Not Yet Defined

{June 6, 2010}   Runnin’ the Diamond

Went out to our first ball game of the year, and it was about a month late, for us.

The weather was pretty nice, a touch on a warm side, but my dad and I took the mini grill and cooked out some brats in the parking lot before the game. Good seats, a few flirty girls nearby didn’t hurt, and our boys in blue ran them all over the field the entire time. We came out on top 7-2, and that, my friends, is how you begin a season.

Just not on the sixth of June. That’s a bit late.


Do you have any idea what it’s like to constantly wonder where your girlfriend really is, what she’s really doing, and maybe even who she’s really doing it with? For about the last six months of my relationship with Jenni, that was about all I did. I sat around and wondered why the things she told me sometimes didn’t add up. Intriguing, how she was more than willing to let me know she was going out with “friends,” but never willing to tell me which ones, let alone invite me along. Facebook photo albums she blocked me from seeing afterwards also didn’t do anything to help my suspicions. Of course, I wasn’t supposed to know about that.

I wish I could count the incidents that, in the context of an honest relationship, didn’t make any sense. She’d tell me she was heading to work, but then turn the wrong direction on the highway.

She did everything she could to avoid working a shift on Black Friday, but then volunteered to stay late when she found out a particular male co-worker had returned from college.

The doctor she is “in love with,” in her words, once propositioned her by suggesting she “come in alone sometime” (without the kids). So for her appointment three days later, she went in alone.

She emerged from a doctor’s appointment one morning with lipstick smeared all over her teeth.

My multi-paragraph e-mails on these subjects might go unanswered for days; many never did receive a reply because, in her words, “hours” had gone by, and the discussion was therefore “outdated.”

Sometimes… it really just pays to listen to your instincts, no matter the story you’re getting.

I never really needed Xanax before I met Jenni, and I haven’t needed one since I told her to fuck off. I no longer tremble when I log into my e-mail account, I’m no longer fearful of what I might discover on Facebook, accidentally or otherwise. I’m no longer consumed by vague but seemingly suggestive status updates that could mean she either slept with someone or just finished doing the laundry. I only occasionally wake up anxious (out of pure reflex), and my mind doesn’t go to crazy places when the girl(s) I’m non-exclusively dating tell me they’re going out with friends.

My life, put simply, is better without Jenni. She took a normal, stable guy and made him temporarily insane.

I think what kills me the most about this whole situation is this: she is not thinking about what she did wrong. She’s got no notion of the mistakes she made. And she’s not thinking about how she lost this perfectly good guy. What she’s thinking about is tracking down the person (or persons) who ratted her out. Who told on me? That’s what she wants to know, why can’t she have her cake and eat me too?

I don’t miss her. I don’t miss the anxiety, the constant worry, or the living in fear that I’m going to become Cheated On. Even though that is exactly what happened, I survived it, I am still standing strong, and the sky did not fall. Granted, I probably still don’t realize the extent of her cheating and the lies she told to cover it all up, but what I did was stand up for myself, and I did exactly what I told her I would do: kick her out of my life if she ever treated me that way.

Well, she treated me that way. And I kicked her right out the door. It was better than she deserved… because she certainly doesn’t deserve me.

{June 4, 2010}   My Stupid Ex-Girlfriend

You knew it was coming, and I can’t put it off any longer. Too many of you have been asking me about what finally happened with Jenni, and while I don’t have good news, I’m also not going to sugar-coat the whole truth and nothing but the truth, so help me God. And why would I? It’s not like I did anything wrong, fell short in some way, or made the egregious mistakes that led to the dismal demise of a relationship that, certainly in hindsight, didn’t stand much of a chance, given the caliber of individual we now know we’ve been dealing with all this time.

