Speaking My Mind
Personal blog about my life after college.
I will admit that I have developed an online dating addiction. I’ve been spending most of my free time “swiping” on my dating apps of choice, OkCupid and Bumble, and striking up conversations with various strangers in the hopes that one of them will have the potential to become a romantic partner.
While I spend way too much time on dating apps, I’m not ready to stop using them just yet. There’s something enthralling about the mystery and ease of chatting with new people online. Of course, it’s not always a glamorous experience: last week I was feeling pretty desperate and depressed about dating, considering what happened with the Marine.
Long story short: I got totally swept up in superficial chemistry with the Marine and I was treated like a piece of meat. I behaved the way twenty-year-old Victoria did (chasing faux-passionate, horny guys with reckless abandon) and unsurprisingly, I got the same disappointing, hurtful, and depressing results.
Thankfully, I’ve since been feeling more optimistic about dating after a week of introspection and self-care. So on this episode of the Bachelorette, I want to share with you the latest update on the contestants for my heart!
Here is a recap from last week’s episode:
- The dark, sexual/pervy, introvert without a social life and little family has been eliminated. He resumed school a few weeks ago and neither of us has reached out to each other.
- The insecure, angsty/poser guy who is also an aspiring chef continues to slide into my inbox in an attempt to make plans with me. He moved to Brooklyn recently though so I’m not particularly keen on making plans to meet with him, considering there are other people in close proximity to me that I actually have chemistry with.
- The very thoughtful and positive 31-year-old with a BA in psychology who works at Whole Foods and lives nearby: We went on a casual lunch date on Labor Day and I had a ton of fun with him, however, I am not attracted to him in any capacity. He continues to reach out to me and he has asked me out for a drink, but it’s hard to make plans with him because we have completely opposite work schedules. If possible, I’d like to hang out with him again but I doubt any romance will be blooming between us.
- The casual, friendly, local-to-my-area mechanic that actually lives in my town and goes to the gym I work at: I tried to make plans with him last Saturday but he ghosted me and has since been MIA.
- The random older guy that works in supply chain and wants to smoke and hang out at his place AKA fuck: Why did I even list him in the first place? Eliminated.
There are more, newer contestants now, but none of them are particularly noteworthy at the moment. Well, except for one person.
I am currently pretty interested in a mechanic from Iran. We’ve been corresponding for about two weeks, and he’s the only person I’ve connected with through Bumble so far. (All of the other candidates have been through the courtesy of OkCupid).
The mechanic has completely different vibes than the Marine did, largely because, unlike my experience with the Marine, I’ve had control over the relationship. Plus, he’s considerate and sweet. Here are some examples:
- The mechanic never asked for my number; I voluntarily gave it to him after some pleasant conversation.
- I initiated Facetiming with him
- He consistently texts me “good morning” and “goodnight” daily, without prompting
- He doesn’t try to talk to me 24/7 and he’s not particularly flirty. Once in a blue moon, he’ll call me “cutie” or something subtly flirty, but that’s it.
- The first time I called him, I wanted to speak to him only so he could listen to a story I wanted to share with my yoga class the following morning. When I woke up at 5am to teach that class, I noticed that he had sent me a thoughtful text about how my story-telling was great and how I was going to do a great job sharing the story with my class.
- He has one of the deepest, smoothest voices I’ve ever heard. It’s a radio-quality voice. Considering how incredible his voice is, I thought it was ridiculous that the first thing he said to me was that my voice would be great for NPR. From listening to cringe-y recordings of my own voice, I objectively know that that’s untrue. Yet he is very adamant about how nice my voice is.
While there could be potential with this guy, it’s too soon to tell because we haven’t even met in person yet. I’m hoping to meet up with him this weekend or sometime the following week to see if the slow-burning chemistry and attraction exists face-to-face.
In the meantime, however, I am working on prioritizing myself. As much as I want to connect with someone, the experience I had with the Marine made it evident that I need to connect with myself first. The fact that even after everything transpired with him, I still wanted to reach out to him, is severely concerning. I kept wondering what he wanted, what he needed…and at some point, my subconscious snapped at myself and loudly said, “Victoria, what do I want?”
I had completely stumped myself.
Yeah, I had some ideas of what I wanted, but I was having such a hard time specifying and vocalizing them. I’ve since been able to accomplish this after writing, meditating, taking meditative asana classes, reading, spending quality time with my family and friends, and listening to uplifting podcasts.
