I Tried to Hate Christmas

It snowed for the first (real) time in New York on Saturday.

I woke up hazily hungover and tired, wondering how I’d ever make it to midtown east for Lucy’s vet appointment when my mouth still tasted like red wine. My little pup blended in with my comforter, snuggled between my feet like she likes to do, and I laid in bed, listening to the quiet. I relished in those peaceful, stolen moments before I have to force myself out of bed and into the chaos below. My room was colder than usual, only warmed by the bright white glow outside, and I opened the curtains just enough to inquire about the weather.. and there they were:

Perfect, fragile snowflakes, falling gracefully to the ground I can’t see below.

I watched them build up on the rooftops and though I’m 20 years too old to get so excited over such little things, I smiled and eagerly told Lucy it was snowing. She licked my face and went back to sleep, unimpressed and obviously not-human. I didn’t care though – I slung on my boots and dressed her in a (probably not necessary) coat and outside we went to see the snow.

As I walked down to the friendly Starbucks that lets me bring her inside when it’s cold, I kicked the snow underneath my feet and I laughed as Lucy played with it, hopping on the small piles and seeing the flakes flutter on her nose. The upper west side was alive and happy, excited for this wintery-mix that makes this dirty, darkened city seem more pure, more hopeful than before.

And like the snow lightened the push-and-the-shove of Manhattan (and Brooklyn and Queens, and maybe even New Jersey), it did the same for me. I’ve been adamantly against Christmas this year. In fact, I was so not looking forward to this time of year that I convinced myself that I wouldn’t be full of the holiday spirit, instead, I’d be a scrooge. I’d hate Christmas with all of my might.

After such a difficult year, with so much bad and so little good, why would I invest my heart and my expectations in December? Why would I think that the end of the year would be any better than the rest of it? Why waste money on decorations and holiday cards, postage and gifts, if in the end, I’d be miserably humming around a fake Christmas tree, mulling over everything I didn’t have? Over everything that didn’t happen or unfortunately did happen?

Why celebrate 2013 at all?

Maybe it was the snowflakes – or how the shift in the seasons shifted something for me, too, but I couldn’t keep my love of the holidays at bay. I couldn’t be negative about it. Even though New York and I have had our trials this year, the city wouldn’t let me forget about Christmas. Not with it’s street fairs and it’s subway performers singing “My Favorite Things.” Not with it’s lights and it’s weather, it’s people dressed in puffy coats and stockings from head-to-toe. Not with smiling kids and (surprisingly) grinning adults, even with it’s happy tourists seeing this place I call home for the first time, in the snow. Not with Macy’s windows and Fifth Avenue shops, not with splitting a bottle of wine with my friend in a cozy Parisian restaurant in the West Village. Not with all the truly magical parts of New York – from people to places and everything in between – that seem to glow with those silly white lights at this special time of year.

Though things haven’t quite gone my way and I’ve had more learning pains than triumphs this year, it only gives me better reason to show my thanks at Christmas and as 2014 begins. It might not have been the easiest of months, but they were necessary to teach me something. To be stronger and to take more chances. To believe in things that you can’t feel, see or imagine. To trust in something bigger than you, some force that you might not always believe in. To know that everything has it’s time and it’s place, that we will figure it out as we go, if we have enough hope to see it through.

I wanted to hate Christmas this year, I really did. But I don’t. I can’t. I won’t…

I sent out 50 holiday cards.

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E hosted (yet another) amazing Thanksgiving dinner.

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My friend A came to visit.

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I made a wreath (for $10!).

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My roommates put up a tree and I hung stockings.

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Lucy got a new red coat.

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And a new pillow (thanks Pottery Barn!)

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J threw quite the party with some deadly jingle juice.

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I shopped for Christmas gifts with M while looking at a lovely view.

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iVillage named me the Best Party Planner at our holiday party.

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This is my view while writing this blog.

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And best of all… my family will be here in less than a week for our very first Christmas in New York City.

