Last Single Girl Standing

Waiting for my doorbell to ring the day after New Year’s, I anxiously anticipated the arrival of one of my dearest best friends, M. We were ordering cheap Chinese, exchanging Christmas presents and catching up about the 10-plus days we spent apart – something we never, ever do except during the holidays.

She’s a girl who is as much fun as she’s dependable and honest – always giving you the support you want with a side of healthy reality that you need. We’ve been through the trenches together, had a knockdown, drag-out, three-hour-long fight in my bathroom — telling each other what we really think — helped each other move and build furniture, pick the other one up when they couldn’t walk home (whoops) and brought pizza when a breakup was enough to break us. New York has always felt like home to me, but it wasn’t until I found my partner in crime – and for sharing margs and guac weekly – that I really felt like I could settle into my city. There’s something about having a best friend that lets you let down your guard and know that even if the guys suck, the job is tough or the tummies pooch – you have someone who will love you unconditionally, make sure you get over yourself and remember how great you are, too.

Maybe it’s my hidden jealous side that I try to keep at bay or just the fear of losing something that’s precious to me – but I was nervous about M coming over that night. I knew we’d have a great time because we always do – yet I also knew I was about to receive a piece of news that I didn’t quite want to hear. And not because it was bad news (it was in fact exciting and amazing) but because I knew it would change things.

You see, M has always been my single friend.

The gal who encouraged me to dance a little more, stay out a little longer, give that short guy a chance or walk out of a date if it was bad (and meet her for martinis after). The one who would let me analyze everything to death and talk it into the ground, and then match my stories with ones as terrible as my own. If not more awful at times. The one who was there to swap our silly dating troubles, edit each other’s online dating profiles and talk about how weird it’d be when one of us got a boyfriend.

And weird it is.

I haven’t met her new beau — we’ll call him Mr. Bear — but I’ve never seen her so bubbly and giggly, and yes, because it’s M, a little uncomfortable with the whole thing. Since I knew it was coming (something in my gut just told me so), when she arrived — grinning from ear to ear — I went for it head on:

Do you have a boyfriend? I quizzed directly. Coyly, she tucked her hair behind her ear and nodded, Yes, I have a boyfriend. He asked if it was for real — and it is!

A real relationship is exactly what she needed and though she’ll hate me for saying it on this blog – something she’s been wanting for a while. She’s flown solo for a long time – five years! – and I knew her bright, shining “one day” would come along sooner than later. I also knew it’d take a special guy who could be tender with her while also challenging her in the way that keeps her intrigued. When we were tipsy off of wine one time – we made predictions about the guy we’d date next: she said my guy would be one of those goofy, slightly nerdy, but handsome and tall and unbearably kind kind of guys. I said she wouldn’t like her guy right away (she didn’t care for Mr. Bear at first), but that his charm, his sweetness and the way they connected would bring them together. And make her eventually give in.

I like being right – but I can’t lie that when my suspicions of her new relationship were confirmed, I felt a little disappointed. Maybe disappointed isn’t the right word per se – maybe more like: Oh god! I’m the last single girl standing! What if she disappears into the couple nook and I don’t see her for months because she spends so much time with him? What if she changes from the outgoing, fun girl that makes me a better, more relaxed person into a girl I don’t even recognize? What if she starts doing double dates with all of our friends with boyfriends and I’m forever the third wheel?

What if I lose my best friend?!

But when I looked at her – blushing and probably a little nervous to tell me about her new beau –considering I’ve been in the market for one of my own for a while, too – I swallowed my pride. And instead of seeing my fears and the envy I felt boiling – I felt something different: happiness. This man has brought her something that I can’t, that I wouldn’t want to bring – and for the first time in a long time, she looked at ease. She looked like she was bursting with stories to tell, incredible new experiences to tell me about, romantic encounters that of course, she has to share with her best friend. (Especially a friend who loves love to a disturbing, addicted degree.) I saw in her what I miss feeling myself: hope. Anticipation. Excitement. Wishful thinking. Love.

And so, I stopped thinking about what I don’t have (yet) to be a great listener to someone who has always listened to me. Because though she’s my best friend, her relationship isn’t about me and the choices she makes because of it aren’t up to me, either – it’s a new unchartered territory for her to explore with someone she could one day really, truly care about. And while I may wish for something similar of my own, I more so wish for continued glee – and a very long honeymoon stage – for M and Mr. Bear.

So when do I get to meet him?? I asked, matching her smile and giving her a much-delayed hug.

I may be the last single gal standing of my group of gals – but I’m proud to stand by them. And – I guess — their boyfriends, too.

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There is No Other Me

Lately, I’ve been going through a pseudo-identity crisis. Not because I’ve lost touch with who I am or because I’m not adjusting to the ever-changing tide that defines my 20s – but because a friend of mine is constantly telling me how much I’m like someone else.

