Is it too late now to say sorry?

Sometimes I like to think I’m like Donald Trump. I mean okay, I don’t agree with his personal politics nor campaign platform, nor pretty much anything that comes out of his mouth. Also I’m not an orange leather man-purse whose best accomplishment is hiding tax returns and tweeting at haters and my hair actually moves when prompted. Plus I’m not a demagogue racist pandering fear to an already-fearful electorate in an effort to get access to nuclear codes, and I definitely can’t match his duckface, he’s at like Kardashian level. So basically, we’re not alike at all, except for one thing: I love words. I have the best words.

I really do love vocabulary though. I love learning new words, finding obscure phrases with words that roll off the tongue like a song; if I can work “lackadaisical” or “diaphanous” or “nefarious” or “entranced” into a conversation you bet your sweet ass I will. I’m the nerd that would actually love a word of the day calendar (HINT HINT MY BIRTHDAY IS IN A MONTH) and I love that I work in an industry that’s heavy on writing and communication with top scientists and researchers who teach me new words with a single email. Yet with all of this – despite loving words and definitely having the best words – a conversation with a friend recently led me to realize that the word I say most often is “sorry!”

I apologize for everything. Sorry to the stranger who gets in my way on the subway, sorry to my coworker when we’re in the kitchen and I’m trying to sneak out of the way, sorry to my boyfriend when I laughed too hard after he mixed up chili powder and cayenne pepper in chili recently (that last one may have been okay though, he was in pain and I couldn’t even get him water for laughing so hard). I apologize to EVERYONE, for everything. Some of it is a cultural thing. Every time I travel abroad I’ll inevitably meet someone who will hear me apologize for looking at a building or sneezing or something else innocuous and they’ll laugh. “Americans apologize for everything! Why are you always so apologetic?” But even for an American I apologize a lot, and that conversation with a friend recently had me wondering why.

The conversation was after a yoga class in June. I had just decided to switch jobs after a wildly busy spring, I hadn’t spent time in my own apartment for longer than 24 hours since April, and basically I was a mess. The studio was too tiny and oddly set up for the class, and I hadn’t had time to practice it. As the class started and I fell into the easy rhythm of teaching, there were a few moments where I stumbled – as any new teacher does. But it wasn’t until after the class, walking back to the subway with a beautiful soul from my yoga training class, where she turned to me with a sheepish look on her face. “Can I give you one critique about your class?” she asked gently, to which I enthusiastically agreed, as she is a role model of mine for yoga. “Your class was beautiful – so STOP APOLOGIZING!! I was ready to get up and shake you at the last ‘Sorry!’ in there because you have nothing to apologize for!”

You have nothing to apologize for.

What a novel concept.

I’ve taken those words with me everywhere since then. Instead of apologizing for walking into the kitchen at the office when someone else is in the doorway I just say ‘Hi!’ Rather than apologizing to A when it takes me a while to get back to his text, I’ll just answer his question. I’ve stopped apologizing for things where I’m not actually sorry, and it was the most difficult and amazing transformation in my attitude and my day. I feel more confident. I speak more confidently, because I’m confident in my words rather than apologetic. I’d encourage each of you to consider how often you apologize for things and make that same change if you need to. Because you also have nothing to apologize for.

Unless, of course, you’re Donald Trump. Because frankly, anyone with the “best words” should know better than to use them for hate. And hate, in all forms, is absolutely something to be sorry for.

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A Story, One Year Later

I was running late this morning, stepping on the subway around 8am instead of my usual no-later-than-7:45. At first I was slightly annoyed with myself, as it’s a busy time at work (so basically, business as usual) and I’d wanted to stop at Starbucks for a coffee before the line reached epic proportions, but all of my annoyance rapidly disappeared when I heard the familiar voice over the subway system wishing us all a good morning – my favorite conductor was back! I haven’t heard his voice since one random morning back in November, and before that, since…

It hit me at that moment that the last time he’d been narrating my morning schedule was just about one year ago, when everything in my life was different. I don’t mean the obvious things – less tattoos, longer hair, different job – but the thing that probably shaped my last year more than anything else. This time last year there was a story playing out in my life that had every hint of a happy ending, but instead. Well, let’s just say instead. I’ve never told this story in its entirety here, but it’s one of those stories I’ve wanted to tell for a long time, and now feels like a good moment to get the words out of my head once and for all.

