Last (wo)man standing

I have a distinct group of friends from my hometown that I’ve known anywhere from 10 to 25 years, a small but tight group that are nothing less than family. We’re all still relatively close distance-wise: two in MA, one in PA, one in CT, two in NY and one in DC; we’re home for the same holidays and inevitably we gather at my parent’s place once per summer, enjoying the pool and the chance to spend time as a group again. We’ve grown up together, slept through church together (…just kidding mama B), went to prom together, learned to drive together, and hell, learned to drink together. We’ve shared milestones for our entire friendship, getting into college, finding a job, finding that first apartment, and yet as I surfed the registry for the one of us getting married in July, I realized we’re finally at a point, after 20+ years, where the milestone timing is off: I am the only one of the group not engaged or in a serious relationship.

Uhm. Definitely not what I do writing this or anything

Uhm. Definitely not what I do writing this or anything

At first, that probably seems like a WOE IS ME statement, something to draw attention to myself or elicit pity. But honestly, it’s not. Yes it’s weird that all my friends are getting married or a few months away from an engagement, while my most recent accomplishment was finding a spot for $1 oysters/half-price wine/trivia for Wednesday dates with my fashionista C. Yet I wouldn’t trade places with anyone right now, even if it meant I wouldn’t be facing the possibility of attending all these weddings alone over the next few years.

I was so terrified at the thought of single life at first, in the time where it was something new I had to adjust to. As I looked at the weeks, months, year ahead, all of these plans I made as an “us” were suddenly back to “me”; it felt like a slap in the face every time I started thinking about how “awful” it would be to stand around these happy couples alone. Time passed, and as I adjusted to this new life I started realizing all of the positive things that come with being the last single one standing, like the fact that I can tear it up on the dance floor without embarrassing anyone (except my friends, but they’re used to me), or that I have a great excuse to get the less-expensive things on the registry (I mean what? I would never do that…). The absolute best part, though, goes a bit deeper.

Watching the people who I’ve grown up with fall in love and choose their Person is one of the most rewarding experiences I’ve ever had. I’ve seen the person I once killed a bottle of rum with at 11 in the morning agonize over what to get his girlfriend for her birthday, the girl I stayed up with till 3 a.m. in middle school to talk about boys propose to her beautiful girlfriend, and the girl who helped me prove that the bassoon is, in fact, a cool instrument (IT IS) start a fur-family with her fiance, who I can’t wait to meet. I’ve seen the commitment it really takes to choose to take that next step, that big leap, and all that happens in between, both good and bad; it’s like the perfect opportunity to sit back and learn what needs to be important to me in my next relationship.

Next weekend is a bachelorette extravaganza for the first of us walking down the aisle, a weekend excursion to PA that I’ve been looking forward to for months. It may still be a little weird, talking to these childhood friends about favors and place settings instead of trading dating stories and idiot decisions made possible by vodka. I’m fine with spending a little more on gifts and sitting out the slow songs for now though. After all, I know that if the time ever comes, they’ll be waiting to welcome me into this stage of life with open arms, trailing milestones together once again.

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People Watching

Things I saw this weekend include: a girl in pasties, four different men in semi-offensive headdresses, at least six unicorn onesies, countless women in straight-up lingerie, many, many sunburned people and a shirtless guy playing guitar while his wife swayed next to him holding an infant. It may sound like something out of a Tim Burton drug-fueled daydream, but that’s actually a snapshot from round two of LB has a perfect weekend (and is only slightly sunburned). My lovely long weekend was a blend of relaxing and wild, just enough crazy for some hilarious stories and just enough of summer to make me so excited for the next few months.