I might not be exactly where I thought I’d be at the end of 2013, but I’m exactly where I’m supposed to be, learning what I need to know. And maybe one day, I’ll have a Christmas with a man I love, watching the children we made open presents in a home or apartment we bought together. Maybe I’ll have the best year yet in 2014, maybe it’ll be harder than all the rest. Maybe I’ll move abroad, maybe I’ll keep falling back in love with New York.

Maybe it all doesn’t matter – as long as I’m thankful enough to realize that regardless of how it all turns out or what I have, I’m so incredibly blessed. And so very loved.

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Dear Boy

Dear boy who showed up drunk on our very first date.

After you moved our meeting time three times because you were running late. You showed up fifteen minutes past when you said you’d be there, and I watched you stumble in. You looked remarkably like someone I already knew, but I tried not to notice your slight case of alcoholism. I smiled and answered your questions, as awkward and intrusive as they were. I attempted not to judge you when you finished three beers before I finished my first glass of wine and after I declined a second one, I politely waited for you to finish your fourth Bud Light. Though you did insist on paying, you also tried to insist on me coming home with you, though I had to open the cab door for you because you couldn’t open it yourself. I laughed as you asked for my number (when you already had it) and then again when you mentioned how much fun we would have if I would stay the night with you (after I already refused before). When you texted me the next day making a joke about drinking too much, I sweetly let you down, and you responded saying I should be more forgiving and go with the flow.

Dear boy who ignored me when I wouldn’t sleep with you on our third date.

I really did like you. I really did feel such a great, amazing connection with you. It was nice to have an educated, interesting conversation with someone that wasn’t based on the basics of New York: where you’re from, what you do, what part of the city you live in, OMG this weather is awful/awesome. I loved the places you picked for our dates and even more so, how you insisted on walking me home and like a gentleman, kissing me goodnight without pressuring to come upstairs. I liked how you sent me funny memes and remembered things about our conversation that I didn’t even recall, and how you set up another date before the date we were on was over. I thought that maybe you and I would be something, something more than a handful of dates or a drunken encounter – but then you disappeared when I wouldn’t give it up on our last date. A day passed. A week. And I realized that even though you talked about many wonderful things that could possibly be, the thing you wanted more than anything was to get jerked off. Sorry I’m not sorry that I disappointed you.

Dear boy who refused to leave Brooklyn on a Saturday night when the L train was down.

The first time we were supposed to meet up, you got too tipsy with friends you haven’t “seen in a long time” and couldn’t stumble your way to a bar to meet me. It was really considerate of you to cancel less than hour before our date, after I showered, walked the dog and was just about to get on the train. I did actually appreciate your sincere and honest apology, and I thought our first date was intriguing and had easy, casual energy. Your motivation and passion for what you do was inspiring and well, I loved that you were 6’3” and held doors open for me. Your follow-up text message that night and the following day were enticing enough for me to agree to a second date. And though I was hesitant about going to your neighborhood, I agreed anyway. But when the trains stopped working and I asked for a compromise that was equally convenient (or inconvenient) for both of us, and you couldn’t be bothered to move from your street (and let’s be honest, your bed, I’m guessing), I couldn’t be bothered to deal with you.

Dear boy who doesn’t know how tall he is or what he does for a living.

Your text messages were alluring and convincing – I really thought our date would be fascinating. But before I even walked in the door, I knew I had been tricked. I’m sorry, but 6’0” and 5’7” are not the same thing – not even close. Especially when I wear heels to impress you on our first date. And while I still would have gone out with you if you said you were merely interning somewhere, I was annoyed that you claimed you lived and worked here. When in reality, you’re just here for the summer. I would have let all of that slide except that you couldn’t keep eye contact for even a second in the 45-minutes we drug out that one drink. Your eyes met my breasts and my legs, my ass and my knees, but never once did you look at me. I tried to brush it off, but I probably showed my anger when as we went to part ways, you joked: “So next time, let’s just do your place.” Let’s not.

Dear boy who showed up wanting to get laid when I was running 100-degree fever.

