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.

 

 

Washing the Walls of Relationship Residue

My childhood bedroom is covered, nearly wall-to-wall with memorabilia. I’m notorious for hanging up inspirational quotes, pictures from magazines, old photos, letters from friends, New Yorky items, and all kinds of this-and-that. basically, I like to be surrounded by things that give me hope.

The last time I was home in June, I traced the walls with my eyes, reading and looking at everything that I hung up because I decided it was significant. I thought of all the things that once graced the space and I removed to make room for something more important. From gymnastic ribbons and poetry awards to Central Park postcards and brochures about Columbia –the walls that surrounded me reflected my growing pains and triumphs. Over the years, my tastes changed along with my goals and perspective –but some things I never cleared off the baby blue walls: love quotes.

Literally, they were (and are) everywhere: on index cards along the border of the ceiling, highlighted in black frames sitting on my bookshelf, scribbled on notebook paper and placed next to my bed… the list goes on and on. It seems as if, regardless of when and why I changed, my admiration for love never went away, and I always needed to be encouraged to remember it (or rather he) is still out there.

I haven’t had a ton of love in my life, but I’m under the belief that quality is much more important than quantity. I’m also 22 years old and I don’t think it’s realistic to say I’ve been in love countless times. Of these relationships, some  have been deeply rooted and lengthy, while others that still are significant to me, only lasted a matter of weeks. But of course, to each their own.

Like love quotes, wall hangings, photos of people I haven’t spoken to in years, and broken heels –I don’t let go of old relationships easily. And I hardly, unless forced, throw things or people away. So needless to say, a large part of my addiction to love is really an addiction to the past. Most of my struggle is not only believing there is a tomorrow (or that I’d be okay without ever finding love. Gulp.), but realizing flames that burned out months or years ago did so for a reason.

Before I can move forward in this journey, I realize I need to go back to the very beginning, and discover what parts of my thinking and analyzing past relationships needs to be corrected. In many ways, I need to alleviate myself of any longing, questioning, hoping, or fearing that’s leftover from love.

I really have to wash away relationship residue so I can have a clean slate for whatever is to come.

So, I’ll need to go back and think about Mr. Curls, Mr. Faithful, Mr. Rebound, Mr. Buddy, Mr. Fire, Mr. Fling, and Mr. Idea. There have been a fair share of additional Mr.’s on the roster over time, but these have specifically impacted me and my love addiction. And while all of them will hold a special place in my heart (and some have pieces of my soul), I have to still let go of a few…no matter how hard it may be.

When I think of my childhood room, I think of all of these guys. I think of talking on the phone in middle school with the chord wrapped around me and making love for the first time with my first love. I think of dreaming about going to college and having a friend become more unexpectantly. I think of crying more than I ever thought possible right before leaving for the best summer in New York and the coldness of an up and down relationship. And I think of the intense sting in the core of me after sharing such intimate parts of myself with someone who ultimately didn’t become what I envisioned he would.

Now, that room is in my past. Eventually, it won’t even be my room anymore, but a room in my parent’s house that once harbored all of my belongings. When I go home for Christmas, I’ll strip down the walls and clean it out to make room for a new transformation…and I’ll do the same to my heart.

Lucky for me, when I come back from dismantling my childhood room, I will enter an apartment that holds no memories or reminders of lost love. It’s a place that’s just me and only highlights the long journey I made to make my dreams my reality.

Yet, on a dry-erase board when you first walk into my apartment, there is a simple quote that says, “She packed up her potential and all she had learned, grabbed a cute pair of shoes, and headed out to change a few things.”

The Obsession Network

Let’s be honest: Facebook is not good for ex-boyfriends.

In fact, it is probably the worse idea ever created for us love addicts. It has every tool necessary to figure out whatever it is you want to know about someone –regardless if they want you to or not.

