Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Can We Just Be Friends?

Last week, I went to volunteer at the homeless shelter. Whenever I walk into their safe haven, it feels like being home. Everyone is so warm and friendly and ready to help out when needed. Stepping inside those doors always reminds me of being back in the south instead of being in gritty downtown LA.

Outside of church, it's the only place where I see people openly talk about the power of God in their lives. Most of them are ex-addicts who have found Christ so you can imagine how grateful they are to God to just still be alive. But this post isn't about God, it's about me possibly getting into a sticky situation with a MAN.

Most of the men flirt with the female volunteers because they are surrounded by only men for the length of the program (13 months). It's harmless flirting and I play along. I bet you're thinking that my possible sticky situation involves a homeless man; wouldn't that be an interesting saga! In reality, it's one of the employees that works there as a cook.

I deemed him harmless at first because I thought he was married when I met him a few months ago. He talked about missing his older daughter who is in Iraq and he just seemed like a family man. I guess I should have suspected something when he asked if I was married or single but I didn't. I didn't give him my usual "I have a boyfriend" spiel. I think his part-time seminary school status elicited my honesty.

While we were cleaning up after the food service, Seminary man asked me and another volunteer what church we attended, if any. We both rattled off the names of our churches as did he. He then invited us both to his church and asked if he could have our contact info. We both agreed and gave him our phone numbers. In case you are wondering, the other volunteer is a gay man. At this point, I should have known what was up.

Last night, Seminary man dialed me up. He said he just wanted to call and see how I was doing and invite me to church one Sunday in the near future. He then said that he would really like to get to know me and asked if he could take me to lunch or dinner. There it was; the real reason why he was calling. Sunday service was just the point of entry.

He told me that he liked the way, "I carried myself" and that I seemed like a nice mature woman. Although his old school approach was quite refreshing, my interest in him stops at the friend mark. I can already hear you saying, what about what you said in your previous post about fully getting to know someone before you make a conclusion so quickly.

In return I say to you, there is an exception to every rule. He is a nice man and we do have somewhat decent conversation together but we are at two exremely different points in our lives. He is 49, has been married before and has a daughter in her 20's. Not quite the ideal of what I am looking for.

From the brief conversations we have had, he does seem like he has lived an interesting life and I would really like to get to know him but I wonder if the man/woman friendship is only a myth. I've only had 2 platonic male friends since the onset of adulthood and it only worked because neither of us had a romantic interest in the other.

I intend to be completely honest with this man so no one gets hurt. My "filler" days are over and I no longer feel comfortable using someone else just to please my own flesh. I kinda hope he is okay with just being my friend. It would be nice to have a platonic friendship with a man again but at this stage in life, I'm just not so sure it's possible...


Monday, August 20, 2007

I Got My Body Fat Tested...

And no, I am not telling you my number; it's quite embarrassing actually. When I saw my number, the usual thought, "How did I let this happen" stormed across my mind. As I mentioned before, I am apart of a weight loss challenge which started yesterday and ends in February. We went to a health expo a week ago and got our body fat tested but then we found another way to get more accurate results. It's called the

Hydrostatic Body Fat Test

This company does the body fat testing for many of the weight loss reality TV shows like Celebrity Fit Club. I really had no idea what to expect when I arrived. As soon as we walk into the facility, I see a perky Asian woman ready to get our tests underway. She had one of those,"I've never had a fat day in my life" type of bodies. I knew I had to get in a pool to get tested but I thought they would simply hook me up to a machine and be done in 5 seconds. The experience was quite difficult.

I got into the water tank and listened for further instructions. The perky Asian lady said to blow 3 deep breaths out of your mouth as if you were hyperventilating. On the last breath, you hold your nose and dunk your head back into the water while you are still blowing the air out. It sounds easy as pie but everytime I dunked my head into the water, I would suck the air back into mouth. I did this about two times before I got it right and damn near choked during the process. Phewww.

After we finished, perky Asian lady discusses our results and gives us advice on how to change our body fat for the better. Since me and another participant are heavier than the other people in our group, we get a full-blown explanation of how to eat. I was itching to pull the, "I know this shit already, I just have a hard time applying it" card but I sat there quiet and nodded my head. I guess it is true what they say. Knowledge is only power when applied.

I have read countless nutrition and health books but I never follow the plans for more than 3 weeks. But this time is different. Not only do I have to prove to myself that I can shed this weight but I can't let myself look like a lazy bum next to the other 4 people in this challenge. And I REFUSE to go back to perky Asian lady in February with the same body fat measurements I got yesterday. Wish me luck!!


Friday, August 17, 2007

Everybody's Getting Betrothed!!

