Monthly Archives: June 2011

Grey Areas, or That Small Middle Sliver in a Venn Diagram

Bet you thought I was gonna post about NY passing gay marriage huh? Well, I’ve already espoused my views on that topic in a post you can read here, but I will say that I am pretty thrilled for those who this law affects. Everyone deserves safe sex and expression of pure love. I stamp it. Go head kids, put a ring on it!

Today I am thinking a lot about grey areas, or undefined relationships. In my own life, these kinds of relationships are the norm. I have only had three boyfriends my whole life. The first one, I broke his heart. Sweetest kid I’ve probably ever dated. Not an auspicious start. The second one was slightly more complicated, but again I was the heart breaker. The third was one the real douzey, when we were long distance and talking about forever and pretending to almost be engaged. In this last case, I got completely blind sided, shattered, toe’ up. Think about the worse case scenario and then double it, and thats about where I ended up.

The thing is, I was never really the girlfriend type. I have always valued my freedom more than any one person’s affections. And to this day it seems to me that labels and statuses just raise the stakes unnecessarily. Also, becoming monogamous or exclusive seems like a really arbitrary step. There are so many ways to show someone to care about them, this one particular limitation just doesn’t feel important to me. I’d rather someone choose to show up because they want to, not because they aren’t allowed to date or hook-up with anyone else.

That being said, I find that I am less and less confident in these sorts of relationships (which, since b/f #3, are all I really engage in. I won’t give you the exact amount of time it’s been since I was wifed up, but trust, it’s been awhile.)  I think that maybe when I was young, I had all that naive optimism and confidence that comes with an absolute lack of heartbreak. I should maybe mention that I’ve been in love exactly four times, and only one of those was a boyfriend, and (you guessed it) it was that last one that broke my heart. Maybe ambiguity is easier when you are young and distracted and just, more carefree. I think also it should be noted that when I was just a kid, these kinds of relationships were the exception and not the norm. Other girls my age wanted boyfriends, and I went to a small school where one kiss meant boyfriend/girlfriend (and all manner of alternative relationships were taboo.) Now it seems that everyone my age is over traditional exclusive dating, and that despite an overwhelming desire for companionship and intimacy, everyone wants to stay single.

I think this is where I start to get itchy. I still firmly believe in keeping the pressure off and options open, but with everyone being so cautious it’s hard to read how people are feeling. And feelings do happen, and they matter, and they are beautiful. And what fascinates me is that everyone I talk to wants the same thing, but people will actually end relationships with people they really like if they think it’s getting “too serious.” But really, what good is that? Wouldn’t it be better to talk it out, see if you can’t set perimeters that everyone is comfortable with before just disappearing. Or better yet, why set limits at all? Why not just float together for a little while, see how it starts to take shape, try and listen to how you feel and not worry about how the culture says relationships should develop or the bullshit accepted rules. Because at the end of the night, its just you and them in a room, enjoying being close. I for one just want to see what happens next, to ‘let go let flow’ and maybe even fall in love and not worry about those details that other people deem relevant. I want to pick and choose what goes in that middle section of the venn diagram, I want to feel out which shade of grey feels most comfortable. It’s not about updating a facebook status or PDA or espousing rules. It’s about being sure of one’s feelings, and trying to be with people who will work with you to find that perfect shade. This will only work, though, if we all swallow some pride and feel despite fear and talk to each other like friends. It only works if we allow ourselves to care for one another and act in a considerate manner. Otherwise, we just become reckless and destructive, and that perfect shade of grey will be forever elusive.

Maybe its just me, but that’s probably why this is the second movie coming out that’s written about grey areas. I’ll be interested to see how this one turns out… Slash I just can’t wait cause I love J Time. Enjoy.

Listening to What Matters

Sorry for the hiatus guys. Stress is a monster. I promise to try and make time, cause lets face it, this is a fun outlet.

I went on a mini two day vacay this week with one of my besties, and I had a lot of time to think. Once again, I am considering what it means to think compassionately about yourself, and to love yourself. Because it’s hard. And then I got back this morning and flipped on some trashy TV (E! News, ugh), and it’s ‘Super Model Bikini Body Tricks.’ And now I’m mad. Real mad.

Because those women are weird. They are genetic weirdos. I eat an extremely heathy vegan diet. I do not look like them. I am curvy. Strong, hourglass, however you want to describe it. So to be bombarded all the time with images of these super tall, leggy, thin women and then claim that you don’t have to starve or over work-out to look like that is insane. Maybe they don’t have to, but not everyone has that genetic make-up. And then I can just imagine the disappointment when a woman reads those tips and puts them into action, and the results aren’t as spectacular as Giselle. It’s bullshit.

And let me just say, that recently I’ve been getting some curvy body love. Obviously there is no reason in particular, just a few random occurrences. And I’ve decided to believe them that my body is great the way it is, that looking life a super model is just one kind of beautiful, and that i don’t have to do anything other than be me to be desirable and sexy. I think that since we all allow other people to make us feel insecure, we should also allow them to help make us feel beautiful. I’m gonna start listening to the people who say nice things. We all internalize the bad so readily, why not listen when someone tells you how banging your body is, how cute it looks in that outfit. Shouldn’t that be more real than the magazine covers and interviews and airbrushing and impossible standards that get set for ridiculous and sometimes arbitrary reasons?

In a similar vein, here is a lovely article in the Huffington Post about self compassion from one of my favorite yoga instructors. If you are into yoga check out the studio site here, and yes, this is the one and only Lady GaGa’s personal instructor. Cool huh? I am making an effort to incorporate her hot water with lemon/compassionate thoughts morning routine. It feels good.

So the combined story I guess is that you can’t escape outside voices and their messages. All you can do is adjust the volume, turn it down on the unrealistic pictures and ridiculous ‘Bikini Body Tips’, and turn it up when people are being kind and loving. Ultimately, you also have to adjust your own voice, think nice things about yourself, and allow yourself to internalize the good stuff. We are permeable people, and you can’t shut out the world. But ultimately its you and you in a room, and only you can take that final step towards feeling truly confident and joyous. When you think nice things, don’t make them conditional. Love yourself this moment, this body, right now, no changes necessary. It certainly is an ongoing battle, but the rewards are well worth the effort. Confidence and self compassion will make it easier to check things off your ‘to-do list’, it’ll make your sex life WAY better, and it will make you nicer and more fun to be around. All of that is for sure worth five minutes of focused thought and positve self-attention.

Now go look in a mirror and say three nice things about the person you see. Out loud if possible. It may sound silly, but I don’t know a single girl who wouldn’t benefit from this exercise. When your done being nice to yourself, send one of your besties a sweet text to brighten their day. Its not easy out there, and the more we verbalize love for our friends the easier it is to fight back against all the crap. The idea of sisterhood is not out dated, and its not just for traveling pants.