26 Things I’ve Learned From Writing This Blog for Four Years (!)

It’s hard to believe that Confessions of a Love Addict is four years old today.

I get those damn butterflies in my stomach every single time I think of how far this blog has come in the past few years. And my heart feels like it’s about to burst when I think of how blessed I am that you all come back to read my thoughts, hear about my adventures and stick with me through any breakup, job change or difficult time.

I know I’ve thanked you before, but let me do it again:

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I’m in the New York Post Today!!!

I tell ya, this little blog sure does bring some interesting opportunities for me. The latest interesting development? Being named New York City’s Most Eligible Single in the New York Post in their Sunday edition today.

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According to a study by PlentyofFish.com, men online are searching for the following:

-A 25-year-old
-Dog owner
-Been in one long-term relationship (at least three years)
-Catholic
-Social drinker
-Able to commit
-Thin and fit

And apart from the Catholic qualification (I was raised Methodist), I fit the bill.

Though I definitely don’t feel like the most idealist single that ever walked the glittering streets of Manhattan, I’m honored (and utterly surprised) to be named such a lucky, solo-leading lady. From the interview with the Post to a super-fun photoshoot that required a brand-new red dress (worth every penny), the last week was a whirlwind of an experience.

I don’t know what it is, but something tells me that 2014 might just bring a lot of these unexpected – and totally amazing – chances for me to put myself out there and really own being single. And writing this blog. And encouraging women to stand up for themselves.

And of course, love who you are.

Because regardless if you meet the findings of some study about what’s attractive, enticing and “ideal” -the most stunning, incredible part of anyone is their confidence. Whoever you are, own it – and know that one day, someone (surely) fall for it.

If you’re in New York – go buy the post today! If you’re not, check out this link, while I go blush for the next 24 hours. Some outtakes from the shoot below:

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This Valentine’s Day, write a self-love letter to yourself and it’ll be published (anonymous or not) on Confessions of a Love Addict! And you enter yourself to win a prize! Learn more here. Submit here

The Best of the Worst Pick Up Lines From 2013

It’s true -I’m a little hard on men.

It’s not that I need a giant gesture or the perfect everything to be interested, but a clever — appropriate — message online or on an app goes a long way. Or dare I say it – in person? The easiest way for a man to steal my attention is to be sincere, say something intelligent and be a gentleman. More often than not, I’m reminded that these three things rarely coexist together – and when they do, you find one hell of a person worth going out with.

This year hasn’t been the best for dating, but it has been rather entertaining in terms of terrible, awful, no good dates — and even worse pick-up attempts. In the spirit of a New Year to come, I say let’s go out with the bad so we can bring in the great in 2014. From my experiences to yours, let’s get a final laugh at these sorry guys and move onto… the men!

My Worst Ones…
Wrong Bar, Wrong Time
While standing at a classy, expensive, upscale lounge, a well-dressed man came up to me and smiled. I smiled back, thinking he might be a good connection. He looked me up and down (blatantly) and then said, “I think we should just go ahead and fuck somewhere, let’s skip the introductions.” To which, I replied, “Hmm. I’ll pass” and ordered another glass of wine.

Ew. No Eye Contact
While staring directly at me for several minutes, sweating, he mutters: “I want to go there.” I promptly run away.

No Hot Chocolate For You
“How you doing so lonely and complaining of being cold?I am NAME and I wonder if you are ready to share a cup of hot chocolate with me….I promise I will not bite lol so don t e afraid to answer back.”

Noah is a 45-Year-Old Man in Florida Trying to Pick Up a 25-Year-Old in NYC
Message one:
“Hey, something about your profile caught my eye. I think it was the fact that you seem like you might be more three-dimensional than your photos, which appears to be a rare quality among the attractive women on this site…

Anyways, I’d like to learn more about you. I noticed you also enjoy travel, so tell me… if someone offered you an all-expense-paid trip to anywhere in the world leaving tomorrow, where would you head?

Noah”

Message two:
I realize that you’re probably in the middle of writing me a long, detailed response, but I just wanted to let you know, you don’t have to take that much time with me. You can just copy and paste one of the following:

1. Yes Noah you’re very hot, and unfortunately your email got lost in the sea of jackasses, but I would love to get together with you.

2. You’re very hot but you’re not my type, and good luck with your search.

3. I don’t think any of this is funny, and I take myself way too seriously, and I actually have to go now cause I have a therapy appointment… but yes you are very hot.

