This Won’t Be The Last Time

This won’t be the last time you cry.

You’ll cry when something, somewhere reminds you of something, somewhere you did together. You’ll cry when another week has passed, another month, and you haven’t heard his voice or about his life. You’ll cry when you spend the evening at the bier garden and you’ll swear you can feel him around you, but you only realize that maybe you’re going crazier than what you thought. You’ll cry when you’ve had a little bit too much and you long for the arms you knew instead of the silence you hate. You’ll cry after a particularly stressful and successful week at work because you want so badly to share your news and your trials, but the person you yearn to tell the most is no longer your person. You’ll cry when your friends say that maybe, now, this time, you should really move on. You’ll cry because you know they’re right.

No, this won’t be the last time you will cry.

You’ll cry after a Friday night date with a nice enough guy in a nice enough place where you had a nice enough evening. You’ll cry because he didn’t laugh at your silly joke the same way, or because you didn’t get that rush in your heart that you’re convinced is only reserved for people in fairy tales and on your Facebook timeline. You’ll cry because you’re terrified that feeling won’t happen again, but you date to give yourself hope that maybe it will. You’ll cry because you should be stronger and prouder, more mature and more resilient than what you are. You’ll cry because everyone tells you time will heal, but time just seems like it makes you feel.

No, I’m sorry. This won’t be the last time you cry.

You’ll cry when you meet a wonderful, incredible man on a Tuesday afternoon at a coffee shop on Fifth. You’ll cry not because you’re sad or defeated but because you can sense even the tiniest speck of hope starting to spread inside that you thought had turned bitterly cold. You’ll cry when he does call you when he says he will. When you feel yourself falling for him after only four dates. You’ll cry because again, you’re back in this place- the scary place – where your eyes turn to rose, your heart grows fuzzy, your belief in love expands. You’ll cry because it’s here you are the most vulnerable; it’s from here where you know things can turn terribly sour, or unlike before, go incredibly wonderfully. You’ll cry because you don’t want to wait around to find out but the optimist in you — the romantic– knows you will.

No, as much as you pray it will, this won’t be the last time you’ll cry.

You’ll cry when after more breakups and makeups, long fights and guys who weren’t worth your time, you find one who is. You’ll cry because you were proven wrong, that really, love is in your cards after all. You’ll cry when that man – who is less and more than what you imagined he would be — gets down on one knee and asks to share this life with you. You’ll cry as you agree in that surprising moment and at that altar, where he looks equally as uncomfortable in a penguin suit. You’ll cry when you share all those firsts together: first home, first time you have sex in that home, first time you get tired of having all his stuff around, the first time he says something he didn’t mean. The first time you do. You’ll cry because even though you married that perfect man for you, he is still intolerably human, and so are you. You’ll cry when hurt each other and when you come together in that king bed to get over it. You’ll cry because you learned how to love and how to be loved unconditionally.

No really, this won’t be the last time you cry.

You’ll cry when the stick is positive. You’ll cry when you first feel that tiny kick from a tiny person growing inside of you. You’ll cry because it’s Wednesday and you’re pregnant, and you don’t need much more of a reason than that. You’ll cry – and moan and yell and scream and think your body can’t handle it – when you give birth to that baby. You’ll cry when you hear her cry for the first time. You’ll cry when she calls you “mom” and when she walks without your help. You’ll cry in your car – or on the street – on her first day of school, both preschool and kindergarten. And first and fifth grade. You’ll cry when she doesn’t win the spelling bee or the soccer game, when she starts noticing differences you hoped she wouldn’t. You’ll cry when she no longer needs you to hold her hand when she crosses the road or to cook her breakfast in the morning. You’ll cry when you see her growing up day by day, month by month, year by year, older and older, more and more out of your reach. You’ll cry when she comes home from middle school, upset that the curly-haired boy in her class checked “no” when she hoped he’d check “yes,” and she asks you if she’ll ever have to feel this way again because it hurts so badly.

And you’ll tell her, “Yes sweetie, this won’t be the last time you’ll cry. But I promise, it will get better. So much better.”

Baby Steps Toward Stability

I’ve been dreaming vividly lately about very odd things. My mother says dreams are meant to help us work out things we’re thinking of or things that are causing us trouble, regardless if we’re conscious of our ailments or not.