It all started in mid-April of last year, when a red jacket caught the corner of my eye one day while waiting for my typical morning train, hoping I’d catch the one where the conductor wishes you a “beautiful morning.” It was an interesting jacket on what turned out to be a really cute guy, waiting on my subway platform. I entertained the brief funny thought of “what if I met someone on the subway?” and smiled to myself at the ridiculousness of such a notion before pulling out one of my many back issues of Vogue or Vanity Fair that I’d been working to catch up on, having let them pile up for probably four months. My favorite conductor was running things that morning, and in between his cheerful “Good mornings!” at each stop, I stole a few glances at the cute guy; my imagination took over with a few “what ifs” and “wouldn’t it be funnys,” and then he got off the train one stop before I did, and I went back to my magazine, prepared never to see him again, not like I’d recognize him if I did – after all, how many subway strangers do we encounter on a daily basis in this city?

I walked down the steps the next morning, trying not to trip over myself as I pulled out the Vogue and flipped to the dog-eared page to keep reading, when I looked up and saw a flash of a red sleeve in the corner of my eye as I walked to my normal standing spot on the train. “Strange coincidence,” I thought, looking at him quickly again and happily confirming that he was, in fact, still cute. I buried my nose back in the magazine and spent the next three weeks doing the exact same thing every morning. I would walk to the train, either see him immediately and try to strategically position myself “close but not obviously close” so that we’d stand near each other on the train, or get there first and stare down the train tunnel, hoping that when the train doors open he’d appear like he did sometimes, having arrived after me; always my nose was buried in a back issue and we never said a word or even looked at each other, or at least he never caught me staring, so I thought. One morning we were standing next to each other and I tripped into his arms on a jerky train movement, better than if I’d planned it. Embarrassed, I looked at him and apologized breathlessly, but he just smiled and went back to the game on his phone, so I was convinced this crazy crush I was rapidly developing was entirely in my head.

In early May last year, one of the cool spring mornings that turn into a hot afternoon, I realized I was out of magazines. Out! I went to start hunting for my Kindle or a book, but stopped myself after a minute. “Maybe,” I let myself think, “this is the morning he’ll say something.” I was too much of a chicken to make any sort of move, especially because I was still positive it was all in my head, but I let myself play into the “What If” like a teenager dreaming about the magical love story that we learn as adults only exists in Nicholas Sparks novels. I remember exactly what I was wearing that day: my favorite ankle boots that are just tall enough and an at-that-time new maxi dress that I knew looked fantastic. In my last minutes of “should I find a book or not” that morning, I was running a few minutes late, and came down the stairs just in time to see the train arriving; without any time to look for him I got myself to the nearest door and waited for it to open, when out of the corner of my eye, I saw The Child notice me at the door and quickly turned to hide his smile. “Holy shit,” I thought, walking into the train and somehow finding myself next to him, holding the same pole and feeling electric with a nervous energy, “this might not all be in my head.”

We rode the train in silence for the entire ride. He kept trying to catch my eye and smiling, and I was furiously biting my lip trying to suppress my own smile, unable to focus on solitaire on my phone, barely able to look anywhere except my own arm holding the subway pole. We finally pulled into his stop, and I saw him turn towards me, which was not the easiest way for him to get off the train. My heart started pounding, pounding, pounding like a warning, and I heard the buzz of the doors open. I finally looked over at him and he was staring right at me with a smile on his face. He started to walk past me out the door, when he stopped, put his hand on my shoulder, leaned into my ear and said “So I’ll see you tomorrow?” I laughed then, pure joy and relief and something I still can’t define, and told him “I’ll see you tomorrow.” That was it for the first day – we didn’t exchange names, or numbers, or anything other than those words.

