Lost in Txtlation

These are the cookie crumbs for my depreciating mind.

Tag: truth

The Truth

It’s OK to tell the truth. It is OK to answer a text with an unpopular answer. It is OK to tell someone what is on your mind. It is OK to be uncomfortable doing it as well! So stop with the “I didn’t feel a romantic click” lines after texting someone for 10 seconds and just say “I don’t think we are physically compatible” or whatever the case may be. 99/100 times it will give everyone closure.

Mind you there are the crazies, but they don’t define the majority of us.

So please, just be honest. Shit I have gone on a date where I told the person when I met them in person, “I am sorry you don’t look like your photos and I feel a bit deceived, so I am going to head out, but thank you for coming to meet me regardless. Good luck!”

Being Yourself is “OK”Cupid

How do you get the exposure to an online dating profile in a sea of hundreds of thousands without sacrificing integrity and a sense of self? When my dad met his wife via online dating there was a much smaller pool of people who knew what online dating was. Now it is normal for a profile to start with “My friend made me make this profile” Or “I figured, since so many of my friends use this,  I would try it out”.

Now no matter what I write here, I feel like I am holding a loaded gun and it scares me.  I find self proclaimed “people gurus” often have the least idea of what a person is truly feeling. I call it being observant. Would it be so bad to fall into a mold of just being a “creative person” and taking the risk of writing this article? Or is the gun going to go off in my pocket for my own dating life?


We Control Our Content

Like many others I have googled “best dating profile”. And I kept coming up with the same conclusion over and over: Be anything but yourself. Uhmm… to which I think, we don’t have to dumb down our profiles. We control what is the “norm” when the content is driven by the users. Like life we have a choice to change, but it requires all of us. We want quick information, we want truth and honesty in profiles, we want an insight to those on these dating sites to cut out the bar hopping annoyance; so why not do it? Instead we wonder why, in a world of bite sized information, we feel ill informed on our dates, why they turn out to be a game of potluck when technology is giving us a way to make faster connections.  We may like our news and coffee quick, but we all yearn for a “love” of some sort that lasts; are we all willing to put in the effort? Why can’t we just be ourselves? I have come to the conclusion that we have told ourselves we can’t. We have literally said, “I am too lazy, I do not accept, I will fill this out later”. We have accepted dating sites in their current form as “the way it is” instead of “what we want!”

I really enjoyed reading through your profile actually, it shows you are a mulch-dimensional person; unlike most profiles (and messages) on this website. Although, I do fall under my own criticism, I kept mine short and quite to the surface for “shits and giggles”. “ -Okcupid User

“Hello there 🙂 It was a treat to read your profile…you have a lot too say and you seem like a big thinker which is hot in my book lol. I can’t say I’ve invested as much in mine but you have me thinking I should lol.” – OKCupid User

We are setting the standards low for these sites by not actually putting in effort. Do we not realize we are the “customer” in this case.

Instead of following some “guide book” we can choose to be whatever we want and the site, in order to maintain its monetary worth has to adjust to us, not the other way around!

We are so caught up on instant gratification and the idea that we can have the “winning” profile that we forget to be ourselves, at all of the places, a dating site. The place to potentially find someone for the rest of our lives, like my father did. We are compromising on our own happy ending.

Popularity Contest

We have accepted the fact that OKCupid is turning our dating into highschool crushes. “Check Yes or No if you ‘like’ me”. Popular kids are marked by a red mark under their message box saying they “reply selectively and then the rest have orange or green.

I felt compelled to message you (despite the ominous red message saying you “reply very selectively.”) – OKCupid User

The site plays on humanities yearn for the “chase”, even if the excitement fizzles out after we actually get to know the other person. Get rated highly often, well OKCupid will now show you to more people who also are considered “attractive”.

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P.S. Did you know OkCupid scales their subscription model depending on your age, sex, and location? It can range from 4.95 to 29.95. The younger and more “desirable” demographic you fit into, the lower the price. You can game this system as well, by changing your age and sex to that before purchasing the A-List.

Breaking the “Code”

It is programmed social interaction in 1’s and 0’s. So of course there are tons of “how to game the system” articles. Someone wrote the code, so it makes sense that someone else figured it out.

