And Then I Found Love

It was March 16 — and I was having one of those terrible, horrible, very bad, no good days.

It started with a lack of hot water in my apartment for like the 100th time  (sadly, only a slight exaggeration), which resulted in playing chicken with the shower head until I was at least somewhat clean. From there, it only went downhill: the train was late, the weather was depressing, the line at Starbucks was way too long for me to make it to work on time, and as it always does, the course of negative events left me feeling less than 100 percent. Midway through the day while eating the snack-size Lean Cuisine that I somehow manage to consider lunch, something else popped up to make what was a crappy day, completely shot to hell.

He emailed me.

And for whatever reason, even in my near-crazy state, I decided the logical thing to do was to read it. Then and there, on the spot, while chewing highly processed food that I didn’t care for. The sentences weren’t important, nor the sentiment, but the feeling I had my stomach — and in my heart — was. Moving it to trash doesn’t make it any less significant, but it at least gets it out of plain sight, or at least, I thought so anyway. But with the swift deletion, I started to feel them inch their way up, fighting to let out the crisis I felt I was facing. My warmest organ started to burn, signaling it was time to make a b-line for the bathroom where I could exhale in semi-private.

Standing in the stall, counting to ten over and over, looking up to the fluorescent lights, feeling the salty, achy drops form in the corner of my eyes, I got angry. Not for the first time and certainly not for the last in this ordeal, but for the first time, it felt real. I thought about the six months I had wasted communicating when I knew I shouldn’t, the few months I spent going back to what I knew was wrong, and most of all, for trying to be so strong and really, being nothing but weak. Sure, I forgave myself (and luckily my awesome friends did too), but knowing I needed to focus my energy on positive things, like my great job, I decided that it was really, truly time to move the f*** on.

I’m not sure why that particular afternoon meant so much to me — it wasn’t any different or worse than other days I spent attempting to let go of Mr. Possibility. I probably still Gchatted the regulars expressing my frustration and he obviously still made an effort to talk to me, as he did for such a long time. And if I’m honest, even here-and-there now. But in that brief thirty-minute span where my lunch break turned into the moving-on-moment, it clicked in a way it hadn’t before. Maybe I saw that regardless of how much time passes or how many tears I waste, it’s still impossible to make something out of nothing. Or that some sorts of love and relationships simply aren’t meant to last forever, and that’s okay. Perhaps it was just that I finally figured out I wanted more – I truly deserved more – and I wouldn’t get any closer to the best kind of love if I kept holding onto to the hope that mostly-bad could turn into kinda-good.

And so, I did what I always do when I set my mind to getting over someone: I started frantically dating. I signed up for two dating sites, tried to make my profile sound like myself (though, it rarely does), and accepted three or four after work drink invitations. I smiled and flirted, and had meaningless conversations with men who now I can’t remember their names. I didn’t find anyone appealing or entertaining enough to continue to a second date, and I found myself a week later, sitting on Gchat complaining to K about the stress of trying to rebound and how much dating felt like some cursed chore I really didn’t want to do.

So don’t date.

Her response was how much of her advice is — to the point, realistic, mature and taken from the wisdom she’s gained from many more experiences than me. I started to counter her argument, stating I tried that in college and decided placing rules on myself wasn’t healthy and that I never lived up to the promises anyway. I’d be 20 days in when I said I’d wait 60 and give in to some guy I worked up into my head to be the guy. He never was and I only became more disappointed in dating, and worse, in myself. She then, with careful words and gentle encouragement, convinced me that because it was my decision — regardless if I changed my mind later or not — giving myself a break from the whole scene, the intolerable exhaustion (especially in this city!) would make me hopeful…and less bitter.

Ouch.

It hurt to see those words in black-and-white and it stung even deeper to feel it in my heart. Mr. Possibility hadn’t turned me totally sour, I had swallowed that pill all on my own — allowing destructive, damning mantras to become my normal, instead of the cheery, optimistic phrases I usually live by and post around my bedroom walls.

