The One in Which I Deal With Expectations vs Reality. Or: One Woman’s Journey Into a Year of Self-created Stress

Having an imagination is a wonderful thing. It got me through a somewhat lonely childhood, turned me into an avid reader, and a passably good writer. (The latter is still up for debate.) Having an imagination is also a very terrible thing. Having an imagination that has had years of unrealistic portrayals of romance in books, music, movies, and yes, even commercials, is an even worse thing.

That is my imagination.

My imagination has had years, and years, and YEARS of romance saturated influences digging their way in. These influences planted seeds of, often unattainable, portrayals of love in my head that my imagination then watered and cared for diligently, allowing them to grow into visions of how I wanted courtship and declarations of love and proposals and marriage to be. My imagination created beautiful, romantic, eloquent proposals. My imagination created chic, rustic weddings with everyone I know celebrating love into the late hours. My imagination is amalgamation of every “Our big day!” wedding Pinterest board, saccharine rom-com, and tradition we’ve been taught goes along with love and marriage. My imagination is probably not the only one filled with dreams of perfect ivory lace dresses, but that doesn’t make my last year of crazy any less… crazy.

Mr. T and I are going to get married. We’ve known this for quite some time. Our discussions of ‘forever’ came fairly early on and throughout the last year, as our relationship has been tested and strengthened, have only become more of a foregone certainty. One night, about a month in (I told y’all, we hit the together forever stage early), we were at a bar – where ALL important discussions should occur, natch – and we both put it out there. “You’re the one for me.” This is not a direct quote. Remember, we are at a bar, exact wording is a bit fuzzy. But, what wasn’t fuzzy was the agreement that we didn’t need to date forever to figure this out. We were both adults and had been in enough relationships to know yep, this is the one I’m ready to dive into the deep end with. Y’all, I was ELATED. I’m 32 at this point and in a point in my life where I am one million and ten percent ready to have this commitment in my life. I was ready for the wedding, the white picket fence, and the happily ever after. Being in love with someone who was so many of the things I’ve always wanted, and on top of that, ready to move at the same speed as me was enough to set my ‘should we honeymoon in a beach location or in England?’ imagination in motion. I wasn’t quite a woman possessed, but I wasn’t exactly sane either. I was a woman filled with expectations.

My first toe dip into the pool of insanity was Valentine’s weekend. Ewww, gross, who proposes on Valentine’s? So cliché. Yeah, yeah. Whatever. Valentine’s proposals may not exactly be unique, but Mr. T and I were going to be visiting a friend in Sacramento. We had plans to go to vineyards on Valentine’s. Omg. Vineyards. Valentine’s. I’M GETTING ENGAGED! I started making checklists in my head. ‘So if we get engaged in February that’s totally enough time to have the end of September Fall wedding I’ve always dreamed of. We can do engagement photos in the Spring and Fall in London would be perfect!’ This will be the perfect romantic getaway. How could it not happen?!

Well, easily. That’s how it could not happen.

As we were flying back home, sans ring, I told myself it’s fine. And it was. Maybe I had some expectation of a romantic proposal, but we hadn’t really been actively talking about timing of getting married, and, as the non-crazy part of my brain reminded me, we had only been dating for seven months. Sure, we practically lived together and I’d been sporadically dropping hints that I wanted to be Mrs. T, but we’ve got plenty of time, I told myself. Maybe the Fall wedding won’t be in the cards, but maybe that was for the best… because now that means we can have a Spring wedding!

It was probably early April when I further dipped a whole leg into the pool of insanity. We were all settled in our new home and life was really, really good. One day I declared, ‘I think 5/6/17 will be a perfect wedding date.’ Mr. T agreed. Kind of. But also kind of didn’t seem to be paying full attention to me. But I didn’t pay much attention to his not paying attention. No sir. Because I was too busy plotting our new wedding. Swap out Spring engagement pictures for Fall ones, deep purple flowers for a lighter lilac color, and the honeymoon to Paris (because what is better than Springtime in Paris?) and everything can still happen just how I’ve always imagined it. Everything can go exactly how I’ve always planned. If Mr. T would just hurry up and propose already…

We planned a housewarming party for the end of April. Most of my family and a lot of our friends would be there. There would be food and drinks and games. I would find the perfect outfit and be the perfect hostess because surely this was going to be the day he was going to ask me. By now he knows I’ve always thought it was romantic to have friends or family around to share in that moment with you, for them to hear how much you are loved and wanted in someone’s life forever and at the party we’d have a whole house full of them. How could it not happen?!

Well, easily. That’s how it could not happen.

Still, I didn’t let it get to me. The dream wedding I had planned in my head wasn’t for another year, so there was still time for things to go as planned.

