What Would the Wise Woman Do?

I started taking this philosophy course at the start of the year. It was something that I was a little embarrassed to admit because it’s not the type of thing “us New Yorkers” do. Or at least, the response I’ve received so many times when I admit my class enrollment is “OMG, that sign on the subway! You actually did it!” (It looks like this, if you’re curious.)

Based on the advertisement alone, you would think it’s some hoax but the actual lessons I’ve learned through my 10-week schooling have been so influential on my life that I signed up for philosophy 2.

Each class, we discuss topics that relate to life as a group, and then we’re given homework to practice throughout the week. They range from “What would the wise woman do?” (your smarter, less crazy inner self) to “In every situation, find the beauty. If you don’t see it, look again. And if you still don’t see it, look again. And again.” (much easier said than done!).

All of these lessons about patience and listening, kindness and relaxing, selflessness and seeking the wisdom you can gain from every situation have benefited me immensely. When I’m stressed or anxious, upset or unsure, I find myself repeating the smart mantras to get me through the moment or the day or the incident. I’ve become more balanced at work, I spend more time really listening to what my friends have to say and giving more thoughtful, understanding advice. When I feel like the world is crashing down, I can usually apply something from the class and build back up the pieces that started to crumble.

In all areas of my life, I’ve become a better version of myself… except for the one pain point that philosophy class hasn’t been able to soothe:

My dating life.

Now – all of the principles I’ve been taught and repeated in my head for the past 10 weeks definitely make sense in terms of finding love:

Expand your circle of kindness. (Don’t just say no to some dude because he doesn’t fit perfectly into what you want)

Consider every person and every situation as a teacher. What can you learn? (When a date goes terribly and you are eying for the closest exit to get the f*** out of there, breathe, and see what you can gain from this experience.)

What you give your attention to grows. (If you keep focusing on the bad and the disheartening parts of being single or seeking love, you’re going to be continuously slapped in your pretty little face.)

Logically, I see the direct correlation but when I attempt to put it into practice, all of my zen attitudes and my self-encouraging thoughts quickly turn into the catastrophic rolling tide of negativity.

Like on Tuesday.

I met someone in a rather interesting way recently and I was excited about going out with him for the first time on Tuesday. There was some brief texting and some minor flirtation, and though I knew better than to get my hopes up about a date with a stranger, I was actually excited to see how it (and he) turned out. Maybe because the majority of first dates either go very well or very bad, or that I’m just so programmed to expect the worst out of men in New York, but as I was walking to the subway station to meet him, I felt the fear start creeping it’s way into my mind:

What if it’s really awkward? What if I don’t like him? What if how I remember him isn’t quite how he is? What if I’m really, really early? Or late? What if I say the wrong thing? What if I want to leave and I won’t know how to get away from him? What if he doesn’t think I’m pretty?

I felt my anxiety continue to build as I turned the corner and out of nowhere, something inside of me said: Look up. Look around you. Get out of your head and in the moment.”

And so I did.

I saw the toddlers racing out of their doorman building and the golden retriever happily following behind them. I saw young women around my age coming out of the local market with bags of food, talking to someone on the phone in hushed tones. I saw the street car vendor call out to passerbys and I saw little old men shuffling their way to the apartments they’ve probably had for decades.

And then I looked up…

… just as someone accidentally let go of a heart-shaped red balloon and it floated quickly up to the sky from the uptown streets of the Upper West Side of Manhattan. Just as I was walking by. And just as Maroon 5’s “Love Somebody” came on my Pandora app.

First, I though, wow, my friends are right. My life IS a romantic comedy, and then I gave myself a break for being so negative about relationships.

The truth is  – dating is hard. It is frustrating. It in oftentimes, infuriating. And after going on date after date and meeting guy after guy for two and a half years, it’s natural to be a little burnt out. It’s normal to feel nervous before a date and frankly, nervous for how you’ll feel afterwards: more disappointed or hopeful (and honestly, the latter is a little scarier than the first).

And while it’s okay to worry, my energy and my time (and my heart) are better spent living in the now. Enjoying every single second of every minute of every day of every week of every month of every year is the single most important thing I’ve gained from my philosophy training. Time spent analyzing the past and holding onto it keeps you from the joy and the splendor of the now. And wondering what tomorrow will bring or who you will meet or how it will go or how it won’t go or what will happen are all questions that you’ll never have the answers to until… well, they happen. The truth of everything is found while you’re experiencing, not afterwards and not in anticipation of the moment.

