Introducing Ask the Addict Weekly Advice Column

Most of the emails I receive from readers ask me for dating advice. While I’m definitely no expert, I’m always happy to provide insight from my own experiences (and failures and successes and bad decisions).

While some of the inquiries are complicated and specific, several of the questions I’m asked are things that we all wonder from time-to-time: how do I make this relationship exclusive? How do I tell him what I need? Can you help me figure out this online dating nonsense?

So, I thought I’d start sharing my answers – while keeping all of you anonymous.

Please e-mail me anything and everything and once a week, I’ll publish this Ask the Addict advice column. Nothing is too strange or ridiculous (trust me), and stories are always better with twists and turns, so don’t be embarrassed.

First up we have E who signed up for Plenty of Fish and wanted some help with her dating profile.

E: I decided to bite the bullet and sign up and I was hoping you would read my profile and let me know how it sounds. I’m a little shy and talking about myself is not something I’m really good at so I could use the help! Here’s what I have now:

 “My name is E. I’m 24. I love spending time with my friends and family; going out and finding new places and trying new things. As much as I like to go out and have a good time, I’m also content to stay in on the weekend with a movie. I like to cook and stay active-I’m running my first half-marathon in a few months! I enjoy traveling, but haven’t had the opportunity to do much until now.
I’m looking for a guy who is smart, has a good sense of humor, likes to have fun but is stable and knows when to be serious. Someone who embraces life and all its challenges. I want a guy who is looking for a relationship; someone who wants to eventually settle down and start a family.”

My take:

Congrats on signing up for online dating! I find it both infuriating and fascinating. It’s a great way to screen guys and usually more effective than the bar scene. Your profile is off to a great start – here are some general online dating tips that I’ve learned over the years:

Try to get specific.
People find it easier to reach out and break the ice if they can pinpoint one thing that they also relate to. Instead of saying “I like trying new things” – say what new things you’ve tried recently.
Don’t rush it.
While I totally understand the desire to be upfront and let guys know you’re looking for a relationship, it’s not the best thing to put in a profile. Even guys who ARE looking for a relationship will feel pressure from that statement. Though it’s not always true, it’s implied that people who have online dating profiles are looking to date, and thus, have a relationship. Talking about getting serious is something more for a fifth — or really tenth — date conversation!
Be on two sites if you can handle it.
OkCupid has several duds, but there are some winners there as well. Also, Match.com is a good investment if you’re up for the cost.
Now – see my edits on your actual profile: 

My name is E. I’m 24. 
Say something that’s specific – they probably know you’re 24 because it says your age, right? Wherever you live, say something specific about the place: “I love that pizza place on Main Street with the sweet old couple behind the counter, and on Sundays, you can find me running in Sunset Park.” Men love being able to say, “Me too!”
I love spending time with my friends and family; going out and finding new places and trying new things. As much as I like to go out and have a good time, I’m also content to stay in on the weekend with a movie. 

This is great – but say something fun you’ve tried recently (a cooking class? The Color Run?) For your second line, I’d just change it a bit: “I love exploring the city, but sometimes, I really enjoy gorging on Netflix and laying around on a lazy Sunday.” 

I like to cook and stay active-I’m running my first half-marathon in a few months! 

Great – always good to include your activities! Any more?


I enjoy traveling, but haven’t had the opportunity to do much until now.

Until now meaning what? Where have you traveled? Great conversation starter. 

I’m looking for a guy who is smart, has a good sense of humor, likes to have fun but is stable and knows when to be serious. Someone who embraces life and all its challenges. I want a guy who is looking for a relationship; someone who wants to eventually settle down and start a family.”
lips-no-background

I’d just change this to: If you’re smart, know a joke or two, c
an introduce me to something I’ve never tried before and bring something interesting to the table, send me a message. That is, if you’re up to the challenge. 
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.
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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!!

The Plane Will Take Flight

There’s an old story about a person who wakes up to a blaring alarm clock, stubs his/her toe on the bedpost, runs into the chair haphazardly displaced in the middle of the living room, and steps into the shower, only to find the hot water is not-so-hot. And though this person has only been awake a matter of minutes, the rest of their day will follow in the same format: profanity hidden under deep, exhausted and frustrated sighs of angst.

