This post is dedicated to Kendra, who has inspired me to, just this once, really bare it all in a way I haven't before. Not only is she hilarious, but she is one of the bravest women I know when it comes to examining herself and sharing herself with her followers. It is also dedicated to my many followers who have allowed me to be honest and vulnerable without judging me.
[WARNING: To my friends & family that may read this -- there are some really personal things in this entry. Please don't read this if you can't handle reading about my (past) sex life.]
Truth: As a 29 (almost 30)-year old, it pains me to say I have never had a boyfriend™
Let me take a step back and explain this a bit: Growing up I was a bit of a tomboy and my interest in boys was rooted in my desire to play sports with them. I did have my crushes, I did see boys as attractive. However, I had two main problems: (1) my (over)protective father (2) I was not attractive (and that is being very kind to me) thus guaranteeing my spot in the friendzone.
My father (by virtue of his profession) made me painfully aware of all the evil things men were capable of doing to women. At 16 he even took me to a conference about internet kiddie porn and date rape drugs. I knew even if I were ever to be asked out, the boy would have the serious hurdle of convincing my father that he would not treat me like a Scantron (dad would often tell me not to get "torn, spindle[d], or mutilate[d]").
But the greater problem was my appearance. I was not a pretty teenager. I was one of the heaviest girls in my grade. I was awkward, pimply, and had no fashion sense (my interpretation of "grunge" looked more like lesbian lumberjack). Moreover, I was a bit of an emotional wreck. Between losing my mom at 13 and trying to deal with the aftermath, I wasn't the light & fluffy party girl. I was pretty fucking serious.
During my senior year in HS, my friend who was a year older invited me to visit him at his university with the promise of going to my first frat party. Before that trip, I confided to my friend (MD) that I had never even kissed a boy. Much to my shock, he planted on on me right then and there. But it wasn't love or attraction that made him do that, it was some combination of friendship and pity.
This is where things start to get personal... please do not continue to read unless you can read without judgment. This is really hard for me to put this here, but it's something I felt I needed to write.
Later in that year, I had my first sexual encounter at a friend's party. It was the first time I had really experienced a guy (F) flirt with me. He was older than me and sexy as hell. Later, we found ourselves alone on a couch in the basement. He kissed me and it wasn't out of pity, but it was because he wanted something from me. I had no clue what I was doing, nor did I have a clue as to why I felt compelled to do it. It was my first time giving oral sex (no, he did not reciprocate). That's as far as it went.
In the revisionist history of my life, I will say "first boyfriend" when describing him, but that is so far from the truth. It wasn't even a one-night stand. For the longest time I lied (mainly to myself) that there was some sort of relationship with him, but it was mainly to make me feel better, less cheap. But now you all know the truth.
The rest of HS was uneventful and much more of the same. I was not asked to my Senior Prom. Instead, I had to do the asking (taking my friend's younger brother with me), one last reminder about how I was persona non grata in the HS dating world.
My freshman year of college was an adventure/experiment in redefining myself. I still wasn't the light and fluffy party girl, but I did get out more. Unfortunately, I think I went from zero to 60 mph. Maybe part of me felt like I was playing catch-up with my sexuality.
During my freshman year at college I met, and kissed, and even got frisky with many college boys, but the main highlight was one guy, J. He and I had met online. After many long chats, long-distance phone calls (and the phone bills), he decided to come visit me at school. We had a great weekend (and he nearly broke my dorm bed). When I went home on break, I met his parents. He even met my father (the only person I was seeing to have ever met my father while I was seeing them). However, I think to call him my boyfriend would be a stretch. We cared about each other, but there was never enough interaction or connection to say we were in a relationship. The connection was friendship, and the connection is still there.
