26 and Ready

On this day last year I wrote a birthday blog post. It included a list of goals that I referred back to periodically. I didn’t fulfill all of my goals. I could (and have) call(ed) myself a failure.

Here are the goals I posted last year:

  1. Do more yoga & meditation; spend more time tuning myself into my intuition. [C]
  2. Only take on new work that provides an expansive learning opportunity or excites my love of ___ (too many things to list). [C]
  3. Jump out of a plane (with a parachute). [A]
  4. Take another big trip (Asia, South America, Europe, all of the above, I’m not picky). [D]
  5. Karaoke as often as the opportunity presents itself (thanks to advice from Peter Shallard re: public failure). [A-]
  6. Externalize my internal passion, drive, and love in a more open way. Remember that I have nothing to hide. [A+]

I added grades for myself next to each goal. I passed a few classes with flying colors but ended up with an overall goal-GPA of 2.83. Not so great but it could be much worse. Remember that time I got a 7 on a test?

Anyways, there are other things I failed at this year besides those goals. I failed at keeping up with some of my oldest and dearest friends. I failed at fulfilling some of my volunteer and work commitments. I failed at keeping my bedroom clean.

Perhaps my most consistent and biggest failure has been my lack of timely and clear communication. I’m going to email you back, I promise. [That’s probably a lie.]

But in as many ways as I’ve failed this year, I’ve succeeded.

Very recently, I jumped out of an airplane with 6 of the coolest guys I know.

I’ve made amazing new friendships. I’ve been momma-bird-fed by #roomierebecca. I’ve cried over more breakfasts than I can count with @heyitsmegan, @tritico, and @irishcajun [#breakfastclub]. I sang and danced almost every day. I told more people that I love them. Because I do.

I’ve gotten on stage in front of big and small crowds alike for everything from moderating panels to telling stories for a comedy show. I became Editor In Chief of Silicon Bayou News. I read more books than was probably healthy. I traveled to New York, Boston, Denver, Washington D.C., and St. Louis.

Nothing to Hide

The most important part of my goal list for last year was the last part of the last goal. “Remember that I have nothing to hide.” For me, this is where I succeeded enough to call the whole year a win. I told stories I was scared to tell. I talked to close friends in a more open way about my hopes, dreams, and fears. And I started Molly in a Minute.

Doing daily video posts felt like a huge step out onto a shaky limb. It was just risky enough and just crazy enough and I’m still surprised every time someone watches one of my wild rants.

A barrier has been removed between me and the rest of the world thanks to #mollyinaminute. I’m more real on those videos than I could ever be on twitter or in a written blog. For that one minute every day I have nothing to hide. 

Without further ado, here are a few publicly stated goals for the 27th year of my life: 

  1. Leave the country. [Rollover from last year. Italy, anyone? New Zealand? Thailand?]
  2. Visit my #2 in Chicago.
  3. Create a product. [From a conversation with @tdavidson that has been bouncing around in my head for months.]
  4. Be more observant and connected to my surroundings. Try to see something every day that I’ve never seen before.
  5. Say No enough that I can really mean it when I say Yes.
  6. Surprise people. Do something that exceeds the expectations of those closest to me.

Here’s to another year of you and me. I’m ready.

Facing Up

I was struck by the personal responses to my recent post, “Once upon a real love.” In addition to public comments and tweets, I received private messages, stories and camaraderie both online and IRL.

This awesome photo by Flickr user lorrainemd.

Writing and sharing a tough personal story always makes the burden a little lighter. I felt even better after publishing that post to know my story made others feel less alone in their own experiences.

I’m pretty awful at showing or talking about my emotions in person. I find comfort in a few very close friends — and in music. #RoomieRebecca has been known to shout, “Stop listening to those sad songs!” through my bedroom door.

Kate Voegele is a singer/songwriter from Bay Village, Ohio (home of my pseudo-cousin M. Novak & friends). I spent a few weeks brooding on, “You Can’t Break A Broken Heart.” No arguing about that one, it’s sad.

Her acoustic songs are my favorite, including one called, “It’s Only Life,” and the one I wrote this post for, “Facing Up.”

Facing Up is about coming to a place where you have no choice but to face the truth about something you didn’t want to know. At that point, it can feel like there’s no direction to go in – everything is wrong. What truth actually means though is that there is only one direction to go in – Up. 

The truth can be so cruel, but to quote another song, sometimes you have to be cruel to be kind. So turn the table on your denial, face your fears, and take on the world, my friends.

I use no exaggeration,
I’m plainly hanging by a thread.
I am running low on patience,
but don’t go blaming it on yourself.

Wish I was in my right mind,
but I’ve left myself unnecessary chores.
I make it bad when everything’s just fine.
I was whole and sure, now I’m clearly torn. 

There’s nothing left for me to do.
Right and left lead me to,
the center of my deepest fear.
And that’s facing up to you,
embracing inescapable truth,
and truth is so cruel.

