Tag Archives: Relationships

The Surprising Insights Amidst Heartbreak

It’s been awhile since my heart broke.

I’ll let you in on a secret: I didn’t miss the feeling.

I didn’t miss the pain in the back of my eyes from the pressure of crying too much and too frequently, resulting in swelling and redness that I usually just tell my coworkers are allergies and they pretend to believe me as a kindness. I didn’t miss the actual pain in my chest or how my mind constantly runs down various paths of What Ifs and Whys as I struggle to understand how I ended up with a beating heart pieced together by strings that loosen with every choked sob. I didn’t miss the sudden teeter-tottering that follows for days afterwards, where I never know how long that happiness I’m fighting to create will last before a surprise reminder of what could have been–what I miss, what I want but can’t have–suddenly snaps and I go into another sad spiral.

Yeah, I didn’t miss any of this. Yet you don’t really get to choose when or how often you experience this type of pain. You do, however, as John Green penned, have a say on who hurts you. And I like my choice.

Image result for john green quote i like my choices

A classic case of bad timing and one person falling more than the other, this current heartbreak is truly just unlucky. It’s going to take a little bit of time to get over and get used to not having a crush again; not having that hope that maybe this time, just this time, things might work out and I’ll finally find that relationship I’ve always dreamed of.

Unfortunately, at this moment, this time isn’t it, either.

But this heartbreak gave me a lot of insight that I’ve never experienced before. And of course, I have to write it down, if only to find another form of releasing all of these emotions aside from crying into my pillow, running until my legs give out or sending walls of texts to my best friend.

So, here’s what I’ve learned:

        1. I am way too judgmental of a person.

That might seem a little bit harsh, but I promise it’s not your typical self-loathing or self-deprecation that sometimes happens after your heart is broken. Though I have never been in a relationship, what I just experienced was the closest thing to it for me personally (and I’m being purposefully vague to protect the other person’s privacy). And before I experienced it, I definitely had some judgments on people who also entered into nontraditional types of relationships. Judgments that were undeserved, because I certainly didn’t understand what they were experiencing or going through; the reasons why people made these choices and why my judging them is completely wrong–it’s none of my business anyway. It forced me to self-reflect and realize that I need to be more open-minded and less prone to automatically, subconsciously pass judgment on a person or situation that is foreign to me; not just with relationships, but in every aspect of life. Obviously, I won’t change overnight, but I like to think that, thanks to this pseudo-relationship and the least-judgmental man I’ve ever met, I can work harder to be more open-minded and understanding of those situations and values that differ from my own.

        2. The world of relationships is not so black and white.

I had a very black and white understanding of relationships. Or perhaps expectation is the right word. You meet a guy (guy in my case, as I’m straight; please substitute according to your sexual preference). You flirt. You get to know one another, slowly. Eventually, he’ll ask you out. You’ll go on a couple dates. You’ll eventually kiss. You’ll enter into a relationship. You’ll grow together. After a couple years, you’ll get married and the rest is a happily ever after. Black and white. Straight-forward. Simple.

(Hint: life is not like that. At all.)

The world is a lot more gray than that (^^) fairy tale; one I’d foolishly believed was the only real option for romance. Instead, there are so many different types of relationships and ways of falling into–or working towards–being with someone. And no one way is better than the others (as the judgmental part of me believed). Instead, what matters is that the people involved in the relationship are open, honest with one another and comfortable. Everything else can be worked out.

(Another hint: having all this gray is a good thing.)

        3. I rely way too much on other’s approval. 

When I first starting veering towards what was, to me, a very weird type of relationship I’d never thought I’d be in, I was terrified to tell my friends or my family, because I was certain they would frown upon it (in retrospect, it was partly because I usually frowned upon these types of relationships because I didn’t understand them and it “wasn’t how it was supposed to be done” ((see fairy tale))) and then they would advise me to stop, because that was not how you were “supposed” to fall in love (and though I didn’t actually fall in love here, I was definitely working my way towards that). And I didn’t want to stop. I was first surprised by the openness everyone responded with, which was the first slap in the face that I need to fall off my high horse and stop being so judgmental. But then I was punched in the face when I realized that I rely way too much on these opinions of others–even those closest to me–instead of doing what makes me happy–not what I think I am supposed to do or what will make my parents or friends happy. I need to start making choices for me, because of me.

(Notice how those first three tie together really well? Yeah, I have a lot of work to do.)

