Tatiana Talks

Truth Changes

Back when I still thought being head cheerleader would solve all my problems, I had a teacher that wanted to explain truth to a bunch of 17-year-olds.

She asked us, using me as an example, if my mother came into my bedroom when I was sleeping and told me she loved me, and the following day I was asked “When was the last time your mother told me she loved me?” What would be the truthful answer?

Then, let us suppose, that I went home and my mother told me about her late night visit to my room and its purpose, did that mean I lied earlier?

I know I have been talking (err, writing) about truth a lot lately, and there is a reason for that.

I recently learned that Houdini is dating someone I find absolutely deplorable. What bothers me isn’t that he is dating someone, or that he is dating her, really. What bothers me is trying to figure out how Houdini -- or who I thought Houdini was -- can date me and then date her. How can he possibly be attracted to both of us when we are so completely opposite? Was the time Houdini and I spent together a lie or is the guy this despicable woman dating not Houdini?

It would be lovely if it were that easy. But I realized, it’s not. Truth changes.

I think we all want it easy. We want people to fit into neat little boxes. We want the good guy. The bad boy. The hero. The villain. Sadly, however, we aren’t characters in a bad romantic comedy. We are a little more three dimensional than that -- and maybe that is a good thing.

Eff that -- it is a good thing.

See, if we were just characters in a movie, then I would be relegated to the weird, cold, strangely obsessed with things no one else cares about best friend that you like and think is funny, but never know what really happens to and after the credits roll, you completely forget about until you see her again playing another quirky best friend. But I’m more than that.

And so is Houdini.

Whatever he has done since the break-up -- and whatever he does in the future -- doesn’t change what happened between us. It doesn’t make his I love you’s a lie. And if they were a lie, it doesn't change my feelings for him. It doesn’t make my feelings for him stupid or me stupid for having them.

Same holds true for your exes; whether you spent three months with him/her or three years. We can’t know the whole truth. We can only know our truth -- and we have to trust that. And that is true not just about relationships, but about life.

So, I’m not a hypocrite for thinking I could be single and happy forever and now desperately wanting a boyfriend. It also doesn’t mean I can’t be single and happy forever. It just means that who I was when I was 23 isn’t who I am as I turn (cough, cough) 33. And thank goodness for that.

It also means that I may have to find a new way to be happy and single. It may also mean not casting every guy I meet into a convenient role so I don’t have to actually get to know him.

I know it is too late for New Year’s resolutions -- thankfully it isn’t too late for Chinese New Year’s resolutions -- but I think I finally have one (above and beyond the learning French and tennis and loosing a ton of weight). In 2011, I resolve to not dwell in the past and just try to live in the here and now with all the beauty (and sometimes ugliness) that it brings. I'm also not going to spend so much time in the here and now trying to figure out everything I don't know.

Because tomorrow could change everything.

My Black Eye

I woke up the morning after running into Houdini feeling a bit out of sorts. Nothing serious. Just the aftershock of unexpectedly running into someone that has seen you naked and vulnerable and once made you cry.

Maybe more than once.

I took a shower and decided that regardless of how I was feeling on the inside, I was going to look amazing on the outside. I walked over to my closet, pulled out my favorite gray sweater dress, then reached up on my tip-toes to pull down my gray, suede shoe boots.

The box was about a quarter of the way out when I could tell it was empty. Naturally, I pushed it back into place.

Unfortunately the box that was precariously perched on top of it, didn’t slide back into place. Instead, it came crashing down on me; the corner hitting me right in the eye.

Did I mention the box contained a pair of five-inch wedges? I don’t think I realized just how heavy those suckers were until they clocked my in the face.

I ran to my bathroom to assess the damage. My eye was red, and starting to swell. The box had broken skin, only a small amount, just under my. I gently touched the afflicted area and cringed.

It hurt. A lot. As you may recall, I had a date that night with Ringo. I looked at my swollen eye in the mirror and wondered if this was the universe’s way of telling me something.

As I dried my hair, my swollen red eye slowly turned to a swollen black eye. It wasn’t super black – just a little black, I told myself. Plus, I had all day to bring the swelling down. For those of you that don’t know me personally – I have super cold hands. Which is bad because whenever I go to get a manicure the woman painting my nails always exclaims “your hands are so cold” and then, sometimes, she laughs. However, when your shoes attack, freezing cold hands are a bonus and they provide you two ice packs conveniently located at the end of your arms.

