The Maturation of Heartbreaks

When people think about heartbreak, they almost immediately fall into the realm of romance. Having their stomach drop when they see their freshly estranged lover in an embrace, even if it’s casual and brought on by a few drinks, with a relatively attractive new friend. Passionately consuming old emails, unblinking, trying to re-imagine, for the hundredth time, what it felt like to be with them. Digging through dresser drawers and shelves with stacked clothes for something that may have retained the slightest scent. Or at least a strong memory that hadn’t been unearthed yet.

One should never undermine this sort of heartbreak, of course. For it’s the sharpest, and most enduring sort.

But there are other heartbreaks, too. And as life chugs along, they become more and more prevalent, and sometimes, comparably gut-wrenching.

Because it’s only appropriate that once one’s love life starts to settle down, the world finds other ways to keep them on their (now blue and battered) toes.

My number one cause for heartbreak of late has been friendships. It’s my own fault. I always approach things with the highest of high expectations, always believing that everyone will go above and beyond, pick me up when I’m down, and generally look out for me. This is ridiculous of course, because everyone has to look after themselves, first and foremost. And I, as an adult woman, should have realized that quite some time ago.

And so I find myself frequently burned. And heartbroken. And taken advantage of. And seriously confused.

The same way I felt when I was 13 and the boy I liked didn’t like me back. A lingering feeling of crushed.

I’ve realized that friendships change as people grow. I’ll never have those quixotic-type friendships again.  I’ll never feel that symbiotic, mutual reliance that makes friendships flourish. I’ll never trust in the same way. I’ll never put anyone before myself (with the exception of family). I’ve learned my lessons and know that while walls are a bit too opaque, a translucent glass shield should always exist. And I should always be prepared to retreat behind it, if only for a bit.

That way, next time, at least I’ll have preserved myself from the get-go. And I can sit back and say I knew it was coming. Because a blindsided heartbreak is the absolute worst sort.

But no big deal. This will be better for all of us.

(Shield up.)

AG

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Social Identity Crisis

With the increasing and unyielding new digital/social behaviors of posting, sharing, Tweeting, Instagramming, liking, commenting, and divulging, the term identity crisis has taken on an entirely new meaning.

It’s always been cool to be cool. But now, no one cares about your one witty remark at dinner, or the fact that you started the dance party in your friends living room, or even that you can shotgun a beer (unless of course any of these are documented with a lovely Instagram). Because these moments are fleeting, and showing your cool on social media is cemented in time.

Whenever something big happens, what’s the first thing you do? Maybe call your Mom & Dad? Shoot your sister a text message? Ping a close friend? Or do you skip all the personal mini-messages and go big?

“HEY FACEBOOK! I JUST TOTALLY ROCKED MY MCAT (LSAT, GMAT, GRE, BOARDS … fill in your epic exam of choice)! 1/100THS OF THE WAY TO BECOMING DOCTOR SO-AND-SO!”

“HI FACEBOOK! I JUST GOT MY DREAM JOB AND IT’S PAYING ME DOUBLE WHAT I ASKED FOR! I CAN’T BELIEVE MY LUCK!”

I can’t say I’ve never done it. In fact, I’m a social media slore. I  gushed when I booked my vacation, when I found out I was moving to New York. I brag about my family all the time. And what is this blog? A collection of my most wonderful moments for the world to ooh-&-ahh at? It’s sort of gross if you think about it. Social narcissism at it’s best.

And then there’s the opposite.

GOD, COULD THIS DAY GET ANY WORSE? I JUST WANT TO CRAWL UNDER A MOSSY ROCK AND WAKE UP AT THE END OF 2012 WHEN THE WORLD MAY VERY WELL BE ENDING. FML FML FML.”

“SPENDING ANOTHER FRIDAY NIGHT ALONE IN MY APARTMENT WITH A TUB OF CHUNKY MONKEY AND 5 SEASONS OF GILMORE GIRLS. SO LONELY.” (don’t sound so bad to me!)

Social media can turn into an emotional black hole. When one experiences any heightened sentiment, it has the potential of coming out in a manner quite akin to maudlin word vomit. Be careful with that.

But the likelihood to share… life… on social media can also be incredibly eye-opening. If you’re an avid sharer, you’ve let people in on the good, the bad, the ugly. You’ve had to face your demons and come to terms with things that you don’t necessary love about yourself. It’s helped you realize what the best you looks like (even if it’s more outward facing than inward – these things can change!). What you’re not proud of (I’d never post that I lashed out on my boyfriend after a bad day at the office- something I need to work on, or that the big project I was working on just didn’t materialize like I’d hoped), what you are proud of, and moments that have helped define you.

And it’s a truly wonderful thing to be able to look back at that. I flipped through my Facebook Timeline today (and those of you who have been forcefully switched over, stop complaining. I’m certain Facebook knows your social behavior better than you do, and you’ll end up loving it). It was just so funny to see. I, for one, have realized that I was frighteningly free with my photograph posting in 2007, outrageously open with my work distresses in 2010 (and the fact that I watch Gossip Girl – EMBARRASSING, and probably rule peoples newsfeeds in the present (ps the earlier alliteration was totally unintentional. Love when that happens). But I was really interested to see one of my “braggiest” moments in my digital life. So I went back to when I announced my “big move” to NYC


Such a moment of excitement and exhilaration made permanent through social media. But in this moment, it wasn’t just about me. There was a crazy amazing, unexpected, influx of togetherness. Social is where people come together to rejoice in one another’s little victories, lend a virtual shoulder to cry on, or simply show that they care.

