A Woman of Agency

Been thinking a lot about choices. How we actively pursue things and how sometimes we aren’t as active but choices are still made.

It’s not escaped my attention that I have been so very inactively pursuing any romantic…anything. Yes, nothing has really been leaping out at me but that would require me actually leaving the confines of my apartment.

My self-imposed winter hibernation bubble is coming to an end. Spring is here and the senses are awakening. To what? I don’t know but once again, I ready myself for possibility.

As the years go by, I find myself growing more realistic. Sometimes realistic equals cynicism. It does a little but honestly, it just implies weariness.

Romance is not something I excel at and during my exile, I’ve thought about why way less than I have previously. In fact, I’ve been wondering more about why THAT is rather than why I continue to be perpetually single.

I won’t lie and say I don’t have major fears. I wonder if there is some baseline of what a single dating person is supposed to act like and realize that if there is, I might potentially come up very, very short. It’s an insecurity but one that is decidedly un-rare. Everyone wonders if they’re doing ok and everyone thinks they’re doing worse than they are. I’m actively choosing to not compare myself unfavorably to the rest of the single population and it’s going surprisingly swell.

Still, the world seems to conspire against the singles of the world. As if being alone aka without someone to kiss goodnight implies a life that is less full, a life that is less appealing. A life that is simply less. Sadly, I bought into this notion for a long time. And when some possible romantic interest found his way into my life, I would have some sort of mental block (wait, you like me?), get past it after losing some giddy sleep (OMG do I like him?) then cliff dive into the abyss (wheeeee!). Inevitably things would crash and burn. And burn. And burn. But this pattern wasn’t so much about the men as how I decided to react.

Finding someone to get along with and want to be with was so anomalous to me. When I did find someone that remotely tickled my fancy, I pinned more hopes than I care to admit on that person. I wasn’t always conscious. It was just fueled by desire to have a partner, to feel “completed,” to extend that feeling of relief that I could say “yes” when asked about my love life.

In all of this though, I was not as true to myself as I could have been. I was still figuring out who I was.  During those times, though, I wasn’t always so good to myself. It’s not that I didn’t believe I deserved to be cared for and respected. It’s just that while I felt responsible and cognizant of the other person’s heart, they weren’t very mindful of mine. The cynical lesson here – don’t give too much of yourself away before the person proves his worthiness. The less cynical version – learn to take your time. If it’s right, it’ll still be there.

I spent so much time analyzing all the things I might have done wrong. Thinking about what I could have “perfected” in my attempt to “land a man” and it all just seems ridiculous. I was never as antiquated as that but I have received well-meaning but inane advice in that same sort of manner. Been told I’m this or that.

Lately, I really could give less than a damn about what anyone thinks. Until I do. This is the thing – I run my life. Advice is nice but it doesn’t run my ship. I do. And the one thing I find – when I heed well-meaning advice out of my insecurities and fears – that’s the only time I feel true regret. The advice best given is the type that allows YOU to figure out the lesson in the end. People who care about you want the best for you. But how we each go about it is what makes us different. When I give advice nowadays, I try to be more compassionate than dictatorial. I’m not seeking to burn bridges. I offer up my experience and I give my friends the room, encouragement and support to actually get to the place I hope they get to. For themselves.

And that’s what I’m figuring out for me.

I think back to a few years ago. Maybe even a year ago and actual ache to have someone in my life felt so tragic. Angst and longing. The thing of crappy romance novels. Novels sometimes I read cuz sometimes, I want life to be that simple. To believe something can be so easy. To know I’m not alone in believing in being that silly hopeless romantic. At times, it gives me courage to keep having faith. It’s not so much I believe the stories are true. It’s that other people (the ones who wrote it, the ones who read it) believe it too – why do you think they’re so popular. The struggle is real and it is not a singular journey.

As corny as it seems, finding myself as part of a group or a team makes me feel so less alone in this entire endeavor. For awhile, I was busy trying to convince myself of all the things that were right in my life but really, I could only see what was missing. I would actually say that the ONE thing missing was a partner. And now, when I look at my life – that’s more of a 10% concern. Yes, it makes me sad to think that I may never fall in love and vice versa. I know I deserve and am willing to go on that adventure. And yes, all these things go on in my head instead of me going out and enacting events and “letting things happen.” But more and more, I wonder, what is THE RUSH?

I’ve been so hyper, so adamant, so determined to crush this “single gal” life that I haven’t just enjoyed the simplicity of being who I was. Of appreciating the things I’ve learned and knowing that even alone, I might actually be happier than some people are who have a “someone.” Does having a person in your life really make everything that much better? I honestly don’t know. I think it simply adds a new lovely element but happiness in life – that’s a choice, not a circumstance. And right now, I’m actively choosing to be happy and it’s working for me.

