I Cannot Absorb Anymore Bad, Thank You

There are times when everything is bad. The whole world is bad. The news is nothing but bad. The personal circumstances of existence are bad. The pettiest of petties are bad. The smallest, most insignificant things are bad.

And it is in those times that my psyche sponge cannot absorb anymore and I have to be done for a while. I need to ring out, dry out, so I can once again face the bad of my continued existence.

On those days, I opt out.

“But, Christin!” you cry, “that’s a privileged thing to do!”

You know what, fine. I don’t care. I claim my privilege to opt out for a day or two when I can no longer wade through the shit that floods this reality. As someone who is no stranger to unaliving thoughts, I prefer not to actively court hopelessness. And sometimes, I need to step away for a breath or two of fresh air to do that.

It is not wise to expect me (or anyone else) to be able to function like the world is not heavy during the moments that the world is actually crushing us. Sometimes it’s all too much –knowing is too much, feeling is too much, being is too much- and quite frankly, I’d much rather lie of the floor and hope to become one with the carpet. How am I supposed to go to work when the world’s on fire? How am I supposed to look forward to anything when my rights are being taken away? When other people’s rights are being taken away? How am I supposed to carry on like everything is normal when it’s not? How am I supposed to be a good little cog in the capitalist machine when I absolutely don’t want to turn because the turning is pointless? How in the fuck am I supposed to continue when I know that the people who could actually make a difference in all of this have absolutely no interest in doing so and it’s somehow my fault that they don’t because I didn’t vote hard enough or something?

“Christin, you’re being dramatic!”

Well, call me a theatrical bitch then. Because sometimes it feels like that. Sometimes it is like that. I know that I’m not exempt and I resent the fact there’s anything to be exempt from. It’s quite frankly bullshit and whoever is in charge needs to fix it. But they won’t. We all know they won’t. They have too much to gain and keep hold of by not fixing things. By letting the status quo remain and soothingly cooing to us that it’s actually fine, situation normal.

I would love to give the bigger picture the finger and get lost in the minutiae of life. To go through life acting as though none of it will touch me. That it doesn’t pertain to me.

But it does. I’m aware of it and I can’t stop being aware of it.

I can only hope to tune it out for a bit periodically so I can ring myself out.

Because there’s always more bad for me to absorb.

I Struggle with the Object Permanence of Myself

“I saw this and thought of you.”

This combination of words presented in this form never fails to fill me with terror.

There are two reasons for this. The first is triggered by my anxiety. I frequently see things that remind me of the humans inhabiting my little world, but I don’t tell them that or purchase the things that I see to give to said thought of person because my anxiety tells me, quite insistently, that these people do not want that. They do not want to know that I think of them. They’d rather I not think of them at all, thank you.

To have someone tell me “I saw this and thought of you” reminds me that my brain does not work in that same, unencumbered way. I immediately feel guilty because I have thought of them and never mentioned it. Or, I haven’t thought of them recently. I’m sorry! I’ve been thinking of others. But I swear I’ve thought of you before! Really! I do think of you! I just don’t say anything!

And that’s my hang-up, not theirs. I try to be better, but there’s only so much I can do while living wildly unmedicated.

Which brings me to the second reason I find myself paralyzed with fear when someone said, “I saw this and thought of you.”

Why are you thinking of me?

I am baffled by the concept of my own object permanence. The idea that I exist to other people when I’m not in their direct line of sight. Or sometimes, even then. Once when I was a junior in high school, I was accused of skipping study hall. The teacher didn’t call roll, only looked at her seating chart. That day she decided that my seat was empty despite the fact that I was indeed very much so there and though I was smaller in high school than I am now, I was rocking pre-breast reduction H-cups. I was hard to miss, and yet. Luckily, another much more popular student vouched for me, even though I’m pretty sure he only did so as a way to insult another guy in the classroom (thanks anyway, Jeff), but I still had to go down to the office and prove my existence.

Being overlooked became so common place that invisibility has become my superpower. I don’t expect to be seen. It’s always startling when I am.

