Tequila vs. The WTF Moment

I once went to a free open bar at a joint in Murray Hill. This was before I discovered this particular part of New York is breeding ground for frat guys who never wanted to leave college and still enjoy beer pong more than making a career or adult life for themselves. Even in school, where I was in a sorority and I thoroughly enjoyed Greek life, I never dated or slept with a guy in a fraternity. There has always been something about their Solo cup-decorated apartments, perfectly styled hair (or looks that resemble the Biebs), and stained Ralph Lauren Polos that turned me off.

Imagine that.

Nevertheless, when a friend found booze for free on PulseJFK and invited me to come, I followed in suit, high heels and push-up in tow. Fast forward to midnight, way past the penniless power hour: picture my friend with smeared red lipstick and crusted mascara, sucking face at the corner of the bar with a guy I believe was named Todd. And then there’s me, turning on the charm with a dude who told me he worked for MTV. I’d say what he did for them, but instead of telling me, he told my tequila – which is gladly no longer with me.

At this point in the night, my friend lets me know she’s going home with Todd, who claimed he was one of the Mets. She later confirmed he was, but more of a benchwarmer than an actual athlete. Still fairly new to Manhattan and as broke as an early-20s gal can get, I asked her not to leave (I didn’t want to pay for a ride home). Obviously not one of my closest companions, she encouraged me to go with the MTV man and said she’d text me when she arrived in Hoboken with Todd. I responded with a half-drunken smirk, followed by thoughts of how much I felt sorry for her that she was leaving for dirty Jersey.

Even knew to the city, I knew that wasn’t a favorable ending point for an evening. (Don’t believe me? Ask anyone who takes the PATH at night).

As I watched her exit into the rolling crowds of the M.Hill, Mr. MTV turned his attention to me and asked if I needed another drink. I refused while nodding my head in agreement. Intrigued by my drunken stupor, he welcomed more company from the liquor that not only heats me up, but makes everyone around me instantly hotter. And thus, in the next 20 minutes, I fell for Mr. MTV.

In the bits and pieces I remember, I imagined him opening doors (both literally and figuratively) for me at his company and attending fancy parties ripe with celebrities. I may have devised a fantasy where he introduced me to Ryan Reynolds at rooftop gala in the middle of June, where he instantly found me irresistible and I left Mr. MTV in a dramatic exit as I whisked away to Paris. Perhaps Rome. Hell, I’ll settle for Madrid, if need be.

Mr. MTV, noticing my inability to focus as he enthusiastically bragged about his corner office (or was it a cubicle with a view?), whispered, “Do you want to go back to my place?” Before I could comprehend, tequila (who knows this dude better than I do, apparently), nodded yes.

In barely enough time to grab my bag and cardigan, I found myself hailing a cab, hand-in-hand with Mr. MTV. “I live, like, really close by, in Union Square,” he reassured. Unable to comprehend my coordinates (or to really care), I again, allowed tequila to control my motions by giving him a slurred, encouraging grin. In what seemed like an eternity but probably equated to ten minutes, Mr. MTV had us heading cross-town to an apartment he lived by himself. Somewhere between allowing him to cram his tongue half-way down my throat, telling me to relax, and he does this sort of thing all the time -I woke up.

I could give it an eloquent name, but in all fairness, it was simply a WTF moment.

As Mr. MTV is chatting with the driver, I looked out my window to catch a glimpse of a familiar landmark and realized what I was doing. As if it was in slow motion, I looked down to see my hands, still stamped from the beginning of the evening. I wiggled my fingers to make sure they still had feeling. I was glad to find, they did. I checked to see if I had everything with me that I started with and minus an earring, I thought, “Good job, Linds. All together.”

But then the sobering side of me argued, “Um, no. Look again. You’re a hot mess. Where are you going?”

So, without a word to Mr. MTV or gaining enough courage to look at him, I shouted to the cabbie to stop. Maybe the driver had been in this situation enough times, but he pounded the brakes immediately. Without hesitation, I threw open the door, stumbled my way ten steps across the street, shot my hand in the air, and magically, another yellow-and-black carriage swept me away to a place much better than the place I was heading: home. Alone.

Sometimes it is easy to know when it is time to walk away.