This is where I’m at now with “what I want,” which I’m no longer afraid to demand:
I want to find someone that I have a deep connection with intellectually, emotionally, and physically. I want to feel excited about that person and I want the chemistry to be really strong…kind of addictive. I want to be magnetically attracted to one another. I want to go on dates and spend quality time with someone. I want someone with emotional intelligence and I want someone who completely respects me. I want to feel safe with this person before I choose to be physically intimate with them. But physical intimacy is not important to me right now…I can find that with anyone. I can’t find a deeper connection as easily, but that’s what I want. I want more.
In one podcast I listened to last week about the Law of Attraction, I was reminded that once I stop wanting something, then I will get what I want. I will get what I want when I stop wanting it because when I stop wanting it, my vibrational frequency will match the frequency of already having what I want. Which means that what I want will no longer matter.
A simple example of my confusing explanation is how I flowed effortlessly into my current full-time job. I asked the Universe for a job, and then I knew I was going to get it. This “knowing” caused me to stop focusing my energy on wanting a job, thus, my frequency matched the frequency of already having the job. It was then that the job seemingly fell into my lap not through my parents’ connections, not through other professional connections, but through my part-time yoga job.
I’m not quite at the phase of “knowing” that I will find a compatible partner yet. Since my breakup in February, I continue to doubt the Universe’s plans for me, although the doubt certainly has lessened.
I will leave you all with one more quote from the podcast:
The Universe is not withholding from you and giving to another. – Jess Lively, The Lively Show
We will all get what we need in due time. In the meantime, I am going to do my best to enjoy the journey.
In the midst of uncertainty, I will make it through. I embrace uncertainty and I enjoy every moment of the journey. I trust my intuition’s guidance and I release fear.
Six months from now, I will have attracted more abundance in my career. I will have been at my current job for a year and I will get a raise. My role will change as well because I’ll be given more responsibilities. I will be recognized for all of my hard work and I will reap the benefits of my work.
Six months from now, I will have learned more as a yoga student and I will have brought those lessons into my classes, as a yoga teacher. I will have continued to grow and challenge myself to become a better teacher for my students. I will have evolved spiritually, and I will have become more connected with my intuition.
Six months from now, all of my relationships will be positive. I will be demanding from others the respect I deserve, even if it’s uncomfortable to do so. The people that enter and stay in my life will be people that add value and love to my life. I am deserving of relationships that support me, are peaceful, and mutual.
Six months from now, I will remember how I found the love I was initially seeking from others, within myself. I will reminisce about all of the love I’ve shown myself. I will delightfully recall the dates I’ve taken myself on, the gifts I’ve purchased just because they bring me joy, and most importantly, the kindness and compassion that I’ve overwhelmed my being with.
Six months from now, I will recall all the ways in which I’ve nurtured self-love. That self-love will become part of who I am.
Trigger warning: aggressive sexual behavior
It’s supposedly good fortune to have a bird shit on you, but I don’t think anyone feels lucky when they get smattered with poop while everyone else around them is unsoiled.
Last weekend, however, this notion I had was challenged when a bird pooped on me while I was enjoying the chilly, albeit sunny, day at the beach. It was unfortunate that the bird shat while flying right over me, but fortunately, the poop had landed entirely on the beach towel I had wrapped around my shoulders in an attempt to stay warm.
Is that a sign of good fortune?
I kinda thought it was, especially considering that the following day, I began chatting with someone I quickly grew to become infatuated with.
I met this person through my new online dating hobby. I chat with people during my lunch break, before I go to the gym, while I eat dinner, before I go to bed…it’s gotten pretty ridiculous.
Although I’m judgmental of my own dating habits, I’m honestly having fun. I like chatting with new people, flirting, and the thrill of an adventure that is inherent to online dating.
Most of the people I have been messaging with have been older guys, not for any particular reason other than that they were the first few people I talked to. The guys are as follows:
- The dark, sexual/pervy, introvert without a social life and little family. Talk about some red flags, huh? He’s 29 and he is finishing his BA this academic year. He’s also a cancer, which is super compatiable with my scoprio.
- The insecure, angsty/poser guy who is also an aspiring chef. He’s 21 and is moving to Brooklyn for a new job. We have absolutely zero chemistry of any kind, but he continues to reach out to me for some reason.
- The very thoughtful and positive 31-year-old with a BA in psychology who works at Whole Foods. He is looking to switch careers and is pursuing higher education.
- The casual, friendly, local-to-my-area mechanic that actually lives in my town and goes to the gym I work at. He’s in his early late twenties, has an associates, and wants to be a mechanic engineer.
- The intense and persistent 28-year-old guy that served in the marines for five years, owns a house, and has a cat. He is a cancer too.
- The random older guy that works in supply chain and wants to smoke and hang out at his place AKA fuck.
