canada day and reading recap!

canada_day_fireworks_parliament

Happy Canada Day!

I hope everyone is preparing for a relaxing, joyful mid-week day off to celebrate. I’m off to a barbecue at my parents’ in a few hours with forty to fifty (!!!) of our closest friends and family. Hopefully the weather holds up and we can relax outside by the barbecue and trees.

Canada Day also means the beginning of a new month and I’m going to tell you about the books I read in June. I managed to read two books, which is a slightly less than my average, but for some reason I took forever to get through one of them. I read both You Shall Know Our Velocity by Dave Eggers and The Massey Murder by Charlotte Gray.

0a0b6a66-2350-4352-af17-885cc38a2ded_photo

You Shall Know Our Velocity is Eggers’ first fictional novel. It was released in 2002 and despite my deep love of his work I had yet to read it. I picked up a copy at a local used book store for four dollars, hardcover, and was elated by this. I was also elated by the fact that the book starts on the cover. Yes, the words on the front cover are actually the beginning of the first chapter and this novelty was thrilling to me. What can I say? I’m a sucker for schtick.

I’m not sure why but this book took me forever in terms of my normal reading speed. It took me over a month and given that it’s under three hundred pages and overall quite enjoyable this was extremely slow for me. Prior to reading it I had read a non-fiction book and I knew I was going to read The Massey Murder next, also non-fiction, and I felt like I was suffering from a slight disinterest in the fictional world. I’ve never been a big non-fiction reader and since “discovering” its worthwhile stories and lessons I’ve felt an intense desire to read more. So maybe this Eggers experience was simply met with a disinterest in all fiction at the time.

That being said, this novel was great in the way that most Dave Eggers is. It’s strange, imaginative, and irreverent. It made me laugh out loud and it also made me think. Despite its completely off-the-wall moments (taping money to donkeys in an envelope that says, “Here I am, rock you like a hurricane” on it, anyone?) it was also quite touching. It provides an interesting look at what happens to a person when they lose someone, how death can affect your emotional and mental state, and how the people closest to you after that death change in your life, as well. If you can handle a little (okay, a lot) of strange in exchange for a good dose of humanity, I highly recommend this book.

1394374011

The Massey Murder was recommended by my grandmother’s partner, Bill Freeman (who also just released a book himself called The New Urban Agenda and if you’re at all interested in Toronto, community, and politics, you should check it out), a few months back. I’ve had this copy since my birthday and kept meaning to get around to it but it’s sat there waiting the whole time.

As someone who grew up just outside of Toronto and now resides in the city, the story was interesting to me on many levels. I loved learning about the state the city was in one hundred years ago. I recognized many of the street names and even live less than a block away from Euclid Hall (now Keg Mansion) where some of the Masseys lived. I loved comparing the politics and attitudes that existed in Toronto a century ago to those that exist now. In some ways the city had evolved immensely and in others not so much. The battling of two separate political views on what Toronto should be is not something we are missing today, let me tell you. And while the newspapers may have changed a little in name or style, they certainly haven’t changed in their taking sides on political issues and imparting their bias on others.

Beyond the interest in how my city was managed and growing so many years ago, I was also very interested in this story from a feminist perspective. For those who don’t know, the Masseys were a very powerful family in Toronto. Their name carried a lot of weight and a lot of money. When one of the Masseys was shot dead by his young female maid, it created a lot of buzz throughout the city. When she said she did it because her master tried to “ruin” her, it was a huge scandal. I loved reading about how what the women’s groups were lobbying for at the time, how the war was affecting how women were viewed in the city, and ultimately what a woman’s purity meant in Toronto one hundred years ago (spoiler: it meant a lot). Growing up in the same city one hundred years later, when work, the vote, and my purity were my own right and business, it was incredibly interesting to me.

For anyone who is interested in history, Toronto, feminism, or scandal, I would highly recommend this book. It’s well-written, well-researched, and incredibly captivating.

washing dishes and accepting blame.

