Category: Romance


A Life in Black and White

 

I’ve spent a ridiculous portion of my life watching and rewatching the same old films. You know the ones: everyone talks super-fast and they’re all clever and articulate and occasionally scathing, but they always have exactly the right words.

I am the way I am because I love those films. Usually that would be fine, but I’ve found a reason all that exposure may have been dangerous: I am always wishing my life could be more like some amalgam of His Girl Friday, It Happened One Night, My Man Godfrey, and The Philadelphia Story.

I want the big, banter-filled romance that overcomes all the obstacles. I want the tall, dark, handsome, intelligent leading man who will fight with me or for me and isn’t afraid to make sweeping romantic gestures and sincere declarations of love. I want the quirky, loud family with qualities one can’t help but find endearing. I want the friends who are the respite when the drama gets too intense; they can be comic relief or the voices of reason to balance my own craziness and keep me from going off the deep end.

I am lucky enough to have most of those things. The trouble comes when a piece is missing or broken. I notice. Suddenly, that is all I can think about and my brain begins running laps around the realization that my life is very uncomfortable without that piece and that I shouldn’t have to bury the desire for it.

You see, there are really only two types of leading women: the ones who take action, and the ones who wait for action to be taken. I am far more comfortable being the former but certain situations are better suited to the latter.

Life isn’t as black and white as the movies. The good guys don’t always win and true love doesn’t conquer all.

I hate that.

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The Vastness of Space

The most successful relationships are a balance of time together and time apart. The time together allows you to be a couple and the time apart allows you to be individuals. All the best couples I know are made of really interesting individuals whose company is easily enjoyed with or without their significant others. If, however, you are not half of one of those perfectly balanced couples, there is something potentially unnerving about giving space to someone you care about.

I’m not talking about a few hours away. I mean real distance; the kind of space in which you don’t see each other for several days and it is ok to ignore text messages and send calls to voicemail; that cavernous, echoing kind of space that shows the gaps you’d leave in each other’s lives.

If you’re lucky there are gaps to be shown.

But that isn’t always the case, is it?

I think it must require faith or, perhaps, just a general sense that things will eventually be ok… Personally, I’ve never been good at either. As a result, I have never been very good at the whole space thing. I can give it, but I rarely ask for it, and I don’t like the silence that accompanies it.

I want meaningful glances and sincere notes and I want to be told that someone loves me. That doesn’t make me needy or weak; it makes me a romantic.

Even when I am away from someone I love—especially when I am away— he is still the first person I want to tell about everything that happens. I always worry he will believe silence means I don’t care or that he must not be missed; not wanted; that I must be happier alone. I know these thoughts are driven by my own fear that, if I don’t hear from him, he must not be thinking of me.

Distill it down and that is the true essence of what makes “space” feel so excruciatingly uncertain: We all want to be missed, but none of us wants to be forgotten.

Spending Time

We have to earn what we spend; time is no different from money in that and neither is unlimited.

There is something about mortality that I don’t think people can understand until they have, themselves, confronted their own. It has a way of making one feel tremendously insignificant and as if the need to do things right now is amplified. Sometimes it makes people want to get a tattoo or jump out of a plane or have a baby; it’s different for everyone. Confronting mortality twice in two years has made me want to be more certain and to feel like my time is being spent, consciously, instead of wasted.

My Gram (on my mom’s side) will be one hundred years old in September. She has no patience and I am just now beginning to truly understand the why of that. It feels impossible to wait when you’re suddenly aware that you may not wake up tomorrow.

Life is just a flicker, a flash, a moment… I want my moment to mean something.

I know that MJ felt like I was in some big rush to get married. I don’t need to get married. I just need to know that the man I am with might actually like to spend his life with me someday. Nobody wants to feel like a placeholder. Tell me you don’t want to lose me.

This week MJ said exactly that. He doesn’t want to lose me. Hearing that felt really good.

The catch is, in our relationship, MJ always seemed most comfortable in the week or two following a big fight. It was exhausting for both of us and just reinforced my idea that as soon as we’d reach any point in which a decision needed to be made about moving forward, we’d move backward instead. There is no incentive to move forward if you spend all your time just trying to earn your way back to what you had before.

This time, I’ve decided to handle things a little bit differently. It wasn’t just a fight– we broke up; that is fact. I told him that he can’t just un-break-up with me.

