Pressure Cooker

pressure-cooker-breville-settings-02592-630This is a story about an apartment, a wedding, a job, and a guy, and the 6 weeks of straight up insanity that ensued. I would like to state for the record that, at the time, all of this seemed like a very good idea and if the results are to be believed, not a bad choice among them. Still – did I make a lot of ridculous, rash, impetuous, and downright ballsey decision all made in the name of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness? Why don’t I tell the story and you can decide for yourself.

I guess if I could point to what really started it all, I’d have to start with The Apartment. 

The apartment I moved into after moving out of my Dad’s was how I started my year. I had looked at three other places before landing on mine, a small converted victorian apartment in the heart of the Haight/Ashbury with two other women close to my age. The vibe felt right, the timing couldn’t have been better, and even though it didn’t meet all the things I had been looking for in an apartment I was grateful to find a place so easily.

The thing about moving into a new place though is that you get a brief peek at the physical space you’ll be living and maybe about thirty minutes with the people who you’ll actually be living with and the next thing you know you’re moving boxes into somewhere with essentially complete strangers. This was not necessarily a new experience for me, I had moved into small places with people I’d never met before, but in my haste to find a place I had ignored a few instincts that would have made the entire decision different.

It was a cozy place but endlessly dark outside of my roommates bedrooms, leaving my room, the kitchen, the bathroom, and hallway all without direct sunlight or natural light at all. While not having a living room wasn’t a deal breaker, my small space felt like a box I was constantly trapped in. City apartments, notorious for converting living rooms into extra bedrooms, are always surrounded by thin walls but the upstairs neighbors made it feel like I was roommates with 5 people and not 2 and were constantly elevating the noise level. And, while both my roommate were nice people in general, it wasn’t a good fit personality wise and it all started to build an anger in me so intense that I decided the best thing for me to do was to pack up my shit and find an alternative living situation.

So I gave notice. I gave notice and decided I was going to look for a new apartment without having said new apartment or anyplace else to live incase I didn’t find anything, which didn’t seem impossible with 4 weeks to look. Except I did not have 4 weeks to look because at the end of July was the biggest event I had ever had to help with – The Wedding.

My mother got engaged last summer, to her partner of two years. My mother having never been married, had decided that a giant wedding was exactly what she wanted and having our whole family present was a must, of course. But even though she had a year to plan it, my mother and all of her creative glory thought it best to start actually planning 5 months before despite my pleas to take things more seriously and also possibly elope. Between the amount of PTO I had, my hatred of Texas and my complicated feelings about the whole wedding in general it took a lot of extra strength to get it together and put my pressing life shit aside for the whole shindig. So, without much protest I dove head first into my Maid of Honor duties and tried my best to keep the four days worth of festivities running and operating on time. It wasn’t easy, especially considering mid way through the events I had to take a break because I was interviewing and preparing for The Job.

The job had been a long time in the making. Shortly before my year mark at my current place of employment I realized I was standing in a position with no growth and few avenues to take my career to the next level. I was bored, I was restless, and I was afraid that my career was stalling at a time when everyone else I knew was flourishing (and getting married and have babies too!). So I started looking with lots of interest and many phone interviews. But as the summer moved by I was making it to last rounds of interviews only to be told, “not at this time”, and “not quite a fit”. It was easy to get discouraged, especially on top of a pending move (that initially I wanted to take place AFTER a new job) but I kept at it and while each job had it’s pro’s and con’s I finally found one I was all in on, and now the pressure to make them realize I was the one for the job took front and center… Well center along with my mom’s wedding and, of course, not being homeless.

But because I’m a glutton for punishment, an explorer of stressful situations, and downright fucking nuts I decided to add a cherry onto my , “I’m just going to do this” sundae.

Que, The Guy.

Anyone who knows me knows it has been a rough year of dating. I spent the better half of 2016 being purposefully single only to crash head first back into the dating world with mixed reviews. It was all first dates and flirtatious text messages and more interesting stories than I even knew what to do with (my best friend suggests I write a book about it). As time went on it felt like everyone in my life had a personal stake and investment in my search to find someone who actually excited me. I mean fuck, I even guest hosted on a relationship and dating podcast and yet, nada.

