I’m sorry, am I making you uncomfortable?

I mean…I’m sorry I’m not sorry.

Part of the Girls on the Run curriculum is a lesson about emotions and how they are not good or bad, but some – like excitement and happiness – are more comfortable, and some – like jealousy and loneliness – are more uncomfortable to feel.

I really like that. Since I learned it as a sophomore in college, I’ve been a big proponent of “feel your feelings” and this adds a new step to it…to acknowledge that feelings are not always comfortable, but that they’re okay.

As uncomfortable as they are to feel, sometimes they’re even more uncomfortable to express, but I’m getting better at that and this weekend I tried. A few times.  To family members and a friend.  I told them I was lonely, I told them I was unhappy.  And I kind of got ignored.  I guess my uncomfortable emotions make other people uncomfortable too?

While there’s a lot of talk of how blogging can place a lot of pressure to be happy and perfect and wonderful all the time, I think blogging has a lot to do with my increasing ability to be real.  Granted, I keep two blogs, this naked one and one more public and perhaps more shiny and happy, but I’m saying what I need to say in so many spaces in my life and I think it’s because I’m now used to just laying it all out there.

Or I’m getting old and I just don’t give a fuck anymore.  One of the two.

With the exception of me attempting to discuss my feelings (ew), my family was very comfortable on Sunday. My mom forced a dinner and I had to talk myself into it all week long.  They all were pretending like nothing had gone wrong, like nothing was wrong and everything was back to “normal.”  Funny the way family totally redefines that word.

I took the pup, so he was a big focus, but since it was the first get-together since my sister and her husband returned from their honeymoon, there was recap wedding talk. Just when I thought it was over.  Everyone ignored the fact that it’s not a happy memory for me.

I bit my tongue when snarky comments wanted to come out, respecting that my dad hadn’t wanted to discuss the issues in front of my mom before and with the way everyone was acting, I knew no one else wanted the faux-happy Sunday to be brought down either.

My dad asked me questions about the dog and I answered politely, but didn’t really feel the need to say goodbye to him when I left.  Then the pup slept all the way home while I cried.  I’m so hurt that my family could just ignore the situation.  I don’t want to harp on it, I don’t want to talk about it all the time, but literally there’s been no resolve and everyone else is okay with that.

So, yesterday, I wrote down everything I wanted to say to my dad – essentially that I’m offended that he hasn’t taken responsibility for his actions thus far and I’m hurt that he’s been treating me poorly for a while now.

So, then I was faced with the question…did I write it for therapeutic reasons or did I write it to send it?  I felt better after I wrote it, but I realized I felt better knowing that my dad would read it and truly know how I feel about everything.

So I clicked send.  I’m glad he didn’t fire off something back, but now I’m reaching the “how long do I wait until I take his silence as acceptance of my statement that I don’t need a forced, circumstantial relationship if he doesn’t want to get real and be involved in my life?” point.

After I sent it, I felt a little apprehension.  Nervousness that I traded his comfort for my own.  He was settling back into a comfort zone when I saw him on Sunday, assuming things were swept under the rug.  But, I was quite uncomfortable and it’s not fair for me to hold it all in. My family might be number two (although I’m not sure that’s a position they deserve right now), but I’ve got to look out for number one and I’m going to keep talking about my feelings until someone listens, darn it!

Oh yeah, and sorry I’m not sorry for the emo brain dump you just read.

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The Talk(s)

Lucky and I had coffee on Sunday. It was wonderful to see him again and sit across from him in the sunshine and talk about the little things you talk about as a couple.  It’s only been a week, but we skipped a lot of the texts and emails and phone calls that start with, “I saw/heard/thought this and it made me think of you,” or “this is going on in my life and you’re my person I want to tell.”

I think when you’re going through a break up or a break, it’s easy to miss those things because you’re used to them or it’s easy to be disappointed about the time you put into the relationship and upset that you have to now face going back into the dating game and exposing yourself and getting to know someone from the bottom up all over again.  I’ve been guilty of that myself, but as I drove to the coffee shop – set up with a simple text of “coffee?  meet you there at 10:30?” because we have a shop that’s “ours” as cutesy and annoying as that is – I realized it’s not that this time.  I missed him.  I guess I shouldn’t be surprised.  I’m a little ruthless when it comes to dating and he’s lasted as long as he has because he’s special and he’s important to me.

It led to me wanting to talk to my dad again and get to the bottom of some of the issues. So, last night, my dad and I sat awkwardly in the courtyard of some shopping center near me and tried to have a talk.

