“Fall into these arms
And spend the night
With a stranger like me…”
Today, I make an admission to the masses: I take part in the world of online dating and I’m not ashamed of it… mostly.
Whew, feels good to get that off my chest. Now, let’s get to the down and dirty of it all, shall we?
As mentioned before (ad naseum), last summer I was relieved (a nice way of saying dumped) of a 2 year relationship. It hurt like a bitch for all of 6 minutes. And don’t get me wrong, I don’t mind being alone. I’m a firm believer in the idea that in order for you to good for someone else, you need to be 100% with yourself first. It’s a motto I’ve lived by since I found myself thrust into the harsh truths of the real world when I turned 18 and it’s generally served me well in regards to relationships. If I doubt myself at all during the beginning stages of what could potentially be something beautiful, I tend to back away (or more like run away as if I set that bitch on fire and am aware that I wouldn’t survive in prison. An arson conviction is only 2nd to murder).
I wasn’t, and still am not, in the market for a relationship. But that doesn’t change the fact that I still appreciate the companionship of a lady (or, in strictly friendly situations, a man). I decided exactly 6 weeks after things ended with my ex that I would create an OKCupid and a Plenty of Fish profile. I kept as honest as possible on each profile’s bio and put only the best of the best of my photos up there. Now, I’ve had a dating profile before back when I was around 20 that ended with me dating a con artist of sorts for about 3 months. That ended as good as you would think it would’ve considering the circumstances. Another story, another blog.
This time around however proved to be a bit more fruitful in my attempts to find someone who wanted to spend time. It turns out 2 years in a relationship suddenly gave me that “sexy man” glow I had been missing previously. I joke that the worst thing my ex could have done was instill confidence in me. Every other day I was being approached with “likes” and messages saying anything as simple as a “hello” to “you’re so handsome, I love your smile.” My ego inflated with each and every visit. At first I never approached girls who caught my eye out of fear that she might actually respond and it would turn into something that I wasn’t looking for. But one day, I saw Liz’s profile.
So I decided to take that chance.
My first outing with Liz was wonderful. We met up for drinks and talked for hours about our lives, our past relationships, our interests and everything in between. It was the first time I could be that open with an absolutely stranger. It was also the first time I had casual sex with someone I had barely known for less than a day. It’s cheesy, but it’s an experience that I’ll cherish for the rest of my life if for one reason: because I did something I had never done before. Casual sex was not something that I was particularly comfortable with. See, I’m a serial monogamist through and through. Which is cool when you’re young and naive and think that relationships last forever. Then one day, you end up jaded like myself and realize that sex really isn’t that big of a deal. So sue me.
After that experience, I figured the two of us could end up being cool with each other. Maybe seeing each other occasionally for a little push-push. But then things took a really strange turn. After that initial meeting, I received a text message from Liz saying that she missed me. Um… what? How did we go from having a one-off to suddenly missing each other? Needless to say, I had to back myself away from that situation. I wasn’t ready for any type of commitment.
What followed were a bunch of hit or miss dates. Some went just as great as the first time out with Liz. And some not so well. The bad, unfortunately outweighed the good in this situation. But even in the bad, I’ve had a chance to experience things, to truly learn the things that I like and things that I can’t stand in a companion. The biggest lesson I learned was that I’m nowhere near ready to fall in love again. Not that I’m still raw about my previous relationship. It’s more the fact that I’ve had the time of my life in the last 8 months and I plan on continuing to do so for the foreseeable future.
I’m not gonna lie, I miss having that “one” to talk to at the end of the day. Someone that I can cuddle with at night. Someone that when we have sex, I know that I’m the only one and she’s my only one. As I’m completely enjoying myself right now, sexual attraction doesn’t make up for the lack of an emotional connection that I’ve been so used to. As much as I want that, I know that I’m not ready to give someone else the same amount of myself. It’s that part of my life where it’s “every man for himself” and I’m definitely out for myself. If that makes me a good guy or a bad guy, I’m not sure. I just know that as long as I’m honest with myself and honest with everyone else, I’ll come out the other side okay.
Until next time…
“GravityStay the hell away from me
It’s taking a better man than me
Now how can that be?
Just keep me where the light is…”
If you have an Instagram, you would know that Thursday’s are probably it’s most popular posting day due to #ThrowbackThursday’s (Yeah, I just used a hashtag… don’t judge). I don’t often participate in it, but today I thought I’d give it a go. I posted the following picture of myself from when I was but the wee-baby Turner:
(Funny story about this pic: my mom let an absolute stranger who lived next door to my grams take this pic. He saw me in the front yard and asked my mom if he could take a picture of me and SHE SAID YES!!! The hell is wrong with her? He probably still furiously beats off to this picture to this day…)
Anyway, I don’t participate in the #ThrowbackThursday (damn it, I did it again) trend too often. But finding this picture led me down a rabbit hole of sorts. This rabbit hole is something that I voluntarily fall down every now and again. I start feeling nostalgic, wanting to take a somewhat embarrassing walk down memory lane. I ultimately found pictures from elementary school and Jr. High, but it was the pictures from high school that got me the most.
