Thoughts from October

“If you just keep going after the really pretty ones, believe me your happiness will be at most temporary and the fruit you will bare will not be worth your labor. Worst of all, we will continue to neglect the rest of the beautiful women out there. Women who have so much more to offer than just really good looks. Women whose beauty is matched, inside and out. Women who believe that love, when truly found, is unconditional. They understand that it, like everything else, requires work, from both sides. These women are smart and talented and awesome in every way. They are the ones who deserve our love. Believe me, Olympus may never fall but there is far more beauty here on the Earth, we just need to stop staring up into the heavens.” via Thought Catalog, “Why the Really Pretty Ones Are Just Not Worth It

Hello. I like what you just had to say, author of the quoted article.

But, let me remind you… let me remind you what Earth has to hold; those complicated women are scary, too.

Because the one I have in mind has lived in five different cities in just under ten years.

Her heart belongs to two, three, or maybe more, men who live in different corners of the world, and who they really are beyond the stories she’s made up to fill the in-between remains more of a mystery. But she loves mystery and much more than only a mental challenge.

Some things come easy to her; others are elusive. Love is the latter.

She can’t quite settle down yet. In fact, she left a city she saw a future with because she wanted to make sure it was the one. She’s full of restless energy, and she’s always running from one place to the next. No one has been able to give the chase their full focus, either. And in the end, who is really chasing whom?

Is it even a chase? Probably not.

Because the ones she wants are probably running the same restless race, and when their paths cross, no one’s sure if it’s just for a passing moment or if those paths will wrap back around and suddenly run parallel to one another.

She’s not sure what she’s running to–at least, she’s not completely sure.

And if that’s okay with you, then that more-than-just-a-pretty-face woman might be someone you want to get to know.

Better find her. Better get her attention. Better keep up with her.

Or, at least make it worth her while to slow down and match your pace.

(She’d probably enjoy the company.)

Unconquered

I am the master of my fate;

I am the captain of my soul.

– William Ernest Henley

It’s been hard to write lately. Things are changing very quickly. They are moving faster than I expected, and it’s all because of me.

For those that haven’t heard, I accepted a job at the University of Washington. I begin in mid-September, where I will be taking my advising skills to the public four-year realm as part of the School of Public Health. I am nervous and excited and happy and confused and all sorts of different nuances. What I do know is when I need to be at work on that first day, and for now, that will have to be enough.

I spent a lot of today talking about CrossFit and love. My one-year anniversary is coming up, and I’m looking forward to sharing my thoughts on this past year, as it really has much more to it than nutrition and fitness. That’s a story for another day, however.

Today, I talked at length about being a manic pixie dream girl and how I’m tired of my penchant for trying to help (“rescue”) the males in my life. As I have quoted many a time, “We are the hero of our own story.” (Thank you, Mary McCarthy.) That goes for all of us, regardless of biological sex or gender identity or sexual orientation. We are the hero of our own story.

I am looking for someone who understands that. He will understand that for himself and about me. He will be so incredibly fascinating by his own account that I can feel safe and comfortable in sharing my own stories. He’s going to be different. He’s going to be unexpected. We will find the space in our own stories where things don’t simply fit together like puzzle pieces–they instead create something new, something where the individual parts are still visible and still meaningful, yet the sum of the whole is more than those individual pieces.

I write about love a lot. But I write a lot about my journey there, because being alone is something I want to be good at. This summer has been such a good thing for me. And maybe, yes, I’m still unsure about the possibility of ending up lonely. As another friend and I discussed, it would be lovely to be with someone that looked at you not with lust, but with love and adoration and respect and the most genuine kindness. It would lovely to be with someone who would say, without prompting, without curating the perfect words, “That woman right there? I love her.” They would say it with feeling, with realness, not with the sugar-coated insincerity social media has blown up.

I fully expect the same of myself, too. I want to feel that spark and the simultaneous calm that comes from being with someone who’s a good match. There are a lot of opinions out there on “knowing” you’re with the right person; I am of the opinion that, if I allow myself to, I will be able to feel and know. I’m optimistic, because I haven’t quite gotten there yet–and it’s scary, not knowing what it feels like to know (see what I did there?). I have been wrong. I have been wrong a lot. I haven’t conquered nor mastered this.

And why should I have done so already? There has been so much change in my life, in who I am and who I am becoming. I think I like who I am becoming. (That’s a Drake quote?) I cannot (but I will) wait to see how things unfold.

I am a lot to handle. I bring a depth of thought and feeling to the table, and it is overwhelming to many. But… someone out there can handle it. Maybe we’ve already met, but does that matter when the nature of life is somewhat turbulent? I know he can make it through, and we can make it through to each other. I trust him.

Because he’s out there, too, hopefully searching for himself in this wild frontier we call life.

