The Urge to Nest

nest

This originally appeared on LisaKerr.net. Read the piece here. This is Part I of a series about turning thirty, getting closer to my family, and finally deciding to settle down. Read Part II here and Part III here

Something happened when I turned thirty.

I started missing my parents, even though I lived two hours away. I worried about their health. My friends’ parents were having major health issues and passing away at young ages and my own parents were starting their annual physicals and colonoscopies, sometimes with discussions about “what they found.” I began to realize that they weren’t going to be around forever. I was growing up and they were growing older. I could feel myself aging.

I started feeling the need to settle down and the urge to nest. I wanted to find a home I could stay in for decades, instead of an apartment that I changed from time to time. I was single, and not 100% sure I really wanted kids, so I adopted a rescue puppy. I didn’t realize she would make me want to both have a child and make me question the idea of having kids all at once. A year has passed now, and we have survived the puppy stage. We’ve house-trained. We’ve obedience trained. Kids might not be so hard, right?

During college, I promised myself I would publish at least one book before getting pregnant. It was one way to keep me focused on working toward my dreams. But as I aged, and as my second set of friends started talking about having kids (the first set of friends started having kids around their mid-twenties), I started wondering what it would be like to be pregnant with my closest friends who were pinning things to their Babies! boards on Pinterest). I also started wondering what I was actually waiting for.

Love, of course. I was waiting for love. But I was also simultaneously avoiding it.

I was also waiting to move away from L.A. where most of the men I met didn’t want kids…probably because many of them were still so immature. I figured if I stayed in that city I would have to be a single mom and the single moms I knew (who did amazing jobs raising their kids) cautioned me at how hard it was. I knew they were right. I had been a nanny in my early twenties and even that was difficult.

But more than babies, I wanted to fall in love like I had only a few times in my life. The last time I’d fallen in love was when I was twenty-six and he’d moved away. Sometime after the move and our failed attempt to keep a long-distance relationship working, we’d broken each other’s hearts.

He and I had met through a mutual friend in my hometown and we were instantly swept up in love. Within a month, we’d made love in one of the most intimate moments I’d had with a man. We’d watched baseball games together. We’d dressed up together for romantic dinners. And then at the end of that month, he told me what I already knew: that he was moving and we’d have to say goodbye soon–at least until he could afford to move me up there. He told me he wanted me to visit soon and he followed through with sending me a plane ticket to come for my twenty-sixth birthday. While I was there, we laid on the couch together and he gave me a simple, pink heart diamond necklace and we kissed each other in a way I thought meant he’d be the last man I kissed.

He wasn’t.

We fell apart for reasons that usually exist when you attempt to do a long-distance relationship. Sometimes, no matter how much in love you are, the timing is wrong and the distance makes it complicated. But I knew from experience with him that there were good men out there; men who wanted a family and kids; men who treated women well; men who were honest about who they were and what they wanted. As I entered my thirties, I knew I needed to stop dating men who weren’t like that. I needed to reevaluate who I’d been dating and sleeping with. But more than that, I needed to understand what my desires were telling me. I was ready to find someone amazing. I was happy in nearly every area of my life except this one missing piece and except for the itch that kept reappearing: I wanted to settle down and find someone to start a family with.

Image from Pinterest.

Read Part II here and Part III here

My One Big Flaw

embraceAs transparent as I think I am, I’ve always had this lurking flaw. When people come too close to me (emotionally), I pull back entirely. Sometimes I retreat. Other times I get angry. Of course I’m afraid of being hurt. We all are, aren’t we? But I deal with this on a really deep level. It’s made it pretty easy for me to be single, but now I’m not single anymore and I think about this a lot. I just finished showering and all I could think about is how terrified I am to let this guy in–really, truly inside. I think about a lot of the people I didn’t let inside; how I’ve pushed a lot of people out or back further. I’m not sure how to bring this up to him without making him afraid and I’m not sure when I should start therapy for this even though our relationship is new. Maybe I’m overreacting or over-thinking, like I so often do. Maybe the best thing to do is relax, as I have been the past few days, in his arms, wrapped around me as I go to sleep. And just let him kiss me on the forehead, brush my hair back from my eyes, and wrap his hand around mine. I can sleep soundly when I’m there and I don’t even feel badly for saying I’m letting him rescue me from myself just a little bit.

