So Very Worth It

In a few weeks, I’ll celebrate the third anniversary with the city I love.

It’s seen me through for better and for worst. It’s pushed me out of a love I hoped would last and into days I never wanted to end. I’ve seen it transform itself and me with it’s ever-changing, ever-beautiful ways. It’s still like living in a dream, but it’s more like living in an interesting world I created. That I achieved. That against the odds, I found and made for myself. The streets don’t scare me anymore but they do entice me. I don’t feel like I’ve finished all the things I came here to do but I know I’ve done quite a lot in not a lot of time.

I flow better with the rhythm and the speed of the people and with buildings that surround and challenge me. I’ve given into wearing black, yet I still let my colorful intentions radiate. I understand and have experienced the harshness of the land and the field I’ve decided to pursue. It hasn’t always been easy, not at all, but it has always been a journey, with every step and certainly every stumble. Not matter if there was something — or someone — to break my fall or… nothing at all.

I’ve dated and fallen in love with the natives here — men I used to refer to as businessmen, but now adequately equate as investment bankers or financial traders, even though it all seems like all business (and all cold-hearted) to me. I’ve fished on all the dating sites that I can and I’ve met a few good ones among the constant crash of terrible matches. I’ve tried my hand at the bars on the east and those on the west, but I’ve settled into neighborhoods that fit me better than the rest.

I’ve learned to judge in ways I’m not proud of, but I’ve also developed opinions that I now stand firmly beside. I’ve left the island only to feel in my bones that I would never feel as much at home as I do in this strange place. I’ve missed trains and opportunities, passed by strangers who could have used my help and given too much of myself to someone who didn’t really need it. Or want it. I’ve been embarrassed of ignorance in a city so full of brilliance, and I’ve savored my Southern roots for all that they’re worth and all that they’ve made me. I’ve missed people I’ve yet to meet and hungered for days I have never lived but I’ve also finally learned to settle into the skin and the place I’m in.

I never knew for certain that I would make it here in New York, an urban jungle that determines making it anywhere else in the big old world with all it’s big old cities. I didn’t doubt my abilities or my talents or my humble, caring attitude that I still believe gets me further than anything else. It’s even more powerful than the sound of my heels clicking miles before I appear. I wondered if I would become anther listless writer, another hopeless dreamer who lost her way somewhere between New Jersey and Queens. I didn’t know if I could convince someone to give me a chance or if I could even survive on the minimal salary that I knew would come with my very first big girl job.

But I did believe I should try.

Even if failed to a disappointing demise and had to tuck my Tigar tail and catch a flight to the bittersweet Carolina, I knew I had to give it a go. Remorse I could live with, regret I could not.

It all worked out– as I imagined it possibly would. And I worked myself out in the process. It’s easy and probably sensible to argue that these changes and these growths were mainly due to my age — so much happens in the years between when you’re old enough to buy a beer and when you face the big three zero. But I have to give credit to the city that made me brave. That made me a fighter. That knocked me down and encouraged me to never stay sitting for too long.

I often wonder if I’ll stay here in this island forever– if New York is where I’ll want to raise my children, should I be lucky enough to have them. I think about the days when I’ll move in with a man into a (nicer!) apartment and when I make more money to do more things, and yes, give me more responsibility and accountability. Though I feel like so much has happened on these avenues and in those changing wintry or steamy seasons, if I’m really honest, it’s really just begun.

And the beauty of not knowing my fate with my sweet and seductive city is just like not knowing my fate with anything else: it’s a little scary. But it makes me hopeful more than it makes me anxious. If so much good has happened and I’ve been able to move past the bad to find the parts that I can learn from — surely what’s ahead of me is even better than what’s behind me. Perhaps the heartaches and headaches and growing pains are far from over — but I do think that a love, an apartment, a moment with my wonderful Manhattan are silver linings I’ll one day be able to experience.

No, moving to New York has never been completely, totally perfect. Not my life here, not the dating adventures I always blog about. But you know what? That’s what makes it so amazing. That’s what makes it — and will always make it — so very worth it.

It’s Funny That Way

I’m alone in New York. It’s raining and cloudy and though it’s half-way through March, it’s chilly outside and my luggage is getting wet. I’m wondering if I’ll like the girl whose couch I’m crashing on. I’m hoping she’ll like me. I’m praying that cab driver — who took forever on my very first ride in NYC — dropped me off at the right place in Brooklyn. God knows I don’t know where the hell I am. She’s waving and smiling, helping me carry everything I own in three red pull-along suitcases up two flights of stairs. I’m trying to fall asleep on a futon, trying not to think about the tough road ahead of me, trying to get comfortable in a stranger’s home, trying to make all of my parts to stop worrying myself into a hot little frenzy that won’t let me be productive tomorrow. It’s finally starting. It’s finally, finally starting — I’m here. I’m finally here. I never thought I’d get here.