Wait, What?
“Quite shocking modesty and overwhelming eloquence apparently indicative of a fascinatingly eclectic persona… And what did you dream last Sunday by the way?”

At The End Of Our Date…
…that was going well (in my opinion), he asks: “So my place isn’t far from here, I’d really like to have sex with you.” I blankly stare back and him and say something like, “Um, I don’t think so, but thanks for the drinks.” He shrugs his shoulders and go, “Oh well, I have a date tomorrow night, too.”

Not a Chance For a Friend
After having a mediocre date with a guy, he texted me the next morning to ask me for another date. I politely respond (instead of ignoring) that I actually saw more of a friendship connection and his response: “I definitely have enough friends, but I thought you’d make a good sexual partner. Maybe I’ll see you around.”

Your Worst Ones…

Did He Really Just Say Breast Milk?
“I can see you breastfeeding my kids one day.” Fortunately, I was quick enough to come back with, “Um, I think my milk just dried up.” – Jess

Cheesy Baseball
A former baseball player came in and said “I know you can fix broken bones but do you have anything to fix a broken heart?” -Courtney, an athletic trainer

No Sir.
I was 19 years old and waiting for my flight in the Salt Lake City airport. A 40-ish year old guy sits down next to me and says, “Hi. My name is Dave. I have 6 children, am recently divorced & looking for a new wife. Are you dating anyone?” – Angela

Glove Size?
“Do you know what they say about penis length? You know that it is directly related to glove size. Check out my gloves? So what are you doing tonight?” I WISH I WERE KIDDING. -Ryn

Sexual Misconception
“I know you’re sexually attracted to me, and that’s okay because we’re human and it’s natural.” -Allison

Christmas Misfortune
“No lie, heard this from a super drunk guy who approached my group of friends one night: “I bet you taste like a candy cane on Christmas morning.” – Jennifer

Would Rather Be Lost
“Hey girls. Are you lost? I have a compass.” Said to my roommate and me shortly after moving to NYC while looking at a map, trying to find a bar that we had visited before and she wanted to return to for her birthday. Sadly… I dated that guy. His pickup lines didn’t get any better. Neither did he. Live and learn. – Whitney

Not Romantic At All
“You’re a writer? How interesting because my favorite genre is romance, and I’m looking to romance you, pretty.” Vomit. -Gigi

He Said What?
“Heyyo, how you doing? You know that if you were the gas in my butt, I would never fart for fear of losing you, cause you’re the shit.” -Danielle

Just Look at the Ring, Bud
“So, are you and your husband serious, or no?” -Nikki

Go Away Fratty
I was dancing and singing along to “I Knew You Were Trouble” with a friend at an NYU bar, when two guys managed to swoop in between us, effectively ending our dance party. “I know why you’re singing this,” one of them told me. He was cute in a preppy way, but my TSwift jams are NOT to be interrupted. “Why?” I said. “Cause you knew I was trouble when I walked in.” Dude, your shirt is from Vineyard Vines! I didn’t know frat guys were edgy now. -Carina

Date a Man Who Asks Your Opinion

Date a man who asks your opinion.

One who wants it, who feverishly hangs onto it, prompting you for more, testing your level of commitment. Date a man who loves to hear you talk — about the news, or the traffic on the 1 train or about that girl from your high school who did this crazy thing that OMG, you need to analyze on Gchat. Now. Pick a guy who reads into things or at least, reads. One who challenges the world around him and at times, pushes you to think differently, to release notions and motions you’ve done for so long, you no longer remember why you do them or why they matter or if you like them. Date a man who likes the way you think, instead of wondering if your step, your clothes, your hands and your feet are in sync with one another. Get to know one who can declutter your brain, not one that can unhook your bra with one hand.

Date a man who is a little weird.

And one who thrives on your differences. Those tiny, minuscule things that make you, you. Like how you stick out your tongue when you’re writing or how you ask questions to your dog and answer them in a funny voice or how you fold every magazine you touch in half to absorb the words, not the graphs or the photos. Date a man who might makes a room more interesting instead of more fun, one that holds a conversation instead of igniting one, a man who uses his brain instead of his lines. Don’t be afraid to get to know a guy who yes, is a little nerdy. Yes, a tad strange. He’s the guy that’ll show you more things and give you better dreams than the ones you had before because he’ll demand more. More respect, more intellect. Less game, more play. Be with the guy who you’re surprised you like, but happily so. Easily so.

Date a man that kisses the hell out of you.

