What I Should Have Said

There are some perks to a blog – especially for a writer. It is a place for me to vent, for me to discuss topics in liberal opportunities, and a way for me to help others learn from the experiences I share. Blogging has been around over a decade and it has proved a successful platform for publishing companies, wannabe-authors, and anyone who could function on WordPress, Blogspot, or other platforms. While certain studies show the momentum behind blogging and being a blogger may have lost some of its cache  in an overly saturated market – if you want to find a community of supporters and other writers, it is rather simple.

If you’re not convinced, just ask me.

When I started Confessions of a Love Addict mid-September last year, I had no idea of what I was getting myself into. I clicked publish without a plan, without any intention of promoting the blog anywhere but Facebook to my friends, and came up with the idea as a way for me to work through past relationship issues. I became interested because I knew the way I approached love was unhealthy and I was allowing the presence or the absence of a man control the way I valued my self-worth. Because writing isn’t just my job, it is my passion, and in many cases, the best therapy I could ever invest in. And blogging, of course, doesn’t cost anything.

So why not? Why not blog?

What I forgot to consider when divulging the intimate details of my life to all who can click and Google was the fact that my personal life doesn’t just pertain to me. And the issue with a blog primarily about relationships is that the whole definition of a relationship is that it involves two people.

And thus, admittedly there are also two sides to every story. But my side, the way that I felt, what I thought, and what I learned is public knowledge. Sometimes, sadly, some of the things I’ve been comfortable enough to share on this space with mostly strangers, I haven’t been brave enough to be as honest about with the men the posts detail.

This downfall on my part is forgetting that the Mr’s read these blogs. Not so much with Mr. Possibility – for he’s known me since after this blog began – but with the men of my past. Some of which, months and years after the end of our relationship, discovered my insight into what we shared. While I’ve made a vow to never man-bash, but to only detail the benefit of each relationship, part of finding the good is discussing the bad. The things that weren’t enough, the things that I realized I didn’t want, the moments I knew when I was settling, those dreams that I knew would never come true if I remained in a stagnant, dead-end relationship with a Mr. Wrong that would never be Mr. Right.

And those things, for men I used to talk to daily, make love to consistently, and open up my heart, my soul, and my life to – are difficult to hear. Probably harder to stomach. No one wants to know that they couldn’t bring someone happiness or that contrary to every romantic comedy, storybook, and sitcom – love sometimes is not enough. No matter how many first stars or lucky pennies we wish upon.

I’m quite positive some of my exes will never dial my number or call me up when they’re in New York after reading the pages of this blog, that somehow has infiltrated and changed my personal life in vast ways. As much as it has helped me become a stronger woman, opened up new opportunities for me professionally, and given closure and a new friendship with certain former loves, it has also burned some bridges I wish still stood.

But that’s the thing about the truth – sometimes it hurts.

In fact, unless it is what we want to hear and improves our current situation, the truth is often the hardest thing to accept. When you realize you weren’t meant for someone and they realize it too – walking away becomes a game of roulette, who will dodge first and admit what feels like failure? When you know you’re staying in a relationship for the wrong reasons, but don’t want to cause pain to someone you once (and probably do, and always will) loved – how do you break it to them, without breaking them? When you understand someone is with you for the comfort you give them, not the undying knock-you-to-ground passionate love you deserve, how do you demand more or pack your bags?

Since these relationships – I’ve adapted the honesty is the best policy mentality. I’ll partly give credit to this blog, some to my own growing maturity, and some to the lessons I’ve mastered from the past and how they’ve translated into my present. Perhaps if I would have voiced my opinions, yielded to red flags when I saw them rise, and given up on a love I knew wouldn’t last – I would have saved myself some heartbreak. Or more importantly, come to the rescue to the men I wasn’t fair to, instead of thinking they were only there to rescue me. Maybe it is all of those honest, truthful things I should have said that would have meant more, in the long run, than all of the things that I said to save feelings, face, and heart.

