I wanted to talk to you all about something that has been on my mind a lot lately. Singleness and its implications in the world of online dating.
Online dating has created a strange culture surrounding dating and relationships. We’ve formed a very transactional view regarding our connections with others. This has led to a number of cultural phenomenons such as the slow fade, ghosting, and even gaslighting (Side note: it’s an excellent movie. I encourage you to check it out. Ingrid Bergman is phenomenal). One thing that the tangled web of online dating has shown is that we crave genuine human connection, but many of us are afraid of the implications. We have created a world in which relationships can be formed and broken by matching and just disappearing. We’ve learned not to value human connection and yet we crave it. How may times must me encounter a just casual to come to this realization? What even is a just casual? What is the point of having a relationship without the commitment or the emotional engagement? At the end of the day, no one wants to be alone and online dating has given individuals a way of taking numerous short-cuts to having someone. I’m not saying that it’s impossible to find genuine connection, but it is certainly quite difficult particularly in certain age groups. I’m also not judging anyone for taking this route. It’s just not necessarily for me. All of this has come to light in the midst of me forming what many would lovingly call a “situationship”.
Unlike most situationships, mine lacks all physicality, but it involves a lot of emotional intimacy. I find myself in a friendship with the emotional intimacy typically associated with a romantic relationship. To start, yes I did meet this individual on a dating app. I’m not even sure how we matched to be honest. He told his sister that it’s due to the fact that I didn’t see how short he is…he’s probably right. Sue me! What started as casual conversation slowly turned into daily calls for hours. Suddenly, something clicked in me. Perhaps it’s the avoidant in me, but as the emotional intimacy grew I found myself pushing him away. Not necessarily as a friend, but as a potential romantic interest. I hate the word “friend zone”, but it’s exactly what I’ve done. I must admit that I do have feelings for him, but as soon as I was faced with the prospect of true intimacy I turned away from it– potentially robbing myself of something that could be good for me. I’m waiting in vain for us to reach that dreaded impasse where we must confront the obvious mess that we’ve created. I’m not certain how I’ve found myself in this position yet again. It seems to be becoming a trend. Perhaps, I’m the secondary component of casual. There’s the individual with which someone might share physical intimacy and there’s another individual with which they share emotional intimacy. It is easy for romantic relationships to dissipate especially since there is always another option that is just a swipe away. I suppose that some part of myself can acknowledge that I find solace in not having to lose the potential emotional intimacy that comes with the dissolving of a romantic relationship. I’m beginning to question whether or not my current perspective is the symptom of the disease or a cause of it. Perhaps, deep down we’ve all come to fear vulnerability and the fear of loss that can come with it. We’ve created a world in which we never have to feel it. In the age of connectedness, we’re more hidden than ever before.
In all honesty, there are only three things that you should be giving yourself this year. I’ve seen a lot of fashion bloggers out there attempting to shill what I like to call “pre-pandemic wear” AKA things that do not involve elastic. Let’s be honest though…those have no place in our lives at the present moment.
In honor of realism, I’d like to share with you the three things to add to your holiday wishlist and no, they are not from Nordstrom lol.
Sweatpants (less than $25; on average about $10 for most colors): I shamelessly own them in every color. I always buy means sweatpants because I’m tall, but for some reason they also just feel more comfy. The only downside is that they lack pockets, so no storage place for your tater tots Napoleon. Believe it or not…they perform the same function as those $50 dollar ones that you see everywhere 👀
Sweatshirts (less than $20; on average about $15 for most colors): I also own these sweatshirts in many colors. Comfort Colors sweatshirt are notoriously comfortable and these do not fail to disappoint.
Socks (less than $20 for a pack of five; some color ways are cheaper): I own these as well. They are so freaking warm. They are the perfect socks for the cold snap that we’ve been enduring at the present moment.
I wanted to share with you one of the important lessons that I learned from therapy…the importance of discomfort. I think it goes hand in hand with the heaping dose of patience that therapy teaches you.
