I Tried to Hate Christmas

It snowed for the first (real) time in New York on Saturday.

I woke up hazily hungover and tired, wondering how I’d ever make it to midtown east for Lucy’s vet appointment when my mouth still tasted like red wine. My little pup blended in with my comforter, snuggled between my feet like she likes to do, and I laid in bed, listening to the quiet. I relished in those peaceful, stolen moments before I have to force myself out of bed and into the chaos below. My room was colder than usual, only warmed by the bright white glow outside, and I opened the curtains just enough to inquire about the weather.. and there they were:

Perfect, fragile snowflakes, falling gracefully to the ground I can’t see below.

I watched them build up on the rooftops and though I’m 20 years too old to get so excited over such little things, I smiled and eagerly told Lucy it was snowing. She licked my face and went back to sleep, unimpressed and obviously not-human. I didn’t care though – I slung on my boots and dressed her in a (probably not necessary) coat and outside we went to see the snow.

As I walked down to the friendly Starbucks that lets me bring her inside when it’s cold, I kicked the snow underneath my feet and I laughed as Lucy played with it, hopping on the small piles and seeing the flakes flutter on her nose. The upper west side was alive and happy, excited for this wintery-mix that makes this dirty, darkened city seem more pure, more hopeful than before.

And like the snow lightened the push-and-the-shove of Manhattan (and Brooklyn and Queens, and maybe even New Jersey), it did the same for me. I’ve been adamantly against Christmas this year. In fact, I was so not looking forward to this time of year that I convinced myself that I wouldn’t be full of the holiday spirit, instead, I’d be a scrooge. I’d hate Christmas with all of my might.

After such a difficult year, with so much bad and so little good, why would I invest my heart and my expectations in December? Why would I think that the end of the year would be any better than the rest of it? Why waste money on decorations and holiday cards, postage and gifts, if in the end, I’d be miserably humming around a fake Christmas tree, mulling over everything I didn’t have? Over everything that didn’t happen or unfortunately did happen?

Why celebrate 2013 at all?

Maybe it was the snowflakes – or how the shift in the seasons shifted something for me, too, but I couldn’t keep my love of the holidays at bay. I couldn’t be negative about it. Even though New York and I have had our trials this year, the city wouldn’t let me forget about Christmas. Not with it’s street fairs and it’s subway performers singing “My Favorite Things.” Not with it’s lights and it’s weather, it’s people dressed in puffy coats and stockings from head-to-toe. Not with smiling kids and (surprisingly) grinning adults, even with it’s happy tourists seeing this place I call home for the first time, in the snow. Not with Macy’s windows and Fifth Avenue shops, not with splitting a bottle of wine with my friend in a cozy Parisian restaurant in the West Village. Not with all the truly magical parts of New York – from people to places and everything in between – that seem to glow with those silly white lights at this special time of year.

Though things haven’t quite gone my way and I’ve had more learning pains than triumphs this year, it only gives me better reason to show my thanks at Christmas and as 2014 begins. It might not have been the easiest of months, but they were necessary to teach me something. To be stronger and to take more chances. To believe in things that you can’t feel, see or imagine. To trust in something bigger than you, some force that you might not always believe in. To know that everything has it’s time and it’s place, that we will figure it out as we go, if we have enough hope to see it through.

I wanted to hate Christmas this year, I really did. But I don’t. I can’t. I won’t…

I sent out 50 holiday cards.

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E hosted (yet another) amazing Thanksgiving dinner.

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My friend A came to visit.

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I made a wreath (for $10!).

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My roommates put up a tree and I hung stockings.

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Lucy got a new red coat.

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And a new pillow (thanks Pottery Barn!)

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J threw quite the party with some deadly jingle juice.

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I shopped for Christmas gifts with M while looking at a lovely view.

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iVillage named me the Best Party Planner at our holiday party.

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This is my view while writing this blog.

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And best of all… my family will be here in less than a week for our very first Christmas in New York City.

I might not be exactly where I thought I’d be at the end of 2013, but I’m exactly where I’m supposed to be, learning what I need to know. And maybe one day, I’ll have a Christmas with a man I love, watching the children we made open presents in a home or apartment we bought together. Maybe I’ll have the best year yet in 2014, maybe it’ll be harder than all the rest. Maybe I’ll move abroad, maybe I’ll keep falling back in love with New York.