Unfortunately, most of the relationships that leave the most damage aren’t created and ended in a matter of hours. They are often the ones that are a collection of times where we depend on our staying graces as much as we peer over at our boots-made-for-walking, and the ones that Katy Perry claims are measured by fluctuating temperatures. They are the ones encompassed by exhaustion and often leave us, just as I was in my tequila haze, one hell of a mess. And though we know it is so not right and against our better judgment, we always stick around. Because somehow we think – or we convince ourselves- there’s a way for it to work out. If we can only get over one thing, if we can only be brave enough to stick around while he makes up his mind, or if we can establish a scenario where he’ll miss us. That’s when we will be justified in our one-night stand or our shouldn’t-have-lasted-as-long-as-it-did.

Maybe for some couples the patience pays off and the rewards are plenty.

But most of the time, tequila (or denial) comes in the form of syrupy romantic notions that against all other rational thought processes, tells us to keep going and going, when really, it’d be best to steer away from another tall drink of complication. Because while shots in a glass can be difficult to swallow, a shot to the broken heart and at our swollen pride, burns much longer. It is only when the rose-colored glasses are removed and the love drunk haze wears off that we see a relationship or a man for what he really is: a bad idea that’s best left on Saturday night (or in the past), where he belongs.

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What the World Needs

I wrote a blog for today.

It was about learning to control your imagination and not allowing it to get the best of you, the relationship you’re in or considering making official. I made analogies and edits, I crossed the t’s and dotted the I’s. I inserted links. It was what I consider a clever concoction of words and ideas and I’m sure readers and haters alike would have related.

But then WordPress goofed on me.

For whatever reason, the scheduled blog missed its automatic deadline and didn’t publish. I currently am without a phone with a higher IQ than the basic feature one, so I didn’t realize the mishap until midafternoon – maybe 20 minutes before this post goes live. I spent the morning away from the computer, sleeping in, eating breakfast in bed, and attempting to motivate myself to clean while nursing a one-too-many-Merlot haze.

However, the hours I spent enjoying the company of Mr. Possibility and his bacon-cooking skills, were interrupted by the news. I notoriously don’t watch shows or commentaries – I’m more of a reader. I digest The Times daily, subscribe to New York magazine, and my job requires me to follow business trends – which, surprisingly, have become far more interesting than I ever predicted they would. I’m fascinated by international affairs and the changing state of the world and its politics. I tend to believe we can’t all fight every single war, every injustice, or every problem – but picking one and sticking to it, would do the planet and its people a lot of good.

So today, don’t read this blog.

Put relationship troubles and worries of never finding the right guy on the back burner. Stop focusing on how to love yourself and what are the proper relationship-oriented decisions you should make to remain happy and confident. These things are important (I wouldn’t need a 12 step program, if they weren’t) – but today, take the time to catch up on the needs of the universe. Not the needs of yourself.

Love may not give back the lives of those killed in Egypt or give peace to the women raped in Libya or bring back the hundreds who lost their life in Japan’s current state of disaster. It may not save anyone from radiation, should it become a real threat. It may not stop sex trafficking from being the third most profitable illegal trade – only behind the smuggling of guns and drugs. It may not help an 11-year-old who was taken by 18 men in Texas or change the articles published placing the blame on her and posing a question of concern for the rapists’ futures. It may not turn the agendas of the media - who may be more concerned with hits and clicks - from giving way more attention to a washed-up, B-list celebrity who has abused women for decades, without anything more than a smack on the hand, followed by placing another million in his pocket.

It’s true, love doesn’t solve everything.

It doesn’t answer the questions left unruly and bitter in the hearts of those who have suffered great loss or pain. But maybe The Beatles are right – what the world needs now is, in fact, love. A love for humanity. A neighborly kind of love that looks out for the family of four next door. A love that doesn’t want something in return, but wants to give. An educated love that knows of the world outside of their zip code. A love that sees people as people, not as objects, statistics or figures, but human beings, who have the ability to love and to hate.

Go give the world what it needs: more people who care. More people who want to help someone else. More people who, regardless of what’s going on in their lives, their relationships, their homes, or their hearts – know there is always someone out there who needs love more than they do.

Blind Sighted By Me

We may be too young, too old, single, married, divorced, uninterested, obsessive, or otherwise. Yet at the core of every woman, of any background and any social standing – is this desire to be beautiful.

And not just be it, but have others notice the radiance we exude.

Surely, we tell our friends not to compare themselves to other women or to judge our own beauty by the luck of looks some seem to have. We convince ourselves that flaws are what make a person, not break them. That without imperfections, we would all be signed up for the cover of Vogue or to grace Lincoln Center’s runways. We remind ourselves that everyone is truly gorgeous in their own right, and one day, we’ll find someone who simply can’t take his eyes off of us because he is so captivated.

But it’s not easy.

