The Plane Will Take Flight

There’s an old story about a person who wakes up to a blaring alarm clock, stubs his/her toe on the bedpost, runs into the chair haphazardly displaced in the middle of the living room, and steps into the shower, only to find the hot water is not-so-hot. And though this person has only been awake a matter of minutes, the rest of their day will follow in the same format: profanity hidden under deep, exhausted and frustrated sighs of angst.

And nothing about this 24-hour period will be rectifiable. Everything is unquestionably shot to hell and while it may be the only March 23, 2011 that will ever be, to me –damned it be.

 

I didn’t stub or bump into anything and the shower held up to its steamy standards – but I woke up yesterday in a panic, due to an odd dream. I won’t go into details because I’m still not sure what I think and the fact that my mind can conjure such ironic concepts and scenarios without my consciousness is rather freaky. Anyways – a moment before my cell phone attempted to wake me, I shot up in bed, eyes wide-open, and hoped I didn’t wake the possibility who was possibly still sleeping next to me.

Thirty minutes later at the unforgiving eighth hour, I rushed to catch the train and found myself appalled at the weather New York was entertaining. I mean, less than a week ago I had effortlessly eaten dinner outside in a wrap dress without a sweater and without pantyhose. But now, as I ascended from above ground to the underground metro maze, I watched the sleet, hail, and snow mix disappear out the window and thought the only word to describe the day’s conditions was disgusting.

Though work was at its normal, dependable pace, and the magazine’s press due date on Friday is quickly approaching, I didn’t find myself stressed. Something about working on a deadline actually gets me working harder than I normally do (probably why journalism is a great career for me), and when everyone else is buzzing with productivity, it makes it easier to stay focused.

However, as the hours passed, I noticed my downward mood. No matter how many positive things happened or how my soul felt a certain sense of happiness – I couldn’t shake an overwhelming feeling of sadness. You know – one of those emotions you can’t deny and derives from a place that makes everything else tender? Right in the pit of my gut and the center of my heart was a pang of awful ache that matched the weather stirring outside.

As I looked up the proper way to spell canceled (if you’re curious, it can have one “L” or two, it is a preference thing), I wondered what was wrong with me. I’m not expecting a visitor I never excitedly invite (unless I’m worried it won’t come, that is), tensions aren’t tight between me and anyone else, and while I haven’t slept as much as I’d like, I wasn’t exhausted.

So why the gloom and doom?

Concerned with my concerns, I first focused my thoughts and then listened to them. I went through my never-ending to-do list that is needed for work, the blog I needed to write that I had been putting off, the apartment that needed cleaning, the weekend plans that needed confirming, the bills that needed paying, and the groceries that needed buying. And the Mr. Possibility that needed me to stop by to see him off before he flies, yet again, overseas, for an unknown amount of time.

Oh, well then. Maybe that makes sense. Of course, the departure of a someone who is becoming something may cause a little distress, I thought. But what if I don’t want it to? What if it scares me to care?

I never intended for things to progress with Mr. Possibility and I – but they have. In one of those slow, easy, and far from simple ways that we all think we want, but when it happens, the picture doesn’t come out as great as the shot we had in our head. Or at least a little less sepia and black and white, and more daylight or without flash. The desire and unintentional intentions aside – I’ve found myself here. And it’s here that I find myself sappy on a Wednesday afternoon, waiting for the day to end so I can see a special someone off to the airport, while I sincerely hope for a flight delay.

Unwilling to admit that Mr. Possibility’s absence  would mean something to me, I powered through the rest of work, even crossing off some tasks I don’t enjoy doing to distract from my wave of longing. Sure enough, the clock struck six and off I was to Brooklyn, battling hail storms and tourists along the way.

When I burst into the door, I almost stumbled into his luggage, and he greeted me with a big smile before pulling me into his embrace. This move is signature of most men – making us disappear into their sometimes hairy and sometimes still stuck in preadolescence chest – and yet, when Mr. Possibility took me in, I felt something different.

I felt my heart sink.

