All of My Exes Are Closer Than Texas

I’d like to have a word with Mr. Zuckerberg.

No doubt the man will go down as one of the geniuses of my lifetime, as someone who greatly impacted the way people communicate and connect worldwide, and possibly, thanks to the movie, as a somewhat royal jackass – but sometimes, I wonder what life would be like without Facebook. For something so incredibly new – a mere seven years old – and already seem like such an important part of daily life for millions of people from Africa to Australia, is wildly impressive.

There are indefinite pros and cons to the technological revolution that makes sure connectivity is not just an option, but rather a saturation into normalcy. Do Facebook or Twitter serve as a novelty anymore – or are they officially acceptable methods of communication? Or if you’re anything like me, tools for stalking ex-boyfriends? Or those who I wish would have become boyfriends? Or both? Why is it that all of my exes aren’t far, far away in Texas, but super close on Facebook?

When Mr. Zuckerberg created Facebook, his idea was to keep people in touch -and perhaps he never thought implementing a section for “relationship” status would be as paramount as it is, but somehow, a single change or update has the power to completely make or totally break my day. And my confidence.

But worse of all, it can make me feel like every man who has ever loved me, I have loved, or was just momentarily a huge part of my life, has moved on. And here I am still stalking their Facebook.

Just from searching through the many social networks I’m signed up for, I can easily update you on the many Mr’s:

Mr. Faithful – still on the way to becoming a chiropractor, in a serious relationship with a gal I don’t know for over three years now. For Halloween, they wore matching outfits and during the many blizzards, they played outside each time. And took pictures.

Mr. Rebound – currently living in Chicago, accepted a great new job that he loves and was recently promoted to a higher position. In a relationship, though not sure for how long, with a lady who looks strikingly similiar to him. He appears to be balding, as well (she isn’t, for the record).

Mr. Fire – preparing for a move in May, seemingly still madly in love with the girl he posed in pictures with (in a hot tub, to be specific) a day after we broke things off. Still a hotshot in the sport he loves and apparently managed not to get pulled over by a cop for speeding a few weeks ago. And, both he and his Miss pulled for the Steelers last night.

Mr. Temporary– newly engaged, owns a house (wow!), and working in the school district he always dreamed he would. Looks like he recently got a puppy and has updates about what he eats, thinks, and breathes. Riveting, really.

Mr. Disappear– living in the same city and though he’s nearing the big 3-0, has yet to receive his Bachelor degree, and is in a relationship with a woman who is quite pretty. He happens to be completely bald, has a season pass to Nascar races (cringe), and hasn’t upgraded his taste in beer, so he’s still milking Bud. Ugh.

Mr. Smother – excelling in his career, residing in North Carolina, and recently started a relationship with a lovely blonde. Strangely enough, in the years that have passed since I cut things off, he hasn’t changed his profile picture. Not even once.

Mr. Fling – finishing up school after a medical bout and as charming as he is, has the ladies parading his wall constantly. I don’t blame them. And sometimes, I join them.

Mr. Idea – absoultely no idea  (no pun intended). He removed me as his friend, so thus communication paths are closed.

Central theme from the majority (minus one, actually) of these profiles? They have all entered into new relationships.

For most, the pairings are serious and they seem very happy with their new significant other, regardless of how significant I used to be in their life. A handful of them I still talk to, two or three I’d rather never speak to again, and maybe one I still wonder “what if” about. Regardless of how I feel toward these characters, I’m still connected to them and any information I want to know is at the reach of a click or a keyboard.

Well, maybe not any information, but the kind that makes me question what it means to really move on.

In an age where we’re bombarded and alerted to things we want and don’t want to know about – when can we officially say we’ve let go of any possibility, any longing, any angry or depressed sentiment, and have let the past be the past? Is it when we no longer feel the need to know what’s going on in their lives or when images of them newly in love don’t rock our hearts anymore when they show up on our feed?

