anyway

Think of the goal.  The endgame.  Typically when you’re dating, you’re looking for the one person.  Your forever person.  Your home.  The one person with whom you want to grow old.  The one that you want to wake up next to every morning for the rest of your life.  That is what we’re looking for.  That’s the objective.  That’s why we put ourselves through the torture of dating.  We want the happily ever after: that’s our definition of a successful relationship.

But…if you are with someone until you die…you’re with ONE person until you die.  That means that you can only have ONE successful relationship IN YOUR LIFE.  Think of how many relationships you’ve had? Maybe you haven’t had many.  Maybe you were really lucky and you met your soulmate in preschool and you will die in each other’s arms at 102.  But probably not. 

I’m not even asking how many RELATIONSHIP relationships you’ve had.  They don’t have to have been defined, or exclusive, or long term.  It could be an ongoing flirtation at work.  It could be someone with whom you went on three dates and called it quits.  It could just be someone you admired from afar for years before realizing that they can’t put together a coherent sentence to save their life.

My point is, you’ve probably had a few.  And let’s say that you DO end up with one person for the rest of your life.  Your success rate is still incredibly shitty.  I don’t mean to be pessimistic here, but I’m going to say that 99% of relationships are going to fail.  I think that’s a generous percentage.  It’s really probably more like 99.9999999999999999999…%, but I don’t want to seem cynical.

So what’s the point of getting emotions involved? I’d much rather keep one foot out the door and protect myself.  That way the second something goes wrong I can run.  I mean, yeah, maybe it’s an overreaction to someone switching the radio station when it’s a song I really like.  They don’t know I secretly love Duran Duran.  But ultimately the relationship is more than likely doomed from the start.  So if they tilt their head to their right to kiss and I tilt my head to my left, it’s just not going to work.  Why try.  It all ends up hurting anyway.

It’s my fault for being happy for 30 seconds

When you’ve been a victim of abuse, you build a pretty strong wall to protect yourself.  You learn quickly that expressing emotion can get you punished, so you hold it in.  If you’re lucky enough to get out of the abusive situation, that wall stays there.

When you meet new people, the wall strengthens.  Or at least it does for me.  I could meet the nicest person in the world and it will go one of two ways:

Scenario 1: There is no way this person can be this nice.  It must be an act.  They’re going to charm me and disarm me.  I better run before I see their true colours.

Scenario 2: There is no way I deserve someone this nice.  I’m not worth it.  It’s only a matter of time before they realize that I’m not good enough for them and they leave.  I better run before they see my true colours.


Unfortunately, I succumbed to a new scenario.  One that I didn’t know existed, and instead of ending with me running it ended with some serious heartache.

Yep: I’m talking about you, Coffee.

The self-proclaimed “nice guy with asshole tendencies.”  I tried to keep my wall up and I did a good job at first.  You didn’t pry, which was so wonderful.  I felt safe with you, and special.  You kissed my forehead and you tucked my hair behind my ears.  You told me that you hoped that eventually I would let my guard down with you.

The first time I relaxed a little around you, you said how nice it was.  You would text me all day, telling me that you really liked me and if we hadn’t seen each other in awhile you would say you missed me.  I actually felt this going somewhere.  I’m an idiot, I guess.

Last weekend you invited me to stay with you.  This was a huge deal for me.  Since leaving my husband, I’ve been with people but I’ve rarely slept with them.  There are very few people with whom I have actually spent a night.  Of course my first reaction was to run.  Alert, alert, too nice.  Scenario 1.  Get the fuck out.

But you know what? I really fucking liked you.  With an exclamation point.  And I thought you liked me too.  So I agreed.  You sounded excited to have me stay over.  You bought mugs, and a kettle, and coffee.  You made me breakfast.  I was with you…maybe 20 hours? 22? I had such an amazing time with you.  I loved the way you made me feel.  I fucking opened up to you.

