The Great Compromise

While everyone else was updating their Facebook about Shark Week, I was counting the days until Mob Week would end. After the rest of his species, Mr. Possibility, the late-bloomer discovered The Godfather. And all of its sequels. Over and over again for seven days.

He wasn’t doing anything wrong per se – he was acting like any other dude acts when in the presence of Al Pacino. You know – repeating quotes, analyzing the dynamics of the mob, asking me what I thought about “mob wives” and in almost every conversation we had with anyone else, The Godfather or the mob would ultimately come up. While The Godfather ban wagon passed a while ago, Mr. Possibility apparently just got on and now realizes why so many teenage, college-aged and middle-aged bachelors have posters on their wall.

I realize that by deciding to spend the night at his place, in his space, with his television, I’m subject to watch whatever he wishes. If I would have asked, I’m sure he would have changed the channel – but I never requested the favor. Though I’ve seen the movie(s) several times due to my father’s taste for the films, I found other ways to preoccupy myself while he sat mesmerized at the television. I even entertained conversations and made mob jokes with him, attempting to participate in something he found that he liked. But all of that went out the window yesterday when we laid around after a long night out celebrating my recent success, watching The Godfather…

…for four hours. Foooour.

In this time, I managed to clear out my email, do a load of my own laundry, take a shower, fix lunch, go for coffee, tidy up a bit, and write a blog or two. He did a few things, but mainly remained glued to the television. There was some snuggling and some talking, but when it came time to leave to make a party in the Hamptons for his friend, it was suddenly important that we rush out the door. However, I needed to drop by my own apartment before heading away for the evening. This was fine with Mr. P until we hit traffic on the bridge and he said, “Well, you had all day long to go home, why did you wait until now? We’re never going to get there on time.”

I’m usually pretty calm tempered, easy to get along with – but this comment brought out the sassy in me. “Didn’t you ask me to stay over today? To hang out with you during the day before going out?” I calmly asked. He nodded, rolling his eyes at the cluster of automobiles in front of us. “And didn’t I offer to go home and get things while you relaxed?” He sighed and nodded again. “And didn’t you ask me not to?” He looked at me, obviously annoyed. “And didn’t we watch The Godfather for the 100th time this week?” “It hasn’t been 100 times! It was on today, so we watched it. You watched it too.”

I think you can probably guess where this conversation went.

After he realized I was right and properly apologized, I thought how relationships are all about the great compromise. They’re about developing a deeper understanding for someone else. They require at least a form of unconditional love and to work, you need to trust and nurture one another. They’re about learning to forgive and being there as a supportive force for your partner in the good times and in the bad. In sickness and in health, in every last stinking situation, no matter how much you’d like to smack them across the face, stomp all over their things, slam the door, and throw in the towel. Or throw something forcefully at them while driving down the Long Island Expressway.

Relationships sound fine and dandy from the outside, but on the inside they sometimes require a lot of work. And the ability to be patient with someone who can infuriate you easily. Maybe it’s that thin line between love and hate, or the difficult task of being mature enough to keep a level head when someone you care about has moments of insincerity. We all have them, we’re all human, so why do we expect our lovers to be perfect? Arguments happen, differences are important to compatibility, and if you have the ability to overcome the tiffs, then your relationship has a chance. Especially if you can forgive someone for making themselves late because of a silly movie and then blaming you for having needs, too.

He made up for it today though – sweetly changing the channel to a Sex & the City marathon, handing me a glass or orange juice, and asking me what the hell Carrie was wearing.

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All the She-Fishes in the Sea

I’ve never been “one of the guys.” When I younger, I longed to be called me a “tomboy” – but now in hindsight, I haven’t fit that nickname once in my entire life.

And because I’m not coined as a guy’s girl, I’ve gladly and proudly accepted being a girly girl. Being a feminine lady has a lot of perks, in my opinion, and the best of all – is having a ton of lovely girlfriends. My friends have helped me cope when nothing else could get worse, when my heart was crumbled, and when I felt far from beautiful. They’ve also been there to celebrate my victories with champagne, hugs, squeals, and night’s out on the town. There is nothing more sacred, precious, or beautiful then the bond between two women who were meant to be the very best of friends. Like I’ve said before, my group of closest ladies are my soulmates, through-and-through, 24-7, forever-and-always, and no matter how ugly or old we become one day.

Before I moved, I knew I’d have to find a job and a place to live. I was prepared to live off of Ramen noodles and PB&J sandwiches for months or take a waitressing gig if that’s what it took to stay in this magical city. But what I never anticipated was how insanely difficult it is to make friends.

Making this transition in my life meant I would have to leave behind everything I’d ever known and everyone who had meant everything to me. I knew by chasing this dream, I would go alone, far away from the rolling North Carolina hills – and pounding that city pavement would be my own personal quest, without a companion. In many ways, the decision to move to Manhattan was a selfish one, and something that I did just for me, and in no way would I ever go back and make the jump with a friend or boyfriend. Part of the victory beauty, and accomplishment to me, is that I did it as a single woman.

