Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Chasing butterflies

Sometimes I think I'm my own worst enemy. I build up the guy I'm seeing in my head to be this Adonis, with this halo around them like they're some perfect, untouchable entity. Like a 13 year old girl in the 80s crushed on New Kids on the Block and cried at their concerts. Ok, maybe not that crazy. But I definitely still get that same feeling I got the day I got my first crush. The problem is that I still see myself in the same light too. As the band geek with the Whitney Houston “I Wanna Dance with Somebody” hair, and the baby fat I hadn’t learned how to shed just yet. And as one half of a relationship, it was no different. I had always viewed myself as the reacher and not the settler. And that is where this pilgrim always gets her heart broken.

More so than that is the fact that I have what some would call relationship ADD. I don’t necessarily get bored, but I find that I lose interest easily. Usually because a lot of the guys that ask me out aren’t all that deep, or interesting for that matter. Sure, they can be smart or good looking.. but rarely are they ever the full package. Add in the “glass shattering” effect, and well.. they are toast from the start. It’s relationship boredom, and it usually sets in within the first couple of months. So I start looking for an exit strategy. “It’s not you.. it’s me,” is far too cliché and no one seems to really buy it. Then there is always the talk of babies. If you want to run a man off, tell him everything you ate that day, that you want to be married with five children by the time you’re thirty and that your biological clock is ticking. Works every time. Before my regular readers start berating me for running off potential suitors, let me assure you I was doing it for their own good.

I find myself in situations where I “used” to feel the flutter. You know, the Butterfly Effect. Where you smile like an idiot every time their name comes up on your phone, or when you spy them from across a crowded room. That high school sweetheart feeling you had for only one person.. your Wendy Peffercorn. Maybe I am just jaded or a tad too cynical, or maybe all my years of thinking like a boy and being treated like one of them have caught up with me. But now the only feeling I feel is.. well, like vomiting. Over anxiety. Over being trapped in something that doesn't fit me the way I had pictured it would. The past few attempts at relationships were more like hemorrhoids. No, make that enemas. They were just up my ass and left me feeling extremely uncomfortable. And oddly enough, I always weighed less once I was rid of them. Hmmm..

I miss the feelings I had in the “beginnings.” Not necessarily the thrill of the chase, because at my age, in my line of work, that shit is really starting to get old. Instead, I miss feeling like I can be "me" and not a "we". Far too often I was consumed by feelings of guilt that I couldn't be everything they wanted because I was too busy fulfilling my dreams. But more so because I wasn’t willing to give up everything I had worked so hard for at the chance of living happily ever after with them. The real problem lies in the fact that no one tells you what happens when that new car smell isn't there anymore. What does it mean when the flutter isn’t there? Is it just a sign of life just getting real and signaling the end of the honeymoon phase or is it God’s way of showing you this isn't where he wanted you to end up?

If living on the island has taught me anything, it’s… go to the bathroom before you leave home, and that the world is really that small of a place. And trying to cut your teeth in my industry, the number of people you are exposed to on a daily basis… even smaller. So to say my dating pool was more like a koi pond, is a vast understatement. It wasn’t unheard of me seeing people I had used to date, or flirt with… some more casually than others. The worst part though was seeing someone after there was no resolution. Your situation just kinda melted, evaporated, or exploded… and there was no conclusion. I found myself in one such situation.

I recently ran into a familiar face that used to do that to me, you may recall him - the Perfect Stranger? Well, since our falling out, we haven't seen each other too much and haven't even really spoken other than an occasional text around birthdays or holidays. And that was fine by me. I think we just realized we wanted different things out of life. Translation: I wanted to date an adult. He wanted to date girls that could barely spell “orange”. He never liked what I did for a living and was always giving me ultimatums about it.

“Would you give up your acting/TV stuff?” ---NO!

“Would you give up your writing?” --- NO!

“Would you give up appearances, the public eye, and settle down and have a family?” -- Hell to the NO.

A guy like him wanted nothing more than a trophy girlfriend. Someone who would give up herself, relies on him financially, and never challenges him… ever. And that girl was certainly not me.

A little over a month ago, I was standing outside a Super Bowl party in Miami waiting on a friend to arrive, when he came out of the entrance with a girl whose shoulders easily could have bench pressed someone my size. Oddly enough however, there was not a single flutter. The deeper down in my soul I searched for a feeling for him.. the emptier I found it to be. There was no butterfly effect, only the feelings they sing about in those Pepto Bismol commercials. Heartburn, indigestion, upset stomach, diarrhea. God, why had I picked such a tight dress? Still, there was no drama. He ignored me, I ignored him.. and all was right with the world again.