On the first date or the second, when it’s slobbery and awkward, intense and emotional. Or none of those things, but still, he kisses you anyway. Because he really, really wants to, and you really, really like the way he tastes. Date a guy who tries his hardest, not just for you, but for him, and especially for the both of you. One that doesn’t needs your permission but wants your advice, one that doesn’t need to say good night, but like the way you say “sweet dreams” in return. Date a man who savors your sweetness but stimulates your boldness. One that treasures the silence and laughs when the quiet continues too long. Date a man who you can do nothing and everything with and feel content because his company is yours.

Date a man who brings you peace.

One that calls when he says because he wants to. And one you don’t have to pretend to like to get through a few drinks or a few months because you’re afraid of being by yourself. Because you’re afraid you’re too picky or not forgiving enough, or you’re more scared your friends think you are, though they disguise it with clever affirmations. Be with a man who has you mostly figured out, and loves the mysteries that come in the long term, because things always change. Bodies, addresses, jobs, likes, hates, hours, governments, neighborhoods, rents and minutes and love. And life. Be with a guy who can make you laugh, even if he’s not all that funny or insanely clever, as long as he brings some simplicity to your spiraling thoughts, your unproven, distracting fears. Wait for the guy that makes it all a little easier, not because the relationship is without fault but because you forgive one another when it comes.

Date a man who likes himself.

Even if he’s comes across arrogant at first, give it a date for his shield to come down. As many walls as you’ve built, brick-by-brick, bad-date-by-worse-one, he’s built them too, and they need time to shatter. Date a guy who knows he’s good, that is proud of his life and all of the things and people in it. One that doesn’t mind being by himself, who actually enjoys his independence, who knows he’s secure and yes, happy. Be with a guy who has a lot of friends, who doesn’t resent his parents or at least has forgiven them if he needs to, who has grown enough to see people as people, not as heroes. Be with a guy who greets the deli manager and thanks the waitress, who tolerates screaming children enough to want one, one day.

Date a man that you’d be friends with.

If you didn’t want to sleep with him so damn badly, that is. Pick a mate that you’d pick for your most vulnerable friend, and also your most dynamic one, because usually, they’re one in the same. Date a guy whose words you like, with a heart that gives you all it’s might. Pick a man not because he’s Mr. Right or because he came in the pre-packaged set that you always wanted, that you always imagined. Date him because he’s different, because he made the difference, because you’re different – in stupid, ridiculously beautiful ways – because you met him. Because he made you melt, made you softer, made you relax. Be with a guy you’d be happy your future son turned into or your daughter-to-be would date. Pick him because he’s better, not because he’s perfect, not because it’s fated by the stars and the illusions of the universe, but because you want to. Because every last bone in your body says you need to.

Or don’t date him.

Date the other guys instead. The ones who are just-enough (but not really). The ones who leave you lingering because they can, because they will, no matter if it’s you or the next girl or the next that follows. The ones who see promises as options, who aren’t driven by anything inside themselves, except perhaps, their own ego, but mostly, their fear. The ones who make you come, but never arrive when you actually, emotionally, need some support. Or, the ones who maybe are good guys, but just not good enough for you, not enough to get you going, not enough to keep you hungry. The ones who for whatever reason, you can’t pinpoint or decipher, aren’t your match, but you’d rather be matched than be alone. Or one that just doesn’t care much about what you have to say, what you like to do or where you hope you’re going, he’s just along for the ride.

Or are you just along for it?

You can date whoever you like, lady. But me? I’m waiting for the guy who asks for my opinion over soup on the Upper West Side on a chilly fall afternoon, grinning away as he listens. And loving whatever I have to say.

The 500th Post

It all started in a bathtub.

Almost three years ago when I was fresh off the plane from NC, working at a business magazine, ten pounds heavier and far more naive, I wrote one little blog with the intention of loving myself. I haven’t quite figured it out yet, and at times I slide backwards instead of forward, but these pages and all of the people who have made this blog the open, confessional space it is, have changed my life in more ways than I could have ever predicted.

It’s opened the door to book agents and book proposals, talk shows, panels, conferences and interviews, the chance to reconnect with folks I haven’t spoken to in years and meeting people I wouldn’t have met otherwise. It’s been a safe and loving venue where I can write freely and honestly, letting myself go and forgiving myself with each and every word.

When I say I love this blog, it’s without any hesitation at all.