At this point, I’m extremely frustrated that I’m upset, so I make a careful move to wiggle away and as I do so, lightning flashes and thunder makes an unforgiving entrance. Further annoyed the weather continues to mock my emotions on this particular day, I ask how I can help and head to the sink to rinse dishes (something I think I got from my mom, who cleans when she’s feeling uncomfortable or restless). After a few hours of talking about the trip, tying up loose ends, cleaning, and chatting away, Mr. Possibility insisted I at the very least, ride with him to the subway so I wouldn’t have to walk in the snow that was now highlighted across the sidewalks. Though I don’t appreciate being instructed, I picked high-heeled ankle boots as footwear, and didn’t want to ruin them. Or you know, slip and break my neck.

After finally saying our temporary good-bye, with my heart simmering, I stepped directly into a puddle that went well past the boots I was so concerned about damaging. In the slippery slush, I tiptoed to catch my ticket home, and like the person who stubbed their toe in the morning, I cursed in a way my grandmother would blush over.

It wasn’t until my nearly-hour commute back to the Upper West that I finally came to terms with the sadness I was battling all day. And those terms were far less complicated than what I was making them: I’m scared. Why was I worried about his new short or extended international stint? Like anyone would be, I was afraid of history repeating itself – and well, I like the dude, so of course, I’ll miss him. But more than that, after all this work to build a foundation of trust, I had stomped all over it, all day long. I had chosen to forgive him, my friends had decided to forgive me for giving him a second chance, and that was that. You can’t go back on forgiveness or you should have never granted it to begin with. And if his traveling leads to traveling in areas I’d rather not know about – then I’ll gladly accept the rightfully deserving title of fool.

Letting go of yesterday, learning to live (and love) yourself in today, and not being intimidated by a future single or with someone else means learning to take everything day-by-day. A bad day won’t repeat itself if you’re able to change your mindset before calling it a night. A great day may not be as bright the following day, just like love may not always be as close as it was a few hours earlier. But we can’t pray for those flight delays or for time to stop moving in its unexplainable way that somehow always translates into sense at the end of it.

Because the planes will arrive and they will take flight, along with the wintry weather that’ll yield to spring, and distance that will grow and test the possibility of something with great possibility.

 

 

And the Storm Will Rise

There are certain things people say that you’ll never forget: the first time a man tells you he loves you (even if he’s merely a boy at the time), when someone ridicules you publicly, or when you have a heart-to-heart with your mom, not as your mother, but as your friend. I remember each of these moments in my own life, but if someone were to ask me my favorite, most memorable phrase anyone ever said to me, it’d be:

“Well you’re like a Southern summer storm in the middle of August, aren’t ya, now?”

I can’t tell you the woman’s name, but it was a friend-of-a-friend at some family reunion I attended in North Carolina when I was 17. Having only been in my presence for about ten minutes, this older lady decked out in pearls and with nails so perfectly manicured you’d think she lived in a salon, literally nailed who I am in fifteen words.

For those of you who have not had the privilege to experience a thunderstorm in the Southern region of the United States – I hope you do someday. They are beautiful. Out of nowhere, unforgiving gray clouds encircle the endless sky, enticing bursts of sound and light in every direction. The rain with a scent so intoxicating, so vibrant you yearn to step outside to inhale as deeply as you can. But, if you’re educated by the ways of the countryside, you dare not step off of your porch, but allow the storm to capture your attention from afar. Leaving the security of your steps would be quite risky and with the aging Oak trees swaying helplessly in the sweeping winds, you can only imagine what they could do to you, the barefoot and sticky with sweat observer you are.

And then, almost as easily as the storm came, it leaves. Its noise, its electricity, its saturation, and its perfume trail off into a space beyond the Blue Ridge mountaintops you’ve never crossed. It is only then, when the branches rest from their dancing, the daffodils face the sun as it breaks through the clouds, that the real beauty reveals itself.

As everything comes back to life and still at the same time, and the color returns to the fields and the atmosphere…an echoing silence that’s as vivid and consuming as any sound on the Earth, captures the Southern afternoon. It’s simply quiet.