        4. I still don’t love myself enough. 

I never wanted to believe the saying that you can’t love someone until you love yourself, but I’m starting to see the value of it. Not because you can’t love that person. I think it is totally possible to love someone else and not yourself. But if you don’t love yourself, you come to rely on their love as your main source of self-worth. You start searching for affirmations from them until they grow tired of reminding you of the truths you should already know, but refuse to believe. Sometimes, they could grow angry. And before you know it, you’ve pushed someone good away because they spent the entire time trying to convince you to love yourself and that their feelings were true instead of simply loving you and being loved by you.

Although this isn’t the culprit behind my latest heartbreak, there were definitely signs that I need to continue to work on loving myself and creating affirmations within myself, instead of searching for them from someone else. That’s just not a healthy lifestyle and strains all types of relationships, not just romantic ones.

        5. I’m not needy, but I do have needs. 

Though I want to work on being more open minded, I do know that I need a stable, exclusive relationship to be happy. I don’t like sharing someone. I don’t like being someone’s secret, someone’s fling, someone’s fun. None of these things are bad, if that is the type of relationship you are comfortable being in. But I realized that I need more than that. I want to be able to brag about my boyfriend to my friends. I want to be introduced to his family. I want to enter into a relationship hoping that we can creature a future together. I want serious. And that’s okay to want and fight for and even give up someone you really care about because you need more. That’s okay.

        6. Love is not a checklist. 

My track record with guys is pretty nonexistent. Before this past year, I didn’t really try. And I was really, truly convinced that I would never find love; that I was meant to be alone. After trying, I’ve struck out twice, but I do believe now that love might be out there for me; that I deserve it; and I’ve realized that I can’t search for it by creating a checklist of desires or expectations and turning away everyone who doesn’t meet all of them with flying colors.

I joined an online dating website for a few months, where you could tailor your matches down to desired physical and lifestyle traits. And I know for a fact that the man I just lost would never have matched with me, based on how limited/specific my “match criteria” was. Yet he’s the man whose made me the happiest I’ve ever been (in regards to romance). My standards don’t need to be lowered, but this idea in my head that the one meant for me needs to be X, Y and Z definitely needs to go out the window. Love cannot–and should not–be contained to checking off boxes on a list. It’s about connection and growth and risk and communication and work and choosing that person every single day.

So…yeah. Right now, my heart hurts. I lost a really good guy thanks to bad timing and unrequited feelings. Frankly, it sucks. But no “relationship” has taught me more than he did in the briefest of times. By stepping out of my comfort zone and taking a chance on him, in a weird relationship and situation I never thought I’d be in, sure, I came out with my heart broken. But I also came out as a better person, with a clever vision of what I want in love and who I want to be as a person. That alone is why every tear right now is worth it and not a single regret is felt. Doesn’t mean that I’ll won’t probably be bonding with a pint of ice cream later tonight and my pillow won’t be drenched in tears for a while as I cry myself to sleep, but for this heartbreak and the experience that caused it, I am nothing but thankful–and hopeful, as every hopeless romantic is, for what my future love life holds…even if it takes me a while to get there.

Cheers.


Non-Existent Eggshells

(Tangent before the post even begins: I totally want to use that as a title, for something. So I call dibs.)

I’ve been realizing lately that I do those closest to me the absolute greatest disservice by treating them like eggshells to be tiptoed around. This is especially ridiculous because they don’t deserve any such treatment in the slightest and I can’t even really explain why my actions lately are to treat every relationship like it is founded on non-existent eggshells.

I don’t have much of a social life. I’ve never really had what you’d probably label as a traditional social life, full of partying and going out on the weekends and drinking. Mine has always been much more low-key, hanging out in living rooms, gorging on chips and talking too much while YouTube plays in the background. And I love it and wouldn’t trade it for anything. Yet as each year goes by, I grow more introverted by nature. I find myself spending more time alone, as my favorite hobbies are all solitary: writing, reading, video games, blogging. I’ve always loved doing those things, but growing up, in high school and in college, there was always something else to break up those hobbies; something involving other people. A club. A class. Meeting the group for dinner. Soccer practice.

Ever since graduating college, it’s been very different.

Go to sleep. Go to Job One, where we are usually too busy to talk to anyone. Go to the gym alone. Shower. Eat and get ready for Job Two. Socialize a bit with my employees, but I usually have to cut that out so I have time to write. Go home. Sleep. Repeat. Though I love my main job, my schedule–working from the early afternoon until 12am Sunday through Thursday–makes it nigh impossible to fit in any socializing throughout the week. Then, my weekends, which consists of Friday evenings and Saturdays, are always jammed packed to the brim, trying to fit in time with the few friends I still have and my family, putting me in a constant struggle of trying to have enough time to see everyone I care about on a consistent basis.