And I love what it does, or at least what I hope it does. It helps women (and sometimes men) feel a little bit better about being a 20-something. Or about being single. Or about their ex-boyfriend they can’t (for the life of them) get over. Or about failed dates and failed relationships, lost jobs and lost hope. Or about not having their shit together (because none of us do!).

Thank you — each of you — who come back every single time I write something. Thank you for your comments, your emails, your tweets and your likes. You remind me that it’s all okay, that it’s all working out in a magical way, that I’m not alone, that I’m not doing it the wrong way. That I’m just figuring it out, like everyone else. Thank you for your honesty and your kindness, your support and yes, your love. Thank you especially to my friends who not only read every post but live all of the adventures, the trials and the errors with me, every single day. I hope that in the years to come, I’m able to turn this space into something even better – maybe a book. Maybe a movie, should I ever get that lucky. Maybe just an open forum where we can all contribute our confessions. I hope it’ll one day house engagement photos and wedding portraits, pregnancy announcements and a happy, fat baby.

Maybe it’ll just continue to grow with me, day by day, step by step, stage and age by age.

500 posts later — I’m still a self-proclaimed love addict, but at least it’s a (mostly) healthy addiction now. I’m smarter and bolder, braver and more accepting of myself. I still love love, and hope more than anything that it finds me someday, but if it doesn’t, I know I’ll be happy — and loved — no matter what.

In honor of these hundreds of blogs, here are some of my favorite posts and quotes from the last three years. Let there be 500 more!

“Here we go. I’ve got my favorite pair of heels on my feet, my favorite gloss on my lips, my skinny jeans on my body, and my hand in my own hand -telling me it’s okay to go forward.I’m ready to fall in love with myself.” – My Name is Lindsay and I’m a Love Addict, September 19, 2010.

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“My New York story is one that’s like many other hopeful artists who grace the streets with only high-heeled bootstraps and raw ambition to be their guide.I’m not alone –there are endless writers, musicians, models, actresses, dancers, and performers who move to Gotham knowing that all they ever wanted will reveal itself before their eyes. The universe, surely, will move and shift to make fate play its magic cards.” -These Streets Will Make You Feel Brand New, October 14, 2010.

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“So here is to being me, the beautiful mess and everything. Frankly, when it comes to what I want and who I am, I do give a damn.” – Frankly, I Do Give a Damn, November 8, 2010.

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“He really is, for all intents and purposes, a peaceful, easy feeling in my life. Being around him, wrapped up in him, or smelling his smell is not hard and not too scary. Because, I with my blog, and he with his past, have no inclination of how long this union will last. Or where it will go. Or how we will both feel. But for once, I’m okay with not having any idea.” -The Love That Could Be: Mr. Possibility, December 13, 2010.

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“…the best thing about being knocked down and falling (either to a heart break or in love), is that you get to be a single gal who stands up, dusts herself off, and struts her way towards something new, confident in the company of herself and knowing that at times she may stumble and she may plummet, but she will never stay down for long.” -A Single Girl Struggles (But Stands), January 11, 2011.

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“Maybe, the only relationship we can truly have on our own terms, without compromising or bending the rules or our standards, is the one we have with ourselves. And even that one is also complicated, and is neither exclusive or nonexclusive. Because at times we open up ourselves to possibilities, and other times, we’re completely content with being in only the company of ourselves. But most of the time – we’re somewhere right in between, deciding which turn, which page, which road, to take next. -The Exclusively, Nonexclusive Relationship, January 31, 2011.

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“…almost as easily as the storm came, it leaves. Its noise, its electricity, its saturation, and its perfume trail off into a space beyond the Blue Ridge mountaintops you’ve never crossed. It is only then, when the branches rest from their dancing, the daffodils face the sun as it breaks through the clouds, that the real beauty reveals itself.” -And The Storm Will Rise, February 8, 2011.

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“A girl, that while she puts on her New York when she wakes up, there is always a little North Carolina in the choices she makes. The world may be my oyster – but I’d like to think I’m some sort of a peal in this city that’s anything but pure.” -Put My New York On, March 12, 2011.

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“The apartment started me – it gave me a foundation. And that was its purpose – to be the starter. To ignite me and provide stability, and now with a little more street smarts, a little less liability, and some places to land should I fall, there isn’t a need for a starter. Like most of what brings us joy in our lives, it has its tenure and then we move onto the next thing, to the next dream to tackle, to the new empty space to make into a home.” -The Starter Apartment, May 1, 2011.