For most of my exes, when we initially parted ways – I had to remove them from Facebook, block them from Gchat, delete every last email we exchanged and their phone number, stop following them on Twitter, and if we had a mutual friend that wasn’t that important to me, I’d go as far to ax them as well. I simply couldn’t bear to see the man I deeply cared about or allowed deeply in me…happy.

Or maybe not happy, but living their life without me. Okay, happily living their lives without me, while dating other people, and I was stuck being single. Because I wasn’t enthralled in the fire of a new romance or nearing happily ever after – anyone who once titillated my heart or my lovely lady parts – wasn’t allowed to be either. Because if they were in love or found someone they were interested in, that meant I hadn’t moved on and they had beat me in the mourning process. But relationships and especially the time needed to really let go of someone isn’t a competition or a race to the alter.

Or is it?

The measure of success after a relationship comes to an end isn’t determined by how quickly or easily you move from one bed, one embrace, one relationship status to another. It’s not measured by how much it hurts or doesn’t pain you to look at someone else experiencing romantic bliss sans you. Moving on isn’t defined by clicks, minutes spent stalking, or if you’re still intrigued by what’s going on in someone else’s life. Most living things are curious and if something is at your disposable or available through the world of webs, it’s natural to take a peek. If anything, it’s expected.

But instead of dwelling on the fact I’m single and dedicating an entire blog and year (or years?) to my life figuring out how to be content in my solo shoes, I’ve started asking myself a simple question:

Do I want to be that girl? Do I want to be the gal by his side? The one making out with him in a hot tub?

And that answer is even more basic than the question: no. I may not be falling head over heels, dreaming up visions of my future children, or deciding if I want chicken or fish, but I’m happy. Without a man. Without validation from another person. Without having to change my Facebook or make status updates about “my hubby” or how my boyfriend did something incredibly sweet.

Instead, my life, my Facebook, my social networks are about me. About the life I created for myself without depending on someone to build me up, boost my confidence or ensure me I could, in fact, reach my goals. I captured them just fine on my own – and frankly, wouldn’t have it any other way.

So regardless if everyone else is secure in their coupled-up oasis, for me, I know I’ve moved on, I’ve let go, I’ve released the ghosts of boyfriends-past because I don’t want to go back. Maybe more surprisingly, I’m not entirely focused on moving forward – but rather, setting my status, my updates about the things, the places, the people, the current life that means the most to me.

And that life, is just fine without someone writing on my wall, wearing matching outfits with me on Halloween, without having to fake an interest in the superbowl, without someone proposing to me, or inquiring about my whereabouts. It may be complicated at times, but it isn’t open, and it isn’t an exclusively non-exclusive relationship. It’s totally undefined by the Book of Faces or Twitterverse. It’s a life that I hope my exes stalk, so they see, regardless if you have a partner or you don’t, you can still find a love that brings you happiness. Even if it’s your own.

P.S. Confessions of a Love Addict is making Valentine’s Day more about the single ladies and less about flowers that’ll die in a day. Submit your Valentine here.

Walk This Way

If there is one aspect of my style that will never change, it is my love for high heels. I can’t explain the surge of energy it gives me to strut down the street, hearing the incomparable click-click rhythm on the pavement, and seeing heads turn as I pass by.

Even when I went to a school with an elevation of 3,333 feet and there was a foot of snow on the ground, I always sported a pair of kicks with a little step. Needless to say, I was often ridiculed and declared insane, but to this day, I feel out-of-my-element when I don’t have some heels on my feet (I think they’ve grown accustomed to the curve).

I may regret the decision to wear stilettos when I get older, but for now, the strength they “give” me, either metaphorically or literally, is something that helps boost my confidence and morale.