Life’s funny that way, I thought.

I work at a magazine. Sure, it’s something no one has ever heard of. It’s not really prestigious. I don’t know anything about its subject matter: small business. But, it’s a job! I’m an Editorial Assistant, I’m writing, I’m web-producing, I’m going to networking events, I’m working. I. Am. Working! I get paychecks and pay stubs, tax-free subway cards and people who count on me to arrive on time at 9 a.m., coffee in hand. I’m learning why coffee is so freaking fabulous. I’m discovering why it’s absolutely necessary for my daily existence. I’m meeting new people but it’s such a slow process. I feel really alone sometimes. I miss North Carolina when it’s quiet in that itty-bitty apartment in Harlem, where it’s too scary to go outside but too hot to stay inside, and I can’t afford an air conditioner because I’m an editorial assistant at a trade publication that’s not on newsstands and doesn’t pay very much. But I’m employed. I’m employable. I did it. I didn’t think I’d actually get a job in publishing — everyone said it was impossible.

Life’s funny that way.

Why am I still single? I’ve lived in this damn city for eight months and I’ve barely gone on any good dates – none worthy of commentary or thought, anyway. I haven’t even had sex. Ugh. That’s so pathetic to think about, so I won’t. It was my birthday yesterday and not a single guy bought me a drink or asked me to dance or inappropriately commented on getting in my “birthday” suit as I sorta-desperately wanted them too. It’s been such a long, long time since I’ve felt any connection, any spark, any anything with anyone and I’m starting to wonder if it’s impossible. I’ve never quite liked being single, though I’ve held that status far more times than I’ve been committed. I’m tired of this crying and this longing, this self-defeating attitude, this basing-my-every-breathing-moment-and-every-ounce-of-confidence on having a guy or not having a guy. I’m so exhausted and I’m not the only one, that I know for sure. I think I’ll write about this. I think I’ll start a blog. Yeah, a blog. I’ll put it on Facebook and see if anyone relates. Writing a blog won’t be that hard or take up too much time, right?

Life’s funny that way.

I’m starting to not mind being single – maybe the blog is actually working as I had hoped. I’m feeling stronger and brighter, put-together and put-in-line — this was an incredible idea, Lindsay. Good job. You even made it to the homepage of WordPress — look at you! Maybe this could be something you really get into? But then there’s that guy. Oh, the boy. Why do I always meet someone intriguing when I’m trying to avoid anything distracting? I didn’t like him when I met him. I couldn’t decide if I found him attractive or not, if he was my style or out of my league. Then I really liked him. Then I slept with him. Then I couldn’t get him out of my head – or out of my bed – and then I fell in love. He kinda did, too, in his own little sick, odd, twisted way. Everything tingled and twinged from the back of my neck to behind my knees, where everything feels shaky, yet so certain. Love boiled into my skin and turned me around-and-around, up-and-down, inside-out, sideways and moving forward with a hundred bolts of butterflies shooting from my stomach and clouding my eyes into a crystallized rose hue that I wanted to look through more than any other view in this lovely city. I was mesmerized and hypnotized, tricked into a beautiful little fool with every naive bone in my body. I let him consume me, my blog, my thoughts and my heart – day-by-day, against any criticism and any concern raised. And then I realized that maybe, this blog wasn’t working, after all.

Life’s funny that way.

I’m so heartbroken and embarrassed, I don’t know what to do with myself. I’m tossing and turning at night. I’m putting my heart to sleep. I’m sad that year of writing the blog is over. I’m reminded by his voice and his touch, his smell and his bittersweet memories on all of these streets. These streets are still my streets, my New York, my city, my life that I carved out for myself – but it feels like he’s written all over it. But what’s left of us? A handful of URLs that’ll forever live online? Promises that are tainted with emotional infidelity and a wandering eye that made me feel unnoticeable? Late night, drunken text messages to a phone number I’ve annoyingly memorized and remember when I need to send something cruel or pitiful, or for when he sends me flowers, again, for no reason, even after I ask him no to? Our love – or at least some version of it – is butchered in dozens of emails I shouldn’t have sent and he shouldn’t have responded to. I’m catching trains and deliberately missing them, haunting my phone and cursing it in the same hour, doing all that I can to move on. I’m wishing him the best, I’m wishing him that happiness he’s been searching for…I’m wishing he finds love. I guess. I’m hoping we can one day be friends, but then again, maybe I’m not. I’m in between the hardest part of letting go and the moment when my give-a-damn runs out. And damnit, I’m missing him – though I’d never admit it to any of my friends.