The guy that I had been particularly attracted to was guy number 5. We had been video-chatting every night since we had started talking on Monday and we seemed to have an immediate, strong connection. A connection so strong, that he invited me to spend the long weekend with him in his home, and I actually went.
Despite my friends’ insistence that I meet him in public before I go to his house, I ignored their well-meaning advice and drove an hour and forty minutes straight to his house after working two jobs that day and on dangerously little sleep.
I don’t think I ever thought this was a good idea, but I was bored and curious. For some reason, I trusted him way more than I should’ve, considering I hadn’t known him for even a week. Perhaps my trust stemmed from how understanding he seemed to be about my disinterest in having sex that weekend. Perhaps the fact that he was a marine was enough reason for me to trust him…the only male that I had been with that had treated me decently was a marine too.
Well, twelve hours was enough time to break the unproven trust I had for guy number 5.
The night started off innocently with cuddling and kissing while watching Black Mirror, but it got rocky when we went to bed.
In his bed, I moved my arm across his waist and I accidentally touched his exposed dick. I asked him where his clothes went because he had been wearing them before, and I was wearing clothes myself. He blamed “comfort” for his decision to be naked, which is fine except if you are sharing a bed with someone you don’t know very well but are attracted to, shouldn’t you be more concerned with their comfort?
I was uncomfortable, but I ignored it because I was prioritizing someone else over myself. Despite all of the hard lessons I’ve endured that have informed me of my need to prioritize myself, I continue to put myself second, third, or even last. This is absolutely why I continue to undergo the same shit. Honestly, this experience I had can be comparable to the one I had when I was twenty with the douchiest guy I had ever known.
What I should’ve done was either sleep in one of the other rooms in the house, sleep on the couch, or leave. Better yet, I shouldn’t have gone to his house in the middle of the night in the first place. I should’ve followed the initial plan of meeting up Saturday afternoon and then deciding what to do after hanging out.
I didn’t do any of this though. I stayed and I dealt with the discomfort, which heightened when he wanted to masturbate while I lied beside him. Before I knew it, I was the one performing the hand-job because he, and I quote, “forced me to,” yet it was apparently, and I quote, “an ABSOLUTELY AMAZING” hand-job.
The other marine I had been with had ironically described my hand-jobs similarly, except he had never forced me to do them.
I wish the story ended here, but it doesn’t.
The next morning, I was feeling pretty good. Regardless of everything, I had slept better than I had the two nights preceding the forced hand-job night, so I was rather well-rested. The former marine was well-rested too, and aroused.
He got out of bed and stood stark naked, waiting for me to look at him. Embarrassed, I avoided looking in his direction as I gingerly made my way to the bathroom to get ready. Before I could escape, he shut the bedroom door and cornered me against the wall to make out, his erection poking into my belly. I stood stock-still as his arms wrapped around me. Then he lifted me up and threw me back onto the bed, crawling on top of me and wrapping my legs around his neck.
I then said, “It seems we have different ideas of what ‘not having sex’ means.”
He gave me a displeased look and then pulled away to sit on the edge of the bed. I sat beside him, and then we talked. I watched his erection deflate as he expressed illogical insecurities. Essentially, he was convinced that I didn’t find him attractive since I wasn’t trying to jerk him off in the morning.
The morning from hell concluded with him kicking me out of his house three days early, and I haven’t heard from him since, despite the fact that I reached out to him to apologize for hurting his feelings (I did not owe an apology at all. I’m disappointed that I even did that).
Although my morning was fucked up, I’ve been feeling positive. I had relearned the lesson about the importance of respecting myself and my boundaries, a lesson I seemingly, continuously forget. This time, however, I’m learning it for the last time.
I also learned more about what I want romantically. Initially, when I got back into dating, I thought I wanted something casual…but I don’t want that. I want romance. I want to learn the ins and outs of someone. I want to go on dates and I want the person I date to have earned my trust. I want love.
So now my approach toward online dating is a little more selective. It’s better for my well-being that way.
What’s even better for my well-being though is consistently choosing myself over someone else. I need to improve the relationship I have with myself first and foremost. The relationship I want and deserve with someone else will follow.
That evening, after a Nigerian BBQ birthday party, I went to my car to head home. As I approached, I noticed that a bird shat only on the drivers-side door of my car, and the poop was everywhere, except for the door handle.
Is that a sign of good fortune?
I am done suffering. I have sufficiently grieved my last relationship, suffered through a premature attempt at being friends, and I am now done with that chapter of my romantic life. I want to mingle with people…perhaps go on a casual date or two.