I have this plethora of information I have gathered, not because I am seeking to write a self help book, a “Rules of Engagement” book, or even boost my ego. I feel a deep desire to publish this article about my experience because, finally in a world oversaturated with online dating profiles, inundated google search results for “dating guidelines” consisting of compromises that go against the very definition (mutual concession), I have found a way to be myself 100%. But how can I talk about this publicly without being considered someone who has “manipulated the system” or worse yet, the people who I am interacting with? How do I tell people about this amazing feeling I have now, that I have validated my ability to be me without pulling the trigger on my own hard work? Especially because I still am looking for that person that makes an article like this obsolete in my life. A person who makes me shut down a dating profile for good. I am actually looking for the means to an end, to create a beautiful beginning; naturally, organically, and somewhat digitalized.

I have read, watched, listened to so many of the “how I hacked online dating”. Each has their own formula, statistical analytics, and long winded explanations.(My right brained personality can’t even open excel without wanting to rip out my eyes) But at the end of the day, would I be meeting people who really just wanted a guy who was “sarcastic and humorous with a side of manliness” or would I meet people I could truly connect with? How can I maintain my integrity and personality and follow all these “rules”? The truth is, for me, I can’t. I want to be able to go on that first date and know I can be 100% myself and I won’t feel upset or empty afterwards because I was portraying someone else’s ideal man, the “norm” of bar hopping, and “sarcasm/humor”.

“Most dating advice exists to “solve” this grey area for people. Say this line. Text her this. Call him this many times. Wear that. Much of it gets exceedingly analytical, to the point where some men and women actually spend more time analyzing behaviors than actually, you know, behaving. Frustration with this grey area also drives many people to unnecessary manipulation, drama and game-playing. “ – Mark Manson

Sure I have used some of the statistics to my advantage. OkCupid being the weapon of choice, has released many breakdowns of what people on their site are attracted to, photo and profile etiquette, and subsequent articles published about the best practices for the site. But it made me cringe when I would look at the “top” profiles listed in these articles. If one more person told me to keep my profile short, I was going to scream. I have a lot to say dammit!

  “Far too many people are looking for the right person, instead of trying to be the right person.”

-Gloria Steinem

The multiple aspects of my profile

The profile photo’s

Mine is a combination of statistically proven algorithms:

  • HDR Black and White main photo(for that “manliness” appeal which I address in my profile to make sure there is no deviation from WHO I am**)

  • a dress shirt(for that classy approach)

  • a cat(luckily I own two and love them unconditionally, although only one makes for a good model)

  • combined with a self deprecating joke caption.

I follow up this piece of the puzzle with a very straight forward blurb in my profile that let’s me still be myself even though I succumb to the “statistics”.

**“If you are looking for the guy who is mysterious, I may not be your choice, not because I am not good at keeping the intrigue going, keeping you on your toes, or being a “man”, but because I choose communication over fighting down the road over notions of “who I am with you” and “who I am with myself”. I can dress nice, I can grow a beard, I can also shave and look like a total bum. I am great with my hands, but also text faster than a jack rabbit, doing what jack rabbits do quickly. Perception really. Your wants at the time of reading this and my perception of what I want. Does that mean if we agree with each others profiles it is inception? *epic music here*”

The rest of my photos are snippets of who I am, I include pictures I think I look good in(always followed by a caption that is not serious) and then my goofy side(followed by a caption that is serious). Playing off the contrasts of oneself.

The only photo that even uses a formula is my profile photo in black and white. The rest are just as many different variations of myself that I can provide. We have good days, bad days, exciting and boring days. So I want to show all of that. I want to be transparent.

Iterations

I have tried many many iterations of my profile, from a casual 1 line response, a ridiculously stupid humor only profile, to one where I tell all. Each got different types of responses, but none were even remotely personal. The less I wrote the more I got approached, but that approach often fizzled out before the first meet. I felt as if I was compromising myself by catering to the “percentages”.

The problem with all of my profiles is the length, it is said by every article about online dating statistics that a long profile is a death sentence.

I refused to believe you couldn’t write a long profile if you had something of interest or passionate to say. The problem is to get someone to actually read it.  I found that if I put a disclaimer up front saying:

“My profile is long, if you are pressed on time you can skip it”

…was the tiny piece to the puzzle that made it OK. It allows those who don’t want to read it to just message me, that I am approachable, and feel as though looking at the pictures is a good enough start, but it also gives off the feeling of a challenge or accomplishment to those who might slog through my stream of consciousness.