I wanted to talk, but he kind of just wanted to apologize and say he can’t change anything and say that we’ll see where it goes from here.  I had no ideal in my mind of how I wanted things to go, but I did want it to be more of a conversation and I was disappointed that it wasn’t.  I know we can’t change the past, but we can talk about what happened to avoid it in the future.  I’m sick of not talking about things in the family, but he’s been that way for 61 years and I guess it’s not going to change.

Either way, I did the best I could and gathered more information and now can move forward with it. I know it was very uncomfortable for my dad to sit there and have that conversation with me.  No one has ever really called him on his bullshit, especially not his own daughter, but he handled it okay.

So, lots of talks in the last couple days and I feel much better that we’re not just sitting on the issues or sweeping them under the rug.

Action may not always bring happiness; but there is no happiness without action. – Benjamin Disraeli

That’s What She Said

So, I was going to call this “Say What You Need To Say” and then my permalink put a 2 after it, reminding me that apparently that title is so May 4th of me.  I blame John Mayer, but this phrase has become somewhat of a mantra to me since the song came out and I was reminded of it by Plum Petals’ supportive comments on my last few posts.

Obviously I’m one to spill how I feel all over the internet, but when it’s time to get real and say what I need to say to people in my life, it’s more difficult. I was thinking about the conversation I had with my dad and how I was kind of surprised I was able to do it. I didn’t do it well, but I did it.

I finally responded to my dad and tried to take into consideration that he still isn’t really admitting fault because I know talking in circles…

me: you did it on purpose.
him: no, I didn’t.
me: you did.
him: no.

…never gets you anywhere. I let him know I just wished he had realized how important it was to me that they meet and how things could be different if he had taken the chance to get to know Lucky before judging him.

I also said that I wasn’t the only one who noticed and was offended. Maybe he didn’t realize it wasn’t just about how I perceived it and how I felt. I really don’t want to spell out for him that he needs to apologize.  A normal person would reach out. Again, I don’t expect it.

Anyway, I think in this mess of a situation, there’s one more thing that I need to say. I believe that you have to ask for what you want or you’re most likely (like 99%) not going to get it.

I’ll put it out there for him and the universe that I want to make it work.  I feel more empowered by that than by passively sitting by and feeling like the victim.  At that point, I’ve done the best I can do and then I can feel better about having to wait to see where the dust settles.

Apology PSA

Call me a politician, call me a PR-spinner, but there are a few things I’ve learned to delicately say over the years.

You don’t tell a woman she looks beautiful (it implies that whatever she did on that particular night, like if she’s just dressed up for a special event, it’s temporary), you tell her she is beautiful.  Same goes for a handsome gentleman friend.

If you’re not sure if you’ve met someone before, you tell them it’s great to see them (not meet them, not see them again).

If you apologize, apologize, don’t apologize that someone feels a certain way.  They’re allowed to feel their feelings.  Apologize that you made them feel that way, apologize for your actions or words or whatever the case may be.

Even though “I’m sorry,” sounds like an apology, when it’s followed with “you feel that way,” it’s more like a slap in the face.

Backing up, my family is not confrontational.  We don’t talk about things, we wait for them to disappear.  My dad gets away with the worst behavior simply because the women in my family allow it.  This issue was important enough to me that I couldn’t sit on it. He needed to be called on his shit, so I went to dinner at their house on Tuesday with the last of my family that is still in town from the wedding (and I waited until after they went back to their hotel).

I had my whole spiel, I felt strong, but when the time came, my heart was racing and half a sentence in, I was crying, but I was getting the words out and the short spiel turned into everything else I wanted to tell him about how hurt I was.

His reaction was not surprise or anger or regret or anything really.  With no emotion, he apologized that I felt that way.

I didn’t tell him he won, I just said what I needed to say and then went outside to talk to my mom a bit before I left.  She kept trying to figure out how she could fix it.  She took on a bit of blame because she knows she’s let him get away with his misbehavior for too long. I’ve been telling her it’s not her charge to fix it ever since.

The next morning (Wednesday now), I got an email from my dad with a more legitimate apology, another lame excuse and a request that if there is anything he can do to let him know.

Honestly, I’m not sure why it’s my responsibility to teach a 61-year-old man how to behave when he’s wronged somebody.  He supposedly raised me and I learned it, but now I need to tell him?  It wouldn’t mean anything if it was prompted and as more and more days go by, it will mean less and less if he actually gets around to it.

Emotionally-fueled, word vomit posts kind of bug me and I usually click away, but  I needed to get it out so thank you if you’re still around.  And if you are, let me know what you would do please!  How does your family handle conflict?  Are there things you’ve learned to spin when you say them?