Amidst all of this, I find myself worrying that all of these relationships are going to disappear. A lot of my other relationships have disappeared. My group of high school, I have one friend (and she’s a lifelong friend) who I still cherish. A few others I talk to occasionally. And one friendship that I hope is about to rekindle. My college friends? Gone, too. Some I still text occasionally or run into, but most of them have moved away and started careers, gotten engaged or married, talking about starting families. So the few relationships that have stuck it out throughout the change, I cherish more than I ever have before (and I’ve always cherished them deeply). But with that love towards those relationships, there is a new fear; a fear that if I miss one hang session, I’ll piss someone off. If I don’t text someone for a day, they are angry with me. When I try to juggle these relationships over the weekend, that’s when this fear materializes the most. What if, by hanging out with X friend instead of Y friend, Y friend is angry? If I stay home instead of visiting people, will they be angry? Will I lose them? 

These are the non-existent eggshells that I walk on.

Keyword: non-existent.

Non-existent.

You see, to me, these eggshells, for some undefined reason that I seriously cannot pin down, are very real. The fear is there. This fear that all of these relationships I hold so dear are suddenly going to disappear or be ruined by my actions/inaction. Which doesn’t make sense for a lot of reasons. First off, the relationships I have now are the ones that have lasted the longest. If nothing else, these are the ones meant to last, because they’ve already persevered through so much. Yet I’m over here treating them as if they are brand new, to be gently held and tiptoed around, as if they are fragile. They aren’t.

Secondly, I feel it is such an insult to those relationships for me to be questioning their longevity or fearing their end. These people–my best friend, my parents, my sister, amongst a few others–have done absolutely nothing to cause me to question. Sure, sometimes we don’t talk as much as I would like or we don’t get to see one another every week. But hell, that’s life. And when you’re working 60 hours a week like I am, the main bulk of those being worked when everyone else if off, yeah, it’s going to be a little more difficult to make plans and see people. You won’t get to do everything you want to in one weekend. You’ll have to put off plans or have weekends where you don’t make any, just to recharge. That’s my reality now. A change, certainly, but nothing warranting these fears.

So why the hell are they there?

I have no bloody idea.

I do know that I hate it. I hate being so nervous all of the time and so insecure in this area. If there is any aspect of my life for me to feel confident and secure in, it is the relationships I’ve built with those closest to me. The relationships that have battled growth and change and conflict and come out stronger. The relationships that deserve more than my misplace fear; deserve more than to be treated as eggshells that will shatter as soon as I come near them.

I’m not sure why these fears are there. I’m not sure exactly how to combat them, honestly. I’m talking with one of my friends now about it. Though my stomach is still in knots, I do feel better than she knows and understands exactly how I feel–which is impressive in and of itself, considering I’m feeling a load of different things all at once: Loneliness. Fear. Sadness. Stress. Neediness. Anxiety. Guilt. This weekend, I have plans to see almost everyone that I care about the most, which will be really nice and really, really needed. So those things are happening. But at the same time, I’m sort of at a loss about what to do with the jumble of feelings inside of me. I am certain that I don’t like this unease that has crept into me and making me feel so skittish and inadequate and alone. Advice, my internet friends (particularly those 20-somethings like me who are trying to navigate this complicated life known as “adulting”), would be most welcome.

Cheers.


Teeter-Tottering

Shit got emotionally real with yesterday’s post, The Soft Craving, where I talked about my belief that I’m going to be eternally single, how my desires are the exact opposite of that and I questioned why this juxtaposition is even happening in the first place.

Today, I want to talk about why I’m going to be okay, even if this proves true and I turn out to be the dog lady I always tell people I will be.

This turn around, this emotional bounce back, this teeter-tottering between being completely distraught that I’m going to be alone to being content with my singleness, does not erase the craving that I so distinctly feel. Hell, I definitely still feel that. I will always feel that, until I find that connection that I dream about.

But that doesn’t mean that craving needs my complete attention.

I’ve had a whirlwind of a past month, emotionally, as I started talking to a gent I met online. We went on a couple dates. I was kissed for the first time. And things were going fantastically. We connected on so many levels. I could talk to him so easily. And then…nothing. He ghosted. Of course, my insecure brain kept pointing to every instance of where I potentially messed up, when I said something wrong, when I was being too real, too honest, too intense. Yet those insecurities kept butting heads with everything that was going right and I was left in this pit of confusion and drowning in this fear that when I finally started to trust that I would be able to experience the beginning of what I’ve always dreamed of having, I would lose it. And then I did. And I still don’t understand it, not fully. But I can’t change it, so there it is.

