From Me to You on Christmas Day

For each and every time you’ve clicked on this blog. For when you stayed up past your bedtime to read my words. For when you took time out of your day to write me a kind e-mail, a long Facebook note or send a supportive tweet. For following my journey while going about your own. For being there through each triumph and every heartbreak. For the words of encouragement and sharing your own wisdom, stories and experiences. For reminding me of what’s important by simply commenting or passing along my link to your friends. For being part of this blog  for the past 15 months.

For making sure that no matter what, regardless of any disappointment or shortcoming, I never gave up on love – both in myself, in those I know and those I’ve yet to meet.

On Christmas and always, thank you for being part of this life-changing experience. It may only be a blog, but for me, it’s meant everything. And so have each and every one of you.

I hope today is magical for you and yours, and that your New Year brings the best of happiness, of success, of wonder, of friendships, of travels and…

of love.

May you never stop believing in the magic of your own strength and beauty,

Lindsay 

The Love Addict Who Just Won’t Stop Writing :)

About these ads

Patience is a Virgin

I really feel sorry for my Facebook friends. Truly. I spam the hell out of my page – with posts from WordPress, Tumblr, and my own random thoughts/updates of the day. I disconnected Twitter because I didn’t want the people I actually know and I’m actually friends with to get completely irritated with me. Now, when I add a new friend that I actually talk to, I warn them of my overly active spewing.

Though it may be a little spam-rific at times, there are posts I have that cultivate conversation. When this happens, I find myself engaged in cyber conversations with people I normally don’t talk to often, but maybe I should. Such a thing happened today when I posted a status that read, “If patience is a virtue, then I’m not very virtuous.” Obviously, I was illustrating my frustration with finding peace in today and in tomorrow. Mr. Possibility and I are leaving for vacation on Monday morning for a week, and though I’m swamped at work, the hours between 9 and 6 can’t pass any slower.

In response to my update, a friend from NC said, ” My friend’s daughter, 8 years old, recently reminded us: ‘Patience is a virgin.’ Upon further reflection, and after several minutes of laughing, we realized that she had, in fact, made a good point, albeit unintentional.” After reading his message, I giggled and instantly liked, thinking about the meaning behind the words, the cryptic message an innocent kid sent without knowing.

A lack of patience only comes after you’ve experienced the many games of waiting. Like waiting to hear back about a job or waiting for a guy to text back after an incredible first date. Or waiting for a promotion or waiting to be approved for a loan, a house, an adoption. Or waiting to meet the man you’ll marry, the baby you’ll have, and the apartment you dream of owning, but don’t. Waiting for the perfect title or for the time when you can pack your bags up and head North.

Once we get to the age where waiting becomes commonplace and ordinary, we stop focusing on patience and instead, try to distract ourselves into some meaningless task until the waiting period is over. But we don’t really grow good at it, we don’t really learn to be peaceful and patient, we just find something to get us through.

Was the little gal right? Is patience only for the virgins? For those of us who have never wanted, never yearned, never hoped for something or someone so deeply that it hurt to wait? And what about when we are broken in, when patience is popped the first time we are put to the test? The first experience where we hold out for something, we cross our fingers, our toes, our legs and even our eyes wishing for something and then at the end, it’s one of those wishes that wasn’t meant to come true? Or a love we tell ourselves wasn’t meant to be?

Once we’ve lost our patience virginity, once we’ve become adults who want and need, instead of having everything provided, how do we learn to practice peace? Master the art of doing without but cherishing what we do have? Instead of being ancy and dissatisfied, twiddling our thumbs in anticipation, forgetting about giving people a break and giving life a chance to take over without controlling every aspect of our existence?

Can we re-virginize ourselves? I mean, I hear it’s a happenin’ trend now.

I don’t think so – but I do think we learn ways to cope. We learn to practice self-help, self-motivation, self-soothing methods that bring us some sort of calm in the in-between times of uncertainty. Because we’ve been there before, because we’ve felt these same things in these same way, we know how to handle it. We become better equipped to balance ourselves and we learn tactics for dealing with our fears and our frustrations. We survive and if we’re among the ones who strive, we eventually thrive. But we’ll never get back to that virgin-like state, that purity, that honestly, that only comes from being blissfully naïve, young and unaffected by the perils of patience.

That’s the thing about any type of virginity you lose, regardless if it’s having sex, living away from home, having a big girl job, having real world bills and rent, being someone’s wife, being accountable for your own actions, and being responsible for someone’s broken heart – once you let go and burst the bubble of oblivion…there’s nowhere to return to. No outlet to restore.

