Dalliance

This is going to be one of those posts where I give advice that I shouldn’t have to give.

Piece of Advice #1: If you are not divorced, DO NOT TELL PEOPLE THAT YOU ARE DIVORCED.

I kid you not, I have had this happen to me twofold. And I get it, the incidence of divorce in my little corner of the world is extraordinarily high-MOST LIKELY because young twenty-somethings are advised from a very powerful organization that shall not be named to get married right after they exit high school (girls) or after they complete an honorable full-time mission (boys and girls if they want to).

So, they do it.

And so, 3-4 years later, a lot of them get divorced. It’s a sad, hard fact that I find rather discouraging, but so is life.

I have encountered two individuals whose reality this illustrates. And for the record, I have nothing against dating divorced men. I get it-we all have pasts and we’re all moving forward trying to find happiness for ourselves. But I DO have a lot of objections to dating a man who has not finalized his divorce, thus making him STILL MARRIED.

Guys, at the very least, I feel that if you’re going to start dating after you leave your marital relationship, you should at least be transparent about the status of the marriage so that your prospective future romantic interest can make an informed decision on whether or not to date you.

I thought that this was common sense, but apparently, I could not be more wrong.

Piece of Advice #2: DO NOT PLAY WITH PEOPLE’S BODIES, EMOTIONS, OR TIME.

The most recent not-divorced-liar-pants that I encountered played with all three.

You see, he and I have history. We liked each other in high school. But for some reason, or many, he didn’t do much about it, as I was “probably interested in someone else.”

Fast-forward a few years, and we reconnect. Thanks to Facebook, I knew that he’d been married. So I asked him point-blank about the status of his divorce, and he responded in the affirmative, that he was a single person. Nothing for me to worry about, or so I thought.

He took me on a handful of dates over the course of the past couple months, and we had a great time. He made out with me, brought me wine, took my hands in his, and told me that he wants me to be his future.

He said some rather frustrating things, too, such as “I don’t want you to wear leggings in public, because people will look at your butt” or “Be a good girl” when I was out with friends. Being possessive, as if we were in a relationship that he wasn’t willing to commit to.

He didn’t make time for me, and I didn’t pressure him to. I’m a “cool girl.”

I saw him once a week at first, and even less after that. But he’d send me gushy messages about how badly he misses me and wanted to “cuddle me for 27 hours” in addition to other pathetic nonsense. He always “wanted to see me super soon.”

So me, thinking that he and I were dating, would decline other offers from perfectly suitable gentlemen, and sit my ass on my couch, waiting patiently for him to show up, and sometimes, he never did.

But alas, the gushy text messages and rather suggestive Snapchats persisted, and my frustration multiplied.

Until yesterday, when I woke up to the realization that he had blocked my text messages, as well as my Snapchat account.

That’s right, folks. I have been ghosted.

Now, I can’t get a message through to him, thanks to his immature handling of the termination of our situationship, but I have some words to say, and they simply must get out, so here they are:

Dear Non-divorced Bachelor,

I have spent most, if not all, of my dating life feeling like a toy. Feeling taken advantage of. I’ve been assaulted, exploited, lied to, and hurt more times than you can count on your fingers. And you have only added to that number. How is it that some people are capable of earning someone’s affection and then slapping them in the face with it shortly thereafter? It’s a level of cruelty and selfishness that I will never truly understand.

If you didn’t feel the things you said you felt for me, then why did you say them?

If you did feel the things you felt for me, but then stopped, why didn’t you tell me?

It’s not fair to leave me to guess what it was that made you cut me off. Because I take the things that I say and feel, and the things that others say and feel, seriously. I foolishly trusted you.

But, thanks to you, I am left to speculate.

Was I too clingy? Was I not attractive? Did you get what you wanted from me, and now I have nothing left to offer? Were you just bored with the game you started with me, and are seeking out a new opponent?

Because that’s the way I see dating relationships now-they’re nothing but a game. You can’t trust the one you’re up against; don’t get too close, don’t give too much away. Make sure you’re always the one who cares less, or triumph will never belong to you.

And, in the case that you get bored, just go find yourself a new one. There are plenty of opponents eager to play.

But as for me? I’m done playing now.

 

M.

 

 

Progression

According to WordPress, I’ve been at this blogging thing for 3 years now.

But the “I” who started this blog hardly even remotely resembles the “I” who sits behind the keyboard now.

