Can I Hear Me Now?

I can remember a time in middle school where all I did was talk about the boy I had a crush on. I’d scribble his face all over my notebooks, pair my name with his last , and in permanent ink (because that’s how I wanted our “love” to be) write Lindsay & Mr. So-and-So forever and ever, and ever. I’d spend hours obsessing over the tiny, insignificant details, and wrap myself in the long, white, curly chord of our home phone, discussing what I thought were signs of fate with my BFFs, until and after bedtime.

Did I say middle school? Maybe I meant high school. Or college. Perhaps post-graduation? Isn’t it funny how from the time we become intrigued by love, the way we approach it doesn’t seem to change too awful much, even though we’ve become “grown-ups”?

Women are often criticized for freaking out or for being overly-emotional or taking things too seriously or reading into signals that technically weren’t fired off. Maybe so – but I think we do this to protect ourselves, prepare ourselves for the worse, and probably because we just care that much. I don’t think men necessarily care any less, yet for whatever reason (I’d like to blame how boys are raised to be more independent than women, but I digress) -they don’t let their ‘what-if’ monsters out to play very often.

It wasn’t until embarking on this journey and deciding once-and-for-all that thoughts of what men think, what men want, what men need, what men desire, will no longer lead my life, that my compulsions lessened. To overcome the urge to get fixated on something a man did, I instead, switched to focusing on myself and what I deserve. And this change, so far, has worked well for me.

So well, that I’m not sure what my friends think. Ever since I revealed Mr. Possibility went fishing in the sea of she-fishes, appropriately had a mini meltdown, followed by finally letting myself get upset – I’ve stopped talking about what happened. And really, I’ve ceased discussing him, too. Not only my friends, but some of my followers and readers have emailed me to ask: “What are you going to do about Mr. Possibility? Is he out of the picture?”

If I’m going to continue to be honest, I must admit, that no, Mr. Possibility is still somewhat a possibility. I can’t say for what type of relationship or if for any relationship whatsoever, but he hasn’t disappeared out of my life and I haven’t sent him to the Great Land of Assholes. (Though, a few ex-boyfriends are not-so happily camping there).  We are, in fact, talking on a daily basis and sometimes I give him complete hell, but I’m not writing him off just yet.

A few nights ago before I went to bed (which means morning for him), we decided to video chat instead of Gchatting or texting for an unreasonable amount of hours. We tried with Skype, which only showed my camera the first time, and then only his audio the second try. Hoping the third time’s a charm, we attempted again – but a message popped up on my end saying “Connection isn’t strong enough to video. Please turn off video to secure audio.”

My first thought, at 11:30 at night, while still typing to Mr. Possibility, was “Wait, if the connection is tempoarirly unstable, we’re supposed to close our eyes and listen? We should cease looking ahead, and take a step back to really to hear what the other end is saying?”

Well, Skype, I never thought you’d be that insightful. And neither did Mr. Possibility – when we managed to get Gmail’s video to work, he saw me scribbling in my precious black notebook that holds all of my ideas for this blog, and asked: “Did our videoing tries really inspire something? Can’t wait to read this one!”

With his return to the states still weeks away, I knew that placing all of my attention and using all of my minutes trying to battle what I feel, what I now expect, what I desire, what I think I should stand for, and what I deserve, would be wasteful. It would cause me to bombard my friends with questions they don’t want to answer repeatably (as they always have to with me), wreck my evenings, hold me back at my job, and even worse – keep me from continuing on the path I so badly wanted to travel. I know I can’t turn a blind eye forever and I should take the words he says with a grain of salt – but until there is an actual person standing in front of me, I don’t have to address everything right away.

And so, when I realized what we were developing became fuzzy on both receivers, I knew it was time for me to rid of the dial tone. I mentally clicked “end”, and let my overwhelming thoughts go. I didn’t need an operator to tell me this number can’t be reached, and to try my call again, because really, I’m not ready to call it again. Our connection, or rather our trust that we were building was interrupted, and so I typed in a new number: my own. And thus, instead of hitting re-dial or hearing a busy signal on the other end, I took my life, my emotions, my obsessions, into my own hands and I started listening. Instead of worrying if I could hear (or see) Mr. Possibility, I asked: Can I hear me now?

I stopped thinking about what it would be like to visit him, picturing the first few moments when we finally saw each other again, and hoping he’d do something so incredible he’d make into the blog for something good, instead of something unsettling. In replace of these notions and hopes I had – I put more energy into developing my sense of self, my career, my friendships, and my overall quality of life.