I started my sophomore year of college a virgin, but I did not end the year as one. The first day I was there I decided to flex my sensuality. The poor guy (C) did not see it coming. It's a great story to tell, but I don't think now's the time to tell it. He ended up being one of first experiences of "friends-with-benefits." I could call him and he would be game. That all came to a stop, though, when I met D. With our frequent talks, trips to get ice cream, and intimate moments (no intercourse, yet) I'd like to think that D was one of the closest times I came to actually having a boyfriend.
However, things went sour real fast when my dorm roommate told her parents about my sex life (only had oral sex, was using protection, etc.) and her parents lectured me. She said that all these boys wanted was sex and that they were using me. In the back of my head I had a running dialogue about what I wanted to say back -- about how I was really using them -- but in the end I decided to just let them say their peace and then walk out the door, go to my RA and inquired about getting a new room assignment. The stress of that situation lead to my breakup with D. But even with D I hesitate to say there was a romantic relationship. What I have no hesitancy in saying is that we were great friends. We still are.
The second half of the year I was matched with a new roommate who was entirely different from that self-righteous bitch I had formerly lived with. She was artistic, passionate, and very open in terms of sexuality. I could talk to her about anything. She did not judge me. I lost my virginity on January 30, 2001. I know the date because it was SuperBowl weekend (and I was so focused on the sex that I forgot to watch my beloved Giants lose to the Ravens). Despite being in the middle of a city, at a bustling university, I had met M online. What transpired was a bit of a marathon and a tour all in one. Not only did he take my virginity but he took my favorite fleece. I saw him once after that and then he disappeared (he was in the Navy and said he went to Saudi Arabia). He was not my boyfriend, but he was my first. He is now married with 2 kids.
The next major stop on the time line was during my senior year of college. G and I met at a friend's party and I ended up going home with him that night. But we kept on going out after that. I would hang out with him and his friends (I was 20 and we'd go to this one bar where I'd never get carded). We'd go to concerts, we'd go shopping with each other. And well, we did a lot of other things. But by his definition, we were not boyfriend & girlfriend. In fact, right as he was about to ask me to be his girlfriend (a move he equated to proposing marriage) I told him I thought we weren't a good fit. We continued to see each other, but ultimately things ended when I found out that he was having sex with another girl. Interestingly enough, I had met her at a concert and told him that I thought they had a lot in common. They're married now.
The only other major point on the time line was J. It's hard for me to write about him because without a doubt I loved him (and without a doubt, I know he cared for me and wanted for my well-being). However, love was not something that was within the prescribed parameters of the fuck-buddy relationship. Once I knew I loved him, and once I told him, the relationship came to a quick end. He was the first guy to bring me to orgasm (a function of skill and my letting go of control). He was also the first guy with whom I felt completely safe and beautiful. He could look at me when I was naked and I didn't feel the need to hide. With him, I could experiment and request. We are still a part of each others' lives, just from a distance.
Once we broke up, I tried to piece myself together, but 6 months later I decided that sex wasn't bringing me any closer to love. So I decided that the only way I was going to have sex was in the context of a relationship. That was 1,513 days ago.
Now, I have no idea how many men I've kissed over the years. But I do know how many men I've had intercourse with. I will not disclose that number (as I am a lady), but of the men I've had sex with, ~80% were trysts/one-night stands. Half of those one-night stands were straight up bad choices. Of all the men I've slept with, ~30% are still friends/people I talk to often. While one of those men is a dear friend and loves me as a friend, I cannot say that any of those men have loved me in a romantic sense. I have loved only one of them.
I think that is a sad state of affairs.
Do I regret any of my past? Yes and no. I cannot go back and change any of it, but I can look back on my past with compassion. I made good choices and bad, but those choices made me who I am today. I love the the person I am today.
However, I could do without a few of those bad choices (can't we all?) as they provided no true input to my growth as a person or as a sexual being (e.g., the sex wasn't good), and usually left me feeling like something was taken from me (my sense of self-worth).
So, why this post? Why now?
Well, despite being one of the hardest posts I've ever written (mainly because of who might read this), this post is really about the future.... my future.