DownWithTheNorm was founded by an 18-year-old girl during the spark of her *formal* feminist awakening. That girl was fiery, angry, confused, and determined to fix the world. Misogyny was her only foe, and she was vigilant and determined to take him down, and took every opportunity to bare her teeth in the face of opposition.

But, as with all sparks, hers was extinguished.

Gradually, she let her inquiring mind guide her as she learned more and more about the world; how it probably works, and how it most likely doesn’t. She developed an air of cynicism, and became understandably tired of fighting the good fight. Others grew tired, bored, annoyed, or a combination of the three of her persistent, yet non-refreshing wordy posts on social media that accomplished nothing but a temporary emotional relief for our young author.

She did her best to keep her mind open, while simultaneously drawing her own independent conclusions. Especially in the context of her religion.

She spent a short duration as a walking contradiction; trying to force her newly acquired world views into a mold that simply would not fit. She wanted to be the change from within, but that resulted in her being pushed out.  She lost friends, but she gained an identity that she felt comfortable in. An authentic lifestyle was drawing nearer and nearer, but exponentially more solitary.

This girl was anxious-so much so that she couldn’t bare to even hold still even for a minute. Sleep was just a five-letter word. She had to be the fastest, the best, the smartest, and the skinniest always. And she was failing miserably at all of it.

But, breaking down turns into breaking through, if you let it.

The girl behind the keyboard is an enhanced version of the girl from 3 years ago.

I’ve had so many experiences that have shaped me into who I am now, whether that be for the better or not. I’m not the girl with the eating disorder anymore. I’m the girl who maybe spends too much time thinking about food and not enough time about breathing, and probably uses her bathroom scale more often than the average joe. And binges on breakfast cereal once in a blue moon. Oh, and HATES going to the gym.

I’m not the Mormon Feminist Anomaly anymore. I’m simply the feminist woman-person who believes that whether or not there is an afterlife is irrelevant. What really matters is that there are plenty of opportunities for me to develop and enhance as many interpersonal relationships as I possibly can during the time that I am allotted here. I believe that this life isn’t a test at all. Rather, it’s an opportunity to develop oneself to the fullest extent possible, and perhaps find an individualistic sense of happiness while we’re at it; whatever that looks like.

And for all of you looking to slap a label on me (because that’s what people do-no judgment), you can call me an Agnostic. Like I said, I’m not looking to shut out any possibilities completely.

I love tattoos, science, coffee, wine, and angry heathen misogyny-laden rap music. And I let myself love these things, because this is MY human experience. And what I choose to drink, put on my body, or listen to, does NOT make me a bad person, contrary to what I was led to believe growing up with religion

I’m not anxious anymore. Through the process of extensive trial and error, I’ve finally settled on a path that suits me. I got a job that makes me excited to wake up in the morning. I have a degree of self-sustainability that I never have had before. I feel liberated and powerful and in control. Rather than planning for my future, I’m actively taking steps toward living it, and I’m doing it calmly, mindfully, and relatively maturely.

As far as interpersonal relationships go, I’ve made strides toward getting out of my own way. I’m still a bit more self-isolating than I’d like to be, but baby steps are the name of the game. I can let loose now, and go out with friends once or twice a week. Hell, sometimes even on a school night! Because, as I mentioned beforehand, in the grand scheme of things, people are what matter. Yeah, going to bed early so I can bring my A game to school and work is important, but so is making time for those I care about. It’s all about balance.

I breathe easy, sleep easy, and am patient and engaged in every moment, which is much more than I could have ever said 3 years ago. I know I’m no sage of wisdom, and that I have much more developing, improvement, and revision to do, but I genuinely like the direction I’m heading.

Documenting my experiences over the past 3 years has been truly enriching for me, and hopefully at least mildly entertaining for you! I genuinely appreciate anyone who has ever and will ever take the time to read anything that I write.

Here’s to 3 more years!

M.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Purposive

Now that everybody’s done sharing their tentative New Year’s Resolutions with their online social circles, I think i’ll finally reveal my plans to make myself a less-shitty person than I was in 2015.

 

Though I love the person I’m developing into since my faith crisis, nose-dive into feminism, and increasingly curious mind, I find myself becoming exponentially more cynical, which is something I hate about myself.

I find myself often looking for reasons to be pissed off, which makes it really, REALLY hard to be the happy, energetic ball of sunshine I once aspired to become, but will never be, due to my chronically sarcastic and brazen personality. Indeed, since I’ve been exposed to a whole new world of liberalism, I seem to have the tendency to search for things that people do that strike me as problematic, and will consequently set me off.