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“I see skies with scrapers; stars that don’t come out at night. I see the colors of the rainbow in Chelsea, so pretty walking by. I hear taxis cry, I watch them speed, and I realize they’ll see so much more New York than I’ll ever know. And still, I think to myself, what a wonderful world.” -Louie Armstrong Moments, May 18, 2011.

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“New York doesn’t make excuses for anything it does and it expects no less or more from its inhabitants, either native, visiting or transplanted. It’s unbearably hot, frigidly cold, entirely unpredictable, and ruthlessly relentless. But us dreamers? We keep coming, one-by-one, and two-by-two, with a few suitcases and singing a duet of ego and fear, determined to be destined to make it here, in New York freakin’ City, the place we were meant to be.” -In An Ordinary Afternoon, July 5, 2011.

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“…sometimes, on a lazy Sunday with a pretty big week ahead, it’s refreshing to sit around in your guy’s t-shirt, relaxing and writing just as you love to do, enjoying the company of yourself and looking forward to the person you love to come home. I don’t want to be settled down, but it’s nice to have your heart settled in a moment.” -Playing House, July 31, 2011.

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“…you have to believe – in yourself, in your partner and in the relationship. But most of all, you have to believe that sometimes flames start steady and never last, some struggle but end up lighting up the whole room, some are so hot you melt, but burn out quicker than you like, and sometimes, with the right combination of everything, you find a fire that not only keeps you warm, but reminds you why having flames of passion isn’t as important as having trust that it’ll stay lit.” -Trusting the Fire, August 3, 2011.

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“This is what New York is like though – right? Love dims when the sun rises over the East river, when corner stores open for business, when everyone orders the everything bagel, when everyone realizes that everything that felt so right last night, doesn’t this morning. Those who come to the city looking for love quickly find it is a glorified Hollywood myth. Love only come to those who withstand the decade of dating disasters in their 20s, only to find a nice, shorter, balding man in their 30s who can provide. They marry him in a rush, have a baby within a year, and then they become part of the stroller brigades of Park Slope and the UWS, causing a whole new generation of 20-somethings to see their happy little family and big bling and think, Sigh, I want that, too.” -In Love In New York, August 31, 2011.

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“He chronicled his failures in the way I collected my successes – placed on mental bookshelves, collecting dust and more despair, only to be pulled out in the moments where he needed a reminder of what he was. Or at least, what he thought he was…Sitting across from me, talking about something new that’s causing him grief, I couldn’t shake the certainty I felt that he was stuck somewhere between the guy he’s been the last ten years, the man he hopes to become and the stagnant existence he has now…I’m really afraid of is being stranded in the Land of Impossibility with him.” -Oh, The Impossibilities, September 7, 2011.

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“I’ve traded that bathtub for a cab, those tears for a red dress, and that fear of being alone for the option of having something extraordinary. And that hatred for the word “single” into a thankfulness that through it all, I still have just what I’ve always needed: Myself. And of course, a bottle of champagne, some great friends, a heart that’s still beating and believing, and the faith that the best is yet to come. Stay tuned.” -The Best is Yet To Come, September 19, 2011.

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“It really had been too long and yet, maybe it was too soon, I concluded as I pushed the 7th floor button. But really, I could never have let Mr. P come between me and him–my New York–for long. Cheap dollar pizza and Bryant Park? My first love has always been this place — and it was time to stop letting memories have anything to do with guys I’ve dated, and let them be about the man, the city, that first stole my heart.” -And Then I Met Him in Bryant Park, November 29, 2011.

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“But I have time to see places I want to see. Time to find the parts of me I’ve yet to discover. Time to paint my room before the Spring arrives. Time to learn how to say “love” in every language I find intriguing. Time to put that word to use with men who are worthy of all it entails. And time to let my heart design my space, my intentions and my life. After all, without it, nothing I see around me (or inside of me) would be possible.” -Let My Heart Design, January 19, 2012.

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“I’m never quite enough, yet always more than enough to handle. I always have exactly what I need but I want more, though I know, I probably need less. I just want to keep on going – and going – and going.” -It’s Funny That Way, February 24, 2012.

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“My heart is like the skyline – something I let shine for others to see, but at the end of the night, when the sun starts to rise and the wounds begin to heal, it opens up, bright and brilliant again, ready for another night, ready for all that’s yet to come.” -My Heart is Like the Skyline, March 4, 2012.

