I didn’t plan to post today.

Really though. I originally had ambitions of posting something thoughtful today, and then I couldn’t pull myself together in time to write the draft (it’ll go on Monday PROMISE). I thought today would be a good day to hold on posting in favor of waiting until I had something really interesting to write about, like what I’ll hopefully be posting on Monday. And then I started reading this article while browsing the interwebz at lunch, and a line gave me so much pause that I did something unthinkable. In this article on xoJane, the writer mentions a one-sided romance she had before meeting her fiancé, and says this: “The cliff-hanger ending of that story rattled me deep.” Almost immediately after reading that, I had this ridiculous impulse to click over to Facebook, take a deep breath, and type The Child’s name into the search bar.

What was I thinking? Why am I doing this? All questions that were running through my brain as I lightly pressed the keys, finding a small bit of amusement in how I couldn’t recall exactly how to spell his last name. I wasn’t expecting or wanting to see anything. I wasn’t looking at him because I missed him or because I wanted to know about his life. I literally had no reason to be clicking on his profile and yet even in my small hesitation as I went to click through, I couldn’t stop myself. And then all of a sudden there I was, looking at the same face that broke up with me over a text message and then strung me along for a few months before he left Manhattan for good. I felt nothing as I looked at him. Pity, maybe, that he has to keep living with himself, and his self is not a good person. A flicker of nostalgia for a time where my weekends were late nights with R&H, where I had three tattoos and long hair, where I was thinking maybe this yoga thing was something to explore. But mostly? I felt nothing.

Why are we compelled to check-in with people that break our hearts? In the two years since he came crashing into my life on that cold subway platform, I’ve moved jobs, cut off all my hair, gotten three tattoos (nearly four), received my yoga teacher certification and found someone who could really be someone. Nearly everything about me has changed, save for my apartment and morning commute; and yet even with all of this, a single line in an article can bring me back to 2014 LB who was curious about a cute stranger on a train. I’ve long since stopped being angry; I haven’t cared about him in years, and I knew that looking at his face from behind a social media profile wouldn’t change any of that, and I didn’t want it to! So why the fuck did I feel the need to do it.

What is it about exes that keep such an odd hold on us? I suppose it’s not all exes: the big Ex and I have maintained a friendly relationship since we fell apart, a testament to his maturity and how much we really did love each other while we were together; when he pops up on social media I feel that little pinch in my heart that calls to the piece that will always love him. But I don’t “check in” with him ever, really, because if I really wanted to check-in with him I’d text him to make plans for coffee. Frankly, I don’t know that I’ve been compelled to “check-in” on any ex, whether we’re officially ‘exes’ or not, and yet despite having not thought about him in months, reading that one sentence today brought my thoughts immediately back to that person. Both people, I suppose: who he is and who I was when he knew me.

Is there a conclusion to this post? Not really. The whole story is no more than “I thought about a stupid fuck of an ex for the first time in months today and figured I’d see if he changed his profile picture and he didn’t.” Barely an interesting sentence, let alone a full post. Perhaps there’s something about being in a not-so new-anymore relationship, where you’re still learning about each other but you’ve settled into a comfortably boring and perfect routine, where you’re making plans for the immediate and distant future like they’re one in the same; perhaps there’s something about that which calls to mind what it took to find that person and that point of happiness. I kissed a lot of toads and one whopper of a snake before I met a prince. Maybe that’s the lesson learned in all of this: people shape our lives for specific reasons. The surest mark of growth is looking at a face that once made you swoon and sob at the same time and feel absolutely not a damn thing.

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Ready, Set

This weekend we had an interesting lecture in YTT about intuition and energy, and how to tap into intuition when logic and reason aren’t helping you with a conclusion. Oddly, just a few days before this lecture, I finally made a decision about something that’s been plaguing me for a few months based entirely on intuition. Anyway, we did this exercise where we had to tap into our intuitive energies to help our fellow yogis with problems, and I found I had a new problem to consider, something that came to a head recently despite my ignoring it for a very long time. I asked the question to my yogi partner – is it time? – and waited as she sat and talked through what she was feeling. I hoped so badly to hear things like “light,” “positivity,” and of course, “hope,” but instead she said this: “I just feel cold. My heart is racing, and my hands are clamming up, and I can feel this knot of anxiety in my stomach.” I sighed with a heady mix of sadness and relief at those words, because it pushed me into making a decision that I’ve been avoiding for way too long.