I liked the outdoor space where we had a few too many cocktails and then went to your friend’s 30th birthday party. I thought it was odd you wanted to bring me along, but we had so much fun dancing and chatting with everyone you knew that I couldn’t wait to go on another date with you. It was so nice of you to show up not only on time, but early, and to order my favorite glass of wine so it was waiting for me. Though I couldn’t decide how attracted I was to you, I was attracted to your personality and the way you expressed yourself. I told myself not to be so picky, to give you a chance, and so I did, on another date. But then I got sick. And I was going out of town. And though I didn’t want to cancel on you, I could hardly get out of bed and barely breathe through my nose, so I did. You surprised me when you said you’d bring soup and drive me to the airport the next morning. When you showed up sans-chicken noodle and pushed me onto my bed, attempting to rip my clothes off and I stopped you, I was appalled when you said: “What, you don’t want to? It’s our fourth date.” After I sweetly kicked you out and cursed you, I made a mental note to always go with my gut.

Dear boy that I loved for three years too long.

You were the best and the worst of them all. You were a boy before we dated and I dreamed you into a man, nursed you into a gentleman and you turned right back into a boy, fooling me every move, every month, every fuck along the way. Your love and what I hoped for us was felt like a shadow extending over everything that I did – always lurking, always promising something that would never be. It took every ounce of dignity, every last slice of pride, every piece of courage I had to finally walk away from you. To block your number and send your emails to trash. To push you out of my life, my thoughts, my lingering belief in impossible possibilities. I loved you in ways that I didn’t know I could love, and you changed me in powerfully painful ways I didn’t know someone could ever inflict. And though everyone told me that it would happen one uneventful day and I never believed them, my attachment to you released in an instant. The heartstrings let loose, my tears ran dry and though you’ll always be somewhere in my thoughts, you’ll never be anything more than a memory. A bittersweet memory that prepared me for the worst of it in New York. If I can survive you, I can survive anything.

Dear me.

You don’t always think you’re doing it right, and more often than not, you’re embarrassed by your insecurities. You blame yourself for everything that goes wrong with some boy, some relationship, some date, even though it’s not (always) your fault. You constantly obsess about being too much or too little, if you’re pretty enough or far too picky to find that love you look for. You keep going when the going gets tough, and though you have your tantrums, you never lose hope. You never give up. And I’m proud of you for that. For never settling, for standing up for yourself, even when it’s the hardest thing to do. Even when your friends think you’re too harsh and when they give advice you don’t take. I’m inspired by how you lead your life with love, even if the love you want the most is not at reach. I know you don’t want to date yet another boy, but do it anyway. Learn from it. Write about it. Help other women. Let all of those dear boys pass through your life because they’re just making you stronger, getting you one step closer to the you that you’re meant to be.

And if you keep believing, closer to the man – not the boy – that’s meant to be, too.

PS: If you have a “Dear Boy” letter you’d like to share, comment below or email me: confessions.loveaddict@gmail.com. I’ll publish them anonymously or linking back to your blog or social account. 

Are We Talking Ourselves Out of Love?

After a recent encounter of the Canadian (and tall, successful, charming, sexy) kind, I found myself trying to decipher the enigma between the text messages on my phone late Monday night. My faithful friends, readily available to nod thoroughly through the major and minor obsessions, reassured me there wasn’t anything to figure out, that Mr. Maple Leaf was genuinely (perhaps profoundly!) into me. (Spoiler alert: yes, he’s “into me,” but doesn’t want a relationship, the same ole’ song of nearly every man I meet and actually like.)

So in a fit of irritation that flooded an entire Gchat box expanded full screen, I angrily declared – not so eloquently – that men completely, totally suck and that I’m over it. (There may have been a few obligatory curse words for effect and I might have let out an audible mini-scream, too.) After fully executing my adult, 20-something tantrum, I heaved and sighed, attempting to let go of my frustration, when I suddenly felt a wave of regret for what I typed. And for the amount of analysis I put into a guy that – let’s be honest – I’ve seen twice. I re-read my message to R and for whatever reason, I decided to read it out loud. I wanted to hear it outside of my head, away from the fog of obsession, what did it sound like? How did I sound? What language was I speaking about my (mostly non-existent, annoying) dating life?

Apparently, a rather negative, if not (admittedly) pretty annoying one.