I’m still not ready- or at least I think I’m not ready- to be in a serious relationship, but that’s irrelevant now anyway. I’m not in a position where getting serious with someone is even an option.
So…dating. I haven’t dated in over two years, and I forgot how terrible it is. I’ve only just grazed my toes over the dating pool and I’m already not enjoying it. I haven’t even waded in to my ankles yet!
The toe-grazing began a few weeks ago.
I was feeling quite depressed one day and thinking about how hopeless my romantic life was, when a guy from my previous campaign job randomly reached out to me. Initially I thought he was trying to network because he was asking me what I was up to professionally…but then he invited me to visit him in the city, and that’s when the alarms started going off.
Why does he want to hang out with me? Did he ask me out on a date? Is he dangerous?
While I had worked with him before, we had a strictly email relationship, thus, I had never met him in person. This made it even more unusual and a little scary that he wanted to meet up.
I called a different coworker, one who I actually knew in person and who was also friends with this guy, to get the inside scoop on this potentially creepy guy. My coworker affirmed that this guy is simply very friendly and no, he’s not dangerous or creepy, but yes, it could be a date. He said there was only one way to find out.
Well, I went to find out! My sister, her friend, and I all drove into the city and we met up with this guy and his friend. It ended up being a super fun, casual night of chatting and getting to know each other. We did a little bit of bar hopping and then called it a night around midnight.
I surprised myself because after that night, I began to really like this guy. During the months following the infamous breakup, I thought I was closed-off to being attracted to someone, but my sudden attraction to this guy proved me otherwise. My hardened, bitter heart was not that bitter or hard after all.
Then I did what most people with crushes do: text their crush and obsess over their text messages. We didn’t text much, and I did most of the reaching out, but he had sent me a selfie and told me that he “enjoyed me.” I was super excited about this crush.
The excitement spanned about two weeks before my crush was crushed by reality.
We met up a second-time, but this time we met halfway. The whole thing was set for disaster: we met up on a Wednesday after work, aka the most exhausting day and time for working professionals with 9-5, M-F jobs. Plus we had both driven through tons of traffic.
Overall, we had a nice time, but it wasn’t quite as glamorous or as enthralling as the night out in the city. I also later realized that we weren’t on the same page. It wasn’t a casual date. It wasn’t a date at all. He wasn’t attracted to me, or maybe he wasn’t attracted to how far away I lived from the city.
Nevertheless, this rejection was a disappointing discovery. Rejection, however, is unfortunately integral to the dating process. If I want to start wading back into the dating pool, all the rejections need to drip away rather than drown me.
A podcast I was listening to today explored rejection’s role in growth.
“Rejection is redirection to your soul’s highest evolvement.” – Sahara Rose, Highest Self Podcast ep. 212: Even Stuff That Sucks is Redirection
While rejection isn’t necessarily a negative thing, it doesn’t immediately resolve the issue of loneliness or wanting to meet new people or wanting to go out on dates.
So what is a twenty-something suburban girl to do?
The answer, my dear readers, is return to the dreaded world of online dating. I’m a little embarrassed, but I have four dating apps downloaded on my phone now. I’ve only been using one lately, and it’s been causing me to cross my fingers in the hopes that the non-creepy-email-city guy will suddenly be a teeny bit interested in me. Long story short- online dating is a nightmare.
Dating apps aside, I’ve also been hanging out with my friends and reaching out to people I haven’t seen or talked to in months or even years. These people I’ve lost touch with are solely friends, but it’s interesting to reconnect. Not quite as thrilling as a crush, but it’s thrilling enough.
Do you have any tips for mingling/dating? Let me know in the comments!
Hello, blog friends! I know it’s been too long since I’ve last written.
I didn’t intend to take so much time off from writing. I’ve had the time to write, but I kept postponing sitting down and working on a piece. Before I knew it, weeks had slipped by and I had barely written a single word.
The reason I continued to postpone this valuable “me time” activity is primarily because I’ve been avoiding introspection. I haven’t been ready to make changes in my life, thus, I’ve avoided reflecting on my life altogether.
Over the last week, however, I’ve been suffering through the negative impact an absence of writing has on me. This manifests as excessively distracting myself with TV and irrational thinking. An example of that thinking is entertaining thoughts of getting back together with my ex.
While I love my ex, I know we can’t get back together. My poem, Flowers, helps remind me why I ended things and why I want things to remain “over.” Although I don’t want to be with her, I haven’t been ready to let her go. Thus, we’ve been maintaining a strained friendship, which until recently, has been overall pleasant and has benefited both of us. Now, it’s not serving either of us well.
