Something Borrowed, Something Blue

Before the final round interview for my dream job, I went out to a handful of stores to find something I’d feel sassy and confident in. Considering how much I wanted the position, I knew I needed to not only study up and prepare intensely for the interview, but also have that extra kick that comes from an outfit that looks just plain killer.

It took a little time, but I ultimately found a pleated pencil skirt and silky top duo from H&M that seemed to fit the bill with some careful accessorizing. The morning of, my friend M came over to approve of the outfit I created (my personal fashion consultant who charges by the glass of champagne) and to come along with me, that way she’d be there once it was over. Mr. P was there in my apartment too, since he was visiting to wish me luck.

Standing in front of the mirror, I said to them: “I have something new (the dress), something old (the shoes), something blue (my cardigan) – but what about borrowed?” Instinctively as if he was waiting for it, Mr. P handed me his Chapstick (yes he carries Chapstick). I smiled and glanced over at M who was sweetly rolling her eyes at me. Mr. P asked as I applied his borrowed gift, “Are you going to marry this job?” I thought about it, pressed my lips together to make sure the gloss was even and said, “I hope…I do!” Mr. P kissed my head, told me to go get em’ Tigar, and headed to work. M and I caught the train after some prayers and some praises to the Job Fairies, and the next day, I got the call that would change my life.

The offer of my dream job. Tomorrow, I start.

Maybe it’s the way to pass time or to calm jitters, but I had a vision of wearing a blue dress on my first day. I wasn’t sold on the idea until my mom called to say she had the same prediction and that it was an astrologically-sound color, so I quickly went on the hunt for the perfect one. Turns out, finding a not-too-professional, not-too-casual, not-too-tight, not-too-loose, not-too-classic, not-too-modern dress in Manhattan isn’t as easy as it sounds. Maybe I was asking for a tall order and just didn’t realize it.

Over the course of week, I went to two TJ Maxx stores, Marshall’s, Gap, H&M, Forever 21, Bloomingdales, Barneys, Express, New York & Company, and a few no-namers without any luck. I messaged my friends for their opinions, called my mom wishing she was there to go around with me, and even got caught in the rain a few times, wondering where in the world my new something blue was.

Finally, today, about an hour or so ago, M and I were picking through the clearance rack at Filene’s Basement and there it was.

Stuck between something with sequins and a pasley skirt, a petite dress that fit me just right. As soon as I put it on, I felt what brides must feel when they find their wedding gown: I screamed to M: “I found it! This is it!!” I cached out of the dressing room and she smiled, beaming and probably relieved that I wouldn’t hassle her with the search anymore: “It’s perfect, Linds!”

And it is.

But the dress doesn’t make the job, just like it doesn’t make a marriage. Even so, a job and a marriage have more things in common than we think. If we’re lucky, they bring us immense joy, but require a lot of work and understanding. Like you must make a commitment to continuously get to know your partner as they change, at a job you should constantly challenge yourself to learn more, to raise the bar higher for yourself and the company. You get to practice trial and error, especially in media – seeing what stories work and what doesn’t, and how to communicate your message effectively. Doesn’t the same go with your partner? You must remain dedicated and patient with yourself as well as your mate and your career, and you should plan for the future as much as you practice diligence in today.

And if we’re lucky, the job and the marriage gives as much as it takes, and it makes some of those dreams we had as kids become a reality. I may not be the expert on falling love, but I think the two things you can fall in the love with the hardest are often the ones we think we’ll never find: the dream job and the dream guy.

I’ve found one out of two and I’m not 30 yet. I’ll accredit it to the luck of the something old, something new, something borrowed, and finally, something blue.

PS: Have a question for me? Want to know anything about my life/advice from my adventures in dating? Before September 19, I’ll publish a post answering all of your questions. Email me, Tweet me, Tumble me, or Facebook me. Or you can comment below!

My Love, My Valentine, Myself

When I started this blog nearly six months ago, I thought about what I would write on this day. On a day that for many years consisted of endless tears, intense jealously, and consumption of far too many calories. On a day where my self-proscribed “love addiction” reached all-time levels of ridiculousness.