The next week we set out to NYC for my 33rd birthday and I belly flopped straight into the pool of insanity. We were going to Jimmy Fallon and seeing a Broadway show and a game at Yankees Stadium. We were going to check out some trendy bars and restaurants and had walks on the High Line and Central Park and across the Brooklyn Bridge planned. It was going to be perfect trip. And by now it wasn’t just me who was thinking I’d come back an engaged women. Friends and family all felt certain of this as well. A vacation and my birthday? How could it not happen?!

Well, easily. That’s how it could not happen.

Except, this time I did let it get to me. We were in a bar (again, because obviously this is where all important discussions should occur) and I made some comment about packing a ring. Mr. T very blatantly told me there was no ring. He was slightly intoxicated at the time, so it didn’t come out in the nicest way. And I was slightly emotional at the time, so I didn’t take it in the best way. I held off for as long as I could, trying and trying to not let everything I’d been expecting since that first discussion of forever nearly nine months ago overwhelm me and send me into a ridiculously unreasonable tantrum. I did pretty well… until we got back to the studio we were staying in. I broke down. I cried and cried and he got frustrated, both of our go to reactions for situations like this, and we finally just went to bed. The rest of the trip was really amazing, but, of course, this was still in the back of my head. But, I didn’t bring it up because how could I tell him what I was upset about? How could I tell him I was upset he wasn’t doing things as I expected he would? That him not doing things as I had imagined made me scared we weren’t on the same page. That the picture in my head I had spent years fostering wasn’t happening how I wanted it to. I couldn’t. I couldn’t tell him those things without him thinking I was absolutely crazy.

Because I was absolutely crazy.

I have a huge problem with things not happening as I’ve imagined and planned for them to. (Refer to my previous post in which I freak out that we’re moving in together but not married or engaged because, once again, that’s not how I’ve always imagined the progression of a relationship happening.) I’m sure I’m not the only person who suffers from this. I’ve spent a lot of time analyzing myself and I know much of this building scenarios in my head and being unreasonably disappointed when those don’t come to fruition is because of my need for control in my life. Planning how events in my life would happen over the years was my way of controlling a life that often felt out of control when I was younger. Imaging how things would be perfect in the future was an easy way to escape periods of my life that were very far from perfect. And it’s hard to break away from those ideas of perfection. Those expectations. It can be difficult to let go and not be in control of how things happen. It’s difficult to not let the expectations make you feel unsatisfied when you compare your life to how you imagined your it would look years ago.

Now, since Mr. T read my posts, I should take the time to, once again, say that I was never disappointed in him not doing things “quickly enough.” We did eventually talk through all of this (although I’m not sure he knew just how crazy and extensive my imaginations were… If I haven’t scared him away yet, I’m pretty sure he can handle it though.) and I tried to give him insight into the deep, dark cave that is my brain. To let him know my mini meltdown wasn’t from disappointment, it was from being faced with the fact that there are things I just can’t control (a lesson I actually learned long ago, but keep relearning over and over again). It was the process of letting go of the ideas my imagination had spent years and years creating. Ideas that were never actually realistic because they never included the most important part – him. Things I planned years ago didn’t factor in how my life would change over the years. How some things that were pinned to my Pinterest board imagination would become less important as the relationship with the person I was ready to spend my life with became more important.

So, it is now August. One year from when we first discussed ‘forever’. We still are not engaged…. Except, we kind of are. There hasn’t been a proposal, there’s no ring, we aren’t “Facebook official”, and things are definitely not going in the order I always expected they would go, but we have a date set. I have a dress. We have a honeymoon. We have a countdown. And most importantly, we have a lot of excitement for our future. And, no, this non-traditional reality is never how I pictured it when those seeds were first planted in my imagination. It’s better. Because it’s now it’s not about making sure things meet those expectations I created years ago. It’s just about me and him and forever.

The One in Which I Worry About How Things Are Supposed To Go

If there’s one thing that can be universally agreed upon it’s that moving is THE. WORST. Literally, I cannot think of one person that enjoys doing it. Even if you have all the money in the world and can buy a bevy of movers, it’s still a miserable chore. But, it’s one of life’s necessities. Moving can get you to new places. Bigger and better places. My next move is exactly that, to bigger and better. A full house (no more upstairs neighbors, FINALLY) with all the porches and pantry space I have dreamed of. And while the act of moving itself does sound miserable, there is something more that is giving me the slightest of anxieties about this upcoming change.

For the very first time I will be living with a significant other.