Really though, the thing that will save us all, that will make our relationships meaningful and sincere is learning to say when enough is enough, when love is worth the fight and when it’s not, and when we realize there are better things that can be found. And accept that the person you need to focus on, the person you need to be the most honest with, the person who needs to read your blog the most – is you.

Because everyone else will always see what you say as a matter of opinion, regardless. No matter how honest you are. Even so – tell the truth anyways. They say it’ll set us free or piss us off – I think it’ll do it a little bit of both. And frankly, that’s better than hurting others and lovers more than is necessary. And more than a post on a blog could ever do.

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Undoing the Undo

Sometimes I wish I could take a week off from my computer. If I estimated how many hours I spend looking at a screen, from my job that’s primarily at a desk to this blog, which takes up some time to write, publish, and promote – I’d be embarrassed of the total.

But the truth is – a computer helped raise me. I can’t remember a time without one.

I come from a generation that’s always known what it was like to be connected to this digital creation and the World Wide Web. In elementary school, we took turns buying a bag of cotton balls so we could clean off our headphones for computer class, where we learned about home row keys and data entry. By the time I was in middle school, I had my own email account (latigar@aol.com, of course) and my parents let me chat in chat rooms before chat rooms needed a warrior like Chris Hansen to get the predators out.

In high school, I started really becoming a journalist with internships and mastering the Office Suite and how to effectively search on AskJeeves.com. I started to become interested in design and because I knew I wanted to work at a magazine, I started figuring out ways to contact editors – I even found interns in groups on MySpace. Time couldn’t change as quickly as the technology and college was full of Adobe and Facebook, Flash, and Google Analytics.

I’m well versed in the language of the web and when a computer challenges me, I fight back until I find an answer. Maybe because I’m so comfortable dancing across the keys or trying something new, but I’m brave to push my limits and explore the tech world, both socially and systematically. I’m not afraid of making mistakes because I know that there is always a saving grace, should I do something to throw the entire program or network off balance.

Undo.

It was a joke at the college newspaper I rose in the ranks of, that when in doubt, just hit undo. This miracle button could correct anything and it gave us the courage to test the waters of new, exciting pages, and scarily complicated CMS features. I felt a sense of freedom knowing I could do basically whatever I wanted to attempt and I’d be okay if something went awry. I wouldn’t be held responsible because I could just delete the action.

Ever since I discovered this free pass, I’ve found myself thinking “Edit, Undo” in my day-to-day when something goes wrong. Like when I’m walking the two blocks from my favorite coffee shop to my job and I spill a nice trail of Splenda-and-skim-infused Java down my blue blouse, five minutes into my work day. Or out of complete frustration and the onset of my monthly visitor, I snap at a friend who is only trying to make me feel better. Or when I say words I can’t take back, do things I can’t change, or leave people who will never return.

But the thing is – there isn’t an undo in life.

We make choices and we’re forced to stand by them. We make our bed and we lay in it. We meet people and we have the ability to decide (Heavens willing) how long they’re with us and how close they grow. We try things and they often don’t work out in the way we want. We take risks and we have trials, and there is no way to step back on that ledge once we’ve left it.

Though the backend of a computer and the Internet is vastly complicated – making those who understand it highly competitive and disgustingly wealthy – there is nothing more complex than the webs we weave. Life is a funny and beautiful thing, yes – but it is also better spent trusting in the decisions you make instead of wondering if there is a way to get out of them.

I haven’t decided if I enjoy black-and-white or shades of gray better, but I will say that it’s time to stop thinking by the ways of the technological world. Sure, it is the way marketing is going. It’s changing my industry daily. It’s going to continue to expand and there will be a boom that wakes us all up, I’m sure. But if we spent as much time in front of this computer, reading and writing these blogs, Tweeting to the world, and posting on Facebook – actually just living our lives – maybe we’d undo the undo.