“I actually read your entire profile…” -OKCupid User

Then it becomes difficult, how do you validate someone reading a small novel that is your “profile”? How do you not come across as too jaded or make the other person feel as though you are too good for them or have nothing left to offer? How do you convince a world addicted to 140 character limits that 500 words isn’t the finale of my personality?

“I read through your profile, and there were moment that I thought … “hmmm… This guy is a little too honest.” … Then I thought, “I use to be that honest… When did that become a bad thing?” “ -OKCupid User

This is what I thought, why can’t I be honest? Why can’t I be the un-abated version of me? I wanted the first conversations to not come as a shock as I clumsily fumble my way through the “getting to know” process. I wanted people to already understand I was not the perfect one liner, but someone who would blindly feel around to get to the deeper stuff, unafraid to humble myself or admit to it not working out. (and trust me this isn’t something you just inherently know how to do, but with some effort you can learn)

I look at an “About Me” as a place to really talk about me,  not just pepper with ideas my mother has told me about myself, although those are nice too. Although, again, statistically improper:

“2) Don’t make your “About Me” opening section so long that even your mother would find it boring.“

One rule of thumb: If someone has to scroll down more than twice to get to the end of it, it’s way too fucking long. Give people an overview of who you are and what you care about. You don’t need to go into how much you’d love to find a man/woman to be your “partner in crime” (shudder) and everything you’re looking for in a relationship. Your objective at this stage is to find someone you can stand and who can stand you; don’t jump the gun. You can bore people with your hopes and dreams for love later.

Also, avoid listing adjectives to describe yourself such as the mundane “attractive,” “intelligent” or “funny” (see above). This is standard advice for writing that you’ve probably heard: Show, don’t tell. If you describe what you’re like and what you’re doing with your life, people reading your profile can see for themselves that you’re attractive, smart or funny. (Or not.)”

Source: http://thedailybanter.com/2013/12/10-okcupid-profile-donts-to-heed-if-you-actually-want-to-get-laid/

I mean I am not going to write a book, but I find self awareness to be sexy, so why not try my own hand at it as well? So I use the about me to give the general idea. But you need more than empty words on a website to show your true passion for your “idea” of yourself. This is where the section “What am I doing with my life” helped significantly.

My Occupation

My occupation as a photographer carries all sorts of stigmas, the most popular being:

“ I feel like you probably meet a lot of really beautiful people through your photography, so it amazes me that you are even on an online dating site. “ – OKCupid user

My own business model has been refined over and over again to try to break free of that, so I decided why not literally take the work I put into my mission statement for my photography and copy paste it here? Is it personal and exposing, sure! But if I am putting so much effort into my job, why can’t I do the same with my love life? It is many years of work and the blunt truth. It also shows passion, which I and apparently many others find sexy. So instead of looking at me as the guy who looks at “hot girls” all day, it shows that I am on a dating site, so obviously I am not trying to date my work and looking for something real here..

Add onto that, that passion doesn’t always pay the bills, hopefully the people I will attract, will understand I am doing what I love and all others need not apply. I will lose the “wallstreet” types here but I am trying to ease the blow of my work so later on, I don’t have to defend my career choice, and instead share it and be supported for it. I had the high paying job, sports car, beautiful apartment, and feeling of “making it”, but it didn’t make me happy or fulfilled.

My work section is a topic for many to intro themselves to me with, it plays into those who put an emphasis on work over the other sections of the profile provided, but again it is 100% me, no compromise needed.

Being yourself is OK, the validation:

Instead of breaking down every aspect of my profile, since honestly it has been written over time and is extremely stream of consciousness, let me explain why I feel it has been validated, against all odds, statistics, and google results.

“Hi 🙂 so I saw that you “liked” me and after enjoying your (very detailed) 🙂 profile I thought I would send a message rather than just a like back.  Since you were so thorough in your descriptions I’ll just go ahead and put my truths out there too.

I love photography but the only class I’ve ever taken was my freshman year of college and only camera I have is my iPhone but still try to capture the special people, places and things I see that I know I’ll want to remember forever.

So I think that’s a lot for a first hello 🙂 especially since it’s 4am! I’ll let you digest and get back to me.