A few weeks back, my partner-in-crime R, her Scot H and I decided to bite the budget-crushing bullet and purchase VIP passes to Electric Daisy, which we all came to agree was probably the best decision we’ve made in a long time. I woke up on Sunday to crisp sunshine after two days of rain, clear skies and a full day of drinking in a ridiculous outfit ahead of me, braided hair, cropped top, crazy shorts and all. We arrived around 12:30 to the venue, which boasted four stages and a VIP area for each, free carnival rides for anyone willing to wait in line (spoiler: I wasn’t) and the people watching of a lifetime. Throughout the day while enjoying the music and the full bar next to each VIP deck, we saw everything from brand-new friends dancing together like they’d know each other forever, a couple that couldn’t have been older than 20 having an epic fight in front of what they didn’t realize was the VIP lounge window, and two girls exchanging pinky promises that “nothing happened.”

VIP viewing

VIP viewing

We decided to join the crowd in mid-afternoon, breaking away from the secluded deck and dancing with reckless abandon, hands up, swaying with the bass and jumping as the bridge rose, faster, faster. After the final show we fought our way through the crowd to make it on the first train back, where my ears kept ringing and all I wanted to do was smile, a perfect day, a perfect festival. I had just enough wherewithal to get home and take off my makeup, jewelry and even brush my teeth, but obviously there’s a limit to how responsible I am, so rather than getting into my bed to sleep, I chose to grab a pillow, bring it to the living room and sleep on the floor. Eh, win some, lose some.

Stop and smell the summertime

Stop and smell the summertime

The next morning I woke up and found my ears were still ringing but the rest of me felt great, something I needed to face another long day. My lovely friend M and I had been planning a Memorial Day picnic uptown for a few weeks, a chance to get the Nickname Posse together to relax and catch up. It took M and I all of 45 minutes to prepare the food and we made it to Fort Tryon around 3, finding her N, R, H and D&D, my brother and his girlfriend, along the way. We stayed and picnicked in the park for almost 4 hours, ate every last bit of food washed down with beer in paper cups, napped in the summer sun while overlooking the river and just enjoyed each other’s company. We saw the aforementioned shirtless man, couples hiding in the rocks over the walking path, children running in all the trees and even a wedding party posing for pictures, a perfect day for such a celebration. Once we were out of food and exhausted from the sun, we reluctantly packed everything in around 7, promising we’d have another picnic soon.

I declined the generous offer from M and N to take a taxi back down to my apartment, in need of a good walk and some time to be on my own. It was still warm and bright by the time we left, and I was desperate to soak in as much sunshine as possible, something to keep me going during the rainy week ahead. I smiled as I checked my phone for a text from a very jet-lagged AZ and made plans for dinner, a chance to relax at home with little miss and prepare for the week ahead. I looked through pictures before going to bed that night (read: bed, not floor), laughing at the memories of people in the background, the foreground of the festival and the weekend. A perfect weekend of people watching with everyone I adore is quite the way to start the summer season, after all.

PLD Montage: Vol. 3

Oh, the idiot things I still manage to get myself into these days. Without further ado:

  • Recently I drank vodka after an unlimited mimosa brunch and then put pictures online. I feel like elaboration is unnecessary there.
    Lesson learned: Stop drinking vodka. Seriously, stop.
  • That same night, I decided to hand my keys over to my partner-in-crime R because “I didn’t want to lose them” and apparently giving them to someone else instead of keeping them in my purse was the best decision. At the end of the night I cabbed home from FiDi (aside: THAT IS NOT INEXPENSIVE) and my neighbors let me into the building, only for me to have a full-blown white girl wasted meltdown in my hallway when I couldn’t find my keys. A few tearful phone calls to R later determined that she did, in fact, still have the keys and I am, in fact, an idiot. Nothing like paying to ride all the way back downtown after the initial ride all the way uptown.
    Lesson learned: SERIOUSLY STOP DRINKING VODKA.
  • I’ve recently discovered my love for yoga in the mornings, since I can access YouTube on my television and there’s a bunch of free videos. I’ve been working on different poses and was recently in the throes of the crow pose, which I can hold for about six seconds before toppling, usually backwards. While on my mini-staycation in Connecticut a few weeks back, the weather was too beautiful not to do yoga outside on the deck, so I dragged out a mat, went through my vinyasa, and then went into crow… and all of a sudden I was up! and balanced! and way too excited about it so I lost focus and promptly fell forward. Hard. Directly on my chin. On the deck. This was three weeks ago. The bruise still hasn’t faded.
    Lesson learned: Yoga mats are not pillows, and you are not as skilled as you think you are.
  • At the Fort Greene flea this past weekend with my partner-in-crime R, her Scot H and AZ, we decided to take a break from rifling through vintage posters and sample just about all of the food because obviously. Seeing as it’s not easy to walk while carrying tacos, nachos, lobster rolls and popsicles all at the same time, we decided to sit on the concrete steps behind the food trucks to enjoy the food. Once I finished my own massive portion of food, I leaned back on my elbows for a little while, thinking I might get a semblance of a tan on my fair Irish skin that had already been outside for about four hours at that point. Hot asphalt + no clouds – sunscreen = really LB?
    Lesson learned: You do not tan. You are aware of this. Always. Wear. Sunscreen.
We meet again....