Perhaps the lady didn’t know what she was saying to me when she called me a summer storm, but something tells me that with her accent and the way she sipped her sweet tea – she did. When a relationship comes to a close, when a man leaves me before I’m ready to be left, when I don’t hear from a guy who I was convinced was intrigued by me, or when I feel like I failed at something I thought I deserved, I hear her words ringing loud and clear in my head.

Am I really as messy as a summer storm? Or is love the storm we all chase after, but never quite catch?

When I’m falling in love, I see myself enveloped in a tornado, shaking around aggressively, feeling the rush of lust wash away all of my fears, all of my insecurities, and capture me in a breeze I can’t (and don’t want to) fight. Instead of hiding behind a door, I dodge through it. I tease the storm with my laughter, with my ever-believing, ever-childlike spirit, and I feel unbreakable, unstoppable, and full of a fire I know could never be drowned with rainfall.

Until of course, I hear the thunder.

Or it shakes the ground so violently that mud splashes up against my calves. And lighting strikes a breathless few feet away from me, and though they say it never strikes twice, I start to remember what it’s like to feel the sting of heartbreak, to have that feeling in places you didn’t know existed that tells you “It’s over. It’s just so over.”

And like the same sweet child who ran to escape the unexpected summer rain and the disaster that often followed it, I dive back into my safe place with my hair and my cheeks damp, my mascara creating paintings on my face, and as if I wasn’t soaked enough – I cry. As if I wasn’t messy from the outside free-for-all I just came from, I shield my eyes with my grimy-hands, smearing the wetness even deeper. So deep it feels like it becomes ingrained in my blood and pours out of the hole that I hoped wouldn’t be put in my heart…again.

When I love, I love intensely. I love powerfully and profoundly. I make no excuses for how I feel and I give away pieces I should probably keep to myself – but I do it willingly. I do it with the rush of a hurricane, the destruction of a tsunami, and the intensity of a volcano erupting.

And I do it over and over again. With each and every single man who is lucky enough to be loved by the likes of a Southern summer storm.

In going through this journey, as raging and unpredictable as it seems to be, I thought I may lose some of my splendor. Some of that unyielding optimism that makes me believe my Mr. Right (who may be a Mr. Northern Storm, perhaps) exists, of that passion that helps me string together words and fight my way out of any disaster. I thought maybe, that tailwind that so many men, so many friends, so many people have often said they get mesmerized by…would leave with the addiction.

But then I realized, the best part of the storm isn’t the storm itself, but the calm that follows it. As much as a mess in a dress I am at times, especially when I’m drowning in a flood of new love, being a little cyclone means I find my peace eventually. I accept that no voyage, where it be one I travel alone or with a first (or fifth) mate, is ever safe from rocky waters. That while the storm will always rise, it will also fall – and it is there, you test your lungs and your legs out for size. And with the same strength that made the winds blow, the rain fall, and the leaves rattle and shake in all of the relationships I’ve experienced, I’ve been just as sturdy to stand after they were over.

To stop being a hot mess for a hot minute. To ring the water out of my hair and wipe away the stains on my knees, in between my toes, and on my fingertips. To step out of the drenched clothes and slip into something dry and warm. To open that backdoor and feel the summer breeze float through my ringlets.

And let myself inhale not only the end of the storm, but the colorful promise illuminating the sky. The one that makes you remember no matter how much hell a storm gives you or how much hell you are – there is always something waiting in the horizons you can’t see, in the cityscapes you always wished were in your view, but never quite were.

That somehow, no matter how detrimental the raging waters or how threatening the daunting clouds were – we’d never trade them for anything. Because without the storm, we can’t appreciate the sweet stillness that comes with the sun.

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.

Flirting With Fire

Growing up as a fireman’s daughter, I was taught to steer clear of many things. Open flames, matches, fireplaces, ovens, and campfires, along with anything flammable. My father warned that fire, when it runs wild and uncontrollably, can destroy all in its tailwind.

And in those worse case scenarios, where flames engulf people – it could leave their skin, their touch, their feelings…numb.

As a child, the reality that if I played with fire and couldn’t stop it from growing, then I’d run the risk of not being able to feel my fingers was terrifying. Or maybe my toes, if they got too close to our woodstove. Or my elbow, if I accidentally dipped it in boiling water. Though I was (and still am, really) fascinated with the beauty of orange embers circling the air, I was very cautious and careful with how closely I teased their enticing flames.