Maybe it all doesn’t matter – as long as I’m thankful enough to realize that regardless of how it all turns out or what I have, I’m so incredibly blessed. And so very loved.

Stop, Drop, and Roll

Recently, I made my first trip to Ikea.

For those of you outside of New York, Ikea is kind the place to go for young professionals with a little budget and the need to find furniture for their tiny apartments or rooms. Though I’ve been in the city for a while, I had yet to make the trip to Brooklyn to see the massive warehouse of  boxes filled with a million parts. The reason for the cheap price point is partly because everything you must assemble yourself – an experience I’m sure I’ll blog about when all is delivered to me soon.

Mr. Possibility and his car (a rarity for someone to have here) made the journey to Ikea with me, and after taking a trip down memory lane eating in the Ikea cafeteria, which is similiar to the food and feel of college, we walked around the maze. I carefully checked off the furniture I needed to buy, deciding how functional it was, and how much space it would take up. I thought about my color scheme and I considered the investment I wanted to make into something I’d ultimately put together with my own two hands. I wondered how long I would have the items and how reasonable I needed to be versus how trendy or modern I wanted to be. We went from bed to bed, laying on each, deciding which one was too soft or too hard. I briefly looked at frames until I decided I didn’t quite need one, but could do with risers. I fell in love with a dresser with a lovely Victorian mirror, but then realized it wouldn’t even hold half of my lingerie, much less my t-shirts and such.

Four hours, several unexpected and great phone calls, two hot dogs, and a denied card later (cashiers shouldn’t try and charge you four consecutive times for a large sum of money), I’m riding back to Williamsburg with Mr. Possibility and my mind is racing.

It’s running as quick as the cars speeding by us, but not nearly as swiftly as he’s driving. It’s running through a series of memories I’ve experienced over the last few years, through all the changes I’ve endured, and the many places I’ve called home. It’s running through all the men that have been and the love I’ve been lucky enough to experience. It’s running through the purchase I just made, the money that flew away in a split-second, and it’s worrying about one day not having enough. It’s running and running and part of me wants to scream at Mr. Possibility to stop. To pull over. To come to a screeching half. To let me get out and let me run and run, run far away from wherever I am, and wherever I’m going, and just rest.

To stop making decisions and stop wondering if they are right. To stop spending money and maybe even stop making it. To stop putting my heart out on the line for someone with possibility because with that, they have the possibility to rip the line underneath me. To get this fire out of my heart by stopping, dropping, and rolling into a miniature ball that’ll protect me from any pain. Any anxiety or lack of hope or disappointments.

But as he looks over and puts his hand on my knee, stealing a kiss on the side of my head while traffic comes to an actual stop – I smile at him and breathe a sigh of relief. Fire isn’t so bad. The flames have varying intensities and the best ones aren’t extinguished instantly. They may burn and they may scar, but fire keeps us alive. It’s why we worry. It’s why we doubt or we question. It’s why we feel vulnerable and why we cherish each day.

Without fire, there can be no life. So you can stop and you can drop. You can roll away from growing up or distract your mind from racing. But wildfires don’t stop or drop, but they do roll. And they will catch up to you, somewhere along the way. Even if it is on the expressway back to an apartment you’re living in with someone for just a few more days until the next chapter of your life begins.

With possibility.

Baby Don’t Want No Baby

A few years ago, while walking through Soho, I stumbled across a boutique baby store. I don’t recall the name, but the décor included whimsical trees, googly-eyed giraffes and elephants, and against my friend’s pleas, I demanded we go inside. Like the true kid-at-heart I am, I browsed through the clothes, considered buying a super-soft stuffed animal for myself, and sighed thinking, “I really do want a baby one day.”

Before leaving, I spotted a pair of ridiculously adorable pink socks with a tiny, sophisticated bow at the top. At $16 a pop, I actually bought one and vowed that one day, when I became a mother, I’d put them over my baby’s little toes. Let’s hope I do have a daughter when that time comes or my son will just have to be alright with pretty-in-pink feet.