I wondered what my life would be like at the time, if I would be recovering in healthy measures and learning to put myself before any man who was or was not in my life. I considered the option that I could have a boyfriend at the time, but when I started this journey, I hoped (for once) that I would be single when St. Valentine’s Day reared its compulsively pink and glittery head.

Because if you’re going to learn to love yourself single and stop defining your worth by the likes or dislikes of a man, I think spending today, even though it is just another Monday, alone is a necessary hurdle to leap over. Even if you stumble and cupid’s arrow knocks you down instead of fluttering your tummy with undefinable somethings, you still have to make the jump.

So, with a lot of acceptance, laughing, crying, and dates – I find myself exactly where I hoped to be on this day of love: romancing myself. And since I know what fits my fancy the best and what brings me the most joy of any pleasure on this Earth, then I can undoubtedly do the one thing that sweeps me off my feet more than anything else…writing.

However, I didn’t realize the process of composing a love letter to myself would be as difficult as it turned out to be, especially since I’ve been writing for nearly a decade, often daily. Somehow, putting into words how I feel about myself, the things I love that are specific to me, and the thankfulness I have to be in a relationship that’s minus-one – was challenging.

Luckily for me, I had the encouragement, the inspiration, and of course, the love from all of you. Your letters to yourself warmed my heart in ways a man never could never attempt to do. Sometimes, there is no better feeling than knowing that by doing the thing you love the most, you help others learn to love the things that make them irreplaceable and beautiful.

On Valentine’s Day or any other time of the year, I hope you all remember that loving yourself, choosing yourself, standing up for yourself, and deciding to be your own best friend, your own greatest fan, your own lover – is better than any bouquet of anything, everything in an overpriced blue box, and any dinner for two, you could ever experience. After all, flowers will wither, chocolates will crumble, and February 14th will come to an end, but no matter how much someone melts your heart or takes a bite out of it, though you may wilt, no man will ever determine your ending. Your happy ending begins and concludes with you.

Happy Valentine’s Day, addicts! I love you all for your continuous support and sweet words of encouragement. Go paint your city, your town, or you countryside red.

“My love, my darling, You’re my very best friend, my ray of sunshine. My girl. You stand by me when I can’t stand. You remind me that I’m more beautiful than I realize, stronger than I can comprehend, and braver than I thought possible. You make me laugh when everything feels like it’s crumbling. You’ve shown me that imperfections are really not flaws, but the things that make me, me. Sometimes, I can’t believe how far you’ve come. Literally, living your dream and often time pinching yourself because you can’t believe it actually came true. But, want to know what’s funny – it didn’t just come true, you made it your reality. You’ve never been afraid of taking risks, of asking questions, of putting yourself out there, and going after and standing up for what you believe. It is your bravery, your spirit, your kindness, and your compassion that make me love you so. You really are the whole package – petite, but hell in heels. Shapely and fit. Lovely brunette with piercing blue eyes and sometimes, a quite witty sense of humor. You’re intelligent and proud, but not narcissistic and condescending. You really do love people, people of every shape and form. People you’ve known for years, people you’ve never met, people you’ve read the words of, people you passed on the subway, people who you have not loved you in return. But most importantly, you love me for me, no exceptions or excuses. I hope you know how much I love you in return. You give and you believe in love freely, and you’re learning not to let it be everything. You’re always honest with me, I can trust you more than I rely on any single thing on this planet. You are the person I want to wake up to each and every single day and look at before I fall asleep. Your optimism, your faith that all turns out as it should, makes me believe the future we have together is never-ending. I’m so thankful that on Valentine’s Day you decided to choose me, to love me, to be loyal to me, and shower me with your beauty and your ever-shining light. Thank you for all you’ve given me these 20-something years – I can’t wait see what you do next. Know that no matter what happens, no matter where we go, no matter what rocky waters we may endure, I’ll be here for you, today and always. Go get ’em Tigar!” -Love Addict, New York, NY

“Although you spent the last three valentines with her, it’s time to move on…. don’t dwell on the past and find a new love this year!” – Dating a Lemon

