A Letter To The Universe

I’m currently reading Eat Pray Love and, call me an urban-single-woman cliche but, it is absolutely cathartic for me. 

I’m doggy-earring pages. 

I’m re-reading passages. 

I’m posting favorite quotes as Facebook statuses. [Most favorite: “You’ve gotta stop wearing your wishbone where your backbone oughtta be.”]

[Honestly, if I wasn’t living it, I would be rolling my eyes at myself.]

Anyway, one of the stories that has really struck a chord with me is the section where she writes a petition to God, and her friend tells her that pretty much everyone in The Universe [living and deceased] has agreed to sign it. And just like that, she receives exactly what she has asked for. 

Just yesterday, a friend of mine was telling me that she asked The Universe VERY SPECIFICALLY for something she wanted. And the very next day, some unexpected things were set in motion to grant her exactly what she desired. 

This scenario, along with the Eat Pray Love anecdote and my own beliefs in The Secret and the power of positive thought have inspired me. I’m going to write my own, very specific letter to the universe. 

I feel like I’ve done a great deal of work on myself this year [some very publicly right on this here blog (!), and some more privately on my own and in therapy]. I think I’m ready for what is next to come. I definitely wasn’t before. So I’m going to spend this weekend crafting my letter. I’m going to keep it to myself, but it will be about the usual suspects: love, career, dreams. 

Also, if you were rolling your eyes the entire time that you read this, I get it. Don’t worry, our regularly scheduled snark will be back in full force in no time. 

OkCupid: Back In The Game?

Last night, I had a conversation with a friend who said that if I’m ACTUALLY looking to date someone, OkCupid might not be my best outlet. 

WHAT?!?!

Slash. Duh. I’ve sorta put OkCupid on the back-burner because of Snatched and because… well… it hasn’t been that fruitful. [Though it HAS provided hours of entertainment!]

Yesterday, as I was leaving my therapist’s office, there was a gentleman with two adorable dogs outside. As I passed him, he stopped me. 

DogGuy: What does your shirt say? I’m a…?

Me: I’m a music nut. Cute dogs! Are they yorkies?

DogGuy: Yeah, they’re actually teacup yorkies. We* got really lucky cause they have no health issues or anything. 

Me: Well they are super cute. 

DogGuy: So.. um… I didn’t actually stop you because I wanted to know what your shirt said. I think you’re really attractive, and I was wondering if you might want to go out and get a drink or dinner or something sometime. 

Me: Uh… [I hesitate, but then I remember that it is the Summer of Yes, and so…] Yeah. Sure.

DogGuy: Cool! You know. I mean. How do you hit on people these days? Like this? Like on the sidewalk? I’m usually not this awkward, but you know, it’s summer and I’m tired of being alone and going home alone and… [trails off..]

Me: Yeah… I know what you mean.

DogGuy: Cool, well can I get your number? 

Me: Sure. 

[We do the number exchange.]

DogGuy: Oh! California! Cool!

Me: Yeah, it’s the best. I love it there. 

DogGuy: Yeah. Well, I’m from New York… But I’ve lived in other places like Atlanta and stuff, so I’m not a total weirdo or crazy or… you know… [trails off again]. 

You guys. What can I say? It’s the Summer of Yes. The answer is always yes, right? [*Also, who is this ‘we’?]

And, lest we think that awkward pick-ups on New York City streets are sort of unbearable, I present you with a round-up of recent messages:

SuitorWithNoProfilePicture: Gorgeous pics and your profile piqued my interest. New to OKC and still figuring this place out a bit. Im 6′, 180lbs, short brown hair, blue eyes, broad shoulders, athletic, cute and VERY well endowed (I promise). Id love to chat and see what you are looking for in here. Hope that youre having a good weekend and that we can chat soon…Ill be online for a bit.

