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Expensive Lessons – Pt 1. Restraining Order

21 Sep

 

15 minute read

*This blog is dedicated to Dr. Wendy Potts, who committed suicide after she was suspended from her practice because a patient of hers complained about a blog in which she openly chronicled her struggle with bipolar disorder. For those who battle this challenging illness and try to make sense of it by publicly exposing ourselves and our issues, while hopefully helping others in the process, her death won’t be in vain because some self-serving asshole used her disorder against her. It’s difficult enough to deal with this. Having it used against you in life, court, work; to destroy everything you’ve built and worked for is criminal, inhuman and immoral.

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The highway asphalt gave way to bridges flanked by sun-soaked palms and colorful beach motels. The Florida heat, oppressive for June, beat through my windshield while my air conditioning struggled to keep up. I turned onto a street where everything looked the same; block after block of Spanish tiled houses, pink, yellow and blue pubs boasting live music, Cuban restaurants. I slowed to “Florida driver status” looking for the turn that would deliver me to my new home.

Thoughts pinged around my head like mad on the drive from Valrico to Redington Shores. One resounded above all others. Fuck me. How did I get here? How could a man who claimed he loved me file a restraining order against me when I hadn’t done anything to harm him? Why did I have to hire a criminal attorney?

Someone I barely knew from a dating site offered me a place to stay. I swallowed my pride and accepted, since the (fantastic) friend I’d been staying with was expecting company and needed her spare room.  

Oh, this is where I casually mention that this was the same man I’d basically declined for the one who’d just had me removed from our home.

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I opened my car door and the humid, sea air enveloped me. Bob Barker ambled over to my car with his tail wagging. I hugged his big, blond Labrador head and kissed his pink nose, waving at Scooter (not a dog) who was stretched out barefoot, sitting in a lime Adirondack chair on the deck. He came over for a hug and proceeded to help me haul my belongings into his tiny beach bungalow.

“Women,” he muttered. “None of ya can pack light.”

I put my fat, gray cat down, and opened the pre-filled disposable kitty litter box I’d picked up from the store. Whoever created the portable cat poop tray is brilliant – and hopefully a millionaire. Bob shoved his face into the pet carrier, hoping for a playmate or a treat. Finding neither, he decided his water bowl was more interesting.

After loading the little tiki-style bungalow to capacity, Scooter and I sat opposite each other on patterned blue futons serving as couches. The hard surface bit into my tired body and I shifted around; trying unsuccessfully to get comfortable. My health had been an issue lately. I hadn’t slept right in weeks, hadn’t had a period in months and was doing all I could to keep the painful Lupus joint flare-ups and rash to minimum. I felt nauseous and weak. Trouble jumped up and laid next to me, purring, satisfied with this new living arrangement.

Scooter spoke directly, skipping the small talk as usual. 

“So,” he said. “What happened?”

I handed him the injunction, which removed me from my own home on a false domestic violence charge for thirty days. My boyfriend – pardon, ex-boyfriend – listed bogus claims alleging I was a drug user, had a violent criminal record, was non-compliant with my bipolar medications, and previously had a restraining order issued against me. Of course, he knew all of this was untrue. That did not stop him from stating lies under oath in order to (successfully) achieve his goal of having me removed from our house. This, after a weekend of arguing.

 

Untitled-6To prove to the judge what a threat I was, he’d even listed my “intimidating” wrestling height and weight that I use for gigs, instead of my real size and actual measurements. How could this man lay next to me every night and not know how tall I am, or what I weighed? I wondered if he knew my eye color when he filled out the “description” for the police. Or did he have to Google that too?  He also marked down that I was armed… with toys. Costume props to be precise.

 

He blatantly used my career and illness against me to achieve his goal. Of course, anything can be considered a weapon, even a pen. This meant that an Airsoft bb gun and plastic sword can potentially kill someone, as could my coffee cup and hair dryer. Jackie Chan could prove this theory, but with five magic words he got his wish. “I fear for my life.”

Done. Signed, sealed and delivered. I was evicted.

Scooter shook his head. “What’s his deal?”

“Wish I knew. Never saw this coming. He said all his exes were crazy. Giant red flag, right?”

“Well, all my exes are crazy,” Scooter said.

“Here’s a thought: maybe you guys are the ones that drive us crazy?”

Unlike most ex-girlfriends who were (allegedly) crazy, I am legitimately crazy. Bipolar 1, with a side order of anxiety, ADD and OCD, which I’ve gotten under control with stabilization medications, diet, exercise and regular therapy. I get mandated blood tests every couple months to verify all my medication levels are on target and I’ve never once (ever!) not taken my meds. I love them. Being a control freak, I like that I finally have power over of my emotions and temper.  I’m happy to have the choice to decide whether or not to get upset or just let something go and walk away. I have an extreme dislike for the saying “I’m in good place” but that’s exactly where I’d been before all the bad stuff with C (that’s what I’ll call my ex – C. It’s an initial, not a grade) started happening. (Note: I am the one with bipolar disorder, although C has a couple of his serious mental diagnosis’ I can’t disclose. Because of what I went through when living with my father, who had bipolar disorder, then getting myself on the right stabilizing medications, I honestly thought I could help him. Who better to understand it all than me, I thought.)

 

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However, for the sake of safety to others, I should mention that his name is Christopher Leonard Harris, born May 23, 1971, he is also known as BlueEyedPrince71. Hopefully, this never happens to anyone else…but it will, over and over again.

With luck, the next woman Googles him and reads this. By the way, dear future ex-girlfriend, keep reading. It gets better. While you may think I *could* be making things up out of spite or bitterness, there are quite a few of us, and you’ll hear tragic and heartbreaking stories from all. It’s a damn Ex Wives Club. Actually, the “Nearly The Ex Wife” Club is more like it.  The devil doesn’t come to you with a red face and sharpened horns. He comes as everything you’ve ever wanted. The reason Chris seems so into you and asks so many questions is because he’s trying to find an “in” to work.

He will be so damn perfect – the most perfect man you’ll have ever met. And, we, his exes,  will be “crazy”. Or, he’ll read this and change his tune a bit, but it’ll be the same ending for you. It never lasts more than about two-ish years and you’ll be broke and broken, because he’ll have taken everything from you. He’s a sociopath who can’t feel, and he preys upon women he finds online who are independent and doing well in life. Therein lies the challenge. Sooner than later, he’ll be pushing to move in with you. After passing six weeks of church pre-marital counseling with flying colors, he left one of us at the alter two days before the wedding. He packed up and walked away from another while she was at work without any reason or goodbye – and she’d paid for him to go back to school, supporting him while he got his degree. He threatened to have a pet dog put down by animal control for “attacking him” if one woman didn’t shut her mouth when she started to come forth with the use and abuse she’d dealt with. And me? Well, this is my story. Read on to see a little of the details from when he demanded a five figure payout on a house he didn’t buy after leaving me in debt while in school. The best part? He filed a completely bullshit restraining order against me for ‘domestic violence’ which had me kicked out of my home for thirty days until court, where I had to hire a defense attorney. Charming, huh? And the threats? Lies? Back stabbing? Head games? It’s still going on to this very day.

Another lesser thing to be aware of: his flag only flies at half-mast. None of us could figure out what was up with that. (Or, wasn’t up with that.) He’s also not much a “giver” in the bedroom. Not much of a conversationalist after a while, either. Anyway, no matter how “perfect” he is right now, you are simply a means to an end. Not the wonderful, perfect, beautiful soul his empty heart has yearned for, like he’s telling you. (Even if you are all that…and chances are, you are. Because he tends to chose women who are amazing, smart, talented and beautiful. Which is why we are warning you!)

 

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The Event…

A few days after Memorial Day, two deputies knocked on my door and served me papers. I was sitting on the back porch in my nightshirt, with a coffee. I was told I had twenty minutes to pack and leave the house. I was also instructed that I could not come within five hundred feet of my property, and when I looked down at the phone in my hand, I was warned not to contact C and ask him what in the blue hell he was thinking, or they’d arrest me on the spot. He already had the courts issue a no contact order.

We’d have to go before a judge to find out when – and if – I could return.

To my house.

Which I paid for.

Where I lived, worked, and went to school. With my pets. Where I planted fruit trees and veggies. (The majority of which didn’t survive my absence. I waited two years for those damn pineapples and almost managed to save them. But “almost” only counts in hand grenades and horseshoes.)

I put in for an emergency withdraw from the university I was attending. Since most of my “day job” work was done on my desktop computer, size and circumstance forced me to leave it behind. I also left my shoot clothing, school books, wrestling gear, chickens, dog and the life that C and I made for ourselves.

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In a roundabout way this sudden “forced vacation” was probably for the best. But that was not my mindset at the time.

After being served the order, my head was spinning. I grabbed as much as I could make sense of in those few precious minutes I had: clothes to sleep in, gym stuff, makeup, an overnight bag, medications, important papers, cash, laptop, protein powder, the cat, and very little everyday wear. Oddly enough, I packed my travel coffee pot first. Priorities? Foreseeing how long I’d be gone? I put the chickens in their coop, refilled their water and food, fed Bella, grabbed my stuff, locked the door, and not-so-silently cried every step of the way. I figured it was all some kind of huge mistake and I’d be back later that night. I was advised to go straight to the courthouse and file an appeal.

My ex-husband, Jordan, whom I remain on good terms with, went over later with a police escort to get Bella. At that point, the neighbors were sitting at the end of their driveways, unabashedly eating popcorn and refilling their Cokes. To his credit, he kept his “told-ya-so’s” to a minimum that day.

 

This also happened:

Super Cute Deputy: “So, I guess that relationship’s over.”

Me (standing in front of my car, wiping tears): “Ya think? I can’t believe he would do this.”

Deputy: “Well, when it all calms down, do you want to go to the beach or something?”

Cuz, let’s be honest… it’s only sexual harassment when they’re ugly. Or someone is trying to make a quick buck.

 

On the way to the courthouse, I called an ex-boyfriend, who was an attorney.

“Holy shit. Are you serious? OK, wait. Don’t fill anything out yet. Let me make some calls. We know the right words and most of the judges,” he said. (See a pattern here? I generally get along with people after we split up. This one had been particularly sweet to me with the many legal issues I’d encountered this year.) He referred me to his close friend, who quickly filed the appeal paperwork.

Several hours later, the phone rang and the thick New York accent told me what I didn’t want to hear.

“It’s Friday. No one at the courthouse does jack on a Friday. He fucked you. He fucked you good. Judges don’t consider injunctions a high priority, so prepare to sit this one out. I’ll do the best I can.” My phone rang again and it was his office collecting their (discounted) fee. I’d been sitting in the courthouse cafeteria all day, waiting, with a soggy sandwich in front of me, too nauseous to eat. Surrendering, I walked out to my car. I opened the GPS app to enter an address and realized that I didn’t have one. That’s when the weight of the situation I was in hit me and I fell apart in the parking lot, in tears.

My lovely friend, Matt, used points to get me a hotel room for the night, which was highly appreciated. After unceremoniously appearing on my best friend’s doorstep in the form of a snotty mess while she was making dinner for her kids, I headed over to my new current residence. Despite copious amounts of Xanax, there was no sleep. I still couldn’t believe what happened that day. The next morning, I gathered what little I had with me and drove the hour out to Valrico to stay with my friend Lexie and her family for a while.

I experienced a lot of feelings at that time, but the most prevalent was utter disbelief and betrayal. I would have preferred him to cheat on me. He’d never so much as broached the subject of splitting up. It was insane.

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Let me give you some back-story for context. Seven months’ prior, C had fallen at an ice rink and hit his head so hard that he’d suffered some brain damage. This was only four short months after we bought a fixer-upper house and renovated it together.

Living together was awful from the start. We powered through a series of not-so-comedic tragedies which included contractor rip-offs, a nasty stalker for a neighbor, pet deaths and learning that our HOA was intent on taking us all the way to court over a shed, our pet chickens or both. As you know, I’m a fighter, so we kept moving forward.

Unable to drive or work, he wound up on disability. The rational, patient, fun man I knew and adored was replaced with someone who was unpredictable, hostile, violent, emotional, and depressed to the point of being suicidal. He reminded me of me before I was on meds, and I wondered if this was some karma coming back to me for all the bullshit I’d put my exes through. (Dear Jordan, Paul and Rick… the words “I’m sorry” don’t nearly convey what I feel now that I’ve been on the other side. I’ve since learned to deeply appreciate and understand all you did and gave for me. I’m grateful to still have you in my life, as you three are amazing – and forgiving – human beings.) There were countless days I skipped the gym, or blew off work, because I was afraid to leave C home alone.

At one point, he spelled out to his niece and me exactly how he was going to hang himself from a tree out back, so I called his doctor on a Sunday in a panic asking what to do. She told me to Baker Act (institutionalize) him.

“I can’t. I can’t do that to him. I wouldn’t want that done to me.”

“Then reduce his Depakote by half and let me know how he does in a week.”

My friends and therapist said I should have Baker Acted him. They were right. He continued to put us both through hell.

That Memorial Day weekend, we argued.

I was on edge from end of semester school overload, and he was dismal from having officially been let go from his job. We found out we were about to lose our health insurance and had spent the week cramming in doctor’s appointments and med refills. For once, I didn’t back down when we bickered, and I should have. After arguing all evening, it culminated in him trying to leave the house intoxicated on pills. I asked for his keys and he refused. I then tried holding him back by the waist, to stop him from leaving and driving while under the influence, insisting he sleep it off in the spare room. He said he wanted to sleep in our bed instead. I said OK, and the issue was put to rest for the evening.

The next morning, we decided to take a break. He agreed that he would go stay with a friend. He stood in the doorway with his duffle bag in hand, and told me he loved me. Little did I know that when he left, he contacted his friends, family and police. C claimed that he thought I wanted to ‘murder him’ and single-handedly blew our entire life up. He was advised to get a restraining order.

He even contacted my own brother. I wasn’t raised with my brother past the age of 13, and my brother was barely 10 years old then. After our parents split, I was sent to live with our father because my mother felt he could ‘handle’ me better. My brother has never known me since I’ve gotten medicated, which has turned me into an entirely different person. (C has never known me as anything but medicated.) Brother has mostly only ever known me through stories and my mother’s rants about what I’d done this time, often inserting himself into situations that had he little to do with, which made them much worse. Gas on fire. To this day, he has no idea what bipolar disorder is or how someone acts with it. He doesn’t know that things he had done were exactly what someone should never do when dealing with someone with bp. Lack of education destroys. Lack of understanding keeps wounds open. Lack of forgiveness makes it hard to move onward. Despite these things, we had managed to put issues behind us and move ahead to the point of being acquaintances. For Mom. Honestly, I was happy about it. I have almost no family left and lots of fun, shared memories with him from when we were kids.

