How to be happy single

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I have been single now for the past 4 years. During that time, I’ve had a handful of really short-lived things and one devastating little affair, but for the most part I’ve been alone and single for 4 long years.

And for the first time, maybe EVER, I am finally happy that this is true. Like … happy happy. Like my life is so full, my-cup-runneth-over type happy. Ok, that’s a bit of an exaggeration but seriously I am truly, finally enjoying my singledom. And no, not in this I’m-single-so-I’m-on-the-prowl-dating-all-the-hot-men kind of way. But in the I’m-single-and-I’m-really-happy-alone-binge-watching-old-shows-and-reading-good-books kind of way.

I’m just … happy. Going out, staying in, whatever. There are the occasional bumps, because life is bumpy, but none of them have to do with me being single really. So here are my full-proof steps for getting to a place where you’re absurdly happy being single.

(Note: Ok so these aren’t full-proof, that’s an overstatement. And absurdly is a bit of an exaggeration too. These are basically ‘My unproven steps to getting to a place of general happiness most of the time being single’. Yeah. That’s more accurate.)

 

Step 1: Have your heart broken twice, preferably by the same man.

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It doesn’t actually have to be twice, sometimes one will suffice. But get your heart good and broken. Like good and BROKEN. The more devastating the better. I mean, stop you in your tracks, staring-at-his-picture-and-his-love-notes-for-hours kind of broken. Tears, wailing, binge eating. The works. Sweat pants, no showers, serious weight gain. Like I said, the messier the better. Oh and if you can add in getting banned from his bar, then you’re well on your way to true happiness, my friend.

(Note:  A devastating breakup is not mandatory. Neither is a bar banning. If not applicable, please proceed to step 2.)

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Dating & Demon Facing

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I have taken quite the hiatus from dating. A full year. Seriously.

October 2017 was when my last little blip of a relationship ended and I decided to take some time to myself. And I think I’ve been on maybe one random date since?

There are a few reasons why I stopped dating or trying to date. One, I felt like I really needed to just put the brakes on anything romantic for a while. After my heart was crushed nearly two years ago, my immediate response was to jump into dating full force. Probs not the wisest of emotional choices but I was trying my hardest to move on towards something real. I was also trying super hard not to contact my ex. Long story short, I kind of hurricane-d my way through men without stopping.

But after the last ‘thing’ ended, I realized I had a lot of hurt and baggage I hadn’t dealt with.  I didn’t know exactly HOW to deal with it, but I figured taking a break from subjecting my wildly anxious, broken heart on men was a good first step.

Another reason I stopped dating was because I just got worn the hell out. It is EXHAUSTING. The funny thing is, I was the most hopeful, most energetic and optimistic of all my friends when I first started dating about 4 years ago. I was like, this is easy and fun! I was the one encouraging all my friends to jump in, open up, give dating a try! You get to meet new people, eat good food, have a grand old time. This, of course, was my young(er), naive(er) self that had yet to be truly burned by this cold, loveless world. Just kidding. But … not really.

Dating was tricky for me before I started seeing the guy who broke me (lets call him Andy) and then dating got even trickier after. Then … it just got tiring. So tiring.

Banter till you get the date, then pretty yourself up, shave parts, put all the things together and then go see if you even like each other. Or at least like the version of each other that is all prettied up and neatly put together. If you do (huzzah), then you have to start the very slow, very time-consuming task of getting to know each other, layer by layer, to hopefully (if you don’t fuck it up with your insecurities or baggage) get to the place that I SO long to be … which is true depth and intimacy. I forgot how much I hate the beginning parts of a relationship. I love the romance! But then I wanna skip straight to intimacy and deep knowing.

Dating is just …. SO much. I needed a Rip Van Winkle type nap from dating. And so I took one.

However, another reason I haven’t been dating, at least in past 6 months, was because of a very dumb (but maybe also wise?) decision. My ex, the one who shredded my heart before, came back into my life briefly.

*Cue chorus of groans.*  Yup, I went there. Again.

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The 30,000: Or why it’s time to take the leap

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I remember the first time I felt it. That stirring in my chest, those butterflies in my stomach that told me I needed to do something … something different than what I was used to.

To take a ‘leap’ if you will.

I’ve said it before, but I spent the bulk of my life super sheltered and isolated. Too scared to experience the outside ‘sinful’ world, too scared to rebel or to not follow the rules or to try anything new or different. Out of fear of failure. Out of fear of doing something ‘wrong’ and making a mistake.

Then I watched a movie. And ok … this is going to sound dumb, but it’s literally the truth. I watched ‘Yes Man’ and oddly enough, it changed something in me. It was a silly movie but it made me realize how much I was missing out on by saying no to everything that scared me or made me uncomfortable.

So then, when a girl I worked with (and wanted to befriend) asked me to take a muay thai/conditioning class with her on a Saturday morning, I heard all the old familiar voices in my head saying, ‘no, don’t do it. It’s scary. You’re too fat. You’re going to look stupid.’

But underneath those old familiar voices was something new. A tingle of excitement. A curiosity. What if said … yes, instead of no? What could that mean for me?

