Incomplete… Part V

Single… and Fabulous? 

Photo by marsmettnn tallahaassee on flickr

Photo by marsmettnn tallahaassee on flickr

I was out at an exclusive event the other night, wearing a new dress, lamenting the fact that I hadn’t broken in my shoes properly in my head, while outwardly smiling, shaking hands, and making small talk with professional acquaintances. A photographer stopped us and asked for a photo, to be published in a local publication the next month. While my eyes adjusted from the flash, another friend whipped out her phone, took a picture, and posted it on Facebook immediately. The comments and likes started immediately…

https://www.flickr.com/photos/gerardstolk/8157018623/in/photolist-dqNRs8-7SCPJ-6iLrCe-4X4iv1-5hyGmW-4c2TJA-4enh8T-4Ko6LX-9ty6St-egbCom-4nT674-4UkPv7-4TN2dR-4nTgvR-4RVcbk-4o7V7h-4WUDUC-4q9RS2-4N1ngV-4nRzhT-4PHHGG-4SwiAP-4PHKxs-4svq9R-4nBdxg-4NtRma-4nJKv1-2kwfm6-4nWQ1A-4y76HG-4xNECQ-57NFj3-4BDgUe-4nWh7c-4d5LCZ-4oT2hH-bdHcjP-4MecCZ-9QBfA7-fJrPJT-eAunFY-4XHvXE-xGpN-6RwLRw-4UL9xQ-4W4Q3G-4nVzmu-4VyqQX-4nTgsv-drtkRh

Photo by Gerard Stolk on Flickr.

Your life is so fabulous!

You know what? It is. It is fun. It is fabulous. I have worked hard, and I love what I get to do for a living. You know what’s coming though, right?

BUT…

Yep. There it is. BUT… it would be great to have someone there with me. Yes, my friends are great and I love spending time with them, but someone with whom I can escape into a corner and watch the crowd and giggle over the endless selfies, and squeals of, “Oh, my God, I love her!” which, at times, are about as sincere as a proud whore repenting in church on a Sunday morning. Someone who, perhaps, doesn’t care about the latest ombre gel nailcolor trend. Someone who appreciates that I dressed up, and can’t wait to dress me down at the end of the night… as opposed to that Jersey Shore creeper who keeps sidling up to me to try to grab yet another glimpse of my rack, while nibbling mindlessly on limp crudite. Someone who can make me laugh at a joke, instead of trying to make me laugh at a person who may not have dressed up quite right for said event.

When I come home from nights like these, my phone blowing up with Facebook notifications and comments on Instagram exclaiming how much fun we all had together, I often stop in front of my mirror to look myself over, and find myself wishing I had someone there to curl up with on the couch and talk about our respective days… Instead, I undress without ceremony, get ready for bed, and get ready to start another day.

I like being able to shed my professional façade, my persona (if you will), and just being my goofy, slightly stabby self with the amazing people in my life. To me, that is a life well-lived… and I’m wondering when I’ll find someone to share it all with.

Being “fabulous” is fun, but at the end of the day, designer clothes, beautiful shoes, and material trappings don’t do much to warm your heart… or body.

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Incomplete… Part IV

I dedicate this post to my dear friend Reena, who married her Big Love on this beautiful summer day. 

The Big Love.

http://www.flickr.com/photos/mtsofan/8221708017/sizes/c/in/photolist-dwwpmv-9Vzh3F-d64gks-ahjewq-bBV5AW-8m5jM9-dczkwb-8LLZbB-aqfyrm-beRnng-dSoysd-8zr465-82cwPw-dN1ZGu-7Lv1Kp-cUDeLw-afHf6t-8bRe97-cz2HTA-86DJLP-8fsVLW-9hYtQA-9Y9x5d-8VL7DQ-9nk9pU-7CLdva-frimb8-e25AnE-cb8ruQ-d6GRjG-aMGg6T-89RsEL-akZHp2-f6BM3M-8yQDaN-8TLQxX-9qU66A-bDV2du-7BKB6F-9Xz153-awiG4D-7VeLgx-9i8BdN-drCRtu-dX9DoU-cdu1Mu-99nMGm-9hTBoo-fxXF8c-eYE3JD-dtWaGD/

Photo by MTSOfan on flickr

There are so many different kinds of love. Love for your family, love for your pets, love for your friends, love for the barista that makes your coffee perfectly every morning. We experience it, but we may not always appreciate all the love in our daily lives… especially when we find ourselves alone, seeking that one love, the Big Love.