C was quite aware my brother and I had a tremulous relationship at best, which was based upon our mother’s dying wish for us to get along, yet he managed to drive a wedge into it. Why he would contact someone whom he’s never met, who has never been to our house, never invited us to visit, never even sent a Christmas card, was beyond me, but he seemed to think the advice held validity and later blamed the entire thing on my brother. My brother blamed me, even though he used the opportunity to twist the knife to scare someone whom he knew to have brain damage by plying him full of stories about irrational behavior during manic episodes and urged him to get the restraining order.

C, who doesn’t have strongest of spines on his stellar days, decided this was the best possible advice, despite there being no threat, no violence and having never seen any of that behavior. Ever.

C never experienced anything more violent than me raising my voice and the rare smashed plate on the floor. I handled him with kid gloves. Apparently, worst thing I ever called him was when I told him he was acting like his brother by ignoring issues when he needed to be there.”FUCK YOU, YOU CUNT,” was his response. I think my reply was, “Well, thanks for finally getting back to me.” I was told saying that was “unforgivable”. (He wasn’t a huge fan of his brother’s. He viewed him as an eternal fuckup who did nothing but complain, was ungrateful, entitled, didn’t raise his kids, hurt everyone around him and completely self-centered. Then, C moved the guy into our house a few months later, while I was gone.)

Anyway, just like that, my brother and C  had me removed from home. I was unaware any of this was going on until C later told me, pointing the finger at my brother for all of it. He even named him on the court document. But, at the end of the day, it was C’s writing on the paper. 

Brothers, huh? I knew I should have let the end of the see-saw drop a little harder when we were at the playground.

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I’ll never know what happened, so if I use Occam’s razor, with the simplest answer usually being the correct one, here’s my gut feeling (which has a very high success rate when I bother to listen to it): I think C didn’t like or respect me as a person any longer (that, he told me), especially when I asserted myself a little and explained that I needed care and help, too. I’d recently been diagnosed with Lupus and the stress was wreaking havok. Before that, it had been all about him. I think he got overwhelmed with everything we’d been through since buying the house and was looking for validation to do what he wanted do, which was leave in any way possible. My brother simply gave him enough information to make him feel OK about doing something shitty. This is the only explanation that adds up.

(When confronted with this theory, he shut down. The court dismissed all charges in a matter of minutes on “no sufficient evidence” and the judge reminded us that injunctions shouldn’t be used as revenge. Only 30% of restraining orders are actually legitimate. 70% that are complete bullshit. That is a serious system failure.) 

I never understood any of this insanity with C. This man, who had been in the military, was freakishly strong. At almost four inches taller, and at least fifty pounds heavier than I, was suddenly “afraid of me” (on paper at least), even though I never threatened, let alone harmed him. I’d never done anything but look out for him, even when he pissed me off. It just didn’t make any sense.

Remembering back, his ex-girlfriend emailed me through my blog with a warning back in 2014. She said that he was a “sociopath”, the most vindictive person she’s ever known, would ruin my life, and I “wouldn’t even see it coming.” (She also said some other stuff I won’t print here that was a little, ah…revealing.) I did not presume that she was clinically trained to make any kind of medical diagnosis and figured she was simply being spiteful. After rereading her words post-eviction, I wondered if his irrational behavior was not part of his head injury at all. I recently remembered that C told me he had contacted her ex husband on Facebook (who had nothing nice to say about her, thus giving C the words he needed to hear), which seemed to be a pattern for him. He’d contacted my first ex husband as well. Rick chose to ignore him and texted to let me know. 

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There’s more to this. And it was either true or came true. I’ll share on Part 2. Look at the date. Almost 2 years before any of this happened.

Normally, I have caused the majority of the problems in my relationships. As most bipolar people who aren’t on (any/the right) meds will (delusionally) tell you, “it’s always them, it’s never me!” But guess what? That’s a load of fucking horseshit. If the constant in the equation is you; if you have done this to everyone, then it’s you.

It was always me. I’m fortunate to have forgiving people in my life and the opportunity to be stabilized.

However, this time it was not me. And I am no longer delusional. Even our therapist took me aside and said he didn’t understand what was going on with C.

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Before the accident, if things were going smoothly, C would find a way to create conflict. He could never just be. He always had to be doing something; playing a game, on Facebook, checking email, cleaning, or rattling around. Sitting still, reading a book, or enjoying the patio just wasn’t possible. He had untreated anxiety issues, and started spats over cleaning, how I folded towels, or how much room my varied coffee creamers took up in the fridge. For a guy who’d nearly died from a heart problem a couple years earlier, he didn’t seem to treat his second chance in life the way most people would. C was the world champion of causing death by paper cuts.

Our values and morals weren’t aligned and I didn’t realize this until we lived together. I came from a household that managed on one military paycheck and a stay-at-home mom. We had a garden, used a wood stove, and if we ever went out to dinner, it was an event. We got what we needed, not what we wanted. He came from privilege. I conserve (read: am cheap as fuck), don’t believe in debt, am environmentally conscious and think taking care of yourself is important. He viewed me as “narcissistic” (and later posted about it publicly), abhorred exercise, spent time looking up articles that stated recycling is a waste of time, put everything on credit cards while making minimum payments and had no issues running water full force for two minutes while brushing his teeth.

Dr. John Gottman wrote that when people argue, it’s not really over money or chores. It’s rooted deeper. Their values are different and that is the problem. So, despite trying to resolve things, arguments keep happening. One of the main factors in relationship success is finding someone whose values match yours, or getting on the same page as far as understanding and respecting each other in this department. I felt C misrepresented who he was to me, but we were in a thirty year mortgage together and I loved him, so I wanted to try and make the best of it.

To be fair, he tried. We both tried. I posted a rant or three on Facebook myself, before hastily deleting them. I am most certainly not saying I’m wonderful and he’s evil. That’s not the case. C had a lot of really amazing qualities about him (which I’ve also written about), and that’s why I wanted to share a home with him in the first place. But this is the story of how it all ended… abruptly and without any rhyme, reason or remorse on his part.

Perhaps with the injury, C wasn’t able to hide who he was any longer. Or, with a head injury that scary, it consumed him (us) and thinking about others just didn’t matter to him anymore. All I knew for sure was that I didn’t know this person who had me put out of our home with absolutely no regret. I’d never touched him in any harmful or physically violent way. My best friend, who used to adore the ground he walked on and often defended him when I complained, said: “He’s just a fucking asshole and liar! No real man does that. He’s a pussy!”

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Over winter, he became violent. He first snapped when I reminded him the doctor told him to stay off device screens for brain rest, which he found impossible, and threw his iPad across the room. He ran over and stomped it repeatedly, breaking it and the heel of his foot in the process. In a rage, he went out to the garage to throw the iPad away and when he came back through the laundry room, he looked at me like he might kill me. I don’t rattle easily, but he scared the shit out of me right then. It was the first time I was afraid of him, and it wouldn’t be the last. He smashed picture frames, threw his eyeglasses at me and broke them, threatened to put me through a wall, called me every name in the book and punched a hole through our pantry closet. He screamed, “I hope you rot in hell, just like your father.” (My father was a firefighter pilot and died in a plane crash putting out wildfires in California when he hit a mountain.) I was told I should put my sixteen year old cat to sleep (several times) simply because Trouble didn’t care for his young Siamese kittens and would go to the bathroom outside the litter box as his way of acting out. (He later apologized for both comments. C, not Trouble. Trouble doesn’t do apologies. Trouble also starting using the litter box again as soon as all the strife disappeared from home.) C didn’t understand that what I did for work was actually work, because I did it from home. “Just get a real job.” My dog, Bella, was afraid of him. I often sent her to stay with my ex-husband, Jordan, who shook his head. “You can’t date a civilian. Let alone a mentally unstable one.”

In calmer and less hurtful moments, C asked if he could get me anything on the way home, offered to proofread my writing, helped cook dinner, slaved over keeping the up the pool or fixing things around the house, and was as sweet and affectionate as one can be. I thought I could help him. If anyone could understand his erratic behavior, it was me. In other words, despite his regular psychiatrist, neurologist and neuro-psych visits, I was living with an unstable psychotic who often told me I was the unstable one who “needed to have my meds fixed.” It was always “my fault”. I “pushed buttons”. It was never him.

It was extremely rare that I lost my proverbial shit and yelled back, because my stabilizing medications kept me calm. He once screamed at me, “I can’t push your buttons. You’re like a fucking stone wall.”

However, C managed to drive me close to the edge a few times, and after smashing a jar of my favorite jam in the kitchen out of frustration (which I instantly regretted, because it was Bonne Maman’s Four Fruits and not that easy to find, dammit), I realized living with him was not healthy for me.

I spent Christmas Eve day in Starbucks. He’d started in on me because I left the laundry in the dryer and it escalated. I turned away from him, shattered my lunch plate on the kitchen floor (a month after the jelly incident), grabbed my purse and left. We had gone to the beach the day before with my friend Joe, who drove down from Louisville to visit (which is why I didn’t finish the laundry) and my debit card was in another purse, so all I had in my wallet was my Starbucks gift card. I camped out with a breakfast sandwich and a cappuccino. He texted, repeatedly: “Please come home.”

When things were good with C, they were really good. I honestly thought he’d get better. But, they didn’t, and I felt trapped in a mortgage and a school commitment with a half-lunatic, hanging by a thread of hope that was stretched to its limit.

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“I’ve heard of this from some of my buddies, but never a female,” said Scooter.

“Yeah, well… I guess I’m just lucky,” I said.

“Yeah, well… you’re also kind of like a dude. How many women do you actually hang out with? Women are fucking crazy,” he said. He was wearing glasses and looked handsome in them. I like glasses on men. I think it’s the whole sapiosexuality (Google it) fetish I have.  I need my dates to be intelligent and witty. Most aren’t.

“I know. I’m in a locker room full of men and hear about it all the time. I just never thought it could happen to me.”

I had leave for an appointment back in Clearwater. Despite his hospitality, it gave me an uneasy feeling leaving my cat, makeup, clothes, cash, passport, medication, mortgage papers, and laptop with Scooter. Trust was now an issue. It took everything I had not to completely lose my mind after what had just happened. All he had to do was lock his door and what little I had in my possession would be gone. I’d be fucked. My stomach churned with uneasiness until I pulled back into beach bungalow a half day later, where he was still barefoot on the same green chair as before.

I felt foolish for being so paranoid and angry at C for making me think that way.

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The night, the moonlight shimmered off the ocean as the waves broke and lapped at the sand. Walking along the beach, puddles of sea water felt warm and cold at the same time. Bob pranced alongside us, a glowing ball in his mouth. Scooter said this was the only time Bob could play in the water since The Powers That Be decided dogs weren’t allowed on the beach. Makes sense. Dogs digging holes or pooping is far more devastating to the beaches than the endless broken beer bottles, cigarette butts, cans and plastic wrappers humans leave.

We were in a parallel situation with our significant others, but his was without a deputy eviction or lawyers. He was mostly angry; I was mostly beaten down.

“Oh, your neighbors are definitely talking about you,” Scooter said.

 “I know.”

“The minute you guys leave, they are SO turning that place into an age 65+ community.”

 “Probably,” I said.

“What I want to know is how this happens,” he said, gesturing around with his hand. “This. How two people, who mean the world to one another, get to the point not being able to stand each other?”

“How it goes from that person consuming your every waking thought to just-get-the-fuck-away-from-me?”

“Yeah. Exactly.” He threw the ball out to the waves and Bob scampered off into the darkness to find it…

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Continue to Part 2: “Frating”  and Harsh Realizations – https://aprilhunterblog.com/2016/10/18/expensive-lessons-pt-2-frating-harsh-realizations/

 

Note: I’m writing about this because I withdrew from nearly everything from this time until the present with little explanation other than “lots going on right now.” Work, customers, friends. I blew a lot off and let people down. It was too much to talk about and explain. I’ve always been better at writing than speaking.

 

Thank you to Danielle Dadamo, Hubert O’Hearn, Jeff Ritter, Carroll Grant, Matt McDermott, Brian Hairbottle and Mick Foley for their suggestions and valuable time editing. I am deeply grateful to my psychotherapist, Amy. She goes above and beyond, keeping me grounded in times of upheaval despite having her own battles to fight.

Thank you to those who have reached out to help. So many of you were good to me during this time and I feel incredibly fortunate.

You know who you are, and so do I.

 

Disclaimer:  This is my recollection of events and I’ve related them to the best of my knowledge. Some names have been changed or omitted.

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Instagram: @realaprilhunter

Faceboook: realaprilhunter 

Twitter: @aprilhunter

Website: AprilHunter.com

Thank you to Pam Ella Lee for the photos around my home. Thank you for Steven Griffey Photography for the cosplay photo of Thundra (not Flash!)

 

No part of this blog may be copied or used without permission.

Something Different: A Podcast.

13 Sep 10994270_640236376109838_2973885745054008049_n

10994270_640236376109838_2973885745054008049_nI realize I’ve been AWOL for a bit. I’ve moved and with drastic house renovations after buying a fixer-upper (and having far more to deal with than originally thought!), I’ve been incredibly unlucky to have a psycho neighbor (who lives to harass and report me to the city and HOA for blocking his view into MY pool with a fence and shed), horrific HOA (threatening me over the aforementioned shed. Yes. A shed. It’s to be my writing office, but they feel it’s “too large”. It’s not. I feel it’s likely they’re just close with my psycho neighbor), a contractor rip off, and worst of all…2 of my pet chickens suddenly died. It’s been a tragic, stressful mess and has sucked all the energy I have just to exist and deal with daily routines along with this daily bullshit. But things are starting to smooth out a bit now.

So, I did something different.  My friend Hubert asked me to be on his podcast to discuss many of the things I write about on this blog. I’m posting it here in case you’d like to listen to it.

“Thoughts and Opinions with Hubert O’Hearn. Writer, wrestler, model and candle-maker April Hunter discusses her career. In a wide-ranging conversation, we first talk about bi-polarity and the prejudices faced by those with mental illness. Then we go on to wondering why women’s wrestling isn’t promoted more, how April became a candle-maker, and finally the ins and outs of internet dating!”

PODCAST: https://youtu.be/cC0qlJfLB-4

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Some of the renovating: Before

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After

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Photo: Pomeroy Photography

I applied to Full Sail University this summer for a bachelors degree in creative writing for entertainment (TV, Film, Radio). I’ll be starting in 6 weeks. Fairly excited about that!