A brief digression that reads like a parable…

Up until earlier this year, I never really enjoyed beer. I always found it too “beer” tasting. I preferred my hard (brown) liquor and that was that. But a few months ago, I found some stray orphan beers left in my fridge (friends bought them)  and had a random hankering to try it. And I liked it. Well, I liked one but not the other. All of a sudden, a new world unexpectedly opened up for me to explore. Without a clue as to where to start this adventure, I enlisted some friends as my very willing and helpful guides. Still, I find myself staring at a beer menu and opting for a wine instead. Slowly, though, I’m figuring out the genres I enjoy and taking a dip into those waters. Not buying a six pack yet (too much commitment) but the fact I can actually name beers I LIKE is a minor miracle. Short version – a girl can know what she likes but she should always leave room for unexpected possibilities.

And now back to regularly scheduled bullshit…

We all have our ghosts and our doubts. As increasingly self-assured as I am becoming about my choices and about my life, I still hear voices telling me I’m not doing enough. Truth – it’s one voice that I hear on occasion and it’s an ex. Talk about an unreliable idiot – especially from one that could have benefitted from understand the necessity of restraint. I digress. In truth, it’s the voice I hear because he got close enough to see how I operated and to be called out by him (right or not) contained more weight than I cared for it to. It’s not something that crushes me daily. Nothing so extreme but it’s weirdly something I haven’t forgotten. Funny thing was at the time, I was so pissed because, even then, I knew he had no right to get at me that way. Also funny – you hear what you want to hear and sometimes memory is way too long when you’d rather cut it off at the knees.

So choices. Being as honest as possible, I’m doing a crap job of trying to find a significant other. Meh. I want it. I do. Sorta. I wish he could just come knocking at my door and all would be well. But that’s not how it works. Internally, I’m working up the nerve to go at it again – I’m resting before I pounce. The joke – what and where am I pouncing? I’m not exactly a human seductress. That’s not my mode. Not initially anyways. I’m like a single little tea light then suddenly, everything is on fire and it’s like where the hell did that fucking come from? Wondering if I wouldn’t be smarter to be like that log on TV – steady flame.

Maybe.

Truth is I like the initial hot spark – it’s why things start and why they continue (maybe longer than they should). There must be some happy medium in which a stable foundation and lovely butterflies/fireworks are not mutually exclusive.

When I went to visit with a friend, I was telling her the recent round of advice I had gotten. Basically, to create a list of what I want and don’t want. Sigh. Be single long enough and this is a piece of advice that gets recycled a lot. I refuse to do this. Not so much that I find it lame. I get that it works for some people. It’s that I don’t want to limit the things I want on paper. It’s the fact that I know I can write a shit ton of lists but when it comes right down to it, the list doesn’t matter. And I don’t need a list to tell me that.

That said, as I was recounting my woes and blahs, I realized I knew more of what I wanted than I didn’t. And it was a lot more specific and well-informed than I had been in the past. At one point, I actually stopped and said – oh fuck, I DO know what I want. And this brings me back to another great pal who, over dinner, gave me props for knowing what I wanted. I remember looking at her like she was insane cuz I didn’t know anything. Know when you have a good friend? When she gives you room to figure out what she already knew and had faith in about you. That’s a great goddamn friend. Also, it took me about 2 years to finally understand that about myself since that initial conversation. We all move at our own pace, friends!

I talk in a lot of circles. It happens when everything is happening in my head. These are mostly theories and statements about my life and how I like to run it. Coming across another ship, I have no idea how to react or deal. But we rarely do. Hopefully when that does happen, I will understand the things I need to be true to myself and know that if I compromise, I won’t lose who I am. Something I was so willing to do so many other times.

I do have faith though. And even with my colorful and spotty experience, I have seen my bizarro development. I still see my tendency for easy, intense infatuation but each fella has taken me closer to who I am. And while sometimes, they have come close to breaking parts of my confidence, they have also made me stronger in my conviction of who I am. To that I am grateful and could never entirely hate on these guys (even if I deserved better treatment sometimes). People are human and people make mistakes. Hopefully we learn so repeats don’t happen.

I read somewhere about falling in love. And how when you do, you take on the responsibility of that person’s heart. I find that an incredibly beautiful notion. I still won’t be making any lists but if I had to, this would be damn near the top. Because I believe in that. I like that. And as unwilling as I am to “go out there,” I also know I’m entirely capable to fulfill my end of that bargain. I’m not some screwup with mommy and daddy issues – just a suburban raised kid living in the big city now. I’m a good lady with a good heart and a good head on my shoulders. I can be stubborn and bitchy and unkind at times but I can be equally if not more so in the opposite direction when inspired to.

I’m human and I’m figuring my way through this life. Sometimes I do need a kick in that ass but end of the day, I’m the only one who can give it to me and you know what they say, it happens when you least expect it. Cue eye roll on the outside and crossed fingers on the inside. And now this long rant a few months in the making is done. Hurrah!