I haven’t responded, but I’m thinking the ONLY appropriate response is: Pictures or I don’t believe it. [And you KNOW what sort of pictures I’m talking about…]

Obviously I’m trying to find love where others are just trying to get laid. 

NightOwl: Come have some free wine with me at a lounge in the village, lil cute Blonde~~>! Just a thought

This message was received at 1:40 am. I mean… I MAY be on OkCupid at 1:40 am, but I am ALSO most definitely in my bed. I think I have a post-1:00 am trump-card for Summer of Yes, right?

You guys. I CAN’T WIN! Spinsterhood is sounding more appealing by the hour. 

Just The Tip

When I was young, my grandparents lived in a complex with a community pool. My mom and I would often go and visit them on Saturdays. We would swim, eat dinner, play a few games of Sorry! and double solitaire, and have strawberries dipped in sugar for breakfast. It was like a mini vacation for me [probably even moreso for my hard-working single mother!]. 

One ridiculously hot summer day [I think I was about 9], my grandfather walked me over to the pool. I couldn’t wait to dive in. As soon as we arrived, he realized that he had left something at home. [I would bet $5 that it was probably his styrofoam cup filled with mixed nuts OR a Diet Caffeine Free Pepsi in a coozi. He was a quirky guy, and memories of him still bring a huge smile to my face.] He told me that I could wait at the pool for him, put my feet in the water, but under NO circumstances was I actually allowed to get in without him present. 

I sat on the ledge of the pool, beads of sweat trickling down my back, with my feet dangling in the cool water.

He left. 

I inched my way over to the steps. Feet in the water somehow turned into me sitting on the first step. 

The minutes crawled on. 

I moved down to the second step, with my body submerged from just below the shoulders. 

I just couldn’t resist any longer. 

I dunked my head under the water and re-surfaced to find a very angry grandfather re-entering the pool area. 

HONESTLY, WHAT was I thinking?! I mean… Once you’ve gotten your hair wet, you can’t really disguise the fact that you’ve taken the plunge [literally]. 

[In my defense: I was a REALLY good swimmer and on the swim team… I wasn’t scared of drowning or anything like that. I was apparently, also, a disobedient child.]

I think this is something that I constantly deal with in my life. I’m not really a “just the tip” sorta gal. I’m more “All ‘Er Nothin'” like Ado Annie. It pretty much permeates all aspects of my existence: love, fitness, sex, alcohol, fun, career, food. I’m all “Go Big or Go Home” and no “Everything in Moderation”. I think that’s why I was SO attracted to Snatched. For 6 weeks, I would just be BALLS TO THE WALL! 

But, that’s a hard life to live. Eventually you burn out. [There’s a reason why Snatched is ONLY six weeks.]

Recently, I was talking to my therapist and I told her that I am unhealthily addicted to my phone. To be honest, this isn’t that surprising in 2013. Sometimes when I’m out with my friends, I’ll notice that everyone has their face buried in a glowing screen, not interacting with any of the people they are with. I’ll pull mine out and announce, “Oh! I didn’t realize it was phone time!” and then gladly check email, Facebook, and Instagram. And then probably email again. 

The problem for me, however, is that in pretty much ALL situations, I am just waiting for my life to be revealed to me via my telephone. I just KNOW that my future is going to come to me in a job offer by email. Someone that I am interested in is going to text me. The phone will ring and then my life will begin. I check it incessantly. When I worked at a restaurant, I stored it in my bra [that is until I became convinced it was sending cancer straight to my boobs].

So while I’m waiting for life to get my digits and reach me via cellular device, I’m just not actually living. I’m just waiting. There are VERY FEW instances when I don’t feel the need to constantly check my phone. They include while I am at therapy, working out, and sleeping. [And that is ACTUALLY sleeping. I have to REALLY fight the urge to check my phone when I wake up to pee… And I only do that because I’ve been told that the glowing screen overstimulates the brain and it becomes harder to fall back asleep]. 