Sure enough, this self-assurance via Jimmy Choo has shown through my love life, too. Every man I’ve ever dated has told me they loved the way I walk. I’ve always taken it as a compliment and appreciated that they took note, but it never quite mattered to me what they thought. Wearing heels or hearing their click has never been about attracting the attention of a man, but just a fashion that I thoroughly enjoy just for me.

While I think part of my walk was just hereditary (I have a smokin’ mom), some of the way I got the swivel down pat is by listening to girl-power tunes while strutting. Without even noticing, I get a little more attitude in my step and I feel more confident when I have some buds in my ear. Anytime I’ve been down about a guy or my looks, I download an empowering song and strut-it-out. Somehow, the beat and the you-go-girl themed lyrics seem to lift my spirits, even when they are at an all-time low.

In fact, I have a playlist on my iTunes called “High Heels” which I always put on as I walk out the door and again when I get off the train to go somewhere. The songs in this collection give me the beat I need to battle the streets and “walk-it-out” before facing the day.

Because step 4 is about digging deep inside of myself to see where my obsession with love originated, I’ve been thinking a lot about past relationships and how I’ve dealt with them. And while I’ll go into detail about each one in posts to come, I’ve noticed a central theme of what’s helped me to recover: music.

Seems simple enough, but part of recovery (from a breakup or from having a day when you feel so ugly you could die) is finding simple ways to escape, regroup, and reenergize. For me, certain songs and artists do the trick for me.

In celebration of the dedication to honesty I’ve recently adapted, here is my “High Heels” playlist, straight from my iPod (without deleting anything, so no judging). Try downloading a few and please add your comments of ones that have helped you:

Sexy Chick by David Gruetta ft. Akon

If this doesn’t make you feel sexy when you sway your hips, what will? I mean, damn girl!

Born to Fly by Sara Evans

The words could be more perfect – “I’ve been tellin’ my dreams to the preacher about the places I’d like to see….is there a brown-eyed boy in my future…girl you ain’t got nothin’ but time!”

Short Skirt, Long Jacket by Cake

I have, in fact, worn a mini and a trench while listening to this song. Yep.

Right as Rain by Adele

I’m a big jazz fan and this has a jazzy-feel to it. Plus, it’s perfect when you’re just done with a relationship and you’re getting over someone. “Cos’ when hard work don’t pay off, and I’m tired, there ain’t no room in my bed, as far as I’m concerned. So wipe that dirty smile off – we won’t be making up, I’ve cried my heart out. And now, I’ve had enough of love.” (After being pissed, though, please do believe in love again, k?)

American Boy by Estelle

It’s this song that I picture myself as a fierce European woman using an American boy as a playmate. And it says “New York” in it, so I’m hooked by default.

Suddenly I See by KT Tunstall

When I interned at Cosmo, as I walked from the subway to the Hearst tower, I listened to this song and marched in my red high heels. The words remind me of myself, “And I feel like walking the world, like walking the world. And you can hear she’s a beautiful girl, she’s a beautiful girl. She fills up every corner like she’s born in black and white…looking from the pages of a magazine…”

I Don’t Need a Man by Pussycat Dolls

This is a recovering love addict’s theme song: “I don’t need a man to make it happen. I get off being free. I don’t need a man to make me feel good, I get off doing my own thing. I don’t need a ring around my finger, to make me feel complete…”

See the World by Guzmo

I stole this from one of my mom’s CDs and fell absolutely in love with it. It’s more of a happy tune then a beat-boppin’ tune, but it’s about seeing the world, finding yourself, and then of course, finding someone.

Good Life by OneRepublic

If I could pick one song to represent how I feel about living in New York, being a 20-something finding herself, and learning to love today for what it is – this song would be it. Oh yes, it is going to be the good life.

Gives You Hell by All American Rejects

This is for Mr. Curls, Mr. Faithful, Mr. Rebound, Mr. Buddy, Mr. Fire, and Mr. Idea when this blog turns into a book, which turns into a movie. Just sayin’.

