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47f4faffa2e429a05251506d444ac64fi had another post scheduled for today – a recipe for a delicious wild rice salad – but i woke up this morning and felt like i had to get something off my chest. for just about as long as i can remember, i’ve turned to writing to release my feelings. i was the girl that wrote diligently in her diary, who joined deadjournal (wow, throwback) in high school to write down all her emo musings. i’ve always needed an outlet for my feelings (because let’s be real: i have a fuckload of feelings, about pretty much everything, pretty much all the time), and sometimes, it just doesn’t feel right to burden my friends or family with them. so in those situations, i write them down. somehow, getting my thoughts out on paper (or virtual paper, in this case), makes things seem more manageable.

so, here i go again with the confessional style posts – something i haven’t done in quite some time actually.

i’d like to tell you a story. it’s called, “sarah might be single forever, but at least she tried” – lovely, right?

as many of you may recall, i started a new job a few months ago. actually, i suppose it was about 6 months ago, at this point. time flies! this is going to sound disgustingly superficial, but when i got the job, one of the first things i thought to myself was, well, maybe i’ll meet someone at my new job. there were absolutely zero eligible bachelors at my last job, and while i adored my coworkers, i wasn’t about to be baby-makin’ with any of them. now, before you go on and tell me that i shouldn’t be going into a job looking for a boyfriend (i know, thanks), let me explain.

it is really hard to meet people in new york. or at least, it is for an introvert like me. see, i “do” lots of things here in our fine city. i work. i volunteer. i exercise at studios, where, presumably, one might meet someone. and yet, i rarely do. meet people, that is. sure, i make friends, because i’m a girl’s girl through and through. but even that scares me (making new girl friends). try and put me in a situation where i’m supposed to meet a guy, and i clam up. i’m either awkward and aloof (not on purpose), or i try too hard. i can’t seem to straddle the line of the happy medium.

add to that a stint on just about every dating site there is (all of which have been beyond depressing, who wants to ONLINE SHOP FOR A BOYFRIEND? NO THANKS.), and i feel like i’ve tried it all. tell me: if a girl no longer enjoys pounding cranberry vodkas on friday and saturday nights, and she spends a good 9 hours a day in an office 5 days a week, where oh where is she supposed to meet someone? let’s say she’s already exhausted her friend circles, and she’s given up on stupid dating fads like tinder and okcupid.

i’ll tell you where. at her office. because it’s the place where she spends over 50% of her time each week, if not more.

that’s right, folks. i spend more time with my coworkers than i do with just about anyone else. it’s a good thing i like them.

so anyway, i went into this new job thinking that maybe, just maybe, there would be someone special here for me. and then, surprise of all surprises, i sort of thought i’d found him.

about a month into my new job, i realized i had a crush. one of those stupid, middle school style, blush when he’s around crushes. and for a little while, i had a sense that maybe, just maybe, it wasn’t a one-sided thing. that maybe i was about to get lucky. that maybe soon he’d be standing in my kitchen eating homemade cookie dough off a spatula with me late on a tuesday night.

and i let myself, stupidly, get excited. i let myself go all crazy in my head, and imagine all the things that could be. i started over-interpreting simple actions like a crazy person, because remember what i said about having SO MANY FEELINGS?! i got totally ahead of myself, and read into things that didn’t deserve reading into. and maybe a few things that did.

but either way, the end result was that i learned that i’d read wrong, and that my crush was totally, unequivocally, unrequited. and somehow, i feel like i kind of got my heart broken, even though i know that for all intents and purposes, that’s not at all what happened here. what happened here is that i let myself get my hopes up, and i dove in headfirst because i don’t know how to do things any other way, and then i got disappointed by something that should have been obvious in the first place.

and now, i just feel sad. like i wasted a few months on something that was never there, that was only in my head, and like i might just be single forever if i can’t learn to figure this shit out. last week, i had two girlfriends over for dinner, and i talked to them about my quandary, and i started going into this headspace where it was all, “and then i did this wrong, and then i assumed that incorrectly, and it’s clearly all in my head, and i should have never let it get to this point.”

and my friend kara turned to me and said, “no, that’s BULLSHIT. YOU DID NOTHING WRONG.”

and as hard as it was to believe, there was this tiny little spark in the bottom of my heart that said, “you know what? she’s right. all i did was believe myself and believe in someone else and hope a little bit. all i did was put myself out there.”

and while i do feel sad, i also feel like i need to not beat myself up over this. it’s not good for my heart to be thinking about all the reasons it didn’t work, all the reasons it was in my head, all the reasons he wouldn’t have wanted me. because that’s just going to make me feel like shit, plain and simple. and while it was me, obviously, it wasn’t really about me, you know?

so, here i go again, back out into the world, to try and feel my way into something that’s right. i feel like i could use a little white snake behind me, no?