And so, I took K’s advice and set a time frame — from March 23 until May 31, I’d be single. Like really, completely, refusing-to-go-on-one date single. I would be by myself and I would do what I needed to do the most: heal and forgive. Myself, Mr. Possibility, New York and love itself.

Today, on June 7, I’m happy to announce that I did it: no dating, no falling in love with strangers, no making random glances into advances on the subway, no anything. I went to and returned from Puerto Rico, welcoming the world of adventure that awaited me there. I found the peace I had been needing from Mr. Possibility by realizing that somethings really don’t change, but I can, even if he can’t. I stayed out later than I usually did and felt comfortable calling it a night a bit earlier than my friends. I showed my beautiful mother the city I love, ending the last evening by running through an open fire hydrant on my street, and savored every tone, every pitch in her laugh, wishing I could capture it for whenever I feel alone in this big place I adore. I started to accept that maybe, I’m never going to be a size two again, but size six looks pretty good on me. I had heart-to-hearts with my friends and dove into the work that fulfills and excites me.

And then, out of nowhere, without any warning at all, I found love. Real, powerful, all-consuming, can’t-live-without-you love.

No, not with the first guy I went out with on June 1 (he was actually rather awful). I don’t intend to find it with the dates I have lined up next week — but instead, I fell in love with myself. With my life here, with the people and the experiences that have made up the sum of all of my parts.

K was right — I needed time to put dating totally out of the picture so I could see that at the center of it all, there is me. There is the hope I’ve always believed in. And most importantly, there is love.

My First Real Adventure

As much as I hate to admit it and how naive it makes me sound — I’ve always been a little afraid of traveling.

Getting on a plane to New York – a city in the United States that’s only two hours away from my family – is one thing. Sure, that was a bit scary too, but I knew I was coming to a place I could make it, a place where $150 could get me a hotel room somewhere for a night. But going to another country or so far away that it’d be really expensive or difficult to get back to a place where I felt safe, that’s a completely different story.

This anxiety of being out of my element hasn’t prevented me from being thoroughly interested in what’s beyond my own border. I actually read more blogs about traveling than I do about what I write about: dating, love, sex and all that terribly-personal jazz. I’m captivated by the adventures others are brave enough to go on, often without much of a plan or even a place to rest. I’m insanely jealous of my friends who have made opportunities for themselves to get paid to go somewhere and write about it. Or the ones who put their faith on a shoestring budget and everything they need in a backpack and just jump freely into the next flight that welcomes them.

It all sounds so exhilarating and so not me. But then something odd happened a few weeks ago.

My good friend R returned from a trip to Costa Rica where she extended her stay by a week because she loved it so much. On Gchat, I excitedly asked about her getaway and she ever-so-politely refused to tell me anything until we saw each other in person. A few days later, over sushi and wine, she informed our group of friends that not only did she have an incredible time, but that she was leaving for a five month trip around the world. She didn’t know where or how, but she quit her job, found a subleaser, made plans to bring her pup to her mom and a ride cross country to visit a friend in California before leaving for Asia. Or Greece. Or somewhere. She looked into a sailboat that would make her a crew member, traveling the Caribbean and over to Europe. She explained her couch surfing successes and how she planned to keep floating from Lazy-Boy to Lazy-Boy, seeing all that she could along the way.

It wasn’t the haze of the cheap white wine or the lack of sleep from the night before – it was pure shock that stunned me to silence. Here was my beautiful friend who has been unhappy with her job and with her life in New York for a while, finally taking a plunge to see what else is out there. She seemed more alive and refreshed than I’d ever seen her, and because she has no family or partner to care for and 10-years worth of savings to pull from, she isn’t worried. Sure, her cash could run out, but she’d figure it out. Her courage was astonishing and woke something up inside of me.

Every dime I’ve made has either been in pursuit of moving to New York or while living here. I save because I know I should and for emergencies, but I don’t spend. Unlike the majority of my friends who could call Bloomingdale’s their middle name, I’m a little hesitant and super-cautious with everything I earn and especially what I put away. But for what? What is it that I’m pinching pennies for? What I am working toward?

