Crazy

Crazy for you, crazy in love, crazy, stupid, love, does that make me crazy? Chime, chime, chime, crazy, crazy, crazy. Why is love always associated with this word? Are feelings meant to be crazy, out of control and off the wall? Or are they meant to be calm, cool, and collected? The latter is associated with calculating and hardness—two words that don’t often mesh well with relationships but maybe those words are not such a bad thing. Maybe we need a little more balance, a little more thought and a little less wild and out of control. But perhaps loosing control is falling in love, tripping over your own feet just to meet someone else. Are we not soundly involved if we are not driving ourselves mad? Lots of questions, and I know, very few answers. The answer could lie in this swirl of chaos, maybe the chaos leads to clarity and we can’t delve into our deepest selves without going a little mad. Relationships shouldn’t push us to the edge but they somehow do. We stew in our thoughts, act irrationally, say and do insane things that we would never ordinarily do. This could prove that love is extra-ordinary, when we can’t contain ourselves to think and act straight.

Is it wrong to want to stay comfortable? Comfortable in our constructed limits, this seems healthy. However, we don’t want to come off as cold, emotionless—an empty vessel. I wonder when did thoughtfulness become a bad thing? When was it decided that outrageous and over-the-top where acceptable and even desirable? I don’t want to lose my breath around someone, sounds like a recipe for hyperventilation. I don’t want to be emotional and relinquish control. This is not saying I don’t want to try new things. I push myself all the time and even embrace change but not when change is so mentally straining that we forget ourselves. Forget all the reasoning and purpose we created for our life. Crazy, fickle feelings are not my friends—they are not my enemies either, but not the first feelings I want attached to romance.

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I am going to start aiming for a little less crazy and a little saner. I want less confusion and hurling fistfuls of emotions at someone else. This doesn’t seem like a task too great but when relationships have pushed you so far from normalcy it is had to know what to go back to. It might be good to return to a more controlled side, more knowledgeable and less outrageous, less over-analyzing, and fewer unrealistic expectations. Let’s all be calm for a moment, still and restorative. This may take us to better relationships with longevity and phase out those disjointed moments of passion.

 

The Friend Zone

My girlfriends and I have been talking a lot about being “friend zoned” lately. Maybe it’s listening to too many new Adele songs but it got me in the mood to mull over this topic. I’m sure everyone is familiar with the concept of falling for someone only to find they see you in a purely platonic way. It’s rather disappointing isn’t it? However, the writings may have been written on the wall all along and you were just too into your crush to see them. I think this brings up the salient topic of whether girls and guys can be strictly friends. This is a polarizing subject that I have only broached with a few people but the occurrence of “friend zoning” is directly linked to this topic. All the signs you mistook for affection may just have been gestures of an endearing friend. So, how do we distinguish the difference? Should we first assume attraction or friendship? I’d like to think men and women can be friends as one of my dearest friends is a guy. However, I have heard some differing views. One hypothesis I like is the “missed connections” theory in which both people in the relationship will ultimately like one another but this will occur at different times. The only intersection of romantic feelings between friends would thusly happen in movies and very few real life circumstances where the lines of liking cross. There is an instinctual reaction to say that girls and guys can’t be friends because we are driven to couple up but this argument seems rather ridiculousness in modern society because we are not driven to mate per say. I am intensely curious about thoughts on this subject, as there are sure to be more opinions out there.

But back to the friend zone, sometimes we mistake kindness for sweetness, affection for attraction etc. This is not to say these things can jive together as they often do but one should be wary of lumping all actions to one side or the other of the balance. There are very sweet people out there and very touchy people out there and weirdly enough that’s just who they are. It’s probably best to think rationally about actions and never forget context. Say someone asks you to get coffee and study. Jumping to the immediate conclusion of “this is a coffee date and he/she loves me” may not be the most thoughtful conclusion. Think outside the current situation i.e. do you have a test coming up? Does this person suck at calculus and you are really apt? This process might help to draw reasoned conclusions. It’s true that some situations are downright confusing and make no sense. Maybe think of them as irregular variables in an experiment or correlation versus causation in statistics. Okay, that’s a lot of mathematics talk but the point is in there somewhere.