“I love how you always have an enthusiastic attitude about everything. You find the good out of every situation. You are strong, independent, and have passion which is incredibly sexy in a woman. I do not need a man to make me happy because I get along just fine without one, I have never settled for less and I am not going to start settling for less now. What makes me a fearless, fabulous female is my independence and that I value my own worth and put my needs before the needs of a stranger in my bed (Old self would have done that but new self laughs at the idea of a man she barely knows in her bed). I am happy to be flying solo this Valentine’s Day because I am happy with myself and would rather be by myself eating chocolate bon-bons and watching horror flicks then in a loveless relationship any day.” – Emily, Asheville, NC

“Do you remember your last Valentine’s day? When you spent an hour waiting for your (now ex-) boyfriend, before walking 40 minutes to his house in heels, where no one answered the door? Even though it turned out to be an okay-ish day (watching “The Hitchhiker’s Guide To The Galaxy” isn’t really my idea of romance, but oh well), that’s not going to happen any more. You’re better than that, because you no longer need a man to feel complete. You have a great personality, long legs, a kick-ass wardrobe and mind-blowing curves. You are strong and independent. You’ve got the whole package: intelligence, sexiness, wit and not to forget, 32 pairs of fabulous shoes. The fact you’re alone on Valentine’s day does not say you’re lonely, It only says you’re not prepared to settle for anything less than your dream guy. You deserve so much more than all those guys you’ve given the chance to stand at your side. So, this year have a little fun on your own. Take this day to start believing how truly fabulous and amazing you really are. Have a wonderful Valentine’s day. You don’t deserve anything less. Love, Me. P.S. Happy Valentine’s day to every love addict out there. You are truly amazing too!” –Cassandra, Rotterdam, Zuid-Holland

“This Valentine’s Day, as I spend the night convincing myself that I’m happily single, I’ll remind myself of the one word that drives me and it won’t be so bad – fearless. I’m fearless of my independence, fearless of getting hurt, fearless of my flaws, and fearless of falling in love. I’m ready to take on the challenge of finding the emotion every girl dreams of feeling and I’m not afraid to take on every little thing that’s thrown at me along the way.” – Chelsea

“Hmmm. You know I have a hard time thinking of things to say to you. You tend to just think up things all on your own to make yourself have a brighter day. Which is probably what I love most about you. You are an amazingly strong women, the stuff you think up in your head is like “Sunshine, Lollipops & Rainbows,” not to mention a little bit of “Be Happy,” and “I feel so Pretty,” also not to mention the way you screw up lyrics and smoosh together songs. I’m glad to spend my days with you forever and always. As you remember to treat each day like a “New Design” and not a story going “Over and Over Again.” Btw, you are the bees knees of pretty ladies, don’t let yourself feel otherwise. Love Always and Forever, Me, Myself, and I.” –Shay Rae, Fort Wayne, Indiana

“You’re in your twenties and have lived in various amazing places. You’ve suffered great losses and yet you’ve managed to pick yourself up, dust yourself off and dive head first once more. You’ve dated a number of men and have learnt a lot. You’ve been treated terribly but you’ve still managed to forgive, not regret and cherish the experience. Over the years you have taken your life back for yourself and have learnt that you can do and achieve all that you want without a man. You’ve learnt that you need to love you before he can love you. I’m happy to be alone this Valentines Day because you’ve shown me that I don’t need just one day for me to appreciate myself; I have 364 other days.” –KruRai, Gaborone, Botswana

