I woke up this morning and grabbed my phone. I’m not proud of it. I’m trying not to let my phone dominate my life, but it’s hard. If I’m being really honest, and hell, why not? (We’re all complete strangers here after all!) It can be even harder when my boys are with their dad and I’m home alone.
So with blurry eyes I started swiping through my routine. Check emails, read a few Medium articles. Check Instagram, read a few more Medium articles. Check Facebook… INSERT RECORD SCRATCH SOUND HERE . . .check Bumble. Why not? It’s been a while and it’s a perfectly legitimate way to waste some time on the Sabbath! It’s also like buying a lottery ticket. You know the chances are really high that you’re not going to walk away a winner, but the dose of hope is a nice distraction from the mowing that needs to be done, or the boredom of a restless mind, or the loneliness of an empty house. Plus, for a pro-daydreamer like me, a little hope, and a great imagination, go a long way in both my lottery and Bumble fantasies.
I’m happy to report that I’ve currently got 2 out 5 numbers on my Bumble lottery ticket! I connected with someone this morning and we’re going to meet later for dinner. We have some significant things in common. We made each other laugh, several times. He told me I was cute. I sent him a blushing emoji. I was bold and suggested that we meet in real life today, the same day we’ve connected. He said yes! Most importantly, it was hard to stop texting and I’m looking forward to more in person.
For those of you that have spent any time online dating I know you can feel me right now. Finding someone you genuinely connect to on an app is indeed like winning the lottery, or maybe at least getting another play off a scratch card. We all open the app with hope and usually watch it slowly die swipe after swipe or in the flames of awkward texting. This is why I pull the trigger quick. If I have any desire to keep talking to a person I immediately suggest we ‘get the fuck out of here’ and meet in person. This also eliminates the e-tether guys who can’t deal with the real world and want to exist as their pretend selves through a screen.
As I’m getting ready to check the next number on my ticket I have to remind myself of a couple of really important things.
Stay in the moment
Daydreamers like me, by definition, are challenged to stay in the moment. We are always projecting into the future. Usually we project good things, but we can also project bad things. An overactive imagination can work both ways! I always find myself having to reign this energy in and just stay in the moment and I mean IN THE MOMENT, not even a couple of minutes ahead. For example, I’m trying to pick a restaurant for later and it’s opening a Pandora’s box. Goddess help me!
Leave your soulmate checklist at home. It’s not a job interview.
Akin to staying in the moment is leaving your ‘soulmate’ checklist at home. For me this is the most crucial step in the process and it’s counterintuitive because the process thus far is all about the checklist. Attractive: check. Non-smoker: check. Not a Gemini: check. From my end I know that I want to be seen as a whole human being, not just for how I fit into someone else’s puzzle. So, this is the energy I always try and cultivate at the beginning of any relationship. So many people lose the real joy of meeting and getting to know someone because they are mentally marking off their soulmate list. Here’s a pro-tip: relax (I’m looking in the mirror right now)! You will not know if they’re a soulmate for many more dates to come so don’t try and determine it on the first meeting. They could end up being a great friend or an important collaborator or one of the great loves of your life. Only time will tell. So…
Take it slow.
I’m not going to expound on this one. I’m just going to say it a thousand times to myself before 6:00pm.
Know that you are enough and still will be enough regardless of what happens.
This is where my internal Stuart Smalley, Al Franken’s iconic self help guru on SNL of the 1990’s, rolls into high gear. ‘I’m good enough, I’m smart enough and daw gonnit, people like me!’ It’s no joke! Dating requires some serious confidence building, even for people that are generally fairly confident. I have to put the Stuart tape on in my head otherwise the relentless mental bitch that likes to point out every flaw, every fat roll, every possible way I could fuck up a simple conversation, comes raging in for her show stopping number.
If you don’t do this you also run the risk of letting your hope flame get blown out for good because the reality is that the personal meeting doesn’t always end like the texting started. If it doesn’t, the diva will return for an encore and you will evaluate everything you are, and everything you did, to determine why he didn’t follow up. If you are going to have a prayer of getting back in the ring for the next round, Stuart Smalley better be in your corner the entire time.
Know that you aren’t too much, don’t hold things back. Be authentic. Be who you are.
This can be as big a challenge for me as believing I am enough. I have a big life by design. When someone asks me what I do for a living, that is at least an hour long conversation to begin with and it’s not going to be the typical story. I have multiple creative projects that are deeply meaningful to me happening at any given time, and usually a few in the hopper. I have chosen and live a very different path than most. In the immortal words of Ani Difranco ‘I am 32 flavors and then some.’
I also swim in the deep waters of life. I purposely cultivate a heightened awareness of my emotional environment by engaging in meaningful connection at all levels, even when I’m being silly and fun; which I love to do. This type of connection requires and demands vulnerability of myself and those in my world. I have found this to be difficult for many people. So I often times find myself holding back and worrying about being ‘too much.’
It is a fine balance between openness, vulnerability and authenticity. I usually resolve to just be myself and let the chips fall where they may, but I typically have my fingers crossed in the process (as they are right now).
Keep your Previous Relationship PTSD in check!
My ‘too much’ drama reminded me of a previous lover who admitted to me that he was intimidated by my life and my ability to quickly access emotional intimacy, and yes I know that is why it’s a good thing he is a previous, and not current, lover, but his words still haunt me. If I was STAYING IN MY MOMENT like I should, I of course wouldn’t be thinking about his comment, but as my mental bitch diva likes to point out, I’m a flawed human being. So I’m just going to leave my previous relationship baggage next to my soulmate checklist when I leave the house with Stuart.
T-minus two hours…
Tee up the Jordan Rakei playlist. Check.
Burn off the jitters with some exercise. Check.
Receive unconditional love and acceptance from my cat. Check.
Do a little yoga. Check.
Jack off. Check.
Put on that outfit that makes me feel relaxed and hot at the same time. Check.
Tell that diva to shut up and do something useful; hold your soulmate list. Check.
Listen to Stuart, ‘Courage dear Kathryn, courage!’ Check.