Farewell, My Darling Loves

Sticky and sleepy, I waved the keycard in front of the suite and told myself to inhale as I entered the room. A giant tub and standing shower to my left, adorned with a white, plush robe, waiting for me to take off my New York and put on my Mexico. I smiled at the thought and took a few steps to the living and sleeping area that was definitely not a one-size-fits-all but more of a too-big-for-one type of deal. I saw the message from the staff – ‘Welcome Lindsay!’ – written in a rainbow of multicolored rice and I had to touch the corner to make sure it was real, as a way of pinching myself to reality. I kept going until I arrived at the door of the balcony and with a quick sweep of the white linen curtains, I gasped at the view: crystal clear blue waves, the sun shining brighter than I’d ever witnessed in mid-December and two seats outside, calling me to uncork the bottle of wine sitting nearby.

15401175_10102531692470088_1501186388201627810_n

“You created this, Lindsay. You worked for this. You did it,” I heard silently in my head. And though it should come as no surprise to those who love me dearly, I teared up outside in the salty Mexican area, still wearing my winter boots and thermal socks. Of all the moments I used to dream of in North Carolina, imagining what my life in New York would be like, it never occurred to me how following my heart could lead me far beyond skyscrapers and city sidewalks, but how it could take me all over the world, chasing bylines wherever they led me.

And I definitely didn’t think that I would get my great big start as a real-deal writer by creating a blog about being single at the age of 22, hungover from my birthday party before in an old, dusty, multi-family building in Harlem.

As I sat outside on that balcony, I helped myself to a generous pour of chilled Sauvignon Blanc and took a bite of local, freshly-caught ceviche on my very first press trip, I was overcome with gratitude. What rang in my head in that first moment upon arrival was, and is, true – I’ve worked tirelessly since the second that Target pump met Manhattan ground, and I’ve never doubted my ability to write for even a moment. But my success can truly only be measured by how many people have been be courageous enough to share themselves with me – through commentary or emails, through likes on Facebook for my published work, through encouraging Gchats and texts from friends and family, through those of you who have confided in me when you were facing the worst of personal storms.

15355597_10102531692485058_6305643648634404235_n

This blog – for so many years – was a safe, open-hearted community. It was my most frequented website. It was what kept me up at night, thinking about what post I would write next on my 365 daily deadline quest. It was my own 20-something public diary, a detailed, raw account of what it was like to be new to NYC, new to adulthood, new to dating. When I read through those old blogs now, I read between my own lines, and I feel all of those shaky firsts, those desperate feelings of uncertainty, those wounds that I was healing by typing.

And then, I dig deeper and I discover all of the good stuff.

Like the ones that landed me a stint with a book agent, the ones that introduced to one of my best friends, the ones who were read and re-read by my fellow editor friends when I was unsure about hitting that sometimes-daunting ‘publish’ button, the ones that served as clips to get freelance gigs at some of the largest magazines in the world, the ones that, well, helped me grow up.

And the ones that taught me how to let go of relationships I had outgrown, the ones that taught me how to let go of who I thought I should be and how to embrace the eccentric, unique beauty of my own heart, the ones that taught me how to let go of the five-year (and 10-year and 15-year) plan I always had for myself and made me fall in love with the painful and exquisitely empowering process of merely existing and letting life lead you.

And right now, it’s with a heavy heart and yep (you guessed it) teary eyes, that after almost seven years, I discontinue Confessions of a Love Addict.

I realized how much I had personally outgrown this blog when one of my closest friends came by after work for dinner. I had just gone through an old jewelry armoire and I was making room for new items. This talented, lovely friend is at a crossroads in her life, where she isn’t sure where she wants to live, what she wants to do or the best way to answer either of those important questions. I’m so inspired by her brave sense of self and the kindness that she bestows to so many, myself included.

