Seriously, Wake Up

Following the very last class I took in college, I stopped by our university’s post office to check my PO box and forward my mail. I was excited and hopeful for the future, feeling relieved I would never have to attend another lecture unless I wanted to. When I turned the dial, I was surprised to find an envelope marked from Raleigh, NC with my name neatly typed on the front. Full name, mind you.

As I walked behind the building to my apartment on the main strip in town, I stopped dead in my heels and my mouth dropped: I had received my very first hate mail.

More or less, the anonymous writer wished me ill-will in New York City. They said they hoped I fell on my face, that living in the city for two months during an internship was no indication I could survive full-time. They misquoted me and promised me that fairytales don’t come true, that my Prince wouldn’t be waiting at Grand Central or Times Square or Bryant Park to greet me when I landed on Northern soil. They were rude and blunt, standing their ground as a coward who wouldn’t reveal their name and though they started the letter with “this is not from someone who is jealous of you – there is nothing to be jealous of” -each and every one of my friends could feel the envy seep into their hands as they read it and laughed with me in the days that would follow.

They signed their Letter of Unlove with: “Seriously, wake up.” I think there were some Gossip Girl-like “xoxo”s thrown in for good measure, and in all, it didn’t amount to anything more than a few sentences strung together without proper punctuation or a real purpose.

At the time, I was a little stunned. Part of me was hurt. The biggest part of me was curious and annoyed whoever had such beef with me wasn’t willing to say what they wanted to my face. I read their words with a grain of salt, never being one to let anyone’s opinions stand in the way of what I intend to do, no matter how unmanageable a task may seem to everyone else.

And I mean, I couldn’t exactly disagree with them because they weren’t telling me anything I didn’t know.

I never expected New York to be peaches-and-ice-cream, sunflowers-and-roses. I didn’t think I’d prance in and climb the media ladder without faltering here-and-there. But I’ve been successful. I’ve landed on my feet with a great group of friends, a job I enjoy, an apartment I adore, and a happiness that’s unparalleled. I didn’t think I’d meet my husband the second I moved (though in my love addict stage back then, I wanted to)- but I’ve been blessed to love a few good men and discover a possibility worth taking a chance on. I never wanted to work in magazines because I was “pretty” as the author claimed, but because my byline could has the opportunity to make tides – even if women’s issues in dating, love, relationships, and such doesn’t seem like that big of deal to many. (But don’t we spend the majority of our time obsessing about those things? Just sayin’)

Before I left to return to NYC today, I went through some old things on a bookshelf my father made and inside a book I read before I took flight when I moved, I found the letter in its original envelope. A dozen life lessons, heart breaks, changes, and tearful nights later, it had a different impact on me than it did on that cold December afternoon.

In fact, it probably had the intended effect the writer wanted. I read the typed lines, smiled and realized, I was awake. Anything that I once took for granted or anything I thought would be easy and wasn’t, most of the unrealistic notions I had about love and men, and all of the things in between – they’re all different now. I’m not cured, but I’ve matured. I didn’t need a letter to wake something up inside of me but it’s nice to know someone cared (or didn’t care) enough to go to the trouble to say such cruel things. If anything, I now see it is a testament to my own impact, my own power, and the essence I exude into the world by dancing across keys. I’m not the best writer, but unlike this author, I’m actually one who is brave enough to state my name. Even when more often than not, it isn’t always the easiest thing to do.

Without showing Mr. Possibility, I tucked the letter into my purse and decided just what to do with it. One day, when I find that private office, when I’m doing just what I want to do, when I’m happily married with a non-happily-ever-after mentality, when I live downtown and finally find comfort and cushion in my finances – I’ll frame this letter. I’ll hang it in my office where younger editors and interns can see.

So that they too, like every other dreamer in this city who also happens to have the conviction and courage to chase those desires with heightened ambition, will wake up. Because like me, they may find the life they created isn’t merely a dream, but a dreamlike reality based on your own hard work.

Seriously.