Discomfort is necessary for change to happen. This fact of life has yet to fail me. Whether it be a waistband that’s too tight or a relationship that doesn’t feel quit right, discomfort holds a mirror to your current situation and gives you the insight that leads you to change. When we ignore what our inner voice is telling us, we not only allow ourselves to be trapped in unsavory situations but we also limit ourselves from reaching our full potential. The next time that you find yourself in an uncomfortable situation lean into it. Listen to what the frame of mind is telling you. Oftentimes, we limit ourselves by failing to acknowledge the truth that is right in front of us.
One of the things that I am working on in therapy is my fear of failure. Unfortunately, by some cruel twist fate you cannot work through lifelong issues without failing every now and then. This is probably one of the most frustrating things about consciously working on yourself. There is no such thing as being perfect. There is only better and sometimes better is “worse” than where you started. It’s the non-linear pathway that growth often takes. Growth, the albatross that it is, breeds an immense amount of discomfort. For every step forward, there is a potential for a backslide that will leave you reeling. In conclusion, there is no growth without discomfort.
I hope you all find peace and enlightenment in your discomfort.
I hope that you had a restful and restorative weekend. For this week’s Me Crush Monday, I want to encourage you to write a letter to your younger self. The inner child inside of all of us that still needs to be nurtured and loved.
Write as if you know their future and you want them to receive as much love as they possibly can in order to prepare themselves for it. Write it with an understanding that they are naive to what is to come. Write it with an understanding that you deserve to forgive yourself for all of the meandering that life’s journey has taken you upon.
I wrote my letter this weekend after an incredibly difficult time. Mental health is incredibly important and often times I forget that I am the product of my experiences. I needed to remind myself that I was doing the best that anyone could do given my life circumstances. I needed to remind myself that my best may not look too hot as this point in time. I needed to remind myself that I need to actively heal from all stages in my life. I needed to remind myself that there is no right way to be. This is where I am in life and I’m pretty damn proud. This is my life and I’m doing my best to live it.
I have included a short excerpt from my letter to my younger self to help inspire you in your writing:
It has been awhile since we last chatted. I wanted to check on you on. I know that you’ve been going through a lot lately. Dad is gone. I hate to be the one to tell you that he’s not coming back. I hope that you’re taking care of Winter. He’ll be your best bud to the very end. Appreciate your time with him because dog years are real. He will be with you until you must leave him to go on your journey to higher education. He will peacefully cross over the rainbow bridge knowing that he gave you all of the love that any dog can give an owner. Your heart will break again– you’ll get used to this feeling. “
I remember the first time that I encountered the phantom that is nothingness. An indescribable weight. Unlike Atlas, whose form is bent and broken under the weight of the world upon his shoulders, there was nothing there. An unspoken and unseen burden. A loss for words. A loneliness. You see, there are many burdens that swallow the soul and break down even the strongest of beings. Yet they seem to be comprehensible, but nothingness is everything without being. There is not a panacea for this malady. No finger to point towards blame. There is… .
It evokes a soft plea for help. Others don’t understand. They may have felt this nothingness at some point, yet in its non-existent uniformity it still bears weight differently for different people. Nothingness was the weight that beared down upon me the first time I ventured into my therapist’s office. It seemed as if my body defied Newton’s laws of gravity as I felt myself sinking below the couch that was meant to support me; it was a metaphor for the discomfort that permeated every aspect of my life. I barely made it into the office that day. I’m not even ashamed to admit that I was dragged out of bed and still wearing PJs. I was greeted with a hello and a sincere compliment about my ensemble. She was greeted with a deluge of tears. That was enough for me.
Very few words were exchanged that day. To the outside world, it would not be seen as progress. It would not be viewed as the inception of a strong bond. No one would see what I’d discovered for myself that day, and that’s okay. I wasn’t there for anyone else. I was barely there for myself. I understood that I found a space to cultivate the words that would slowly unload the invisible burden upon my shoulders.
The first lesson that I learned from therapy was the very fact that I needed it.
P.S. I am a firm believer in therapy…even if you believe that you are not struggling with anything in your life. Perhaps you’ve encourage others in your life to seek it out, but felt that you were unworthy of the same service. You are. I encourage you to seek out help if you need it or even if you don’t. It’s nice to share in a space without judgement.