Until I obviously gave up. As cliche as it sounds after a few week tryst with a guy who absolutely was the wrong guy for me I agreed to go on one more date, mostly to make sure I wasn’t somehow growing a tail that chased guys away. You can guess what happened next, and as much as I want to full on share every little detail about what makes this guy awesome, what makes him worth dating in the middle of all this madness, I won’t because right now it’s still in the incubator stage, the stage where we’ve created our own little bubble and have no interest in letting anyone in yet to ruin it (trust me, I have a hard enough time not ruining it myself to add other people’s opinions and judgments into the picture).

I will say one thing about why I like this guy so much…. When all of this was going on, the apartment, the wedding, the job, he supported me. He made me feel like I could do it, even if I already knew I could, in a way that made me feel like I wasn’t alone. To be able to do that and succeed within only a couple weeks of dating is something that, regardless of how things end up, will always mean so much to me.

So here we are. The end of this story is like you would imagine; I found an apartment, the wedding was beautiful, I got the job and the guy, yeah he’s still around. I don’t say this in a caviler way at all, rather the fact that I somehow pulled this off has been blowing my mind since Thursday. Of course a lot of this was exactly what an old Roman philosopher said, “Luck is what happens when preparation meets opportunity”. I was blessed with so many opportunities that had to open up to make this all happen but I was also prepared going in, knowing that in order to get through I would have to be fearless. Because if I wasn’t, if I had wavered in my commitment, disregard setback and loss faith in myself – well there wasn’t any room for that.

I was laminating on about how I couldn’t believe I pulled it all off to my supervisor when I told him I’d accepted another job and he said something that made a lot of sense. he said,

“This is just what adulting is, making choices, taking risks, and balancing it all at once.”

So that’s what I learned (you didn’t think I survived this all without learning a lesson did you?!). I learned that you have to take risk, put yourself in the pressure cooker if it means bettering yourself or the ones you love. I also realized what it means to be intentional with your thoughts and actions and of course, I learned to

Be fearless.

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Do You Even Know What You’re Talking About

question-markI’m not going to lie to you guys, this week’s Podcast is a little all over the place (mainly because of me). After taking a week off from recording I do my best to jump back in and answer your questions along with Robert Dunn, the host of The Orion Group, on seemingly a lot of questions around commitment.

Again, I’m not going to lie, questions about how to get guys to commit and just general knowledge of commitment in gernal isn’t my strong suite. In college my least favorite Poly Sci classes involved anything foreign policy wise but somehow I would show up, fake it, and leave before anyone realized I had no fucking clue what I was talking about. This is why I’d make a great PR person, because I’m the queen of talking in circles with some good points unrelated to the topic sprinkled throughout so you’re not actually sure if what I’m saying makes any sense and by the time you realize I don’t, I’m done talking.

The reason I probably babel on so much about commitment on this weeks podcast is because it’s probably one of my biggest issues when it comes to relationships. After 10 months of dating my ex, he was so scared of making a commitment to me he wouldn’t even commit enough to call me his girlfriend (which in every sense of the word I was). Needless to say I collected some baggage around feeling like I couldn’t inspire someone to like me enough to pull the commitment leaver.

It’s hard to admit but in the last year of dating I’ve come against guy after guy who would last a few dates/weeks and then somehow vanish into thin air when it was realized that we had very different ideas of where things were headed. I tried my best not to take it too personally while at the same time growing more and more frustrated that , it seemed as if the only thing most guys could commit to was themselves.

This is not necessarily a bad thing. I want to be very clear that prioritizing yourself and not jumping into commitment right away is a very healthy and smart idea (which is why, in general my opinion is you shouldn’t date unless you realize that that’s what dating leads to). But I also recognize that it’s a natural human instinct to want some level of dedication and devotion from someone you spend a lot of time with and bang on a regular basis. And just like everything in regards to a relationship, it really important to have an open conversation about things with your parter; a conversation where you talk about what point of dating you need/want a commitment, what that looks like for you, and how much of a commitment you feel comfortable with.

I would say (and based off the questions this week and my knowledge of committing in a relationship in general) that talking about commitment is one of the hardest and most vulnerable conversations you’ll have at some point. Why? Because talking about commitment means talking about how much you care, where you want things to go, a certain level of ownership you desire moving forward. Even when you’re with the right person this can be a really nerve racking experience and a deep turning point when it comes to dating.