I have a history of blaming everybody else. If they hadn’t done that thing, if they had just listened to me, if they hadn’t been such an asshole, then I wouldn’t be so angry. I wouldn’t be so sad. I wouldn’t be so hurt. If only the world would worm its way into my ideals and my plans then everyone would be happy.

If only I had listened when the world kept telling me, “It just doesn’t work that way, honey” I would have saved myself a world of hurt.

Just over a year ago I started to deal with some demons I had been carrying with me for a very long time. We all have them, and we all know they can pile up on each other and become a tangled, muddled mess. Sifting through them all takes time, effort, and a lot of energy. As someone who never lets anything go, who never appreciated a decent wave of introspection, and who never attempted to understand how things affected her, this was really difficult to do.

I was under the impression that every time someone hurt me, every time they broke my trust, every time they had done something abhorrently shitty, I had nothing to do with it. In some cases, this was true. But in others, the phrase, “Fool me twice, shame on me” comes into play in full force. I had a history of not just being hurt but keeping my mouth shut about it. I would let it happen, and let it happen again, and then I would pipe up and say something to defend myself but then turn around and let it happen again. Every single time, I blamed the other person. Eventually, it becomes a joint effort.

If I am going to be completely honest, I think I enjoyed the hurt. Not in the same way you enjoy love, but in a way that made me feel like I at least felt something. For a few years I pushed everything aside and tried to feel as little as possible. I have a lot of emotions, some of them hit me with a force I can’t even describe, and I did my best to suppress them. When someone hurt me, I felt it, and it was a feeling I could justify (unlike a lot of my other ones). A part of me also believed that if they cared enough to hurt me, they cared. And I could carry on blaming them for my pain and the world would make sense.

It goes without saying that this was a really shitty way of living. I didn’t like myself, I didn’t like a lot of the people I knew, and I didn’t enjoy my life. I was unmotivated by life in general, I had a skill that could be easily turned into a career but didn’t want to do anything about it, and I spent more time crying than laughing. This way of dealing (or not dealing) with things carried on even after I fell in love with someone who didn’t treat me like I was nothing to them. And I still didn’t understand why, sometimes, I felt so terrible.

One day I got upset at Sam for not washing the dishes. I like to have all of the dishes cleaned as soon as possible. I clean what I can before we even eat and I want them out of the sink as soon as the meal is finished. Sam is not opposed to dish washing but he doesn’t have the same sense of urgency that I do. That night I was already in a bit of a slump, not feeling one hundred percent, and I got so angry that the dishes hadn’t been washed. Like, how dare he leave that pot in the sink, knowing how anxious it was going to make me feel? Doesn’t he understand at all? Doesn’t he care that it’s going to freak me the fuck out?

Well, he does. He cares deeply. But he also didn’t really understand why one dirty pot was cause for such alarm. He looked at me, in tears, upset and angry about this dirty dish, and said, “Why don’t you wash it now if it’s upsetting you so much?” This was said in the kindest, calmest way possible. So I obviously lost my mind.

Since that day I’ve spent a lot of time working on my self. I had no idea at the time how often I would go back to that night as an example of something so simple I had been missing for so long. At the time, I was just angry and Sam was confused. But I’ve made great strides in my health, a lot of it surrounding my mental and emotional well-being. I’ve referenced before some serious mood swings that I can have, and I don’t know how to describe them other than having another person take over your body for a few minutes while your kinder, more rational self stands to the side being like, “Who pissed in your cornflakes this morning, girl?”

After a long fight with myself and some acceptance of who I am, I started to emerge on the other side of a really dark period of my life. But I still couldn’t quite figure out how to make the leap from unsettled to happy. I didn’t know what I was missing. Then I thought about that night, with the unwashed pot, and wondered why I had been blaming Sam for my anger when my anxiety over dirty dishes had nothing to do with him and it hit me: accountability.

I struggled with emotions, but I also struggled with holding myself accountable.

