We had enjoyed a wonderful dinner and a couple whiskey drinks during a show. Now we found ourselves standing on Melrose with our arms wrapped around each other. That’s when she said it… “You look so seattle but feel so LA.”
I had to pause… I’ve heard that somewhere before. Oh yeah… “did you just use a Fall Out Boy lyric on me?”
She looked shocked… “uh… yeah… it kind of just fell out of my mouth.” She was embarrassed. “I mean you do though… your hardcore 90s grunge but an LA body.”
I giggled… “I’m still mourning the loss of Kurt.” I said giving her a light kiss. “You’re adorable.”
Honestly I didn’t know what to think. She was dressed to the nines in heels, sexy black dress, and full best hair and makeup. I wasn’t expecting her to drop a Fall out Boy lyric in my lap. Yet it was comforting. She spoke my language of music lyrics. That’s rare to find in 30 something feminine form.
The valet pulled up with her white Mercedes… it was time to part ways. We have since had many conversations using only song lyrics… and I’m still not sure how I feel about it. I did agree to a second date though.
Being that I’m in my mid 30’s and finding myself single again I’m once again in the hell filled dating pool of L.A. Dating in your 30s is like dumpster diving for dinner… yet you’re part of the dumpster trash too. We are all the scraps… most of us trying to get over heart break while we fight through the rivers of hell to give it one more chance at the behest of our friends.
Let me make something clear… I never want to be in a serious relationship ever again. I have joined the ranks of women who have found joy in being single. Why date then? It’s simple… my friends in relationships make me and it usually involves food. I’m always down for food… or whiskey.
Daily I get calls or texts telling me they found someone I need to meet. That they are perfect for me. I politely remind them I really don’t want to date. They send me a picture… usually a headshot… of a 30 or 40 something blonde woman (sooooo many blondes in Hollywood… even the latinos are going blonde… thankfully I’m over my aversion to blondes… except Latino blondes) or metro guy (probably actually gay) they worked with on a show or met through a friend. Something in my heart twitches with some and for some reason I agree to an evening out with a stranger.
We exchange headshots… look at each others Instagram… talk on the phone once or twice… then we make plans to meet. This is when anxiety takes hold. It’s the same anxiety that grips me once an audition pops up or I agree to stage time.
Do I shave my legs? (Don’t give me that shit that a ladies legs are always shaved… I can guarantee at least half of you turn into furry beasts) Do I wear make up? Is my hair going to cooperate? (Probably not… let’s be honest). What the hell do I wear?! Bra or no bra?! Is there enough time to go get waxed?The 3 hours before I leave the house are either spent running around like crazy or giving in to the inevitable betrayal of life and laying in bed watching the clock like a countdown to my execution.
Finally it’s time… I always arrive first. I’m always on time since I’m from the east coast and being LA everyone else is late. I sit. I have no qualms about ordering a drink so I do. Eventually they show up. We do the awkward stand up, shake, hug thing. Neither of us looks like our headshots and they never look like their filtered Instagram photos. That’s just the way life goes.
We eat awkwardly. It’s Hollywood though so usually we just push food around our plates as we suck down white wine. I mean… when your on a diet there are priorities to your caloric intake.
Conversation is made. They are usually working on some big movie, tv show or project. Then there’s me… uh I took an oxy and sat at Disneyland harassing some entertainers I know… but I do some stand up and writing to keep from killing myself (I don’t say the killing myself part… that’s CLEARLY 3rd date material). Then I have to explain both my chronic illness, my bizzare circle of Disney friends and why I see so many cover bands in dive bars. I also have to promise not to use them for stand up or writing material… oops. I feel like I should have a disclaimer or something. Eventually the conversation moves on from my bombshells into something more pleasant.
The uneaten food is packaged to go (we both know it will either be tossed or eaten by room mates while we devote more calories to booze). It’s time to say good bye. It’s awkward hug and kiss time. It’s awkward walk to the valet time. It’s awkward make plans for a second date time. I usually tell them I need to check my schedule… then wait till the 3rd text or call to make another date. Not playing hard to get. I just hate dating that much. Eventually I end up back in my car texting something cynical and depressive to a best friend (okay there’s the occasional “holy hell I love her/him” but that’s only till we get to the 3rd date… then it’s back to flipping tables).
I would rather sit on a friend’s sofa drinking wine and talking shit on the world than go out with someone I don’t know. On that note I will probably never get asked out again… that’s fine. Dating is one casket I would love to seal.
I’m told I’m just still angry over my shitty marriage… that I’m in a mourning stage. Honestly I just really enjoy being single after my disastrous marriage. I’m happy with my close friendships and if I want sex I don’t have to deal with a relationship for that. (Sorry mom) I’m an adult and it’s 2017. That’s another blog post though, lol.
So into the fires of what is the LA dating pool. Stay tuned for my adventures in dating.
