Things that I want in a lover

Since I refused to spend a paycheck on honey candles, when I was in Salem a few weeks ago I bought a love candle. I’m supposed to write down what I want in a lover, burn it on the nights around a full moon, and recite the list. I’ve been ridiculously busy as of late, and haven’t given much thought to this list. I think that a big problem I have when it comes to dating is that I don’t really have any specifics for what I want in my future partner. Some people may say that this is a good thing. That I will be able to date a plethora of people because I don’t really have any “deal breakers.” However, I am also picky with the people I date. I know that doesn’t really sound like it makes much sense but I guess I just need that certain level of physical and emotional attraction.

I don’t need someone I date to be an astrophysicist. I’ve dated guys that have had normal 9-5 office jobs, I’ve dated a lawyer, I’ve dated a  tour guide, I’ve dated a high school graduate on unemployment. I branch out. What you decide to do with your life doesn’t impress me as much as the fact that you’re happy with what you’re doing. Or at least can tolerate it.

As far as looks go, I don’t need a supermodel. You don’t need to have six-pack abs or biceps like Popeye (although, wow are they fun to play with!). I’ve been in love with a man who had the beginnings of a beer belly.

But, what I do need is someone who has a sparkle in their eye.

Someone who I look at, and who looks at me, and who I just click with.

Someone that makes my heart skip a beat and I’m not exactly sure why.

Maybe it’s their smile. Maybe it’s the way they look at me as if I’m the only girl in the room. But, you see, it’s not just one thing. And it’s never the same. So I can not definitively say that I need my future mate to possess this and this and this. Because he doesn’t.

I don’t need him to come hiking with me (although it’d be nice if he did). I can do that on my own.

He doesn’t have to come to the concerts I go to. I have friends that would come with me in a heartbeat.

I don’t require him to have his own place. I can’t judge someone for living with their parents when I still live at home. It wouldn’t be fair. I mean, it makes things a hell of a lot easier when the person I date has their own apartment/house, but it’d be hypocritical to say they need to have one in order to be date-worthy. What I do require is a savings account and the hope that, someday, they will have their own place. And that they’re working towards it.

I guess my list has to do more with emotional stuff. I want my future Mr. to be generous and kind, to help little old ladies across the street, to ask me to call him when I get home so he knows that I’m safe. I want him to open doors for me, and not start driving until I have my seatbelt on. If he smokes, I want him to understand what he’s doing to his body and why I would love if he’d try to quit. I don’t need him to like my music, but I need him to have an appreciation for music. He has to like to cuddle. And hold my hand. He has to like me for more than the physical. He has to ask me questions about myself and my life. He has to be interested. He has to be ready for me and all of my quirkiness. He has to understand that I’m a hypochondriac, and love me for it. He has to love his family and friends, but he has to want to be my friend. Not just my lover. Even if he thinks my friends are weird, loud, obnoxious, crazy, etc. he has to suck it up and go out with us from time to time. He has to hand me the remote once in awhile. He has to want a baby.

I guess I do have some needs, now that I think about it. Doesn’t really seem like asking for much, but obviously I haven’t had the best luck so far.

Maybe burning the candle is just a symbolic thing. Maybe what I really needed to do was realize that, yes, I do have deal-breakers. And they aren’t ridiculous and crazy. They are normal things that a guy who is in love with me should do, and do willingly.

I’ll find him someday. And when I do, I will look back at this post and smile.

I hope.

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Funky McFunkster

I’ve been in a funk.

There, I’ve said it.

It’s the funkiest kind of funk. It’s the kind of funk where you’re not exactly sure why you’re in the funk to begin with. The kind of funk where people ask you what’s wrong and you just shrug and say “I honestly have no idea.”

I mean, I guess I have a little bit of an idea, but to type it or say it aloud feels silly.

Maybe I’ll say it anyway. Maybe I’ll just write and get it out and it’ll be free and open and out there and, hopefully, I can get some advice. Some words of wisdom. Some “there there’s.” Because, really, who doesn’t need a “there there” every once in awhile?

I’ve been in love once. But I’ve truly cared about a handful of guys. I’ve never been in a relationship lasting over a year. Truthfully, my longest one lasted eight months. It sounds so pathetic to admit when I have friends who have been in relationships for close to five years or more. Every guy I get close to, cuts it off with me in one way or another. Here’s what I know. I know that I can attract a guy. I know that I can physically present myself in a way that gets a guy looking. I know when to smile cute and when to tease and pull back just enough so that they are interested in knowing more.