Am I ready? Is it time? These are questions that permeate so many aspects of my life these days, considering this past weekend was the penultimate for teacher training and my life as a fully-fledged yoga instructor starts soon, and considering some other recent developments as well. Existentially those are questions we all face on a daily basis, from things as little as when to eat your next meal to things as huge as changing your life’s plan. How do you truly know when you’re “ready” for something? I mean, I’ve been completely immersed in yoga alignment and teaching techniques, philosophy, meditation, pranayama, holistic theory and more for the past five weeks, and I still can’t imagine leading a class full of people in a yoga flow. Frankly I’ve been working in my same industry for the past five years and I still get anxiety when I have to lead client calls, even if it’s literally a quick check-in about a question.  Maybe we never know if we’re ready. Or maybe we only know when it’s finally time.

There are two things that I’ve been holding myself back from saying lately, on completely different ends of the emotional spectrum. The first is something I’ve written out over and over, and then deleted, written in a text and an email, then deleted, written in a script for a phone call and then deleted. Am I ready to say those words? I don’t think I ever will be. Is it time? It’s probably past time, by now. I think I used to be sad about the response to these words, but lately I don’t feel much of anything about them. I’m not happy about where they are but I’m not sad about them either. So maybe in that, I am ready to let them fade with time.

The other is something I’ve practiced not saying over and over, because every time I tell myself “no, not yet,” I have to close my lips so forcefully lest the words I’m dying to say burst out of my mouth. I’ve had to practice not saying them in texts, I’ve had to practice not saying them in person, and I’ve had to hold my lips closed with my teeth until I could run somewhere for two seconds just to say them out loud to myself. Am I ready to say those words? I think I have been for a while. Is it time for them to come out? It’s probably past time, by now. I think I used to be scared about the response to these words, but lately I don’t feel that fear at all. These words are the new beginning I couldn’t plan for and the one that I could be ready to follow. I suppose all of these answers will have to come with time.

‘Laugh More, Worry Less’

People think Mondays are terrible. It’s the day you have to go back to work, it’s the start of a long week before another blissful two days where your responsibilities are to yourself, and not to your desk. Personally I love Mondays. There’s something really wonderful about starting a week over again, putting the past week behind you and looking ahead to wonderful things in the days to come. That’s not exactly the case this Monday though. I can’t figure out how I feel about this Monday, because it’s the last Monday before I start yoga teacher training (henceforth referred to as YTT), and that means it’s the first Monday of the next six weeks where, to an extent, I have no idea what to expect.

I’m a natural worrier, passed down from my grandmother and from Mama B, and shared with my sister. For many years, I think I relished my worrier status. It’s a lot easier to punish yourself than it is to feel a sense of pride in accomplishments sometimes, so even when I’d find myself in situations that didn’t require me to worry, I would let the anxiety that’s plagued me my entire life take over. Much of that started to change as yoga became more integrated into my life; first it was taking a few moments to breathe and stretch in the mornings and reset my brain before a day behind a desk, then I started doing yoga after work to quell the office anxiety that followed me home, and eventually yoga came into my daily life, breathing through moments that would normally make me crazy, removing my ego from negativity that would bubble up inside me when I found myself in situations I couldn’t control. It’s a huge reason I’ve been so adamant about getting certified to teach yoga: I want to deepen this practice within myself while simultaneously sharing what I’ve learned with other worriers who just need to learn how to breathe.

All this worry though, all these negative thoughts about whether I’m enough, whether I’m good enough, ready enough, strong enough to handle the next six weeks still hasn’t gone away. I’m nervous about this in the same way that I’m nervous about everything that’s going to happen in the next six, ten months; my mind is constantly on edge that something is going to tip the scales and it’s all going to come crashing down around me. It’s in these moments that it becomes difficult to breathe and simply live for the moment happening before it fades away. It’s in these moments I need yoga the most, and it’s in those moments lately that I’m beyond grateful I’ll have the chance to explore and deepen my life within yoga throughout the next six weeks and beyond.