What’s the Big Love? The love we strive to find in our lives. The love that makes us smile, makes us blush, makes us stammer and do stupid or awkward things. It’s the love that we yearn to hold hands with. The love that we want to spend time with, having conversations late into the night. Entwining our thoughts and ideas while entwining our bodies. Well… that’s my Big Love. Everyone has their own definition, their own emotions that go with their own Big Love.

My life is good–it’s full of good things. It’s not perfect, certain things make me stabby and there are people that I would gladly throw out of a window on certain days. But when I look back on my day, there are things that make me smile, and people who warm my heart. I have somehow found an amazing group of people who I count as friends–they’re smart, strong, caring, & supportive, and I’m grateful for their friendship. But…

But I find myself longing for The One. Remember how I said my parents love me, but I would never be “complete” in their eyes if I wasn’t married? Well… My life is full of great things and wonderful people, but now I find myself wondering if I’ll find The Big Love, and if I’ll ever feel complete without him.

http://www.flickr.com/photos/94585506@N05/8614340534/sizes/m/in/photolist-e8dKjE-etED2C-dUGHNM-c7PTEw-7CM6EK-8HqkJD-bXkFD3-8HtZqA-dyZctp-8cFHmH-ah5uzh-bxrNto-8uwdsc-9ezww5-dAMhCN-f2MhNE-7LGgcY-9ytpED-cfPqpq-bNbVUx-7CMjhg-9DYjed-c5kPUf-c5kztW-f3gwpM-9DYcdE-9WRWdY-8wBUNa-bZftGd-ds7uDg-bxrZJs-8dgeky-bNRf2i-bwVzW1-ed3Wtz-9A7BHe-9kssjz-7DTFWg-7USPmN-7Djvu7-9Xn4Bb-bra7bL-bra67A-8tAnwz-8tDomu-e8uUUG-97WQYP-bhVhL2-7SvAs1-9SMv5D-9utv2X/

Photo by marsmet532 on flickr

I have also wondered if admitting that I’m looking for love makes me weak, or less than… but as I’ve talked to people around me, I have found that, on some level, we’re all looking for love. When I see a friend fall in love, it makes my heart swell, and it gives me hope. We hold onto the hope for The Big Love even after endless bad dates, broken hearts, dysfunctional relationships, breakups, and divorce. Does that make us weak?

No. It makes us human.

I wish you luck in your quest to find The Big Love. And for those of you who have found it, I’m happy for you–you give me hope.

Incomplete… Part III

Expectations

I remember watching the movie “Up in the Air” with a sort of fascination. This scene (scripted below) between the young, idealistic 23-year-old, Natalie, and the thirty-something career woman, Alex, struck a chord with me–it’s like the current me having a conversation with the fresh-out-of college me, which I found to be slightly disconcerting:

Natalie: I thought I’d be engaged by now. I thought by 23, I’d be married, maybe have a kid, corner office by day, entertaining at night.  
Alex: Well, life can underwhelm you that way. 
Natalie: Where did you think you’d be by now? 
Alex: It doesn’t work that way. At a certain point, you stop with the deadlines. It can be a little counter-productive. 
Natalie: Sometimes it feels like, no matter how much success I have, it’s not gonna matter until I find the right guy. I could have made it work–he really fit the bill, you know. White collar, 6’1, college grad, loves dogs, likes funny movies, brown hair, kind eyes, works in finance but is outdoorsy. I always imagined he’d have a single syllable name like Matt or John or… Dave. In a perfect world, he drives a 4-Runner and the only thing he loves more than me is his golden lab. …And a nice smile. What about you? 
Alex: You know, honestly by the time you’re 34, all the physical requirements just go out the window. You secretly pray that he’ll be taller than you. Not an asshole would be nice. Just someone who enjoys my company, comes from a good family–you don’t think about that when you’re younger. Someone who wants kids, likes kids… healthy enough to play with his kids. Please let him earn more money than I do–you might not understand that now but believe me, you will one day… otherwise that’s a recipe for disaster. And hopefully, some hair on his head. I mean, that’s not even a deal breaker these days. A nice smile… Yeah, a nice smile just might do it. 
Natalie: Wow. That was depressing. I should just date women. 
Alex: Tried it. We’re no picnic ourselves. I don’t mind being married to my career. And I don’t expect it to hold me in bed as I fall asleep. I just don’t want to settle. You’re young. Right now you see settling as some sort of a failure. It is…by definition. Yeah, but by the time someone is right for you, it won’t feel like settling. And the only person left to judge you will be the 23-year-old girl with a target on your back.

…………………………………………………..

I find that my expectations of where I’d be at my age are FAR different from where I am–I thought I’d be married in my mid-20s, have a couple kids by 30, a successful career, a loving husband. Reality: I find myself single in my mid-30s, few relationship prospects, not sure if I want to have children (I am not one of those women who would even consider single-parenthood for the sake of having a child–to each their own, but I feel like that would be unfair to me & the child), and finally, after much struggle & hard work, a successful career. One out of four ain’t bad, is it?