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To be completely honest I’ve seen my friends and even myself burnt by misconceptions of the truth way too many times. Therefore, I am a bit more on the cautious skeptic side. Erring on the side of caution is not necessarily a bad thing because it allows you to be surprised when someone ends up expressing romantic feelings towards you. My ultimate argument would be that people should be explicitly clear about their feelings but I guess where’s the fun in that? Dropping hints and misreading signs are all part of the endless love game that we love to play.

 

Impending Journey

As I prepare to embark on a life-altering journey overseas I can’t help but glance over my shoulder at the past. I feel as if I am peering back into a swirl of emotions and watching them fade into the distance. Embracing this feeling is akin to shedding an exoskeleton. A carcass of dead skin and bones that has been holding me down but there is still a sadness in saying goodbye to the past. The past is an anchor that holds us down but also acts as a safety net. Old bad habits and strong relationships are all part of the past simultaneously. We tend to carry our pasts with us; shadows clinging to our bodies and never letting go. Why? Good question. This safety net as I mentioned is when the past becomes a crutch, holding us back in several ways. We often use phrases like “I put myself out there once and look what happened,” or “I tried this once before and it became a bloody mess,” and even putting people or events on a pedestal so nothing in the future could possibly compare.

This journey away from home is a good way for me to cut the strings of my past safety net. Creature comforts of home and school will be gone, along with gloomy memories and awkward situations. Starting fresh abroad is certainly good for the soul but not everyone has the opportunity to put an ocean between themselves and the past.

However, new school years are still new opportunities to shed this dead weight. Feel lightness again that you felt before. Even if you are constantly running smack into the past, as a text on your phone, passing in the street, or smeared on career fair posters you can still let it go. Yes, it’s a little harder to rise above when you have reminders encircling you but it’s just a greater opportunity to be a stronger person.

I always say it’s good to be nervous about something because it means the thing is really important to you. There is a difference between nervous to succeed and show your best self and nervous to fail and break down. Missteps and collapses are bound to happen but there is no way to see them coming, no way to obsessively plan and build exit strategies for everything that could possibly go wrong. Instead, take the bundle of nerves and let is serve as kindling for recommitment to your passions, your drive, and your oomph to get this year going.

I’m going to urge myself to stop thinking about what I can learn from the past and just get going already. What’s done is done, cliché as it is, it’s certainly the truth. Lets kick start the new year with some new goals; the possibilities are endless.

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LA San Diego to Tokyo

Iggy Azalea has now famously sung about being fancy from LA to Tokyo. She jeers about living in the fast lane and “remember my name.” As a Spring break trip to San Diego (the conservative cousin of Los Angeles) comes to a close; the impending journey to Tokyo awaits Morgan, my boyfriend. I sense excitement mixed with anxiety when he talks about his trip and this is probably echoed back by me. Living in a fast paced world makes remembering names, dates, and important memories both easier and harder. We soon forget and move on to the next exciting thing as much as we snap photos and immediately reminisce. When on vacation, time does a strange twist between fast and slow. Each day in the sun, is leisurely and calm, then you wake up a week later and the sun is setting on your vacation faster than it rose. While one might think weeks of time would compound this super fast feeling, there is a tipping point where time is just long. Most months are long, except February, when you are apart from someone you care about.

If communication was already hard for me, distance has only amplified it. Recently, the decibel got so loud I could barely breath. Times and feelings don’t line up, making you feel helpless and hurting. The best thing to do is reach out, talk it out. Officially “breaking up” might take off some of the pressure in the long distance relationship and bring a couple close. At least, that is one possible outcome of a separation. Ditch your label and see what happens, it’s time for a change.

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Talk is cheap, plane tickets are expensive.