This past weekend, as the last blog post attests, I was pretty down in the dumps. Honestly, I don’t think I truly was able to process and make this emotional turn around until I did two things: write that post and run this afternoon. Somehow, I remembered some things that I’ve always known, between the two: that I can be happy, even if alone. That there are so many aspects of my life that I already enjoy and love and cherish and I can still feel that way even if those aspects would be heightened if I had someone to share them with. And the advice that people had been giving me, that I had written off because it didn’t seem to make sense, suddenly did.

It’ll happen when you least expect it. When you’re just at the point of giving up, that’s when the magic happens.

I’ve always wanted to reject that advice, because a weird part of me felt that by giving up on the hope of finding someone, I was giving up on love. And love is what I believe in most. I was also apprehensive to not actively search for love, because how else would I meet people? What if by not searching, I missed out on finding someone and then I blink, and suddenly I’m 60 with four dogs and never found anyone because I never put myself out there?

And yet…

When I was talking to Sir Ghost, I was so insecure. I thought this kid was so out of my league and I was so focused on saying the right thing and over-analyzing everything. It was honestly exhausting. And it shouldn’t have been that exhausting. I should have been more trusting in myself, in my own worth, and more trusting in him and his words surrounding his interest (even if he disappeared despite such claims). Perhaps, with a bit more confidence, our ending could have been different. Regardless, despite the darkest days where I actually trick myself into believing I’m not worthy of love and being loved, that’s actually false. I am worthy. And I should believe that.

So.

After a shit-ton of reflection, asking advice from so many people and thinking about my desire to live this upcoming year fearlessly, I’m sitting here with a renewed hope and a renewed plan, for as much as you could plan for life. I want love. Of course that’s true. Of course I’m tired of being lonely. But I also need balance. I need self-love. I need to know, without a doubt, that my happiness isn’t tied to my relationship status. I need to choose and work at happiness, every day, as I’ve always believed, but had forgotten, pining after someone who had no interest in me.

So I’m going to work on me. I’m going to do things that I love: write, read, blog, game, edit. I’m going to work on improving my insecurities, especially physically. I’m going to keep running and start challenging myself to improve. I’m working on my damaging mindset I have about myself, shutting it down until such a mindset is only a memory. I’m going to continue to get tattoos and stop fearing that my love for ink is going to prevent me from finding the love of my life. Because that’s just not true. I just might treat myself a little more, too. I may splurge on a new outfit or getting my hair done more often than I have in the past, i.e., never. I gave myself permission to do both, before my date and surprisingly, they also made me feel really good. I wouldn’t mind feeling that way more often, even if it tightens my bank account that much more.

Does this refocusing mean that there won’t be nights where I throw all of this by the wayside and just want to be loved? Of course not. I teeter-totter between being confident and content being alone and craving so longingly to be loved all the time. Welcome to human emotions, friends. And though I want to focus on myself now and have faith that my man exists, is out there somewhere and somehow, we’ll find one another, eventually, I’ll put myself out there again, if I don’t stumble upon him. I’m still not completely sold on the “when you least expect it, it will happen” philosophy. But first, I want to love myself as fully as I am able; focus on knowing myself and appreciating that woman as much as I can. Perhaps by then, the universe will be ready to allow me to experience a love that people write novels about.

And if it doesn’t, then at least I have discovered how to love and find worth in myself in the process.

Cheers.


The Soft Craving

I can already tell you that this title is a lie. Or, at least, it is a lie currently. When I saved a draft of this post, with only a title and a note of what I wanted to write about, back in August (yes, I know, that was a long time ago), the title was very apt. It described perfectly what I was feeling, capturing the desire and longing I felt with the term “craving” yet also reflecting the contentedness I felt through the clarification of “soft” instead of “intense”.

Currently, I think “intense” might fit the bill a bit more.

It’s my craving to be in love.

I’ve always had it, ever since the 7th grade when I had my first real crush that I told all my girlfriends about. And it’s never been fulfilled. Crush after crush passes by without so much of a batted eyelash in my direction. Or perhaps they steal a glance, but someone else always catches their eye, instead. But that craving has evolved to be so much more than not wanting to be alone on Valentine’s Day or wanting a date to the dance, like I wanted in high school. It’s so much more than just wanting to not be alone. I’ve been alone. I am alone. And I can thrive and be happy like that. I just don’t want to.