It feels weird to say, because, in truth, Mr. T and I have been essentially been shacked up at my place for the last six months. But it was still “my place” and he still had his place as well. Now it’s Our Place. The bills are ours, the upkeep is ours, the porches and the pantries… all of it is Ours. Since signing the lease almost three weeks ago I’ve been trying to peg down what about this has been scaring me. It’s not the physical act of living together. If we can share 750 sq feet peacefully and happily, we can certainly live well in double that. It’s not the finances, that part was easily agreed upon even before we found our new home. And it’s not the seriousness of “taking the next step” in our relationship either. We’ve both known for months, about six to be exact, that this is what we wanted. The sharing of space and everyday life. No, the reason behind my jitters is much, much sillier than all of these legitimate concerns.

The reason I’ve never lived with a boyfriend is because in the past, all I’ve had is “boyfriends.” I’ve never been engaged or married and, to me, when putting together a list of how I’d like my life to go when I was younger, I didn’t want to live with someone until there was that commitment, or promise of commitment, of more. Rationally, I know this is really, really dumb. You truly cannot plan for how things will happen in life. I let go of the ‘I’ll be married by 25, kids by 28, etc, etc’ thoughts long ago, because those things happen when they are meant to happen. (And, if I would have gotten married at 25, which, now thinking back, actually was an option to me then, I wouldn’t have been living in Kansas City and at some random dive bar two months after turning 32 to meet Mr. T. So hallelujah, praise yeezus I didn’t follow my “life’s plan.”) So why haven’t I been able to let go of this feeling of ‘this is how a relationship is supposed to go’ mindset?

Largely, it’s fear. It’s fear of officially living with someone, no more ‘well, if we get sick of each other he can just stay at his place for a few nights’ escape plans available to either of us. Not that we ever used that option, but it was always there. Now if he gets sick of me, he’s stuck with me. And if he’s stuck with me when he’s sick of me, he may start to regret living together. See where this anxiety spiral is going? Yep. If we do this, maybe he’ll get sick of us and want out.

But Thalia, if this is truly going to happen, wouldn’t you rather find this out before more of a commitment is made?

No.

Yes, I know, it does sound rational. Test the waters out by living together to see if you really are ready for a more long term commitment of marriage. But my completely irrational brain just doesn’t see it that way. My thinking for when I set up my ‘this is how a relationship is supposed to go’ mindset was that commitment of marriage, or promise of one through engagement, is necessary to living together. That means that you both are already on the same page about spending your lives together. That there is no more ‘wanting out.’ You’re already fully invested in this person and ready to go.

But Thalia, you can still ‘want out’ of an engagement or marriage.

I KNOW, GUYS! As stated more than once previously, my mind IS NOT RATIONAL. It’s just one of those things. Something I’ve spent years envisioning. How do you change a past thought so deeply engrained in yourself when you know it doesn’t serve you well in the present though? I know Mr. T is in it to win it, so to speak. I know he and I are on the same page about our future. At least… most of the time I know that. And that’s where I can’t let go of my ‘this is how a relationship is supposed to go’ thinking. What if he’s not? What if we’re on different pages? What if he never gets to my page? What if just living together is enough of a commitment for him? The what if’s keep me from moving beyond those past believes of how things are supposed to go. They are keeping me from fully being immersed in the excitement of finding a great home to share with a great, great man, and I know I desperately need to let these what if’s and fears go to be able to appreciate this time.

Meeting someone I love deeply, and loves me equally in return, and building a life with them is something my romantic little heart dreamed of for nearly as long as I can remember and I need to remind myself that if the reward of having all of this weren’t so great, there probably would be no what if’s and fears. But this reward is great. It is worth shifting my believes of how I wanted things to happen in the past to have the future I’ve always wanted.

A Few of My Favorite Things 2015

Another year, another list of favorites. Here are my favorite things of 2015:

Favorite Movie: Mad Max: Fury Road. Come on, this had to seem obvious, right? Yes, yes, because Tom Hardy is in it. But really what made it my favorite of the year wasn’t just getting that warm fuzzy feeling from Tom on the big screen. It was the strong, ass kicking, feminist character, Imperator Furiosa. The movie is truly about Furiosa, and then about Max who, for all intents and purpose, is her sidekick. I could go deeper into this, about how the film itself is a study in how women are treated now, how would women be treated in the apocalypse, but, to put it simply, Mad Max is my favorite movie of the year because damn do I love to watch a woman take the lead in an action movie and not have to use her sexuality, to truly just kick ass using nothing more than physical and mental strength, wit, and resourcefulness.

Some runners up are Trainwreck, Jurassic World, The Martian, and Fifty Shades of Grey (because sometimes train wrecks are just REALLY hard to look away from). It should also be noted, I slacked in the movie department in 2015. There are many that still need to be seen, and will likely be better than any I’ve listed here.