Or more importantly, what am I so afraid of? No, money doesn’t grown on trees, but wouldn’t I, just like R, figure it out if something happened? If I found myself in a tight situation? If I was afraid overseas, wouldn’t I use my street smarts to ease my confusion? If I ran into trouble, couldn’t I get myself out of it, as I have so many times before? Or am I waiting to go somewhere until I have a man? But what about this feeling I have now? This incredible, impossible to explain sense of peace and sense of self that makes me not want to be in love with anyone? That makes me so happy to be flying solo? Am I hesitating so someone can split the bill and someone who protects me? If so, there has never been a better time to dream bigger than a honeymoon that’s nowhere close and nothing that I want right now.

So really, what’s keeping me from seeing the world, other than me?

After some long-winded conversations with my mom and much encouragement from my friends, I booked a vacation. Not just any trip, though – my first getaway, completely alone. In April, I’ll visit Puerto Rico, hike through the rain forest, do yoga on the white beaches and tour the ancient city near me, all by myself. While I don’t need a passport for this excursion, it’s at least one step closer to taking those chances I’ve been wanting to take, and seeing that big world that’s been waiting for me to leap.

And while I’ve always thought I wasn’t the traveling type or the woman who could jet-set from place to place without writhing in fear of failure – or worse – I’m starting to think that maybe, I’m not any sort of woman of all. I’m still a lady who is changing, who is figuring out what she wants, where she wants to spend her money, how she wants to live, where she wants to visit, what languages she wants to learn, what things she’s captable of. Instead of living in my own self-perceived stereotype, it’s about time I challenge myself to be something so much more. Someone who knows she can do so much more than she gives herself credit for. Someone who can go on a trip all by herself and have a damn fabulous time. (I hope!)

Looking at my confirmation, noticing that my purchase was non-refundable and seeing my name as the only name on the ticket, I couldn’t stop smiling. Finally, after years of talking about it, hours spent fretting if it was the right decision and years passed never spending money on anything than the necessities, I did it.

I bought my very first real adventure. And if this aching to search for another vacation (perhaps to Spain?) is any indication – definitely not my last.

Pigs Can Fly & Hell Freezes Over

I prefer to do my crying in the shower. Naked emotion seems to pair well with literal nakedness, plus mascara used as blush just isn’t cute. The issue though, is that I tend to bathe in the mornings before work, so my hair is freshly pressed for the day. Or as it is in most cases, unpredictably wavy in all the wrong places. So when I retreated to the bathroom at my designated time (with four roommates, you have to auction out privacy), with warm, salty drops splashing on my cheeks, I wasn’t concerned with why I was actually crying but frustrated that my eyes may be puffy for work.

Luckily with some careful washing, I managed to escape any noticeable marks of sadness that anyone could see. However, the raw emotion that caused the tears didn’t wane as easily.

I’ve been attempting to put it into words, both here and in my own head, what I feel about Mr. P. We haven’t been able to go even one night without an argument or without me crying in quite some time now. For a relationship that has always been chaotic, this isn’t exactly out of the norm, but it’s most certainly out of my comfort level. The thing I always loved the most about us, about him, was that I could talk to him about anything. Nothing was off-limits, no crazy outburst was too crazy, no ridiculousness distracted him, no irrational fear seemed irrational to him. For the past year, he had a way of putting me to ease and he offered a secure shelter from any New York frustration I battled.

I think I fell in love with the friendship and then as I started to fall in love with him as a man, as a partner, as a lover – I started to pull away. I stopped conversations about exes, even though we had always analyzed our lovable (and unlovable) pasts together. I stopped being able to stomach the fact that he had lingering feelings toward women who refuse to talk to him. I also stopped being able to ignore that as a gaudy red flag right in front of my face. My preferences in bed changed, I wanted our weekend plans to change, I wanted him to march up to his rooftop in Brooklyn that’s cleverly decorated by his domestic-fied roommate, and shout that he loved me, that he was crazy about me, that he was so happy to be mine.

But I knew that wasn’t going to happen. I still know it won’t. Mr. P may be infamous for too many little white lies to count, but he won’t scream something so absurd. Especially if there’s a chance someone could hear that he was smitten. Because…he’s not.

