A Broken Give-a-Damn

The day before my college graduation, standing in streets covered with a slippery thin sheet of ice, Mr. Idea and I screamed at each other hunched under an awning a block from my apartment.

It wasn’t either of our finest moments.

It ultimately led to me throwing a high-heeled shoe in his general direction out of frustration, unchartered emotion and a little bit of booze. It didn’t hit him but he was astonished at my actions so much that he screamed (much to the dismay of my roommate): “You threw a shoe at my face! Lindsay! What’s wrong with you?” Equally as loud but through a thick stream of tears and unflattering nose-runnage, I replied: “I just want you to make me feel like you care and you don’t!!! Why can’t you just make me feel better?”

I’d like to say I’ve grown out of that immature statement but the truth is, I’m not sure we ever do. Maybe those totally-Zen, consistently healthy and one-with-the-world people are clear and peaceful in their relationships, but I don’t happen to be part of that demographic.

I’m emotional. I’m impatient. I can overreact. I have a tendency to overanalyze. I think people should give me just as much as I give them, though I don’t take all that much. When I’m mad, I cry. When I’m sad, I cry. When I’m furious, I need to take a walk (and apparently throw things). And when I’m upset in a relationship, as I was with Mr. Idea and probably as I’ll be with any man I date, I tend to think they should make me feel a certain way.

They should be understanding and kind. They should sometimes prioritize me above other things. They should have my best interest at heart and work hard at bettering my life, just as I hope to make their day-to-day brighter. Promises should be made and kept, not haphazardly planned and forgotten. I consider myself a great catch and you, whoever it is that I’m dating, should treat me as such. You should know what you have when you have me, and gosh-darnit – you should make me feel like the most amazing creature on Earth.

Right?

Well, maybe that worked once upon a time in never-never land, but in real life, in real relationship that are messy, complicated and flat-out irritating at times – things aren’t so cut and dry. While your partner should make you happy and positively affect your existence, they are not and should not be responsible for making you feel any way. And if you find yourself yelling at the top of your lungs, Jimmy in hand, begging them to make you feel differently – maybe you should check yourself. Check your emotions. And above all – check on the relationship.

There will be ups and downs and there will be fights. Hell, arguing can even be healthy occasionally and shows you how someone handles themselves in the heat of the moment or when tensions brew. But if there are more bad times than good, if you’re not getting what you want, if you’re not feeling what you want to feel, if you’re not finding that loving feeling as often as you’re battling the urge to run away – then what are you doing?

You’re waiting for someone to make you feel a way you can’t with them and maybe asking them to feel something they don’t. And if you can’t and they don’t, then the answer to your questionable exit strategy is…go. Breathe. Revel in yourself and in the possibility to meet someone who doesn’t frustrate you. Who doesn’t stand outside in the cold threatening to break up with you on the eve of your college graduation.

Because really, the only person who can make you feel the way you want to feel is you. The you who one day finds a love that doesn’t make you doubt or wonder constantly. And if you’re with the wrong one, you can never meet the right one. If you’re too busy fighting, you don’t have any energy to love. And if there is no love left, then girl, go out and find it.

And before you find it, find yourself. Decide your give-a-damn is broken and make yourself feel so in love with you that nothing else can compare.

It’s About Him (Not Me)

I’d like to think one of my better qualities is my ability to self-motivate. I’ve been known to give myself mini pep talks –admittedly sometimes out loud –encouraging myself to keep truckin’. And when I get in cheerleading mode, I become super focused, zoned-in, and shockingly quiet. I’d rather the outside world leave me alone to have my own private song-and-dance, without anything like reality interrupting me.

The only issue with being in hyper-concentrated-let-me-be mode is that inevitably, you gotta’ deal with other people. And you have to deal with them when they get in that mode, too. Mr. Possibility has been leading a busy life recently, putting him in the get-s***-done state of mind. Studying for a very difficult test that will help his career when he passes it, he’s been stuck in coffee shops and his apartment, only glancing at his beloved BlackBerry from time-to-time, and keeping himself entertained with the giant highlighter I picked up for him. He’s easily amused, apparently.

Anyway – because he’s under a lot of stress and is worried about a pivotal certification and I can offer no guidance on the subject matter, we haven’t been spending as much time together. And when we have been, tensions have been a tad high. We even officially had our first knock-down-drag-out fight last week. Some of the knick-picks have been his fault and some have been mine, but I’ve had to accept a very important fact that I should have learned from He’s Just Not That Into You.

It’s really not me. It’s him.

And this test, sincerely has nothing to do with me. It’s hard not to internalize the influence of everything else outside of a duo. Our lives don’t circulate around our relationships and the sun doesn’t depend on love to rise, but when the person you spend your freedom with needs to be distant for their own needs, how do you stop feeling like it’s you they want to get away from? How do you stop thinking you’re the cause and if only you could say the right thing, you could take away the worry? When truthfully, the only fix to ease the ailment is letting them mend their own wounds or get through their personal hardship with their own will.