 

20130902-231333.jpg

Why I Choose to Fail at Relationships

“You will take a trip, and you will see a glimpse of the self that you hadn’t run into in a while. You will see that you missed that person you always were and still were but had lost track of. You will meet a girl who is interesting but whom you don’t really feel very strongly for and you will continue to see her. You will mistake your lukewarm feelings for maturity, for an ‘adult’ approach to love that allows it to grow slowly and involves a careful accumulation of intimacy that is measured out as if cooking from a recipe card.

This will not work, and it will take you a while to see that you are merely bored and are trying to bolster your self-worth and a space-filler for a lonely girl. You will drift away from her, and you will be surprised by how plainly you can see that you don’t and never did care at all. You will think that indifference is better than being lit up only to be extinguished.” – Anastasia Sasewich – “Here is What Will Happen” via Thought Catalog

“I know someone who is soon marrying his girlfriend of eight years. He admits that he loves her, but isn’t in love with her. He says that they are very different, that they don’t have much to talk about as friends, that they bicker and fight. But time has built commitment, families know each other, and they are used to life with each other now. I said that sounds very sad to me. He said, ‘It’s not so bad. I pretty much do what I want.’ He goes out with friends, drinks and smokes weed, hasn’t really changed anything for her and she has just learned to deal with it. Well I guess that’s good, I tried. ‘It is and it isn’t,’ he said. ‘Because on one hand, yeah, I do what I want, but on another…’ He paused for a long time before he started again, ‘I never learned to love anyone more than myself.’” – Jill Neumann – “Don’t Settle For What Doesn’t Make You Happy” via Thought Catalog

These two articles have stuck with me for weeks on end. They stick with me because I see my past self in both of them. (I replaced the gendered pronouns with my own preferred partner’s pronouns in some readings–and in other readings, I imagined myself as the girls [women, hopefully] in question.)

I see myself mistaking “settling for” as a way to end the loneliness. I catch a glimpse of myself as recent as last summer, and maybe a pang of guilt should surface when I read the passage that accuses me of never caring at all. But how guilty can you feel when it’s so true?

With the advent of social media, it becomes easy to cherry-pick the moments we put forward. “Everything is great–actually, it’s beyond great! We’re over the moon with happiness!” But behind the infinite walls of the Internet, things are falling apart or they’re just barely holding together in the first place. It becomes harder to distinguish genuine happiness and what’s been spun the same way media moguls nip and tuck their every message.

We cater to an expectation of bliss and perfection. We become afraid to reach for something that could be fulfilling because that reach–and the lingering fear of failure–becomes too much. We hold on to failures from the past and let those attempts dictate what we try next. We try what is the easiest.

And when it becomes clear that this isn’t what we ever wanted, some of us won’t leave. Because leaving hurts. And remembering how bad it felt to leave or to be left still stings more than we care to admit.

And those that don’t or can’t or won’t leave will make excuses. For him, for her, for themselves, whatever. They’ll make excuses, and they’ll carry on as if everything is OK. Which it could be. It could be “just OK.”

But if that’s what we’re living for–“just OK”–then I don’t want to be a part of it.

I have made mistakes, but I have learned. I rule out nothing moving forward. I won’t say I’ll never try distance again or I’ll never date a friend again or I’ll never this or never that because that’s not how life should work. I believe in the intrinsic goodness of people and the weirdness of the universe, and yes, I feel jaded a lot of the time. That part is obvious.

But it’s because I have allowed myself to feel–not just happiness, but sadness, anger, jealousy, forgiveness. Everything you can–and should–imagine.

Failure sucks. But I find it worse to roll over, to give up, to never try, than to pick myself up again, even if it means not succeeding. This is my resilience. This is why I choose failure over never trying.

Through all the trials and tests and obstacles thrown at me, there remains hope. I’ve explained that a lot of us–a good portion of my friends, at least–are still trying to figure it all out. Those who are making headway are taking risks, are letting themselves stumble here and there, and are letting themselves grow from it all. There are those who aren’t, but I hope for their best that they see what they’re worth, that they deserve more than they think they do, and that it does take some discomfort to clear those hurdles.

And if and when that moment comes that you realize you need a shoulder to lean on because the weight of the world just seems like too much, I’m here. I’m always here.

One more quote for the night, which just happens to be my email signature, but which also sums up the reality of these stories we are writing:

“Adventure is simply physical and emotional discomfort recollected in tranquility.” – Tim Cahill

So–are you simply getting by, or are you going to live a life of adventure?

Bleary-eyed, but I could make out the start of another grand adventure.

Bleary-eyed, but I could make out the start of another grand adventure.

What I’m Looking For

When I was 15, I didn’t want Prince Charming; I wanted a bad boy. Who I found was just plain bad for me.

When I was 20, I didn’t want Mr. Right; I wanted someone who was “different.” But mostly, I wanted someone to talk about incessantly. I wanted people to know I had a boy in my life.