I know my topics have been on a marriage/relationship type of kick lately but this theme keeps popping up in my life. This week I found out that yet another friend of mine is getting married. However, this time, it's not one of my girls, it's a guy I used to date.

We had one of those on-again, off-again courtships; it was kind of like a booty call with perks. Although we mainly had a sexual relationship, we still went on dates. He would hint at wanting a serious relationship but I ignored those hints and kept our status as "uncommitted". Throughout the time we were together, he never dated anyone else. He said he could never sleep with more than one woman at once. He was made to be in a committed relationship but he seemed to always get involved with women that just couldn't see him as the "relationship guy".

By the time he met me, he said he had stopped worrying about if he would ever find "the one" and learned to just enjoy his life alone. I admired his way of thinking and his attitude took the pressure off of me. Our booty call romance ended after a year but we still kept in touch. This week, he called to tell me he was getting married. I know what you're thinking, he was dating someone else the whole time. He's not a nice guy after all. No.

His parents found someone for him to marry from his country and he actually agreed. I was shocked. In the past, he said he was never the type to do an arranged marriage. I didn't question his reasons for getting married but I couldn't help but wonder if he was just tired of not succeeding in romance here in this country and decided to take advantage of the old world customs of his own country.

I'm reading this book right now called, "Why do I think I am nothing without a man". The author says that we as humans are conditioned to believe that we can only be happy if we are apart of a twosome. Although the book is geared towards women, she says a lot of men think this way too. There are many more layers to this book which I will have to write about later. I just think it's interesting how someone who claimed to be at peace with being alone is about to jump into an arranged marriage. Maybe he never really stopped worrying about finding "the one" and only pushed those thoughts deep into his subconscious.

After he told me his good news, we said our goodbyes and I wished him well. I know we will never see each other again because it would be too weird. I knew I never wanted to be in a serious relationship with him but I felt kind of sad. He is the first man that I have dated that is getting married (that I know of) and it feels like I am losing someone. Maybe I am just being selfish but it's hard to imagine him taking such a serious step with someone else. I know he deserves every piece of happiness but why is it so hard for me to let go? I think that's why I am so adamant about remaining friends with people I have dated; it's just so hard to have them exit from your life. In the end, I hope it all works out for my friend.


Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Can I Do It This Time?

Over the weekend, I went to a health expo with some girlfriends. We are starting a weight-loss challenge tomorrow and we needed to get our health stats. The weight-loss challenge goes from Aug. 15th to Feb. 15th. They need to lose weight for a wedding and I joined in b/c I need to figure a way to become more accountable to myself with losing weight.

So on Saturday morning, we went truckin downtown to get our current weight, body fat and blood pressure measured. While we were getting our body fat measured by the Bally's booth, they were trying to sell us on getting a membership to one of their gyms. One of the guys asked if I wanted to sign up and I said, "No. I don't really like gyms but I have lots of work-out videos". In turn, he said, "Really. Are they dusty?" Ouch. I didn't know ridicule was apart of their strategy. He flashes me a pearly white smile as he sends me on my way but his comment sticks in my head for most of the day. I wasn't necessarily offended by the comment but it made me think of how many times I have started and stopped an exercise regimen.

When I became unemployed, I started exercising everyday cause I was bored as hell. I also ate all of my meals at home cause I was broke. Which makes me wonder if I just need to be jobless and penniless to lose weight!

I must say, I had tons of energy when I was working out everyday and I was almost starting to love the high I got from it. I lost 18 pounds in 7 weeks and I went down one dress size. I was ecstatic but once I started working again and got back into the social game, I started slacking off. They say it takes 21 days to build a habit but I swear it takes me 21 days to build and break the habit all in one go. Luckily, I haven't gained the weight back that I lost but I know if I don't ramp it up soon, those pounds will creep back on.

I touched on this topic before in my "Weight-loss Woes" blog entry back in January. Being overweight is never about the food; lots of crazy emotions are wrapped up into my obesity. I guess I am still figuring out how to better channel dealing with my emotions. So, tomorrow is a new challenge and I really hope I can do it this time. I know that losing weight will be such a great benefit to my health but I also really just want to be able to shop on Melrose...


Friday, August 3, 2007

The Next Chapter

One of my best friends left LA last night to go and get married in Australia. She and her fiance are happily awaiting their nuptials in a few weeks. They met 2 years ago, fell in love quickly, and decided to get hitched. After they get married, they are permanently relocating to Australia to start their new life together.

In the past couple of years, many of my friends have been getting married, having babies and moving to new cities, in hopes of embarking on the next chapter of their lives. I can't help but think back to a conversation I had with my mother when I was 25 years old. She insisted on bursting the fantasy bubble I lived in at the time. Back then, all I cared about was having a great time with my girlfriends and not putting too much thinking towards the future. I always had big dreams of what I thought the future held for me but when I was younger, the "future" seemed so far away. I was more interested in where my next cocktail was coming from!

