The Universe’s Hickey

The target on my back is starting to get itchy. Can someone take it off? Maybe I’m allergic to the adhesive…

I seemingly have the best and worst luck with men. Best as in, I get asked out a lot. It’s not that guys don’t like me or think I’m beautiful. Worst as in, I am utterly disappointed by the ones I actually like back. They suddenly withdraw or don’t follow through with plans.

I whined through tear-filled eyes yesterday afternoon about how I don’t get how I can’t just have a good thing for once. How I don’t even believe in the Universe targeting people, or bad things happening to people, yet in my case, it impeccably appears that there’s a hex on my love life. Without fail, a guy that I’m attracted to, interested in, or in love with will just up and leave.

My friend pointed out that my energy lately has been placed in all the right areas. Self-love, health, and improvement. Alone time and positivity. It allowed, in the first place, for an interest to even enter the scene.

“Yeah”, I muttered, “but I liked this one. I actually was excited for date number two.”

“Well, the Universe has left you a hickey”, said my friend. “Annoying in the time being, for sure, but a reminder of good things.”

This little bump is a sign that I’m making room in all the right places and someone can even enter my life again in an intimate way.

Didn’t think of it that way, of course, but he’s right.

I’d rather the boy didn’t try to leave a mark in the first place, but since I got the damn Universe’s hickey on my neck, I have to smile in the mirror and know I’m headed in the right direction.

Obsessed

I think every serious writer is a bit obsessed.

She’s infatuated with words. Specifically, her words. She’s never satisfied with her vocabulary. Scribbled notes adorn scrap paper—ideas for things about which she wants to write. Fearing a good thought will go to waste, she has a hard time parting with any of her years-old scraps, usually tossed into a folder or heaped in a desk drawer.

A serious writer reads and re-reads her work dozens of times before publishing. Even then, she reads it some more, in case she’s missed something. Always scouring for a grammatical error or the perfect position to place an important insight.

She defines herself as a writer. She jokes that ink runs through her veins instead of mere mortal blood. She feels like a conduit for the universe’s silent language and song. It is her honor to ensure the unspoken gets transcribed so it can be committed to the bank of human understanding and memory.

She reads a lot. She’s imbued with fantasy, whim, heaviness, and stardust. Hours alone are her favorite, as she can prepare her art form uninterrupted. Inspiration comes at a stop sign, while listening to a podcast, after a heart-breaking evening, and in the shower—every writer’s worst nightmare, because a pen is not nearby.

She thinks about the book she will someday write when the perfect storm coalesces with a stroke of genius. She knows she might never write that book.

She writes every day. On days when she can’t, she feels the withdrawal; the same pull that addicts experience without their muse or playmate.

A serious writer never gives up, because even if most of the world has never read a single thing she’s ever written, the pure ecstasy of putting thoughts into tangible strings of mellifluous sentences is her truest passion.

A serious writer is obsessed, head over heels, doe-eyed in love with the written word.

She loves it more than almost anything else, and will constantly take her experiences and those she adores and decorate them in poetry, in song, in memoir, in essay, in fiction, in creative nonfiction, in novel, in journal. Any way she can, she will.

And she does.

Little Earthquakes

I can’t believe I allowed myself to be in that situation again.

Everything was normal. Fine. Maybe a little too fine. When I first arrived, he was overly eager to give me a hug. Exes aren’t typically overly eager to do anything unless it involves inflating specifics of their life to make things seem better than they really are.

I was standing outside when I heard him say it. She was here.

Immediately, my gut wrenched. My body went into a post-traumatic shock, where all I wanted was to flee. To smoke a cigarette and flee. Against my body’s persistent urges to get in my car and get the hell out, I stayed, reassured by others that they would be there to support me.

Jello shots and whiskey helped ease the anxiety for a time. But only for a time.

“I don’t hate her or anything,” I said to my ex, standing in the driveway and pulling drags of his cigarette without his consent. “I just have zero desire to ever be around her again.”

