You’re Never Going to Meet Someone

You’re never going to meet someone online.

Not when your profile looks like that — how old are those photos? No selfies. No professional pictures. Look like you’re having fun. Lots and lots of fun — you don’t want to come across too serious. Don’t give away too much in your personal description. You should be witty and quick, but not like you’ll outsmart the man. Never be intimidating. But guys online, are they worth it anyway? There has to be something wrong with them, why else would they need to resort to clicking through women on the web? What an awful love story that would be to tell your kids — Dad messaged Mom and Mom replied and then you went out for drinks in the West Village. Nah, don’t meet someone online. Meet them the old fashioned way.

You’re never going meet someone like they used to back when.

No one just runs into someone at a coffee shop, strikes up conversation and magically falls in love. You don’t just fall down in front of some guy on some bus at some airport and figure out you live close to each other. Close enough to go on a random date and randomly start a relationship. It doesn’t happen that way anymore — dating is work. It’s strategic. You don’t just see a handsome person and figure out you have something in common and go from there. You have to do everything you can to find anyone worth anything. Don’t be silly and unreasonably optimistic. You’ll be single forever if you do that.

You’re never going to meet someone if you spend a lot of time in your apartment.

You’re so young! You have so much energy! You have endless time to find the right person — so you should be going out all. the. time. That happy hour, go. That event your kind-of friend invited you to that has free drinks, make sure to RSVP. Mingle. Flirt. Strike up a conversation with anyone who seems remotely interesting. Don’t go home after working non-stop at work, instead, find a reason to stay out. To find a dude who is also prowling the town. He’s looking for you too, don’t worry. But you won’t meet him if you spend all your time at your humble abode.

You’re never going to meet someone if you keep going to bars.

What kind of people are in bars? Not the type of men that you’d want to settle down with. They’re drunks. They’re irresponsible. I mean, c’mon, they chug Bud Light for $8 a pop. Or worse, they actually like PBR. They still dress and act like they’re in college. How do they go out every single night of the week and still manage to be productive at their jobs? Why would you want to end up with someone who goes to bars all the time? Who doesn’t know it’s important to spend some time at home, relaxing. No, you should meet someone at a gallery opening. Or through a mutual friend. Maybe by joining a co-ed kickball team or going to a comedy club. Meet some sophisticated gentleman who is better than those jerks in Murray Hill. You live in New York — there are so many ways to meet guys, just not one at a bar. That’s gross.

You’re never going to meet someone if you put so much focus on your career.

I know, I know, it’s important. I know, it’s why you decided to move hundreds of miles away. And yes, you love it. Yes, it’s demanding and you love every second of the fast-pace, challenging and exciting environment. It fulfills and intrigues you, sure. But no guy wants to be with a girl who works so hard. Who cares so much about her career and where she’s heading. They want a woman who can compromise. Who will make an excellent, loving mother. You definitely can’t have both — even if you see women at your job who rock the office and the home every day — no, you can’t actually do it. If you keep pulling long hours and working from home on the weekends when you’re supposed to be off, no man will be interested in you. When will you ever have time to take care of his needs?

You’re never going to meet someone if you aren’t impressive.

You should be able to stand on your own two feet confidently, successfully, totally alone. You should have an awe-worthy resume and a rich, fulfilling life that involves travel and expertise, impressive qualifications and background stories that’ll entice anyone who will listen. Wear nice things. Have a refined taste in your wine, your culture, what you believe and what you like to do. Take those expensive classes and learn to speak more than one language. You have to stand out from all of the other women who really, really want his attention. You have to be different and you simply can’t be ditsy or someone who puts what he wants over what you’re trying to achieve.

You’re never going to meet someone if you’re so picky.

Does he really need to be tall? Or have an amazing career that pays well? Who needs a full head of hair or a steady paycheck? Who cares if you have the same upbringing or moral standards? Maybe you’re not that attracted to him and maybe he doesn’t actually stimulate you (at all) — but he really, really likes you. He’s good enough, isn’t he? You could make yourself really into him — just think of all that he could provide. Or all that he could be someday. He could be a fixer-upper project — someone that you mold into who you want. Right? You keep passing up perfectly good guys because you’re not falling in love with them. Or turned on by them. How will you ever settle down…if you never settle on someone?