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“There are men who will adore all of the things that make you a woman, even when those things bear babies instead of nights of sexual release, even when those things drag instead of rise to occasions. Men who will always remember what you looked like that day you walked toward them in a white gown with glitter on your eyes and the purist of hope in your heart. There are men who truly, honestly, completely will love you. There are so many men out there. But you’ll never meet them if you don’t let go of the guys you really don’t want to find the men you really deserve. The men who are waiting to meet someone just like you.” -There Are Men, April 23, 2012.

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“I learned there’s no course to study or class to take. There are many tests but never any measure of success. There are many words to write, but no rubric to follow. There are no answers to any of the questions or a correct bubble to fill in. The choices are endless, but the options seem limited. No matter the experience you endure or the hours you put into studying — there will never be a tried-and-true way to know how to love. -How to Love, June 26, 2012.

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“You keep on dating. You keep getting to know people. You try new things. You move on. You keep learning. You keep daring that same dream. You keep hoping for it…because maybe it really is out there. Maybe its over city scapes or the Garden Gate. Over warm countrysides or waiting in the evening’s tide. Maybe it’s over in the next cart or just anticipating when it’ll start. Or maybe it’s just across the room or in places new, places you knew. Or it could just be inside of you. And that dream you dared to dream, awaits, for someone like you. Because if bluebirds can fly, if strangers can find each other, if so many before me can fall in love with the right man, why, oh why, can’t I? Why, oh why, can’t you?” -Why, Oh Why, Can’t I?, July 18, 2012.

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“My rape was legitimate. It was painful – emotionally and physically and personally. If only for a few moments, it took away something that belongs to me:my choice. My choice to make love or to have sex or to do everything-but. It took away my choice to let a man inside of me. It took away my choice to ask for more and to tell someone to slow down. It took away a piece of me that I’ll never get back. But it also did something else for me: it helped make me a fighter.” -My Rape Was Legitimate, August 22, 2012.

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“Not everyone has the luxury of their exes going to Singapore and France for a year. But I do.” – Happy After Him, August 27, 2012.

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“So many days I’ve lived, so many days I’ve done nothing but hope. They’ve come and gone, like the men I’ve known, and there will be more. There will probably be many more. But one very fine day — I don’t know how far away from now — will finally be my one day.” -One Fine Day, January 3, 2013.

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“I wondered if I would become anther listless writer, another hopeless dreamer who lost her way somewhere between New Jersey and Queens. I didn’t know if I could convince someone to give me a chance or if I could even survive on the minimal salary that I knew would come with my very first big girl job. But I did believe I should try. Even if failed to a disappointing demise and had to tuck my Tigar tail and catch a flight to the bittersweet Carolina, I knew I had to give it a go. Remorse I could live with, regret I could not.” -So Very Worth It, February 27, 2013.

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“I kind of love it when it rains in New York. The glistening of the buildings. The sound of the droplets on the roof or the window. The sparkle on the street. The sound of kids splashing in the puddles and the sight of couples canoodling to stay dry. The best part of rain in the city is what’s so great about New York itself: after the storm passes — whatever it may be — everything that was bad or grimy or unsure from before is washed away. And what’s left is up to you create. You just have to decide if you can put up with a little rain to get there.” -I Love It When It Rains in New York, March 14, 2013.

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“Then, on an unusually windy April afternoon, as I walk to pick up a latte after another less-than-interesting Saturday night, I’ll see an elderly man shushing the oncoming cars and taxis as his wife shuffles along with a walker. It’ll take two traffic rotations for her to make it across, but he just tells her to take her time. She’ll be wearing red lipstick and he’ll reach over to make sure she can make it up the sidewalk, and I’ll be standing right there, watching it all unfold in literally, slow motion. Then I’ll smile. And I’ll think of you, whoever you are, wherever you might be. And I’ll pray that you’ll make your way to me soon because I’d rather walk these streets alone than to meet someone who isn’t you.” -I Thought of You Today, April 22, 2013.

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“You would miss the part where something hits you — probably in the middle of an ordinary day — and you realize that blueprint doesn’t fit you anymore. And that no plan really does at all. Maybe it never did to begin with. Because finally, after fighting the should-be’s and the could-be’s and the supposed-to’s and all the pressuring words that did nothing but haunt you, you have found yourself released from the language. You’ve found yourself free from the scam — I mean, the plan — and happily ever after without a clue of what’s next. And you know — or at the very least, you hope — it’s going to work out in a way that no pencil, no high school paper, no fortune teller, no anyone or anything could have ever predicted.” -The Five Year Scam, June 11, 2013.