And nothing about this 24-hour period will be rectifiable. Everything is unquestionably shot to hell and while it may be the only March 23, 2011 that will ever be, to me –damned it be.

 

I didn’t stub or bump into anything and the shower held up to its steamy standards – but I woke up yesterday in a panic, due to an odd dream. I won’t go into details because I’m still not sure what I think and the fact that my mind can conjure such ironic concepts and scenarios without my consciousness is rather freaky. Anyways – a moment before my cell phone attempted to wake me, I shot up in bed, eyes wide-open, and hoped I didn’t wake the possibility who was possibly still sleeping next to me.

Thirty minutes later at the unforgiving eighth hour, I rushed to catch the train and found myself appalled at the weather New York was entertaining. I mean, less than a week ago I had effortlessly eaten dinner outside in a wrap dress without a sweater and without pantyhose. But now, as I ascended from above ground to the underground metro maze, I watched the sleet, hail, and snow mix disappear out the window and thought the only word to describe the day’s conditions was disgusting.

Though work was at its normal, dependable pace, and the magazine’s press due date on Friday is quickly approaching, I didn’t find myself stressed. Something about working on a deadline actually gets me working harder than I normally do (probably why journalism is a great career for me), and when everyone else is buzzing with productivity, it makes it easier to stay focused.

However, as the hours passed, I noticed my downward mood. No matter how many positive things happened or how my soul felt a certain sense of happiness – I couldn’t shake an overwhelming feeling of sadness. You know – one of those emotions you can’t deny and derives from a place that makes everything else tender? Right in the pit of my gut and the center of my heart was a pang of awful ache that matched the weather stirring outside.

As I looked up the proper way to spell canceled (if you’re curious, it can have one “L” or two, it is a preference thing), I wondered what was wrong with me. I’m not expecting a visitor I never excitedly invite (unless I’m worried it won’t come, that is), tensions aren’t tight between me and anyone else, and while I haven’t slept as much as I’d like, I wasn’t exhausted.

So why the gloom and doom?

Concerned with my concerns, I first focused my thoughts and then listened to them. I went through my never-ending to-do list that is needed for work, the blog I needed to write that I had been putting off, the apartment that needed cleaning, the weekend plans that needed confirming, the bills that needed paying, and the groceries that needed buying. And the Mr. Possibility that needed me to stop by to see him off before he flies, yet again, overseas, for an unknown amount of time.

Oh, well then. Maybe that makes sense. Of course, the departure of a someone who is becoming something may cause a little distress, I thought. But what if I don’t want it to? What if it scares me to care?

I never intended for things to progress with Mr. Possibility and I – but they have. In one of those slow, easy, and far from simple ways that we all think we want, but when it happens, the picture doesn’t come out as great as the shot we had in our head. Or at least a little less sepia and black and white, and more daylight or without flash. The desire and unintentional intentions aside – I’ve found myself here. And it’s here that I find myself sappy on a Wednesday afternoon, waiting for the day to end so I can see a special someone off to the airport, while I sincerely hope for a flight delay.

Unwilling to admit that Mr. Possibility’s absence  would mean something to me, I powered through the rest of work, even crossing off some tasks I don’t enjoy doing to distract from my wave of longing. Sure enough, the clock struck six and off I was to Brooklyn, battling hail storms and tourists along the way.

When I burst into the door, I almost stumbled into his luggage, and he greeted me with a big smile before pulling me into his embrace. This move is signature of most men – making us disappear into their sometimes hairy and sometimes still stuck in preadolescence chest – and yet, when Mr. Possibility took me in, I felt something different.

I felt my heart sink.

At this point, I’m extremely frustrated that I’m upset, so I make a careful move to wiggle away and as I do so, lightning flashes and thunder makes an unforgiving entrance. Further annoyed the weather continues to mock my emotions on this particular day, I ask how I can help and head to the sink to rinse dishes (something I think I got from my mom, who cleans when she’s feeling uncomfortable or restless). After a few hours of talking about the trip, tying up loose ends, cleaning, and chatting away, Mr. Possibility insisted I at the very least, ride with him to the subway so I wouldn’t have to walk in the snow that was now highlighted across the sidewalks. Though I don’t appreciate being instructed, I picked high-heeled ankle boots as footwear, and didn’t want to ruin them. Or you know, slip and break my neck.