But again, I’m not the best authority on this matter. In fact I’m simply learning as I go what type of advice I want to give to other people and myself when it comes to this topic. Which, if you listen, you will hear and wonder if I even know what I’m talking about.

Breathing & Waiting

chrysalysI’m on the precipice of something great. After years of figuring it all out in my early twenties and failing numerous times I have finally gotten to a place where things are making sense, slowly falling into place in a way that makes me feel like I’m going in the right direction. The thing I’ve learned about change and going in the right direction though is that inevitably, right before you’re about to get to something great everything else kinds of falls apart. In the past I use to see this as a sign that good things were not in fact coming but now I see this for what it is – the uncomfortable metamorphosis from one phase to the next.

There’s nothing like feeling the world seemingly shifting beneath your feet to make you think you need to hold onto something in order to survive.

But I’m getting into the weeds a bit here. The post is not technically about my metamorphosis, it’s about what I feel right now, before that.

Which is stressed. I hardly ever feel stressed (anxiety being a tad different than just being stressed) so it was difficult for me to identify at first. It doesn’t help that things are building in terms of tension and the very clear fact that I need to get out of a few avenues in my life that I have long outgrown and no longer make me feel happy. Everything I’ve slowly come to realize within the past 3 months is right on the surface, taunting me, daring me to engage and thus lose ground on all the things I’ve already learned. I have to actually take into practice the insights I’ve had and the tools I’ve learned to navigate certain situations, conflicts, and happenings. And it’s hard, and stressful.

I find myself having to repeatedly take a moment an asses if I’m losing it. I feel over everything and my patience wears thinner everyday. It’s hard to remember the growth I’v had when people are persistently ticking you off. You get lost in your current circumstances and it stalls everything.

So what am I doing about it? What could you do in a similar situation? What’s even the point of this particular post?

The morale of this story is that everyone has had those moments of large transition and it always feel the most stressful the closer you get. A move, a new job, a new relationship, an upcoming travel adventure; those are all big things that signal some sort of great self-idenityt and advances your personal and professional growth. In those moments we all find ourselves in discomfort and tension because that is what cocoon is. It’s an incubator where, the larger the caterpillar gets to turn into a butterfly the space that holds it is no longer the right size(this may be the cheesiest metaphor ever btw’s) but I’m sure while that butterfly was waiting the stress was palpable (this fucking guy I dated used this word a lot to ironically describe the frequent tension between us and now it’s rotating in my own vocabulary though I actually hate this word because it makes me imagine spit which is the grossest bodily fluid in my opinion). And that’s where I am now, and that’s where everyone will be at some point in their life and when it happens you just have to breathe and wait. chrysalys

 

Do as I Say, Not as I Do

IMG_3233Another week, another podcast; and I have to admit, while I’m becoming more and more confident in the advice I have to give this entire podcast was a lot of me giving sage (some would say… no one has said it yet but you know, I try) advice to myself.

I spend a lot of time talking in this podcast about fears, insecurities, and the possibility of love while doing my best to squash my own fears and doubts in my most current dating situation. I’m still learning how to date with anxiety, how to allow myself to eb and flow in the process and not allow myself to be the own roadblock in a potentially great relationship. Realizing that the majority of the reassurance I think I need to confidently move forward with opening up to someone else comes from within and that clinging to the idea of something working out only creates the problem I’m most afraid of.

I also spend a lot of time talking about how learning someone new is a lot less romantic than we are all predisposed to believe. In the beginning your partner doesn’t know your communication style or how you express love and affection and a lot of times those two things aren’t the same as your partners way of communicating and expressing affection and you have to learn to deal with that. That’s the deal when you have feelings for and care about someone – you resolve to learn more about someone over time and the idea that someone’s just automatically going to get and understand you is unrealistic.

But of course I can say this and actively be learning how to do it myself at the same time. It’s always easier to give perspective to people who aren’t yourself. I’m working on it, I’m trying to take my own advice and I’m trying to let go of my own since of panic and uncertainty and find room to move intentional and slowly to ensure a solid relationship foundation.