If she’s right, apparently my mind has been preoccupied with babies and proposals. (Though, as far as I’m concerned, it hasn’t been)

I’ve had dreams about being pregnant, about giving birth, about rescuing children from incapable parents. I’ve envisioned spoon-feeding and watching a cesarean performed on me (yes, I know, gross). A certain dream about being stuck in some unidentified room with what appeared to be an eighth-month belly felt so real that I woke up in a dead panic, waking up Mr. Possibility in the process and frantically grabbing my stomach to make sure it wasn’t so. After the fifth consecutive dream about babies, that time of the month came (whew!) and I started having elaborate dreams about proposals.

Some of the dudes were guys I actually know and still talk to, like Mr. Idea. Others were complete strangers I was apparently in love with. The proposals were ridiculous – some involved flying fish and tomatoes, some were in NYC and some overseas (I think, it looked Greece-like). There was dinner and fireworks, friends and family, crying and Coca-Cola.

I don’t know what I’m eating these days or what crosses my mind without me knowing, but wow, when the crazy dreams stopped a few days ago, I was relieved and as any addict would be, obsessed with trying to figure out what they mean.

After all, doesn’t everything have meaning if you dig deep enough? Any proper journalist would tell you it does.

To uncover my unconscious hidden agendas, I sought the counsel of my friends. After all possibility of actually being pregnant was put to bed, they pretty much all reached the conclusion that I was getting ready to birth a new change. Or something would be proposed to me – not a ring, but something else. (No dearies, I’m gladly nowhere close to even wanting to walk down the aisle. Let me find peace with the term ‘boyfriend’ first).

That makes sense and is about as rational of an explanation that I can find – having a baby or agreeing to spend the rest of my life with someone would definitely be a dramatic shift. My priorities, my health, my finances, my body, my lifestyle – all of it. But then again – when you’re in your 20s, doesn’t everything change…all the time?

The people I’m the closest to today, I didn’t know a few years ago. My speed dial assignments have changed at least a handful of times since when I signed my Verizon contract. I’ll probably have my mail forwarded a dozen times before I leave this city – or if I ever do. My single gal friends have a new leading man every week or so, some are dismayed by this fact, others relish in it. I toss out clothes as often as I buy new ones at H&M, and when a heel breaks, another pair makes it into my closet. I try this beauty product and then this one, and while I’ve tried to pick out a signature scent, I can’t decide on just one. I read and read, day after day, and so my views, my language, my direction is constantly shifting. I make plans, I break them. I think I know who I am and then I question.

Call me crazy, but sure, life changes a lot when you have a baby – but doesn’t it also settle down a bit? I’d like to think that at the point in my life when I’m engaged and eventually starting a family, I’ll have my ducks-in-a-row. I’ll be secure in a job I love, I’ll be confident in the person I’m picking as everlasting partner, and hopefully instead of renting, I’ll be putting my dough toward a home or an apartment I own. Friends will still change but some won’t. I’ll be stronger in my convictions, but maybe my viewpoints will mold too. However, those foundation-building blocks will be set in stone, instead of airing in the New York summer sun. Or at least, I hope so.

So what is it that babies maybe signify instead? A thirst for stability? A hunger to be working toward something tangible instead of all of those things that seem so indefinite? I don’t have a baby, I’ve never been asked to marry someone (expect on Twitter), but I think those changes may rock my world, but they’ll also steady it, too. Right?

I can’t attest for sure, I’m not a psychic or a dream-reader, though I could probably walk a block in either direction and pay $150 for a reading. For now, though, regardless if these dreams mean a change or mean I’ll found solid footing, I hope they continue to subside.

My ovaries can’t handle any more fear.

A Love Affair Down There

If you ask my friend N – a lovely woman with an unstoppable drive and unconditional heart – what her first memory of me was, it isn’t exactly what you’d expect. As her editor at the college newspaper, I once stated in an overly-girly fashion that my favorite color was cervix pink. Yeah, you read that correctly – cervix, as in the lower part of my uterus. Rightfully shocked and bewildered by my preference, she questioned how I knew what it looked like and the story goes a little something like this:

During a pap smear  in college, as I laid spread uncomfortably in front of the campus gyno and her nurse, my eyes shut in an effort to relax in such a compromising position, I was told to take a deep breath in. As I always do in the presence of a doctor or someone who has my vulnerability in the palm of their hand or strangely close to their face, I listened and breathed slowly and surely, as an icy-silver tool made its way inside. A few moments later, the chipper gyno with far too much blush asked “Would you like to see your cervix?”