Pain… yesterday was a high pain day. It was a high pain day that I had to power through. I wanted to curl into a ball and cry but instead I had to smile and interact. I couldn’t do my usual cancel everything so I can hide on the sofa popping narcotics every 4 hours praying for a meteor from space to come kill me. It was beyond exhausting and stressful. I feigned functional adult though and for that I’m proud. I push myself hard everyday but days with severe pain are even harder.
Living with chronic pain is… well… shitty. One day it could be reasonably controlled using modern medicine and the next day I could be unable to leave my bed. No rhyme or reason… it’s just how it goes. I can’t really plan things with out the disclaimer “if I’m feeling decent”. I go to bed at night wondering what level of hell I will wake up in. That’s if I sleep at all. Most nights I either toss and turn or give up and lay awake thanks to pain and anxiety.
Going out places requires planning. Will there be someone to drive me home if I have to take my strong meds? Will there be a place to sit? Will there be a quiet place to be for a minute if things get overwhelming? Will I be with a friend who will understand when I want to leave early? Can I fake a smile through feeling shitty so people don’t get put off? Are people going to think I just want sympathy? I’ve started just avoiding shows and other social activities that I used to enjoy.
I feel like a drug addict. Traveling… even just overnight… means bringing multiple bottles of pills. I have to take my narcotics everywhere. If I’m gone for more than 8 hours that means I have to bring other meds too so I can stay on schedule. My purse sounds like an 80 year olds.
Much of the time my meds make me feel mentally dull. I try to take the very minimun… just enough to take the edge off because I hate feeling dopey… but I hate being in pain more. “Can’t you just deal with the pain” a former friend asked me once… worried I was going to become addicted. I’m well aware about the risks of addiction but until you’ve been in a public restroom laying on the floor praying for death because you didn’t bring your meds with you and you were 2 hours past your scheduled dose please don’t lecture me.
Most days I can sort of function thanks to my meds yet other days I can’t do shit. That’s honestly the hardest part of this illness. Gone are my days filled with physical activities like weight lifting, boxing, horseback riding, rock climbing, surfing, and every other hobby I had. Gone are the days where I could just go go go then party all night. Instead it’s pats on the back for getting out of bed, showering, and especially leaving the house. That’s pretty shitty for a 30 something woman… that’s life though.
My heart still beats and (thanks to a medication adjustment) my brain still works so it could all be worse. I’m blessed to have awesome room mates who help me more than they know (huge step up from an abusive and neglectful husband), once again live close to other friends so it’s easier to see them and be social, and thankfully live near places that bring me great joy. Tomorrow could be better… or it could be worse. All I can do is pray and attempt to sleep… and thank God for that first breath in the morning.
My life has done a massive 180 but it’s gonna work out if I can just keep myself from myself. I’m trying to learn how to be kinder on myself… to remember that I’m not lazy… that I ACTUALLY NEED rest. I’m blessed with amazing friends who call me out when I don’t take care of myself and provide comfort and support. The really good days are rare now as the bad days become more frequent but I have to keep hope that one day the storm will end and I will be left with strength and a story.
It’s simple… a friend asks how I am… I answer and they say “You still look good”. I am torn between cringing and saying thank you. Life with a chronic illness sucks on so many levels but the worst part is dealing with societies expectations of what should be happening.
Many people feel that if you are truly sick you rot away in a hospital awaiting death or recovery. How dare someone fight through pain and illness to enjoy life… how dare someone stay active with doctor supervision.
TV paints the picture of someone with cancer, for instance, as being bald and sitting in a hospital hooked up to IVs awaiting death. Did you know only a small percentage of chemotherapies can actually cause hair loss? Did you know that they try to keep cancer patients out of the hospital for their safety? Did you know that it is super important to stay active when fighting cancer?
Society looks at someone who doesn’t fit this picture the world paints and says they are faking… they just want sympathy. This drives a wedge between the ill person and society. It isolates them. This is one of the biggest complaints among the chronically ill. Isolation is already caused by things like lack of working, having to stay home more time, perhaps an inability to drive due to meds… etc. Isolation is the biggest cause of depression and hopelessness. Society simply adds to it.
I’m thankful I still look good. I don’t look anywhere near as good as I did 2 years ago. It hurts to look into a mirror but I’m getting used to the changes. I’ve also learned not to go out on the bad days when I have to be doped to the gills on pain meds or am having confusion issues due to my meds. You learn to just smile and go forth when you can.
Living with chronic illness or chronic pain is already hard… society simply makes it harder. Don’t be a dick. Most people don’t want sympathy… empathy perhaps… understanding during the bad days definitely. I’m thankful for my close friends… I’ve learned to ignore the haters… and I thank God everyday (usually after a good cry) that I still look as good as I do. I eat right, push through the pain when I can to stay active, and have learned to keep to myself and close friends about my struggles.