I’m not going to let my 20-something self (or anyone else) judge me for being single, either.

I could sit & lament about how or why my life isn’t what I expected, but why? Am I unhappy? No. Do I feel unfulfilled? No. But most importantly–what if I did have all of those things? Would I genuinely be happy? I have no idea. Why is that? Because I am not that person, I am not living that life. I don’t see the point of wondering “What if…?” because I don’t want to miss my current life… the life that I’m living. I want to appreciate what I do have in my life–whether it’s my family, friends, things, or just how it feels to sit on the beach and bask in the sun.

I refuse to sit around & blame myself or how I’ve lived my life for the fact that I’m still single in my 30s. I may not always be happy being single, I may crave a shoulder or an amorous glance or touch from a man who adores me… I can’t stop myself from wondering when I’ll find someone to go on new adventures with.

I have faith that I will continue to figure out who I am, what I want, and someone that will appreciate (most) of me. I don’t know when or where we’ll find each other, but I expect to have fun (& have more ridiculous stories) along the way!

Incomplete… (Part II)

No One Ever Marries the ‘Fun Girl.’

Years ago, in my carefree 20s, I dated a really great guy for a while–he was smart, cute, funny, and we had fantastic chemistry. We met for cocktails one evening after work, and we talked, we laughed, we flirted… He took my hand in his and looked into my eyes. I remember my heart beating a little faster, & my breath caught in the intensity of his gaze.

“God, I always have so much fun with you, even when we’re just hanging out, doing something lame, like laundry, or going to the grocery store. You’re so great!” I smiled, maybe even blushed a little. His smile faltered. “It’s just… I’m looking for something a little more serious. I want to settle down, you know?” My eyes widened. What’s going on?

“No one ever marries the ‘fun girl.’ I mean, you’re great, but… I need to be with someone more serious.” He signaled for the check. “It just can’t be this easy all the time. I really like you, but…” He trailed off, and never finished the sentence. I stared at him with my mouth hanging open. He signed the bill and sighed. “I’m… I’m sorry.” He patted my hand, got up, and kissed the top of my head before he walked away. I turned and watched him walk away, my mouth still hanging open.

The bartender caught my eye, and wordlessly, fixed me the strongest shot I’ve ever had. I slammed it, flashed a watery smile at him, and walked out. I hurt, but my heart began to harden, just a little.

No One Ever Marries the ‘Fun Girl.’

Really? Why not? I don’t know the answer. Years ago, I determined that I needed to live my life in a way that makes me happy, and I have done my best to live up to that. I work hard, play hard, pay the bills, & save for retirement. I can’t wait around and live my life for someone else, someone who has yet to materialize.

I have met & dated a variety of guys, but it doesn’t last long. They’re happy to date me, be with me, be seen with me, but a long-term commitment? No.

I’m confused. I would like to be with someone who is intelligent, who challenges me, complements me, wants to be with me… and I want to have fun with that person as we work to build a life together, deal with the ups & downs as they happen. I won’t give up hope, but I also won’t put my life, my personality, on hold just to find someone to love me. He has to love me for who & what I am, just as I would for him.

You know what KILLS me? I have run into some of those guys who told me they couldn’t settle down with me, the ‘fun girl.’ They smile wryly, tell me they miss me, my personality… and proposition me. I don’t think so. You found the ‘serious’ girl of your dreams, go live your life, buddy.

Life isn’t all fun & games, but if you can find the joy in it and celebrate it when you can… it makes it all a lot easier to deal with, I think.

Incomplete (Part I)

I’m fast approaching the mid-thirties mark, and finding myself bewildered & anxious as the new number becomes clearer in the distance. Where has the time gone?

I have plenty of milestones to look upon–degrees, graduate degrees, getting my own place, moving cross-country to change my life & career path. I’m proud of all of my accomplishments and have worked hard to achieve the things that I have. I have messed up, I have failed–but I have done my best to learn from each and every thing that has crossed my path, whether blissful or wildly unpleasant. I have discovered new friendships, lost more than I can count (& mourned them all), I have found love, I have enjoyed lust, I have reveled in the pleasures of the tongue & the flesh. I have travelled the world, danced the night away in Spain, immersed myself in the flavors of Italy.

And yet… I feel incomplete.

I recently had a conversation with my father–the closest we’ll probably ever come to a heart-to-heart. He’s a good man, a good father. But at his core, he is a simple man, who wants the best for his only daughter, the girl that has been the apple of his eye since…forever. He loves me and is proud of everything I have accomplished, as well as the things I strive to accomplish every day. The conversation has made me think hard–with an open mind and an open heart. My defenses? Nonexistent.