Unexpectedly, I now find myself thinking about a man. Not just any man, but a very specific and lovely one. I mentioned in a previous post that he has made me feel beautiful not because of any comment about my body (though he is gracious when it comes to compliments), but by showing care towards me, by allowing me to be honest with him.
My self-confidence has been growing ever since starting this blog, getting back to the gym, losing weight, and getting my life in order. I know exactly who I am and what I am made of. I know my strength and weaknesses. I know what I have to give to another person. I also know that I am right to expect something in return (honesty, faithfulness, respect, even love).
However, it is a huge leap of faith (given my past experience and what I know about the sad state of dating among my generation) for me to once again open myself up to another person in that way. I feel as if I am about to go skydiving for the first time. I keep on checking for my parachute. Each time I check, I feel silly. Even if the parachute is there, I will only know if it will work once I pull the cord.
And yet, each time he patiently reassures me that not only is the parachute there, but he is as well.
[UPDATE: "the future" guy totally let me down. Moving on...]
Truth, Frogs, and The Future
in About Me, Dating - on 3:18:00 AM - 43 comments
What an awesome, amazing, and honest post! I relate to so many things you have written.Reply
You made me smile by talking about finally finding and understanding yourself. You know who you are and what you have to offer to not only a man but to anyone that you come in contact with.
Thanks TFM. I think knowing who I am is the only way I will be able to stop making the same mistakes (relationships, eating, exercising, everyting!).Reply
I...completely adore you. I know we are all big on showing each other bloggy love and all that but from the first time I started reading your blog I just felt like, you are smart, well spoken, wonderful, beautiful. I am happy for the way you are feeling now and excited that you seem excited for someone who is making you feel how you deserve to <3Reply
My little cupcake (as you are no longer a whole cake, you are much smaller!) -- you've been one of my first bloggy friends and biggest supporters -- so that really means a lot to me coming from you.Reply
I am excited for the possibilities. **happy sigh**
It's really brave of you to share, and I can relate; I've got revisionist history of my own when I say I had two boyfriends before I started dating my husband -- but the fact was that my first date wasn't until I'd already hooked up with my husband and we were in "boyfriend/girlfriend" mode.Reply
I'm glad that the future is roaring at strange and exciting new heights for you. :D
The only way to live is to jump in with both feet. You'll never know what can happen unless you do. This is how I try to live my life. Yes I may get hurt from time to time but at least I can say that I gave it my all with all my heart. That was a great post. You posted it, it's out there with both feet in don't worry about it and be happy that you have come this far to becoming this incredible and self confident person! I hope all goes well with this new relationship!Reply
It is nice to see you being so open. It takes guts. I like that. But believe me, your story has ben told by many, including myself. Just change guys/men to gals/women. Ty for sharing.Reply
Very open, well done hon, that took courage.Reply
This made me want to share parts of myself that are probably best reserved for my own blog. Ultimately, I think this whole weight loss journey, and finding somebody all come from a search for authenticity. When we're able to know ourselves and not be afraid of who we are, we'll be able to find exactly what we want from life and love. All of our mistakes and successes with weight loss and the chances we take in finding the person we want to be with are all about finding ourselves first. Thank you for sharing.Reply
you are so strong, beautiful and honest. regret nothing in life; everything is absolutely for a reason even if we don't know or understand the reason yet. perhaps you are to find out VERY soon...Reply
thank you for such an open and honest look into who you are. xxx
I'm so blown away by this post, friend. You opened yourself up for all of us to see ... and we see nothing but a beautiful and empowered woman <3Reply
I hope this post has left you feeling cleansed :) I have so much admiration for you <3
Damn computer. I just wrote this awesome response and then I got an error message.Reply
Here's the short version: You are gorgeous, strong, caring, generous and deserve so much happiness.