“The fact that no one thought to tell me she’d be here is preposterous and really inconsiderate!” I added.

The avoider of all conflict reassured me that he would not ignore me or act differently. To please just suck it up for one day.

Let me explain what it feels like to suck up PTSD:

It feels like you constantly want to throw up. Your body is uncomfortable. There’s a littering of egg-shells in every direction you walk. Your mouth is duct taped. Censored. Your actions are bound. Censored. Your thoughts are rampant and sweating. Outwardly, you’re silent. Outwardly, you act calm, collected, and cool, because you don’t want to ruin anyone else’s time, you don’t want to cause a scene, and you can’t let people know how much you are hurting because they won’t take you seriously.

They didn’t feel the shockwave blow a hole through my body when I walked in on him and her kissing on the same day as one of my good friend’s funeral.

No. They could never know how low I felt as I scraped the snow off my windshield at two in the morning, wailing at the top of my lungs, after having an argument with a belligerently drunk dolt of an ex-boyfriend who would not assume responsibility for his actions, which ended in a fervent slap across the face from me.

Only my good friend, who heard me crying and came out to offer support, could know the level of messed up I was. I was actually traumatized. My system had had too much at this point. What with the passing and grieving of a friend, the assumed trust I shared with a man, and the broken friendship that stabbed deeper than any of the rest, I was a total heap of distraught. She had repeatedly told me I was way too good for him only so she could climb into his drunken arms, while I was asleep upstairs, because I was invited to stay at the house so I wouldn’t have to grieve alone after Isaac’s passing.

When I arrived home around 4am, I sat on my bed and drank whiskey straight from the bottle. I had no cigarettes and would have to wait until a gas station opened. I was wide-awake and completely rocked from what my heart, eyes, and body had just gone through.

I would never be quite the same again.

And then, they all just expected me to be okay with this? I know it’s been over a year, but would you bring an ex-infantry soldier to a movie about war?

I don’t really remember leaving, except to ask my ex for a cigarette.

I woke up at 4am with several texts asking if I was okay. I felt anxious, so I took half a klonopin and went back to sleep.

Today is Sunday, and the dust has settled. For now.

Come At Me, Bro

There’s a couple of things about me everyone who meets me should know: I’m not as innocent as I look, and I sure as hell am stronger than fortified steel when push comes to shove and I have to prove myself or survive.

My week started off great. No complaints whatsoever.

Sunday: Great company, mini-golf, and good conversation. Followed by a delicious dinner and wine Monday night with more flowing conversation.

Tuesday, things began to trail off, as I was asked last-minute to pick up my best friend from the bus station in Hartford that evening. I love her, but she knows my anxieties associated with sudden city-driving requests like this. I did it anyways, and, ultimately, it was fine, even if I parked in the wrong place because I get easily flustered.

Wednesday, I had a follow-up appointment with my doctor to take my blood pressure. It’s been six weeks since my last appointment where my blood pressure was at 120/90. I’ve consistently been at 120/70 for years before I re-started birth control. She’s concerned about the sudden change, particularly because blood clots are a risk after thirty.

I quit smoking cigarettes six weeks ago. My appointment had been on a Friday, when the doctor told me smoking was probably raising my blood pressure. The following Tuesday, after Fourth of July weekend, I quit.

I started doing yoga 2-3 times a week in May. I routinely go running, hiking, or walking.

I don’t drink alcohol at all during the week anymore, with a rare exception for a special occasion.

A little over two weeks ago, I began a ketogenic diet, where I’ve cut out carbs and sugars. I’m taking a handful of vitamins suspected to help diminish PMDD symptoms, and I’ve lost about an inch off my waist and a couple of pounds so far. I feel like a million dollars on roller skates. There’s no stopping me…

My doctor charted my blood pressure at 120/82. Still too high, she says. She was going to take me off the birth control that day, but I begged her not to. I told her I felt anxious because the medical assistant’s vitriol about the possibility of me being pregnant (I’m not!) and demanding a pee sample shook me a bit. The birth control I’m on makes my period so light that I basically don’t get it anymore, so my doctor conceded and said, sure, let’s go three more months, but you need to chart your blood pressure multiple times a week and write it down for me. Okay.