After finally saying our temporary good-bye, with my heart simmering, I stepped directly into a puddle that went well past the boots I was so concerned about damaging. In the slippery slush, I tiptoed to catch my ticket home, and like the person who stubbed their toe in the morning, I cursed in a way my grandmother would blush over.

It wasn’t until my nearly-hour commute back to the Upper West that I finally came to terms with the sadness I was battling all day. And those terms were far less complicated than what I was making them: I’m scared. Why was I worried about his new short or extended international stint? Like anyone would be, I was afraid of history repeating itself – and well, I like the dude, so of course, I’ll miss him. But more than that, after all this work to build a foundation of trust, I had stomped all over it, all day long. I had chosen to forgive him, my friends had decided to forgive me for giving him a second chance, and that was that. You can’t go back on forgiveness or you should have never granted it to begin with. And if his traveling leads to traveling in areas I’d rather not know about – then I’ll gladly accept the rightfully deserving title of fool.

Letting go of yesterday, learning to live (and love) yourself in today, and not being intimidated by a future single or with someone else means learning to take everything day-by-day. A bad day won’t repeat itself if you’re able to change your mindset before calling it a night. A great day may not be as bright the following day, just like love may not always be as close as it was a few hours earlier. But we can’t pray for those flight delays or for time to stop moving in its unexplainable way that somehow always translates into sense at the end of it.

Because the planes will arrive and they will take flight, along with the wintry weather that’ll yield to spring, and distance that will grow and test the possibility of something with great possibility.

 

 

Mr. Rescue and the Silver Stilettos

Since adopting my newfound confidence through this journey and blog, I haven’t felt the need to be rescued from the Plague of Singleness and its many hassles. And for me, that’s an accomplishment in itself.

I can’t even count how many times, previous to this revelation, I laid in bed, making bargains with the heavens to just give me my Prince Charming so I wouldn’t have to be continuously hurt and destroyed by the male population of the world. I dreamed of a man walking up to me in a bar, in the park, in a coffee shop, in a deli – really, anywhere – and declaring his instant love for me. How he saw me from across whatever room we were sharing and he couldn’t take his eyes off of me, how he knew in that single second that he could no longer imagine being with anyone else. And just like that – I’d be free. Free of the bounds of being a single woman longing for a love to call her own.

Now, when I think of being rescued from a single life, part of me silently giggles and another part is so thankful (and proud) of the growth I’ve made in the last five steps. Because, really, I don’t see anything I need to be be rescued from- my life as it is, regardless of any man, love interest or fling, is a life that gives me great joy and happiness. I feel secure and able to stand proud and tall (well, heel-induced height, anyway), and share with the world that I’m okay just with me, myself, and I.

However, sometimes, when you least expect it, a situation arises where even though you hate to admit it and you bite your tongue through asking – you actually need some help from a man. Say when your good friend is throwing up in the VIP section of a trendy midtown club on New Year’s Eve, unable to stand up, and you have no idea how to get her out the doors, into a cab, and up your three flights of stairs to your apartment.

Lucky for me, that’s when Mr. Rescue…came to my rescue.

My friend C and I dressed up in sexy dresses, silver-studded stilettos, and curled up our locks determined to paint this city red for 2011. We stopped for some Thai and then headed to our selected spot for the remainder of the year. When we arrived, there wasn’t much of a crowd but we decided to sip our wine, indulge in each other’s company, and because the men weren’t the priority (though we wanted a kiss at midnight) – we’d let them come to us. And as if we carefully orchestrated the perfect solution to gain a guy’s interest, within about 20 minutes, a group of guys – most rather attractive – surrounded us.

As I’m a sucker for the tall, dark, and handsome types – I found myself being entertained by Mr. Rescue. He was witty and quick with words, and had one of those dashing smiles that makes you wonder how many heads he turns with it. As I asked him my usual list of questions, which include where he’s from, where he lives now, what he does, etc – I caught my jaw drop as he replied, casually: “I’m in the Secret Service.”