As I mentioned in my last blog, things change because people change them; it’s not a passive process. If we want our relationship to be different, we’ll have to make it different. So, I took all my things out of MJ’s house; I even gave his key back to him.

We really are starting over and if we’re going to spend time together, we’ll both have to earn it first.

Passive or Passionate

In case you haven’t been able to figure it out yet, I am passionate. And, as I am always telling people, that is full-spectrum, rip-your-throat-out to rip-your-clothes-off passion.

When I posted Best and Worst on Saturday, it was exactly as I had left it on Wednesday– unfinished and unedited. Normally, that would be fine. On Saturday, however, the note that I tacked onto the bottom of that piece painted it in a very different light than I had intended. Originally, Best and Worst was supposed to be about self-reflection and meant as an “I’m not perfect so why do I expect that from others” kind of thing; I could choose to love the people in my life as they are or choose not to. I realize now that it did not read that way at all– especially after what happened with MJ.

“We are not the same persons this year as last; nor are those we love. It is a happy chance if we, changing, continue to love a changed person.”
― W. Somerset Maugham

We always hear people say, “[NAME] just isn’t the same as [TIME].” I have said it and I know it has been said about me. Guess what- it’s true. If you have aged or learned or experienced anything at all since you met, you have both changed.

Love is not about being or staying the same. Love is about accepting differences- in ourselves and those around us. Sometimes those differences are between you and the other person; sometimes they are between who that person was before and is now. Real, actual love makes allowances for all of that. Love is not always easy; sometimes it is, most definitely, a challenge. But, as a friend recently reminded me, LOVE is a verb. It is not something that just happens; it is something that you do.

Missing the spark? Light a damned match! Want your relationship to change? Change it! Want the person you are with to be more like the early days? Be more like you were in the early days! Be the you that he or she fell for in the first place. Flirt, give compliments, hold hands, send flowers, cook dinner, do whatever it was.  Do.

Best and Worst

“If you can’t handle me at my worst, then you sure as hell don’t deserve me at my best.”
― Marilyn Monroe

Perhaps it is everything that I have experienced these past few years; perhaps this is my version of “life is short” disciplehood, but I want to be happy and loved and I want to feel certain.

It is exhausting to be in unhappy relationships and few things in life feel quite as miserable as being three feet away from a person you love and feeling just as lonely, or more so, than you would from 3,000 miles. If you are in a relationship and often talk of the future using the pronoun “we” but the person you are with consistently uses “I”, take the hint. People who can only talk about themselves in a future alone probably should be alone.

We all have our quirks and scars, our habits and baggage and bullshit– especially at my age. I am fully aware of mine; hell, here are a few of my top “flaws”:

  • Organized religion pisses me off- in all forms- and I will find the fastest, and often most scathing, way to end a conversation with anyone who attempts to preach at and/or convert me. This includes Atheists who, often, are just as obnoxious, abusive, and, ironically, religious in their cause as they claim Theists are.
  • I am very quick to give advice or instructions but very, very slow to give apologies. To get one, you had damn well better be able to prove there is no possible way I could’ve been right.
  • I don’t like humans– and I say that now, and often, as if I lift out somehow. People suck; most are disgusting, selfish, stupid creatures. I only occasionally find exceptions.
  • I am a flirt. Perhaps this is a remnant of my theatre days, but I consider there to be a HUGE difference between flirting and flirting with intent. I just flirt. There is no intent to do anything more and I am always going home with or to my boyfriend at the end of the night.
  • I am stubborn (see 2nd and 3rd bullet).

Life is rather grand and we are… well… not. It’s quite easy to feel small and lost if we don’t have the right people in our lives. We all know people who make us feel secure and grounded and safe and we should be trying to find more of those people with whom to surround ourselves. I want to be with people who love me, flaws and all.

People do change, constantly, and rarely by choice. Sometimes something big happens and changes them; sometimes the fact that nothing at all is happening changes them.
We have to love them as they are in that moment or admit that we can’t and move on.

*Note:  I had originally written this post on Wednesday 5/16 to go up at 7pm on 5/19.

In a sad twist, MJ just broke up with me; this is going up -in it’s original form- five hours early.

LOVE: The Hangover

Healing Heartbreak in Simple Steps

“Falling”

Inevitably, we will all awake at some point in our lives feeling like we have jumped from or been pushed off a very tall building to land battered and twitching on the pavement below. No, it’s not a hangover—it’s heartbreak. The symptoms are similar, aching body, throbbing head, that sick feeling in the pit of your stomach. The thoughts running through your mind are similar too, “What was I thinking?”, “I don’t even want to look at food.”, “If I just get through this, I’ll never make the same mistake again!”. One of those mornings was the moment I first understood why it’s called “falling in love”.