Oddly enough, the Stranger’s thinking wasn’t at all original. Same thing happened with my latest companion. I cared about him deeply, but he just never seemed to "get it." His attitude toward my career, toward my opinions, and his sophomoric tone about him always being right were the proverbial can of Raid that laid the whoop ass on my butterflies.

Catching up with friends recently, none of them seemed surprised the latest didn't last.

"Jenn, c’mon. He was a child,” one of them said. “While he was hella book smart, you could have run the New York marathon around him in the common sense category. He was just naïve about life and was more interested in having a piece of eye candy than what was under the wrapper."

"Heh. Isn't that all men?" I laughed.

"Some. Err, make that most. I meant that metaphorically speaking by the way.. not about getting naked. But every once in a while you find one that seems a lil different from the rest and it you let your guard down. Face it Jenn, beneath that tough frat boy exterior, you're kinda a girl. Granted, you keep it a secret from most people, but we’re your friends. So, the jig is up."

My friend was right. Maybe I had been the exterminator in all my relationships by expecting things to always feel “direct from the dealership” fresh. But on the other hand, maybe I was doing myself a huge favor. Maybe I was weeding through all the tired bullshit, the cobwebs and spiders. I was getting rid of all the old cluster of ‘ish in the attic that I had zero use for. And Lord knows I have seen plenty of that. When it comes to relationships, you have to find someone with gumption to stand by you when shit gets tough, and when things aren't perfect. Because the butterfly feeling only last so long. When the day comes and she's barefoot, pregnant, and cursing that day you were in the mood.. well, you still have to love her. And what about the day your balls look less like the prizes of their day, and more like Jose Conseco’s after a cycle? Well, she won't mock you endlessly for it. At least, not if it’s the real deal. The point is, that you have to find the person that you could imagine waking up next to for the foreseeable future and not the one who you lay awake next to plotting your narrow escape before the sun comes up like one of those kids from Twilight.

Some things in life are just worth waiting for. Maybe that is why I have thrown myself into my career. Sure dating can be fun, but finding people of substance is tricky. Because once the butterflies leave, and the moths take up nesting, all you’re going to get are holes in your clothes and a closet that smells like old people. Finding genuine people in this world who can make you laugh, keep you smiling, and make your life a better place to be.. well, it certainly beats that empty feeling you wake up with after a “coyote ugly” experience. After all, while some people settle down, and others just settle, there are still people out there that refuse to settle for anything less than butterflies. This girl just happens to be one of them.


svalleyguy said...

I can totally relate to "chasing butterflies". Glad you're not settling for anything less.

Ray said...

Dating people of substance is GREAT!!! Especially if she can spell "Orange".

It just hurts a heck of a lot more if that doesn't work out. Did that recently... Still recovering...

But hey!!!
That's what life is for... "Finding out." - Happy Texas

Isn't it?

Warren Wallace said...

Damn, if your dating pool is a koi pond then I think mine must be a goldfish bowl! Keep chasing the butterflies and don't make the mistake of settling. Remember that you're a unique girl with a unique career, so it's going to take time and the patience to deal with the trials and errors of dating before you find your match. And you have time! In the meantime enjoy being an independent 26 yr old living in the sports capital of the world!

OzJ15 said...

this is an interesting piece...but the body has a memory, and the more you keep sharing your body with people, you are confusing will never be able to laugh or cry completely when you date too many people, because you've confused bodies....what you save, is what will save you

Richard said...

Just remember, it takes two to make butterflies. And no offense, but I've always found that the better looking a person is, the more apt they are to expect the world handed to them without the work. It's not their fault, it's the fault of a society whom places looks out front in the spotlight and the brains in the back with no credit whatsoever. Yeah, I know it's presumptuous, rude, and is a sweeping generalization, but in my experience, it fits 99% of the time.

Trick is, finding the 1% that are not already tied down or jaded because they hung on a bit too long because they were hoping for the super looks/super romantic/super brains combo and came up empty on 2 of 3.

Bellezza svanirà, il cervello non lo faranno.

Doug said...

I couldn't have said it better than the last two paragraphs. Just don't forget to put yourself out there once in a while too.

Congrats on the kickoff on the new show! You did a great job!