This is Your Life

Right now, in this fleeting second, as you read this blog and drink your morning coffee and wish for the weekend to return, you’re living. You’re breathing and thinking, worrying and wishing, dreaming and desiring, imagining and realizing — all at the same time, without trying, without considering. Your thoughts are spiraling and vivid, wild and without condition — and here, in this short time that it’s taken you to click this link and read this paragraph, you have existed.

This is your life.

On Saturday night when you put on that tight blue dress that hugs in places you want to be hugged, with a scarf to hide your tan lines and with the summery-smooth taste of a Blue Moon to hide your hesitations, you danced. You let yourself be awkward and offbeat, you shook and you smiled at the man in the checkered shirt with just a little bit of chest hair peeking at the top. You let him kiss you and maybe — well, definitely — you kissed him back. You felt the music float you through the night, the sweet words of lyrics dated fifty years ago that you still believe in, carry your hopes high again. You twirled with your friends as you did when you were a little girl, and even though you’re not as carefree and naive as you used to be, for those few hours that poured past midnight, you enjoyed yourself. You didn’t worry about being called the next day or being interested enough past a few free drinks or a dip in the middle of a crowded bar in the West Village. Instead, you just went with it. You accepted that…

This is your life.

Last week when you watched the 200+ emails pile in your inbox over the weekend, you carefully pined through them all, giving responses when needed, happily deleting the rest. You felt the rush and the push of news, relishing that you get paid to pen, paid to delegate, paid to express your creativity every single hour of every single day. You thought of those pages behind you, those stories you wrote and you published, including the ones you cared about and ones you can’t remember enough about to Google. You looked at your byline and considered your business card, the one you worked so hard to achieve (and figure out how to order) and though you might not know what’s next — or really what you even want to be next — you took pride that this 9-6er that’s never actually 9-6, is your reality. It’s the means of your existence and that thing you needed so badly to seek. This, this career that’s every bit as intriguing as it’s demanding…

This is your life.

The past few months as you’ve watched your friends pair up and shack up, lose and find new loves, question everything and value it all — you’ve wondered what you’re doing wrong. You’ve felt the anxiety that only comes from possibility, of something unplanned and scary, and yet, so exhilarating. You’ve seen — and felt — the ups and the downs, and tried desperately to not be desperate, but more importantly, jealous of the happy, smiling, coupled faces on Facebook. Or the new addresses that come with two names instead of one. You’ve tried to not resent the apartment that keeps you safe that’s often covered in the dust of the past and the dog fur of the present, even if you dream of a little place of your own that your little wallet can’t currently sustain. Instead of closing your eyes to paint what the next three or five or ten years will be, you’ve tried to open — and full-heartedly embrace that…

This is your life.

This body, that skin, those eyes, those runner’s legs and that big ol’ booty – they all belong to you. They’re parts of your whole and part of what makes you beautiful, though what exudes from inside will always attract more than anything else. This body, that’s full of flaws and scars, curves and freckles, it’s imperfectly perfect in a way that was designed just for you, just in a way that makes you radiate. You might not have the whitest teeth, the flattest stomach or stand the tallest in the crowd, but you’re proud. You work hard to keep your head held high and your weight at a comfortable rate that’s fit for you. That’s good for you. You take care of this body — mostly, anyway — that one day will do way more than turn heads or get you from uptown to downtown on a hot, humid summer day. This body will make and deliver babies, it’ll stretch and it’ll grow wider than smaller, it’ll sag and it’ll wrinkle, but it’ll always be yours. It’ll be part of how the world sees you, it’s bare reminders of what you’ve been through so that you remember that…

This is your life.

This, right this very moment, is your life. And you’re wasting it. You’re wasting these moments worrying and fretting, drowning and  holding on way too tight. Beating yourself up over the ways you don’t fit in or you’re not on the right track. How you’re single and don’t want to be, when you’re texting your ex and you’re trying so hard to lose five pounds that you’re missing everything. You’re not seeing any of it. You’re not experiencing any of it.

In all of it’s beauty, to the depths of it’s spirit and the harshness of the bad and the confusing. This life that’s everything and nothing like you expected and will continue to move and to change, to bloom and to crumble all around you, all the time, every single day, for so many years to come. So many memories that you haven’t made yet, so many people you’ve yet to meet. Or fall in love with. Or have to let go of. This is your life and it’s worth more than anything you face or all the scary parts you’ll have to overcome. Especially the ones when you’re having to get over yourself. Because before you can have all of those things that are undeniably yours, all of the things that you want so badly you can squeeze your eyes so tight and barely see them, you have to accept that this.