We’d stop to think in terms of escape or safe merit. We’d understand that the decisions we claim are ours, even if they take us far from where we started with a hell of a long way to go. We’d click with other people and be more synced to ourselves instead of connecting our social media channels and tapping our mice. We’d see that while an easy-out is beneficial for our Apple or our Windows, it’d be better if we didn’t want to undo the life we lead.

Because while coffee stains are nearly impossible to remove, friends may hold grudges, and love may be lost – without those moments, without those incidents that can be significant or small– we wouldn’t learn. We wouldn’t come into our own. We wouldn’t learn to think before leaping, pause before speaking, or consider before leaving. We’d rely on an undo button to make our lives perfect instead of relishing in the imperfections that make life so worthwhile to begin with. Someone would make more money than Zuckerberg if they created something to give us the option to go back and correct the bad that didn’t seem to lead to good.

Maybe so – but as much as a computer-lover as I am, I’d never buy such a thing. I’d rather click publish in my own life than undo. Because, why would I want to undo…me?

The Bravery of a Fool

There are not many late-night, frantic, and ridiculous phone calls between women discussing the unpredictability of the typically predictable male that don’t involve questions concerning being a fool.

The adages are plentiful – only fools fall in love and everybody plays the fool without an exception to the rule. And the negativity behind this term is not just in a noun, but also a verb – fool me once, shame on you – but fool me twice, shame on me. While women may want to be beautiful and irreplaceable, a vixen, and maybe an officially official girlfriend – one phrase they never like to adopt is being the fool of a man.

Maybe I’m being too cliche in my perspective of this definition. But to me, a fool is someone who knows there is a chance for destruction with a man who has a reputation or has warned you of his troubles, and yet, against any recommendation or any red flag waving in the vast unknown – they willingly pursue and maybe even commit to such a character. Perhaps it is a lack of judgement or an inability to be prudent with those they date or open their legs for – either way, I think it’s a title we’ve all claimed at some point. Most of us, probably well knowing the role we were accepting before we took the stage.

But why would anyone want to be a fool for anyone? Wouldn’t we rather stay logical and collected, calm, and in control of the love we decide to share with only a someone who is willing to offer us the same? Isn’t being in a relationship only worth the wager if you know that while the stakes are high, there are two players playing on an even-playing field?

Call me crazy – but I agree to be in love, you must be a little foolish. It is not an easy task to openly offer up your heart, your emotions, and your hope to a person who may or may not handle such precious things with care. With a simple slip of the mouth, slip of the pants, or slip into a stranger’s bed – a man who you once trusted with your most intimate self could leave you waiting in the wings, covered in not just the dust of his speedy exit, but the residue of his countless lies. Sure,  all of these things are possible and no, they don’t always happen. But they could and they do. If such pain is plausible, we’d have to be irrational to rationalize love. Right?

Or is it that the thinnest line isn’t between faith and fortune. Or between flattery and fumbling.  Or loving and lusting. Or what we want and where we are. Or the beginning and the ending. Or  making love and making the dirty. Or exclusive and free.

But rather – the most blurred connection is between being a fool and being brave.

And if I follow the absurdity of fairytales or the blatant reality of my parent’s example of a relationship that can endure the test of time and health – being brave is the quality that made the dues payable. But to be courageous, one must always be a little asinine, or we wouldn’t realize what we were risking. And really, the largest investment we make in a relationship isn’t even in the person – however dreamy he may be – but the liability is in ourselves.

We must be brave enough to fall in love and absurd enough to trust someone other than ourselves with our most valuable assets. Because once they are out in the open, in front of the court to see and ridicule, there is not always a guarantee that a prince charming will ride our way. More often than not in times that are Millennial instead of Medieval – the knight’s armor is less than shining and more shunning. After all, the fool is not the princess or the lady in waiting or even a maiden of the most prestigious court. This character is rather the one who entertains, the one who hides their own face in an effort to bring joy to the lips of others. But the fool is no fool to her antics or her charm, to her words, or to the price she could pay for being honest or sarcastic. She knows the chance she takes, she knows the pieces that could shatter – but she does it anyways.