I have always said N-O to long-distance relationships, mainly when serving as a counselor to friends because I have never been faced with the dilemma but alas, here we are. New relationships bring new highs and new challenges. In this case, a trial I am still trying to ignore is the long-distance question. When you become quite comfortable seeing some one on a regularly scheduled basis separating the routine with countries and continents does not seem like the best idea. Once a couple has finally found their domestic groove, which takes time within itself, things can get quite stirred up with a move abroad. In postulating, I was directed to four possible outcomes/directions. First, stay together. Next, break up before the impending separation. Third, a hall-pass scenario-which can either funnel into a break up or joyous reunion. Finally, my personal favorite, avoid the issue at all costs up until moving day. Each outcome has positive and negative effects for both parties. The first solution is deceptively harder than it sounds. One can argue that problems of emotional distance have pretty much been solved by the connecting forces of Skype, Facebook, WhatsApp, etc. However, physical proximately is not easily achieved through a digital screen and this can have some repercussions. Temptation, wandering gazes are only intensified with distance. With less scrutiny on the relationship, it is easy to lose sight of loyalty. Sometimes we simply develop a strong craving for intimacy and want to be held close, wrapped in the arms of our significant other.

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In relationships we learn to grow with another person and constantly seek collaboration and feedback. Physical separateness promotes separate growth and you could turn out to bloom into a completely different person with changing wants and needs. Communicating character evolution is key in long distance relationships so couples stay in tune with each other’s progression. Reevaluation, not constant but occasional, is also a requirement of both parties to make sure that the excitement and enthusiasm is still present. If two choose to remain a pair, another complication that comes up is the question of missing someone too much to stay together. While this seems slightly oxymoronic it has proven very realistic. The pain of being apart can actually be hurtful. Overwhelming sadness sounds like it means two people really deeply care about each other but this can be unhealthy. The idea of being trapped by phone calls, text messages, wedded to Skype dates can be really fearful. Being that person standing in the corner, on the phone with her boyfriend, during the New Years party, does not seem appealing. It’s a shackling sensation, one that chafes the heart and spirit. The fear of missing out is almost as strong as the fear of missing itself. 

After several discussions, where suggestions were increasingly jumbled and contradicting I had an amazingly frank friend give me advice. Her brunt quote was thus, “I think you need to get over yourself and get a vibrator.” I don’t mean to be so crass (but what would Carrie do?) and that is not the key focus of her instruction. My best friend emphasized the first clause and I will repeat, “I think you need to get over yourself.” She did not mean this in a hurtful way but as a pointed statement at my narcissism mixed with misguided pride that seemed to be guiding my decision making process and probably the majority of this piece.

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I am still going to have to figure out how to “get over myself” as does everyone grappling with similar circumstances. First, reaffirm your love or very strong affection for the person you are with. This feeling, whatever you want to call it, should probably be what’s propelling your discussion, not internal fears. Next, be logical. As analytical as it sounds it is necessary to look at the timeline. This includes duration of separation, availability to visit, and where your own work or studies will place you on a scale from “very occupied” to “lounging around.” A caution with the latter is too much time on your hands can lead to overthinking, oversleeping,… ‘over’ waiting around. The more productive each individual is with their time, the more likely it is that they will become more comfortable and accustomed to the couple void. A final note to “getting over yourself” is remembering that two hearts are beating in this equation. As cheesy as it sounds, relationships are not easy. They are not all drinks and dancing, painting and nesting, and all other things that either causes traditionalists to squeal or hipsters to cry. Contentiousness is critical and sacrifices will be made. A long-distance relationship requires more selflessness than a customary relationship. Failing at a long distance relationship does not doom all future endeavors in one’s romantic life. Letting the fear of failing hold you back is what my friend meant when she said “get over yourself,.” Translation: get over the fear of your destructive, cheating, lying, prideful self and embrace the beautiful, caring, empathic, nurturing side that your partner fell for in the first place.