Steps To Recovery

When all is said and done you will have to (as the old song goes) pick yourself up, dust yourself off, and start all over again. The symptoms of heartbreak and hangovers are so similar; it makes sense that the same remedies should work for them both. The following are some popular hangover remedies as applied to heartbreak.

Take A Breather — Pilots in WWII claimed that inhaling pure oxygen was a sure hangover cure.

While there are a few oxygen bars around nowadays, the likelihood of one being in your neighborhood is still pretty slim. My solution to this is a bit simpler: pranayama. Pranayama is Sanskrit for (in loose translation) “breath control”. Dirgha Pranayama is “complete breath” and has three parts. It is used in yoga to help focus the body and mind. The best thing about this remedy is that you don’t even have to get up!

  • Part 1: While lying on your back, begin taking long, slow, and deep breaths through your nostrils. As you inhale, allow your diaphragm to expand (your navel should float toward the ceiling), draw the breath deep into your lower lungs. As you exhale through your nose, allow your navel to sink back toward your spine. Repeat several times, keeping the breath smooth and even- never straining.

  • Part 2: Breathe into your diaphragm as in Part #1, but also allow your rib cage and mid-chest to expand. It may help to place a hand along your ribs to actually feel them stretching apart. Exhale and repeat several times.

  • Part 3: Follow Part #1 and #2 and continue inhaling by expanding your upper chest. Be sure to keep your shoulders level and don’t allow them to scrunch up around your ears. Exhale and repeat.

When you combine all three steps into one continuous flow, this relaxes your body and mind, expels carbon dioxide, oxygenates your blood and helps energize your system. What a great way to psych yourself up enough to drag your pathetic heartbroken ass out of bed!

Walk It Off— Exercise increases metabolism, clears the mind, and elevates the mood.

The best thing about exercise is that it’s a healthy way to deal with the aggression, frustration and anger that are usually byproducts of love gone wrong. Find a physical activity you love and lose yourself in it. If you can’t seem to muster the willpower to do this for your own sake, the best thing to keep telling yourself is that the next romance will include a slimmer more toned version of you. Not to mention, running into your ex while looking totally hot can be a fabulous revenge!

Eat Your Heart Out— Start your day off with a great breakfast.

There are actually two ways to go here; the difference is in which type of friend you invite to dine with you.

We usually have one friend who has heard the unedited story and is still more than willing to be our instant support. If you are the “I need a shoulder to cry on” type, call that friend and suggest meeting for breakfast at your favorite restaurant. You can vent uncensored about the demise of A. your relationship and, quite possibly, B. your faith in love at all. Remember that sometimes it is perfectly acceptable to feel hopeless and pathetic, but no one wants to be your pseudo-psychoanalyst for an extended period of time. Leave your wallowing on the table with your dirty dishes, and make sure that only your coffee is bitter.

This second option is better suited for the “Misery Loves Company” crowd. Call up the one person you know who is currently saddled with an absolutely useless mate and throw an invitation to that friend. Let him or her vent, the whole while silently reminding yourself how great it is to be single and what a relief it is not having to deal with the stress of a relationship. If that doesn’t work, you can still take comfort in the fact that someone else is just as unhappy as you are.

When Mementos Make You Gag— Purging actually can make you feel better.

One of the most satisfying parts of a breakup recovery is ridding your space and your life of relationship remnants. It can be very liberating.

A classic purging activity is the Boyfriend Bonfire. Find a photograph of the offending party and a permanent marker. Cover the photo with all of the things that you never wish to see in future partners or relationships. It can be simple adjectives: selfish, controlling, or unfaithful. It can also be phrases like “always left the cap off the toothpaste”. This is your chance to express every little thing that ever irritated you in any way. Gather all receipts, greeting cards, ticket stubs, or notes that are related to the relationship and make a beeline for the nearest fire pit, barbecue grill, or other safe place to burn things. Use the miscellaneous papers for kindling and toss the photo in last. Imagine that you are releasing all the negativity of that relationship and breakup as the flames devour the picture.