It’s unsurprising that we can’t be friends because we haven’t taken sufficient time apart to be friends and we are still in love with each other. While I know this information, I find it to be incredibly difficult to do what is beneficial for the both of us, which is taking a lot of time away from each other.
I talked to my cousin about my predicament, and she responded with an insightful metaphor.
“It’s like you’re hanging onto the back of a car’s bumper, and your ex is driving. You can either let go now, which will hurt, but then it’ll be over. Or you can hold on for awhile and be dragged along, and let go later. Both options hurt, but one hurts less.” -my cousin, a writer
Ugh writers. They understand life.
I’ve definitely been holding on for a long time because I fear losing her. But creating space doesn’t necessarily mean that we’re never going to be able to be friends again. It also doesn’t guarantee that we will reconnect in the future.
There is a lot of uncertainty that comes with space that frightens me. Uncertainty in general frightens me, especially since my cousin passed away. Accepting uncertainty is something I’m just always going to have to work on. Writing and meditation helps tremendously, I simply need to practice them.
Other than this challenge, I’ve been enjoying my summer. Since the last time I’ve written, I partook in a wonderful yoga workshop, I’ve gone to the beach, attended an all-day concert, watched fireworks with my friends, and spent quality time with my sister. I’ve been enjoying the summer’s nice weather as much as I can before autumn’s briskness takes over.
How was your July? What are you looking forward to in August?
Yesterday was World Pride Day–the conclusion to Pride Month–and thus it is apt to reflect on my experience with Pride over the last five years.
I have only been to a Pride event once, and that was during the summer of 2015, which was also the year I had come out to my family. The months preceding June 2015 were extremely difficult in my house…I had lied to my parents to even go to Pride. I had told them I was going to the city with friends, which was partially true. I was actually going to experience the parade in the city with my secret girlfriend.
I had packed a bag with the clothes I was going to change into on the train: rainbow pride earrings, a rainbow pride industrial bar, and a t-shirt I had customized with glitter glue and scissors. That plain t-shirt had transformed into a frilly crop-top with sparkly letters that read “I love [insert my ex-girlfriend’s name].” My ex had made a similar shirt, minus the glitter glue and fondness for scissors. We were very festive.
On the train, I rode a few stops alone before my ex and her friends boarded. When we got to the city, everyone and everything was rainbow. I had never experienced anything like it before. It was amazing to be around so many queer people, to feel validated, and to be supported.
My ex, her friends, and I watched the parade and I took lots of pictures, which I no longer have. I did, however, purchase a pride flag that I have to this day.
After the parade, I met up with a friend I had met at a summer pre-college camp. I remember that she had just gotten her nose ring. Anyway, we all went to multiple sex stores, and that is when I bought my first vibrator, which I also no longer have. (I have gone back to that specific sex store though and purchased a new one. In my opinion, that store has the best variety of non-penis-shaped goods in the entire city.)
Before boarding the train back home alone, I had removed my pride gear and tucked it back into my bag. My dad had picked me up at the train station and didn’t ask any questions, and so I had thought I was safe from interrogation. That was only true for a few hours.
The next morning, my mom had suddenly become skeptical of my whereabouts. She questioned what I had done in the city, who I had been with, and why I had been alone on the train. She blatantly asked me if I went to Pride, and I had responded with a resounding “no.”
And that was the end of that.
Fast forward to 2019… many of my friends went to Pride and invited me along, but I refrained. Part of my reluctance to attend any Pride event was a fear of large crowds, not wanting to cancel my Sunday Yin Yoga class (which I brought to my local community center and I’m super proud of it), and a fear of telling my parents that I was going.
Is that weird? I’m twenty-three and I’m afraid to tell my parents what I want to do, particularly if it involves my queerness. This is despite the fact that I had come out to them twice and integrated my recent ex into my familial life as much as possible.
I am unsure why I continue to have this fear that drives my preference to avoid queer topics. For years after I came out the first time, I blamed this tendency on them.
I had felt like they rejected me when I came out, which is why I had continuously lied to them. It had seemed like we were at war with each other for months, and I never forgave them. I didn’t feel like I could trust them.
It’s why even after my ex and I broke up, after years had passed, I still lied to them about where I was going and who I was hanging out with. I would answer questions they had about my personal life as vaguely as possible so they wouldn’t know that much about me. I would answer their questions snippily as well, which would cause conflicts about my bad attitude.
So much has changed between us though. Thus, my fear of talking about Pride and sexuality with them seems to stem primarily from residual pain. I have to constantly remind myself that they’re not going to yell at me or interrogate me about this stuff anymore. I’m no longer an eighteen-year-old in high school. I graduated from college, I work a full-time job and teach yoga on the side, and I’ve been a fucking adult for a few years now. I make my own choices. I don’t know why I don’t always find this rationale convincing.