And while I’ve learned how to enjoy dates with myself and evenings in solitary confinement – sometimes, I just get lonely. And this loneliness doesn’t stem from needing or desiring a man – but from needing and longing for my friends. I miss laughing and being ridiculous. I miss getting all dressed up for no reason other then its Tuesday and we feel like it. I miss parading around to powerhouse woman songs and someone (or me) asking twenty times “Do I look fat? Now, really, tell me if I do. You’d tell me, right?

Don’t get me wrong, being the go-getter I am, I have wasted no time in attempting to find women with similar interests. I’ve gone to happy hours in my industry, joined volunteer groups, signed up for the gym, and tried to get some of the many gay men in my life to introduce me to their “wives.” And yes, I’ve made a few amazing and dependable friends this way – but I still find myself sitting alone with a movie and a dustpan some Friday nights, wondering where in the world my social life has gone.

I realize building everlasting friendships is always a work in progress and that no one on this planet could ever replace my core group of friends growing up. But that doesn’t mean I don’t want someone here to vent my life to, share our mutual achievements and difficulties with, or go get fruity drinks and flirt with boys we’re not interested in at bars…simply because they’ll pick up the tab (sorry, it’s the sad truth, guys).

So what’s a gal gotta do to find her group of friends in a brand-spanking-new zip code? If we all want the Sex & the City lifestyle – no matter how far from the actual reality of New York as it is – you can’t have a Mr. Big without a Charlotte, Miranda, and Samantha to talk about him to.

In some way, I think my love addiction intensifies when I’m bored at my apartment and feeling un-friendable makes me reach out to men that I’m not even remotely interested in. Or it makes me consider texting those Mr’s from my past simply for the attention I know they’ll give me. And meeting new men almost seems virtually impossible, unless I want to sit alone at the bar alone, which makes me look like I have a different type of addiction. Right?

Finding friends feels like a chore and a part of my recovery that I never thought would be such a critical component. To overcome something that’s so insanely burned into your DNA – you need support and guidance. And while my friends from home are constantly emailing, texting, messaging, and calling me with their endless wisdom, honesty, and kindness – sometimes all I really need is a hug. Or a night out without any male interruptions.

Is it possible to be heartbroken because you simply can’t find a best girlfriend in the very best city in the world? If it has never been hard for me to meet friends, why is it so difficult now, in a city with millions of people?

What part of the friendship puzzle, secret handshake, or girl code…am I missing? If there are so many friendshe-fishes in the sea, why can’t I find a few who fit me?

 

A Single Soulmate?

I’ve never really liked the word soulmate.

Some may claim it’s because I haven’t met mine but I would argue that there is no such thing. A soulmate, by definition, is someone who is perfectly, identically, and spiritually aligned with your soul. Your everything because something you share, sparks fly the second you lay eyes on one another, and your interests, you values, your ideas are all in sync. If they are not matching, they at least compliment one another, and they fit the space that was never filled before.

Oh and of course, you can only have one. Soulmates don’t come in packs of 4 for a better-bang-for-your-buck deal and you can’t get a month-by-month subscription that you can cancel for a small fee. Nope, you only get one shot, one make-it-or-break-it decision, and you only have one individual who gets this special title.

And, frankly, that’s pretty limiting.

Over the weekend, I had a few friends in town – one I’ve known for over five years through the good, the bad, and all of it, and one who is the founder of a magazine that I’ve worked for since my sophomore year of college, but I had never actually met her in person until this weekend.

Both of these ladies I consider my soulmates. Along with a handful of other people, including old boyfriends and guys I dated (or made out with) for barely six weeks. And my mom. The list goes on-and-on –and I’ve always believed a person gets more than one soulmate in a lifetime.

Somehow seeing my old friend and meeting this new friend, who are both so full of beauty, integrity, wisdom, and vivid sincerity, solidified my thoughts towards soulmates (which, by the way, is taken from American writer, Richard Bach): a soulmate is the one who makes life come to life.

And the people who light up your life –they include more than a romantic interest. They include more than someone we go to bed with and more than someone we wonder how their last name will fit with our first.

You may not feel butterflies with a best friend, but you’ll feel that feeling –the incredible, incomparable notion that something is just right. That this person was meant to come into your life, meant to teach you something, and meant to be part of your happiness.

C and I were sitting across the table at this lovely restaurant, sipping champagne and wine, and catching up on years’ worth of stories and memories –and something just clicked. Deep inside of me, I felt like the stars had aligned, and this woman was sent to me to guide me, mentor me, and advise me. And of course, for me to listen to as well. Even though we had never had cocktails, as we were then, we had shared so many delicate and private details about our lives and struggles –and more often than not, we both knew exactly what to say to one another to ease the pain.