I’m just buying time, at this point. If I’ve done everything right and my blood pressure isn’t going back to normal, then the birth control is negatively affecting it. My options are to stop birth control and go back to managing my severe mood swings on my own, try a different birth control, which won’t be as effective with mood stabilization (and could have potential side-effects, since I’ve had horrible luck with nearly every pill I’ve ever tried), take blood pressure medication, and/or go off birth control and try antidepressants.

Ninety-five percent of those options I refuse to do. I’m not going to pump my body with more chemicals that I simply don’t need.

Defeated isn’t even the word. I’ve missed every train, despite my best efforts to make it on time.

After coming home Wednesday, I found out my roommate doesn’t want to renew the lease. We have about a week to sign it and send it back. He waited until now to tell me he wants to move out at the end of September. I’m frustrated that that leaves me no time to either move or find a new roommate, so I am stuck paying over a thousand dollars a month again. This means I will have no life, because I will have no money. I can probably keep going to yoga, but that will be about the only thing I can afford to do if I want to try to save a couple hundred dollars each month.

Thursday was fine. Just fine. I didn’t feel normal, but I didn’t feel awful. All week, I’ve been irritable, having a bit of trouble getting to sleep, and generally pessimistic and down, but nothing like what I would feel without the birth control, in which case, I’d be writing this while crying and between cigarette and whiskey breaks.

I just want things to be easy. I did what I was required to do, life, now you uphold your end.

My doctor, with slight panic in her voice, said to me, “Don’t start smoking again, despite these results. You’re doing so good!” Don’t worry, Doc. Not my intention. My hormones and blood pressure might fucking hate me with the boundless rage of a sixteen year old’s first revenge after being dumped, but I’m not really the quitting type. Well, except for the time I quit doing all those bad things and bread, recently.

So, this is how my week is going to go? Okay.

I am into the weekend now, and the pessimism is subsiding a little.

I had a dream last night that I was eating bread. Years ago, when I had been a vegetarian, I dreamt about eating meat. After quitting cigarettes, I dreamt about smoking for days on end. Last night, it was carbs.

But I’m doing it. Each day. Yesterday, I thought about cheating and grabbing a small fry at McDonald’s in Bloomfield, since I had just stopped at the Jamaican bakery to buy coco bread for a party I’m attending this afternoon. I didn’t. I allow myself minimal cheats during the week, because I am striving hard for my goals.

Some people find it difficult to stick to a routine or diet. I was always one of those people, until I realized that my life depended on it, and the only person I was cheating was me.

My blood pressure might not be impressed by my recent changes, but my mental clarity and my overall physical health are giving me silent applause.

If my week wants to be a little bitch, she can. I’m finally finding the muscle to hold on a little longer, even if it burns every fiber of me in the moment.

Shakedown Isaactown

I can’t believe it’s been a year since the last time we came together to do this.

Some people just leave a lasting imprint on the physical world behind them when they leave.

Isaac is one of those people.

It is unusually steamy. The air outside feels like Connecticut’s geographical location has moved to Florida.

I plant myself on the couch and eat a disgusting version of some nutritious experiment with my Nutribullet that turned out much like bland baby food. I don a romper and think about grilling a hamburger patty to eat instead of this pea-green mush.

I lean my head back and my cat, Aum, is lying behind me. I can hear her quiet breathing as she begins to purr. I think about how I love her more than almost anything. How leaning back to rest my head against her ultra soft fur is so reassuring and wonderful. How I won’t always be able to do that, so every time I do, I cherish her fully.

Around 7pm, my best friend, Rachel, and I get our beer and head over to Rose’s house for what we assume to be an epic party, as usual.