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Ya Gotta Stop Pushin’

In one of my favorite movies of all time, Mean Girls, Cady (Lindsay Lohan) infamously calls her teacher, Ms. Norbury (Tina Fey) a “pusher.” We all know she was referring to how she encouraged her in math class, but of course, it was construed into some sort of drug addiction –just like any other twist in any other teen movie.

All humor aside, I believe I’m a pusher. Not in math (ha –one class in college and I was done!) and definitely not with drugs, but with a little thing called l-o-v-e.

Every man I’ve ever dated, been in a relationship with, or been friends with has told me how much I need to relax. I can hear each of their voices, both in and out of the bedroom, saying “You worry too much, Linds. Just relax.”

I’m not quite sure I know how to do that.

I push at everything I do. My career, my writing, my looks, my fitness, my place in the world –my life is about pushing forward. And I’m the same way with relationships –hence this program and blog.

So how do I push in love? Let’s just give a few examples:

Scenario: Meet a Cute Boy, Exchange Cards

Love Pusher Actions: Thoroughly find any information I can about him using FacebookGoogleLinkedInTwitterblogs, etc. Search for additional pictures. Try to determine his birthday for my mom to look up (I know she’ll ask). Figure out when is exactly three days after we met so if he doesn’t contact, I can contact him. Attempt to remember something flirty/funny we talked about when we met to bring up cleverly if I have to contact him first.Nervously look at my phone until I get frustrated and make myself not look at my phone for an allotted amount of time. Same goes with Gmail.

Scenario: Met a Cute Boy, Exchange Cards, He Contacts Me

Love Pusher Actions: Start by casually responding and spacing out the amount between text messages or replies so I “appear busy”. Have casual conversation for about a day, then I get nervous and I want to set up an actual time to meet, so I drop hints. For example, “We should get a drink” or “Do you like coffee?” or “Man, I’m hungry!” or “Bored tonight, what are you up to?” and include winky faces when appropriate until he bites. If he doesn’t, I just get to the point and ask him myself.

Scenario: Met a Cute Boy, Exchange Cards, He Contacts Me, We Go Out

Love Pusher Actions: Date starts off well with witty chit-chat and I pick a drink or meal I could afford to pay for myself if he doesn’t happen to offer to pay. Conversation continues and if there’s a lapse in the banter, I feel the need to keep it going. This is when I pull out “21 Questions” or start integrating them. Yep, I bring out the journalist on a first date. I’ve ever played the “Truth or Dare” card, no lies. My mental check-list of qualities I look for in a mind needs to be completed, right?

Scenario: Getting Ready to Go Somewhere (Event, Bar, Party, Running)

Love Pusher Actions: I secretly plan out every possibility there could be for me to run into someone. That guy looked at me from across the subway car,should I get up and move seats? I’m going to this super-candle-lit bar that’s located on 33 West Broadway, that’s my favorite number, so is that a sign? I dreamt about a guy named Brian, and his name is Brian, now that’s a sign, right? I’m attending this business event tonight, is there a possibility I could meet The One? Isn’t that what the psychic said? Could this be the night? The day? The afternoon?

Ehhh.

These are probably not the most becoming qualities, but they are incredibly and sadly true. Maybe I’m a pusher because I like to be in control or because I’d rather know what’s going on and prepare myself for whatever can happen. I guess I’m not a fly-by-the-seat-of-your-pants lady like I always hoped I’d grow up to be.

Step 3 is about surrendering all of these actions and thoughts to a higher power for it to remove for me. And I’m guessing (if I’m inferring correctly, here)–part of surrendering is allowing whatever is supposed to happen, happen. And it’s letting go. And it’s not being a control freak. And it’s definitely not being a love pusher.

They (as in all of those ridiculously annoying people in love/married/with baby) say the best things and “The Best Thing” happens when you’re not looking for it. When you’re eyes are open but not focused, your heart is ready, but not anticipant.

So surrendering gives all of my power away and makes me have to be chased instead of chasing or planning someone else in my life. Surrenderingmeans I have no clue of what’s going to happen –but as a pusher, I don’t know either.

Instead of pushing and fighting and organizing and strategizing…I’m just supposed to go with it.

Yep. Better get to it. What’s my plan for not planning?