My Word For 2016 Is…

This time of year, I always start to feel a little anxious.

Even though those who know me best would call me overly optimistic (true) and a little romantic about everything (also true), when Christmas rolls around and I find myself single, again, for the past four years, I feel overwhelmingly defeated. For such a magical time of year – with the shared moments, sweet memories and twinkling lights – there’s something about the days that lead up to the New Year that make me nervous for what is to come – or, well, not come. Continue reading

There is Always Someone Prettier

In response to a blog I recently wrote, a man named Mark from Denver wrote to me to share the male perspective. I’m excited to share this inspiring blog with a message that I try to send through this blog, and one that I think all women – single, taken or otherwise – need to be reminded of. It’s even more refreshing to hear it from a single guy. Thanks for contributing, Mark! Check out his blog here, ladies. 

“There is always someone prettier”

I heard this come out of my friends mouth as we were walking down the streets of NYC last week. She had flown in from Hong Kong for work and I was in town visiting my potential place of residence. We met up to hang out and spend a few days together.

Continue reading

Has It Always Been Love?

My back felt wet against the grass, the mud oozing onto my mother’s dress. It wasn’t made for my 8-year-old self, but it was ideal for my wild imagination. It was one of those fall nights that still felt warm, where the fireflies still danced across the backyard, where you could smell a fire burning somewhere beyond the mountain range, but you didn’t need to feel it to keep your breath from showing in the air. The sun was setting and my stomach was growling, ready for something fried and something green, the common supper staple of North Carolina, a state I called home, but not a state where I would live one day.

I looked up at the rich, deep blue Southern sky, counting the stars – one, two, three, three hundred, infinity – and trying to find the Little and Big Dipper because my grandmother once told me it was good luck if you could find them both fast. I always made the same wish when I did: I want to be in loveIt was on that green field with a farm to my left and a trailer park to my right, that I did all of my pretending. In that tree with that swing, my name is carved along with every boy I loved until the eighth grade when we moved. Underneath the back porch that was full of cobwebs and potential rattle snakes, I painted hearts with red paint, believing that if I kept drawing what I wanted, I’d see him some spiraling down our gravel driveway, ready to take me away. To where, I never knew but that’s how the fairytales ended.

Sure, I sometimes was a princess in my never-ever land, but most of the time I was much more than that: I was Lois Lane and Superman was coming to my rescue while I got the story to press on time. I was the female-version of Indiana Jones, running circles around my childhood home, pretending a giant bolder was chasing me. I was Julia Roberts in Pretty Woman, all sass and red lipstick, oblivious to the plot line, and desperately in love with Richard Gere. I was Princess Buttercup and I just knew my Wesley would roll down that giant sledding hill in front of my house yelling, “As you wish.”

I didn’t need to know what it felt like to be in love as a kid – I was already in love with love.

I wrapped the long phone chord around me until my legs were stuck together and wobbled to the washing machine to close the pantry door. I needed privacy to listen to my very first crush talk about his very first guitar and how he was playing in his first band and that it was going to be epic. So epic. I didn’t pay attention to most of what he said, but I loved the way he said it. Especially when I imagined those curly black locks that seemed to shape into a floating bowl around his head. He was different than what I was used to and he hung out with a crowd that wasn’t my kind, but I was smitten.

We met on a school field trip to Camp Greenville and when we sat down at this chapel at the top – appropriately called Pretty Place – he rested his hand on mine and smiled. It would take me a month to talk to him, six months of obsessing and doodling his name on my notebooks, and a year until we finally were more than friends. And on some very cold January night while a friend slept over and we played Dream Phone, he asked if I’d be his girlfriend. After carefully putting him on mute, I screamed so loud that our motion light came on outside in the driveway. And now, two-whole-months later, we were holding hands outside of class and going to dances together. We had nicknames and he gave me a Valentine’s Day card that my mom put in my baby book for safe keeping. He kissed me before he caught the bus and I went to meet my parents, and though I always wanted more time alone, we were allowed to walk the mall downtown together for an hour on Saturdays.