I thought about just disconnecting from EVERYTHING – internet, phone, Facebook – for a week and seeing how that went. But, there were so many logistical issues – work, friends, emergencies, whatever. And, though I’m NOT a ‘just the tip’ sorta gal in practice, in theory I DO believe that moderation is the key. 

So, I scratched the complete disconnection idea for a new one. There’s only one rule to my new approach to my phone. 

When I’m in a social situation, I’m not allowed to look at it. 

That’s all. 

I experimented with it yesterday. I had coffee with a friend and I went to a birthday party. It was at times both excruciating and exhilarating. But I felt like I was truly able to be present. ACTUALLY present. At the birthday party, there was an awesome band playing. [Side note: I am going to learn to play the guitar. It’s going to happen, 2013. Mark my words.] At one point, I looked around the room and I counted about half a dozen people with their noses buried in various glowing screens. Now, the purpose of this new life rule is NOT to make me a smug asshole with a superiority complex. No. However, I find it interesting that it’s just NORMAL to be “watching” a band in a bar, while completely isolating yourself with your electronic device. Believe me, 24 hours prior, *I* would have been one of those nose-buriers. 

And, lest you think karma is just letting me escape the MODICUM of judgment I passed, as I left the bar, I [obviously] pulled out my phone and began responding to a work email as I walked down the street. A man [who I could see in my peripheral vision as I am VERY EXPERIENCED at walking-while-operating-my-cellular-device] SCREAMED at me “STOP LOOKING AT YOUR PHONE! PAY ATTENTION WHILE YOU WALK!”

Listen, sir. I’m working on it. 

Summer of Yes 2013

A friend recently G’d* me this article. I’m SURE it is supposed to be hopeful, in (maybe) a tough-love-y sort of way. The message is something along the lines of what my Jewish grandmother [oh, how I wish I were Jewish and had a Jewish grandmother!] would say:

“You think New York is so impossible for dating? IT COULD BE WORSE!”

Well. Anything that was actually hopeful within the article fell on deaf ears. You know what I read into it?

Now that you are 29 and 10 months old, you’ve sealed your fate. Everyone else in this country is married off, so you are DOOMED to stay in New York for another 10 years when all of the eligible men finally decide that they are interested in relationships. You’re not going to meet anyone in any other city because they are not single, so just stay put and wait it out. Or, start dating 45 year olds. Or, get a cat and some knitting needles and research convent options. 

I guess I’m not really a glass-half-full kind of girl. Also, I’d already had that thought multiple times before reading this article, so it wasn’t that surprising of a concept to me.

Anyway, I read that and it made me think of another article I bookmarked. This article’s message? Don’t just sit around and wait for love to happen to you. Now THAT is a message I can get behind.

Confession: I MAY have also used that article as an excuse to send some self-destructive text messages to a gentleman-crush who has made it abundantly clear that he is not interested in me except for on his own terms. I mean… she says to risk rejection, right?

[What I’m understanding about myself with BOTH of these articles is: maybe I need to work on gleaning the ACTUAL message rather than the message I want to hear… Maybe.]

Anyway, I’m on board with article two, and not JUST for dating. Fitness, jobs, whatever. There’s no sense in sitting alone at home just hoping that my life will suddenly reveal itself to me. I’ve [sorta] tried that, and it’s led me to this exact moment.

In that spirit, I think it’s time to officially declare this summer “The Summer of Yes” [a Renaissance of the Summer of 2011 of sorts… the original Summer of Yes].

“No” leads to a world of stagnation. “Yes” has limitless possibilities.

Hamptons. Yes. Pool parties. Yes. Day drinking. Yes [without getting too crazy, cause I am gonna be SNATCHED, YA’LL!]. Urban and suburban adventures. Yes. Anything at all impromptu. Yes. Yes. Yes. Things that make me uncomfortable and sorta make me want to say “no”. FUCK YES.

I’m saying yes.

*G’d = sent via gchat.