That’s the thing about being focused – when you need to complete something – the only something to shift your mood, is you. I’m the same way, so if I can’t accept Mr. Possibility when he gets in that rut, then I’m being dishonest about who I am, too.

And if I think about it, our arguments have stemmed from not being able to relate and from outside factors that neither of us can really control. So with some tough personal love, I’ve decided that space is the best thing I can give him. With that separation, too, comes the liberty for me to relax, get more sleep, see my friends, get caught up on things I’ve let slide, and enjoy my own company. It also prevents unnecessary disagreements and falling outs that don’t need to fall apart.

Because life, loving yourself, loving someone else, dating, and even sex – they all have to be balanced, as René Descartes would say, to make the machine that is your body, function. And if not everything that goes on in your mind, your body, your existence, has to do with another person, then you can’t expect your significant person to make you the center of their everything. Nor, in my opinion, should you want them to.

Sometimes, someone can care about you greatly, but parts of their lives…just have nothing to do with you. And really, it’s okay for it to be about him, not about me.

A Dose of Wedded Crazy

Tis’ the season for drinking overflowing glasses of free champagne. Tis’ the season for dancing awkwardly and making awkward conversation. Tis’ the season for fasting for weeks to feast for an hour. Tis’ the season to dodge flowers flying at your face while sporting five-inch heels.

Oh yes addicts, it is wedding season.

I haven’t attended too many nuptials and I’ve only been a bridesmaid once, but for the first time this year, I’ve come to understand what all of my friends have called “wedding season.” Suddenly, Wedding Crashers makes a hell of a lot more sense to me, instead of just being funny. Mr. Possibility and I will attend three weddings together in the next month, located inNew York and in the South. I’m debating if I want to go against my personal belief system and go to a tanning bed since I’m tired of being pasty white, and I’m figuring out how many dresses I should buy or if I like what I have.  I’ve been invited to about six weddings this year; one of my best friends is engaged to be married next year, while the other is probably being proposed to by the end of 2011.

Unlike how I probably would have reacted to my gaggle of girls getting hitched a few years ago – now, I’m genuinely happy for them. I’m thankful they met someone who they want to share their life with and more than anything that they are so ridiculously smitten it makes my teeth hurt.

But I also know things will change.

Recently, my friend K and I went to see Bridesmaids. Lillian (Maya Rudolph) and Annie (Kristen Wiig) have been stereotypical friends forever, and while Lillian’s life has taken a nosedive, Annie’s career is excelling and she’s engaged. The movie is the lead-up to the big day, highlighting the bachelorette and engagement parties, dress fittings, and the heart-to-hearts wedding bring up. And of course, because it is Kristen Wiig and a starring cast of comedians, each of these blissful events are chaotic and flat-out hilarious. K and I laughed from the first sound we heard until Wilson Phillips serenaded us out of the theater.

While the selling point of this movie is definitely to laugh – as most things do, it got me thinking: why do weddings make people so crazy?

I haven’t attended my best friend’s wedding yet or held the coveted and dreaded MOH title, and I’m definitely nowhere close to planning my own, but if Bridesmaids portrays anything, it’s that there is something about saying “I do” that can make a bride or her maids say “I don’t know what’s wrong with me.”

I think the reason behind the delusions and the outta-control behavior has nothing to do with being jealous of the blushing bride, but more about change. From long-term cohabitation and the end of boy-scouting at bars, to discussions turning away from Prada sample sales to questions about pregnancy and fertility – marriage brings a new dose of reality to the couple, and also to the pair’s friends.

Will our friends still be the same after they become wives? Will we get along as well? Will they worry about our “poor” single selves? Will we be able to talk as candidly and open? Will we hate the new group of friends their husbands bring with them? Will our friendship be as strong and close-knit?

A few days after the movie, K and I were passing the day Gchatting aimlessly when the conversation of varying roles people play in our lives came up. There are certain things a man can never give that a woman can. There are words your girlfriends say that would never make sense to our boyfriends. And if in the case of K and I, while a man may have connected you, it isn’t the dude that makes you friends.

So while weddings bring on madness and transformation, and often come in bulks at the start and the end of your twenties, they aren’t the end of a friendship. A wedding band may put an end to one-night stands but it doesn’t damper the connection between a woman and her ladies. And if a man tries to come between a duo, even if he is the groom, there isn’t much hope for him. Because we’ve been promising in good times and in bad, in sickness and in health, for better or for worse, since the day we named our friends our best.