This is your life. And it’s just getting started.

I Just Want to Dance

I walked from 50th and 7th west to Hell’s Kitchen, listening to old music on my iPhone and silently reminding myself that yes, Frankie, the best is yet to come. I carefully avoided that street where Mr. P used to live — or rather, crash on some girl’s couch — in the months after we broke up. It’s on that block where my favorite South African wine bar with pretty white lights outside is. It’s on that block where I tried the only piece of sushi that’s ever made me sick. It’s on that block that on a smoldering summer day last year that I gave away yet another piece of my dignity to a man who never earned it.

I cursed those thoughts away last night, going uptown only to go back downtown, just so I wouldn’t have to walk past that door. It’s good exercise and it’s finally beautiful outside, I reminded my racing mind. Once I arrived at the Thai place, ordered a glass of wine and waited for my friend K who was stuck on a bus in traffic, I exhaled, relieved and finally, sat down for the first time in what felt like a long time.

I looked around the dimly lit place with overpriced entrees and acceltic decor, analyzing the scene before me. Groups of people still dressed up for the derby, others on first dates, one couple who barely shared a word, another who couldn’t stop laughing. Ladies in tight dresses like mine, men who shouldn’t have another shot of sake at 8 p.m. Champagne in the corner, cocktails to my right, a pile of menus to the left.

And me.

Sitting alone in a busy place, getting lost in a whirlwind of considerations and forgetting, again, to consider myself. I’ve had a hard time admitting it — much less writing it — but I haven’t been in the best of moods lately. I’ve felt guilty for being unsatisfied, for being even the least bit sad, for not being so extremely thankful for everything I’ve achieved, everything I have in my life. I’ve beat myself up over the fact that I’m bored, that I’m flustered, that I’m incredibly frustrated and yes, scared. I’m not the girl who backs down from a challenge and never one to face something without a little questioning, but when nothing is exactly wrong, yet nothing feels right, what’s a girl supposed to do?

I’m not sure, but I’m starting with tonight, I thought as I closed my eyes and I took a sip of wine. With the majority of my friends in budding or settled relationships, I’ve had to try harder to push myself to be social. To go out and mingle, to get out of my cozy little apartment with my cozy little dog so I didn’t cozy myself into complete solitary confinement. And luckily, my lovely — and freshly single — friend K was up for trying a singles mixer. The cure, I’ve found, for feeling funky, for not having what you want, for feeling trapped or suffocated by your own life, is to do something different. I’m not sure if my diagnosis or my prescription will work, but at least it’s better than Chinese and another Netflix movie I won’t actually like at the end of an hour and 31 minutes.

After dinner, we walked through Times Square and giggled at the lights and the tourists instead of rolling our eyes. If we were braving the crowd of a “20s and 30s Cinco de May Singles Party” just a block from the chaos of Broadway, we might as well be in good spirits. As expected, the guest list wasn’t very impressive and obviously far past 39 than what we hoped. While the men were primarily much (much!) older or very (very!) short, there were a few who hung around us long enough to pitch in a margarita and hold at least somewhat decent conversation. We didn’t care though — we were busy trying on sombreros and shaking maracas, listening to the odd collection of music and attempting to dance.

One overzealous man who was nice enough, but not enough to make me want to see him past the bar, kept trying to pull me into him to sway along. He’d try to get my attention or wrap his arm around my waist as I tried to move away, until finally, he pushed my Southern manners too far and annoyance won over. With one more tug, I turned around and said:

I just want to dance! 

And there, with a glowstick wrapped around my head, three margaritas and a glass of wine in, people dancing around me and a drum booming, I nailed what it is that I’ve been feeling. I’ve been so terrified of nothing in my life ever changing. Of never making enough money to live by myself in an apartment I love. Of never feeling beautiful in my own skin. Of never meeting someone that’s special, of letting Mr. P haunt my memory forever. Of being the last single girl when everyone around me finds what they are looking for. Of never doing exactly what I’ve always wanted to do, where I want to do it.