Sugar In My Bowl

Since Thanksgiving, I’ve gone through a bit over 10 pounds of sugar. Baking binge mania. But after the last 5 pound bag of sugar was laid to waste, I had to acknowledge that perhaps my waist line was not being so friendly to my sweet nothings…

Alas, this brings me to finding that other type of sugar Nina Simone sang about.

Yep. Just signed back online.

Was pretty against and indifferent to it but today, I was walking about town and the thought didn’t make me as tired. Low key shift back into the online world.

Luckily my profile was still saved on the site so with minimum touchups, I was back in business. Did minor browsing and wasn’t impressed with what was being offered up. Gah. However, within minutes, I did receive my first message.

In short, it was a fellow of Indian descent who asked me if I was into men of his race. Then he follows it up with the fact that he enjoys more mature women rather than young girls. I looked at his age. He’s 33. I’m 38. The. Fuck. And no.

Yippee. I still got it.


To Be Liked, Loved, Seen and Heard

Was wandering about the city, freezing my ass off and felt this overwhelming emotion – I felt so damn lucky.

Lucky because there are people in this world that genuinely care about me (that aren’t related to me). People that notice when I’m gone. That notice if I’m not feeling up to snuff. That notice when my burdens are more or when my burdens lessen.

Love is love whenever and however. But its meaning to me has evolved. It’s changed.

Today, it means that I am seen. That when my loved ones look at me, they see me in my entirety. In truth, some only get part of the picture. But the ones that have been with me for the long haul and we have earned each others’ stripes, they see me for all that I’ve been, am and will become. And I am so moved by that.

Love is acceptance. Love is understanding. Finding that shouldn’t be as rare as it is but it is. Sometimes, love can be temporarily so. Dealbreakers happen. Revolutions occur. But love was there. I can appreciate that. In hindsight.

But today. I feel grateful to know that when I speak, I am heard and when I am gone, I am missed. And right now, I really can’t ask for much more.

A girl’s bound to get a little sentimental sometimes.


The Nerdy Fan Girl Never Died…She Just Took a Brief Hiatus

On the brink of the new year and how am I going to celebrate? No idea. Hours to go and who knows what will happen.

In all honesty, I don’t really care much. I’ve done my New Year’s thing. Had some crazy, amazing ones and had some truly awful ones. And still, my love for the bubbly lives on. Some things just defy good sense.

Anyhew.

End of year usually entails some version of introspection and today, I’m fully celebrating (albeit a little quietly) my inner fan girl I had been so good at keeping at bay.

Growing up in suburban California, I can’t say I had a lot of drama or strife happen. That found me later. But looking back, my sensibility was formed by two things my parents gave me. My dad and his love of movies (I watched Vertigo with my dad at age 8 and the memory of it haunted me until I was 16 and re-watched it. Still haunted me and is one of my favorites of all time…I digress). And my mom’s love of Asian soaps. Now, my Chinese kinda stinks. I don’t get all the nuances in the language but people can watch telenovelas without knowing a word the people are saying. It’s about feeling. You don’t have to “understand” it to understand it.

Somewhere between the big and small screen, my particular passions found a way to assert themselves. It seems so silly to say that watching these forms of media helped form my view of the world but corny as it is, they really did. Other than the people in my lives, film (mostly and then TV) showed me the world and made me question and think about the person I was and wanted to be.

Media served as a medium for identification. It wasn’t that I was heroic or fucked up enough to be on the big screen. That was never what appealed. It was about relating. I’m never going to be Spider-man rescuing some person from a burning building. But I can understand the need for that sort of heroism. To believe that something better and brighter can come along.

I don’t think movies and TV are supposed to mirror exactly what goes on in our lives. If gives us possibilities and choices to see the roads we could all travel.

A lot of folks watch movies to escape. I definitely have those days. But as my consciousness grew and my love for movies grew, I started to devour the theories and analysis of all these “things” I loved so wholeheartedly. What I started to realize about myself was that movies were personal to me. My life wasn’t particularly exciting. I wasn’t doing drugs, having sex and partying like the apocalypse was coming. That’s what they did in the movies. It was this safe way to look at possibilities and decipher what I would do without having to dip my toe in the actual water.

But I could only do that for so long. The more I saw, the more quietly impassioned I became and the more I knew I needed to seek my independence. It wasn’t easy within my family (is it ever?). Asian families definitely have a dynamic that doesn’t necessarily encourage independence. It’s about inter-dependence and togetherness. Melding the two has always been an unspoken strife underlying my family relations. What I know now is that in order to reconcile the two, I really had to understand what being on my own was before I could see the beauty in the collective.

I went to school in southern California (i’m from the Bay Area) and that’s where I got my first taste of being on my own. College, as much as I did enjoy the education, was always more about learning to stand on my own two feet in the world rather than how I earned my degree. Being exposed to so many things I had only seen but never really experienced…well, it was eye-opening. But it wasn’t enough.

