Breaking All the Non-Rules

Four years later, I’ve learned a great many things. Some dismal realizations about the fragmented, terrified nature of my generation. Some reminders that the world is still as sweet as we once dreamed it would be.
After my divorce, I believed I would never find a love like that again. To some degree, I believe this is still true, but I find comfort in the fact I don’t want to be loved by someone who doesn’t challenge me to be a better version of myself.
I even felt guilty after I fell in love a second time; I felt as though I’d betrayed the most sacred vow, as death had not done us part, but it was invigorating to know the elusive emotion was still alive. Hidden, but alive.
I suppose that was the “Jesus” relationship. After it’s bloody crucifixion, that horrid crash and burn, the motherfucker rose again, and again. Just when I believed the return of Christ was just another brilliantly crafted myth, the bearded savior revealed himself as a true contender for my heart.
My neurosis hasn’t calmed completely. I’ve spent far too many hours letting my thoughts about this man splinter and race like blurred taillights down the highways to hell. “Does he want to BE with me? or is this just another comfortable convenience?” “What are we doing here?” “Who is this long-distance woman who continues captivating his attention?” “Is it my business?” “Am I just an option?” “Is he serious?”
Maybe most importantly: “Am I serious?”
The more I dissect, the more I feel I haven’t learned a damn thing from the years spent in the modern world of Millenial non-dating (trust me, you aren’t allowed to use that word). I was still attracted to the same type of non-committal guys, the ones who want to drop panties and then drop phone numbers with any and every set of marginally-nice titays. The ones who still acknowledge other woman in your presence, keeping their options open at all times. Keeping you hidden and secret to ensure you don’t mess that all up, then acting like you’re the crazy one.
These are the guys we find attractive, and then we wonder, “Where are all the good ones at?”
A few months ago, I was asking myself about all these infuriating topics again, I realized I was still playing the incredibly frustrating and, for lack of a better term, fucking ridiculous game we all consider the “new normal.”
The dating game goes a little like this:
1. Decide whether you actually like this person through about 20-35 days of trying to read impossible signals and deciphering Facebook/text messages.
2. Continue reading stupid Elite Daily, Cosmopolitan and other nonsensical Internet “list” literature about flirtation, attraction, etc. and drive yourself crazy wondering if there is, in fact, attraction happening. Because, hey, you couldn’t possibly just trust what you fucking feel, right? Verify with a source!
3. Maybe go on a date, but don’t you fucking dare call it a date. Millennials don’t “date.” There is time together with shared food and beverages and maybe even some sex, but even the word “date” implies a level of commitment. #ewwww
4. Don’t talk about the fact you might actually like each other until at least six weeks of not dating has occurred. It doesn’t matter if you’ve already got a designated toothbrush at their apartment, you have to remain cool, calm and collected, unattached as much as possible. Sure you think about the dude all the time… wait nope. You DON’T. Don’t even admit it to yourself.
All these steps will ensure the transition into step five:
5. Remain in a state of uncomfortable, almost unbearable ambiguity for eeeeh, for ambiguity’s sake, like maybe five, six or so weeks. Are they still going to be seeing other people (likely, and don’t you dare ask about who any other chick is, be COOL) Does that mean I should still talk to other people just so I don’t seem like I’m putting all my eggs in one basket (yes)?
But I don’t want to date (fuck, I said it) anyone else… Irrelevant. This new world is all about leaving as many doors open as you can get away with, always ensuring you have an escape from the room you currently share, even if that room has everything you could ever want right there.
When did we get so terrified of each other? When did we collectively become such pussies when it comes to falling in love, or like, or marginal attraction? Jesus Christ, we will jump out of planes, base jump from a cliff, eat raw fish, in fact we now pride ourselves on doing/seeing/being something nobody has ever dreamed up before, but we absolutely refuse to allow ourselves to put our hearts out there like we’re teenagers again.
