Perfection

9:35am On the 5 train heading downtown. Unsurprisingly, we are temporarily stopped in the tunnel somewhere between 14th and City Hall. Everyone is tethered to their phones, feverishly and unsuccessfully refreshing their tabs, angrily awaiting the return of their 4G.

9:50am Treating myself to a store-bought matcha – I’m going to need it today.

I didn’t sleep well last night, and it shows – the remnants of last night’s mascara clinging to my lashes, the puffiness of my eyes from one too many cocktails this week. I’ve been indulging, but actively trying not to self-deprecate and simply enjoy the highly social and extravagant nature of the holiday season. There is so much to be grateful for.

10:30am I’ve settled into the lounge area we have here at the office, which is essentially the home decor section of Anthropologie, the embodiment of a chic urban dwelling (with succulents and all.) Naturally, this is typically where I live during the work day – its tranquility affords me the solitude and comfort needed to focus on the dynamic nature of my new position.

But I can’t focus today – my mind is racing, still reeling from a conversation with my boyfriend that led to my sleepless night. I try not to overthink things, but somehow I’ve worked myself into an awful state of worry about my relationship as it progresses into a new, unfamiliar state. I could definitely use a blunt, but I know that’s not the correct emotional response to feeling blue.

I am currently in the longest, most serious relationship of my life. Similar to most couples, we have evolved – from the initial infatuation stage into something deeper, more nurturing, more mature. This person has become my best friend, yet I am still learning how to balance the needs of my individual self to those of a partner. At a year and a half, we have certainly surpassed past the superficial niceties and frenetic natures of casual dating. Those feelings of constant affection and adoration replaced by perfectly natural ebbs and flows.

Admittedly, I still struggle with having difficult (but necessary) conversations, with conflict, with tension, with criticism, with the less-than-perfect moments. I am getting better at navigating these things: not feeling personally attacked by his criticism, resisting the urge to get defensive or angry or worse shut down – all tactics that rarely serve me well and I’m trying to completely remove from my emotional arsenal.

I know my faults: I can be stubborn, I am naturally conflict-averse. I have this innate, irrational desire to be the perfect partner – a fruitless goal not at all based reality but in fantasy wherein my future self lives:

I want to be everything all at once: hot, smart, fun, sexy, wild, successful, alluring, insatiable.

I want to be a forward-thinking and people-focused manager, a leader, a creator by day and a hospitality scouring, highly health-conscious, well-read French enthusiast by night.

I want to travel, becoming a citizen of the world, continuously expanding my mindset through new experiences and encounters.

I want to be independent and comfortable, able to indulge in the things I love: music, food, travel, wellness.

I want to host dinner parties with interesting people from diverse backgrounds with varying perspectives – becoming fully immersed in storytelling the human experience.

I consistently want to be encircled with boundless love, knowledge, and pure good.

Most importantly, I want a partner, with their own dreams and complexities, to join me for the ride.

I hope it’s you.

Love

I woke up with the urge to write. This normally doesn’t happen before 9am, so I’ve decided to go with it. Previously, I wouldn’t write anything until I had what I perceived to be a great idea, but then 3 months would go by without a single journal entry. So, no, not the best strategy for a bourgeoning writer.

We have a deck just outside my room, so after a quick shower and meditation I make myself comfortable, notebook and pen in tow. I have this brief pang of anxiety about the usual things: going to work, the state of the country, my spending habits this past weekend. Nothing particularly riveting to see here – some of these things are first world problems that are fully in my control, others are not. I let it melt away with some deep breathing exercises and “La rua madureira” by Paulize Croze.

Also on my mind, my boyfriend. We didn’t start off traditionally by any means (met on Tinder, hooked up, didn’t define our situation until months later, etc.) It took some time to get to where we are now, and it was admittedly a slow burn. But now, I’m in deep. And while I’m not afraid, it can be a bit overwhelming at times when I realize how I’ve shifted from me to we. I find myself dropping him into miscellaneous conversations with friends, creating lists of restaurants for us to try and trips to take, asking about projects he’s working on out of genuine interest though I know absolutely nothing about coding (I am helplessly right-brained.) These feelings are fantastic, but admittedly slightly unnerving at times. Despite my Drake-level softness, I try not to be too annoying about it, lest I become that girl who won’t shut the fuck up about her boyfriend. Nobody likes that girl.