In celebration of wedding season, remember to celebrate something else – your girls. Married or single, engaged or jaded, go see Bridesmaids, sans men. It’s worth the trip, the ticket, and the giggles. Just a word of advice though, don’t eat Brazilian food beforehand.

PS: Have a crazy story from being a bridesmaid? Tell me and you could win a prize pack from Bridesmaids. 

It Is Scary to Care

My friend R recently started a no-strings attached, friends-with-benefits type of relationship with an old pal from high school. Having been through a hell of year and in dire need of a few (or many) orgasms, she agreed to release some tension with a person she’s always sorta had a thing for, but more importantly, someone she’s comfortable with.

Though R is in North Carolina and I’m in New York, we’ve maintained a close friendship – often sharing every intimate detail of our personal lives with one another, no barrier too gruesome or risqué to cross. And since both of us are rather open, our conversations tend to be a tad dramatic and almost always wildly entertaining. Since she’s been with the Sex Buddy, I’ve received phone calls and text messages, asking for advice and describing her romps.

But this morning, the chat I received was less about hanky-panky, and more about something far more intense than any hard-on or sexual dilemma: feelings. She claimed she almost hyperventilated before they spent the night together because she realized she was starting to like him, as opposed to just liking his down under action.

Maybe When Harry Met Sally’s assumption that men and women can never truly be friends is accurate or maybe it’s another indication that sex messes up even the most nonchalant courtships, or maybe it’s a truth that dates way past either of the aforementioned: it is scary to care.

There’s always that turning point in a could-be relationship where ends stop being loosely tied and emotions connect on a level that neither can prepare for. There is a period where you can place your heart on hold and enjoy the moment, until those moments increase, along with tension and the need to let your heart off the hook, and onto your sleeve. And that’s when brevity turns into the hope of longevity; and defining what you have or what you’re working toward starts to take over those crazy-girl parts of your brain, and thus, you find yourself hyperventilating while texting your friend.

Because when feelings develop, fears and questions come along with them: what if he doesn’t feel the same way? What if I get my heart broken? What if this is all too-good-to-be-true? How does he view me? What if he cares more and I end up breaking his heart? Is he seeing other people? Do I care if he’s seeing other people? Does he care if I am? What are we????

I don’t want to count how many times I’ve entertained these thoughts with different men at different points in our pseudo-relationships. I’ve laid in the arms of guys as they play on their Blackberrys, wondering if they were texting the girl they’d share the same bed with the following night. I’ve put off “The Talk” in hopes eventually the dude would beg me to be his forever and ever, and I’d never have to have a proper conversation defining what we were doing and what we were. I’ve held everything I felt, especially what I didn’t want to feel, inside for so long that without a notice, in the middle of a sunny, beautiful July afternoon, I inappropriately exploded a fury of frustration over Cobb salads and sangria.

And that’s the worse part about being scared to care – if you don’t let yourself do it, you’ll end up scaring the person you care about away. Or worse yet, scaring yourself so badly that you never end up caring in the capacity you’re capable of or that you deserve.

There is no denying that falling in love and willingly giving parts of yourself to another person is terrifying. I have a theory that to truly be in love with someone, you have to be not only brave, but be a tad crazy, too. No rational, independent person would place their trust, their heart, and perhaps their life and future in the hands of someone who has no tangible obligation to stick through the thick-and-the-thin with you. Being vulnerable isn’t a pleasant feeling, but if you can get through the initial pang that your heart could be ripped out of your chest – you’ll find something equally scary but comforting too. Or at least it tends to be comforting for me, anyway.

When you do put yourself out there, when you do allow feelings to grow, become stronger and more connected; when you give away pieces of your soul and place work into a relationship when it faces conflict, and when you take a chance on love – you don’t know if it will work out. You can’t predict and you can’t place your bests in a space where safety is guaranteed – but you can place a wager on yourself.

And if history does repeat itself, the fact of the matter is that even if you’re scared to care – you’ve been scared to care before. Even if you deeply in love and you notice how perfectly you match with someone else – you’ve felt that way before. And even if whatever you hoped for doesn’t come to be – you’ve been let down before, too.

So you overcome the fear. You fall in love. You revel in the magic. And if you have to, you overcome the heartbreak. Because no matter how scary it is to care, it is even scarier to never care again because you’re afraid of doing something…you’ve already done.

Sexually (and Mentally) Liberated

A few years ago, I was lying out in Sheep Meadow, alone in the company of a bathing book (trashy one you wouldn’t otherwise read), when a man on a bicycle approached me. I was underage and pretending I wasn’t with permission from a fake ID that somehow worked, though it featured a girl who was blond and green-eyed, quite the opposite of me.

Classily sipping on a mimosa out of a paper bag and ignoring the fact my chest was turning red, Mr. Bicycle jumped down, shirtless and sweaty, and asked my name. With little makeup on and even smaller concern about it, I chatted with him for half an hour or so until he claimed he had a late lunch to get to. Per his request, I slipped him my number and went about my tanning afternoon, not that interested in him but intrigued enough  hope he called.