I want my forever person.

Originally, when I had made a draft of this post and then never gotten around writing it, it was the weekend I first moved into my apartment. I was putting up groceries for the first time, excited but also exhausted from moving and also working on top of moving. And I distinctly remember putting some food up in the cabinet and imagining, out of the middle of nowhere, a guy–my guy–suddenly leaning against the door frame and asking me how my day was, before he started putting items up in the fridge, after kissing me on the forehead. It was such a vivid snapshot that filled my head so randomly, so out of nowhere. Vivid in every aspect but his face. I couldn’t picture it. And my heart hurt, just slightly, ever so softly, for that fantasy to be reality; to have that presence in my life, that comfort, that connection, that love.

And that craving has only grown these past few months.

I’m at the age now where I’m alone a lot more than I am with people. Gone are the days where I had consistent friend groups or activities I was involved in because of school. Now, everyone has graduated and started that next stage of their lives: moving into apartments and houses, starting jobs that take out the same amount of money in taxes that you made in a semester during school…getting engaged and married and starting families. I love knowing so many people who are taking that next step, who are entering those next stages of their relationships. I love being there for them to celebrate and stress and awe over such a monumental time in their life. I absolutely adore seeing love win, manifested through a real, true and flourishing relationship.

But I also want to have that.

Hell, I want to have the starting point of a relationship; the nervous butterflies as you start talking, the chills down your spine when you flirt, the calling-your-best-friend-to-freak-out-about-what-to-wear-before-your-first date moment. And then I want it to continue: one date turns into two or three, your friends start to ask after him by name, your parents ask when they can meet him, you wonder if he’s going to kiss you next time, your hand instinctively reaches for his the next time you see one another. He asks you to be his girlfriend. You tell your family and friends and they freak out because it’s the first time it’s happened to you and they want to know all the details. You meet one another’s friends and family. You get used waking up to a text from him and look forward to telling him random stories and thoughts throughout the day, while eager to listen to his jokes or complaints or what he is thinking. You begin to learn more things about one another. Slowly, he becomes a major aspect of your life and, at the same time, you become the same in his. You post pictures together. He convinces you to watch a scary movie only to have the excuse to hold you tighter. Date nights turn into weekends spent together. You take him to your family Christmas party and he invites you to go on a roadtrip to celebrate your anniversary.

The connection. The attention. To be wanted. To be cherished. To be challenged. To be held. To be important. To be loved. To be chosen, day in and day out, even though there are others who are better out there, because that doesn’t matter, because he wants me.

I want that.

More often than not, I don’t spend my time dreaming about what I could have, in a relationship. I spend my time questioning why I haven’t found that relationship yet and why I never have (and dreading, with every core of my being, that I am one of those people who never will).

Is it my looks? Am I too curvy? Too plain? Is it my personality? Am I too nerdy? Too quirky? Too odd? Too insecure? Too honest? Too blunt? Too awkward? Too shy? Too opinionated? Do I open up too much? Do I want to be in love too much that the universe refuses it to happen? Is the fact that I struggle with brevity in all forms make talking to me exhausting? Is the fact that I consider physical aspects a bonus of a relationship and not a foundation too much a turn off? Is the fact that I have no interest in playing games–no interest in making you chase me, no interest in worrying about how long it’s been since I’ve texted you, etc.–make me too boring/not worth it? Are my standards too high? Do I desire too much? Am I too much?

Am I not enough?

I have a fantastic life. I have a roof over my head, a job that almost supports me, passions that I pursue, a family that I’m close with and hold dear, friends that keep me sane, independence that I cherish and an imagination that I thank God for every day. Yet this craving, when I’m at my loneliest and the questions above hit me like thunderclaps during a storm of self-doubt, questioning why I’m alone, why I have to wait, why I haven’t found him, does he exist; when this craving, which is constant, but at it’s strongest, it overrules everything else, because that hole, that missing link, in my life, is so evident, is so obvious, is so felt

And I have no idea what to bloody do about it; if I can do anything about it, because suck it up, accept a life featuring just me and a horde of dogs, and move on.

My heart has wanted to be in love for so long, I don’t know if I could even imagine what it would feel like to actually be in love. I have wanted to choose someone for so long; to make him feel wanted and cherished. To be a presence and a light in his life. To challenge him and help him grow. To be there when he struggles and be that person he calls when he is excited. I know I’m not the greatest thing to look at and my body isn’t exactly a bombshell. I know I’m quirky and nerdy and shy and introvertedly extroverted and I don’t necessary think any of those aspects are bad. I know there are women out there who are prettier, smarter, cooler, richer, better.