I combed back through some of the toughest times of my life and I realized that almost every time I had blamed someone else. I even found ways to blame others for my weight, my unhealthy lifestyle, debt, or putting up with poor behaviour from others when I had never stood up for myself. I didn’t even hold myself accountable for my mood swings.

It’s a tough pill to swallow, accepting blame. It’s even tougher when you have to accept your role in a situation that might have damaged your trust or happiness deeply. But Don Draper said it straight when he said, “People tell you who they are, but we ignore it – because we want them to be who we want them to be.” Almost every time someone hurt me the first time, I didn’t know they would do that. And then they would do it again and at that point it becomes a trend.  Eventually, you have to accept part of the blame for what they’ve done because they showed you that’s who they are, and you refused to accept it.

As soon as I realized that I had to love myself and that would include accepting my culpability in past mistakes, the world became brighter. As soon as I started to accept my role in things that had happened in my life, and continue to happen, I saw a better life for myself. As soon as I recognized my own strengths and my own faults, everything started falling into place.

Now, I wash the dishes when I feel like they might get to me before Sam gets to them. Once in awhile, I even leave them in the sink for later, which apparently doesn’t hurt as much as I thought it would.

40123b031a4bf22af422e50f92197f1e

the end of the whole30.

Everyone! Everyone! Look at me! I am officially, one hundred percent, completely finished the Whole30. Thirty days with no dairy, no grains of any sort, no added sugars of any kind (yes, including honey and maple syrup, poor me) and a whole ton of eggs and vegetables. I made two previous posts on my progress throughout the thirty day program so let’s just focus on the final stretch and how I feel now, shall we?

Long story short: I feel great.

Okay,we’re done here. That’s all you really need to know, right?

Just kidding. I know, I’m hilarious. Seriously, though, I feel amazing. The first two to three weeks were a little dicey. I went from high energy to no energy with a few moody days in between (sorry, Sam). In the last ten days, however, my body had finally adjusted and I felt incredible. I finally started to feel the benefits of a super clean diet and also realized just how unclean my diet had been before.

I was eating fairly healthy before starting the Whole30 but I was definitely treating myself more than I should have. I don’t think it counts as a cheat meal or one small treat when it happens every couple of days, you know? Except I honestly hadn’t realized how often I was doing this until I wasn’t allowed to anymore. I started to take stock of the sugar I had been consuming and was shocked especially when I looked at unsuspected sources (hi, packaged, sliced multigrain bread!). I knew sugar is in basically everything but even my healthiest go-to items seemed to have sugar in them. I felt a little naive when I started to look at all of the things, as if I really thought I had outsmarted the packaged food industry!

A lot of changes occurred during the thirty days, besides the sugar withdrawals. I didn’t actually lose that much weight, only a couple of pounds, but I did lose a full inch off of my hips and was able to get into a pair of size six pants a week ago. This never would have happened a month or two ago. My skin is clearer and except for those couple of moody, withdrawal days, my emotions were way more in control. In fact I would even hazard a guess that my hormones are more balanced now than they have been in a very long time. My pre-menstrual symptoms are brutal, at times edging on pre-menstrual dysphoric disorder, and I was much calmer this month. I also came to realize how much my diet was affecting my hormonal balance when I got my period a full week early despite being on birth control. I couldn’t have had better proof that a lot of my imbalances and health issues, physical and mental, were suffering from my dietary choices.

Now that I’ve been off of the program for two days I can’t see myself going back to the refined sugar life. I missed dairy and grains and I have started to reintroduce those into my diet. I have had no physical repercussions from these additions, which I’m happy to see, and leads me to believe that I am right in believing that sugar was the demon of my diet. My plan is to continue eating clean, cutting out refined sugars as much as possible, and making my own sauces and dressings to combat the “let’s put sugar in everything” idea the food industry seems to have.