Favorite Album: You know me, I can never have just one! Last year I was lucky enough to see my top two artists live (and will get to see them again this year) and their performances only solidified my love for both of their new albums. At Bonnaroo during both Florence and Mumford’s sets I was brought to tears because both albums brought out so many emotions in me throughout a turbulent Spring. But, despite having both How Big, How Blue, How Beautiful and Wilder Mind on repeat, I once again had 20 albums I just couldn’t get enough of…

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Favorite Book: Why Not Me by Mindy Kaling was by far my favorite new release. Partly because I didn’t read a lot of recent releases in 2015 (I found myself reading a lot of murder mystery series… don’t ask me why. I just can’t seem to get enough of serial killers as of late.) and, mostly, because Kaling has this voice I cannot get enough of. She is easy to relate to, open, and whenever I read her I’m always fairly certain we should probably be best friends.

My non-2015 runners up were Yes Please by Amy Poehler (also on my list of imaginary best friends) and the Archie Sheridan and Gretchen Lowell series by Chelsea Cain (like I said, allll the serial killers, please!).

Favorite TV Show: Laugh if you must, but my favorite TV show last year was the amazing (and awful) The Only Way is Essex. This is a British reality show (slightly akin to Jersey Shore- think lots of plastic surgery, make up, and tanning, but less partying and physical fights) I discovered by chance three years ago. The reason it became my favorite this year is because as I was catching up with the 15th season, yes FIFTEEN SEASONS, Mr. T caught me watching it and instead of being embarrassed by my terrible taste I told him he had to watch it with me from the beginning. It began as a joke, but now it’s something we love to laugh at together, something that, early on in our relationship, truly showed me that he was the type of man who could laugh at the absurd with me. Also? I just truly am an anglophile. Give me more Brits, dammit!

Runner up: Jessica Jones. Yes to all female ass kickers. YES.

Favorite Concert: If I thought the 150 shows in 2014 were hard to choose between, the nearly 250 shows I saw in 2015 are even more impossible. This was the year of amazing music for me. This was a year unlike any other, and a year I will probably never get to repeat again. Tiny ten people shows, arena classic rock tours, Coachella, Bonnaroo, local music fests… all of it made for a year that was, quite literally, music to my ears. But the best shows have to be the nights I got to see women who have influenced my life. From childhood to adulthood there have been a handful of strong, vulnerable, beautiful, romantic women who have shaped me through their music. Heart, Blondie, Florence and the Machine, and Fleetwood Mac have been the soundtrack to my life throughout the years. I have cried and loved and danced my way through happiness and heartbreak to the Wilson sisters, Debbie Harry, Florence Welch, and, more than anyone, Stevie Nicks and each of their shows surpassed everything I hoped they’d be.

Favorite Purchase: Pearl! My 2012 Hyundai Accent. It was a sad day when I finally had to give in and put ol’ Ruby, the first car I had every truly owned, out to pasture. But driving home in a new (to me) car that I knew wouldn’t break down every month (literally. Every. Single. Month. I’m looking at you, Ruby…) gave me such a feeling of comfort and relief. In the 367 days that I’ve owned Pearl I’ve put 10,800 miles on her. Two trips to Denver, one to Mobile, Alabama, and soon, a quick trip to Omaha. Yep, it’s great to find a gal that loves to travel as much as I do.

Favorite Meal: Having a meal made for you is always a treat. Having the best steak you’ve ever eaten (literally. This is not a joke, people. Buttery, medium rare, mouthwatering steak.) made for you is even better. In our relationship, I am more often than not the one cooking for Mr. T, and I very much enjoy it. But one night, for no special reason, he grilled up a steak on his salt block (look it up. Buy it. You’ll thank me.), sauteed me some veggies, and baked me a potato. It was not only a sweet gesture, it was absolutely delicious.

Great. And now I want steak…

Favorite Date: This is by far the hardest for me to determine. For possibly the first time in my life I had SO MANY good dates, I’m having a hard time just choosing one. Mr. T has surprised me with concert tickets (to shows he definitely would not have wanted to go to, but I definitely did), taken me to the drive in, out for my favorite comfort foods when I’m needing it, out to breweries, on road trips, taken me home to meet his friends and family, and even out for sunset walks on the beach in the Gulf Shores, so trust me, it’s really hard to choose just one date. But, if forced, I guess there is one day that always sticks out in my mind.

Our first mini-road trip together was to Omaha, where we will soon celebrating our six month anniversary (yes, because I’m cheesy). The week prior to the trip over Labor Day we both had been battling summer cold/tummy sickness and overall, just not feeling the best. This was still lingering on our second day there and I was worried this would put a damper on our brunch and brewery tour plans. By the time we were halfway through brunch though, I knew we had nothing to worry about. Our food was amazing and we both ended up feeling better than we had in days. We found some of our new favorite beers, we talked and laughed all day, and even when the rain started to roll in and we both had a few too many to really want to hit anymore breweries, the date continued back in the hotel room with pizza and HGTV. (Seriously, if you haven’t made fun of the people on House Hunters, you really haven’t lived. Go, do it now.) In a way, the actual date was nothing special, just a day exploring the city. But in another way, it was and always will be one of the most special to me. At this point I was already crazy about Mr. T, happy and in love, but being in a different city where it really is just the two of us I fully felt the certainty that if it was always just the two of us, no matter where we were or what we were doing, we would always find a way to have fun.