Yesterday, however, my mom shared a sweet moment with me that reminded me of how things have improved between us.
I was sitting on my bed, wearing the Pride shirt my ex had gotten me, and planning my Yin Yoga class with the Pride Parade on in the background. My mom knocked on my door and asked to come in. Once inside my room, she asked me if I was watching the parade and I affirmed that I was. She asked if my friends were there and I replied, “Yes, they invited me and I wanted to go, but I love this yoga class I teach, so I decided to stay home.”
She nodded, understanding since she takes all my yoga classes and since she knows how important this class is to me. Then she invited me to watch the parade in her room. I declined the offer, and then she went back upstairs. A few minutes later, she returned to give me a hug and she told me that she loves me no matter what.
Twenty minutes later, before I ran out the door to take care of some errands, I went to her room and saw her watching the parade in the rocking chair she used to cradle my sister and I in when we were infants.
It was the sweetest and simplest moment, but it provided me with the validation and support that I had gotten from my experience at Pride five years ago. This time, however, it was from the person I needed the validation and support from the most.
I’ve begun watching Sex and the City, and it is an addictive show. First of all, I love 90s/early 2000s shows, and I also love shows that center around a group of friends that I can connect with. Lately, I’ve been connecting with Miranda in Season 2, who so far is bitter in regards to dating. She is closed off to getting serious with someone because every person she dates proves to be scum.
While I am not dating casually and thus I am not meeting scumbags, I think I’ve become bitter and closed off to dating. One of my hometown friends pointed it out to me on the phone recently. She affirmed my suspicion that I need more time alone to heal, but she also warned not to be closed off to dating in the future. Unfortunately, I currently don’t envision myself being open-hearted anytime soon, especially considering how I’ve sabotaged my breakup healing process time and time again. It’s as if I keep picking at the scab, which causes it to hurt and bleed, yet I wonder why the scab is taking so long to heal…
Let me provide an example.
A few days before my sister graduated from college, I found out my ex was in a new relationship. While it has been about four months since our breakup, up until the week prior to her committing to someone new, we had been talking nearly daily.
Yes, I know that this was not the best way to handle a non-mutual breakup.
Unsurprisingly, we weren’t talking amicably as friends. She would confess that she missed me, that she still wanted to be with me, etc. I would reciprocate the feelings of missing her and still loving her, but I repeated that I stood by my decision to end things.
Anyway, finding out that she was with someone new caused me to completely lose all control over my emotions. Hysteria transformed to despair, and then to possessive jealousy that inspired me to hook up with my ex in her car after a night of bar-hopping together.
No, I don’t know what I was thinking because I wasn’t thinking.
I gradually came to accept the situation, albeit with some bumps that still need to be smoothed out. Those bumps are called nostalgia with a few dashes of illusion: I miss who I was when we were together, I miss how we were together, and most confusing of all, I miss who I thought she was and/or who I wanted her to be.
Clearly, I am not emotionally capable to casually date, let alone get seriously involved with someone. Instead, I want to spend time with my friends and family and mingle with new people. I want to focus on my full-time job, on teaching and studying yoga, on reading, and on creating. I think I’ve been pretty successful in doing these things, although it takes a lot more energy to do them rather than mindlessly watching TV, which was what I was doing previously.
When my energy feels low or when I get trapped in the nostalgia/illusion bumps, it’s helpful to reflect on why I ended things with her. There are a few reasons: I didn’t feel like I was being treated the way I deserved, no matter how many times we talked about our issues, and I didn’t want to be held back anymore. I didn’t want to spend so much time and energy on our relationship, partially attributed to the fact that it had become taxing and toxic. Most importantly though, I broke things off because I wanted to focus completely on myself. I wanted to be selfish and I didn’t want to feel bad about it.
I do believe that I’ve attracted more positivity into my life since releasing the heavy, negative energy of my last relationship. However, waves of loneliness crash on me sometimes, especially when my friends share stories about or pictures of their serious relationships. It causes me to crave the rush of falling in love, of being in love, and feeling at home with someone. It simultaneously causes me to desire more single friends I can commiserate with about dating, like in Sex and the City.
Anyway, I will have to manage with the occasional loneliness because I don’t want to put myself out there yet. I wouldn’t be offering my best self because I don’t feel like my best self even to myself. I want to finally allow the scab to heal and I want to smooth out all the bumps around it. Hopefully, it won’t take as long as it did when my first ex and I split, but even if it does, I want to have my own fun in the meantime.