You’re never going to meet someone if you don’t raise your standards.

You stayed with that guy who was wrong for you… for so long. And then you pined over him for a year after the relationship fizzled. How could you put up with that? Why would you lower what you want? You should wait for a man who treats you right. Who you’re crazy about. One that is more wonderful than you could ever imagine. You’re so special, why would you be with someone who is terribly boring and ordinary? Or doesn’t really get you going. You should be more selective about who you date — why do you give everyone a chance? Not everyone deserves a second of your valuable time. Silly girl, you deserve better.

You’re never going to meet someone if you don’t try harder.

Every time you leave your apartment — you could run into the man you’ll marry. He’s out there, after all. So you better put your best face forward and dress in a way that’ll lure him in. Always be prepared to meet your destiny and always anticipate that something could happen in an instant. Your whole life could be completely different six months from now but if you don’t open your eyes and your heart to let change in, it’ll never happen. You’re not trying hard enough. You’re not putting yourself out there. You think you are, but are you really? Are you really putting yourself out there? Are you really ready to receive love?

You’re never going to meet someone if you try so hard.

You’re doing everything you can to find the right guy: you’re going out all the time, you’re online dating, you’re loosening your preferences and you’re raising the stakes. But guys will sense that. They can smell desperation. They know that you’re putting so much out there that you’d really just go with the first man who expressed interest. You should be more mysterious. Try being aloof and disinterested. Unattached. You have to come across as confident and happily single — not a girl who is looking for someone. Nope, you’re just fine, just by yourself. Until you meet the right guy and then you’ll change everything you are to fit into his life.

You’re never, ever going to meet someone. Not like that. Not like this.

Just because you do everything right or what everyone tells you that you should do, doesn’t mean you’re going to meet the right man in the right way at the right time. But if you really do want to meet someone, the best thing you can do is whatever feels right to you.

And more importantly, by being exactly who you are.

So Very Worth It

In a few weeks, I’ll celebrate the third anniversary with the city I love.

It’s seen me through for better and for worst. It’s pushed me out of a love I hoped would last and into days I never wanted to end. I’ve seen it transform itself and me with it’s ever-changing, ever-beautiful ways. It’s still like living in a dream, but it’s more like living in an interesting world I created. That I achieved. That against the odds, I found and made for myself. The streets don’t scare me anymore but they do entice me. I don’t feel like I’ve finished all the things I came here to do but I know I’ve done quite a lot in not a lot of time.

I flow better with the rhythm and the speed of the people and with buildings that surround and challenge me. I’ve given into wearing black, yet I still let my colorful intentions radiate. I understand and have experienced the harshness of the land and the field I’ve decided to pursue. It hasn’t always been easy, not at all, but it has always been a journey, with every step and certainly every stumble. Not matter if there was something — or someone — to break my fall or… nothing at all.

I’ve dated and fallen in love with the natives here — men I used to refer to as businessmen, but now adequately equate as investment bankers or financial traders, even though it all seems like all business (and all cold-hearted) to me. I’ve fished on all the dating sites that I can and I’ve met a few good ones among the constant crash of terrible matches. I’ve tried my hand at the bars on the east and those on the west, but I’ve settled into neighborhoods that fit me better than the rest.

I’ve learned to judge in ways I’m not proud of, but I’ve also developed opinions that I now stand firmly beside. I’ve left the island only to feel in my bones that I would never feel as much at home as I do in this strange place. I’ve missed trains and opportunities, passed by strangers who could have used my help and given too much of myself to someone who didn’t really need it. Or want it. I’ve been embarrassed of ignorance in a city so full of brilliance, and I’ve savored my Southern roots for all that they’re worth and all that they’ve made me. I’ve missed people I’ve yet to meet and hungered for days I have never lived but I’ve also finally learned to settle into the skin and the place I’m in.

I never knew for certain that I would make it here in New York, an urban jungle that determines making it anywhere else in the big old world with all it’s big old cities. I didn’t doubt my abilities or my talents or my humble, caring attitude that I still believe gets me further than anything else. It’s even more powerful than the sound of my heels clicking miles before I appear. I wondered if I would become anther listless writer, another hopeless dreamer who lost her way somewhere between New Jersey and Queens. I didn’t know if I could convince someone to give me a chance or if I could even survive on the minimal salary that I knew would come with my very first big girl job.