I went into the Whole30 hoping to discover something about my diet, especially if there was anything affecting my mood. I came out of it happier, healthier, and more enlightened about my health than I have ever been. I feel really great and I don’t regret doing the program at all. In fact, if you are struggling with your health in any way, I recommend doing the Whole30. You never know what you might discover!

finished-the-w30-fb-cover-660x244

whole30 days eleven to twenty.

Alright, alright, alright!

As of two days ago I was twenty days into my first Whole30 experience. I already told you about my first ten days in an earlier post and some things have changed, others have not.

I have noticed that I’m following the Whole30 timeline for how you’ll generally feel during your thirty days almost to a tee. I’ve had a lot of ups and downs as my body has adjusted to its new eating habits. In the last ten days I’ve been energized, fatigued, bored, annoyed, and excited by the Whole30. I’m telling you, I’ve been all over the place with my feelings towards this thing.

I’ve still eaten a lot of the same things: eggs, vegetables, meat with spices on them, coconut milk, and fruit. This has been the main cause of my boredom. I’ve started to switch it up in the last couple of days by getting a little more creative with my meals and snacks. I’m just over a week away from being finished and the last thing I need is to be thwarted by ennui. So I’ve learned to make a damn good omelette, finally relented and bought some almond butter (I was convinced it wouldn’t be worth it since I love peanut butter so much but oh my god is it ever amazing), and looked at different ways to cook my vegetables. I feel much more excited about the whole thing now.

My energy levels have been all over the place, as well. This is the one area that I’m not completely following the Whole30 timeline as I’m supposed to hit a phase of increased energy after about day 16. I’m only just starting to feel that now and it’s still not as high as I imagined it would be. I realize that everyone is different and I might have also had expectations on the manic energy side. It’s not unlike me to have ridiculously high expectations…

I realized this past weekend, however, after a downer moment where I lamented not even being able to eat yogurt as a snack as Sam snacked on the greatest looking yogurt parfait in history, that I am the best person for this sort of program. It has made me look at what I’ve been eating like I never have before. I started this to try to figure out how my body reacts to food and what I’m really putting into my body. I thought it would be easy since I wasn’t eating that badly before this but I had no idea how much added sugar I was putting into my body before this. I also had no idea how anything was affecting my emotional and mental state, completely looking over nutrition as a source of my varied moods.

I finally feel settled into this Whole30 experience. It feels a little late, but I feel really good. I’m excited by the fact that what I’m most looking forward to when this is finished is adding things into my diet that are healthy but I can’t have right now (oats, peanut butter, maybe a square of dark chocolate). My mindset feels changed and I feel like the clouds have parted, I see clearly, and this whole thing has made me finally want to change my relationship with food once and for all.

I’m really excited to tell you about the last ten days when this is done!

IMG_0184

book talk.

I recently got into a conversation with some coworkers about the director of the Toronto International Film Festival watching three movies a day. They were enthralled by this, the idea that someone would get paid to sit and watch movies all day. I crinkled my nose at it. I’ve never been much of a movie-goer, never sought out films that weren’t fairly well known. Once in awhile I’ll put something on Netflix that I’ve never heard of before but it’s usually background noise to my other activities, of which I will find plenty.

Everyone has a thing, a creative thing that they’ve delved into in a serious way. For them, it is movies and television. For me, it is books.

I don’t remember a time when I didn’t love books and not just reading them; I love the look, the smell, the way a new spine cracks when you open it and how an old spine welcomes you like a comfortable chair. I love cover art and discovering after finishing reading (always once finished) what the hardcover looks like under the dust jacket. I love shelves of books and stacks of books and lists of books. I love books.

