Now kids, I know you don’t exist yet. And yep, I’m still single and haven’t met your father yet (at least I don’t think). And OK — maybe I pray (and cross my fingers and toes and arms and legs) to not get pregnant at this time in my life, but one day, I do look forward to having you. And as sweet as it will be to watch you grow from newborns to babies and from toddlers to pre-teens, I’m also excited to see what you’ll be like as an adult. I’ve always had a close relationship with your grandparents, and they’ve always treated me as a pseudo-adult, even from the age of two, so I’ll try my best to not mother ya too hard. Continue reading
Somewhere between being asleep and awake, I laid in bed wrapped up in sheets with tired eyes, listening to the sounds outside the window. In the distance, a taxi driver became impatient, two women shared a laugh, an oversized truck continued down the street, and a dog expressed concern. Tossing about and wrestling with my pillow, I tried to decide if I really wanted to nap in the afternoon or if I should get up and prepare for my night out. The cotton sheets were freshly pressed and felt so smooth against my skin, tempting me to rest for just a while longer – if only to be more enthusiastic for the hours ahead of me.
I threw my leg over a pillow the same way I would a man and shut my eyes, hoping the noises below would subside long enough for some shut-eye. All was quiet and still except for the sound of the air conditioner running and the pipes busily working away. Just as I was about to drift away, I heard something that almost always makes me beam:
It was simple and subtle, happily filling the sidewalk and bouncing off the buildings to echo up to the apartment. Drowsily, I peeked out the blinds, attempting to shield my eyes from the sudden sunlight. Right outside was a blond-haired-blue-eyed family of five with two little girls and an older boy. They looked like they lived in New York, dressed in preppy clothes and looking comfortable int he mayhem – a trait that only comes with living in a city. They happily played with one another and giggled away, their parents keeping a look out for them while talking. This clan was just about picture-perfect as it could be and I smiled at their beauty.
In watching them, I was reminded of some advice an older woman once gave me when I asked her for relationship advice. We were standing outside a cute cafe in the Flat Iron district, saying out goodbyes after a Cobb-Salad-and-Diet-Coke lunch. After a brief hug, she said, “When you’re dating someone, stop imagining yourself getting married to them. See if you can imagine them as the father of your kids.”
She isn’t the only one to give me such wisdom, my friend K said something along those same lines when comparing two men she dated. She said that while she would think about marriage with one, her feelings were so much stronger and felt so much more real with the guy she could see as a dad. At the times they both challenged me to think that way, I wasn’t interested in what they had to say. It sounded sweet, sure, but if I could imagine the nuptials, wouldn’t I naturally see nurseries, too?
Not really – there’s a big difference between seeing someone as the husband and seeing someone as the baby daddy.
I rolled over in bed and stared up at the ceiling, noticing cobwebs I needed to knock down and though I’m nowhere near marriage or babies, I tried to picture myself with a family. Could I see the strollers and the bottles? Can I see someone kissing my belly, anticipating the arrival of our child? Could I see little pigtails and tiny trucks? Onesies and picking out baby names?
Have I ever dated someone who proved to me he could be that supportive, that kind-hearted, that responsible, that dependable, that loving – to be a dad? It was simple, when I really entertained the idea – I had never been in a relationship like that. I had never really met someone or dated someone who I could see that with.
But maybe that’s the point anyway – it’s very rare to come across someone like that. True Baby Daddies who want to be fathers, who would be the type of guy who not only plays catch and plays dress up, but is financially and emotionally stable enough to stand by his family and provide for them – are few-and-far-between. And when looking for a match, you can’t just focus on how romantic or dreamy they may be, but if they are the type of man who you could see wishing your children sweet dreams as they go to bed.
Who doesn’t just call you baby – but will make a great daddy to your babies.
There are a lot of things a man can do to impress me. Like remembering little things I said or having knowledge of current events and the ability to hold a normal, adult conversation. Knowing the right things to say, but more importantly, having the conviction to follow-through with promises and nurturing a life outside of our relationship. Or not needing me to be rule his life, no matter how much validity there is to the Oedipus complex.