Sure, he loves me. I know he cares about me. I’m confident if I needed something, if I was in dire danger, he’d come to my rescue. I think he could see a future here, he could picture us together in the long run and he knows I’m marriage material (whatever qualifies that anyway). But he’s not there yet. I think those were the words he used. And if I could just slow down my feelings, if I could just take a breather and stop wishing and demanding that he feel the same, we could go back to that easy happiness we once had.  If I could just relax and be that carefree, easy-going woman that he fell for. The one who didn’t pressure him or who didn’t want anything more than what he could give, then maybe I’d have a shot at holding the prized title that so many women are eyeing by blowing up his Blackberry and Facebook. I could have the opportunity to be The One.

But to do that, to stay in the relationship, to keep him in that role in my life, I’d have to put my feelings on hold. I’d have to fall out of love enough to meet him down at that level he’s at. While I’ve progressed the last six months or so by gradually becoming more attached to him, he’s stuck back in February when everything was new and unsure. I’m not questioning how I feel anymore, but I can’t stop doubting how he does.

And so, I cry. I pick fights. I stop in the middle of foreplay because my mind won’t shut off. I don’t return calls and I ignore emails. I attempt to go an entire day without a text message. I try to resort back to how I was before I fell for him, before I told him I loved him, before I started imaging visions of happily ever after with him. I try to convince myself that I want this, that we could really be something one day, that we could come out of this and he could see that I’m irreplaceable. I keep reminding myself that it’ is possible for love to bloom out of complication, that so many relationships have rusty beginnings, that he could very well end up changing his tune and be the man I crave.

I see the facts, I understand the reality of the relationship. Yet I’m stuck in dreamland, lingering on some hopeless prayer that Mr. Possibility still has possibility, that he’s still capable of releasing the past to build a future with me. That just because I fell in love with him before he fell in love with me, he could still feel all of those things I want him to. That if I can fall in love, can’t I fall out of love so someone else can fall in it?

Or am I waiting for pigs to fly and for hell to freeze over, spinning my tires on some dirty gravel road that leads to a bleak dead end that’ll only waste my gas and piss me off? I suppose we’ll have to wait for my give-a-damn to weaken to find out.

An Intimate Intimacy

I used to wait for the moment when dating someone where our belly buttons touched.

This, obviously meant we were A- Laying down, B- Had our tummies exposed, and C- Close enough to let them meet one another. To me, this symbolized a certain level of intimacy – especially since when your stomachs are rubbing up against one another, you’re not exactly sucking in and positioning yourself seductively. (You know, sheet draped about your body, exposing just enough skin to entice, as the sun colors your body at the right angle and you don’t move, pretending you’re asleep, until he comes in and devours you? We’ve all done it, I promise.)

The belly button moment came several, several months ago with Mr. Possibility. I wouldn’t say belly-button-touching was something we necessarily had a problem with – that part of our courtship was rather seemless. There were obviously other issues (which if you access archives, you can find) and it took a while for him to admit and for me to admit to the bounds of exclusivity. As I’ve said, having a boyfriend and calling it that didn’t sit well with me until I finally accepted it. And ultimately, announced it to the many lovely readers (and haters) of this blog (and me).

But as our relationship has progressed and I’ve continued to grow up – I’ve come to discover that intimacy has nothing to do with belly buttons. Or sex, really. It doesn’t have to do with the act of physically being naked and maybe this is a stretch, but I don’t think it has too much to do with being vulnerable. Intimacy – true intimacy – is based on being remarkably comfortable, having the framework of trust that’s tested and true, and has more to do with you than it has to do with them.

It is impossible to be intimate with someone (as in coming as you are, makeup and push-up free) without being secure in yourself. The majority of us have been wrapped up in the smell of sex and attraction the next morning, plotting the best track to the bathroom, without waking up the guy, so we could freshen up before he wanted round two (insert Bridesmaids opening scene here). I’ve admittedly felt that way far into dating, and even into a relationship. It wasn’t until I found peace in my looks and in the flaws that make those looks beautiful that I stopped caring if Mr. Possibility -or any guy who may come after him – sees me as less than perfect. I’m not perfect, but neither are they.