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I Thought of You Today

I thought of you today while riding the subway downtown to a date I wasn’t quite sure was actually a date or not. I caught myself not being able to turn my attention away from an older couple — sitting next to each other, reading the paper on a Friday night at 8 like it was the most normal thing in this city. They shared the Times, flipping through thoughtfully, digesting each sentence and with care, turning the page. The husband rubbed his wife’s knee from time to time during my 20-minute commute. She turned her attention to him with a casual smile, probably the same look she’s been giving him for decades. The same look that he loves, the same grin that’s gotten him through the tough times and the good ones. They looked insanely comfortable and so beautifully, easily, sweetly with one another.

It was adorable.

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And it made me think of you. You — whoever you are. You who I haven’t met yet, or perhaps I have. Maybe we’ve already dated, broken up and lost contact. Maybe we’ve seen one other naked. But no, I don’t think so. I could have caught a glimpse of you while walking my dog or picking up groceries around the block. Perhaps I didn’t catch your name when we were briefly introduced at a loud bar somewhere in the West Village months ago. Maybe, as the psychic predicted, your name begins with J.

Or not.

Whatever your name is — however your last sounds with my first — I try not to think of you. I know better than to imagine and create illustrations and hopes of what you look like or how your voice resonates in my head without actually, ever meeting you. I know that believing in things that feel impossible or totally out of reach at this moment can only make me feel worse. Especially if everything I dreamt of, everything I’ve considered true about love and marriage someday just become things I once thought would happen, instead of things that are. How can I think of you – you, with eyes I haven’t locked with, lips I haven’t actually kissed – when you’re just someone I’ve never known? How can I think of you without one hundred percent knowing your existence is something I can depend on?

That you’re someone I can believe in?

But it’s when the world feels a little lonely and my personal universe is a little uncomfortable or uncertain, that I do think of you. It’s when I dream of you, knowing better and rebelling against logic in romantic spite. It’s when I close my eyes on a crowded train or tucked away at night, looking out at the stars I convince myself I can see, even when I know I don’t. City lights are brilliant and alluring but they conceal the sparkly specs I love to see. I think of you and the days I hope will come, the children I hope I’ll bear. The love I can’t wait to make in our bed I want to share. I think of you in a way that’s unfair and extremely biased — without ever being introduced to you, without tracing your face or feeling your grip on my hip, I both love and hate you. I love you because I hope you’ll be mine, and I hate you for hiding. For taking so long. For not being here…

…Right now. On this train. Next to me. Kissing the side of my head and excited to show me a new downtown joint you discovered. Holding my hand that holds your ring, looking at me in the way my father always promised you would. With love, with admiration. With everything…

…after making it through everything to get to you.

And yet, I try not to think of you. And so usually, I don’t. I pick myself up from that moving train and away from that couple I aspire to be like, and head out to that date. And I smile at a perfectly good guy who doesn’t ignite a spark but insists on walking me to the station. I may kiss him for whatever it’s worth, to disguise the disappointment on my face. I may politely respond to him the next day that I see more of a friendship and I’ll head out to continue with my weekend, trying my very best not to think of you. Trying not to look for you in the cute guys who pass by me or the ones who smile in my direction. I’ll stop myself from thinking of the stories I’d like to tell, the ones I’m dying to write and the adventures that seem so far-fetched that planning them would seem crazy. I won’t think of you that day or the following week, maybe even a month.

But then, on an unusually windy April afternoon, as I walk to pick up a latte after another less-than-interesting Saturday night, I’ll see an elderly man shushing the oncoming cars and taxis as his wife shuffles along with a walker. It’ll take two traffic rotations for her to make it across, but he just tells her to take her time. She’ll be wearing red lipstick and he’ll reach over to make sure she can make it up the sidewalk, and I’ll be standing right there, watching it all unfold in literally, slow motion.

Then I’ll smile. And I’ll think of you, whoever you are, wherever you might be. And I’ll pray that you’ll make your way to me soon because I’d rather walk these streets alone than to meet someone who isn’t you.

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There Are Guys

There are guys who are so very, very wrong for you.

But they feel really good. They’re intoxicating with spirits that are so complicated it’s incredibly sexy. There are guys who love being by your side but feel at least an arm’s reach away. Guys who are not just good at games but the art of the chase is so ingrained into their personality that frankly, they don’t even know they’re playing anymore. There are guys who dig that attention, who get off on the fight but can’t get off on when it’s actually right. There are guys who keep you lingering, but will never learn how to hold you in a way that eases you how you need.