I instantly opened my eyes and was blinded by the unflattering flourescent lighting and as I blinked to adjust my vision, the nurse smiled at me and encouraged, “You should look. It is fascinating.” Rather confused by what they were offering me – I had no idea I could see that far into my vagina – I whispered in agreement. Probably having shown hundreds of university women their most private of areas, the gyno pulled out a mirror and instructed me to lean slightly to the right to see. It wasn’t a Charlotte-falling-off-of-her-bed situation, but what I saw such a lovely shade of pink that I can’t describe other than, well what it is: cervix pink.

And it was in that five-minute span, at 19-years-old that my love affair with myself…down there…began.

Sure, I’ve always know my female anatomy since inquiring about the difference between boys and girls as a child, where my mother sweetly showed me a visual diagram that haunted me for years. I remember the first discovery of pubic hair in the bathtub and I’m not sure if I was more surprised or my father was more upset when he was informed I was starting the hell of adolescence at the tender age of 10. I was unsure of what to do with my newfound figure, how to dress it, and how to own it – and as my body has adapted to each fluctuation of size and shape, I’ve had to redesign my wardrobe and my mentality. When I became sexually active, my lady parts (or whatever you’d like to call them) took on a new meaning – a place not to be hidden underneath those fancy thongs my mother despised – but a garden of pleasure. Even if it would be several years before I experienced what true ecstasy feels like with a real man and not a high school quarterback – or should I say jack hammer?

The older I got and the more my look shifted from child to adult – the more in love I fell with being a woman. This love translated into a genuine investment in women’s interests and studies. And while this blog may not illustrate my convictions and clips about women’s rights internationally and stateside, college was spent working toward a minor in sociology of women and writing columns about suffrage and dissing Sarah Palin – among many other things. I had the opportunity to meet Gloria Steinem and help with The Vagina Monologues, as well as the Women’s Leadership Conference, and all of these experiences have shaped my feminist views (more on feminism on Sunday).

While I already had what I thought was a pretty solid, yet liberal, perspective on sex and a woman’s right to be and to sleep with whoever she’d like (and not be labeled things like ‘slut’ or ‘whore’ when her male counterpart is simply applauded for his conquests) – I didn’t start to liberate myself until I moved here.

You see, New York women are a phenomenally fabulous different breed. They don’t make excuses for their numbers (if they know them). They don’t think twice about having a lover for explosive sex, not for making commitments and babies. They celebrate their vaginas in ways a Southerner would see as a luxury – laser treatments, waxing, and specialty products for that region. They buy expensive silk lingerie to wear under a suit, with or without intending on someone ripping their hosiery. They don’t ask permission from their friends or from the heavens to have a damn good orgasm and if they’re with someone who isn’t performing or stimulating, they aren’t afraid to walk away.

They don’t talk about their sexuality because it isn’t something that’s up for negotiation.  It is just part of who they are, plain and simple. Their choices in the bedroom (or the elevator or the bathroom of a fancy restaurant) belong to them and they aren’t afraid to talk about it. They treat their bodies and especially their own personal lady, with respect and care, and when a visitor visits them – they ensure they’re the ones in control, exuding independence and power to make a sexually-charged decision.

Sure, I’m stereotyping women based on their address, but generally speaking, mating in New York is just as much a woman’s game as it is a man’s – and to be frank, it’s less of a strategy for women, we tend to hold the cards anyways. And when we decide to play our hand, we play it very well, even if we refuse to put on a poker face because faking just isn’t acceptable anymore. If you continuously have to fake, he has to break – life is too short to have mediocre sex. And truth be told – the man isn’t even the important part – it is your parts – it is impossible to love yourself or to find love if you don’t accept your body, and yes, your vagina, as the beautiful, radiating thing it is.

While I’ll never reveal my own modest number,  I will also never be afraid of my confidence and my thankfulness in being a woman. My favorite color may not be cervix pink anymore, but I’ve grown accustomed to treating myself and my possibilities to the pampering we deserve. No budget too small or excuse acceptable.

And so, as I walked toward the flat iron building yesterday, following my second incredible Brazilian wax at Completely Bare, and a bystander called out “Girl, you’re so fine” to me – I couldn’t help but think if he only knew what was underneath this Steve Madden trenchcoat, he’d be speechless.

