It’s About Him (Not Me)

I’d like to think one of my better qualities is my ability to self-motivate. I’ve been known to give myself mini pep talks –admittedly sometimes out loud –encouraging myself to keep truckin’. And when I get in cheerleading mode, I become super focused, zoned-in, and shockingly quiet. I’d rather the outside world leave me alone to have my own private song-and-dance, without anything like reality interrupting me.

The only issue with being in hyper-concentrated-let-me-be mode is that inevitably, you gotta’ deal with other people. And you have to deal with them when they get in that mode, too. Mr. Possibility has been leading a busy life recently, putting him in the get-s***-done state of mind. Studying for a very difficult test that will help his career when he passes it, he’s been stuck in coffee shops and his apartment, only glancing at his beloved BlackBerry from time-to-time, and keeping himself entertained with the giant highlighter I picked up for him. He’s easily amused, apparently.

Anyway – because he’s under a lot of stress and is worried about a pivotal certification and I can offer no guidance on the subject matter, we haven’t been spending as much time together. And when we have been, tensions have been a tad high. We even officially had our first knock-down-drag-out fight last week. Some of the knick-picks have been his fault and some have been mine, but I’ve had to accept a very important fact that I should have learned from He’s Just Not That Into You.

It’s really not me. It’s him.

And this test, sincerely has nothing to do with me. It’s hard not to internalize the influence of everything else outside of a duo. Our lives don’t circulate around our relationships and the sun doesn’t depend on love to rise, but when the person you spend your freedom with needs to be distant for their own needs, how do you stop feeling like it’s you they want to get away from? How do you stop thinking you’re the cause and if only you could say the right thing, you could take away the worry? When truthfully, the only fix to ease the ailment is letting them mend their own wounds or get through their personal hardship with their own will.

That’s the thing about being focused – when you need to complete something – the only something to shift your mood, is you. I’m the same way, so if I can’t accept Mr. Possibility when he gets in that rut, then I’m being dishonest about who I am, too.

And if I think about it, our arguments have stemmed from not being able to relate and from outside factors that neither of us can really control. So with some tough personal love, I’ve decided that space is the best thing I can give him. With that separation, too, comes the liberty for me to relax, get more sleep, see my friends, get caught up on things I’ve let slide, and enjoy my own company. It also prevents unnecessary disagreements and falling outs that don’t need to fall apart.

Because life, loving yourself, loving someone else, dating, and even sex – they all have to be balanced, as René Descartes would say, to make the machine that is your body, function. And if not everything that goes on in your mind, your body, your existence, has to do with another person, then you can’t expect your significant person to make you the center of their everything. Nor, in my opinion, should you want them to.

Sometimes, someone can care about you greatly, but parts of their lives…just have nothing to do with you. And really, it’s okay for it to be about him, not about me.

Showering Over Amsterdam

Many of the New York bathrooms I’ve seen have windows in the shower.

The first time I saw one at a friend’s place, I was horrified: “Why do you have a window in your shower??? What if someone sees you??” They reassured me no one could peep in, that the windows were shaded, and it was a very standard urban design. Maybe it’s for ventilation purposes, as many apartments are super small and the bathrooms would be stuffy without a way to release steam. But still, does it need to be right where you stand to bathe?

And though I vowed I’d never actually shower in front of Manhattan, when I found my current apartment, the only downfall was the powder room window placement. My new roommates and spacious living area outweighed my anxiety about getting naked in front of tinted glass.

Nevertheless, the first time I showered  over Amsterdam, I tiptoed into the tub, covering up my privates awkwardly and attempted to peer out the window, convinced the people walking below were looking straight up at my bareness. The water hitting my back and the glass starting to perspire, I cautiously dropped my hands and listened intently, certain someone would call up something, though I was seven stories up.

Moving slowly, as not to get caught for indecent public exposure, I lathered my hair and waited to be exposed. Minutes later, when the window was completely fogged up and the bathroom felt like a warm haze, I grew comfortable. I started showering as I normally do. I relaxed. I hummed a little tune. And once I turned the water off, stepped out to the marble floor and wrapped myself in a towel, I decided being a bathing beauty before the world wasn’t so bad. Especially since the world didn’t know I was naked above them.