But above all other things, characteristics, traits or talents – there is one sure-fire way to make your way into my heart: remind me of my father.
The one topic that is the most difficult for me to write about is my dad. Thoughts of him are so tightly sewn to my heart that when I try to put our relationship into words, it feels like it tears at my most delicate areas. I admire him in a way that knows no boundaries, I cannot stay angry at him for any period of time, and when I need to know how to cook or build something, or when another guy stomps on the love I give him, I never want to call anyone by my daddy.
As a retired fire captain, he is the symbol of bravery and courage in my mind. He represents the strength it takes to overcome anything – even an illness that nearly emotionally and mentally paralyzed him for six years. In his weakest of moments and darkest of hours, he still supported me. He never forgot to tell me how much he loves me and when all else had failed, when I didn’t know if tomorrow would be a day he would see, I could rest assured that I was among the lucky and the blessed to have a remarkable father.
And I was also part of the crowd who grew up with a shining example of a supportive marriage. Apart from the time my dad was sick, my parents have been each other’s best friends, confidants, and life partners. They make decisions together, they have hobbies together, they communicate in a language I don’t and would never want to understand. They respect each other and dissolve their anger before laying to rest. Their marriage isn’t perfect and it has seen its trials, but they are still standing – though aging and a tad bored – it’s impossible to deny the love they share.
In every man I’ve dated, each affair I’ve entertained – I’ve looked for my father. For someone who looks at me with the same admiration in his eyes that my dad has when he looks at me or at my mother. I’ve looked for someone to protect me, to comfort me, to chase away the adult monsters that seem so much scarier and life-altering than the ones I thought were under my bed. I’ve looked for someone with that same passion, that same intensity, that some vitality that I see in my sweet daddy – the guy who taught me to ride a bike, drive a boat and a jet ski, and encouraged me to go higher on the swing even when mom thought I was plenty high enough. For someone who will push me to be a better person, he will challenge me, and who will have that same intoxicating smile and laugh that I miss so much inNew York.
But recently, I’ve come to realize that I’m looking for my dad in all the wrong places. He isn’t going to be found in the arms of Mr. Possibility – no matter how many similarities they seem to share. I’m not going to develop and create a relationship or marriage like my parent’s love because that belongs to them, not to me. I’m not going to find my father by searching for his 20 or 30-something form in the streets, bars or buses of Manhattan.
The only place I’m going to find my daddy, my hero, is by pressing “5” on my speed dial. Or by logging into Skype or sending an email to Captain Tigar. Or by way of a direct flight from JFK to Asheville, where he’ll be there standing and waiting for me with a silly hat, a big goofy grin and a tear running down his cheek he’ll try to hide.
And that’s where he should be.
Maybe we look for our parents in the relationships we have as adults and maybe we sometimes look for the exact opposite – but what if instead of investigating who has the most potential to reincarnate our dads…we valued our father? We made who he is special. And help that daddy/daughter relationship as sacred as it deserves to be. What if we kicked our own daddy complex out the window?
I’m not going to meet someone who is just like my father and no man, regardless if he’s my boyfriend, my lover or my husband will ever mean what my dad means to me. Nor should he. No other man could ever compare. The love of my father I keep in my heart wherever I go belongs to me and my dad, no one else.
Because I don’t want to meet another daddy. I love the one I have too much to share him.
I’ve been dreaming vividly lately about very odd things. My mother says dreams are meant to help us work out things we’re thinking of or things that are causing us trouble, regardless if we’re conscious of our ailments or not.