“You know what I love about me? I love my heart–it knows no bounds or limitations, it just loves people unconditionally…no matter how hurt I’ve been in the past. I love my wit & sense of humor–I am ridiculously funny, and I think that is awesome. I love my interests & talents, and how they fuse together to make one incredible individual. I love my fashion sense, I love my compassion, I love my ability to give amazing advice. Physically, I love my freckles, my curves, and my naturally wavy auburn hair. Mentally, I love my ability to reason and use logic. I love my laugh. I love how I handle confrontation. I love my silliness, my surprising skills at Nintendo 64, my cooking talents, my absence of shame or regret, that I can drink most people under the table, and my lack of modesty about how incredible I am. I don’t need a man because my happiness doesn’t come from ANY other individual–it comes from me. My happiness doesn’t depend on someone’s opinion of my body, my talents, or my character. I don’t need a man because I am surrounded by incredible people that can do all the things I can’t: I have girlfriends that I can talk to about anything, will take me out to dinner “just because”, and are more fun than anyone else on the planet. I already have a strong base of incredible men in my life, who will always be there to squish spiders & help me move large furniture (as well as remind me that I am beautiful & an incredible woman). I don’t need a man because I have an incredible family that supports me & loves every little thing about me. I don’t need a man because, simply, I don’t have time or energy while I’m focusing on my new job, new apartment, and new city. What makes me fabulous? I think all of these things do. Being completely self-assured & hopeful about the future is a big deal, even if you’re only 23. Given the things I’ve been through, witnessed, and experienced, optimism seems kind of silly–I’m not optimistic, I am 100% positive that good things are going to happen for me in every part of my life, and this includes falling in love. I am still so young and there are so many people out there to meet, there’s no time to be focused on what ISN’T happening right now. Being able to see that there are good things ahead makes me a different kind of fearless, and I am proud of that. Also, Beyonce is married to Jay-Z & STILL talks about how fun it is to be single. Given that Beyonce is fucking fearless & fierce, doesn’t that mean all single gals have something to do an incredible dance about? I think so.” – Michelle, Washington, DC

“Can you believe you’re spending this Valentines Day in London? Not too shabby of a suburban Canadian girl. Two years ago, you were just an anxious 18 year-old high school senior. You couldn’t wait to get going in life but wasn’t quite ready to leave the home you grew up in. A lot has happened and changed since then. Just look at what a whirlwind these last 12 months have been. You worked for that big Internet company, studied abroad in Paris, branched out in the international photography community, and now live in the United Kingdom. I know it’s been challenging at times, like the week when you got no sleep trying to juggle work, school, and photography, having to build a nest for yourself each time you moved to a new city, all the holidays you celebrated away from family and friends, and that first birthday you spent completely alone. Despite all of that, and perhaps even because of all of that, you’ve become stronger – more confident, more certain, more humble, and, most importantly, more fearless. You’ve learned to make new friends anywhere you go, embrace all the opportunities that come your way, and stay grounded with the endless love and support of family and friends. Some day you’re going to look back on this year of endless travels and exciting opportunities and realize you are living the life. Keep dreaming big and don’t wake up too soon. Love, TZ.” –Tracy, London, England

“This will probably be the only Valentine you get this year, apart from the annual pity card from your mum, though even that this year may not be there now you have drifted back home. By now your used to valentines alone, to seeing others receive gifts and mocking them (without a hint of jealousy – you wish) but this year will be different, because this year for the first time you actually love you and that is enough. For the first time this year you have realised that you actually quite like who you are. This is a big step and its taken 3 years of friendship from some pretty great people to get you there. So today be thankful that they are there, have been there and will be there. That they too realise that you need to be you, alone, until someone turns up who allows you to be you as well as being an us. They don’t judge you for pushing away J and R, for dashing their hopes for your romances and you have stopped judging yourself now too. So embrace this new happiness, keep defining yourself apart from others and please keep being the best friend i have. With or without a man i promise to keep loving you, not return to the self loathing that has plagued many a past memory. I love you and you love me so happy valentines. I’m happy you’ll always be mine.” –Anonymous

“Happy Valentine’s Day! Year number 14 on my own (with 1 oops in there somewhere). Congratulations for being such a strong woman, to make it on your own. While men are nice to have around, and every year I hope, will this be the year I get roses?, I think, I can buy roses myself. I can hang a picture, I can mow my yard, I can even change the headlight on my car. So while I think we all secretly wish for Mr. Right to find us before Valentine’s Day (so we can receive the chocolate and roses) celebrate that you are the fabulous woman you are; call a girlfriend, who also is waiting for Mr. Right, and go out to dinner; take each other a rose and share a heart-shaped box of candy while watching one of those girlie movies that men don’t really care for anyway. And enjoy being You!” –Anonymous