This has got to be the strongest, most powerful blog post I have EVER read!!Reply
It took a lot of guts to throw yourself out there like that - but I applaud you for doing it.
I truly hope that by laying it all out there you're able to leave it behind and focus on the fantastic, amazing, strong woman you are.
This is so brave, to lay it all out there! I hope that you find happiness and satisfaction!Reply
Bobby: I've quoted these lyrics before, but they're appropriate now in light of your comment -- "the one i want, the one I will become will catch me." My journey has been about finding the ability and strength to catch myself no matter what. Authenticity is a good word for it.Reply
Renee: thanks for saying that. I literally closed my eyes when I hit "post." I think it's a common thought that people learn more from the mistakes -- but we have to be honest about those mistakes first, right?
Emily: I don't know if I'm feeling cleansed quite yet. I'm still feeling exposed and vulnerable. I woke up to the sun shining and birds chirping. Apparently life goes on.
Carrie: stupid computers!! Thank you for the love, despite the technical difficulties. You're one of the people out there in the world that makes it easier for me to write stuff like this. I know you have my back.
Joanna: I think you nailed the whole motivation of the post -- I do want to leave it all behind. I don't think it was holding me back, but it wasn't propelling me forward.
Albright Sex Fairies: First of all, awesome screen name. Thanks for the love and support!
Ashley: Isn't it weird how we do that? I don't know what about the truth is so hard to say sometimes, or how we let our minds create stories to insulate us from hard truths. I'm glad it has all worked out for you, though! Your comment about "new heights" made me laugh for reasons I'll keep to myself. But it is very apt :)Reply
Angela/@busterwhyte: I had a music teacher in elementary school say that if you're going to sing it wrong, sing it strong and wrong -- convince people that's the way it was meant to be. In other words, sing with conviction. She fooled us me into learning a life lesson. If you jump with both feet, you can land with both feet. My only fear is in my close family reading it, but hopefully they can still find a way to love me, knowing I'm less than virginal.
After the whole situation with the bad roommate, my dad showed me that no matter he still loves me. He drove down from NYC because he knew something was wrong. I explained the situation. He told me one of the guiding principles of my life -- "know why you do what you do."
Anon: I think we all have our stories. And yet we tend to think we're all alone. It's in telling the stories that we know we are more alike than we had thought. Thanks for the comment :)
BB: thanks for love, my irish friend :)
Brilliant, strong & sexy……these are all words that should come to mind when you think of yourself. Congrats on being so brave in making your most recent post, thanx for sharing. It’s always a comfort to realize that, as our experiences are our own….we all have had similar encounters. Love and light…..Reply
What a beautiful post. Your honesty and amazing and inspiring. It seems like you have come a long way (mentally, physically & emotionally) from that girl in the plastic glasses...and all the changes you've made in your life, and all the beautiful energy you've been putting out into the world will certainly bring some goodness back your way. :)Reply
"The goth Janet Reno" has come a long way! Life is personal discovery. You may have regrets and missed oportunities, but that all leads to the person you are today(pretty awesome by the way).Reply
That guy will come around who can accentuate your positives and fill out your negatives. If the safety checks are a go . . . time to jump.
There is a different kind of happy when you find somebody. Sounds like you're feeling it now. Crossing my fingers for you.
Lisa: Thank you :)Reply
Cassiopeia: Those are words that I'm not just adding to my dictionary, but moving to the top of my list :P
Steff: light years... I think the more I sweat in the gym, the more punches I throw the more I realize I am who I make of myself. I realize that if I'm not afraid of myself no one can make me feel less than myself. In other words, I've become a bit fearless. I hope the goodness comes soon. I've been waiting a long time for it :)
James: You're pretty awesome too :P I think that the guy I'm talking about is extraordinary. And well, he makes me feel limitless.