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Ex-tra benefits

12-925x520              If “friends with benefits” and ‘no strings attached” are the “it” sexual relationships of this day and age, I’d argue that the tried and true trendsetter of it all was flings with exes. People have been breaking up, making up, and just plain hooking up with the same lovers time after time. We swiftly kick them out of our lives only to pull them back into our beds for that weekend back in our hometown or the “oh I just happen to be at a bar in your neighborhood” evening. While all of our friends reprimand us and the hallow assertions of “this will be the last time…no really” we find it harder and harder to pull ourselves away. Why? I’d say the answer is simple, comfort.

The ease of knowing someone’s body, having a pre-established nighttime ritual, and everything else that contributed to the initial relationship still remains after the emotional entanglement has ended. There is a certain confidence in knowing that you are not going to be judged while sleeping and that your naked form will not come as a shock but only as a conditioned tender pattern. It can be rather nice to get exactly what you want without surprises but it can come at a cost.

After emotionally distancing yourself from an ex, being thrown back right into the fiery passion does not solicit an easing of tensions. In fact, it is arguable, that the fiery rekindling of a relationship will give you more anxiety and head scratching. I write this as a continued offender that has come to yet another ex-ing sign on the road. I tell myself that it is just convenience, it’s okay because I know better than to get attached, but really do I? In reality I may just be kidding myself. I do not argue that the ex hookups are completely emotionless, in fact, they are extremely wrought with feelings you had for one another and that is probably why they can be so tender and feel so good. However, entering this torrid storm of sex and passion can leave you feeling emptier then you were before.

I’d say tread with extreme caution, be acutely aware of the reasons why you and your lover broke up and never forget them throughout the whole process. If there is post-coital evidence that suggests that your partner developed into a more suitable mate then make further considerations. If it is the same old, same old, take the joyous romp for what it was and keep on keeping on. Soon enough you will find someone who adores and cherishes you in a new way and temptation to rekindle that old flame will sputter out.31-925x520

Strikes and Spares

When meeting people the “get to know you process” can be clunky and awkward or smooth and steady. But as we learn more about someone we tend to assess them as potential dates or friends through a strange weeding out process. For me, if someone is not comfortable sharing food or eating family style this is an automatic strike against him or her. I make a grand assumption based on a very specific culinary quality and bam! Strike one. While many say we are in this proverbial game of life and love is there really a need for a strict strikeout policy? Why do we treat potential candidates for companionship as vessels who must fit into the rules of regulation play? If a baseball reference is not something you lean on there are many other similar examples in which we rate each other. “She/He’s a real knockout,” what does boxing have to do with anything? Why am I trying to get a KO out of this when really there are a lot more than 12 rounds to go? Strikeouts, knockouts, home runs first base, second base, blindsided and many other words are all tossed around like we are in a huge competition to meet people and create lasting relationships. While we all have automatic prejudices that affect our response to one another it might be time to soften the criteria. People are always saying, “do not lower your standards” and they say it quite fiercely as if there are major consequences if we disobey. Yet, phrases like “he’s out of my league” continue the dreary sports analogies as well as perpetuate a sort of caste system of dating and friendship. Perhaps what you are looking for may be nowhere in sight of the club you usually associate with. Whatever age you are I think it is pretty difficult to pin down exactly what your standards should be. If we ease up on our rules, dole out less strikes, and venture off the reservation a little bit, we’ll find a host of enticing and interesting individuals we never thought garnered consideration.IMG_1724

Say What You Mean

I was going to begin with naming this post the asshole factor but then thought better of it. Why? Name-calling is no good even when people are misbehaved and emotions can cause some pretty strong reactions. When someone decides to end a romantic entanglement and that someone is not you, the feeling is a total loss of control. You can be as prepared for a difficult conversation and still be caught off guard. This is due to the fact that your guard is naturally down when dealing with emotion, anxiety and stress.

I learned a lot from this damming conversation and that was chiefly, communication is key. If people who are comfortable with their emotions are called “open books” then I am a tightly bound locket enclosed hardback novel. Confrontation, expressing feeling, and all other sentiments has never been my strong suit. I have learned that this will make relationships fall like dominos one after another until the space between you and the person you care for has grown so great and uncomfortable, countless elephants in the room could not fill it.