Taking Our Time

I’m no stranger to falling quickly and wanting to move fast when dating. But I also made it to thirty without being married because I never actually followed through with those steps, mostly because it didn’t quite feel right with those people. You know the reasons it wasn’t right–there was a different reason for every person and I’m sure you’ve experienced some of those reasons. It just wasn’t a good fit and didn’t seem like the payoff was worth the risk. Or deep down you just didn’t believe the person’s words because their actions said something subtly different.

taking your timeI love this quote. There’s something magical about feeling relaxed about taking your time with someone (not that I’m not going “squee!” inside constantly and doing ridiculous shit–because I AM). But there’s something nice about being able to tell yourself that this could be a good person to actually take your time with–not because you have doubts and want to make sure he’s the right one, but because you’re enjoying the chance to fall in love with someone and you don’t want to rush it or slow it down–you just want to experience all of it as it comes.

When Dating Goes Bad

Why men are confused about me, I’ll never know. I’m fairly straightforward and most people who have been around even a few months know the most basic things about me. Why men who want to change me or have a certain “type” of woman even approach me, I’ll never know. But word to the wise, take me as I am or fuck off.

Kisses.

After I posted a photo on Facebook about being on Tinder, an old friend from Texas hit me up. He was cute. An asshole, but cute. I figured, ‘What the hell? I can always just flirt.’ Flirting is fun. He was single. I was single. Fun, right?

Not necessarily.

A few days into things he talks about how he wants four kids. Four. 4. F-o-u-r. Okay, fine. He’s from Texas. I get it. They think everything has to be bigger to be better. The problem is, I don’t even know if I want children. I got a puppy and she’s adorable, but even as I’m writing this, she’s chewing up the lid to my water bottle. The one that I need for MMA class. Yesterday she destroyed a roll of toilet paper and the day before that she dug through the carpet. If a puppy is this annoying, how bad are kids? I was a nanny. I know the answer to that. (Hint: Very.)

I explained to Texas that I wasn’t sure I wanted to have kids and if I did, two would be my max. I was already starting to feel like this was the type of man who thought his ideas, dreams, hobbies, and things he wanted would trump mine. It turns out I was right.

The larger issue is that I’m a writer and as such, it’s a challenge to balance motherhood and writing. My writing comes first. I’ve heard plenty of writers who are also mothers talk about this difficulty and quite honestly, I don’t want children badly enough to sacrifice my career for it. And because I don’t already have kids, it’s easy for me to say no. At least for now. It’s important for me to say no for now anyway because I’m so busy. It’s times like these that I wish men could carry babies.

Texas said “That’s fine,” which really seemed to mean, “I’ll convince you otherwise later.” That’s not how this works. That’s not how ANY of this works.

We continued talking about kids–because that’s what any normal person would do a few days into talking, right? Turns out he was adamant about breastfeeding. As in, the lady needs to breastfeed or else. His kids WILL be breastfed and that is final!

Again, problematic for many reasons. One being, they’re my breasts. Two, it’s painful. Three, what if the child doesn’t “take” to breastfeeding? Four, again, they’re my breasts. Five, what if I don’t want to breastfeed? What if I want to work?

I was breastfed. I think there’s an amazing case for breast-is-best, but I don’t know that I will have the time to breastfeed a child if I’m say, in the middle of writing a novel. Maybe I will. Maybe I won’t.

Should this be a deal breaker for a guy?

No, but the fact that he had such strong opinions about a woman’s body and life was a deal breaker for me.

It gets worse, though.

When I first started talking to him, I had been really adamant about not wanting to connect with men with sex first. I wanted friendship. I wanted to see if I liked the person and then see things develop from there. Friendships turned relationships are the absolute best. But there are few men who really can do that without pushing. He was no exception. He kept bringing up sex and finally I was frustrated enough to give in. Big mistake.

