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 the 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 goodness.

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

I hope it’s you.

Introvert Problems

I am an introvert. Somehow writing it down feels like a confession; all at once I feel lighter as though I am revealing some magnificent secret, lifting its weight off of my chest. There are certainly shades of grey in between the timid introvert and its counterpart: the emboldened, unabashedly prominent extrovert. Personalities, after all, are capable of spanning across the many labels we place on them. While I enjoy interacting with others and highly value interpersonal connections, there is no doubt of where my true self lies, despite years of trying to fool myself and the rest of the world into thinking otherwise.

I have always been an introvert, but terribly ashamed and scared to admit this as I irrationally attached so much negativity to it. In all honestly, I resented myself: for not being more outgoing, for not being able to enter a room of strangers and feel completely at ease. I envied the social butterflies who could flitter around through a crowd initiating conversations and introductions, completely uninhibited by fear of rejection or judgement. Meanwhile, I would assume my self-assigned role of the wallflower, finding comfort in my solitude (and in turn, as you may have guessed, was perceived by many as standoffish/a huge bitch). As a result, the self-deprecation persisted, as did this vicious, victim-based mentality. This went on for years, and yes it was fucking exhausting.

Luckily for me (and the world) I decided to get over myself and accept that I am not to be understood by the masses. My introversion throughout my teens and early adulthood was based in fear, but I have since reclaimed it, recognizing the true extent of its power. I now take pride in my boundaries, in letting people in slowly, in not investing emotionally in every single person I meet. I don’t beat myself up for not being the life of a party or for having a million and one friends or followers. Naturally, I am drawn to those who are on the other side of spectrum, amazed by their outgoing superpowers.

Most of my closest friends are extraverts, but now instead of breaking my back trying to compete with them I choose to yield, allowing them to take center stage and glow in their unashamed, and incredibly loud selves. On occasion I step into the spotlight going off on a tangent about my newest interests or dancing on a bar after one too many margaritas. In general, however, I find intimacy in silence – the most cherished moments with people for me are just listening, not thinking about some witty rebuttal or any of that shit, actually listening and getting into the core of another human. Intimacy is in doing nothing, in reading side by side or bodies intertwined with music blaring and neither of us saying a word. Alone, together.

For what its worth I know that I am imperfect: I am not the most eloquent, despite my username. I don’t always speak, and when do it is often fraught with emotion and mysterious riddles that require some serious deciphering as I jump from one thought to the next. I am intuitive and I feel extremely deeply though I don’t always verbalize these feelings. I don’t often speak without thinking first, unless margaritas are involved. I don’t give myself fully to everyone I meet, but I constantly strive to make sure that those close to me feel the depth of my love and gratitude, even when I don’t say it. I prefer to express myself through writing, or let a song say the things that I sometimes can’t. And I realize that these things aren’t problems after all.