I must admit that I love some books more than others. Some books changed the way I saw the world or myself. Some books reached into me, to a place so deep, that it found things I didn’t know existed. I want to share some of those books with you:

1. She Came to Stay – Simone de Beauvoir

It has only been in the last few years that I have delved into both feminism and existential literature. Enter Simone de Beauvoir. While I have yet to read her ultimate text, The Second Sex, I did pick She Came to Stay up at a used bookstore before our trip to Paris and Amsterdam. The story is fictional but based on true events in which a young woman threatened to destroy the relationship de Beauvoir had with Jean-Paul Sartre. It is an emotional, raw account of what happens to a person when they feel their love is threatened by another. I recognized the feelings of jealousy, the internal dialogue attempting to rationalize what’s happening, and the conviction that you are being crazy rather than seeing something your loved one does not. It brought back moments where I knew I was not the only woman in someone’s life but ignored that sinking feeling. It made me feel proud and strong, knowing that when I stood up for myself I did the right thing. It made me feel not alone in those moments of betrayal, no matter how long ago they were. Plus, good old Simone also dedicated the novel to the woman who had tried to come between her and Sartre and I highly appreciate this quiet cattiness.

2. The Hour I First Believed – Wally Lamb

If you were ever wondering what book made me cry more than any other book in the history of the world, this is it, finally beating out The Bridge to Terabithia. Lamb is a master storyteller, an author who knows how to weave a tale from beginning to middle to end in a profound, artistic way. He grips you and takes you with him but still gives you time to yourself. I can’t even tell you exactly what about this reached me so deeply – perhaps the woman who was lost in her life, trying to make herself happy or maybe the man who was watching his wife get lost in her life and was trying to make her happy. Either way, it resonated and it resonated hard.

3. How to Be a Woman and How to Build a Girl – Caitlin Moran

I suppose I could put these in two different spots but I feel that’s not fair to the other books. I told you, I’m crazy when it comes to books. How to Be a Woman was one of my first introductions to feminism in the form that I adopt today. It is funny, insightful, approachable and intelligent. It made me think about things I had never noticed and accept things that had always angered me. It caused a lot of growth and despite not reading it until I was twenty-four, it was formative. I can say the same thing about How to Build a Girl. If you want to know if there’s a book out there that made me wish I could go back in time, give teenage me a copy and write in the front, “You see, you’re not alone”, this is it. This is a very important book. It appears light and funny but it’s really saying many things most people are too afraid to say. One of the final chapters was read three times through teary eyes before I moved on from it, it gripped me so hard.

4. 1984 – George Orwell

I love me some Orwell and I love me some 1984. I didn’t have to read this in high school so I didn’t pick it up until I was in my early twenties. I’ve read it three times since then and will probably read it again. It was one of the first times I recognized the power of governments and society, as we all know the premise may be a little over the top but not as much as we’d like to believe. It made me feel queasy when I recognized similarities between the domineering, terrifying things that were happening in this book and what was happening in the real world. It opened my eyes to things I had previously chosen not to see.

5. A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius – Dave Eggers

This is on here for one very simple reason: I absolutely adore Dave Eggers and this was the first book I ever read by him. I will forever be grateful for this introduction into his weird, intelligent world.

6. Jane Eyre – Charlotte Bronte

I always had a problem with the Jane Austen camp praising her novels for their feminist qualities. I read Pride and Prejudice and I finished it disappointed, feeling that it turned out to be another love story about some insolent girl who really just wanted to get married. There’s nothing wrong with that, but it really didn’t make me feel like I had learned anything new. One day I picked up my first foray into the Brontes, Jane Eyre, and I found what I had been looking for. Jane is a hero of mine. She almost killed herself to avoid abandoning her principles when it came to a marriage proposal. I’m serious. She might be a little high and mighty for some but I love her. She taught me that love isn’t everything if you don’t have love for yourself.

7. Chrysanthemums – John Steinbeck

This is actually a short story but it’s a fantastic one. I had chosen it for a project in my grade twelve literature class and therefore had to read it multiple times. Short stories generally say things without saying them and the entire point can be missed on the first go-around. These multiple readings gave me so much insight and I am grateful for them. It’s a story about missed chances, love, and accepting a life that you possibly didn’t want. Elisa is a woman I think many of us would recognize in some way. I remember during my presentation I asked the class if they thought she was a pathetic or heroic character and it was nearly split down the middle. I’m still not sure which one I would pick but maybe that’s because I saw some of myself in there and didn’t want to think I was pathetic.