While I may have encountered a hiccup with Mr. Possibility, it isn’t the first one I’ve had with a man and more than likely, won’t be the last. But today, in this moment, I can’t think of any stronger signal with higher bars and a fiercely charged battery than the one I have with myself. And while that link may at times shake and stagger, it’ll never be so weak that I have to disconnect.

Gmail’s Language Lesson

Addicts have addictive personalities –we are more likely to develop an additional obsession to the one we have. While I could make a wager on having a high-heel fixation –I believe my true second addiction is Gmail.

If I roughly estimated how many times I check my Gmail on a daily basis –it’d probably be close to 75 or more. It’s always up at work, although I set my Gchat status to “Busy” (with the cute little color-coded buttons!). I often will chat with someone via Gchat, read other people’s “Buzz” updates, and every time I see I have a new email –I seriously get excited. I always anticipate getting an important, urgent, or fascinating email that delivers incredible news. I’m not exactly sure what email I think I’ll be getting –but my eagerness never dwindles.

I actually check Gmail before I even check Facebook and I have five accounts –my personal, one for ChickSpeak, one for the ChickSpeak assistant, one for my day job, and one for this blog. I don’t check each of them every single day –but at least once a week. I love all of the features and I think you’d be crazy (or born before 1980) to use any other platform other then Gmail (A little promotional maybe, but if Google sponsors me, I’d be game).

So you can imagine my despair when I woke up Tuesday morning to discover my personal Gmail account had been spammed. Someone or something (not exactly who “they” represents who hacks into accounts) sent a spam link to over 500 people from my name. This doesn’t only include my address book –but basically anyone I’ve ever sent any email to: possible employers, those I worked with at Cosmopolitan or Seventeen and my current job, family, friends, Craigslist postings, and the list goes on and on.

After waking up at the very last alarm at 7:30 with only an hour to spare before having to catch the train –I quickly needed to send out an email to all of those addresses before they woke up to click on the link. As I composed the email warning people not to open the last email from me because it was spam and could potentially cause damage to their computer –I started to wonder about what “spam” exactly is.

Yes, it’s some sort of meat (maybe) concoction that crazy people find tasty, but as defined by Wikipedia (my generation’s Encyclopedia), it’s the “use of electronic systems to send unsolicited bulk messages indiscriminately.”

Think about it: spam infiltrates our computers or our email accounts –both of which are near-and-dear to our hearts, holding all sorts of personal information and proposes the risk of damaging everything we determine has value.

But what about our minds?

I’d say that’s a pretty important part of our bodies. Even though it’s valuable, holds all of our personal information –we send spam through it each and every day. And we allow it to travel throughout our systems –causing possible destruction to our hearts, minds, and overall well-being.

I realized how much my thoughts control my mood, my attitude, my walk, my talk, my concentration, my organization, my eating habits, my stamina, my motivation…my everything.

And every single day –I send out consistent spam through my thoughts. I started paying attention to some of the language I use as a thought-spammer: “It’s just not going to happen for you. Others are meant for love, you’re not.” “You’re not as pretty as she is. Or as skinny. Your skin isn’t as clear either.” “You’re working for a business magazine –is that what you moved to New York for?” “A guy like that wouldn’t like you.” “You need to run more.” “You’re going to be single forever. You’re meant to walk home from my gym alone every single night.”

Wow.

My Gmail gets spammed once in the four years I’ve had the account and I sincerely freak out. I spam myself daily –and I never took note of my negativity. No wonder I obsess or I feel awful or down on myself. No wonder I think poorly of how I look, how I handle things, or how I act. No wonder I feel the need to be validated by a man’s love to make me feel important, worthy, or beautiful.

So what if (this is a good “what if”, no worries) I decided to start notifying myself of the spam going on in my head? What if, when a bad thought goes through my head –instead of listening to it, opening it, and allowing it to filter through my mind –I mentally “emailed” myself to warn me of buying into the spam?  What if I sent out a message similar to the one I sent to all of my contacts that said “Warning: having this thought over and over again will cause you to be sad, angry, depressed, and lonely. It will infect your entire system and outlook –so under no circumstances, do not listen to it. By the way, we haven’t caught up recently, Linds, what’s good and new with you?”

What if I fought my “thought spam” as diligently as I fought my email spam?

Self-defeating, negative, and obsessive single-hating spam has no place in my mind, in my Gmail, or in my life. No archiving, no labeling, no Gchatting with it, or replying to its antics. No storing it for later use when I have a bad day that yields to peanut butter and tears. No filling up the account to its maximum capacity with repetitive notions that serve absolutely no purpose and clog up other outgoing thoughts.

The only way to handle thought spam is by just deleting. And then emptying the trash to make room for better things to anticipate and get ridiculously excited for.