But being Clinique-free doesn’t define intimacy either – that’s just the part we most associate with reaching intimate levels. The real test of intimacy is a test we give ourselves, often encouraged by our friends who grow weary of our complaints, insecurities, and late-night texting sprees induced by Mr. Vodka and his old pal, tonic.

Being intimate with your partner means being stable enough to know when to stand up for yourself. When to say, “No, this is not enough for me. I need this from you because I know you and I care about you.” If you can’t ask for what you need with the person you’re the closest too, who sees your acne before it comes to the surface, who hears your irrational emotional outbursts, waits for them to pass and then holds you until you fall asleep – then you’re not really intimate with that person, you’re just keeping them around. If you can’t express your desires other than the ones that are sexual, then you haven’t reached a level of intimacy, you’ve only just orgasmed. And let’s be real – it’s easier to do that alone than it is to do with a man, until you train him.

It’s not simple to reach intimacy, I’d go as far to say some couples who race to the altar, haven’t found their intimate level yet. A big part of it is respecting your partner, but the most important element is respecting yourself. And if you know what it is that makes you tick, what you need out of a relationship, and what part of your body and your heart needs to correlate to the other person, then you know how to ask for it. You know how to express yourself in a way that will not only make falling in love easy, but make the tougher stage – staying in love – easier. And it’ll make the sexual part of intimacy…that much more…intimate.

Meet My Boyfriend

The thing I get asked the most by friends, readers, and fellow bloggers is: How do you write every single day?!

The answer has consistently been rather simple – it is easy. Partly because I consider myself someone who was lucky enough to always know what they were meant to do, and also due to the mere fact that I write about my life. And what else could be more natural to do than recording, dissecting, and describing every-day adventures? Or better yet – what could be more entertaining when those experiences primarily relate to relationships – something that everyone, no matter their demographics, can understand and relate to.

And while I write about personal experiences, most of the ideas that turn into blogs come from outside sources. From eavesdropping on two friends at the gym, by graffiti stained on my building, by a penny I kick across the pavement, by an exchange I witnessed that was only meant for that couple, by something I feel that I can’t explain, by a sighting or a viewing, by an argument or a profession. I try to listen while I linger, ask more questions than I make statements, and try to put myself in the shoes of strangers. Or the ones I know best – after all, fodder is frequent from my friends.

Unsurprisingly, as our pals often know us better than we know ourselves, this is where my claim of fluidity and simplicity in blogging becomes objected. As in the case of my friend J.

On Sunday, over burgers at one of my New York favorites, Corner Bistro, a group of us were catching up, drinking Blue Moons, and taking in more calories than the rest of the week allowed. I met my friend J in a way that can only be described as fate by the Internet –through a Meetup group that I was hesitant to join. However, it turned out producing five of my closest pals in the city, some of which are starting to get to know me pretty well. As J is telling me about her latest dating adventure and how the scene is different than the laid-back and sunny market in California where she’s from, I must have looked at her too hard because she said:

“You’re writing your blog right now in your head, aren’t you?” Stunned she could detect the writing wheels turning, I smiled a 4 p.m.-and-tipsy grin, and asked, “Um, how did you know that?” She took a sip of her wine (not a fan of beer), she laughed and replied, “Well, you know when you really like someone and they bring you happiness, you think about them all the time? Even when other people are talking to you?” I nodded. “That’s kind of what your blog is now. The blog is your boyfriend.”

Interesting.

A relationship, much like a blog, depends constant attention. You have to put in effort to make it work and be understanding when glitches out of your control cause trouble (like WordPress’ meltdown last night). The longer you’re with someone, the more people know about the person you’ve become exclusive with, and the more energy you put toward something – the harder it is to let it go. You become committed and involved, engrossed in what-could-be, and needing to know that person feels the same way. And if you’re anything like me before I started the blog, you become quite obsessed with the man of loving opportunity.

