The following post was written for the blog, Peace & Penguins,and tackles the topic of Love & Anxiety- which are two things that I know little and a lot about, respectively.
When Alisha asked me to write a guest blog post on Love & Anxiety for Peace & Penguins, I thought that it would be an easy hour therapy session of rehashing my life stories of insecurity, doubts, and regrets. But unfortunately, for the past week, I’ve struggled to get anything down on paper. So here I am, over a week after telling her that she’d have my piece in no time, trying to figure out exactly what I can say about love & anxiety…which are ultimately the two words that have haunted me during my 28-year old life.
While I’ve questioned how to begin this post, I feel that it is important to start off with the following statement: I’m twenty-eight years old and I’ve never been in a serious relationship. However, and it’s an incredibly big HOWEVER, I’m actually (finally) on the verge of entering one…but more on that later.
Today I came across the following lines in the novel, 50 Shades of Grey, which really struck a chord with me. Here are the lines, and I’ll explain later:
Katherine often teases me that I’m missing the need-a-boyfriend gene, but the truth is I just haven’t met anyone who… well, whom I’m attracted to, even though part of me longs for the fabled trembling knees, heart-in-my-mouth, butterflies-in-my-belly moments.
Sometimes I wonder if there’s something wrong with me. Perhaps, I’ve spent too long in the company of my literary romantic heroes, and consequently my ideals and expectations are far too high. But in reality, nobody’s ever made me feel like that.
Anastasia Steele (50 Shades of Grey)
For the majority of my young adult life, I have relied on excuses and sarcasm to answer the question, “Why don’t you have a boyfriend?” And when stating my boyfriend-free background and getting stuck responding to the inevitable question, “What do you mean you’ve never been in a relationship?How is that possible?”,I find the anxiety tingles kicking in as I do my best to change the subject. But here and now, I’ll put those insecurities aside and tell you that Anxietyis the answer to both of those questions.
Unfortunately I’ve been plagued by anxiety for a while now, and it’s held me back from many things over the years. But above all, it’s prevented me from experiencing the love that I always dreamed of; from finding the love I always deserved. For years I’ve thought that there was something wrong with me. I thought I wasn’t good enough to be loved. I thought I wasn’t pretty enough to attract the attention of a man. I thought I would always be alone, because frankly being single is all I’ve really ever known.
Sure, there were those “boyfriends” during my early teen years that typically lasted a few weeks, and then a few guys in my twenties that stayed around for a couple uncommitted hook-ups. However, for the most part, I’ve been that girl who finds herself attending weddings without a plus-one and heading home after last call alone in a cab while the other girls leave on the arm of their significant others.
Now, every once in a while, maybe on the night of a full moon or during a road trip back to Ohio, I’d find myself flirting with a seemingly eligible bachelor and hoping that something more than a one-night stand would come out of it. But unfortunately, my anxiety almost got the best of me as daylight hit and my internal enemy asserted, “Are you crazy? He’s doesn’t really like you. He’s going to leave just like all of the other ones.”
But something changed this past year; something that I really can’t quite explain myself. In essence, I’ve lived this year under the motto: I don’t care anymore. See, instead of letting anxiety hold me back, I’ve fought off the doubts and insecurities and strived to live fearlessly. (Note: A little liquid courage usually helped too.) I took some chances…including using a few daring moves and brave one-liners every once in a while. And with each one of those incidences, I noticed my anxiety towards potential love decreasing.
So that leads me to “The Now”. As I mentioned in the beginning of this post, I am on the verge of a relationship. Actually… I’m in one. Yes, the girl who thought she’d always be single is in a relationship. (With a wonderful guy, might I add.) I’m pretty much living in disbelief, as are my friends and family who have heard my “No, I don’t have a boyfriend.” and “I’ll always be a single” lines, but it really is the truth. Even though it hasn’t yet been discussed, I am practically someone’s girlfriend… which means that I kinda-sorta have a boyfriend. Me? Really? Wow.
To be honest, I’m still processing all of this. I’m trying to convince myself that this is really, while also trying to understand why it’s taken me so long to let myself be in a relationship. Why did I let my anxiety hinder my happiness? Why did I let my insecurities get in the way of being someone’s girlfriend? Why did I let my fears prohibit some amazing guy from being mine? While I can ask these questions again and again, I’ll never fully be able to uncover the answers. But I will remember the anxiety I’ve lived with that held me back from being happy all of those years.