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Photo: Modern Myth

If you’d like to see me in person, I’m on Shine Wrestling in Ybor City/Tampa FL Oct 2nd. That’s broadcast worldwide on PPV on wwnlive.com and on the ROKU channel World Wrestling Network. Info: ShineWrestling.com

I’m on Lake Collect-a-Thon in Mt Dora, FL Saturday September 19th.
Info: https://www.facebook.com/LakeCollectACon

You can also visit me on Third Friday in Safety Harbor (Clearwater) FL on each…wait for it…3rd Friday. I’m there with my uniquely scented organic soy candles (www.Facebook.com/AprilsScentsations), so come out and say hi!

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Winter Morning Wood (Pine and Balsam), Holy Peppermint, Cinnamon Nutty-meg.

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Oh, and it’s my birthday on September 24th. I don’t know if I should totally no-sell it and ignore the entire thing or go all out and celebrate the fact that I survived another year. I suppose that’s the conundrum associated with being bipolar. It could swing either way, right? 😉

If you’d like to spoil me, here’s Amazon Wishlist! Be prepared…it’s super sexy. Well, it’s sexy if you find candle wax, fruit trees and standing desks hot. I sure as hell do.

Address: 1550 N McMullen Booth Rd
Ste F3, #109
Clearwater, FL 33759
A couple more reno photos. It’s amazing what some flooring, paint and tile can do.
(And cost.) 
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We are currently trying to get a larger chicken run built that’s fully covered. There are a lot of hawks where I moved to. Not safe to have her out. I say “her” because we lost our others from mysterious illnesses. It was absolutely gutting. They’re pets, not just chickens…but losing Daisy just18388_717170331749775_3807909855587827080_n absolutely destroyed me for a while. She was my ‘happy place’ and I loved (still love) her very much.
All that’s left is one tiny shellacked eggshell and an unplanned $2500 in vet bills. Yeah. We tried to save her at an emergency clinic. After she passed, her blood tests revealed kidney disease. Delilah passed 2 weeks later from blocked crop. Daphne is doing well, so far. Just lonely. I’m not yet sure what to do about it. Chickens are fantastic to raise, but heartbreaking. It’s an odd mix of rewarding mixed with apprehension. 
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This has been a lot of sadness and an energy drain as well. It just seemed like we were getting kicked while down non-stop. I’m just tired. Mentally and physically. Drained tired. Where cappuccino does absolutely nothing for you kind of tired.
I’m trying to overcome everything, fight back and learn how to use a ‘velvet gloved fist’ with everyone I’m dealing with regarding all the aforementioned annoying issues. I’m also trying to get caught up on work, promoting, making candles and yes…writing blogs.
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So. That’s what’s been going on.
More soon. With me strength, luck and fortitude. I need it.
Enjoy the podcast and especially the swanky entrance music. 😉 
Enjoy! Xo.

To Vegetarian or Not To Vegetarian? (Plus, Renovation Woes.)

5 Jul

ApplestoOrangesSome have asked me about this fitness related subject, so I figured I’ll answer it here, too. Would everyone benefit from eating more raw veggies? Of course.

Should everyone be a vegetarian? Of course NOT.

Vegetarianism is something that people seem to think is “the way”. Or they feel guilty because they can’t do it. Thing is, it’s not meant for everyone. That’s not me trying to make people feel good; it’s a fact. What I mean is this: not one diet (eating way of life) works for everyone. Some do very well as vegetarians. They are mostly of the blood type A and AB. These two types are more evolved, so there are far less people with this blood. If a blood type O tried to be a vegan, they would probably get very sick-or die. Type O people have a lot of stomach acid (which is meant to break heavier foods down), so they need meat and fat. They are best on a Paleo diet, which is one full of fish and meat. If they don’t eat correctly, the acid will cause problems.

Type A blood has little stomach acid, so meat is difficult for them to process. If they do eat meat, they get all kinds of digestion issues. I’m type O; I can lose weight on bacon, avocado and burgers, but have to avoid the buns and potatoes. (Naturally, bread is my kryptonite.) These are just simpler examples to help people understand. It gets much deeper, with lectins, etc. But it’s also why you don’t have to feel guilty for not being a vegetarian (aside from the fact that you were given meat-eating teeth), nor does anyone have a right to feel superior because they don’t eat “flesh”. (Although I kind of ‘get it’ when I see those horrific factory farming videos.)

Example of where our food comes from: The Truth About Factory Farming

Every American should watch some of these videos. We vote with our dollar$, so choose wisely, as every action causes a reaction. The one we don’t want is more sick food, factory farms and sick people. I am clearly not saying “don’t eat meat”. I am advising people to make conscious choices when choosing their food; know where it comes from and how it was raised. Local. Organic. 

Exceptions to the eat-for-your-type rule: people who are battling certain illnesses, like cancer or Crohns. I highly recommend as much a raw green vegetarian diet as possible. One that neutralizes PH levels, so little to no fruit. When the body is fighting something and trying to heal, giving it the right tools are imperative. Easy digestion also allows its limited energy to go where it needs to be focused. (Gerson Diet.) There are always exceptions to every rule…except for driving too slowly in the passing lane.

Blood-type-diet-chartIf you don’t know your blood type, there are inexpensive testing kits available. However, most people probably have an inkling of where they fall. If you listen to your body, you innately know what you feel good after eating and what agrees with you.

If you eat right for YOU 80% of the time (80/20 rule), you’ll look better, feel better and likely avoid or cure yourself of annoying health issues without really being restricted at all. No matter WHAT you are eating, be sure to pick quality over quantity and know where your food is coming from. Hopefully, not packaged or factory farm. Icky! And, really, really bad for you and your family.

Remember this – (and watch a few YouTube expose’ videos on various farms, such as Perdue chicken and Smithfield pork) – we get our energy from what we eat. If we’re taking in sick and infected calories, how can we possibly be well?  If you want to feel good and be healthy, take in good and healthy food. Pay a little more for clean meats and veggies on the front end, or pay a lot more for damages created on the back end. It’s a choice. Good luck!

20150620_171810On a side note, with the rental market being so great right now, I’ve decided to lease my little townhouse, which is paid for. I’m in a neat, historic part of Clearwater, Florida and rentals are in high demand. I’ve been careful about my credit and was able to get a house (with a pool! No more kids splashing my books or smokers ruining the supposed “zen” that community pools don’t provide) about 10 minutes away with a monthly payment slightly LESS than my rental will bring in. It just seemed like a smart thing to do. My grandfather always said to invest in real estate; it’s a non renewable source and this world certainly isn’t getting any less populated.

The caveat: I bought a fixer-upper. I loved renovating my villa and wanted to do that to make it truly mine. Plus, the only way I can afford something in a decent area is to go that route.  I *thought* I was getting a minor fixer upper at a good price in a great neighborhood.

Once the sellers (who didn’t have a real estate agent and were complete jacked off asshats to deal with) vacated and we 20150620_172015closed, I learned there were many more issues to deal with than just wiring and bringing it up to date. The husband had fancied himself a handyman and pretty much half-assed everything he touched. It all has to be adjusted, ripped out or just replaced, from floor to fireplace, pool lining to closets, bath vanities to appliances. The house was built in 1985 and most of it is still in 1985. The one one bathroom has a that classic long, yellow (-ish) vanity and an awesome wood grain toilet seat. I was quite sad to see that go.  

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Just one sample of MANY badly done baseboards done by the contractor. They all have to be ripped out.

When I say everything needs replacing, I mean everything. Hinges. Doors. Appliances. Electric and light plates, which are brownish from age. Kick ass pool-table-green carpeting in every room…and bonus! Outside in the pool area, too! Speaking of, the pool lining was absolutely shot, along with cracked tile. Landscaping. Cleaning. Hauling away the former owners large trash items they couldn’t be bothered to clean out. (They did leave a swanky fondue set I found at the very top of a cupboard I was sanitizing.) Closet doors. That in itself was a shocking expense. The entire place has those old, 8-foot bi-fold metal doors, most of which don’t stay on their tracks. 8-foot doors aren’t made any longer, so this means I have to have headers put in every room and hallway to get 6-foot wood doors. 

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To make matters worse, one of the contractor crews screwed up a lot. They put the flooring in wrong, broke door frames, messed up the baseboards and gouged the hardwood floor they’d just put in.

Additionally, the headers they’d built were a) the wrong size and b) not secured. They will closetcrack or fall down if a closet door is hung. I haven’t been able to get them to refund me (they wanted “pay as we go”) or cover damages. I haven’t gotten any response from them at all, except that they believe they are “still owed” for labor. I wish there was room for all the photos here. I could probably do a better job than these guys with a YouTube tutorial and a one-day class at Home Depot. 

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All the door frames were cracked in every area they laid flooring.

Not only is everything they touched screwed up, there is actually more damage now than when they started. My other contractor (who was was doing things they don’t, like paint and had worked for me on my villa) told me some of the things he saw them do-and it’s been heartbreaking.

Between the sellers and the contractor, the amount of arrogant fucktards in denial about how shitty their work/attitude is stuns me. I also didn’t get an apology from anybody. I handled things well and stayed calm. (I’m on the good meds now.) Note: saying “I am sorry” goes a long way, as does “thank you” in life. Some people were raised; others just grew up. My (amazing) real estate agent (Marcia Simeone – highly recommend in the Tampa Bay area) was the only thing that kept me from gpong on a murdering spree in quite a few situations. I believe I said, “FUCK THEM. Seriously. FUCK. THEM!” more than normal. Which is a lot. 

Everything about this house has been a nightmare so far. I am praying that changes soon. f11703564_707623732704435_2388528644868639561_o

I have my hands full and it’s been stressful. I tend to cry over frustration more than anything else and many tears have been shed. I unwillingly liquidated much of my parents fund that they left me. My renters are in August 1st, and I am just now getting new people to start working on it, along with doing many things myself.

I am exhausted.  Emotionally, physically…I am just tired. With time running out. (And money.)

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The OTHER crew is doing a great job.

My day goes something like this: I head to the house. Work. Clean. Because they left it a dump and I have no idea how to dispose of the large trash items, such as random sheets of wood, garage shelves of stuff, stacks of (icky) cement pavers or giant cases of aquarium light bulbs. I come home, sweaty, dirty and gross and take a shower. Eat. Try to answer a few emails. Walk the dog and feed the cat. Go to bed. This project has been consuming everything lately, as I’m on a deadline. If I had any money left over, I’d invest in Juan Valdez, because with the amount of coffee I am drinking, it would be nice to receive a little profit at the end of the year.  With perfect timing, I also got my hospital bills from the wasp sting. $671.85 for a 5 minute ambulance ride? Excellent. They should have at least served me Starbucks. A big-ass fancy latte, not some shitty plain coffee.

On the plus, I did something I’ve wanted to do for ages: I bought a shed. Not just a shed, but a little ‘cabin’ shed. which will11180616_704193259714149_8851304696955120766_n be my writing area. If I’m putting money into something, I’ll make sure I use it. I’ll get a tiny table for a desk, portable air conditioner, ceiling fan, mini fridge and coffee maker – and no internet in there. It’ll be heaven. I have a difficult time writing at home with all the distractions. I always feel like I should be cleaning, working or returning emails. Then there’s Facebook and Twitter…shutting all that out should help. Expect my first masterpiece a year after moving. Or beat me about the head and shoulders at the first appearance you see me after that date.

I didn’t want to be a wrestler when I grew up. I wanted to be a writer. I’ve been writing since I could hold a pencil, yet I’ve never gone anywhere with it like I know I could if I truly applied myself. It’s disappointing. And I’m tired of disappointing myself.

On a side note, If you feel like spoiling a ginger, this is my awesome and sexy housewarming Amazon wishlist…if you find pool cleaning stuff, door handles and mini fridges sexy. I sure do. 😉   http://www.amazon.com/registry/wishlist/258GQWZANXBQ3/ref=cm_sw_r_tw_ws_nPUIvb0HPE4PM

Xo! April

My websitehttp://www.aprilhunter.com

Instagram: @realaprilhunter

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Trying hard to stay strong and keep smiling. It’s all really wearing on me.

Photos: Top (fitness) Kelly Oneill

Bottom (Shine Wrestling outfit) Carmine Warren

Don’t Let The Holidays Put A Hurtin’ On You! How To Avoid Food Temptations.

12 Dec

Originally published by RX Muscle

How to avoid a weeks’ worth of workouts flushed down the drain in approximately one day of weakness.

-By April Hunter

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Did you know that the average person gains FIVE to TWELVE POUNDS between Halloween and Christmas? Yikes! No thank you! To avoid becoming part of this statistic, I’ve put together a few things you can do to *not* be the average person this holiday season.

First and foremost, never allow yourself to get hungry.

NEVER.

You don’t want to get stuck surrounded by tempting bowls of gorgeous, shiny little Hershey’s kisses (just a couple can’t hurt…right?), heaping mounds of red and green M&M’s and trays of brightly colored cookies and brownies. Of course, EVERYTHING looks even better when you’re starving. A weeks’ worth of workouts flushed down the drain in approximately twenty minutes of gluttony.

snacks-712Make sure your mind makes the decisions, not your stomach. Eat every 2-3 hours and carry quality snacks with you, such as protein bars, almonds, jerky, yogurt, veggies April 021and fruit.

Tip: Slice apples and shake on some hot chili powder. The sweet and spicy works really well together and the chili powder keeps the apples from browning in ziplocks.

Lose pounds, gain dollars: Keep the thermostat turned down and get outside more often. Your body has to burn more calories in cold weather just to keep you warm, so let that work FOR you. Bonus: save money on your electric bill!

WalkDogsProperly1Know that you’re probably going to indulge a bit this season, so compensate by moving your booty more. A second cardio session during lunch, Wii fit, more dog walks…hell, borrow a dog if you have to. I’m sure your fat neighbor won’t mind. Aim to get moving for five to ten minutes every other hour at work. Grab your iPod and take a brisk stroll around your building, parking lot or simply stretch and hold  at your desk by isolating the muscles. Flex them – subtly. I’m not suggesting a Hulk Hogan pose-down while taking your vitamins and saying your prayers in your cubicle.

When you’re eating meals other people are preparing, primarily select proteins, veggies & fats for your plate which are better used by our bodies, instead of carbs & sugars. (IE: choose snow crab with butter and asparagus…skip the potato and bread.) If something ends up on your plate that’s too tempting to avoid, ruin it by covering it with a copious amount of salt. If it’s inedible, it can’t end up on your belly.