I guess that was my mistake.  I talked about my ex.  I talked about my dad.  I’m not going to lie: I verbal diarrhea-ed all over you.  It’s a lot to take and I get that.  My life is not perfect or wonderful; it’s been shattered and poorly glued back together.  But it’s my life and it’s part of me and I thought that you liked me.

When I left your house, I was happy.  I was fucking happy.  This should have set off warning bells, but it didn’t.  I went home and I talked to my friends about you and I smiled like an idiot and gushed like a teenager.

It wasn’t until the next evening that it came crashing down.  An innocent text to you asking if I would get to see you this week.  An innocent enough non-committal answer from you.  A jokey response from me, poorly disguising my disappointment.  A sinking feeling that the end had come.

It’s been a few days.  Communication has slowed right down to nothing.  I wish you would at least tell me that you don’t want to see me anymore.  I know it’s hard to hurt someone but saying nothing hurts a lot more.  It would take you twenty seconds to pick up your phone and say something like, “I’m sorry but I don’t see this going anywhere.”  Or, “I had fun but I think we should stop seeing other.”  Anything, really.  Just something to provide some sort of closure and to make yourself a little less of an asshole.

I was talking to my friend about ghosting yesterday.  When someone ghosts us we should know that they are the ones with the problem.  They are the ones who are too cowardly to send a simple text.  It really takes no time out of their day to be a decent human being.  But instead we blame ourselves.  We wonder what we did wrong.  We wonder if we aren’t pretty enough, or funny enough, or smart enough.  We wonder what part of us isn’t enough for them.

I hate this feeling.  I hate sitting on my couch crying.  I hate feeling bruised and broken and alone.  I hate that you made me feel like you were worth it.  I feel like I was a game to you.  I was closed off and it was a challenge.  You got in and therefore you won.  Game over.  I’m left in pieces behind you but you won.  Congratulations, I guess.  I’m not sure how many times I can glue myself back together, but I’ll try.

Late night revelation

I take Zoloft.  I’ve been on medication for ten years, but have just started Zoloft recently.  I’m still on an increasing dose, although where I am now seems pretty good most days.  I’m trying to determine if I like where I am right now or if I should continue the increase.

Some days I feel like the medication is not working very well.  It’s so difficult to describe, but I feel un-medicated.  I am used to having a medication that masks all of my emotions, rendering me robotic.   I switched medications because I wanted to try having a wider range of emotions: I was getting tired of having only numb and number.  Although I am coping better since starting this medication, I don’t have that overly medicated zombie-esque façade to which I become accustomed.  Quite often it would go through my mind that perhaps this medication was not working.

Today, I forgot to take my pill.  I have an alarm set on my phone that goes off at 8:00am during the week and 9:00am on weekends to remind me to take my pill.  Every morning I try to remember to take the pill before my alarm goes off; it’s some kind of game I play against myself.  Last night I was up late and today I had to start working an event at noon, so instead of setting myself an extra alarm to wake me, I decided to just use the pill reminder alarm.  I forgot to take my pill and there was no second alarm to remind me.

Halfway through my event today I realized that I had forgotten to take my medication.  I was working so I knew I wouldn’t be able to take it until tonight.  I made a mental note in my head and reminded myself that these pills didn’t seem to be doing much so it likely didn’t matter that I’d forgotten today’s dosage.  My day went on and I took the pill when I got home.

On an unrelated note, I’ve spent the day stressing over a personal situation.  I like someone, I think they like me back, I don’t know how much…I’m pretty much a teenager.  I’ve gone full “girl crazy” as I obsess over it.

And then I feel stupid for overthinking the situation.  I always do this: I overanalyze everything.  I tell myself over and over again that I need to stop stressing myself out.  At the same time, however, I tell myself that I’m probably right: he probably doesn’t like me.

I think, you are so stupid.  Why do I keep doing this? Why do I let myself get hurt? Why do I overthink and overanalyze and why do I care? Why can’t I just shut off and let no one in? Why did I think it was okay to let someone in?