Something that I’ve been working to grasp as I’ve gone through the Yoga Sutras ahead of Thursday is that everything is external. All the worry I have, all the joy, all the moments where I can’t shut my mind down are completely external from who I am and what I need. I don’t need to throw a tantrum because I lost my phone while drunk at an office party and I don’t need to make a rude facial expression at the person on the subway who pushes past me to grab a seat I didn’t want anyway. Everything around me and in me, the worry about whether I’m enough for YTT or where I’ll be when September is finally here, it’s all external, and I can control how I react to it if I know how to control my thoughts. I can choose to look at any situation as positive or negative, but after a lifetime of choosing the negative, controlling a stream of consciousness towards the positive is far easier said than done.

Bipolar Sunshine has a song, ‘Laugh More, Worry Less.’ that I listened to a few times this morning as my subway unexpectedly crawled along the local track from 175th street to 14th. Such simple words, but they’re such perfect words to live by this week and all the time. Laugh more, worry less. Remember to enjoy this moment because there will never be another one like it and you’ll never get to relive it again. It’s so easy to focus on the negative, and it’s so easy to distort things you can’t control into these huge problems that take over everything. Sometimes it’s as simple as changing your perspective on a situation, whether it’s a Monday morning or whether it’s the next six weeks of the rest of your life. If I can learn to love Mondays over time, I can learn to breathe in the moments this week where it feels impossible that something I’ve been dreaming of for nearly a year is finally here.

Fast forward.

The story begins when I’m alone in a bathroom. I’m 15, and I’m at dinner with my family; we just finished eating and I’m staring at myself in the mirror. I ate fried chicken with some kind of greens and I can feel rage bubbling up in me, why would you eat that, I tell the mirror, aren’t you fat enough. I listen to a baby dragon inside me as it tempts me to get rid of it, get rid of it, get rid of it for the first time, and I walked out of the bathroom with a secret smile on my face. No one knows what just happened. No one would know what was happening for another two years, until no one could keep pretending it wasn’t happening anymore.

Fast forward and I’m in college but I’m in Argentina. I have a boyfriend and he’s nice to me, and I cling to him like he’s my whole life; he is my whole life during most of college. Never mind how I’ve cheated on him this whole trip; my first time apart from him in our two years of dating and all it takes for me to let someone kiss me is a compliment and then the threat that they might like someone else more. I’m ruled by insecurities, tell me you love me, tell me I’m pretty. I’ve gained so much weight I think I’m unrecognizable, and I hate it, so keep telling me I’m pretty, tell me I’m pretty, tell me you love me and I’ll let you take me home.

Fast forward and I’m alone. I’m in my apartment in New York City and I’m alone. When I moved to this city and when I moved to this apartment I wasn’t alone, but that all just changed. I’ve just gotten back here after leaving the Upper East Side and a pit stop to see N; M is out of town and N let me sit on their couch and stare at whatever sports game he had on to numb my feelings, but now I’m home and they’re all coming back. I’m alone. I’m really alone. And all of a sudden I’m on the floor and I’m screaming, I’m screaming into a pillow until my throat feels raw, as tears race down my face, my neck. “I’m sorry,” I keep sobbing, over and over. “I’m so sorry. I tried. I tried so hard. Oh god, this hurts. It hurts. It hurts. I’m sorry.”

Fast forward and I’m not alone in my apartment, but I am. Sometimes I’m not alone, but I am always alone. It’s one of those mornings where I’m waiting to be alone again, no I don’t want your number and don’t forget your shoes. I make a cup of coffee for just myself and sigh; there’s a moment after the door closes every time where I have to laugh at myself and who I’ve become over the last 24 months since screaming on the floor. She’s every kind of crazy, this person, but I love her in a way I’ve never loved a Self of mine. She’s stronger, I think, rolling out the worn-out yoga mat; she’s happier, I realize, as I stretch up to a backbend and open my heart. She’s ready to leave, this Self, she’s ready to take everything and start over as this person.