But it’s a fine line between relying on your social network for a pat on the back or a second of self-affirmation vs. requesting that they act as your virtual shrink. Facebook and Twitter aren’t the right place to bare your soul, people! That’s what blogs are for ;)

XO,

AG

 

The Nature of Missing

I’ve talked places before. The places I’ve been, lived, loved, stayed, left, and currently gallivant around. And what has made these places special. Or memorable.

Being a serious and chronic homebody, homes have always held a special place in my heart. I’m the type to miss streets, grassy knolls, coffee shops, and 25 cent ice cream. I miss the feeling of the carpet in my pre-teen room, the scent of our kitchen when I arrived home from a long (ha!) day at school, calls on the landline phone, dark nights on our deck, my mom’s cold coffee, all my backyards. And there are times when I yearn for those things. I miss them so intensely, it’s like someone I love has been tragically ripped from my life. Dramatic, I know.

And then I realize. That’s exactly why we miss. Because places and things wind themselves so tightly with the people who bring them to life.

My dad sent me a picture of our old house in Chicago last night, and my reaction was so visceral, I sort of choked. I had a lump in my throat and my eyes started to burn. I know how much he misses it (the picture was accompanied by an “I miss it,” and from my emotionally contained dad, that’s saying a lot), and that made me miss it, too. It made me want to jump back to a time and a place where we were all together. And even though, at the core of my sadness, I missed my family, I wanted to BE in that house. It was a funny partnership there, between missing people I love, and missing the places where I’ve loved them. Maybe that’s why people say “Home Sweet Home,” or “Home is Where the Heart is.” Maybe that’s why I’m always Homesick.

I’m sure this is how I’ll feel about New York one day (assuming I ever leave, because how many times have we all been told, “leave New York when you have kids!”). The dirty, filthy subways. The tiny apartments. The excruciatingly long work-nights. I just know how much I’ll miss it all. But not because I enjoy the New York smog, or the stench, or the closet-less bedrooms (good Lord, you can’t believe how difficult it makes life!). I’ll miss the moments, with the people. Riding the subway home with my boyfriend after a fun night out. Watching hour upon hour of girly (and frankly, pre-teen) television with my roommate. Having an unbelievably wide-eyed, fascinating, must-absorb-every-word conversation with colleagues. It’s those moments, with those people, that ultimately make a place so irresistible. So hard to leave. Especially a place like New York.

 

AG

When Your Little Sister Is Cooler.

I remember when I was the cool sister. My little sis would always want to sit with my friends and I in the basement of our house on Winston Lane. We would all play Dance Dance Revolution, watch scary movies, or talk about those outside our crew, and even though Sis couldn’t wrap her head around half of our conversations, she was always there.

My parents used her as a chaperone. Anytime I was alone with a boy, there she’d be. Right around the corner. Striking up conversation, or claiming that we were listening to her favorite song; watching her favorite movie. What she never knew, though, is I always wanted her there. In fact, once I asked her, directly, to meet her friend for dinner at the same place I had a “date” – just in case I needed to glance over and make eye contact for a bit of reassurance.

Even though she was five years younger, I spilled my heart and soul to her every night. We sat awake in my full size bed and I told her about my crushes, my heartbreaks, my classes, my blogs (yup, had them back then too – Xanga anyone?). We used to cut pictures from dated Bollywood magazines that our family had brought over from India during their last visit, and make huge collages on that 25 cent poster board you could get around the corner. We made customized shorts (PHS, MYH), had photo-shoots, ate like the world’s biggest famine was about to hit any day, and were inseparable.

Her new version of the good old Bollywood collage

And, even though I now have my doubts, at the time I definitely thought I was the cool one.

Now, I know better. She’s the one that can pull of the straw bowler hats, the hot pink tattered jeans, studs, those dresses with the stomach cut outs (I would have to wear a poncho over it to ever feel comfortable in one of those). She’s the one that used Crackle nail polish before anyone else (I never used it once). She has the attitude, the strength, and the wit to whip any situation in her favor. And although I’m still her big sister, and may maintain a strong sense of big-sister-rationality, the ability to think practically, and the skills to help tame the occasional emotional hurricane, sometimes I can’t believe how much I have learned and continue to learn from her.

We’ve had a very blessed life, as a family (knock on wood). But my mom’s one complaint with her life is that she never had a sister. She sees the relationship between my sis & I and can’t believe what she’s missed out on. Luckily as we’ve gotten older, we’ve developed an amazingly close relationship with mom, too, but nothing (seriously, nothing) can beat having a sister.

Love you, sis!