Favorite Guy: I think this one may possibly, just maaaay be a given…

Almost six months ago (5 months, 26 days, and about 8 and a half hours ago if you want to get specific) Mr. T met me at the shitty dive bar I mentioned I’d be at and my life has been infinitely happier ever since. He is this caring, giving, cute, loving, goofy, sincere, loyal, committed, sexy, appreciative, happy, serious, music loving, crazy about me guy I have spent years dreaming of. At times I still find myself questioning us, like after all the years of struggling with bad relationships things can’t go this smoothly and feel this right, can they? But every time that inkling of doubt even creeps it’s way in my mind something comes along to remind me yes, sometimes things can be this easy. That’s not to say it’s always easy and it’s perfect, but that does mean that there is finally a person there fighting for me as much as I am fighting for them when things aren’t easy. There is finally someone who makes believe that maybe all these years I haven’t just been a hopeless romantic believing that someone was out there who would compliment and also challenge me in ways I’ve always wanted and ways I didn’t even know I needed until I felt. It wasn’t me just being a hopeless romantic, it was just me waiting patiently, and more often that not, impatiently, on the two of us being at the right place and the right times in our lives to finally have this love. There is finally someone who makes me fully believe in the phrase ‘when you know, you know.’ And I very much know. He is my favorite guy of 2015, and will be for many more years to come.

 

The Winning Season

Hey, remember this time last year when I posted about the Royals’ postseason mirroring my love life? But feeling hope that they would shake off their loss and come back to finally win, and maybe someday I would as well? Well guess what? This year they did it. They won.

THE KANSAS CITY ROYALS WON THE WORLD SERIES.

With all my superstitions does this give me hope that maybe this is finally my time as well? Perhaps.

What gives me more hope than superstitions is watching every game with this guy by my side. Celebrating their victory with him already felt like I was celebrating my own.

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The One in Which I Get My Perfect Sunday… After Many Bad Days

Two years ago I wrote about my perfect Sunday. It consisted of brunch and football and naps and reading (you can read about it here, if you need a little refresher ). So why am I bringing this up now, you ask? Well, because last weekend I finally experienced my perfect Sunday. It wasn’t to the T- my guy didn’t whip up breakfast sammies (I made lox and bagels, breakfast potatoes, fruit, and pineapple mimosas. High five, me.), our team didn’t win, and I ended the day with a wicked migraine and leftovers instead of Port Fonda, but regardless, it was perfect. It was football, chilly but not too chilly weather, midday naps, cuddling on the couch perfect.

And that’s what life has been like for the last three months… pretty damn perfect.

My absence from the blog hasn’t been all sunshine and roses and too busy to write because of love. It’s been due to work and adventures and heartbreak and terrible situations, but for the last three months, yes, it’s because I’ve been too damn busy being happy.

Since the breakup with Long Distance Ex, and thus my less frequent posting, I found myself without much desire to write. I spent so much time keeping myself busy with friends and outings and I did that for a specific reason- I didn’t want time to think. I didn’t want time to feel the disappointment of heartbreak, of feeling like I’d been a fool to think I could have made that relationship work, of feeling like I was never again going to let myself be that open with someone. I wanted to think about one day at a time. At what I was going to do on the weekend, who I would hang out with, where we would go out to, what shows we would see. The only future I wanted to focus on was adventures with friends like New Orleans and Mexico and Denver (yes, it’s been a great year for adventures). And so that’s what I did. Sitting down to write anything of substance here meant sitting down with thoughts and feelings I wasn’t ready to have. So did dating, so that was something I didn’t do as well… until suddenly I did.

Of course the never opening up to anyone again thing didn’t last forever. I met someone who was going through a rough breakup as well; a separation. But turns out he realized he wasn’t ready for that separation to turn into a divorce, so once again I had struck out in the love department. Shortly after that I found myself in a situation I never thought I’d be in; the other woman. It wasn’t as cut and dry as that (not something I’m saying to defend myself, I know there were things I did that weren’t the greatest) and (yes, this part is in my defense) I didn’t know that I was the other woman. I was told that there was no relationship between the guy I was spending time with and his “friend.” But, as things go, there was. Things took a turn quickly in all three of our relationships, and have remained different to the day. It was messy and hurtful and upsetting. It ruined friendships and trust and, what hurt me the most in the end, was it ruined the way I felt about myself. I spent a lot of time feeling ashamed and thinking of how stupid I was to end up in a place I said I’d never be. Of how I’d never be able to trust another guy again, and even worse, uncertain if I’d be able to trust myself. I went back to keeping myself too busy to think about much. I went on more adventures- Coachella and camping trips and Bonnaroo- went to shows, hung out with friends, worked late, and basically did whatever I could to keep my mind quiet. Then, one night at a smelly, humid, dive bar, I met someone that has since kept me busy and quieted my mind from all the doubts and past pains.

