Meet Me in the Middle

I’ve been lucky to be with men that don’t pick fights (let’s take Mr. Idea out of the mix in this statement). I have been careful not to get into relationships with people I don’t enjoy the day-to-day with because if I don’t get along with someone when things are ordinary, there isn’t any point to the extraordinary, unless we’re just talking an expensive first date or foreign one-week affair.

That being said – I’m also not one to keep my mouth shut (hence why I write a blog in the first place). I keep the secrets of my friends and sources, I protect the identities of the men in this blog, and I consider myself pretty low-maintenance. Still, if I don’t like something, I say it. If I want more, I request it. If I want less, I’ll push back. If I need something, I’ll demand it. I’m not afraid to push and pull and I won’t say everything is fine when it is not.

But to be in a relationship or to maintain friendships worth keeping – attention must be paid to the details of compromising. To get, you have to give. And sometimes what you give has to be things you really don’t want to offer. While at the same time, the needs you need to be met may not be easy for someone else to measure up to.

Current living arrangements with Mr. Possibility have gone surprisingly well and while we’ve never had a painful argument (knock on wood), we’ve both had to take the other person into consideration while sharing a cramped space. While the two bedroom, two bath condo is lovely (thanks to his roommate), there are often four people attempting to live comfortably while trying not to step on the toes of each other. I suppose that’s what a household is and though it is temporary, the time in the interim should be enjoyable, not debilitating to the sweetness a home creates.

Sitting on his couch sharing breakfast, he was rambling mindlessly as he usually does, and I asked him about plans for the week. Still wanting to keep our individual social calendars and have time away from one another since quarters are extremely close, I wanted an idea to plan around. While I thrive in spontaneity when it is in fact spontaneous, most of the time I do better with structure and concrete plans with times and dates. Mr. Possibility couldn’t be more different or entertain a contrasting mindset. He flies by the seat of his possibilities and when opportunities in the form of drinks or events arrive, he answers the call without much notice. I may do the same in some instances, but I also know my Monday through Friday, usually by that Sunday.

So you can imagine my inquisitive nature can sometimes get the best of him. He, however, realizes planning is part of my package and to cease a first argument before it began, he said, “Linds, why don’t you meet me in the middle?” That phrase can account for many things in our relationship, but on Saturday morning in sweats and a sports bra, drowning myself in coffee, Mr. Possibility actually made some sense.

Of course, to get along with a guy or anyone, really – you have to meet them in the middle. Planning two nights instead of five and relaxing instead of worrying about things that could fall through or could work out are healthy solutions to different approaches to scheduling.

But what about meeting yourself in the middle? Does compromise always have to do with two people? Or can we learn to compromise with ourselves and find that between our own extremes, there is a peace to be found? Is compromising yourself really living up to the negative connotation it carries?

I think it depends on how you look at it.

I tend to think of myself in very black or white terms. I’m either succeeding or failing, looking beautiful or looking awful, happy or sad, energized or tired, on-point or off, feeling inspired or dismayed. There isn’t a lot of in between and I often don’t give myself much room for other options of gray.

And yet, with friends, with Mr. Possibility or other men, I’m so willing to compromise what I want or my natural habits to find a common solution that satisfies everyone, including me. But maybe meeting in the middle wouldn’t feel like a task if we learned to be open to more things. If we gave ourselves as much leeway and options as we give others, we’d find life limitless instead of restricted. If we all spread our visions a little higher, the middleground may be a little wider.

If we meet ourselves in the middle, then maybe more people will meet us there, too.

Meet My Boyfriend

The thing I get asked the most by friends, readers, and fellow bloggers is: How do you write every single day?!

The answer has consistently been rather simple – it is easy. Partly because I consider myself someone who was lucky enough to always know what they were meant to do, and also due to the mere fact that I write about my life. And what else could be more natural to do than recording, dissecting, and describing every-day adventures? Or better yet – what could be more entertaining when those experiences primarily relate to relationships – something that everyone, no matter their demographics, can understand and relate to.

And while I write about personal experiences, most of the ideas that turn into blogs come from outside sources. From eavesdropping on two friends at the gym, by graffiti stained on my building, by a penny I kick across the pavement, by an exchange I witnessed that was only meant for that couple, by something I feel that I can’t explain, by a sighting or a viewing, by an argument or a profession. I try to listen while I linger, ask more questions than I make statements, and try to put myself in the shoes of strangers. Or the ones I know best – after all, fodder is frequent from my friends.