So my all too responsible Mother decides to sit me down one holiday while I was visiting her and says, "Baby, I know you love how your life is right now but it will change soon. Your friends will get married and move on and you have to start preparing for that". Of course I knew my fantasy bubble couldn't last forever but I wasn't ready to step out of it. Not quite yet. I didn't want to discuss the topic any further so I just said my infamous, "I know that Mom!"

Fast forward 5 years to present day and she was right. I knew she was right because she is always right and not in the "Parent's have life experience" under their belt kind of right. My mother is extremely intuitive and kinda clairvoyant at times; so she is always right even when I don't want her to be. I took heed to what she told me 5 years ago and in the past 2 years, I slowly started taking steps to prepare for the next chapter.

It might sound odd but I purposely stopped hanging out with my close circle of friends as much. I stopped being the friend they could always count on as being present at every social occasion. I started hanging out with just myself so I could learn to be happy with just me. I took myself out to dinner, movies and the occasional bar and I had fun with me. I began to learn how to not make the life I had with my friends so crucial to my existence.

The next chapter of life can mean many different things at different stages of our lives. It can be going to college, starting your career, getting married, having babies or dealing with the death of loved ones. But underneath it all, I think my mother was trying to tell me that the next chapter of life is learning how to be alone and enjoying it.

Learning how to be alone comes at different times for everyone and no one can escape it. Friends leave, siblings leave, children leave and spouses leave. The only person that will always be left is you. My mother says I am lucky to learn this life lesson now when I am young than when I am old. She didn't learn how to enjoy being alone until I went away to college and she still says that was the hardest moment she had faced in her life up until then. Codependency can truly be a bitch at times.

I still soak up and love the company of my friends but I have left the fantasy bubble and I have no intentions of ever going back.


Thursday, August 2, 2007

Travel Joneses'

I am that girl. The one who has a hard time putting roots down anywhere. The one who has a hard time staying committed to anything or anyone. The one who hates working 9-5 but does it out of sheer necessity. I am simply a girl that loves to be stimulated by meeting new people and experiencing new cultures all of the time.

Lately I have been reading too many expat blogs about Americans living in other countries and it has reactived my travel bug that has been dormant for far too long. Reading about others experiences has also brought back so many beautiful memories of when I lived in Spain. I lived in Madrid for 10 months when I was a junior in college and it was the best time of my life. I can't sum up my entire experience in this blog but the time I spent in Spain has been the only time in my almost 30 years of life where I felt happy every day. Although, I'm sure my memories of Spanish life are a little romanticized b/c I was a student and didn't have the true responsibilities I have now as an adult here in LA.

In any case, I am getting an itch to go somewhere, anywhere. So far, I have been to Europe, Caribbean and North Africa and now I want to tackle Asia. I contemplated teaching english in Korea for awhile but I'm not sure if that is the right fit for me. As much as I would love to disappear to some faraway land, I still have many tasks to finish here. Besides, I think I would feel disappointed in myself if I just chucked it (my dreams) all to the wind. For now, I will have to settle for a vacation somewhere to satisfy my cravens. Hmmm, where should I go?


Ghost From The Past - Part 2

Back in April, I talked about seeing a ghost from my past when I was perusing dating websites. He was the last man I fell really hard for but it didn't work out due to reasons I mentioned in the April post. We sporadically kept in touch since we stopped seeing each other but I hadn't talked to him for months until... July 4th.

I was at home reading a book and waiting for my roommates 4th of July party to kick in when my cell rang. As I gazed down at the number calling me, it took 2 seconds to register that it was him. Here is an excerpt of the convo:

Me: Hello.
Him: Hi, it's ____.

Me: Oh, hey. (long pause) Um, how's it going?
Him: Good. How are you?

Me: Great, just great. Did you graduate?
Him: No, not yet.

Me: Oh, bummer.
Him: (Insert nervous laughter) This is my last quarter though. Sooooo, what are you doing right now?

Me: Why?
Him: I was wondering if we could hang out today?

Did he seriously think he could just call me at the drop of a hat to hang out and I would drop everything on a freaking holiday to see his trifling behind. Of course that is not what I said to him although I really do need to find a way to channel the "psycho-bitch" persona for moments like this.

Me: I kinda have plans being it's 4th of July today.
Him: Oh right, I forgot about the holiday. We don't celebrate it in my country.

Me: Well, we do here.
Him: I just wanted to know if I could take you out for coffee sometime so we could catch up.

What could we possibly have to catch up on?

Me: Sure. How about Sunday?
Him: Perfect. I'll pick you up at 3.