Shit hit the fan between Jenni and me in late January. She had openly flirted with a co-worker of hers on Facebook one day, and when I called her out on it, she attempted to turn it into a “privacy” issue, saying I should never have been “looking over her shoulder” in the first place. Doing so meant that I harbored an inherent distrust for her (which wasn’t entirely incorrect, given her semi-elusive behavior up to that point) and that if I saw something I didn’t like, it was my own fault for — and I quote — “snooping.” No, I wasn’t snooping, and yes, everything I saw was completely public and unprotected. But this gives you some idea of the logic she sometimes employed, or rather, the complete lack of it.

But that didn’t stop her from blocking me on Facebook for over a month. You read that right — my punishment was to be taken off her friends list and blocked from her activity for over a month. Somewhere around this time, she managed to reconnect with an old boyfriend from high school named Shannon. She met up with him for lunch one day, assuring me it was strictly platonic, since Shannon is married and she was, after all, with me, and the two of them spent the afternoon reminiscing about the old days. But, and you had to see this coming, things between them began to change pretty rapidly, even though I did not, obviously, know it at the time.

All I did know at this point was that my relationship with Jenni was taking a dive. In about another month’s time, she could scarcely scrape up a few hours a week to see me. Our communication dwindled; our e-mails dropped off, texting was practically non-existent, and you can pretty much forget talking on the phone for most of our relationship anyway. And the more concern I expressed about all this, the more she insisted that her life was in “turmoil” (see the very first entry here on Not Yet Defined). She gave me every excuse in the world: stress from her job, stress from her class, stress from her mother and sister, the kids’ practices starting up again, etc.

In fact, let me paste an excerpt from an e-mail, and then I’ll dismantle it:

We have nose dived because my life took an unexpected turn and I had to get a job. That turn was enough to throw me completely off the mental balance beam. I had it in me to make the struggle to try and be as balanced as possible, but I don’t have the energy to do it any more. You expect some grand reason, but there isn’t. You want some concrete, grab hold of answer, but there isn’t one.

The main problem with this statement is that she’d landed that job nine months prior. And so I told her: the job you got nine months ago doesn’t seem to explain the nosedive we’ve taken in the last 30 days. No amount of logical gymnastics will get you around the fact that she was blaming March’s difficulties on a job application she filled out the previous July. And that was a huge, huge red flag.

Only I couldn’t get any more out of her. I even told her flat-out at one point that I knew there was more going on than she was telling me, and I did, at another point, ask her whether she was seeing someone else, since that would explain absolutely everything that had been going on: her sudden lack of time, her sudden tendency to miss work and class, and her unwillingness to even let me stop by her work and bring her coffee, as I often did. The mechanics of our relationship had come to a screeching halt with, she would have me believe, no concrete explanation under the sun whatsoever.

Except that there was an explanation, she just didn’t want to fess up to it: by this time, she had started seeing (and sleeping with) this married Shannon. About a week after the above quote, she wrote another e-mail suggesting that we back away from our exclusive relationship and go casual. All talk of the future would be off the table, and we would have no real responsibility to one another, just the occasional visit, whatever that may consist of. I accepted the offer, not knowing what was going on behind the scenes, and while there wound up being no “visits” like the ones you’re probably thinking of, I can’t say I wasn’t holding out hope of a reconciliation.

None of this stopped Jenni from becoming absolutely incensed at the time I was spending with Whitney. Never mind our “casual” status, Jenni nearly had a meltdown when she found out Whitney and I were going to Omaha to see our derby girls on the road, and then going to the zoo the next day. Intuitively speaking, that one event probably justified, in her mind, what she was doing behind my back, and the fact that months of promises of exclusivity had gone out the window for the sake of some old school cock.

Then, about three weeks ago, I found out the truth: Jenni had in fact been seeing someone, and a trail of bread crumbs I was given (I will not reveal my source) led me straight to this Shannon. I have pictures of them taking a walk in the woods, sitting together at Chilis, etc. And my source informs me in no uncertain terms that the happy couple had been sleeping together all this time. So at that point, the only question was how and when I would forcefully eject Jenni from my life, never to return.