So listen, subscribe, and know that this recording is steeped from a sincere place that many who write in struggle with and maybe that relation is exactly what people need to hear – that we’re all going through this love/dating/relationship stuff together and it’s normal and expected and you control how you move through it and choose to see the best possible outcomes instead of allowing your fear get the best of you.

Oh, and here is the link to the Love Language quiz I talk about substantial in one portion of the podcast. Knowing how you express and communicate early on and talking about it will allow you to see things from your partners point of view and will allow you to learn more about your partner at the same time which will create a deeper bond.

As always thanks for listening!

Xoxo,

Chelsea

Nice Guys, Creepy Shit & Stalking your BF

IMG_3233Hey guys!

I was super honored to be a guest host on Robert Dunn’s  The Orion Group podcast last night and thought I’d link to the episode here for all my readers to check out my equally as honest (read ridiculous) take on love and relationships. The theme of this episode really centered back to fear and communication which I believe are the two biggest things people struggle with in any form of a relationship at any age (millennial or not). Hoping to do more podcast and the future but please share, subscribe and listen to this one!

xoxo,

Chelsea (feel like I should put Gossip Girl there just by nature)

 

 

The Beginning of Things

Prve-RandeI never thought of myself as someone afraid to fall in love. I’d like to think of myself as fearless in all matters, unabashed by my emotions and diving head first into the murky waters of relationships. I’m a strong, confident woman who has never been embarrassed to admit her feelings, something that has been the driving force behind my writing, because being open and vulnerable in front of people I don’t know is kind of my thing.

At least, that’s what I’ve been telling myself for the past year, as I cycled through first dates in hopes of finding someone I actually had a connection with. I always knew that things could turn out badly and admittedly prepared myself for the worst knowing that regardless of the outcome, I’m a self satisfied individual with nothing to lose because I love myself and am happy with my life.

That’s what all my blogs have been about this year so far, being happy with being alone. Because alone is easy, I spent most of the past year learning not to be afraid of being alone after rebuilding myself from a traumatizing relationship. So, of course, its at that point where you meet someone and that someone turns from a great first date, to an even better second date and a spectacular 3rd date and on and on and on, and before you know it you’re at the beginning of something and it’s honestly scary and exciting and new all at once.

On one hand I’m in all the feels, a spring in my step, a smile on my face. I have this desire to memorize every little thing; our first date, our first kiss, our first day together because the beginning is the best part, the part where when things get hard you flash back on fondly. The butterflies, the endless flirting, the, “I can’t wait to spend more time moments” that you forget to appreciate in the moment that I find myself playing over and over in my head.

…and on the other hand I’m terrified, remembering what it’s like to have my heart broken, recalling the work and the effort being in a relationship brings. I wonder if I remember how to do this, if I’ll mess it up, if it’ll fizzle before it even begins. I call it overthinking or brush it off as my anxiety talking but in talking with my friends they tell me that’s just part of the deal – the being scared a little part.

The beginnings are all of the things mixed into one. I can’t tell if the butterflies in my stomach every time I see him are the good kind or the bad kind and that feels new and vaguely familiar to me. … and then there’s this, this blog, this giant diary of truths and admissions of intimate moments throughout the past 4 years of my life. I’ve never been worried about living my life out loud, about what other people might think about these experiences we all have, the ones you don’t talk about that just beg to be related to. If it wasn’t all here, laid out in black and white, in writing, in poetry, I would still be nervous to reveal those parts of myself and I am, more so than I’ve ever been before.

So what do I do in those moments? What do I do when I realize that being open to the beginning of things means being brave, and exposed, and just plain scared. In this moment when it feels so new and so great I feel like I’m carrying a piece of china I’m afraid will fall and break, what then?

… and when I’m done, worrying and freaking myself out,I remember once more that this is normal, this is how it’s suppose to feel. And that’s when I go back to savoring every moment, every smile, every stolen glance and tentative admission of feeling because this is the beginning, and this is the best part.

The Exercise of Being Single

Female-Workout-Exercises.jpgI’ve been wanting to write this piece about being single for almost a month now. To those of you who read my blog you’re pretty aware of this fact that I am single (single af as the kids would say). This month marked a year of being officially single and I’ve gone through a lot of interesting phases in my being singleness. Because my last relationship ended so toxically, my being single at first was filled with a lot of not looking for anything. I didn’t want to be single because I wanted to be with him, I was still tied up in him and thus being single just meant, “without him”.

