An Ode to a Loyal Reader

Once upon a time, there was a man named Larry who quickly became one of my most loyal followers.

For those of you who have commented on posts, you’re probably familiar with him. I’ve never personally met Larry but on almost every single blog I’ve published, he’s made sure to leave his opinion. And often times, he asks for advice on his dating life. You see, after going through a divorce at 59, Larry has been experiencing the world of flying solo all over again — and along the way, he’s sadly found a lot of heartache.

But what I love about him is that he keeps going, he never loses hope and he always gets back out there. He seems to have such a golden heart — still curious, ever-so thoughtful, simply wanting to find the right girl who will treasure him for him. In many ways, he’s empowering himself with self-love and figuring out the world of women in the process. Best of all, he shares his candid stories and words of wisdom with everyone who happens to stumble across a post.

So, Larry — I dedicate a pre-Valentine’s Day blog to you. And though you’ve given me some incredible (and funny) advice over the last two-and-a-half years, I hope you’ll take some of my loving words, too. You’ve always made sure to tell me and the women reading these pages that we’re worth it and that we deserve better. That we shouldn’t settle for men who are cold-hearted or don’t know how to treat us with the respect and the beauty that we truly are. My challenge (and hope) for you is that you take your own wisdom to heart. You deserve better, too. You should have a woman who is madly, crazily, stupidly in love with you – regardless if you iron your shirts or if you’re too forward or not 100 percent perfect (none of us are!). She won’t talk to you about men she’s dated or tell you about any other guys. You won’t have to wait for emails or messages or even wonder about her intentions. Instead, she’ll just want to know all about you. She’ll want to read your medical journals. She’ll want to hear about your teaching career. She’ll be proud to be your side. And just like there are some great men out there — there are some great women out there, too. Don’t ever give up faith or give up on yourself — because there is a lady — maybe in sunny LA or across the world — who can’t wait to meet someone just like you. I know so. Happy Valentine’s Day Larry, hope you love yourself as much as I love reading your comments! – Linds

Some of my favorite Larry quotes include…

“Be annoyingly happy.”

“Yes, be ever the optimist, beautiful young thing.”

“Kiss you on the forehead. What’s he doing, claiming you are his niece ? When in love, he tips your head up and plants one on the lips, holds for a few seconds at least , hopes MANY people notice.”

“Sounds like you’ve been to the Baskin-Robbins of dating way too often. But having a good time.”

“Have a life, meet people, find people you enjoy activities with. Pretend you are 10, but can drive and have money, no curfew. Find who you like to have fun with, who makes you laugh, who’s there to help you.”

“Every man and woman should want to be able to say at the end of their life, at the end of any week or day, that they were a good man, a good woman, a good person. You did your best, you made someone smile, you helped someone out. You held nothing back when it was needed.”

“EVERY woman needs to hold out for her Mr. Right. No more abusive relationships. Don’t tolerate mistreatment. It would change the entire world. Imagine if all the jerks died of old age, and no little boys to teach how to abuse women, only to model how to love and adore the special woman in their life. Want it for yourself. Want it for all your friends. We are out here, wanting a woman like you. Be where we might encounter you. Imagine.”

“You deserve to be special for someone, and will, and they will show it to you, always. It is so worth it.”

“Put some trust with Dr. Heart. There may be only matted AstroTurf painted a putrid shade of green on the other side of the fence. (You know, the grass is always greener, etc).”

“My only weakness is ironing. So far, early out of the drier is good enough. If some woman is upset about a slightly wrinkled shirt and won’t get to know me, she deserves a jerk in a pressed shirt who may mistreat her. I wouldn’t. Given all the other stuff I do for myself, and I hate ironing, at least I’m not obsessive about that.”

“Boring is uninteresting. Nice is interesting and pleasant. Fun. Nice is making a person feel wanted, that you’re interested in them. Caring.”

“You should never need to stay and wonder if the guy will change for you. Most guys like the way they are. Let evolution take jerks out of the dating pool.”

“Lindsay for Supreme Court Justice.”

“Sounds like you may love New York, but the men certainly leave a lot to be desired in the way of chivalry, personality and I’m not sure what else. But a great place to write a dating blog.”

“You’re a cool chick, Linds. Determined is the word you want. You refuse to cow to anyone or anything. No such thing as “most beautiful”; peel back the skin on the face, and its all just muscle and bone and ligaments. What you have then is heart and mind. Everyone is entitled to encouragement, and F*** those to try to discourage you. Best body ? You take care of it, bless those you share it with.”

“Put a small umbrella in your purse!”

“How does your man play with little kids ? Can he ? Does he think baby poop stinks, or doesn’t even notice ?”

“Even if Mr. P does not pan out, just be the wonderful you, and don’t worry. Be open to friendship and love, be a touch cautious, but never cynical, always optimistic. Seek a person for whom happiness is a given, that they have and they share. And be the same way.”