So I got on the train. I took the local and I read a book the whole way. I took my time getting to the bar. I casually sat down, arriving before he did. I drank some water and I scanned a menu I already basically had memorized. I saw him arrive and I watched him walk in.

He smiled a genuine, kind grin at me and sat down.

And we talked philosophy – something that both of us had studied and both had our lives and our mindsets changed because of the work. A few drinks, a few kisses and a few days later, I’m excited about our second date this Friday.

But I’m not stressed about it. I’m just letting it happen. Why?

Because that’s exactly what the wise woman would do.

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Date a Man Who Asks Your Opinion

Date a man who asks your opinion.

One who wants it, who feverishly hangs onto it, prompting you for more, testing your level of commitment. Date a man who loves to hear you talk — about the news, or the traffic on the 1 train or about that girl from your high school who did this crazy thing that OMG, you need to analyze on Gchat. Now. Pick a guy who reads into things or at least, reads. One who challenges the world around him and at times, pushes you to think differently, to release notions and motions you’ve done for so long, you no longer remember why you do them or why they matter or if you like them. Date a man who likes the way you think, instead of wondering if your step, your clothes, your hands and your feet are in sync with one another. Get to know one who can declutter your brain, not one that can unhook your bra with one hand.

Date a man who is a little weird.

And one who thrives on your differences. Those tiny, minuscule things that make you, you. Like how you stick out your tongue when you’re writing or how you ask questions to your dog and answer them in a funny voice or how you fold every magazine you touch in half to absorb the words, not the graphs or the photos. Date a man who might makes a room more interesting instead of more fun, one that holds a conversation instead of igniting one, a man who uses his brain instead of his lines. Don’t be afraid to get to know a guy who yes, is a little nerdy. Yes, a tad strange. He’s the guy that’ll show you more things and give you better dreams than the ones you had before because he’ll demand more. More respect, more intellect. Less game, more play. Be with the guy who you’re surprised you like, but happily so. Easily so.

Date a man that kisses the hell out of you.

On the first date or the second, when it’s slobbery and awkward, intense and emotional. Or none of those things, but still, he kisses you anyway. Because he really, really wants to, and you really, really like the way he tastes. Date a guy who tries his hardest, not just for you, but for him, and especially for the both of you. One that doesn’t needs your permission but wants your advice, one that doesn’t need to say good night, but like the way you say “sweet dreams” in return. Date a man who savors your sweetness but stimulates your boldness. One that treasures the silence and laughs when the quiet continues too long. Date a man who you can do nothing and everything with and feel content because his company is yours.

Date a man who brings you peace.

One that calls when he says because he wants to. And one you don’t have to pretend to like to get through a few drinks or a few months because you’re afraid of being by yourself. Because you’re afraid you’re too picky or not forgiving enough, or you’re more scared your friends think you are, though they disguise it with clever affirmations. Be with a man who has you mostly figured out, and loves the mysteries that come in the long term, because things always change. Bodies, addresses, jobs, likes, hates, hours, governments, neighborhoods, rents and minutes and love. And life. Be with a guy who can make you laugh, even if he’s not all that funny or insanely clever, as long as he brings some simplicity to your spiraling thoughts, your unproven, distracting fears. Wait for the guy that makes it all a little easier, not because the relationship is without fault but because you forgive one another when it comes.

Date a man who likes himself.

Even if he’s comes across arrogant at first, give it a date for his shield to come down. As many walls as you’ve built, brick-by-brick, bad-date-by-worse-one, he’s built them too, and they need time to shatter. Date a guy who knows he’s good, that is proud of his life and all of the things and people in it. One that doesn’t mind being by himself, who actually enjoys his independence, who knows he’s secure and yes, happy. Be with a guy who has a lot of friends, who doesn’t resent his parents or at least has forgiven them if he needs to, who has grown enough to see people as people, not as heroes. Be with a guy who greets the deli manager and thanks the waitress, who tolerates screaming children enough to want one, one day.

Date a man that you’d be friends with.