Because what we forget about being a fool is that to be one, you must realize your own value. And you have to know that if the crowd doesn’t take to what you present, you know there is safety and shelter in your own care. And in that power comes the ability to accept being a fool and knowing that though we get a wild card to play a prank on a friend on this day each year, there is never a holiday for deceiving ourselves.

Rather – it is something we do constantly, time after time, man after man. We convince ourselves he will be different. That it will be easy and just as we imagined. He will do those things we always wanted him to do. He will surprise us. He will love us unconditionally, if such a love is reasonable. We fool ourselves into falling in love again. And again. We accept the burden it carries when it doesn’t work out as anticipated and we bow to our audience, to the fates who tricked us again, and we go backstage to prepare for the next show.

For the next brave attempt at the foolish ways of love.

Thank You, Mr. Wrong

As it usually is on Monday mornings, yesterday the downtown train to Chelsea was packed. I’m one to stand near the door and let others grab a seat, a gracious tactic that usually results in a quicker exit and entrance. This quarter past eight in the morning decision landed me squished between an elderly man reading The Times and a pair of matching tourists, complete with fanny packs and “I love NY” shirts and all.

Nearing my stop, my cart started to disperse and as I turned to catch a spot closest to the parting doors, I caught a whiff of an old familiar smell. Unable to keep myself from turning away, I subtly followed the scent to find the trail. A few mini steps clockwise, I came face-to-face with a 15-year-old with shouting headphones, who was not amused by how uncomfortably close I was to his sideways-cap.

Embarrassed, I grinned at him (he didn’t return one to me) and left the subway quickly as I couldn’t keep my head from buzzing with memories Axe Deodorant Spray. Scent is, after all, the strongest sense tied to memory, and for me, that scent will never represent anything or anyone but Mr. Faithful. My very first boyfriend, my puppy love, the man whose heart I shattered, and the dude who I lost my virginity to.

And that same fragrance takes me back to all of those things – laying with belly buttons touching as I wondered if sex would get better; if he was the man I would marry, if I would be the one who ended up with her high school sweetheart; if this was what real love felt like; if I would ever meet anyone I felt as strongly about. If it got better than this.

But if I could have reassured  my 15-year-old self about how much I had to look forward to and how much love I was actually capable of giving and receiving, I would have never worried. I would have enjoyed those moments of innocence, toes dipping into the warm lake at twilight, gleaming into the eyes of a guy, who three years later, would be far removed from my life.

Because in those hot summer nights and the cold winter evenings we spent together as two kids, feeling what we thought was love for the first time –we were each other’s right person. If you would have asked me a few months into our relationship – maybe up to the first year, even – I would have told you I’d go the rest of my life smelling that Axe spray every morning and be perfectly content.

Or when Mr. Fire introduced me to gnocchi – something that always reminds me of him when I see it at the grocery store – in his tiny kitchen in our tiny college town. Dancing  (and sliding) in our socks to Dave Matthews, laughing, sipping wine we were too young to buy, and our hearts racing in anticipation of the love we hadn’t made yet. With those wild eyes that always seemed to get me – he rubbed his nose against mine, scooped me into his arms, spun me around, and dipped me toward the ground, playfully asking: “Do you trust me?” In that instant – I would have proclaimed to the whole world I would trust him with my everything, would have given him anything, and would have said whatever I needed to say to stay in his grasp forever.

In thinking about this ever-elusive Mr. Right character – I’ve thought about all the guys who didn’t fit the bill. All of the ones I loved or the dudes he didn’t fall for me as fiercely as I intended them too, and all of the suckers in between.

Because while Mr. Curls, Mr. Faithful, Mr. Fling, Mr. Idea, Mr. Disappear, Mr. Unavailable, and Mr. Rebound all have names specific to my experience with them – their ultimate titles are all the same: Mr. Wrong. Even if at one time, they had the opportunity be Mr. Right or were Mr. Right Now when they stood by my side.