Continual irresolution,
keeps me shackled to the ground.
I’ve been in dire need of revolution,
for far too many days to count.
I thought I was safe in my hiding place,
but it’s sure exhausting, living in chains.
It’s a paradox in so many ways.
I can’t tell love from hate.

There’s nothing left for me to do.
Right and left lead me to,
the center of my deepest fear.
That’s facing up to you,
embracing inescapable truth,
and truth is so cruel.

I’m begging myself to make,
something of it all. 
But I am a lady with no solacement.
Oh my feet won’t move at all,
I think I’m standing still.
Oh one day maybe,
I’ll have something here to give.

There’s nothing left for me to do,
right and left lead me to,
the center of my deepest fear.
That’s facing up to you,
embracing inescapable truth,
and truth is so cruel.

Truth is so cruel.
Truth is so cruel.

Truth can be so cruel.

Once upon a real love

Love is like a marshmallow. Squishy, sticky, and it explodes in the microwave.

Let’s start over. Love is like a s’mores.

Nevermind.

——————

I have a history as a dumper. I’ve dumped quite a few guys – some who deserved it and some who were just unlucky enough to be snagged in my web at the wrong time.

Last December I got dumped for what I consider to be the first real time. I saw it coming and thought about doing it first to get it over with. I eventually just let it ride. It hurt, but not nearly as bad as I can imagine it would have if I’d been blindsided. Or if I had actually been in love.

I’ve been in only one relationship where I experienced what I now consider to be real, mutual love.

One of these feet is mine.

It was blissful, romantic, full of laughter, and full of adventure. It was also a rocky, winding, painful road. I cared so deeply for him that his pain was my pain and my pain was his pain. This was a problem because we both had a lot of pain – nearly too much pain for one person to handle, and neither of us could withstand doubling our own pain with each other’s.

I was gradually dealing with some of my pain and in his own way he was dealing with parts of his. But the pain that wasn’t dealt with grew and eventually we self-destructed.

I went through a series of stages after the initial implosion:

  1. Trying to convince myself that I didn’t love him.
  2. Trying to pretend like we could get back together and be fine (we actually tried this a few times… implosion, implosion, implosion, you get the idea).
  3. Throwing myself into work, school, friendships, home-buying, and various other activities to distract myself from the fact that I still loved him (my therapist used to call this “flight to education,” said I’ve been doing it since age 8, and that it’s relatively healthy compared to other psychological reactions – in case you are doing the same thing right now).
  4. Convincing myself that we were meant to be together but the timing was wrong and deciding to just wait it out.

Stages 3 and 4 sometimes overlapped and lasted for a long time. I was content staying busy, being oblivious, and not talking to him for years while believing we would be together “one day.” During this time I dated irregularly- breaking heart after heart because I wasn’t actually interested in real love. I had already found it, duh.

Then out of the blue, someone who I had dated many, many years before showed up and tried to convince me that we were meant to be together. He had been biding his time waiting for his own “one day” with me.

I was shocked, horrified, and told him flat out that he was wasting his time. The next day I woke up a total mess, having realized that I was setting myself up for the same type of failure and denying myself the chance to love someone new.

I flew to New York City and spent almost an entire weekend holed up in a hotel room singing Adele’s then just-released hit, “Someone Like You.” Even the maids were embarrassed.

I thought long and hard about Stage 4. I stayed in denial for a few more weeks and then decided I needed to give myself a chance to be happy with someone else. I was determined to stop dating as a distraction and that’s when my last boyfriend (let’s call him “the dumper”) came knocking.

He was of course, oblivious to my insanity. I enjoyed being with him and felt like it had potential to turn into something more, but he eventually decided otherwise and slowly backed away.

The day he broke up with me I called an old friend and we met for drinks. Like a good friend, he told me how awful the dumper was, how amazing I am, and how excited he was for me to meet the next, better guy. There was a lot of whiskey and a little bit of crying. Then there was a bombshell.

He shared news about my real love. I knew immediately, deep down, what he was going to say and that it was true. It suddenly turned into one day that I wouldn’t forget, but not the one I wanted.

I was never, ever getting him back.

The thing about the sun rising is that it always sets.

This realization was both freeing and heartbreaking in a way I had never experienced before. It was a convenient time to be heartbroken because I had just been dumped, so I hid behind that curtain. Very few people knew that other than a twinge of hurt pride over the dumper – It was my real love that I was dying inside over.

There isn’t really a lesson in this story. I just want the universe to know that I’m doing better. Knowledge and acceptance have been powerful friends to me these past few months.

It’s coming up on summertime again in New Orleans and one day soon I might fall into my next, real love.

Hopefully, I’ll be ready.

—————-

Sidebar: I like tiger lilies, cupcakes, whiskey, and a good debate. I sing when no one is listening and dance when everyone is watching. If you want to date me, follow me on twitter for a month and you’ll probably change your mind.

Other sidebar: My deepest, sincerest apologies to every other guy I’ve dated. Some of you I’ve gained as amazing friends while others may be lost to me forever. I didn’t set out to inflict pain- but I know I ended up spreading misery when I misguidedly set out to forget my own. I’m sorry.