A Toast to My Ladies

Much like when I moved to New York, when I went away to college – I didn’t really know anyone. Sure, I stayed in-state, so I knew of a handful of classmates who attended the same university, but no one who was in my core group of friends. I was probably more afraid of traveling two hours away from home than I was about moving 12 hours to the city.

As an overachiever, I landed myself on the Leadership & Service floor, where I was surrounded by others who went above-and-beyond in college (or those who just knew it was a nice dorm to stay in and somehow were accepted). The 40 or so of us called ourselves “L3” (for the residence hall name and floor number) and traveled in packs…everywhere. To the gym, to the parties, to the quad, and to the classes we all had together – and within those dozens, out of luck (and a bit of fate) – I met the two women who would define, shape, and share my college tenure.

A, was my first roommate. I’m an only child (technically I have a half-brother, but I don’t really know him), so going away for school was the first time I ever had to share my space. Fortunately, A was quite easy to live with, we shared the same sleeping/eating routines, and well – we became the very best of friends right from the get-go. My first memory of her is linking arms, skipping down the main strip in our college town, and giggling about how we were going to our first fraternity party. It wouldn’t be our last time frolicking about campus like we ruled the world–she’d go on to be an ambassador for our school, while I’d be high-up in the school newspaper and eventually, join a sorority, and attend more Greek parties than I’d like to admit.

Four rooms down from A and I, lived L – a girl who when I initially saw her, was instantly jealous. To this day, I still think she is one of the most beautiful women I’ve ever laid eyes on. Her skin is flawless, her body has always been in tip-top shape (even when she doesn’t try), and she knows how to dress. Truth be told, before meeting L – I didn’t even wear “real bras”, but rather, sports bras because I was rather uncomfortable with my bigger beauties. While they’ve shrunk since then (I lost the freshman 15 instead of gaining it), I’ve remained a loyal customer at Victoria’s Secret ever since, thanks to L. Together, we went through some of the most difficult periods anyone can experience: my father’s illness, the passing of her mother, countless boyfriends (and lovers), and maintaining a long-distance friendship when we’d both go other places.

These women, while vastly different, gave me most of what I needed in the three-and-a-half years I attended college. When they met me, I was overly indulged in my love-addiction-ness, and they both said: “Linds, why are you so worried about this? We’re so young; we have all the time in the world. Ya know, I don’t even know if I want to get married!” A and L are very independent, like me, and had such large dreams for themselves, such high ambitions for where’d they be and what they wanted to do that relationships were completely off of their mind. This was a far-fetched idea for someone like me, who lived, breathed, and obsessed about love.

At the time, I was dumbfounded that anyone could ever truly not have the desire to get married (I’ve since changed my mind), but what’s more ironic is that A and L had more boyfriends and longer relationships than I did in college. They didn’t freak out too badly about them, but if you count up my time flying solo and their time – mine is much higher.

And now, L is in the army and engaged (I’ll be the MOH!), and A is on a four-month all-around-the-world vacation with the man I’m convinced she’ll marry. As for me, I’m single. Scratch that – happily single.

Isn’t it funny how the tables turn?

When senior year rolled around and I couldn’t stop talking about moving to New York, breaking up with Mr. Idea, and starting my writing career – they were in love with their boyfriends and wondering when they’d finally get that ring. When A came to visit me for fashion week in September, we even spent a few hours on Diamond Way, where I took notes about what size, style, and cut she’d like. And when L was given one phone call during boot camp, we spent the majority of the time discussing whether or not the “feeling” that her boyfriend would propose over Christmas meant anything. Well, since he’s her fiancée now, her gut was psychic. (Isn’t it always?)

Don’t get me wrong, I’m very happy for both of them and I actually like the guys they’ve picked as life partners – which if you know either of my friendships with these ladies, is quite the miracle. Us girls are pickier about the men our friends date, then we are about the ones we partner up with, right?

But with A and L being currently unreachable by text or phone call, I’ve realized how true it is that like life and love, friendships are in stages and cycles, too. Instead of being the one who is overly concerned with the man in her life, I’ve now become the bouncing board for my friends who are. Instead of crying and getting all sorts of upset about the Guy-of-Friday, I’m trying to help my friends get into the dating scene. And maybe even stranger, I’m growing closer and closer to other gals (the single ones), and further away from A and L.

Like any relationship that is meant to be – I’m sure when we actually get to spend some time together again, it will be like no time passed at all and our banter will flow the same, but there will be a major difference. And that’s me.