I should just kill myself.

That’s when I stopped.  I completely froze.  I was walking from my bedroom to the living room and I stopped dead in my tracks.  A whoosh of breath took the word “whoa” out of my lungs and into the silent room.

I started talking to my brain as if it were two separate people: an intimidated nerd against the unapologetic bully.  I couldn’t let this bully speak to me like that.  I gave myself a pep talk.  It’s not okay to say those things.  I need to have respect for myself.  I am worthy of respect.  Why on Earth was I saying these things?

Ah.  Right.  The medication.

The medication IS working.  See what happens when I don’t take the medication? I become even more self-deprecating; suicidal, even.  Although maybe with the medication I am still somewhat crazy as evidenced by the fact that there seem to be two people in my brain.  Three, really, if you take into account this third party referee.

But it is really nice to see that the medication is working.  It is not masking my symptoms by creating a new mask.  It is allowing me to feel…I have a new range of emotions.  Some of them suck, but they’re there.  The medication allows me those emotions, but keeps away the really dark thoughts and feelings.  It’s like a dreamcatcher: it catches the bad thoughts and washes them away with the light.

So, I’m going to take some deep breaths.  I’m going to try to not freak out.  I am worth it.  Maybe you see that I’m worth it.  I hope that you see, but maybe you don’t.  And that would hurt, because I do feel.  I am human.  But I will heal and I will be okay.  You can bend me and you can bruise me but you can’t break me.

I can’t tell you the future.  You can’t tell me.  But I have today.  I know how I felt with you.  And if by some chance you don’t feel the same way, that’s okay.  I’m okay…or at least, I will be.

Feeling exposed and not in the good way

At this moment I am happy.  This, quite honestly, is terrifying.

In my experience, happy leads to really happy.  And really happy leads to misery.

There are usually some twists and turns between really happy and misery: ups and downs, ebbs and flows.  However, in the end, happy will without doubt lead to misery.  Call me pessimistic, call me cynical, call me guarded…but I call me safe.

It’s hard to get your heart broken if you don’t have one.  I’ve spent a lot of time hurting, and I don’t want to do it anymore.  I’ve been doing everything I can to ensure that I protect myself.

I have met people and gone out.  I make sure that everyone I see knows that I have children, but that’s as far as that goes.  I don’t give their names or ages.  I don’t show pictures or tell stories.  I had one person at my house and we were playing around with Spotify.  When they went to use my computer, my desktop wallpaper was a picture of my oldest.  I immediately grabbed the laptop away from him.  It’s easier to stay detached if I keep every aspect of my life separate.

I don’t talk about my ex.  I don’t talk about other relationships.  I don’t talk about my family, or my friends, or my emotions.  I mean, this is probably why these “relationships” don’t last very long.  I get that.  I can psychoanalyze myself better than anyone.  But I’m not going to let someone in just so that I can get hurt again.  That really doesn’t interest me.

Against my better judgment, I’ve let someone in.  I have talked about my kids; I’ve told stories and shown pictures.  I’ve used their names instead of calling them “the big one” and “the little one.”  I’ve talked about my dad, my ex, and yeah…even my emotions.  I’ve done it without realizing, and I keep doing it.  As much as I know I should stop, I don’t.  I actually want to let this person in.  I want them to know these things about me.  I want to know things about them.

How the fuck did that happen?

Yes, I know that I am actually human.  As much as I try not to be, I am a real live human being.  I have thoughts and feelings and emotions.  I want what everyone wants: someone to make them feel special, and wanted, and important.  I just don’t want to want that.

I want to have my wall.  I want to keep my humour shield.  I want to have this force shield that no one can get through.  Yet somehow, someone got through.  And now I can’t stop feeling.

I feel like a 16-year-old.  Does he like me? How much? Currently, I’m only seeing him: is he only seeing me? Does he want to only see me? Does he think about me? What are we to each other? It’s so overwhelming even though I know it shouldn’t be.  I’m overthinking it of course, as I do every facet of my life.