Of not being able to get away from the wall and dance. Of not being able to let go of all of these silly little fears to find my own beat. My own pace and my own moves. All this time spent worrying and fretting over what’s next or what’s not, of holing myself up in a tiny room I pay too much for, of exhausting myself with trying to be perfect. Of trying to figure out the answers before I know what questions I even want to ask. Of trying not to the do the wrong thing and writing off everything that was good in the process. All of this time wasted anxiously awaiting for my life to begin…

…when really, all I needed was to dance. And all I really wanted was to dance alone. For now. Until I find my own rhythm and can let someone in for a spin.

The Brown Slingback Heels

Tossing another abandoned sweater onto a pile nearly as tall as my desk, I admired my new-found ability to just let go of things. I’m bad about spring cleaning, mainly because I’m a little messy by heart and in my space space, and for my knack of attaching sentimental value to every knick-knack I own.

But this year is different — I couldn’t wait to clean out my suitcases and closet to switch from those bitter winter days to the bright summery ones, so I spent Saturday night in doing just that. With a race Sunday at 8:30 a.m., I gave myself permission to be boring and have a date with Mr.Windex and his friend the handsome broom instead of eyeing the crowd downtown.

As I went through my red suitcases — the ones that have been with me from day one in NYC — I found dresses I haven’t worn since I moved, bags so tattered they barely had straps and shoes without heels at all. Thinking of all the things I could buy if I just had more space (and um, money), I folded up what I didn’t want and hung up what I did, trying hard not to imagine dream scenarios in dream outfits during the process.

But then, in the middle of my clean up, in the middle of N’Sync playing on my 90s pop hits Pandora radio station (not ashamed), I came across those heels.

The heels that I didn’t wear at all last year since I couldn’t: the clasp is broken, the heel is unsteady and the shoe, admittedly highly uncomfortable. The heels that I once considered my own version of Cinderella slippers, bringing a love affair into my life with one simple stumble. The shoes that I thought I would keep no matter what, since they were the reason I met Mr. Possibility in the first place.

Right before I made the leap to Manhattan, I exchanged an incredibly ugly necklace (from yes, an ex) in for some cold hard store credit. Since the place doesn’t exist above the Mason-Dixon, I had to use it before my flight. Shopping around the aisles of things I didn’t want, I found one thing that I did: a brown pair of four-inch Jessica Simpson slingbacks that made my legs look killer. I instantly fell in love and easily used that gift card for them, determined to stomp the sparkly pavements, making my impression.

I was right– they eventually would make quite the first impression eight months later on that bus where I tripped in them, right in front of Mr. Unavailable, who as we all know, would ultimately become the impossible Mr. Possibility.

I walked those heels to death with any opportunity to any event or any short skirt that begged attention. Mr. P would comment on them before we went out: “Are those the shoes? Are you going to be able to stand?” He would tease me and I would promise to wear them with grace, and threaten to wear them on our wedding day, where I’d purposefully fall at the alter, making a scene just for us.

I don’t remember packing them up and tucking them away under my bed last fall — there is never enough room in any NYC closet for more than one season. But I did, even though they are entirely unwearable. Maybe then I still held onto the hope that they’d mean something more to me than Mr. P or that we would eventually get back together and I’d be sad if I didn’t have them.

But looking at them on Saturday night, thinking about the memories that come with them, that follow my step, I didn’t feel like I needed them anymore. Nothing left to hang onto, nothing more I wanted with them. Just a pair of shoes that are taking up highly-valued space in a closet that needs to be decluttered. The cost of fixing them would outweigh what they are worth, and the cost of holding onto what they represent, even more emotionally expensive.

And so, away they went to charity. To a place where maybe, someone else will find some piece of something in them, just like I did.

The truth is, they never really gave me a solid footing here. There were always a little too high to walk up and down subway (or apparently, bus) steps, and too skinny to support constant commuting. Perhaps I wasn’t confident enough to own them in the way that a woman who knows herself can — marching along without thinking, without worrying about that crease in the road ahead or the water puddle you see on a clear day. Those shoes didn’t give me my grounding here, and as much as I like to give him credit, Mr. Possibility didn’t either. He helped guide me for a while by showing me the city I love and giving me a glimpse into the love I dream of — but just like those slingbacks that playfully taunted our relationship, something was never quite right. Never quite as strong as I’d like. Never quite as stable as I needed. The support just wasn’t quite there.