Then came, for lack of a better term, my slutty phase, which is a phase that everyone goes through at some point shortly after becoming single. For a while this fluctuated between being the best way to take advantage of being single in my youth and a miserably unfulfilling adventure in loneliness (just incase you thought I wasn’t already being dramatic). But in all honesty this part really was filled with everything from an incredible feeling of exploration to just this emotional space of sadness. People don’t talk about that. People in our generation are always encouraged and encouraging of “getting back on the horse” or “just having fun” as the way to epitomizes being newly single. And to a point I think that’s true, but I have never met a person in this stage that feels 100% okay about being single; because casually hooking up with people is sometimes is lonely and unfulfilling, and humans are wired to at some point want an emotional connection with someone.

And then comes the rebound stage, which some would argue isn’t being single at all, but from my personal experience, this is also a version of being single. Why, you ask (literally no one is asking)? Because a rebound is never labeled as a “boyfriend or girlfriend”, a rebound is somehow always referred to as “the person I’ve been seeing for a while” where a while means less than months. It’s always the point in being single where you really think you’re ready to be in relationship again, which in some cases works. I’ve heard many a story of people getting into a serious relationship or marrying the person they thought was their rebound , but those people really were ready and not just saying it. For me my rebound was exactly like the ex I had just gotten over. He opened up old wounds and made me feel the exact amount of .. smallness I think is the right word, I had felt for 10 months with my ex. I was scared of being single. I was afraid of being alone. I was missing the rhythm and the cadence that being in a relationship brings. I missed the lockstepness of being so familiar with someone that you just always feel comfortable around, not having that after a certain point was hard for me. I just wanted not to be single anymore and anyone who could make that happen was a step up from only wanting to one off flings.

Which is exactly what I went back to after the rebound and I fizzled into nothing, but this time around there wasn’t the same amount of bright side that the first go around brought me. It was all dark, it was all lonely, it was like I was trying to run away from being not just single, but alone, and I was not running in the right direction. I actually didn’t even know which way I was going period, not just relationship wise.

So, with the aid of having a new job I needed to focus on, I took some time off from dating completely. I didn’t make a conscience decision too I just wasn’t that focused on it for a while. I still went on the random first dates with guys that I quickly decided I wasn’t into before we even got to to a second date. It was at that point that being single just felt like a default. I was single, I wasn’t looking but I wasn’t not looking I just had my job to focus on, I had my getting my head back on to focus on, I had long day and short nights and not much time to be the fun or the sad kind of single.
This surprisingly lasted way longer than I thought and in that amount of time I was able to redefine the type of guy and type of relationship I wanted moving forward. The type of guy I was into, the deal breakers, the qualities I found most attractive all became super clear every time I went on a 1st date. It was this feeling of neither hating nor loving the fact that I was single, and spending the time learning from it.

That’s when I decided I wanted to really date again. I no longer was in the mood for just anything, I knew what I wanted and I wanted to explore that, see where it took me. I wanted to go in with an open mind and hopefully come out with someone who I wanted to spend more time with. IT sounds simple right? It’s this place in being single that most people get to as they inch closer and closer to 30. It’s the “I’m not ready to get married but shit most of my friends are better stop fucking around” phase that happens after you’ve had some stuff under your belt, some stories, and findings, and better grip on your life outside of romantic love. It was a phase I was pretty damn sure I was ready for but ended up being a false start.

Que three different guys, all a month apart from each other and all with seemingly great potential for, I don’t know…something? Each made me laugh endlessly on our first date, was definitely my type to an extent, and had as good a time as I was having. Suffice to say, I left each first dates with promises of more to come. And then for some odd excuse reason or another they fell apart somewhere between date two and four. There was this initial excitement, seemingly mutually, and then a sudden hesitancy, as if the brakes of a just moving train had suddenly been put on. Because I had enough time being single that I was keenly aware of the what I did and did not want a relationship to feel like, I always bailed the minute I felt those brakes because that was the beginning of a story I knew the ending to way too well. I’m not about that life anymore.