Sometimes I worry about the fact that this journey is literally changing me. The way I approach things, the way I respond, the way I think, and perhaps even the way I feel towards certain areas of my life, primarily love, continues to transform. I can’t help but wonder, what if those who have known me forever, start to wonder who the hell they’re talking to and don’t even recognize the Lindsay they once knew?

I’d like to think that even with my growth and maturity, I’m still the hopeful woman who believes there is a Mr. Right out there for me – it’s just now, he isn’t my primary concern. While I may not be able to relate to having the feeling of ‘just knowing’ or really crave it, I’m thrilled for those who have. And when L (and soon, A, I’m sure) transcends down to ‘I do’ with a man – I trust she knows ‘I am’ here for her, just as much as he is, if not more.

So, here’s to my ladies: to L and to A and my new friends (on and offline), regardless if you’re single or taken, married, widowed, or engaged, old or young, bitter or hopeful, addicted or uninterested in love – let’s stand by each other, hand and hand or click by click, through thick and thin, the princes and the frogs – and know that regardless of where this crazy journey takes us or where we end up, that we have one constant that never changes: the power of friendship. Let’s accept each other for where we are in our lives, where we’re going, and what we’re doing – even if we’ve never experienced or chosen it for ourselves. After all, we are each other’s soulmates more so than any man could be, anyways.

And with this toast, I hope L and A see that instead of sailing around the dance floor in a big white dress in front of a fleet of bachelorettes, I’d rather dance on tables during fleet week with some lonely sailors.

I hope they’ll understand. And something tells me…they will.

A Love of My Own

As he has since the moment I met him, Mr. Possibility never fails to make me think.

He’s the type of guy who knows what he knows, but still seeks advice and listens to other’s opinions. Anything that’s said or shared, while not always carefully thought out, has meaning to him. He is the first in my long list of Mr’s who has fully supported and embraced my writing – something that I always hoped I would find in a mate. He even edits these blogs from time-to-time and emails me with suggestions, to “help me improve.” God bless him, but sometimes I just want to smack him.

Nevertheless, he’s been gone for the last three weeks overseas for business and for me, it has really tested our connection. We stay in touch thanks to the many technological wonders of the world and the lovely perk that his company pays for international text messaging (God bless them too). But of course, apart from the random coincidences where we both have enough time to Skype, I don’t get to see his face or spend time in his presence. And for us, that’s been a huge part of what’s brought us together, and personally, being face-to-face helps me trust in the early stages of a courtship.

While he’s been gone, I’ve had this blessed opportunity to take a step back from the butterflies in my tummy, the lingering smell of him on my clothes, and the anticipation for a night out for dumplings, and really figure out what I want. Because, really, a possibility is just that – not out of the question, not set-in-stone, but yet a chance for something more. And though my love addiction qualities will plead that the decision to become less possible and more definite is completely up to him, my heart knows it is as much my decision as it is his.

In the past, I’ve rushed into a relationship for fear that if I didn’t hurry and nail in the man I was eying, he’d lose interest and be gone before I had a moment to think. But now, for the first time, it feels like I’m going about things maturely and with a realistic attitude, as opposed to an emotional one. I’m not only taking into account what it is that I feel, how passionate and incredible the under-the-sheets action is, what I could see down the road, but also listening to what he says (and believing him), paying attention to his actions and choices, and getting to know him for who he is…not for the idea of him. And by balancing a level-mind with the bravery to let myself start to fall for him, I’ve been able to keep my head above the romantic tidal waves, and most importantly – not lose myself in the ga-ganess that dating can bring. My eyes aren’t closed, nor are they wide open – but they are looking inward as much as they are looking forward.

As I sent him a good-night email from the States, knowing I’d wake up to a good morning one from his newfound temporary oasis, it occurred to me that for once, I felt like I was doing the right thing. And not in a relationship or with a man or with a love that could be – but by my own standards. I’m being who I am (freak outs and beauty and all), I’m standing up for what I believe in, saying what I think, and not changing myself to be what I think Mr. Possibility wants me to be.

I may be my hardest critic and the one person in my life that is the most difficult to impress and appease- but when it comes down to it, I count on me for happiness and for contentment. Others will contribute to different parts of my satisifcation, and some may come and they may leave, be a possibility and then impossible, but at the end of the day and the end of my life, I know I have two feet that have served me quite well. And the person I’ve become, the woman I’m still growing into, is a beautiful thing – and not necessary for transformation for the mere purpose of pleasing someone else. It is the one relationship that I know regardless of the troubles or the ups and the downs, is worth any struggle. To create a love of my own, that belongs to me, derives from me, and is between me, will help me be ready for the love of tomorrow and the love of forever.

But no matter what, no one will ever love me, like I love me. And that’s how it should be.