And thank you, your openness allowed for mine in return. It’s very much appreciated as it’s such a rarity now a days in life and especially in the online dating world :)” – OKCupid User

The technical “trick”

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(Image representative of an hour during a 24 hour period)

You can rate people on OkCupid from 1-5 stars. Clicking the 5 star sends an email saying you like them, if they like you back it starts the conversation via a “You like each other” canned message. It removes your need for an opener and you know they are “interested” for the first convo at least.

5 Starring everyone isn’t as dumb as it sounds, it is sort of like being your own wingman(woman). You have to talk to everyone in order to finally catch the eye of the person you really want to talk to. But the reaction I could have never predicted.

“I must say, I initially “liked” you because of your cool profile pictures (…and, you have a cat in your main one…I mean, that’s kinda unfair…). Then, I read your absolutely refreshingly honest and interesting profile (yes, I read it all), and, though I rarely message people, I felt compelled to message you (despite the ominous red message saying you “reply very selectively.”)” – OKCupid User

I “like” you

The “like” button has a lot of mind fuckery power attached to it, when in turn if the site exposed people to one another in a more organic way such as a real life encounter, there would be more people seeing these kinds of interactions. But for now it is basically throwing empty promises at the wall, hoping someone will walk by in time to catch it. It feels degrading. It has the “celebrity effect”, where you are creating a bigger pool of “views” in order to catch the eye of someone who mixes well with you, but also having to not take the “fame” to your head and act better than other.

“Engaging, thorough, and much foresight = your profile… It’s overwhelming, yet a relief! Finally, someone on this site says it ‘as it is!’” -Okcupid User

“Hello there 🙂 It was a treat to read your profile…you have a lot too say and you seem like a big thinker which is hot in my book lol. I can’t say I’ve invested as much in mine but you have me thinking I should lol.” -Okcupid User

But if they knew the site did it automatically, would the “like” still make them respond? Would we once again fall into the idea that a long profile = dating suicide even though it is clear from the responses I have gotten we truly want more from these dating sites?

“Hello! I read your profile (twice…alright, three times actually haha!) and really enjoyed what you had to say! I appreciate the honesty and detail you put into your writing. That is so rare!” -Okcupid User

I’ve gotten some of the kindest heartfelt replies and messages from being myself; A kid at heart, a thinker, and a goofball stumbling over my words in person.

You get out what you put in

“I don’t write long messages usually but I thought you seemed worth the energy.” -OKCupid User

We apply this theory to our day jobs and so many other aspects of life, but because we have “labeled” online dating as a fo-pa, joke, or don’t fully understand it yet, I feel like we still are not completely ready to use it to make true connections. Can we truly be OK with a slightly digitized way of meeting when we still hardly know how to do it in person? We are happier feeling like we can carry around the “trophies” or “abundance of choice” in our pockets via our smartphones, than actually thinking beyond the instant gratification or validation of our egos.

Directly from an article that turned me on to the 5 star “trick” in the first place:

“It’s easy to see how the attention could become addictive, so I ask James: When does it end?

“I don’t know,” he says. He describes himself as “romantic,” but, like a lot of people who log on and see thousands of singles within a mile of their Zip Code, he’s not really stressed about the end. “A lot of us want the best: the best job, the best apartment, the best significant other,” he says. And in his case, that might mean being the best bachelor as well—someone with the best stories of dating adventures to tell. In fact, he can’t stop thinking about this one incredible woman he met recently; they danced until two in the morning. Then he tells me about another beautiful, smart woman who fed him meat loaf at three in the morning. And then there was that woman with …”

Not only can online dating become almost addicting with the “choices” it can work the opposite way by us fearing the other person’s choices as well. Dating can be intimidating.. with all the different dates we go on, it feels like a rush to the metaphorical finish line of “pulling full attention”. So we work hard to get it, but do we compromise just being ourselves for the “win”? – http://lostintxtlation.tumblr.com/post/91546586723/intimi-dating

I am online for dating because I believe in the idea that technology can help us to skip some of the less desirable parts of “meeting” and truly make great connections. If we don’t invest some time into an honest profile, aren’t we just showing our faces for a physical attraction and then drudging through figuring out what in the profile was real and a boasted version of self? How does this differ than going to a bar? We have so much more control over our “self” on these sites than we admit to and I feel like it is time we start acting on it. Putting in the same effort we do with our jobs, passions, and careers into our love life as well.  Eventually we have to meet face to face with the person we start talking to to really get a feel for a good match, so why waste time with “white lies”.