I’ve always found it challenging to eat around “normal” people. These types tend to make comments about their intentions to diet “soon” (while glancing sideways at my plate) or Istretching end up debating nutritional myths and trends at holiday meals. My family has suspiciously regarded me as “the one who eats weird foods” for most of my life. I suppose with all the varied diets and food allergies, eating ‘out of the Genetically Modified Organism box’ isn’t as odd any longer, but if you are gluten-free…vegetarian…paleo…do not apologize for how you eat. You shouldn’t have to, and certainly don’t owe an explanation to anyone. 

Likewise if you have someone who needs diet accommodations your table, cut them some slack and work with them. Christmas is a time for laughter and loving, not nitpicking and criticism. Chose your battles wisely. Do you really want to fight with someone over how they eat? It’s so trivial, I can’t believe I actually have to write this…yet, I do, because some people insist on being ridiculous and petty. If you’re the one getting razzed on, try to smile/ignore it/let it slide. 

If your family refuses to let up, look your best. Success is always stellar revenge. While my family was slamming blood pressure medications and monitoring their heart rates, I was washing their sheets on my stomach before rushing out to a photo shoot. A great response to an argument about eating gluten-free is lifting your shirt to show off your abs.  😉

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Before you depart for a dinner or party, drink a protein shake. It takes the edge off so you’re not cramming 3200 extra calories worth of puffed pastry hors d’oeuvres into your face the moment you arrive.

And lastly, set goals. Mind powers, my friend. Consciously plan to NOT gain weight or allow yourself to get out of control. Keep a food diary if you need to, and write everything down.

Set a few realistic short-term goals to keep yourself on track such as “I’m going to eat clean for 6 days to earn my cheat day” or “I will not touch any candy/bread this week”. 

You don’t have to wait until Jan 1st to make your New Years Resolution!

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I appreciate your feedback & ideas, so contact me on http://www.AprilHunter.com . Follow me on http://www.Twitter.com/AprilHunter & Instagram: @realaprilhunter

Thanks for reading! Happy Christmahanakwanza!

-April Hunter

Writer, Professional Wrestler, Pro Cosplayer, Model &  National Figure Athlete

Instagram: @realAprilHunter

Twitter: @AprilHunter

http://www.AprilHunter.com

 

  1. http://wiki.answers.com/Q/Do_you_burn_more_calories_being_cold_than_warm
  2. http://www.kcby.com/news/health/13565082.html

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My Match.com Experiment: Prince – or Ax Murderer? Dating Bipolar-Part 3

15 Nov

 

Read part 1: A Year of Being Single-ish and Dating Bipolar –  https://aprilhunterblog.com/2014/10/23/my-match-com-experiment-a-year-of-being-singleish-dating-bipolar/

Read part 2: The Good, The Bad, The Dating and The Ryans –  https://aprilhunterblog.com/2014/11/04/my-match-com-experiment-the-good-the-bad-the-dating-the-ryans-part-2/

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This is an online dating hazard.

 

“Don’t choose the better guy.  Choose the guy that’s going to make you a better girl.” Chelsea Handler, This Means War

Jordan (my soon to be ex-husband) wasn’t thrilled with the way he felt I portrayed him in my writing. To clarify, with honesty: He is, and always has been, one of the best people I’ve ever met. He has always treated me very well. This is one of the reasons I was on the fence so much during this past year of being “single-ish”. The “-ish” meant that we still spent a lot of time together. He knew I was dating and was far from okay with it. He had been doing all he could to try to keep us together. When things went bad, I called him. When something good happened, I told him first. When I had a booking, he would look after the house and water all my plants. Oh…and he had his own set of keys.

Even though I’d told him I was seeing others, I’d always felt fairly rotten about it until the last few months. I would teeter-totter on that fence of indecision weekly, daily and even hourly.  We brought out the worst in each other as a married couple, but he was still my family.

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What people don’t know is that I was magically holding him up all by myself with just one hand. BOOM.

I cancelled my Match.com membership, but it was still active for another couple of months. I wondered if I should just stay married. I hadn’t filed the divorce papers yet and needed to make a decision, as the one year anniversary was fast approaching. My head wished I could keep my vows, but my gut was saying, “Hell, no.” My husband and I were like two North ends of a magnet repelling each other. Even in the worst travel situations and high stress moments, I had been calm and cool all year, but I still found myself breaking plates around him. Our marriage therapist had called us the classic “Can’t live with, can’t live without” co-dependency. When we met, we were very happy. We lived together and worked together, often booked photo shoots and shows as a team. I wonder how couples go from elation in each other’s arms to the entire relationship no longer working. I suppose if I knew that, I’d know how to stop it – and I could sell it and get rich.

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Some days, this wasn’t far off from reality…in my head. Right. IN MY HEAD, only.

Finalizing a split with Jordan meant losing my best friend as well as my spouse. So in utter selfishness, I’d strung him along at times because he was the one person I trusted and loved hanging with. Sometimes, I was afraid to be alone. Lonely is a better term. I like my own company and enjoy being alone. Lonely, not so much. I’d been married for nearly nine years and now I was eating, going to the gym and sleeping solo. In the back of my head, I was afraid I’d die and it would be days before anyone found me. By then, my cat would have eaten my face off. It was a wasted worry since my cat would eat my face off if I missed one feeding.  

Even if I didn’t want to be married, I still wanted our friendship. As things got more and more unfair, I told him to go and see other people, but he chose to stick around. When the plumbing in my bathroom broke, he came over to fix it. If I had traveled for a long weekend of wrestling matches, he would bring me groceries, knowing I’d be too beat up to do much for a day or two. There was even a brief period when I had a weird time with someone I was dating and he was the one who was there and talked me through it. That’s why I stayed even though our personal relationship was chaotic for a long, long time and his negativity triggered me into episodes.

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“Ladies and gentlemen, here we have a beautiful waterfall we are proud to call…oh, for fucks sake. There are two naked people in front of the falls again. Why does this keep happening to us???”

During the final months, our visions for what our marriage was differed dramatically. He thought that since he’d stuck with me through the non-medicated times, I now owed him the “good times”. I saw us as irreparably broken and wanted to move forward. He viewed my dating as “cheating” despite living apart, since we were still married. I viewed the separation as a time to think and see what I wanted, which included seeing other people.

I downloaded and filled out the divorce papers and hoped I could keep Jordan in my life to some capacity as a friend, because he is a good person and I’m pretty sure I’ll always like and love him as a human being. It hurt to lose my Canadian family. Unlike most in-law situations, I very much adored them and when Mom2 said, “You’ll always be our daughter-in-law and we love you,” I’d believed it. He had not told them that I was dating around, in order to protect me should we get back together, so it was quite a shock when they found out via a photo on my Facebook page. They haven’t talked to me since.

Jordan is not entirely happy with me at the moment (“rather hostile” might be a more accurate description at times), but I told him he’ll thank me someday – when he is with the right woman.

 

“There’s a time when you can share and you hold hands and be on the same path. But there’s always a fork in the road, at some point. Sometimes you have to go on one part of the fork and they got to go on the other part of the fork.” Alan Tudyk, 28 Days

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Jesus & Babies (Leo) contacted me out of the blue. “I miss hanging out with you.”

“Yeah, well…you had issues with many things about me,” I said.

1613924_10201776557790783_1761733339_n“No, I didn’t. You got defensive, so I backed off. I texted you from Dublin and never heard back. ”

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I know. He doesn’t look THAT crazy here. But he was Irish.

Of course I met him for lunch because he is ridiculously hot and I had nothing else going on. And I’d never slept with him, so curiosity won over common sense. (That’s the chemistry vs. compatibility thing I was talking about. Chemistry doesn’t always add up to “good for you”.) He walked in and lit up when he saw me. He was still tall, handsome, blond, athletic and lean. Damn. The entire place turned to stare at both of us as he hugged me and took my hand.

However, not long into my arrival, I suddenly remembered why I had walked away. He was hot but had no sense of humor. There was also an edgy bitterness to him. How in the blue hell had I missed that? Oh, right. Probably because I was too busy reacting to chemisty and not paying attention to what was really going on. He kissed my cheek, stared down at me with his bright blue eyes and said with a smile, “We would have such beautiful babies. I am going to get you pregnant.” Mein Gott. No.

943110_4863318695949_1539365364_nHe was a fantastic kisser though and I indulged myself, knowing full well it would be the very last time. It was chemistry without compatibility, and I was old enough and smart enough to know better.

Nothing fucks like crazy, but I guess I wouldn’t be finding out that night. I just didn’t need that headache. Dating bonus: None. Wait…yes, there was. A solid learning experience.

“You write short stories.  I think you like living short stories.  I’m kind of ready for the novel.” –Kate Mara, Happy Thank You More Please

 

As a die-hard romantic, there’s little I like more than kissing (and everything else that comes with it). I’ve realized that I’d been missing out by dating people younger than I am thanks to being in entertainment and also looking younger my whole life. Men my own age seem to know what they’re doing. Conversations were my favorite part of dating, but the romance was in a close second place.

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My friend Lonette wanted to know where I was going and who I’d be with all the time.20140704_193856

“Why? I’m a big girl.”

“Are you crazy? Don’t you watch Dateline? These guys could be ax murderers!”

“No, I don’t watch Dateline. Why? Was there an episode called ‘The Match.com Ax Murderer?’”

“Not yet.”

I think Lonette would be an excellent murder mystery writer. 

 

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Todd = the driver in the non-derpy pants. Or as non-derpy as possible for that time period and career choice (with weird side effects like possibly catching fire and stuff.)

There were some pleasant, but ultimately dead-end conversations with various men that led nowhere, and then a former well-known race car driver-turned-restaurateur (Cancer) who was resourceful enough to find me after meeting without even knowing my name. His preferred nickname was truly strange (Scooter), so I shall just call him Todd.  He was tall and nice looking with a piercing look that gave the impression he could sort out bullshit in .02 seconds. Todd colored outside the lines in life, made me look like an amateur when it came to sarcasm, treated his dog better than most people treat their children, was a free spirit, happy to be childless, successful in life and knew what he wanted. He was bluntly honest and I liked him.

“I’ve been mostly lucky,” he said. “Things have gone very well for me, except my love life.” He seemed absolutely convinced that we would be good together and had no problem being very upfront about it. “Everything about you is rare. It’s on the level of seeing the tooth fairy blowing Santa Claus on your front yard. It’s terrifying how much we have in common.” He may have been right. I have no idea. I didn’t give it a chance because I’d already met someone else whom I’d clicked with like no one I had ever before, despite me liking Todd very much as a human being. He was pretty darn cool, but along came Christopher…and everything changed.

Dating bonus: He brought me a big bag of organic puppy cookies for Bella and had some very interesting stories.

On the plus, I was getting much better at picking dates with different names.

 

“To find a prince, you gotta kiss some toads.”
— Foxy Brown

 

As the time left on my Match.com profile was running out, two interesting men had emailed me at the same time. As I mentioned in my last blog, Match kept sending me Leo’s and Gemini’s. As a Libra, I’d mostly dated Virgo’s and I can assure you, that failed. I’d found out recently my best matches (if you believe this stuff) are Leo’s and Gemini’s, so I thought it interesting to be sent nearly nothing but.

IMG_6786Both men were witty. Both had a firm grasp on grammar. The first one was named Jake (Leo); a tall, stunning Italian with the chiseled physique of a Greek god. He was 52-years old and had “never been married”. When I asked why, he said he was “waiting for the right woman”. He also told me he was going for an appointment to get Invisaline braces. Flaming red flags punched me in the face. If you are still “waiting for the ‘right’ woman” at age 52 and worried about your teeth and abs to the point where no one in the entire world has ever wanted to marry you, there may be some issues. Additionally, I wasn’t dating in the entertainment business for several reasons. While I appreciate a man who takes good care of himself, high maintenence male vanity is something I’d rather not deal with.

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Then there was BlueEyedPrince (Gemini). I almost skipped over him on Match.com because of having such a gay screen name. Additionally, he was listed as Christian, conservative, “Wants Kids: Someday” and enjoying “walks on the beach” (sans anal). That’s a dead sexy combination right there. (#Sarcasm.) I was more than slightly concerned he would be Jesus & Babies Part Deux – The Remix, but I’m totally shallow (as we’ve established) and his photo depicting dark hair, bright blue eyes (bet you didn’t guess that), full lips and an easy smile was quite intriguing. Full lips on a man is highly underrated. Translation: He was fucking hot.

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Who’s your daddy? For real…who is your daddy?

NOTE: This guy, Christopher L Harris, born May 23, 1971, turned out to be BAD NEWS. His ex tried to warn me in the comments below, and I didn’t listen. He has Borderline Personality Disorder and is a Narcissistic Sociopath. He pretty much ruined my life for a while and I didn’t even see it coming. Be warned, because he is back out there again and only preys upon smart, attractive women who have their shit together. He’ll tell you anything you need to hear and all those questions he asks? He’s not that into you. He’s simply trying to find an IN.  He is not who he portrays himself to be. He’ll be everything you read in this blog. Be sure to read Expensive Lessons after this HERE:  https://aprilhunterblog.com/2016/09/21/expensive-lessons-part-1/

Ignore the warning at your own risk. He took me for a 5 figure payout and I almost lost my house, my friends, my health and my sanity. 

 

If Kevin Sorbo and Robert Downey Jr. had a love child together, it would be BlueEyedPrince. His teeth were where they were supposed to be, he had lots of hair, was several inches taller than I, and used “your” and “you’re” properly on his profile. Added bonus: His name wasn’t Ryan! His body type was listed as “average”, so at least he wasn’t delusional. He sent me a short email introducing himself and he commented on how my profile was entertaining.

We talked for about almost a month before actually meeting. That was partly due to my travel schedule, but also because I’d decided I was in no rush with anything or anyone.  He was weird. I liked that.

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Mack-in-AW or Mack-in-ACK? Because it looks like AW. Just sayin’.

“I don’t care for shallow conversations,” he stated almost immediately. “I have no time for anyone who isn’t deep.” So the emails kept going back and forth.  

Unlike everyone else, I told him I was bipolar right away after he confided his past heart condition to me. I’d also told him what I did early on. I’d taken a “Fuck it. Take it or leave it because this is me” stance and he seemed unfazed.

He’d sent me a Facebook request and I didn’t think twice about accepting it, which broke the cardinal rule: Thou Shalt Not Add Dates to Your Facebook Page. However, I liked who he was and figured if the entire thing was a wash, I’d still want to know him as a person.

I stood before the mirror in my bathroom and thought about cancelling the hour before meeting him. Not because I didn’t want to meet him, but because I did. I was the one who had asked him to meet me for lunch. I’d picked up a bronchial issue while traveling and had a legitimate excuse. I told him, but he said he had a strong immune system and didn’t care. I was extremely nervous, and more than that; I had a feeling that everything would change if I went.

aximage_4_bigHe was already at the restaurant when I arrived (with his ax carefully hidden?) and looked like his photos. BlueEyedPrince (Also known as Christopher) came off confident, ballsy, witty, positive and fearless, which is exactly how he was.