I don’t want to go to work. At all. I’ve been having a bit of a rough patch as there is not much creativity in my current role, but I am trying to adopt a more positive outlook on the present, working with the situation at hand and taking the steps necessary to improve it. It all starts with thoughts, so its crucial that I adjust my mindset accordingly.

On my way to work I thought about a conversation from last weekend at brunch with my roommates. Following some drinks, it wasn’t long before the conversation naturally turned to dating in New York – as most good conversations do. Kendre, who up until now hadn’t spoken much, said “I’ve never been in love in New York, but I imagine that its probably one the most incredible experiences that one can have.”

This resonated with me, ultimately because I recognized the truth in it. Love can take many forms, but the experience of being in love with someone in New York is rare. Every single aspect of life in this city is competitive, constantly shifting, and based in pride in our autonomy. Each day we interact with countless people, the depth of these encounters varying, and some leaving much to be desired. We are all seeking meaningful connections on a singular island inhabited by of millions of people – amidst full time jobs and endless social obligations – making dating notoriously cutthroat. Nobody has time to waste, which requires having multiple dates a week and experiencing different people in various capacities to find someone you both want to talk AND sleep with on a regular basis, which is harder than it sounds. Feelings aren’t reciprocated. Expectations don’t meet reality. People don’t make the final cut.

But then, you meet someone, and suddenly everything slows down. In connecting with someone else beneath the surface, you relinquish that sense of control that comes with being single, that emotional fortress you’ve built around yourself crumbling by the minute. In a city that is often harsh and divisive, love acts as a grounding and unifying antidote. It happened to me: I am now become a walking cliche of a woman in love. Just saying that makes me want to slap myself, but here is something about knowing there is at least one person that completely gets me is both beautiful and comforting; a rarity in a city that inspires chaos and discomfort at almost every turn.

Love in New York isn’t limited to romantic love: you can find love in family, friends, work, the rat outside of your apartment eating a dollar slice. But I have the opportunity to experience this love – in all its entirely beautiful, cliched, and ridiculous glory. I need to remember not to take it for granted.

 

The Real World

Its 7:15am. Somehow I’ve managed to wake up before my alarm, which pretty much never happens. I am shockingly awake, perky even. Its gross, but I’m actually sort of into it. Given that I don’t need to be at work for 3 hours, I make myself my daily cup of hot lemon water, meditate, and get dressed for the gym.

I’ve been waking up at 7:30am on the dot every day since I’ve moved, likely due to the fact that I now have windows – something I’ll never take for granted ever again. My last apartment move was made a bit out of desperation, and I ended up in a small, windowless room above Bagelsmith. So yes, I now admittedly wake up filled with this absurd contentment over having not one, not two, but three lovely windows, the gorgeous natural light pouring in each morning and welcoming to a new day. Silly, I know, but its the little things.

Late to class, of course. I just can’t seem to time my bike ride perfectly from my new apartment, even though its only 5 minutes away from my old place. The only spot left is in the front row, which I don’t mind, but it means I am going to be that late asshole that pushes her way through the group to get there. Owning it. Luckily everyone is too busy in their downward dogs, so I sneak in relatively undetected.

This is now my fifth apartment since I graduated college. I moved because I very much needed a change but was not ready follow the masses of 20-somethings looking for reasonably priced housing in Bushwick. I hate myself for saying it, but I love Williamsburg. Though only a few blocks south of Bedford Ave, my neighborhood is far less gentrified and much more interesting: the area is an interesting mix of Puerto Rican and Satmar, and on any given evening you’re likely to see people hanging out on the street, music blaring from tricked out cars and going to the butcher. I often want to wish them “good shabbos”, but I imagine they don’t give a shit that I’m Jewish too – to them I’m just another basic, upper-middle class gentrifier.