There are many other books that made me feel things, that made me think, but these are the ones I recognized myself most in. They vary in style, length, and plot, but the common thread between them all is an accessible, at times unwanted, link between my world and the characters. I, obviously, recommend them all.

2d2e49b39e31a3465e98644aad7f370c

go solo.

7503820fff6acecbb7b4b28c451be44b

Two years ago, in May of 2013, I took a month-long trip to Ireland. I blogged while I was there (you can read those posts in the “Travel” section, if you haven’t already!) and the feedback I got on those posts was incredible. I had so many people, ones I knew and ones I didn’t, express lovely, heartfelt compliments towards those posts. Many of these comments were about how I had made people feel like they were there with me, how I made them feel something, how refreshingly personal I was.

The interesting thing about these compliments was that it was very unlike me to give others anything that was personal, that allowed them to share in my thoughts or emotions, or even remotely let them in. Prior to this trip I was closed off and generally down about life in some way. I didn’t enjoy speaking to strangers and half the time I didn’t feel like going out with friends, either. I was a homebody, someone who was outgoing once you endured the period of stand-offish resting bitch face.

Travelling alone changed me. I was forced to interact with people I didn’t know or else I would never have gotten anywhere. I had to figure things out for myself and if I wanted to have company going somewhere then, well, I had to make a friend. The first few days I was still fairly shy, but on my third day in Ireland I found myself in Kilkenny, walking into a cathedral I had read was spectacular. In front of me was a guy I had seen in my hostel earlier in the day so I went up to him and said, “We’re in the same hostel, right? You want to travel around the town together?”

I cannot stress enough how completely out of character this was (and still is) for me. But he said yes and we wandered around the town, enjoying another lone traveler’s company. Later that night I walked into a bar where a band was playing who also happened to be staying at my hostel. We danced and laughed and I had breakfast with one of them the next morning.

The rest of the month carried on similarly. I travelled from town to town, asking for directions and help when necessary. I made friends in my hostels, went to bars, on tours, and even to movies with them. I took fifteen kilometre bike rides with people I had met the day before. I learned Australian slang and hung off the Cliffs of Moher with two strangers from Belgium. Oh, I’m also basically terrified of heights in any other circumstance, by the way.

I’m not here to brag about all of these wonderful experiences, though. What I’m here to do is explain to you how invigorating it is to take yourself somewhere and learn something about yourself. When was the last time you really tried to get to know yourself? It might sound stupid, and it still sounds a little silly to me, but there is a lot to be said for asking yourself some questions. I didn’t like myself all that much when I left for Ireland and it was as if, somewhere inside of me, a part of me took that as a challenge. I showed myself what I had to offer and was bowled over.

I lost that for awhile, once the vacation sheen had worn off and life had settled back in. I found myself back in old habits, comfortable in the same situations I was in before I had left. Then one day I realized it had been a full year since I had my feet on Irish soil, had recently turned down a job in my field for no good reason other than being scared to do something different, and I was settling into a life of complacency. I had low self esteem and no concept of self worth.

I called that employer and I got that job back. I’m now running their baking production centre and helping the company move forward. I started eating better, exercising, and started to be open and honest about my mental health.

It’s been two years after Ireland now and while I am not strolling over cobblestones, I am just as happy. I have taken control of my life like I was forced to when I was travelling alone. I’m not sure if I ever would have known I had the capacity to do this if I hadn’t taken that trip. I proved something to myself in those thirty days and now I’m proving it again and again, day after day:

I am strong, I am worthy, and I deserve to be happy.

Take a trip by yourself. You’ll show something to yourself that you had no idea you were even capable of.

neediness and desperation for all.

Don’t be needy. Don’t be desperate. Don’t even think about telling him you like him.

We hear these things all the time. We, both men and women, are told these very simple rules whenever we find ourselves interested in someone. Our friends and coworkers will remind us to play it cool, keep it casual, and keep the text messaging to the perfect I-like-you-but-still-could-take-you-or-leave-you level.