But I also know this: to the man who manages to steal my heart and trust me with his? To the man who chooses me every day, despite all of those other options and temptations? To the man who makes me believe I am worthy to not only be loved, but to have his love, just as much as he is worthy to have mine? To the man who shows me what it’s like to be in love and not alone? I promise you, you will never feel or be more loved. I will love you entirely, completely, totally, utterly. Despite my shortcomings, you will never doubt how much you mean to me and “how much I ardently admire and and love you.”

So, if you could be so kind, please come into my life sooner rather than later? Because I’m started to really believe you don’t exist and, even if you did, I don’t deserve you, anyway.

Cheers.


Single Status: A Choice and a Dream

Valentine’s Day is always a hit or miss for me emotionally. Most years, unfortunately, I find myself pretty miserable, wishing I had someone to spend it with and someone to spoil with letters filled with gushy confessions they already know and a ridiculous amount of chocolate. Spending 23 years solo will have that affect on you, at times (though, let’s be honest for a moment: about half of those years, I either didn’t know about romance or didn’t realize I wanted a guy, as I was too concerned with beating them on the pitch to prove my worth as a soccer player ((tomboy life, right there)), so really, I’d only say there has been half a dozen years or so since being alone of Valentine’s Day really struck a cord; but half a dozen isn’t as dramatic as 23 years, and I am a writer, after all. But, I digress.). This year, however, I was quite content with my single status. Instead of moping and dreaming of my ideal date with the most amazing guy, I went and caught a flick that I thought was perfect for the day of romance: Pride and Prejudice and Zombies. Not only was the film fantastic, but it had an awesome blend of romance and gore that just warmed my very odd heart. And truly, you can’t really do better than Mr. Darcy, can you? (I’d marry him for his eloquence, if nothing else. Goodness).

Plus, I didn’t have to share my nachos with anyone, so there are benefits to the single life.

Later that evening, I was reminded why I was single very bluntly. And it wasn’t because my friends who are in relationships were posting about all of the lovely things they did that day or because I was growing depressed imagining what else I could have done that day had I a romantic interest. No, instead, it was seeing what my Dad got my Mom as a Valentine’s/birthday present combo that made me realize not only why I’m single, but why I frankly choose to be, even though I want nothing more than to be in love.

Let me explain.

Two weeks earlier, my Mom dropped a hint that she wanted a band to go with her wedding ring. She didn’t harp about it, she just mentioned it offhandedly to my Dad and then we went about our day.  My Dad went and bought the band with my sister the next week, but not after talking with me and my siblings multiple times to make sure he heard her right and got exactly what she wanted. Fast forward to V-Day, when my Mom woke up to a jewerly box on the table and a card. Yet inside the jewerly box wasn’t the band, but a beautiful cross necklace. My Mom was convinced it was the band, but the necklace was perfect, too, so she wasn’t too disappointed. Later that evening, my Dad–after contemplating half a dozen ways to give her the band, including leaving it in the fridge for her to find after her shower and (thankfully) ignoring my suggestion that he lay in front of the fire in a “draw-me-like-one-of-your-French-girls” Titanic pose–before he finally decided to use three different cups and hide both boxes separately under different cups, leaving one cup with nothing underneath. My Mom would walk into the kitchen and have to play the guessing game of which cup held her prize. Meanwhile, both jewelry boxes were empty and the ring was in his pocket. Which, after she realized this, he pulled out in a very charming and corny way. My Mom loved it and it was all very cute.

But how does this relate to my eternal state of singleness?

On the day where love is expressed openly and often obnoxiously, I was reminded by my parents of the type of love I want: with a partner who knows me, listens to me, who is both romantic and fun, and the utmost gentleman. My Dad shows all of these things and more on a daily basis for my Mom, but this year, Valentine’s Day was a blatant reminder. He listened to my Mom about what she wanted but he wasn’t afraid to ask for clarification from us kids. That shows courage, humility and attention. When he gave her the necklace first, he knew she would think it was the ring and feel slightly disappointed, despite loving that necklace. Doing so not only turned a romantic gesture fun, but it reflects my Dad’s love for my Mom so well: he knows her well enough to know how she will respond and what necklace to get her when she wanted a band. Yet he stays true to himself in everything–and if you know my Dad, corny and goofy and funny sums him up pretty well, all which were reflected in the way he gave her both presents. Plus, seeing my Dad get excited about the band and struggle to come up with the perfect way to give it to my Mom showed that, despite them being married for almost 24 years now, they still sometimes get nervous around each other and their love is still strong. And that’s just beautiful.