Fast forward and we’re all caught up. It’s almost the end of the year and the beginning of everything, the end of an era and the beginning of a new me. I don’t know where I am right now, having scheduled this blog post in advance so it would post today, like my own little fast forward to the future. My future as I’m writing it now is as blank as the rest of the future ahead of it. It was time to fast forward through all the things that shaped me in the past 12 years and let them go. It’s time to fast forward into this year, all of the wonderful milestones to look forward to, all of the changes and new beginnings and new people. It’s nice to rewind sometimes, relive who you were and how you got here, but I’m ready to press play again, and watch as the next story unfolds.

If it looks like a slut…

*Note: profanity and ‘I AM WOMAN HEAR ME ROOOAAAAAR’ ahead. 

I’m going to admit some things in this post that I haven’t said directly in the past, things I’ve hinted at but never officially ‘confirmed.’ But the things need to be admitted so that the rest of this story makes sense – and this story has been weighing on me for a little while now, so I’d rather admit things that maybe I would have wanted to keep quiet, in lieu of saying nothing at all.

Here goes: Last week I was slut-shamed by my therapist.

Quick background: I’ve been seeing this person for about three-and-a-half years, and he’s absolutely wonderful. He was the perfect person to get me through the end of one relationship into the beginning and end of another; he’s given me a new outlook on life that I never would have found on my own. I don’t see him that often anymore, save for a check-in every four-to-six months, but I usually cherish his advice and love the hour I get to chat with him about everything and nothing.

I realized just before the Savannah trip in November that I hadn’t seen him for nearly five months, and figured the end of the year would be a good chance to check-in again; my word, the last time I saw him no one was married and yoga teacher training was a distant dream. Originally, I assumed it would be a normal check-in, hi, how are you, how is your eating; but as life likes to do sometimes, there was a bit of a curveball instigated by the wedding last weekend, and it was extremely reassuring to know I’d be talking out some of my confusion with an old friend. I’m not going to go into too many details and I’m not going to give a play-by-play of the session, but here’s what happened: after discussing recent events in comparison to what’s happened to me in the past two years, my therapist turned to me and said this: “I think you’ve got the right attitude! Keep reminding yourself there is no reason to bring the past into the present. But LB, remember you shouldn’t jump into bed with guys so quickly. Make this one work for it a little bit, at least!”

On the surface, it doesn’t sound like much. Standard advice that’s beaten into all of us, right? Girls, don’t sleep with a guy right away, and don’t sleep with a lot of guys or you’ll be a slut and no one will want you. Self-respecting men don’t date sluts. Pretty simple, right?  Except it’s not simple at all. It’s actually a really fucking complicated scenario, and those scolding words are minimizing that.

I mean, let’s break it down now. I am a grown woman. I make the decisions about MY body, and it is MY choice who I do or do not sleep with, and when. It’s not anyone’s place, in particular my therapist’s place, to tell me what I choose to do and who I choose to do it with is wrong, or shameful. I’m so SICK of the notion that women need to use sex as a tool to keep men interested, like it’s currency, something we DEIGN to do, unless there’s something in it for us, like a piece of jewelry or the want of a man. Sex is a healthy and normal part of life and relationships, and I will not be told that the best way to make sure a guy stays interested is to hold out and leave us both with blue balls. Because GUESS WHAT: women enjoy having sex too. Mind-blowing. I know.

Slut-shaming runs so much deeper than merely calling someone a slut. I don’t care if someone wants to call me a slut. Don’t believe me? THEN GO FOR IT. You think your words hurt me? You think it’s anything I haven’t heard before? I’ve called myself worse things than you could ever call me. What’s weighing on me is not that my therapist actually called me a slut (because he didn’t), but the idea that he was encouraging me to use sex as a tool to get something (attention or desire), while simultaneously chastising me for having a healthy sex life as a single woman. News flash: I make no apologies for the decisions that I’ve made with regards to my body and I don’t regret a damn thing in my life, sexually or otherwise. And frankly, at the end of the day, if there is a guy that decides he’s no longer interested in me because we’ve had sex once, I don’t feel bad for me. I feel bad for him – how boring that you think sex is at its peak when you’re having it with someone new for the first time.

I’m going to step off my soapbox now and take a deep breath. I so rarely see my therapist anymore that it’s not worth it to make a huge stink with him – and honestly, I think he meant well; I know he wants the best for me, having watched me go through a lot of heartbreak in a short period of time. I know people see and hear and experience slut shaming to levels that are so far and away beyond mine. But I’m just sick of hearing these comments. I’m sick of it, especially as a 27-year-old single woman in New York City. I will not be shamed for the choices I’ve made because I stand by every single one of them. And always remember: neither should you.