Unfortunately my anxiety is something that I continue to live with. It’s something that I think I’ll always live with. But when it comes to love, I’m learning more and more how important it is for me to combat all of my fears and doubts. For starters, I don’t want to miss out on a chance with a good guy like the one I have right now. I’ve held myself back many times before and simply, I don’t want to live with regrets anymore. Sure it’s scary to let yourself be vulnerable and open your heart up, but the risk is worth it. And honestly, I’m at the point in my life where I’d rather know that I took a chance than regret not taking one.
Let me stress that I’m no expert when it comes to love, and in some ways I’m still not convinced that I’ll ever fully understand it. But between you and me, I’m much more open to learning more about it. And that being said, I think I’ll have to start with exploring the whole relationship thing, and maybe officially being someone’s girlfriend.
Sure, it’s not easy and frankly I’m a bit scared, but I’m going to take these chances…starting with this great guy who has seen past my anxieties and boyfriendless past and see what life has in store for me. And hopefully, one day, I’ll be writing a post about love without a mention of anxiety. But for the meantime, I’m just going to take it day-by-day and see what this whole relationship thing is all about.
It shouldn’t come as a surprise, but there’s been no summer love for this girl. Zilch. Nada. Niente. Besides the green-shirted one night stand a few months ago, I have spent my summer nights in the company of many entertaining guests, sensational girlfriends, and an adorable toddler named Max. Actually, those are the only people in Chicago that I wanted to be with.
Besides spending the summer with friends, this funk (possible Quarterlife Crisis) has gotten the best of my time too. It’s been frustrating trying to figure things out, to say the least, but part of me knows what it’s been all along.
Love- or something like it- has always been fleeting for me. From those crushes and one-week relationships in my teenage years to those drunken college hook-ups, I can probably count on one hand the number of guys I’ve kissed more than once. (Okay, maybe two hands but no more.) My point is that this stuff tends to begin and end all in one breath. Blame it on my fickle heart or theirs, or maybe both. Whatever the case may be, I’ve come quite accustomed to watching guys come-and-go. And because of this, I don’t expect anything of them to stick around for more than a few texts the next day. Which also means that I’ve gotten good at moving on very quickly.
But sometimes life throws someone into your path that can’t be categorized with the rest; someone whose kiss you can’t forget. You swore he was just another fling, but your heart tells you he’s so much more.
And that’s where I’ve been all summer long. Trying to convince myself that it was just a fling even though everything within tells me otherwise. Summer is almost over and, if anything, I feel more off than I have at any point before. I don’t know what all this means, but I cannot help but think that this is somehow going to end like all the others. Maybe it really was just a fling? Or perhaps it was so much more…
Usually after a weekend in Pittsburgh with my family, I feel refreshed and rejuvenated. I’m typically ready to get back to the grind in Chicago, and the lights and sounds of the city immediately awaken my soul. Usually…typically…though not always. After arriving back last night, I’ve felt everything but refreshed, rejuvenated, and awakened. Unfortunately this summer funk didn’t stay in Pittsburgh.
I had a difficult time waking up this morning. I swear I hit Snooze at leasttwelve times. I never once fell back asleep but instead found myself lost in daydreams. One after another, or sometimes the same one with brief intermissions as I turned over to hit Snooze again. My mind is just everywhere; and sometimes nowhere at all. Oh, and forget my emotions. They are all over the place these days. Take last night for instance. After letting my frustrations get the best of me during my flight home, I was overcome with jealousy watching the newly engaged Bachelorette couple on After the Final Rose gushing over one another.
Seriously, Ms. Medica? Weren’t you the one hoping that she wouldn’t make the mistake of letting this great guy get away? And not just that, but you were jealous of a reality TV show couple? Can I please get an ‘oy vey’ here? Okay, don’t roll your eyes at me just yet. I’ve done enough of that myself. Let me explain where I believe that atypical jealous side of me came from.
To me, JP encompasses everything a gentleman should. Kind, caring, compassionate, honest, genuine, and so much more. A man’s man with a heart of gold. Exactly everything I’ve always hoped to find in a man. Despite making comments about hightailing it to NYC if he wasn’t chosen, I’m not in love with JP. I’m really not. Do I wish that he walked into my life instead of going on that soul-crushing show? Maybe, but he didn’t. However, I cannot help but wonder if my jealousy arose because of the similarities I see between JP and another guy who has come into my life.