I think I have always been a bit restless, possessed by an innate need to keep things interesting, which is both a blessing and a curse because I am hardly ever satisfied (see: apartment + job history, dating life). For the first time, though, I feel fully content with my current situation and can actually see myself staying put. My boyfriend jokes that I’m living in a “Real World House”, but I promise its not nearly as wild as that, despite being a 6 bedroom – the roommates are all 9-5ers from around the world and seemingly have the same mindset in terms of relaxing and keeping a nice home, which is what I value right now. Considering I used to value how close I lived to the bars, I’d consider this growth.

 

Breakups

A few weeks ago, post-breakup, I can safely say that I was in my feelings. There was no rom com and ice cream binge. There were barely any tears because I had cried during the weeks before it even happened. Instead, I went to LA and drank lots of tequila and ate tacos for a week with one of my best friends. I highly recommend this method of coping.

Today I can honestly say that I am okay. This post is not going to be like the initial piece I drafted which in hindsight was more of a letter to my ex than an actual blog post for everyone to to see (pro tip: do not post when you’re reeling from a breakup. It is not cute!) I decided to keep that one for me and primarily focus on moving forward. Anyone who knows me knows that I can hold a grudge to the death. I am still salty at this kid who popped one of my balloons during my 8th birthday party. But when it comes to exes, I put them into two categories: 1) eternally banished assclown and 2) still an assclown but perhaps civility can happen in the future. I decided to go against perhaps better judgement and stay friends with my ex, because I realized after I got over the blow to my ego that I was not actually mad at him, but more so at the overall situation. I chalked it up to lessons learned: no more long distance relationships, know when your man is acting up and most importantly: breakups are not the end of the world, but simply the end of a phase.

This post is short but sweet. I did not want to simply gloss over my breakup as though it did not affect me, because it was an impactful part of my life. I loved him and anyone close to me knows that. As a writer, its only fair that I expose both the good and bad sides of my life. This is not Instagram where everyone only shares the bougie and fun shit they’re up to. I will always remain honest on here, whether I am hurting or I am feeling invincible. More than anything I want our emotionally challenged generation to understand that it is fine to feel sad and vulnerable. You don’t have to be “good” all the damn time. You will never be able to avoid getting hurt, but pain is temporary, so fall in and out of love as it happens and enjoy these experiences regardless of how they end.

The Honeymoon Phase

I will be the first to admit that I have been totally MIA this summer in terms of my blog, mainly because I have been boo’ed the hell up. I am having a great time but I have definitely neglected my writing. This is mainly because I am in a different head space: content-wise my focus has shifted from dating to now being in a partnership. And while I think this will inspire some new ideas at some point, for now I am going to focus more on lifestyle and experience posts. I prefer to write about fuckboys (its more fun!) and keep my more personal and meaningful relationships under wraps.

We all know that new relationship feeling where everything is exciting, fresh and new. Everything your partner says is hilarious, you’re inseparable and you can’t help but look at them and think  “damn, bae is cute AF”.  You are both sick of the club and your ideal night consists of Netflix and takeout.  A lot of people say this is the best part of a relationship, but that’s because its the easiest. Many relationships crumble and fall at the end of this phase because people quite simply don’t want to put in the work that it takes to make something truly last because they are seeking perfection and let’s be honest, our generation is extremely impatient. As adorable as this phase is, eventually you have to move past the surface level shit (favorite tv shows, “wyd” texts, celebrity gossip, etc.) in order for a relationship to become stronger.

I absolutely do not expect the honeymoon phase to last, and truthfully I don’t want it to. I firmly believe that a relationship begins once guards fully come down and you get to uncover your partner’s true self. We are both hard headed so naturally we will disagree on things, from why NY is the greatest city in the world to which Future songs are okay and which are trash. We are not always going to be attached at the hip, and that is okay because we both have to grow as individuals and nobody likes a clinger. We will need to deal with any problems head on because as we all know life comes at you fast. I will sleep with my hair wrap on and he won’t say shit about it. I am ready for that. Of course I want elements of the honeymoon phase to continue as the relationship goes on: I don’t want to stop laughing at his corny ass jokes, exploring new things, going out together and getting excited whenever I know we have plans set.