There’s a stage set up for musicians to play; food is being grilled. There’s a banner that says “Shakedown Isaactown” and a giant pickle with a hole cut out so you can take your picture. As nighttime falls and more people arrive, the path from the shed house to the fire is lit with glow sticks to look like a magical fairy lane.

Every time I attend an event in honor of Isaac or hosted by Rose, I see familiar faces but I also meet new ones. This is my favorite part. It’s truly a community and family, even if we’ve just met, bound by the common thread of a shared adoration for this man who only stayed on earth for a mere thirty-odd years.

In the shed house stands the keg we all wrote on for Isaac last year at his birthday party. I participate in several games of beer pong. I dominate the table for a while, garnering cheers and gasps with my somehow amazing bounces and throws. I guess all those years at Uconn finally paid off. In between drunken high fives and complaining about my sweat-soaked romper and the hole I tore in the crotch from bending down to pick up a ball, I look at the walls of the shed and think about Isaac. How many times he stood in the exact place I am standing. How it’s so painful that he’s not here to share in this experience with us.

My beautiful friend Jo made a four-hour drive from Vermont to come to the party. She plays guitar and we sing “Blue Jeans” by Lana Del Rey, the song she was playing at Isaac’s celebration at Old Well when I went up and introduced myself to her, because I had learned that song on guitar, too.

Shortly after, it begins to storm pretty heavily. It had rained a little on and off over the evening, with bursts of thunder, but not even enough to put out the fire. This time it is torrential. We all run and huddle under the tents together and listen to the booms as they echo across the sky.

Is this Isaac’s birthday gift to us, perhaps? A group of people forced into even closer quarters with nowhere to escape or find distraction. We have to be there in the moment and wait out the rain. Albeit most are inebriated, we are all there together with nowhere to go. Maybe he just wants us all in the same place for a little while.

Once the rain calms down, Rachel and I Irish-goodbye and make our way home on the windy back roads of Canton and West Simsbury. In my room, I sloppily tear off my romper and plop onto my bed.

The thing is, I know I will see this group again. They are my friends. Some I know better than others, but I cherish knowing them, because the way I was brought to them, although heart-breaking, is so beautiful.

To be someone who makes an impact every day is important. Yet, if your impression on others continues to ripple out and echo across time like a loud crash of thunder, then your breaths on earth were not wasted.

Get the Trump Outta Here!

Okay. I’ll just say it (because we all already know it): Trump is a dick, man.

I am not a journalist, nor am I writing to bring factual information about the election to light.

I am writing about humanity and common f*cking decency.

I was sitting at my local pub on Tuesday evening after a rigorous yoga practice, while scrolling through my facebook feed. An NPR article popped up that piqued my curiosity. It was about Trump and his audacious behavior, naturally.

Everyone by now probably has heard about Trump yelling at a baby for crying during one of his speeches. He used his typical lexicon (pure idiocy) to say it was “beautiful” that the baby was crying. Everything is beautiful to him. I think it’s one of 10 adjectives he knows.

He began by saying it was okay. I didn’t hear the speech, so perhaps his tone was sardonic. As the baby continued to do what babies do (not driven by their ego, but by their actual necessity for survival), he outright scolded the woman for sticking around with a weeping infant.

I’m not saying Obama’s any saint, but given the same situation, he probably would have gone out into the crowd and patted the baby on the head. I mean c’mon.

Trump surely wants that woman’s vote, and he’ll take it by figuratively grabbing her infant and smacking her over the head with it. Because verbally abusing and belittling people is how you get them to love you, right?

He’s that guy in high school who had no clue and said really awkward things during class. So unaware of the people around him or their feelings because of his own ineptitude to emotionally connect.

I’m not here to bloviate about the Presidential Election, because that is not my schtick at all, but what I do care about is how people treat others. For me to be writing about anything even remotely related to politics means I’m peeved.