I did my make-up, got dressed, and went back to my bathroom for a final look. Even with my hair all fussed up and the 30 pounds of concealer, all I could see was the gash under the swollen, purplish skin around my eye. I was suddenly no longer in the mood for my super cute sweater dress and decided to change.

Now, you know how when you have a zit, it's the only thing you can see but then you are talking to one of your friends and you say something like “and then I woke up this morning with this huge zit in the middle of my forehead” and they respond, what zit? And they mean it. Because you think it is huge, meanwhile no body else notices it.

That is what I was hoping was the deal with my eye. I was hoping that because I could feel it and I knew it happened that whenever I looked in a mirror it was all I could see, but in reality it wasn’t noticeable at all.

That dream started to fade when I got on the subway and I noticed people looking at me and then quickly, guiltily looking away. Of course, maybe I was just being paranoid.

Then I got into work and the first words out of my co-worker Rhoda’s mouth were, “what happened to your eye?”

Still, the piece de resistance (as the French would say) had to be on my way to my date with Ringo. I was running to catch the el and bumped into a woman. She immediately turned on me, looking like she was about to yell, when she stopped and simply said “damn.”

Apparently, my icepacks hands didn’t do the trick.

Four hours later, I was finally home with a pack of frozen edamame on my face and a glass of wine in my hand, wondering if it was just too dark in the bar for Ringo to notice my eye or if he was just being polite by not mentioning it.

I also wondered if my mom would believe my story when she saw me later that week (she did, by the way, but then, she is just as klutzy as I am so she probably had something similar happen to her once).

I also wondered if there was a way I could blame my black eye on Houdini.

But mostly I wondered how the universe was going to top this in 2011.

Arm Warmers and Hockey Socks

I like making people laugh.

I’m also not one to back down from a dare.

And, I’m also a bit of a fashion victim.

It was because these three things combined that I almost found myself standing face-to-face with Houdini in hockey socks and a mini-dress.

Let me explain.

Have you seen the arm warmers that have become all the rage? I’m sure you have and I’m sure you have strong feelings one way or the other about them. Personally, I love them. They are great to wear outside, leaving your fingers free to text, and they are equally as great to wear in the office where the collars on my mod dresses make sweaters impractical but the temperature leaves my bare arms with goose bumps – the men in the office control the thermostat and they insist that it is always too warm. Regardless, the arm warmers rock because they keep me warm and allow me to type.

Of course, there is one downside to the arm warmers and that is they leave my upper arm bare. A fact pointed out to me by a co-worker that we will call Mack. Mack teased me about this (along with others), at one point suggesting he would bring in hockey socks for me to wear.
I never actually expected him to bring in hockey socks for me to wear.

For those of you who haven’t the pleasure of knowing what hockey socks are – let me explain. You know those, striped, knit, probably polyester socks that hockey players wear over their pads and tuck into their skates? Those are hockey socks. For those of you who still don’t know what I am talking about, think acrylic leg warmers – really long, striped, oversize leg warmers.
So there I was, the proud owner of two pairs of hockey socks – that it seems I was being dared to wear. I certainly couldn’t wear them on my arms – I have put on some weight, but not that much weight. So, I was also facing a very awkward work wardrobe dilemma. How the heck was I going to pull off this look?

As luck would have it, our group decided to have a holiday bowling party, which we would be expected to attend straight from work. I found it very hard to believe this was simply a coincidence.

That’s right. I decided to wear the hockey socks (the purple, yellow and white striped pair) to the office bowling party. What does one wear with hockey socks (besides hip pads and skates)? A black mini-dress and textured tights of course. Oh, and arm warmers. Top it all off with bowling shoes and I must say, I was looking mighty fine.

And by mighty fine, I mean completely ridiculous.

But everyone at the bowling alley (at least in the immediate vicinity) worked with me and knew it was a joke. They pointed and laughed and took pictures and whenever I did well (mind you, I bowled a 59, so by well I mean knocked down any pins) they proclaimed that it had to be the socks.

We had so much fun bowling, a couple of us thought it might be fun to continue the party at a bar around the corner.

I took off my bowling shoes and wondered if I should also take off the hockey socks. Sure they were funny at a bowling alley, but they were funny because I looked ridiculous. Which, I guess would still be funny at the bar. But what if I ran into CK at the bar or along the way – he saw enough of me looking ridiculous in college.

So I took the hockey socks off. And while I didn’t run into CK (you know if I was wearing the socks I would have) I did run into someone I didn’t expect to see – Houdini.