And then, there was my friend, R, who is a few years younger than me, but ten times stronger. We walked, arm-in-arm, with a few beers lagging behind us, as the chilly city fall air blowing against us, and something else clicked. I had been talking, analyzing, dreaming, doodling, and writing about living in Manhattan ever since I’ve known this girl. She gave me a sweatshirt and mints that said “New York” on them when I graduated from high school, created countless mixed CDs about city-living, made me posters, and given me encouragement when nothing else seemed to be a fix. And here she was, walking with me on our way to Columbus Circle to catch the train that would take her to my NYC apartment. It’s like again, the universe decided to lend a hand and put some pieces together.

I couldn’t imagine my life without either of these women. And they do make my life come alive. Just like my mother does. Just like my puppy Suzie, for that matter.

So what’s this talk about a soulmate by happily-ever-after definition? Why are we so hung up on finding that one person, when we can have several? Surrender those thoughts of a singular soulmate – and let those lovely ladies you adore so much to light up your life.

(To be overly cliché, isn’t it Carrie from Sex & the City (yes, I love this show, total confession that I will never try to hide) –who says “our girlfriends are our soulmates and guys are just who we have fun with.”)

Sex(less) & the City

Sometimes I wish I was a skank.

Pardon my language –but sometimes, I think it’d be easier. If I could just jump from one bed to the other, not feeling (or at least pretending not to) anything, having incredible orgasms, and not worrying if they would call or if it would turn into love –I think I’d be a lot happier.

If I could be just nonchalant and easy-going, enjoy great sex just as much as I enjoy great wine and travel –maybe I’d be a little more “cool” or one of those elusive girls that men are always drawn to. But then, again I wouldn’t care if men were drawn to me –because I’d be mysterious and aloof.

While I tend to be forward-thinking about many things, sex isn’t one of them. Like love (big surprise here, huh?), I tend to find sex to be this very intimate, personal, and powerful thing that should only be shared with two people who sincerely care about each other. I think it can be very stress-relieving and dirty-passionate too, but I don’t feel comfortable letting my inhibitions and my panties go –unless I’m committed and in love with someone.

This kind of mentality, in my opinion, makes me classy (or a prude) –but at the same time, it can make for some pretty lengthy kiss-less and sex-less periods. I plan on the payoff one day being well worth it –but sometimes it just flat out sucks.

Even though I know how serious I take intimacy, and even though I’m doing the 12-steps, I decided that part of trying not to be a love addict is taking the pressure off things. If I want to make out with some cute guy or if I want him to run his hand down my back (or thigh, or both?) –I should be able to do that without freaking out.

Right? Ehhh…

Mr. Unavailable and I had a little too much red wine on Friday night and we took our platonic friendship to a different level that involved some kissing, some holding, and some regrettable thoughts the next day…on my part anyways. So of course, like any good love addict, I then spent the rest of the weekend obsessing about what in the world I had done.

No, I didn’t have sex. No, I didn’t sleep around. No, I didn’t fall in love or fall in hate. No, I just acted on the naturally burning and ever-evolving desire inside of me. I was longing to be cuddled, to feel sexy, to feel the weight of a man pressed up against me, and to feel secure –so I took an opportunity.

The problem is –no matter how much recovery I go through or steps I take –kissing and making out and being physical –will always mean something to me. And while I don’t think this is a bad thing, I also don’t think it makes me very good at being “single.” I mean, even Julia Roberts couldn’t handle it in “Pretty Woman” – she ended up falling in love and packing up her sexy hooker boots (they’re coming back in style, yay!) and letting her guard down with Richard Gere –and we never blamed her once for it.

My friend L says I should be using this time in my life to “have fun.” In her terms and before she was in her relationship, this meant random drunken kisses and sometimes even sexual partners. I think my friend is beautiful and wonderful –and so much freer than I am. If she would have made out with Mr. Unavailable, it wouldn’t have mattered much to her the next few days…but for me, it consumed my weekend.

And it hurt me. He didn’t hurt me. The situation didn’t hurt me. The kissing and the fire didn’t hurt me. The friendship didn’t hurt me.

The thoughts hurt me.

The punishing myself for “letting go” or “trying something new.” The pit in the bottom of my stomach that continued to grow because I know it would never become anything more than just a friends-with-benefits (term I hate, by the way). Even if I didn’t want more, knowing that it wouldn’t be more –hurt. And it hurt that I thought of my actions and the experience the rest of the weekend –during drinks, at dinner, while shopping, while sitting at the laundry mat writing this entry.

So why do I feel guilty? Or is it that I feel rejected? Or betrayed? And if betrayed –by who? By myself? By my morals? I knew what cards were on the table and I willingly made the decision to play the hand I played. There was no poker face, no leading-on, no mystery, no question –we both knew exactly what we were doing and we both said what we expected.

If I had no expectations and wasn’t even certain of my feelings or of what it would mean to me –why does it hurt?