But then, as all children do, I grew up.

And instead of literal blazes, the fire that I not only flirted with, but ignited and kept alive, was more in the form of men. These men, who at times lit up my life, and then also extinguished my hopes – were a lot more difficult to resist than the fires I was attracted to a decade before.

Maybe I should have known better and listened to my father, but I ended up proving him right. Sometimes, when you get too close to dangerous warmth and it burns you, a part of your heart and a fragment of your soul, feels like it dies. There have been moments, weeks, months, and even years, if I’m honest – where I was convinced the connection I had with one man, would never be sparked again in another. That because I was burned, I had these scars, these wounds I was still licking – and my heart wasn’t capable of allowing someone else in. Or my body wasn’t ready to make magic with another guy, until the ashes from the previous one were lost in the breeze.

But to have that passion and the velocity that can only come from intensity, is it worth flirting with fire? Is it worth risking the numbness we have all felt and we all fear? Is there a reason they don’t offer “grown-up” fire safety classes?

My newest co-worker, H, is what most people would identify as firery. She is brazen, bold, and when she walks into the office, she makes it known. She sits behind me and throughout the day, I hear her sales calls where she makes jokes with clients, and I’m constantly giggling at her energy. She has a way of lighting up the room – even on a Monday, and that’s saying a lot.

Last week, this firecracker pranced in and declared that she was jealous. One of her male friends had introduced her to his new girlfriend at a benefit they were attending, and at the point where she was to reach for his gal’s hand, she found herself dumbstruck and for a reason she’s yet to determine, she felt the green envy monster creeping its way out. Now, maybe this means she has feelings for her friend that she didn’t notice previously or she wasn’t prepared to know he was taken, regardless; experiencing jealousy wasn’t a bad thing for her – but a good thing.

With excited expressions and gestures, she said “I haven’t felt jealous in such a long time! I had forgotten what it felt like to feel like this…and it feels so good to feel something.”

At first, I was a little confused by the statement – as every dating book and article in any magazine I’ve read advises us to steer clear from envy, but then I thought about it. And I realized that after being numb or closed off from relationships or hiding from the opportunity for something more, there comes a point where we realize, we can feel again. Often times, when we’re not even trying or looking for it.

While physical flames that run rampant and uncontainable through forests and tend to piss Smoky the Bear off are irreversible, the fires we build with men we love can be destructive, but not permanent.

Sometimes, all it takes is a second, a glance, an encounter, or a simple brush against your hand – for you to recognize those third-degree burns, maybe weren’t so third-degree after all. That maybe, the band-aid can be taken off and you don’t need to run yourself under cold water, trying to put out the burning around your heart. Because perhaps, without realizing, you’ve healed yourself.

A large part of this journey and why I decided to embark on it in the first place was that I knew I needed to let go. Since I started dating at 15, there were (and admittedly still are), lesions from lost-love that I couldn’t let mend. Places in my heart and in my attitude that were scorched from the many men who I thought would love me endlessly, and merely turned out to be just another chapter in the book I don’t know the ending of.  And the saddest part about it was that I wasn’t even interested in repairing the burns. Somehow, my battle wounds gave me comfort as much as they gave me pain. In some respect, using the excuse that “I’m just numb” to any relationship, to any possible love, protected me from taking a chance. And if I did happen to go out on that limb and it broke, I could simply claim, “Well, this is just what happens to me. I find the fire, but it always gets put out.

Well – not anymore.

Because now, I know I can feel. And I know I can be burned. But more importantly – I know I can survive. Just because passion can grow and then wither away in an instant, it doesn’t mean it isn’t worth feeling it in the first place. Nor, can anyone, regardless of the burn degree or how widely the fire spreads – be forever numb from the flames.

No matter how hard we try or fast we run or how careful we are above our stoves or while making s’mores – the fire will always catch up to us. And if we’re lucky, we know that maybe fire isn’t such a bad thing but more so, a friend. Perhaps if we allow it to glow, first inside of us, giving us the courage to blaze new trails alone – one day, the love we’ll find – in ourselves or with a man, could be powerful enough that we stop being afraid of the flames. And maybe flirt with them, just one more time.