Now – with a few glasses of Merlot in me and being quite the firecracker in the dating scene anyways, I quickly told him his BS was almost believable and asked what he really did. And then, he pulled out his badge. In a fancy wallet and all. I continued to let him know I didn’t believe him, but secretly, I found it a little sexy…if it was true, after all.

As the night continued, my friend C found her New Year’s kiss date, and I had mine, so we spent the minutes until the clock struck 12 in true Cinderella fashion – dancing and feeling like the belles of the ball (or as I was saying in celebration of my goal to learn Italian in 2011, “Ciao Bella!”). Once the 20-second countdown approached and champagne was in hand, Mr. Rescue looked at me and I decided that locking lips with a “Secret Service Man” to bring in what I know will be an incredible year for me wasn’t a bad idea at all.

So, as the bubbly warmed my tummy, Mr. Rescue placed his hand on the side of my face, pulled me in, and kissed away 2010 and welcomed in nothing but fuzzy feelings for 2011, I had my very first New York New Year’s. It also helped that he told me I was beautiful after our  exchange, brownie points for the Secret Service crew – their training is quite gentlemanly.

After a few more drinks, we took our places in the VIP section with our newfound friends and as Mr. Rescue and I were casually flirting over Grey Goose (which I denied because I’m just not a liquor lady – keep the wine coming, please) – I noticed C not looking in the highest of spirits. I rushed to her side and as I was turning to catch her attention, all of the Thai and booze we consumed came crashing down on the couch. Followed shortly by C, who in her state, couldn’t physically hold herself up. Mr. Rescue saw the detriment, got his friend to grab some napkins while he got some water, and I carefully rubbed C’s back, hoping there wasn’t anything left for her to rid of.

An hour later, after a trip to the bathroom, Mr. Rescue and the understanding body guard helped C walk out of the bar, where in my silver stilettos, tiptoed behind, holding my clutch and our jackets with care and trying to figure out how I was going to get her back to my place safely. But when the cold New York air greeted me, I watched Mr. Rescue go into rescue mode – getting us a cab, no matter the amount of blocks he needed to walk, and talking to the policemen to help him out (I wonder if he flashed his shiny badge?) Within ten minutes, I was walking across snow and ice in heels as Mr. Rescue made sure C got into the cab with me and he rode uptown to my apartment to make sure she made those flights. He paid for it, too.

Once we got C onto my air mattress and safely sobering up, Mr. Rescue asked me if I needed anything and if I was alright. Amazed by his kindness and compassion, I told him that I did not and thanked him endlessly for helping me make sure she was out of harm’s way. He merely shook his head, told me he had fun and didn’t mind, and then….

asked me to dinner this weekend. And you know, I think I may just go. As long as he knows that I’m not usually the type of gal who needs rescuing, even if he is a Secret Service man.

New York, How Do I Love Thee?

As I sit in the Charlotte airport, waiting for my flight back to my city-sweet-city, I find myself recalling the year that’s passed. Of every year I’ve had, 2010 was my very best one.

When years come to a close, the natural thing for anyone to do is to think about what happened, what they can learn from it, and determine what they should work towards in the months to come. I could go through a long list of all of the amazing dreams of mine that came true this year, how I survived a very difficult breakup with Mr. Idea, or how I got myself in shape and started a blog that somehow has made it across the web. Even more easily, I could share the insight I’ve gained from the several ups and downs, the men of Manhattan I’ve started to date, and the growing pains that come with finally being 110 percent on your own.

But if I really think about what 2010 has meant to me, why this year is so paramount in comparsion to any year previous, it is because I finally settled in, drew up roots, signed papers, and secured a zip code in the place that I know was meant for me. This year was everything grand and difficult because it was the year of New York.

Now, being the best year yet doesn’t mean it was all smooth sailing, easy riding, and without frustration or worry (for it was far from any of those things) – but rather, it was the first year that instead of letting something or someone decide or steer my life – I defined myself. I stopped waiting for fate to take its course, for the stars to align in perfect order, for a man to come and rescue me from the “Curse of Singleness”, for everything to be symmetrical and ideal…and I just started living.

And without any doubts of being left (or being forced to leave), without worrying about being vulnerable or destroyed, without feeling the need to protect my heart – I fell in love with this city. With this place, that is now my home.