As I’ve gotten older, I’ve come to understand many things about life. Bills do not magically pay themselves. You may hate your job, but you’d hate your life without one even more. Justin Timberlake’s frosted tips were never attractive. One of the biggest revelations of my life, however, is that not everything has to be incredible; if something is not incredible, it can still be extraordinarily meaningful.
Sometimes just doing is doing just enough– this is what I call the most convenient path. In essence, we all need to learn to give ourselves grace. Not everyone can take the road less traveled and that’s okay. We’re not all meant to be start-up founders. There is comfort in what is known. Our lives are complicated and many of us are just doing the best that we can. Instead of judging ourselves for not taking the road less traveled, we should appreciate ourselves for venturing to journey in the first place. No one said that life would be easy and we’ve all experienced doses of that to some degree. We deserve to give ourselves some credit.
In honor of the emotionally draining election period we are going through and today’s voter registration deadline, I thought I’d share a quick quote from one of my favorite philosophers.
“Just because you do not take an interest in politics doesn’t mean politics won’t take an interest in you.”-Pericles
In summary my friends, please vote.
I know that this election is being touted as the election to end all elections but that is simply untrue. Our right and duty to exercise our freedom of involvement in public matters, has and will always matter. Please do not forget that regardless of the outcome or of the individuals running for office.
I encourage you to explore for yourself what you are the policies being proposed by both sides regardless of your political leanings. Empathy and compromise are the best ways to deal with this contentious time period.
I’d love to hear more from you. Happy debating my friends!
In honor of the undoubtedly rough week ahead, I’ve decided to start a new series called Me Crush Mondays. I’m really excited to share this concept with y’all. Mondays signal the start to a new week, but they can also serve as a mini refresh/ source of encouragement if you allow for them to. Instead of getting the Monday scaries, we can all work towards shaping a positive habit or form of self care that energizes us for the start of the week. I’ve always struggled with Mondays and I wanted to share this idea with y’all as soon as it popped into my head. I hope that it may help you in some small way. Perhaps, you can inspire others in your lives to start the week off with a more positive mindset…I just realized how ironic my intro sentence is haha.
In all honesty, very few of us give ourselves the appreciation that we deserve. For this first Me Crush Monday, I encourage you to make a list of at least 5 affirmations. Take time to meditate upon them. Try not to make them general affirmations. Make them specific to you and your journey. On Monday, I want you to read them to yourself while looking in the mirror- when you wake up in the morning, when you take a lunch break, or whenever you have time.
I’ll share with you one of my first affirmations: You are strong for choosing to court the uncertainty that comes with pursuing your dreams in the midst of your deep grief.
Side note: As counterintuitive as it may seem, these Monday posts will go live on Sundays. I’m hoping that this will give you time to prepare yourself/ have something to look forward to on Mondays. Of course, all of these activities can be performed at any point in the week.
Feel free to share some of your affirmations below. I’d love to hear from you. Don’t forget…
As I sit here writing this blogpost, my next door neighbor is banging away on his newly acquired drum set. While I appreciate the joie de vivre, I do wish he’d work through his midlife crises in a more introspective manner or at the very least substitute his drum set for one of these. I kid, BUT I will be adding some noise cancelling headphones to my holiday wishlist lol. Everyone deserves their little piece of escape.
Speaking of escape, I never knew that staycations would one day become the norm. I mean I don’t think anything, apart from The Simpsons, could have predicted the kind of year we are having. We live at home, we work at home, and are somehow expected to find our escape in our homes. It’s a lot for any person to manage. (Side note: I’m particularly impressed by the parents that are toeing this difficult balance.) In an effort to help you with your much deserved staycations, I wanted to share some things that I’ve been doing and tools that I’ve utilized to give myself those little moments of mental reprieve.
Reading: Reading truly is the ultimate escape. Even before quarantine, I found solace in the way in which words can weave wondrous worlds for us to wander in. (I couldn’t help myself with the alliteration lol). I’ll try to get some posts together regarding my quarantine readings.