I am frightened, like literally scared, that citizens of the United States can watch this facade and charade unfold in front of their eyes, where Trump has disparaged women and other races, stuck his foot in his mouth countless times, and with the grace of an ox, delivered inarticulate and platitudinous speeches, which not only scrape my ear drums, but make my stomach churn and my soul deteriorate–AND they still want to elect him President.

Do we really want someone who is nasty to others to be guiding our Nation?

What did we learn in preschool and Kindergarten? To be kind to others. To share. Not to use words that hurt. We teach compassion and the value of friendship to our youth, because it is the keystone to raising an intelligent, informed, and selfless society that truly wants to benefit all members out of a sense of responsibility that when one part of the tree is damaged, it needs nurturing, so the friggin’ tree doesn’t grow fungus or uproot and fall over.

In my honest opinion, no politician is appropriately suited to bring our Nation to where it needs to be. Politics, although necessary in the way we currently run things, are dirty. Trump, however, is by far one of the most ill-representative of what I believe the United States wants to be seen as.

Why would we pick a jerk to decide how to run things? We don’t like jerks, do we?

Trump was quoted at one point during his campaign as having said that he was humble; in fact, he said,

“I think I am actually humble. I think I’m much more humble than you would understand.”

This statement makes me want to douse myself in gasoline and light a match. It’s that painful that I’d rather blisteringly burn to death.

I wouldn’t want that person as my friend, I can say that much. Who wants to befriend someone who is that full of themselves? You can’t trust them, because they can only view the world as they are and how the people in their lives bring benefit to themselves. If I can’t trust you, I also do not want you running my country.

I don’t need to hear the particulars of his sloppy campaign speeches or know all the details of what he allegedly will do for us.

I trust no one to run this country without scruples and sincere compassion for others.

Love may not be able to pass laws or give us tax breaks, but if I am stifled by the mere presence of another human because their behavior and words have indicated nothing other than nescience, rudeness, and total disregard for others, then I can have no part.

Based on his reputation, as fueled by the evidence of his actual ignorant and arrogant behaviors in seeming perpetuity, I say that Trump should get the hell off the stage and relearn common decency. Maybe even redo preschool.

My Irish Boy (8.12.13)

Of course, I miss your laugh, your eyes, your voice

The hugs, the intimacy, the games, and the music

Of course, I hurt inside when I know you’re out with someone else

And of course, I wish I were there perpetually

Instead of here all by myself

 

Those things sting enough, but what hits me hardest

Is the unexpected– the innocuous moment

Or so it seems

When a can of corned beef hash

On the top shelf stares down at me

Promises to Myself

I found this loose note tucked into one of my college journals last night. The note is dated January 5, 2002.

It is a bit cheesy, as I was lofty in my writing style at the time, but it’s amazing how every single item in the note still rings true to me today. I can proudly say I’ve adhered to every single one without even remembering I had written this. 

Promises to Myself:

  • Don’t give up on love or life
  • Remember after a storm, there’s always a rainbow
  • Be a good friend always, even when the other friend isn’t being very good to me
  • Never underestimate my emotions and feelings because of something someone else may say; they are what make me a beautiful human being
  • Know that a greater love shall arise; I will not be alone in life
  • Forgive others; we are not infallible
  • Know that it will all come in good time; patience has gotten me this far
  • Remember all is not lost; if a friend really loves you, they might not be able to show it, but it’s in his heart and will someday be known
  • Pick myself up after being kicked down
  • Be a friend to someone who they will never forget

The Rat Race vs. The Ride

I’m here doing these things I’m told to do everyday and I don’t even know why.

You ever think about why you’re taking out the trash or buying patio furniture at Ocean State Job Lot? Why are you doing that versus living in the woods, cut off from society completely? Why aren’t you in Uganda, volunteering your time to help those less fortunate than yourself?

Of course, some of us are.

The rest of us are following the paradigm set out for us since birth: go to school, get a job, furnish a home, find a partner, create new life, raise new life, vacation, retire.