P.S. If you’ve linked to Confessions of a Love Addict, let Lindsay know for the “Support” page. Email her.

Stuck in a Love Snowglobe

The day after Christmas, in a land far, far away from the majesty that defines New York City, I found myself stuck in my childhood home, surrounded by almost a foot of snow. And worse than being annoyed, was the realization that I wasn’t getting anywhere until Tuesday.

If you can feel my deep, intense, loud, and heaving sigh from wherever you are – I wouldn’t be surprised.

Now, don’t get me wrong – I really did enjoy being home for ten days. It was nice to see familiar faces and do virtually nothing but eat, sleep, and be very merry. I had a very wonderful Christmas and was actually able to consume some solid food by the time we opened presents. And of course, receiving 30 beautiful Christmas tulips (my favorite) from Mr. Possibility was a very nice gesture. (And hey, they weren’t second-hand, but intended for me). But after so much downtime, relaxing, not working, having no obligations or responsibilities – not to mention not really spending any money at all – this woman is going quite stir-crazy. I’ve found many ways to pass my time indoors, from giving myself a pedicure and attempting to teach my six-year-old dog tricks to eating lots and lots of snow creme and cleaning out all sorts of things that I’ve had for way too long.

Nevertheless, there has been something about having absolutely nothing to do and no way to get out – that’s made me a little melancholy.

I’ve found myself lost in my own thoughts, dreaming up notions of tomorrow in my mind, feeling that all-too-familiar twang of sadness and desire for a love to call my own, and even despite my recovery efforts, something has made me revert back to some of my love addiction fantasies.

You know – the fairytale land we’ve all created: those images of how we believe our future hubby will look like (tall, charming, handsome, with blue eyes), what his future career will be (something he loves and makes a ton of money), what our house will be like (old with a history and made of brick), and how he will propose (in a symbolic way that will mean something to us). All of these visions, these beliefs, these hopes for how our future, our lives, and our loves will play out.

And man, oh man, do I have a ton. I even have a journal I refer to as my “Dream Book” and it has documented everything from my first dollar made, my date to prom, my college acceptance letter, my first pay stub from my first real job, and it also holds my aspirations, my bucket list, and keepsakes. Bridal magazine clippings, snapshots of couples in love – from the super young to the very old, catalogs from Bergdorf Goodman with items tagged I’d die to own, pictures of places all over the world that I hope to travel to, scraps of fabric, adorable babies in cute little outfits, and apartments that are so very, very lovely. And it also holds my life’s checklist: I’ve checked off graduating from high school, going to college on scholarship, graduating from college, moving to NYC, working for a magazine, and now, there are still several remaining items to “accomplish.”

However, those left, minus being a New York Times best-selling author, aren’t exactly attainable by merit or ambition – but rather, what I believe, are only possible with patience and well…time. But these must-haves for my future, these figments of my imagination that somehow have never left me – are sometimes, so painful to think about. And yet, so precious to me.

I keep them in a part of my heart that I don’t even go near most of the time, a section of my soul that is still vulnerable, still open and full of faith, and a part of my mind that even against its best judgement is a hopeless romantic to the core. They are under strict protection, hidden away in a box beneath my dresser, underneath piles of sheets and pillowcases, completely out of sight for any visitor, friend or Mr. Possibility who may enter my apartment.

And yet, even though they are stuck under glass, in a love snowglobe of sorts, I almost always allow myself to input the man of the hour, of the week, of the month – into these fantasies. I gaze up at this man, interjecting him into these ideas, and hoping, wondering, praying – that he’ll live up to these notions I’ve sketched. That he’ll help me check off a box, be seated next to me at our wedding in a photo I’ll stick on a page in the Dream Book I’ve had since I was 13, and be the answer to these late-night, pleas for love. But then, when it doesn’t work out, when he was never really meant to play the part of my Mr. Forever – there those romantic angles go, right back in the book, out of sight, out of mind, out of heart. Protected again, under the same imagination they were created by…until the next endearing candidate comes along.