It’s been one year since I graduated from college, and what a ride this last year has been. At this point in my journey, I feel at ease and I’m enjoying the flow, but that wasn’t the case previously. A few months ago, I wasn’t feeling like myself at all. I was isolating myself, doubting myself, suffering from anxiety attacks, and dealing with other symptoms of depression.
If you don’t want to read those posts, or if you have already, I thought I’d share the highlights of what I’ve learned since graduating from college. These lessons are not a guide to land a job; they’re applicable to multiple chapters of life. If you are graduating from high school, college, or if you’re just moving on, I hope what I have learned will remind you to flow and to enjoy your own journey.
Five Lessons I’ve Learned Since Graduating from College
1. Honor where you are at.
I spent many hours scrolling through Instagram first thing when I awoke and then again before I went to bed. While social media is a great way to stay connected to people, which may be particularly desirable when you graduate from college and move away from your friends, I found myself stuck in the “comparison trap” based on other people’s photos. One person would post about getting a great job, another person would share that they are beginning graduate school, and someone else would divulge the glamorous details of their gorgeous vacation.
Although these were accomplishments to be celebrated, I often found myself feeling bad for not accomplishing or doing any of those things. Fortunately, I eventually realized how negative Instagram was for me at this transitionary point in my life, so I deactivated my account. It helped me to become present and thus, I focused on myself rather than what everyone else was doing. It was then that I paid attention to the things to be grateful for, which improved my perspective and my attitude.
Social media may not be a problem for you, but I encourage you to notice if you are honoring where you are at now and finding gratitude, or if you are more focused on everyone else and/or what you lack.
2. Be positive
One of my favorite quotes is “Your perspective is your reality,” and it is incredibly accurate. If your perspective is that your life isn’t going the way you want it to, you never get what you want while everyone else seems to, and that you are a loser, then yeah, that is your reality.
On the other hand, you can perceive your life as being full of obstacles that you are capable of overcoming because everything you’ve experienced in the past has prepared you for what is ahead. You can argue that you do get what you want because you work hard for your goals. Maybe you’re not getting what you want when you want it, but you will get what you need when you are ready for it. Lastly, you can practice compassion toward yourself.
The practice of positivity was very difficult for me initially, but over time it got easier as I began to feel lighter and happier.
Another favorite quote of mine is “Nevertheless, she persisted.” Your efforts are seen and they are not futile.
4. Be patient
I never had my post-grad life planned out, but I did expect to obtain a full-time job within a few months after college. Many people graduated with full-time offers, so this didn’t seem like an unreasonable goal to me.
As months passed without receiving a single offer, I felt like a failure and a loser. It seemed like everyone around me was moving forward while I was left behind, living with my parents and without a full-time job.
In retrospect, I am grateful that everything panned out the way that it did.
If I had gotten a full-time offer that began when I graduated, I wouldn’t have been able to do yoga teacher training. If I had gotten an offer right after YTT, I may not have gotten my yoga teaching job at the community center and I may not have been able to get as involved in the center because I wouldn’t have been able to sub as many classes. I also wouldn’t have built up as strong of a reputation at the community center.
If I had gotten a job right after YTT, I wouldn’t have accepted the campaign job, which introduced me to an unsuitable leadership style for my personality. If the promised job after the campaign had come to fruition, I wouldn’t have used a staffing agency. I also wouldn’t have had as much time to study and take the GRE. If I hadn’t had the campaign experience, I wouldn’t have had as much to talk about during interviews I got through the staffing agency. If I had gotten a full-time offer during this time, I wouldn’t have been able to accept a temporary position where I learned a lot about office culture and professionalism.
If I hadn’t attended my community center’s happy hour after work on a Friday, I wouldn’t have talked about my temporary job and what I was looking for next. If I hadn’t attended that happy hour and if I hadn’t been able to talk about my work experience, I wouldn’t have been noticed by a fellow staff member whose husband was looking for employees. If I hadn’t had a major shift in my perspective and if I hadn’t continued to persist, I wouldn’t have gotten an interview through the staff member or on my own job-search. If I hadn’t adopted a positive perspective and if I hadn’t found gratitude for my current situation, I wouldn’t have been an impressive candidate. My boss at the community center wouldn’t have vouched for me as being a valuable employee. Then I wouldn’t have had two job offers in the same weekend. Thus, I wouldn’t have accepted my current position, which I love.
This “logic” can go in so many more directions, but the point is that everything happened how it needed to.