But I did believe I should try.

Even if failed to a disappointing demise and had to tuck my Tigar tail and catch a flight to the bittersweet Carolina, I knew I had to give it a go. Remorse I could live with, regret I could not.

It all worked out– as I imagined it possibly would. And I worked myself out in the process. It’s easy and probably sensible to argue that these changes and these growths were mainly due to my age — so much happens in the years between when you’re old enough to buy a beer and when you face the big three zero. But I have to give credit to the city that made me brave. That made me a fighter. That knocked me down and encouraged me to never stay sitting for too long.

I often wonder if I’ll stay here in this island forever– if New York is where I’ll want to raise my children, should I be lucky enough to have them. I think about the days when I’ll move in with a man into a (nicer!) apartment and when I make more money to do more things, and yes, give me more responsibility and accountability. Though I feel like so much has happened on these avenues and in those changing wintry or steamy seasons, if I’m really honest, it’s really just begun.

And the beauty of not knowing my fate with my sweet and seductive city is just like not knowing my fate with anything else: it’s a little scary. But it makes me hopeful more than it makes me anxious. If so much good has happened and I’ve been able to move past the bad to find the parts that I can learn from — surely what’s ahead of me is even better than what’s behind me. Perhaps the heartaches and headaches and growing pains are far from over — but I do think that a love, an apartment, a moment with my wonderful Manhattan are silver linings I’ll one day be able to experience.

No, moving to New York has never been completely, totally perfect. Not my life here, not the dating adventures I always blog about. But you know what? That’s what makes it so amazing. That’s what makes it — and will always make it — so very worth it.

Things I’m Not Afraid Of

I’m not afraid of being alone.

Because loneliness only feels lonely when you give it your power. And though a city can make you have solitary thoughts in the solitary confinement of your tiny hole of the concrete landscape, you’re constantly surrounded by energy. It consumes you while it confuses you, and though you’d rather not break a smile or a sweat, if you walk the streets or catch a train, you’ll find yourself doing both. The city keeps you company, like it or leave it. And being alone isn’t better than surrendering to something you don’t want or becoming someone you’re not because you ache for love. Or maybe it’s just touch that makes you desperate. Learning to stand up single and stand up tall may not be the greatest lesson of all, but it’s one that’ll sustain you. Walking to the beat of the route you decided to take and being proud of who you are — with or without someone — is happier than sitting in the  back seat when you should be driving full speed, windows down, ahead.

I’m not afraid of being wrong.

In fact, I’d rather make mistakes if it means that I will ultimately become a stronger, smarter version of myself. Falling down isn’t the same as giving in — but they are equally important. Before you can fly, you have to be able to land and yes, even crash. It’s only in the aftermath that you can put the puzzle of yourself back together. And sometimes, to recreate the parts and mold them into something that fits again, you have to hang on before you can let go. Sometimes you walk down the path or into the bedroom of something so wrong that it tastes eerily right. And it’s only when it all turns from sweet to bitter that you can feel yourself release it. Before you can figure out what it feels like to be right – to be so right, you can’t believe it – you have to be able to detect when it’s painstakingly, not. You have to admit that you put yourself there, that you’re to blame and it’s you that’ll have to change.

I’m not afraid of having hope.

Sure, seeing things as peachy-keen when life has a knack for serving you lemons may seem irrational and naive. I may be a Pollyanna with a bit of a kinky side who sees the light in all of the emptiness, the good in every bit of sorrow — but I wouldn’t trade that blind optimism for anything. Because you have to believe in something or someone or some entity that you can’t describe and you’ll never be able to define, to get yourself through the muck. There are no amounts of charming tall men in suits, yellow chariots, magical cocktails or hideaways that can disguise the unfortunate things that will happen to us all — but if you keep faith somewhere buried inside of you, you’ll never really care. Because even if everything else fades away or disappears, if everyone you know becomes people you used to know — at the very least, you’ll still see that glimmer that you tucked away for days just like this one.