Think about how many times in a day you check FB or update your status or go through someone’s pictures or read conversations that have nothing to do with you. Or what about just taking a look at what your ex is up to, because you’re finally at the point where you can? And if you’re not at that point, you “test” yourself by looking at his profile and seeing how it makes you feel to see another gal writing on his wall? Better yet, have you heard of Facebook-drunk-stalking? I’m sure you have. Instead of just avoiding drunk-texting, we now have to avoid drunk-Facebooking. I mean, Facebooking is even a verb now?

I’m as guilty as the next person of having all of these ridiculous habits, and if you are my ex-boyfriend (or someone I remotely was interested in), I admit to knowing or doing the following:

  • What you’re currently doing career or school wise
  • Who you’re dating and who you have dated in the past
  • Any picture you’ve been tagged in or made your profile picture since we broke up
  • Current trends concerning your statuses
  • If I’ve had access with privacy settings, I’ve read wall-to-wall conversations
  • If you’ve invited me to an event, I’ve seriously considered going
  • If you’ve been on Facebook chat while I was on Facebook chat, I’ve wanted to (and maybe have) IMed you
  • If you wrote on my wall (even if it’s just for my birthday), I’ve thought long and hard about what to write back
  • Anything you have posted on your profile as information, including websites, quotes, etc, I’ve stalked
  • I’ve glared at the screen when your current girlfriend wrote something sweet on your wall
  • I’ve felt very angry, nauseous, annoyed, jealous, and just flat-out bitchy when I’ve seen cute pictures of your girlfriend and you
  • I’ve tracked things you’ve done and tried to make conclusions based on pure assumptions (like you became friends with her five minutes ago and then she wrote on your wall about last night…so you met her last night? Or what?)
  • If you’ve become engaged, I’ve been highly, highly angry for a full day. Sometimes more than one
  • If you’re not engaged, but I think you will be, I’ve cringed when looking at your wall
  • I’ve probably deleted you from my feed, but I still go stalk on my own
  • I’ve blocked you and unblocked you (did you guys know about the 48-hour rule?), removed you from friends, and re-added you (thank you ex-boyfriends for playing along)

Yeah, maybe this doesn’t paint me in the brightest light, but if someone is going to give me access to your profile, as a journalist, and as a love addict, it is my duty to completely dissect your profile. While Facebook is coined as The Social Network, is does not create a network of love but rather, an “obsessive network.”

And in an effort to un-obsess my life, my thoughts, and my relationships – I’m attempting to get a little less crazy with Facebook. At least in terms of my former flames. I hate when my confidence or my mood goes from super-high to an all-time low when I see one update or one picture or one wall post that makes me sad.  And I hate it even more that I have to physically and emotionally remind myself to not look at someone’s profile because of the damage it could do. Seriously, Facebook is having all these troubles with privacy issues and I think it is rubbing off on its users.

Yes, I’m “friends” with my ex-boyfriends, but only by Facebook’s definition. And I wouldn’t want someone who I really am not that close to digging around into every corner of my profile (but if they do, they’re probably reading this, go figure) – so maybe I should give my former loves the same respect.

So, with the start of step 4, as I dig back into my obsessive habits and try to correct them, the first task…is taking a big ‘ol step back. No more obsessing over what someone writes on someone’s wall who I kissed three times sophomore year of college. No more analyzing the facial expressions of a couple that came to be right after he broke up with me. No more blocking and re-blocking an ex just to see if anything changes.

This journey is not about what my ex-boyfriends are doing on Facebook. It is not about who they are sleeping with instead of being in love with me. It is not about our past, what we’re doing in our presents, or what will happen in our futures. Because any part of “we” or “our” or “us” doesn’t exist.

What does exist is everything I’ve learned from those relationships, the internal battles I’ve had to fight (and will continue to fight) to let go of love and to finally, with the start of this blog, take a stand for myself. And to know that if I wanted to, I could be Facebook official, in love with, in a relationship with… myself (although I won’t do that because that’s just takin’ it a little too far).

So sorry, Facebook, but I’m only going to give you 75 hits a day, instead of the 150 I’ve been giving you the last five years.

But if so-and-so does get engaged, whoever he may be, no one tell me until like step 11, okay?