“You are a child of the Universe, no less than the trees and the stars; you have a right to be here. And whether or not it is clear to you, no doubt the Universe is unfolding as it should.” -Max Ehrmann, “Desiderata: A Poem for a Way of Life”
Just because it didn’t happen when I wanted it to, it doesn’t mean that it wasn’t going to happen at all.
5. Experience joy.
Transitions are uncomfortable, scary, and stressful, but that doesn’t entail you should feel that way all of the time, or at all. When times are difficult, it’s all the more reason to experience joy. This can be as simple as reading a book, having coffee with a friend, or volunteering for a cause that is important to you. You deserve to experience joy daily.
Let me know your thoughts on these lessons, and please share anything you’ve learned along the way!
Now that it’s May (how is it May already?!), I would like to take a moment to reflect on my goals for 2019. Below is where I am at in my 2019 aspirational list.
Top 10 Goals for 2019
1. Allot weekly yoga studying time – I was doing this…then I stopped. I am going to be doing some yoga workshops though.
2. Establish a consistent meditation practice, at least weekly – Always a work in progress. However, my boss has introduced me to a local Buddhist meditation center that I now visit.
3. Plan and execute a chakra yoga class series for the spring – May not happen until the fall?
4. Research and book a yoga workshop/training for late 2019/2020 – This is happening!
5. Confidently making decisions! (Such as for grad school) – I have been actively working on trusting my inner voice.
6. Integrate cardio at least weekly into my routine – Thanks to my yoga job, I have definitely been integrating cardio via a cycling class. I love the community and I love cycling!
7. Work daily on a long-term writing project – I’ve been in a rut lately so writing has taken a back burner unfortunately.
8. Continue to maintain this blog and begin planning how to expand it – I am maintaining this space but I’m not expanding it…I don’t think expanding it is my goal. I just want to be creative more frequently.
9. Complete the rest of the half-read books that I have. – I have finished several half-read books, such as Jane Eyre and Pride and Prejudice. I had an affinity for older literature for a few months ago.
10. Create a ritual for my ancestors – This still needs to happen
What I’d like to focus on at least until the Summer Solstice is creative writing. I’ve been reading so many books lately and I’ve been inspired by all of them, but I haven’t been taking the next step, which is to use my inspiration! I think I just need to find a better balance between reading and writing.
I feel that way with yoga too. I spend most days practicing asanas, but I need to integrate more studying of Yoga philosophy. Initially, I thought I needed to improve my sequencing to become a better teacher, but currently I think I need to explore spirituality.
Now I invite you to take this opportunity between the Spring Equinox and the Summer Solstice to realign and refocus. Are you on the track to achieving any goals? Have you neglected some goals? Have your desires for 2019 changed?
Let me know in the comments below!
The title of this post feels like a throwback to my obscure blog post titles circa 2014. This title is actually not obscure though…my barista really did get a new job. He’s going to be working full-time doing something related to his field and it’s great! It’s also bittersweet because he’s been my barista for a few years, and I’m going to miss chatting with him.
I’ve actually known him for over five years, before he even became a barista. We used to work together at a burger shack when I was in high school. (If you read my blog back in 2014, I’m referring to the infamous burger-shack-lesbian-romance-disaster that I wrote in great detail about during the beginnings of this blog. He’s from that era of my life).
Before my senior year of high school began, he quit to become a barista at the coffee shop local to me. He was (maybe still is) friends with my first ex, so I used to still hang out with him when the lesbian squad and I visited him after his shifts.
When my ex and I split during my first few months in college, I dreaded running into him when I was home from break and went to my local coffee shop. Obviously, as time passed, wounds healed, and dread turned into “nice.” It was nice to run into him every few months just because he was a familiar face and we would catch up a bit.
After I graduated from college, I basically moved into the local coffee shop just so I could escape my parents’ interrogations about jobs. Our conversations at the coffee shop became longer since we had more time to chat and since we saw each other more frequently. We bonded over job-hunting since he was graduating soon and about to embark on the full-time job-hunt too.
So…he’s heard bits from all different points in my life. He’s heard about college, my temporary jobs, my two full-time job offers, and my acceptance of a full-time job offer. I’ve heard about his college experience, job-hunting, and I coincidentally saw him on his last day at the shop, so he was able to tell me about his acceptance of a full-time offer.
It’s come full circle! We’ve both moved on from that coffee shop and are now professional, working adults. What a life.
I want to try to stay in touch with him, despite the fact that I won’t be seeing him somewhat regularly anymore. After I saw him on Friday, I messaged him to suggest getting drinks after work sometime. We’ve never hung out before aside from five years ago, but I think it’d be nice to try. Maybe we can become better acquaintances or even friends! I’ll be sure to keep you all updated.
Have a great week everyone!