“I know what I have to offer someone. I’m a great catch, or else I wouldn’t be trying to date right now. I’d be busy getting my life together. A lot of women aren’t like that from my experience. They’re looking for someone to fix them, make them happy, or make their life better. To me, it doesn’t work like that. It’s more about two “happy with their own lives separately” people coming together to make things even better as a couple. I believe the term is “synergy”.”IMG_6287

Me: “I’m not looking for someone to fix me. I’d just like to have someone to do fun things with and a conversation that isn’t, “Wanna go outside? Go pee-pee? Good girl! You’re such a good Corgi! Want a cookie?” He laughed.

Christopher was an eclectic app developer from Michigan with a sense of humor and ADHD. We were the same age, with him 4 months my senior. He’d been divorced for five years, still got along with his ex-wife, appeared much younger than he was, both in looks and how he carried himself. He also had an oddly parallel life to mine; he grew up the “difficult child” with his temper tantrums in a neglectful household with a bipolar father. He’d suffered a severe back injury from an accident, had been through a few near death experiences, and was an introvert. He’d also had several careers including the Air Force and working with a variety of car companies in Michigan before going to work for one of the firms in the area as an app developer.

10653438_10203655792727596_3505868075746802940_nChristopher sparked to my Latin/Italian ethnicity battling my Anglo-Scottish work ethic, as he was French/Russian and dealt with the same challenges. Toil away through the evening – or just blow everything off and enjoy the sunset, drinks and food? (Case in point: It’s 3:18 a.m. right now and I’ve been working all night without dinner.) I was raised by devout Christians, and ended up agnostic. He was raised by devout atheists, and ended up Christian.

When we met at lunch, he insisted I try his food, was straight up about seeing another woman and stated that he couldn’t stand jealousy. All fine by me, since I was talking to others, and jealousy – like sommer teeth – was a deal breaker.

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I got this right after I joined Match. Not sure why I kept it. Probably to see how bullshit it really was.

He looked at me while we were comparing dating stories and asked about my marriage status. Then he asked, “Did your husband complement you?”

I knew what he meant. Had he been the frosting to my cake? I paused, thinking…wracking my brain. I finally shook my head and said, “No.”

“Well, I believe a couple should have their own individuality, but complement each other.”

I muttered something in German and he replied back in perfect Deutsche. That got my attention. So did the fact that he didn’t let me leave our first date without kissing me. Then kissing me again. And again. Compatibility plus chemistry.

I found him fascinating. After our first date, I lost interest in talking to others, who seemed boring by comparison.

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I broke his Comic Con cherry. What a way to lose it, eh? He even got hugged by Hershel.

Him: “I know this sounds crazy but you’re the first person who has ever been able to keep up with me. I feel like you get me.” Yes, well – I’m all over the place too, so it isn’t hard with manic racing thoughts which are – SQUIRREL! – pretty much like having ADD at times.  We’d run 3-4 radically different conversations at once, ranging from eighties songs (he was a pretty good guitar player, so we both live and die by music), to neat invention ideas, recent sexual studies to  Red Wings vs. Bruins, and neither of us had any problem keeping up with all of them. I realized my world must seem pretty strange to a “normal” person, so I threw him to the wolves quite a few times, both in the wrestling locker rooms and at comic cons. He held up like a champ and seemed to enjoy how colorful my life is. My colorful friends liked him, too.

I found I liked his ADD because it made him interesting. I could relate to many aspects of it and we always had something to talk about, but there were matters I had to learn my way around. On the outside, Chris had stated he was “what you see is what you get”, but in reality, he was a complicated 10723460_851152418230734_1266345854_nperson. More like an onion, with many layers he chose to peel back little by little once he felt comfortable. I think this is common with any type of disorder. There are often a number of quirks we all have – anxiety, depression, habits, hypomania, the need for solace, health issues – and one can feel vulnerable exposing these flaws to others. Once again, this was something I could relate to. Chris was in touch with how he was doing, med compliant and regularly saw a therapist.

BlueEyedPrince played no games: “I think I like you. You know. Just a little.”

Me: “Just a tad? As long as it’s a little, I’ve got something I can work with there.” I could talk to him about anything and he accepted me as me. He made me smile more than anyone had in a long, long time and treated me like a princess. Plus, this guy ended up being the best kisser of them all. That’s saying a helluva lot.

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After a few shorts weeks, he looked at me and said, “I think we’re past the ‘just seeing each other’ point now.”

Me: “Oh? So, what does that mean? You’re requesting an upgrade to the word “Dating”? How does this work, exactly? I’m new to this game.”

Him: “I’m not seeing anyone else. I stopped seeing others after our first date. I probably should have told you that. You can do whatever you want…I’m not telling you what to do. I just wanted you to know that I’m not.”

Me: “Oh, really? I can do whatever I want, with anyone I want? Sex, too? Sweet. No issues?”

Him: “Well…look, I’m not really good at this kind of stuff.”

Me: “So I gathered.” I’d already hidden my online dating profile from public view, but I didn’t tell him because I didn’t want him to feel obligated to pull his.

He just looked at me.

“If you’re asking if I’m seeing anyone else, I’m not,” I said.

On top of having a having a very winning personality and handsome face, Christopher did something no one else has – he didn’t drain me. 10419484_846888408657135_4645850378229162700_n (1)I never felt that urge to shove him out the door on Sunday after staring at the clock for a few hours until enough time had passed so I could breathe. Quite the opposite, really. He recharges me. I feel energized around him. It’s effortless to be together. When he holds me, I feel safe and the world just goes away.

I am slightly alarmed that I’m not alarmed at how quickly we clicked. I should be scared, but I’m not. I’ve been honest to the point of embarrassment with him. I’ve told him things I haven’t told another soul, and he is still here. I always feel connected to him, even when we aren’t together, perhaps in more ways than one.

I realized it was officially time to warn the BlueEyedPrince that he might not want to get too involved with me. The thought of hurting yet another decent person was something I just don’t know if I could survive. It was a very hard, very sad conversation to practice in my head. I was gambling with the chance of losing him, but I felt I needed to tell him how shitty it could all be. I explained that I was trying to protect him from me and that one day, the meds might stop working or need adjusting and I am very different without them.

He’d read all my blogs and a lot of things I’ve written and never published. He looked at me and said, “Do you think you’re going to scare me off? You’ve allowed me into “you”, as I have done the same with you. I fully understand there will be times where you’ll need me to be strong and take care of you.”

Ding, ding, ding. Right answer.Screenshot_2014-06-22-18-02-31-1_resized_1

This time, the situation and person seemed quite unique. I shut down my Match.com profile and am taking it one day at a time.

After all…he could still be sharpening his ax while I’m sleeping.

 

“There is no greater feeling in the world than to feel ‘gotten’.” – Bruce Willis, The Story of Us.

 

Dating bonus: I love when we are just being us and how encouraging he is about everything I do. I love listening to his ideas and observing the way his mind works. I love foto_466185_fhow positive and fearless he is. I love being with him. He is good for me. I adore him and am happy he’s a part of my life. He makes me smile more than anyone has in a long, long time. 

However, I worry about being good for him. Routine is healthy – especially for someone with bipolar disorder, yet sometimes it makes me antsy. In the past, I’ve felt like pulling back from someone perfectly wonderful for no real reason other than that feeling or I try to push them away before they have a chance to do it to me. (I’m not like this as much anymore thanks to the medication.) I wish I could say I have no fears about moving forward, but that’s not true. I know how I am (have been). If someone is too nice, I may get bored and I will/can eventually hurt them. “It’s not you, it’s me” is always the truth in my case. I cannot live with the idea of hurting another good person. Obviously, I’m not writing this anonymously, so it’s something we’ve discussed long before words hit this blog.

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Crazy times two…wait, three.

And then, there are his episodes. He occasionally has them, too. I saw one for the first time recently and it scared me, because I thought I was watching myself, off meds. Frustration had set him off and I knew exactly how he felt during his tangent, along with the gutting pain he felt afterwards.

I did what I’d learned to do around bipolar people (mostly from living with my father) – I stayed still, kept quiet and let him run his course. Ten minutes later, he calmly came back into the room, checked his wall to ascertain how much damage he’d inflicted and his hand to see if it was broken.

Then he crawled back into bed and buried his face in my hair. “I’m so sorry.”1422435_652052488149977_144054732_n

“I know,” I said. And, I did.

I started to cry. He seemed even more crushed. He thought I was upset because I was scared, but I was really crying because I didn’t know if I could do “us” any longer, and my heart was breaking. We were a twinship in so many ways. Apparently, a lot more than I’d realized.

With my newly found Lamictal-induced rational outlook on life, I was doing my best to not repeat destructive patterns. In the past, I had ignored signs that I shouldn’t have in the beginning of a relationship only to kick myself later.

Was this that? What if it wasn’t? What if it were me? That episode could easily have been mine. How would I like someone walking away from me? Not to mention how much I care about him. He’d generally been honest about his issues. Mostly. Even if he had rationed them out a little at a time. “I didn’t want to scare you off. I didn’t want you to think I’m defective.”

IMG_20140901_095027I pondered that. Would I have been scared off? I mean, honestly…would I? I’m not so sure. I think as someone who is pretty damn defective herself, he’s even more relatable with his so-called flaws.

However, I found myself second-guessing everything I knew about us the next day and felt like I couldn’t breathe. Being sane sucks. Being level-headed sucks more. I had no idea if I should stay or go. I have never been in a relationship as a stabilized person before. This is my first. In addition to not really knowing who I am yet (I’m not the same emotional mess I was, that’s for sure), I’m also not sure what’s acceptable and what’s not. At times, I’ve been a little too cold and calculated.

I rely on my friends for help when I’m in this position. They seemed to either think the entire thing is no big deal or that I need to be sure I’m taking care of myself first.

Them: “Did he try to hit you? Or do anything to avoid hitting you?”20141018_114804_PerfectlyClear

Me: “No. Nothing like that.”

Them: “Oh, ok. Sometimes guys just need to punch walls.”

My panic stems from the fact that wall punching has always been the tip of a very large iceberg. My father had punched walls and eventually a loaded gun was being pointed at us or him. (He shot my mother in front of my brother and I. That’s a whole ‘nother blog.) In the past I’ve started at walls and progressed to kicking out windshields and ripping car doors off hinges. When I see someone punching a wall or having a fit, it has a Pavlov’s Dog effect on me.

I had every intention of taking a few days to think everything over…as in, take a break. That seemed logical. But, here’s the thing: I didn’t want to take a break from us. Had it been the other way around, I wouldn’t want him to take a break from me. 

I dunno. Maybe some guys just need to punch walls.

Been there, done that, have the Spackle to prove it.

So. Treats me like a princess? Check. Smart, funny, kind and driven? Check. A little crazy? Check.

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1551470_948512048591466_2274401337787458543_nIt’s funny how someone who was a stranger a short while ago can come to mean so much. I look forward to our time together, immensely. Half of me is ultra cautious on going slow because I don’t want to ruin what we have…as in, take any of it for granted. The kissing, missing each other, really listening. After having been down the “for granted” road, I know what it feels like. I hated it. I savor every moment now. I memorize what I see; his face, his hair, his smile. I don’t ever want to look, but not see. I don’t want to be one half of that miserable couple we20141012_161343 all see in restaurants who don’t talk to each other any longer. I think I’ve learned a lot of lessons from my past relationships but some of the biggest are saying thank you, showing appreciation, compromising, being willing to work at things and work well as a team. I believe these things have to be there daily for two people to exist in a copasetic fashion. It’s quite fucked up that we put so much emphasis on the wedding and not enough on the “happily ever after”.

 “The measure of success is not whether you have a tough problem to deal with, but whether is is the same problem you had last year.”-John Foster Dulles. This note is taped to my computer monitor and has haunted me for years. For a long time, I’ve had the same problems and been stuck in gridlock. This is the first time I’m not, which was completely up to me to change. It was terrifying. I left everything I’ve known…my job, my way of life, my husband and where I’m from. I’d always thought I’d end up back in Philadelphia. This year, in addition to becoming single, I bought my first house in Florida, began taking classes, started a new job as a ghostwriter while being able to keep aspects of my other careers I still enjoy, made friends outside of the entertainment business, and I can say I’m happier for it.

mime-attachment7The men I dated had absolutely nothing in common except that each was extremely smart and witty. (Oh, and most were delusional about how fit they really were. Either that, or I’m spoiled from being in wrestling locker rooms.) Clever and witty is a big deal for me. Looks will fade in time and you can always improve a body. But you can’t turn a dull or narrow mind into something brilliant and you cannot fix stupid. Personality and conversation matter. Is there anything worse than sitting across from someone for a meal and having nothing to say?

Guys, there’s a lot to be said for not playing games and being honest. That’s not being needy. It’s being real. Calling, emailing and texting non-stop when you’re not getting a response back is needy. Saying good morning or good night? That’s sweet.

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What have I learned on this little Match.com venture?

-There are a scant few women who look like their photos, are actually in shape, can hold up a conversation, don’t have kids or want to have babies right away, aren’t bitter, don’t need someone to “fix them” and aren’t looking for free dinners.  Apparently, I am somewhat of a unicorn. When you thought 945354_544186605619399_1335161772_n_resizedyou were completely broken and had nothing to offer, this is not a bad revelation.

-Men are just as guilty of not looking like their photos. Of all the dates I went on, 4 guys resembled their photos… and that was after a lengthy screening process ahead of time. Of the 4 I’d met they were still somewhat thinner, heavier or shorter than stated. One guy was actually taller. I get the feeling that many of us see ourselves by looking into Fun House mirrors.

-Seasoned people tend to be more dismissive of “baggage” than I’d thought they would be. It’s just not as big of a deal. Anyone who has lived past a certain age has it, so it’s universally accepted and if you like someone, you’ll deal with it.

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This man did an experiment and re-created some of the more ridiculous profile photos on dating sites women post. There are MANY of his works out there for entertainment and all are worth Googling.

-A common theme from the guys: “I can GET LAID. That’s not the issue. I wanted to meet someone I can talk to. Someone with substance.”

-I learned that married men really like when their wives go away so they can do nothing but masturbate. Yeah. It seemed to be a common topic of discussion when comparing my date’s single life to their married friends. “My buddy can’t wait for his wife to visit her mother just so he can jerk off.” Ladies, you might wanna give your men a little more breathing room. I suppose that knife cuts both ways.