PS: Check out Completely Bare’s product line. I especially like the Bikini Bump Blaster, the Completely Smooth for Body, and the Model Tan. 

Baby Don’t Want No Baby

A few years ago, while walking through Soho, I stumbled across a boutique baby store. I don’t recall the name, but the décor included whimsical trees, googly-eyed giraffes and elephants, and against my friend’s pleas, I demanded we go inside. Like the true kid-at-heart I am, I browsed through the clothes, considered buying a super-soft stuffed animal for myself, and sighed thinking, “I really do want a baby one day.”

Before leaving, I spotted a pair of ridiculously adorable pink socks with a tiny, sophisticated bow at the top. At $16 a pop, I actually bought one and vowed that one day, when I became a mother, I’d put them over my baby’s little toes. Let’s hope I do have a daughter when that time comes or my son will just have to be alright with pretty-in-pink feet.

These socks are tucked away in a space underneath my bed, along with clippings of dream vacation homes overseas, maps of places I’d like to visit, and ticket stubs from old dates, travels, and pieces of fabric I’d love to make a trendy dress out of (If I knew how to sew, that is). Those socks are the only thing, out of the dozens of wishes and dreams inside of that wooden antique box that represents children.

As much as I do hope that I have some baby Tigar cubs of my own, the idea of actually raising a child royally, totally, and whole-heartedly freaks me the hell out. I’m one of those women who texts her friends: “Okay, so he didn’t technically finish inside of me. We used something, I’m on something. But my monthly visitor is about three hours late, should I get a test? I mean it can’t hurt, right? RIGHT?!” I’ve also probably opted for plan B even when plan A probably worked efficiently. I even may have Googled if there was such a thing as Plan C. (There’s not, if you’re wondering)

But why should I not be careful? Pregnancy and babies are terrifying.

I mean, my lady part has to stretch to a size that’s not natural (no matter how part of nature it is), I have to give up the things that give me tremendous joy (coffee, wine, looking sexy in lingerie, running, to name a few), and after nine months of increasingly getting rounder, I have a miniature creature who will suck on my gals. And that’s only the beginning – once I’m a mother, there is no going back or 30-day refund policy. As far as I know, anyways.

Last week on my way to my bi-monthly mentoring program for children who want to be authors, I caught an elevator with a few parents. Though it isn’t the usual etiquette, one of the fathers asked when I pushed the button for the sixth floor, “Are you going to pick up your child in the program?”

With a fear-stricken death stare I looked directly at him and defended myself: “Oh God no! I’m volunteering. I don’t have children. I’m too young for that!” Obviously not realizing the chord he struck with me, he mumbled an apology and turned to face the doors. As I pulled myself together walking to meet my mentee, it occurred to me I was actually wrong.

I’m not too young to be a mom. Technically speaking.

I’m the only one of my cousins who doesn’t have at least one child – and they are all under the age of 35. I have friends who are damned-and-determined to have their legacy completed and their tubes tied before they blow out the candles on their 30th birthday cake. And ladies much younger than me, say 16, are apparently buzzworthy in the eyes of pop culture for doing nothing other than growing a bump.

As cute as they are and as much as I’m sure I’ll love my own one day, I’m lacking the baby-obsessed gene. Or maybe, it hasn’t fully developed quite yet.

Being a parent, much like being a girlfriend or a wife, means you have to stop making decisions based solely on yourself. While we can provide examples illustrating how men are really just grown-up babies who still want to be pampered, mothered, and coddled – a child is even more responsibility. Not to mention a commitment you can’t divorce, annul or walk away from.

When this man, unknowingly mistaken me as a mom, it caught me off guard (and sweat a little) because the possibility of being a parent had never occurred to me. Sure, I’ve had some scares and from the book my mother gave me, I know I’m capable of producing offspring. But, for someone to see me and for it not to be out-of-the-question for me to have a elementary school-aged child, blew my mind. What would my life look like if that were the case?

A baby requires more than your love, your attention, your dedication to maintaining and creating a relationship – it needs to be provided for and protected. How can I expect to be mature enough, secure enough, and uncomplicated enough to keep something else alive, when most of the time, I’m not sure I take care of myself in the best ways?

I may be far from being a child and far from 40, but this baby don’t want no baby.

P.S. Confessions of a Love Addict is making Valentine’s Day more about the single ladies and less about flowers that’ll die in a day. Submit your Valentine here.