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?

Dating 101

With Valentine’s Day coming up, I think this is a better time than ever to talk about dating. Despite the rise of “Netflix and chill” sessions, going outside of each other’s bedrooms is still an important part of dating. And contrary to what Twitter wants you to think, girls do not need a man to drop $200 on a date to be happy.

Around this time of year I see a lot of people out here acting up on and offline, saying the likes of “I’m doing me, I love myself enough for the both of us” and “I’M SAVING MONEY BY BEING SINGLE THIS YEAR.” These people are a) hurt b) in denial or c) have deluded themselves into thinking that dating has to be extremely expensive and are mad because they don’t think they can compete. It is one thing to be truly working on one’s self, getting your money up, and generally being comfortable in your single status, but I don’t think those people are crying for attention on social media. There is nothing wrong with wanting love or seeking out a companion, and you should not let the process of dating, your financial status, or anything else intimidate you if that is what you truly want.

In a world filled with gold diggers, users and girls just out here looking for a meal, I can understand a man’s hesitation to spend money on a woman, especially in the initial stages of getting to know her. What if she’s not as cute as she looked online? What if she orders everything on the menu and spends all your money?  It’s risky, sure, so many times people take the safer lazier approach and try to “kick it at the crib” instead of going out. I do not care if you are just out of college working part-time to find a job or you are making six figures in some morally corrupt Wall Street gig: take her out! Abandon this notion that dates need to be an expensive dinner and a movie and think outside of the box. Museums, concerts, art shows, going somewhere new are just some of the things hardly cost a thing. Not to mention they are more memorable and impressive than a guy throwing down half of his paycheck on dinner then asking when you are going back to your place.

Ladies have a responsibility when it comes to dating, too. I am all about girls picking up the phone, making plans and introducing a guy to something he has never experienced. Hell, I’m even cool with *GASP* picking up the tab sometimes. If anything, it shows a respect for the guy you are getting to know (if a true partnership is what you’re after.)  A man should make a good amount of effort to express genuine interest, but let’s not place the financial completely on his shoulders. Remember: dating should be fun, not stressful. If you are looking for a trick, then by all means let that man take you out and order an appetizer, steak, dessert and whatever the hell you want on his dime. If you are looking for a partner, eventually a guy taking you out over and over again without any sort of reciprocation will lead to resentment. If your outlook is “men have to pay for everything” then you cannot get mad when a dude asks you why you are not abiding by traditional gender roles by making him a sandwich in the kitchen.

Side note: if you are strictly looking for sex, you do not have to do the whole “dating” thing.  Both men and women have the power to establish a sexually-based relationship from the beginning, and you never even have to leave the house! In 2015 I would love everyone to please stop the bullshit and tell people what you want. Taking a girl out solely so you can smash is disingenuous and shady will have a girls angrily showing up at your home because you sent mixed signals. If you are looking to actually connect with someone, make efforts that aid the process (i.e. going outside and bonding.) I completely understand that house dates are a low-effort way of getting to know someone, but trust me you can save the boring stay at home stuff for when you are exclusive or married.

The perfect date allows two people to comfortably explore each other’s personalities and experience something new all while staying in their respective financial lanes – the possibilities are endless! I just told this guy that I wanted to take him to a BYOB ceramic studio ($15) because booze + crafts sounds like a win-win situation to me.

“Cuffing Season”

I left my apartment to head to work this morning in my sundress I felt had not gotten enough wear this summer, only to walk outside and smell something peculiar. I stopped. It was a very particular smell, one that only comes once a year and every time it scares the living shit out of me. It was the slight smell of bitterness in the air, which most of us Northerners know indicates summer ever so slowly turning into fall. But us younger adults all know fall + colder weather – the options of summertime + thirst = cuffing season. It’s simple math.

As with most modern dating terms, “cuffing season” was something I was introduced to in college and immediately took issue with it. My freshman self was quick to ask “why is this a thing? Why would you put a time limit on a relationship before it even develops?” Now older and somewhat wiser I completely understand the concept of the cuff.

For those who are unfamiliar, “cuffing season” is the period between October-March (though the exact dates are debatedd) where all of a sudden everyone and their mother gets boo’ed up. You can’t walk down the street without wanting to throw up all over every hand-holding couple and the “good morning” texts your best friend receives every morning. I can only assume this “season” was created by a guy who wanted the perks of a girlfriend in the comfort of his own home during the cold winter months, but with an expiration date attached – so that come March, he could get back out there and start prepping for spring break and the months of summer flings ahead. The signs that cuffing season has begun are imminent: sweater dresses and boots start coming out, going out becomes less appealing, and dudes you haven’t heard from since Memorial Day all of a sudden creep out of the woodwork with a “hey stranger!” text. When you get this, know that winter is coming.