I’m not afraid of imperfection.

Aren’t flaws rather stunning if you think about it? The most gregarious and gorgeous of individuals aren’t cookie-cutter or Hollywood print-outs. Instead, they’re like you. They’re like me. They’re people who have courage and wear t-shirts that show a little too much skin. They rock teeth with gaps but they do the most with what they have, where they are and however they can. The beauty I see in those around me has almost nothing to do with their style and everything to do with their souls. You can’t see what’s really inside of a person or really know how they’re light was lit until you’ve witnessed what made it flicker in the storm. You can’t look past your own silly shortcomings until you’ve been able to look past someone else’s. And not just see through them, but love those wrinkles, those crooked smiles, that freckled face. That madly beautiful, imperfect face.

I’m not afraid of being last.

Because honestly, I forgot I was racing. To the big, high-powered, executive suite job with the burgeoning paycheck. To the altar where I’d convince myself that this man grants my every wish and will lead my every dying decision. To the mortgage and the 401K, the bonds and the stock markets I’m just now starting to teach myself. To the sweet nursery with the sweet baby that’ll depend on me for everything and I’ll find myself consumed with a love I never knew possible. You can’t rush such luck or such joy — and I wouldn’t want to, even if I could. Maybe there’s an ideal time for all of those milestones and maybe it just works itself out. Maybe it doesn’t. But I’d rather be last than to be first and find myself wondering why I moved so quickly when I could have just treasured all the moments before all of my little ducks lined up in their little row.

No, these things, I’m not afraid of. But I used to be.

I needed to be the star — to be the girl who did everything so fast you would miss her if you hesitated for even a second. I wanted to fall in love as soon as I could and marry sooner rather than later. And the thought of being alone was enough to knock me off of my up-on-her-high-horse feet. I gave myself a hard time for having a heart full of hope because surely, if I was too positive, something was damned to go terribly wrong. And if I was wrong, how could I ever find all that I wanted to be right?

I was so fearful of not being the person I had set myself up to be. And if any sign of trouble crept into my picturesque view of how life should be, I would royally freak out. I had a two-year, a five-year, a ten-year plan for everything: this would happen then, that would happen after and all would be well.

But living that way — full of fear that nothing would happen just as I laid it out — was more painful than pleasurable. How can you live in the now if your now is surrounded with anxiety? And so, I decided to stop being pensive. I stopped doubting. I started just savoring. And enjoying.

Because when you stop being afraid of these things… better, not-so-scary, not-so-planned things start to happen instead. And those worries you held onto for so long, they all become things you’re not afraid of anymore. They suddenly just become… things.

Don’t forget to write a love letter for Valentine’s Day to yourself! It’s Love Addict’s 3rd Year of Valentine’s Day From You to You!!

You Can Choose Love

You can choose to stand by your man. Your man, who apart from dimply-cheeks and carefully-carved promises that are actually quite hollow once you get past the surface, isn’t worth your time. You can choose to play the part of the girl who changed it all, even when you know it’s hard enough to change yourself, much less a stubborn male you’ve only known briefly. You can choose to spend your Saturdays with him, instead of your friends, and when those gals doubt his luster, you can choose to turn on them, just to lay on your back with him. You can choose to stay in that dead-end relationship, pretending – and hoping and praying – that you’ll get the happily-ever-after ending you can see if you squint just enough. You can choose to see the tiniest pieces of good and mindfully ignore the bad, though you constantly feel it stabbing your side, and sinking into your heart.

Or, you can choose to walk away from the man you’re afraid to leave and find one who will never let you go because he knows how precious you truly are.

You can choose to wallow in the shattered pieces of your pride and remember the better days that really, weren’t that bright if you’re honest with yourself. You can choose to toss what-really-happened and what-you-wanted-to-happen up in the air a dozen times, trying to get the best scenerio that makes you feel like the pain is bearable. You can choose to hover over your phone and your email, wondering if he’ll come chasing with the right words and the sweetest of intentions, even though you know silence will ring louder than any grand gesture he’s capable of. You can admire those smiling, rosy faces in stilted pictures that have since turned into bittersweet memories you only let yourself remember when you’ve had just a bit too much to drink. You can analyze the situation until there are no thoughts left in your pretty little mind, no tears left in those pretty little eyes or no fight left in that mighty spirit you’ve always been so damn proud of.