We meet again….

  • Remember this? Yeah. Lesson not learned. New record: five days.
    Lesson learned: Apparently nothing.

 

When you just know

In September 2010, I was three weeks into living in the city in a terrifying first-floor shoebox on the Upper East, where I could barely fit a full bed into my room and my neighbors across the way liked to walk naked in front of the window I could see from my bedroom. The only person I knew in Manhattan at that time was my brother, and I was feeling particularly lonely that Friday night after deciding to stay at home, stealing WiFi from a stranger, trying to contemplate what I’d gotten myself into. While surfing Facebook, I noticed a post from a girl I sort-of knew in college – we were in the same sorority and I knew her boyfriend pretty well, but we’d never really been friends per se. The post mentioned New York, and a quick glance at her profile told me she was somewhat new to the Big Apple as well. In a totally out-of-character courageous move, I decided to send my kind-of acquaintance a quick message to see if she’d want to grab dinner or drinks one night that next week.

My lovely friend M and I met at Balthazar because she’d been dying to try the truffle fries after they were featured on Food Network as one of the best in the city. We nervously chatted while waiting for our table to be ready and then sat down and ordered a bottle of wine, a Beaujolais if I remember correctly. The remaining details of the rest of that night have faded after almost four years, but I’ll always look back and remember two very important details: the look we gave each other when we finished the first bottle of wine, because we both wanted another but didn’t know how the other would react (as it turns out, relief and surprise and a lot of laughs); and how I somehow knew walking out of the restaurant that night that I’d found my best friend. It wasn’t that we discussed anything particularly important, or that we were both desperate for an NYC best friend (… although maybe we were), but there was something in the easy way we joked around and how very personal we were with each other from the get-go that assured me this was someone I would have in my life for a very, very long time.

Fast forward three years, and I’m newly single in the city. The only person I know who isn’t in a relationship is my partner-in-crime R, who at the time was more of a mutual friend that M and I shared. She and I had fun together, don’t get me wrong, but we hadn’t ever spent time just the two of us. Desperate to go out with someone who wouldn’t judge my awkward newly-single social non-skills, I sent her a text one weeknight to plan a single ladies night for that weekend, which she enthusiastically accepted. We started the night in her then-apartment in Murray Hill, her little pooch running around the apartment as I played dress-up in her closet and we shared a bottle of wine (I’m sensing a pattern in my friendships…). We traveled down to the village for dinner at a tiny Italian place, and despite a super-rude patron saying evil things to me for no reason, we ended up shutting the restaurant down, talking, talking, talking the whole time. As we walked into Village Tavern later that night, I was drunk on a delicious combination of the high of a new friendship, the second-ever realization that this person was going to be in my life for a long time, and yes also the amount of wine we’d taken down in a relatively short period of time.