Life’s funny that way.

I have the dream job! The DREAM job! Someone is paying me to write about things I would (and have) write about for free. I go to bed early to make sure I make it to work on time, I still light up when I see my own byline. I’m pinching myself that it all came together after this summer. After I was laid off from the job I despised, left to wait for someone to pick me up from Dunkin’ Donuts where I sat with a suitcase and my desk packed into a grocery bag. After the summer where I watched my savings slowly disappear after a year-and-a-half of building them up. After a summer of free happy hours because they were free, and wondering which percent I’d eventually fall into. But then it happened – an edit test and three interviews later – the job I loved, loved me back. And now I feel alive, now I feel like I can do anything. Now I feel supported and considered, overly satisfied and eternally grateful that something so wonderful happened to me. I never thought I’d get exactly what I wanted before I hit the big 2-5, but I did.

Life’s funny that way.

I have the greatest friends in the world. For the first time, maybe ever, I’m thriving on being single, instead of hating it. I’m not dating for dinners, but dating if the man is worthy of someone as precious as me. I’m reminding to talk to myself like my greatest fan would, I’m reminding myself to eat healthier, I’m reminding myself of what I want so I don’t go back to the things I think I want. I’m running and running, trying to find the next adventure, trying to get a head-start on the next life lesson that’ll throw me a curve ball that I know I’ll never be ready for. Because I never am. I’m making lists of things and places, trips and dreams I want to accomplish. I’m feeling like I’m running out of time and that time is moving so fast that I can’t grasp it. I can’t hold onto a week before it slips away, I can’t check anything off my bucket list when the bucket feels like it’s close by. I’m wanting to travel and go to Spain. Or Australia or Ireland or Costa Rica. I’m wanting to just go – but then I’m wanting to stay and enjoy New York more than I am. I’m wondering why my friends are getting married or getting divorced and I’m still wondering when to get started down that track. So, I’m pushing myself to do more. To see more. To be more. To have more. To give more. To grow more. But then also to do less and rest; to see less and appreciate the present; to have less and make do with what I own; to take more and not be afraid to demand what I want. To grow less and stay put, at this age, at this moment, at this hour, in this apartment in this city, getting ready to sleep to go to the job I love, single and satisfied being in the company of me, myself and I. I’m never quite enough, yet always more than enough to handle. I always have exactly what I need but I want more, though I know, I probably need less. I just want to keep on going – and going – and going.

The most beautiful thing about life is that it always changes, my mom says. It’s funny that way. 

In An Ordinary Afternoon

The city has a strength that few can deny – in one powerful moment on an ordinary afternoon, it can steal your attention and calm your soul instantly. It takes what it can take and gives the very least it can, but you push through anyway. New York doesn’t make excuses for anything it does and it expects no less or more from its inhabitants, either native, visiting or transplanted. It’s unbearably hot, frigidly cold, entirely unpredictable, and ruthlessly relentless. But us dreamers? We keep coming, one-by-one, and two-by-two, with a few suitcases and singing a duet of ego and fear, determined to be destined to make it here, in New York freakin’ City, the place we were meant to be.

But the city fails us.

It kicks sidewalk trash in our eyes, places pigeons in our path, and tosses our dignity away with the unexpected Marilyn-Monroe-like subway vent gush of warm air up our skirts. It rains when we wear suede even though the forecast promised super-sunny highs. It has train delays on the days we need to get somewhere and is entirely too fast when we’re going to a place we just don’t want to be at. It goes express when we need local, local when we wish for express, and if there’s a rooftop party with a view, it’ll give us something to toss up the afternoon. It keeps enduring it all, failing us constantly, and we keep living.

And one day, out of nowhere in the middle of another ordinary afternoon or night, we meet some boy. With some story, from someplace we’ve never been or a town we knew from this person a few years ago who used to date our best friend who recently got married – and we’ll click. We’ll have the distracting click. We’ll watch the way they stick out their tongue when they concentrate and adore the rosiness of their cheeks when they sleep, regardless if it’s humid or chilly outside. We’ll grow accustomed to the shape of their body, the flash of joy our body experiences when we see their name pop up with a text message, and having those things that are “our” things, just between us and that boy we met that day we’ll always find just so damn glorious.