Walk this Way by Aerosmith

I picture myself in a catholic school girl outfit, dancing on a bar with my girlfriends while cute boys watch. Don’t ask why, I just do.

Fergalicious by Fergie

Actually, in my playlist, it’s called “Linds-a-licious” and I encourage you to do the same with your own name. Fergie always makes a point to spell in her songs, but girl’s got the best single-gal songs, ever.

Do You Believe in Magic by The Lovin’ Spoonful

This was given to me by my friend, R, who is one of the happiest individuals I’ve ever met. When you listen to it, you just gotta’ smile.

Candyman by Christina Aguleria

I think of a very attractive man, who probably isn’t quite my type, but we have this amazing chemistry and we’re flirting. I may also be wearing very red lipstick.

Labels or Love by Fergie

In honor of Sex & the City (I won’t deny I’m a fan), this song embodies what it’s like sometimes to be single and struggling in the city. If I had the money, I would be even more into this song.

Rockstar by Rihanna

No, I can’t sing. I can’t play the guitar. I’m not very…hip. I played the piano a decade ago. But, yes I’m a rockstar. And so are you.

Dynamite by Taio Cruz

How can you not walk fiercely when you listen to this song? It is absolutely perfect for picturing you and your “crew” going out to the bar and not looking for anything but a good time.

London Bridge by Fergie

Oh snap! Why is it that every time you come around, my London Bridge wants to go down? And who knew it was called a London Bridge. I think I’d rather have a more New York term…every time you come around, my Big Apple wants to go down? Hmm.

Can’t be Tamed by Miley Cyrus

Well of course I already feel like I can’t be “tamed” per say. While Miss Miley may be a little risqué these days, I still dig her music and I’m not ashamed of it.

Empire State of Mind by Jay-Z

When I think of this song, I think of my best friend L and I dancing at this crummy little bar in my college town a few weeks before I graduated from college. As we were dancing, she said, “I can’t believe you’re really leaving!” And even though I was sad, it was then that it really clicked that I was. It’s surreal to listen to it and walk through the streets the lyrics talk about, FYI.

The Middle by Jimmy Eat World

It’s an oldie, but a goodie. It couldn’t be truer, either: “It just takes some time, little girl, you’re in the middle of the ride. Everything, everything will be just fine. Everything will be alright.

Any Man of Mine by Shania Twain

Dear future boyfriend or husband (or just fling, if I so decide to have), please listen to this song and realize this is how I feel. Ok?

Click Flash by Ciara

This song, as I’m walking down the street, I pretend there are paparazzi following me, taking pictures and that I’m famous. I also pretend my clothes are designer. Lame? Yes. Gratifying? Yessss.

Faith by George Michael

Not only is this fun to sing along to, but the words are powerful. Yes, we want to go home with certain guys and throw our hearts to the wind (and maybe I will one day), but you have to stay true to yourself, too. And more than anything, you have to have faith in yourself and in the process.

Hey Girl by OAR

There is one sweet love song on my High Heels playlist. When I close my eyes and I imagine the type of man I will end up with (and now dreaming doesn’t hurt as much), I think of a guy who would sing these words to me. Free but loyal, talented but centered, passionate and fun, but humble. And of course, adores me.

Just Dance by Lady Gaga

For a while, this song reminded me of Mr. Idea and his dance moves, but now, it just shows me how much I have to keep the steps going and try not to lose sight of today, when I’m looking for the finale. It will be okay.

New Soul by Yael Naim

Move to a big city. Check. Find a job. Check. Find an apartment. Check. Make a ton of mistakes. Check. Learn from mistakes. Check. Find peace and love in herself. In progress.

One Step at a Time by Jordin Sparks

If you have high heels on, you can coordinate the clicking at the beginning of this song with your actual heels. And listen to the words, all very encouraging. So close you can taste it…but it’s all one step at a time.

Unwritten by Natasha Beddingfield

Well, I’m a writer. C’mon.