So, is my friend right? Maybe I have made this blog into my boyfriend. Or into an entity outside of myself, even though it’s primarily about me. I’m connected to it, I give it daily attention, I take time out of my schedule to make sure it is functioning, growing, and giving me what I need. But what is it that I need from a blog? If you asked me a few months ago, it would have been similar to my response to what I want from a relationship: something that helps me grow, gives me guidance, and lets me say whatever I want to say, without passing judgment.

However, like every relationship that experiences change with tide, waters have been rough with me and my boyfriend, the blog.

For a while, as much as I was writing about my exciting life, the majority of it was spent at work and at home. The weekends were sometimes full of outings and doings, but I had the energy and the dedication to put into the pages of this blog because it was my main concern and central source of entertainment. But like I’m learning to let love fall lower on my list of priorities, as my life started to become…well, a life – the less time I’ve had to focus on blogging.

My calendar has started to fill up, event invites continue to roll in, my friends rightfully demand my attention and my evenings, I’m running more, I’m planning trips, I’m further investing into the potential return of Mr. Possibility’s possibilities, and above all else, I’m still focusing on me. The 12 Steps continue to help me guide through the emotions that used to throw me. The essence of the blog is still alive in my life, but the availability I used to have to give it love is gone.

So do I stop writing? Do I break up with my boyfriend because he doesn’t fit into the life I’m making for myself? Do I put an end to the love I once found because I’d rather turn my attention to seemingly bigger and better things?

Nope.

Because when a relationship experiences trouble or things outside of the union start to expand and rise, that’s when you test how the connection. The commitment, the loyalty. That’s when you realize that love will never be everything that defines you or all of the things you’re made of. That’s when you remember the relationship that makes it – the one that’s worth all the hassles and frazzles – is the one you can maintain, even when the rest of your life becomes fuller and happier. I can’t make a man – or a blog – my everything. But if I can remember that love is just a part of life and this blog is about my life – the inspiration to pen another post will come just as easy as it once did.

As long as I just live, that is.

Blind Sighted By Me

We may be too young, too old, single, married, divorced, uninterested, obsessive, or otherwise. Yet at the core of every woman, of any background and any social standing – is this desire to be beautiful.

And not just be it, but have others notice the radiance we exude.

Surely, we tell our friends not to compare themselves to other women or to judge our own beauty by the luck of looks some seem to have. We convince ourselves that flaws are what make a person, not break them. That without imperfections, we would all be signed up for the cover of Vogue or to grace Lincoln Center’s runways. We remind ourselves that everyone is truly gorgeous in their own right, and one day, we’ll find someone who simply can’t take his eyes off of us because he is so captivated.

But it’s not easy.

I’m constantly analyzing my life and my ideas toward it – but more than that, I nit-pick the reflection I see. I see the acne. I notice the scars leftover from zits that were. I notice the slight forehead wrinkles I kindly blame on writing. I try to hide my imperfect teeth. I wish my hair would grow longer or decide to be curly or straight, not an unpredictable wavy somewhere in between. I squeeze the love handles I’ve never loved. I wonder why I can’t get rid of cellulite on the back of my thighs, even though I’ve ran nearly everyday for several years. I make a plea to make me grow just a few inches taller than my 5’4” self.

But, I remind myself I’m a pretty woman (I even have the song to keep my spirits up when they start to fall). However, believing I’m beautiful – that my appearance turns heads on the streets – is one of my greatest struggles. New York isn’t a breeding ground for beauty; there are knock-outs everywhere – but  I always find myself encountering women I don’t feel I measure up to. By the standard of attractiveness, anyways.

Not to mention, in my overly idealist notions about how a man should feel about me, view me, and speak to me, I’ve always thought any guy I would end up with or date seriously would have to find me absolutely beautiful. If not, why would he be with me? Doesn’t a man want to end up with the most attractive woman he’s ever met?

Not necessarily.

A while ago, after an intense and passionate romp with a man I loved, I laid wrapped up in our joint perspiration and the simple silence that follows ecstasy. He grazed and kissed the top of my head and the ends of my fingertips as he asked, “You know what I love the most about you?” Dazed but far from confused, I mumbled to him in a state between warmth and sleep. He whispered: “I love that I don’t have to look at you to know you’re beautiful.”