Or, you can choose that today, right now, enough is enough. And you, are more than enough than he will ever be or ever be able to offer you. You can choose it’s time to let go.

You can choose to stay comfortable right where you are, doing whatever you’re doing, being whoever you’ve become, and just let your life take place. You can choose to believe those dreams you once had are just a bit too lofty, much further out of reach than your more-naive self imagined. You can choose to believe those who told you that you just couldn’t do it, that you weren’t meant for such amazing things, that you weren’t talented enough to achieve it all. You can choose to take those jaded once-upon-a-time lovers’ words as gospel instead of with a grain of salt. You can choose to think your only skills are in servicing a man who doesn’t deserve you to begin with. You can choose to never chase anything more than your youth and your sense of self, two things you lost when you decided to let go of what you wanted, and settled for what you had.

Or, you can step out into the unknown and find the incredible person you’ve always been, but have yet to get to know.

You can choose to just stay in on Friday night, and promise yourself you’ll go out next week. You can choose Chinese food and wine over high-heels and flirty conversations for weeks that easily turn into months. You can choose to pick apart your dates to death, finding something intolerably wrong with them all, while wishing you could just meet someone great…without it being so much, well, work. You can choose to reject a guy just because he doesn’t meet your robust list of qualifications, though he may give you the best orgasm of your life, if you let him try. You can choose to believe there are just no good men left in the world – or they’re just gay or taken already – and you can seek out a life of flying-solo because you’re far too terrified to risk your heart on that paralyzing feeling of…falling…again.

Or, you can choose to jump when the time feels right, stay put when it doesn’t, and know that some chances (and mistakes) are worth making over and over because they’re just that important.

You can choose to color your wardrobe and your outlook as black as the streets you walk on. You can choose to believe the criticisms of men who called you demanding when you told them what you needed, and they couldn’t deliver. Or the ones who named you hot-to-handle when you stood your ground, when they wanted you to crumble before them. You can choose to put your heart on so much of a back-burner that you forget what those tingling notions bubbling out from the scars you thought you’d never heal, really feel like. You can choose to live in the past and stop picturing the future, for fear that dreaming seemingly-impossible things will make them so. You can choose to give up on yourself and on that person you’re so wanting to meet. You can say “no” to that guy who wants to take you out on just one simple date.

Or you can choose to say “Yes.” You can choose to believe whatever you want to believe. You can choose to be whoever you want to be. You can choose to live that life you wanted, with all the right people in it.

You can choose yourself. You can choose…love.

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.”

I Let Myself Let Go

I let myself miss you today.

I rolled over mid-morning, groggily hoping you would be lying next to me. I kept my eyes tightly shut, and behind them I saw your mouth slightly open. I smelled your skin so close to me. I imagined the sunlight from the west cascading over your bare chest. I imagined the weight of your arm across my naked body. I ran my fingers in sweet circles around your face, until you wrapped your hand around mine and buried me in your grasp. You kissed the side of my head and wished me to sleep for just a little longer. Just for another hour.

I let myself miss you today.

I heard you call from the kitchen to wake me up. I felt the wind come through the open bedroom door. Happily smelling bacon and eggs, I wrapped the sheet around me and hobbled to see you standing in boxer briefs in front of the stove. You turned your head just enough to meet my grin, and you wished my morning well. Satisfied from the night spent with you, yet hungry for the energy I lost while love making, I sniffed my way toward you, kissing your back and letting you seep through me. You rushed me to the couch, where you brought me orange juice and a meal, and together we watched whatever we could find, ignoring the set as we talked over it. I sat Indian style, you sat so close our knees touched and for no reason at all, you kissed my makeup-free cheek and called me beautiful.

I let myself miss you today.

I split that pitcher of coconut mojiotos you love so much, watching you chew on the sugar cane as you talked about the political spectrum I’m really not that interested in, but I’m interested in making you happy. I let you have the last dumpling. You kept your hand permanently on my knee in that little booth in that little corner of that little bar in Little Italy. I watched the dimples cave around your mouth. You didn’t even catch your breath before you complimented my blues in the sunset, and you said those three words that I’m so insanely terrified I’ll never mean again with anyone else. I squeezed your hand – and then your crotch – and you smiled, feeling that closeness. I watched your mischievous side come out and I instantly couldn’t wait to play with it.