I haven’t said much about that very special guy and there are a few reasons why. Not only am afraid of jinxing whatever this is/could potentially be, but I am also unsure about what I think and how I feel. Not to mention, I have absolutely no idea what he thinks and feels about me- if anything. But I will admit he shows up in my daydreams.
If we’re being honest here, I’ve begun questioning whether my summer funk has something to do with my feelings for him. Or perhaps better put, my uncertainties about his feelings for me. Whatever it is- or isn’t- I’m just ready to get out of this mode once and for all. But how can you shake something when you’re not even sure what it is? Can liking someone really make you feel this off? Is it worth it just to know the one you’ve always hoped to find, the one you daydreamed about for all those mornings, actually exists?
I can honestly say that I’ve never been so impressed by a guy in my life. That alone makes it obvious that I’m crushing on someone- oh gosh, I even got weak in the knees before seeing him once. Anyways, he’s pretty fantastic. Better than any fantasy my imaginative mind could concoct. Certainly one of those guys that you can’t let get away. One of those rare finds that you know you’ll never get a second chance with. Despite knowing an array of good guys in my lifespan, I swear I’ve never met anyone like him before.
And while I can say that about him, I’m not sure he’s able to say the same about me. As humble as he’s proven to be, I’m far from his first admirer. I’m one of many in his fan club. I know that I am nothing new. Therefore, I must also admit that I’ve never been so intimidated by a guy either. And that being said, I’ve never been so cautious with my heart either. It’s not that there’s anything to lose… it’s more that there is so much to gain.
With his absence this summer, I find that all I can do is let it go. I always knew it was what I had to do. Always knew it was for the best. However, it hasn’t been as easy as I assumed it would be. Too many times I recall the second part of the infamous line that Alisha reminded me of: … if it comes back, it’s yours.
Even with my doubts, maybe I just can’t ignore the possibility that it will come back? Maybe I’m just not sold on the notion that this is another crazy crush of mine? Yes, I know that it’s a big world out there and many temptations in high heels on those New York City streets; however, an ounce of jealousy hasn’t encompassed my body- at least not yet. And you know why? Because a tiny part of me believes that, to him, that’s nothing new and that I am quite possibly something he’s never seen before. A girl can at least dream, right?
In deciding what to say next, this song came up on my playlist: One and Only by Adele. Somehow it was the first time I’ve heard it despite Adele being a staple in my life these days. While the inspiration isn’t coming to me yet, I can promise you that I’ll be using its lyrics in a future post. Til then, XOXO.
Birthday girl, Dina, ironically gave me a gift yesterday in the form of serenity and clarity as she shared this quote: “Be ready for love when it does come. Prepare the field and be ready to nourish love. Be loving, and you will be lovable. Be open and receptive to love.”
First let me say that while my previous post was quite honest with how I was feeling at the time, I’m not sure if it was entirely fair to two people: Cute boy in the green shirt (whose name I’m choosing not to share) and myself. While I’m hesitant to admit it and fall victim again to “The Jinx”, I had a good time on Saturday and glad I took the ballsy route and, dare I say, picked him up. So even though my last post made it sound like my mind is still set on another, it’s not. My heart is as open as it’s ever been, and I say that because I’ve come a long way.
Without rambling much here, I’ll acknowledge that besides battling a broken heart for a few years, my spirit has been broken for some time too. I’m not here to dwell on that but rather state the facts. I closed my heart a long time ago and I think it’s time to (slowly) open it again. Afterall, be loving, and you will be lovable.
So I guess this can be construed as an apology to many people- including all the friends who I failed to trust and those boys who I wouldn’t allow to love me. I also owe myself an apology for holding myself back so many times before. And lastly, to the cute boy in the green shirt who I kissed on the rooftop overlooking Wrigley Field, I promise I won’t play my games with you.