Bachelor #1

I joke a lot.  I make repeated jokes a lot.  I get this from my dad; his current favorite joke is that, now that he’s retired, he doesn’t do anything all day and he doesn’t start that until noon.  Yep, my dad’s got jokes. 

But, I am not at all joking about the fact that I believe I have to date 12 men to find one worth my while.  And now the official tracking begins.

Allow me to introduce Bachelor #1.

We met on eHarmony.  Through talking, I found out I went to school with his younger sister.  I went to a small, religious school in a different state, so this is a little more unusual than if I had gone to, say ASU.  I actually lived down the hall from his sis and across the hall from her boyfriend during different years.

Poor Bachelor #1.  We had a date scheduled.  Then Non-Mush happened.  I debated cancelling since I was so excited about this other kid.  I asked people’s opinions until I heard what I wanted to hear and then I cancelled. 

Sort of.  I felt bad and the cancel ended up being a postpone.  To the next week.  Non-Mush was still happening, more so at that point.  I cancelled again, but was finally honest about why, telling him I was going to see where things went with this other guy.

They went nowhere good. 

I took a little time, but then, tail between my legs, asked him if he’d still be interested in meeting up.  We made the same plans I had cancelled twice, happy hour at a popular bar in a central location. 

It’s literally been a month since we talked.  I really don’t remember what we talked about, but I kind of had his base information in line.  Honestly, I don’t know how people keep this shit straight without flow charts.  He at least stood out from the pack because of his sis-college connection.  Either way, I was actually kind of excited about the date.

Two beers each.  Three and a half hours.  Good conversation.  Smiles.  Laughs.  Lots in common. 

We didn’t talk too much about his sis, which is an easy trap to fall into when you have a person in common, but inhibits you from getting to know the other person, and he didn’t awkwardly ask about Non-Mush.  Points.

So, why is he a frog?  Well, is he a frog?

I spent the whole time trying to make myself forget that his shirt was tucked into his shorts.  He and my dad would get along like gangbusters.  They could talk about doing nothing before noon.

Insanity

No, this isn’t about how I took on the P90X wannabe called Insanity.  I’m not insane, afterall.  Or maybe I am…

The popular definition of insanity is doing the same thing repeatedly and expecting different results. 

I’ve been thinking about the things I make a habit out of doing.  The bad things that is.

Every week my to-do list includes “clean out car.”  And I do and then every week the tupperware containers, cardigans, papers and water bottles pile up and I put it back on the list.

I procrastinate emptying the dishwasher.  It’s probably the easiest household chore and in fact, along with the trash and the kitty litter box, was one of the only chores I was asked to do as a child….we might be on to something here.  I hate it for some reason, but we all know that when you don’t do it, the new dirty dishes pile up, making it an even more daunting task.  When I don’t do it, suddenly it’s easier to let the pots and pans pile up too.  “Empty dishwasher/sink” is also constantly on my to-do list.

“Clean my desk” should be on the list because it’s kind of embarrassing, but I don’t even try.  The organized mess works for me. 

And then of course there’s the endless dates.  I don’t always expect this to go differently.  After a while I get beat down and imagine they’re all jerks or have no personality or balls – it’s a fine line I need my man to walk apparently – and I give up for a while.

Speaking of (part A)…I’m reading JWOWW’s relationship advice book.  There I said it.  It’s entertaining, we’ll say that.  I might write about it once I finish (like tomorrow because it’s due at the library), but for now, I’ll bestow upon you her estimation that for every dozen textbook assholes, there’s one decent guy out there worth getting to know.  Oh joy.

Speaking of (part B)…I’m getting burnt out on dating.  Not in the jaded, hate-men kinda way.  Just burnt out on the actual ritual.  It’s not even that I’ve had that much bad luck lately, but more that it’s just boring and exhausting after a while.  I like Mr. Tuesday Night but am at a loss for a phase two because I feel like I’ve been out so much and done everything.  Even sushi is getting old at this point.

But, if I gave up, the opposite would be just as true.  As my dad told me once, he doesn’t know where to meet young potential future ex-boyfriends (my term, not his), but he’s pretty sure it doesn’t happen by sitting at home.  That would be insane.  Too.

My family should think before they speak.

Quotes of the weekend:

My dad to me:
“Well, I don’t know how she can stand to be around YOU.”
In context, truthful.  Out of context, ROO!

My sister to her bridesmaids (well, the two who are NOT already knocked up):
“Keep your legs together until the wedding, ladies.”
If she were kidding, funny.  She’s not = bridezilla.

And in other wedding news, we ordered dresses yesterday and I’m an eight.  I know they’re sized “big,” but I definitely cringed at that one.  AND, I saw this ad yesterday…

I don’t even know what it is, but Kristen Wiig + Maya Rudolph + Melissa McCarthy + John Hamm = I’m in!