No fire-safe facilities available? No problem! Head for the nearest toilet. Follow the same initial steps as in the Boyfriend Bonfire. Instead of burning the photo, tear it into teeny, tiny, micro-confetti-sized pieces and flush the guy out of your life. (We all know some people deserve this particular method more than others.)

As for actual items he may have left behind, box them up and mail them or have a friend deliver them. It’s better to return all of the stuff that was left in your place than to wind up on one of those television court shows debating the sentimental and monetary value of a favorite coffee mug or hockey jersey.

Hair of the Dog— Get a little bit of whatever got you into trouble in the first place.

This English expression dates back to 1546: “I pray thee let me and my fellow have hairs of the dog that bit us last night,” from The Proverbs by John Heywood.

In the world of heartbreak, this means shameless flirting! To flirt shamelessly you need two things: confidence and someone to be the object of your flirtation.

That first one is tricky; as someone who is recently exiting a relationship your confidence may very well be shaken. I could write a whole book on how to fix that, but that would be an awful lot of work, so I have some advice that may be equally effective: Fake it. For example, take whatever compliment you receive, smile a bit, and say, “Thanks. I know.” It can make you seem a bit cocky, but that’s ok. The magic is that once you’ve said it a few times, you might just begin to believe it.

Now for the second half of shameless flirting, the object of it, I have reduced people to drinks. Not what they drink, mind you, but rather what drinks they would be if their flirting personalities dictated it. This system should help you choose which type fits your specific needs. It’s also a good idea to figure out what kind of flirt you are because, as any good bartender will tell you, there are some drinks that just should not mix! For a more objective opinion, run this list past a trusted friend and let him or her point you out.

  • The Rum Flirt: Playful, beachy, reminds you of college spring break.
  • The Vodka Flirt: Cold, but smooth. Mixes well; the all-purpose flirt.
  • The Gin Flirt: Classic, but slightly old-fashioned; definitely not for everyone.
  • The Whiskey/Scotch (or Bourbon) Flirt: Darker in nature, slightly less refined; mellows as it ages.
  • The Tequila Flirt: A little crazy, a little fiery. You know the danger going in, and go anyway.
  • The Wine Flirt: Cultured, inviting, worth savoring—something you might want to roll around your tongue for a while.
  • The Champagne Flirt: Sophisticated and charming; beware of overindulgence.
  • The Beer Flirt: Widely available and utilitarian. This one will work in a pinch.

After choosing which type of person you want to flirt with, the next step is to actually make your move. How you go about this entirely depends on the setting you’ve chosen, but generally you can’t go wrong offering to buy someone a drink or asking about the time. Both are instant conversation starters.

Time After Time

Ultimately we all need a chance to recover in our own way and learn what works for us. Some truly believe “time heals all wounds”: Things will change, seasons will pass and one day you’ll forget that someone stomped on your heart. Others prefer to believe, as Laura Zigman wrote in her book Animal Husbandry, “time wounds all heels”: Things will change, seasons will pass and one day the person who stomped on your heart will be miserably scraping what’s left of his off someone else’s boots while reading this very article.

One thing remains true either way:

The only real cure for any hangover, heartbreak or otherwise, is time.

Drive-By D*ck Pics

I followed the lead of a friend and joined Plenty of Fish, a free dating website.

I posted my profile on Wednesday and had 4 pages of emails and over 200 views in less than 24 hours. And then… then something happened that made me hide my profile from anyone with whom I did not initiate contact.

I had been exchanging emails with a seemingly nice, thirty-something guy from a nearby city. At one point he offered to send me more photos and I told him, “If you can’t post them on your profile, I do not want to see them.” — PoF bans people for posting nudity. He said he understood and, later Wednesday, gave me his mobile number so I could text him and arrange a meeting. I sent him a text Thursday night to say that I might be able to meet him next week sometime. He replied with two normal text messages and then promptly sent me a picture of his penis.

What is wrong with people?! Has this guy not seen the news?! I haven’t even met him! What makes him think this is acceptable behavior?!

This guy just completely destroyed any *ahem* small chance he might have had.

At what point did we revert to being a society that believes this primal derivation of presenting is the best way to find a mate? What happened to conversation, chemistry, compatibility? Nope, now it’s just cock.

I don’t get it.

This is why I hid my profile; why I despise the idea of having to date again and subject myself to the advances of men who, apparently, have taken a few evolutionary steps backward.

I don’t want drive-by dick pics; I want chivalry and romance.

I refuse to apologize for that.