Friday, July 30, 2010

Empire State of Mind

I wouldn't say that I'm "rebellious" per se.  I don't have tattoos.  I don't have piercings anywhere but my earlobes.  And, really, let's be honest, I am a straight-laced, J.Crew-shopping, Top-40-listening, corporate-America-working, unapologetically mainstream 20-something.  I know that.  My rebellion takes place completely in my head.  My own inner struggle between being content with the straws I've drawn in life and this rebellious streak that nags at me, telling me that no, you must resist!  You cannot simply "settle" for the status quo!  There's always the thought in the back of my head that something can always be better.  It's that quest for perfection that keeps me continually on the lookout for the perfect apartment, the perfect job, the perfect boyfriend.

And that continual pursuit of "something better" appears to be symptomatic of my generation.  To us, nothing is permanent, and everything is fluid.  Anything can be changed, undone, fixed.  Don't like the college you picked?  Transfer.  Don't like the boy you married?  Get divorced.  Don't like your job?  Quit.  Isn't that part of the beauty of so many things in life?  You are allowed change your mind.  We are a generation of flip-floppers.  When I accepted my job offer over 2 years ago, my dad commented that he had never known anyone who was already planning when they were going to quit before they had even started their job.  I was very vocal about wanting to quit within 2 to 3 years of starting.  Now that the 2-year mark is nearly upon me, that nagging feeling that I should really be looking for "something better" is becoming more and more urgent.   It's pretty easy to hate this job, but I wonder how much of that hate is a sign of true discontent or whether it's simply a result of my own rebellion against myself.  I wonder how much my own state of mind is actually preventing me from embracing and enjoying my current lot in life.

Take, for example, when I first moved to New York.  I absolutely hated the idea of being that wide-eyed girl from southern, suburban America moving to The Big City.  As a result, I really tried to resist the City's charms.   When I went home and people asked me how New York was, I found myself hedging.  I was snobby about it.  I'd say something like, "Oh it's okay.  I mean, you know I never really wanted to live in New York.  It's just the only place in the States I can see myself living right now."  I could hear myself downplaying it, like it was just sort of the default choice.  No big deal, who the fuck cares, it's just New York.  And eventually, even I tired of being such a Debbie Downer about the whole thing.  I decided I needed an attitude adjustment and resolved to be less negative.  Basically, I gave in.  I stopped resisting.  I allowed New York to seduce me.  I embraced it.  And it still kills me a little to say it, but yeah, okay, I do love living here.

So what would happen if I stopped trying so hard to hate my job?  What if accepted it for what it is - a job that pays the rent and enables me to enjoy New York?  What if I actually tried to embrace it?

Monday, July 12, 2010

How To Get Over Someone You Didn't Even Like

My "I-hate-boys" attitude sort of bled into this past week too.

It was 'F'.  No, he didn't do anything.  And I was still, STILL thinking about him.  About what?  I don't know.  Do I want him to contact me?  No.  But I still kept wondering what he was up to, if he was spending the night in, if he was working, if he was out, if he was lonely, if he was still mad, if he was thinking about me.

I guess it just goes to show that certain people can get under your skin simply with TIME.  The longest we ever went without talking was a week.  And of course this week, all sorts of things kept reminding me of him.   Things popped up that I would've immediately texted him about a few weeks ago.  I hate that he is actually sort of my "type" and then to top it all off, we actually have that spark of chemistry.  The kind that draws people to each other from clear across the room (or bar in this case).  That, I suppose, is mostly what is to blame for why I let our entire relationship continue to function in such a dysfunctional way.

Ultimately, I hope to find someone who brings out the best in me and vice versa.  That was definitely not the case with 'F'.  We brought out the worst in each other.  The absolute worst.  As much as he makes me crazy angry and as much as I continue to tell myself all the reasons that he is so wrong for me, it still makes me a little sad.  Yet another failure, yet another disappointment, yet another guy who has let me down.

And here I am again, back at Square 1.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Enough is Enough

Last week was a little rough for me.  And by rough, I mean that I had a total "I-hate-boys" week.  Initially, it was because of this guy who I thought was a really great guy.  (Well, he might very well be a great guy who just wasn't into me.  Which sucks, but fair enough, I guess.)  In a nutshell, we're friends, we hooked up, we exchanged lukewarm emails, we made really half-assed plans to get together, we missed each other's phone calls, and that's pretty much been it.  All week, I was more or less rationalizing away his behavior.   And while there are actually legitimate mitigating factors, at the end of the week, when I received yet another lukewarm, lame-ass email, I read it, frowned, walked away from my computer, stopped half-way across the room, went back, read it again, and thought, well, Fuck That Shit.