He’s good to me.  He’s kind, he’s sweet, and he’s just…lovely.  He makes me laugh.  He makes me feel special, and wanted, and important.  He holds my face when he kisses me.  He holds doors for me.  He kisses my forehead when I lean into him.  It feels amazing.

So why, then, can I not just enjoy this moment? Why am I so close to running away and never seeing him again? Am I so afraid of getting my heart broken that I won’t even try? I just need to tell my stupid brain to shut the fuck up.

Shut the fuck up, brain.  No one asked you.

How not to get drunk and have a threesome 

*I wrote this a few weeks ago as an apology for a thing I did. I didn’t publish it here because I was embarrassed. But I’m also honest. And sometimes I do dumb things. And then I write about them.

Last week I turned 30.

This has been a big year for me.  29 kicked my ass.  In February my daughter turned one and still needed pillows surrounding her when she sat independently.  She was nowhere near crawling and I still hadn’t heard her tiny voice say “Mama.”  I chauffeured her to appointments all over Guelph and McMaster and I tried to come to terms with the fact that she might never “catch up.”

May marked five years since my dad died.  August would have been his 60th birthday.  I was always a Daddy’s Girl.  My dad was a superhero to me growing up: he could do no wrong.  The last couple years of his life were tough for us.  A huge wedge was driven between us and we never quite got back to where we were.  It will always be my biggest regret in life that we couldn’t make it “right” before he died.  As much as the skin around it heals, the scar is always there.

I also moved out on my own for the first time at 29.  I have my kids about 60% of the time, which means that half of the nights I spend here alone.  That has been really hard for me.  As much as I crack jokes about Gordon downstairs, he really has been a lifeline.  I will wake up at 2am to my floors vibrating with his snores beneath me, but damned if it isn’t reassuring.  I can’t be truly alone with Gordon ten feet below me.

I’ve also made some poor choices this year.  I’ve done things of which I am not proud.  I have allowed myself to be treated like a “piece of meat.”  I’ve spent a long time hiding emotions behind humour and I guess I’m reaping the rewards of a less than healthy defense mechanism.

I threw my own 30th birthday party because yeah, 29 fucking sucked.  Goodbye and good riddance.  Let’s begin anew.  But before that happens, let’s throw one big bash and throw inhibitions out the window.

Well, that wasn’t my intent…but it’s definitely what happened.

I did a stupid thing and I hurt someone.  This someone…this is where words start to fall apart and I picture funny cartoons in my head instead of facing the truth.  This someone…I don’t know what this someone is.  This someone is someone who seems kind and genuine, much unlike the people I have met recently.  Someone who is actually interested in ME and not just parts of me.  Someone I think I could actually spend time with and maybe even build something with.  (Oooo, Lego! No, Bri! Back on track.)

But I did a thing and quite possibly ruined the something with the someone.  I’m not sure.  He seems at least willing to try to get past it, so that’s something.  Right now I’m feeling like complete shit and like I don’t deserve it, but let’s put aside the self-deprecation for a moment (I know, unnatural).

I’m really not sure how to play this.  I can quite confidently say that this is a situation in which I have never before found myself.  I’m even rambling on paper.  All I know is that I like this someone and I would like another chance at not fucking it up.  If he would give me another chance.  I hope he does.  Even if it’s just another 35 minutes in a coffee shop.  Hell, I’ll drink water too.

Yes, Someone: I would sit in my favourite coffee shop and drink water for you.

So this is my essay…for a writer, it’s kind of shit.  I’m well aware.  But my gift is my song and this one’s for you.  (Plagiarism is sexy, right?)

I’m Going to Die Alone and That’s Okay: The Story of The Psycho

No great love story ever started with, “We met on Tinder.”