So, imagine my surprise when someone thinks of me when I’m not even there.

Talk about stupefied.

My first impulse is always to ask them why. I don’t because that would be rude, but I want to.

Since I’m frequently unseen, it stands to reason that I would also be out of sight, out of mind. I just figure that I cease to exist once I’m out of the eye line. Obviously I know that I continue to exist. I’m not that kind of off-kilter (anymore). But there’s a sort of block in my thinking that allows me to accept that other people know that I continue to exist when I’m not in their presence. It doesn’t occur to me that I’d ever occur to anyone else.

I just cannot picture someone whom I haven’t seen in a few years, walking down an aisle in a store or browsing online and seeing something and thinking, “Hey! This reminds me of Christin!” And yet it has in fact happened. More than once even.

As someone as self-absorbed as I am, and as someone as so into my own head as I am, so much so that I sometimes have difficulty seeing beyond myself (probably another reason I don’t think of other people the way I’m supposed to), I am more than real to me, yet I still fancy myself some kind of ghost. I am the phantom that you only catch a fleeting glimpse of before I disappear, and you decide I was only a trick of the light and forget about me forever. Or at least until the next time you catch sight of me. I think of myself as the reality of a baby’s peek-a-boo game. Like a baby, I don’t understand that I don’t disappear when you can’t see me. I still exist outside of myself.

But the peek-a-boo pros know how the game works. I’m a person that they know, someone that they don’t always see, but who occupies a space in their world even if it’s not physical.

And sometimes they reach out to remind me that I’m still real.

Do I Want Them or Do I Want To Be Them? A Bi Conundrum

The common belief about those of us who are bisexual is that we’re confused. People think that that the bi+ identity isn’t truly valid because really, we just need to pick a side. This is merely a way for us to safely explore our sexuality before settling on being straight or gay. It’s a pervasive thought not only in the straight community, but in the queer community as well.

And while this is emphatically not true (even if some folks do make a pit stop on their way to the label they feel most comfortable with), I will admit that some of us are confused. But not in the way you might think.

Sometimes when it comes to attraction, it can be difficult to discern why we’re attracted to someone. Is it because we want them? Or because we want to be them?

I’ll give you an example.

Kirsten Vangsness is one of my long-time crushes. She’s beautiful, she has a fab style, she’s funny, she’s talented, and she’s the sweetest thing this side of peach pie. How could I not make total heart eyes in her direction? I’m full on chin in hand, wistful sighing over here. She’s a dream.

But there have been times that I’ve questioned this pointless crush. As I said, Kirsten has fab style. It’s fun and funky and sassy and whimsical. And I’ll be honest, I wish I could rock it like she does. Not to mention, she’s wicked talented with her acting and her writing. I’m a little jealous, really.

So, I have periodically asked myself, “Am I really crushing on Kirsten Vangsness? Or do I just wish I was her?”

These are the kinds of questions I find myself asking as a bi+ woman:

“Do I really think she has a great butt? Or do I wish I had a butt like that?”

“Do I really want to touch her boobs? Or do I wish my boobs were that touchable?”

“Do I really think she’s hot? Or do I just want that outfit?”

“Am I really that into her? Or is this just a Single White Female situation in the making?”

And because I’m me, this sort of questioning doesn’t even apply solely to other women I find attractive. I’ll have this sort of crisis with guys I find attractive, too.

“Do I think he’s cute? Or do I just want that necklace?”

“Do I want to bang him? Or do I just want that shirt?”

“Do I think he’s funny? Or do I just want to steal his jokes?”

“Do I really think he’s perfect? Or do I just wish I were that cool?”

These are the sorts of questions I end up asking myself. It’s a constant process to suss out the true source of my attraction. And I’m willing to admit that sometimes the answer to all of the questions is yes.

Sometimes I do want to be with them AND be them.

Which is a different kind of conundrum.

But, baby, I’m still bi.

Stop Infringing On My Right To Be Cranky

Blame it on hormones, my brain’s inability to chemical correctly, or getting up on the wrong side of the bed, but sometimes I’m just cranky.