Alright, let’s get this a little clearer, a boy that I’ve been hanging out with, points out the similarities between me and his ex-girlfriend.

Now, he doesn’t do this to be rude or to reminisce about his former flame, but he finds it humorous. I can’t say I actually think it’s funny (though certain matching traits and stories are quite ridiculous) – but I admit it has thrown me for a loop.

This blog and journey has made me celebrate being single and feeling comfortable as a minus one. While I do have my obsessive moments (usually brought on by red wine or love songs), as a whole, I see dramatic changes and an intense rise in self-confidence. I could contribute this to growing up and starting to realize the bigger picture and scope of my life, but I really, truly, believe part of the transformation is due to facing and accepting my “love addiction.”

However, even for the brand-new-me who is happy to be flying solo, being compared to another woman doesn’t sit well with me. In fact, at times, it has made me angry. Regardless if you are falling head over heels for a man, have the desire to date him, or just are enjoying his company – no one wants to be told “Wow. You sound just like her.” or “She said that too.” or “You’re her two years ago.”

I’m sorry, dude, but just because you seem to have a “type” –doesn’t mean I fit into a mold that was created by your lovely lady of months (or years?) ago. While I like to think I’m relatable, I am also my own person,o ne of a kind, and a unique, beautiful creature, that deserves to be treated as such.

Hearing him compare or indicate the parallels has made me think before I speak and question if he sees me for me or as a slightly different version of someone he once loved. Even more so, it has made me wonder if it would bother me if he wasn’t in fact, a man, but just a girlfriend who kept saying “Oh my God! You remind me of my ex-best friend!”

Would I still be irked by being discounted as an individual, by being matched up to another person?

I think so. While it is rather odd when a triangle is created between you and a man’s former gal, it is still peculiar when anyone thinks you’re “just like” someone else. Everyone, man or woman, wants to feel like they are one in a million, not a clone of someone they’ve never met.

So to keep myself from continuing down this very bizarre mini identity crisis I’ve been experiencing, here are 25 facts about me, that even if someone else feels the same way, they belong to me:

-I drink coffee every single day and exactly the same way. With skim and three Splendas. Sometimes, I go back for seconds. Possibly thirds.

-I can’t stand the quiet. I must always have music playing to be able to write, sleep, work, or get ready.

-I’m a big fan of museums. It is my goal to see every single one in the city several times while I live here. Among my favorites include The Met and the Guggenheim and the MoMA.

-I think constantly and I’m always brewing an article, a blog, or an idea. If there were more hours in the day, I’d spend them in the park, watching people go by, meeting new friends in random NYC-approved ways, and drinking, well, coffee, of course.

-I’m about as girly as it gets. I own two pairs of skinny jeans that I adore and look great on me. However, if you’re my friend and you see me in jeans, you say “Wow, you wear pants? It is so strange to see you in them.” I also own probably 75 pairs of heels. No exaggeration.

-I’ve been in love twice in my life. But I’ve had a lot of lust in between.

-Whenever I’m down or blue or nervous or unsure of what to do in my life or if I’m going on the right path, I always find a penny. Sometimes a dime. I believe it is the heavens way of telling me they are listening and guiding me.

-I want to be a published author of a book. Scratch that, I will be.

-I’m a fan of babies and puppies and when I see either, I coo. I make no excuses for it.

-I love to run and if I couldn’t run or write, I’m not quite sure what I would do with myself.

-I love to travel. I have a list of places I must see before I die and I’d love to live abroad for a portion of my life, possibly even raise my family there. When I was in college, I had a map of the world and I pin-pointed every place I wanted to go. I need to do that in NYC too.

-I love being naked. Not sure why, just like it. However, I will never go to a nude beach or colony. Well…unless someone paid me to write about it.

-It took me a long time to call myself a “writer” or a “journalist.” Because I had been “playing” that part since I was seven, when it actually happened, I felt like I was still playing make-believe.

-I document everything. I have a “Dream Book” that highlights all of the important dates and people that have been in my life. It also holds movie and show and art ticket stubs that I will never throw away.

-I’m dying to get a bike in the city. And to move downtown. Both, I believe will happen by summertime.

-I love to cook and bake. I’m looking into taking a baking and/or cooking class next year. And possibly a dance class. I have absolutely no rhythm, but I’d love for someone to try to teach me.

-I never go anywhere without my wallet, lipstick, and a blank notebook. I often times, however, forget a pen.

-I’m a PC-user, but want to be a Mac user.

-When I get up in the morning, the first thing I do is shower. Then I drink a glass of orange juice and check Gmail, this blog, Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, and The NY Times. In that order, no exceptions.

-I talk to my mom at least once a day. I really should call my dad more.

-While I like to go out to bars, I don’t want to meet a man there. I think it is a prescription for trouble.