I’m constantly analyzing my life and my ideas toward it – but more than that, I nit-pick the reflection I see. I see the acne. I notice the scars leftover from zits that were. I notice the slight forehead wrinkles I kindly blame on writing. I try to hide my imperfect teeth. I wish my hair would grow longer or decide to be curly or straight, not an unpredictable wavy somewhere in between. I squeeze the love handles I’ve never loved. I wonder why I can’t get rid of cellulite on the back of my thighs, even though I’ve ran nearly everyday for several years. I make a plea to make me grow just a few inches taller than my 5’4” self.

But, I remind myself I’m a pretty woman (I even have the song to keep my spirits up when they start to fall). However, believing I’m beautiful – that my appearance turns heads on the streets – is one of my greatest struggles. New York isn’t a breeding ground for beauty; there are knock-outs everywhere – but  I always find myself encountering women I don’t feel I measure up to. By the standard of attractiveness, anyways.

Not to mention, in my overly idealist notions about how a man should feel about me, view me, and speak to me, I’ve always thought any guy I would end up with or date seriously would have to find me absolutely beautiful. If not, why would he be with me? Doesn’t a man want to end up with the most attractive woman he’s ever met?

Not necessarily.

A while ago, after an intense and passionate romp with a man I loved, I laid wrapped up in our joint perspiration and the simple silence that follows ecstasy. He grazed and kissed the top of my head and the ends of my fingertips as he asked, “You know what I love the most about you?” Dazed but far from confused, I mumbled to him in a state between warmth and sleep. He whispered: “I love that I don’t have to look at you to know you’re beautiful.”

In that moment, his sentiments matched the energy I was emerged in, and I didn’t question how he arrived at this perspective toward me. However, my inquiring mind asked him the next morning, over omelets and orange juice, what he meant.

“Well, Linds. I’ll be honest with you. When I first met you, I didn’t find you that attractive. Not that you weren’t pretty, just not the typical girl I go after. Just by your looks on that day, I wouldn’t have approached you at a bar. It wasn’t love at first sight, or even lust. But what I love about you is that I fell for you – what you say, who you are, what you write. And the longer I’ve known you, the more gorgeous you’ve become. I don’t know how we got here, but we wouldn’t have without you, just being you. Has nothing to do with your body, your eyes, or anything. It’s just you.”

At first, I was highly offended that he didn’t find me outlandishly breathtaking. In remembering the way we met – something right out of a movie – I thought I was looking quite alluring. I even recalled the tight summer dress and heels I picked out that day. But no, he wasn’t impressed. I couldn’t believe that this man I was dating, who I had shared my most intimate self with, didn’t view me lovely from second one.

And then, I thought about it. It’s actually quite the compliment. Without peering at a face of perfection or a body that’s free of lumps – he saw through to the real me. To the me that no one knows when they first meet me, see a picture, or catch my eye. To a me that acts without hesitation, that displays my everything, without making excuses. He wasn’t blinded by my beauty, but blind sighted by me.

So maybe the trick to feeling beautiful is not putting on more makeup or telling yourself you are lovely, no matter the off-the-charts women you cross. But rather, reminding yourself of those things that make you, you. And not physical characteristics, but character traits. Maybe it’s silly to stand in front of a mirror and say, “You’re funny. Really. I mean, people are always laughing around you” or “You give so much to everyone and they do appreciate it. Your charm is not something someone can describe,” – but think about the smile that’ll rise inside of you to admit your positives.

Perhaps beautiful isn’t so much an adjective as it is a state of mind or a place of acceptance. Maybe it is a destination. To be beautiful, to really feel every affirmative connation that comes with the word – you have to internalize it. Without a man, without reassurance from others, without strangers drooling over you, without comparing yourself to every woman you meet.

And especially, without your eyes open.

PS: Jennifer from Cincinnati, OH completed Love Addict’s survey and won a fabulous glass from Lolita and perfume set fromPacifica. Love Addict will be doing another giveaway soon, so make sure to take the survey for your chance to win! Congrats Jen and thanks for reading!

This is Me & This is What I Need

While I’ve always known New York is the city that never sleeps, I was somehow under the illusion that its inhabitants do. However, if the last two weeks are any indication of how my street-slicker life is turning out to be, then it looks like I may be learning to function on a few hours rest for the time I pen New York, NY on my return labels.