And you know what? That’s okay.

Make no mistake. I’m not a fan of being cranky. I don’t like existing in the realm in which my senses are heightened to the extent that I can hear you scratching your arm across the room and it makes me want to puncture my eardrums and then you. I don’t like having days in which everything, without fail, pisses me the fuck off.

But I have made peace with the fact that I will have those days. And I need you to accept that, too.

I try very hard not to take my crankiness out on others. This is why more people are not walking around punctured. I try to regulate my words and my eye rolls and my heavy sighs and my tone. I do not always succeed. Sometimes I snap at people despite my best efforts. Even though I am cranky, I try to keep that to myself. My crankiness should be no one’s hang-up but mine.

However.

There seems to be a miscommunication here. People tend to conflate my attempts to not expose them to my crankiness as an invitation to exacerbate it. And then get mad when I whip the shit out of them with my last nerve.

When I encounter someone in my life who is cranky, I leave them alone. Their crankiness has nothing to do with me. Even if it’s only perceived on my part, I’m going to err on the side of caution and give that person some space. Because I don’t want to make their mood worse.

I find it baffling that not everyone feels this way.

I may try to keep my crankiness to myself as much as possible, but even on the days I warn people of my crankiness, to let them know to steer clear, they steer closer. And then get angry with me when I fail to keep my mood in check for their benefit.

There’s this odd idea that unpleasant emotions are not to be had. That people are not entitled to have bad days or off days or just be plain ol’ cranky. That anything that makes a person less accessible is unfair and offensive. That to be in anyway off-putting is a crime, even if only for a day. People insist upon that accessibility from others no matter what their mood or mental state, but then get uptight when people insist upon that same accessibility from them during their cranky days. The same people I leave alone are the ones who pester the shit out of me. And then act shocked when I finally snap at them.

That’s the really wild part of all of this. I can expressly state that I’m in a mood and it would be in everyone’s best interest to leave me alone until the black clouds pass. Yet, when that warning is ignored and that boundary violated, feelings get hurt and I’m the one in the wrong.

But being cranky is my right.

Your Career Queer Auntie’s Guide to Life

“I don’t know what I’d do if my kid came out as gay/lesbian/queer/non-binary/trans.”

Good news! As your Career Queer Auntie, I’m here to help! I have decades of experience as both an auntie and a bi+ woman. I’m the person you come to when you have questions about life, and somehow gender and sexuality have become a specialty. If I don’t know the answer, I can find it for you.

So let me help you out when it comes to dealing with a queer kid.

My main job as an auntie is to guide my niblings through life. I accept them for who they are and show them how to navigate the world as themselves. My job is to learn them up, not change them or judge them. Which means I answer their questions honestly. Age appropriately, of course, but honestly.

Because I can do that as an auntie. I have that privilege. Because I don’t have the hang-ups that parents have. I don’t have to worry about what the neighbors think or how I’m paying for college or making them clean their rooms or whether or not they can eat ice cream for breakfast or whether or not they’ll live up to the ideals and expectations I have for them. I’m free of all of that.

It’s that last part that gives me a unique perspective. Because these young things are not genetic off-shoots of myself, I have no skin in the society achievement game. I don’t have to worry about any missed milestones. I can focus on the kids’ happiness. That’s my main concern. Their happiness and their safety.

So here’s how to love your hypothetical queer kids like a Career Queer Auntie.

1- Respect the journey. Because it is a journey. Not everyone is blessed with an automatic knowing of who they are. And the coming out isn’t necessarily the end of their journey. For some it’s the public start. What feels right -or close- then might change later as the kid matures, grows, acquires experiences.

One common misconception about bisexuals is that we haven’t chosen a team yet. This is based in some reality because many people initially come out as bisexual only to later identify as gay or lesbian. Part of that is because the insistence of the heterosexual norm which leads people to cling to the idea that they’re attracted to the opposite sex when they’re not.

But this sort of thing also happens with the enforcement of a gender binary and the idea that sex is solely biological. That sets people up for a trip to find out identifiers that work for them.