If she’s right, apparently my mind has been preoccupied with babies and proposals. (Though, as far as I’m concerned, it hasn’t been)
I’ve had dreams about being pregnant, about giving birth, about rescuing children from incapable parents. I’ve envisioned spoon-feeding and watching a cesarean performed on me (yes, I know, gross). A certain dream about being stuck in some unidentified room with what appeared to be an eighth-month belly felt so real that I woke up in a dead panic, waking up Mr. Possibility in the process and frantically grabbing my stomach to make sure it wasn’t so. After the fifth consecutive dream about babies, that time of the month came (whew!) and I started having elaborate dreams about proposals.
Some of the dudes were guys I actually know and still talk to, like Mr. Idea. Others were complete strangers I was apparently in love with. The proposals were ridiculous – some involved flying fish and tomatoes, some were in NYC and some overseas (I think, it looked Greece-like). There was dinner and fireworks, friends and family, crying and Coca-Cola.
I don’t know what I’m eating these days or what crosses my mind without me knowing, but wow, when the crazy dreams stopped a few days ago, I was relieved and as any addict would be, obsessed with trying to figure out what they mean.
After all, doesn’t everything have meaning if you dig deep enough? Any proper journalist would tell you it does.
To uncover my unconscious hidden agendas, I sought the counsel of my friends. After all possibility of actually being pregnant was put to bed, they pretty much all reached the conclusion that I was getting ready to birth a new change. Or something would be proposed to me – not a ring, but something else. (No dearies, I’m gladly nowhere close to even wanting to walk down the aisle. Let me find peace with the term ‘boyfriend’ first).
That makes sense and is about as rational of an explanation that I can find – having a baby or agreeing to spend the rest of my life with someone would definitely be a dramatic shift. My priorities, my health, my finances, my body, my lifestyle – all of it. But then again – when you’re in your 20s, doesn’t everything change…all the time?
The people I’m the closest to today, I didn’t know a few years ago. My speed dial assignments have changed at least a handful of times since when I signed my Verizon contract. I’ll probably have my mail forwarded a dozen times before I leave this city – or if I ever do. My single gal friends have a new leading man every week or so, some are dismayed by this fact, others relish in it. I toss out clothes as often as I buy new ones at H&M, and when a heel breaks, another pair makes it into my closet. I try this beauty product and then this one, and while I’ve tried to pick out a signature scent, I can’t decide on just one. I read and read, day after day, and so my views, my language, my direction is constantly shifting. I make plans, I break them. I think I know who I am and then I question.
Call me crazy, but sure, life changes a lot when you have a baby – but doesn’t it also settle down a bit? I’d like to think that at the point in my life when I’m engaged and eventually starting a family, I’ll have my ducks-in-a-row. I’ll be secure in a job I love, I’ll be confident in the person I’m picking as everlasting partner, and hopefully instead of renting, I’ll be putting my dough toward a home or an apartment I own. Friends will still change but some won’t. I’ll be stronger in my convictions, but maybe my viewpoints will mold too. However, those foundation-building blocks will be set in stone, instead of airing in the New York summer sun. Or at least, I hope so.
So what is it that babies maybe signify instead? A thirst for stability? A hunger to be working toward something tangible instead of all of those things that seem so indefinite? I don’t have a baby, I’ve never been asked to marry someone (expect on Twitter), but I think those changes may rock my world, but they’ll also steady it, too. Right?
I can’t attest for sure, I’m not a psychic or a dream-reader, though I could probably walk a block in either direction and pay $150 for a reading. For now, though, regardless if these dreams mean a change or mean I’ll found solid footing, I hope they continue to subside.
My ovaries can’t handle any more fear.
I like my men tall, charming, and successful. I’m not picky about industry, though the majority of the dudes I’ve been involved with have been in the business sector. I’ve dated American and foreign, and a month younger than me to ten years my senior. I’ve fallen for a man in a minute, while some have had to grow on me. They have all been different in the matters that matter, but they have one distinctive common quality:
They’re all storytellers.
Some of them took this trait to the extreme – telling little white lies instead of entertaining tidbits, but most just had the art of captivating me with their tales. With inviting body language, energetic hand gestures, and wildly vivid eyes that change as the story continues – I’ve always had a knack for picking men who have factual (or at least I hope) anecdotes and want to tell me about them. The attraction I have to a storyteller may be due to my career or the fact that I try to listen more than I speak, but I think it could even be more juvenile than that. As simplistic as it may seem – I just like stories.