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a friend sent me a link to this article this morning, which was posted on gawker over the weekend, about loving new york and leaving it behind. the author, cord jefferson, is an amazing writer – there’s no denying it. and he’s got a good point. new york, if you let it (and sometimes even if you don’t), can really take the wind out of you. it beats you up when you get up in the morning and when you get home at night. it creeps up on you during your morning walk to the subway, and kicks you in the face after you’ve had a long day at work. but here’s the thing: so does everywhere else. if you let it.

i’ve had many a moment where i’ve despised this city. sometimes, when i’m shoved into someone’s armpit on the L train (thank you, williamsburg, for collectively eschewing deodorant), i think to myself, “why am i not in a car right now, singing along to alanis morrissette on the radio?” sometimes, when a tourist unknowingly steps into my path when i’m already running late, pausing to stare at the sky and marvel at how TALL everything is, i swear to myself and count to ten so i don’t punch them. new york makes me aggressive. it makes me impatient. and yes, as the article criticizes, it makes me tough.

but i don’t think that’s really such a bad thing. if there’s one gift new york has given me, it’s that the city has taught me how to be alone. people think you can’t be alone in a city swarming with millions of people, all acrid sweat and rotting garbage and fresh bodega lilies. but you can – you can be more alone here, with strangers and friends alike buzzing around you, than you can be anywhere else. and you know what? there’s something magical about that. something powerful about it. because learning to be alone – and to be okay with being alone – is a wonderful thing. and it’s something i most certainly wouldn’t have learned without new york.

there was a time, not so many years ago, where i was terrified to pick up the phone and place an order for chinese delivery. i was that afraid of my own voice. i couldn’t bear the idea of going grocery shopping by myself when i could just as easily go with a friend to help me select a ripe cantaloupe; didn’t understand why a person would dare to do something as humiliating as dine on their own. new york has taught me that there’s little more freeing than thinking to yourself, self, i’d like to see a movie today. it’s hot outside and i’d like to sit in a cozy, reclining seat in an empty theater with a large portion of overly-buttered popcorn and a king-sized bottle of water. nothing more empowering than strolling down west 9th street between 5th and 6th avenues and saying, self, someday you just might live in one of these brownstones.

so yes, new york takes a lot out of you. on a daily basis. but it also gives back to you in spades, if you know how to look for it. like when you’re stepping out of your local bodega and notice a tiny baby bird fluttering in pain on the sidewalk, and see that a group of teenagers, however rowdy and self-concerned as teenagers tend to be, will kneel down and discard the slice of pizza they just paid for to scoop up the bird and take it home to nurse it back to health. sometimes, it’ll give back to you with a crisp fall day so perfect that you think the world might just end tomorrow – but you won’t care, because you’ll be walking through central park with a forest above and sunburnt leaves crunching beneath your feet. it’ll give back to you when you walk behind kirsten dunst in soho, her sundress swinging softly behind her, when you take in a reading of your favorite book by your favorite author and he looks you straight in the eye. it’ll give back to you when the flower guy on the corner gives you two bunches of lilies for $10 instead of $12, when you sample fresh goat’s cheese at the farmer’s market and eat the best tikka masala you’ve ever had on 6th street. it’ll give back to you when you find a worn leathered armchair on the side of the street, when your cabbie compliments your nose ring and tells you you’re beautiful, when the chef brings you an extra round of appetizers or offers you a drink on the house. it’ll give back to you when you want to order sushi at 2AM, bagels at 6AM, and a freshly baked pizza at 1 in the afternoon.

what it comes down to is this: you can have a good day anywhere. you can have a bad day anywhere. i can have a terrible day in the most beautiful, picturesque place in the world just as easily as i can have a great day. so to go blaming new york for all life’s failures simply isn’t fair. yes, this city can knock you down. but just as easily, it can prop you back up, taller and stronger than ever. and if not, i’ll give you the guts to stand back up on your own two legs, proud and pretty and poised.

i don’t think i’ll live in new york forever. but i’ll be damned if it isn’t a good place to be young. because if there’s one thing you will undoubtedly find here in this smelly, overcrowded, overpriced city, it’s yourself.