I get asked a lot about displaying my personal life for the web. Even more so, readers want to know what it’s like to dish on men and how they respond: “How does Mr. Possibility handle being written about? Doesn’t it change the dynamic between you?” When freely giving intimate details about my life, is anything off the record when I meet strangers? I once ran into a fan at an event and she casually inquired about something I had penned a few weeks back. Though I remember writing it, felt fine discussing it online, and enjoyed the comments it gained, being quizzed about it in person felt vastly different.

I almost felt invaded. But writing a blog about dating, love, and sex, especially when it’s about whom you’re dating, who you love, and who you’re having sex with, is a lot like showering over Amsterdam in front of a window – it is strange at first.

You’re not exactly sure what will go over well and what will be a little too much. You hesitate answering questions or revealing too many specifics, for fear you’ll be judged or you’ll come across as “crazy,” “obsessive,” “slutty,” or “immature” – all things, for the record, I’ve been called because of this blog. But I’m not crazy, overly obsessive, or immature, and if enjoying sex makes me slutty, then be it (but if you knew my number, you couldn’t label me that, that’s for sure). Writing this blog feels like being emotionally naked day-after-day, with each step and each post, each story I divulge.

But it gets easier. I’ve started to relax. I’ve grown accustomed to my friends not needing to catch up with me when we haven’t seen each other for a while or hearing the words, “I know, I read it on your blog!” I’ve accepted that Mr. Possibility doesn’t care to read very often anymore, since he was literally there for most of the experiences lately. I’ve learned to stop covering up my insecurities, to stop beating around the bush and be direct. To admit my weakness and the places where I feel the most vulnerable.

I’m not completely peaceful showering my personal experiences for the tangled online web, but I try to keep in mind that no matter how steamy it gets, the mist will eventually clear. The heat will die down and the next day will be a clear slate, a defogged window into the life I decide to share. I remember that privacy still remains because the street and the world can’t get a glimpse in unless I open the shade or click “publish.”

And the thing about public exposure, where it is out of your own free will or when it takes you by surprise, if you can find your footing and realize that even if you slip, even if strangers shout things at you that aren’t kind or if you happen to show a little too much – there’s something enticing about it. Because when you disclose yourself fully and unprotected, you are forced to accept yourself for who you are.

After all, once everything is out there in the open and available in archives, there’s no going back. Nor would you want to, coming clean…feels good.

Rough Around the Edges

A few weeks ago, I was out for happy hour drinks with the clan when my attention turned to an attractive brunette entering the bar. Wearing an off-white Diane von Furstenberg dress and peep-toe Jimmys, she gracefully found her table and tossed her locks as she sat down. The little makeup she wore highlighted her natural rosy-tint and her group of friends matched her easy elegance. She carried a Balenciaga clutch that she carefully sat on the table, reaching in to find her lipstick and apply it subtly without anyone noticing.

But I noticed. And I was surprised my friends didn’t see me turn green in envy as I watched her from across the room, wondering when I’d finally feel how I imagined that woman feeling. She seemed completely together, confident and assured, stable financially and otherwise, and beauty radiated around her.

Me, on the other hand? On the other side of the bar, away from the reserved tables she was welcome to join with sparkling wine and towers of expensive liquor, sipping on my signature pineapple and vodka (with a cherry) or house Merlot, I’m not like that woman. I’m not refined and utterly comfortable in my own shoes, though I often lust to walk a mile in someone else’s designer ones. I’m not a polished Manhattanite with a high-paying job, trust fund, or the ability to save every penny.

I’m rough around the edges. And sometimes, as much as I attempt to hide it, I know it shows.

I don’t always think ahead and I sometimes see each decision as the end-all-be-all to my future and definitely to my present. I freak myself out more than I calm myself down, and when it comes to thinking about the big picture instead of letting the little one weigh me down, I’m guilty as charged. I don’t keep my purse organized and clean, my clothes are not sorted by color, and my dishes are hardly washed before bed.

And while I’d like to think I’m quite poised, I don’t sit calmly and laugh in a not-too-high, not-too-soft tone, and I don’t (or at least I don’t think) I exude a sense of maturity and elegance. I don’t think about how I’m perceived or if I’m stomping in my heels instead of cascading, and if I’m greeting friends, I almost always insist on a hug. I’m even starting to get used to this Northern kiss-on-the-cheek salutation that’s not customary in the South.

I can’t decide if I like the way I am or if I’d rather be a smoothed out. Could I chisel away those pieces that keep me feeling like the woman I know I am, just don’t always show? Or is it that like a good wine, I’m really just going to get better with age? With more experiences and more trials that give me the skills and know-how I need to find my own footing. To find grace?