Wedding Dos and Don’ts: 2015 Guest Edition

Any long-ish time readers of the blog know that the past year for me has basically centered around one thing and one thing only: other people’s weddings. For the past 12 months, and the last 5 in particular, my life has been a blur of bachelorette parties and bridal showers and rehearsal dinners, navy dresses or skirts and so much travel, all to celebrate some of the people I love the most saying I Do to the person they love most of all. It’s been a wonderful year, filled with happiness and love and wonderful memories, and it’s also been a year with a few *questionable* teaching moments for yours truly.

As someone who has been a bridesmaid, maid-of-honor, guest, and combination of all three across four weddings this fall, I feel fairly well qualified to provide a list of tips and tricks for how to have the best time. Each wedding I went to in the past five months was amazing in its own way: how do you top a freaking bagpipe-led parade down Fifth Avenue in our black-tie best? A ski lift during cocktail hour? An entire weekend with no open container laws? Or trying to out-crazy a bunch of drunk NYPD officers and rugby players? Answer: you don’t. I could never choose between four of the most fun nights of my life.

So here you go kids: My list of top wedding Dos and Don’ts:

DON’TS

  • DON’T drink too much at the rehearsal dinner. It may or may not lead to losing your phone in an Uber, losing your dignity around your friend’s extremely fancy family, losing an entire glass of red wine on your shoes or jumping so exuberantly on your sister the bride the morning of her wedding (read: still a lil drunk) when you guys wake up that she spends her big day with a massive bruise on her knee.
  • DON’T have a panic attack about your outfit. First, if R’s maid of honor still got a dress in time for the wedding after her original dress was ruined in Texas flooding like SIX WEEKS before the big day… your outfit will be fine. This also goes for guests – though I will condone impulse-buying sequin pants ONLY after your three closet dresses and two rented back-ups don’t fit.
  • DON’T freak out if you have a million weddings. Yes, they’re expensive and stressful and sometimes the food is terrible (*not the case for any of mine this year but I hear it happens), but it’s the happiest day of someone’s life. Once you see the couple looking at each other as they say “I do,” all the stress and money is worth it.
  • DON’T FORGET BOOB TAPE. I can’t stress this enough. There was not a single wedding I went to this year where that didn’t come in some form of handy.
  • DON’T take it too seriously. Some of the best parts of R and T’s weddings were in the mornings as we all got ready together. I have to say, in my head I assumed it was going to be this frenzy of activity, everyone freaking out and trying to calm down an anxious bride. Instead we were all quite calm, happily sipping on champagne and listening to music until it was about that time to get dressed. Things are going to happen on a wedding day that you can’t control, but you can control your reaction. Just let them happen, and remember to have fun.

DOS

  • DO have snacks. Snacks in the bridal suite, snacks in your hotel room, snacks in your purse before the ceremony – SNACKS. I know it’s tempting to eat nothing before the wedding to “save yourself” for the cocktail hour hors d’oeuvres or dinner, but that’s really poor planning. Bring snacks, and just assume you’re going to overeat. It’s okay. We won’t judge.
  • DO reuse accessories! I spent *probably* too much money new pair of shoes for R’s wedding but ended up wearing them to every other wedding I attended this year, and the higher quality was totally worth it. Same with earrings I bought for T’s wedding – probably spent too much and didn’t end up wearing them for her, but I’ve already worn them to two weddings and a holiday party this year. It’s worth it to plan ahead and spend a little extra on nice things if you have a lot of weddings or events.
  • DID I MENTION BRING BOOB TAPE. I’m not kidding it’s a lifesaver. Or a boob saver. Decency-saver? Well maybe not that last one if you’re like me and decide to drink whiskey. But seriously… bring boob tape.
  • DO get on the dance floor! I was SHOCKED at two of the weddings how many guests seemed embarrassed to dance once the band/DJ got going. It’s a wedding – dance like a fool, who cares! All eyes are on the happy couple anyway. And if you are the happy couple, dance like a fool – you just got married, so who cares!
  • DO take risks. The scariest thing I’ve done in a long time was attend an out-of-town wedding alone while wearing sequined pants, and it may have turned into the best decision I’ve ever made.