You know where that leaves you? It leaves you sitting at home constantly looking at your phone while you watch some Nora Ephron film that makes you feel really comforted for awhile but then really alone when it all works out in the end. That’s not fun, is it? And does it work?

No, not usually.

I have to be completely honest with you and tell you that it is possible I am not a big proponent of the “play it cool” philosophy because I have never been able to play it cool. Once, in high school, I really liked this guy in my science class. He seemed to like me, too. We talked about liking each other and he told me that he was really busy with his hockey season but we could totally date come October when things died down for him. (Looking back now, we were fourteen and didn’t really do much outside of school so I’m not sure what needed to die down but at the time this seemed totally legitimate and this is part of my problem.) Obviously I was all, “Yeah, totally cool, let’s date in October.” (Also I’m not sure if he said we would ever actually date or that we would just talk about it but, again, playing it cool is not my thing.) Anyway, what did I do for the remainder of September? Did I pass the time thinking about the glorious lifelong union that was awaiting for me when the leaves began to change? Did I quietly write in my journal about how excited I was for when my life finally started?

No. Of course I didn’t. Instead, I put a countdown to October in my very public MSN name. I don’t have an exact copy right now but I imagine a conversation with me looked something like this:

~*~*~*~CaItLiN~*~*~*~ (8)waiting is the hardest part(8) …12 days(L)… says: I’m a total creep.

I probably never said that, either, but only because it went without saying.

That guy and I did date for a whopping two weeks or so and then it ended. It wasn’t mutual, surprisingly, but in fact he told me it wasn’t going to work because he just didn’t like me as much as I liked him. He probably was also getting really tired of me walking with him after school every day without question.

I didn’t learn my lesson since a year later I was writing a letter to a guy in my journal about how much I liked him and passing it to him in class. He thought we should just be friends.

I could go on and on with similarly horrifying anecdotes about my attempts to get people to like me and completely misreading the signs. (“I made some of your favourite cookies because I wanted to bake and chose these despite having to buy all the ingredients!” “Of course I like death metal!” “Are we actually dating or what?” [This last one was said while on a date.}) The point is, despite how horrifically this all turned out, I would still take desperate and needy over playing it cool any day.

As I got a little older I realized that my regular, insanely intense tactics were not going to work. I would be calmer, more rational, and actually save these insane impulses for the pages of my journal. I dated a few people and we really seemed to like each other. The problem with being something you’re not (calm and cool), though, is that when it comes time to actually make something happen you have no idea what to do. I played it too cool. I was all, “Yeah, I don’t really care if we get serious or whatever like this is awesome how it is so, yeah, totally cool.” And then he would date someone else who actually cared.

And I would sit at home creeping his social media, noticing how many obnoxious posts that girl made a day about how perfect they were together and wonder why he hadn’t chosen me when I can totally social media the shit out of any relationship.

I realized that not being desperate was actually hurting me more than it was helping me. I had better luck as a crazy person than I did as this “cool girl” and if Gone Girl taught us anything it’s that the cool girls end up being batshit as well so there is no winning. I decided to be honest and real.

I met Sam and I didn’t hold back from messaging him. I cooperated in making plans and allowed my eagerness to see him show through. I wasn’t afraid to make it clear I liked him and that I wanted something more than a few dates. Now we are in love and very happy, nearly two years later.

Of course, you have to meet the right person for this to happen but what I’m saying is that even if you meet someone and you don’t want to date them, tell them. And if you meet someone you totally want to get serious with, at least make it clear that you’re interested. If they blow you off, well, it’s probably for the best.

We are told all the time that desperation isn’t cute, that neediness has no place in relationships. Well I am here to tell you, alongside my also successful in love fictional counterparts, Gigi from He’s Just Not That Into You and Dr. Mindy Lahiri, that playing it cool sometimes just isn’t the way to play it.

dbe37a60baf6c6d985d30da10873228f