If you didn’t want to sleep with him so damn badly, that is. Pick a mate that you’d pick for your most vulnerable friend, and also your most dynamic one, because usually, they’re one in the same. Date a guy whose words you like, with a heart that gives you all it’s might. Pick a man not because he’s Mr. Right or because he came in the pre-packaged set that you always wanted, that you always imagined. Date him because he’s different, because he made the difference, because you’re different – in stupid, ridiculously beautiful ways – because you met him. Because he made you melt, made you softer, made you relax. Be with a guy you’d be happy your future son turned into or your daughter-to-be would date. Pick him because he’s better, not because he’s perfect, not because it’s fated by the stars and the illusions of the universe, but because you want to. Because every last bone in your body says you need to.

Or don’t date him.

Date the other guys instead. The ones who are just-enough (but not really). The ones who leave you lingering because they can, because they will, no matter if it’s you or the next girl or the next that follows. The ones who see promises as options, who aren’t driven by anything inside themselves, except perhaps, their own ego, but mostly, their fear. The ones who make you come, but never arrive when you actually, emotionally, need some support. Or, the ones who maybe are good guys, but just not good enough for you, not enough to get you going, not enough to keep you hungry. The ones who for whatever reason, you can’t pinpoint or decipher, aren’t your match, but you’d rather be matched than be alone. Or one that just doesn’t care much about what you have to say, what you like to do or where you hope you’re going, he’s just along for the ride.

Or are you just along for it?

You can date whoever you like, lady. But me? I’m waiting for the guy who asks for my opinion over soup on the Upper West Side on a chilly fall afternoon, grinning away as he listens. And loving whatever I have to say.

A Tale of Two Psychics

Once upon a time after a boozy brunch with J, I had the bright idea to see a $10 psychic in Soho. J is oddly into metaphysical ideas, just as I am, so he happily obliged — even if it was the mimosas motivating him to go. Her name was Nicole and her eyes were so blue they were almost transparent, and as soon as I sat down she asked:

Who is Mr. Possibility who broke your heart last year? (Though, she said his name, not his blog alias).

Stunned – I answered her question as briefly as I could, since my mom advised never to give much information to a psychic if I wanted an accurate reading. She continued to shock me with her revelations: I was a writer, I moved to NYC from the South, I recently traveled to a tropical place, I generally was pretty happy and things would only get better for me. She also noted that I would meet the man for me within three months, marry in three years and have three children.

I left her tiny studio, unable to piece together words and scared that if I said such incredible things out loud, they would surely not come true. A week later, I enticed my group of friends to see her, promising we’d get frozen yogurt afterwards if they’d reveal all she outlined. When they came out with wild eyes, crazily sharing what this now infamous woman said about their lives, I started to think that maybe, just maybe she had some merit about her.

Ironically enough, the very next day, I was invited to see a more well-known medium and psychic, Thomas John, for my job at iVillage. (Read my post about it here!). Scarily, his words almost matched hers – even to the letter. They both predicted that the guy I’d end up with would begin with a certain letter in his name (not necessarily his first name, but maybe his middle, last or a nickname). (I’m a little too superstitious to share what it is – but you better believe I’m looking out for it these days and should I end up with a dude with that name, I’ll spill it.)

Following his reading – where he named specific family members and detailed events from my past, along with some pretty amazing predictions for my future – I could barely think about anything else at dinner with E. And because she’s lovely, she put up with my ramblings through an entire pitcher of sangria. Now that almost a month has passed since the week of the psychics, I’m still almost as excited as I was then. I can’t say that I believe each and every single thing they said or promised will actually come-to-be, but I will give them props for one, huge turnaround in my dating life: I’ve got my mojo back.

Maybe it never quite left exactly, but I’m noticing my head a bit higher, my eyes mighty wider, my thoughts more romantic and my spirits brighter. It may be the shimmer of the July sun, the way my heart seems to be expanding or just the way I’m growing beyond things that used to haunt me – but the past month, I’ve felt so different, so new…

…so me.