That’s what I want. I want a man who understands me and can be quirky and fun and romantic. I want a guy who knows himself and isn’t afraid to be that man. I want a guy who I can talk to and trust and grow beside. I want a guy to challenge me as I challenge him. I want someone who communicates with me and accepts me as exactly as I am, curves and quirks and nerdiness and all. I don’t care about expensive gifts or being showered with presents constantly. Just like my Dad knows my Mom, my man would know that my perfect Valentine’s Day gift would be a trip to the local bookstore and then an evening of his undivided attention, no electronics attached (look for my Luddite post later this week to learn more of what I mean by that).

The reason I’m still single is because I’ve been spoiled by my parents to see the quintessence of what love should be. I see the potential of what a person can share with another person that they care deeply about and I yearn for that. And I’m stuck in a world where many guys, quite bluntly, don’t want to give that much in a relationship. They don’t reach those expectations and standards I have grown up believing should be natural, basic, to a healthy and true relationship. People tell me I have high standards, that I’m single because I expect too much. This Valentine’s Day, I was proud to be reminded of why I won’t settle for anything less than a love that emulates the one shared by my Mom and Dad. That’s why I wait. That’s what I want, that’s what I expect, that’s what I strive for and that’s what I search for. Does it make me a bitch, to expect a man to live up to higher standards than society places upon them? Some may consider me so. Does that mean I may reach 30, 40, 50, before my streak of solo Valentine’s Days is broken (if ever)? Perhaps. But in the same vein, whatever man steals my heart, he’ll be damn sure that if I hold him to such high standards, I hold myself to higher. Everything I expect from him, I plan to give tenfold. So why, on Earth, would I ever settle?

Here’s to finding examples of love and dreaming about your own. Here’s to knowing yourself and what you want and not changing it because others think you should. Here’s to standing your ground. Here’s to patience. Here’s to hope. Here’s to wanting and giving more. Here’s to choosing to rock the single life while dreaming of a novel-wothy relationship.

And here’s to discounted chocolate.

Cheers.

 


The Vision of a Hopeless Romantic

In trying to write more for this blog, I have planned out different posts and whatnot that I want to write about. For example, I still need to write my Valentine’s Day post (oops) and my workout update post (reached the halfway point, yes!), but instead of writing either of the posts that I have planned and needed to write for the past week, instead I am writing a unplanned post that was birthed by a random spurt of emotion. Should be fun.

So, many people know that I’m absolutely a hopeless romantic. There are so many definitions to it, but to me, I am just obsessed with love and being loved. I love seeing others in love, I love hearing about my friends relationships and their happiness within them, I love seeing cute things that couples do that might be unconscious or they may not realize other people see them being cute, e.g., a guy winking at his girl from across the room just because they made eye contact. I just love seeing people be appreciated by another human in such a special way.

As this type of romantic, I also hold firm to a few beliefs: that everyone has someone out there they are meant to love; that everyone can find love; everyone deserves a great, novel-like love; and that love can conquer anything. I believe love is powerful and that it is a great part of life. I believe that love should be fought for and, like many situations, I look for the best in love and always hope that couples can “make it”, stay together and grow old together, constantly growing and challenging one another in all the best possible ways.

And because of all of this, one of the things I want most in life is to fall in love. And I haven’t yet. And it used to really, really bother me. As I’ve grown older, I have come to appreciate my single state and the independence I have learned through that (though I am the first to point out that being in a relationship does not mean you’ve lost your independence — you can have both). I’ve appreciated the ability to be selfish (and I think once I move out and live on my own and get into the “real world” come May, I will appreciate that healthy dose of selfishness even more, as I will truly be doing things and living the way I want to live). I have been able to figure out who I truly am as a person; what I stand for, what I believe, my virtues and morals, my likes and dislikes, my strengths and my flaws, my faults and my dreams, my failures and my successes, all independent from the influence of another soul. All me.

But regardless of my growth and learning how to love myself (a process I will always work through), there are still reasons why I want to find that special person to share my life with me. So I’m going to explain a few reasons here (as it’s definitely an inexhaustible list) because I just feel like I need to; that writer vibe and this topic meshed really suddenly in my head and now, this post is being born as we speak.