In the beginning, it usually works something like this. I’m not sure about the guy for one reason or another, but I spend more time with him because, for some reason, I’m intrigued. Then, it starts. He’s paying me attention, and I like it. He’s interesting and new and different, and I like it. I’m attracted. I get excited. I can’t sleep. I step over the bridge from not being sure about someone to admitting that, yes, I do like him. (Once I step over that bridge, I never, ever go back.) I talk to him frequently, but don’t suffocate. When I feel like suffocating, I talk to friends, instead. I show my affection for him, I let him talk, I answer his questions, I tease when I feel appropriate. He usually talks about the future and what we’ll do together. And then, just when I feel like I can trust this person. Just when I think that I may have found something real, it vanishes. Sometimes instantaneously. Sometimes slowly fizzling. But, the fact of the matter is that when I finally let myself fall, it has always, up to this point, led to my feelings being hurt.

I don’t mean to sound all sorry for myself. I don’t mean to make myself out to be the victim. I know that I have definitely broken a heart or two in my 26 years on Earth. But I also know that I would never let myself get to the point that many of these men let relationships get to, if I wasn’t truly invested in the person. I know that to be invested you have to get to know the person, but if I went on, oh let’s say six or seven dates with someone and then decided that I really was not interested, I would talk with him. I’d explain why I no longer wanted to see him in the romantic capacity. I wouldn’t just simply stop talking to him, leaving him to wonder what he could have possibly done wrong.

Because now, here I sit. The one left alone. Wondering what the hell I am doing wrong. Wondering, am I just . . . unlovable? They’ve called me gorgeous and amazing and unlike any other girl they’d met before. They’ve said they get lost in my eyes and that I’m smart and sassy and they like it. But they don’t stay. They never stay.

I feel like, if I was in a long-term serious relationship that broke up because both partners were in mutual agreement that it wasn’t working out, I wouldn’t be feeling this kind of hurt and confusion. Even if I got dumped years into a relationship, at least I’d know that I had been loved for more than just my body or the way I look. I would be such a damn good girlfriend, I know that I would.

I have been.

I want to be again.

I’m rambling and probably sound pathetic, but I can’t help it. These are my feelings and if I can’t be honest in my journal, then where the hell can I be honest?

Food for thought

I believe I was around 14 or so when this speech-turned-Top 40 Radio hit became popular. I listened to the words then, but they didn’t really have any affect on me or the way I lived my life. I rediscovered it a few weeks ago and really read the advice, letting each life lesson sink in. Seeing the truth and beauty in it.

I’m a lot different at 26 than I was at 14. At 14 I was scared, shy and never really knew my place. I kept quiet so that no one would make me feel like an outcast. Maybe that fact actually turned me into one. You know the old saying “I wish I knew then what I know now” ? Well, yeah, that’s me. If I knew back in my freshman year of high school what I know now, my life would be completely different. I would have kissed many more boys in high school. I would have danced instead of sitting on the bleachers. I wouldn’t have quit the cheerleading squad in 10th grade due to mean girls, and I certainly would have kept on performing in the school plays, regardless of not getting the lead roles.

I wanted to (re)introduce you to these words of wisdom, in hopes that you’ll nod your head and smile when reading it. Maybe if I had really paid attention when I first heard it, my life would have turned out a little differently. Probably not, but it’s interesting to think about. . .

~~

“Enjoy the power and beauty of your youth. Never mind. You will not understand the power and beauty of your youth until they have faded. But trust me, in 20 years you’ll look back at photos of yourself and recall in a way you can’t grasp now how much possibility lay before you and how fabulous you really looked.

You are NOT as fat as you imagine.

Don’t worry about the future; or worry, but know that worrying is as effective as trying to solve an algebra equation by chewing bubblegum. The real troubles in your life are apt to be things that never crossed your worried mind; the kind that blindside you at 4pm on some idle Tuesday.

Do one thing every day that scares you.

Sing.

Don’t be reckless with other people’s hearts, don’t put up with people who are reckless with yours.

Floss.

Don’t waste your time on jealousy; sometimes you’re ahead, sometimes you’re behind. The race is long, and in the end, it’s only with yourself.

Remember compliments you receive, forget the insults; if you succeed in doing this, tell me how.

Keep your old love letters, throw away your old bank statements.

Stretch.

Don’t feel guilty if you don’t know what you want to do with your life. The most interesting people I know didn’t know at 22 what they wanted to do with their lives, some of the most interesting 40 year olds I know still don’t.

Get plenty of calcium.

Be kind to your knees, you’ll miss them when they’re gone.

Maybe you’ll marry, maybe you won’t, maybe you’ll have children, maybe you won’t, maybe you’ll divorce at 40, maybe you’ll dance the funky chicken on your 75th wedding anniversary. Whatever you do, don’t congratulate yourself too much or berate yourself, either. Your choices are half chance, so are everybody else’s. Enjoy your body, use it every way you can. Don’t be afraid of it, or what other people think of it, it’s the greatest instrument you’ll ever own.