Skip to a week later and I’m sitting across from Mr. Bicycle on our second date at a place on the lower east side that’s dimly lit and offers food that’s not only overpriced, but overcooked, too. I’m not a picky eater unless I’m paying for it, in which case I want to get the best sizzle for my steak, but since Mr. Bicycle was forking over dough for the bill, I politely downed my dinner with a smile.

Half-way through, I decided that Mr. Bicycle has potential and was someone I would agree to a third date with. We hadn’t kissed yet, but I wanted to. I wasn’t ready to have sex with him, but I figured he was pretty good and pretty blessed in that department, based off his mannerisms and his build. I didn’t know much more than the basics about him: age, background, occupation, his affinity forPeru, his dislike of Asian food. Unlike me, he actually resembles my fake ID (which I hadn’t told him is fake), eyes as green as Sheep Meadow and blond locks that fall effortlessly around his face. He also has dimples, which time and time again, seems to be a feature on a man I continuously attract.

The night was coming to a close and the city was in an unusual state for a July evening, the humidity wasn’t suffocating and the streets were not buzzing in activity or tourists. For once, New York rests and while it was the second date and Mr. Bicycle had no promise of anything really, I rest happily in the smirk that comes with a date gone well. He asked to walk me back to my apartment, to make sure I got there safely like a gentleman, and I let him. As we approached my doorway and I reached for my keys, he pulled me into him and kissed me sweetly and passionately.

It would have gone down in my book or in this blog as the best first kiss of all time, if what came next didn’t happen. After the 45-second-or-so lip lock, I smiled up at him and turned to open my door as I said, “Thank you for a great evening, Mr. Bicycle.” He stopped me, turned me around and looked me dead-in-the-eye.

“Aren’t we going to go upstairs and f***?”

Stunned and taking myself as “not that type of girl,” I immediately became offended and plainly dismissed his advance. I fidgeted with my key in a rush to get inside and away from this guy who was so inappropriate, when he asked yet another uncalled for question: “C’mon, Lindsay, aren’t you sexually liberated?” I ignored him and stepped inside ad I told him again to have a nice evening, before I ran up the many flights to my apartment, consumed with disgust.

I recently told this story to a friend and as I went about what I usually portray as an unfortunate series of events, I found myself not relaying it without as much style as I usually do or with as many convicted statements like “Can you believe he did that on a second date?” or “What a f***ing a**hole, right?”

No, instead I found myself finding the story….quite commonplace. I mean, what girl hasn’t encountered a guy who has no class attempting to get in her pants? It’s not like every man doesn’t try at least once, anyway – right? If he doesn’t, we question his orientation in a heartbeat – those poor nice guys just often don’t make the cut. While I didn’t want to sleep with Mr. Bicycle that night, had I wanted to – should I have felt bad for doing so? Was he out of line for proposing sex – perhaps. Could he have gone about about it a better way – definitely.  But is it wrong for him to act on sexual urges? Nah.

It took me a few years, a few partners, and a few earth-shattering orgasms for me to change my tune a bit. Or maybe, it took until I did what Mr. Bicycle spotted I hadn’t done yet: sexually liberated myself.  

I was never raised or taught to “wait until marriage” to have sex, though I was brought up in the church. I think my mother is more realistic and she just warned to be careful and to make sure I trusted the person I was giving a “special part of myself to.” I have always valued my private and special parts and I think thus far, I’ve been rather selective of who gets to explore them.

But I’ve also stopped judging myself for having desires. I’ve stopped holding myself back and placing rules and restrictions on myself that are based off nothing but what I think I should do or what I think is acceptable by standards I haven’t even defined.  I’m in awe of my friends who are sincerely sexually liberated -the ones who demand their sexuality to be respected and make no excuses for the lives they lead or the beds they’ve laid.

Maybe I shouldn’t be envious – maybe I should see sexual liberation as an act of opening your mind, not spreading your legs. It’s more about giving yourself permission to say (or scream) yes; it’s about trying new things without basing your decision on outside perceptions, but by what you’re comfortable with and what you want. It’s about valuing yourself as special, as you are, and deciding what special (or just foreign, tanned, and ripped) people you want to share those special spots with.

Too much emphasis is put on our numbers, who we do or don’t sleep with, and what that says about us. When in reality, all sex says about any of us is that we’re…human. There is no better sexual awakening or liberation than realizing that what you feel, what you want, and what you do is exactly what you were made to feel, to want, and to do. So feel it, want it, and do it – in whatever way makes sense to you. Because to have successful sex or successfully let yourself go to enjoy that sex – the first person you have to release…is you.