So, why do I wish I had a boyfriend at this moment in time? One reason is that I absolutely love to flirt. That might make me seem shallow or a tease, but I don’t see it that way (and I’m definitely not a tease, although me being nice sometimes is mistaken for flirting, which could be awkward). It’s just fun to have that connection with someone and flirt with them and then have them flirt back. And honestly, it’s not even the flirting, but the butterflies and chills that result from flirting or a really smooth comment. I absolutely love those and they are hard to come by as a single woman not talking to anyone.

Cuddling: it’s one of the best things invented in the world. This shows how “lame” I could be considered to be, but when at home, I cuddle up with my dog, Shadow, and we sleep on the couch together downstairs and it is the cutest, nicest thing. He sleeps at the bottom of the couch while I play PS3 or watch TV and then when I’m ready to go to bed, I lay down and get comfortable and turn off the light. After I get comfortable, then he moves and rests his head someone on me, whether its across my legs or on my stomach; then promptly starts snoring and falls asleep until his claws and practically unrelenting desire to be petted awakes me the next morning. It may seem weird, but Shadow just wants to be close to me while we’re sleeping. We have that kind of connection, since my bed at home is also his bed.

With a human (okay, now that does sound really weird) — with another person, or a significant other, I believe cuddling symbolizes a similar thing: the need or desire to be physically close to someone else. My cuddling experience is very limited, but in my head, cuddling is when you wrap yourselves up in as many blankets as you can find and get as close as you can to one another and it is simply enough to be in the other person’s presence. Whether you are talking or enjoying the silence or sleeping, just the idea of being wrapped up in someone’s arms who loves me differently than how all my friends and family do — feeling that sense of comfort and protection — is something that I cannot wait for when I find my one and only.

That connection is something that I can’t wait to have. My friends are amazing and know me as well as anybody, but I think having a partner is a different connection entirely. And there are plenty of times that I wish I had that connection. You know, the kind where you see them and their smile lights up the room; when they wink at you just because they know it gives you butterflies; when they can understand how you’re feeling or thinking without you having to say anything, and then be able to know what to do about it. That sort of awesome connection that combines a physical attraction with a emotional investment. I always wonder when I find an agent one day, if I’ll have a boyfriend to call excitedly, who will be just as excited and understanding what an achievement that is, and who will cancel all his plans so we can go celebrate (not saying he always needs to put me first or cancel his plans for me, but in this instance, that’d be a huge deal, people. And ideally, if I had boyfriend who meant a lot to me ((which, if I have a boyfriend, shouldn’t he mean a lot to me; that’s why we’re dating)), I’d want to share that with him as much as I would my best friends or my family). Or to come home after a long day at work and to have him already be there, ready to cuddle (seriously, it sounds so great) and relax for the evening. I think that’d be a cool connection to have.

And lastly (for this blog post, I have so many others), I honestly want to show him off to the world. I want to be able to introduce him to my friends. I want to have that required awkward dinner with my parents after we’ve been dating for a couple months and I truly know I want him to stick around. I want to bring him to the family Christmas party and have all of family wonder who he is. But when I say show him off, I don’t mean I want to show off the fact that I have a boyfriend. I mean I want to show him off. I want to show the world this amazing man who I have made such a connection with; show the world all of his successes and his quirks, all of his trials and all of his dreams; show off the human that I know I will believe everyone should get to know because he, as his own person, is an amazing individual that people should know and learn from; an amazing individual whose connection to me is that he just happens to be dating me. That’s what I mean when I say show him off to the world. The man I date is going to be awesome and I want to be able to show that awesomeness to the world.

Those are just some of the few visions I have as a hopeless romantic. I have so many more — especially as a dreamer, as well, I’m telling you, they are endless. As someone who has grown much more comfortable with being single (I mean, it has been 22 years, so I hope I would have some level of comfort by now), I have to admit that there are still nights where I want all of these things and more. Like tonight, where I am happily taking a night off from homework, staying in and relaxing through playing some video games and eating some Dove chocolate. While I’m not wallowing in loneliness — I’m actually just content at the moment — I can’t lie and say that a huge part of me wishes that I had a man here with me to make fun of my obsession with DragonAge, complain about how long it takes me to shower and how early I want to go to sleep, but still cuddles up with me anyway and holds me while I dream, and wakes me up with a kiss. One day, I hope to have that.

But until then, I’ll continue to dream about it while also learning to love myself without someone else to do so (so that when I do find them, I already love myself and can continue to do so, even though they are loving me).

Cheers,

Nicole