They’re Not All Gems (But Some Can Be)

gems

When I started seeing someone for the first time after my ex and I broke up, I was amazed that this guy remembered things I mentioned in passing. With some of the guys I’ve dated since, equally ordinary things continued to wow me: showing up when he said he would, being willing to make plans rather than depend on me to figure out everything, making the time to see me even if he was busy, being the one to reach out first because he wanted to talk to me.

Those of you who have been in happy relationships before probably think I’m easily impressed.

But those of you who have been in unhappy relationships before know exactly what I’m talking about.

Like most relationships, my ex and I were happy together until we weren’t. Unlike most relationships that sour, though, we stayed together way past our prime. That, combined with the fact that “attentive” would be one of the words to least describe him but describe me best, meant that by the end, there were a lot of things that we put up with from each other for far too long.

On my end, that meant knowing I had to fight for his attention, daily. That his friends would come before I did, nearly always, even if we had prior plans. That my texts would go unanswered, regularly, and forget about phone calls. That I’d have to tell him things over and over and over and over again for him to remember, and forget about the subtlety of dropping hints because whoosh it always went over his head/ in one ear and out the other. That a time and place for us to meet was always in flux, never certain, and I’d better move heaven and earth in my schedule to meet him when he was available because chances were, he wouldn’t be available to see me when I was free.

It’s been pointed out to me many a time that this wasn’t just bad boyfriend behavior, but bad friend behavior. True, some of us are flakier than others, and not everyone is a stickler for being on time or fast at responding to texts and calls and emails. But at the end of the day, if a person wants you to be in his or her life (romantic, platonic, whatever), they’ll make it known.

It’s something I find myself continuously learning and relearning — amazing what an impact my last serious relationship has had on me, two years after everything’s been and dusted. It’s not that I ever directly compare my ex’s behavior to anyone, because it’s not a comparison and that’s not fair to anyone involved. But my experiences with him make me realize what I expect in how people treat me, and is helping me learn how to pick out gems from the rest. Sure, not every guy who makes an effort to see me will be a gem, no matter how wowed I still get when they get in touch when they say they will or remember things I say in passing on a whim. But some can be gems, and that’s the thing to remember.

It’s Good to Have Options, Right?

options

When one’s talented, there’s a fine line between bragging and being realistic about one’s abilities. Which is to say yes, I know I am good at my job. I’m actually pretty damn good at my job. I’ve known this for a while, but it’s not like it’s something I think about regularly. Or talk about regularly, if even at all.

However, I was reminded of this fact when I recently applied for a temporary position in another division of my office… and got it. (In my workplace, it’s not unusual to temporarily work at another division for a set amount of time. The idea is to allow employees to gain other skills and experiences that can be transferable to the employee’s regular job.) It might not have been as competitive a process as it would have been if I were applying to a brand new job outside my office, but it was still competitive, and I got it. Which says something about me and my qualifications, right?

Then, not long after I was notified I was accepted to the temporary position I applied for, another division contacted me and offered me a temporary job with them. I don’t know which shocked me more: that I’m recognized by my colleagues as someone that they’d want in their division, or that I suddenly had more options about how much I wanted to vary my work in the near future than I had possibly ever had. I mean, I’ve had people cold contact me on LinkedIn offering me an interview based on my profile. But this was different. This was an opportunity that came to me, borne out of my contributions around the office since I started working there.

Basically, I have options and I need to make a decision, or find a way to make both work if that’s what I ultimately want. I have really good options, so I’m in a most fortunate position. But I am not used to having these sorts of options! Considering how routine most of my life has been like of late, it’s as though the universe has decided that it’s time to shake things up for me. That’s great, but I feel wholly unprepared to make these decisions on my own! Thank goodness for wonderful friends and colleagues who’ve unwittingly been my sounding boards as I weigh pros and cons. They’ve have given me great advice and insight that I desperately need.

And yes, I realize how this all sounds. I’m making a big deal out of amazing opportunities not everyone is afforded, so I should just keep my mouth shut and keep doing what I do. (Part of me is wondering why I’m bothering to write this out.) After all, it’s good to have options, right?

My Internet Squad

squad

Stereo came to DC for about 10 days and they were probably the best 10 days of this month.

See, Stereo and I are kindred spirits. We get along like nobody’s business and our fiercely loyal to our friendship. We’ve marveled many a time at the fact that it’s like we’ve been best friends all our lives, even though we only met in person for the first time last September. Hell, we’ve known each other for only two years, and the bulk of that was through Twitter interactions and select blog posts (select because she doesn’t blog regularly and I’m pretty sure she only reads my more personal essay-type posts).

The Internet is a powerful thing. It’s how I’ve become friends, and often close friends, with people I otherwise would have never crossed paths with. Stereo is one of them, of course. José and Stereo are friends because I introduced them on Twitter. I met Amanda through Twitter and blogging. And Jose met Amanda through Stereo and me, so it’s sort of like he met her through the Internet, too.

The four of us got bottomless brunch the Saturday Stereo was here, and in the midst of the constant refilling of plates and pitchers of mimosas we talked about how our friendships began and marveled at how the internet led to all of us crossing each other’s paths. We gossiped and traded stories and ate and drank and laughed until we cried (at least, I know I did). It was a fantastic brunch, made all the more fantastic by the company.

This photo was taken after brunch, while we were basking in the sunshine along the streets of Eastern Market. It makes me smile every time I look at it, and wish that the four of us could be transported together back to brunch and that wonderful afternoon. I’m so glad these people are part of my Internet squad — although really, I don’t think they need the “Internet” descriptor anymore.