My words were drenched in a lot of bad, cliche adjectives and sweeping statements about sour predictions of male intentions. I could hear my distaste and my anxiety, seeping through the sentences, falling out of my mouth and into the universe, in an angry, harsh cloud of smoke. I suddenly felt embarrassed by my compulsion, and especially by my exasperation. Had I really dropped so low that the only thing I could muster is a (incorrect) stereotype about the men of Manhattan (and Brooklyn and Queens…)? Have I adopted –and spread – the rumors that love is a dying idealism in the gray city streets that never sleep, but sleep with everybody? Have I become so disengaged by the dates I’ve had and the caliber of men I find, that not only am I bored, but I’m judgmental and difficult to please?

Who is that girl on Gchat? I surely thought I was better — and maybe older — than that. I thought I was past the phase where I cared about every little thing a guy did or said and I had moved on to the greener pastures, where my give a damn is broken, and my head is held higher than the jerks who aren’t crazy about me.

And if so – maybe that’s my problem. Maybe guys are, well, assholes because I keep saying they are.

My theory that a good one doesn’t come along very often (he doesn’t) and that most guys are in for a good time (but sometimes, so am I?) isn’t too far off base. And the more you fling yourself out into the world of eligibility, the more you get disappointed and frustrated by what’s actually eligible. I understand why my language is uninspired and desperate, but I’m also starting to understand that maybe I’m my own worst enemy. That I might just be the culprit in the dating blame game. I think it’s less in the water we’re drinking in this big ol’ place and more in the dialect we keep speaking in.

I think we’re all talking ourselves out of love.

Not directly of course — if you ask any of my single friends, they all hope for (and put themselves out there for) a chance at a genuine relationship. We all want to meet some guy that proves all of those other dates necessary, one to come along and bring clarity to the trials, one to hold our hand instead of grabbing our ass (except when we want him to, of course). But when we talk about relationships — with the couples or the singles, we all discuss how hard it is. How annoying and patronizing and demeaning it all feels. How we get our hopes up and our spirits high, shave our legs and put on lipstick to snag this imaginary person. How it feels like so much work except when it’s fun and when it’s fun, it feels like it only last so long before it all falls apart, and then we regret the whole thing. We talk about how much we want to give up and how badly it sucks, two (or three or five) years later, to still sleep in a massive bed, all by ourselves, night after night. It’s not a fairytale, we say, it’s a nightmare. And even if everyone tells us that dating should be fun and we should be positive – it stops being enjoyable once history continues o repeat itself.

So, even though I’m the queen of analyzing and obsession and reading in between lines that probably aren’t actually there to begin with, I want to challenge you – and myself – to stop talking about it.

Or at least, to change the way we talk about it. If we change our narrative to be positive, instead of defeating, then maybe we can change the ending. If we can take each date, each possible mate with a grain of salt (no matter how much we think we could like them), and focus on learning about a new person (not a new man) then maybe we’ll gain something more than another horror story to tell our friends at brunch. If we stop preoccupying ourselves with how f***ing long it’s taking to meet our next boyfriend (or husband), and instead think about how truly awesome it’ll feel when it happens, then we might have a little more hope, rather than hate for the process.

Because if I think about it, most of the guys that I’ve went out with haven’t been bad people, I just knew they weren’t a person for me. Or the chemistry was off. And though I don’t truly believe timing is the most important part of a relationship, sometimes, people just aren’t in the right place to give you what you need. And yes, of course, some men are profoundly assholes, no doubt about it.

But if I continue to damn my love life because it’s not shaping out in the way I thought or hoped it would, and thus damning the entire male population that I’m trying to date – then maybe I’m an asshole, too.

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.

And Sometimes, You Forget Your…

I considered two things Saturday night at 8:40 p.m., while walking down Broadway: I’ve either gone crazy or I’m actually brilliant. I poured myself out of bed, where I was nestled in a very over-sized t-shirt that draped past my knees, because I realized that I was out of wine on my “Lindsay night in.”

Big problem.

I left in the rush of courage you can only get after a few glasses of red-wine, and with the eager intent of getting to the liquor store before it closed. Though I was still a bit exhausted from the day I had — a dog walk 5K with Lucy (yes, I’m ridiculous) and a free concert in Central Park with Stevie Wonder, John Mayer and more (yes, I’m lucky) — I knew a proper and relaxing evening in required refreshments, and ideally, cheese. Lots of cheese.