For now I am unapologetically basking in new relationship bliss. Can a girl live?

On Vulnerability

I have been thinking of vulnerability a lot of as of late. It seems simple: accept and love yourself unapologetically, and be open to all of life’s experiences, both positive and negative, without fear. In practice? An entirely different story. You mean to tell me that I’m supposed to expose myself for who I really am all of the time and allow people to possibly reject, hurt, and disappoint me? Pass.

In a world where both men and women are expected to be unwavering in their strength, it is no wonder that people have a an extremely difficult time being vulnerable. The word itself is typically associated with weakness, fear, and shame: qualities that young boys are raised to avoid like the plague and girls come to associate with “neediness” as they grow older. Vulnerability can be a liability, so instead of opening up we do the opposite – shut down and shut the world out claiming that we do not need anyone.

Act big and bad all you want but let’s face it: we want to be loved, wanted, desired, successful in our own right and genuinely happy. How can you attain all of those things by fronting and putting up defenses? I am not saying you should allow people to walk all over you, because vulnerability is not about being weak or being someone’s doormat. Nor am I saying that when you first meet someone you should go “Hi, I’m _____, and these are my fears/hopes/dreams”. But, sooner rather than later, you have to be willing to let your guard down and be real in order for relationships to move forward. In friendships and love, vulnerability is essential for to establish real connections as it requires both parties to be genuine, trusting, and honest. Without that what do you have? Let me answer that: not shit.

So, I need you to forget everything you know about being vulnerable and replace it with the following:

Vulnerability takes courage. It takes a brave soul to be completely honest and open with all of you, from your strengths and victories to your weaknesses and shortcomings. It takes courage to show your true self, flaws and all, to others. In doing so you are opening up to potential pain, but also to happiness and freedom that you wouldn’t have known otherwise.

There is strength in vulnerability. Being extremely open and self-aware is powerful. Having a firm grasp on your likes, preferences, fears, needs, goals and being able to express them is a sign of strength and security with yourself as you are. You are secure, know your boundaries and can stand your ground. Yes, you are open but that does not mean you will allow people to take advantage or manipulate. It also implies that even though you love yourself, you’re still striving to improve.

Being vulnerable is cool. Everyone is always stuck on trying to be “cool” and hiding their flaws or insecurities out of fear of being judged as this or that. You are not like anybody else, and why would you want to be? Try being yourself (the real you that you are with your family and friends) and see what happens. It may be a cliche but it needs to be said because people are still out here fronting for some reason. I am a nerdy, outspoken goofball with a weird laugh and a big head and I am not sorry about it. This is my truth and I have accepted this. Accept yours.

Vulnerability is extremely sexy.  I think someone who is able to be entirely transparent, aware and accepting of themselves is one of the most attractive qualities a person can possess. It is a bold move to share the good and bad parts of yourself and to trust someone not to shit all over you. Someone who exudes confidence and security in who they are and what they feel without apologizing for it is hot. It turns 6’s into 10’s everyday.

It takes a lot to consciously strive to be vulnerable and it is something I struggle with daily. We have all had an experience or two that make us hesitate to trust out of fear of being hurt and cause us to hide ourselves away. Being vulnerable will not shield you from disappointment in life, but it is more about accepting the hurt and not letting it control or limit you. Yes, being vulnerable has led me to experience deep pain, its also allowed me to feel the most joy I have ever felt. Without the lows how the hell could we ever learn to appreciate the highs?

Keeping It Casual

My mom called me the other day to say that she had read my blog and thought it was fabulous and asked me about the men in my life. I immediately put her on “limited profile on Facebook and asked her politely to please stop reading it ASAP. There are just some things you do not want your mom to see no matter how close you are, and this post is one of them.

Friends with benefits, f*ck buddies, situationships- the media has normalized these types of relationships within the realm of hook-up culture. Some people choose to incorporate casual sexual relationships as a part of their lifestyle, while others prefer the monogamous route. There is nothing wrong with either, but I think its a good idea to know what you are about to get into should you find yourself agreeing to a casual set up. Over time I have learned that there are actual levels to the game, and I have talked to my fair share of ladies on their take on these relationships. Note: if you are offended by women being real (surprise, we like sex too!) or just can’t handle the truth stop reading now.

