I had a revelation last night while I was in the bathroom (where, funnily enough, happens to be the room where I receive many of my spiritual “aha” moments). I was brushing my teeth while imagining Oprah was interviewing me on her Super Soul Sunday, as I often do. This time Oprah was asking me about love and how I knew it was time to let myself receive long-lasting love (apparently I was married to a really lovely partner in this daydream).
I wasn’t totally taken aback why she, or, let’s be honest, my subconscious, was asking me about the four-letter word. This summer my heart has suffered more disappointments than it has in years, and recently I’ve been asking myself, “why?” What came to mind (as I was still picturing myself talking to Oprah) surprised me. I found myself explaining to Oprah (and, really, myself) that I had never thought I was ready for a committed relationship because my life has been in flux for a long time. To make a long story short, I’ve lived in four different cities over the last five years and have held just as many odd jobs. Now, working as a freelance writer, I’m always waiting on the next job to come. Some weeks are busier than others, while some can be preeetty slooooow. I’m also pursing a screenwriting career, which is basically just asking for a life of uncertainty and checks lost in the mail.
It dawned on me that the uncertain feelings I have regarding my career played into how I view my worthiness of a committed, blissed out, awesome relationship. Bottom line: I didn’t think I deserved one.
The question “why?” echoed back at me.
“Because,” I told myself, with toothpaste dripping out of my mouth. “I don’t have enough time or money or confidence or experience, or, or….Okay!” Spit. “Truthfully? I don’t think I’m enough.”
I’m not gonna lie – that was a tough blow. But the truth was staring right at me in the face in the bathroom mirror: my own face, the one I had second-guessed and short-changed for too long. But then I realized: I am enough. Just as I am, right here, right now, I imagined myself (this new Zen-like me) saying to Oprah. “And that’s when everything changed.” Um, eureka! Ding ding ding! I hit the nail on my own head.
I have everything I’ll ever need to live an abundantly beautiful life now: me. I don’t have to wait for anything to “happen” or wait to “become” something in order to attain a loving and prosperous existence, or relationship, because it’s already available to me. I have a lot to offer, including my fierce open heart and my passionate soul. I’m all I’ll ever be right now, and that’s more than enough. That’s plenty.
And this need not only apply to romantic relationships, no sirree. I am enough when it comes to my work, my friendships, my family, my spirituality and in my relationship with myself. I am enough. Period. And for those who don’t think so? Well, they can walk on by, baby.
I’m not sure why exactly this moment hit me the way it did and where it exactly came from, but I’d like to think there was a greater force at work (yes, even one bigger than Oprah) who wanted to say to me, “Enough is enough.” Besides, as Hollywood (and my daydream) has taught me anything, there will be a person who will like me…just as I am.
For more, head over to I AM THAT GIRL (a great site and cause, by the way).
When I was twenty-three years old, I lived in New York City and was in love for the first time with a handsome bartender who poured drinks as smoothly as he charmed his way into my life.
I was pretty sure I was in love with him because for weeks I had cried every time we had sex.
“I must have something in my eye,” I’d say afterwards.
“Am I doing something wrong?” He finally asked me.
“No, of course not,” I sniffled. The truth is, I wasn’t sure what exactly I was feeling because I hadn’t felt it before. I chalked up my post-coital tears to my being in oxytocin overdrive.
“You…just make me happy,” I told him a few days later after he called me during his break at the community college where he was completing his degree. He’d wanted to make sure we were still cool despite my reassurance (“Honestly, I just chopped onions before you came over!”) from the previous night.
“I’ve never made a girl cry tears of happiness before,” he said. Nor had I cried them before. Was this love? I didn’t have a clue.
I was a late-bloomer. I didn’t slow dance with a boy until I was 12 and my sloppy first kiss didn’t come until I was 16. While most of my peers were fingering each other, I was figuring out how to get to New York. For a very long time, romantic love was an esoteric thing to me that I assumed would occur eventually, like taxes and having your clothes dry-cleaned. Being raised Catholic, along with consuming a healthy diet of Nora Ephron movies, caused me to believe that whenever I did fall in love, it would happen with the right guy, at the right time, and because it had taken so long, it would be big.
Monumental. Life-changing. A romantic setting of votive candles, scattered rose petals and D’Angelo crooning in the background, so, basically—perfect. But mostly I wanted love to hit me like an unequivocal ton of bricks.
It was October. I was on the treadmill at my gym in Greenwich Village, easing into a slow jog when I felt—and heard—a loud POP. I immediately sank to the ground writhing in pain. A trainer soon approached me to assess my injury.