There are people that come into our lives slowly, making cameo appearances until they’re a regular guest until they’re a regular, getting to know each other over months and years, appreciating the languid slope of the friendship because it’s exactly what it needs to be. My fashionista C and I have known each other for years, but it’s only been in the past 18 months or so that I’ve realized how important she is in my life, which is to say, insurmountably so. My work buddy S and I practically couldn’t be friends for the first few months after we met, given I was her pseudo-manager; she’s now an integral part of my life. Sometimes you need the slow build, the getting-to-know you, before realizing how much someone means to you and how much you cherish their presence in your life.

But every once in a while you meet someone and right away it feels like you’ve known them forever. Conversation is easy, moving from things you have in common, to funny anecdotes about families, to hopes and dreams and more. And conversation never stops; it’s like a wild desire to know as much as possible and then more, an earnest interest in everything about the person within a few days of the initial introduction. Those moments are rare, a shooting star on a cloudy night, but when they happen you just know: there are people that you’re supposed to know and all it takes sometimes is to find them.

“All the beer is free”

Around 8 last night, I slammed my Chimay on a table on the Ninth Ward patio and demanded a selfie with my partner-in-crime R and her Scot H. The ensuing picture is equal parts hilarious and wonderful, snapped just a little too early so no one is completely ready, and yet we’re all mid-laugh and clearly having a blast. This was all taking place while surrounded by semi-celebrities, including a Disney star, a famous movie editor and an indie darling director, as well as the person I consider to be the most talented actor in the world, though the fact that we share a bloodline may make me biased. This was the afterparty for Night Has Settled, a new movie that had just shown at the Soho Film Festival, featuring my cousin, who may as well be my little brother. After the movie/Q&A finished, R, H, my fashionista C and I stopped at the party to hang out with my aunt and cousin, where we were greeted with my new favorite sentence in the English language: All the beer is free.

GET IN MY MOUF

GET IN MY MOUF

This entire past weekend was a gastronomic marathon, starting with Starbucks on Saturday, into Smorgasburg at the Fort Greene flea (with the above grilled cheese, natch), followed by happy hour at Serafina for pizza, finishing Saturday with sushi in the Upper West and then pre- and post-movie drinks with the whole family on Sunday. It was one of those weekends where things moved seamlessly, one activity into another into another, and yet I don’t feel exhausted or angry that it’s Monday. I’m full, certainly, and maybe a little perturbed with Sunday LB’s decision to order a cheesesteak after getting back from the afterparty (“THIS IS SO NECESSARY”) but spending a perfect spring weekend outside with some amazing people does wonders for a new week. Looking back at the ridiculous photos, from the selfies to the blurry action shots, to photos of my cousin on the Red Carpet, it’s easy to remember how much I love this city and why.

The city moves so quickly, people everywhere, cars, cabs, busses trying to mow you down. New York does everything to chew you up and spit you out only to take another bite, a broken subway during the morning commute, a super who refuses to work outside of 9-5 on weekdays, the couple next door that never stops fighting. The constant sensory overload means there’s nothing more I want to do at the end of a day than sit on my couch in the quiet, trying to find a minute of peace in my deep blue walls, shutting out the running list of things I need to do so I can try and relax for just a second, just a little bit of time. It’s not a place for everyone, and it’s not a life for everyone, because even those three seconds of peace are peppered with the Mister Softee truck that plays till 11 every night, the whirr of a plane overhead and the loud beat of the Latin music on repeat in the Heights.

Blinded by the wine

Blinded by the wine

Yet other times I lean my head back sometimes and sigh, drinking in the movement and the flow of the city that never sleeps. This is a place where magical things can happen in places as simple as the subway station, where you wander through Central Park twice in a day just because it’s there and it’s spring. It’s the most incredible people watching because you never know what you might see next; it’s taking a chance on a $1 record or six because there’s no reason not to. It’s spending a Sunday finally introducing your parents to the amazing people in your life that they’ve been hearing about for months (or maybe just a week) and watching your cousin on the big screen smoking fake cigarettes (I hope they were fake). And even if it can’t be all those things all the time, it’s a place where sometimes you walk into a bar on the Lower East Side after a perfect weekend, only to be told that all the beer is free.