Unsurprisingly, as our pals often know us better than we know ourselves, this is where my claim of fluidity and simplicity in blogging becomes objected. As in the case of my friend J.

On Sunday, over burgers at one of my New York favorites, Corner Bistro, a group of us were catching up, drinking Blue Moons, and taking in more calories than the rest of the week allowed. I met my friend J in a way that can only be described as fate by the Internet –through a Meetup group that I was hesitant to join. However, it turned out producing five of my closest pals in the city, some of which are starting to get to know me pretty well. As J is telling me about her latest dating adventure and how the scene is different than the laid-back and sunny market in California where she’s from, I must have looked at her too hard because she said:

“You’re writing your blog right now in your head, aren’t you?” Stunned she could detect the writing wheels turning, I smiled a 4 p.m.-and-tipsy grin, and asked, “Um, how did you know that?” She took a sip of her wine (not a fan of beer), she laughed and replied, “Well, you know when you really like someone and they bring you happiness, you think about them all the time? Even when other people are talking to you?” I nodded. “That’s kind of what your blog is now. The blog is your boyfriend.”

Interesting.

A relationship, much like a blog, depends constant attention. You have to put in effort to make it work and be understanding when glitches out of your control cause trouble (like WordPress’ meltdown last night). The longer you’re with someone, the more people know about the person you’ve become exclusive with, and the more energy you put toward something – the harder it is to let it go. You become committed and involved, engrossed in what-could-be, and needing to know that person feels the same way. And if you’re anything like me before I started the blog, you become quite obsessed with the man of loving opportunity.

So, is my friend right? Maybe I have made this blog into my boyfriend. Or into an entity outside of myself, even though it’s primarily about me. I’m connected to it, I give it daily attention, I take time out of my schedule to make sure it is functioning, growing, and giving me what I need. But what is it that I need from a blog? If you asked me a few months ago, it would have been similar to my response to what I want from a relationship: something that helps me grow, gives me guidance, and lets me say whatever I want to say, without passing judgment.

However, like every relationship that experiences change with tide, waters have been rough with me and my boyfriend, the blog.

For a while, as much as I was writing about my exciting life, the majority of it was spent at work and at home. The weekends were sometimes full of outings and doings, but I had the energy and the dedication to put into the pages of this blog because it was my main concern and central source of entertainment. But like I’m learning to let love fall lower on my list of priorities, as my life started to become…well, a life – the less time I’ve had to focus on blogging.

My calendar has started to fill up, event invites continue to roll in, my friends rightfully demand my attention and my evenings, I’m running more, I’m planning trips, I’m further investing into the potential return of Mr. Possibility’s possibilities, and above all else, I’m still focusing on me. The 12 Steps continue to help me guide through the emotions that used to throw me. The essence of the blog is still alive in my life, but the availability I used to have to give it love is gone.

So do I stop writing? Do I break up with my boyfriend because he doesn’t fit into the life I’m making for myself? Do I put an end to the love I once found because I’d rather turn my attention to seemingly bigger and better things?

Nope.

Because when a relationship experiences trouble or things outside of the union start to expand and rise, that’s when you test how the connection. The commitment, the loyalty. That’s when you realize that love will never be everything that defines you or all of the things you’re made of. That’s when you remember the relationship that makes it – the one that’s worth all the hassles and frazzles – is the one you can maintain, even when the rest of your life becomes fuller and happier. I can’t make a man – or a blog – my everything. But if I can remember that love is just a part of life and this blog is about my life – the inspiration to pen another post will come just as easy as it once did.

As long as I just live, that is.

Naked, Nosy, and Never Been Happier

I’ll admit I’m a jealous person.

Obviously, since I admitted to stalking Facebook profiles for wedding, engagement, and baby pictures, I have a little bit of envy in me. I can’t even being to estimate how many times in a day I desire something I don’t have –when I see a trendy couple walking, leaning on each other in the subway, a man kissing his pregnant wife’s forehead in the rain.

Most of the time, especially now, I’m able to deal with these resentful feelings –soothe myself, close my eyes, and say a little prayer for things I hope will come.

Imagine my delight yesterday when I found myself not jealous, not envious, not sickened, not insanely mad –but happy about being single.