Being away from New York for a week longer than I anticipated made me realize, more than ever, how much it means to me and how when I’m gone, a piece of me feels like it is missing as well. Today and in times of war in our history, those in love were separated by oceans, worrying about their partner’s safety, and praying to just lay eyes on them again. The men fought in battles that risked their lives, the women held onto prayers and hopes while keeping the home (and workforce)  in tact, and to keep their flame alive, they wrote letters ensuring their love and declaring their longing.

So New York, while I was in North Carolina, waiting for the storm to pass, and there you were fighting the blizzard that sneaked up on you, please know that my unyielding love for you was still strong, and sincerely, I counted the minutes until we would meet again. In thanksgiving for 2010 and all of the city-inspired blessings it gave me, let me write a letter to you, Mr. Big Apple, the first real love of my life.

Dearest New York City,

Our love story, like many, began many years ago. When I first saw your gleaming lights, heard your boisterous sounds in my pink jacket and awful haircut, I felt like I had found someone I would love. While it was the time of Disney Princesses, tennis and piano lessons, and I still wasn’t convinced boys didn’t have cooties – something about you, in all of your congestion and creativity, made me believe that maybe there was something more out there for me.

We were not serious when I left at first, but when I showed up on your doorstep the second time, for the interviews at magazines I had always dreamed of working for – I think we both knew there was something magical developing. You welcomed me back into your life, showed me just a few of the perks that would be at my disposal if I decided to stick by your side, and then with graciousness and kindness from the Publishing Gods, I was able to spend a glorious three months falling in love with you. Guarded by the security of my university’s loft, I sorted through beauty products at Cosmopolitan, pitched ideas to the many editors I admire, and felt my drive for writing grow. But through it all, the single thing that made even the worse days bearable, where I missed the simplicity of my Southern upbringing, was the look of you. I could grab my subway card, go through the front doors, and there you were, waiting to greet me with wide eyes and you renewed my spirits – no matter how low they were.

And then, with studies left to study, I had to leave you again. You were understanding and forgiving, and ensured me that before long I would be back. I promised you I would return to your glittering pavements and endless opportunities, no matter what it took, what bridge I had to cross, who I had to leave, or what price I had to pay. We both knew that destiny brought us together and that nothing could stand in our way. As I flew home that faithful August day, I let the tears stream down the cheek and said a little prayer that nothing would change in my heart or in your willingness to take me back between then and when I would return.

Sometimes, my dear, when the gods of time decide to be in your favor, prayers are answered as easily as they are pleaded. At college graduation, I wrote on my cap “New York, Here I Come”, and three months later – I did.

With three suitcases, savings I had resting in my bank account since I was 15, and all of the ambition in the world, I touched down on your streets and took off. You encouraged me to keep going when I thought I would never get off my friend’s couch and you led me around your beauty with hidden pennies of fortune and chances of success that I never imagined. You showed me new parts of yourself that I wasn’t aware of, and as I always seem to do, I fell in love with you even more.

Out of nowhere, the cards gave me a great hand and I moved into your place, well our place, on the Upper West Side. It is a starter apartment and maybe old and miniature – but I have no doubt you will do your best to give me everything I ever wanted. And my job, while not perfect and ideal, is extremely good to me and a wonderful place to begin my career. You believe in me, New York, and because of that faith, I believe in me, too. It is only up on the ladder from here, and I know you’ll be there with me through it all.

Thank you for forgiving me when I cursed your name and doubted your brilliance. Thank you for reminding me of how beautiful I am and how lucky I’ve been my entire life, just to know you. Thank you for warming me with incomparable inspiration – just by being you. Just by being the shimmering, unpredictable, faithful, and dependable city I’ve grown quite accustomed to. Thank you for taking me back when I left you and for knowing I’d always return, even when I was scared I never would. Thank you for allowing me to shine and stepping out of my way, even giving me the freedom to stomp all over you in the process. Thank you for an endless amount of dinners, shows, walks in the park, and peaceful evenings. Thank you for making me want to be a better person, a better writer, a better woman, and a better almost-New Yorker. Thank you for becoming as much a part of me as my high heel shoes, my skinny jeans, this blog, and my signature Mac lipstick.