I’m not convinced there is only one right companion for every person, but I do think it’s important to remember the guys who weren’t right. The Mr. Wrongs, after all, will never be completely gone – because if they were, then what would have we gained from their love – or lack of? Would we be able to understand what works for us and what doesn’t? What it takes for someone to be what we need and what will never measure up to fulfill us?

How can we know when it’s right if we don’t know what it feels like when it’s not?

The Mr. Wrongs ended up not to be the men I decided to lead with, but they all served their purpose. I’ve learned the lessons I’ve decided they’ve taught me and with all of them, I’ve released the “what could have been” thoughts that always attach themselves when love goes astray. I’m not interested in rekindling any flame that’s burnt out, bur rather excited about what’s next.

Because if history truly does repeat itself, then I’m lucky. I’m blessed to be strong enough to overcome heartache, to choose what I need over what I want, and to be loved by a few incredible men. And though at the time, I didn’t always realize what was waiting for me is better than what I’ve felt before – I know it now. And without dating, loving, losing, and leaving the Mr. Wrongs, I would never have the confidence that a Mr. Right – or maybe a few Mr. Rights – await for me in the days, the months, and the years to come.

It is sometimes those unanswered prayers that are answered against what we thought we longed for, those memories that were once bittersweet but are not just fond, and those men who were right at one time – that teach us more than the one who ends up being right, right now. They may have broken our hearts or steered us in the wrong direction or we could have stepped all over them on the way to our own happiness and personal gains – but without them, we wouldn’t be one step closer to finding the love that doesn’t bite the dust.

So, thank you Mr. Wrongs – for a lot of things, but mainly, for being wrong.

Little Miss Too Much

So this is the point in the blog when I admit that once upon a time, I competed in pageants.

Now, before you go imagining Toddlers & Tiaras, I was far from your average beauty queen. I won a handful of titles but mostly enjoyed having permission to dress up for no particular reason at all. The older I became and the more of a feminist I grew into, I realized how parading oiled up half-naked across a stage and being quizzed on my current events knowledge with a pound of makeup on my faces can seem a little contradictory and not give me the best image of integrity. And while I did attend school with the infamous Ms. South Carolina (I met her, she’s actually quite smart), pageants taught me how to be comfortable on stage, how to own my power when I’m nervous, and how to fake a smile even when I’m shaking.

Most Photogenic Winning Photo 2006/NC Pageant

When I first expressed interest in this tired Southern tradition, my mother -who is far from the Débutante; she’s everything but – couldn’t understand why I would purposefully encourage someone to judge me. I was raised to believe everyone has their own level of loveliness and by words of the renowned Ms. Eleanor that no one can make you feel inferior without your consent. Fearing I’d compare myself to the other contestants and lose some of my self-worth and value, or worse – develop an eating disorder of sorts, she wasn’t easy to convince. She eventually gave in, seeing the potential confidence and public speaking ability it could give me. However, I had to vow to be honest and to remember beauty is as beauty does, and while it may only be skin deep, I’d have to keep my head high and not fall too hard into the pageantry world.

And while I was part of this microcosm, more than the elegant dresses, the spray tans, and the dazzling crowns that still have their place in my childhood bedroom, being a so-called title holder taught me how to think on my feet. Or really, in 4 inch sparkly shoes. It has been a while since I traded in my mermaid dresses for a voice recorder, and my economy-sized hairspray for a higher, modern hemline – but throughout my journalist career and adult life, being able to think quick and speak elegantly is well worth any dues I paid as a pageant girl.

However, as a 20-something fielding cascading lines of bachelors who strut the streets and trains of Manhattan – while I often play the part of judge, picking the contestant who is a winner in my book, sometimes, I feel like I’m back up on that stage, lights shining, and gracefully fighting for a title. In the past, that title was always Ms. Girlfriend or when my overly premature and idealistic self would take over, Ms. Love of His Life or better yet, Mrs. Right.

But the one title I always felt like I claimed without trying (or was it trying too hard?) was Little Miss Too Much. All those lessons about thinking on the spot flew out the door and putty I become in the hands of the man of the hour.