Decorating: Decorating is truly an underrated art. I’ve always taken quite a spartan approach to my living arrangements. If I had what I needed, then I was utterly grateful. However, spending so much time at home has really illuminated the importance of personalizing your space. I’ll do more posts regarding in depth tips for decorating , but I did want to mention three things that really have helped me
fairy lights– I’ve purchased multiple sets of the lights linked here. They add such a soft glow of gloomy nights when you don’t want the harshness of overhead light. They are an excellent way to create a space to escape. I personally love the “romantic” feel that they add to any space.
Japanese screens– Japanese screens or room dividers in general have been an essential part of my quarantine experience. While they are a little on the steep side, they are still much less expensive than paying rent for a larger place to live! I’ve utilized room dividers to assist with creating physical barriers in my small space that assist me with mentally dividing my now complex relationship with my living space.
Bedding– Don’t get me wrong, I’ve always invested in decent bedding. However, I never appreciated it until quarantine. While this may not be the best habit and perhaps counterproductive to the whole division of space trend, I find myself using my bed ask my main work space some days. To be honest, sometimes I have to muster a lot of energy to work and I can’t manage to both work and get out of bed. When I commuted into the office, I had an external pressure to be “ON”. Now, Wentworth is my only co-worker. Although he is a somewhat shady boy, the pressure to be fully present doesn’t feel the same. Instead of punishing myself for not being able to get out of bed some days, I decided to invest in myself and create a space that I could feel both comforted and productive.
“Me-Do” List: This one may be self-explanatory, but I find that I create to-do lists for everything. I always have discouragingly long to-do lists pertaining to my job and my life responsibilities, BUT I don’t…well didn’t have one for the things that actually feed my soul. That’s why I started making “Me-Do” lists. Forgive the grammar, but I was feeling cutesy haha. On my weekly “Me-Do” list, I put down things that I enjoy doing that have no end goal or objective apart from bringing me peace and/or joy. I don’t have to do everything on that list, but I challenge myself to at least do one of the things on my list at some point during the week. When I’m feeling more ambitious, I challenge myself to do one thing from the list each day. The nice thing about “Me-Do” lists is that there isn’t a right or wrong way to utilize them. Some weeks, I do the same “Me-Do” every single day. Other weeks, I fit in a quick one on Sunday just to say I did it. Below are some examples of “Me-Dos”
Painting(I have this exact set. I absolutely love it)
reading one book chapter
cooking a nice meal
lighting some candles( these are some of my favorite candles. convenient and great burn time)
You get the gist of it. Your list should be reflective of all of the things that you put to the side in favor of things that you have to do.
Well that’s all from me. I hope that this post was somewhat helpful. I’d love to hear from you! Let me know in the comments if you have any book recommendations or suggestions for feeding your soul.
Full disclosure “failing upwards” is totally one of those motivational phrases that I absolutely abhor. I am most definitely failing, but the only thing going upward is my debt. No… seriously. Don’t get me wrong, I understand the premise of the phrase. We owe it to ourselves to do something that scares us, go for our dreams, and inevitably risk failure. However, as a society we have become risk averse. We are so risk averse that we have lost sight of what it truly means to fail.
Failure has suddenly become synonymous with not doing enough, doing too much, or not knowing what to do at all. In essence, we’ve begun to attach the word failure to any moments in our lives that make us uncomfortable or question our long-term trajectory. The issue with this lies in the fact that failure is not a state of being, but rather a description of an outcome. This is where the idea of failing upwards falls short. No you are not a failure because you’re unmarried, your kids suck, or because you like the new Kanye. You are, however, a failure if you let outcomes become your identity. On the bright side, this means that you’re most likely not a sociopath so there’s that.
In all seriousness, as a society we need to work towards embracing the idea of growing pains and erasing the idea of failure. Normally, I am opposed to the new-age, “participation trophy” approach to life. No, not everything is good. No, not every result is positive. Yes, you have failed and you will fail again. However, in the overexposed society in which we live we do not have a realistic litmus of where we should be in life. This leads us to attach failure to any aspect of our lives that “falls short”. In an ideal world, failing upwards would describe a comfort in knowing that not everything will go your way in life. However until we learn to escape the pressure of what should be and embrace what is, we will continue to universalize the implications of our failures. Stop failing upwards. We must learn to just fail and keep it moving.