A Good Week

After a funky start on Sunday, I had a good week.  Was it because it was only a four-day work week and I have been looking forward to forced family fun in the form of Dad’s birthday celebration + Steelers in the AFC Championship game this weekend? Perhaps.

For the most part, I was just in a blessed and happy mood all week.

My extra day off started with me being a lazy bum, sitting on my couch, but as I looked around, I thought, I really love my apartment, so I went shopping for some pretty little art pieces to express my love.  I’m quite noncommittal when it comes to art, so having these additions is huge!  I also FINALLY got a nice coffee maker

My knee started bothering me last week and has not quit.  On my Wednesday run it left me quitting early and mostly limping home (because it knows I should just give it a break, but I struggle with breaks).  This leisurely stroll when I was supposed to be training  and sweating killed me, but it did give me time to look around and realize I’m so grateful to be in Scottsdale and that it’s the prettiest place I’ve ever lived. My part of Scottsdale is more deserty than any other city I’ve lived in in Arizona and has an amazing view of the mountains.  I know someone from a different part of the country might not get it, but it’s beautiful to me!

And…my first date last night went really well!  I’ve come to not expect too much from the guys I’ve met online, but after a few duds and douches, I karmically earn a good one (it’s a scientific fact) and he was it.  Good conversation + good sushi.  Although I told him my theory about two-phase first dates (I don’t like them, I don’t do them), we took time after to stroll through some art galleries in Old Town Scottsdale (conveniently, every Thursdays there’s an ArtWalk I’ve always wanted to go to).

By the end, we had made a friendly wager on the game and we were talking about a few ideas for future dates without having to catch ourselves and tack on the awkward, “well, if you want to hang out again.”  It was nice to know that we had both pretty much settled on date #2 and knew that the other person felt the same (for me, barring him pulling out any huge red flags during the remainder of the date, I was pretty sure I’d want a second about 30 minutes in).

Today at lunch, I got new running shoes. Since being serious about running is a relatively new thing for me, I don’t realize the miles I put on my shoes and I have to remind myself that they need to be replaced often (hopefully that will help prevent any more injuries).  They’re cute, but they’ve promised to stay in their box until my knee actually feels better this time.  Or until race day.  Because next Saturday I’m running no matter what.

Tonight, I’m having Friday night pizza like when I was a kid thanks to a freebie coupon I got for donating blood last month.  I miss TGIF, but Army Wives Season 3 on DVD will make a fine substitute.  Oh, hello, weekend!

Who needs a tiara? Give me a Roth IRA.

Finding this clip was supposed to make me feel better, but I remembered it differently.  I thought she straight out googled “finance,” but she didn’t, so it didn’t.

I work in finance and sometimes I wonder how the hell that happened. Scratch that.  I work in the finance industry and I was hired because knowledge of the industry was not a key requirement.  My bosses actually find it slightly humorous, and I like to think charming, that the TV by my desk – meant to keep guests in the office informed about the markets – is more often tuned to The Today Show and Oprah.

It’s mostly frustrating to me personally tonight because of the “rollover 401(k) to Roth IRA” cloud that has been looming over my head for years!  I’ve got step one crossed off my list, but don’t know where to go from here. 

21-year-old Emjaye never really expected to be here, but 26-year-old Emjaye is glad she is. 

At 21, I talked vaguely with my dad about finance as I started my first real job, opened those damn 401(k)s and began supporting myself.  At 21, there was a big hullabaloo about transferring investment accounts into my name, but I haven’t done much with them (besides, fortunately, watch them grow). 

At 21, I thought by 26 I’d have found someone to know about finances in the way I’ve always relied on my dad to know about finances.  When I say finances, though, I mean the bigger stuff.  Day-to-day, I feel confident about budgeting and spending and saving. 

Luckily, I never got myself into huge debt expecting some prince to come along and get me out of it.  I just expected some prince to come along and help me plan a comfortable life and retirement (like my prince of a dad has with my mom).

At 26, I know it’s up to me.  And just like at work, I’ll get there.  Neither is going to be about step one, now step two anymore.  I work better when I know WHY I’m doing step one and HOW it helps me at step two, so I’m engaging myself.

I might have a little talk with Pops this weekend, but those talks usually just remind me that I’m quite capable and knowledgeable if I just give myself a break.  And that I don’t need a prince and his castle and his piles of money.  I just need a man who will treat me like a princess – maybe even one who is a little turned on by my financial savvy!