“You’re beautiful inside and out. You’re worth more than you think and you deserve more than you get. You don’t need another half to make you whole, you do damn find out on your own. Be proud of yourself and your accomplishments, you did it without a man’s help. Valentine’s day is about love, who’s to say you have to spend it with a man? I love myself, therefore, my valentine is myself.. the only person who will never let me down.” –Katie, Cleveland, OH

“You are fabulous. You’re fabulous when you’re single, you’re fabulous when you’re with a man, and you’re fabulous even when you make mistakes. Live it, learn it, love it. xoxo Cat.” –Cat, New York, NY

“One day someone will fully appreciate you for all that you are. Someone will love you for being strong, forgiving and understanding the way you love those things about yourself. Until you find someone who adores you for those things instead of feeling challenged or threatened by them, then you’re better off single and in love with yourself.” –Suzanne, Canton, OH

“You rock because you know what it takes to make yourself happy…adventure and the company of people who contribute to your dreams. A man is like a good accessory. It completes the outfit but doesn’t break the look when it’s not there :)” –Brittainey, Des Moines, Iowa

“I just want to say what an honour it is to get to know you. After being surrounded by people all week, I look forward to spending some quiet time alone with you, whether it be a quiet evening on the couch with a glass of wine, or a run along the river, or a play in the park with the hounds. Taking time to listen to your fears and your aspirations. Making plans for the future, understanding what makes you happy, is time well spent in my book. I observe with a little touch of awe, your strength to deal with the tough times with your chin up and a wide smile for those who need it. It is truly a pleasant surprise to take stock and see how far you have come, despite the setbacks. You strive to face your flaws with dignity and whilst I know you consider it somewhat a failure to have those imperfections, I remind you that it is an admirable trait to humbly forgive those who hurt you- even if it does take a year or two (or longer). You have every right to feel pleased that you have not given up hope for one day again feeling that rush of excitement coupled with the warm glow of a steady, secure love. You have the right to be proud that you have not settled for the company of a man who treated you poorly, regardless of how completely you loved him nor how crippling at times the loss of that love has felt. You have the right to be proud that you have not settled for the company of a man who adored you, but with whom you could not summon the heart-swelling emotion which you know he deserves in return. And so it is that this Valentine’s Monday, you have the pleasure of spending the evening in the company of someone who understands you, who loves you and who will never leave you. Truly, the very best of company- mine! Happy Valentine’s Day!” –Serene, Perth, Australia

“I love your boldness, independence, undying love and compassion for others, and your ability to put anyone in their place. Yes, you have your flaws, but each of them is a blessing. They make you who you are. Love them. Cherish them. Your confidence is your best feature. If men and women alike cannot appreciate it, and run scared instead, then take it indirectly as a compliment. Compliments are wonderful, as you know, but you are responsible for your own happiness. So, no long face today because you have the best Valentine in the world–yourself. You will always be there for yourself for better or for worse. You love unconditionally. You’ll never walk out, or cheat. And when the day is done, you will be all that you need to stand on your own two feet and simply be. You are a peaceful warrior. Good things are still to come. At the end of the day, you are going to be perfectly fine being solo. You made your own dinner reservations. No one was late. The meal (and the wine) will be pure bliss. You will still get your chocolaty goodness and flowers, but without the drama, stress, and embarrassment (maybe). You get to be yourself, in your pajamas, in your hotel room (you can thank work later) without a care in the world. Sounds like the perfect day to me.” –Nelson, Lexington, VA

“Dear Darling Valentine, You totally deserved the creme suede lounge you just bought yourself for your new apartment (and the black satin robe that goes with it). Who wants a man when you’re working with something like that? Looking forward to laying with you in luxury, <3 FT.” –Cady, Durham, NC

“I love that you’ve come this far. I love that you didn’t let your past determine your future. You don’t need a man to shape the most important few years of your life, while being a 20 something year old. That’s what friends, vacations, and credit cards are for. You’re fabulous because you can stand strong on your own, and lead a career more promising than any guy you’ve been with. Being single this Valentine’s Day will be one of the best because ‘After all, the company of confidence is much better than the company of a coward.'” –Anonymous