When I was 22, I wanted someone who fit into my life plans, but I wasn’t all that willing to fit into his.

And when I was 24, I simply didn’t want to be alone.

First, I wanted the fairy tale. The fairy tale turned into a nightmare full of psychological games that left me badly damaged.

Then I rushed into an absolutely wrong match: cocky, undecided, lost–and ultimately, empty.

Soon, I started “talking” to a friend. Funny, cute, but in transition and unwilling to commit or even attempt anything more than “more than friends” with me. I loved the his job description because it was so unlike the person I thought he was, and that story was fun for a bit. In the end, though, there was no love beyond that.

I tried the sensible, settled, funny guy next, but I found it lacking in passion. I was too spontaneous, too drawn to the city, too drawn to a global presence to ever make it work. Our ideals were so different that compromise for either side would have led to nothing but resent.

When I was in the spring of 27, I looked at a friend in new light, took a chance after what could have been a fleeting kiss, and told him that I cared. But I left out the part that said I wanted someone who was willing to take a chance on me–on us, actually–and not just “talk” about visiting and how wonderful the other person was. Maybe things would have actually been different if we had been in the same city (as he told me later on), but I had ended up crossing his timeline at the wrong time. And he crossed mine at the wrong time, too.

When I was 27 and a half, I finally gave it all some thought. I wanted someone who was respectful and respectable. Someone who I would be proud and honored to stand next to. Someone whose very presence made me light up. I wanted someone with whom to create history and new stories–and someone who wanted that, too.

I needed someone who would validate me and affirm my dreams. Someone who would challenge me when I got too stubborn. Someone who could bring me back down to earth now and then, but who would also entertain the idea of communing with the clouds (to borrow a phrase).

And as for what I want for him? He should value us, together, but also as independent beings. He should value himself, but not in an egotistical sense. He should have confidence, not cockiness. He should know that he has a partner who likes him a lot, even if she is terrible at communicating that aspect verbally. He should know he’s admired.

He should know that he is so important to me, that I cannot wait to share our days’ stories with one another. He should know about the way I pretend not to wait for his next call or text. He should know that I’m always looking forward to seeing him. And I am anxious about the first kiss we share and the first trip we take and the first time I meet his family. And he should know that, even though I’m still on the fence about having my own kids, my heart will melt when he posts his latest, “My niece/nephew!” pictures. And he should know that I–in all my perceived awesomeness–am nervous about sharing my whole persona with him, from cool and sexy to vulnerable and sweet to fiery and intense.

And all too impatient, although I’m forcing myself to calm down, just wait, give it time. Just be.

I am the fire sign, the brightly burning soul who holds dreams of changing lives and of faraway lands. I dream of impacting those around me in positive, good ways; I cannot settle for an unremarkable life. I am not running “from;” I am running “to.” And through it all, I have dreams of finding that someone who ignites a whole new side of me. In turn, I hope he is receptive to what I share. I hope he catches me and grabs my hand, and we’ll share a brief glance, and like two mad men, we’ll just keep on running towards… well, we’ll just keep running “towards.”

When I was 27, I decided he would find me when he was ready and that I would live the best life for me until then. I wanted someone who could learn patience–and that someone was me.

20130608-191013.jpg

Three Little Words

I miss you.

I’d like to say those words to someone and mean it again. Not in an obsessed “I can’t live without you” kind of way, but in a way that means, “I care about you, and I wish you could be with me right now for this particular little adventure. It’s fun now, but it could be better with you around.” Not a lonely “I miss you,” but something richer.

What an odd concept. To miss missing someone.

Granted, I am still not quite sure if I can afford any more of my trust to any one single man. I would like to, but he should probably prove trustworthy first before we move into this “I miss you” business.

But, I hope I can give someone that trust. I hope I can soon. It’s been a long journey over the years through dysfunction and abuse of trust. I just want something good, something real, something mutually and wholly wonderful. And I believe I deserve that. (He deserves it, too.)

Because I’d like to know that all that missing eventually leads to a great big bear hug and that ever-present short girl dream of happily snuggling my face into that man’s chest. And hopefully it comes together with me finally saying, “I missed you,” in that muffled voice that only turns up when I refuse to move my face from that aforementioned chest.

I deserve to be with someone I miss. And the perfect partner deserves to be missed by me.

20130416-230323.jpg

Coming Up Soon

I’m in Vegas for the 2013 ACPA Convention currently. That said, blog posts will be spotty.

However, a friend shared this today, and as I am slowly creeping up on my thirties, I thought I would further share. My friends routinely tell me that they love my crazy twentysomething life, but secretly I wonder if I’m setting myself up for a conflicted decade in just a few years. (Granted, those nagging feelings aren’t that cumbersome because, hey, I love my life, too.)