Whenever I started to like a guy or date him regularly, I always developed this fear of being “too much.” We’re instructed by the women older than us, by our friends who have been there, by everything female that surrounds us that guys are easily intimidated and deathly afraid of commitment. I won’t deny either of those statements, even if they are rather generalized. However – in an effort to prevent the stepping-on-the-loafers of men who I hoped would eventually deem me worthy to be their girlfriend and tie up their loose ends with other ladies – I held myself back. I acted uninterested when I was highly intrigued, I bit my tongue instead of speaking my mind, I held back my frustrations and my longings instead of expressing what I felt, when I felt it. Because while men want to sleep with the beauty queens and date the women who hold the highest title, I had never met a man who wanted to date Little Miss Too Much.

That is, until I did.

When I decided to date above the curve, to raise my standards, and demand more out of a partner, I stopped worrying about being too much to handle. And in return, I found guys who wanted someone just like me – who may be outspoken and demanding and opinionated – but they find it beautiful and inspiring. Because really, those apprehensions come from insecurities and also partly derive from the remains of men who exited without a notice or didn’t care to stick around when the going got going – or got tough. From the dudes who prefer women to be their escorts about town and hang quietly and nicely on their arms, without pressuring or condoning or challenging them. They are the ones who would never fit the bill of what it means to date a woman who has things going for her, who wants to be with someone who not only encourages her thoughts, but engages in wild conversation with her.  They are the guys who are too little for a girl who is seemingly “too much.”

And those emotional outbursts or those topics that make our blood boil don’t grant us the title of the crazy ex-girlfriend or the gal who pressured a man into a relationship, with no avail. There really isn’t such a thing as being too much unless there is also such a thing as being too human. Because if we didn’t worry from time to time, if we didn’t let certain things crawl under our skin because we were passionate about them, if we didn’t desire to only be with someone who only wanted to be with us – then what would be the point of attempting anything? Or developing opinions, tastes, and desires? Or deciding how you’ll give world peace to the nations, as every pageant coach instructs you to stay abreast of?

Now, when I’m dating and when I’m with Mr. Possibility and I feel the need to test the waters that I normally wouldn’t have waded for fear of sending a potential partner sailing away- I instead make quite the splash. I don’t make excuses for why I’m upset or why something they say rubs me the wrong way or if I don’t agree with a viewpoint they stand firmly about. I don’t pretend to be someone I’m not just to be crowned Ms. Irresistible. I’ve learned they’re competing to be center stage in my life as much as I am in theirs.

Because while pageants may have given me great balance and the ability to bullshit when need-be, they also showed me to be my greatest and most forgiving fan. If you trip, you trip – and you keep walking. If you stutter, you stutter -and you pause and move on. If you lose, you lose – and you try again.

And if you feel like you’re being too much, you put even more out there and give a little extra kick to that hip. Because no one – not even a pearl-ridden Southern girl with hair almost as high as the heavens – makes excuses for being herself.

The Anonymous Dater

The ironic truth about living in a densely populated city is though you are surrounded by people, it is easier to go unnoticed than residing in a small Southern town just West of the Tennessee line. You see, unlike those tiny towns I grew up in, in New York, people realize they could know your business if they asked, but most of the time,they  just don’t care.

Though we may never realize it – any place we decide to go and grow roots – there will always be more strangers than friends. There will always be people coming and people leaving, and even if we travel the same route or road the same way, every single day, there will always be someone new who shows their face. And the reality of it is, if we’d like to not display ours for the world – we don’t have to. Especially here.