“I shouldn’t feel any less special or loved on a day where love ought to come from everyone, everywhere. I may be single, but let’s be honest, we all have dozens upon dozens of Valentine’s, and each is as important and special as any significant other. Sure I won’t be getting “up close and personal” with any of these people, but I wouldn’t be who I am without them. I wouldn’t be where I am without them. And it has to be said, there’s nothing like getting roses from my dad every single year without fail. Now that’s commitment.” – Anonymous, Canada

“You never tell yourself that you are amazing, even though you are. Despite all of the social pressures, you have lived a truly unique life. Somehow, you have managed to experience and accomplish more things than most people will in their lifetime. Valentine’s Day has never been happy occasion in the past, but why be so hard on yourself just because one facet of your life isn’t the usual? If you look closely, living outside the lines has been the motto for your 28 years. You are beautiful, hilarious, and refuse to compromise on what you want out of life. Take today, and celebrate this beautiful life you have made for yourself and the amazing woman that is unfolding before everyone’s eyes. Don’t let anyone make you second-guess yourself or the choices you are making right now. You are surrounded by love no matter where you go!” -Kelly, Phoenix, AZ

“For the first time since middle school, you’re happy to be single on Valentine’s Day. Your recent trip to Israel helped you discover more about you in 12 days, than you knew in the past 25 (almost) years. Congratulations on being able to laugh off the mushy stuff. Enjoy this day as it was meant to be, sharing life, love, and happiness with your closest friends.” –Sharon, Massachusetts

“Dear Blonde, Do you love yourself? Check YES or NO. Wait a minute, honey. Don’t make a move just yet. I know you’re wanting to pick up a cute pink pen and place a great big mark next to “YES”, but it seems lately that you haven’t really been SHOWING yourself much love. No, not that kind of self-love. The emotional kind. The good stuff. Most days, you’re a happy-go-lucky single girl out to even the score. I see you check yourself in the mirror some mornings, I’ve seen the wink and smile. You’re awesome and you know it. Your blonde hair shines almost as bright as your personality. You’re witty, you’re passionate. I’l be honest, this version of yourself? IRRE-FREAKIN-SISTABLE, honey. But some days, there is no look in the mirror. No wink, no smile, just a sigh. Listen, I know you’re worried. What if karma is punishing me in some weird way? I mean, you weren’t a great girlfriend sometimes. Yep, you’ve made mistakes with relationships. But honestly, Blonde, who hasn’t? It’s time you stop beating yourself up over things that happened in the past. It’s been a long time. You’ve changed. Everyone that knows you can tell how absolutely fabulous you’ve become! And on the days that you’ve got the wink and smile, you know it too. So, repeat after me: “I AM THE BLONDE, AND I AM FABULOUS!” Now, once you believe that, feel free to pick up the pen and check yes. XOXO, The Blonde.” -The Blonde

Much love to Tall Brewnette for this lovely Valentine!

The Love That Could Be: Mr. Possibility

So, without further ado, let me reveal that someone has walked into my life. Or rather, I stumbled into his.

Being the short gal with a love for high heels that I am, I was walking down the aisle of a bus from the airport back into the city when the bus driver so rudely took off before I had a chance to sit down. I went plummeting towards the ground, dropped my bag, but managed to catch myself – and when I looked up, I locked eyes with a blue-eyed beauty to my right.

However, he seemed rather uninterested or intrigued by the clumsy gal in six-inch Jessica Simpson heels who almost stumbled to her death. Instead, his friend, to my left asked if I was okay, and I simply nodded and took a seat in front of blue eyes. Then, apparently, is when he become more inclined to chat up a conversation. “Hey, it’s alright that you fell. It is your first time in New York but you’ll get used to the public transportation,”he  assured me.

I tilted my head, peered over the seat and humbly admitted, “Well, actually, I live here.” To which he replied, “Oh yeah, well then that’s embarrassing.” From there we discovered we both lived on the West Side, had similar backgrounds, and he revealed he had a weakness for smart, witty women. I don’t blame him.