Case in point. I met a guy on Tinder. We talked on the app for a few days, and then exchanged phone numbers. Texted back and forth. Tried to make plans for a weekend, but I had my kids and the only window of time I had didn’t work for him. So we texted for another week or so, and then made plans for a Friday night that I didn’t have my kids.

I went to his house. He made me dinner and we had a fire in his backyard. He has a big, lovely property. Grows fruits and vegetables and sells them. He grows grapes for wine in a lovely little mini vineyard setup, with lights strung through them. It’s quite beautiful, actually. And he has a really sweet dog.

We had a great night, actually. He was funny; I spent a lot of time laughing. I will be honest and say that I wasn’t expecting him to be very smart, based on the limited information I had about him, but was pleasantly surprised that he could actually hold a conversation and use two syllable words. We talked a lot. I got to know quite a bit about him, and shared some things about myself.

Once it got too cold to stay outside, we went inside to watch a movie.

When it was time to leave, he was very sweet. Walked me to my car, said he wanted to see me again, and asked me to text him when I got home safely. If you know me, this is a big deal to me. I’ve told friends that all I want is for a guy to ask me to text him when I got home. So, this gained him some major points.

We made plans to see each other again a few days later. I went back to his house. He ordered a pizza and we watched Family Guy on Netflix and then some baseball. It was a much more casual night but I enjoyed it more. I started to have a couple feelings for this guy.

Again, when I left, he asked me to text him when I got home.

A few days later we tried to make plans. He asked when he could see me again and I said whenever. I told him that I had my kids for the next several days, but I could get a babysitter or he could come over after they were in bed. He said okay, but we didn’t pick a date.

I work part time for a caterer. The opportunity came up to work an event on Saturday, so I took it. I hadn’t heard from The Psycho about a date, so I didn’t think anything of taking the job.

Thursday night The Psycho texted me and asked the general area of where I live. I jokingly said why, are you coming over? And he said “not tonight.” That was that.

Friday he texted me again. Friday I was really sick. I told him that he could come over, but I may or may not just fall asleep on him. He said that he was actually planning on coming Saturday night. I told him oh, I am working this event. He got mad because I had said that he could come “whenever he wanted” and now I was contradicting myself and had lied. Red flag? Well, maybe not. I had said that he could see me whenever. I should have been more specific. My bad.

So I told him that I wasn’t sure when the event would be over, but maybe I could come over after. He seemed okay with that response, and even talked me through a schedule of how he thought my event would go and when he felt I should be done. Seemed weird, but okay.

Saturday morning he texted me to ask if I still wanted to see him. I responded that I really did, but I wasn’t sure what time I would be done and I didn’t want him to waste his time waiting around for me. I told him that I could text him throughout the night and he could let me know if he still wanted me to come.

He called me, really upset with me. He would not let me get a word in, and then got mad that I didn’t have anything to say for myself. When I did try to talk, he interrupted me constantly, saying that I was lying to him, contradicting myself, playing games, creating drama. He told me that I was being selfish and inconsiderate and rude. I told him that I was actually trying to be the opposite, by being honest in that I didn’t know when I would be done. And I was trying to be considerate by not making him wait around.

I had to leave for the event, so I was talking to him while I drove to pick up my friend. She got in the car and he was still yelling at me. By this point I was getting pretty sick of defending myself. I would like to add in here that Saturday was 8 days after I had met him for the first time. 8 days. If this is how he acts on Day 8, what would day 80 be like? Day 800?

I told him I didn’t like how he was treating me and that I didn’t need to sit there and be yelled at. He called me a bitch. I hung up on him. My friend looked at me with understanding her eyes and said, “Your ex?” I said, “No, it was a guy that I just started dating EIGHT DAYS AGO.” Her understanding eyes almost popped out of her head.

He called back, and I handed the phone to my friend because I was driving and not interested in this bullshit. She answered and told him that I was driving and we were on our way to the job site. He called her a bitch.