I have a somewhat similar past and for somewhat similar reasons. And I eventually met a man who is patient and kind and loving and respectful and all the things I deserve. He created a space for me in which to heal. He loved me before I (truly) loved myself...in fact I think I'd go as far as to say that he showed me what it looks like. I wish the same for you...and it sounds like you may have just found it :-)Reply
Karen: I don't want to count my eggs before they've hatched. But I will say that he has made me think it is all possible :)Reply
I am so so so proud of your bravery in writing such a honest post. the past is the past. I'm excited about where your future is going! keep us posted-i'm rooting for you girl!Reply
An awesome, honest post about your journey. I hope to be as brave one day!Reply
Elizabeth: Thank you for the love and support -- especially when I'm all giggles :)Reply
Fru: You're as brave as you want to be.
Amazingly honest post! You have been extremely insightful here, and I truly appreciate you opening yourself up like that. Many people, I'm sure, have gone through the same experiences yet don't have the courage to express it. You are so courageous, and I am proud to call you a (internet) friend!Reply
Thank you, Jenn! I am finding out that I'm not alone in my experiences (from the comments here, on twitter, and some emails).Reply
It makes me feel like while I'm on an island, the island is populated.
I am in awe of the courage you have shown to write this blog! I don't read many blogs as I am new to them. I don't know you very well but reading your blogs and tweets I hope to know you a little better. You are an inspiration! I wish I could give you a massive bear hug in thanks for what you have given. I hope to be counted as a friend. I hope you courage sustains you in your quest to find yourself and to be the person you want to be.Reply
Thanks Chris :) I'd totally accept a bear hug.Reply
I am not sure if i need courage anymore. At some point you just choose who you want to be, how you want to live. If you have confidence in that decision, there's no courage required. Just quiet consistency.
First, I'm really touched that you would dedicate this post to me. It always feels really good to know that what you write has some impact.Reply
Second, wow, I can so relate to so much of this post. I'm so glad to hear that you've found someone who is that parachute for you.
And I think you're right, we would be good friends if we lived close. :)
Kendra, my darling girl...Reply
I think reading your entries helped me realize that i wasn't so alone in my experiences, my doubts/insecurities.
I think you're one of the strings of that parachute.
I sit quietly and read your blogs but this is the first time I've commented. I really loved this posting, it was honest, raw, and so real. Thank you for sharing this.Reply
Sarah -- thank you so much for reading, first of all...
Secondly, I'm glad you liked the post :)
I hope you feel really good about letting all of that out. I've been holding on to my own post for a while now because it's not the right time to share with the world. You are an amazing person and continue to inspire me.Reply
I feel like I could have written parts of this myself. I admire you so much for putting yourself out there, being so honest and unafraid to speak about something most wouldn't.Reply
I'm glad I found your blog. :)
Meg -- that has been the most surprising part -- that many people identify with this post.Reply
I'm glad you found my blog too :P
Great story, I think we all have regrets, best thing to do is learn from them and move on... btw you are really good looking ;)Reply
Thank you, HS -- and I think there's a place for learning and forgiving in all of our stories -- both good and bad, no?Reply
This was one of the best blogs I've ever read. I felt the same way growing up. I can relate to so many parts of this as well.Reply
I'm glad to read that you can look back on yr past with compassion. I know it took me a long time to get over the way & reason I treated men but I'm glad I went through it to get to the point I am.
:) I feel like any time people take control of their life the goals they have seem to come to life. That is why I love reading blogs! It is beautiful to watch ppl reach their goals - it reminds me that I can do it as well <3
Rowdy: I love it when someone goes back into my archives, replies, and my reaction is "zomg, what the crap did I write??" Now that I've gone back and read it, I feel good about saying "thanks!"Reply
It has taken me a long time to be comfortable with standing up for myself and my needs. I'm still trying to find the right way to do it (without acting like a bulldozer) and finding the right person to do it with (as the guy i mentioned in the last few paragraphs is no longer in the picture), but I'm more confident in my assessment that sex doesn't bring about relationships. And that i'm worth a relationship.
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