Instead, you just pack up what you have, who you are, what you’ve learned and you go out to face another day, another opportunity to lose another virginity, getting yourself one step closer to being one of those cool, independent, sophisticated adults we always wanted to be.

You know, before we lost our adult virginity and found ourselves laying in bed, feeling like a stranger naked in the company of ourselves, wondering: “Really, this is it? This is what everyone talked about? It’s really not all it’s cracked up to be.”

The Peril of Public

I’m definitely part of the new digital era of media. I tweet, I tumble, I like, I post, I stumble, I blog, I share, and I promote. I’ve mastered the art of scheduling and I somehow manage to keep less than 20 emails in my Gmail inbox at all times. I have a full-calendar on and offline and for now, with at least some sanity, I keep it all rolling and going, and produce blogs that I feel are at least somewhat intriguing.

And as topics usually do on the social media wave of information overload, a study recently circulated that speculated those who are active on Twitter have shorter relationships. The study surveyed OkCupid users (a site I used to be a part of and some of my friends currently use), and claimed other findings, like Twitter-fanatics are more inclined to masturbate than those who don’t tweet. (Hmm?)

I’m not sure if I buy into these claims for studies are just that, a study of a concentrated group (those who online date, in this case), not every person on Twitter or every person who masturbates – which if you combined the two, just may be the vast majority of the population. But I will say the Internet has changed the bounds of a relationship and created what I’d like to call the peril of being public.

With so many easy ways to share information with those you know and don’t know – how do you resist the temptation to spew? Some things become sacred once you transition from dating to being exclusive and certain topics are no longer up for discussion with your friends, as you owe some sort of secrecy to your partner. Without keeping things private, a true intimacy can never develop.

But what if you’re say, a dating blogger? Someone who writes about love and relationships on a consistent, daily basis? What if your relationships, the love you find or lose, and the sex you enjoy and the sex you know could have been better – is what brings in the most readers? How do hold back when holding back would ruin the honey-like honesty of a blog you’ve worked so hard to develop and drive traffic to?

Well, just as smooth as the honey pours, its stickiness sticks.

I’m admittedly a little stuck in the peril of public myself, and though I’d never let someone else censor me – a true journalist doesn’t – I do know censoring myself is a battle I’ll have to fight. There are some things, some experiences, some identifying characteristics, and some truths about my life that don’t belong in the tangled World Wide Web. Because even if I delete this blog tomorrow – somehow, in some techie-savvy way, someone would be able to bring it back to life, and all of those words will be found and read again.

So what’s the happy balance? How do I decide what to reveal and what not to give? How do I consider my own integrity and the importance of protecting and respecting someone else’s honor, who unlike me, may not feel comfortable displaying their persona life to all who can subscribe, click a link on Twitter, or see my Facebook page?

It isn’t easy. I suppose I never expected my life to transition as it has or to be in a situation where ex-boyfriends or current possibilities would find themselves asked questions about a blog they don’t write. Or maybe, don’t even read. While I’m under no obligation to do or not do anything, I can understand their desire not to be caught up in something that while it somewhat involves them, is primarily about me.

But the peril of public isn’t just in this blog or on my social media accounts – it’s the fluidity and the ease of sharing information. Before such networks existed, I’d have to call up my friends, on a regular phone with a long, curly white cord, and talk to them. I couldn’t send a quick BBM, an email, a Facebook message, a private Tweet, a Gchat, or a text message to ask for advice. There are dozens of ways to reach most everyone we know, several ways to discover information about anyone we don’t, and continuous, reliable access to most anything we want to see, know, read, or do. And while I’m a supporter of these advancements, in a lot of ways, we’ve stopped making the relationship private. Not just online – but off, too.

Maybe my friends don’t need to know every little detail of my dating experience and I’m sure some of them could really care less, apart from the fact that most of my stories are quite entertaining. Maybe I don’t need to ask what I should do in each and every situation and realize that like I make decisions about every other aspect in my life, I am wise enough to lead my relationships in the way I decide, without clarification or recommendations from my friends. Maybe I do have many means of communication with people I know personally and many I’ve never met – but it doesn’t mean I have to use them. It doesn’t mean I have to teeter on a dangerous road between revealing too much and revealing too little.

What it means is that I can accept that my obligations are not to anyone but myself. And as easily as I can tweet, post, and blog – I can remain silent. I can log off. I can put my phone on vibrate. I can stop connecting online and start connecting in bed. I can get out of the web of the Internet and be wrapped in the warmth of someone’s arms.