I’m not trying to be pessimistic here, because I’m a generally content person who has meaningful connections with others and believes I have a purpose in being on this planet, but sometimes I get so caught up in the daily monotony that it makes it hard to see the big picture.

If my life is just going to be doing this every day, I don’t know that I want to sign that contract.

I think that’s why I’m kind of differently lately. I mean, really, I’ve been different for the past four years, since I started my new life after relationship death (aka my break from my fiancé).

How am I different…?

I like adventures. This could mean anything. Taking a spontaneous trip to Sedona, Arizona with a mystery man or jumping out of the car on the side of the road to pick wild flowers. Building blanket forts of epic proportions in my living room, or convincing the most gorgeous man I know to get in his car and drive three hours on a Sunday night just so we can hold each other and make-out for another three.

I love alone-time. Alone-time is not bored-time. It is relished, thirst-quenching me-time! I have found that a lot of people do not know how to be by themselves for a duration longer than a few hours. Think about it: whenever we’re out shopping, other people are nearby. We go to the movies, play mini-golf, drink at bars… We take public transportation, we work in offices, we go to Church. We are around people even when we don’t want to be!

I am fortunate to have a schedule quite opposite from that of my roommate, and I spend a lot of time alone, writing, watching movies, petting my cat, crying, lounging, eating, playing guitar, singing, or doing a random arts ‘n craft project. Doesn’t really matter much what I am doing as long as it’s mindful and appreciated.

I am grateful. I “pray” every day. I’m not religious, but I am very spiritual in the sense that I energetically feel connected to everything in the Universe. I believe in the Law of Attraction; I feel watched and cradled and listened to. I write in a gratitude journal most nights before bed. I see the good even when the walls are painted in cow shit and all the windows are stuck shut.

I am filled with hope. I was talking with a friend Saturday night about how my mentality is to refuse mediocrity. We both have been in abusive relationships of varying types, and he more recently than me. I told him people have asked me how I can keep opening my heart to others, and it’s quite simple, really: You have to continually have hope. The second you lose it, you might as well give up. Hand in your key-card for life and resign.

I don’t think too much. I’m a thinker–a philosopher, at heart. My brain never really ceases to have thoughts. That’s not exactly what I mean when I say I don’t think too much. I have stopped over-analyzing every little detail. I go with the flow more and let the powers that be dictate how things will progress. I tend not to get my hopes up over situations by investing so much mental energy in them. I’m more accepting of whatever is, is.

I am getting healthy. Maybe it’s a thirties thing. I’m past partying all the time. I got getting shit-faced all the time out of my system after the years of deprivation from social interaction I experienced being with my ex-fiancé. I think it’s “cool” to quit smoking cigarettes and eat salads. I adore and look forward to my yoga practice, and my idea of a good time lately is listening to music in my kitchen on a Monday night while figuring out how to make a homemade quiche crust.

I feel it all. I let myself cry a lot. If I’m angry, then, I’m angry. Sometimes, I’m elated, and when I’m elated, I dance in my living room and sing so loud that I’m hoping I hear my neighbors applaud when I’m finished.

Feeling blah or numb will happen occasionally, but I don’t want to live there. Living in complacency is like living in a home with no windows. No sunlight comes in. You can’t hear the rain beat against the glass during violent thunderstorms. A thick mat of dust covers all things due to lack of air circulation. The environment has no atmosphere. It is stagnant and un-evolving.

I might have to pay my absurd electric bill or rotate my tires, but I can do those while indulging in the things I love, like music, nerdy podcasts, sudoku puzzles, and avocados.

I love hard. This one’s probably the most important. I believe love is the single-most important thing in the Universe. I make sure my friends and family know they are cherished. I feel ardor for my hobbies and interests. I shriek and throw my phone when someone sends me a ridiculously adorable baby animal picture. I sing annoying songs at work to lovingly piss off my coworkers. I walk around naked in my apartment when my roommate isn’t home, because the air passing over my tanned skin feels amazing, and I take selfies when I look cute.