There may be many things I’m unsure of, but one thing I know will never change, no matter what crazy journey this life takes me on, is that I love you, New York City. And I always, always will.

Can’t wait to see what’s ahead for us in 2011.

With love,

Linds


The Writing on the Wall

Somewhere in this big, beautiful city, is a man. I have no idea what he looks like, what he does, where he’s from, where he lives now, or what his name is. But, as my mother, fate, and storybooks say: when I meet him, there will be this moment when I just know.

In a place where I pass strangers so often that if I walked by them more than once, I’d never know – it can be difficult (or rather impossible) to believe there is this one person who I’m destined to spend my life with. As far as I know, I could have walked by him every morning for the last eight months or been in the same train with him, just different cars. He could be two floors above my office or not even living in NYC right now (although my gut says he is).

Even though I love my life exactly how it is currently and I really don’t feel that intense urge to have a boyfriend as I used to – of course, one day, I hope to feel that magical intensity with the man I’ll call my husband. And there are days when I feel that fear in the pit of my stomach and the deepest corners of my heart that screams: “What if he’s not out there?

This idea of everlasting love and until-death-do-we-part and happily-ever-after is heavy. It weighs down on you with pressure and anxiety and gut-wretching worry that if I don’t find that, if I don’t find him, if I don’t get married and don’t have kids – what will become of my life? Will I still be able to find happiness? Could I (and would I want to) be able to feel this peaceful feeling as a single gal, forever? (Take a deep breath).

Ladies Night is every Thursday at a bar that I frequent and all the girls get $2 margaritas and drafts, along with half-priced appetizers. This place offers frickles (fried pickles) and that’s more than enough of a reason to go back more than once for me. With a bladder about as big as a dime, I’m always the girl who has to get up and go to the bathroom several times in a short period (and yes, I’m fine going alone).

On my second trip to the bathroom, I noticed rather large writing to my left. At first, I just read “I love Adam Forever” and didn’t think anything of it. But as I stood up, I saw in a smaller writing: “He’s NOT the One, but he’s out there. Believe. I’m trying to.”

For the rest of the night, I thought about how powerful that single phrase is. And how much it represents what I feel the majority of the time. I see a guy or go on a date and I know the chemistry isn’t there and I have to remind myself, “Its okay, Linds. This isn’t the guy, but he’s out there. Keep your hope up! Love yourself!” And finding that special peace, that serenity as a single girl is not easy. You dress yourself up, put on your favorite heels, maybe buy some new earrings, and shave away everything  – just to realize he’s just another Mr, not the Mr you thought he could be.

And god, it’s so frustrating.

Even though I feel like I’m at a happy place and pace with this journey, it is so normal to get disappointed. Part of what keeps me going is this blog (thank all of you!), my friends, and this idea that I have a bigger purpose with my writing and in doing this. In some cosmic way, I have this notion that I’m destined to be single. At least for right now and probably, not forever. I look at it like this: I literally will spend the majority of my life married (most likely), and although keeping the faith high is a constant battle, single is what I need right now.

Learning to depend on myself and more importantly, to believe in something bigger than me, and taking off all of this pressure and worries – allows me the ability to really figure out who I am. To see the writing on the wall, to face myself in the mirror, and to stand tall, even when I want to burst into tears on a second date because it’s so awful. To go out on Ladies Night and be focused on my girls, instead of the slew of men so into a hockey game that they refuse to turn around, even once.

So even though the man I will marry (and yes, I believe he exists) is somewhere on this planet, living, breathing, doing his own single (or not) thing, and even though I may have walked past him, shook his hand, or caught a glimpse of him – I know I’m not ready to fall for him. Not yet, not today.

And for those moments when I feel like I can’t accept being single or I’m lonely or feel ugly and not-sexy, when I can’t find that self-love, when I can’t see how much I truly have going for me – I’ve got this space, my amazing pals– and strangers, who write on bathroom walls, to remind me that no matter what, I’m never, ever alone.

 

Skating Around Love

Since I started this blog, nearly a month and a half ago, I’ve made a lot of progress. I have learned how to not only recognize but to alter negative habits into good ones. I’ve learned how to realistically and lovingly talk to myself, and more so, accept myself for who I am –even the messy parts.