On How Panicked Shopping Kinda Worked Out

As I JUST discussed in my post about how appreciative I am of my family, I had SUCH a hard time with Christmas gifts for them this year (and I’m actually not completely done either).  I prefer to do my shopping online, so today was pretty much crunch time (because I’m cheap with shipping and all…not sure if I can totally call it panicked shopping).  I did pick out a few good ideas from my blog crushes, so I figured I would pay it forward and share my picks too in case anyone else is struggling!

For my dad, I wanted these booties from Eddie Bauer, but I saw them on the Today Show and Matt Lauer is just about as awesome as Oprah, so they were all sold out.  I got a  less expensive version from Cabela’s, that he’s probably more likely to wear anyway since under pants, they will look like regular shoes.

For my mom, I was surprised by this necklace while checking out Eddie Bauer, but I think it’s something I’d want to see in person and she might be concerned it was too young for her, but still I like it, so I wanted to share.  I usually get her a big purse, but the last time I was at their house she showed me one she just bought herself (the nerve)!  Kenneth Cole is a friend to all women with his beautiful bags, like this one that is out of my price range, but since she doesn’t need a new purse anyway, let’s just enjoy its beauty.

I’m also giving my parents this sign, which is an Apache blessing. (It reads: May the sun bring you new energy by day. May the moon softly restore you by night. May the rain wash away your worries. May the breeze blow new strength into your being. May you walk through the world and know its beauty all the days of your life.) I’m into the history and culture of the Southwest, but not the cheesy design often associated with it and this is a nice way to pay homage to the influence without reverting to turquoise and kokopelli.

I got my sister a pink tank top with a Hindi-inspired design WAY back in September, which gave me the false sense that I might actually do my shopping early this year.  She may also get some fun jewelry.  She’s not afraid of statement pieces, so I accessorize vicariously through her (more so-not-in-my-price-range Kenneth Cole love).

My future brother-in-law is getting this grill toy as I’ve been referring to it because I’m not entirely sure what it is or does, but I know he likes his meat.  (This set was full-priced when I bought it just a few days ago and when I went back for this post, they had knocked $10 off.  I asked for a refund of the difference and they happily obliged…go Sur la Table!)

Beyond liking to grill, my sister and her fiance love to entertain, so I got them this cute serving display, which I am going to fill with chocolate-covered pretzels and cookies to take to their Christmas party.

My grandmother is often the hardest to shop for because she’s not one of those grandmas that loves crap.  But, she does love to read and I heard that this year’s Best American Short Stories is very good, so I hope she’ll enjoy it.  I also would like to find something else for her, maybe a pin, since jewelry seems to be my go-to for my female family members.

This led me down a very dangerous path.  I went to Barnes & Noble and realized I could have completed all my shopping there.  And that I’m a big, book-loving nerd.  I orgasmed in half of the aisles and my “Books” note in my phone grew by at least ten.

I wasn’t really planning on getting anything for Rebel, but I saw a section on Arizona and since he recently moved here and is interested in exploring his new home (love that), I just wanted to get him this book and a subscription to Phoenix Magazine.  They’ll be fun resources for him and perhaps we can get lost exploring together! I’m definitely feeling more affectionate (and still no oxytocin)! 

Other books on my list…
Paddling Arizona for my dad (saving it for his upcoming birthday)
We’re Just Like You, Only Prettier or anything by Celia Rivenbark for my sister (and then me!)
My Nest Isn’t Empty, It Just Has More Closet Space by Lisa Scottoline for my mom (and then me!)
Sneaky Uses for Everyday Things for the perpetual 12-year-old (bro-in-law)

And finally, items I may or may not have bought for myself while attempting to shop for others and/or items on my wishlist:
Cuisinart Grind and Brew Coffee Maker
Cuisinart Food Processor

nightgown (aka dress) from H&M and knee socks from Target
a pretty, little, brand-new Toshiba laptop
running gear, including a Garmin
Racing Weight by Matt Fitzgerald
girly Steelers gear
a spin bike
a hybrid bike

Okay, I only bought myself the two things in bold and one was with a gift card and the other was to qualify for free shipping!  I’m still doing great with my December budget and will get around to another update on that soon. 

I’m trying to remove myself from all these things that I WANT, WANT, WANT because I don’t WANT to be a materialistic person (and, for the most part, I don’t think I am). 

I decided today that I kind of give up on the holiday season this year, but that next year, I’m totally going to do it right…early shopping and no other obligations around this time of year so I can focus on actually spending time with family and friends, baking, decorating and Christmas movie marathons!  But, then again, isn’t this always the BIG idea that NEVER really seems to happen?

Oh and here’s hoping this blog hasn’t been discovered by any of my loved ones or else there goes the element of surprise!