Maybe it is being captured by the snow with way too much time on my hands or just the growth of this journey, but instead of dwelling in these blueprints I’ve outlined for tomorrow – I’ve decided it is time to shake up the love snowglobe.

To twist the dial and let the music play for however it’d like. To watch the snow and the glitter, the specs, and the debris fly all sorts of ways, and allow those plans and checklists to be a little less structured. To give not only myself, but my sacred Dream Book, some room to change and some room for new opportunities to come my way. To give my heart some lee-way and to let go of the rigid expectations I’ve made for my Prince Charming, so maybe when a possibility comes along, my imaginary projections don’t drown out the brilliance of who he really is.

Because being trapped in any way – where it be in snow or in visions of white wedding dresses and homes with finger-painting messes – isn’t a pleasure for anyone. Stuck in the same rut with the same idea and the same hopes….will never liberate the Dream Book from its title or allow the most wonderful dream of all, reality, to play its course.

All I Want for Christmas is Me

There is something about this time of the year that makes everyone, young and old, near and far – want to be less of a “patridge in a pear tree” and rather one of two turtle doves. With less than 12 days left to Christmas – how’s a girl supposed to get through this season without wanting five gold rings (or just a diamond one), a kiss under the mistletoe, and someone to prove to us that really, every kiss does begin with Kay.

Since I started college, and freshman, sophomore, and junior year passed swiftly without a significant other to dote on me during the holiday season – Christmas has served as a nagging reminder that I was (and am) in fact, single. As my friends and their newly found college sweethearts would plan out trips to their respective hometowns (and now are married, by the way), and obsessively describe what they wanted and what they were getting their boyfriend – I silently wished they would all just shut up.

During breaks, I’d work at a retail store at the local mall and constantly watch couples cooing and smiling with their little shopping bags and hand-holding techniques that made me want to gag myself. And of course, at my Southern-inspired Christmas dinner, where at the ripe ol’ age of 20 – I was the strange one who was not only without a boyfriend, but also with no intentions of getting married right after graduation. Nope, I was the crazy misfit who wanted to move far, far away to a scary place called New York City and be a writer. Though they supported me, I’m not sure they ever quite understood.

But this year, this Christmas, this season, something in me is different. In fact – I hadn’t even noticed that I was single for the holidays until a dear friend of mine, K, sought my counsel and said “You know, it is just really hard to be single right now.”

Don’t get me wrong – I’ve been well aware that Christmas is quickly approaching. I’m flying home on Friday to spend some much-needed time with my family and long-lost friends whom I haven’t seen in ages. I’ve toured all the window-displays on Fifth Avenue both with my friend E, and Mr. Possibility. I had front-row tickets to watch the tree at Rockefeller Center light up with Mr. Unavailable. I saw the Rockettes in complete style and everlasting wonder with my friend J, and I’ve walked throughout the city admiring the lights and the peace that seems to come with this time of year. Mr. Possibility took me ice skating and we went to Macy’s to check off gifts on our shopping lists. Right this very second and for the last few weeks, my Pandora “Christmas” station has been getting quite the workout. And most important of all, when that first flake fluttered to the Manhattan ground, I was completely alone and completely in awe.

I’ve embraced Christmas, and without even knowing, I’ve been perfectly content without a boyfriend. I haven’t been putting myself down because for the fourth year in a row, one of my best friends, L, will be my date to our Christmas Eve dinner. I haven’t felt ashamed that I’ll reunite with my extended family and they will probably ask me when I’m getting married. I haven’t wished and hoped and dreamed of being proposed to on Christmas morning (as I used to carefully plan out in my head). I haven’t cursed the smitten couples or the newlyweds who are so excited to spend their very first Christmas together.

But for the longest time, this season was so difficult, so grueling, so sad, so disappointing – because isn’t Christmas or any type of holiday at this time of year – supposed to be about love? About celebrating miracles and hoping for all that is to come? Or trusting that even if you can’t see it, it is out there – waiting to come into your life and shower you with gifts not only under the tree, but also helping you hang ornaments on the top limb.

But really, aren’t all of those ideas applicable to being single? Even when we relate it more about being a pair?