As we were chatting she said, “You know that love affair you’ve always had with New York? I’m not sure if I’ve ever felt that way about living here.” I smiled, put down my mug of tea and replied, “I didn’t really pick to feel this way about NYC. Something was special from the moment I visited and I’ve been able to love it through so many ups and downs over the years.“

And so I pulled out this old journal, given to me by the teacher who encouraged my writing in the seventh grade, covered in magazine clippings of fancy dresses and hopeful words, and I showed my friend the documentation of my first summer in New York. This was two years before I started this blog and I was interning in the city, still afraid to go any further than the bottom of Central Park, much less to a borough. What I remember the most about those two very-short months was how alive I felt, how peaceful my spirit was to finally be building the life I had envisioned and how astonished I was at how much a carton of milk cost.

Half-way through this show-and-tell, I thought about another journal, which I lovingly call ‘The Dream Book,’ – it’s where I chronicle many of my firsts. Inside, there is a letter that I wrote on March 14, 2010 on the plane, riding on the tailwind of a one-way ticket and naive, passionate, wild hope. There’s every address I’ve ever called home, the date I accepted my first job offer, the first dollar I ever made, letters to my future children and so much more.

As I began to get it out to show my friend and suggest she create a journal like this of her own, I realized I didn’t know where it was.

I tore through my closet and my bookshelf, my nightstand and even under my bed, but it was nowhere to be found. At this point, I was starting to have a mini-meltdown until I looked to the corner of my room, where that jewelry armoire was sitting and I opened a random drawer. Though I could have sworn I had cleaned them all out the night before, I had missed one.

And inside was that journal.

My own personal history of my life, written in all stages of my handwriting for the past 13 years. Even thinking about the possibility of putting that armoire on the curve for a random stranger to thrift through and steal one my most personal, prized items, gives me goosebumps right now. It was as if the universe was trying to get me to open that book and flip through the pages of the life I’ve been so lucky to lead. After my friend left, I paged through, holding it tightly in my hands, until I found this page, a checklist, if you will, for what I wanted out of my life that I wrote at age 15. Most of these bullet points are still accurate, but there was one that needed to be checked off:

Be known for my writing.

img_5731

It’s an odd thing to feel like you have done what you set out to do, and now you’re tasked with the humbling opportunity to dream again. But as the 28-year-old me gets closer to my 30th birthday, and with it, hopefully many new milestones, I’m dreaming far bigger than writing about my dating life. And I understand now just how powerful a single voice can be among a crowd and the gravity, the weight, the responsibility that comes with being a writer who is trusted, valued and read. Dating – and find love – is an important topic, but it’s not the only one that I’m interested in, or the one that defines me, as a woman, as a person, as a writer.

Now, I’m working on becoming a content strategist for an international fitness company. I’m writing for a dozen or so publications about everything from health, wellness and psychology to travel, food, culture and more. I’m boarding a plane each and every month, both for work and for pleasure, to fly with my sights set on seeing as much of the world as I can. I decided not to pursue a book about my personal dating experience (after many proposals and rejections) because the first time I write a novel, I want it to be something that I’m so thoroughly invested in, I feel it in my bones. I don’t have the idea yet, but I know it will come, and I’m in no rush.

I’m no longer in that tattered apartment, but living downtown, able to walk to nearly everything. I’m in the best shape of my life and closer to those I cherish more than ever before, and so thankful that with each calendar year, our friendships continue to bond us tighter together. I’m figuring out that the simple checkboxes I created so long ago are too narrow and fine, where really, I’ve never been one to color within the lines.

The million dollar question, though: am I single? Yes, yes I am.

16649223_10102667021709208_3576956511620334263_n

But it’s a different type of single than what I was all of those years ago, when I cried in a bathtub, so distraught and desperate at the idea of being alone. I’ll level with you though: I still battle fears about my future love life and I still struggle with maintaining a fresh perspective when I go on yet another date that doesn’t turn out how I had hoped. What matters to me now, however, isn’t at all what mattered when I was documenting my experiences here. I’m more attracted to who a person is, instead of the space within my soul I want them to fill. I’m wiser and I’m pickier, but I’m kinder – I understand that no two experiences are the same, and no two pieces will ever fit seamlessly every single day. I know that relationships are an ebb-and-flow, a push-and-pull, a compromise of two stubborn people who happen to find solace somewhere, beautifully, in the middle.