In that moment, his sentiments matched the energy I was emerged in, and I didn’t question how he arrived at this perspective toward me. However, my inquiring mind asked him the next morning, over omelets and orange juice, what he meant.

“Well, Linds. I’ll be honest with you. When I first met you, I didn’t find you that attractive. Not that you weren’t pretty, just not the typical girl I go after. Just by your looks on that day, I wouldn’t have approached you at a bar. It wasn’t love at first sight, or even lust. But what I love about you is that I fell for you – what you say, who you are, what you write. And the longer I’ve known you, the more gorgeous you’ve become. I don’t know how we got here, but we wouldn’t have without you, just being you. Has nothing to do with your body, your eyes, or anything. It’s just you.”

At first, I was highly offended that he didn’t find me outlandishly breathtaking. In remembering the way we met – something right out of a movie – I thought I was looking quite alluring. I even recalled the tight summer dress and heels I picked out that day. But no, he wasn’t impressed. I couldn’t believe that this man I was dating, who I had shared my most intimate self with, didn’t view me lovely from second one.

And then, I thought about it. It’s actually quite the compliment. Without peering at a face of perfection or a body that’s free of lumps – he saw through to the real me. To the me that no one knows when they first meet me, see a picture, or catch my eye. To a me that acts without hesitation, that displays my everything, without making excuses. He wasn’t blinded by my beauty, but blind sighted by me.

So maybe the trick to feeling beautiful is not putting on more makeup or telling yourself you are lovely, no matter the off-the-charts women you cross. But rather, reminding yourself of those things that make you, you. And not physical characteristics, but character traits. Maybe it’s silly to stand in front of a mirror and say, “You’re funny. Really. I mean, people are always laughing around you” or “You give so much to everyone and they do appreciate it. Your charm is not something someone can describe,” – but think about the smile that’ll rise inside of you to admit your positives.

Perhaps beautiful isn’t so much an adjective as it is a state of mind or a place of acceptance. Maybe it is a destination. To be beautiful, to really feel every affirmative connation that comes with the word – you have to internalize it. Without a man, without reassurance from others, without strangers drooling over you, without comparing yourself to every woman you meet.

And especially, without your eyes open.

PS: Jennifer from Cincinnati, OH completed Love Addict’s survey and won a fabulous glass from Lolita and perfume set fromPacifica. Love Addict will be doing another giveaway soon, so make sure to take the survey for your chance to win! Congrats Jen and thanks for reading!

The Good, The Bad, and The One for Me

Motorcycles aren’t my thing. Really. I know they are quite popular among the Southerners I grew up with, but they’ve never oiled my engine. The savage beast inside of me is not tamed by the musings of a musician with a sleeve of tattoos and a knack from strumming strings with precision. A detailed rap sheet or a scent that attracts bar fights aren’t things I’d put down my dream man’s checklist – and they’d be a red flag in a hot minute. I’m not impressed by the number of shots a dude can down or how many women have been nailed up against his bedpost. I really don’t care how fast he can drive his car, no matter how expensive it is.

I’ve never really wanted to date the bad guy. You know – the one who’s flawed around the edges and rough with me. A player or a gangster, a homeboy or unattractive unemployed artist have never caught my eye or held my attention. I may not be entirely specific about what type of person I desire, but I know he doesn’t fit the bad boy protocol.

Well, at least in the traditional sense, anyways.

I have a knack for attracting unavailable men with miles of baggage and disclaimers. Those who make entirely more money than what I would know what to do with and the ones who avoid commitment in ways more clever than my own. They don’t walk on the wild side, but they bring out the wild little freak in me who over analyzes everything to death – with the help of friends over Gchat, Merlot, and mass text messaging. They don’t put me down, but my self-assurance can leave as easily as they have seemed to do, and I’ve admittedly been a doormat a few times, allowing them to walk all over me in the process. They are not crazy or dangerous in any sense, but they make my heart feel like it’s in harm’s way and I go a little crazy for each of them, each time.