There are specific groups of people that are extremely hard for me to get along with (i.e. meninists, anybody who still subscribes to traditional gender roles).  I totally feel justified in avoiding individuals who fall under this category completely, but I also feel that I am much too hard on people.

For example, my dating life is a literal train wreck. Most of my interactions with men are terminated by me giving them a lengthy, wordy lecture about how sexist it is to not be interested in a girl who can’t cook, or won’t send a racy snap-chat after the first date.

I feel like I’m constantly having to defend my feminist views; nothing flips my bitch-switch faster than when a gentleman i’m dating says anything that could be seen as sexist, even if you have to flip it upside down and squint with your left eye.

So i’m going to work on that. Perhaps instead of ripping his head off every time a suitor says something I don’t agree with, I can calmly present my point of view on the matter, and then change the subject as I squeeze the hell out of the stress ball I just bought.

This resolution’s due date might extend into 2063, but it’s all about progress, people.

Additionally, I am going to get out of my own way when it comes to relationships with other people. This is a very poorly-defined goal, but I have very specific quirks that I use in order to build sky-scraping walls around myself, thus protecting my isolation.

First of all, I have got to make peace with my relationship to food and to my body. I’m talking about my obsession/preoccupation about eating in a manner that will cause me dramatic weight loss, and dutiful, religious, nauseating exercise. When one is as engrossed in the aforementioned activities as I have become, there is little time or energy left to spend on stuff that matters significantly more, and after 6 years of eating-disordered behavior and body dysmorphia, I’m tired, damn it. And ready to invest myself in building some meaningful relationships and kicking ass even harder in school.

This problem is never going to resolve itself, so I’ll have to look back into going to therapy.

I always complain about how pathetic it is that I’ve attended my current university for two years, and haven’t made a single friend, but if I’m being honest with myself, I have never once initiated any kind of effort to make friend at college. So this year is going to be different. I am going to focus on becoming more inviting, friendly, and talkative. I am going to take some risks, start some conversations, hell, even ask out a hot guy from my Stats class (after checking his finger for a ring, obviously. We have lots of super young, married folk where I’m from.)

In addition to all of these resolutions, if I have time to spare, perhaps I’ll attempt to kick my caffeine addiction.

Just kidding, I’m taking 19 credit hours. There is no way in hell I’m decreasing my latte consumption.

So there you have it. An outline of how I am going to go from a shitty person in 2015 to a noticeably less-shitty person by the end of 2016.

Happy New Year!

M.

 

 

 

 

Benefits: Denied

 

I have had it up to here with the hook-up culture that we millennials tend to participate in.

Yesterday, I got mighty close to  going out on a date with, what I had initially perceived, was an exceptionally attractive, intelligent, and thoughtful young man. But, as we all know, some things are just too good to be true.

We’d begun texting about a week ago, and it seemed to me that we had a lot in common. He seemed genuinely interested in me and my own interests, asked a lot of insightful questions, and had some very interesting perspectives to share with me, as well. Score, right?

Additionally, he proposed the idea that he and I go to the zoo to speculate at the holiday lights that are on display this season. I excitedly accepted his offer.

Unfortunately, my excitement was in vain, because this dude decided to suck as a person just hours before we were supposed to depart on our journey to see the lights.

It was about 3 PM, and I was just about to begin readying myself for the festive evening I was about to have, when I received a text message from my would-be date.

Him: “Can I be honest? I’m not looking for anything serious. If that’s a problem, I understand.”

Of course it wasn’t a problem! I wasn’t looking for anything serious, either. I was just excited to see me some Christmas lights.

Me: “We’re just  going to see some lights, it’s only a problem if you’re expecting physical stuff from me.” 

Now, i’m not naive. I know that when men ask women out, they do so with the hope of eventually being rewarded physically, whether that be a kiss or the whole SHA-BANG. And hey, if I had a good time with a guy, and felt that he had the desire to get to know me and make sure that I had a good time with him, I’d be more than happy to give him a smooch at the end of the evening. The only thing I take issue with, is when these men go into a date with the expectation of getting some action.

Thanks to the modern technology that is the iPhone, I have screen-shotted the rest of my conversation with this dude for my own convenience:

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I will say this: at least this specific guy had the decency to reveal his motives BEFORE putting me in a situation in which I’d have to reject him in a face-to-face manner. Props to him for that.

However, I find this particular instance especially frustrating, because initially, this guy came off as someone who was genuinely interested in getting to know me, the person with thoughts and ambitions and a personality, rather than me, the person with lips, boobs, and a butt.

