I am at the 20th Annual Drug Conference and taking notes until my laptop's battery dies. In real time.

20th Annual Drug Conference 9 PTSD and alcohol use disorder
20th Annual Drug Conference 10 Marijuana and adolescents
20th Annual Drug Conference 12 Treating co-occurring opiod Use and Pain Disorders

March 1, 2006, it seems as if it was a lifetime ago. I had two allergic reactions within the space of a week, I had a dream about my friend who had died when we were in college. I sat down at the computer, I started writing a book. Boy meets girl type stuff, simple, or so I thought at the time. I had no plot, no plan, just a couple of characters; the guy, the girl, the sister, the brother. From there the story grew. I became obsessed, consumed. I knew that what I was writing wasn't that good, but I knew I was getting better. I kept on going. I finished that book. It's a pile of hot garbage and I'm so proud of that first little fledgling attempt. Today I can say that the awkward fumbling, the unpolished phrases, the one dimensional characters, the addiction, these things have morphed and changed. I became better, I learned how to write by hand when my computer was down. I found new ways to think about others, new problems for them to solve. I realized that I was in control and let the characters come to me. I discovered how the flow state works and how to recognize when you're just tapping at your keyboard because your inspiration and motivation are distant.

Last night I stayed up until almost 4:00 in the morning talking to a guy I met a couple days ago. After texting for I don't know how long I finally picked up the phone. As soon as he answered I started laughing. We sat there on the phone, neither one of us saying anything substantial or memorable, giggling like teenagers about absolutely nothing except the conversation we had just  had. It was totally wild. Sometimes I just click with people. Sometimes I don't know what I need, or want. Today I can see the value in sticking with things for my own good even when they are a struggle. Now I know that some men are in different seasons of their lives, and that doesn't match where I'm at. There are people who are in various stages of readiness, I've met men online and I want to tell them - look buddy, you have no business trying to attract someone else. Here's a list of the things you need to address, work on yourself, and you'll have a much better chance at finding and landing a woman who will be able to enjoy a healthy and stable relationship with you. 

I've learned how to better spot men with intimacy issues, how to identify those who need emotional support, how to get rid of guys who are only online because they want a piece of ass or other sexual relationship without any level of commitment. I've figured out more of what I want, I need a man who can make me laugh. I'm serious enough on my own. I knew that, but I didn't understand that laughter was the antidote. When I called my friend this morning she told me that I sounded really happy. I just feel different. I got no sleep, I was sick last night, I still have all the problems I had when I went to bed last night, but after hearing how someone else sees me, what he thinks I'm good at, and what he is willing to do for me to help me find a job where my skill set is valued and appreciated, that was really cool. He didn't tell me I was smart, he broke it down for me. I'm analytical. He told me I was mentally calculating percentages in my head - this has a 13% of failure which means it has an 87% percent chance of success. It was like he could see inside of my head, and he wasn't afraid of anything he saw. We were open and candid with each other, both of us warning the other to run.

He said something that I thought was profound and brilliant, I told him that and later on he told me that made him feel really good about himself. He's casual, more of the jeans and t-shirt type than the suit and tie or business casual guy. He seems like a very hard worker, maybe he's a workaholic, it's too soon to tell. We talked about baseball and we both enjoy some of the same elements. We like the stripped down versions of things, we don't need the Jumbotron or the fancy concessions, we just want to go out and catch a good game. We're future people, but we appreciate the past and what it had to offer. We've learned from many of our mistakes, but I don't think either of us are really afraid to keep making new ones. He said that if we moved in together today, we're the type of people who could figure it out. I think that's true. We could make it work. He's impulsive, and so am I, but because he's more open to risk, I find myself exploring caution and more sensible approaches. He's a good father. His oldest is the stage manager for the school musical, they're doing Les Misterables. His next youngest will be playing Cosette.