I hope the psychics are right about most of the things they predicted for my life – but I also realistically know that they won’t be entirely accurate. And for that, I’m thankful – and so looking forward to whatever happens tomorrow, next week and ten years from now. It’s the element of intrigue paired with the notion that so many things are out of your control and out of sight, that gives you hope. Because, if you would have asked me a year ago where I’d be today — I couldn’t have illustrated the beautiful state I’m in now. I wouldn’t have been able to predict everything – the good, the bad, the stressful, the incredible – that happened since last summer. I do believe psychics have gifts and that some things are predestined by something greater than us all, but most of our future and nearly all of our happiness is dependent on us. And if you exude goodness, if you have faith in the things that mean the most to you, those things happen in some oddly perfect way that will catch you by surprise (even if you are looking out for one single part of the alphabet daily).

I will say – to their astonishing credit – I did meet someone in July. But it’s only time’s sweet rhythm that will tell if he’s just another guy or if he is indeed, this Mr. July that the tale of the two psychics predicted.

A Little Veruca-Like

After hearing some disappointing news recently, I set out to walk a few avenues and call whoever would listen to my fretting and rambling. The unluckiest of my friends who picked up my call happened to be R, who listened intently and calmly, letting me finish my obsessively inappropriate freak out.

As I neared the end of my story, over exaggerating, and emphasizing the disappointing facts more harshly than I highlighted the good, I concluded with: “It’s just I want it! I want it now! I don’t want it to be complicated! I just want time to go faster.” Pushing the tantrum to the extreme, I went as far as to stomp the pavement, and glare up at the sky in despair, regardless of the flocks of people on either side. Bringing my stance back to street view, I happened to be right in front of a candy store in Chelsea, and in that instance, I channeled a character that’s not a positive person to relate to.

Veruca Salt.

You know – the brat from Willy Wonka? Who says the same words to her father that I happened to slip to R, and is as intolerable as it gets. She’s the gal who wants the world, the whole world, and demands to be given it…now.

Am I Veruca-like?

I don’t come from money and I’ve never dated men for their money – being rich isn’t a qualification to grab my attention. I’m not a child, though I may act like one from time-to-time, as all well-adjusted adults allow themselves to do. I really don’t want a magical squirrel, though I’ve convinced myself I’ll name any animal I get “Henry,” no matter what it is, which perhaps is more irrational than wanting a rodent, anyway. On the surface, I don’t have the fundamentals of Ms. Salt, but in my actions and in the words I use – sometimes I’m impatient and demanding, and perhaps, I may even have a sense of entitlement. I mean, I am a Gen Y-er, right?

It isn’t so much that I think I should get things because I’m me, Lindsay Tigar. My name isn’t significant or noteworthy; it is just another byline in the hundreds of thousands of budding journalists and bloggers who write to be heard and to give, not to be famous. I don’t usually jump up and down, complaining and whining that my life isn’t going as planned or I’m not receiving all the things I believe should be coming my way. But I do think that if I work hard, if I’m positive, if I’m a basically a good person, everything I’ve dreamt of will surely be mine one day. As long as my visions aren’t magically and lofty, or my commands unappreciative and rude, like Veruca.

But sometimes, what I see for myself is probably unrealistic. I can be overly demanding of what I find myself deserving of, and if the mood strikes me wrong, I can be a bitch just like the next cranky New Yorker.

Once I hung up with R, I walked the 30 blocks back to my apartment, deciding fresh air would be better for me than a crowded cart. Annoyed with myself for overreacting, for getting my hopes up, for getting down on myself for things that are sincerely out of my hands, I thought about the Willy Wonka character I so enjoyed watching as a child.

Confessing to myself for the first time, I realized Veruca had been my favorite to watch. She was so over the top, so awful to her old man and Mr. Wonka and the other kids, that she eventually was declared a “bad egg” and sent down a garbage chute. I liked her though – even though she didn’t have refined qualities like respect and patience, virtue, and understanding – she just wanted what she wanted when she wanted it, end of story.

And that’s the truth of the matter – we’re all a little Veruca-like at times.

But if we learn from the sugary-sweet factory she played in, we know the one who finishes the race isn’t the one who skips ahead. It isn’t the one who rushes Father Time or gets everything they want. It’s not the person who overindulges or decides to cut corners and not fight fair.

The one who eventually finds that golden ticket – in whatever form it takes that means the most to us – remembers to be honest. Not only with the world, but with themselves too. Even if that means admitting Veruca is a part you play more often than you’d like to admit.