I’ve been feeling especially adolescent lately…or for the last several months. I’ve got the stomach flip. The butterflies. The daylong daydreams of touching his hair and his lips. Elation at my favorite feature… his voice– alive with laughter and clear as a bell. It literally sounds like the wavelength of joy and destroys any darkness that lingers from a bad day.
I’ve tossed my better judgement to the wind just for a few hours of his presence. I’ve fibbed to my loved ones about where I’m going just to buy more time with him. I’ve filled my life with inconveniences, wasted resources, ignored my duties as an employee, a friend and sometimes even a parent because he is so intoxicating… so comfortable… on my wavelength in so many ways it’s uncanny.
Sleeping with someone’s face on your face is supposed to eventually get old, right? Eventually you want their tree trunk legs off your fucking torso so you can breathe when you sleep, right? Nope. I can’t get enough of everything he has to offer, and his offering is exactly what I want– genuine, humorous, adventurous, kind and generous. That’s it. I want nothing else but his time and affection.
No matter how this pans out, I’ll forever be thankful for this man for restoring my faith in the human heart. I never thought I would be here again, considering the potential for a real connection with another man; I thought I was only left with memories of what Carrie Bradshaw called “The Zsa Zsa Zsu,” but here I am… reminded it can be waiting literally just one flight of stairs and a hallway away.
So here’s the real bottom line: Do the rules (or lack thereof) really matter? I read an article online that compared this tendency to over-analyze and evaluate every aspect of your affections to putting up a barbed-wire fence around a tree. Sure you can protect the tree, but you can’t fucking enjoy the tree! You can’t climb it. You can’t get near it, so what’s the point of protecting it?
I think I’m finished living in this maelstrom of nonsense and I’m ready to just enjoy what’s in front of me. I have the pleasure of sitting across the table from a man I truly enjoy all the time. I get to go to sleep with him and wake up (in a panic) next to him every night. I get to hear that joyful noise of his voice every morning, every time he quietly says, “I like you” during pillow talk, every time he tells me a joke to cheer me up every time he reminds me that he’ll be alright as long as I’m there. Plus we goin’ on a god damn cruise, bitches.
Sure it seems like the environment is working against us all the time, but I just want this tree to grow and be strong in a natural state. Is that too much to ask?

Another avoidable 30-second media frenzy

See, this whole debacle with Congressman Jim Bridenstine could’ve been avoided if people would practice a dead art — answering questions.
If you live in Oklahoma, and you haven’t heard about this guy, Bridenstine, turn off Big Brother and give him the attention he’s demanding…just a little bit, though. Here’s the skinny: In June, the Lawton/Fort Sill community was bluntly informed the military base would be used to house about 1,200 children who had illegally entered the country. They would be staying temporarily at a safe, clean, awesome place, basically (and from what I hear, they are). Then, they would be relocated to “caretakers or family” possibly already in the country.
Bridenstine showed up at the facility last week and demanded to come inside to check things out. Security officers informed him he could not, as he hadn’t made a scheduled appointment. Now he’s calling for media to boycott touring the facility with recording and interviewing restrictions, the same restrictions placed on anyone who tours the facility.
He says he has the right to be there; The officials running the facility still have an obligation to protect those left in their temporary care.
I agree with both.
I’ll always support the fight for any public agency to be more transparent; They are funded with tax-payers’ dollars specifically to perform functions on behalf of “the people.” I do believe we have the right to not only know, but also to see, touch, smell and taste. However, officials at the facility have treated him just like everyone else; they’ve not been unfair, and this guy is rubbing me the wrong way.
Bridenstine’s bandwagon ride has probably gained thousands of Web site hits and countless interview requests. We’ve run stories on the front page about the shenanigans twice. (There WAS a grainy YouTube video, though). He’s proud of his interview with Greta Van Susteren and every other media outlet in the country.
Every candidate is using this situation as an avenue to sling mud at either the president, Congress, or “Mexico (Even though many of the children are not, in fact, from Mexico).”
Now, he’s insinuating there’s some sort of “cover-up” going on, or at least enabling his Facebook followers to troll his page, one even commenting that “They don’t want you to know its adults and not children.”