And what dating for all of these years has taught me is the confident, relentless ability to be alone: whether I’m taking myself to brunch on a Saturday afternoon or catching a flight to visit a new city whose language I do not speak, with my passport as my only companion, I feel assured standing by myself. Though I may not currently have the love of my life, I know there is room for him, for when that times comes. I’m constantly amazed by the capacity of hearts – and how much they grow as we age, always making room for new people and experiences, new life and new love.

And that’s why I’ve begun the process of facing my own internal demons and the negative mantras I’ve often repeated to myself regarding love by going to weekly therapy. It wasn’t an easy choice, but it has been one of the most impactful ones I’ve made in several years. It is one that I would recommend to anyone – for you don’t need to be classically depressed or anxious to feel like the way you approach a part of your life is unhealthy. An outside perspective, much like how this blog is for so many of you, is a nonjudgemental way to glance at yourself, gulp and get to work. And really, as much as I’d like to shout from the rooftops that I’m happily in love and be able to weave the fairytale ending I always hoped I’d end with this blog with, I’d like to leave this space on a different – and arguably, more important – note.

In fact, it’s the one that I started with all of those months and months ago: Love yourself first.

Love every damn piece of yourself. Love the privilege that is being in your body, living your life, learning your lessons. Love the darkest times because it is through the cold twilight, that you can see your breath, and know that your heart is ever-pulsing, ever-enduring. Love the people who surround you, both the ones you choose and the ones that choose you, for they are your warriors and your most valuable treasure, your rainbow after the hail and the hell. Love them as they receive the things you’ve prayed for, and love them when nothing goes as planned.

Love the disappointments and the downfalls, the distractions and the downers who want to extinguish the light that beacons solely from you. Love the fiber that makes your head spin and pushes your heart to be brave when it’s afraid, that makes your spirit invaluable and golden. Love the flaws and the finishes, the flips and the flops.

And most importantly, cherish the basic, fundamental human right you have to love.

Even after yes, nearly five and a half years of being single, searching for a romantic partner to call my own, there is one instinct that I always listen to, one feeling I know is true and right, one voice that I hear louder than anyone, one path that I follow, one word in which I lead every single second of my life, even when I don’t want to: and that’s love.

535251_10101969974512378_7600586213361386489_n

I have loved writing this blog and I have loved (and read and appreciated) every comment, each like, all of the emails, all of the words. Not only did Love Addict build my career in an almost-unimaginable way, but you all healed my heart. You made me see the magic that comes from self-reflection and the clarity that is easy to view if you have the strength to be vulnerable, honest and real. It was my promise to all of you (and to myself) that I ended a very toxic relationship and decided to focus on creating beauty from the inside out, with the hopes of meeting someone who would love me always, wholeheartedly and profoundly. And though I haven’t met him yet, I have all of these comments and pages from all of you, to help me remember my worth, my value, my one-in-a-million soul.

And in return, I’ll keep this URL, well, forever.

There are still many visits to Love Addict each and every single day, from all over the world. There are still comments of people who discover something in here that speaks to them. So, please, read the archives. Go through my journey. Let it spark the sentences you were meant to read and evoke the confidence that will propel you to love the hell out of yourself. You are worth it. And you can do anything – and yes, I mean anything – that you believe in your heart that you can do.

Because if a girl can move to the most expensive city in the world with $3K, a few suitcases, sans-job or apartment, and wake up seven year later astonished at what her life has grown into, all because she believed it would – there is nothing standing in your way. Except, as I learned through 600 blogs posts, yourself. So get out of the way. Get rid of the plan. And live your beautiful, outrageously incredible life.