There was a moment in our conversation when he asked me if I would swallow his cum and I said no. It wasn’t like I said I wouldn’t kiss him, but he reacted really badly. Almost like he was throwing a tantrum. Almost like he demanded it. I told him he had been watching too much porn. He flipped out. The funny thing is, when I called him out on it, he backed off from what he said. Then I called him out on it again a few days later and he turned the tables on me. I was a hypocrite and had double standards, he said. I was an elitist who showed no empathy, according to him. When I wanted to talk about sex, it was okay, but when he didn’t, it wasn’t. He considered this a double standard.

I’m smart enough now to that any guy who demands I do something in bed, or throws a fit and attacks me when I say I won’t do something, is not going to work for me. If anything, that’s a really dangerous sign. And I’ve had at least one experience with a guy who made me realize that it’s not even worth it to continue talking to someone like that.

Beyond that, doing whatever you want in bed can be fun, but the cool part is that you (as a man or woman) get to decide what you are comfortable with and what you’re not comfortable with. You get to say no whenever the hell you want and usually, the person you’re with likes you enough to just drop it. Maybe they love that. Maybe they’re disappointed, but most guys are just like “Okay.”

It gets even worse, though.

I get asked to mentor people all the time. I can’t mentor everyone. I have a small handful of close friends that I will do anything for, and another small set of writer friends who I help out when they need something. Beyond that, I work with my clients and that’s about all I have time for. My expertise is social media and branding, which is a big hot thing right now. Everyone needs social media credibility and few people know how to make it happen. Those of us who were into social media and blogging years ago have ridden the waves and survived. We’ve grown with the technology and even influenced it. Many of us are entrepreneurs in our own right.

And he wanted to be one. Usually, that’s really hot. In this case, it wasn’t, because you can’t be a great entrepreneur by riding someone else’s coat tails.

I got the vibe that he might not have been as interested in me as he was my “following” and “influence.” (Barf to those buzz words, anyway, but that’s what he called it.) I like giving people the benefit of the doubt, though, so I waited it out and decided to try to suspend my judgment for awhile. I’ve been known to make harsh judgments right away and later end up liking someone. But as time went on, he asked me to help him create a following online where he could share inspirational stuff. First, I think inspirational stuff can be done very, very well. People who do it right: Brene Brown, Elizabeth Gilbert, Buddhists. But you know those looney self-help people? I don’t like that stuff. He said he’d pay me, but that bothered me even more. I was confused. Was this a professional relationship or romantic? I was offended. Anyone who knows me knows that I have no problem helping friends out, so if he had a question, I could answer it. It wasn’t that I didn’t want to get paid; but I didn’t want someone dating me just for what I could teach him. That’s just weird. And selfish and egotistical.

The day he told me he wanted to start a YouTube account to make money came after the day I’d posted on Facebook about all the millionaires on YouTube. Naivete makes people think that just because there’s a millionaire doing something that they could be the next. Internet millionaires earn their money, just like all the other millionaires in the world. It’s hard work, great work, talent and knowledge that make people successful. (Unless of course you’re born with a silver spoon. Then it’s your parents’ hard work/talent/etc.) It’s incredibly naive to think that you can just walk onto the scene and own it without having done anything.

People don’t just gain millions of followers by being online. Even celebrities don’t. It insults me actually, when people think creating a following online is sooo simple, and this was the impression I got from him. I got the feeling he thought because I could do it, anyone could do it, which means he didn’t value my intellect and skills. Look, I’m not saying I’m a fucking genius here but I work hard. Throw a little respect a girl’s way if you’re trying to woo her.

And don’t ask me for help creating a Twitter handle.

Dating Advice from The Onion

Hat tip to my friend Keith for sending me this. I laughed way too hard.

best of the onionSome of the highlights from the article:

  • Remember to relax and have fun! Sometimes, the moment you stop worrying about finding that perfect match is the moment you’ll open your email and find an absolutely vulgar and disgusting email from a complete stranger.
  • Listing a minimum height requirement is a great way to weed out tiny men who would have treated you like a queen.
  • Put a Bible verse in your profile to show other men that you have a stifled, Puritanical sense of raw sexuality just waiting to be let out.
  • First impressions count. Before posting the photo of yourself pepper-spraying Occupy movement protesters, seriously consider if that is the image you want to project to the world.
  • Be willing to open yourself up to new experiences, like going on a series of terrible dates with men you despise.

