A Constant Test

Dear Nora,

My last letter was so long, I am going to try and be a little more brief this time. No guarantees though… but first—tell me all the things! What’s the latest on your processes? How is your work on resistance going (good resistance vs bad)? Any updates on grad school and moving? Any changes on things with Cory or Abby? How are the sexcapades? How is your self-care going? 

My forever alone update: I have been working hard on all of my aspirations for the year. I am learning to play the ukulele and I love it! I am reading lots of books, and seeking out the stories of others. I am cooking all the things, and often improvising or combining recipes…etc. I am doing some healthier activities and habits for my body and it feels good. I am taking myself on dates and to fun concerts, and branching out to meet new people. Of course I have many things still to do, but my process feels good.

Treat yo self! Got myself new glasses and a giant carrot onesie from Hannah Hart… because… why not?

It feels good. Minus one part. NORA, WHY. Why must sex be this constant nagging little reminder in my brain all the time. “Pst, Ruth… hey… remember me?”. It is insistent. It is loud. I am two weeks away from my solid 3 month goal. And I am proud of me. Some days are just fine, but I’ve come to realize more than ever, that my body and its sexual needs are just a part of who I am and part of being human. I worry a little if something is wrong with me…

But then I remember biology and that I am a 30-year-old woman with a fairly strong sex drive in the height of what my body believes are my time-to-get-pregnant years.

Long story short, I need it and I miss it. Not just actual sex, I miss just physical intimacy… being held, being kissed, having my neck messaged… Yes, I can live without it. I am fine. But not having sex just makes it take up a disproportional part of my thoughts. And apparently a disproportional part of this letter!

Ok, moving on…

Me and Magpie showing off our black and white outfits and lookin cute.

Wait.. never mind, I need to talk about it just a little bit more. Ok, so, I’ve figured out, if I’m going to wait another 3 months before considering dating (which is my intention)… I’m going to need more than just a new fancy dildo. I need a hookup buddy. Like, someone I have no interest in dating, but feel safe and comfortable with and attracted to. Who is in a similar situation to me. I have been mulling over where this unicorn could come from. I think my takeaway from last summer is that occasionally, with the right person, I can have sex without a bunch of emotional complications. I have no fucking clue how I’d broach that subject with someone. “Hey girl, you seem chill and I’m attracted to you and looking for a no-strings-attached sex buddy. You wanna? LMK, tnx. *hugs*” Help me Nora. How do I do this? Do I just need to place a craiglist ad or something? Or is this a dumb idea? Do I just need to deal and wait until I find the next girl I’m gonna date?

That sounds disastrous because I think I’m waaaaaaay more likely to jump into the wrong relationship if I’m on major sex withdrawal….

On the friend side of things, progress with me and Elise has been really positive and no worries about re-sparking anything there. I got to hang with her girlfriend for the first time the other day (remember the one she started dating a month after we broke up?) and I like her a lot. Elise and I are opposites in more ways than we are similar, so I think we’re still figuring out what a healthy and functioning friendship means. But it’s felt like a good thing so far. We are taking it slowly. 

Lily and I are still in a weird zone of not sure how to act around each other. She usually cries when she sees me, and I just feel kinda blah and tell her time will heal this, and don’t really know what else to say. She says all of her romantic feelings are gone, but she still feels jealous thinking about me moving on. So… I think there’s still more to work out there. I, on the other hand, just feel kind of annoyed, and bad for her and occasionally guilty—but also—not really. This is just life. I know my intentions were good, and I’m sorry it didn’t work out, but it is what it is. Am I a cold bitch? I don’t know what I expected in terms of timeline. But I am ready to just be friends. She wants to be ready, but is not.

Hannah. Hannah is a whole other story. Being single again has allowed me to spend quite a bit of time getting to know her. The more I know, the more I like her. I feel a really great kind of bond with her. She is really intelligent and goofy and has just an all-around great disposition and we have fun together and I am myself around her and excited to see her. Last summer when we briefly dated, we had good chemistry, and that has been haunting me lately. Here is someone, available, who I like very much as a person, who I already know is an excellent kisser… but I quickly had to rule out “friends with benefits” because she’s just as bad as I am at not getting emotionally hooked when there’s a physical connection happening. Case closed, right? But then… she told me the other night she has developed some substantial feelings for me. Noooooooooooo. Nora, why???? Why can’t I just have a friend without it leading to more? After she told me about her feelings, I let out a scream of frustration in my car because I was so excited about her and I don’t want to lose her. To make matters worse, I think I am feeling something too. But I don’t trust my feelings. And more importantly, IT DOES NOT MATTER. Because I am not deviating from my plan. 

How easy it would be to fall into that. Far too easy. In a heartbeat, I could be cuddled up next her and deep into it again.

Why do I have this inner resistance to maintaining my single status? Am i sabotaging myself? Or am I resisting being with her because there is something there and I’m afraid of it? Afraid of repeating what happened with Lily? How do I know what resistance is healthy? I don’t have a strong gut feeling that “yes, this is it”, but I also don’t have a feeling of “definitely not”. I instead feel this pull towards her with no explanation of why, but it feels like a special connection, a kinship of sorts. And maybe it’s just a long-term friendship type of bond. But with the attraction to her, and with my sex withdrawals—my brain is fuzzy. I’ve been trying to look past that and just focus deliberately on just getting to know her and feel out why we feel drawn to each other without jumping to conclusions like I did with Lily and breaking promises to myself. Send me all your good energy Nora, I think I’m gonna need some outside strength. I’m praying that somehow her feelings for me just go away and we stop being attracted to each other. But I don’t know how to silence the part of me is saying “what if…? Dating her would be so different for me than anyone I’ve dated…. Maybe different is good, maybe different is right…” I think the best way that I can describe it is I feel fond of her and intrigued by her. 

I really appreciated what you shared about internal resistance (i.e. working against yourself vs. protecting yourself), and I’ve been thinking on that quite a bit. I watched the video and I think there is a lot of truth there.

The issue, like you said, is knowing the difference.

Lately I’ve been feeling a tangle of resistance and I can’t sort it out. My body is being so loud and annoying, and my heart and mind are bickering and I don’t feel at peace within myself. What do I need to do? Isolate myself from humanity? Not hang out around any lesbians? Why does this keep happening? Thank GOD for Penny. Penny is my best friend in Portland, and she and I have never struggled with any other layers of anything. It’s been a pure friendship without confusion for both of us—what a miracle! I’ve known her for two years, and become closest to her over the past year and I honestly don’t know what I would have done without her. The other day I was telling her all about my situation with Hannah and she gave it to me straight “RUTH, if she was it for you… you would know. And you probably would break your 6 month thing and just go for it. But you’re finding ways to justify how she might be for you. So no matter what happens in the future, you need to proceed with ‘she is not for you RIGHT NOW, and probably never.’”

Hannah says she can have a friendship with me, no problem. That she can prioritize logic over feelings and she is fine and it doesn’t hurt her to do that. And that she wants me in her life, whatever form that takes. I am trying to trust that is true. I told her friendship is all I have to offer her. As for me, in two weeks I need to find a hookup l buddy and get some of my pent-up energy out so my brain can clear and my body can be quiet. And hold fast to my process, as you call it. 

I’m working hard Nora. It’s hard to be forever alone, and also hard to ensure I stay that way. Why must life be a constant test that I feel doomed to fail?

I’d love to hear updates from you. And any advice or tough love you have please send them my way. Thank you for lending a listening ear. I love you Nora!

Resisting, Ruth

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