There are a lot of embarrassing moments in break-ups. I looked down at my textured stockings and thank the lord this wasn’t one of them.

Of course, I was still wearing the arm warmers – but you know I was rocking those.

Ready. Willing. Able?

I want a boyfriend.

This might seem like an odd declaration to make. After all, this isn’t news is it?

Well, actually, it sort of is.

All of my adult life, had you asked, “Tati, do you want a boyfriend?” I would have looked at you like you were wearing Sunflower by Elizabeth Arden and responded, “of course I do.” But until recently, I don’t think I did. That’s not to say, if I found one I would have turned him away, I just think I wanted other things more. A career, to finish my novel, really long, pretty hair.

But a couple of months ago something changed. Suddenly I wanted a boy friend and I became very aware of this desire – this actual, physical desire. Not something I needed, like oxygen, but something I wanted – like the Birken bag. Or the Cartier tank watch. Though, possibly, slightly more attainable.

Then again, maybe not.

With the bag or the watch, I merely have to get over the mental hurdle that $1,000 to $4,000 is not too much money to spend on a watch or a bag and that there aren’t a dozen of better things I could do with that money.

Finding a boyfriend is infinitely harder. For one – there is meeting a guy I’m attracted to. Not as easy now that frat parties are no longer in the equation. Two, there is finding a guy that is attracted to me (also easier when loud dance music and lots of cheap alcohol were in the mix).

I’ve tried letting friends set me up to no avail and I gave my phone number to a guy I met on the train with disastrous results. I’ve joined clubs, stopped listening to my head phones at the, and started shopping at the hip grocery stores during peak hours. I’m not sure what else is left to do.

So, after the personal trainer (a fix-up by a friend) cancelled on me the second time, I realized I had run out of potential boyfriends at the moment. A thought I expressed to Bridie. She laughed and asked when I went from being single to being without any potential boyfriends. I explained to her my dilemma – something I have been tight-lipped about because I am slightly embarrassed by it – and she had some advice for me.

She suggested I make space in my life for a relationship.

Her story goes that a wise woman once told her that she woke up one day with the realization that she was ready to get remarried; even though she wasn’t seeing someone. So she sold her wedding band, cleared out half of her closet and soon met that man that would be her future husband.

Bridie took the advice, made room in her life, and met the man she is now living with.
Huh? Make room in my life.

I had no idea what this means – nor when Bridie became the weird Chinese guy from the Karate Kid movies. But since it was the only thing I hadn’t tried, I decided to give it a think.
I got on the treadmill (where I do my best sober thinking) and tried to figure out where I needed to make space in my life.

At first, all I could think about was my closet and how there was just no possible way I could clear half of it out and that if it came to it, we would just have to find a new place with lots of big closets or a small spare bedroom that we could turn into a (my) closet.

So I tried to focus on other areas of my life that would change once I had a boyfriend. I would need to get used to sharing a bed with someone again – not much I could do about that in the meantime, though. Same is true for asking for help with things around the house in an effort to make my boyfriend feel useful. And while, I was thinking about all the things I did wrong with Douchebag – who I have decided to start calling Houdini again, because Douchebag makes it sound like I’m angry with him, and really I’m not. Plus, I would like to reserve that name for someone really jerky and awful and he just doesn’t fit that bill – I remembered another complaint he could have had about me.

I never had time for him.

As I upped my speed on the treadmill, it occurred to me that I still don’t have time for someone. If I’m not working at the office, I’m working at home. If I’m not out with friends, I’m in Allentown with my family. I have been looking forward to this coming Friday for about a month now, because I had absolutely nothing scheduled. Of course, now I have something to do and so it will be another week (or more) before I can spend an evening to myself.

There is was. That is where I need to make space. Not in my closet (yet) but in my schedule.
So, I have decided to set one day a week aside for date night. And because I never do anything in moderation – I plan on taking myself out on actual dates until I find someone to do it for me. I’m looking forward to tea in a coffee shop, dinner at a new restaurant, seeing a movie, or maybe going to dance lessons (still not sure about that last one). For my first date I think I will go home, make myself a really nice and semi-complicated meal, buy a bottle of wine, light some candles, and watch a romantic movie – as opposed to something wildly inappropriate for a date like Michael Moore’s Sicko or Paradise Now.

Yes, those are two movies I watched on actual nights spent in with a significant other. No, I didn’t see anything wrong with it at the time. However, in hindsight maybe there is something to be worked on there as well. But that will have to wait.