“Focus, learn, be better than ever. No moping.”

PS: Very last day to submit a Valentine to yourself. Click this.

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Mr. Possibility Explores Other Possibilities

My grandmother is this petite woman who has never lived outside of the South and spends most of her time watching soap operas, doing crossword puzzles, sending me cute cards asking me when I’m going to have babies, and holding hands with her adorable boyfriend, EC. She is the only grandparent that I’m close to and while she hasn’t given me much advice, once I graduated from high school to go to college, she whispered one thing in my ear in her sweet Southern accent:

“You protect your possibilities, now. Don’t let just anyone around them, ya hear?”

Possibilities are what Fergie calls “lovely lady parts” and I can’t decide if I’d rather call mine a va-jay-jay or something else. Regardless, even though she always encouraged me to wait until marriage to “park” with a boy, I think her slightly growing new-age mindset, knows otherwise.

Even though I would never tell her, I think she’d be happy with how I’ve protected my possibilities since I lost the coveted v-card with Mr. Faithful many, many moons ago. Though sometimes I wish I could be more carefree and random about sex, I know myself too well and know that if doing-the-deed is interjected into a relationship or could-be relationship, I’m going to get emotionally intertwined with the dude. Just the way the ball rolls for me (pun intended).

So maybe it comes as no surprise, that when I broke a pact Mr. Possibility and I had agreed upon (we wouldn’t tell each other if we were sleeping with or dating other people, unless we started having feelings for the person), and asked him if he had slept with anyone in the time he’s been overseas for business – and he said “Yes” – a little piece of me freaked completely out.

Now, we’ve been clear with each other from the get-go that we weren’t exclusive, that we were taking it slow, that we were going to be incredibly honest with each other, that what we were doing -whatever it is – was going to be different from the mistakes we’ve made in the past. And if I go off of technicalities, he didn’t cheat, he didn’t do anything wrong by the Rules of Dating – but emotionally speaking, he completely hurt my feelings. Maybe even more so, my trust – not so much in him (because did he really break something he promised to me? No.), but in what we are creating.

While I have the same liberties that Mr. Possibility has, I haven’t felt the need to explore outside of him since we started moving our platonic friendship into more of a romantic realm. This may be due to my own way of handling “talking” situations with a person that’s derived from an innocence I still have towards relationships, or maybe it is my own idealistic qualities that may need to be overturned. But to me, when you start to have feelings for someone, feelings that are real and true, you aren’t exactly interested in experiencing other possibilities. At least until you determine if the option in front of you is suitable or not.

Who knows, maybe this is part of an “adult relationship” and maybe I should have never asked when we made an agreement not to. Nevertheless, I did and after the news, I had some soul searching to do – not only about my feelings towards him, but my personal beefs, too.

At first, I paraded him with questions and accusations, before I realized that the more I knew, the more I’d obsess. And then, I started doubting all we had shared in the past three months – the exchanges, the dates, the glances, the connections, the moments, the weekends tucked away in my hole-in-the-wall apartment, the dinners, the romance, the intrigue…the everything. We spent hours on Gchat, text messaging, emailing, and even had a two-hour phone conversation that I’m sure cost his company a pretty penny, going over what happened, what to do next, and he, of course, apologized. And yet my mind still raced with questions that ranged from “Oh my god, was he sleeping with someone else in New York?” and “Have I been a complete fool in this whole thing, I mean, did I really introduce him to my blog as a possibility when he’s not?” to “Does he like this girl who he slept with?” and “Why was I not good enough to hold his interest?”

And as I sat with tears rolling down my cheeks, feeling like a failure in my journey to love addict recovery, reading the e-mails we had shared since he left, and glancing over at the Christmas present I bought for him at a time where I was filled with so much hope and appreciation for his presence in my life – I decided I needed to take one huge, gigantic, step back. That even though I felt like I had done everything right by this guy and was happy with the way I approached everything with him, if I allowed this not-quite infidelity to ruin another night of mine, I wasn’t doing myself justice.

Sure, I could cry and carry on, curse his name, delete him and block him from everything in my life, walk away from whatever it is that I felt or I believed or hoped for, and tell myself I made the biggest mistake ever by being interested in him. But that would be a lie.

Because in terms of love and especially in terms of defining ourselves as single women – you have to decide what’s right by you. I have to believe that regardless of the outcome or the bumps along the way – every man, every experience, every flame, every possibility – teaches me something and helps me to grow into the person I’m meant to become. That his desire to undress a possibility other than mine, really had nothing to do with me. That he knew he was free to do so, and while I didn’t desire to, he did. That while we both are not ready for a relationship, I wasn’t prepared to accept that he may be interested in women other than me, and also sleeping with them. That while I don’t think he’s a bad person in the least, my heart feels fragile near him for the time being. That maybe we’re on different pages, different levels of emotional commitment, opposite sides of the tree – maybe both out on different limbs, wondering if jumping is the right decision or not.