So I did it. I took a leap and I gave something completely new a shot. I need to give you a little bit of context too – I was never in my life an athlete or someone who worked out. I’m not coordinated or agile. I quit PE in junior high because they tried to make us run a mile one time and I thought that was just torture. So let me tell you, saying YES to a kickboxing and conditioning class was incredibly terrifying for my totally out of shape, never-ever-been-in-shape ass.

Needless to say, that first class was tough and scary and I did look foolish, but I survived and it was wonderful. And more importantly, I learned of the exhilarating rush that comes from pushing yourself beyond your comfort zone and trying something new.

I was hooked. After that first time of saying yes, I began to say yes to a lot of new things. New social experiences. New friends. New job opportunities. When I’d feel that tingle of excitement coupled with that voice that says ‘oh no, not you, you can’t possibly do that’, I knew that it was likely something I absolutely HAD to do.

And so I conditioned myself to run towards the things I was most frightened of.

Leaving a stable but unhappy relationship to try being single, living on my own in Dallas, setting up fierce boundaries at work so that I am allowed to create in the way that fits me best, trying out theater again, traveling solo internationally, singing karaoke at places all over the world, training muay thai in Thailand. All scary things that seemed impossible to me at one point in my life, but now they are things I have experienced and loved.

However it has recently come to my attention recently that I’ve stopped taking risks, stopped taking … leaps.

It might not look like that to the objective bystander, but that’s the thing … I keep trying things that for whatever reason aren’t that scary for me now. Singing a new song in a completely new place … not that scary. Trying out a new dance class … uncomfortable, but not that scary. Traveling to a foreign country … well, a little scary but the excitement of it all outweighs any fear.

I’ve become comfortable with the risks I’m taking. Which means they’re no longer risks.

Continue reading “The 30,000: Or why it’s time to take the leap”

The Big D: Dating (Part 2) – Cheers to all the ones who weren’t ‘the one’

 

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I had kind of an a-ha moment the other day.

It came after a friend asked me if I’d ever been to Uchi, this really amazing sushi restaurant. I was like, yes, I had a really great date there and the food was to die for. Then in the same day the same friend asked me if I had ever been to Meddlesome Moth and I was like, yeah, another great date, different guy. Then it hit me … a lot of the really amazing experiences I’ve had in my life have come while dating different men at different times … and I’m starting to think that’s not a bad thing.

I’ve said it before in my posts, but I have quite literally dated almost all of Dallas. It might seem like an exaggeration but I’m not so sure it is. One of the purposes of this project for me, though, is to write it all down, every good memory, every bad one. Part of that is so that I can unburden myself, put the bad parts and the baggage into words and set it free. Another reason is I want to remember the good, in detail, because this checkered past is a beautiful mess that deserves to be remembered.

When I look back at my record, sometimes I can get really discouraged. So many dates, so few true connections and even fewer have turned into anything more than a 2-3 date situation.

However, like I said, I recently had an a-ha moment.

What if all the guys I’ve dated who weren’t ‘it’, who didn’t last, who got off on the wrong foot, who had terrible timing, who for whatever reason just didn’t work out … what if they weren’t failures.

What if they were all meant to give me a unique experience that was completely necessary and special, but also singular and temporary.

So with that, I want to pay homage to the men in my single, dating experience that gave great ‘date’. The men that came in, even if just briefly, and through contact with them I learned something else about me. I grew a little bit stronger, a little more self aware and whole lot ballsier. They may have been short-lived, but man were they fun while they lasted.

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Flying Solo (Part 2): Facing fears in Bali

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I felt like I was in a movie.

I was racing with my taxi driver, Wyan, to see the sunset at the Uluwatu Temple. This temple is built at the edge of a 70 meter high cliff jutting into the sea and the views of the sunset were said to be spectacular. Not to be missed.

This was the third day of my solo trip to Bali and I most definitely did NOT want to miss this view, nor did I want to spend another day fighting traffic to try and reach the temple a second time. We were stuck in a massive traffic jam up a windy two lane road. We weren’t going to make it by car, that much was becoming clear … so we made a split second decision. A guy on a motorbike passed us (he was the motorbike equivalent of a taxi), we flagged him down, I hopped out of my taxi and onto the back of the bike, put on my helmet and he raced me to the temple, weaving in and out of cars with mere inches to spare.

He was a pro. I had nothing to worry about and yet I clung to him like a spider monkey. In short, I was TERRIFIED.

The motorbikes were the fastest way to travel in Bali as the roads are narrow and windy and there are very few street lights or stop signs … which mean traffic jams galore. A motorbike allows you the freedom to get around an major blockages quickly, but I was too afraid to drive one and had been (up till then) too afraid to hop on the back of one.

But I wasn’t gonna miss the temple. And now we were racing up up up up the cliff and the sun was just starting to set. It was absurdly breathtaking even on the back of his bike. I had a moment. Another one of those beautiful moments of supreme gratitude. And supreme pride. And supreme wonder.

I made it.

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Cliffs at Uluwatu Temple

 

And I did make it. Not just to the top of the cliff to watch the gorgeous sunset but also to this glorious time in my life where I was taking risks and saying yes and living the adventurous life I’d always wanted, but never believed I was capable of.

Continue reading “Flying Solo (Part 2): Facing fears in Bali”