He blew up my phone with texts for the rest of the afternoon. Basically saying how I was so rude and inconsiderate. I am a liar. I play games. But he would see me at 9 to talk about it. That I would be there by 9. That I better be there by 9.

At this point, I did not want to go to his house. I mean, can you blame me? I told him that, and he said that we needed to talk in person. He said that if he never saw me again after tonight he would be fine with that, but that we needed to end it in person. End what? I’d seen him twice.

I told him that I would meet him at a bar in my town for a drink and we could talk there. I didn’t want to drive half an hour to get yelled at. Also, public place. He told me that the plan was for me to go there, and so I would go there. He said that he would not be coming to me, and that he would see me at 9. He told me that if I didn’t come I would regret it. He said that I needed to keep my word and if I didn’t, he would get revenge on me.

We actually got done at the event fairly early. I dropped my friend off. And I’m a fucking idiot and I went to his house. I didn’t know what kind of revenge he meant, but I didn’t want to risk it. I wanted to tell him in person that I was not okay with how he was treating me and I wasn’t going to see him anymore. Because I’m an idiot.

So I went there and we talked. He was rude and not very kind, calling me names and yelling at me, but yet shifted all the blame to me because I had said “whenever”. Once we were done talking, I wasn’t as mad at him anymore but I definitely did not want to keep seeing him. He kissed me. I told him I wasn’t going to have sex with him tonight. He told me that I owed him a blow job instead. I asked how he figured that? He said that I came to his house and I came inside, so that means that I owed him sex. And that if I wasn’t going to have sex with him, I better give him the blow job he deserved.

I laughed. He must be kidding. Over the past eight days he had shown me a sense of humour. He had to be kidding…right?

He started yelling at me more. Shouting at me that I needed to give him his blow job before I could leave. I told him I had to pee and I grabbed my purse and left.

As I was driving home he called me about how rude I was, and that I could have left things on good terms (after I gave him his blow job). I said that trying to coerce me into sexual acts was not okay with me. That I had said I wasn’t interested and he had a tantrum.

Then he said that he had wanted to talk to me about a couple other things but I had left, and now I would have to find out later. I would find out, but not from him. I was confused. What? He said, you’ll find out. And when you do, don’t call me about it because it will be too late.

He said that when people fuck him over, he gets “the last and most significant revenge.” He told me that he knows a lot about me, and that if I didn’t come back to his house and finish the conversation, I would regret it. Not today and not tomorrow, but soon. I’d find out what he could do and I’d regret this.

Um. Fucking weird. What?! What kind of fucked up threat is that?

He kept texting me that night. I tried to diffuse the situation and tell him that I wished him the best. That it was nice meeting him, and that we were too different to work but that I wished him the best of luck.

He said, yes, the stories and videos were fun.

What videos?????????

Yes, that’s right. He told me that he has videos of me. I thought back over our time together and I tried to think of what personal information he had about me. He knew the general area in which I live. He knew that I have children. He knew where I work. So I freaked out.

I changed my privacy settings on Facebook. I blocked him on every social media site I have. I googled him and found a story someone else had written about him, that I very much wish I had read beforehand.

My friends convinced me to call the police. I felt like an idiot doing so, but I have children. I can’t put them at risk. So I called, and an officer visited me at home. He looked up The Psycho and told me that he has a long list of complaints filed against him. Apparently he has a history of meeting women online and then going crazy.

My take on that? I almost didn’t call the police. I only called because I have wonderful friends who have my back and convinced me to call. I only called because I have two young girls. But if I didn’t have my children, I would not have called.

If he has a long list of women who HAVE reported him, how many haven’t? That’s terrifying to me. I reported him to Tinder and they told me they won’t remove him from the site. So he is free to keep meeting women online. He’s free to keep doing what he’s doing.

So yeah. I’m going to die alone. And I’m okay with that. Because no great love story ever started with Tinder.
Regret Scoring: 10/10

Does this even need an explanation? All the regrets.