1. F*ck buddies: Perhaps you met at a bar, club, or online. Your daytime conversations are far and few between, unless you’re arranging a meet up later that day. You probably don’t talk about anything too substantial when you are together, and that’s either because they are boring, vapid, or you’re deliberately trying not to bond so you do not get attached. Maybe you are keeping them on the back burner until another relationship is on the road to becoming serious. Unless you can handle the after-sex intimacy, its recommended that you do not stay over. And since you probably do not talk about other people you are dating/hooking up with/etc., you need to be using protection.

Time limit: This type of situation can be extremely satisfying for months or even longer, as long as you make sure this is not the only person of the opposite sex you are communicating with. Please let that sink in because if you do not, you may start thinking “what if…” and imagine this person as more than your dick supply. Hopefully you have had a few conversations about the criteria of your relationship and you are completely on board. You cannot delude yourself into thinking you are “chill” with this arrangement: you either are or you’re not. Any change of heart needs to be discussed sooner rather than later before anyone gets hurt.

2. Friends With Benefits/FWB: In this relationship you can actually be friends who just happened to fall into bed together after a few too many tequila shots or just be acquaintances and enjoy each others company/have semi-deep conversations/maybe kick it outside of each other’s bedrooms. This dynamic can be more or less successful depending on the amount of feelings are actually invested in the friendship. Because you are not complete strangers who only communicate about sex, it could probably be easier to fall for or get rejected by someone who you care about as a friend and could make the friendship temporarily awkward as shit.  As with f*ck buddies you should steer away from talking about the other people you might be seeing and enjoy the moment in the present with them. Also, if you are in the same friend group please keep it as discreet in order to avoid any potential messiness for as long as possible.

Time limit: This is tricky, but I would not put a time stamp on this one. It really depends on whether romantic feelings develop or not, if one of you meets someone else, or one of you gets tired of explaining the situation to mutual friends. Luckily I have yet to want to bang any of my male friends so I never had this problem.

3. The Situationship: Ah, the situationship. Probably the most confusion of the three, because as the title implies you are not exactly in an official relationship but you are certainly involved in some capacity. One or both of you are likely straddling the fence of full-on relationship behavior: you have been hanging out for months, stay at each other’s homes and often take things public and meet family and friends. Hell, in 2015 children may be involved. When people ask who you are to one another, however, suddenly “its complicated.” This is the most discouraging type of relationship because someone on Twitter decided that “a bond is stronger than a title” and ever since then women have been losing. If after 4 months you are saying “he/she’s just not ready for a relationship yet,” you are likely in a situationship.

Time limit: One month-forever. If the less-interested party plays their cards right, the situationship can literally last forever. Waiting for the one party (typically the man) to decide you are actually in a legitimate partnership is the equivalent of thinking the world is going to end in 2012 according to the Mayan calendar: its fucking stupid. Unfortunately once a situationship reaches a certain stage the person who is more emotionally involved has probably developed a certain level of dependency on the other. This is all well and good if both parties are fine with this arrangement, otherwise it inevitably spells disaster for at least one person involved.

Many people try to bring science into this and say women release bonding hormones during sex, making them unable to handle casual relationships. This is bullshit as I know many women who can and sometimes do it better than the boys. These are women perhaps who do not want to date at the moment, but also don’t want to live the life of a nun. I truly admire these women who pull this off, because being able to separate sex from emotions can be incredibly difficult for some – I personally have been able to exist in these types of relationships for only short periods of time and try to be clear with anyone I am involved with.

Whether casual or not, the most important elements of any relationship are communication and trust. It is not even just about being honest with the other person, but also with yourself – because this “buddy” is not really yours, you have the freedom to walk away whenever you feel like the relationship has reached its end. This could be any number of reasons such as you are bored, you want to take things past the casual stage, or you simply begin to feel uncomfortable. While many say that one person is bound to develop feelings, these types of arrangements can be the best situation for some – perhaps not for the long haul, but at least for the moment. Proceed with caution.