Say what you mean. Say it accurately, say it wisely and say it exactly when you feel it. Do not let discomfort grow and do not be uncomfortable to share. It’s a pretty intense new method that will take some time to adjust to but in the future I hope to accomplish it.

It is not brave to end a relationship because you don’t want to have a difficult conversation and consider changing your ways or share personal issues. I experienced this and did see it as cowardly of my partner. However, keeping my own feelings inside showed weakness as well. When two people engage in a paring their minds do not automatically meld, mesh together seamlessly becoming a beating entity of understanding. Instead, the two minds connect, mesh a little, mash a lot and ultimately are still as separate as when they started. You have to say (or write) what you want before the thoughts escape you. The context must remain fresh on the mind instead of waiting. Pausing to reflect is good but stalling and ignoring is detrimental.

Saying what you mean is forceful, not imploring. Saying what you mean is clarity. Saying what you mean is considerate because saying “I am fine” is usually utter bullshit. Having myself been the f-i-n-e queen, I know it to be true. Spewing disingenuous nonsense is not going to be doing any favors in any situations. To say what you mean is to be honest and to grow, so just say it.

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Carrie Bradshaw Musings: A Start

In relationships, each partner does whatever they can to make the other feel safe, comfortable. Whether this is against human nature or not, doesn’t really matter in the end, does it? Various people, holding idealist philosophies may propose that we should always put ourselves first, and the chief and foremost persons one should love are ourselves. While some may seek comfort in this solace, the lifestyle cannot perpetuate itself.

After being in a relationship where I was constantly put in positions that made me increasingly unsafe, I realized that people who are unwilling to compromise and regard one another, as equals couldn’t possibly love themselves. Carrying so much self doubt that you feel the need to dominate others will not only cause your relationships to deteriorate but your life to be a constant sea of self-loathing and destruction.

Nevertheless, sometimes we find ourselves holding onto these people, splintering relationships, just because we see the good and want so badly to make everyone in the space comfortable. I have recently found myself holding on to memories of the good times, grasping at straws in my mind to avoid seeing the truth.

When the truth is a gleaming face with dazzling eyes and pearly white teeth it is hard to let go. Holding on, moving on, letting go, is a horrendous ordeal that we force ourselves to go through when we choose to let someone enter our lives, the intimate knowledge of someone only deepens the longing, the pain, the blinding cataracts that befall us in unhealthy relationships. I am not saying that one should be afraid to commit, let go, grab a hand, have sex, even fall in love but remember to cherish yourself, not above everyone else, but enough to know, to see, when you’ve been misguided.

Making space for someone in your life is hard and facing someone who feigns making space for you is even harder but in the end we learn how to love, or at least to care and make room, because love is a scary word for me. Giving someone a home, a place in your bed, in your closet, in your life, may be the equivalent to falling in love. While giving someone your heart and your body may seem like acts of love, it’s a compilation that guides us to who we want to be with.

Allow someone to make room for you, give them a chance to let you in, but if they seem to continue to forsake providing a shelter, a home, a haven, reconsider the place you have given them on your mantel. Discovering whom you want to devout time to and who will do the same is a challenge, we spend our whole lives seeking out what will give us the most intense pleasure and what will make us most happy.

In the end, I think what will make one most happy is sharing the love you have for yourself with someone else, giving them not just a pillow, a drawer, a home but a piece of your essence. Find someone who wants to give this to you and who you want to reciprocate this with and you may just have it, that big scary word, or at least a partner to fill up a shared life.

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Carrie Bradshaw Musings: An Introduction

I’ll admit to watching a lot of Sex and the City and I have probably seen every episode at lease twice. I know the HBO show was based on a book but I always wanted to explore what writing like Carrie would be like. I’m experimenting with this new section in my blog that strays away from my typical categories. My stories or musings are meant, while certainly grounded in lots of personal reflection, as an attempt to reach all people in relationships, romantic or otherwise. I’ve collected a couple of drafts from various rants over the past and will post periodically with old and new pieces. Enjoy

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