I quickly threw on my raincoat and infinity scarf, whipped my hair up and put on flats, grabbed my keys and headed down the stairs. It wasn’t until I was half-way down the block, rushing because the big silver gates guarding the Cabernet come crashing down at 9 p.m., that I realized I forgot pants.

Yes, I’ve lived in New York almost four years, and I forgotten everything from my wallet to my phone, but never, have I ever, forgot to put on pants.

I stopped hastily and buttoned up my red jacket in a hurry, feeling well exposed in front of strangers. A homeless man asked me for some change, a little girl flew past me on her magical scooter and a group of 20-somethings clicked by in their sky-rocket heels, leaving me in the dust of their perfume and cheap nylon. An elderly woman pushed her way across the avenue, unaware of the speed around her, and a man walking his dog didn’t notice a thing, completely plugged into his iPhone’s illuminated screen.

And there I stood, 25, single, pantless, walking to spend $20 on a wine and Vermont Sharp Cheddar on a Saturday night.

I considered heading back to my apartment, but I knew I didn’t have much time to waste. The city never sleeps and it certainly doesn’t wait for you to get your act together to appease to your demands. (Or to put on pants when you forget them.) And so, after checking half a dozen times that my ahem, backend, was not on display, I carefully walked two blocks, holding together the bottom of my jacket, to pick up my goodies.

After texting a few friends that I thought I’d officially hit rock bottom, I plugged in The Princess Bride (my favorite movie of all time), poured some of that well-earned wine and prepared to bury my embarrassment in my down comforter. But thinking about my pantless dance on the Upper West Side, I couldn’t focus on a movie, and instead, I just had a nice, long, hard…

laugh at myself.

The thing is, it shouldn’t be that surprising that I forgot to put on a piece of clothing. In fact, I’m frankly stunned it hasn’t happened before. From the way I walk to how I work and everything else I throw myself into, I move, really, really fast. I’m always in a hurry to get somewhere — to my job, to finish everything assigned to me, to get to happy hour, to leave happy hour, to write this blog, to publish that one, to be super-duper successful, to train for a half, to run the half, to go on a date, to meet someone, to fall in love, to do this, to do that, to go, go, go.

And with all this going, I often forget about the little things.

Like that even if my friends are spending nights in with men they love (and love them dearly back) on the weeknights, I get the freedom to do whatever I want, whenever I want, without having to consider anyone. Or that my Sundays are often spent lounging in the grass in Riverside Park, sipping coffee, reading The Times while Lucy runs in circles, chasing tennis balls she can’t actually pick up. Or that I can get lost in anything, an incredibly good book, a nice, hour-and-a-half run around the reservoir, the not-so-winding streets, without having to worry about the kids, or the playdates or a house that needs cleaning. Or my ability to spend what I want on what I want, without thinking about mouths to feed or a joint-rent to meet or a savings account that someone else sees. That while I may not know where I’ll go or who I’ll meet, when it will all come together or how it’ll work out, I know that I’ll waste it all, if I rush through it.

And if I keep up this pace, I might be considered a little batty, walking the streets of Manhattan without pants. Or maybe I feel liberated? Free from the reigns of too-tight skinny jeans or yoga pants that have yet to get stretched? The crisp, fall air gushing it’s way across the avenues, sweeping through my raincoat and long, long t-shirt with the old, old dirty black flats?

Nah, pantless in New York isn’t fabulous or flattering or life-altering or something that triggered some powerful message in my life. Instead, it was just kind of, really, fun. And sometimes, that’s better than anything else.

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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You Know That Guy

All of my friends know him. And probably a little too well. They know his shape and the way he moves in his sleep, all of his best moves in bed. They know the way he likes his eggs and his go-to drink of choice. They could probably recite both his personal and professional resume, without having to dig way back into the memories they keep. Or the ones they’ve imagined so vividly, they almost seem so real, they’d go on record to defend them.

All of my friends know that guy… and so do you.