I was still within the confines of California and whoever I was still needed more space and air to breathe. You see, movies served as my way of seeing a new world and now they were going to be my way into the world.  Movies were literally my way out. Thru some wonderful circumstances, I was encouraged to apply to grad school for cinema. Apparently I had a natural talent for it. Not so much the movie making part of it…the academics of it. I realize this sounds a whole lot less sexy. Being a watcher rather than a doer. But I’ve never seen it that way. I’ve never wanted to actually make a movie. That’s not me.  I appreciate things. I analyze things. I am, above all, an enthusiast. To watch, to understand and to identify the experiences with what humanity is and could be – that’s what I enjoy.

Now, I’m on the other side of the country. I left practically everyone I knew. I knew ONE person when I moved here. When I think of it now, I’m shocked I did that without much thought. But that’s how it needs to be. Some things can’t be overanalyzed to the point of paralysis. When something needs to be done, you just have to do it. NYC was where I needed to be because it’s where I became (and still becoming) who I wanted to be.

It’s funny. Sitting to write my last entry of the year, I was really inspired by something else and yet this has become more of history of how I got here instead.

Life moves in circles. I was always a media hound and while I had been in remission lately, that sensibility always finds itself back because it is innate. It’s my most natural state and the place I find most comfort in.

Recently, I’ve discovered a new TV fandom. While it started off innocently (don’t all epic stories begin like this? Ha!), my semi-curiosity and snarkiness soon turned to complete and total devotion. How? Who knows. Sometimes, the light turns on and then you’re just a goner. For this particular obsession, I find it is very much rooted in where I am as a person and my current emotional state.

To me, media isn’t just about entertainment..i’s also been about self-identifcation. I read or heard somewhere that the beauty of art isn’t that it exactly imitates what life is like day to day. That would be crazy boring. It’s that in dramatizing something, it can illuminate something in your own life and give it some sort of greater understanding. It’s like giving someone advice. You’re always better at giving it than taking your own advice. But sitting there in the dark, you’re forced to be complicit in these acts on the screen. You’re forced to look at what is happening and putting all your joy and sorrow and experience in the reaction. And in that reading of what is “happening,” art allows us to see what the human experience is. At least, that is what is it to me. It’s never been simply entertainment (although it can be). But the stuff that I actually love. The stuff I really care about…it’s what I can relate and feel for. It’s a version of me being played out and I am left to decide if I like what I see or if I want to change it.

So in watching my new obsession, I became so very enamored of this female character on the show. She’s pretty normal, babbling girl but stuck in extraordinary circumstances (isn’t that the way?). I find her character to be strong, independent minded and optimistic – all things I hope I am and want to be. Finding well-rounded, well-written female characters isn’t easy but even more rare when the show is not based around her (it’s based on a male lead, shocking!). She starts off more as a supporting character then moves up the ranks cuz, well, she’s AWESOME.

After binging on the 50+ episodes in a weekend, I needed to feed the beast. So I do what any normal person would – I took to the internets! And the fan girl was unleashed. Lord love all the tumblr pages, fan sites and random critical reviews all over the joint! I do love the gifs and various fun tidbits people make but truly, my academic nerd side really just reading analysis and breakdowns of characters/scenes/themes. It brings me so much joy.

And in reading all these various takes on her character and her actions, I started to realize why I love her so very much. It’s because I’m in a similar spot right now. She is vulnerable, kind but that doesn’t mean she is a pushover. There are many tropes in regards to how women must react in movies and TV. Unless the woman is the actual lead character, her actions only hold importance if it is in relation to the lead male and usually, this means romance. In this case, yes, she is now the primary romantic lead and since the show is named after the lead dude, it’s inevitable that her actions are usually in some sort of relation to him. BUT what I’m finding so fascinating about the pairing and how the romance plays out is what she doesn’t do. instead of the normal waiting and pining you would expect (remember I grew up watching Asian soap operas i.e. chaste hugs and longing looks and tons of self sacrifice), she doesn’t do that. She takes care of herself and keeps on moving. Not that there isn’t love. Not that there isn’t hope. But as much as she cares about the guy, she loves herself even more. The girl has self-respect and that’s why I love her.

I don’t necessarily think it’s super rare to see that on TV but it’s sad that it’s still somewhat revelatory. Having to somewhat battle the media images ingrained in me about what love is (melodramatic/pining/sacrifice), it just felt like such a “fuck yeah” moment. It’s not that she gets the guy or that she won’t eventually get him. He’s irrelevant. It’s that she made a decision to take care of herself because the other person doesn’t have his shit together but she does AND she’s not waiting around until he does.

It’s funny to me because I don’t think I would have felt so close to this development had I not experienced a few romantic mishaps/timing issues in the not so distant past. In some ways I felt like a martyr, playing out my part the way I had seen growing up. The messiness of what love and romance can be never really can hit home if you’re just holding on to the simplicity of a rom com. At some point though, after many many bourbon-soaked nights, I realized it was pointless to put my life on hold for something that was never going to go my way. I had learn how to piece together my life so that I could look at myself and not be ashamed.