-I love atmosphere. It is almost as important to me as the food at a restaurant. I like candles, music, and presentation. I want to have an experience, not a meal.

-I don’t have a food weakness really, other then, well, food. I like all of it: desserts, breads, meat, veggies – ah, I’m in love. I will eat almost anything, except cauliflower. I think it looks like broccoli gone wrong.

-I sincerely don’t think I’m ready to meet the person I will marry. And for once, that doesn’t bother me.

-Yes, the city is everything I hoped it would be. But it is different too – in a good way. It is more difficult and more amazing then I thought possible.

While these may seem like silly things, it is often the little traits that make a person. And if I’m going to love myself, no matter what, under any circumstance, I’m going to adore the miniature characteristics that people may or may not notice, but are important to me.

And regardless if there is someone else out there who feels the same way or does the same things or acts in the same fashion, I know there is only one me in the world.

So sorry, buddy, I’m not like your ex-girlfriend. I’m like me.

FedEx Sent a Box of Jealousy

Since deciding I wanted to create a 12-step program to letting go of my negativity towards love and finding the self-love I need –I’ve been in a great mood. I have been buzzing with this positive energy, telling everyone I know about how excited I am, and the support I’ve received from my friends and family has been incredible.

I haven’t been sleeping well because I’m so full of creativity and ambition over this journey and how badly I’ve needed to do it, and the fact that finally, I am. These blogs have literally been flowing out of me –almost like an out-of-body-experience. When I re-read them, it’s like I don’t even remember writing them.

And all those happy thoughts, rainbows, butterflies, and fairy dust that have been keeping me on a “Hope-to-Love-Being-Single Cloud 9” disappeared in a matter of seconds yesterday.

It was a particularly busy day at the magazine because it was the day before going to press. Last minute edits were being made, the edit staff was arguing over commas and pull-quote selections, and the art director was attempting not to lose his cool. As the EA, I sat up front, man the desk, man the process, and smile and nod when needed.

Thanks, FedEX

I was editing pages when my FedEx guy (he always remembers me) walked in, cheerful as always, with a big box that read “Pro Flowers” on it. Immediately, in the mere four seconds it took him to walk from the door to my desk, I racked my mind with who could have possibly sent me flowers: My mom? Would she send me flowers? What about my dad –did he say he was going to do that? What about the guy who came to my birthday party –would he do that? Does he even have my address? What about my ex –is he trying to win me back…again?

The nice FedEx man interrupted my ridiculous questioning and happily said they were for my co-worker, J. Without even thinking, I grumpily replied “Of course they are.” I quickly signed my name and he walked off as my co-worker giddily accepted the flowers waiting by my desk.

All it took was for the realization that flowers weren’t for me –even though I wasn’t expecting flowers –to turn my mood downward. I automatically typed a snarky IM to the co-worker who received the flowers, and then told our general manager about it with a frowny face. My co-worker, E (also a single chick) and I looked at each other and silently said: “Really?” She quickly said, “All I get is e-flowers,” to which I replied, “I don’t even get those!” Then, I started getting annoyed at the fill-in editor and with the art director, and in a huff –I decided I need to get some air.

I marched (literally, stomped) my way to a new food venue (I had a 20 percent off coupon, so why not?) where five very friendly, perky employees greeted me kindly and asked if I could be helped. I snapped at the last one, and when I couldn’t order my Diet Coke to go with my avocado burger –you’d think with my attitude, the whole world was falling apart.

And in a way –it had.

I had been reminded that I was single. That flowers weren’t for me. That there wasn’t a secret admirer who cared about me. That I wasn’t the special one in the office who was on display because their boyfriend publically displayed his love. That all of this blogging maybe wasn’t going as smoothly and easily as I had imagined. That maybe, I was still going to have admit my jealousy and my poor attitude…is a more intense, than even I originally thought.

However, having this experience only strengthened my desire to continue on this journey. I don’t want to feel this way when someone gets flowers. Especially J who has grown to be one of my dearest friends, and who doesn’t boast about their relationship to me (and frankly, has listened to my ridiculous rants since the day we met). I want to be able to be happy for those who have found love, not dangerously jealous. I don’t want my longing for love and dissatisfaction with being single to rule my life.

So here is the last part of step one –I fully, whole-heartedly admit that I have a problem with being single. I admit to being envious of others. I admit to being hateful, sad, and overall just moody when something rubs me the wrong way in terms of love. I admit that I hate being single, but I sincerely do want to learn how to achieve contentment and happiness as a solo-lady.

I admit this process is going to take work and it’s not going to be easy.

And to celebrate moving on to Step 2 “believing a higher power can take away my negative attitude towards love” –I’m buying myself a bouquet of tulips and daisies.

After all –if it’s about self-love, I deserve to show me that I care.

