Hello! I’m Jen, and I am guest blogging for Ellen. It’s her birthday month, so as part of her present, I am giving Ellen the month off and blogging for her. I have no baking (or, honestly, dating) skills, but I have all the feelings when it comes to relationships. And, hey, don’t feel like I’m a stranger – I was also the witty (her words!) friend Ellen featured here.
Recently, I was commiserating with a friend, and I said, “I feel like dating is one of the only things that the longer you do it, the less you feel like an expert at it.” I have been dating for almost eighteen years. 18 years. My dating life is now legally allowed to vote, and it’s campaigning for change of my relationship status. It’s saying no to four more years of first dates. After this long in the field, I should have a goddamn Ph.D in dating, but instead I am continuously failing out of remedial classes such as “Deconstruction theory – what did that okay really mean?” and “Mystical Realism – is he busy, or is he ghosting out?”
Over the summer, I briefly dated a guy, and, although it was casual, I thought there was potential. (Ah, that sweet, sweet optimism of a great first date). I believed we were on the same page, but it turned out I was skipping several chapters ahead while he was hesitating on the title page. So it ended. I wallowed for a weekend: drank too much with friends, drank too much at brunch, drank too much after brunch, and drank too much alone while crying over a large carton of ma po tofu during a binge-watch of New Girl episodes (wipe that judgmental face off your head – the blog’s called Baking My Feelings, not healthily expressing my feelings). And then I got over it. I mean, in the long opera that is the history of my breakups, this played out in the minor key.
But here’s the thing. When you have been dating as long as I have, breakups don’t exist in a bubble. Each breakup has the weight of aaalll the breakups that came before it (no matter who ended it). They become very much like that dogpile game I played as a neighborhood kid (back then we called it the very unPC name of Smear the Queer), where you would pick a kid to be It, and then everyone piled on top of that unfortunate soul: The first person goes, and it might hurt, but it’s no big deal. A couple more pile on, and ok, it’s getting uncomfortable now, but you can handle this. Then the hits keep coming, the bodies keep falling, and oh my god you can’t breathe, you’re pretty sure part of you is broken, and you DON’T WANT TO PLAY THIS GAME ANYMORE.
But, sigh, I continue to stay in the game. Just like Charlie Brown with that damn football, no matter how many times I fall on my ass (literally and figuratively – I have many charms but grace is not one of them), I remain optimistic…mostly. And for the times I’m not, there’s always wine.
Recipe: Well, the last thing I baked in my oven was a frozen pizza (it was organic, so eating the whole thing was healthy, okay), so here is a picture of the delicious, mint chocolate chip cake Ellen baked for my last birthday. Best eaten with friends, while in pajamas, during a lady snow day.