Recently, my parenting skills were called into question. I had a good hand it raising my nieces for a few years while my sister and i were living together after her divorce; and i thought i did a pretty good job of fostering a good sense of self for them both; at least the eldest; whom has grown into a really amazing woman. She’s strong, outspoken, not afraid to show who she really is, and has a twisted sense of humor (just like her uncle).

My eldest niece never ceases to amaze me with how well thought out and opinionated she can be; she posts things on facebook and comments thoughtfully about women’s rights and politics. She’s proud of who she is, and i’m extremely proud of that.

I want that for my daughter. I don’t want her to be afraid to express herself, I want her to know what she wants out of life, and not afraid to go for it.

I didn’t intentionally direct my daughter to be a tomboy. I let her express a thought or want, and i encourage it. I will suggest a movie or a tv show i think she might like; and she dives in. She’ll ask me thoughtful questions about shows and animations that shes interested in, and i answer to the best of my ability. I’ve tried to keep a cap on how comfortable i get with being her friend, but i REALLY want to allow her to explore and find things she’s interested in on her own.¬†

Every day, she surprises me with questions, or new information about something she’s getting into. and i am happy that she’s able to find something that makes her happy and fulfills that desire for more.¬†

I want my daughter to be who she wants to be, i really don’t want to mold her into what i expect her to be. If she decides that she likes girls; great, i’m totally supportive. More than anything, i want my daughter to be happy. and i hope i’m able to foster that feeling of being a complete human being.

I’m trying to think of how I can repurpose this blog; as it was originally intended to document the trials and errors of my dating life; and the multiple failed dating scenarios that had occurred previously this year. However, now that i find myself in a steady, healthy, and wonderful relationship; i feel the need to change directions on this blog. i’ve still got another 6 months left on the domain, and i think i’m planning on keeping it.¬†

Maybe i’ll just write about the various directions i’m going with regards to being a parent to an amazing 10 year old; the ongoing struggles of maintaining a pseudo-relationship with my ex-wife; the continuing adventures of freelance design; working through the new feelings i’m having for an amazing new woman in my life; and whatever geek fuel i find myself on.

Pok√©mon has become my game of choice as of late, and while regular gaming enthusiasts have giggled at my sincere enjoyment of these games; i’m having a great time playing through multiple iterations of these games in hopes of “catching them all” as one were to say.¬†

Maybe I’ll find time to make a rant about my opinions on things like the Kavenaugh hearings, the fall of the patriarchy, and hypocrisy that has befallen the political culture of this country, or maybe i’ll just bitch and whine about the little things that bother me in daily life.

this blog is a free flowing expression of whats going on in my head; and whats happening in my life. 

this used to be my therapists job; to dissect and dismantle the thoughts in my head, but i’ve made the process public, so its up for your interpretation of why i do the dumb things i do.¬†

What does it mean to be happy? Is it another person’s responsibility to make you happy? Are you supposed to do things selfishly for your own happiness? Well, I’m happy now for neither of those reasons. I’m happy not because of someone else, but happy FOR someone else. I’ve found someone that legitimately makes me happy just to be around, be near, talk to, and spend time with.¬†

I used to feel like i needed someone to show me attention/affection to be happy; but its not at all what i really needed. It was a matter of finding someone who appreciated me in a way, that was supportive and encouraging of what i’m doing on my own. I don’t feel the same way i did before, i don’t feel alone, or extraneous; i feel like i mean something to someone, and that alone gives me a great feeling.¬†

It has been a long long time since i felt so contented with my life. I’m happy i have found someone so special who wants a healthy relationship.¬†

Somewhere, between Like and Love, is where i’m at now. Things are going great with the magnanimous one. We are spending almost every free evening together, and introducing each other to various things that interest us; both of us considerate of each others boundaries and getting into deeper conversations about what our past lives have been, and what we’re looking forward to in the future, or things we’d like to do, possibly together.¬†

Even discussing each of our baggage, I still really am looking forward to more of her.¬† Neither of us has really flinched at the others pasts and negatives; and i can’t say i’ve ever felt more comfortable getting to know someone.¬†

In my past relationships, i’ve felt really vulnerable, and unable to really express how i’m feeling; i’ve felt like i’ve needed to walk on pins and needles and avoiding subjects that may cause tension. But with her, I can tell her almost anything, and it feels liberating.¬† So far, only a little over two months in, this has been one of the most fulfilling and rewarding relationships i’ve been in. She appreciates me, respects what i do, wants to dig deeper into what makes me tick¬†(SIDENOTE: I may be a research project?), and she isn’t just trying to impress me or present a likable version of herself to appeal to me; I honestly think she’s showing her true self to me, which i find even more endearing. This may be a byproduct of her career, and the help i’ve gotten from my own therapist over the last few years. Building a relationship on open, honest, and truthful communication, and truly wanting the other person to be happy.¬†