The 3rd guy out of this trio took the cake. He was funny and smart and interesting. If I typed out the checklist of things I want in my next relationship he would have gotten an easy 90%. Right away, 1st date, we both knew a second date was a no brainer. Because I feel like this will just stay between us (and all the readers of my blog, which I hope assume is not that many) I remember texting my friends “Fuck, this guy is dope! *oh no emoji*. Second date, even better. You know that weird feeling you get when you realize you vibe with someone enough that you immediately do way too much so you don’t fuck it up? On a good day I like to blame the behavior we both exhibited after the 2nd date on that feeling when it backfires. Long story made somewhat less long, I spent a good week pinching myself for the opportunity I lost by acting like a lunatic (jury’s still out on that, I’m still 50% sure I was in the right to behave as such).

All of that, literally all of the above nine paragraphs (honestly if you’ve read far down, bless you) to say….

After the 3rd great guy poofed into dust I had a crisis of faith in dating. I was at the point of being single where you’re just like, “well maybe it’s me”. I had felt a lot of emotions about being single but being completely happy was not one of them. There were times when it wasn’t so bad, there were times when it was actually fun, but there were not times where I consciences decided to be a single person and be okay with that. So 4 weeks ago I made a pack with myself to practice the exercise of being single.

Perhaps this came out of my new recommitment to doing yoga a few times a week, but the concept of working at something you weren’t always thrilled about in aim to better yourself just stuck. I decided no more dating apps, no more first dates, no more complaining about being single, I was going to do the work and practice being more independent, less focused on finding someone, and in the meantime spend some quality time with myself. I always think about how, at some point in the future I’ll have a husband, I’ll have kids, I’l have a life where the moments I’m just by myself doing my own thing becomes rarer and rarer. This time that I have now is precious and fleeting and also not just about having fun and going out with friend but spending time on yourself, by yourself.

And it’s hard work! The first few weekends I had to cheerlead myself up out of bed and enjoy beautiful days with lots of happy couple around (including 99% of my friends who I call my Mon – Fri friends because I never see them on the weekend) alone. I’ve had to find the things I love to do and do them alone. Each week I find myself more and more in tune with who I am, with what I want, and what I need to be a more whole and emotionally available person. Of course this is in hopes to finally get to the point where there’s potential to have a serious relationship again, but I’m being patient, I’m doing all the things I’ve always wanted to do and wanted to do more of and I’m doing them on my own. Just like exercising I can feel myself working my muscles, learning to live without the swiping and the constant talking about one guy or another.

I’ve learned a lot about what it feels like to completely dive into being single and not dating at all. First off I’m boring. At first I was self conscience about it and now I just accept it and embrace the drama freeness it supplies. I’m boring because the bulk of conversations, for women at least, surrounds around their love lives. It’s hard to admit as a feminist who has tons of other topics she can intelligently speak upon, but sadly, my conversations with the females in my life center 40% on other shit and 60% on dating/boyfriend/girlfriend shit. So yeah, the first week all I had to talk about was how I wasn’t really doing anything and how much sleep I was getting. The second week I was desperate to find something to talk and think about. For months I’ve been contemplating actually taking steps to go back to school and with no other distractions I was able to finally take those first steps and then graduate programs were a conversation I got to have a lot. The following week I realized I wanted to change my look. I spent an enormous amount of time looking and talking about hairstyles and my idea for a makeover. The third week I started going to yoga and just being more mindful in general, both of which I talked about a great deal. After spending a few years hating God and religion in general I started climbing slowly back into the spiritual realm, creating a whole other dimension to my outlook on life and conversations in general.

It took practice. I had to retrain my brain not to crave validation and attention from someone. This sounds like a no brainer but you would be surprised how many people lie to themselves that that’s what dating has become about. I had to strive a little more everyday with being okay in the silence, allowing my thoughts to wonder, thinking about my life and the patterns I’ve made in relationships. I’m changing, being consciously single has changed me and I can feel it radiating out in every aspect of my life.

In a few more weeks I may go back to actively dating but for some reason this time out, this 6-8 weeks of being single and fully happy feel likes a triumph to me. This exercise of being single is something most people give up on easily, like every exercise resolutions people who aren’t committed do (no judgement, I’m a frequent quitter of resolutions). But when I hear my friends in relationships ask me how I’m doing it, apart of me feels stronger inside because I am doing it, I’m not just trying to practice being single I’m in the game now folks, and it’s not that hard at all.