Saturday, December 6, 2008

Back in the Saddle Again

The semester is almost over. Final exams begin Thursday, with my last happening Monday the 15th. Actually, the Monday exam is just final presesntations for my HUM 220 class. I'm going to swing dance with a girl named Amanda who is in the class with me. I've known Amanda for a few years through swing dancing, although she dances West Coast while I prefer East Coast. I've long been attracted to Amanda, but there's a half dozen reasons that I'd never ask her out, not including the fact that she's never expressed any sexual interest in me whatsoever.

Truth be told, I'm not very good when it comes to asking women out on dates. Actually, I'm not great at reading social signals, in general, which leads to me being rather ineffective when talking to women. As a result, I don't date much. It's not unusual for me to go five years between girlfriends. I just don't think to ask women out very often since the reward vs. attempt ratio is so low. But, lately, I've been really looking for someone to ask out on a date (looking, not asking, being the operative word).

When I met Ex, I didn't ask her out the first time we met; we met at a laundromat. I might never have seen her again. If it hadn't been for some luck, and me going back to the laundromat at the exact same time on the exact same day of the week for the next MONTH, I would have never been able to ask her out. We dated for almost a year. Ex claimed that she liked the fact that I waited until our second encounter to ask her out, but I still think it was a stupid thing to do.

And yet I continue to do it! I hate asking women out on a first meeting. It just seems too aggressive. And I'd like to know a girl a little bit before I ask them to spend time with me. Apparently, the accepted custom nowadays is that you ask a girl out for coffee or, at the most, lunch. But I'd like to sweep a girl off her feet, not interview her to help me run a non-profit organization!

Perhaps I'm setting my personal standards too high. After all, with my financial situation I can't afford to sweep anyone off their feet. Although, if the economy continues to decline, sweeping a girl off her feet will only require buying her dinner items which AREN'T on the Dollar Menu!

My friend, Osterberg, is of the mind that a first date should always be a sedate affair because you don't want to set the bar too high in the beginning of a relationship. Perhaps he's right, although I always put more pressure on myself to maintain the bar than any girl I've ever dated has. And the relationships, like my relationship with Ex, likely suffered as a result of establishing some high expectation that I could never fulfill to my own satisfaction.

I think I'm starting to see why I needed to get the lightsaber!

Have fun, and keep living life... or some approximation thereof.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Reality Sets In

Painting entitled "Screaming" by Louisa Giffard

It always does... Reality manages to creep itself back into everything I ever attempt to do. There's no way around it. Life just simply NEVER goes according to plan. It's such a pain in the ass!

My Financial Experiment tanked. A couple weeks ago I was all set to double my initial investment, and then some. If things had gone according to plan, I would already have over $3000, possibly closing in on $4000. Well, as I already said, nothing ever goes according to the plan. Instead, my investment dropped back down to $1000. That's not a big deal, you say. At least you didn't lose your initial investment. True, except I was counting on having at least $3000 by now so that I could take out my initial $1000 and have some money to live on (and still leave money in my experiment to grow and take out as needed) while I wait for my next batch of financial aid money to roll in sometime in February. Now, I'm forced to take out the whole $1000 so that I have money to live on, which will not, by itself, stretch until February.

That's not the only bad news. I am not going to pass College Algebra. It isn't possible. Perhaps if I had bothered to really do the homework diligently, and ask for assistance from my friends in class, I could have done it. But, that ship has passed. And an F on a transcript really fucks up your GPA. Little known fact: Do you know that's why they call it an F? It helps to reinforce the idea of just how truly FUCKED you are! Now, my recourse is to either take the class over again (in which case I would need an A in order to balance out the F so I could get a C) or take another math course (possibly Statistics) in which I would still need to make an A. Also, I have a few Ds on my transcript which will not transfer over to State (you need to have a C or better in a class for it to transfer), so you might already see where this is going.

Yep... It looks like I'm going to have to spend an extra semester at community college before I can apply and get accepted to NC State. Granted, it isn't the end of the world, by any means. After all, I waited 13 years to get my ass back to school. What's an extra semester in the scheme of things? Still, it does annoy me a bit. I'd like for things to stick to the plan once in awhile. It would make life so much easier.

At least with regard to the grades, I can't blame anyone but myself. I knew going into the class that math isn't an easy subject for me. It isn't like English or Psychology which I have a natural talent for; I have to actually do some work to get by in a math class. I chose not to do it. Sure, my old Nemesis, the calculator, didn't make things easier, but if I had done the homework everyday I would have eventually gotten the hang of it. It just isn't going to work to try and pawn this failure off on someone or something else.

You know, in the past, it's always been so much easier for me to blame my problems on things other than my own choices. I would say and think things like "it's because I was abused", or "nobody ever helps me", or "people just don't understand". Even if I did accept blame, it was a value judgement on me, like "I failed because I'm a bad person", or "I'm just no good at this". None of these ideas ever really helped me identify the real problem and come up with a solution. These rationales just made me feel worse about myself. Either I was a bad person, a born failure, or I was helpless and hopeless.

I'm not sure what's changed, but I don't see myself or my problems like that anymore. Maybe I don't want to see them that way anymore. Now, I can see that failing at something doesn't have to be about me as a person. Instead, falling short of expectations can be the result of poor choices. I can learn to make better choices. I can clearly identify what events led me to this point and I can say "this worked" or "this didn't work" and I can adjust my behavior to compensate.

I think I understand now why I haven't been feeling bad about this realization, and why I haven't been beating myself up over the bad grade. It feels empowering to look at the world in an objective way and, rather than personalizing the mistakes, being able to see a better course of action in front of me. I guess this is the way that people with a healthy level of self-esteem must react to setbacks.

Have fun, and keep living life... Or some approximation thereof!
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...