Jenni’s original plan was to get some friends together and throw me a birthday party on Saturday, May 22nd. We’d go to dinner at Joe’s Crab Shack, and then we’d head up to the Westport Flea Market for karaoke night. So I got the idea in my head that I would get up to sing karaoke, but immediately beforehand, I would “propose a toast” on the microphone to the Jenni who had brought all our friends together for my birthday… but had cheated on me with a married man and kept me hanging on regardless. I even had the toast written down in my head, and all was ready.

But that afternoon, Jenni sent me a few texts complaining of a migraine, to which she is prone from time to time, and asking how I would feel if she “couldn’t make it” to my birthday that night. I told her in no uncertain terms that I would not be there if she missed the event, and left it at that. Meanwhile, my Xanax prescription had run out, but she informed me that she had a handful I could bum off her. And if I could swing by the nursery where she worked before 2:30, I could pick them up then.

I arrived right at 2:30 and saw the strangest damn thing: there was Jenni, with a migraine, working A) out in the sun, and B) with her headphones on — two things people with a migraine never, ever do.

She handed me the Xanax in a zip-lock bag and went straight back to wrap up her work for the day. When she got back out to the parking lot, she found me waiting, and I told her: I’m not going to be there tonight. I know about Shannon, and I know that it started before you and I split up. So here’s how this is going to go. I will never, as long as I live, hear from you again. And if I ever do, I will go public with everything I have and everything I know, and I will not even spare Shelly, Shannon’s wife, in the process. Your life will be in the toilet for a very, very, very long time. Period.

After that, she put her out hand (but did not look me in the face) and said, “Give me back the Xanax.”

I said, “You can kiss my ass. And go fuck yourself.”

And I walked back to my car and went home, never to hear from her again.

{June 3, 2010}   Day 3: Don’t Hate Me

Yeah, I’m caught in a bad spot tonight. Relax, nothing’s happened, I’ve just put in yet another thankless 12-hour day, this time for our quarterly in-service, and I’ve only been home for a bit. I’m worn out. I started the Jenni entry today, though, and I promise, it will more than make up for this bitch of a post tonight.

I hope everyone’s well… and blogging well. ๐Ÿ™‚

{June 2, 2010}   Social Perils

There’s certainly something to be said for having an active social life, even if you have to create it yourself.

In fact, there are fewer things more satisfying than that.

Ever since late January, when the wedge driven between Jenni and me slowly became the last nail in the coffin, my weekends have been pretty full. I started hanging out with Whitney in February, Sharon and I started going to the gym together, and more recently, Tracy and I have started hanging out more as well. With all that, plus my friend Erin home for a month and a half, new baby in tow, it’s a heck of a time to be me, socially speaking.

The problem is that you find yourself in the beginning stages of the 30 Days of Blog and not getting home until after 11:00 p.m., and only then after having pried yourself out of someone’s arms. Out of whose depends entirely on the day.

Good times. ๐Ÿ™‚ Even if there is limited time to blog.

{June 1, 2010}   30 Days of Blog

Every year, during the month of June, I challenge all my blogging (and non-blogging) friends to participate in an endeavor that I pulled straight out of my ass about two years ago: 30 Days of Blog.

And it is just what it sounds like — participants do everything within their respective superpowers to blog at least once a day for the entire month of June. Those who complete the task receive a quaint satisfaction not unlike that of completing NaNoWriMo, only not as cool, well-known, or impressive as writing a 50,000-word novella. Nonetheless, a small handful of brave souls take up the challenge each year, and I am proud to count myself among them.

It’s been over a month since I last wrote, and there is quite a bit to get you caught up on: my cheating ex-girlfriend, to whom I finally imparted an appropriately vulgar directive a couple of weeks ago; Kansas City roller derby, which has been nothing short of a blast and has taken me as far away as Omaha; and my interesting, up-and-down dating life over the last couple of months, which has been nothing if not confusing, and nothing if not a whole hell of a lot of fun. I am, for the first time in quite a long time, having fun dating. I’ll be damned.