Once we reached Grand Central, we took the same train to our respective homes and he asked for my card. I gladly gave it to him and to my incredible surprise – he emailed me by 10 a.m. the next day. What he wrote was simple and we started emailing back and forth for a while, until he grew tired of the 70-deep email threads on Gmail, and we started Gchatting. From there, we learned more and more about one another, and eventually, we decided to have a real conversation in person, and I vowed not to stumble. (Though, I have tripped quite a lot in the time that’s passed).

And since that day, there has been an easy, forgiving, sincere, honest, and healthy growth of intimacy and trust just between us. And not just in a “relationship” sense, but we’ve both transformed our own lives and mentalities as we’ve gotten to know each other. In a time of change, progress, and healing – he’s been a constant.

He is a New York native (I keep meeting those), works in the business sector at an office with a breathtaking view (and close to my job), enjoys the simple things as well as the extravagant ones, and he hopes to create a family that’s as successful as his career has been. Like me, he’s a saver, and we both share the same affinity for food that is absolutely awful for us. He’s not a runner, he isn’t dark haired and eyed like most of my past flames, and he doesn’t quite fit into my “checklist” – but he’s shown me a new side of myself, a new way of looking at partnership, and most importantly – I haven’t obsessed about him. I don’t freak out, I don’t analyze minutes between texts, I don’t worry (much) about him disappearing. I don’t stalk his Facebook and I think I’ve only Googled him once or twice. I don’t do any of the things I once did when I started liking a man – and yet, I like this one.

At the point when I met him, I had unfolded a new chapter in my life. I had turned the page on this blog and climbed over many mountains in this journey. My focus could not have been further away from meeting a man and especially someone who has the opportunity to capture my heart, and ironically enough, Mr. Possibility is right there waiting in the bay of defining himself, too.

He’s a little older than me, been around the block of love and the block of work more times than I have, and he’s reached a crossroads where he knows he is capable of so much more and he’s ready to go after it. If only, he knew exactly what it was that he wanted (I think maybe I’ll help him figure that out).  And for me, I’m at the start of what I hope will be a promising tenure as a writer, new to the city he’s known his whole life, and challenging myself to be secure, independent, and happy, with or without a man.

So neither of us, are really, ready for a relationship.

And while I’ve met men in the past who were not attainable (remember Mr. Unavailable?), this is the first time that I’ve been completely honest not only with a man about where I’m coming from and what I want, but it is the inaugural time where I’ve also been honest with myself. I told him from the get-go that my first priority is this journey, is this process I’m going through, and that nothing, would stand in my way. His response? Complete encouragement and support of the blog. In return, I guide him through his own grievances, listen when he needs to let it all out, and lift him up when he gets stuck in a rut.

That said, I’m sure the question remains: what am I doing with Mr. Possibility and what is he doing with me?

We’re enjoying the companionship and the comfort of one another. There are no expectations, there is no pressure, no reason to hurry or to rush. No price to pay or description to meet or title to place or exclusivity to insist upon. It is simply just riding the tide, exploring the waves of feelings, and not purposefully going towards the shore. He really is, for all intents and purposes, a peaceful, easy feeling in my life. Being around him, wrapped up in him, or smelling his smell is not hard and not too scary.

Because, I with my blog, and he with his past, have no inclination of how long this union will last. Or where it will go. Or how we will both feel. But for once, I’m okay with not having any idea. Because even if he was to leave or it were to fall apart or he or I were tempted by the fruit of another – I would be hurt, but I know I would survive. I also have this unyielding feeling that regardless of what happens, I’ve made a friend for life.

And the difference between this man and all of the men I’ve been with in the past, is that even if there was not romantic chemistry, or even if we didn’t connect on a level I have never felt with someone before, or if there wasn’t all of things that make for a great relationship – I would still choose him as my friend. He would be someone who I would want to hang out with, who I would want to set up with my friends, who I would trust with my secrets, and want to sit next to eating popcorn and watching a movie. I guess, it never really occurred to me how important it is to not just be smitten with a love interest, but also, just simply, to like them.