I toyed with the idea of calling this post Oops…I did it again but decided to go in a different direction. However, I will elaborate on yesterday’s antics just a bit and explain the whole ‘Oops… I did it again’ and how it contributes to where my napping-all-day mind is right now. In short, yesterday consisted of a day drinking bar shuffle (crawl) in Chicago’s Wrigleyville with my partners in crime, Sarah, Jenny, and Tom (Jenny’s boyfriend). Good Friends, Sunshine, and Free Drinks definitely set the mood right for some Stress-Free Fun. And then there was a cute guy in a green shirt…
Within 30 minutes of being in the first bar on the crawl, he caught my eye and I noticed him looking at me too. But me being ‘me’ wrote it off thinking that he was drawn to my cute plaid hat and not the girl in it. Well I’m happy to report that both were true. After 4-5 hours and seeing him at 2 other bars, the curiosity and encouragement of friends led me to approaching him, in front of his friends, and apparently said, “Can I ask you something? Have you been looking at me?” Yep, ballsy little me said that, which led to a night in the company of cute boy in the green shirt.
So that was yesterday but what about today? Well after a night of little sleep I have been in recovery mode of naps and laziness. I’ve also attempted to write this post various times but obviously didn’t get very far. To be honest, I don’t know what to say because I don’t know what I’m feeling today. I have absolutely No Regrets about yesterday and if anything, really had a great day with my friends and own antics. I will say that I still find myself listening to Somewhere With You by Kenny Chesney over and over again. “But it’s just a temporary high” is the line I keep thinking about. Last night could very well be another ‘temporary high’ for yours truly. And while I’ll play it off (to friends and on this blog, at some point), right now I’ll admit that I’ve become quite accustomed to the aftermath of those temporary high situations- usually brought on by boys.
Although I haven’t said much of anything on here about it, some of those dearest to me know that I’ve been struggling (to fight) feelings for someone completely A*MAY*ZING for the last few months. (Yes, he deserves an A*MAY*ZING and much more.) What I’ve been feeling for him hasn’t felt like a temporary high, but then again what do I really know? Not to mention I’ve been wrong about this stuff before. (Cough Casey Cough) So while I very much enjoyed my time with a cute boy, I’d be lying if I didn’t say that another wasn’t on my mind- yesterday and today.
But then again, it’s FINALLY summertime in Chicago and as I’ve shared with friends, I really just want to have a carefree few months because once September comes, school starts and my social life doesn’t look too promising.
We all have the ability…we just don’t all have the courage to follow our dreams and to follow the signs. ~ Paulo Coelho
I cannot even begin to tell you how exhausted I was last night other than to admit that I completely missed my bus stop (realizing it 4 stops later) and literally dragged myself home. I mean I was so tired that I would have hopped in a cab (for that 2 minute ride) if I had cash on me. If my weary mind could remember last night’s arrival to my apartment, it would probably tell you that my eyes were barely open as I got ready for bed. All I do remember is laying under the covers attempting to check my email but giving up when the light from my screen beared to be too much for my eyes to handle.
That being said, I do remember one thing from last night: A Dream. While others have an impossible time remembering their dreams, I, for one, tend to recall (at least portions) of mine. Especially ones like last night. Despite some of the details being a bit blurry, the message was clear. Very clear, in fact. It was as though my subconscious mind was working overtime secretly forcing me to eliminate any doubts that may occur when I woke up. Trust me, it worked. I woke up pretty startled with clear recognition of the message that being spoken. I’m choosing to write about it now over my lunch break (which I never take) because it’s still on my mind- as vividly as possible. (Sorry, that’s all you’re going to get from me.) But what now? Should I just forget about it? Was it a sign to be acted upon, or perhaps wishful thinking from my tired, resting mind?
While you’re not going to get the ‘goods’ out of me, I will share that I’ve had dreams like this come true before. There’s one in particular- back in the Casey days- that was ridiculous and to this day still baffles me. But that’s totally a different story, or isn’t it?
Now I could share the story behind that dream-to-reality situation or say that it’s clear evidence that ‘signs’ in dreams really do exist. With regards to that situation, the kicker is this: While I followed the ‘sign’, I didn’t necessarily do much more. Back then I didn’t have the courage to do much more; however, it’s a different story now. So what am I supposed to do? Believe that the sign is true and eliminate all my doubts once and for all? Embrace my fearless side and realize that this dream is worth doing something about?
"Later that day I got to thinking about relationships. There are those that open you up to something new and exotic, those that are old and familiar, those that bring up lots of questions, those that bring you somewhere unexpected, those that bring you far from where you started, and those that bring you back. But the most exciting, challenging and significant relationship of all is the one you have with yourself. And if you can find someone to love the you you love, well, that's just fabulous"
~Carrie Bradshaw, Sex and the City