I compliment myself. I praise others. I love with a heart whose protective case has been smashed open like a poorly designed, knock-off Otterbox. Fully exposed and vulnerable.

If you had to purchase a one-way ticket and you had a choice between the warrantied, safe and amenable race to the finish line or the undisclosed, off-roading adventure, which would you pick?

Most of us have to be a part of the “rat race”, regardless. If we have to travel that well-known, dead-end path, we might as well take as many detours as possible to all the scenic routes to extend, brighten, and give purpose to our daily motions.

Let Him Down Gently

Familiar phrases such as femme fatale or man-eater pop into my head when I think of how women are described if they have any bit of gumption in their bloodstream.

In June, on a two-hour drive home from upstate New York with my best friend, Rachel, we fervently discussed how men treat women if the woman is disinterested. It was quite a lively, spirited conversation, which was much-needed, since I had stopped drinking at the wedding a couple of hours ago, and we were stuck behind a Wal-Mart truck going below the speed limit on the winding roads of the Berkshires.

My best friend said that sometimes she’ll get called to at a gas station by a man, saying, “Mami, Mami, you’re looking fine today!” Rachel will ignore him, naturally, and then he’ll yell back, “You whore! You’re probably a dumb slut!” All because she didn’t acknowledge his misogynistic comment and slander.

Just how is a woman a slut if she won’t give you the time of day?

A week later, I was having a conversation on my deck with a friend, who told me how if she’s disinterested in a man on this dating site she’s using, she’ll sometimes receive charged comments blatantly calling her a cold bitch who is full of herself.

Again,

Just when did it become okay to manipulate and verbally abuse women for not wanting to have sex with a man? Are men so fragile that they cannot bear the crushing reality that a woman doesn’t want his scummy dick near her?

The answer is clearly and obviously yes.

This isn’t all men. I know many respectful, amazing men. I am referring to those who treat women this way.

Girls have been taught from a young age that boys will tease them on the playground if they like her. We learn that we need to soften the blow for men and “let them down gently” if we are not interested. Like it is our duty to protect their egos.

Aren’t we allowed not to be interested!?

I grew up believing this. I have had guys falling head over heels in love with me ever since high school. All through college it was a theme, and again, in my thirties, I am still “letting men down” who want to pursue me.

Yet, the whole time, I have this latent guilt about it because of the way society raised me.

I’ve always thought to myself that life is much easier when I have a boyfriend. This is simply because then I have a valid excuse to give to all the men who want to date me.

A couple of months ago, I was on a subway in Brooklyn when a fifty-something year old man began hitting on me. I am quite introverted and anxious in social situations as it is, let alone, this was my first subway ride by myself, but I told the man after he asked me for a hug that I had a boyfriend (a lie) instead of telling him to fuck off.

Why did I do that?

Because women know this will generally work. Saying you aren’t interested tends to generate animosity, and even saying you aren’t interested in dating ANYONE dredges up opinions on behalf of the man. In my experiences, a man will keep trying even if I say no but don’t have a “valid reason” (as if not being interested isn’t valid enough).

If I have a boyfriend, then I am a woman who has adhered to the role of society to be scooped up by a man, and therefore, the propositioner is more likely to back off. Also, my imaginary boyfriend has big muscles, so he’ll beat you up!

I recently got into an argument with a friend, who basically followed the exact pattern of things aforementioned. One of the points I made to him was that if he cared about me so much, then why would he want to make me feel uncomfortable by pressuring me?

This is still a question I’d like answered. Do men think this works? It doesn’t.

I no longer want to behave and feel like it’s my responsibility to ensure that men are being “spotted” when I deliver a crushing blow. It’s okay that I don’t want you; I have never owed you anything.

You are not really the type of respectful man I am looking for if I have to catch you when you are knocked over by my rejection and let you down gently.

If a woman says no, then there’s nothing more to discuss. Ever. No really means no. Get outta here. Beat it.