I’ve also become a lot stronger and my word choice when talking to myself (promise I’m not crazy), has become more encouraging than self-defeating. Instead of being jealous of couples, I’ve learned to be happy for them and to smile at the sight of love. Instead of thinking with a never-ever attitude, I’ve started to use a more one-day-at-a-time mentality.

But, like any good addict who is a teensy-bit obsessed, I have vices that come up. Even when you think you’re doing a good job of swaying your feelings and thoughts to be healthier –something pops up and throws you off of your pretty little recovering high horse.

For me, all it took was seeing the ice skating rink at Rockefeller Center yesterday.


Since I had a meeting near the Rock yesterday, my friend Mr. Unavailable and I met for a quick lunch. As I was waiting for him to come down from his office, I turned around and out of the corner of my eye, I caught a glimpse of the skaters.

Now, for those of you who may not know me personally (although if you read this blog, you know a lot) – I’ve always been in love with New York. And for me, everything right, beautiful, and worthy in this world is on this tiny, but boisterous island. Sights in New York bring me more joy than any man ever has come close to bringing.

Because of this 15-year-city-crush, I’ve developed quite a few romantic notions about what my love life would be like once I moved here. So far, all of them have been proven dramatically wrong, but of course, I’m learning to keep my hopes and my head held high.

But no amount of self-encouraging and doting could compare to the weight in my heart and the lump in my throat when I saw Rockefeller Center. In an instant, all of these ideas I’ve built up in my head about the skating rink came flooding back:

Skating (or rather attempting to) with an attractive man with our cheeks rosy from the cold, the movement, and the flirty anticipation. Starting to stumble and being caught by him as we laugh at how ridiculous we both look. And that moment when he reaches out for my hand and we have that look, the look that says “this could be something.”

And with those thoughts, other things about the winter season and the city started coming to mind: It’s going to start snowing soon and when I see that first snowfall, I’ll want to be kissed. I’ll want to experience it with someone…right? And who will be there? Probably no one.

Christmas isn’t far away and I always feel extra lonely when it’s the holiday season and everyone is getting special/personalized gifts from their loves and I get the same zip-up hoodie from my grandma that I’ve unwrapped for years. And the dreaded dinner where everyone is in pairs and I sit alone, the awkward one without any cute story to tell, cheek to kiss, or secret glance to share.

And just look at those skaters….that was supposed to be me this year. Wasn’t 2010 supposed to be the year I got everything I ever wanted?

In the midst of this, Mr. Unavailable came up, stood next to me and asked, “Whacha lookin’ at?” Of course, I smiled and replied, “Just always dreamt of it and here it is.” With enough struggles of his own, I didn’t include the rest of my ridiculousness as he (as a Queens native) showed me around the area to get a good look, and in quiet reflection, I dreamt about everything I have had planned for this silly little rink.

After our lunch and my meeting, I thought about how much I freaked out in that moment looking at Rockefeller and wondered why it bothered me so much to see something I’ve loved and looked forward to seeing in person for a decade. I mean, I even have a Christmas decoration that’s of skaters at Rockefeller Center! Frankly, the more I thought about it, the more I became really disappointed in myself and extremely frustrated.

Why does it bother me? Why does it matter? Why is it, that even after all this work, I just can’t let go? Why does seeing such a beautiful site irk me so badly? Why does it literally make my heart race and cause tears to well up in my eyesseconds before I meet an attractive man (yeah, he’s unavailable, but he’s still cute)?

Does the fact that it gets to me, mean I’m not actually progressing, but just skating around my issues? Skating around my desire for love, pretending it doesn’t exist? Am I really approaching this as I should and need to? Am I doing something wrong…or am I just human?

So having these romantic notions –good or bad? I don’t think it’s necessarily a bad thing, but I hate that it hurts to think about them, especially with all the work I’m putting into not hurting. Am I always going to have these notions? Of course. But I don’t want them to be painful or disruptive to my day, my confidence, or my life. Will I stop wanting these things? Probably not, but I hope I can accept not having them.

I think maybe it’s time to take myself out on another datefar away from those skaters. I’m not sure what I’ll do when I see the Christmas tree all lit up. Although, Mr. Unavailable did mention an ‘in’ he had….we’ll see.

Click here for photo credit.