In elementary school, Valentine’s Day was fun. I went to the stationery store with my Mom, picked out a box of perforated Smurf Valentines, and sat in front of the TV with a copy of my class list, making sure to include everyone as I wrote out my cards. I decorated a brown paper lunch bag with stickers and glitter, and carefully wrote my name in cursive with a red Magic Marker. The next day, I taped the bag to the side of my desk, and walked around the room depositing cards in everyone else’s bags. In return, I received cards from everyone else. All was fair in love and Valentine’s Day until 6th grade.
Then everything fell apart.
In 6th grade, my crush Josh* asked me to go to the Valentine’s Dance with him, which basically meant that I was his girlfriend. This being my first boyfriend, and for Valentine’s Day no less, I took it very seriously. After a class trip to the library to learn about the Dewey Decimal System, we stopped at the mall for lunch. I headed to a gift shop and studied the Valentine’s Day cards, finally selecting one that looked like a personal ad. For my boyfriend. Keep reading »
We all know that music can powerfully affect emotions, changing how you feel completely or intensifying the mood you’re already in. We also know that relationships can powerfully affect emotions, making you want to dance in the streets or hide out under the covers. Listening to the right song at the right moment will amp up your elation, pull you out of a funk, or plunge you deeper into despair. Click through for playlists to help you rejoice in the beginning of a new relationship, mourn the loss of an old one, or give you the strength to move on to the next.
“She doesn’t drink,” my Mom said when someone offered me a glass of champagne at my sister’s wedding last summer.
“Mom!” I hissed. “Can you say ‘She doesn’t like to drink’? People are going to think I’m a recovering alcoholic!”
But after nodding no time and again to waiters coming around to refill wine and passing my empty glasses back to them, I noticed that to the casual bystander, I appear to be a recovering alcoholic. I don’t know anyone else who just doesn’t drink because they don’t like to, and won’t even have a sip of champagne for a toast. Unless they are sober. Which is when I realized that I have a lot in common with recovering alcoholics. Keep reading »
If you feel like you missed the class that taught everything you needed to know about dating and you just can’t make these things called relationships work, you may be stuck in some unhealthy romantic patterns. These default strategies can often kick in without us even knowing it — from the moment those first crushy feelings arise and take hold until the relationship inevitably crashes and burns and sometimes beyond, making it difficult to get over a guy and move on with your dating life. Ironically, the very behaviors you engage in to get into a healthy, loving, committed relationship do just the opposite, leaving you in tremendous pain and feeling like you’re destined to be alone forever. Looking back at the wreckage of your relationship history, you’ll know if it’s time to cleanse your dating palate of the chaotic and destructive patterns that have gotten you to where you are, overwhelmed by loneliness and afraid you’ll be perpetually single. Click through to see some of the biggest offenders and suggestions for how to let them go. If you can break these deadly dating patterns, you might have a shot at that love thing after all. Even though you clearly missed that day in class. I think all of us did.
Sometimes when I am sitting in a Starbucks on my lunch break, I will remember sitting there with Joey* nine years ago. I will see my 20-something self a few tables over, leaning forward towards him, my cheeks flushed. I will see my hands flailing through the air as I talk to him about my acting classes and ideas I have for future projects. I will see him looking sideways at me, biting his bottom lip, trying not to smile.
Sometimes when I find myself in the subway station a block from where he used to live, I will feel my feet hitting the concrete of the platform, and imagine his feet tracing those same steps over and over again on his daily routine. I will walk through his neighborhood and picture us walking together, our bodies so close I could feel the heat pass between our arms, but not quite letting them touch. Keep reading »
“Sit down, you forgot to act,” my teacher said, and my cheeks burned.
It was less than two minutes into my scene and he was already stopping it.
I was a 23-year-old acting student. The assignment was to come up with an imaginary circumstance and an activity to go along with it while improvising a scene with a partner who had created his or her own circumstance and activity. As always, I’d worked hard on my homework and spent hours preparing. So I was furious when my teacher cut me off so quickly.
“I’m not even going to bother critiquing that,” he said. “It wasn’t worth it.”
Blinking back tears, I shuffled to my seat with my head down and squeezed into my chair. Keep reading »
When I was in my late 20s, I had a crush on a guy I worked with. He was tall and preppy, and looked like he’d stepped out of a J. Crew catalog. Every Monday morning I’d skip down the aisle, lean on the wall of his cubicle, and ask him how his weekend was, and he’d tell me about the restaurant he went to or the movie he saw.
He loved music, and I thought I could love him, so I invited him to see my friend and her band rehearse one night. She was an incredible up-and-coming singer who had the same manager as Alicia Keys, and my crush was thrilled to get to go to her rehearsal.
Afterwards, we stopped at his apartment. I took my Joss Stone CD out of my knapsack. “I think you’ll like this,” I said, handing it to him. He put it in his stereo, turned up the music, and turned off the lights.
Keep reading »
This is how I used to start my day: I’d meditate for five minutes, read the daily passage in The Language of Letting Go by Melody Beattie, and do the daily reading and writing exercises from my Buddhism book. Then I’d log onto my computer and type my gratitude list of 30-50 items I was grateful for, followed by the 3-5 affirmations I was currently working with, written 1-10 times each. I’d email this to the approximately 40 women I exchanged gratitude lists with, and then read their lists in my inbox. Before turning off my computer, I’d scan Twitter for inspirational quotes to retweet.
On the subway to work, I’d listen to an uplifting playlist on my iPod, and/or recite affirmations in my mind. Keep reading »
For years after my ex and I broke up, I used to like to play this game where I’d compare myself to him. This was not a fun game. He had just written a bestselling novel, was living with his girlfriend, and bought a house. I felt like he had really “made it” in every way that mattered – career, relationship, and home. But after all this time I was still struggling and still single. Failing, it felt like. A failure. Keep reading »
I recently had a flirtation with a guy whereby we debated the merits of using Dictionary.com versus the actual hard copy, old school, book version of the dictionary. And I realized, with some degree of alarm, that this felt familiar. That this—this courting by way of words—was not a one-time thing. It was a recurring thing. It was my thing. Keep reading »