I invite everyone who is so inclined to join me in this year’s 30 Days of Blog campaign. So what if you’ve already missed a day or two? We still have 29/30ths of the month to go. ๐Ÿ™‚

{April 5, 2010}   Mocking the buffoonery

Just the other day, I was perusing this bastardization of human intellect known as the Internet, googling old friends, classmates, co-workers, and the like, when I stumbled upon the blog of a girl I briefly dated at Truman State, and with whom I did not, for various reasons, depart on good terms.

I went back in time as far as I could and wound up in October of 2008; her first post was some silly reference to the movie Romy and Michelle’s High School Reunion, and the more I read and re-read, the more I believe that she may have alluded to me in the very first blog entry of her life. No, it isn’t flattering, and no, I’m not kidding.

I’m not going to link to her, mention her name, or go into the specifics of our past relationship. I will let you read an excerpt from the post, and then I will explain all.

Well before the advent of the things that we now call “blogs”, my friend Tricia and I found out that this guy we went to college with was keeping something he called an “online journal”. This guy was widely believed to be more than a little buffoonish; the fact that he would broadcast his deepest feelings to the world at large struck us as further proof of his buffoonery. The contents of this journal were a source of great comedy to us; his self-pitying plaints were met with our hoots and mockery. When blogs exploded onto the scene a few years later, I was dumbfounded. You mean that not only was there a whole community of people writing about their private thoughts and feelings online, but that there was a whole other community of people who wanted to read about them? What was happening to the world? Who were these emotional pornographers/voyeurs?

Now, the part where I attempt to convince you of my understanding that the world does not revolve around me.

1. I had kept just such an “online journal” for at least a couple of years before I graduated college in 1999; in quotation marks because it was simply a personal web site that happened to include a semi-frequent commentary on life, the universe, and everything, and one that could easily be seen as a precursor to those things we now call “blogs.”

2. Due to unfortunate circumstances apparently well beyond my own control, there were those in Kirksville who believed me to be “more than a little buffoonish,” mainly Theatre majors I hadn’t seen fit to date any longer, or at all, in some cases.

3. My online journal, such as it was, certainly contained a healthy angst, which is easily mistaken for “self-pitying plaints” by unsympathetic ears — not to mention the fact that plenty of my post-graduation entries revolved around them, the Theatre People, and the many unfortunate misunderstandings that had occurred over the course of the preceding months.

4. Even in the months following my graduation, I did my level (but surreptitious) best to make sure the relevant people in Kirksville knew that my web site existed.


Having presented the evidence, circumstantial though it may be, the remainder of this post is written on the assumption that she is, in fact, referencing me in her blog entry. And let me express my own disbelief, right out of the gate, at the fact that I am addressing the very same issues, eleven years hence, that I was in my original “online journal.”

In other words, I can hardly believe I’m still talking about this shit. In my own defense, however, she was still talking about it unprovoked in 2008, and I’m just now getting my chance to retort.

Their assessments of me as “more than a little buffoonish” are more than a little startling when you consider the fact that many of them saw fit to date me at some point, for some period of time, and that most of them protested rather dramatically when the relationship suffered its end. Only then, when there was no hope of salvaging the situation, did the jury return with its verdict of “buffoonery.”

In the eight months that I was active in the Truman Theatre Department, I managed to date six different girls, four of whom were Theatre majors, and one of whom I dated twice in this time frame, strangely enough. It’s true that none of them lasted; I am left to marvel, however, at how many people showed such an intense and prolonged interest in someone so terribly possessed of such buffoonery and apparent lack of social skill, by all accounts.

As for the “self-pitying plaints” contained on my web site at the time, may I cite the socially venomous environment that had chewed up and spit out more than one Truman graduate over the years; such angst could hardly come as a surprise to any reader, sympathetic or otherwise, under circumstances such as those. I had done everything I could to be all things to all people, and to paraphrase Abe Lincoln, I wound up satisfying none of the people none of the time. Or something to that effect.