So there it is kids! My lessons from weddings this year. I would have done a PLD Montage but aside from the aforementioned rehearsal dinner mishaps, there weren’t really any terrible decisions on my end. I even had half a vodka shot and didn’t cry or lose anything!  It’s been such a wonderful year of love and new beginnings, and pleasant surprises. To all the new wives and husbands in my life, you’ve made this year unforgettable for me and I can’t thank you enough for planning such incredible weekends.

But also, thank you all for getting married within five months of each other. I’m for sure looking forward to a LONG break from those gold shoes.

Friendly Conversations: Cinco

AH! I haven’t posted nearly enough of these this year. To be totally honest, the past few months have hosted some of the best one-liners of my entire life… but I didn’t write them down. Between T/B and M/N’s weddings, general debauchery with college friends and holiday surprises, there were so many hilarious moments, but I didn’t write them down the way I used to. At the time, it felt rude to the other person or to that moment in general to waste time on my phone capturing a few sentences. Luckily, texts are forever, and mine with Twinster are some of the best. Though sorry, T – a few others snuck in there too.

So for the last time this year, I give you today’s: Friendly Conversations.

On Snapchat (pt. 1)
Twinster 4.PNG

On sibling reassurance
Twinster 2

On life after holiday parties
*Preface: I thought I lost my phone at the holiday party and threw a tantrum. Then I found it. Sooooooooo……

Text 6

On Snapchat (Pt. 2)
Twinster 3

On dating advice, from married people (pt. 1)
Twinster 5

On surviving three-party weekends
Text 5.png

On dating advice from married people (pt two)
Twinster 6

 

Page One

My final wedding of the year took place in New Jersey last Friday night, for a girl that I suppose I have to describe as a “work friend,” but truly she’s so much more. We worked together while I was at my last firm, and we’ve stayed close – she always joked I’d be invited to the wedding, but it was still a(n awesome) surprise to receive the official invite in the mail a few months back. I mean, she easily could have given the invite to another distant family member, another friend of her husband’s, but she chose to have me there, and I couldn’t have been more honored. Terrified, to be fair, as I made my way down the hotel elevator to the shuttle bus alone, feeling the full weight of knowing not a single soul at that wedding, but honored and excited all the same.

My fears of basically crashing a wedding with an invitation were totally unfounded, and within three minutes of sitting on the bus, I’d made a friend, and I kept meeting awesome, fun, wonderful new people all night, who embraced me as their own and did their best to make sure I had fun. I looked around at one point at the afterparty, and realized it felt almost comfortable. It felt like I was supposed to be there, like I’d known everyone there for years and maybe it wouldn’t have been the same if I weren’t there. I’m sure it would have been – or perhaps everyone was just blinded by my sequined pants. But it felt that way nonetheless.

Two days later, in an attempt to sweat out the rest of my hangover from the most aggressive partying I’ve done since my very early single days (#jersey), I went to a Bikram yoga class in Harlem and found myself meditating on the fact that I hadn’t felt that in a really long time, like maybe it would have been different if I weren’t there. It’s a hard feeling to explain – it’s not that I’m linking that statement to a particular occasion or even group of friends or family. But to be so wholly embraced by these strangers as a friend, to have the bride single me out in a wedding of nearly 200 people for a dance and many selfies, just to feel like I was with a group of people that were so happy I was there, it all felt foreign, in a great and terrible way.

Replaceable. We replace our dishes, we replace our clothes, we replace our apartments and we replace our friends. Sometimes we grow out of things or we break them, sometimes things outgrow us or walk away. Everything, mostly, is replaceable, whether we want to believe that or not; it’s nice to think we’re all going to live in the same place forever and we’re going to work the same job forever and we’re going to be best friends forever, but when you account for all the growing up we do in such short periods of time, it makes sense that sometimes we just need to move on. Imagine reading the same book over, and over, and over, doing the same thing over, and over, and over. Eventually it’s time for a new book, because the old one is worn out or you don’t like it anymore. Lately I’ve felt like that book, worn out and no longer relevant. Replaceable, if you will.