If a rom com needed a meet cute, the writers could steal ours. Nearly a year ago Mr. T and I met online. He had just moved back to KC and I had just started to think maybe I could date again. We had a ton in common and I remember him being one of the few guys I actually messaged with more than once or twice before rolling my eyes at and feeling exasperated by. But, I quickly found myself certain that I really wasn’t ready to date at all and ditched the site and all prospects altogether. Of course I met the above mentioned fellas over the next few months and attempted romance with them, and (now I know) luckily for me, none of them stuck. Then, come Spring a friend mentioned setting up another friend of mine with a guy. He was great, she said. They had been out once, but weren’t a match, but really thought our friend may like him. So, of course, being the Nosy Parker I am, I peeped one of his social media profiles to check him out. Hey, I thought to myself, why isn’t she setting me up with this guy?! He’s pretty cute and seems rather funny… (Yes, at this point I didn’t put two and two together that it was the same guy I had been talking to about six months prior. Different photo, bad memory, common name, etc, etc.) Well, again, luckily for me, the set up never came to fruition. But, I kept following Mr. T, and he began to follow me as well. Slowly we started interacting with each other. But, this was also while I was fully separating myself from the terrible situation mentioned earlier, so I wasn’t too quick to put my amazing flirting powers to use. And as it turns out, my amazing flirting powers aren’t so amazing after all, because even when I did start dropping hints here and there that I was interested, they weren’t exactly met with reciprocation. To make matters worse, we frequently were at the same shows or events, but still never met. I was beginning to lose hope in the whole endeavor when we were at yet another concert together, but not together, when I finally just laid it out there. I told him what bar I’d be at after the show and that he should come. There. I did it. If he comes, he’s interested. If he doesn’t, well then, that’s strike three in the love game this year and I’ll just throw in the towel and forfeit!

Luckily, he showed up.

I was hot and sweaty and frizzy haired from dancing all night and nervous enough that I let my friend (the same one who was supposed to have been set up with him a few months back, naturally) do most of the talking. Great, I thought to myself, they’re sitting here talking about soccer and I have nothing to add because I have zero interest in it and now I’ve blown it and this whole experiment in being brave enough to invite him out has been all for naught! Later, the three of us walked out of the bar and to his truck, which happened to be on the way to my house, and said our goodbyes. I tried to convince myself that, if anything, I’ve got a new friend who clearly likes going to shows and that’d be good enough. But, when he messaged me half an hour later, I knew just being friends wouldn’t be good enough for either of us.

We’ve been inseparable ever since. (Seriously, Hollywood, feel free to give me a call. The sheer amount of times we were at tiny concerts over the course of eight months and never ran into each other is rom com gold.)

I fear writing about Mr. T because, as we’ve all seen in the past, as soon as I write about someone things usually end up taking a turn for the worst. I’m crazy superstitious and worry discussing a guy with anyone, much less on a blog, means we will be doomed to fail. But, the last few months have shown me that our relationship trumps superstition. It finally feels good to sit down and think again. It feels good to be in the present, but also finally feels good to start thinking about the future. I don’t find myself doing whatever I can to avoid certain thoughts and feelings. And I don’t find myself regretting and beating myself up for past mistakes. The last few months have shown me that all those doubts and negative thoughts I was having about myself after the terrible situation were unfounded. Sure, I made some mistakes and made some selfish decisions, but everyone is guilty of that at some point. That situation didn’t change who I was at the core. It didn’t make me a slut or mean or uncaring or unworthy of respect and love. Being with Mr. T and caring for him has shown me all the good in me is still there, alive and kickin’, and punishing myself wasn’t necessary. I also didn’t need to keep punishing others for past lies and heartbreaks. If the eight months of near misses with Mr. T taught me anything it’s that everything truly happens for a reason. Those past heartbreaks have made me stronger, made me certain of things I will never put up with again, but also softer and more appreciative of all the great parts of Mr. T. Looking back, I know having been in relationships with withholding men now make me love his giving heart more than I ever would have had I not known the pain of being denied love by people you care for. I’m not saying meeting Mr. T has been a cure all. My neediness and insecurities and self-doubt still creep out. Just last night I laid in bed crying, sure that he didn’t really love me because maybe there really was nothing to love about me. The difference though is he was right there next to me, holding me and letting me cry. Understanding that sometimes it’s just too hard for me to be as strong as I want to be. That those past heartbreaks and mistakes will creep their way in from time to time. But, every time he stays beside me, supporting me and caring for my slightly damaged heart, the past fades a little more and my desire to look towards the future grows.