See, high school was a tough time for me, mentally and emotionally. I wasn’t a very happy teenager due to circumstances I’m not really willing to delve into currently, but I hid it well. Only my closest friends know what I went through in those years. But looking at the pictures, looking at that painfully shy, awfully awkward and gawky teenager who felt like he was forced to hide his pain as to not draw attention to himself, I suddenly felt a sense of pride.
Looking at who I was not even 10 years ago:
(Acne scars and the beginnings of a jeri curl… Word.)
And then looking at who I am right now:
And then another one…
And another one for good measure… (also because I’m damn photogenic sometimes…)
(Would you fuck me? I’d fuck me. I’d fuck me hard.)
But back to the point I was trying to make before narcissism took over. I’m proud of myself because after everything that I went through, I came out the other side pretty okay. And not just look-wise, I mean the whole package.
There’s a song on John Mayer’s “Continuum” album called “Gravity” that has resonated with me ever since I heard it the summer after graduating high school. It’s an ode to the fear of being bogged down in the familiar, bogged down in what keeps you from moving forward with your life. In the song, there’s a line that goes “just keep me where the light is.” And every now and again, when I’m feeling particularly down on myself, I listen to this song and remind myself of where the light is.
I’m not a perfect human being. I don’t strive to be. However, I do want to be the best person that I can be and lately it seems like the vision of the future is becoming more and more clear for myself and those around me. That’s probably been the hardest thing to accept in my 25 years on this earth. Since high school, I’ve been lost and latching onto other people’s dreams because of the fear of the unknown. In the last year as I’ve had certain experiences, I’ve learned that that the unknown is something that’s beautiful, it’s the light I believe John was crooning about. Fear is the gravity that’s keeping me away from that light.
It’s within my reach, I just need to shake the last flakes of the fear. I can see it. I want it. I crave it so bad. I’m going to make that light mine. And I’m gonna take the world with me.
Please excuse this stream of unnecessary consciousness. I’ve been drinking cheap jug wine and I needed to get it off my mind finally.
“I’m about to drive in the ocean
I’ma try to swim from something bigger than me
Kick off my shoes and swim good, and swim good
Take off this suit and swim good, and swim good, good”
It was 8 months ago that I was unceremoniously dumped by the first girl I had ever let myself love and it hurt like a bitch. Since then I fast tracked through the 5 stages of post-breakup grief in an attempt to keep myself from being anymore stagnant than I had been for the last 2 years.
What followed were the least productive 3 months in my entire life. It was full of sex, liquor and rock n’ roll (maybe not so much rock n’ roll, but you know… it was some pretty reckless behavior nonetheless). Moving forward was actually the last thing on my mind and instead moving past my heartbreak took precedent. You’re probably thinking that those things are one in the same, but they are very much on opposite sides of the spectrum. It was like I tapped into my dark side, or the side that had been developing in the recesses of relationship addled brain over the course of the last 2 years. It was never me masking any type of unhappiness, it was me finally putting everything and everyone else to the side for once and just dealing with myself and what I needed to make me a whole person again.
Am I proud of some of the activities that took place over the summer? Not particularly and I’m sure they’ll shape an event in the future in same way, but it’s something that I needed and I can honestly say that it’s made me a better person. Experience is key and this life is too short not to have as many, good or bad, as possible.
But at some point I had to hit a wall. And Jebus Christmas, did I. See, I was taking these secret weekend excursions to LA and Hollywood and bar hopping by my lonesome, desperate to make a connection with anyone who would give me the time of the day, anyone who would make me feel something new. And I found a lot of newness, I had moments of beautiful self discovery and devastating self loathing. Then one night I was literally high off my ass, standing on the rooftop of an scuzzy apartment complex somewhere in East LA looking over the cityscape and asking myself, out loud, “what next?” There had to be more to this life than parties and alcohol every weekend with people whom I barely knew, people who didn’t care anything about me.
And so I took a step back. I reevaluated everything. More so, I closely examined my relationships with my friends and my family. I made some tough decisions to cut some people out. Not because they were bad people, but because they were an integral part of my life that I was so desperate to leave behind. Once they were gone, I could breathe easier. I started hitting the gym in a more serious capacity, which gave me more life than I ever could’ve imagined just because for once, I was doing it for my own pleasure.
Then came the blow that changed everything. I was being laid off from my gig working for Microsoft. Suddenly the world opened up in a way I didn’t think was possible. I started considering all of the options I had. Do I say in California? Do I move to LA? Do I move up north?
Which is where this blog comes in. I’m 4 months away from not having a job (I’ve been actively searching for work in an attempt to stave off unemployment because nobody wants that shit less than me), which means I’ve got 4 months to make some pretty big decisions. I’ve already made one somewhat major one in that I’m studying to get my Personal Training cert as a fall back. But from there, I just want to chronicle the next year of my life. I want to chronicle the journey of a 25 year old man who is always struggling to be a better person than I was before.
It’s January 14th, 2014.
This is my adventure in improvement. Enjoy.