I stopped by to see my M&N, the newlyweds, after work this week so I could catch them up on the juicy wedding details, and she made a comment that’s stuck with me. After I mentioned how much fun I’d truly had, despite not knowing anyone, she laughed and said “of course you did! It was the first wedding this year where you could basically just turn up and say I’M HERE!” She meant it more like I wasn’t on bridesmaid/maid-of-honor duty for the first time, but I heard it on a different level. The wedding was a blank slate. I was a blank slate, page one of a new book. All the bullshit of the past six months, two years, five years, ten years, no one knew any of it. No one knew who I used to be, no one knew what it took me to become this person.

They just knew me as me. The Me now, this me that I’m carrying with me into 2016. It was a new page in the Book of LB, a blank slate, replacing the prejudices of the past two, five, seven years and starting over. And it felt nice to be on Page One of something again. In fact, I’d say that feeling is irreplaceable.

An Open Letter to Someone Who Probably Doesn’t Read This Blog

Dear T.C.,

Normally I’d start a letter with pleasantries: hope you’ve been well! It’s been a while! What’s new? But this isn’t one of those letters. I do hope you’ve been well, and it has been a while, but I don’t care what’s new in your life. I don’t care about your life at all. I stopped caring about your life after that last text message and I stopped caring about you shortly after you told me “I promise” and then we never saw each other again.

I felt the need to write you a letter to say two very significant things: fuck you. But also, thank you.

This weekend, with the new moon, I said goodbye to a lot of things. I said goodbye to the person you met on the platform so many months ago, the one with these convoluted fantasies about a meet-cute on the subway that clouded her judgment, the one who let you say things that never should have been said. I said goodbye to the idealistic dreams of someone who was hiding a broken heart behind alcohol and men and poor life decisions, and I really said goodbye to the girl who was so terrified of being alone that she let someone manipulate her for months, in some desperate plea to be loved. I blame me for a lot of her qualities, but I blame you a lot too. Maybe even a little more. Because even though I’m saying goodbye to that girl, there are pieces that I’m learning I can’t get rid of, not yet, and those pieces are your fault.

You took a dreamer and turned her into a hard shell, piling on armor surrounded by nails, so desperately afraid to let anyone get close again that she purposely closed herself off for an entire year. You took someone who trusted easily and gifted her with such deep-seeded anxiety at the idea of someone knowing anything serious about her because she’s afraid they’ll throw it back in her face. You took someone who saw the best in people first and made sure that she looked at anyone’s motives as malicious; everyone is just another person trying to stomp all over her heart.

But for all of that, for all of those qualities that I hate, I also want to thank you. Thank you for toughening me up before a long year of difficult decisions, and thank you for walking away completely with no explanation, because it made it so much easier to forget you. Closing myself off means that this year has been the most introspective I’ve ever had, and it finally gave me the strength to grow up. Refusing to put myself out there gave me the courage to start saying “no” to things in favor of a night with just myself, something I never thought I’d be comfortable with. Thank you for turning me into a shell of my former self, because it was time to shed that shell anyway, and find a new place where I can continue to grow.

And most importantly, thank you for giving me all of those barriers. After holding onto them like a child with a lollipop for so many months, it was a wonderful surprise to find out all it took to start breaking them down, just a bit, was an unexpected favor from my last wedding this year, and a Sunday afternoon watching football in Queens.

So goodbye – forever and for real this time. And fuck you.

But also? Thanks.

LB.

The little red notebook.

11-Dec15

It’s a new moon tonight, the last of the year before the full moon on Christmas. Somehow this feels important, especially when you consider this is the last page in this journal, and also the day of my last wedding this year.

I’m nursing a hangover from the holiday party and picking the car up at LaGuardia in an hour, but I still feel like relaxing at home for a bit in my chair before I get ready. It’s so nice to do nothing.

So these are my final intentions in a lot of ways: final for 2015, final for this amazing journal, final when you consider where I want to be this time in 6 months, next year.

I have loved this journal, and it holds all my secrets from this part of my life – the parties, the men, growing up. I will love this notebook forever but I’m ready to let this entire part of me go, forever. I’m ready to move on. 

So my final, final hopes:

 

(are safely locked in here).

XO forever

(here, at least).

LB