Be prepared to go on that journey with them.

2- Use their pronouns. It is amazing how many people have such difficulty with this when it’s really the easiest thing in the world to do. It feels like an affront to have a child tell an adult who they are and request they be addressed as such. Especially if you’re the adult responsible for their existence. It feels like a violation of the power dynamic.

Well, get over yourself.

Showing a kid respect costs you nothing and is worth everything to them. A sincere effort to use their pronouns, to correct yourself without complaint, and to correct others can mean the difference to a kid struggling to establish their identity.

3- Call them by the names they want to be called by. Second verse, same as the first. It’s another easy thing that adults can do, but absolutely resist. Especially if you’re the adult that gave the kid their name in the first place. But if a name is tied to an identity, it makes sense for a person to pick their own. Even the allo cis hets are entitled to that.

4- Understand that it’s not one-size fits all. Not every trans person feels the need to have transitions surgery. Not every non-binary person is androgynous or uses they/them pronouns. Not every gay guy is effeminate. Not every lesbian is butch. Not every asexual is sex averse. Not every bisexual is 50/50 in their attraction. And so on. And so on. Just like there are all kinds of allo cis het people, there are all kinds of queer people. Don’t expect the kid -any kid- to fit in a box. Those labels are for them to express and identify themselves. Not for you to find another way to dictate their existence.

5- Educate yourself. You could say that a lot of my own education was acquired during my own journey as a bi+ woman, but I didn’t stop there with my education. To be the most supportive auntie I can be, I have to keep myself in the loop.

Do not put the burden of your ignorance on the kid. They can inform you about their experience, but that broader knowledge base that you’re looking for to help better your understanding needs to be acquired on your own. There are plenty of reliable online resources that can help.

6- Your understanding is not a condition of acceptance. You don’t have to completely understand the specifics of a kid’s identity to accept it. My go-to example for this is furries. I do not get it, cannot process it. But guess what? So long as everybody is consenting and happy, I’m cool with it. I will honor your fursona. Because it’s not about me.

You don’t have to understand non-binary to accept a non-binary kid and use their pronouns and name. Because it’s not about you.

And that’s really the core to loving your kids like a Career Queer Auntie. Understanding that it’s not about you.

Now take all of these guidelines to loving your hypothetical queer kid and apply them to your real queer kid. Then apply them to all queer kids. States are passing laws like “Don’t Say Gay” and barring healthcare for trans kids under the guise of protecting the children, but really it’s because it makes these grown ass bigots feel uncomfortable. These laws will not make kids straight or cis.

It will make them dead.

And that’s the point.

Your ultimate job -as a parent, as an uncle/auntie/untie/auncle, as an adult, as a human being- is to make those kids -all kids- feel safe.

Because the world won’t.

Sundays Are for Self-Care

I’m sure I’ve written about this before, but I’m going to write about it again because I’ve been doing really well at it and I feel the urge to be all “Go Team Me!”

I am one of those people who are mundanely self-destructive. I destroy myself in little ways, usually through neglect of some kind. This usually presents as depriving myself of sleep, eating mindlessly or not eating at all, and overworking myself. The latter I am particularly bad about. I will schedule myself to the point of stress and then berate myself for not being able to handle the schedule/stress because other people can do it/I used to be able to do it.

A few years ago, I made the purposeful decision to give myself Sundays off. Unless absolutely necessary, I don’t do chores, I don’t run errands, I don’t leave the house, I don’t work on any writing or podcasting projects, I don’t exercise, nada. All I have to do is my Duolingo lessons (because I have like a four year streak going and my ego is way too big to lose it), a beauty routine, and exist. That’s it. Anything else is a choice. There are no have-to’s unless absolutely unavoidable (think NaNo when I write every day).

I give myself this day to be a potato. To place no expectations of any sort of productivity on myself. To be a human being, not a human doing.