Did I just agree to meet him that fast.

Me: I'll just meet you at the Starbucks down the street.
Him: No, no. I'll come and get you.

Me: Fine. Ok, bye.
Him: See ya on Sunday.

I hang up the phone and wonder what the hell just happened here? I wasn't really expecting to ever see my ghost again. My mind starts taking off in a million different directions. Does he want to be friends now? Or God forbid, does he need to tell me he has an STD?

Sunday rolls around and he calls me at 3 to tell me he is on his way. Damn, I was almost hoping he bailed. Five minutes later (yes, we live that close), he calls and says he is outside my house. You know what's crazy, I was straight up nervous. Not because I was so excited to see him or anything but I was still worried about why he wanted to see me.

Anyways, I walk outside but I do not see his black Mustang. I scan my head from side to side but I don't see him. I pull my cell out to call him and then I see a shiny new Lexus pull out from one of the parking spaces and drive right in front of me. He waves and I get into the car.

Me: Hey. I didn't notice you in the new car.
Him: Oh, yeah I just got it.

Me: Why did you get a Lexus?
Him: Cause it's reliable

More like, I bought the shiny new Lexus to compensate for what I am lacking emotionally.

Me: Reliable? Uh, okay.
Him: Have you lost weight?

Me: (I smile to myself) Oh, you can tell?

I know my weight loss is obvious since I haven't seen him in awhile but isn't it fun to play along.

Him: Yeah, you look much thinner. Why are you losing weight?

Duh, cause I want to look hot!

Me: Cause I need to get healthy now that I am getting older.
Him: I guess that's good.

By this time we are at Starbucks cause it is seriously only 2 minutes from both of our houses. So you see, there was no need for him to pick me up except to show off his shiny new Lexus. I guess he never figured out that I am not materialistic.

I sit on the patio as he gets our iced coffees. He saunters out looking like he owns the world and sits the coffee down.

Me: Thanks.
Him: Sure. So, how have you been?

Me: Really good.
Him: How is work?

Me: Actually, I am doing very well. I quit my day job and I am finally building up my financial services business right now and I love it!!
Him: Wow, things have really picked up for you. That's great.

Okay, in cases like this, I totally advocate bending the truth just a wee bit. There is no need for him to know that I was laid off from my day job, that my financial services business is starving for clients right now and that unemployment was my only source of income at the time.

Me: Yes, life is great.
Him: Are you dating anyone?

Damn, you waste no time in getting to the personal questions.

Me: At this very moment, no. I dated one guy earlier this year but it didn't work out.
Him: Oh. What are you looking for?

Haven't I told you this like 3 times before and yet you still ask the same question.

Me: A serious relationship; not a casual one.
Him: Then why don't you get a boyfriend?

Like it's that easy to find someone who you connect with physically, spiritually and emotionally.

Me: Well, I don't want a boyfriend just to have one. I want him to be the right person.
Him: You know what, you should get married!

What the fuck?? Okay, I have no idea what is going on in this conversation right now and no, I am not making any of this up.

Me: Dude, slowwww down. Why u trying to marry me off? Do I look like the marrying type?
Him: No but what do I know.

How do you know I am not 100% keen on marriage; time to get the spotlight off of me.

Me: Are you dating anyone?
Him: No, no time.
Me: Well, are you fucking anyone?
Him: (Nervous Laughter) Umm, yeah. You know booty calls.

Nice to hear you are still living a shallow existence.

Me: Do you ever want to be in a relationship?
Him: Yes but not right now. I have to focus on my career right now.

Still singing the same song I see.

Me: Why did you call me?
Him: Because I miss you.

Crap, I wasn't expecting him to say that. There was a long pause right here cause I really had no idea what to say. I kinda missed him too but not in the "I want to be your girlfriend" type of way.

Me: Oh. Well, I miss talking to you sometimes.
Him: Me too. I always thought you were a very nice person.

By this time we have finished our coffee and are back in the car driving me home. We are silent for the full 2 minutes it takes to get back. He pulls up slowly in the front of my gate.

Me: It was good seeing ya and good luck with school.
Him: Good to see you too and thanks. See you next time.
Me: Yeah, next time.

So that was how my meeting with the ghost went. It was kind of weird seeing him but nice in a way. He looked even better than I remembered but I always thought he was hot. We haven't spoken since that day and I am not so sure there will be a next time. I'm not really sure I want there to be a next time. Some things are better left in the past. On the bright side, at least he didn't tell him he had an STD....

P.S To all my friends who are saying, "This happened in July and you are just now telling us in August!" You know it takes me awhile to digest situations that happen in my life before I can completely spill my guts about it. Besides, I am like this in "real life", so why would you expect anything different in "blogland"...