And so, I stopped crying. I stopped blaming myself. I stopped calling myself a fool. I stopped obsessing and thinking and analyzing and wondering what in the world I should do about it. Because I can’t solve all of the issues unresolved in my mind and in my heart in a few days, I can’t place pressure to heal the wounds overnight, and I definitely can’t predict the future. And even though I’m incredibly hurt and processing everything in my own way and time, I’m not ready to make cut-and-dry decisions right now. Perhaps his overseas address is even helpful to give me space to determine my own heart. Could I trust in the possibility of us again? I don’t know.

But what’s more important is that I woke up. I got out of my head. Out of the dreamy notions that kept me clutching at possibilities and words, and I welcomed myself back to the real world. Off of a bouquet of tulips-induced flight to cloud nine. And I realized that no matter if I decide I can let go of the image of him with someone else or not, or if I’m completely okay with a no-strings-attached relationship, I know that I can trust myself.

That I know what’s best for me, what’s acceptable in my book, what’s the best road for me to take to find happiness. And though I’m not interested in bringing new possibilities into my bedroom, because that’s just not my style, I think a dinner date or two with other men, or just with myself, may do me some good.

All Because of Me

It determines if a response is “Yes” or “No”. It is why people place their personal investments into stocks and shares they have no idea if they will ever make their money back or not. It is responsible for both marriages and divorces, depending on when it comes and when it leaves. It is why lovers love, strangers shy from other strangers, and people of every religion rely on something they’ve never touched or seen. In not only it’s most fragile and purest form, but also in it’s strongest and utterly dependable articulation, it has enough power to bring the most independent of women and the most profoundly confident of men…to their knees.

It is trust. And simply put, it is what makes the world spin and crash on its axis.

So much of life is dependent on the notion of trust and whether or not it is broken or in tact. If we’re confident in whatever needs our faith, then all is well with our lives, but if a crack disrupts that rhythm of our trusting nature – nothing short of hell breaks loose. This isn’t just true for relationships, but in friendships, families, traveling, finances, religious affiliations, and so much more.

In my history, my trust in others has been questionable to say the least, and it has been shattered more times than I’d like to count. I have felt and believed in a love that I thought would never leave…and then watched it walk away without any consideration to stop. I have had faith that a job I thought was so perfect for me would certainaly call me back…and then heard the words “we went with someone else” on the other line. I have thought that the man I trusted more than any other in his species would always be there for me…and then I’ve watched him crumble under forces larger than I could put into words.

But of all the disappointments I’ve experienced, the most difficult and the most painful of shortcomings have resulted from losing trust in myself. Because when you turn your back on yourself, you have no one to blame, no one to lose faith in, no one to support you, and no one to get angry at, other than your own reflection in the mirror. That feeling of failure and that degree of back-stabbing is something that seems near-impossible to repair and requires a high degree of prayer to change feeling intensely numb to even barely breathing again.

If I think about it, though, all of our most important recoveries and decisions, frankly, are about living on a prayer.

And praying is something I’ve done quite a lot in my lifetime. Regardless if it’s about the man that I’m falling so hard for and I beg the universe to protect my heart, or if I’m stepping on the plane, alone, to a place I adore without a job, without a place to live, or any real plan. Or about beating my best mile time or about getting home safely when Manhattan’s streets became darker and dangerous. Or just for a peace of mind, a miracle to heal my pride, and my step to get a little more kick in it.

But more than anything, I pray for the ability to rely not on someone or something or the heaven’s divinity and endless guiding light -but to trust in myself. Because with trust comes love, and if I’m attempting to reach self-love and faith in my capabilities and life, I must depend on who I am and what I can do. Without trusting myself, above all other people and things, how can I expect to commit to someone in the long term? If I can’t say “I believe” to myself, I can’t say “I do” to my Mr. Right.

Maybe it isn’t necessarily this journey or this blog, but possibly just living in New York that’s made me so much more independent and reliant on myself as an individual. Sure, there are days when I’ve lost more than I’ve gained, given more than I’ve taken back, and loved more than I’ll ever be loved in return – but there is still nothing, to date, that compares to the sound of my heels clicking against the pavement when I walk home each night.

When I leave the office that pays me enough to stay, finish writing a blog that’ll brighten someone’s day across the world, open a door for a person I’ll never see again, and unlock the entrance to the home I’ve made for myself – I feel that faith grow a little stronger. And though I will stomp all over it at times and sometimes doubt my talent and gumption – all I have to do to get a little strength is open my eyes and look at what I have. Because the fact that I live in this city, can call myself an actual writer, can smile at the life I’ve created is all due to a single belief.

And that belief is just in myself. All of this, all that I have, all that I love, all that I’ve done is not due to a man, due to an address, due to a job title, but every single bit of it is all because of me.