– I am not around a lot of people my age, so talking to people who are around 40 was enlightening in many ways.

-I learned that men in their late 30’s to mid 40’s in the Tampa Bay area are staggeringly attractive and well-kept. Many were better looking than some of the twenty-XW5Z9681somethings I’m around on a regular basis in wrestling. Not at all what I’d thought it would be like. I figured my dating pool would be limited to balding, paunchy, mini vans and bags around the eyes. 

– I learned from Jesus & Babies that if a man doesn’t like his mother, has never been married and blames everything on all the women in his life, he’ll probably blame things that go wrong on you.

-I have learned that the name Ryan was really fucking popular at some point.  

-I learned that you tend to garner a higher quality of people when you have to pay to get on sites like Match.com. This is from comparing my own notes from both Match.com and OKCupid along with others of both sexes who have used multiple free and pay sites.

1413316767-I was hoping that by dating men my age, I’d be meeting people who had Alice in Chains on their iPods and recognized how badass Public Enemy is. That didn’t exactly work out as I’d hoped. They had Slayer. All of them. Win some, lose some. On the plus, they generally had more Pantera and Megadeth than I did.

-Men like to chase, so let them. I never texted or called anyone I was dating first.

-I also learned that men of this age group are not playing around. They are generally online to immediately get into a relationship.  From Date One, I was being sized up as full-time partner material, which feels a whole lot different than a “I’d like to bang this chick” sizing up. There were many times when I truly felt like I was the man with all the ducking and dodging of a serious relationship, and I’ll admit that I was easily scared off. I didn’t always know how to not hurt someone’s feelings and eventually just learned to be honest and straight up, but it took a while. I also don’t believe in forcing something just to be in a relationship. I’m too old for that and fine with being by myself if nothing had clicked.

-I learned how to simply have fun and not jump right into a relationship.tumblr_mrp42h1LCJ1qd3478o1_400

-I learned how to flirt again and really take time to savor conversations.

-I’ve learned that catching the man I’ve been talking with staring at me as I leave can still make me feel alive.

-I learned that nearly everyone I met on Match.com was self-employed (or worked long hours), so they didn’t get out much, and either I was great at screening or just lucky to have met some very nice guys.

-I learned that I enjoyed dating. I’d always heard horror stories but I found that it was fun. However, it was horribly time consuming, and I’m sure it can be terribly expensive for men.

da2a6e1f67de2c12bfe78c4c64af0e22_resized-I learned that forcing myself to go out, even when I didn’t feel like it or want to, was probably good for me.

-For some reason, nearly every guy wanted to cook for me. I think it was a “See? I’m domesticated! I have a clean place, too. Pick me!” kind of thing. Either that or they didn’t feel like paying for dinner. (I kid. I only went out with those who were ‘gainfully’ employed. Part of not dating in the business is not dealing with the ‘struggling artist’ thing. Been there, done that.)

-I got as many comments on what I’d written on my profile as on my photos, which I thought was interesting.  Apparently people do ‘read the articles’.

-I realized that maybe I’m not as shattered as I’d thought. Maybe it was something I felt because I was told I was…and when you’re told something often enough, you believe it. A three legged dog gets up and starts walking again right away because no one is in his ear telling him how bad off he is. He just gets on with it.Valentine’s-Day-5-Step-Guide-for-Online-Dating-valentines-meme (1)

-Every guy I went out with asked for another date. Granted, guys will bang anything, but I figure at least one or two of them would have shied away if I was putting off some kind of messed up vibe. None of them did. I used “busy” and “hectic travel schedule coming up” a lot to get out of follow up dates.

-Women aren’t the only ones who go baby crazy. “Wants Kids: Probably not.” I’d never really given it much thought. My husband hadn’t wanted kids, and as always, I caved to accommodate others around me. When we had separated before and I was seeing the wrestler/actor, he’d had a son, but had talked to me about having another child. It’s the only time I really gave it any thought.

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Baby Carter almost came back from Canada in my bag. Sadly, it was already at the weight limit. Next time…he’s mine. All mine.

After putting “Probably Not” on my dating profile, I realized how much of an issue that really was. Most men my age either had kids or wanted them. Something happened when they hit a certain age, and they got a little kid crazy. After discussing it so much this past year, it gave me a lot of time to think. Part of the reason I’d never had any children was because of my unstable income and lifestyle.

Now that I’m older, I wonder. I was never delusional enough to believe I could do it on my own. Props to the strong single moms out there, but I believe children need their fathers. Nor would I do it with someone who didn’t mean much to me just to have a kid. That’s a tie you can’t break. I don’t understand people who don’t think this through first.

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I collect Ginger Snaps and she’s one of my faves. Check out that muscle! Def a future women’s champ…if she eats her veggies.

Could I do this…if it were to happen? Both my doctors have given me a green light as far as me being healthy and have said that age doesn’t play as much into it as originally thought, but said I’d have to get off all my meds. And then there is the possibility of passing on the bipolar gene, of course.

Then again, being able to keep all my income, get in the car and run errands without thinking about it, choose gyms that have no daycare, travel, not change diapers and sleep through the night are not a bad way to live.

Ultimately, I’m still on the fence. Or, the proverbial baby-gate.

-Most of all, I learned that being bipolar but working on yourself (medication, therapy, acupuncture, etc) is not viewed as much of an issue. You’re not broken. You’re not considered a second class human being. Oddly enough, I found I was valued more by this age group for my unique (bipolar) way of thinking and seeing things, because I do it differently than so-called “normal” people.

-Side note: Psychiatric studies recently conclude that those with mental illness are, in fact, more creative and witty, especially those with bipolar disorder. WHOOT! I knew it. Of course. Because I’m witty and smarter like that. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22045939

 

564910_101405936659554_2136748102_nI’ll end with this novella with a blog link: “Fuck Yes or Fuck No?” If you’re like me, it will instantly clarify what’s important in your life in a way that nothing and no one ever has before when it comes to a significant other. http://markmanson.net/fuck-yes/

I’m fortunate that I still talk to nearly everyone I’ve ever dated and consider them “friendly”. Every so often we’ll share memes, movies, good songs or just say hello. That’s a testament to me either choosing good people, being a good person, or both.

 

 

image5I think many of us could be that unusually shaped light bulb – that one light bulb trying to fit inside a complicated desk lamp that’s difficult to put together. Instead, we either give up too soon or force it or break it trying to make it work in the wrong lamp, before clicking it into place, the way it was intended.

I got on Match.com because a friend said she used it and enjoyed herself. I know she sure enjoyed a lot of those free dinners.

 

For me, it’s been a life altering learning experience.

 1551572_611049065610441_1750640756_n

 

P.s. To everyone I dated who reads this blog – which I think is nearly all of you – you know my policy on being honest on here, so please realize I’m doing only that and there are no personal jabs. I view everyone who passes through my life as adding to it and teaching me things. So, thank you for that.

COPYRIGHT APRIL HUNTER. NO PART OF THIS WRITING/BLOG MAY BE COPIED OR USED WITHOUT WRITTEN PERMISSION.

 

Read part 1: https://aprilhunterblog.com/2014/10/23/my-match-com-experiment-a-year-of-being-singleish-dating-bipolar/

Read part 2: https://aprilhunterblog.com/2014/11/04/my-match-com-experiment-the-good-the-bad-the-dating-the-ryans-part-2/

 

To Really Know Someone – by Osho:

“Even husbands and wives who might have lived together for many years, may be just acquaintances. They may not have known each other. And the more you live with someone the more you forget completely that the centers have remained unknown.

“So the first thing to be understood is, don’t take acquaintance as love. You may be making love, you may be sexually related, but sex is also peripheral. Unless centers meet, sex is just a meeting of two bodies. And a meeting of two bodies is not your meeting. Sex also remains acquaintance – physical, bodily, but still just an acquaintance. You can allow somebody to enter to your center only when you are not afraid, when you are not fearful.

“There are two types of living: one fear-oriented, one love-oriented. Fear-oriented living can never lead you into deep relationship. You remain afraid, and the other cannot be allowed, cannot be allowed to penetrate you to your very core. To an extent you allow the other and then the wall comes and everything stops.

“The love-oriented person means one who is not afraid of the future, one who is not afraid of the result and the consequence, who lives here and now. Don’t be bothered about the result; that is the fear-oriented mind. Don’t think about what will happen out of it. Just be here, and act totally. Don’t calculate. A fear-oriented man is always calculating, planning, arranging, safeguarding. His whole life is lost in this way.

“I have heard about an old Zen monk: He was on his deathbed. The last day had come, and he declared that on that evening he would be no more. So followers, disciples, friends started coming. He had many lovers, they all started coming; from far and wide people gathered. One of his old disciples, when he heard that the master was going to die, ran to the market. Somebody asked, ‘The Master is dying in his hut, why are you going to the market ‘The old disciple said, ‘I know that my master loves a particular type of cake, so I am going to purchase the cake ‘It was difficult to find the cake, but by the evening somehow he managed. He came running with the cake.

“And everybody was worried – it was as if the Master was waiting for someone. He would open his eyes and look, and close his eyes again. When this disciple came, he said, ‘Okay, so you have come. Where is the cake?’ The disciple produced the cake – and he was very happy that the Master asked about it. Dying, the Master took the cake in his hand… but his hand was not trembling. He was very old, but his hand was not trembling. So somebody asked, ‘You are so old and just on the verge of dying. The last breath is soon to leave you, but your hand is not trembling.’

“The Master said, ‘I never tremble, because there is no fear. My body has become old but I am still young, and I will remain young even when the body is gone’ Then he took a bite, started munching the cake. And then somebody asked, ‘What is your last message, Master? You will be leaving us soon. What do you want us to remember?’

The Master smiled and said, ‘Ah, this cake is delicious.’

This is a man who lives in the here and now: This cake is delicious. Even death is irrelevant. The next moment is meaningless. This moment, this cake is delicious. If you can be in this moment, this present moment, this presentness, the plenitude, then only can you love.

Love is a rare flowering. It happens only sometimes.”  –OSHO

You-cant-force-people-to-stay-in-your-life.-Staying-is-a-choice-so-be-thankful-for-the-people-who-choose-you.

AC/DC – A Long Wait For The Day That Never Comes

17 Jul

I will occasionally edit for other writers.

This is something I edited for someone who had a story, but is not a writer. I chose it as part of my resume’ and collection here for that exact reason. That, and the content. Hopefully, you’ll be as entertained as I was.

__

A Long Wait for the Day That Never Comes

     “You fucking cunt!” 

The hostile words screamed from my mouth still echoed the walls as we were escorted out of Madison Square Garden by six large men and one fat, angry little woman into the dark, rainy New York streets. 

     AC/DC, arguably the greatest hard rock band on earth was finally on tour again after an eight-year hiatus. They were playing two sold-out nights in New York City. Years of waiting and planning – and I managed to procure floor seats. That’s right; the mighty AC/DC LIVE IN NEW YORK – AT THE HISTORIC GARDEN! Unfortunately, I was never going to see this show.

Acdc_backinblack_cover     From an early age, I’ve been involved in a passionate love affair with rock and roll. When my aunt died of a drug overdose, I was the beneficiary of her record collection. Among these was an AC/DC Back In Black album. While flipping through my newly acquired collection, I was immediately intrigued by the simple black cover and the spiky, violent lettering of the famous AC/DC logo that said so much by showing so little. (Looking back, it was a fitting follow-up to Highway to Hell and the untimely death of the great Bon Scott.)

     When I placed the album onto the turntable and laid the needle down, I was greeted with the ominous tone to the opening of Hell’s Bells. The bells of death slowly rang and Angus Young’s guitar riffs filled the speakers. I was enthralled. As AC/DC rocked out, I held the album in my lap and poured over the artwork and lyrics. I had never heard anything so overpowering and beautiful. I had never seen anything so bizarre as this crazy long-haired man in a schoolboy uniform sporting a guitar with horns running around stage. I was hooked. 

     Many alcoholics and drug addicts often go back to the first time they tasted liquor or their first shot of junk; a vivid memory because it was a profound moment that ultimately affected the rest of their lives. In addition, they say the first high is always the best and you spend the rest of your life trying to duplicate it. To me, this moment was profound because my life has never been the same since that day. My vice isn’t the bottle or dope; it’s rock music – and I will never get enough.

     If rock and roll can be deemed a religion, then I was officially baptized at eight years old by AC/DC. I’m now thirty-nine and still listen to the same music that I did when I was in the fifth grade.

     When I hold a record in my hands, I worship it the way the priest does his bible. From the print on the spine to the smell of the sleeve, I cherish every part of the album and savor every note of the music. This is primarily why I detest CDs so much; they have no soul. Listening to an album is an experience. Only people who truly love music can understand what I am saying. Music just seems more alive on vinyl and the album sleeve is a real piece of artwork in your hands.acdcscan0039

     There are two types of people in this world; people who like music and people who live and die by it. I am the latter. I’m one of those guys that could be in a bar surrounded by willing, beautiful women, but spending all of my time going nuts over the excellent jukebox instead.  Whenever I’ve had extra cash on hand, I spent it on an album. I once lost a job in college because I HAD to see Fugazi when they came to New Orleans. They rarely made it to the area and it was not going to happen again in the near future. I had skipped work and gone to the show. Of course, I got fired and almost couldn’t feed myself, but it’s still one of the best decisions I’ve ever made. I don’t think they made it down to New Orleans ever again.

     With that said, I will now tell you about the worst night of my life. I had been waiting years to see AC/DC live. I’d missed their tours in both high school and college. Military deployments kept me away as well. After years of sifting through web sites, magazines and chat rooms, rumors of their long-awaited new album had begun to circulate. My time had finally come.  AC/DC was going on tour again after eight long years and there was no way in a highway to hell I was going to miss it. 

     Because I am an anal retentive music fanatic, I strongly believe that there are only a few places that a rock show may be seen. These locations (in order) are New York, Donnington, Los Angeles and London. Additionally, wherever the band is from will suffice as well since hometown crowd enthusiasm is usually unparalleled. I am from New York and have had the pleasure of seeing most of my favorite bands there. Compared to other places around the U.S. that I’ve been, bands just don’t put out the same way they do when in the Big Apple – it’s a fact.  New York crowds also are the most responsive and fun, therefore making the concert experience a memorable one. If one of my favorite bands is playing, I will always fly to NY from wherever I am to see them.

    AC/DC rocks Madison Square Garden It’s literally impossible to get a good ticket from the Nazis at Ticketmaster, so I was forced to deal with a group of dirty pirates known as ticket brokers. AC/DC would be in NYC in November; by September my plans were in motion. After getting raped for almost $600, I had acquired floor seats. I originally wanted to spend $500 per ticket to get closer to the stage, but my brother, who was my faithful concert companion, would not go for it. We were still on the floor, which was fine by me.