We’ve even discussed our ‘Languages of Love’;¬†Words of Affirmation. Quality Time, Receiving Gifts, Acts of Service, and Physical Touch. Which was a new concept for me, however it makes perfect sense as to how i prefer to show my affection, as well as how i’d like to be loved in return. I am definitely a supporter of the Words of Affirmation, Quality Time, and Acts of service; and Physical touch; and neither of us is high on the Receiving Gifts. I highly encourage anyone to look into what their preferred languages are. It opens a whole key to how you relate to your partner.¬†

Both of us have expressed feelings beyond ‘liking’ each other; but are both of us are working up to the L word. And it doesn’t look like either of us is playing chicken with the other’s emotions. We’re heading straight for something substantial. And yet, both of us are completely aware that this still may not be the final destination, but enjoying the journey of getting to know each other more and more. If we split, both of us will come away feeling like better persons because of it; and have better ideas of what comes next.¬†

I’m not looking for a way out; like a bird with the cage open, i’m happy where i’m at, and not going to fly away. We’ve got a few more months left to go before i can introduce her to my daughter, and i cannot wait. I think she will get along with my daughter great, and once my ex has warmed to the idea, i’m fairly sure, she’d get along with her as well.¬†

Since my last post; things have changed a bit. I met an amazing girl; she’s kind, generous, beautiful, and appreciates me for me. We’ve progressed to the point i’m confident in calling her my girlfriend, and really enjoy spending time with her.

This past week, my divorce was finalized, i’m officially a free agent again, no longer married.
While this is good news; troubles have come again.

I messed up this week, twice, which i regret both instances. Thursday was my birthday; and while it was overall a good day, lots of birthday wishes from friends and family; i was busy at work and had waited too long throughout the day to try to make plans with my daughter to make plans to have a birthday dinner with her. I had waited until i got home from work to try to contact her mother, to arrange for plans; but i had gotten no answer to my calls; and when i texted my daughter, she did not immediately respond. I wasn’t sure if i was going to hear back, as i was sure my ex was still upset about the events earlier in the week; so i wasn’t sure if i was going to be able to see my daughter. So i made alternate plans, and left the apartment to head out to meet friends for a birthday drink.
While i was already almost to my destination, my daughter texted back, and i apologized for not making plans sooner, and assumed it was too late to make dinner plans. I told her we’d celebrate this weekend, by taking in a movie, and getting dinner, and do some fun things.
This was a bad choice. I should have turned around, and immediately headed to pick her up and spend the evening with her.
I chose instead to go see friends, and meet up with my girlfriend instead of seeing my daughter.
I hurt her, i made her upset. I feel terrible about this, after the fact. i should have been a better father. i wasn’t sure what her plans were for the evening, i also was low on money.
I fought with my ex, about this mistake; and how much i hurt my daughter’s feelings by not spending my birthday with her.
I am hoping i can make things right with her before next weekend; so i can see her, and focus all of my attention on spending time with her.
I messed up. and i’m really sorry about it; and no matter how much my ex tells me she doesn’t think i really mean it when i say i regret my decisions; i really do. i feel like a jerk, and i really don’t deserve forgiveness for what i did.

i love my daughter, and she should be my top priority, but that night, i chose not to.

i hope i can be a better father than what i have been. she really deserves better than what i’ve been able to give her.

So, I recently met a new girl through Bumble; and my attention was perked immediately; though we matched sunday evening, by early monday morning she had crafted a thoughful and curious message; mentioning how she had learned what Klaatu Barada Nikto had meant and a few other things that she had gleaned from my recent instagram posts. It obviously wasn’t a thoughtless swipe on her part; i must have had something that stood out to her.
We met for drinks monday evening after work, and almost immediately hit it off; we discussed lots of our common interests, troubles, and pasts; i challenged her to a game of tetris (just to test her skill), and she did pretty well; able to keep up with me for a dozen levels or so.. i still won. i don’t LET people win.. they have to earn it.
She is definitely a long term possibility at this point (granted, we’ve only seen each other twice), she’s kind, funny, cute, fascinated by my nerdy interests and curious to know more; so when i go off on a tangent about what marvel movies she has to have seen before Infinity War, she was actually interested in what i had to say; and what my suggestions were. We discussed comics, television, briefly discussed music, and greatly enjoyed each others company. After the bar, we took a walk, enjoying each others company for a while longer.
Tuesday night, we met up after an appointment to venture out to a bar trivia night; since the night before she had mentioned that was something she was interested in doing. I love trivia; so i was definitely game. it was a little rocky through round two, (a music round) in which we were both comically out of our element. All in all, another great time was had while attempting to hold our own at a bar trivia event neither of us had prepared for.

side note.. i really should learn more about pop music…

Things have been up and down lately; no recent hits on the dating apps; and a few good nights here and there. And another cycle brought around full circle. Me and this girl have been back and forth with being chatty and flirty; a series of good times, and also a series of dry periods where she seems to go completely cold on me. and yet; i still allow myself to get wrapped back up in thoughts of her. Things had gone back to a fun upbeat state; and i thought we were doing ok. But after the last week, again, i feel like i don’t register anywhere in particular on her radar. She doesn’t introduce me to friends as a friend, but as her designer; and although the time we hang is fun; i’m pushed aside for something else. which i cannot understand.

time and time again, i let myself back into a groove, and then when it gets rough, i have no one else to blame but myself. I put myself out there, and get burned, or scarred, and apparently i’m an idiot who doesn’t learn not to touch the red flames. but the flames are pretty.. and look so warm and friendly..

