A New Year, A New Start


Happy New Year!  Today is the first day of 2013.  Are you all excited?  Have you made your resolutions and are you ready to stick to them?  I’d love to hear about what my Wonderlings are planning on accomplishing in the New Year.

I know I talked about resolutions yesterday, but I didn’t really get into what mine are.  By now everyone should know that I started this blog last year and resolved to write a minimum of one post a week.  I achieved that goal and I am so glad I did.  Resolutions are a great way to start a habit.  It takes many attempts—I once read the magical number was 21—before a behavior/activity becomes routine and it is practically effortless from there on out.  Plus, when you tell other people, you subconsciously hold yourself more accountable than if you were to keep your resolutions private.  Now that I’ve got the blogging down, but here are the things I’m planning to work on for 2013.

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Tragedy And The Ugliness Of The Human Race

Are there ever times in life where you start to lose faith in your fellow-man?  When people’s characters seem so ugly that you wonder how it is we got this far and why we seem to be getting worse and not better?

Today has been one of those days.  But before I get into the details, I need to share a little back story.

A week or so ago, I received a friend request on Facebook from someone I went to junior high with.  Now, my middle school years were my ugly ones.  Quite literally.  I was a geeky girl with frizzy hair, a mouth full of metal, skin that made the Proactiv ladies millions, and glasses that took up half of my face.  Needless to say, I was not popular and don’t look very fondly on those formative years.  So when I got a request from Peter, I didn’t immediately accept it.

I was a little surprised to even get a request from him.  He was one of the popular guys who was actually decent and not a total jerk to everyone.  We went to the same high school though I rarely saw him and I can honestly say, I haven’t thought of him since I graduated.  Since I did have fond memories of him, I went ahead and accepted the request as I figured he was trying to reach out to people from our class in lieu of our ten-year reunion next year.  I checked out his profile, found out he was living a few hours away, and put him back in that we’re-not-friends-but-I-don’t-hate-you imaginary box that is reserved for most folks you only see on Facebook and never interact with in real life.

Sunday I learned Peter had been in a fatal car accident.  He was 27.

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Have You Voted Today?

Today is the day.  It’s Election Day here in the States and I’m hoping that everyone 18 and over will do their part and cast their ballot today.

I know there is usually a lot of confusion around this time of year.  My Facebook feed is full of “Vote Yes” on this and “Vote No” on that.  Everyone seems to have an opinion and I’m not entirely sure that this makes us better or worse as an “informed” society.

But have no fear Wonderlings, this post is not about politics, it is about action.

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This Isn’t Goodbye, But It Kind Of Is

As Mentor Spotlight Week comes to an end, I’m sure some of you are wondering why and how this particular theme came to be on Defining Wonderland.  It’s kind of an unusual choice and one I know I’ve certainly never seen before.  Showcasing the Fonz was an easy decision to make as I knew it would be a nice way to honor my mentor and share with the Wonderlings some of his insights into this crazy thing we call life.

Since the Fonz is the kind of person who has a story for everything (and I do mean everything), it is only right to end the week with the story of why I decided to start the week in the first place.

This Harry Potter quote just seemed right.

For the last five years, the Fonz has been a geographic bachelor, renting a self-proclaimed crappy apartment near work during the week and going home to his wife and sons, who live several hours away, on the weekends.  It’s a tough life of sacrifices, missing back-to-school nights and tucking children into bed, and he is not the only one in the organization who surrenders precious family time in order to support loved ones.  So, when the Fonz told me a few weeks ago that he had accepted a position closer to home where he wouldn’t need a separate place to live, I wasn’t in the least bit surprised.

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Get ‘Ur Creep On… Just Don’t Tell Others

I have always enjoyed research, even more so of the non-academic type.  My friends have marvelled at how easily and quickly I can discover information about any given subject, especially when it comes to people.  With little more than a first name and location, I can usually uncover more about a person in a few hours than most people can in a year.  The internet makes it incredibly easy to find anything you’re looking for and even what you’re not.

That’s how I found out that Ares was cheating on me.

During one lonely night in college, I was browsing though the photos of a club I knew that he went to.  Never having been to a club since I wasn’t 21 at the time, I was curious to see what they were like.  To my surprise and complete horror, I found a familiar face with a very unfamiliar face—and body—wrapped all around him.  My heart raced, my breath quickened, and my palms began to sweat.  I tried to ignore what was right in front of me and I did until a friend finally decided to be honest with me.  I eventually confronted him and our relationship was never the same.

Needless to say, my unfortunate stumble has resulted in private investigator-like levels of information gathering.  It’s complete second nature to me to scope out any and all information and as the years go by, my skills are only getting better.  Or the internet is making things that much easier to find.

Like many others, I have exhibited my fair share of stalker-esque behavior—no, I’m not physically following people and scoping out where they live and hang out because that would be weird, even for me—that usually results in a humorous story.  Eventually, that is.

With the advent of internet dating and crazies like the Craigslist Killer, it has made it imperative to know who you are meeting up with and to do so in a well-lit, public place.  With a limited amount of superficial data, I have discovered

    • last names,
    • workplace locations,
    • ex-girlfriends/current girlfriends,
    • family information, and
    • many more trivial details that one usually learns within the first few dates long before I meet them in person.

And then comes the fun of having to pretend you don’t know that your date has two brothers and a sister, went on a great vacation to Costa Rica last summer, just bought a house, lied on their profile, or just broke up with someone.  Do not under any circumstances act like you know anything that they haven’t already told you.  If you are bad at separating what has been discussed from what you have learned in your research, I suggest you halt Googling until you can differentiate between the two.  There is a reason why dating experts will tell you not to research your date beforehand, but I prefer to get as many cards out on the table as I can before I get my heart involved.