If you want to be anonymous, the second you take a step out of your apartment, you can put iPod buds in your ear, raise the volume on a song with a beat to wake you up, and off you go. To the subway, of course, if you’re trying to lay low – after all, if you ask the monetarily blessed of Manhattan, they feel sorry for the “poor people” who have to take the train. Down the stairs you’ll ascend into the darkened transit and there you will sit alone, with a very rare chance you’ll recognize anyone at your stop. After bravely leaning against a pillar or walking the track to pass the time, your chariot will eventually arrive, but there will be no Prince to lend his hand as you step up. (You don’t need his help anyways). As you ride uptown or downtown (the direction never quite matters), you’ll sit to yourself, music still playing (but probably lowered), as you read the latest magazine or yet another Vampire-inspired novel that I still can’t jump on the bandwagon for. When the doors open to your destination, you’ll exit, without slipping a word to anyone or touching anything. Out onto the street you’ll rush, walking past people eying an underground performer, a foreign family unsure of which colored-line to take, and a man who thought your blue scarf looked stunning on you. But did you notice? No, you were lost away in whatever playlist you picked, thinking about getting to instead of living in. And then, just as one could predict, your feet touched the glimmering pavement and you blended into the crowds, bumping your way through elbows, and mumbling “excuse me” only when absolutely necessary.

It is one thing to be an anonymous New Yorker – the city is actually quite ripe with them. They are those people who’d rather not be bothered by the things you can’t predict or the chance conversations that can actually be the very thoughts hat turn your perspective. They are the ones who simply don’t want to be interrupted as they go from point A to point B, they just want to leave and arrive, without experiencing anything between.

But what they don’t realize is so much of the best of life is in the in between. And like one of my friends always says, “If I’m going to pay this much to live here, I’m going to get my money’s worth!” She’s right – if you’re ignoring the characters and the connections that  your address entertains, what’s the point?

After all, if you’re anonymous on the streets, do you really expect to meet anyone captivating? As much as we all complain about our single status and how we are never noticed by the type of guys we like, are we making ourselves available for someone to approach us? As lovely as it sounds that a man was so astonished with our beauty, that from across a crowded subway cart, he battled the straphangers to simply ask our name, and then vowed he’d find us again (maybe through Craigslist’s Missed Connections) – don’t you think that’s a little far-fetched?

Worse than being an anonymous resident is being an anonymous dater – but more often than not, they are one in the same. I’m lucky to not be a shy type of person, but even with as outgoing and normally fearless as I am in the dating market, I have to push myself. I don’t always feel my very best or my most attractive, but I also know that confidence is more important than anything – zits and bloated tummies aside. Anyone, man or female, is intrigued by someone who is intrigued by themselves. And if your eyes are peering toward the pages of a book for ten stops or at your drink for thirty minutes, how will anyone see that fire that only belongs to you?

They won’t.

There are times that call for anonymousness. Sometimes it is refreshing to ignore the rest of the world and go at your own pace, without worrying about what someone else prefers. It is a nice cloak that New York offers to its inhabitants – as if it is saying, “I know I’m tough on you, so every once in a while, I’ll let you disappear.” But remember, that robe is only meant to be momentary -not permanent.

Because the longer you engage the anonymous title and make yourself more into a stranger than a person, the more difficult it is for someone to remember youR name. Or even worse, the more you lose touch with who you are, drowning in a sea of people you’ve never seen and have stopped noticing. Take the chance – take the dive – and try looking up, instead of looking away. Remember to love yourself and know that that love will translate into conversation and give you that energy you need to be alluring. Notice the unnoticeables, listen to the city instead of the Biebs, read the lines on someone’s face instead of the WSJ, and give yourself more credit than just a statistic in this city’s census. Make yourself someone who lives in your own life, in this city, or wherever you are- not just someone who is passing by, anonymously.

Meet My Boyfriend

The thing I get asked the most by friends, readers, and fellow bloggers is: How do you write every single day?!

The answer has consistently been rather simple – it is easy. Partly because I consider myself someone who was lucky enough to always know what they were meant to do, and also due to the mere fact that I write about my life. And what else could be more natural to do than recording, dissecting, and describing every-day adventures? Or better yet – what could be more entertaining when those experiences primarily relate to relationships – something that everyone, no matter their demographics, can understand and relate to.