     After waiting roughly eight years and two months, November thirteenth arrived and it was time to rock. I flew up to Long Island on the morning of the 13th from Orlando, Florida and met up with my brother. We had a great day planned; we were going to take the train into the city, catch up with our younger sister, who was a senior at Fordham University, and get properly smashed with other AC/DC fans at the bars surrounding the Garden. 

     Our first stop was the Blarney Rock on 34th Street. The Blarney is a carpenters’ union bar that has outstanding food. My brother and I downed four beers, a basket of wings and watched a bar fight between two irate carpenters while we waited for our younger sibling to show up. So far, the day was coming along famously.

     When my sister arrived we hit up a few bars around the Garden looking for trouble. Being that it was only three o’clock and the show didn’t start until eight, everything was still fairly quiet. We stumbled upon Brother Jimmy’s BBQ, where we heard AC/DC tunes being played full blast on the restaurant speaker system. Derrick, our bartender, was a great guy and seemed highly entertained by our rambunctious state due to the family reunion and of course, AC/DC.  We proceeded to drink several Pabst Blue Ribbon tall-boys while singing along to AC/DC tunes. 

     My brother was the first of the group to display his drunken state when he got up on his bar stool and screamed, “AC/DC…HIGHWAY TO HELL…WOOOOOOO!!!!!!” After being told to calm down a bit, Derrick gave us a round of shots on the house and asked us to please stay a while. My last clear memory of the BBQ establishment was the three of us slamming our hands down on the bar in synch to the bass drum opening of Hells Bells. The bar had gotten packed full of AC/DC fans and had become very festive. At 7:30 we parted ways with our sister and hauled ass over to the Garden.

     As we entered the front of Madison Square Garden, we immediately stopped at the bar and I ordered two vodka cranberries. In hindsight, I should have known better. My brother was a beer guy and has never handled booze very well. Despite this well-known fact, my brother, being the good Jew that he was, had never turned down anything that was free and eagerly took the cocktail.

     Our seats were great – right on the floor towards the back of the fourth section. We quickly made friends with everyone around us and settled in. Within minutes my brother was convinced that we could get better seats. He was a city cop and knew a lot of officers who moonlighted at the Garden. To my surprise and delight, he knew the ushers working the first section in front of the stage. His friend told us that if we came back after the first band was done, she would get us to the front without any problems. This night had officially gone from damn good to quite possibly the greatest time of my life. Or so I thought. This is where the story gets better for the reader and goes horribly wrong for the narrator.

 

******

 

   ACDC_edit  One of my pre-concert rituals is to take everything in around me; the stage, the lighting, the sound booth and of course, the impressive size of the arena. After all, if rock is my religion, then the concert venue is my church. As the lights dimmed, the first band made its way onto the stage.  They were called The Answer and also hailed from Australia. As I looked around the dark arena, little red lights began to illuminate the Garden. AC/DC sold these devil horn headbands that lit up and flashed red. It was awesome to see glowing devil horns floating in the dark all around me. My excitement suddenly kicked and the realization that I was finally there hit me hard. The Answer started playing and sounded a bit like a Led Zeppelin cover band.

     Halfway through the first song, I felt a tugging at my shirt. I looked down and my brother was sitting with his head between his legs, spitting onto the floor. Being the man of the world that I am, I immediately recognized his actions as the universal sign for “I’m gonna puke.” I grabbed him by the back of his shirt and dragged him into the nearest restroom.

     The floor seat restrooms are definitely the best kept secret in New York. Squeaky clean, never a line. No puke or some douche bag pissing in the sink. Furthermore, there’s a liquor bar right outside.  Instead of taking a twenty-five minute trip for a shitty, lukewarm beer, you can have vodka!

     Anyway, I dragged my brother into a stall and he immediately started letting the chunks fly. Up came the wings, beer, vodka cranberries and even a bagel we had at the train station.

     After about ten minutes, I asked, “Are you done yet?”  I heard a faint whisper emanate from the stall: “I have to shit.”

     My brother is a father of two and owns two properties. Recreational drinking is and has been a thing of the past for quite some time. When he gets a chance to go out, he blows the wheels off. Additionally, when he is really sick, he always has to defecate. One time he slipped on ice and hurt his back. At the hospital when he came to, they had to carry him to the bathroom to evacuate his bowels. I guess it’s some weird reaction his body has to pain. I think it’s totally fucking gross. I’ll just leave it at that. 

     So, at that point, my brother was crapping in a stall while spitting on the floor. The Answer had just finished their set and I began to get antsy. I got up on the adjoining toilet and looked into his stall, shouting, “Get your shit together, it’s almost GO TIME!” No response. I opened the door and slapped him in the face. “What the fuck!”  He was up. After a few moments of motivating words and cheers, he cleaned up and emerged from the stall. 

     He appeared okay and it was apparent that we were going to make it. My brother looked at me with sleepy eyes and asked where the sink was. As I turned to point to the row of sinks, vomit sprayed past the tip of my index finger. Jesus Christ. My brother coated two sinks in puke.  Luckily, there was no one in the bathroom. I felt so bad; I tried to conceal the mess by wiping off the sinks with a wad of paper towels.

     Finally, in a strong and confident voice, my brother bellowed, “I’m ready, let’s rock.”  He took two steps and did a header straight into the tile wall and slid to the ground. I put one arm around his waist and made him put his arm around my shoulder. As we entered the floor area of MSG, we looked like a couple of soldiers fresh out of a shit-storm firefight in Da Nang. 

     I walked him quietly by a group of ushers back to our seats. “Stop right there!” Fuck. A small, fat woman ran over.  “He’s too drunk.  He’s gotta go.” 

     I assured the woman that he was fine and there would not be any problems.  She wasn’t hearing any of it. I began to beg. Like a little bitch I stood over her and pleaded with everything I had.  “Please ma’am, these tickets were very expensive and I’ve been waiting years for this show.” Nothing.

     She said there was no way my brother could stay. At this point, I started to hurl every curse word I’d ever learned at her. In short time, we were surrounded by six very large, very black security guards. The guards escorted my brother and me to an elevator and boarded with us. As the elevator began to move, my brother came to and cocked his head up. It wobbled like a baby who had not yet developed the proper muscles to hold its head up straight. “I bet you all voted for Obama…fuck you!”  He then passed out. I looked up at the six large men. “I’m sorry; he doesn’t know what he’s saying.” Thank God they worked for the Garden because if we had been on the street, I’d be dead.

     I couldn’t believe this was happening.

We had floor seats and were about to have FRONT ROW seats. Now we had nothing.

     At this point, some readers might ask, “If it was so important to you, why didn’t you just leave him be and see AC/DC by yourself?”  Well, to this fair question I have a two-part reply. First, you never leave family behind. Second, the puke-spewing poop machine next to me was a New York cop. I couldn’t allow him to tarnish his record with a drunk and disorderly charge. 

     As the guards escorted us out, fans were making their way in. They were happy, rambunctious and walking into us because they were drunk. Drunk. I started getting mad and began pushing people away from me like I was in a mosh pit. We were surrounded by huge guards in red jackets so nobody messed with us. Before I knew it, we were standing in the cold rain staring at the entrance of Madison Square Garden.

     I dragged my brother down to Penn Station to catch the train back to Long Island. When I asked him which train we needed to take, he just laughed at me. I dropped him on the dirty floor. While my brother slept like a drunken snow angel on the station’s concrete, I searched for the information. Our train left in four minutes with the next one in two hours. I picked him up military style and we made our way for the track like we were trying to catch a chopper out of a hot zone. People stared and laughed. I was not drunk. I did have a headache and was sweating. It all fucking sucked. We made the train.

     The moment we passed through the doors, my brother informed me that he was going to get sick again. If we got kicked off the train, the next two stops we’d likely be dropped off were really bad areas to be stranded at night if you happen to be a couple of white Jewish guys. I wasn’t in the mood to end my stellar day by having my teeth knocked out, so I hustled him through five cars before finding the bathroom. Ripping the door open, I chucked him in. As the latch closed, I could already hear him wretching. “Whhhooooaaaaauuuugh!” 

     About ten minutes later, Old Jew Lady was complaining that the bathroom was still locked. I opened the door for her and of course, my brother is on the toilet shitting again with his head between the legs. “You can go ahead and use it. I’m sure he won’t mind.” She gasped and stalked off to another car. I held onto the railing as the car swayed. We would not be home for another forty-five minutes.

     Staring out the window, I wondered how the concert was going. I began to cry into my arm and choked back a sob. Really – I did. People were understandably staring at me. Here was a guy with steel-toed boots, ripped jeans and a full-sleeve tattoo, weeping like a little girl. I don’t even cry at relatives’ funerals. I had officially hit a new low.

     About thirty minutes later, my brother popped out of the bathroom like a goddamn jack-in-the-box. He was smiling, lucid and looked like a million bucks. “What’s up bro,” he said grinning ear to ear. My only response was a whispered, “Get the fuck away from me.” 

  acdccustom_1234388747870_forged_acdc_ticket_2008_front  When we got to his stop, my brother bolted off of the train and down to the parking lot. When I got down there, I could see his truck rounding the corner. Did that motherfucker just leave me stranded at a train station? Yes, he did. It began to rain again. I put my hands into the front pockets of my jeans and found my concert ticket stub. Taking it out, I held it up to my face for a few seconds and let it drop to the ground. I stood there and watched for a few minutes as the falling rain slowly seeped into it. 

     I was completely gutted because I was so excited to add that stub to my framed wall of concert tickets. This was THE prize; more important than my Stones ticket and more meaningful than the stub that proved I was lucky enough to be grossly underwhelmed at a Nirvana concert. I wanted to be hit by a car.

     I’m in my brother’s neighborhood once or twice a year, tops.  If you’re in Nassau County, you know everything looks the same. Every street has a pizza parlor, nail shop and deli. It’s the same type of house style, too – one after another. It took me over an hour to find my way back.

     I won’t go into the aftermath of this event, but I will say it was the single biggest let down of my adult life.

     I can only hope and pray that the lovely woman who threw us out got a raging case of herpes.

     To this day, I am still deeply scarred.

– Ryan S. Nichols

 

He Said

10 Jul

240dcb9360641e4f11813331cca33eb3

He said, “I’ll be there tomorrow.”

Excitement. My heart beats. I smile.

Then panic. I did not like the fact that someone had the ability to make me feel this way.

If he can make me feel happy, he can make me feel sad.

That scares me.

A lot scares me.

Having control is key. Key to focus. Key to life. Key to sanity.

Someone else making me happy is not having control.

 

When I was safe inside a relationship, there was control. There was the comfortable glide. There was security.

This is none of that. It’s up, it’s down. It’s long distance. It’s uncertainty.

It’s gut wrenching solitude.

It’s a hole in my heart.

It’s wanting. And not being able to have.

It’s being attached to the phone.

He exists in there when he’s not here.

His face, his words, our moments.

I had wanted unplug more.

 love-quotes-breaking-down-walls

How did this happen?

I’m usually so careful. Removed. Warm, yet cold. It’s hard for me to really care.

I’ve gotten it down to an art.

Smile. Converse. Drink wine. Ask them questions about themselves.

Even if it’s boring, act interested.

Eye contact. That’s what you have to do.

Sure, sure. Let’s do this again soon.

Let me check my schedule.

Oh, damn. I’m away. Maybe another time?

 

I’ve become more and more like a man in so many ways. I was raised by a man, I work with men, I have turned into one.

I’m not selfish. It’s self preservation.

Truth be told, most people aren’t worth it.

There exists a carefully cultivated fuck-you shell around me.

It intimidates.

Purposefully.

“You’re nothing at all like I’d thought you’d be. You’re smart…sweet.”

I know.

It’s a common comment I hear from people who make it past the muscle. The blunt truths. The loudness. The vibrancy.

I have a lot to give. I can’t afford someone who takes.

I only want real in my life. Not so easy to find.

 

He was different. His words alone were atypical.

He saw things differently.

He was strong. He was used to being the one to do the intimidating.

He had his own uniquely cultivated shell.

He got into my head. I couldn’t get him out.

I tried. I gave up.

Gave in.

 

We were a lot alike. 

Maybe too much alike.

 

He said, “You’re so different than I’m used to.”

How?

“Well…you’re like a guy in a pretty girl’s body. That’s what I like, though.”

Really? Someone who views sex as sex? Someone who swears far too much? Someone who lives on steak and bacon? Someone who takes no shit, will shove people out of the way and not think twice about punching another in the throat if there’s cause for it? Someone who would rather go to a shooting range than a romantic comedy? Someone whose dog holds more value than all the jewelry she owns? Someone who watches Das Boot and knows who Yngwie Malmsteen is? Someone who hates malls? Someone who doesn’t give a shit about designer labels? Someone who doesn’t cook very often?  Someone who believes “Great mind talk ideas, good minds talk events and small minds talk people”? Someone who “gets to know herself”…often? Someone who believes the word ‘cunt’ should be used as a noun, adjective and verb? Someone who only half-heartedly cleans behind the toilet?

 

He said, “How bad are you? I’m asking because I really like you and want to know.”

Extreme. Rapid cycling. Out of my mind. Crazy. Bipolar.

Medicated.

He said, “Okay.”

And it was.

 

He said, “I’m being recruited. The job is across the state. I have my second interview this week.”

My gut twisted.

I wanted to run. But I didn’t.

But I wanted to.

 

He said, “I’m not sure if I’m taking it yet.”

I allowed myself to breathe.

For the moment.

 

He said, “I’m on my way.”

And I smiled.

 

Then one day he said, “I can’t do this right now.”

Why?

He said, “I can’t give you any more than this. I can’t give you what you deserve.

There are issues about myself I’ve always had. I’ve been working on them and thought I was all right. Mentally…I’m not.”

 

I suddenly realized that I’ve been him before.

I’ve done this to others.

 

I hated how it felt.

I felt raw and ripped open.

 

I’d hated how I felt when I did it to others.

It’s taken this to make me realize what I’ve done.

What I’ve done to those around me.

 

I wanted to help him. But I can’t. 

I know from being me that only he can help himself.

 

He said, “I’m sorry.”

And I was right.

He made me sad.

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Chapter 21: A Southwest Air Stalking

19 Jun

The Tampa airport was frenetically busy at what I considered to be an ungodly hour of the morning. For many writers, 7 a.m. is still the middle of the night. I am one of those writers. The alluring smell of fresh brewed coffee from Starbucks was almost enough to make me brave the line that stretched around the kiosk and halfwaydown the terminal…almost.If I did that, I wouldn’t be able to get the two and a half hours of sleep on the flight I still so desperately need. I love my Starbucks…and not just because there are (so-called) rumors of it being laced with methamphetamines.