From the time the clock struck 7 am, letting me know it was time to greet the energy populating outside, until the moment I burst into my apartment, sat down my bag, and collapsed into bed – I was on the go. To and from work. Staying later to close the magazine and arriving early to ensure I crossed all my T’s and dotted all my I’s. Going to this happy hour and that gallery opening. Visiting people in Brooklyn and beyond. Entertaining out-of-town friends I hadn’t seen in ages. Freelancing. This breath-of-fresh-air of a blog that keeps me going, when nothing else does. Figuring out where my heart is, but keeping my mind in tow. New dates with new men. Even newer friends. Movies and networking, dining and wining, and of course, even more writing.

I’ve been waiting for my New York life to start feeling like an actual, functioning, and prospering existence that’s full of friends, outings, experiences, and thriving conversations – and I feel like I’m finally getting there. It’s taken some difficult days that sometimes may get the best of me, but through it all – I’ve never doubted that eventually, skyscrapers would seem more like home than mountaintops. New York has this effortlessway of renewing my spirit and reminding me that the opportunities for me are endless and attainable, if I just remember to keep one thing in check no matter how busy I get or who becomes a main character in my life. And that wildly complicated and perfectly simple thing…is me.

And while I’ve thoroughly enjoyed my schedule being shaken and stirred – the thing that’s made the recipe a bit off is forgetting to take care of my own simple, day-to-day needs.

In my sudden influx of events and adventures, I noticed my mood gradually get worse. By the time Saturday evening rolled around and I had yet to really get a great night’s sleep, tidy up my apartment, or sit around in my sweatpants – I became flat-out bitchy. And along with my intolerableness, I started analyzing myself and worse, putting pressure and asking questions about what I was doing with my life. I started breaking out, which made me resort back to old ways of piling on way too much makeup. Thus, I started to feel less secure, not to mention with my busy schedule, the gym has been out of the question, so I was not feeling like my fit self, either. And when my apartment was merely used to shower and sleep for two weeks, the heap of dirty clothes kept growing, without an end in sight – leaving me with all of those garments we keep, but never want to wear. Admittedly, I may have worn the same pair of socks two days in a row and did all I could to keep that thought out of my mind throughout round-two.

Apart from doubting my appearance and feeling overall just plain exhausted, I also became paraded with worries about everything from my career, my finances to my dating life, and this space: Am I doing enough? Am I working to the best of my ability? Is my job happy with me? Am I going on enough dates? Should I even be going on dates at all? What if I fall in love with someone in the next few months – will that go against the recovery? Will I still be able to love myself in the middle of a full-fledged relationship? Am I there yet?  Do I even know where I’m going? Am I still on the right path with myself? Am I doing the right things? Making the right decisions? Am I saving enough money? Am I spending too much on going out and not enough preparing for my new apartment in May?

What the hell am I doing??

Like the infamous pile of spaghetti, all covered in cheese, once my meatball of confidence rolled off my sturdy table – all was lost. As much as I’m a girl who goes, I’m also a woman who needs alone time to collect my thoughts and find my personal center of clarity. I’ve discovered, in my most recent rampage, that when I forget about the basic necessities that keep me sane – sleeping, running, eating a huge bowl of cereal while watching trashy television in my fuzzy bathrobe – any bit of negativity in me bubbles its way up to the surface.

Until I took away my isolated liberty, I never realized how much I really cherished those hours of seclusion. The time when I’m only in the company of myself.

And so yesterday, instead of accepting an invite to dinner or heading out to mingle at a networking gala downtown, I left work on time and went to find the me I had lost in the last fourteen days. Running four miles was difficult, but it has never hurt so good or made my lungs feel clearer. I enjoyed a decaf espresso with my laundry and cleaning duties, and I caught up on the daily reads I had been neglecting. I soaked my feet and wore a face masque. I called my mom and then retired my phone for the evening. I replied to personal emails I had let pile up. I went invisible on Gchat and closed Facebook and ceased tweeting on Twitter.

I looked at myself in the mirror, saw all of the imperfections I had been focusing on for days – newly formed zits, hair that despareately needs to be trimmed, skin that’s paler than the leftover snow on the streets, and elbows severely thirsty for hydration. And instead of spewing out words of degradation and attempting to fix all that I thought was ugly or wrong, I stopped and made a decision.

A choice to believe that at whatever point my journey is at or approaching, or how many things I want to change or I’m unsure about – this is my life. This is my body. This is how I look. This is my apartment. This is my job. This is my savings accountant. This is my date for the evening. This is my blog. This is my city. This is my home. This is my exhaustion taking over. This is my spirit that will get me through. This is now. This is what it is. This, whatever this is at whatever moment this takes me to, is mine.

This is me and I have to decide what I need.

And while they may say it’s never too late to be the person you wanted to be, it’s also never too early to accept and listen to yourself. Or to realize that sometimes, the best thing you ever do…is absolutely nothing.