Looking back at the romantic foibles, some part of me was always waiting for that person to see I was someone they should take a chance on cuz i felt ready to take a chance on them. When the feeling wasn’t mutual, I went into a tailspin cuz I was heartbroken but also because they weren’t fitting into this neat narrative of what I believed how relationships should behave. In retrospect, everything turned out for the best. They were never the right fit. I just wanted them to be. My ideas of romantic love were foiled by the reality of what caring for someone actually was like. Things don’t fall into place just because you’re a good person. Beyond the fact that values might have been different between us, it was always the wrong timing. Eventually, I got wiser. But nobody ever told me standing my ground was going to be as hard as it turned out to be. Letting something go, even when it’s not healthy for you, was harder than I thought. Common sense and self-preservation aren’t always the first things that come to mind when my emotions were flying wild. Only now, can I appreciate I had to go through the hurting phase but ultimately, I had to recognize my own self-respect before I could demand it from someone else. Truth is, it’s not something I actually wanted to do. I wanted to crawl and be weak and semi sorta get the guy. But I’m making myself sound wimpier than I am too. Deep down, I also couldn’t follow through when temptation rose. It can be so easy to pick up where you leave off but nowadays, with distance and a better wisdom about me, I just can’t do it. I didn’t like who I was during those darker moments. I like myself now and I don’t want to betray my own progress. I have to be good to me or else, who will?

When I was home for my break, my friend and I discussed this briefly too. We had lived together with another pal at the time who turned out to be a horrid bitch. She tried to railroad us both at various times but we were both somewhat naive and innocent at the time. We were finding our way to be who we needed to be. It wasn’t just with boys that we were foolish and eager to please. This happened in our friendships too. But we get older. We grow stronger and we stand bolder.

It’s somewhat mortifying to think about how disrespectful I was to myself. Not all the time. Just at some of my lower points. I’m not proud. I’m not supposed to be. But lately, I’m finding some sort of peace with that and cheesy or not, I find that some of it can be attributed to watching this character play out her scenes. Watching her continually stand her ground (even when it’s crazy difficult), the awkward (almost cringeworthy) manner in which she over-shares her emotions makes me feel a greater compassion and love for my own past. Her story isn’t finished yet and neither is my own. But watching hers play out gives me a major appreciation of how I got to where I got to and be excited enough to see where else life can lead.

My life will never be exactly reflected to me on the screen. But when I catch glimpses of where I was, where I am and where I want to go, I feel kinship. I feel connected. To know that there are only so many emotions in this world and to have one that seems so personal identified in this larger context..it makes me feel less alone. It makes me feel connected to “her”, to other humans and to forgive the ones who have wronged me and to forgive myself for wronging others.

So today’s last word will be about self-respect. How I discovered what it meant to me, how it applied to be and how I embraced it so I could understand what I deserve.

It’s a roundabout way of looking at life but sometimes a mirror isn’t enough. Sometimes, I just need a bigger screen.


The Tide Rises

Been out of commission for awhile. If anything is recurring this year, that seems to be the dominant theme…blog-wise anyway.

In Cali currently and waiting for Santa to visit. I have been oh so good this year. ;)

Strikes me that angst makes for good copy and so the other reason I’ve been not as prevalent online is due to my lack of it (and my laziness).

Been busy busy busy and since arriving back in my family’s house, I find myself very much the opposite and have since turned into a cookie/cake making/eating blob. It’s delightful, really!

But truth is that I find it harder to complain these days. The beginning of the year was difficult with a loss of a very beloved (and my favorite) member of my family (grieving has its own time table) and the stress of creating a new version of my home. With those events in my rear view mirror, well, my life has taken on a new perspective. For the first time in a long time (maybe ever), I can say without equivocation that I am happy.

No, I haven’t met someone. No, I didn’t win the lottery. I’m just good. Really and truly and for once, I’m not searching for something else to “complete” it…I’m just good where I am and enjoying the ride.

I realize this probably won’t last. That I’ll have to create waves in my own pool of water. Turn on the tension to see what else I can invite into my world.

Thing is 2014 was really exhausting and right now, this is my afterglow.

In Feb or sometime around then, I took a time out from online dating. With all the family chaos, there was no way I could handle the bullshit of finding romance when death was looming over everything. There were priorities and I made my choice. But life doesn’t like to hit you with one thing at a time and everything happened while my renovation was getting going. Literally. One of the saddest losses of my life with a fairly momentous change (financially and cosmetically) to my home. And I had to go at it alone. I had my family while I was in California and we all grieved together but then it comes time to split. When I got back to NYC, my home was covered in dust and I was just exhausted. Mentally. Emotionally. But I kept going. I had to. I had to see this finished. I had to see what my dream would look like in person.