All of My Exes Are Closer Than Texas

I’d like to have a word with Mr. Zuckerberg.

No doubt the man will go down as one of the geniuses of my lifetime, as someone who greatly impacted the way people communicate and connect worldwide, and possibly, thanks to the movie, as a somewhat royal jackass – but sometimes, I wonder what life would be like without Facebook. For something so incredibly new – a mere seven years old – and already seem like such an important part of daily life for millions of people from Africa to Australia, is wildly impressive.

There are indefinite pros and cons to the technological revolution that makes sure connectivity is not just an option, but rather a saturation into normalcy. Do Facebook or Twitter serve as a novelty anymore – or are they officially acceptable methods of communication? Or if you’re anything like me, tools for stalking ex-boyfriends? Or those who I wish would have become boyfriends? Or both? Why is it that all of my exes aren’t far, far away in Texas, but super close on Facebook?

When Mr. Zuckerberg created Facebook, his idea was to keep people in touch -and perhaps he never thought implementing a section for “relationship” status would be as paramount as it is, but somehow, a single change or update has the power to completely make or totally break my day. And my confidence.

But worse of all, it can make me feel like every man who has ever loved me, I have loved, or was just momentarily a huge part of my life, has moved on. And here I am still stalking their Facebook.

Just from searching through the many social networks I’m signed up for, I can easily update you on the many Mr’s:

Mr. Faithful – still on the way to becoming a chiropractor, in a serious relationship with a gal I don’t know for over three years now. For Halloween, they wore matching outfits and during the many blizzards, they played outside each time. And took pictures.

Mr. Rebound – currently living in Chicago, accepted a great new job that he loves and was recently promoted to a higher position. In a relationship, though not sure for how long, with a lady who looks strikingly similiar to him. He appears to be balding, as well (she isn’t, for the record).

Mr. Fire – preparing for a move in May, seemingly still madly in love with the girl he posed in pictures with (in a hot tub, to be specific) a day after we broke things off. Still a hotshot in the sport he loves and apparently managed not to get pulled over by a cop for speeding a few weeks ago. And, both he and his Miss pulled for the Steelers last night.

Mr. Temporary– newly engaged, owns a house (wow!), and working in the school district he always dreamed he would. Looks like he recently got a puppy and has updates about what he eats, thinks, and breathes. Riveting, really.

Mr. Disappear– living in the same city and though he’s nearing the big 3-0, has yet to receive his Bachelor degree, and is in a relationship with a woman who is quite pretty. He happens to be completely bald, has a season pass to Nascar races (cringe), and hasn’t upgraded his taste in beer, so he’s still milking Bud. Ugh.

Mr. Smother – excelling in his career, residing in North Carolina, and recently started a relationship with a lovely blonde. Strangely enough, in the years that have passed since I cut things off, he hasn’t changed his profile picture. Not even once.

Mr. Fling – finishing up school after a medical bout and as charming as he is, has the ladies parading his wall constantly. I don’t blame them. And sometimes, I join them.

Mr. Idea – absoultely no idea  (no pun intended). He removed me as his friend, so thus communication paths are closed.

Central theme from the majority (minus one, actually) of these profiles? They have all entered into new relationships.

For most, the pairings are serious and they seem very happy with their new significant other, regardless of how significant I used to be in their life. A handful of them I still talk to, two or three I’d rather never speak to again, and maybe one I still wonder “what if” about. Regardless of how I feel toward these characters, I’m still connected to them and any information I want to know is at the reach of a click or a keyboard.

Well, maybe not any information, but the kind that makes me question what it means to really move on.

In an age where we’re bombarded and alerted to things we want and don’t want to know about – when can we officially say we’ve let go of any possibility, any longing, any angry or depressed sentiment, and have let the past be the past? Is it when we no longer feel the need to know what’s going on in their lives or when images of them newly in love don’t rock our hearts anymore when they show up on our feed?

For most of my exes, when we initially parted ways – I had to remove them from Facebook, block them from Gchat, delete every last email we exchanged and their phone number, stop following them on Twitter, and if we had a mutual friend that wasn’t that important to me, I’d go as far to ax them as well. I simply couldn’t bear to see the man I deeply cared about or allowed deeply in me…happy.