Sometimes, the like is more powerful than the love. Even when love is a possibility.

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.

Fully-Loaded Journalist

The main reason why I decided a long time ago (nearly 18 years ago) that I wanted to be a writer derived from the fact that in an essence, a journalist is a teacher. We open doors and discuss topics that we think other people care about, and then provide the necessary information they need to move forward.

Writing isn’t so much about a personal success or getting my byline above the fold or in the front-of-the-book on the masthead, but about the opportunity to reach people. To touch hearts, to inspire change, to cultivate reactions, and spark conversations. To get people, especially women, thinking in a new way that motivates them to turn their lives around…or just their day.

And I believe with having the ability to string words together in an effective way – a writer feels a lot of responsibility. There is this weight on your shoulders that you don’t really want to remove because you picked this profession – but this pressure sometimes gets to you. It’s this anxiety that stems from wanting to do the right thing, write the most truthful (and thoughtful) information possible, and feel proud and accountable for what you put into the infinite universe – where it be in a mag or on the streaming web.

When it comes to this blog and to this journey, I’ve thought about how in a way, I’m exposing the men who come in and out of my life. While, of course, I’ll never use names and unless you’re a friend intricately involved in my life, you’d never know who these guys are – I am, after all, displaying parts of our intimate relationship for anyone who clicks on my URL.

Is it wrong for me to share secrets and these feelings with strangers? Does it discount the relationship I had and the love I share? Or does it give it the spotlight it so deserves?

Often times, when I’m on a date or hanging out with a male friend who happens to know about my journey and my blog, they will be telling a story or confiding in me, and almost out of reflex, they’ll spin around and say: “Linds, don’t put this on your blog, okay?

Now, don’t get me wrong – there are certain parts of my life I’d never put out for the world to read (well, maybe, anyways), but do I have an obligation to share whatever happens that affects my journey? With or without the discretion or disclaimer from other people? Should I be able to shoot back at them with: “Anything and everything that affects my self-proclaimed love addiction is fair game. Proceed with caution.”

There seems to be this disconnect between my journalist integrity who wants to tell the whole-truth-and-nothing-but-the-truth and the other side of my morality who thinks, “maybe I should protect those dudes and respect their wishes.” I’m often torn between what’s affecting my journey, what makes good copy, and what’s a little of both. And when someone specifically asks you not to put something somewhere, so they don’t risk being exposed, it almost makes you want to do it that much more. If anything, it makes you want to cleverly write so that others can be tempted to read between the lines.

If I’m honest with myself and true to this blog – I think any relationship, non-relationship, courtship, or fling that makes me feel negatively, teaches me something new, or is flat-out entertaining deserves a credit in the path to self-love and space on this blog. Because of this, I can’t promise to keep everything on the DL that’s asked of me and I certainly can never go off the record (since the record is my life, after all) – but I can use kindness when describing peoples, places, and events.

As I’ve said before, I’m going to ask questions and I’m going to seek answers. It is my nature and it is part of what’s made me successful as a writer. If you never ask, you never know. If you never question, you remain stagnant. And I can’t live with immobile wonder – it just doesn’t mix well in my DNA.

When a man asks you not to share something with your friends (as Mr. Idea often did) or discredits your profession – there may be something to think about in terms of the relationship. Secrets that are sensitive and experiences that causes great emotional pain that are shared between two people should be kept that way – but if we’re never “allowed” to speak what we feel, regardless if we publish it or not, we will never learn from the past. And without educating ourselves, we will never move forward to the futures awaiting us.

So regardless if you write it down or let it slip in your next Yoga class – talk about what you’ve been through. Put it out in the open. Give it fresh air and face it head on. You will often see yourselves in the eyes of your best friends, or as in my case, in the words of my readers. Too often, women keep everything we’re concerned about or think is out of the norm (when it’s probably not) hidden and in that, we never are able to progress.

I would never threaten a guy with my writing and if he does feel under fire when we’re on a date or in a relationship – I doubt he’s the guy for me. I may come with a fully-loaded pen and keyboard, but my safety is always on.

At least for now, anyways.