We all have one: that guy that was the hardest one (ever, ever) to get over. He’s the one who got under your skin when you were too young, too naive, too inexperienced to know any better. He’s the guy who introduced you to something at a pivotal point in your life. After a bad breakup, post-huge move to a brand new city, following the worst year you’ve experienced. He could be the first guy you slept with where you actually understood — and omg — felt a go-numb-in-your-toes orgasm. He’s the guy that treated you terribly, possibly cheated on you, left you hanging on the edge of possibility for months (or years), couldn’t meet any of your needs, couldn’t step up to the plate, called you up at midnight and randomly showed up at your door, so drunk he could barely stand. He’s the guy who knows you so well that he knows how to push every button, linger on each and every heart string and for lack of a better phrase, emotionally torture you. And tangle your lives together, long after you’ve separated.

That guy might not mean the harm he inflicts (though he could be rather manipulative at his core), but he always finds a way to stick around. He might actually love you in the silly, twisted, strange way that he can, but the love you deserve is bigger and frankly, easier than a chaotic relationship (and the on and off months of sex that follow). Without realizing it — because I bet it happened rather quickly — you’ll wonder how you lost yourself in this man. In all of the questions and the embraces and the fever-filled texts and emails and voicemails and mornings waking up naked, hating yourself a little more

But try as you might, with every ounce of dignity you have, you pull yourself out of it. You find the strength (and let go of the crushing fear) to walk away, promising yourself there must be a greater love out there for you, somewhere, somehow. You will refuse to settle. Or maybe that guy left you. Perhaps for someone else, maybe for another country. He could have pushed you to your limits, until the breaking point was simply non-negotiable. However it ended with that guy – it didn’t just end the second you deleted him off Facebook or blocked his email.

It kept going on. Because you let it. Because you wanted to feel something instead of nothing. Because the (select few) good times where everything felt right, where his arms held you tight, when you caved under his façade – are so much easier to remember than the times that he hurt you. Over and over again.

Over and over again, you’ll play through it all. Over and over again, you’ll cry and then you’ll stand up. You’ll say you won’t do anything and you’ll do everything you swore you would never do… again. You’ll give into the fear that perhaps there isn’t anything better out there, and he’ll play off your terror in a way so subtle you won’t detect it until someone points it out. That guy will haunt your romantic dreams long after he’s gone, long past the time when you were together, in a scary, confidence-busting way. And you’ll watch him do it. You’ll probably sleep with him. You might even find a day where you give up  that anyone will ever mean as much – or make you feel so much – than that guy. Because that guy has you addicted to the story. To the drama. To that fragile piece of silver lining that make you wonder that maybe, just maybe, it could all work out one day.

That guy is a pretty obvious one for me and two years since we “broke up” – his emails still sit in my inbox. His phone number appears in my voicemail. He’s still here on these pages and occasionally on my mind more than I’d like. I blame it on a lot of things, like that he’s my last point of reference in a relationship. That he was my first (and only) adult love. That we really had something special.

But really, he’s just that guy for me.

He’s just that one guy that we all have to get past. And even though I have a pretty fantastic life, there’s nothing like clinging to the past that can bring a girl down or make her lose her thunder. If you ask people who found a way to release that guy from their life, they’ll tell you about how they met someone else and it got better. Or how they finally were tired of the constant production. Or how they had to block everything, threaten until they were out of breath and ignore every tempting invitation. Or how they finally realized they were never going to get that guy to be anything close to what they wanted.

We all have that guy, in whatever shape or form, age or stage he comes (and ultimately leaves). And for me, the biggest breakthrough, the thing that’s helped more than anything else on moving on past that guy is reminding myself he’s not the last guy. And if I can move from North Carolina to New York, lose my first job to find the dream job, find a way to survive and thrive in a city that gets a kick off knocking you down, then I can let go of that guy. I can leave him in the dust, in the torn notes, the pages I’ve penned, the hours, the days, the years I’ve lost and in the empty promises that were never filled. In the love I wanted so badly to feel in return that remained rather unrequited, and simply, never enough.

Because that guy can do a lot of things, including breaking your heart so many times you lose count, but he can’t break your hope. Unless of course, you let him.