Or maybe not happy, but living their life without me. Okay, happily living their lives without me, while dating other people, and I was stuck being single. Because I wasn’t enthralled in the fire of a new romance or nearing happily ever after – anyone who once titillated my heart or my lovely lady parts – wasn’t allowed to be either. Because if they were in love or found someone they were interested in, that meant I hadn’t moved on and they had beat me in the mourning process. But relationships and especially the time needed to really let go of someone isn’t a competition or a race to the alter.

Or is it?

The measure of success after a relationship comes to an end isn’t determined by how quickly or easily you move from one bed, one embrace, one relationship status to another. It’s not measured by how much it hurts or doesn’t pain you to look at someone else experiencing romantic bliss sans you. Moving on isn’t defined by clicks, minutes spent stalking, or if you’re still intrigued by what’s going on in someone else’s life. Most living things are curious and if something is at your disposable or available through the world of webs, it’s natural to take a peek. If anything, it’s expected.

But instead of dwelling on the fact I’m single and dedicating an entire blog and year (or years?) to my life figuring out how to be content in my solo shoes, I’ve started asking myself a simple question:

Do I want to be that girl? Do I want to be the gal by his side? The one making out with him in a hot tub?

And that answer is even more basic than the question: no. I may not be falling head over heels, dreaming up visions of my future children, or deciding if I want chicken or fish, but I’m happy. Without a man. Without validation from another person. Without having to change my Facebook or make status updates about “my hubby” or how my boyfriend did something incredibly sweet.

Instead, my life, my Facebook, my social networks are about me. About the life I created for myself without depending on someone to build me up, boost my confidence or ensure me I could, in fact, reach my goals. I captured them just fine on my own – and frankly, wouldn’t have it any other way.

So regardless if everyone else is secure in their coupled-up oasis, for me, I know I’ve moved on, I’ve let go, I’ve released the ghosts of boyfriends-past because I don’t want to go back. Maybe more surprisingly, I’m not entirely focused on moving forward – but rather, setting my status, my updates about the things, the places, the people, the current life that means the most to me.

And that life, is just fine without someone writing on my wall, wearing matching outfits with me on Halloween, without having to fake an interest in the superbowl, without someone proposing to me, or inquiring about my whereabouts. It may be complicated at times, but it isn’t open, and it isn’t an exclusively non-exclusive relationship. It’s totally undefined by the Book of Faces or Twitterverse. It’s a life that I hope my exes stalk, so they see, regardless if you have a partner or you don’t, you can still find a love that brings you happiness. Even if it’s your own.

P.S. Confessions of a Love Addict is making Valentine’s Day more about the single ladies and less about flowers that’ll die in a day. Submit your Valentine here.

Happily Forever Me

It started out as just any other ordinary day.

As I usually do on the weekends, I woke up around 11, laced my running shoes, and went for a run in the park. It was one of those mid-afternoons that are rare in New York -the air smells strikingly clean, the noise is at a bare minimum, and distractions seem more like far fetched ideas than obstacles. After a brisk four miles, I settled into a local coffee shop for water and iced coffee while devouring that week’s edition of New York magazine. Unconcerned with my lack of makeup or my unwashed hair, I sat out on their patio, enjoying the spring sun and the tulips starting to bloom in the city’s versions of “gardens.” My North Carolina-roots, however, may always make me a snob to such greenery – especially with the endless rolling hills I grew up with in my backyard.

Once I was thoroughly filled with ideas, news, and midtown’s people-watching debriefing for the day, I caught the downtown train to the West Village, where my cozy and classic one-bedroom was waiting for me. Along with Henry, my miniature mutt I rescued from the Long Island animal shelter a year back. Not much of an athlete, but more of a hunter of falling leaves and city-street grime, he sadly doesn’t get to partake in my days-off rituals, but he’s there in spirit and dog hair. Following a much-needed shower, a conference call to the UK to set up the following week’s speaking engagement and travel arrangements, and a play date with Henry – my friend and fellow editor rang to make sure we were still on for the gallery viewing, along with our signature wine and Chinese food meal with the regular group of ladies. Still smitten that somehow, everything managed to work out in its own way – perhaps not as I planned – but here I was, living where I wished, able to call myself a real writer (and get paid for it), and have the most wonderfully dynamic collection of friends and adventures.