Starbucks-Schiphol

I’ve always wanted to be three things in life: a morning person, a black coffee drinker, and someone who can function perfectly on four hours sleep. I will never be any of these.

If I don’t get enough sleep, I literally feel hung over; nauseous, weak, foggy, and my head pounds. I’ve been on crazy wrestling tours where we didn’t catch more than a few hours sleep between a show the night before and getting on the tour busthe next morning to travel seven hours to another city. I was always deathly afraid I was going to drop someone on their head if I was sleep deprived.

It only happened once in my fifteen year career, but it DID happen – and it was bad. I was in Japan and jet lagged as hell. It was my first show on the tour. My opponent jumped off the top rope and I barely caught her in time; then I fell on top of her, snapping her ankle in several places. She needed surgery with metal rods and pins to put everything back together again. It is something I’ve always felt reallyhorrible about. I’ve also given myself several concussions by landing stupidly because I’m not all there while in the ring. Due to these things, I’ve managed to train myself to sleep anywhere in any situation. I know I have to when traveling in order to function.

I walked past the airport gates to find a water fountain for my refillable bottle. I’d love to say I’m environmental – and most days I am – but in this case, I’m just cheap. I refuse to pay $3.50 for water. Remember when water was free and you paid for porn?

An exhausted mother, herding three small children wearing Dora the Explorer backpacks and faces full of crumbs ran into me, her arms overloaded with diaper bags and…stuff. She apologized and I waved it away, asking her if she needed help. Her voice said “no, thank you”, but her sagging posture suggested otherwise. My heart went out to her. Then I secretly prayed if they were on my flight that they would be located far, far away from my row.

As I made my way back to my gate, a giant Mr. Olympia sized bodybuilder openly stared at me. Shaved head, shirt that was too tight and jeans that barely made it around his Hulk legs. He wasn’t bad looking, but he made me uncomfortable. He looked at me as if I was a steak and he hadn’t eaten in a week – and he didn’t stop staring. So, I kept walking.
I’m generally used to stares. But this guy started to follow me.
Sure, we are the same breed of alien gym rat. I’ll admit: our kind is rare. This does not mean I’d like to share my genetics with him to create miniature gym rats.

seriousFuck. I realize that he’s on the same flight I am. Southwest Air’s open seating policy makes people rush to board instead of clogging aisles trying to figure out what side A or D is on like aimless idiots. Most days I’m a huge fan of this concept…not today.

Naturally, Mr. Olympia was in “A” boarding as well and with nothing but open seats, he headed straight for my row. He and his much smaller friend squashed in, with him taking the middle seat.
Even the most petite human being will not willingly take a middle seat with other rows open. I was definitely being stalked.

He graciously allowed me half my window seat since his 300 pound frame and one leg took up the other half.

As if on cue: “You’re really vascular,” he stated. Vampires, athletes and Homeland Security agents looking for people carrying drugs love vascularity. I’ve learned to suffer the long sleeves in summer when returning through North American customs and immigration to avoid being “randomly selected”. 

“Um…yep.” I made a big show of opening my book wider and turning towards the window.

“You look great. I’m a personal trainer, so if you ever want help with your diet or anything, that’s what I do,” he volunteered.

“Ah.”

Him: “We travel to see Rush. Been to all their concerts. They’re playing in Philly tomorrow night. Do you like Rush?” I fucking love Rush. Red Barchetta, Tom Sawyer and Limelight got me through endless I-95 drives lasting twenty-two hours, between parental visits from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, to Enterprise, Alabama.so-i-see-you-do-gym-tell-me-more-about-how-u-lift-things-up-and-put-them-down1

“They’re okay,” I replied.

“So, what do you do?”

“I’m…an accountant.” I deliberately picked the least interesting career I could think of on the spur of the moment.

“Oh? That’s interesting,” he said.

“Really, it’s not.”

“I love your hair. Can I touch it?”

“What?”

My copper red hair hit the back of my jeans in length. At the moment, much of it was on the armrest. He picked up a handful, rubbed it thoughtfully and then – SMELLED IT.

I snatched my hair back. “Sorry to disappoint you, but I’m just going to read and sleep.” I dramatically put earplugs in and made my 5’8”, 150 pound frame curl up as small as possible against the window.
I could tell I wouldn’t be allowed to sleep. Hell hath no fury like a bodybuilder scorned. He fidgeted around and continued a loud running commentary which included something about A playlists versus B playlists for Rush concerts for the duration of the two hour and thirty-eight minute flight. I wanted to ask him if he minded shutting the fuck up, but had a feeling it wouldn’t matter. I began to wish for the mother and her backpacked toddlers. At least they tend to fall asleep at some point after the seat kicking wears them down.windowseat

Damn. I had to pee, but would face the sticky issue of getting out of my row.Do I turn my ass or front to pass the guys? Forget it. I’ll just hold it.

“So, do you want to meet us for the concert in Reading Thursday night? I can probably get another ticket for that show.”

I looked at him and said, “Sorry, I think I have to return some videotapes.” He looked confused, thus confirming that the only thing we had in common were dumbbells.

“Uh, no. Not my thing. I’m not much of a concert goer.” Unless you count Kid Rock, Reverend Run, Greg Allman, Def Leppard, Coldplay, Madonna, Blue Oyster Cult, Whitesnake, Great White, Guns n Roses,an awesomely absinthed night at the Stone Temple Pilots, The Trailer Park Boys live, nearly every Cirque du Soleil show…I pushed my earplugs in deeper, turned into the window and tried to ignore his jostling leg up my rear. My throbbing forehead pressed against the cold window and I desperately wished for a pair of those expensive noise cancelling headphones and sleep.
When you don’t sleep on a flight, it seems long. Really, really long. This was clearly one of those flights.

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Eventually, it was time to get off the plane. Or as the airlines call it in their made-up word, “deplane”.
Mr. O eyed me as I stood up, looking like he may make one last desperate attempt. With a big smile and a warm tone in my voice I told him, “Touch anything on me and my fist will ‘Rush’ into your face, sweetheart.” He went silent for the first time in hours.

I stepped past him and shook out my hair. He took a step back and made room for me to pass. Victory. Exhausted victory.
Pee or Starbucks? I desperately needed the bathroom, but Starbucks was………Closer To The Heart.

 

COPYRIGHT APRIL HUNTER. NO PART OF THIS BLOG MAY BE USED WITHOUT WRITTEN PERMISSION.

Truth or Lies?

3 Jun

lie

The problem with being around a writer is that you never know how much they’re taking from you. I steal – or am “inspired” – from many around me.

I take from people’s stories, personalities, problems and conversations.

Anything and everything can be material; I’m always observing. Nothing is off limits.

Bad decisions make the best stories.

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been with friends who have begged: “Please do not write about this, April. Okay?”

Or someone will hover over my shoulder as I’m writing. “What are you…?”

“Nothing.”

“Yeah, right. Let me see…”

“You smell like drama and a headache. Get away from me.”

So, I always tell the truth. Even when I lie.    

 

April 054

 

There is a fine and sometimes blurry line between fake fiction and real non fiction.

 

“She kissed him and tasted cigarettes and disappointment.”

“Are you taking your medicine?”

“No.”

“But you’re depressed.”

“Good. That means I’ll be inspired.”

—-

Being single at fifty-two was confusing. She sipped her wine. Looking at the online dating sites seemed unreal. Half the men her age seemed on the defensive, clearly having been hurt before.

The other half looked like shit.

—-

“Mom died. You need to come home.”

That’s how he had ended up back in the tiny house, in a tiny Nebraska town full of tiny minds.

—–

Florian was only culturally Hispanic, because she found she’d had to translate a menu for him in the restaurant Paella. It was a culture Abby had quickly learned to appreciate after a small town, white bread upbringing chock full of aprons and meatloaf. His was one of café Bustelo and cigar factories.

She felt the heat emanating from his body as his full lips bit hers and brushed softly against her ear. He wrapped his hands in her hair and pulled her roughly into him in full view of whoever cared to watch in the busy parking garage. He pressed her against the car, burying his face in her neck. She liked the way he felt. She liked his dark eyes and aquiline nose. She liked his passion for life.

The next day Abby returned his text in Spanish and said, “I’ll make you learn this.”

“I know…I’m a bad Latino. I’m sure there are many things you can teach me. That’s why I’m keeping you.”

“Oh, are you? We shall see about that.”

“See we shall.”  

“Mind the gap.” The tube doors slid open and people rushed in as we shoved our way out, surfing along with the teeming throng of black and grey clad bodies pushing up the stairs. The grey-white tiled walls dripped with dampness…

She’s  late. Again.

Not because she’s high maintenance. Because she doesn’t want to go.

Procrastination. Stomach churning. She hates this.

Self revolving, self serving, selfish. Me, me, me. That is what she sees when she looks at them.

Far too stupid to be whores. They’d rather give it away like sluts. For attention.

“Look at me! How fabulous I am, right?”

Stupid, stupid girls.

Narcissism. Borderline personality disorder. Mommy and daddy issues. Undiagnosed bipolar disorder.  All rolled into one room multiplied by 35.

This is the entertainment business.

It won’t make you crazy. Crazy makes it.

He wrapped his arm around her from behind and in the filtered twilight, she could make out several skulls and the Virgin Mary on the colorful tattoo that ran from his shoulder to his wrist. One of many he hid under his crisp suit and tie during the week. He wasn’t one for words or sentiment. When he did speak, it was matter-of-fact, blunt and stoic. 

His was a character of contradictions. Punk rock and golf. Independent art and million dollar contracts. Athletism and exhaustion. Chaste and carnal. Impatience and biding. Supercilious and open minded. A love of food and an empty refrigerator.

She found him brutally direct and completely unreadable.

He dumped the Big Gulp cup with change out on his tatty blue blanket and counted. Thirty-eight dollars. Not bad for the day, but not good either. Most of it had been earned on his last trick, a coup des gras magic levitation combo. He’d waited until the New Orleans streets were packed with happy drunks. Timing was everything.

“I wish we could make more money,” he said to the scruffy brown mutt lying at his side. Sam was never far from his side. Her bushy tail wagged easily despite the conditions they lived in.

“Do you?” 

Rodney looked up. An old black man with a milky eye that stared off to the left stood before him. He wore a starched white uniform and had a Creole accent. Sam didn’t growl, which surprised Rodney. “I’m Claude. I work at La Richelieu and I enjoyed your act.” He reached down and scratched Sam behind the ear. “Tell me…have you ever thought about voodoo?”

Her eyes adjusted to the darkness and a large medieval contraption was before her. Leather straps, metal, cuffs. A sign read “Please tip your attendants. These rooms are not self cleaning.” In the corner, a blond was kneeling in front of a middle aged man sitting on a dark purple vinyl couch with khaki pants around his ankles and his hands on the back of her head.

She worked with the church, spending her nights taking calls and heading into the cold to pick up strays and search for lost pups. On this night, she’d found a little white dog with big, brown eyes and took him back to her place. He didn’t stop trembling until she wrapped him in a blanket and fed him.  He ate like there was no tomorrow and wriggled into her ankle afterwards in happiness. He wasn’t in bad shape, really. He couldn’t have been out there long because he was still groomed. She pet his soft white face, cradling him as he kissed her cheek and nose. Walking outside, she crossed the dusky yard to a sizable wooden pen. As she neared, the barking and snarling coming from it hit a fever pitch.

She kissed the little mutt on the head and then dropped him into the pit bull den as bait.

The left side showed me immediately why she’d survived and I hadn’t. A truck carrying long metal tubes had lost several.  One went through my windshield. The glass was a crumbled spider web splattered with blood and bits of skin. The metal was perfectly intact.

And it could be found pierced straight through my chest.

Mark Twain’s advice is to “write what you know” – which can be taken or mistaken in many ways.

 

 

Chapter 20: Men Are Like Shoes 

9 May

marche-bacchus-french-bistro-wine-shop-marche-bacchus_28_550x370

She sighed. We were sitting outside a cafe near the beach on a chilly winter day with our coats buttoned up tight and steaming cappuccinos in our hands. There were also two glasses of Cabernet…as chasers.

“I don’t get it. Some days I really think I’m over this and can do it all myself. Who needs him? He doesn’t do the things I ask him to. It’s almost like he doesn’t do them on purpose because I’m asking! Then just when I’m ready to end it he’ll do something amazing and I love him again. But next week…it’s the same thing all over.”

I looked at her. “Men are like shoes.”

“Shoes? I don’t get it.”a49b18f13a404bc3b77136b967e988a3

I pointed to her black stiletto boots. “Do you expect your shoes to change to fit your feet?”

She looked puzzled. “No…”

“Then why do you expect men to change to fit your needs? Those boots are hot, but I’m sure after a while they hurt. What happens then? Do you try to lower the heel and reshape them, do you kick them off and go barefoot…or do you slip on a more comfortable pair?”

She laughed. “You can’t be serious. Men and shoes?”

all-men-are-shoes

“Oh, sweetheart, of course I am! Think about it…the relationship and love between women and shoes can be as complicated and inexplicable as it is between any woman and man. If you don’t expect your shoes to change, don’t expect a man to change. Some are pretty and uncomfortable. Others fit great but lack flair. Some women can only love shoes that hurt their feet. However, sometimes you love shoes that don’t change, but loosen up. They become your favorite. So comfortable, that even when they start falling apart, you’ll never want to get rid of them. “

 

“Oh, wow. That makes so much sense. Where did you come up with that?”

“I didn’t. For a couple of years, while I was living in France I found that the French have a vastly different and much more honest way of looking at things. It was there that I heard the saying ‘men are like shoes.’ The more I thought about it, the saying clicked with me. I had a much better outlook of relationships afterwards. Namely, not being disappointed or bitter. It simply was what it was and I brought this saying back to America to amuse my friends.

Some shoes fit better than others. Sometimes you go shopping and there’s nothing you like. And then, as luck would have it, the next week you find two pairs that are perfect, but you don’t have the money for both.”

We drained the last of our wine.

Gathering our bags to leave, I looked at her and smiled. “Your time and energy is valuable. Don’t waste too much of it expecting your shoes to change. Shoes that pinch don’t have to be part of your life, you know. Sometimes you have to try on a few pairs to find something that is the perfect fit for you. C’est la vie.”

 

shoeper-shoe4-challenge

 

COPYRIGHT APRIL HUNTER. NO PART OF THIS BLOG MAY BE USED WITHOUT WRITTEN PERMISSION.