These socks are tucked away in a space underneath my bed, along with clippings of dream vacation homes overseas, maps of places I’d like to visit, and ticket stubs from old dates, travels, and pieces of fabric I’d love to make a trendy dress out of (If I knew how to sew, that is). Those socks are the only thing, out of the dozens of wishes and dreams inside of that wooden antique box that represents children.

As much as I do hope that I have some baby Tigar cubs of my own, the idea of actually raising a child royally, totally, and whole-heartedly freaks me the hell out. I’m one of those women who texts her friends: “Okay, so he didn’t technically finish inside of me. We used something, I’m on something. But my monthly visitor is about three hours late, should I get a test? I mean it can’t hurt, right? RIGHT?!” I’ve also probably opted for plan B even when plan A probably worked efficiently. I even may have Googled if there was such a thing as Plan C. (There’s not, if you’re wondering)

But why should I not be careful? Pregnancy and babies are terrifying.

I mean, my lady part has to stretch to a size that’s not natural (no matter how part of nature it is), I have to give up the things that give me tremendous joy (coffee, wine, looking sexy in lingerie, running, to name a few), and after nine months of increasingly getting rounder, I have a miniature creature who will suck on my gals. And that’s only the beginning – once I’m a mother, there is no going back or 30-day refund policy. As far as I know, anyways.

Last week on my way to my bi-monthly mentoring program for children who want to be authors, I caught an elevator with a few parents. Though it isn’t the usual etiquette, one of the fathers asked when I pushed the button for the sixth floor, “Are you going to pick up your child in the program?”

With a fear-stricken death stare I looked directly at him and defended myself: “Oh God no! I’m volunteering. I don’t have children. I’m too young for that!” Obviously not realizing the chord he struck with me, he mumbled an apology and turned to face the doors. As I pulled myself together walking to meet my mentee, it occurred to me I was actually wrong.

I’m not too young to be a mom. Technically speaking.

I’m the only one of my cousins who doesn’t have at least one child – and they are all under the age of 35. I have friends who are damned-and-determined to have their legacy completed and their tubes tied before they blow out the candles on their 30th birthday cake. And ladies much younger than me, say 16, are apparently buzzworthy in the eyes of pop culture for doing nothing other than growing a bump.

As cute as they are and as much as I’m sure I’ll love my own one day, I’m lacking the baby-obsessed gene. Or maybe, it hasn’t fully developed quite yet.

Being a parent, much like being a girlfriend or a wife, means you have to stop making decisions based solely on yourself. While we can provide examples illustrating how men are really just grown-up babies who still want to be pampered, mothered, and coddled – a child is even more responsibility. Not to mention a commitment you can’t divorce, annul or walk away from.

When this man, unknowingly mistaken me as a mom, it caught me off guard (and sweat a little) because the possibility of being a parent had never occurred to me. Sure, I’ve had some scares and from the book my mother gave me, I know I’m capable of producing offspring. But, for someone to see me and for it not to be out-of-the-question for me to have a elementary school-aged child, blew my mind. What would my life look like if that were the case?

A baby requires more than your love, your attention, your dedication to maintaining and creating a relationship – it needs to be provided for and protected. How can I expect to be mature enough, secure enough, and uncomplicated enough to keep something else alive, when most of the time, I’m not sure I take care of myself in the best ways?

I may be far from being a child and far from 40, but this baby don’t want no baby.

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.

Naked, Nosy, and Never Been Happier

I’ll admit I’m a jealous person.

Obviously, since I admitted to stalking Facebook profiles for wedding, engagement, and baby pictures, I have a little bit of envy in me. I can’t even being to estimate how many times in a day I desire something I don’t have –when I see a trendy couple walking, leaning on each other in the subway, a man kissing his pregnant wife’s forehead in the rain.

Most of the time, especially now, I’m able to deal with these resentful feelings –soothe myself, close my eyes, and say a little prayer for things I hope will come.

Imagine my delight yesterday when I found myself not jealous, not envious, not sickened, not insanely mad –but happy about being single.

Tonight my company is hosting the NYC Small Business Awards and because I’m a procrastinator (not usually, but lately), I waited until yesterday to buy my cocktail dress for it. With a lovely birthday card from my friend A, I set out to Forever 21 on my lunch hour yesterday to find something stunning. I figure, it’s a great excuse to buy a new dress considering I’ll be around 500 business owners –right?