The Biggest Love of All

I could pretend like I don’t care. I could say that it wouldn’t bother me if I never found it. I could claim that I believe I would be fine without it. I could entertain the notion that monogamy is unrealistic.

Or I could be honest. And the truth of the matter is yes, I want to have a big love.

You know – the one where the sparks just fly. Where inhibitions, caution, fears, and apprehensions are dispersed into the wind of yesteryear – and I just go full force ahead into the tomorrow that now seems so clear. Where each bone and every sensation gives the indication that this person, this man, could be that someone I’ve been dreaming of. Where when he looks my way, when his eyes peer into mine, instead of just seeing facial expressions – I see something that even I couldn’t put into words. Where things, for whatever reason and measured in whatever way we both see fit – just work. Intensely, magically, profoundly, and naturally. Where passion and intrigue are magnified, but when I spent endless time with this person, I find myself shocked thinking, “Wow, this just feels right. It’s so easy.”

Lately, I’ve been thinking about this big love and deciding if getting over the idea of having a beautiful story with a dramatic plot line and incredible ending, is a huge part of this journey. We all know the love people produce movies, write novels, and compose music about are unrealistic. And if we admit to desiring such things, our independence, our intelligence, our interest in academia and the world is questioned. I mean, why should we waste brain cells or thoughts or hours of our life, thinking about the big love? When that love – where it be full of ups and downs or smooth sailing – is maybe, just an illusion? One that’s created by Hollywood and Harper Collins.

But the fiction that’s portrayed on silver screens and between pages – it’s inspired by facts. By people with real experiences. By men and women who have felt that thing, whatever it is. Maybe those who have seen it come and go, watched it while it stayed and then as it left. By those who were critics before they were stung by a buzzing person they couldn’t shoo away – regardless of how hard they tried.

I’ve yet to decide if The Love – as we all indicate worthy of capital letters – is the relationship that’s simple and easy-going, without drama and messiness, or if it’s the one that amidst all of the problems, at the end of the day, or in the final act, you’d still chose this person over any other eligibility. Maybe I’m conflicted because the strongest and most withstanding pairs I know all have varying histories. My dad had to pursue my mother for eight months before she finally agreed to go on a date with him (they were married four months later, mind you). A reader once told me she and her husband, knew in a single instance, with one silly glance, that they had just met their match. One of my closest friends, A, met her now-boyfriend in the states, but it took until they were in China at the same time, for them to come together. Other couples I know had to break up a few times, get over one another’s past, and let go of their own baggage to move forward. But when they did, it went full-force ahead into the land of happily ever-together. The stories are all different, the levels of intertwining roads and the bumps that break up the pavement vary, but the love is the same. It is intense. It is powerful. It is based on a mutual understanding of mutuality. It’s that love – the big one. The doozy.

For the majority of my life, I’ve feared not finding this relationship. Not having a man who flat-out, no questions asked, adored me. Not experiencing that impossible connection that’s uninterrupted because it’s that incredibly strong. Not having that feeling that I could, in fact, spend the rest of my life with someone and it not seem terrifying.

But if I’m honest – each relationship has increasingly been better. I’ve learned more with every choice, each mistake, and all of the romantic exchanges. I’ve mastered the difficult task of trying to make good out of bad and believe heartbreaks are more about growth than about pain. And while I haven’t had a life-altering, ground-breaking, knock me off my feet love – I’ve experienced love that’s worthy of words. Worthy of the time, spirit, and heart invested, even if the return was sometimes small.

All of these little loves may eventually add up to one big love – but what I’ve always had and always will have is something more. And that’s the relationship I have with myself. It’s always remarkably more trying and yet more sincere than any romance I’ve curated with a man. It has its ups and its downs. It’s full of trials and yet, worth each and every single off-day, for even an hour of feeling my very best. It takes me every place I need to go and when no one else can say the right words, I can find them if I look hard enough. It allows other people into the picture, just to show me how powerful the union really is and test how loyal I am to myself. It’s taken decades of pursuing and wooing, wining and dining, to get to where I am now. It’s a daily struggle with a daily reward. It’s the single most important, most intriguing, most difficult - and yet, the easiest, relationship I’ve ever been in or will ever experience.

There may be The One and I may want to find a big love to love, and I may never let go of the desire for that partnership. But at least I can be reassured that I’ve already found The Love. And no matter how much drama I encounter or admiration I give and receive, at least I know love is possible. And it is worth each and every downfall, if at the end of my story - the love I’ve found in myself remains the biggest love of all.