A few hours and cocktails later, I found myself seriously considering purchasing a painting in a new exhibit hidden away in Chelsea at a unknown, yet trendy establishment. This portrait, of a woman in a yellow sundress, with the city cascading infinitely behind her made me remember the days of my fresh beginnings in New York – and of the path I decided to take to reach the place I was now. Champagne in one hand and the other resting on my hip, with my head tiled slightly, I became so engrossed in memories of what was, that I let my program slip out my grasp.

And it was in that instance, where the sheets went flying towards the ground, catching me off guard, and I knelt quickly in my tall Louboutins to gather my mess – that he realized he had just laid eyes on the most beautiful woman he’d ever seen. Of course, he told me such a thing many, many years later when that first glimpse of luster hadn’t necessarily lost its effect, but had evolved into something more profound and meaningful: love. And not just love, but the love.

When I first started this journey, I had grown exhausted of romantic illusions. As quite the daydreamer with a highly overactive imagination, I could design the scenerio of fate’s course, like the one above, in a single moment. Anything and everything I did, each move I made, man I went on a date with, or stranger who locked eyes with me, had the potential to be part of this grand story that I so badly wanted. So thoroughly was convinced I needed.

Then, I decided that to be cured of the love addiction qualities, of these self-defeating thoughts that robbed me of confidence and worth – I needed to cut out the dreaming. I needed to learn how to be completely self-sufficient, completely independent, completely, madly, totally, fully, in love with myself. This way, I would never feel like I needed a man, I would never let anything a guy did or didn’t do rule my life, and I definitely wouldn’t waste energy and time when the man in question refused to do the same. I would let my emotions fall far, far behind and put my rational, reasonable, and mature self in the forefront battling all of the dating wars to come, instead of letting a little thing called desperation step up to bat.

But, in admitting the nature of my wrongs, I’ve realized as time and steps have passed…you need your heart as much as you need your head. And as important as actually thinking through and doing something is, dreaming and believing are part of learning to really live, and really love, too.

I used to get caught up in visions of what a grand meeting would be for my hubby-to-be and I and when days, weeks, months, and well, years would pass without anything spectatuclar really happening, I’d start to doubt the possibility that something so magical, so wonderful, so beautifully designed by the heavens themselves could ever happen. And then inevitably, I’d start questioning if I was worthy of such a thing, or if love and all of that jazz I’d hoped for since I was a little girl was even meant for me at all.

But maybe what I forgot to take into consideration was the central theme of all of my fantasies: when the charming Mr. Right found me, bumped into me, came to my rescue, or met me – I was happy. Or more specifically, I was enjoying my life, doing something I loved, and content with whatever point in time I was existing in. The reason this man, whoever he was or will be, found me irrestistble because I was radiating a confidence that derived not from him, but from me.

Perhaps in every version of happily ever after I’ve created, I forgot that romantic bliss started with self-love. And while my obsessions led me to believe it was all about the man, the reality of my longings were actually all about me. So when I became disappointed or intolerably lonely, it wasn’t due  to the fact a knight on a horse didn’t come riding up the subway tracks (though, I’d love to see that, just for giggles), but because I wasn’t searching or demanding happiness with myself. I was waiting and waiting for the ending, when I hadn’t even given thought to the beginning.

Do I still hope there is a true love out there, somewhere in this city I adore so much? Do I still find myself, from time-to-time brewing up a story I’d greatly enjoying playing out in real life? Do I still allow my emotions to overtake my practicalities? Do I still find myself delusional in illusions? Do I still occasionally feel quite alone, even though I know I’m not?

Yes.

But now, at least, I have a rather brilliant, mostly secure, and increasingly interesting prologue, that one day, if I’m blessed, will turn into an ending that no story, no movie, no book, no creation of my playful mind, and no blog, could ever portray effectively. Even if that conclusion, ends with me standing solo – because no matter what page in my story I turn, there’s already a love inside and a hope for a love that’s outside of me…that’ll never stop writing more.

P.S. Confessions of a Love Addict is celebrating Valentine’s Day a little differently this year. We’ll make it more about the single ladies and less about flowers that’ll die in a day. Submit your Valentine here.

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?