After all that was done, I didn’t really know what happened. It was as if I was driving on the Autobahn and suddenly I was in a school zone. Dead stop. No more patterns to pick or objects to buy. No more waiting in hospitals and speaking to doctors. Just nothing.

It’s a weird thing, looking back. I didn’t really want to be around people. I didn’t want to drink that sorrow away. I just didn’t know how to stand still anymore. And for once, I didn’t really think about needing someone to lean on. I take that back a little. I had no shortage of people to lean on and when I needed them, I did. I just couldn’t handle anyone new to the table. I didn’t want anything new. I was just happy with what I had.

I remember the night things stood still. I was home. I was still injured so no fitness for me. My kitchen was completely done and furnished. And I had nothing to do. I felt so weirdly hollow. Not bad hollow. Just hollow.

And I accepted that moment.

And I kept on moving the next day. And the next. And the next. And somewhere in those days, weeks, months, I started to feel lighter. Happier and full of joy. For no other real reason than I just did. I was loved. Have been loved and will keep being loved. I could feel it. I could feel so much of it. And for once, it didn’t feel like I was justifying my life as a good one even though I was without a romance. Fuck that. I was good because I was good. No more. No less.

The culmination of all these things, if I had to pick a moment, was probably my birthday. For the first time at age 38, I felt happy. And not just for that day but for days, weeks and months after. I still feel that joy.

It’s true. How when you’re not looking for something you find it.

To some degree, I had tied happiness to a completion of some sort of checklist of things I believed I needed. I knew what was missing but didn’t appreciate what I had. Now, it seems like I feel the opposite. I see so much abundance that what I “lack”…it’s just a matter of perspective.

I was out with a friend the other week and it hit me in this weird revelation. I’m fucking happy. Genuinely no bullshit happy. I hate even saying it for fear of it going away. But if it does, it’s just the time and tide of the universe. But I digress. My happiness is real and even funnier, I think I’m happy because I DON’T have that “special someone” in my life. So opposite of what I have believed for years prior.

I do almost hate saying it except I believe it to be true. Funny and true. I love men and I love being with them. But more often than not, their presence has bought me more pain than joy. I’ll take the pain anyways but it’s just how my luck has gone. No bitterness I promise.

It’s a weird thing to admit too because I feel that I almost have to qualify my statement. I am happy because I don’t have anyone romantic in my life but this also doesn’t mean I’m not open to inviting it into my life.

Beyond my own romantic foibles, these past two years have been especially rough for my friends. As their confidant, it’s hard to listen and not empathize and feel a certain amount of bitterness towards the less fair sex. But my pals muscle through and so do I. For the bad feelings, I’ve learned to give myself space to grieve for them but also space for them to make their own decisions/mistakes/epiphanies. We each have our own road and all we can do is support our friends and wish them well and vice versa. We need to see what we’re made of. What our self respect and self worth comes down to and how we want to let it all play out.

And the hits just keep coming. The horrible relationship issues haven’t ended. More stories just seem to come out of the woodwork. But I’m taking the issues less to heart and less representative of the entire male gender. People are good. People are horrible. People are just human. But I don’t need to interact with all of them.

I have no idea what is in store for 2015 but hope it holds less emotional drama than 2014 did. I know I’ll have to get back out into the dating jungle once again but the lack of online presence equals lack of stress and i’m digging that quality right now.

Am I lighter, brighter and some other word that rhymes? Ehhhh…I’m just more me lately. More me every year.

At times during this happy single phase, I’ve wondered if maybe I’m secretly afraid of commitment and way to comfortable in my comfort zone. Truth? Single people and couples all tend to stay within a comfort zone. Sometimes, that’s where the couple issues start. For me, I am pretty self aware. I’m not one to easily commit. I’ve had issues in the past and I don’t think it entirely goes away. However, I do know that when I am motivated, I will always see it through and I will always try.

I have a bit of fear of jumping into that pool once again and I wonder if my “match” even exists or if that notion even exists.

I was bitching to my friend about my possible commitment phobia and she said, commitment doesn’t come easy to anyone. It’s a choice. That’s all.

Goddammit I have good friends. Smart ones. And I like her answer. So my choice for right now is to enjoy my moment. Enjoy me and maybe in the near future, I’ll choose to let someone enjoy “me” too. Hah! (Dirty…hahahahha!)

Merry merry…happy happy y’all! Fare thee well in 2015!!!


I Still Believe

I still believe in love. I still believe love can work, prosper and grow. I still believe.

That is a way cornier sentiment that I would normally open with but tonight, I find that to be true. And also it’s something I don’t think I would say with such conviction a year ago.

Last night I had some crazy fever/allergy sickness and I exacerbated the situation by working out on top of it. Probably thought I could make it sweat out of me. I was wrong. So. Wrong.