I let myself miss you today.

I asked if you preferred the green or the red peppers in your stir fry, and you stuck your tongue out at me in response. I scrunched my nose to protest and grabbed each, commenting that we’d have colorful food, and you’d like it. You put another vanilla yogurt with Crunch in the cart and I pushed it along, thinking about the dinners we’d cook, the nights we’d share. I imagined your hair graying and that gym-made body turn into a beer-full tummy. I wondered what we’d say about these days, the ones where New York was our playground and everything felt right because we were side-by-side. I considered if I’d always love you this much, if it was possible to love anyone more than I did on Aisle 2 of the Krasdale, watching you debate two boxes of rice. You turned my way and asked my opinion. I went with the brown to keep you healthy, and in return, you rubbed your cheeks against mine and said those damn words that I wish I could hear just one more time.

I let myself miss you today.

I ran from the uptown station to my apartment, feeling the chilly April rain bounce off my skin. I turned the key to the place I share with four others, and collapsed into the bed I used to share with you. I couldn’t pinpoint where they came from or why, six months later, they still come at all, but they fled anyway. I tasted their salty solutions as they rested on my lips and I covered my face in embarrassment. I knew I had washed them dozens of times before, but I buried myself in the sheets, somehow determined to smell you again, or at least to remember. I thought of all the parts of myself I can’t repair, the feelings I can’t replace, and the me that I can’t recreate without you.

You weren’t here today, but you were with me. In these dirty streets and in their dazzling illusions of perfection. In that skyline view that you first showed me as I stood up through your sunroof on the BQE. In those bittersweet pictures where our eyes matched, along with our heart and our hopes. In those fragrant flowers on the street, in those drinks that I need to be a little stronger these days. And especially on these rainy days, where I wake up and decide that today, I’ll let myself miss you. I’ll let myself remember when we were happy and so was this city, both in the shine and in the downpour. And then before the night comes around to bring me another dawn, I’ll let that furious faith dissolve.

And then I’ll decide that today, I’ll let myself… let go. Because while I can’t forget, and certain Sundays (or Tuesdays), I may go back to another time, there’s only one place for you and I, now. Maybe it’s on those streets, in those drinks, in those memories or in those days.

But it’s not in the new places I find without your guidance or company, not in the cocktails I toast with my friends, not in the life I’m creating for myself, and not in this day. Not in the day I decide to let you go. Even if I miss the you I thought you were.

The Way I Heal

Months after I officially ended everything with Mr. Possibility, I still found myself responding to emails and text messages, analyzing the intention between the lines, and keeping myself awake long enough to wait for him to arrive at my door. Allowing him to stay in my life – and yes, in my bed – felt easier than ceasing contact.

But even as I held him at an arm’s distance, my heart was already much closer, so letting him hang around and inviting him into my life wasn’t a healthy tactic. Procrastination though, tasted better than swallowing the bittersweet prescription I knew was coming. After many failed attempts to make him want me how I wanted him to desire me, after biting my pillow so he wouldn’t hear me cry at night, after convincing myself that being around him would awaken something that never lived inside of him to begin with, after lying to my friends about where I was and avoiding my mother’s phone calls – I finally got the message loud and clear.

From him, on Gchat.

It was straightforward and blunt, without a hint of consideration or kindness, and worse, void of love. Or at least the kind of love I want and deserve. When I couldn’t make meaning out of emptiness, I signed off and deleted the evidence of the relationship. I finally totally severed communication and packed away anything that took me back to better days so I could finally face the day I was living. And though the art of getting over someone is something I’ve yet to master or totally understand, I set my mind to letting go and moving on, no matter how badly I wanted to reach for the phone, type an email or share a bed with a man I once was in love with.

While I can talk about most anything on this blog, sometimes revealing a bit too much — forgetting that the Internet is truly an irreversible medium — writing about Mr. Possibility and what really followed our dramatic demise has been incredibly difficult for me. The final post of a year of writing – where I valiantly headed out on my own, telling him to go where the sun didn’t shine and standing up for myself, was a true story. I felt empowered in that moment: ready to conquer heartache and eager to be alone.