This is a mindful choice that I have to make every Sunday. Some Sundays I feel like a lazy piece of shit and I think I should be doing something and it takes effort for me not to give in to that thinking. Because that’s definitely a sign that I need to take care of myself and rest. Other Sundays I actually feel really good and I choose to do a little bit of yoga or a little bit of writing or a small To Do List project. And I let myself do those things because in that case it’s a want-to, not a have-to.

So, yes, there are some Sundays when all I do is eat and binge-watch shows or movies and play online games and be a complete potato. Reading is too mentally taxing on those days. And there are some Sundays when I still lounge, but I read and journal and do little crafty things. And there are some Sundays when I switch out my closet and purge my clothes and reorganize my shit and make new To Do Lists. But everything I do on a Sunday is a want-to, not a have-to.

I have enough have-to’s the other six days.

Sundays are for self-care and self-care is a must for me.

“What’s Your Dream Job?”

Can you still have a dream job when you’re over 40? I don’t know. But I’m going to play at answering this question anyway.

In my younger days I had that all too common dream of becoming an actor or singer, but as it turns out, that requires talent and looks, of which I have neither.

When I was in junior high I had two dream jobs. I either wanted to be a meteorologist studying tornadoes or a shark biologist. What can I say? I prefer my science when it wants to kill me. Should be obvious that neither of those plans worked out, though I’m still fascinated by both fields.

By high school, I’d changed my mind yet again. I knew for sure that I wanted to be a writer. And in the three attempts at community college, I changed my mind the same number of times. Just another manifestation of my commitment issues.

I suppose you could say that my dream job is elusive. Or at least achieving it is.

Now that I’m middle-aged, I kinda haven’t given up on that whole dream job thing. I still want to find something that thrills me and I get paid well to do it. But instead of knowing what exactly that job is, I know more about what I don’t want it to be like.

It’s not customer service. Definitely not. It’s not working with coworkers that drain me, that are unreliable, that have agendas. Ideally, it’s something that limits my time in a bra and/or real pants. I mean, it is a dream job. I should ask for what a really want.

I want my dream job to be writing. I’ve dedicated years to it without much success, but it’s still very much my heart’s desire in many ways. But the difficulty I’ve had doing it in the last few years has led me to doubt it as my life’s calling. And that’s led me to an existential crisis of sorts because if it’s not my dream job, then what is? I know I’m still a writer, even if it’s not working out the way I planned and things are hard right now. Writing is a part of me whether it’s writing fiction like I want to do or blogging or even journaling. But if it’s not my dream job like I’ve wanted it to be, then what is?

Lately, I’ve really found some joy in podcasting. And not just Book’ em, Danno, either. I really enjoy doing episodes of the library podcast, particularly the history episodes. I like doing the research and writing the script along with the recording and editing. There is a lot of writing involved, even if it’s not my true love of fiction writing.

All of this thinking has led me to one solid conclusion about my dream job. I might not know what it is for sure, but I know what it feels like.

It feels like that sweet spot I hit when I get lost in what I’m writing, when I’m so in the groove that I lose myself in the words. It feels like that rush when the rabbit hole I head down during my research leads me to something new and brings that podcast script together perfectly. It feels like that buzz I get when I’m recording and the observations and jokes are flowing naturally. That’s what it feels like. It feels like I’m surfacing after being underwater for a while, coming out of a dream state and back into reality when I’m done.

That’s what my dream job is.

Also it pays super well.

Nesting in a Happy Place

I am one of those people that will comfort watch things. You know what I mean. You’re feeling a little down or blue or stressed or whatever, so you throw on your favorite TV show or movie. Something to soothe you and boost your mood.

My go-to’s are flicks like Halloween or The Fog or Delicatessen or House on Haunted Hill. You know. Real cheery stuff. Or I’ll binge-watch cartoons like The Real Ghostbusters or Danger Mouse or He-Man. Because my inner child has a tendency to be more of an outer child.

However, there are times when I need more than just a little mood booster. There are times when my sole source of serotonin comes from repetitive viewings of whatever my brain has decided to fixate on because it brought me an incredible amount of joy in a specific moment.