A few years ago, as I was describing my most recent opposite-sex induced dilemma, my mother exclaimed, “Lindsay – where do you meet these guys? They are so complicated and have such odd hang-ups. Don’t you ever just date a nice guy?”

In my own defense – I’ve tried dating the really good guy. The one who, on paper, would seem like the best fit for me. Someone who is tall, attractive, comes from a great family, makes a decent living, likes what he does, answers when I call, responds to emails and text timely, doesn’t question his desire to be with me, takes me to nice places, and compliments my eyes. He says all of those things I want to hear, exactly when I want to hear them, and he is never too much, too invasive, too needy, or too anything. He’s just fine.

And that’s the problem.

I’d classify myself as an equal-opportunity dater, give or take a few non-negotiables that I’d never lower my standards for. I do tend to give most everyone a chance –or at least a drink – and see how I feel before writing them off into never, ever land. But generally speaking, I’m a middle-ground kind of girl: I really don’t care for the bad boy in the rock band, but I also don’t find myself gleaming at the guy who has everything together. Or at least the versions of together I’ve met so far in the game.

Does a man need to have visible flaws for me to be attracted to him? Do I confuse passion with a disaster waiting to happen? Am I lured in by an unfinished project, rather than a sturdy hunk of a man? Do I overcompensate the importance of a personality, of a man who makes me laugh, who keeps me on my toes, and continuously guessing? Do I think for a relationship to be successful, it needs to be work? Is a stubborn, charming challenge more alluring to me than one of those easy, simple, All-American boys?

Or is that we all just attract the company we keep? Or the people we really are?

If I’m a little messy, if I’m a gal who will snap back the wit as quickly (if not quicker) than its spewed, if I’m a woman who needs constant intellectual engagement – is that what I’ll find in return? If I’m still haunted by the ghost of past-love, will I inevitably meet men who can’t shake the lingering what-if’s from their last girlfriend? If I’m attempting to figure myself out and see what Manhattan has to offer all in the same breath – will I meet a multi-tasker, just like me?

I’m nor the good girl or the bad one. I’m not the down-and-dirty, hardcore gal, but I suppose I’m not strawberry shortcake and lemonade, either. I can be messy, I can be indecisive, I can be all over the place – so why wouldn’t I be intrigued by a man of the same manner? After all, isn’t imitation the highest form of flattery?

The nice guys are always irritated by the women who won’t give them a chance and will say they always finish last in the pack. The bad guys on the other hand, don’t really seem to give a damn who finishes where. Maybe the reason I find myself searching in the gray area between the one with wings and the ones who gets high enough to think they have wings – is because I’m search of myself. I’m always looking for answers, so I want someone who is willing to think a little more out of the box. I’m going to get upset and I’m going to be less than polished and classy at times, and I need to be around someone who accepts me as I am. I’m not an extremist but I also would never be satisfied by a life that’s painted with mediocrity. Any investment I’d make with my money would be on something that I felt was worth the risk or the time, but part of the thrill, is in making the wager. If I don’t feel like I have something of value, by my own standards, something that I would hate to lose, why would I go for it at all?

Maybe the good guys are meant to show us what we should want, while the bad ones are designed to tease us with what we shouldn’t. But they each show us the life we don’t want to have forever, and are merely ideas of futures we’ll never experience. They show us the different sides, varying scenarios we’ve imagined, but they also give us a reflection into our own psyche. At whatever point in our life we’re at, that’s the partner we’ll decide to pact with. The way the good guy gets the girl or the bad guy steals her away- isn’t based on the men themselves, but the woman who choses what’s best for her, right then, right at that moment. There’s no way to determine if she’ll go left or right – or go straight into the army of middle ground again.

But somewhere, between the ones who brings me to my knees and the one who would get on their knees for me- is the man, who is good for my life, bad for the attention-span, but perfect for me.

PS: Jennifer from Cincinnati, OH completed Love Addict’s survey and won a fabulous glass from Lolita and perfume set from Pacifica. Love Addict will be doing another giveaway soon, so make sure to take the survey for your chance to win! Congrats Jen and thanks for reading!