I am certainly not mad at whoever came up with this one because there is something brilliant about it – and I know many ladies who actively look to cuff because both sexes can agree that cuddling up on a Saturday night is infinitely more enjoyably than trekking through 12+ inches of snow to get to the bar. While some people want someone to come to their family’s Christmas dinner or ring in the New Year with, most of us just want someone to come over for take out, a movie, and fun. I do think there is some hope in all of us that our winter buddy will end up being something more, but that might just be me. I warned you that I am Drake-level soft.

The two things that irk me about this time of year is the expectation that a) you have to lower your standards for a winter boo and 2) there is a definite expiration date. I am personally not going to shack up all winter with someone I wouldn’t be bothered with in the summer, so when I decide to cuff someone, I refuse to pick someone with qualities I don’t want in a potential partner down the line. Also, geography plays a huge role on who is cuffed as nobody is trying to take an inter-borough commute during a storm.

As with all things, the terms of the cuff would have to be established beforehand to avoid (or try to avoid) potential heartbreak come Valentine’s Day. After all, this is more or less an agreement to satisfy both parties with whatever level of companionship they are looking for to get them through the cold, dark winter. Keep your eyes peeled and remain alert for the heightened level of thirst and “have a great day beautiful” texts as to not fall for the first person who tries to temporarily lock you down for 4-5 months. Do not be afraid to skip the BS and ride out your winter solo instead of lowering your standards just to tell your friends that you have a cuddle buddy on a Saturday night. Most of all, communication is key regardless of the season, so make sure you are getting what you want out of what should be a wonderful, mutually beneficial experience.

On Being Alone

We all know that girl – she is hopelessly romantic, has a new boyfruend every couple months and uses social media to broadcast her relationship status. You can log on to Twitter, Facebook or Instagram at any moment and essentially catch yourself up on the happenings of her relationship, and her tone of voice fluctuates depending on whether or not her and the boyfriend are on good terms. On Monday she may post “me and my baby forever and always 8.6.2014 xo” but by the end of the week she’s angrily tweeting “SINGLE!” Her ever-changing outlook on love is evident amongst her friend group too, who have to deal with her mood swings. When booed up, everything is sunshine and rainbows and subtle shade towards her single friends. But when single, she is absolutely miserable until someone new comes into the picture.

The sad thing is that this is not simply behavior of high school girls, but grown women too. I thought maybe some of this behavior would end after age 19 but it is more common than ever to see people broadcasting the entirety of their private life in public. It is one thing to like being in a relationship, but another to need one to complete you and validate your existence.

Anyone who knows me knows I love love. I think a fulfilling, mutual, and loving relationship is one of the best things life has to offer, but it is not a necessity. After college, I learned to truly enjoy being alone and actually enjoy it. Still, being “alone” has a very negative connotation for most people, especially young women. If someone had told me that being single was fun a year ago I probably would have laughed and conclude they were just trying to justify their loneliness. Admittedly, I was a serial monogamist in part trying to fill a void that existed after a previous relationship was ended. If I wasn’t in a relationship, I would think there was something wrong with me if I didn’t at least have someone to talk to casually or “come over and chill” on any given night. So many of us strive to be booed up, its hard to take it when we don’t have someone by our side, accessible physically or emotionally at any part of the day. This is particularly try for newly single people who need a quick replacement to their sudden loneliness, which I understand. What I DON’T understand is how someone can jump from person to person without taking a breath for some self-reflection. These people who feel that they need a relationship tend to make the same mistakes repeatedly and do not truly grow.

Single people are not exempt from these issues. Some people, even out of relationships, can’t let a day go by without finding someone of the opposite sex to talk to. Whether its someone to like their Instagram post or someone to make small talk with during class or a work day, some singles still need that constant attention. Yes, we all want to feel valued and wanted, but a few days or even weeks of solitude is not just normal but beneficial. And you do not have to justify this time away from the dating world, because I guarantee you that girl who is “in love” is not at all as happy as she seems.

If you do not know by now I am unapologetically single. I was not always this way and it took me almost a year to get there, but its more liberating than anything. On nights where I don’t have someone to go out with, I take myself out. We spend so much time trying to please others, not realizing that life is much more enjoyable when you respect and live for your own health and happiness. People always tell you to love yourself first which sounds like bullshit but is actually something to hold dear to you. Only you have the power to recognize your faults, your daddy/mommy issues, or your insecurity and actually enjoying being in your own skin. True satisfaction begins within, and that is something nobody else will ever be able to give you.