“Ooh. Yeah, you definitely dislocated your shoulder,” he said. “We’ll have to call an ambulance.”
An ambulance and a dislocated shoulder?! As far as I was concerned ambulances were for heart attack and car crash victims and people who hadn’t had bowel movements for days. Other than spraining my ankle in the eighth grade, my limbs, and all other body parts, had perfectly stayed intact and healthy. I was freaking out and, so, naturally, called my boyfriend.
“A dislocated shoulder? That’s nothing! I had tons of those playing football,” he said to me. “Just pop it back in.”
“Pop it back in?!” I knew his slight insensitivity was related to my interrupting his celebrating the end of midterms with his classmates, but I was not popping limbs back into place or traveling via ambulance for the first time alone. I hadn’t had a serious boyfriend before, but I knew enough that, besides having cool, ratty T-shirts to borrow and morning sex, this was the sort of thing boyfriends did.
“I’ll be right there,” he said. And he was, holding my hand in the ambulance, scooping my tears away.
Hours later, a Peter Benton-esque ER doctor informed me that I didn’t break any bones nor did I dislocate my shoulder. It was some kind of rhombus muscle tear. He asked me if there was any reason for my back and shoulder muscles to be exceptionally tight.
“I’ve had a bad cough for a few months,” I said. “There’s a window in my apartment that’s stuck. It won’t close, so there’s a draft.”
“That could explain it,” the doctor said. He then turned to my boyfriend: “You better shut that window for her.”
We shuttled back to my apartment in Brooklyn, my left arm in a sling. I was still in my gym clothes, so he helped me take off my clothes before I jumped in the shower; he then went to work to unstick my window. Under the warm water, I thought of the day’s events, of us, of him. How he called my mom to break the news to her and reassured her, how he tried to make me laugh by making fun of Celine Dion iPod playlist, how he only took my top off while he was undressing me. Was this love?
I hopped out of the bathroom, a towel gingerly covering me, when I heard: “Babe! Babe! I closed it!” I looked to see my boyfriend hovering underneath the windowsill, proudly showing his handiwork: he had indeed shut the double-paned window.
No sooner did I manage to squeeze out, “Awesom—“ when, somehow, someway, the top pane of the window became unstuck and slammed shut on his left hand.
He cried out, but I didn’t know the seriousness of what happened until he said, “Yep. I can see the bone. I can see the bone!” It was severe all right—the tip of his left middle finger had been severed.
I remember hurriedly pulling on a pair of sweatpants and a sweater without a bra or underwear, shouting, “Hold it above your heart! Hold it above your heart!” because that’s the only thing I remembered from my high school first aid class. I remember rushing to the window, attempting to lift it with my one good arm, so I could retrieve his finger tip because I remembered from watching a lot of Clooney-era “ER” that you needed to put severed limbs on ice “stat”. I also remember him telling me, after a few lame attempts, to, “Forget it.”
I remember frantically reaching for my cell phone to call 911 but then him stopping me because he didn’t want to go to a Brooklyn hospital, so I called a cab instead (I remember thinking, “What’s wrong with a Brooklyn hospital?”). I remember us pulling up to the exact same hospital we had just left only two hours before, entering the same ER, sitting in the exact two seats at triage, seeing the same Peter Benton-esque ER doctor walk by us.
I remember him pulling a classic double take when he spotted us, asking, “What are you two doing back here?” I remember my boyfriend raising his maimed hand and saying, “Remember that window you told me to close? Well, I closed it.”
To finish the story, hop on over to Ravishly where it was originally published.
It’s Thanksgiving weekend here in Canada, so what a perfect time to express gratitude. I’m thankful for:
3. Healthy Mind/Body/Spirit
5. Being Canadian!
These are simple things, yes, but for me, when I reconnect to the basic things in life (which aren’t very “basic” at all), I always feel reenergized and beyond grateful. When you have, and can appreciate, the basic tenets of life — love, health, you — the world opens up it tenfold.
As Paulo Coelho said: ’It’s the simple things in life that are the most extraordinary.’
What are you grateful for this weekend?
Confession: I don’t like dating much. I prefer when my guy friends seamlessly transition into boyfriend or boyfriend-like tendencies.
Actually, I take part of that back. I like the idea of friends becoming lovers, but there is nothing really “seamless” about the transformation.
Remember the whole When Harry Met Sally adage that tells us men and women can’t be friends because the sex part gets in the way? Well, Billy was right. Sex always gets in the way. Always. And when the sex part gets between two hella good friends, it can go either way: super awkward or super awesome (as nakedness often goes down).