For example, the world is currently shit due to the fact that if you leave humans to do the right thing, they will absolutely not do that, thank you, anything but that. How have I been dealing with this fuckery for the past couple of weeks? By watching episodes of Ghosts (the US version). For 20-ish minutes, I get to tune everything else out and giggle and awww at the inhabitants of Woodstone Manor. Does it fix things? No. Does it take pressure off of my brain? Yeah, for a bit. And it gives me something to look forward to.

Several years ago I watched Ghostbusters: Answer the Call every day for six weeks. Every. Single. Day. Sometimes twice a day. It became a necessary part of my routine to help ease the brain decay I was experiencing at the time.

I mentioned Delicatessen as one of my go-to’s, right? Well, there was one point in time when I watched it daily for weeks. Drove my roommate nuts. She’s not a fan of French black comedies featuring post-apocalypse cannibalism, I guess.

I’ve done the same thing with The Fog, the Anatoly episodes of Arrow; Zelenka episodes of Stargate: Atlantis (yes, I’m fond of David Nykl, but he’s not the only actor I’ve done this with); episodes of both the 1980 and 2018 Magnum PI; and My Dinner with Andre.

I’ve been known to do the same thing with songs and albums and musicians. I create my happy place and then I move in. I stay there as long as I need to and then I move out again. Sometimes it’s a few days; sometimes it’s months. Depends on why I’m in the nest I’ve made.

And then one day I’m done. Just like that. No tapering off, no thought. One day, I just leave that nest and I’m done with that happy place. It might be a long time before I revisit the shows or movies or music of that particular experience, or I might go back to watching them or listening to them like I did before I needed them to survive.

It’s probably not the best of coping mechanisms, but I cannot deny that the serotonin boost manages to keep me sane when I need it most. A life raft in stormy seas until I get to the next piece of solid ground.

Now if you’ll excuse me, it’s time to return to my happy place.

Let’s Talk About Stress, Baby

In my little world, I categorize my stress into two categories: To Do List Stress and Life Stress. Sometimes they overlap, but they tend to affect me differently.

I prefer no stress, but if I had to pick one of these, I’ll pick the To Do List Stress.

To Do List Stress is the consequence of me overestimating my ability to be productive and scheduling myself to do a whole lot of things in a certain period of time. To Do List Stress is most prevalent in December, but I can honestly do this to myself at any time. I tend to cope with this stress better. Not because I can choose to reschedule the things on my To Do List to be more accommodating (because even if I say I’m going to do that, I never do), but for whatever reason, it’s just something I can handle. Maybe it’s because I’m a Capricorn. Who knows.

One contributing factor to my ability to deal with To Do List Stress is that it triggers my “DO IT ALL NOW” anxiety and out of all of my anxiety manifestations, I can actually deal with that one pretty easily. It mostly involves me reminding myself that I don’t have to do it all now and I have it all scheduled out. Do I have to remind myself of this multiple times a day, if not an hour, and does it sometimes disrupt my sleep? Yes. But it’s mild compared to what Life Stress does to me.

Life Stress is everything else in my world.

It’s working short-handed most days of the week. It’s working a customer service job during a pandemic. It’s the constant barrage of bad news. It’s going grocery shopping at any point in time. It’s the ever present strain that never seems to abate.

I’m not great at dealing with that kind of stress, at least not anymore. I think I was better at dealing with it when I was younger and more resilient. Or I was too dumb to stop and realize what I was dealing with. Whatever the reason, after the Massively Stressful Summer of ’18, my ability to cope with Life Stress is basically non-existent. It totally drains me.

Which is not good.

It’s not ideal to go through life feeling like you’re unable to catch your breath.

I think -and this is just speculation- that I might be able to cope with Life Stress better if it didn’t absolutely wreck me anxiety-wise. While To Do List Stress triggers one particular anxiety manifestation, Life Stress triggers several and they’re all the worst.

The general dread that comes with social situations, like going to work for example, goes from barely registering/normal to now dialed up to 11 because every shift guarantees an unpleasant interaction with someone.