AG

Weddings for Food Fanatics

I worked my favorite wedding thus far, the other week. It was a Christine Paul Event, and it was my favorite for a few reasons. The locale was super chic. Minimal and stunning. They used the New York skyline as part of their decor, used an iPad as a virtual guest book, and had a chef cooking up a storm, in the middle of their dinner venue.

I’ve realized that if a couple loves food, it should always be at the center of their wedding. This couple crafted three special menus, with their chef – one for meats, one for organic veggies, and one for seafood. They served this food buffet style (CLASSY buffet) and had wine pairings for each dish. Their guests were eating until the last possible second. We actually had to personally usher a few guests out because they couldn’t leave their plates and were about to miss the first dance!

Here are some serious Foodie Wedding shots from across the web.

via Ruffled

via Green Wedding Shoes

via Green Wedding Shoes

via Green Wedding Shoes

via United With Love

via United With Love

Yums.

XO,

AG

 

One Year Later.

Around this time, every year, I slip into an introspective phase. It’s organic. Nothing I do can trigger it. But I always wonder what brings it on. If it’s the re-emergence of the sun, and the birds, and the flowers. If it’s because May always used to mark the end of a school year. Or because summer is always a time to let go and start anew.

Last year, at this time, I was still living in Chicago. I had a great group of friends, my long-distance college love, a gorgeous condo in a peaceful neighborhood, and my sister living in the next room. I hadn’t settled on moving to New York yet, but was contemplating it. I had reached out to BBH on a whim, and was sitting tight to see if anything, by chance, would materialize. But it hadn’t. Not yet, at least.

Chicago Skyline

Last year, at this time, I was four states away from the guy of my dreams. I couldn’t even imagine how wonderful it would be to see him after a long day.  I hadn’t met any of my friends in NYC. The friends who would make me feel like a New Yorker in no time. I hadn’t yet realized that working for a totally kick-ass advertising agency wasn’t just a pipe-dream. And that it was, in fact, possible for a job to light your fire. To fill voids, and make you strip all the excess out of your life, just so you could devote yourself to it even more. And be happy about it! I didn’t know what it was like to work hard. And I mean, all-night, 6-cups-of-coffee, no time to eat or call your mom, hard. And still leave smiling.

I spoke to a good friend’s friend yesterday about moving to New York. I must have talked the poor girls ear off, because for 25 minutes, all I could do was rave. Yes, it was damn hard turning my life upside down, leaving my friends, leaving my sister (most of all), and our lovely home. Sometimes it sucks not to have my little Honda CR-V (named Bruce, if you must know) to swing by Trader Joe’s, or take a last minute weekend trip to surprise my Dad. And yes, there are days when the subway is gross, and strange men will say strange things to you, and then proceed to sing and play a harmonica. Sometimes you’ll pay $7 for a carton of juice. Or realize that you have somehow spent $50 on breakfast sandwiches in the last month. You skin may not be vibrant, and your hair may be a mess from all the long walks. But at the end of the day, when you finally climb into your bed, and shut off the light, you’re going to feel damn good. Because you live in New York City. You love your job. You’re in love & are loved back. And you finally feel like you’re living your life.

Knock on wood.

Love,

AG

Birthday Surprises

Oh weekend… I miss you already. I miss the greenery in Washington DC, the less than packed restaurants/bars, and one of my favorite people ever – Lubna.

BF and I caught an evening bus to DC on Friday, to surprise one of our college BFFs. The bus ride was completely and utterly obnoxious. How can people think it’s alright to jab on the phone hour after hour, in such close quarters! Manners, please! Regardless, we made it in one piece.

Once we got to Lubna’s place, I ran into her room and struck my typical surprise pose – hands flailing –  which she somehow predicted I would do. She just smiled knowingly and said “hiiiii.”

Yup.

BF and I were convinced she had absolutely no idea we were coming. But behold the power of close friendships. These sort of surprises are never completely unexpected. That being said, we were so happy to be together. All smiles all weekend.

We ventured out to Eighteenth Street Lounge, an amazing 18th century victorian mansion, and then ended the night at Public House, and ultimately with some pizza, o’course.

On Saturday, Lubna and I got some drastically needed alone time. We had a long Thai lunch, walked around on M street, did a bit of shopping, and just caught up. We were both surprised at how normal it felt. Like we see each other every weekend and it’s no big thing. But it was really really nice.

L & I

Saturday night we fully embraced Cinco de Mayo and L’s birthday. We got some amazing Mexican food at El Tamarindo, and then met up with a few friends from BBH who were randomly in town at Grand Central and The Reef.

Cake time!

Hi Michael & Tilly!

BF & I with the Most Interesting Man in the World

We knew we’d be pretty useless on Sunday, after a full & furious weekend, but we grabbed brunch at Scion and then went to a little used book shop. I went totally crazy and bought 5 books (not fun lugging around!). They were each $3! I was seriously excited. I spent the entire bus ride reading The Reader.

We got back later than planned, grabbed some T-Bell (we did spend all weekend in college-mode, afterall) and spent the rest of the night talking about what a great time we had.

Weekends away are the best, but I miss Lubna fiercely already. There’s nothing quite like being with such a close friend.

Happy Birthday, toot! Love you!

AG