Dance. Even if you have nowhere to do it but in your own living room.

Read the directions, even if you don’t follow them.

Do NOT read beauty magazines, they will only make you feel ugly.

Get to know your parents, you never know when they’ll be gone for good.

Be nice to your siblings; they are your best link to your past and the people most likely to stick with you in the future.

Understand that friends come and go, but for the precious few you should hold on. Work hard to bridge the gaps in geography in lifestyle because the older you get, the more you need the people you knew when you were young.

Live in New York City once, but leave before it makes you hard; live in Northern California once, but leave before it makes you soft.

Travel.

Accept certain inalienable truths, prices will rise, politicians will philander, you too will get old, and when you do you’ll fantasize that when you were young prices were reasonable, politicians were noble and children respected their elders.

Respect your elders.

Don’t expect anyone else to support you. Maybe you have a trust fund, maybe you’ll have a wealthy spouse; but you never know when either one might run out.

Don’t mess too much with your hair, or by the time you’re 40, it will look 85.

Be careful whose advice you buy, but, be patient with those who supply it. Advice is a form of nostalgia, dispensing it is a way of fishing the past from the disposal, wiping it off, painting over the ugly parts and recycling it for more than it’s worth.”

– Mary Schmich

Being from Jersey means never having to say you’re sorry.

When a guy I was dating once asked me what I liked doing more than anything in the world, I blurted out before thinking: “Getting out of Jersey.”

I thought back to that moment this weekend. I was at a bar in Boston, dancing with Indiana Jones. My white boa that went along with my flapper outfit wrapped around my dance partner’s shoulders as we swayed to the beat. He pulled me close. I was having fun! Twirling around! Laughing, singing, flirting. Not hurting a fly.

Until, that is, the bouncer tapped me on the shoulder.

“You’re gonna need to tone it down, miss,” he said in a booming voice.

I looked around, honestly perplexed. Was this 6ft 5, 270lb man talking to me?? What was I doing that was so wrong that I needed to be told to “tone it down?” What did that even mean anyway?

The rest of the night was entertaining enough, but it made me realize just how much Jersey is in this girl. I used to deny my accent, my habit of using too much hairspray, my secret desire to be tan in the dead of winter. But I can not do it anymore. I can’t deny that I’m madly in love with my home. The armpit of the US, if you will. The place where you can dance on bars without getting dollar bills shoved in your face. The state where, no matter where you are, you are within 20 minutes of a shopping mall at all times.

I love you, New Jersey. I’m sorry that I always say I want to leave. That I can’t see myself living here for the rest of my life. That I’d see that as a type of failure. You know me better than that. Just when you see that I’m at my wits end with you, you have a way of pulling me back in. Sometimes you can be harsh and mean and indifferent. But, other times, you can be pretty and warm and welcoming. You have the beach and the mountains, the lakes and the forests. You’re in my blood. No matter how much I sometimes wish you weren’t, you’re part of me.

And, wherever I end up in life, I’ll be part of you, too.

My seventh truth…a life worth living

Day 07 – Someone who has made your life worth living for.

There are some people that live their lives being what they think they should be. There are others that live their lives being what they are. My Cioci (Aunt) Florence was one of the latter people. She lived in the same two-story house on the same street in the same neighborhood of the same overly-populated city in New Jersey for 70 years. Her best friend was her sister, they did everything together. They owned twin houses nextdoor to each other. They went food shopping together. They went to church together and volunteered at soup kitchens. They were inseprible. Neither ever married. Neither ever needed to. Neither cared what anyone else thought of their situation. It was who they were, and they were beautiful.

My aunt was an amazing woman. She kept up with everyone’s whereabouts. She knew everything that was important to know in the family. She was the one that people went to when they had a problem, needed guidance, or just an ear to listen. Before she passed away last year, she sat me down while we were at a family function, and told me how proud she was of me.

You see, she had always wanted to go into the career that I was in graduate school for. She had taken classes at New York University years prior, but hadn’t stuck with it. Life got in the way.

She told me how happy she was that I was going into that field, and that she felt like she was living vicariously through me. She wanted me to succeed in the career she wasn’t ever able to get off the ground. She believed in me. She knew that I could get through the program, even when I had my doubts.

Every time I have an exam that takes me days to study for, or a paper that keeps me up at night writing, I think of my aunt. In part, she is the reason why I have come this far and have never given up. I made a promise to her that I would succeed in this profession. So, in part, I am living for her. I love my future career, but she has given me even more of a reason to pursue it.

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