 

 

What Makes Me Feel Beautiful

Someone recently asked me the question “What makes you feel beautiful?” I smiled and I thought about this new guy I’d met named Jay*. A few days ago we were talking before bed and he texted me “Good night, beautiful.” It wasn’t the first time he’d said it and there had been other men who said it to me recently–that I was beautiful, or sexy–but when he said it, it made me feel beautiful. It made me blush. I got that warm feeling in my stomach that all crushes start with. I liked hearing it from him. I knew he meant it and it wasn’t about sex or trying to get on my good side. It was sincere.

Just last night, though, I had one final talk-turned-argument (for closure’s sake) with the person I’d spent the past three plus years in love with. I’d told Jay about him and Jay asked me what it would take for me to get over him. It made me think for the first time that maybe there was someone out there that would be worth getting over him. Someone who made me feel the same way. I thought the answer would be that when I lost weight and got (what I considered) hot again, but the more Jay asked me certain questions, the more I realized I could-and should-get over him now. Why wait for someone who didn’t even tell me I was beautiful when there was someone who had no hangups about telling me now?

When I was talking to the now ex-love last night, I started thinking about the fact that he never once called me beautiful. When I would ask him if he liked my hair or something I was wearing, he wouldn’t even answer. One time he said he liked brunettes and later I died my hair brown and he said it didn’t look good. I wasn’t used to this. Usually men had no problem complimenting me or finding me attractive, and although I didn’t expect it (nor did I always believe they were sincere), I appreciated it.

It really bothered me–this inability for the ex-love to compliment how I looked. Of course there were many other amazing traits that made me fall in love with him in the first place, but this was something that hurt me. And it wasn’t something I’d read on Cosmo’s “Ten Signs Your Man Isn’t The One.” (Just kidding, maybe I do read Cosmo.) It was something I started realizing hurt me even deeper than I thought as the result of receiving compliments from someone else I started caring about. It wasn’t about the compliments. It was the ability Jay had to actually verbalize how I made him feel and how he saw me. Communication is key and if you feel that someone is amazing or attractive, shouldn’t you be able to say it?love

I think that’s why it made it much more meaningful when Jay said it. He told me I was beautiful in a moment where I least expected it. I had just finished saying “I can’t date you. You’re too young and you live far away. I can’t do long distance anymore.” He said he understood about the distance and we discussed why his age would be problematic and then before we got offline, he said “Good night, beautiful.” I blushed. I felt butterflies. Magic. All of it. The problem wasn’t that I didn’t like Jay. It was that I did like him but I’d tried a few long distance relationships and they just didn’t work.

But still, his compliments continued, despite that we started meeting other people and my feelings for him grew the more we talked and the more I felt understood deeply by him. And as his compliments continued, I realized what I loved about them was the fact that he said how he felt and if I was going to “get away” then he was going to make sure I knew how he felt about me.

What woman doesn’t want that?

*Not his real name.

 

Why Being Single Isn’t That Bad

A few weeks ago I decided to try Tinder. Tinder is the reason being single isn’t that bad.

tinder 1

The above screen shot is actually three different profiles put together. Upper left is a guy posing with a horse that’s LICKING him. In the face. #NotAFetishImInto Upper right is a guy who clearly takes too many steroids. Next. Bottom left is Garrett. Poor guy. He’s been scammed too many times. But don’t worry. He “nos about scammers now.”

tinder 2

This guy is just amazing. I mean, let’s be honest. This is a dude you could really bring home to mom and dad.

tinder dream guy

He’s high, but he’s my soul mate. And Fabio’s twin.

tinder speedo

Have speedo. Will travel.

When I showed my mom this one, she said, “So…you get the kid, too?” Built-in babies!

tinder wow

I “doesn’t” feel guilty about having sex, but I’m not really digging the abstract boobie art.