But the boy fails us.

He’s human and he’s a guy, so automatically, he’s doomed to be someone we won’t always see eye-to-eye with. He’ll call most of the time when he says he will, but on those gloomy, crappy, downright awful times when we’re blubbering hot messes in need of a shot of Merlot and a Magnolia’s cupcake, he won’t be around. He’ll be out-and-about or an emergency of the real kind will pop up, and he’ll need to have his attention elsewhere. He won’t always give us what we need and we won’t always know how to ask for it. He’ll come and he’ll go in a sweetly sickening stance, teetering between being the man we always craved and someone we pray won’t shatter our heart in the end. But we keep going, we take our relationship as it is, enjoying the beautiful highs and weeding our way through each of our jungles of the past, and we keeping loving.

Then after we take the leap of faith to tackle our city and stomach the nerve to actually let ourselves sincerely care about someone, there will be one of those ordinary afternoons again, where everything seems to be going well and we find ourselves smitten by the state of our lives, wondering where the rain cloud went and pensive it’ll return. I mean, it always does, right? Or does it? This happiness can’t actually end, we’re too big for our shoes now. We’re too self-bloated to believe anything could change. We worked for this pleasure, we paid our dues, we did what we were supposed to be, minus skipping a few steps here and there. So why would anything happen?

But then we fail ourselves.

We’ll have some news that makes us crash-and-burn, question our skills and the way we’re leading our lives. We’ll want to run and run as fast as we can in a direction we don’t dictate, hoping that by moving quickly, we’ll escape the pressure that’s building, the regret we are attempting to ignore that’s bubbling in our chest. Avoiding tears because they make us weak, then letting them escape because we’re told that’s healthy, we crumble to the ground or into our beds, smothered in pillows and sorrow, wanting nothing more, no matter what age we reach, then to hug our mother, smell her hair, and just leave it all behind.

Because we know we went right when going left would have been smarter. We keep letting ourselves get down instead of working hard to push ourselves up. We made decisions we knew weren’t right, we stayed longer than we knew we should have, we made impossible demands on things there were once possible, but now are not. We let our attention wonder when it should have stayed focused, and when we were faced with a challenge, we tried to hide instead of stepping up to it directly. We lingered on the past, on the ideas of what we were, of what we could of been, of where we were going, without remembering who we’re becoming, what will be, and where we’re headed. We got lost in the losses instead of seeing the beauty in losing.

Failing doesn’t mean the end, it means the beginning. And failing is only defined by our own terms based on experiences we’ve had where we were told doing this or doing that meant falling. We can’t fail if we’ve never failed before. But we also can’t win if we haven’t failed. If we don’t know what it feels like when life most literally sucks (there is no more eloquent word), we wouldn’t know to appreciate the blessings when they come our way. Without failure, there is no progress, and with no progress, there is no way to fulfill those dreams in New York, or with or without a man. There is no right way, if there’s never been a wrong way.

So, fail. Learn. Take the road less traveled and figure out it’s wrong. Love someone who doesn’t deserve you. Give away your heart and let that spirit crumble. Make poor decisions that leave you sitting alone at Dunkin Donuts with a red suitcase, an attitude, and a banana you can’t eat (story to come), waiting on a comfort that no one can give you other than yourself, no matter how supporting your possibility is. Be a critic of yourself and give bad reviews. Eat that cheesecake. Yes, the whole thing.

And then breathe. Pick yourself up. Pay your gratitude to the fates, who gave you the beautiful opportunity to fall hard and get a little bruised up. Because now, my friend, it’s time to heal. And of course, to again, one day, in an ordinary afternoon, succeed.

Daily gratitude: I’m thankful that I’ve failed. And that I survived it.

(If you’re wondering, no, Mr. Possibility and I didn’t break up. It’s a different kind of loss)

Baby, Talk is(n’t) Cheap

Some become uncomfortable when others talk religion. Or politics. Or the birds-and-the-bees. These conversations rarely make me lose my train of thought and though others may not agree, I don’t sway my opinion to match what’s considered acceptable by whoever’s standards I’m discussing such topics with.

However, while money talks louder than sex, I’d much rather review every sexual encounter I’ve ever had than talk about cash flow.