I scour the three floors of wonder that is Forever 21 and with an armful of dresses and make my way to the fitting room. As I’m struggling to figure out what my size is because my new workout regimen has made me somewhere between a small and medium –I overhear a conversation.

Its two girls in the rooms next to me laughing, chit-chatting, and they seem to be catching each other up on their lives. At this point, I’m struggling to get a belted blue dress over my head that’s in two pieces and incredibly difficult to maneuver, and sighing because I’m a tad bit bloated, and PMS is breaking me out something fierce. As I’m starting to get frustrated, I hear one of the girls say, “Oh my God! I loooooveee this dress. Do you love this dress?” to which the other replies, “Oh girl, you look so sexy. Chris is totally going to love that. He’ll rip it off of you.”

I giggle to myself and think about my friends who would say that to me (practically all of them) and I take it that Chris is this gal’s boyfriend. She laughs and then her ringtone “California Girls” by Katy Perry goes off and she says, “Oh my God! He must have read our minds, he’s calling!” I’m still weeding through my outfits as she greets Chris with “Hey baby!” and continues with her conversation.

I stop listening for a while until I hear “Baby, I thought we talked about this…*sigh*….but I said this weekend that…well, I know….but we talked about this…Chris!…will you just let me talk?…you’re being ridiculous….I told you she was going to be in town.

Of course, because I’m being incredibly nosy, I stop trying on clothes, stand there in my panties and bra and over-the-knee boots and just listen.

Chris, she’s in town this week only. We can hang out this weekend, can’t we?…Why do you  need to see me?…I thought we had this conversation…No! I’m not breaking my plans…No, I’m not…what was that? Say that again….Really?…You’re doing that? For me?…Okay. Aw, Chris. Let me talk to her…yeah…I love you too…I know baby…yeah, I know baby…I’m sure she won’t mind…No she won’t mind…Yes, I’m sure…I love you too. Bye baby.”

Now, I’ve decided that she gave into his pleas to see him, even though, I’m guessing, her friend is visiting from out of town.

“Hey, do you mind if I see Chris a little bit tonight? I mean, I’ll just go over to his apartment and you can stay in my apartment and check your email or watch TV or whatever. He just really needs to see me. You know how he is –just needs me. It’s like that when you’re in love.

I couldn’t see her friend’s expression, but if it were me, I would have rolled my eyes, dropped my jaw, and called her out on giving-in even though I was visiting and was promised girl’s-only time.

“Yeah, I mean I guess that’s alright. But weren’t we going to go to the village tonight? I’ve never been there before, ya know,” her friend replied.

“God, I know. The village isn’t that great anyways. He’s just so persistent. You’ll understand one day when you meet The One.”

Now, I’m fully dressed and fully pissed at this girl for being so rude to her friend. It took every fiber in my being to not talk to the other friend and say, “It’s okay to be single! It’s empowering to be single! You’d rather be single than have a lame boyfriend who begs you to break plans with your friends because they ‘need’ you! How pathetic is that? You want to go get coffee with me in the village tonight and we’ll bitch?”

Not everyone who is in a relationship becomes obsessed with and powerless to their boyfriends. I’ve definitely been in relationships that have taken over my entire life and I know how easy it is to get wrapped up when you’re head over Jimmy Choos. I get it, I really do. But regardless –it’s never right to do that to a friend. Especially an out-of-town friend.

The best part of this story, though? I wasn’t jealous of her relationship and I wasn’t envious of any relationships the rest of the day. From the outside –on the train, streets, and cafes –all relationships look beautiful and loving. But when you get down to it –they are messy and uneven and sometimes involve pleading annoying men.

As I walked out of Forever 21, I thought: “Thank God I’m not in a relationship like that. If I was with a clingy guy I’d have to cut him lose. Already did that. Been there, done that. Wow, I’m so glad I’m single. I can do literally anything I want today, this week or this weekend. I think I’m going to buy some shoes. Or maybe that rain jacket…ohhh he was cute! Who is that? Maybe he’ll be at the Small Business Awards!”