And I can stop interjecting the world into my relationships and let my relationships relate to just me and a special he…privately.

Undoing the Undo

Sometimes I wish I could take a week off from my computer. If I estimated how many hours I spend looking at a screen, from my job that’s primarily at a desk to this blog, which takes up some time to write, publish, and promote – I’d be embarrassed of the total.

But the truth is – a computer helped raise me. I can’t remember a time without one.

I come from a generation that’s always known what it was like to be connected to this digital creation and the World Wide Web. In elementary school, we took turns buying a bag of cotton balls so we could clean off our headphones for computer class, where we learned about home row keys and data entry. By the time I was in middle school, I had my own email account (latigar@aol.com, of course) and my parents let me chat in chat rooms before chat rooms needed a warrior like Chris Hansen to get the predators out.

In high school, I started really becoming a journalist with internships and mastering the Office Suite and how to effectively search on AskJeeves.com. I started to become interested in design and because I knew I wanted to work at a magazine, I started figuring out ways to contact editors – I even found interns in groups on MySpace. Time couldn’t change as quickly as the technology and college was full of Adobe and Facebook, Flash, and Google Analytics.

I’m well versed in the language of the web and when a computer challenges me, I fight back until I find an answer. Maybe because I’m so comfortable dancing across the keys or trying something new, but I’m brave to push my limits and explore the tech world, both socially and systematically. I’m not afraid of making mistakes because I know that there is always a saving grace, should I do something to throw the entire program or network off balance.

Undo.

It was a joke at the college newspaper I rose in the ranks of, that when in doubt, just hit undo. This miracle button could correct anything and it gave us the courage to test the waters of new, exciting pages, and scarily complicated CMS features. I felt a sense of freedom knowing I could do basically whatever I wanted to attempt and I’d be okay if something went awry. I wouldn’t be held responsible because I could just delete the action.

Ever since I discovered this free pass, I’ve found myself thinking “Edit, Undo” in my day-to-day when something goes wrong. Like when I’m walking the two blocks from my favorite coffee shop to my job and I spill a nice trail of Splenda-and-skim-infused Java down my blue blouse, five minutes into my work day. Or out of complete frustration and the onset of my monthly visitor, I snap at a friend who is only trying to make me feel better. Or when I say words I can’t take back, do things I can’t change, or leave people who will never return.

But the thing is – there isn’t an undo in life.

We make choices and we’re forced to stand by them. We make our bed and we lay in it. We meet people and we have the ability to decide (Heavens willing) how long they’re with us and how close they grow. We try things and they often don’t work out in the way we want. We take risks and we have trials, and there is no way to step back on that ledge once we’ve left it.

Though the backend of a computer and the Internet is vastly complicated – making those who understand it highly competitive and disgustingly wealthy – there is nothing more complex than the webs we weave. Life is a funny and beautiful thing, yes – but it is also better spent trusting in the decisions you make instead of wondering if there is a way to get out of them.

I haven’t decided if I enjoy black-and-white or shades of gray better, but I will say that it’s time to stop thinking by the ways of the technological world. Sure, it is the way marketing is going. It’s changing my industry daily. It’s going to continue to expand and there will be a boom that wakes us all up, I’m sure. But if we spent as much time in front of this computer, reading and writing these blogs, Tweeting to the world, and posting on Facebook – actually just living our lives – maybe we’d undo the undo.

We’d stop to think in terms of escape or safe merit. We’d understand that the decisions we claim are ours, even if they take us far from where we started with a hell of a long way to go. We’d click with other people and be more synced to ourselves instead of connecting our social media channels and tapping our mice. We’d see that while an easy-out is beneficial for our Apple or our Windows, it’d be better if we didn’t want to undo the life we lead.

Because while coffee stains are nearly impossible to remove, friends may hold grudges, and love may be lost – without those moments, without those incidents that can be significant or small– we wouldn’t learn. We wouldn’t come into our own. We wouldn’t learn to think before leaping, pause before speaking, or consider before leaving. We’d rely on an undo button to make our lives perfect instead of relishing in the imperfections that make life so worthwhile to begin with. Someone would make more money than Zuckerberg if they created something to give us the option to go back and correct the bad that didn’t seem to lead to good.

Maybe so – but as much as a computer-lover as I am, I’d never buy such a thing. I’d rather click publish in my own life than undo. Because, why would I want to undo…me?

The Men Who Never Ruined Me

When you’re a New Yorker-wannabe who sports heels in 20-degree snowy weather while attending a college ripe with country-fied hipsters – you develop thick skin pretty quickly. And when those not-so-Southern graces finally land you in city places – that durability only gets tougher.