I didn’t know how to end this blog – like a relationships that just wasn’t working anymore, there isn’t a polite way to walk away and to move on to what’s next. I knew I would read these paragraphs to death and wonder if it was enough, if it payed tribute to how this blog changed my life, if it said what I wanted it to say. I’m sure there will be things I wish I wrote in here that I didn’t. I’m sure there will things that are left unsaid, but just like you can’t predict the future or tame your own heart, it felt serendipitous that I would publish my last post on Valentine’s Day.

So today – and every day after it – I encourage you to celebrate the love that lives within you, the love that you create, the love you find, the love you build and the love you seek. There are so many reasons to be filled with love, and I sincerely can’t thank you all for loving me through these years and for making me overflow with thankfulness.

Here are the final set of Letters of Self-Love, written by all of you.

Happy Valentine’s Day, and farewell, my darling loves.

With love,

Lindsay

P.S. I’ll be updating LindsayTigar.com with all of my new articles and features, if you’d like to continue reading.

P.S.S. Please stay in touch: lindsay@loveaddictnyc.com

P.S.S.S. Good-byes are hard. Love you long time.

Dear Goddess:

Life is full of adventures, some of them joyous and some not so much. It is how you act and react to each situation and you do just that; you use love as your source to reach each person on a daily basis.

Love, as you are better understanding, can and does move mountains. You are learning daily how great you are and how empowering you are to not only yourself, but the world around you.

Remember, you are human. You are beautifully perfectly imperfect. You are the essence of love. You are the essence of joy. You are the essence of life itself. Others watch what you do because you are so magnificent and they wish to mimic you. THIS is how great you are.

Remember, whenever you feel those insecurities creep up, how much you are LOVED simply for BEing you. -Christine Alexandria

Dear me,

This is a love letter. My first act of love is to say ‘I’m sorry.’ I’m sorry for not loving you the way you deserved. I’m sorry for neglecting you and not acknowledging you. I’m sorry for not being there for you when you needed me the most. I’m sorry for taking you down paths that would lead to pain and turmoil. I can’t change this. All I can do is promise to listen to you more and make you a priority. When you tell me something is wrong, I will listen, and I will change for you…for us. You are a part of me and I am a part of you.

You are my inner child. I am your external adult.  -CC

Dearest,

Thank you for being with me always. I have always had a love-hate relationship with you; but you never deserved all the criticism and hate.

I love your mind; your thought process, you come up with amazing solutions to problems.

I love your height, your hair, your fleshy legs, your curvy body, your hands…you are beautiful. But most of all, I love your heart and mind and your curiosity; never loose that. You question why things are done how they are done and if you think it’s impractical/not logical, you change it. Sometimes you fail but I’m proud of you.

You have always believed God didn’t create us to be the same (Same beliefs, same sexual orientation e.t.c) Diversity is beautiful, and i’m so very proud of you for believing in that.

I love your character, you treat everyone with respect regardless of their social standing, religion e.t.c.

Always be you, I know I don’t love you as much as you deserve but I’ll get there.

You deserve the very best; be patient, don’t rush and DO NOT settle.

The last few months you’ve made some mistakes that keep you awake at night.

It’s okay, just breath….it’s not the end, but a new beginning.

You are a strong woman, you’ve been tempted to think otherwise sometimes but you know the truth deep down. Never forget it.

Lastly, I love that you believe the best is yet to come, that true love does exist, that we all have a right to be happy, that you are a child of God. -Anonymous

Dear me,

This girl. Me.

Gosh I love you.

I’m finally here.

Here to protect you.

Love you.

Honor you.

I know your deepest, darkest places you’ve been.

I get you.

Understand you.

So I know how to support you.

All the pain.

The sadness.

The depression.

The anxiety.

The highs.

The lows.

I don’t judge you.

I don’t shame you.

I don’t feel frustrated when past feelings come up.

I just want to love you.

Be here for you.

Protect your heart.

Your sensitive soul.

I have your back.

From here on out.

You can feel safe.

With me.

Because now I know how to treat you.

Love,

Lauren

#thebodylovetribe

Dear Self,

I love the way you are able to overcome challenges and through your writings and erotic film-making, bring new understanding to women about their sexuality.