That while we think meeting Mr. Right will be a miracle, the true amazement is that before him, we get this incredible time to just love and concentrate on ourselves. We hope to see our children’s faces light up and ask us about Santa and play with our hubby in the snow – but don’t we also hope that we don’t lose ourselves in a relationship, and that we continue to adore the person we’ll see staring back at us in the mirror, each and every day for the rest of our lives? That sometimes it is so tough to believe there is a light at the end of the single tunnel or a glimmer of positivity in truly, finding peace in being alone – but even if we can’t feel it, we know it is possible, we know it can be ours.

This anticipation of a man to enter, to make the holidays brighter and fuller, to give us little boxes with bows, and to love how we look in our red sweater dresses – tears us up inside. Because really, we fear it will never happen. But instead of doubting the process, doubting the fates, and even worse, doubting ourselves – we miss out on how magical and truly beautiful a Christmas can be without a man. How experiencing flickering lights, parties, and travel can be just as entertaining when we’re out of love.

I don’t feel like I’m waiting on something. I don’t feel like I’m missing something from Christmas or that the universe is depriving me of a companion to make the holidays bearable. But instead, I’m excited. I’m so ready to shout from the rooftops that I’m single and that I’m happy. That I have a life that I created, that the presents you see were bought by only me and my money. That while I’m not kissing under the mistletoe – I haven’t lost hope that one day I will. Besides, it isn’t the number one priority anymore – not at Christmas, not at New Year’s, not at all. Right now, in this moment, in the snow, in the lights– the only thing to focus on is myself and this journey. And I can say with confidence that I disagree with you, Mariah Carey – I don’t want you (whichever man that represents) for Christmas, but all I really want is me.

Tis Christmastime in the city, and my, oh, my is the weather frightful

…but the feeling I have inside is so delightful. It is a feeling of wholeness, of completeness, of security, of magic – that derives from the greatest blessing, the most thoughtful gift, and the most incredible miracle I could ever experience – and that’s celebrating self-love. Celebrating…me.

 

 

The Love-That-Got-Away: Mr. Fire

I’ve been trying to figure out all day how to begin this post and each and every single time I sit down to start it – I find myself lost for words. As someone who was born with a pen in her hand, this is out of the ordinary.

But then again, if I really think about my relationship with Mr. Fire – being speechless seems pretty fitting.

We all have that guy in our lives. The one we meet in some peculiar way and instantly, our whole world comes crashing down around us. Each barrier we set up to keep our hearts and bodies safe is utterly destroyed, and suddenly, we’re standing there exposed and vulnerable to any and every charm this man throws our way.

Mr. Fire and I met my sophomore year of college through the student newspaper, where at the time; I was serving as Lifestyles Editor. For whatever reason, I was on a local history feature kick and was intrigued by a bagel shop that had been in my college’s town for decades. After doing the central interview, I needed an extra angle from a current student who worked part-time at the shop. The place suggested a guy whose name I couldn’t spell to save my life, but somehow finagled my way to his Facebook – and three messages later, we had an interview set up.

He snuck up on me (much like the relationship that followed) by coming in the backdoor of our office and when I saw my friend M’s eyes light up, I knew he must be somewhat attractive. I spun around in my chair, tilted my head to the side, smiled, and said, “You must be Mr. Fire.” He nodded, went into a long speech (as he usually does) – and within a few seconds, I was hooked.

He was tall. He was funny. He had character. He was active and fit. He had a large group of friends. He was open. He made me feel comfortable. He listened. He challenged me. And about a week later, I found out he was a great kisser too. Our first official date was to a concert I had press passes for and he served as my “photographer” for the evening. As we attempted to dance to the music and he wrapped his arms around me, a little glimmer of hope inside of me said, “Maybe this will actually turn into something real.”

Our courtship or relationship or whatever you call it (we never defined it) didn’t last very long, but the impact it had on me was significant. The chemistry we had was so bursting with passion, with energy, with this complete connectivity that I couldn’t deny. He finished my sentences and widened my viewpoints. He had so many of the amazing qualities that I always desired in someone. And of course, when he kissed me – the world, literally stopped. It truly enforced that some people are meant to come into your lives, regardless of how long they stay, and change you.