Six months.

I paused, knowing the words now were the big ones. The ones I never wanted to say. I didn’t have the words for just a moment as I looked at his face, the nose I loved to kiss, the stubble he loved to scratch me with while I laughed and swatted him away. The face I saw in my future, the face I saw in forever. The person who I’d grown with, fought with, loved and loved and loved for so long. This was supposed to be a happy ending. I knew it was supposed to be a happy ending. Or maybe now it was going to be a happy ending. I looked at him, took a deep breath and took a giant leap.

“I think we need to call time on this.”

I woke up this morning to a very funny and cute text, a great way to start off what was always going to be an interesting day. “Happy Anniversary!!” followed by a million emojis made me smile, a funny morning greeting for a seemingly random Thursday. No celebrations are planned for this anniversary, save for perhaps some extra drinks this weekend with the Nickname Posse, because it’s not an anniversary for anyone but me: A very happy six months, single LB.

About a month ago in my emotional rut, I was dissatisfied and unsure why. I don’t know if I think in prose when things get confusing or if I’ve crossed into the crazy of thinking in blog posts, but at one point I had so many words swirling around in my head, work, play, present, past, future, that I just needed to get them out, put them in a post that I will never publicize and something that no one else will ever read. It took me a few hours to get everything out that rainy afternoon, but eventually I stepped back and sighed, relieving my brain of the burden of carrying those words around for such a long time. Tucked away in a secret location is the story of the break-up from my perspective, pouring out all the emotions of that week, all the memories of that night, everything from what I said, to what I wore, to what it felt like to walk away. I’ll never share that story, save for those few words above: a reminder that things don’t always go our way, and sometimes you have to let go.

In the past six months, I have: redecorated my apartment, changed jobs, revamped most of my wardrobe, gotten a new tattoo, dyed my hair twice, spent too much money on too many drinks, met a wide net of interesting people, made a wide bevvy of poor decisions, been on a few first dates and even a few second dates, and started this blog. I’ve been at emotional highs and lows, traveled all around the city and weeded down a network of good friends into the most incredible people I am privileged to have in my life. And I’ve learned to be okay with just me, because as it turns out, I’m a pretty okay person on my own.

So Happy Anniversary, single me. Here’s to enjoying our time together, for however long it may last.

Shiny!

I was standing on the subway recently, trying to find a good spot to stare so I wouldn’t make awkward eye contact with anyone, when I noticed I wasn’t wearing a necklace. It wasn’t a big deal, obviously (I would hope that was obvious), but for a few months I’d been wearing this tarnished old Marc Jacobs pendant daily, something I’ve had since college. It’s just a tiny gold chain, perfect for everyday wear, and my mind wandered to why I’d taken it off in the first place. It wasn’t the gym the night before (because I hadn’t gone), or before taking a shower (because I hadn’t, thank god for maxi dresses, amirite?), and not before bed (because if I can’t remember to take my makeup off, expectations at remembering jewelry removal are nil). In fact, now that I was on a train-of-thought roll as I fixed my eyes on a funny Seamless ad, I hadn’t been wearing it for a while and had no idea where it was.

I’d like to reiterate that none of that is profound. My commute is 45 minutes, I’m finally caught up on all my back issues of Vogue and VF, and at that point I really had nothing else to do but think about nonsense. But it was funny not to be wearing a necklace that day because for years I always wore one. The very first thing my ex ever gave me was a beautiful silver Tiffany anchor necklace for my 22nd birthday, which I donned immediately and almost never took off. Over the years he added to my jewelry collection, more silver pieces perfect for everyday wear, and I wore them with pride every day we were together.