Love,

Coleen Singer

Dearest Jenn,

I have stared at this e-mail every day for the past week trying to figure out what I want to say. Over the past few years, I know you sometimes feel stuck in a whirlwind of emotions, continuously asking yourself if you are at the right place or if you are happy?

You have felt times when things have crumbled, though you always picked yourself up and succeeded. You have learned the things you liked and disliked and want to be the best human being in the world. 7 years ago, you would have never thought of yourself being where you are, confident, intelligent, and happy. Your smile brings happiness for days, your bad jokes lifts others during hard times, and your big personality makes people feel warm and welcomed. Though you sometimes don’t feel like you are on top of your game, people look at you with admiration saying ‘she has got her crap together.’ Be thankful for where you are at and get excited for what things are to come. Be so happy that you have a wonderful boyfriend who treats you right and loves you for who you are even at the worse times.

You have to remember that you have a wonderful boyfriend who has helped you grow into the person you are today, yet, I know you feel like something is missing. To be honest, you questioned him, as you know he questioned you too, during times of uncertainty. You didn’t know where it was going and you weren’t even sure if either of you were each other’s one. From that, the most important part of that is you both did not give each other the chance to grow and be happy with yourselves. For the past few years, you have gone on trips with friends and family to see if this is what you wanted. You are always planning a new trip while he enjoyed his time alone (as he loves). You both separated yourselves from each other as you both grew to love other things. Though this happened, you always seemed to be come back to each other – always wanting to share your experiences and love for other things. This, has not only helped you both love yourself and what you both love, but helped you become closer. He became your best friend who you felt wanted to share your concerns, passions, and goals with.

Sometimes, you forget this. You forget that it’s just not all about you but about another person in your life. The love you give and the love you have is something that can’t be broken and taken advantage of. As the years fly by, you are still going to ask the question if you are happy or if you are working at the right place. My advice is that you need to stop looking at life as a question and focus on the present so you can take full advantage of all the happiness you have now in your life. Remember: love yourself and love others unconditionally.

-Anonymous

Dear Me,

I want you to always remember that there is nobody like you. That authenticity is all you have. That the reason people love you is because you are genuine.

Please never let go of your drive, please never forget your passion. You are young, strong, and you have lots of things to say. So say them.

Funny will get you far, but truth will get you further. There will never be a time that you need to wear someone else’s shoes. There should never be a moment that you doubt that you are all you need.

I want you to always remember that there is nobody like you.

Love,

Me, Ben Hawes

Dear Me,

You spend so much time beating up on yourself and it makes me sad. Whether you’re envious of friends’ career successes and fearing your own stagnation, or envying the lives of those on social media, you spend far too much time focusing on why you’re not good enough.

Here is why you are good enough: You are kinder than most. You wake up every single day wanting to make people smile. You are a loyal friend, loving daughter, attentive girlfriend, and hardworking writer.

And even though you spent this entire letter wracking your brain trying to come up with reasons as to why you are worthy of self-love, I believe in you. I believe in your creative Zumba dance abilities. I believe in your hilarious puns and witty headlines. I believe in your strength to overcome an abusive childhood. I believe in your natural curiosity and love of all things progressive, and the fire inside you that wants to make the world a better place. I believe that you have more potential and love inside your 5’0-frame that you realize.

Hugs and Nutella,

Me

Dear me,

As a kid you sit and wonder what life would bring you and the adventures you would have. You’d dream of the perfect man the perfect kids the perfect life. It was never anything grand like living in Paris or driving expensive sports cars. Now here you are just weeks away from turning thirty. You sit and instead of dreaming of your future at this what seems like a mid life crisis and you think over your past. You can’t be disappointed you have no regrets you have everything as you wanted it so far. You may worry about your weight your hair and even the possible lose of your mind but your dreams are coming true. You have pushed your self fought for your self stood up for your self you are strong and beautiful inside and out. Thirty years from the same will stand true. Be proud of your self be unafraid to conquer your dreams be you and never let you talk your self out of it.