Finally, I find myself enjoying a significant sense of satisfaction at how apparently narcissistic and self-absorbed my “online journal” was considered to be… when you follow that up with the fact that one of my primary critics turned around, just a few years later, and began blogging herself. Perhaps I was a little ahead of my time? May-hap my efforts were a little less than foolish after all? And judging from some of her posts in the meantime, I’m apparently not the only one who has broadcast a little angst online. For the world at large. In the face of hoots and mockery. Despite all common sense to the contrary, we may have a little more in common than we thought.

[ Scene ]

{March 29, 2010}   KC Film Fest

The time has come yet again… or so we thought.


Whatever. We’ll find out soon enough, I suppose.

I discovered KC Film Fest last Spring, and some of you Facebookers may even remember the photos I posted of the event last April sometime. Ever since then, I have been looking forward to the 2010 version of KCFF, even though I only got to attend the blessed event one day out of five in 2009.

My friend Eileen of Twelve Monkeys Dancing Films in Denver, Colorado, has a short film entitled “Alone,” which is playing at the Fest… we just don’t know when. And therein lies the problem(s): from the very beginning, the 2010 KC Film Fest has been plagued with what is apparently poor planning and a slew of missed deadlines that are playing havoc with, among other things, filmmakers’ travel plans and film-goers’ plans to schedule and attend.

I had all but decided to take a vacation day on The Friday Of and attend all day and evening, followed by that Saturday, all day and evening, depending greatly on the films that were showing, of course. The plan was to buy a Fest Pass and just grab up everything I could, including “Alone.” But here it is, March the fucking 29th, and we don’t even have a schedule of films published on the web site.

The list of films itself, which was supposed to have been posted no later than March 1, came to us at least a week late. This wasn’t as big a deal, at least on my end (but ask Eileen to make sure), but here we are, two weeks before the Fest begins, and nobody knows when their shit is showing. Eileen has received a “tentative” showing schedule, but in her words, it looks suspiciously similar to the “grand total” list of films displayed on a, including the order in which they’re listed, which is enough to make anyone think it isn’t the final schedule. She has sent email after email, left message after message, on a variety of topics from local hotel rates to production stills to proper crediting of the film itself and has heard… nothing. At this point, she tells me the chances of anyone from TMD Films attending the Fest is slim to none, and I have to say that I’m considering committing to alternate plans that Saturday the 17th as well, given that so little has been solidified, or at least publicized as such.

I was really looking forward to finally meeting Eileen, but what’s a girl to do? They’ve said on the Fest web site that the final schedule of films would be posted by April 1st, but:

1. We’ve heard (things like) that before; and
2. Two weeks notice? Really?

My KC Roller Warriors have an away game in Omaha the night of the 17th, right near the end of the Fest, and I am seriously considering going to that instead. All things considered, it may wind up being a better investment.

I have struggled for several days about what to write next. Like my good friendย Jen before me, I have opted to take an approach with the new blog that involves not necessarily writing every day, but making sure that what I do post is quality. And while I have, for the last few weeks, thought about very little other than my current likely-soon-to-be-single-again situation, absolutely loathsome as I find it, I realize that I want Not Yet Defined to become neither a Bitch Blog nor a Whine Blog, tempted as I may be at the moment.

In my own defense, and to put new readers on notice as well, I should say that there is bound to be some of that over the next little bit, anyway. It’s unavoidable, and I probably shouldn’t deny myself the requisite venting as I struggle with (at least the possibility of) the demoralizing transition back to what is sure to be a long and emotionally trying dry spell at the age of nearly-thirty-five.

Jennifer and I met for a talk last Thursday night, and it was rough. I broke down at least once (that actually counts — I choked down a couple more at various points). She came clean about some things that I had feared all along, but can’t go into detail about here; I found myself not making any confessions, because I didn’t have any, but I was wildly up-front about some things I had tiptoed around in the past in the interest of sensitivity. That felt pretty good, to let loose some ideas I had rehearsed in my head so often over the past few months in the chance that I would ever get to express them.