And while I write about personal experiences, most of the ideas that turn into blogs come from outside sources. From eavesdropping on two friends at the gym, by graffiti stained on my building, by a penny I kick across the pavement, by an exchange I witnessed that was only meant for that couple, by something I feel that I can’t explain, by a sighting or a viewing, by an argument or a profession. I try to listen while I linger, ask more questions than I make statements, and try to put myself in the shoes of strangers. Or the ones I know best – after all, fodder is frequent from my friends.

Unsurprisingly, as our pals often know us better than we know ourselves, this is where my claim of fluidity and simplicity in blogging becomes objected. As in the case of my friend J.

On Sunday, over burgers at one of my New York favorites, Corner Bistro, a group of us were catching up, drinking Blue Moons, and taking in more calories than the rest of the week allowed. I met my friend J in a way that can only be described as fate by the Internet –through a Meetup group that I was hesitant to join. However, it turned out producing five of my closest pals in the city, some of which are starting to get to know me pretty well. As J is telling me about her latest dating adventure and how the scene is different than the laid-back and sunny market in California where she’s from, I must have looked at her too hard because she said:

“You’re writing your blog right now in your head, aren’t you?” Stunned she could detect the writing wheels turning, I smiled a 4 p.m.-and-tipsy grin, and asked, “Um, how did you know that?” She took a sip of her wine (not a fan of beer), she laughed and replied, “Well, you know when you really like someone and they bring you happiness, you think about them all the time? Even when other people are talking to you?” I nodded. “That’s kind of what your blog is now. The blog is your boyfriend.”

Interesting.

A relationship, much like a blog, depends constant attention. You have to put in effort to make it work and be understanding when glitches out of your control cause trouble (like WordPress’ meltdown last night). The longer you’re with someone, the more people know about the person you’ve become exclusive with, and the more energy you put toward something – the harder it is to let it go. You become committed and involved, engrossed in what-could-be, and needing to know that person feels the same way. And if you’re anything like me before I started the blog, you become quite obsessed with the man of loving opportunity.

So, is my friend right? Maybe I have made this blog into my boyfriend. Or into an entity outside of myself, even though it’s primarily about me. I’m connected to it, I give it daily attention, I take time out of my schedule to make sure it is functioning, growing, and giving me what I need. But what is it that I need from a blog? If you asked me a few months ago, it would have been similar to my response to what I want from a relationship: something that helps me grow, gives me guidance, and lets me say whatever I want to say, without passing judgment.

However, like every relationship that experiences change with tide, waters have been rough with me and my boyfriend, the blog.

For a while, as much as I was writing about my exciting life, the majority of it was spent at work and at home. The weekends were sometimes full of outings and doings, but I had the energy and the dedication to put into the pages of this blog because it was my main concern and central source of entertainment. But like I’m learning to let love fall lower on my list of priorities, as my life started to become…well, a life – the less time I’ve had to focus on blogging.

My calendar has started to fill up, event invites continue to roll in, my friends rightfully demand my attention and my evenings, I’m running more, I’m planning trips, I’m further investing into the potential return of Mr. Possibility’s possibilities, and above all else, I’m still focusing on me. The 12 Steps continue to help me guide through the emotions that used to throw me. The essence of the blog is still alive in my life, but the availability I used to have to give it love is gone.

So do I stop writing? Do I break up with my boyfriend because he doesn’t fit into the life I’m making for myself? Do I put an end to the love I once found because I’d rather turn my attention to seemingly bigger and better things?

Nope.

Because when a relationship experiences trouble or things outside of the union start to expand and rise, that’s when you test how the connection. The commitment, the loyalty. That’s when you realize that love will never be everything that defines you or all of the things you’re made of. That’s when you remember the relationship that makes it – the one that’s worth all the hassles and frazzles – is the one you can maintain, even when the rest of your life becomes fuller and happier. I can’t make a man – or a blog – my everything. But if I can remember that love is just a part of life and this blog is about my life – the inspiration to pen another post will come just as easy as it once did.

As long as I just live, that is.