Later, I related (slash copied and pasted) his email to my go-to straight guy friend, whose interpretation was something along the lines of, well, this doesn't mean that he's not interested.  I went, wait, what?  Said friend then proceeded to lecture me on all the things he thought I had done wrong up to that point and then advise me on how I should act going forward.  Basically, he encouraged me to play a lot of stupid games.  And I thought even more emphatically that time, well, Fuck That Shit.

Mostly, I just couldn't believe that here I was trying to make excuses for this guy.  That is so not my job AT ALL.  I recognize that I'm probably unfairly taking an entire year's worth of frustration at boys out on this poor guy who just happened to stumble into me at a particularly low-point in my life, but that's kind of just it.  There's a point at which enough is enough.  I have wasted so much time and energy making excuses for boys, hoping that one day they'll come around, waiting for the day things will magically be different.  I guess that is sort of why it's taken me so long to cut 'F' (who also resurfaced in the MOST frustrating manner this week as well) out of my life.  With 'F', I knew from Day 2 (seriously, Day 2) that he was not right for me.  And yet, I convinced myself that it was fun and not particularly detrimental to my life in any way, so I let it drag on for practically four months, far past the point at which it stopped being fun.  And gradually, during that time, this very small part of me started to hope, even believe, that one day, we'd wake up and he'd suddenly be different.  He'd make some grand gesture and grow the fuck up.

So when 'F' did resurface, I caved and agreed to see him.   Every single thing about him that day simply reconfirmed what I already knew about him.  In fact, everything single thing about him that day actually made me angry that I was there at all.  And when I told him that this was the end of the line for us, he was astonished (and pissed).  He kept asking, "What changed?"


Nothing had changed between Day 2 and now.  But do I really want him to change?  Do I really want to be with someone who has to come around to the idea of being with me?  Do I really want to waste my time waiting for someone to change?  Do I want to be with someone with whom I have to play games to get to date me?  Do I want to be with someone that I have to wear down before he'll fall in love with me?   No.  Fuck That Shit.

Life's too short.

Friday, July 2, 2010

Feeling Restless

When I moved to New York, it was the first time in my entire life that I moved somewhere not knowing when I was going to leave.  I found the fact that I could be living here in New York indefinitely really, really unsettling.  It also didn't help that I felt like I had wound up in New York by default.  It wasn't so much the best option as it was the least bad option. There really wasn't any other place in the country where I would've wanted to live as a single 25-year-old, single being the operative word in this sentence.

So initially, I was rather negative on the City before deciding that I needed an attitude adjustment.  I convinced myself that yes, this was the best place to be as a single 25-year-old.  And then I convinced myself that since I was here indefinitely, it was time to buckle down and actively concentrate on dating and relationships. I like to call it my "time-to-stay-put-mentality."

I tend to attribute my perpetual singleness to the fact that I've always been sort of focused on where I was going with my life (even if I never really knew where that was).  In the back of my mind, there's always been this hesitation of not wanting to get entangled in a relationship and be forced to give up my dreams to follow some boy.  But now that I was indefinitely stationary, it seemed logical to start concentrating on my personal life.  Stay put.  Grow up.  Stop dreaming about traveling and moving around every few years.

Today, probably for the first time in a really long time, the I-wish-I-was-living-in-a-foreign-country wave hit me.

I blame my Afghan coffee cart guy, who may be one of the nicest people I interact with on a day-to-day basis, for this sudden surge of restlessness.  He was just chatting with the guy from the coffee cart across the street and eating a plate of food from the food cart next to his, and as he poured me my coffee, he told me that the guy from the coffee cart across the street was actually his uncle.  I don't know why that made me smile.  It reminded me of how all the shopkeepers at street markets in Cairo knew each other.  It reminded me of the sense of community that suddenly bonds even the most typically unfriendly Americans when displaced in a foreign environment.  I suddenly longed to be somewhere else, soaking up a local culture, learning a new language and, when struck by homesickness, retreating back into a community of Americans with whom I never would have been friends back at home.

It wasn't quite enough to make me immediately sign up to move to Kabul, but it did get me thinking.  If I weren't for the fact that I decided that my odds of meeting someone were best in New York, would I still be  here?  Would I still be practicing law?  Doubtful.  If I wasn't so worried about being single for the rest of my life, I would have done everything in my power to move to some random country.  I wouldn't be limiting my current job search to New York. 

You hear about people all the time who put their personal life on hold for their careers.  I guess in a way, I am sort of doing the opposite.  I've put that dream of working abroad on hold in pursuit of this pipe dream of finding true love...