During the time we were together, a lot of huge things starting happening in my life, for the better and for the worse. I went to my interviews in New York and he assured me I’d have killer success, and he also managed to keep me on the phone for two hours each night I was there (a huge feat for a New Yorker-wannabe like me). Before the interview for the position I’d eventually be offered, he sent me a “Go get ‘em Tigar!” text message that I kept long after our relationship ended. He encouraged my goals and told me about the trips he’d take to see me during my summer in my most favorite place on this planet. He may have even mentioned Versace and that made me fall for him a tad bit more.

And then, my dad went through one of the most difficult periods he’s ever gone through, and even though it was Easter break, Mr. Fire spent an hour on the phone checking up on me and ensuring that I was okay, breathing, and safe. Having experienced more loss in his own life than anyone should have to endure – he knew what page I was on.

When I returned from this horrible experience, he literally drowned me in gifts, food, and attention. He chased after my legs when we snuggled on his bed and tucked me into the inevitably inviting nook we all crave, and I was surrounded completely by just him. He picked me up in his kitchen, spun me around, and told me Don’t you worry. It will all be okay.”

And all was well and promising, until the morning it wasn’t.

I had spent the previous day at one his games (he played on a club team on campus), met his mother, and then went to a party to celebrate their victory. At the get-together, he seemed cool, distant, and unusually unaffectionate. Most of the time, he was always finding an excuse to touch me, wrap his arms around me, or steal a kiss –even in front of his friends or teammates. After one-too-many beers, we ended up back at his apartment, where in all of my 5’7”-glory (heels on, of course) – I demanded why he was acting so funny. When he failed to respond, I returned with half-rage by attempting to leave and walk home if he didn’t want to be around me. To this, he responded by scooping me up, calming me down, and making me fall asleep.

In the morning, I rolled over, looked up at him and apologized for acting ridiculous and questioning. To which, he stroked my head, kissed my forehead, and said the words no girl ever wants to hear from the man she’s falling hard for: “Linds, I think we’re moving too quickly.”

In a matter of days, everything I thought we were building together was all-but destroyed. At first, he needed space. Then he decided he could only talk to me on the phone, text message, and Facebook, but not see me in person (to which I replied: “Are you out of your mind?”). Finally, I decided we shouldn’t talk for a week so he could get his mind straight and figure out what he wanted.

And in the end, he didn’t want me. Because I was going to New York and he was staying overseas for a month over the summer – literally putting us on opposite sides of the globe – he thought it was best we didn’t explore a relationship. He also reassured me he wasn’t interested in anyone else and couldn’t (and wouldn’t) be dating anyone seriously….

…until a day later, pictures of him and another girl showed up on Facebook. And not just any girl, a girl I had been introduced to, hung out with, and he had made fun at some point. At the time, it was absolutely devastating and made me feel like the biggest fool in the entire world – but within time (like a few years), I forgave him. They are still together, nearly three years later, and seem incredibly in love, and for that, I’m happy for him (at least somewhat, anyways).

Before I graduated and moved my way to these big, bright, shining lights I love so much, we ran into each other at a neighborhood bar. We were both in serious relationships at the time, but he said he “at least owed me a beer,” and I agreed, but added, “And an explanation.” Over the course of several hours, we discussed what he felt, what went wrong, and he apologized profusely. At some point, he said, “I always regretted how I treated you, but I didn’t feel like I had something to offer you with your New York dreams. I know you’re going to go far and I don’t know how to be just a part of that.”

I’m not sure if this means he wasn’t “man” enough to step up to the plate or couldn’t handle a gal who was going places, but it does mean that we simply weren’t meant for one another. No matter how much passion, how much fire or intensity, or possibility I saw for us at one point – if someone can’t take you for who you are and love you, pride aside, they aren’t worth it.

He is an incredible man who I know will be successful in whatever he does and in whatever marriage he enters – and I hope when he thinks of our time together, he smiles. He remembers the energy. The love-that-got-away from both of us. And somewhere, down deep where we hold our most precious and sacred memories, I know that our flame of happiness and of hope that we sparked for each other – remains lit.