He has a set of twin boys, he didn't say as much about them, I saw a picture, they were out in a strawberry field looking very much like normal kids on a sunny day. I didn't hear much about his ex, she cheated on him, he tried to make it work, she lied to him, but he believed that she was going to try and change. I told him some of my story, both of us are aware that every story has two sides, and we admitted that we have failings of our own. We were going to try and meet up tonight, I gave him an out, but he wasn't interested in taking it. I told him that I thought he adopted some of his mannerisms as coping strategies, sometimes it's easier to play along rather than let people see how deep you are beneath the superficial image you present to the world. He told me I was probably right about that. We both love to learn. He doesn't have a very good diet, he said he's been thinking more about that and I would have to teach him. I told him to change because he wanted to, not because he met a woman who has food allergies and restrictions. 

I'm still talking to other people. I once read something about dating that said you should go out with a bunch of people, be open minded, and observe your thoughts and feelings. I've tried making lists of things I think I want in a partner, but I don't usually stick to that when it comes to real life. I like who I like, I can't control that. He is a beer and coffee person, normally that would bother me. For some reason, he's different. I think he's very flexible and willing to compromise. I also think he needs to be more assertive than he is. I don't want someone to give up a bunch of things for me. I want them to value their own health and welfare, and commit to change(s) once they decide that they want to move forward and make me a larger part of their life. This is a process, we're still learning, and we will always have challenges, but we also always have opportunities as well. Being able to talk and text doesn't necessarily mean we will love each other or that things will work even if the attraction is mutual and sustainable after we meet. 

I told him I write and he was surprised to hear that fiction is my poison. It made more sense to him when I explained that I use it to solve problems, and how I used it to escape pain, a destructive marriage, and a childhood that could have gone better than it did. He loves to cook and wants to make me something. I thought that was sweet and cute. He's very curious, we have that in common and I think that explains why we can talk for so long without running out of things to say. We can see the larger picture. We can joke around with each other, we can poke fun at ourselves, we can riff off what the other person is saying, we weren't flirting with each other, we are in the getting to know the other person stage, and at each turn we feel more and more comfortable revealing an underlying layer. He asked me if I was real and I asked if he thought I was fake. There were several times when he said he couldn't wait to meet, or wanted to get to know me better. That was flattering because it felt sincere and genuine. I love it when people spend time with me and tell me about themselves. We both prefer being behind the camera to being in front of it. He's shy and I think that's cute.

Today I was driving toward the library when I saw a man and his vehicle off to the side of the road. I stopped, asked if he was okay, and ended up giving him a ride back to his place. There are risks associated with this and I understand them. But I also know that sometimes helping a stranded traveler is the right thing to be doing. He was an older man, late fifties, or early sixties would be my guess. We talked about him getting back into motorcycles, he offered me some money and I accepted it because I need it and my time is worth something. I heard some of his story and he heard some of mine. I got the name of the manager for the complex where he lives. I need to find a place to live, I'm tired of paying what I do for rent, and I want more control over my space. There are things I will miss about where I live now, and sometimes you don't know what you've got until those people or things are gone. Today I am focusing on being in the moment, and trying hard not to think too hard about anything. I overthink and it causes a lot of problems in my life.

For decades people have viewed my organizational habits and tendencies as problematic, and they can be when it consumes my life. Now I'm meeting people who love that about me and see it as a highly desirable trait to have in a partner. It's funny to be admired for how my fridge is laid out, but it's also totally cool in a very strange way. One thing I didn't like about that other guy is how disorganized  he is, and how he's busy doing things rather than working with purpose. He couldn't find batteries at his place so now he has to make a special trip for them when he was just at the store. He admitted that he has an entire room of boxes from Amazon and that's where I saw the correlation between him, and my former spouse. I can't go out with someone who thinks it's cool to have an entire room dedicated to unopened cardboard boxes. He has a lot of hobbies, a home that's much larger than he needs, and it doesn't sound as if he has ever learned how to prioritize, or manage his time well. I was married to that for many years, never again. He's out of town so we haven't had this discussion yet, I think I will just tell him we are at different stages of our lives and leave it at that.