Is it better to be a little rough or finely polished? Or is there ever a happy medium between the two? Between maturity and immaturity? Between taking note of the little characteristics that go into making a person, and learning which of those qualities to tuck away until appropriate, or if appropriate at all? Between not feeling like you have to have the right thing to say, the right thing to do, and just saying what you want and doing as you please?

Am I a diamond in the rough….or just jagged?

I’m Not a Supermodel

I used to have a boyfriend who liked to pop my pimples.

There was something about it that he was fond of. Maybe it was the challenge of ridding me of the occasional back-ne or perhaps he liked the burst. I’m not sure – even to this day – why he got a kick out of it, but once he popped…he didn’t want to stop. What started as an occasional odd plea “Baby, please let me take care of that for you” eventually turned into a nightly routine that eventually, I found commonplace.

In an essence, this was a mark of the level of intimacy we shared. I had grown so comfortable with him and with myself, that I allowed my imperfections to not only be visible but invited (or rather, allowed) him to explore their ugliness. We still made love, he consistently commented on my beauty, and in public, there was no probing or picking. To him, draining a zit was no different from any other mindless task. He enjoyed it and I somehow grew to not mind it so much – especially when I noticed my skin clearing up from being constantly massaged, inspected, and cleaned.

Since then, I haven’t been with anyone who asks this special request of me and honestly, I don’t miss it too much. What I have wondered, however, is how I reach that same level of acceptance for myself that Mr. Acne-Fighter had toward me. If I could see myself as beautiful as he found me, even with all of the issues I see as problematic and unattractive, and view them as “part of the package of me”, then I’d gain a bit more self-confidence.

Yesterday, I joined Mr. Possibility at a birthday party where I met some of his friends and family. Having met most of his group of friends and the members of his clan that are important to him, I wasn’t nervous but rather excited to have an afternoon to relax, eat Italian food that I normally wouldn’t allow on my diet, and spend some time cooing over his nieces. It’s almost like escaping to the suburbia I grew up in, that’s full of love, comradery, and timeless memories, and while I’m not ready to return to that way of life, it’s nice to be away from the rush of the city and go at a slower pace for an afternoon.

Getting ready for the day, Mr. Possibility commented that I was taking longer than usual and started rushing me to get out the door. I’m usually not short-tempered but I immediately snapped at him the first time he hurried me, and seeing my frustration, he knocked on the bathroom door to figure out the reason behind my short-wick. Nearing that inevitable time of the month, I’ve found myself oily and broken out, bloated, and overall, not feeling all that gorgeous. And so, I stood in front of the mirror, trying to figure out how I could boost my esteem before being friendly and warm to Mr. Possibility’s network when the only thing I wanted to do involved a huge bowl of buttery mashed potatoes, my yellow blanket I’ve had since I was a child, and re-runs of Lifetime movies that I hate to admit I watch…and sometimes, enjoy.

I opened the door and asked, “Would you be terribly upset if I caught the train?” Confused, he inquired where I was going on the train. “Home,” I replied with a pout. Without a word, he raised an eyebrow, and I heaved an aggravated sigh. “This, Mr. Possibility! See this? On the side of my cheek?? Huge zit that I can’t cover up and if I put makeup over it, it’ll only look cakey and gross. Do makeup companies not make anything that will erase this? How can I meet everyone and be an extension of you, when I look like this? They will wonder why in the world you’re with me.”

Following my outburst, I cautiously met his eyes, only to see him smirking. “Why are you smiling? This is awful. I can’t go,” I continued. He placed his hand on the side of my face, right next to the culprit who was causing so much dismay, and asked, “Do you think you’re going with me because of the way you look? Or do you think you’re going with me because you’re you?”

Not amused by his approach at a sweet tactic, I combated his sentiment by saying, “I know. I know you’re not with me because I’m the most beautiful thing to ever grace the Earth, but I want to feel attractive. And I’m glad you find my attractive, but I don’t and that’s a problem. How can I put on a happy face and go when everyone can see this?

Realizing he wasn’t going to calm me down, he tried a different approach, “Well, they’ll see it. They’ll notice it. And then they’ll move on to get to know you. They know you’re not a supermodel, neither are they, neither am I.”

And in his own twisted way of being rational, Mr. Possibility actually made some sense: I’m no supermodel.