Or when your job is to criticize and analyze, and thus those around you do the exact same, and your dreamland also happens to be the Land of Hard-Knocks –being resilient is an essential part of survival. It isn’t survival of the fittest, but survival of the wittiest – the ones who can not only take a punch but challenge another one to even try and make them fall.

And while this thick skin has given me opportunities I wouldn’t have had otherwise and strength that always makes me push forward -the layer of power is actually quite shallow.

They say the first cut cuts the deepest but I’d like to think that every love has the chance to penetrate the most pain. And to be honest – the older I become, the better ability I have to sincerely love someone. Not to mention the better I know myself, so the people I date I’m more compatible with and the relationships, more serious and impactful.

But yet, amidst the qualifications and healthy self-growth, I’ve found myself unable to fully develop that protection against the men who come and often leave my life. No matter how hard I try or how much I hold off on being vulnerable and emotionally open to someone – somehow, if the chemistry and the man are right, they’ll find their way in. Often times, easier than I’d like to admit.

And when that happens – when love gets under my skin – I automatically set myself on guard. I become a protector of my heart like the fragile item it is; a soldier unsure if I’m fighting for the single or the taken team.  Because  this person, who I let creep in, has this ability to crush me, and if I let them dig their way in deeper – I may never recover.

Because doesn’t everyone have the man who ruined them?

The guy who made our skin tingle in ecstasy, caused us to lose our breath when he pulled away in the middle of an exchange, and gave us what we thought was the gut-feeling of just-right, the ever just-so. But then he left. Or things fell apart. Or he met someone else. Or we stopped being what he wanted or realized we never were close to his idea of a dreamgirl, regardless if he was our image of fate.

I’ve met many men who have broken my spirits and damaged my pride. There have been a few that for a matter of time after we parted, I lost my faith in finding love. I’ve cursed a couple names, I’ve taken all the blame and placed it all away, and there is one I don’t go a day without thinking of. They’ve each hurt me in their own respect, some by their doing and some by my own actions.

And I’ve also been guilty of manipulating and leading-on men who merely wanted to see me happy. My intention was never to be deceptive, but it’s difficult to tell someone that they aren’t what you want, that they don’t give you what you need, and that you’d rather try your luck in singleness instead of sticking around with them. Are these the men who we break? I’d like to think not, but that’s easier to say when you’re the one in control not the one receiving harsh, blunt force to your core.

But regardless of which spectrum I shine or burn out at – I don’t believe I’ve ruined someone. And all of the he’s of yesterday are all the men who neverruined me. The ones of today and tomorrow will never make me damaged goods either. It’s simply impossible.

Will I be hurt? Will I find myself buried in sadness and fear of never stumbling across the love of my life? Will I ache and cry, crumble and fall? Will I allow myself to love and be loved, to give and make love? Will it all be less than and more than I can take?

I hope so.

Because the thing about having thick loving skin is to build up the resistance, to be wiser about who we give enough power to leave a scar – we have to experience the bad. Without the pain, there is no persistence. Without the pressure, hope never develops its place. Skin can’t be durable if it is never tested. Hearts can’t be trusted if they never allow themselves to trust. You can’t experience love until you fall madly and severely in lust. You can’t appreciate a man worth your time if you don’t date a guy who wasted not only your time, but you, too.

And we can’t assure ourselves that being emotionally battered is out of the question if we’re never faced with a love that has the power to destruct. Not only our emotions, but what we think, what we believe, and where we stand. Until we come across a man who will change us for the better, he’ll never have the opportunity to damage us for good.

But even when this love rears is beautifully disastrous head; when we realize the strength someone has over us, the tight grip they hold on our hearts without really trying, and the skin they’re making softer by the hour – we should enjoy it. Savor it. Experience it for all that it offers and all the hope it gives us, even if they are left unfulfilled in the end.

Because there are chances worth taking. Mistakes worth making. Promises worth breaking. Life worth chasing. People worth dating. And at the end of it, if we can remember we’re worth all of those things too, that we’re people worth loving, who are worthy of a chance, that we are the women worth breaking a promise for, and we are the ones with a life that’s worth a great chase- then we won’t find ourselves ruined if something goes wrong. Instead, we’ll find ourselves seasoned, experienced, and with a new man who never ruined us to add to the list of the love we’ve had, lost, and found.

And, if we’re lucky, we’ll also have a little thicker skin for the next one who comes our way.