The next day post-race, I stopped by TJ Maxx to pick up some running shorts and somehow found myself in the shoe aisle, eyeing a new pair of my beloved brown slingbacks. But unlike the other, these have a thicker heel. They’re a little lower, and yes more practical. They fit me better and can endure the two-avenue walk from the train to my job — no change of flats required. I don’t trip over my own feet and I can move to my own beat, without worrying about what’s ahead or who I’ll come across.

And I like them better. The next time I sway and bend, it won’t be because of the heels, it’ll be because I’m finally sturdy enough to let myself fall.

Delete. Delete. Delete.

Sitting in my blue fuzzy robe, drinking a glass of my favorite Chilean Cabernet, I chuckled as I deactivated every last dating profile I have.

Delete. Delete. Delete.

Writing about love for a living comes with its perks, one of the best being free access to online dating sites. I’ve never actively forked over cash to flirt with anyone but I have spent countless hours exchanging and browsing for men. It’s a lot like searching for an apartment — it’s not only hard to find one that meets your criteria but it’s exhausting, too.

Some guys cut straight to the chase and get to what they’re after (an extra martial affair, a threesome, hooking up) or others are so obviously searching for a wife that they ask you rather personal questions on date #1 (where do you see yourself in a year? What do you seek most in a lifelong partner? What size wedding band do you wear?). Kidding.


For a girl who is somewhere in between wanting a fun buddy and a long-term (and maybe forever) relationship — online dating has been too messy and too time consuming to deal with.

So I decided to get it out of my life — it’s complicated and demanding enough without throwing in a pool full of men that I have no desire to dip my toe in, much less take a dive with.  I’m a big supporter of getting online to find love — it can be effective and helpful, and at the very least, a great place to meet friends or people you’d otherwise never cross paths with. It’s a simple way to quickly land a drink date within a few hours if you’re bored and a casual way to investigate a new scene.

But for me, it started to become anther box in my weekly check list: buy groceries, get dog food, go for a jog, get dinner with the girls, find a guy to go out with Friday night on OkCupid or HowAboutWe, get my eyebrows waxed…


I blame myself completely — because I really sucked the fun out of it all. The suitors were probably perfectly good men and a handful might have had the capacity to be the next big thing but with my interest and commitment to the whole interweb game waning, it felt like a big waste of space in my Google Chrome bookmarks.

I don’t really care how or when or where I meet the next possibility. I wouldn’t be embarrassed to say we met online or at a trashy bar on the Lower East Side. How we meet is far less important than how we fall in love — but if I’m to do the latter, I have to out myself out there physically.

And at the same time, give myself a break.

It’s as easy as looking up on the subway or making eye contact more often. It’s looking past my glass of wine to see the men lurking at the bar. Maybe it’s not being ashamed of my rosy cheeks while running and smiling back at the guy who smiles at me. Or it’s letting friends pair me up with someone who is a tad shorter than I prefer. Or someone a little younger than the 30-something dudes I find myself attracted to.

Or it’s just going with it and being okay about it. Dare I say — forgive myself and freeing myself — from F.O.M.O. I might not go to a happy hour and I could skip cocktails. Maybe I don’t stay out late at all or I keep my latte as my coffee date instead of a man who likes espresso.

The point is, I think anyway, is to relax about it all. I’m good at obsessing and over-analyzing (and ahem, writing about it), and I’m even better at tying everything with a sweet bow and putting a happy ending at the end.

But that’s not how dating works — it just figures itself out somehow. You work at it, you take a break. You fall in love, you fall out of it, you get your heart broken, you recover. You retreat, you rebound, you cry, you get horny. You make lots of mistakes. You date those mistakes a long time. You break up again. You sleep with them for a while. You rebound again. You dye your hair. You cry really hard. You spend a lot of time alone. You’ll get online. You’ll delete, delete, delete. You’ll meet someone new.

Then you do it all over again and again.

Until you don’t. And then you start a new cycle of marital challenges and experiences, ones that might not be like dating but are most likely, equally as frustrating and at times, exhilarating.

I may not be scouring bachelors online or totally one hundred percent out there offline. But I’m open to love. I’ll let it come if it wants to. I’ll let it find me.

It just may not find me via a search engine. For now, anyway.

There Are Guys

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

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

There are guys who will never fall in love.

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

There are guys who won’t call you back.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

There are guys who break your heart over and over.

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

But there are also guys who want to be better.

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

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

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