And every unpleasant interaction leads to rumination that I can’t stop, whether I acknowledge it or not. Because most days, I just chalk it up to the normal of now and don’t consciously think about it. But that doesn’t mean it’s not pinballing through my brain, off in the background, coming to the fore when I finally sleep and the guard goes down.

Stress dreams are not fun. And I’m having them a lot more often than I ever did.

This sort of thing has made my baseline anxiety worse. I question every single human interaction I have outside of the people in my house, and still question those interactions on occasion. I cannot wish someone happy birthday without questioning my word choice. You think I’m joking, but I’m not. I can have a chat with someone I’ve known most of my life, who knows me and my quirks and my dumbassery, and still walk away from that conversation ruminating over every single thing I said and did during that interaction.

This is the toll that Life Stress takes on me. Is taking on me. Because in addition to just sucking in general, it’s also feeding a beast I’m quickly losing control of.

Now I know that I’m not unique in this. A lot of people have Life Stress issues along with mental illness. Some might argue that I’m lucky because I don’t have the added stresses of a spouse and kids and a real job. But think about it. If I can’t handle what I’ve already got, it’s probably for the best that I’m not dealing with more. I’m hardly coping (not really) as it is.

Do I feel like a complete failure and a total baby? Absolutely.

Will I find a way to cope and/or live with it?

I hope so.

The Dating Game: How Do I Play Again?

I’ve been single for quite a long time now and even though it does have its advantages, I’m kind of getting bored with it. I’ve actually been thinking for awhile that maybe I should try dating again. What with all of the dating apps, it seems like there might be more opportunities to meet someone.

There’s just one thing.

How the hell do I do this dating thing again? ‘Cause I don’t think I ever knew.

I’ll be honest. My dating life wasn’t exactly active as an awkward, introverted, mentally ill woman back in the long, long ago of my twenties when I was younger, thinner, and had my whole life ahead of me. Now that I’m twenty years older, fatter, with even less life ahead of me, but still awkward, introverted, and mentally ill (though the mental illness is better understood and controlled), I’m sure my odds of having any success are about the same as me winning the Powerball, and I don’t play.

But what the hell? It’s not like I have anything better to do. And yes, trying to do this during a never-ending pandemic might not be the wisest move, but I’ve never really been known for my stellar decision making skills.

I’ve been researching dating apps. I did online dating back in my twenties when the internet and I were young. It was…an experience. I didn’t actually go out with anyone I met on those old dating sites, though I did interact with several men who would have been happier on Tinder and/or Pornhub and at least one with a very specific fetish. Having heard stories from other women’s experiences with dating apps, things haven’t changed that much. I’m at least hopeful that I’ll get some interesting creepers and new fetishes.

I’m also thinking that dating apps might be the best way for me to meet women. I am, after all, bisexual and there’s no reason I should only be horrified by the behavior of cis men. And I’ve had even less experience dating women than I have dating men. I am attracted to women. I should really explore that aspect of my sexuality more, and I’d really like to. And it’ll give me a better shot at meeting someone. God knows I need all the help I can get.

Because I’m not exactly a catch.

I’m a failed adult. I have done nothing with my life and I can’t say that I’ll ever be anything close to functioning like a real grown-up.

But I’ll pay my own way. I’ll show up. I’ll be supportive and caring (in my own broken way). I’m can be fun and funny and sometimes I give good advice. Just don’t expect me to make anything of myself. I’m someone that I think the right person could have a decent, solid, enjoyable relationship with, but you probably don’t want me to co-sign a mortgage.

I concede that’s not what a lot of people -women, men, non-binary- are looking for because they’re already grown. They have kids and careers and things. Throw in that I’m fat and over 40 and you might suggest that I just resign myself to being a cat lady. Well, the joke’s on you because we have five cats in the house and none of them like me. So I might as well give dating another shot.

I realize that it’s late in my life (probably too late) to be doing this and honestly, I’m not expecting much. After all I can’t expect to win a game when I barely know the rules.

But on the other hand, I can’t get better at the game if I don’t play. And even if I don’t win, I might have some fun.

Now to just put all of that into a dating profile and make it sound like something worth swiping right on.