After we broke up I tucked them safely into a pouch in the back of my jewelry box, but not having a necklace or a ring felt very strange, since I’d been wearing the same ones for three plus years and they were pretty conspicuous in their absence at that point. Digging through a tangle of chains and charms I haven’t organized in an embarrassingly long time, I found the gold chain and a few old rings I’d forgotten I owned, and started wearing them daily, a way to get myself to stop subconsciously feeling for that light silver anchor or twist the phantom ring around my right finger. As the months went on, I noticed the rings and necklaces were a part of my everyday wear less and less, swapping the simple chain for a bold statement, keeping my arms bare of anything but my new gold watch.

I think for a long time, wearing the same jewelry everyday was like a security blanket, a small reminder of something that made me happy if things got a little stressful or crazy. I’ve been like that with jewelry for years, wearing the same bracelet every time I have a big presentation, wearing the same earrings every time I’ve interviewed for a job. The security and comfort of something ‘lucky’ or familiar is great, but it can backfire, raising anxiety on days you forget to attach the clasp before walking out the door for work. As the months have passed, it’s been very odd learning how to mix up accessories again, unaccustomed as I am to styling an outfit with a statement necklace or ring rather than just wearing the same things every day. But it’s also been really fun, like an adult version of Pretty Pretty Princess where even the black ring can be a good thing.

Fortunately for all of us, I’ve found another way to occupy my morning commute that doesn’t involve nonsense trains of thought related to what I’m wearing. But in case you were wondering, I did put the Marc Jacobs back on – just for today.

Alley-oop

When you drop a basketball onto a hard surface, the ball obviously doesn’t just hit the ground and start rolling, or bounce back to your grasp and stay there. The ball bounces once, then again a bit lower, and again, and again, until it starts rolling away from you, onto the next person or next location. I never gave this phenomenon much thought, because let’s be real, why would I, but it popped into my mind recently as an interesting allegory to other aspects in life. More specifically, it came up as I was thinking about everyone’s favorite post-relationship phase: the rebound.

I mean maybe not everywhere...

I mean maybe not everywhere…

For a long time, I assumed this phase was something tangible and noticeable, an actual relationship of sorts that can be defined as the official “Rebound” from a heartbreak. But rebounds are less concrete, happening in waves, much like the basketball bounces that get lower and lower. The first one is bigger than you’re expecting: it’s sooner than you thought possible and also more intense, pushing out memories of the broken relationship by forming new ones, first time you meet, first kiss, first sleepover. It’s seeing the person every weekend, twice per weekend, while thoughts of “what is this?” permeate your life, raising all sorts of questions: is this really happening? is this even real? But what goes up must come down, and eventually the rebound is just that: after the initial excitement of Someone New wears off, the flaws come out. Sure, he’s successful and smart, the views from his TriBeCa apartment are amazing and you get along really well. But it’s not the right thing and it never will be, and that’s okay. So you move on.

The next bounce is smaller and fades faster, fueled by great chemistry and hindered by timing. It carries through to the next few mini-bounces, hope goes up when you go on that date, laughing and joking and enjoying yourself the whole time, but back to bouncing when it’s another week, another week, another week where you just can’t seem to get the timing right. It might happen again, another bounce, another date, but eventually it’s time to take a step back and consider how much effort you want to put into something that maybe isn’t working out. It’s a rebound from the rebound: taking a step out of your comfort zone yet again, finding just a little more about yourself, and figuring out just a little more where you want the ball to roll next.

Personally, I think the rebound phase is important to the healing process, a way to lick the wounds from a broken relationship and learn about yourself and your needs so you can move on. It’s easy to forge an emotional connection with someone when you know all the wonderful things that come with a committed relationship, but it’s difficult to form any real attachment when half the time you’re comparing him to your ex, and the other half you’re trying to figure out what it is you really want. Rebounds make it easier to get used to the tangled world of dating as a 20-whatever, the emotional highs of a new connection, the lows when you realize there’s no expiration date on being single, and the confusing middle ground when you’re just not interested someone and you don’t know why.