My father told me about a family friend, whose daughter is a surgical nurse. She is one of the best nurses in her hospital–hard-working, compassionate, and always willing to spend time to help a patient or a colleague–and dedicated to her family. I’m proud to know this girl. My father beamed as he told me about the purchase she recently made for her mother, and I smiled at his evident joy.

“We have wonderful daughters who have accomplished so much. I’m proud of you, I just want…” He stumbled, his eyes searched my face. He was waiting for my defensive reaction to his poorly disguised reference to the fact that his darling daughter, quickly approaching the next big number, is still single. I had nothing to say… My brain was a blank slate. I chose to smile.

“I know, Dad. I know what you mean,” I said quietly, trying to keep my voice from breaking. He smiled back, visibly relieved. I held the smile as long as possible, my heart heavy. I refused to let myself think about it… but here it is, in my face.

No matter what I am able to accomplish in my life, my parents will never truly be happy unless I find someone to love, to love me as I deserve to be loved. They don’t want me to settle for a warm body (with a good biodata) by my side–they want me to find a good man that will love & care for me the same way I would for him. Someone who would complement who I am as a person, just as I would for him.

You know what? I want that, too. I just have no idea how to find that kind of love, and no idea why I have been unable to find it for so long… even though I’ve never stopped looking.

 

(It looks like this will be a series of posts, as I explore this. I’m opening myself up in a way I’m not necessarily comfortable with, but I think it’s important… I know I’m not the only person to have experienced some of these emotions.)

How Many Licks?

The other night, I was thinking about dating, relationships, sex, and dealbreakers. So, a thought came to mind, and I tweeted, “If a guy can’t/doesn’t get you off the first time, how many chances do you give him (if any), ladies?” I expected a variety of answers… and while I got them, some people were conspicuously silent.

I was surprised by the number of women who said that guys had one chance–if they didn’t hit a home run on the first try, they were sent home. Then again, I received a couple responses from women who said they would give the guy a few MONTHS to figure his way around. What does he need, a map & a YouTube video for instruction? Oh, wait. Guys don’t ask for directions…

Most of the people who responded (yes, men weighed in as well) to my question stated that they would give the person 2-3 times–along the lines of the ‘3 strikes, you’re OUT’ philosophy. I fall into this category, as well. After all, it’s hard to figure out what someone likes and enjoys in one night, usually while you’re both in the heady rush of being attracted to someone. I feel that if you take the time to feel it out, magic can happen.

I have to wonder about those who remained quiet, despite my asking the question a number of times. Have they never had oral sex? If not, why? If so, has no one gotten to their ‘center’? I have to wonder…

What do you think? How many licks does it take to get to YOUR center?

Well?

(Un)Settling.

My best friend called me & we caught up. She’s deep into her mid-30s, and not looking forward to her next birthday.

She had recently gone on a couple dates with a guy who was nice, smart, successful, a little nerdy, and (important to her) Indian. When she met him a couple years ago, she wasn’t interested–he’s younger than her, and at the time, he was considerably overweight. He had recently lost a lot of weight, and asked her out–and she said yes.

They went on a few dates and had a nice time together–no earth-shattering chemistry, but they enjoyed each other’s company. They kissed, they made out… and then he found out how old she is. And suddenly… She found herself in the ‘Friend Zone.’

She described her reaction, and I was shocked at how much I related to it. “I can’t believe he broke up with me–I’m definitely more attractive & dynamic–but that’s not the point,” she said. “When he said we’d be better off as friends, I was sad. And a little part of me was relieved. What is that about?”

I thought about it, and I understood. We’re getting older. We’re alone. We want to find someone (worthy) with whom to settle down. Isn’t that why we go on dates? We want to find someone that we enjoy spending time with, and spend a lot of time with them–in a relationship, in a marriage, or something a little more unstructured. As we get older, and the dating pool of eligible people gets smaller and shallower, there is an unspoken desperation that slowly creeps into our blood–we find ourselves hoping, clinging, clawing for the connection, to make it into something that, perhaps, it may never fully become. We end up staying with someone too long, clinging to a guy or girl with whom we don’t have much of a connection or chemistry (or even anything in common), all for the hope of a future together. Not necessarily with that person, but just… SOMEONE.  When that connection dissolves, we may experience sadness, but relief, as well. Why? Because we knew it wasn’t right in the first place. Realizing this can be the hardest thing of all–because we really want to find someone great, someone we adore, but we find ourselves settling, just so we don’t have to be alone.

And now we have to find someone else to date… and hope we don’t settle for the wrong reasons.