I won’t get into the details of the next two months. I don’t want to relive the first two weeks where he said all the right words, how we were in constant contact, hungry to learn anything and everything about the other person as quickly as possible. I don’t want to think any more about our impromptu first date, a walk through the entire city one Tuesday night holding hands, and our first kiss on the corner of 17th and Broadway, or the twelve-hour date where he met my friends and my brother, and I couldn’t believe how lucky I was to have found him. I don’t want to relive the first time he said just three words to me and how things felt like they were perfect, perfect, things couldn’t get any better or feel any more right. I don’t want to remember how immediately everything changed one Friday night where I left work early to put on makeup and change out of my ripped jeans and he blew me off the whole weekend, 72 hours of silence without an explanation and never an apology. And more than anything I don’t want to think any more about every morning before that day on the subway where he’d put his arm around me and kiss me before walking off the train, and whisper in my ear “I’ll see you tomorrow?” every single time, even if we had plans later that night.

I hadn’t thought about him in months, having long deleted every trace of him from my life after he abruptly left Manhattan for good without saying a thing to me, until I walked onto the train this morning and saw a cute guy walking towards the same door. I had a brief moment of “What if” before cutting that thought short, reminding myself that I’ve done the subway thing and I’ve learned my lesson, to be sure. He ended up standing next to me that whole train ride, and I found that I couldn’t stop reminiscing about this time last year, the exact week before everything started going downhill. It’s true once you notice something that it’s everywhere; now that he’s been on my mind again, if briefly, I keep seeing things around the city that remind me of him, like his haircut I could pick out of a crowd with ease, or his glasses, and there was a moment while writing this post that I had a flashback to the look he would give me on the train when things were still wonderful. It’s the only time in my life anyone has ever looked at me that way and it took months to forget how that look made me feel.

I had a version of this story written in my drafts folder last spring, a complete draft, waiting for the perfect moment to share the Adorable Love Story for the Adorable New Couple, and everyone would get to experience my happiness at no longer being single in the city, and how cute that the girl with the NYC Skyline tattooed on her arm met a boy on the subway. Instead I had to slowly delete bits and pieces until there was nothing left, no trace of his promises anywhere, not in my phone, not in my blog, not in my life. I suppose it’s silly then, to put the good parts, the early story of Us out there now, but it felt important to get the words out of my head once and for all. Plus, I’ve come to realize that I don’t mind reminiscing about the good parts of what happened. It was a great story for a period of time, and in the end I came out a stronger person. He was the first in a trio of men in my life last year to say a lot of things without meaning a single one of them, and he is the one that really instigated my not wanting to date this year. But he also taught me to open myself up to the chance of love again, and instead of dwelling on what went wrong, one year later I want to remember that there are good things out there, if you just take a moment to look up.

Quick Thoughts: I’m trying!

“Okay, you have your laptop open and a few minutes to spare. Just write one post for Monday and then figure out the rest at the end of the week.”
“Ugh! Why didn’t I write that down when it was on my mind? I know it would have been a great post and now I can’t find the words!”
“GOD DAMMIT LB you have an iPad, two phones and a laptop. Write. Something. Down.”

These are a sample of conversations I’ve had with myself in the past two weeks. I hate that things have been so quiet here, but it’s just been a hell of a month for me, between work, travel and more. I’m trying to hard to keep up with writing, I PROMISE, but we’re entering two weeks of hell at work before two projects come to a close at the same time, so please bear with me this month while I work as hard as I can to get back on track. I have a lot of fun updates that I’m putting together piecemeal in the next few days, but it’s likely this will be another quiet week on the blog. I swear to everyone and grilled cheesus that I’m doing everything I can to get back on track, because I miss the Chronicle as much as I’m sure you all do too.

So to reiterate, stay tuned in March while I continue working through my schedule to find time and inspiration for blogging, and just know I’ll be back as soon as I can! A good way to keep up is to follow me on Twitter (@LBthe20whatev) and Instagram (@lbdoesyoga), since 140 characters is a lot more manageable when you only have three minutes to spare.

xoxo!
LB

Blame Neptune.

I am a bad blogger.

Well, we all know that’s not true, I’m witty and adorable and you love reading my nonsense. But yes, I’ve been super neglectful of this space for the past week, and I don’t have a great update to share now, no masterful articles masking identities behind confusing dating tales or anecdotes from the last time I drank too much wine (e.g. last night). I do have an excuse though – the new job, while already rewarding and fulfilling on a whole new level, definitely took me by surprise last week, in terms of hours in the office and the volume of work during the day. To clarify: this is a GREAT thing! But it does mean that I need to learn how to re-adjust my normal blogging schedule so I don’t fall so far behind again. It’s quite funny to think this is exactly what I was doing last year too, learning how to blog on a schedule, but I figured it out once before and I’m confident I’ll do it again.