Love, your self

Dear one,

You are amazing. The messiness, the pain, the complicated and contradictory nature that you embody; it is necessary- it is beautiful.

Keep feeling the feelings. Keep working hard. Keep struggling with things that should be different- reconciled relationships, broken glass ceilings, challenged male privilege, and those crumbled up and tossed away expectations of “what you thought this phase of your life would look like”.

Keep believing in kindness even when it feels weak. Keep speaking up when you see something beautiful and good. The world is a better place because of what you are able to see and the words you speak into the hearts of those who hear you. Keep leaning into the discomfort. You are stronger than you’ll ever know. But that’s the thing about strength, you only really find out about it when you have to show it. So, don’t be afraid.

Thank you for sharing your creativity! I hope you always remember that you are a light in so many ways and your light inspires. Thank you for caring and for thinking about the little things; the details. It is refreshing and adds joy to this crazy world.

Most of all, thank you for your passion. I know it can seem isolating, frustrating, and even lonely at times. But, you caring enough to risk and fail and risk again is one of the most amazing things about you!

My dearest beloved, I leave you with this Franciscan blessing. May you know how deeply, how intimately, and how much you are loved.

“May God bless you with a restless discomfort
about easy answers, half-truths, and superficial relationships,
so that you may seek truth boldly and love deep within your heart.
May God bless you with holy anger
at injustice, oppression, and exploitation of people,
so that you may tirelessly work for justice, freedom, and peace among all people.
May God bless you with the gift of tears
to shed for those who suffer from pain, rejection, starvation, or the loss of all that they cherish,
so that you may reach out your hand to comfort them and transform their pain into joy.
May God bless you with enough foolishness
to believe that you really can make a difference in this world,
so that you are able, with God’s grace, to do what others claim cannot be done.”

Love always,
Yourself

Advertisements

3 thoughts on “Farewell, My Darling Loves

  1. So proud of you, Lindsay.
    What a journey, huh?
    It’s amazing to look back and see all of this, how you’ve grown, and I have grown.

    We’re both still writers, and very much still working within our own styles.
    You’re becoming a content strategist for an amazing company in New York- I am the Director of Marketing, overseeing an entire media department for Portland, Oregon’s largest Outdoor Survival school.

    That said, the love skeptic in me eventually turned me into, who’d have guessed, a WEDDING PHOTOGRAPHER. …A rather successful one. It’s so funny what life throws at us and I’ve so enjoyed following yours.

    Please stay in touch. That is, if you remember that Tall Brunette over on the West Coast. I’ll add you on LinkedIn. I still think we could collaborate on some awesome projects. :)
    <3 xoxo

  2. So proud of you, Lindsay.
    What a journey, huh?
    It’s amazing to look back and see all of this, how you’ve grown, and I have grown.

    We’ve switched places. You traded your golden tresses in for chestnut, and here I am rocking some blonde (but still sporting the dark roots.) If I weren’t so exhausted, I’d be able to craft some kind of an entertaining metaphor for that, but for now, I’ll just point out the switch worthy of a little giggle.

    We’re both still writers, and very much still working within our own styles.
    You’re becoming a content strategist for an amazing company in New York- I am the Director of Marketing, overseeing an entire media department for Portland, Oregon’s largest Outdoor Survival school.

    That said, the love skeptic in me eventually turned me into, who’d have guessed, a WEDDING PHOTOGRAPHER. …A rather successful one. You’ve mostly traded in your heels for trainers, I’ve traded in my cons for hiking boots, and we’re both polishing our resumes from coast to coast.

    It’s so funny what life throws at us and I’ve so enjoyed following yours.

    Please stay in touch. That is, if you remember that Tall Brunette over on the West Coast. I’ll add you on LinkedIn. I still think we could collaborate on some awesome projects. :)
    Please send me an email if you like. I’d love to reconnect.
    I’ll also be traveling to NY a few times this year and next. I think after this many years, a drink is in order.
    <3 xoxo

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s