Also, his last text message about made me throw my phone out the window of a moving car. “Let me know if you change your mind.” Really? REALLY?

I get that the whole “friends with benefits” thing is appealing to a lot of people. And hey, if both of y’all are on the same page, the more power to you.

I personally find it offensive to express genuine interest in a person, leading them to believe that they are about to go out on a splendid date of talking and getting to know one another, only to shoot them in the foot by proposing a “friends with benefits” relationship. What that says to me is, “Despite all of the things i’ve learned about you thus far, your physical appeal is the best thing you could possibly offer me, so let’s do this thing where the only reason we see each other is to hook up” which is dehumanizing, disrespectful, and wrong.

Sadly, this scenario happens all too often in my own anecdotal experience, though not all of the other guys that have had this same motive in mind have had the decency to explicitly express it.

I guess what i’m saying here, is that if you are looking for friends with benefits, please do the other person a favor by expressing your intentions from the get-go, in order to avoid participating in douche-baggery.

Also, everybody i’ve shared this story with has given me the typical “you deserve better” response, which I fully agree with, but I’d just really like to know where these “better” people (and by that, I mean people who don’t just want to date a girl to get in her pants) hang out. Because obviously, I’ve never been there.

The most detrimental consequence of this entire event is that now I have nobody to see the Christmas lights at the zoo with. Any takers?

M.

 

Lessons Learned At A Coffee Shop

I am notorious for my ability to hold in my grievances when I am physically interacting with someone, and then letting my frustration consume me until I am around my kin, whom I feel comfortable ranting my pants off to. Somebody will offend or frustrate me, and in the heat of the moment, I brush it off or even agree with the perpetrator, meanwhile, a flurry of anger swirls within my little self.

Today, my mom and I went for coffee because we are addicts. Also because the best of conversations are had over coffee, and it was raining. My mom left her phone in the car, so we were free of distractions. I saw this as an opportune moment to release some of the anger i’d been stewing over for the past few days regarding someone who shalt not be named because this is the World Wide Web, and I feel like I should probably grow up and address these specific issues with this person in a face-to-face manner like grown-ups are supposed to do.

Anyway, there we were, drinking our overpriced lattes, and me complaining about aforementioned grievances between sips. After about seven minutes of this, I was just getting started, and my mom had that “problem solver” look on her face as I spoke.

Once I finally shut my mouth for a moment, my mother’s parental advising began.

I don’t know how you guys feel about your mamas, but I can say with absolute certainty that my mom is badass and super wise and I need her bad.

First of all, my mom made it blatantly clear that my complaints were in vain. She told me that I am in control of this situation, and that if I can’t express how I feel to this individual, that I have nobody to blame but myself. Then, because I am an anxiety freak who thinks she needs to have everything figured out right now, or kill herself working towards what she thinks she wants, my mom told me to just enjoy.

Now, these little nuggets of advice might seem simple and completely obvious, and perhaps they are, but to me, they are profound words of wisdom. She is absolutely right-I am in complete control of how I allow this situation to affect me. I have a couple of options here: 1) Remove myself from the source of the frustrations or 2) Express my grievances to this individual and see how things go from there. If they don’t go the way I need them to, I resort to option 1 by default.

Mama Tingey solves another one.

I want to dwell a little longer on my mom’s second piece of advice. “Just Enjoy.” My mom may or may not be going through a bit of a crisis right now, but she revealed to me today her plan to get a tattoo on her ankle. (We come from an LDS background, this is a BIG deal.)

She said getting a tattoo is something she’s always wanted to do. That’s the thing, if you don’t actually DO the things you want to do, you will never do them. Duh?

This all may seem a little jumbled, but I couldn’t help but think about my own life. In my previous post, I complained (haha surprise!) about how everyone else was out doing things and living their lives while I remained stagnant. But in reality, the only difference between them and me is the fact that they are out doing the things they want to do, and I am making excuses as to why I cannot do the things I want to do.

My mom is right, as per usual. I am young, things are flexible, and I should just enjoy. I can’t keep on going through life doing only things I tell myself I HAVE to do. I just need to swallow the world’s biggest chill pill and just enjoy.

M.

Feminists Can Like Flowers, Too.

I am very open about the fact that I identify as a feminist. I love talking about my philosophies on the matter of equality, and I DON’T like people opening my doors for me.