It was love. He was love. I didn’t need to fall in love, I just knew.

I could hear him screaming my name from far, far below. His head was bopping in and out of water so clear you could see the catfish at the bottom, waiting for their chance to feed at something or for a fisherman to take a chance to feed them. I knew I couldn’t actually see his grin from way up here on top of this bank, covered in Georgia clay mud – the reddest you’ll see this side of the Mississippi – but I could feel it looking up at me. My high school sweetheart’s love was so effortless and sweet – he treated me like I was as delicate as the honeysuckle bushes, something to be savored because it only lasted so long. From the time I slipped my number in his pocket outside of biology class, inviting him to my dad’s annual smokeout to when he kissed me harder than anyone had in our clammy basement on a futon that smelled like mildew, I knew he’d be mine. I knew he’d be someone so very special in my life that I didn’t bat an eyelash before telling him so.

And now, he was telling me to grab that rope and swing into the lake where my family was all waiting for me. I wasn’t afraid of heights – but I was terrified of this fall. The ground had turned my feet orange and my hands were caked in it from the climb up. What if I didn’t let go when I was supposed to? What if I let go too quickly? What if I wasn’t strong enough to run and jumpYou can do it baby, I love you! Come here right now! 

I jumped.

But I didn’t fall – I splashed right next to him and he helped me onto the boat, rubbing his skinny little arms around me to keep me from shivering, even though it was the dead of July. I loved him – and I didn’t need to fall to feel it, I just needed to leap.

I stepped out of the fancy car that he called for me, leading to a destination that was meant to be a surprise. But I had studied New York for the past 15 years, so that wasn’t quite possible. We were at Lincoln Center, right at sunset, and he was wearing a tailor-made suit while I was trying to rock a dress that was on sale at TJ Maxx. My feet felt unsteady, both in these heels and in this city. It was becoming everything and nothing like I had imagined, consistently mesmerizing and demoralizing me, every other block – but I kept at it anyway. Especially since he – this blonde-haired, blue-eyed, 6’4″ man – was there to support me if I couldn’t make it. I had grown accustomed to him in the way I felt comfort seeing stars, something so rare in a place with energy from every other direction but up. He was something to wish upon – someone still in the making, someone I could play make-believe about in my mind, imagining the time when he decided to step out of his frog disguise.

Maybe tonight was when he’d do it: why are we here? I inquired as he led me up the steps to the fountain in the middle that was bursting with water, sparkling with little white lights. When we made it, he twirled me around as we locked eyes and he dipped me, just so my hair caught a runaway droplet, and kissed me. You said in one of your blogs that you wanted to be kissed here as the sun was setting.

Had I? I wondered as he led me to destination two of our ultra-romantic date – dinner and then a staycation at the penthouse of The Empire Hotel. I didn’t remember crafting such words, but how could I possibly remember everything that I’d ever written? I watched the taxis that night wearing a robe that costed more than my rent from the window while he slept, questioning what it feels like to be in love. And how to know when you’re falling, without actually… well, falling.

Two-and-a-half years later, I’m still figuring out the answer.

Because though I’ve known love and I’ve craved it… I don’t know if I’ve ever been in love with anything other than, well love.

This Valentine’s Day, write a self-love letter to yourself and it’ll be published (anonymous or not) on Confessions of a Love Addict! And you enter yourself to win a prize pack of beauty products and a Home Goods gift card! Learn more here. Submit here.

You’d Figure It Out

What if you find yourself 40 years old, single, living alone in a tiny apartment in the West Village?

What if you search high and low, put up with the jerks, the gems — and everything wild and beautiful in between — and somehow, the man of your dreams, is just that? A dream? What if he really is just a figment of your imagination? What if you don’t actually ever cross that finish line to the altar and you spend years waiting for your chance to sprint? What if you watch everyone around you pair up, pair apart and pair up again, while you idly wait for your turn to take a chance? To make a loving mistake you’ll one day cherish? What if you never, ever fall in love again? What if you were meant to only get a taste, not a glass? What if you become one of those women that for whatever reason, don’t end up with a soulmate, or maybe never had one to begin with? What if you aren’t meant for that one, huge, great, amazing big love after all?