A Few of My Favorite Things 2014

Another year, another list of favorites. Here are my favorite things of 2014:

Favorite Movie

Gone Girl. Hands down one of the best book to screen adaptations I’ve seen. I know not everyone agrees with me on this, but seeing as how I saw it in August and still find myself thinking back on it, it was pretty damn good for me. Some runners up: Locke. Tom Hardy at his best. Seriously, only someone on his level can pull off a movie that’s only action is him driving for two hours and still leave viewers totally engrossed. Obvious Child. Jenny Slate is climbing her way up my Girl Crush list reeeeeal fast.

Favorite Album

Zaba by Glass Animals. Clearly if you see a band four times in about five months, you’ve got a bit of a thing for them. It doesn’t matter where I am, what I’m feeling, I could listen to that album all the way through and enjoy the shit out of it every time. A close runner up: Singles by Future Islands. This band seems to be a love ‘em or hate ‘em for a lot of people with no middle ground and I am firmly planted on the love ‘em side. I get why people are turned off by them, they are a bit weird and don’t quite fit into one solid genre, but that’s probably what I love the most. That and they are fantastic live. I actually have about 20 albums I was pretty obsessed with this year, so instead of listing them all here, I’ll leave you with this…  

Favorite Book

I’m an absolute crap book nerd. It was such a busy year I maybe ready a dozen books at best. I have at least another dozen I’m about halfway through, and damnit, I will finish them! And of the dozen I actually finished, none of them were published this year. So, my favorite book this year was Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me and Other Concerns by my favorite lady crush, Mindy Kaling. Yes, this was a re-read, but it was just as perfect the second time around. It was most definitely the best thing I could have read post-breakup, and it also doesn’t hurt that she mentions the name Thalia and in my mind, that basically means we are best friends now.

Favorite TV Show

Sons of Anarchy. Seriously. What will I do with myself now that my favorite show is over? Sigh. I guess I’ll rely on the Mindy Project to keep me company on Tuesday nights.

Favorite Concert

If you read my previous blog you know this will be nearly impossible for me to choose. Basically all I did in 2014 was go to concerts. It would seem like an easy choice, Coachella. And yes, totally amazing. But, I also got the chance to see some of my favorite bands in really small venues and that’s kind of hard to top. So for favorite concert I’m going to just go ahead and say all of 2014 was my favorite concert. I have no idea how I’ll top it in 2015, but I can’t wait to try.

Favorite Purchase

A trip to Cancun! What do you when you have a ton of frequent flyer miles you were planning to use for a long distance relationship that ends up going kaput? You use them miles to go on an awesome mini-break with a great friend. In less than three weeks my life will be all sand, sunshine, and all you can drink margaritas!

Favorite Meal

Dear Margaritas in Palm Springs: You are my favorite place in the whole wide world and I dream of your sushi/Mexican/brunch buffet daily. Please stay open forever and ever. Just knowing there’s a place out there where I can get all three of my favorite foods in all you can eat quantities gets me through all the nights of kale salads I intend on eating after the new year.

Favorite Date

This year I, sadly, had the best date of my life. I say sadly because clearly I’m not with the person I had this date with anymore, but, regardless, it really was my favorite date of all time. Long Distance Ex was still working night shifts at the time, so we decided to meet for dinner up by his work. Unfortunately we picked a place that just happened to have two locations on the same street about 10 miles apart, and, unfortunately, OF COURSE I went to the wrong location. I felt like a giant moron, but it was actually kind of great because our relationship was still new and it totally set the tone for us, always able to laugh about anything. Eventually I got to the right location and we had a really great dinner. I mean, the food was fine, basic chain restaurant food, but being together made it great. And that wasn’t even the best part of the date. The best part comes later when he decided to leave work early because he didn’t want our date to be over. It was a perfect night in the beginning of July. Not too hot, not too humid, perfect porch night weather. So that’s exactly what we did. We sat on my back porch, under white Christmas lights and lavender citronella candlelight, listening to music, drinking, and talking for hours. It was almost 1 a.m. before we even noticed how long we had been out there. True, it kind of kills me to write about it now, because looking back, I know that was the night I fell in love with him, but I try not to let that take away from now knowing that every once and awhile perfect nights can happen. Maybe they won’t lead to perfect relationships, but you can always have those perfect nights.