We exchanged a few emails over the next few days, and she has left it up to me as to where we go next. I know what I probably should do; the difficulty I face is that What I Should Do comes into direct conflict with What I Want, and if the reader doesn’t mind my saying so, there hasn’t been much of What I Want in the equation lately. So to say the least, I am extremely hesitant.

I do feel terribly alone tonight. And it isn’t just tonight. Earlier this week, I turned on the GPS during the drive home so that I wouldn’t feel completely alone for the entire commute. Oddly enough, it isn’t the voice instruction that mitigates the feeling, it’s seeing my position moving along the highways on the screen, in the dark, that reminds me that I am visible.

NPR can sometimes serve the same purpose, albeit in a different way, but too often, I just don’t give a rat crap about the topic at hand, and my thoughts wind up wandering back to her anyway.

I catch myself avoiding my email account for fear that it contains bad news. I sometimes play the same avoidance game with Facebook, fearing that I’ll either hear nothing from her, or worse yet, witness her interaction with someone else, and still hear nothing.

We are probably, as she said earlier in the week, Not Good For Each Other, at least at this stage in our lives. Actually, what she said was that she isn’t good for me, but that’s neither here nor there. Down the road — and I mean years — who knows, that might be different. And if things appear to change in the near(er) future, I wouldn’t complain or resist. But I know that I can’t wait around. Waiting around is what flushed most of my twenties, and if I can avoid it, I don’t want to be guilty of doing the same thing to my thirties. It was a big enough waste the first time around, and if Jennifer has taught me nothing else, it is that I can and should learn from my mistakes. To do otherwise would be an enormous disservice to the last year and a half of our lives together, and of all things, I don’t want to be guilty of that, either.

{March 10, 2010}   Not Yet Defined

That’s what it told me when I looked my name up on… [my name] “is not yet defined.” And I thought that was just perfect, because after all, isn’t it so absolutely true that it needs no further explanation?

I am 34 years old… and I am Not Yet Defined. I am literate, well-spoken, of reasonable intelligence, and I have been told many times that I am 49% female, despite my male exterior. At issue, though, as of press time… is that I have absolutely no idea what is going on in my life.

So naturally, now is the perfect time to start a new blog.

My family is fine, my job is satisfactory, and I even have a couple of local friends I’ve been hanging out with more and more lately — Sharon, who has become my de facto gym partner, and Whitney, who’s good for everything from movie-hopping to roller skating to roller derby, which we’ll get to later. They have become my lifelines lately, and truthfully, life could be a whole hell of a lot worse.

And then there’s Jennifer.

My girlfriend of almost 16 months, around whom I found myself mentally planning a life, the universe, and everything, has decided she needs unspecified Space, citing unspecified Turmoil on her end that I am led to believe is family-related. I am, of course, more than willing to respect being held at an unspecified Arm’s Length for the duration of the Turmoil, since my goal is and always has been unending support, acceptance, and understanding. I can’t say I’ve always succeeded, human as I am, but I have made the attempt, and may I opine that she would attest to my success to the furthest extent necessary for the purposes of this discussion. The trouble is that it’s beginning to look less and less like a temporary entrenchment at Arm’s Length, and more and more like a gradual distancing that may eventually lead to the careful placement of these last 16 months squarely in the recycling bin.

So there it is, right in front of me:ย  the best laid plans, as it were, teetering on the brink. That which was once permanent and unquestioned in my mind as recently as two months ago is now on life support and rests entirely in someone else’s hands, putting me even further into unfamiliar territory, taking into account that I have never had a relationship go on anywhere near this long. She has, in moments of distress, gone so far as to encourage me to cut my losses, but to what end remains a mystery, since she seems unwilling to do so herself. What little communication has taken place over the last couple of weeks always seems to center around how busy we both are, so for the time being, things appear to be up in the air with little hope of coming down anytime soon. So, as I used to say, sometimes when you’re at a standstill, the best thing to do is just stand still. This is my intention, friends. Flailing your arms and shouting cries of despair will only disturb the fragile air around you.

This is what it’s like sometimes, being Not Yet Defined. You take the bad with the good. Or is it the other way around?

et cetera