Of course, I’ve always known that – but I’ve also always thought I needed perfectly clear and tanned skin. I’ve thought to be considered remarkable by aesthetic standards; I needed to be a size two (though I’m consistently a four). I’ve thought men want girls who are no fuss, who can roll out of bed with rosy cheeks and breath that smells minty and fresh. I’ve thought to feel comfortable with myself; I needed to always have my best face forward.

But what I’ve really needed to accept is that I’m not a supermodel. I’m never going to be on aVictoria’s Secret ad, a Clean & Clear commercial, or be the one in my group of friends who is complimented for their pretty skin. I have nice eyes, a great figure, and naturally wavy hair that may turn heads, but maybe, my skin won’t. Even when I get it under control and my hormones die down, I may never feel comfortable in my own skin – and really that’s okay.

Because I still love who I am and mostly, what I look like. I have off days where preparing to face the day with a face that’s not perfect is difficult. I have moments where I want to run away from the world so they don’t see that I’m flawed. But my blemishes don’t define me any more than my beauty does.

And if I can meet men who enjoy ridding me of acne and ones who see straight through it and right into my heart, then I believe not every guy needs to date a supermodel to find their partner beautiful.

In fact – most don’t.

An Hour Left to Lose

I just got home to my apartment, I stepped out of the shower, didn’t unpack my bags, didn’t eat anything, and sat down, with an hour left to publish a blog today before I would miss my vow to write daily for a year.

Sitting in front of my computer, glancing at the desk in a box from Ikea that I’ve yet to build, the mountain of unpacked boxes and misalaneous bags lining my room, along with my seafoam green walls that need to be repainted… the last thing on my mind is scribbling a blog for Sunday, May 22.

And yet, with an hour left to lose, here I am, attempting to write about my life.

I’m not sure what changed in the last few months. This blog used to be my outlet, my place to spew and discuss, to come up with interesting things and explore my feelings and longings. It used to serve a valuable purpose in my life and actually, was something I looked forward  to writing. There were times when I was more than a week ahead and my precious black journal was covered in brainstorming thoughts at 8 a.m. on the downtown train. I used to have an excitement and a hunger to write these posts, to go on this journey, to be part of the blog-o-sphere. I still have it but my direction is changing. My interests too.

When I spoke (and wrote) with such enthuasiasm, seasoned bloggers told me to enjoy it, but to keep in mind my momentum would wain eventually. They warned me that something unexpected, something I couldn’t prepare for, something I couldn’t fathom happening, would indeed happen.

They told me that once I put myself out there for the world to see, read, and relate to, I’d end up finding…a life.

And with a full schedule and a budding group of new and old friends, a busy job, freelancing gigs, a possibility, travels, and growing pains that don’t involve this space – I’ve been searching for content instead of letting it flow easily. For a writer, there is nothing worse than forcing material or forging words – it almost feels dishonest and insincere. Writing for the sake of writing doesn’t make a good read for anyone, especially for the person who finds words so important.

What can I really produce as it relates to this journey when my mind is wondering to the week ahead, to the trip I’m taking in a few weeks, to organizing my room, to not ignoring Mr. Possibility as he sits next to me, right at this very second? My mind – and perhaps my heart – isn’t connected to Confessions of a Love Addict at this moment. There are days, at least once or twice a week, when something strikes me and I feel the urge to write. Those are the posts that mean the most, the ones I’m proud of, the ones that keep me going.

But when they are few and far between, do I give up on my commitment to create 365 posts? Do I make really good ones occasionally instead of mediocre ones daily…now at all different times of the day. And currently, at the very latest I’ve ever posted.

Or does what I’m feeling fit into the idea behind the blog entirely? Is this just part of the journey? That some days are better than others, sometimes you’re connected and sometimes you’re distant from the world, and sometimes miles away from yourself. That somethings take priority over others and you can’t always claim something is your top concern because you can’t predict what life will throw at you.

I made a choice to stick to writing, to stick to this journey, even when it doesn’t always feel like I’m still walking on it, then it’s a vow I keep even when I don’t want to. Or when the love I once found here is a little lack luster currently. Because even with an hour left to lose, I picked up the computer, I set my other thoughts aside, and I did what I’ve found the most valuable lesson this blog, this journey, has taught me thus far…to be honest. And the truth is, I don’t want to write right now, but you know what?

I just clicked “published” at 44 minutes until tomorrow, New York time.