Eventually the momentum fades and the ball stops rolling, no longer bouncing, bouncing, bouncing into the confusing world of the not-relationship. There’s a settled feeling as you wait in the wings, you cease craving the emotional connection you lost in the big break-up because you know what you want, deserve, and need for the next person that picks up the ball. Rebounds are that way to settle slowly into a single life, a way to confront what dissatisfied you about a previous relationship and walk away from it without becoming an emotional mess.

I don’t know if there’s a name for this next phase, the post-rebounding, where you’re waiting for someone special to surprise you, rather than looking for someone who will pay attention to you. Right now it’s nice to let events play out as they will – after all, once you’re done bouncing, you never know when it might happen that someone will pick up the ball again. It could take weeks; it could take months. It might even be sparked by something as simple and silly as a smile from a very cute stranger on your morning commute.

“Fortune favors the brave.”

” I don’t know if I should ask him out instead! I mean he’s definitely going to ask eventually, so should I just wait?”
“Oh lord, JUST GO FOR IT. Fortune favors the brave!”

My sister T is a amazing person, for a million reasons and then a million and one more. She’s headstrong, opinionated, sarcastic, direct and always, always right. She’s also one of the few people I know who genuinely dislikes and does not attract drama in her life, looking at things pragmatically and honestly before making decisions. I’ll always go to her for advice when I know I’m being overly dramatic or over-analytical, because her advice always boils down to this:

  • Assess the situation: is this something you can change?
  • If NO: Well then deal with it.
  • If YES: Well then change it.

A few months back, after exchanging numbers with a new friend she masterfully wingman-ed for me while visiting NYC, I was frantically texting her about what to do.  I could practically feel her rolling her eyes as she read my desperate pleas for advice about when to text him (“but I can’t respond right away because I don’t want to seem too eager!” “you an are idiot, don’t just sit on a response if you’re enjoying the conversation”), what to say (“Ugh, he probably thinks whatever I said was so dumb,” “Well so do I, why do you need to tell everyone about your intense relationship with wine?”), and then the big one: should I wait for him to make the move and initiate actual date plans? Or should I bite the bullet and ask him myself, taking a chance that I wasn’t the only one enjoying our playful banter. She finally pushed me with the text above: “Just do it! Fortune favors the brave!”

My two professional mottos.

My two professional mottos.

That quote has been on my mind a lot ever since she said that, doodled in notebooks during staff meetings and even hanging over my desk at work. It’s gone beyond that situation and permeated into everything I’ve been doing in recent days: talking to strangers, trying new exercise things, standing up for myself at work. For most of my life I’ve dealt with a semi-crippling self-conscious attitude, worrying about what strangers think of me, friends, coworkers. I’ve censored certain aspects of my personal style, not wanting to take too much of a fashion risk, overthought sentences and tripped over my carefully-planned words, and scenario-planned for pretty much every aspect of my life that could somehow lead to embarrassment or anxiety. Essentially, for a long time, I was not a brave person.

It’s not easy to bring small bits of bravery into tiny acts in life, like standing up in a brainstorm to make yourself heard or going sleeveless for the first time in the office since getting a tattoo on your arm. It’s even more difficult to take these tiny steps of bravery when you’re on your own, only turning to yourself and your instincts for guidance and clarity. I’m still a self-conscious person and still question most things I do, but more and more frequently lately I’ll find myself saying the phrase out loud, a constant reminder that there’s only so much to lose from taking a chance, and eventually there might be so much to gain.

Whereabouts

To say my work life is a lil’ crazy this week is like saying Putin has maybe overstepped his boundaries in the Ukraine in recent days. I have a few posts scheduled in the coming weeks, but in the chance things are silent here for a little while, never fear – the amount of wine I’m going to need to survive until Friday practically guarantees I’ll have some great stories for the next PLD Montage.

In the meantime, here are a few GIFs to accurately sum up how I’m feeling about my professional life choices these days:

By 11 a.m. today

By 11 a.m. today

To anyone else who thinks I'm complaining.

To anyone who thinks I’m just complaining.

How I'm planning to survive.

How I’m planning to survive.