By the end of class, I was beyond exhausted and realized I had so much left to do as the next day I was hosting a tea party at my apartment and had yet to begin the preparations (aka cleaning, grocery shopping, etc). Fuck. Me.

But being the idiot I was. I did what I could last night and fell dead asleep at 9pm. Sadly I woke up a few hours later, feeling better but not great, and proceeded to do my bustling around the house.

Amidst my crazy fever (dream), I just wanted someone to be there to take care of me. And yes, it was also a little hormonal. Not a cute moment. That said, it was also a weirdly interesting moment for me. During times like last night, I would feel an intense loneliness on top of the sickness and delirium. This time, I complained without the heart.

Do I wish I had a partner who could just do my errands for me while I passed out? That he could get me soup without me having to get up? Hell yes. But it’s ok that I didn’t. It was ok I was alone.

Today’s tea party went off with very little issue and I surprisingly got a lot better just before people arrived. My friends definitely revived me a bit and gave me energy I was sorely lacking last night. And in the midst of the good cheer, I got some not so happy news about my friend and her relationship. Shocking is probably the best word. My heart simply goes out to her. It isn’t that she won’t persevere and survive this bullshit. She will. Life always likes to throw curves at people with well thought out plans. Life – what a fucking asshole.

Many thoughts went through my head as I decompressed the facts. There are so many phases of life relationships. First, all your friends get boyfriends. Then there is the marriage wave. Then the baby wave. And now comes the breaking up/divorce stage. Guess I’m in between the last two stages.

And in the midst of hearing all this and knowing the situations of several other pals and their unsavory positions, I wonder – sooooo…..why am I trying to date again?

The answer is as stated above. I still believe. Even knowing crazy horrible stuff could potentially happen, I still want to attempt this leap of faith. I know as many that fail, there are many who succeed. While I hope to fall into the latter category, there is no guarantee for anything in life. No expectations.

I weep a little for the sorrow my friends have gone through due to crap circumstances and I find myself so grateful to the men who have broken my heart. I’m fairly half glass full girl and have been happy to know the men I knew because of what I learned and what I experienced. But today I feel so fucking grateful that our relationships ended when they did. How there really was no more need to pine about what have been because our moment in the sun was bright enough but brief enough for me to love enough and then move on.

I still don’t have any clue as to what will happen to my life from here on out. My life is in motion and I’m just going with the flow. I do not know what the next step will be but I am so happy with where I am at. That alone is a small miracle.

I believe my friends will find the joy they deserve because they are good people. That through our experiences, we learn what we are made of and we grow stronger and bolder because of them (good or bad). And whatever love we give and get may come from the most unexpected of places. I believe all this can happen.

And I believe this is why I keep trying. Not to just get a sustained moment in the sun but to have my shot at it. To wrestle with the snowstorms and tornadoes or whatever may come with this other human being and hope that I’m still standing with him after all that has passed. Well, that’s what I hope anyways. :)


Sponge Worthy (Not)

Challenge accepted and now…challenge completed.

Got a date via a friend of a friend. Blind date. Not my fave but a challenge had to be met and so I met it.

Today didn’t start off well. It’s Monday. It’s gloomy. And I’m full of anxiety as my family is visiting and STAYING WITH ME in my dinky apartment. Let’s just say nobody is more excited for Sunday to arrive than I am.

Ugh. But onwards. I awoke full of anxiety for the impending visit and for the date tonight. Dread was a good word. Annoyed. Also not wanting to bother with it as my hopes were not of the highest caliber.

Keep an open mind, you say? You never know, you say?

Yah yah but how about you go out with randoms you don’t know and aren’t the least bit attracted to? Yah. Shut the fuck up.

So shall we say expectations were super low? Yah. They were. I’ll spare some of the more little details (although that is what I specialize in). Basically we’ve been emailing about meeting up. His first email to me was quite formal but nice. That gut feeling was creeping up on me but I kept thinking…challenge! Was going to get coffee but that somehow became Sunday brunch to which I ixnayed IMMEDIATELY. My reason? A meal with someone I do not know is not something I want to be trapped into. AKA a meal is too much of a commitment. My pal said it wasn’t too bad plus there’s booze. No. It IS a commitment and in NYC where Sunday brunches are a phenomenon…FUCK. NO. I want it quick, simple and I want out if I need it. Since coffee was out, I introduced happy hour. Bingo and we’re on.

Fella was pretty nice about things. He researched and found a joint in my hood so I got there in literally a hop, skip and jump. Well maybe a few hops, skips and jumps. Point for him. But I’m not so easily won.

Got home from work and had some time to kill. I loosened up my hair – literally let it fall down and cleaned up the face a little. I don’t want to hear bitching that this girl didn’t try. Sat down and text bitched to some pals while watching “Ellen”, a show that always makes ma a bit happier about the world. I needed some happy cuz I was kinda pissy.