There are guys who will never fall in love.

Because they are selfish with their emotions. There are guys who lead a life free of obligations, void of romance and well, they’re fine with it. They don’t crave it. There are guys who will never be satisfied sharing a bed with just one woman or only being fawned after by one girl. There are guys who may think the idea of happily ever after seems alluring, but not enough to work for it. Not enough to settle into something of substance. There are guys who want to be taken care of without having to return the favor. Without having to do any labor for anyone else at all. There are guys who see women as prizes, not as partners.

There are guys who won’t call you back.

They’ll say they will. There are guys who take you by surprise at some bar at some place and you exchange some choice words that make you think there is more to be found. But there’s not. There are guys who want what they want when they want it, but won’t ever give you what you want. There are guys who know how to make a move without flinching a heart string. There are guys who will be everything you ever dreamed of over a 12-hour period, only to disappear into the land of forgotten, never-to-be-understood jerks that don’t know better. Or if they do, they can’t be bothered. Or they don’t know how to express themselves.

There are guys who will say all of the right things.

And it’ll make you really want to believe in them. There are guys who may think those poetic words they speak come from a place of sincerity, but really, it’s just scripts they’ve mastered. Lines they’ve memorized that sound really great. There are guys who are so shattered themselves that they like the way forever sounds rolling off their lips. There are guys who know what you want and think they can be it, so they say what it takes for you to trust. There are guys who play house by using language that makes you think they can see a future with you. A whole lifetime together. There are guys who are so afraid of hurting you or seeing you cry that they will truly say anything to avoid it. Even if it’s three words they don’t actually mean. And maybe — probably — never will.

There are guys you can’t get out of your head.

Because they won’t get out of your inbox. Or your voicemail. There are guys who hold on for the sake of keeping a hint of a hope that  maybe-this-could-work-out. But it won’t. It’s not supposed to. There are guys who like to keep a good girl in his back pocket or on that backburner, just far enough to give her space to partially let go, but never enough to where she loses the far-fetched dream that he’ll come back around. That he’ll be different. There are guys who may care but their intentions are so cloudy, so jaded that they can’t tell you how they feel because they don’t know. But even if they aren’t sure of how in love — or not in love — they are with you, they’ll never tell you. Because then you may just become another ex-girlfriend left getting the bitter aftertaste out of her mouth. Out of her heart.

There are guys who will never be more than friends with benefits.

No matter how much pillow talk and bacon-and-eggs you share together. Even if he remembers how you take your coffee and gets it for you in the morning. There are guys who enjoy the comfort and the curves of a woman’s body but can’t navigate past the breasts to find the heart. There are guys who know to go harder and go faster and hit the buttons you love the most — but when they say that a relationship is off the table, they mean it. There are guys who may touch you so tenderly you can’t possibly understand how there isn’t anything more than sexual tension sparking between you. But there’s not. Not for him. Not for these guys.

There are guys who break your heart over and over.

Because you let him. Because it feels better to feel pain than to feel the vast void of the unknown. There are guys who come in and out of your life, sweeping under places you sealed, knocking down protection you built up, encompassing the heart that’s still fragile from the last time he was here. There are guys who will take you up on any invitation at any hour and come with the right words, the right kiss, the perfect excuse and you’ll believe him. You’ll believe it again and again. There are guys who can’t say no but what’s worse, they also can never say yes.

But there are also guys who want to be better.

Somewhere out there, anyway. There are guys who have grown tired of playing on the streets and at the bar, and want to trade their slacker attitude for slacks and a tie. There are guys who are tired of all the bullshit, just like you are. There are guys who have actually learned from their mistakes and from the girls they’ve wasted because they just weren’t ready. Or they couldn’t care enough to love them. Ones who want to come home to something. To someone. There are guys who are working on themselves so they can be worthy of the likes of someone as wonderful as you. There are guys who want to be bolder to meet your needs. Who want to be everything you desire. There are guys who want to be generous with words that mean something, who want to be committed to something longer than Saturday night. Something deeper than your sheets.

There are lots of guys out there. You’ve met them. You’ve slept with them. You’ve loved them. You’ve trusted them. There are after all, a lot more guys than there are men. But some guys, at least, are working on becoming men.

And trust me there are men. And it’s the men you need to meet. It’s the men you will love one day. That is, once they’re finished being guys.