But if I’m honest, as I always have been in this space – I wanted the chase.

I watched and helped him attempt to win back his previous ex (who is now one of my closest friends and the best dose of reality on the topic of Mr. P), and I listened to him mull over the past he regretted. I heard all of his past love stories and I wrote the one I thought we had, post after post, day after day, praying that I would be the girl who changed the unavailable man. And even in my grand departure, even in that yellow chariot that sounds entirely more fabulous than it really is, a part of my heart was still holding onto the hope that he’d come running. That in my silence, he would find that same ache I’ve had since practically the day I met him — that lingering longing to capture the attention of something that’s unattainable.

But he didn’t come to my rescue.

He didn’t shower me with hand-written letters to why I should give him another chance. There was no romantic gesture, no fight for my love. There wasn’t even much of an apology for the ways he had been cruel when we were together. He happily accepted my offers for companionship and was careful to remind me how amazing I am – but that he still wasn’t in the market for a relationship. A year-and-a-half later I’m in a totally new part of my life, and he’s still almost exactly where he was when I met him: uncertain for the future and unwilling to compromise for anyone else, but sexually inclined to see what this city has to offer.

I didn’t want to admit that I went back to him, thus causing myself more  disappointment than if I had ceased contact in September. I had been down this road before and I knew where it led, but I ventured on the path anyway, fooling myself into thinking the destination would be different.

And when it wasn’t – I was ashamed to confess that still, even after all this time, my heart still hurt. It felt weak and silly to be someone who writes about such topics for a living and can’t take her own advice. To be someone who is mainly open and candid about everything, but unable to reveal that underneath the clever themes and rhythmic sentences, there’s a woman who sings along to Adele and runs to Kelly Clarkson, who wears big sunglasses to cover the tears, concealer to hide the dark circles, and still has to block Mr. Possibility on every social media channel so I don’t draw conclusions from things I can’t confirm. Behind the blogger who dishes on everything, is a woman who had a hard time letting go of a relationship that was one-sided from day one.

But in every bad situation, there’s a turning point. In every dark room, there’s a light. In every corner, there’s a chance to change. And for me, it came two weeks after I stopped responding to anything from Mr. P – even his drunken phone calls and messages – and gave myself a break.

Because while we all experience pain, we process it differently. Because while we all want to not be bothered when the other person doesn’t seem to be upset, you can’t release the pain if you don’t let yourself feel it – or in my case, write it. Because while love is never quite equal, everyone we’ve loved – be it for three years or thirty – affects us in someway, positive or negative. Because while our friends buy us a drink at the start of the end, we buy them drinks at the end of the end, thanking them for their patience with our stupidity and our ability to obsess, even months after the fact. Because while we want to be brave and strong, resilient and uncompromising, there is nothing that dies slower or more painful than a dream – especially one that involves someone you really cared about. Because while the wrong person can seem like the right, the person who matters the most isn’t the one who got away or the one who stays, it’s the person you are after you walk away.

There is no race to finish the moving on process or a correct way to go about it. There is no way to skip the anger and the tears, the late-night words you want to take back or the bed that feels cold at first, but grows warmer. You don’t get better at breakups the more you have them, and you don’t have any better luck or built-up tolerance to letting go because you happen to write about your personal life.

This time isn’t about Mr. Possibility, or how he misses me or how he doesn’t. It’s not about the fact he didn’t turn out as I had hoped or that I didn’t kick him out of my life sooner than later. It’s not about who moves on first or last. It’s not about the relationship that was or the relationship that I wanted. It’s not about how I feel right now, how I felt six months ago or two weeks ago. It’s not about how I’ll feel tomorrow. It’s not about the fact that it hurt – or that at times, it still hurts.

It’s about the fact that I’m letting myself feel it. And by feeling it, but forgiving myself for my tardiness and my endless optimism in love, I become a better me than I was before. While it may make me feel incredibly silly, naive and immature to have a broken heart that lusts after the past – it’s really not about how I feel, it’s about how I heal. Or rather, that I am.