Why Being Single Can Suck

My friend R has always been full of helpful insight and wisdom. She’s been through more than any young woman should –and when I see her standing bold, beautiful, and optimistic; I’m enthralled with her courage.

We jokingly call our relationship a “long-distance friendship” –the majority of the time we’ve known each other, we’ve been in separate towns, and most recently, different states. We stay connected through Facebook messages and text messages –primarily consisting of “SOSes”. It’s a secret term we send each other when we need to sincerely, immaturely, and inappropriately freak-out.

If some of the letters I have sent to her were ever published –I’d be certified straight-out crazy. Luckily, as a writer herself, she knows how to respond in a manner that gets through to me, and she has prevented (and taken the blunt of) many of the ridiculous rants that come out of me.

As I’ve been trying to figure out if there is anything else I need to understand (or at least attempt to) about why I hate being single –I looked back on some conversations between us.

I’ve concluded that sometimes, it just sucks being single.

Maybe some will curse my poor word choice –but sucks is just really the best term for it. For some, it’s unmanageable (it’s been the way for me, which is why I’m writing this blog), and for others, being single is just something they put up with, but can handle without freaking out (God bless ‘em). But as a collective, there are parts of being a minus-one that a plus-one doesn’t have to endure.

Being incredibly honest with my friends on Facebook (probably to a default, but I’ve never been shy) –I asked them what sucks the most about being single. The response I received was incredible –from high school friends I haven’t spoken to in years to men (believe it) who feel the same way too:

“Having creepy guys hit on you and not being able to say, ‘I’m sorry. I have boyfriend,’ and really be able to mean it, while thanking God your man is not that weird.” -N

“Having no one to play in leaf piles with.” -C

“The most difficult part of being single was when my relatives or friends say ‘Gosh, you are such a pretty girl, why aren’t you married yet?’ – Like, duh, gee I don’t know, maybe it’s because I haven’t met anyone that I want to marry yet or maybe I don’t want to get married right now!” -K

“Watching everyone around you find someone who wants to be with them forever. It is like a constant reminder that there must be something wrong with you because no one wants forever with you.” -R

“There are so many things I hate, but what I think I hate most, is not being able to touch someone. To lay next to someone on the couch and watch a movie, to hold someone’s hand while we walk, to walk into a loving embrace after a bad day, to wake up next to someone, just to name a few. Now don’t get me wrong, I know being in a relationship isn’t all rainbows and butterflies, but that’s what I hate the most about being single.” -B

“The most difficult part about being single: knowing you’re a catch and that someone is out there for you, but having to play the waiting game until he shows up.” -M

“To me the worse part of being single is the lack of companionship; it seems like with a friend with benefits or a one night stand, a girl is seeking something that can only be found in a relationship built around trust.” -E

“I guess it’s not having the love from boys and pampering from boys that we girls enjoy. Like if you’re upset and stuff…it’s nice to have a boyfriend to go to… and it’s nice to have someone to cuddle with at the end of the day.” -S

“Not having someone to cuddle with on Sunday nights or not having the one person to turn to when things are bad. Yes I have my friends but having a companion would be nice.” –E

“The worse part of being single or what I miss the most about being in a relationship is sleeping alone. I really can go days without hugging a single soul.” -L

Notice a common thread? I did: being single sucks because…you’re alone.

If you’re stressed out from work and you want to pull out all of your hair and be incredibly frustrated –there isn’t someone to say, ‘its okay baby, come here, let me hold you.’ Or if you just had an incredible run where you beat your best time and you’re in a playful mood –there isn’t anyone waiting at home for you to seduce or an apartment you can just drop by to. Or when it rains (or on a lazy Sunday) –there isn’t someone there for you to curl up with.

Instead –you’ve got yourself. And of course, as E says, you’ve got your friends. But there is something different about companionship. It’s comforting. It’s soothing. It’s relaxing. It’s heartfelt. It’s warm. It’s…completion?

I hope this journey can teach me (and all of you, too!) that I’m already complete –even if I don’t have a companion. No, I don’t come home to someone gleaming over their newspaper at me, I don’t fall apart in a man’s arms (but R’s inbox is there for that), and Sunday nights are just like other nights –but I still have myself. And God is there too.

So far, it’s still hard to not have companionship; and my thoughts are the same as all of the ones above -but I can get there. And I want to. I don’t want to be plagued and pestered by thoughts of being alone or lonely. They don’t have the right to rule my mind, confidence, or mindset.

We enter this life alone and we exit it alone, too. We’ll fall in love in between –but at the end of the day, the end of the story –you’re happily ever after…begins and ends with you.

Let’s try falling in love with ourselves first. Then we can try this Sunday night cuddling thing.

PS –I watched a Nicholas Sparks movie last night –not a good idea for a single gal starting this experience, FYI.