Tonight my company is hosting the NYC Small Business Awards and because I’m a procrastinator (not usually, but lately), I waited until yesterday to buy my cocktail dress for it. With a lovely birthday card from my friend A, I set out to Forever 21 on my lunch hour yesterday to find something stunning. I figure, it’s a great excuse to buy a new dress considering I’ll be around 500 business owners –right?

I scour the three floors of wonder that is Forever 21 and with an armful of dresses and make my way to the fitting room. As I’m struggling to figure out what my size is because my new workout regimen has made me somewhere between a small and medium –I overhear a conversation.

Its two girls in the rooms next to me laughing, chit-chatting, and they seem to be catching each other up on their lives. At this point, I’m struggling to get a belted blue dress over my head that’s in two pieces and incredibly difficult to maneuver, and sighing because I’m a tad bit bloated, and PMS is breaking me out something fierce. As I’m starting to get frustrated, I hear one of the girls say, “Oh my God! I loooooveee this dress. Do you love this dress?” to which the other replies, “Oh girl, you look so sexy. Chris is totally going to love that. He’ll rip it off of you.”

I giggle to myself and think about my friends who would say that to me (practically all of them) and I take it that Chris is this gal’s boyfriend. She laughs and then her ringtone “California Girls” by Katy Perry goes off and she says, “Oh my God! He must have read our minds, he’s calling!” I’m still weeding through my outfits as she greets Chris with “Hey baby!” and continues with her conversation.

I stop listening for a while until I hear “Baby, I thought we talked about this…*sigh*….but I said this weekend that…well, I know….but we talked about this…Chris!…will you just let me talk?…you’re being ridiculous….I told you she was going to be in town.

Of course, because I’m being incredibly nosy, I stop trying on clothes, stand there in my panties and bra and over-the-knee boots and just listen.

Chris, she’s in town this week only. We can hang out this weekend, can’t we?…Why do you  need to see me?…I thought we had this conversation…No! I’m not breaking my plans…No, I’m not…what was that? Say that again….Really?…You’re doing that? For me?…Okay. Aw, Chris. Let me talk to her…yeah…I love you too…I know baby…yeah, I know baby…I’m sure she won’t mind…No she won’t mind…Yes, I’m sure…I love you too. Bye baby.”

Now, I’ve decided that she gave into his pleas to see him, even though, I’m guessing, her friend is visiting from out of town.

“Hey, do you mind if I see Chris a little bit tonight? I mean, I’ll just go over to his apartment and you can stay in my apartment and check your email or watch TV or whatever. He just really needs to see me. You know how he is –just needs me. It’s like that when you’re in love.

I couldn’t see her friend’s expression, but if it were me, I would have rolled my eyes, dropped my jaw, and called her out on giving-in even though I was visiting and was promised girl’s-only time.

“Yeah, I mean I guess that’s alright. But weren’t we going to go to the village tonight? I’ve never been there before, ya know,” her friend replied.

“God, I know. The village isn’t that great anyways. He’s just so persistent. You’ll understand one day when you meet The One.”

Now, I’m fully dressed and fully pissed at this girl for being so rude to her friend. It took every fiber in my being to not talk to the other friend and say, “It’s okay to be single! It’s empowering to be single! You’d rather be single than have a lame boyfriend who begs you to break plans with your friends because they ‘need’ you! How pathetic is that? You want to go get coffee with me in the village tonight and we’ll bitch?”

Not everyone who is in a relationship becomes obsessed with and powerless to their boyfriends. I’ve definitely been in relationships that have taken over my entire life and I know how easy it is to get wrapped up when you’re head over Jimmy Choos. I get it, I really do. But regardless –it’s never right to do that to a friend. Especially an out-of-town friend.

The best part of this story, though? I wasn’t jealous of her relationship and I wasn’t envious of any relationships the rest of the day. From the outside –on the train, streets, and cafes –all relationships look beautiful and loving. But when you get down to it –they are messy and uneven and sometimes involve pleading annoying men.

As I walked out of Forever 21, I thought: “Thank God I’m not in a relationship like that. If I was with a clingy guy I’d have to cut him lose. Already did that. Been there, done that. Wow, I’m so glad I’m single. I can do literally anything I want today, this week or this weekend. I think I’m going to buy some shoes. Or maybe that rain jacket…ohhh he was cute! Who is that? Maybe he’ll be at the Small Business Awards!”