I’ve spoken with one person employed during the initial stages of the transition, and there’s no doubt the children are happy, healthy and safe. They were cheering on a World Cup team one day and practicing salsa dancing the next. They’re eating, and honestly, living well.
All that in mind, Bridenstine seems to be a conflict candidate perfectly tempered for the American populous.
“I’ll wait until the people start Facebook raging about (insert topic), and I’ll whip it up into stiff, delicious controversy to keep myself relevant. Then, when we pass a knee-jerk piece of legislation to “fix” the temporary sting of (insert problem), everyone will forget about it and move on.”
It’s a brilliant strategy. I can’t really be mad at the guy for doing his job well, especially when he’s yelling for access to a facility I’d, personally, love to access. He probably could’ve been wildly successful if he’d taken the stance during the “rage swell” that followed immediately after the announcement that unregistered minors would be housed at Fort Sill, literally minutes away from the community in which I live.
The local news covered the story… every single day. Relentlessly. After two weeks of the noise, I wanted to puke blood. Again, they were just doing their jobs, but it was exhausting to scramble to find out tiny morsels of sometimes irrelevant or insignificant information.
Maybe that’s why he bothers me so much– Bridenstine is acting like the journalist I know I should be.
I do believe people should be allowed to talk with the children. I do believe they should be allowed to record it if the parties are willing and media escorts ensure there’s no sensitive information about the facility leaked.
That will never happen, though.
The media cockblock has been pretty intense on this whole operation. I’ve watched a reporter in my office work to get some tiny piece of information confirmed by officials, and it nearly gave me an ulcer. The local personnel on Post have their hands tied, and it’s not uncommon for some questions to be referred to another agency. It happens often, so I really wasn’t surprised.
But every request for official information was funneled to one phone number and email account at D.C. Some of the questions are ignored, and sometimes the official at the other end simply refers the asker to a list of Frequently Asked Questions online.
The big questions still haven’t been answered.
First and foremost, who made the decision to house the children at Fort Sill, and when was this decision made? It literally felt like there was a press release, “Hey, we’re going to have a couple thousand unaccompanied minors stay on Post for a little while,” and then they were here. I know it ultimately doesn’t matter; The children had to go somewhere, but I would just like to know how these logistical decisions played out here. Was Fort Sill a plan B? For Hobby Lobby’s sake, a plan “D?”
Even Governor Mary Fallin told The Lawton Constitution last month that she doesn’t know:
“I’m also very conscientious and aware that we don’t have a lot of answers of what’s going on. I’ve been on a briefing this week with many officials in Washington, D.C. They gave us a general, overall, ‘here’s why we did it, here’s how it’s happening, here’s where it’s going on.’ Very basic stuff. Not a lot of detail. Told us we could ask one question.”
Then, the big one, what now? How does the process of relocating the children work? Are there counselors interviewing every child to find out where his or her parents, relatives, friends, etc. are living? Who are the persons performing this service, and what methodology do they use? If they’re out-of-the country, will they be returned (deported) to their families there? What if there’s nothing left for them to return to? Have any been relocated at this time?
It seems like public agencies, at least in this area of the country, are increasingly inclined to release only what information they are legally mandated to share and all questions are swatted away like bothersome mosquitoes. Well, stagnant water breeds more mosquitoes, so don’t complain when they’re biting you.
So, now I tell the folks in Washington: You’ve let the pond stagnate; Next time you want to house over a thousand immigrant children at a federal facility and pay hundreds of thousands of taxpayer dollars to do so, be sure you pay it forward with the American people about the plan and answer some fucking questions.
As for Bridenstine asking the media boycotting a restricted tour? Is he serious? Those reporters have been planning and preparing for weeks, just like he was asked to wait for a tour. We’ve got a job to do, as do you, and plan to do it. I know it’s being fed with a spoon, but starving solves nobody’s problems. And above all, reporters, who have been signing up in droves for tours this week, aren’t members of congress trying to drum up popular support for re-election.