In the meantime, here are a few fun updates that may or may not turn into longer posts in the near future:

  • Atlantic City was AH-MAZING. The Nickname Posse definitely crushed it the whole weekend last weekend: gambled a little on Friday night, my lovely friend M and I did poolside yoga on Saturday, we managed to get six free appetizers at dinner on Saturday and then went to a Lil Jon almost-concert in a deliciously trashy club. The weekend ended at Five Guys before noon where we all ate with our sunglasses on and hoped that the two hour car ride wouldn’t be the end of anyone.
  • Started the new job with a horrid migraine though, which was a great way to remember that I’m no longer 21 and going out two nights in a row is a recipe for disaster.
  • Valentine’s Day is actually one of my favorite non-holidays, even (and almost especially) as a single person. This year I treated myself to a Core/Inversions workshop with one of my favorite yogis (NERD ALERT) and then went to Connecticut for a few days to celebrate mama B’s birthday and take care of a few doctor’s appointments. Because yes, I’m 26 and I still like my doctors from high school.
  • Snowstorm Neptune or whatever it’s called wreaked havoc on Connecticut yesterday morning. There’s nothing quite like a good snowstorm at my parent’s house to bring me back to childhood, a big mug of hot chocolate after shoveling the driveway and throwing a few snowballs for good measure. Truth be told, I meant to catch up on blogging all day yesterday, but instead I sat with the aforementioned hot beverage and got sucked into a Twilight marathon on television. Judge away, IDGAF.

I promise promise I’ll figure out the new blogging schedule soon. Especially since there are definitely a few funny stories from the little blips above – but all in good time.

The Dilemma.

Hearts floating away.

Setting sun and hearts and hearts

I had a revelation this week while reading the first few entries in this blog and marvelling that I haven’t given posting up yet. Not that my intentions aren’t in the right place, it just took me 2 years to learn Twitter and 3 to learn Instagram, so I assumed I’d need at least till I was 30 for a good blog. But I digress.

Every relationship in ours lives, whether romantic, friendly, professional or the special, special bond we as humans have with Nutella, teaches us lessons. Through all of those relationships, I’ve learned how to act and how not to act in social settings, how to react to stinging comments with a shred of grace and how to hurl insults like weapons, hell-bent on maximum destruction. And yet, in such a space like this, where I share the results of my vast experience with Poor Decision Making, it’s easy to skip the lessons I may have taught others to focus on my own journey. I’ve been trying to find a way to write this post to emphasize that there are always two sides to a story, and always so many lessons to learn, but I’ve hit a dilemma that I’m having a problem overcoming.

Translation: I don’t want to paint myself as the victim of my last relationship. I made plenty of mistakes too. 

I’ve written, and rewritten, and read over and deleted, all of these words, trying to find the right way to show that this may be my space, but I won’t pretend I’m perfect. I tried giving a history of how that relationship shaped me, in ways both good and bad. Rifling through those memories ended up being a bit too much, both in the amount of words needed to explain my questionable actions and decisions; and in what content I was actually comfortable sharing. I tried refraining from telling the parts of the story that directly involved him, focusing only on my actions and motivations, but there’s no point in sharing “I was acting like a spoiled child, demanding attention, sulking when I wasn’t his sole focus” if I can’t tell you why we were fighting, or how that silly fight he definitely doesn’t remember helped me to be a better girlfriend. I’ve tried, and tried, and tried, but the words I find are all too invasive, too personal, too much.

Sometimes, I forget that my stories and my lessons aren’t mine alone. I share them with someone, who, despite likely not reading or even caring about this blog, doesn’t have the chance to tell me “no, don’t share that” or “I’d rather keep that private.” I also don’t want friends, strangers, internet people, anyone, thinking that I’m this hapless female, driven wild by a relationship where I did Everything Right and he is Wrong and I saved everything by walking away. The best I can do is to say that we all make mistakes, and we all move on, or hope to at least.

I suppose this is a silly post, and possibly didn’t need to be uploaded. But if nothing else, playing fair is one of the most important lessons we’ve ever learned, any of us. It didn’t feel fair to continue writing words for anyone without considering a particular someone.