Snatched: If All The Raindrops Were Lemon Drops And Gumdrops (Week 5)

I started Snatched thinking that it was going to totally revamp my approach to working out. There would be kettlebells and pushups and deadlifts, oh my! I knew that the diet would be a struggle, but the workouts! Oh! The workouts would be the bread and butter!

You guys. 

I was wrong. [No surprise.]

Now, don’t get me wrong. The workouts are amazing. They are ridiculously fun. I’ve NEVER enjoyed group classes. I’ve always gotten much more satisfaction out of torturing myself on the treadmill. Every group fitness class I’ve ever taken has always left me feeling like I could have accomplished more on my own. 

This is not so anymore. On the days when I arrive feeling weak, sluggish, tired, or unmotivated, I become energized and invigorated by the people around me and the amazing instructors. The classes are thebomb.com. Sure, they kick my ass. I leave an inviting pool of sweat on my mat for the next poor soul [not really… I mop it up, of course!]. I feel like I’ve really DONE something at the end of class. 

Today, after a particularly grueling session, I had this conversation with a friend. 

Me: God! That class was impossible!

Her: It wasn’t impossible! You did it! You finished it!

SHE IS TOTALLY RIGHT!

However. 

The food aspect of this whole thing? THAT is where I’m working through some major shit. I feel like I’m just beginning to scratch the surface, but I can tell you this: I have a fucked up relationship with food (and, by extension, drink). It’s a punishing, omni-present, self-abuse that spans the majority of my life (at least since high school). I don’t really have a whole lot of insight here, but I feel like my eyes are being opened. Maybe someday I’ll have some clarity. For now, I have my Snatched community and my therapist [thank god]. 

So, I’m trying to learn from the process. Some days are easier than others. Sometimes I eat an entire box of Fiber One in one sitting. Some days I’m overwhelmed by ALL of the food I have to consume at dinner time. Every day, I’m learning. 

This week, I don’t have much to report. I’m bloated, so my weight is higher than last week. Oh well. I’m not going to beat myself up about it. I don’t really think you can tell in the pictures, and at the end of the day, only *I* know what the scale says [well… except for the fact that I report it to you… but… I could lie and you wouldn’t know. You know what can’t lie? The pictures. Cause I don’t know how to use photoshop.]

So here we go. 

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Week 1 || Week 5

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Week 1 || Week 5

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Week 1 || Week 5

OkCupid: G.R.I.T.S. Part 3

I toyed with the idea of meeting up with my friend G.R.I.T.S. as if we’d never played hockey of the tonsil variety.

I was going to send a message along these lines:

Hi!

Yes! I’d love to meet up. Here’s my phone number: 650.555.1234.

Looking forward to hearing from you!

Erin

As I contemplated my ability and courage to pull off such a stunt, I decided to peruse his OkC profile. Before I even had a chance to draft my response, I received the NEEDIEST OkCupid follow-up message. 

G.R.I.T.S.: Hmm, you checked me out and didn’t respond. Por Que?

You guys. 

I just can’t deal with these needy OkCupid messages.

So I abandoned ship on my original scheme and went with a more straight-forward approach. 

Me: Hi G.R.I.T.S., 
How closely did you look at my profile ;)? 
I hope you’re doing well! 
Erin

G.R.I.T.S.: I really just know that I’m not a scrub and that was your criteria as you began writing lyrics to the TLC song. 
Hope you’re doing well also 😉 It’s almost Governor’s Ball so I’m happy.

ME: Well… I think the answer to the phone number question is: you already have (had?) it. 🙂

And then, as an addendum [because apparently he HAD NO IDEA WHAT I WAS TALKING ABOUT] ME: How’s Hans?

G.R.I.T.S.: He is no-more, had to get rid of him because I moved into a high rise with three other people. It was a sad day indeed. Annnnnd “had” would be the proper tense on that one.