I’m not in a good place this week; i’m cranky and despondent, and almost feel like i could vanish from site and no one would notice. I know, i know.. there’s always my daughter that would miss me; but when was the last time someone called me up to do something, and not just because they needed something; or when was the last time someone reached out to contact me via a message to say hi, whats up; instead of asking me for work. hard to imagine feeling good about myself, when i don’t feel valued as a person; only as a machine punching buttons.

I keep finding myself screaming hateful obsceneties in my head at random strangers for their slow ascent up the escalators (IT’S NOT A FUCKING RIDE. KEEP STEPPIN), slow walkers on the street who change direction on a whim without considering whose path they be crossing, the selfish person who immediately checks their phone as soon as they exit the train, or people who stand with doe eyes when passengers are trying to enter or exit the transport, but are unable to because of your dumb oversized backpack.

i’m a hateful asshole this week. and really am in the mood to just tell everyone to go fuck off.

When its been a long productive day; there’s nothing more that i’d look forward to doing than sharing aspects of my day or laughing about what idiotic thing i may have done or said with another human being; and even more so when that other person can reassure me that it wasn’t as bad as i had thought, and that all of the bad things that i had thought were nothing more than just that, thoughts.

Modern dating is more than just discouraging, its down right depressing. You’re shown all of the other lonely people out there, the glamour shots, the shameless selfies, the gym uniforms, the touristy stuff; and the obligatory shot of snuggling with a pet.

But when you’ve spent enough time swiping, liking, and clicking those individuals you think are within reach, and your actions fall upon death ears; your left discontent and wondering if the entire system is rigged towards those more attractive and better off than yourself. I am almost for certain, i fall amongst the populous of people that don’t indiscriminately swipe or click yes on every profile hoping for a match. I take more caution and thought into my approach; and wonder if there is any difference between a ‘like’ from me, or the other applicant. Would there be any benefit to a weighted system, that favors a more selective choice such as myself instead of casting a wide net hoping to catch a bite? I have numerous criteria i hope to see in a profile before i begin to consider casting my ballot; over-make-up’d selfies are an instant turn off; groups photos where you cannot figure out who is the primary objective; photos of half a head in dim light in an attempt to be mysterious. And don’t even get my started on the aberrant use of the ‘blue steel’ gaze and and various fowl species attempting to be portrayed by the duckface genres. Once i’ve been presented with a good idea of what you look like in 1.) your daily presentation, 2.) a night out, 3.) your morning makeup-less self; and/or 4.) looking like you’re actually enjoying yourself in your surroundings. If i make it this far, then i look forward to reading the bio, to determine a few other characteristics about you before i swipe. I look for humor, admitting to some deeper nerdiness, or perhaps just that there’s some underlying fact that gives me some idea that you’re intelligent and aren’t filling your brain with the instagram accounts of what the kardashians ate for lunch. I think i’ve got every right to be at least a little bit picky; i mean, i know what i DON’T want, and am at least pretty sure of what i’m looking for on a superficial app presentation of a woman.

its getting late, i’m getting drunk, and i should be heading home.

tomorrow brings a new day of challenges, and more of the same waiting and wanting.

Aside from a girl in Ukraine who desperately wanted to get to know me this past week; not much else has occurred.

I matched with a girl, who Hinge said lived nearby; so i accepted the request, and said hi, as i usually do. She took a day to respond, but once she did, she flooded me with questions about what i was doing professionally, and what i was looking for in a girl; while not completely strange, most of this information was available on my profile; so she obviously didn’t read it.

I asked what part of Chicago she was in, and her only response was that she is not yet in Chicago, but hopes to move here soon.. umm.. but.. you’re not here now? so whats the point of seeking a mate on the far side of the world without being anywhere in proximity to get to know that person more?

after i un-matched her, a few days later she had requested another match; which this time, i wasn’t falling for it. Sorry, i’m not going to be your green card spouse.

After a busy week last week; and cranking out another freelance project; someone made a promise to attend a movie with me; under normal circumstances, i wouldn’t hold her to it, but she assured me that she’s in; this is the same girl who had previously made promises, and or tentatively had made plans but was unable to ever fulfill them. I’m anxiously awaiting this get together, but without expecting anything other than enjoying a movie together. Its not a late show, so maybe we’ll hang out afterwards; but i won’t be upset if we don’t. Coincidentally, i have Friday off of work, so i have no real reason to go home; i’m leaving myself open to the possibility something may happen, but i’m not getting myself too excited.

I’m officially in the home stretch of the divorce; my lawyer contacted me today suggesting we may have a final deal and would be able to have this all completed before the end of the month. to close that one chapter of my life and move onto the next is ever becoming a possibility. I’m ready for whatever is next.