Time to go and so I hopped, skipped and jumped over. He was in front (as a good date should be). A bit awkward but I gave him a quick hug and said hello. First impression. Nicer looking than anticipated and this wasn’t gonna work. The funny thing with me though – this automatically relaxed me. And I hadn’t even had my first drink yet.

A bit more about this -I forgot how I can be on a date. It’s literally been years since I’ve been on anything official one would call a date. I felt slightly nervous but more annoyed and put out. I remembered my history and that I usually had a nice time but I always complained beforehand too. It’s just my way.

People would always tell me to have a better attitude cuz it’s like I was jinxing my date. This is bullshit I have found…out of sheer research and experience. If I go in with a bad attitude, that has no bearing on the outcome. When I finally sit down in front of my date, I am confronted with the fact he is also a human being capable of all the things I am. But I also can assess if this human being is something I want in my life or not.

In this case, I did not.

And I don’t feel bad about it.

What causes me to make such quick judgment? Well, when you go on enough dates, you know the ones that work and propel you forward and the ones that don’t. And while I used to feel very bad about not moving forward with a nice guy, I also realized I had no regrets when I made such a decision. Nice guy doesn’t equal Mr. Right.

I forgot so much of what I learned until I had to flex this dating muscle all over again. So if anything, I’m glad I did this. Success is measured by how you choose to view the circumstance. To me, it may not have been a love connection but I got a renewed sense of self. I know me. I know what I want. And he wasn’t it.

What was so wrong you say? It’s just a feeling. When you’re in it, you know. When you’re an outside, it’s much easier to say that the guy deserves another chance or two. But my heart isn’t in it past this one moment. And it won’t change if I have to spend more hours with him.

It’s funny too cuz in so many ways, it read as a nice date. We had barely any lulls in conversation. I didn’t really hide or smother my personality. I let my inner sailor run rampant. Practically the first words out of my mouth were – “I like brown liquor.”True story.

A friend was commiserating with me about the meh-ness of dating. She found most of her dates (blind and otherwise) were awful and just painful. Being out tonight reminded me that my experience wasn’t really that. For the most part, I went out with nice guys but they just weren’t my cup of tea. I tried my best and put my best foot forward but ultimately, they weren’t someone I wanted to share any part of my life with. It’s just something I knew in my gut and despite some naysayers, I had to trust my own instinct. And as time went on, I found myself growing more confident of my own heart. I know what I want and this isn’t it.

For the actual date itself. Well, as I said, the chatting was very consistent. Midway though the first hour and proving that New York is ultimately a small town, his co-worker walked through the door and they ended up chit chatting. She was very effusive in her praise of him and honestly, it was quite sweet. It wasn’t going to change my mind but it was kinda nice to see this man and his life in semi action.

Sometimes, being on a date can be oddly exclusive. It’s a bubble and you don’t know how the other person exists outside of it. You know they exist and they live but you don’t see how. I got a taste of how.

And as the night went on and I ingested more bourbon, I would look over at him and wonder…but each time, the same feeling came up. No.

I have to honor that.

Brass tacks. I don’t know the exact longitude and latitude of what I want but I know the general vicinity. As a human, he was very sweet, smart and kind. But as a prospect, that wasn’t enough. If I were to be brutal, I would ask this question – would you date Seinfeld? Cuz that’s a little bit of what he felt like. Not Jewish but neurotic east coast fella who by his own admission, is a bit of a hypochondriac. Oi vey.

He was only slightly older but I could also tell he wanted to settle down and was thinking very long term. I appreciated that but it had no real relevance to me since I knew our future was limited. At one point, after finding out I was from California, he remarked that he thought about moving there at some point, etc etc. This didn’t really scare me off for reasons I already said but I actually found it nice. Nice because it reminded me men still do want things I want and want to be in situations in which there would be a future.

The date lasted about 3 hours, which tends to be my average. About 90 minutes in though, I was really surprised it was only 90 min. Ended up drinking a substantial amount. Was going to stop at two drinks and call it a night but damn me and my special superpower. As I was finishing up drink #2, bartender lady decided to give me and the fella another drink on the house. Damn my superpower. Fella was surprised but to me, it’s all in a day’s work. Stick with me kid…or rather, don’t.

We ended up splitting the somewhat hefty bill. Not an issue though. I figure I wasn’t going to put out and it was only the night so fair is fair. Walked him to the subway and we parted with a hug. I have a feeling he wasn’t much of a drinker but my other superpower is making fairly non-drinkers into drunks. Yay me.

He muttered something about this being fun (to his shock I’m sure) and said that I would be hearing from him soon. In my mind, I felt like I just scored on the interview and I was going to get hired. Next step – how to gently turn down the offer.

But I’m not going to bother thinking about that until I have to. Maybe I don’t even have to.

For now, I will just take with it that the night gave me more confidence and assurance that I’m doing all the things that are right for ME. The road I travel might be a lonely one and it might not always make sense but it’s the one I choose and tonight, I’m so much more than OK with it. Hurrah!


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