For whatever reason, finances freak me the [insert foul word] the out. I come from a family that never struggled to make ends meet and my parents managed our assets smartly and strategically, giving me mostly anything I wanted – minus the pony in the backyard when I was six, but who remembers that? I’ve always been taught to value the dollar and that it is something that comes with hard work. Applying that mentality from the get-go, I started my own baby-sitting “business” at 13, after taking classes at the Red Cross for CPR and childcare, and my dad printed business cards for me, un-cleverly titled, “Lindsay’s Baby-Sitting.”

At 15, off the books and under the table, I earned an hourly wage at a privately owned hotel as a maid. My first day on the job, the head maid escorted me around the premises and I shadowed her cleaning skills and how to tuck the corners of the bedspread carefully. However, when we pulled off the sheets in the first room to discover whipped cream and strawberries, my virginal-self was a bit distracted during the rest of her lessons. Come to find out, it wouldn’t be the craziest thing I discovered at that job.

During high school and college, I worked at grocery and retail stores, restaurants, and daycares. On the side, I freelanced articles for next-to-nothing pay and for eight months, I wrote a weekly column for $10 a pop about worldly issues affecting local teens. I started a non-profit and I became a marketing machine of what I considered my greatest potential – my words. I was using MySpace to network before social networking was ever a topic of discussion. And through all of these odd jobs and while I developed an entrepreneurial spirit, I never stopped worrying about my mini un-wealth. It wasn’t – and maybe still isn’t – something I feel at ease talking about and while I believe in the freedom of speech, for me, that’s a talk that isn’t cheap.

To combat my woes, I’ve always been a saver and never one to really accept financial favors from anyone. After a certain age, it would churn my stomach to ask my parents for cash and I felt a sense of guilt that they were supporting me during school, while so many of my friends were already independent of their families. Men have often paid for my dinners and I almost always allow them to, but once I’m in a relationship, I feel more of a need to go 50/50. Mr. Possibility‘s bonus is more than my annual salary and while he can afford to cover me for every outing we take, I always make an effort to add in my literal two cents frequently. Because I’ve placed my savings where I can keep track of them, I know where I can spend money and where I can’t.

Even so, for years and even at points to this day, I’ve lost sleep stressing if I was making the right decisions with my income. Am I saving enough? Should I start investing? Am I getting the best deal? Do I really need that or can it wait? Have I gone out for drinks too often this week? Should I not get coffee this morning? Should I book that ticket or can I afford it?

And who the hell thought I was capable of maintaining my own financial stability when my idea of managing my money is logging onto

It took until I was truly on my own, without any financial support from mom and dad, paying my own bills and student loans, having only my name on a lease, and depending only on myself to eat, drink, and be merrily-with-money, that I started to relax. Within the first three weeks of moving many moons ago, I bought a plane ticket, transitioned myself into a new apartment where I had to fork over $1,600 for a deposit and first month’s rent, plus fed myself, and bought an unlimited Metro. I watched the stockpile of money I had been building for over six years quickly disassemble and realized that money was meant to be spent, not continuously counted and admired. I had not gone into banking because I couldn’t stand the thought of it – I had picked a career that no one pursues for the monetary pay-off, but almost all are satisfied with the print-out.

If the last few years attest to anything, it is that much of what we consider permanent is not as sturdy as we view it. Stocks and companies crash, bailouts aren’t always the best choice, and the lap of luxury we’d all like to lay in may never be an actual option. Their is no secret remedy to dismissing the fear of losing it all because no matter how much we make, how much we spend, or how much we save – there is no guarantee that what have today will be there tomorrow. Though I find myself mature with my finances and for the most part, I always make smart decisions – I’ve discovered the key to managing money is learning that to get, you have to give. Not just in charitable donations (as you should) but by enjoying your life instead of preparing for what could come or what may be inevitable.

I’m not to the point of frivilous spending or unplanned trips to exotic places, but if I want that Kate Spade bag or a pair of shoes half-off at Bloomingdales, I remember I’ve worked this hard and treating myself won’t destroy my accounts. Even so, if you ask me about it, I’ll won’t reveal my purchase. I’m just not one to spend and tell.

Men Are People Too

Perhaps this isn’t breaking news to the rest of the world, but yesterday, I had an ephinany that caught me off guard (in a good way): Men are people too. Not just meant to be boyfriends, lovers, husbands, dads, businessmen, bosses, uncles, or other male-oriented titles – but just people. Like you and like me.