One of the keys to being a successful “investigator,” is to not allow your subject to know what you’ve been up to.  Unfortunately, that’s getting harder and harder.

There is this one guy on Match that has literally looked at my profile at least once a day for the last month (as a paid subscriber, you can see who’s checking out your profile).  He has never once made contact with me and I have stopped myself from sending him a “Why the hell do you keep looking at my profile if you’re not going to email me?” message.  I am so curious to know what keeps him coming to my profile and not making strides to meet me, but since I’m not interested in him, it’s really not worth the effort to pursue an answer.

Then there is the friendly creeper.  I received a text from Fez yesterday telling me that he saw me in my spinning class on Monday and that I was doing really well.  I called him out immediately.  If we’re “friends” like he and I try miserably to be, why not come up and say “hi” or at least message me that night.  What is the point of waiting five days to inform me that I was being watched at the gym?  The last thing I need is to think that I’m being monitored while I’m working up a sweat.  It would have been much better if he hadn’t said anything.  Now, I’m going to be self-conscious when I should be focused on the building up the nerve to talk to the cute new guy in the class.  And boy is he cute!

Yes, I know I sound like a lunatic, but the point to remember is this: do not tell your subject what you have been up to.  It will make you look like a complete freak/weirdo/crazy person/psycho.

Say it with me now, “I will not confess to internet stalking.  I will not confess to internet stalking.  I will not confess to internet stalking.”

Keep Your Lies To Yourself

We’ve all been told from grade school that lying is wrong and we shouldn’t do it, but as we grow older lying becomes so common.  From the simple, “That haircut is adorable!” to the more complex and devastating “I love you,” lies are a part of being an adult.

Or are they?  Are we not reverting back to our adolescence before we knew the difference between right and wrong or do we just accept that making up stories is a part of life?

I believe everyone deserves the courtesy of the truth and I strive to be honest.  Unfortunately, I am not always the most tactful person.  I have blurted out my honest opinion when avoiding the question would have been the nicer option.  Sometimes, I just can’t help it.

The truth can hit you like a slap in the face, but the sting of a lie lingers long after the initial shock is gone.  When the realization that you have been lied to sets it, everything changes.  You question everything.  Analyze each moment.  Doubt the truth.  Hell, you doubt yourself.

A friend of mine recently posted something on Facebook that got me thinking. It said, “You know the only thing that’s worse than being lied to is knowing you weren’t good enough for the truth.”

Why would an intelligent and creative person believe that they were the one who was not good enough?

The fact of the matter is, people are good enough for the truth; liars are not good enough people to be honest.  Sure, they hide behind the veil of “I just didn’t want to hurt you” because they know that the truth is not something you want to hear.  And the closer the person is to you, the more the lie hurts.

I had the unfortunate experience of discovering someone had lied to me.  It was humiliating.  I feltfeel like a complete idiot.  Especially because I should have fucking known better.

I had been spending a lot of time with this guy.  Things were great.  We had some fun weekends of hanging out and just being ourselves.  It helped that we had known each other for years so there was none of that awkward getting-to-know-you period.  He introduced me to his hobbies, I introduced him to my friends.  We just were and it was nice.

I wasn’t entirely sure what was going.  When he started kissing me and acting like he wanted something more from our friendship, I allowed my feelings to develop and slowly took the wall down though the boundaries remained.  Thank goodness for intuition!

I thought something was potentially developing though I knew that I was breaking a few of my own personal dating rules, but for the first time in a long while, I threw caution to the wind and decided to just see where things went.

Things went nowhere.

Weeks into our whatever-you-call-it, I received a text message announcing that I was his best friend, but that he was just not ready for a relationship.

Oh, hell no!  No “friend” of mine is going to handle things like that through a text message.  For the first time in my life, I demanded to know what the hell happened.  And I wanted an explanation in person.

Over a lunch I could barely stomach, he told me a variety of things: “I’m not ready for a relationship,” “I don’t want to ruin our friendship,” and “I don’t want to have to choose between my hobbies and a relationship” (not that I was asking him to).

I called bullshit.

I told him that these were all excuses, that he had used me, and that all I needed was a “I’m just not that into you.”  Jeez, is that so hard?!  I’m totally fine with someone telling me that they are not interested in me romantically.  It’s clear and it’s something I can accept.  Shelling out an “I just want to be friends for now” implies hope that something could develop later.  He insisted that he was just not ready for a relationship with anyone, that I shouldn’t look at it as him using me, and that he gave me reasons, not excuses, as to why he didn’t want to pursue a relationship with me.

I accepted that he was not ready to be in a relationship.  Ok, I guess we would try this “friend” thing again.  Things would be a little strange—I do not stay friends with people I was romantically involved with—but I would try to make it work.  We had kept things private between us, so I guess his rejection would be private too.  After all, no reason to further prove that he wasn’t ready for a relationship and that I had been completely embarrassed to think he was capable of one.

A month later, he was in a relationship.

To say that I was upset is an understatement.  Though I am completely glad that he rejected me because I know a relationship with him would not have been successful at all, I am still pissed that he didn’t have the balls to just tell me that he was interested in someone else.  If I was his best friend, didn’t I deserve the truth?

After you have been lied to, you have a hard time looking at a person the same way.  I feel duped, like I never really knew the kind of person that he was/is.  Even now, I have a hard time looking at him.  When I receive a text message, I have no desire to respond.  When he comments on Facebook, I roll my eyes.  I have grown apathetic to someone I once considered a friend and no longer feel like I can trust him.

The aftermath of a lie lasts longer the pain of the truth.  Everything changes and nothing will ever be the same.  No amount of “I’m sorry” will ever make things right.  Trust is broken.  Friendships are tested.

Give people the courtesy of the truth.  Be honest.