And [because I am MORBIDLY curious in these sorts of situations] ME: Well… Here you go: 650.555.1234

1. Who says “get rid of” in reference to their pet?! ‘Give him away’ would have been WAY more appropriate. That makes me cringe. 

2. YOU GUYS. I WENT ON MULTIPLE DATES WITH THIS GUY. I’m not offended just fascinated! FASCINATED. 

3. Also, playing dumb is a bad strategy (if that’s what he was doing). A better strategy (if he wanted to give this another chance OR not look like a person suffering from memory loss): Oh, shit. I didn’t even recognize you! You’ve gotten more beautiful in the last year. [Or something else totally kiss-ass-y that would have totally worked on me because I’m a SUCKER.]

4. I haven’t heard from him. Maybe when he attempted to put my phone number in his phone, he was confronted with our chat history and it all came back to him, like Celine Dion. 

OkCupid: G.R.I.T.S Revisited

Last summer, a few months after the G.R.I.T.S. saga, I reluctantly hopped into a cab to meet a first OkCupid date. [I’m not generally a cab-taker, especially at commute time, but I was running late, and the only way I was going to meet this gentleman NOT looking like I’d just stepped out of the shower was by arriving via air-conditioned vessel. I’m a sweaty gal.] I wasn’t interested in this Suitor at all. I was just going through the motions because I felt like I should. Because I was in the throes of sadness with another gentleman. I guess he was an OkCupid rebound date. While riding in the luxurious air-conditioning, I thought to myself, “I was excited when G.R.I.T.S and I went on our first date… Maybe I should just text him and see if he maybe ISN’T the crazy misogynistic man I had him pegged for…”

So I did.

Me: Hi G.R.I.T.S! This is Erin from back in March (I don’t know if you still have my phone number…). So, I was kinda in a weird place when we were hanging out, but I would love for us to get a drink in the near future if you’re into that. I hope you’re doing well!

I hopped out of the cab and went on my OkCupid date. [It was a dud as I expected it to be.]

Exactly 24 hours later [yikes], I received a response.

G.R.I.T.S.: Hey! Yeah, sure. Let’s grab a drink this week.

Pause.

One of the big problems we had in our very short courtship was that I never responded to his text messages in a timely manner. At the time, he told me this really bothered him. Being aware of that, I was sure to respond quickly. 

Play. 

Me: Great! I’m free Monday or Thursday evening of this coming week. Do either of those work for you?

[No response.]

Me [on Monday]: So, does Thursday work for you?

Me [on Thursday, wasted]: So… Now you’re not responding to my text messages. I get it. You’re getting me back for not responding to yours back in the day. That’s cool. I probably deserve it. But, just so I know, how long are you going to play this game?

And then, I drunkenly Facebook friend requested him. Apparently, that’s my M.O.

Suffice it to say, the friend request was not accepted [I think I eventually retracted it in sobriety], and I never got a response to my belligerent, drunken texts.

Is anyone surprised? I would say no.

Fast forward to this morning.

I awaken to the following OkCupid message:

I’m interested. You seem a little like a female version of me – fun, blonde, and a little wild. 
Shoot me your number, we can make plans and go from there.

Upon closer investigation, I find that the sender of the message is my good friend G.R.I.T.S.

My first thought was: Oh, shit! Am I offending the first commandment of OkCupid-ing?!

FIRST COMMANDMENT OF OKCUPID-ING: THOU MUST LOOK-EST LIKE ONE’S PROFILE PICTURES!

I immediately perused them only to discover that, by pure coincidence, one of my pictures was taken the VERY NIGHT I met G.R.I.T.S. (just a few short hours before – same clothes, same hair-do, same everything).

My friend G.R.I.T.S. is apparently not that observant.

I’m still contemplating the perfect response.

Current front runners:

I think you already have it. [My phone number.]

How’s Hans? [His dog.]

Dude. Really?

I’m open to suggestions.