Favorite Guy

None. Despite that perfect night I just described and a lot of really other great times, Long Distance Ex is not my favorite guy of the year. I will forever love what we had together, and probably, in some way, forever love him, but I guess I’m just not willing to give neither he nor any of the other guys I dated this year that title. But, you know who does get it? My friends. Because, in the words of the great Leslie Knope, ovaries before brovaries! Who needs a guy when you have great friends who truly take care of you when you need it? If you’re a frequent reader, you know I’ve been through some shit with men, and this recent break up was no different. What was different was the support I received from my friends, and never once did I have to ask for it. I broke down probably a million and ten times and never once did they do anything but support me. If I were them I would have been really tempted to leave me in my sad-sack state to wallow, but instead they showed up with ice cream and tissues in hand and endless hugs. And, even when they may have pushed a little too hard to get me out of my funk, I knew it was because they cared. So to all my friends, THANK YOU for being my favorite people of 2014. Well, you and Tom Hardy and Charlie Hunnam because… Well, come on. You know why…tumblr_mct2z5kjgz1rvjbdjo1_5002lw9nqdjpg

One of the Best

While 2014 wasn’t a perfect year, I can honestly say I’ve never had more fun in my life than I had this year. A huge part of that is due to the outrageous amount of live music I was lucky enough to see. There are few things that make me happier than going to shows and this year I had a ton of people to enjoy those shows with, made fun new friends in the process, and even learned how to love going to shows on my own. Some were just here at local dive bars, some on Broadway in Nashville, some at festivals, some bands I saw multiple times, and some, to be honest, I almost don’t remember seeing at all (damn you VIP at summer shows!). And, okay, it’s not just “some” bands, over 150 of them to be a little more exact.

Here’s the list of how it all went down….

Paul Shin Trio, Eddie Moore and the Outer Circle, Kacey Musgraves, Kip Moore, Lady Antebellum, The Zeros, Gary Clark Jr., Kings of Leon, Vance Joy, Young the Giant, Aloe Blacc, Haim, Bastille, Kate Nash, Ellie Goulding, Chromeo, Girl Talk, Busta Rhymes, Outkast, Holy Ghost, Kid Cudi, Future Islands, Lorde, Foster the People, Pharrell, Snoop Dogg, Gwen Stefani, Queens of the Stone Age, Nas, Jay-Z, Muse, STRFKR, Frank Turner, Krewella, Flosstradamus, Skrillex, Dillion Francis, Aluna Geore, Calvin Harris, Lana Del Rey, Beck, Arcade Fire, Debbie Harry, Moses Sumney, Local Natives, Night Terrors of 1927, Fitz & the Tantrums, The Warlocks, The Dandy Warhols, Hunter Hunted, Twenty One Pilots, Nonono, St Lucia, Foster the People, White Sea, Strange Babes, Naked and Famous, Cults, Vampire Weekend, Sigrah, Nmezee, Holy Ghost, Reel Big Fish, Frank Turner, John Butler Trio, Deap Valley, Band of Skulls, Me Like Bees, Not a Planet, March Fourth Marching Band, Robert DeLong, Catfish and the Bottlemen, The Architects, Capital Cities, Man Man, Cherub, 2 Chainz, Diplo, Travis Scott, White Arrows, The Neighbourhood, Rich Robinson, Robert Randolph and the Family Band, The Zeros, White Girl, Glass Animals, Glass Animals (yep, again), The Invisible World, Jeremy Messersmith, Rev Gusto, Dear Boy, Scruffy and the Janitors, Kitten, The Architects, Better Than Ezra, The Late Night Callers, Max Frost, Justin Timberlake, Curtis Harding, Jack White, Misterwives, The Bleachers, Prof, Dem Atlas, DJ Fundo, Atmosphere, RAC, Future Islands, The 1975, Arctic Monkeys, Delta Spirit, Empires, Glass Animals, Cherub, Portugal The Man, Grouplove, Moon Taxi, Outkast, Striking Matches, Exile, Raelynn, Mac Wiseman, Vince Gill, Alabama Shakes, Charity Byars, Mauldin Brothers, Scott Collier, Lewis Copeland, Michael Scott, Brandon Holder Band, Jesse Cain, Jon Pardi, Kip Moore, Randy Houser, Chris Young, Dierks Bentley, Jungle, Bonobo, Said The Whale, Ross Christopher, Kopecky Family Band, Against Me, Gaslight Anthem, Alt-J, Deadman Flats, Rain Dogs, White Girl, Night Terrors of 1927, Future Kinds, Golden Groves, Chappo, The Features, Not A Planet, Found a Job, Gypsy Sparrows, Paulo Nutini, Hembree, French Horn Rebellion, The Noise FM, Sheppa, The Architects, Beautiful Bodies, Cold War Kids, Cage the Elephant, The Outsides, Misterwives, Bleachers, Banks, Glass Animals, St. Vincent, and finally, to end 2014, The Black Keys.

What. A. Year.385770739