As a child, I became so fascinated with storybooks and reading that I eventually started writing my own. They were bound with string and detailed the adventures of my childhood pets, Wilma and Indiana (after Indiana Jones, of course). Or about day-to-day errands, vacations, or what I learned in school. Though my life has changed since I was seven years old, I haven’t stopped cataloging what I experience or how I feel – it is the reason I have dozens of diaries and the reason this blog exists. So maybe a storyteller attracts another storyteller – even if the way they express their affairs differs.
Nevertheless, while the loves of my life have been talented in giving the whole story and always in a little-over-the-top way, I have always had trouble with one part of storytelling.
Every writer, every speaker, every anything that delivers a message must have some sort of conclusion in mind. We all enjoy the beginning, the obstacles, the intrigue, and the passion that goes in the rising plot – but the question is always, what happened? Or how does it all come together? Does the guy get the girl? Does the girl find that man she thought she wouldn’t find? Does the lady land the job she wants? Does the man find something to bring him happiness that’s not his career? Did he cheat again? Did she forgive him? Does she die of some unknown disease? Does he get out of the tangled web of destruction? Do they live happily ever after?
No story is complete without an ending – or is it? Is there really such a thing as an ending at all?
In the next few months, my life will be changing, as I’ve observed it does in continuous three-month cycles. The start of May I will move into a new apartment – though because it is a New York market, I’ll have no idea where exactly I’ll be until a week before. Mr. Possibility will return yet again from a stint overseas and the plot we’re writing in our interesting story will continue to thicken as time and talks progress. I will travel extensively this summer with projected international trips and a homecoming to the South to attend my first of five weddings this year. And then there will eventually be an end to this blog. I’ve set a goal for a year of writing daily – which would make my last post on September 19.
Maybe with all of these transitions happening -leaving an apartment I loved, the final return of a man I adore, going on those trips I always lusted after, and knowing there will be a day without Confessions of a Love Addict – I’ve been thinking about endings. They say all good things come to a close – but I’d like to think that actually things really do last forever. And not in the sense that with each ending comes a beginning, but that anything that was ever important or significant doesn’t just leave you because it’s presence isn’t as prominent.
All of my storytellers are not acting across from me at the dinner table or sharing my bed as they once did – but I remember their stories. I remember their faces and they way they could make me laugh in all the right places. I remember what it felt like to fall in love with each of them and how it felt to fall out. And those apartments I’ve had over the years – from King Street in North Carolina to Manhattan Avenue in NYC – I remember the addresses. The keys have changed, the people who visited me have too, but there are certain things that never do.
And those are the stories.
Maybe that’s why I find myself as a modern-day historian – as all journalists are – documenting the world and my world as I see it and experience it. Remembering what was is the reason I’m where I am today, and why I’ll make it where I’m going tomorrow. The characters and the analogies adapt to our settings and the verbs that keep us going, but our stories remain. Chronicled in the back of our hearts where we keep the most intimate details, on the URLs of WordPress, or packed in cardboard boxes in our childhood homes – whatever we’ve experienced isn’t just deleted from our histories. It doesn’t end because those stories make us us. They give us the background for our foundations and the flashbacks we constantly entertain and learn from.
So why did I worry about happy endings with each of my storytellers? Why did I think I would have an ending at all? My story, much like the stories of every woman, every man who has ever been, isn’t based on the final sentence on the final page of the countless novels that make up my journey. It’s not about the moment when everything is concluded and decided, or when my future husband and I tell our story of how we met or got married or had children. Or when I achieved the corner office or the byline that I sought after. Or how the pieces finally came together and that was that.
Because my story is ever evolving, ever-changing, and never-ending. And it certainly isn’t concerned with such an ending, when it is only just beginning.