You’d figure out how to love yourself even more.

What if you do happen to meet someone kind of amazing? But he doesn’t fit that description that MASH spelled out for you, or the background or the paycheck or the height that you’d hoped for?

What if you meet him and don’t instantly know in that all-telling, fortuitous gut of yours that you were meant to be? What if you don’t meet in a way that’s fun or encouraging to tell your grandchildren? What if it takes more time than you’d like for him to come along? What if it takes even longer for you to get over yourself enough to let yourself love him in return? What if he’s bald? Or divorced? What if he doesn’t have that body that really gets you going, but instead has a heart that lets you finally rest? What if he is perfect for you in every way and though you don’t doubt he’s the one, you find yourself anxious about settling down? What if you aren’t completely sure, even if you actually, kind of are?

You’d figure out how to fall in love with the man, not the idea.

What if that dream job, the one with the fancy corner office, the shiny gold name plate, the cushy salary and the pretty life that comes with it… isn’t an option?

What if everything you’ve always known about yourself and what you’re good at and what brings you happiness, one day, doesn’t anymore? What if those bylines stop meaning as much or they mean so much that the pressure all becomes too heavy to carry? Too difficult to run toward, so you stop? What if you never publish a book, never open a bakery, never have more than enough money, and yet, just enough? What if you don’t get the chance to lead something or someone or some place and spend your life being led by other people? What if all that time spent editing your resume and surviving on next-to-nothing with a side of Ramen doesn’t actually pay off in the end? What if you don’t hear those precious two words — You’re hired! — that sometimes feel more important than the infamous three words? What if you don’t find what you’re looking for, after all?

You’d figure out how to let go of the path you paved so you can be brave enough to lay out a new one.

What if you never fit back into those size two jeans that you did sophomore year of college?

What if you never experience what it’s like to prance the beach in a bikini, fully confident, fully mesmerized by how you great you look? What if your boobs are never big enough, your skin never clear enough, your teeth never white enough, your hair never straight enough, your stomach never flat enough? What if you don’t drop the baby weight right away — or all of it? What if you can never actually run that marathon or even qualify for it? What if you don’t ever get that smokin’ hot bod that you want (and sweat to earn)?

You’d figure out how to feel comfortable and yes, radiate in the beautiful parts that make you gorgeously imperfect.

What if your five year plan takes eight years to complete — or never happens at all?

What if you are set off course by a bump here and a stumble there, keeping you always within arm’s reach of what you want, but never close enough to actually touch? What if you find yourself continuously surprised and effortlessly amused by the decisions you make and ones that are made for you? What if you end up far from where you came from and yet, closer to your heart than you’ve ever been before? What if nothing goes according to the map you mapped out with such care? What if you find yourself so happy with the life you created, even if it’s not carved out just as you thought it would be, but somehow, it’s better?

What if your future is so unpredictable — as amazing things often are — that you can’t figure it out before you get there? Whatever it is, you know you’ll be able to take it as it comes, solve the rhymes and the puzzles as they happen and tangle themselves up into your pretty little pictures of idealism. Because the truth is —  you don’t always get the guy. You don’t always have an incredible marriage. You don’t always get the storybook tale you want to tell. The awesome career comes with sacrifices you might not want to make. You’re always going to get a zit at a bad time. You will probably change your mind one hundred times about what you want and what feels right. You can pick lovers over babies, and babies over freedom. You can try until trying is doing, and do it until you have to try again. There are no guarantees and no way to plan it out. There are no right answers and no way to reassure yourself that it’ll all work out.

No way to actually figure it out with complete certainty.

But what ever life throws at you — or doesn’t — you can figure out how to make it work. How to be happy. And one day, it won’t feel like you’re figuring anything out — it’ll just feel like it’s happening how it was supposed to all along.