Turning a girl friend into a girlfriend can be bumpy territory, but that’s why I’ve enlisted top Toronto psychologist,Nicole McCance, to walk us through it.
Nicole recommends testing the waters at first and asking your gal pal for some relationship advice to see if she bites. “Ask certain questions to feel out if she is interested,” says Nicole. “For example, ask her for relationship advice. ‘What kind of girl do you think would be good for me?’ Start talking more seriously that you are looking for a relationship in general. Be honest and tell her that you would love to meet a girl with her qualities. See what she says. If her response makes it obvious she wants to stay in the friend zone, it won’t feel like rejection because you didn’t ask her directly.”
Also, on a personal note (did I mention I have a lot of experience in this area?), I would go with your gut. If she’s not giving you an obvious sign that she’s interested, then she’s probably not. It sucks, but it’s better to know as soon as possible so you can move forward. If you absolutely must be certain about her feelings, then be direct.
But, as Nicole warns, do not approach your friend when copious amounts of booze have been consumed. Or if you’re dating someone else. She also adds, “Be sure you are ready to get into a relationship, if you do take it to the next level. You have more to lose with this person than another person that you have no history with and will never see again.”
SHE’S INTO IT. NOW WHAT?
You’re no longer in the Friend Zone. Congratulations! So, what’s next?
“If you are going to become lovers, then start a relationship like you normally would: date her,” Nicole recommends. “The courting period is important and now you can ask more meaningful questions about what she wants for her future, etc.”
I definitely agree with this point. I think often times when friends become lovers, the dating phase is skipped over because you know each other well enough that the “first date” often feels more like the fifteenth. Assumptions are made and important questions aren’t asked because, well, things are blurry. But, if you’re serious about her, and her feelings, then you’ll move slowly.
“The woman feeling that she is being courted is important,” says Nicole. “It’s important that she feels special and that you break your friendship routine and take her out on dates. Ask her the same questions you would if you were on a real date.”Basically, you want to make sure there is an emotional connection between you. There’s a difference between getting along as friends and connecting as lovers. Dating will help with that, while also making it way less intense for the both of you.
WHAT’S SO GREAT ABOUT DATING A FRIEND ANYWAY?
So many of the very best things! “You already know that you have fun with this person, you know a lot about them and you feel comfortable with them,” Nicole says. “Every good romantic partnership has a solid friendship foundation. If your friendship with her can have sexual chemistry and a deeper emotional connection, it could be a lasting committed relationship.
I mean, what wedding doesn’t have a bride or groom, or both, proclaiming, “I’m so lucky I married my best friend!” It’s what Jason Mraz songs are made of. We all want the comfort and security that a friendship provides us along with a romantic relationship that keeps us hot and bothered. It’s the best of both worlds, right?
BUT WHAT ARE THE PITFALLS?
Well, we’re not going to lie to you: you risk losing everything. A girlfriend and a girl friend. “As soon as romantic feelings are involved, your friendship changes. You risk losing your friend if you break up,” Nicole says. “The friendship will never be the same. It’s hard to undo feelings and have it not be awkward right after.” Yep, it’s pretty hard to ever go back from seeing each other’s bathing suit parts and being cool after all the exchanging of feelings and bodily fluids. Also, when it comes to sex with a friend, voicing expectations is pretty important, too.
“If your feelings are involved, let her know before you have sex or as soon as possible afterwards,” Nicole says. “She may think you are just friends with benefits and you risk getting hurt if you say nothing.
Though I haven’t been able to truly be friends with a guy after we bumped uglies, Nicole says it’s possible. “I have seen friendships rekindle,” she says. “It is possible to be friends again, but it can take time.” Fingers crossed!
SO IS IT WORTH TAKING THE CHANCE?
It depends on how much you value you place on your friendship with this woman and if you’re willing to risk it all.
“It could be a romance based on a solid friendship,” says Nicole. “The question is: are you willing to risk the friendship? Be aware that your interaction with this person will change now that feelings are involved. As soon as you are in the romantic relationship zone you risk getting hurt. You will find that you may take things more personally and become more defensive because now you care more. You are more vulnerable.” Ahh, vulnerability. It’s a tricky thing. We want all the benefits it reaps, but we don’t want the repercussions from it, either.
From personal experience, I would say: proceed with caution. If your girl friend is someone with whom you can honestly see yourself dating for the long-term, then try it out. But if she’s someone who you’re just curious about (a.k.a you wanna bang), I’d leave her alone and go for the pretty stranger at the bar. Why ruin a perfectly good friendship for one awkward night of sex?
The original article was published on Daily XY.