The flip side of him is the guy who was up at four in the morning the other day. He's very rigid, I have a hunch that he's controlling and inflexible as well. I do not see a relationship with someone like him going anywhere. His mother is dying, he loves her and has spent most of what he has on her care. She's over in Italy, he doesn't need a girlfriend, he needs emotional support. There's something off about him and I don't know exactly what it is, I think he's approaching the dating game much more seriously than I am. He's looking for something very specific, and he thinks that I may have some of the things he wants in a woman. He sent me pictures of his kids, and his dog. They're cute. I can tell that he is probably even more organized than I am, but I don't need that kind of help or someone who gets bent out of shape when things are wrinkled, dirty, or supper isn't on the table at precisely the minute he thinks it should be. I'm probably being a bit unfair to him, but he's also another person that I think is very depressed, and it's not my job to cheer him up or get him through this understandably difficult time in his life. He doesn't need me, but I make sense to him (I think).

I would be willing to bet a fairly large sum of money that he is a fellow INTJ, and while there is a certain allure there because he is not complicated to me, that's not what a loving relationship is founded upon. I had an interesting experience with him the other day. We were texting about general things, all of a sudden I told him that he sounded sad and asked if everything was okay. There's always a chance that I'm going to scare someone away when you say things like that or move too fast. If a man can't handle who I am, I'm better off without him, and he's better off without me. I wasn't sure how he would respond. That's when I found out his mother is dying. I don't think he routinely opens up to people. Later on he told me that it was incredible that I had asked if everything was okay because I thought he might be sad. It was like I could feel the heaviness of the words he was typing. Seeing someone who is so much like myself is interesting and revealing. I want to stay in touch with some of these people I've met for non-romantic reasons, but I understand that you can't be friends with everyone.

He is someone I think I would like to keep in my life at some level. I think we can help each other in some way and I do feel bad for him. I think there are things he can help me with as well, but I'm not really sure what they could be at this point in time unless he was able to help me find a job, and perhaps he can. Even if nothing goes anywhere, I'm glad we met. He's very well dressed and that's appealing. I try to be open minded and tolerant, I wonder what people are thinking of me and how I'm coming across. Talking to people on Tinder is different than communicating on other forums. Sometimes people say 'hi' to me first. Other times I initiate the conversation. He told me I was beautiful and had pretty eyes, it didn't sound fake, but I had trouble believing it for some reason. I've had other people say complimentary things, how I take them depends. The other day a guy told me I was gorgeous, and I believed that he really meant that. So it's funny to me how two people can say pretty much the same thing, but how it comes across triggers a different response. 

I think I've restored some faith in humanity by being on a dating site. Men are learning that there are women who are willing to talk and really get to know them at whatever level they're comfortable sharing with me. Dating is a certain amount of work, when it feels like fun I roll with that and appreciate it. When it feels like more of a struggle, I've learned to step back and either let them make the next move, or cut ties completely. I'm much better at seeing what conversations are going to lead places, or end up in a date. It's strange to me that people are so reluctant to meet. I'm not like that. I want to meet a lot of people and get out of my place. It's a dating site so I guess I assumed that people would be more interested in meeting up than they are. I think there are a lot of very scared, very damaged, very badly burned people who need professional help rather than a date or two. It's sad to me. There are people who have great careers, and nobody to share their free time with, there are people who are well educated, going places, motivated, they work out, they travel, they might be extremely good looking, but I think we are all lonely, or we wouldn't be on this site in the first place.

Many thoughts are crowding my head, but I want to get some fiction written too. Wishing I would have packed more than this Lara Bar. They aren't my favorite things, but thankfully I stuck one in my purse for moments like these.

All my love,


P.S. I am really enjoying the entries from Prosenoder's Cup 2018. Kudos to y'all...


Log in or register to write something here or to contact authors.