Because feminism is such a huge part of who I am, I think I give off the impression that I don’t want to be taken care of. People tend to think that ALL feminists are bra-burning, anti-chivalry, prideful people. I can’t speak for anyone but myself, but I do not fall under any of the aforementioned categories. (Well, I might be a little prideful, but I think that we can attribute that to my German-ness more so than to my feminist attitudes.)

I LOVE chick flicks. I would literally melt if someone gave me flowers and/or chocolates. I’m soft and love polka dots and bows. Sometimes, I want somebody to take care of me. I want to be wined-and-dined as much as the next girl, and no, none of that invalidates my membership in the feminist community.

What it does, though, is make me feminine, and that’s not a bad thing.

And maybe that’s the problem-we tend to think that feminism and femininity are contradictions. By my understanding, however, the whole point of feminism is to put femininity on an equal playing ground as masculinity. To eliminate the stigma that feminine traits are less desirable than masculine traits.

Wanting to be taken care of and “swept off my feet,” so to speak, does not make me anything but human. The need to be taken care of is a basic human need, and one that man and womankind alike spend their lives pursuing. Wanting romantic gestures all that jazz in no way undermines my desire and belief that I should be treated as an equal.

It goes both ways. In order for a dating relationship of any sort to work, that romance thing has got to be going on. Both partners are equally responsible for keeping that “spark” alive, and co-dependence should be the desired outcome.

I am obviously capable of taking care of myself 100%. An ideal romantic interest would be able to take care of himself 100%. The co-dependence thing comes voluntarily. If people are interested in one another, they will do cute, cheesy, romantic gestures because they want to make the other person happy. Not because they are so inclined to fulfill certain roles. And I definitely don’t believe that allowing a man to court you puts you in a submissive position, especially if the both of you are putting in equal work to date each other.

The other day, I was discussing this topic with a friend of mine, and she presented me with an ultimatum. Either I put down my equality guns and let some knight in shining armor place me on a pedestal, or I keep my “independent woman” front. Why can’t a girl have something in the middle? I understand that it’s a delicate balance, but I don’t believe that it’s unattainable.

Just thinking.

M.

Cyber Courtship

Alright humans, we need to have a talk.

Have you heard of Yik Yak? Maybe it’s a very well-known app, and i’m just behind the times as per usual, but it has been installed on my SmartPhone as of recently. I love it. It’s like, you can post anything you freaking want to, and every Yik Yaker in your area can see it without having a clue as to who the author is.

This app can be used for good, or it can be used for evil. For the most part, the newsfeed consists of humorous, slightly embarrassing entries. But, as with most things, there’s gotta be a couple of assholes who ruin it for everyone.

I’ve noticed a lot of posts on the Yak from young men (assumption) complaining about girls catfishing them on online dating sites, i.e. Tinder. One of the posts was complaining about girls that look “thick” or whatever terminology the kids are using these days, but in real life they’re just fat. I dunno, a lot of really fat-shaming comments were made in response, which was completely problematic on its own, but it got me thinking about this whole catfishing and online dating business.

So, we have social networking platforms that enable us to share everything from photos of our food to photos of ours and others’ faces with our dear friends, enemies, and strangers from Ethiopia of whom we’ve never met before, but accepted their friend requests anyway to be polite. (Guilty as charged.)

It’s no secret that basically anything posted on the World Wide Web can be viewed by anyone with access to it. Because of this, we tend to shed ourselves in the best light possible, because let’s face it, at one point or another, someone is going to see something we’ve posted on our personal pages, and it will change their opinions of us forever.

This applies especially to dating or “hook-up” apps such as Tinder. The intended use of these apps is to find an attractive being to date or make out with or whatever activities you guys do when you meet up with a Match from Tinder. I don’t wanna know.

With the objective of making oneself attractive to others, it would only make sense that we post only the best photos of ourselves, complete with the best filters that Instagram has to offer. That’s not just us ladies, I know dudes be using that Sepia as well. And yes, editing photos enables us to present ourselves in completely unrealistic ways.

Back to the catfishing, I don’t think that enhancing one’s profile photos is considered catfishing. People on dating websites should be going into these accounts with the knowledge that the information presented on anyone’s profile is a reflection of them on their very best days, plus or minus a filter.

So stop getting upset when the individual you are meeting up with from these sites doesn’t look quite like his/her photos. That would be an unrealistic expectation.

Actually, y’know what, scratch everything I just said. My real advice to you would be to get yourself off the computer and go meet some people face-to-face so that you can avoid the whole catfishing problem all together.

Swipe right!

M.