I promise I’m not crazy (well, at least not yet), but I’ve always viewed men as my counterpart, as these illusional characters that weave in my life, capture my heart, and ultimately leave or have the ability to crush my spirits. They are these creatures who I fall in love with, can’t stand, or believe could turn into my Prince Charming. They’ve been useful for buying dinners, teaching me how to kiss, and entertaining me with their “maleness” – but unlike the gals who are “one of the guys” – I’ve been the lady who can never seem to have a male friend.

Probably because I can’t seem to treat a man as casually as I treat a woman – and possibly, because I integrate them verbally and internally.

Much like when conducting an interview, when I meet a new male prospect, I usually determine if I’m interested or not within the first five minutes. If I’m honest – I’m actually very businesslike when I’m intrigued by a man and I’ve developed quite a habit of screening someone before I even really know more than his name and a few basic facts.

Usually, as I’m half-way listening, partly observing, and conniving just a tad – I go through a series of questions in my head: “Alright, so if I wore my super, super tall high heels, would he still be taller than me?” “Can I get close enough to see if he smells bad?” “Is he speaking intelligently? Is he holding a conversation?” “Am I really already bored?” “Is he making crude, inappropriate jokes that are racist or sexist?”  “Does he have long fingernails? Ew, gross.” “Is he interested in me or just focusing on himself?” “Is he shy? I totally can’t stand timidness in a man.” “Does he always tilt his head to the side like that when he thinks he’s being funny?” “Is he actually funny or is he trying entirely too hard?” “Am I coming across that way to him? How does he view me, anyways?”

…and the rambling thoughts goes on and on.

I don’t know if I can blame my career or my Virgo birthday as the source of this analytical approach, but I’ve done it from the time I started dating. While it may not be the best way to go about getting to know someone, I’ve been pretty good at trusting my gut – and if right from the bat, I don’t see a spark of fascination, I’ve thought it best to not waste my (or their) time. At this point, I really don’t need (or want) to lower my standards for another Mr. Temporary, Mr. Rebound, or Mr. Smother just for the mere fact I’d like someone to go on fancy dates with. Truth be told, finding a date is never really a difficult task. It’s actually being attracted enough to agree to a second take that’s an obstacle because often times, I’m fully-in or totally-out before the appetizer even arrives.

As I continue on this journey, I’m seeing myself develop more and more confidence. While I have my off days (or weekends) -overall, I’ve not only admitted those parts of my personality and mindset that are negative and change them, but also realize what it is that I want out of a relationship…and what I don’t. More so, I’ve learned to stop taking what people say to heart and to decide for myself what I think and how I view my own interactions. I mean, after being told you’re too picky, not picky enough; that you’re too old to meet a “sweetheart” and too young to get married; that you’re far too independent for your own good, and then too dependent on the likes of a man – at some point, you just gotta start tuning out the outside voices and listen to your gut.

And while I’d say my instincts more often than not steer me in the right direction, in my overly premature and dissecting way of deciding my opinion of a man, I could have missed out on some could-be loves. But maybe more importantly, I could have walked right past some dudes who would make wonderful friends, because instead of viewing them as humans, as potential platonic companions, I was only interested in what they could offer me romantically. And if I didn’t like what they brought to the table, I wrote them off and quickly moved onto the next eligible candidate.

But if I take off my emotional hat and put on my realistic one- when it comes to finding someone who I want to spend the rest of my life with – or maybe just a few dates – don’t I want to be with a dude who I view as a friend? Sure, passion and mystery and intrigue and all of those butterfly-inducing qualities are high in importance for me – but at the core of my desires, and when I picture my future, don’t I want someone who I can just talk to? Who will get me? Who I feel comfortable enough to be myself around?

Someone who makes mistakes, who may not say the right thing at the right time but is his own person, someone who may not be the next Dane Cook, but is charming, someone who challenges me, but isn’t impossible – someone who, like me, isn’t perfect – but human?

Love addict tendencies, like romanticizing every single man who walks past me on the street or who I’m introduced to by mutual friends, may be enjoyable in the moment (fun to pretend at times, right?) – but aren’t suitable for long term anything. Where it be friendship or relationships. I may size up my prey and determine if they’re worthy of the fight, but does that mean second impressions can never change my mind?

If I stopped treating men for just what I think they can give me: love, sex, reaching the top shelf, opening tight jars, and checking off a box on my life’s to-do list, and instead took every casual encounter at a bar, on the morning commute, or at the deli around the block at face value – maybe I’d be able to take some pressure off.

And perhaps if I took a step back and instead of wondering what it’s like to be his lover, I’ll imagine what it’s like to just be his friend.

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