If I ever find someone who truly believes in this too, I think the entire date, interaction, and experience will be much more enjoyable to both people.  But remember, I don’t love you….

Hey I just met you, and this is crazy, “I don’t love you”… txt me maybe? This is what present day society seems to defend harder than “I love you”.

Scenario: You meet someone, you have a good night, and now you are presented with a conundrum… do you use technology to enhance the ability to reflect on the moments you just had, using the time away from one another to use as time to know each other more through the wonderful noninvasive form of messaging… or do you get lost in their past memories on facebook ignoring the ones you just had… or even worse are you forced into a situation of who can hold off from responding the quickest to messages we all know are read immediately or at the quickest convenience. We are secretly defending our “dislike” for one another than our possible “like”. We are being punished for what used to be a legitimate way of decompressing from a date: reveling in the glow of the night the next day. There is a reason songs like “Maria” from West Side Story were written. It is because on a good date, we hear music, and we don’t want to stop singing about it.  We are not in love, we are in like, and it is really fun to share that feeling rather than feeling as if it will expose our “true intentions” to love them by the end of the day…

– Read more on that topic at: http://lostintxtlation.tumblr.com/post/96392232873/i-dont-love-you

Quasi Organic

The current iteration of my profile states:

“Trying something completely different here. I am going to stray from the long profile, just gonna express it how it is; if there is an attraction, let’s meetup and take it from there. I can write a TON here, (request my old profile if you dare lol), but then I find there is too much “Type A” or “Type B” stereotyping without inflection, voice, and just plain getting to know one another organically. I have multiple parts to who I am, as I hope you do too and would rather get to know you via conversation to portray those. So anything beyond this point is just fluff, if you liked my pictures, in my opinion.. but feel free to wander.”

The reason for this is because online dating isn’t organic, not in the slightest, but I think that is OK, as long as we accept it for what it is and skip the bullshit inorganic parts of it and try our hand at meeting if there is an attraction. I mean if I thought you were attractive in person I would talk to you right away, not text you for days until we met again. I mean how much time do you want to invest into someone who might be super attractive but pheromones are just off and you can’t stand the smell of one another?

A dating profile or online dating “resume” as I like to call it, can never summate the stuff in your head. I want to find someone who understands the idea of discussion. The idea that if I say something weird, I don’t have to dive into the ditch I just dug, but be able to continue the conversation to other parts of the plot to see if there is another hole we can fall into together. The idea that living through someones past or stalking someones profile after a date is not giving your own mind the ability to breath and enjoy the moment you just created. Oversaturating your mind with their life not the moment you just had together.

We prefer to open up with questions that are shallow, but have a proven record of working.

“Did you get into any trouble last weekend?”

“Have any trouble planned for this weekend?”

This is how we open. Our first encounter is based on a very general idea of sparking conversation but we do it in a way that is trivial. “So how did you and X meet” Oh well I asked her what kinda trouble she was getting into and she told me “lots”. Then we got a drink and boned… wow…

I am a bit old school when I think about it in terms of asking someone to be my girlfriend or date, I believe since we only get one chance to do this with someone, it should be memorable. I like to let things happen organically, but I also like the grand gestures as well.

Organic or not if two people are open to something it can work. Problem is as you most people see it as “an experiment". I think what that truly means however is “fear of the unknown”. Online dating isn’t any more awkward than meeting in a bar. It all stems on one thing, actually meeting. These back and forths mean nothing until you hear my voice, see my face, and actually get a gut feeling for someone rather than an educated guess. I have strong opinions about online dating and I believe that is healthy. Because in actuality if someone found love from it, they would not turn it down.

Meeting

In the end we have to meet. Meeting is the only way to really know if the kind messages, sexy profile photos, or short or long profile are true to life. Being honest before hand is awesome and helps us to know if we want to spend our precious time with another person and online dating helps with this, especially for those of us with busy schedules. But it falls short with the amount of ways we can communicate prior to meeting. The first step to meeting is often exchanging numbers and texting. So we move away from the convenience of a keyboard where we can type many more words per minute, to a tiny screen in which we usually send texts of little to no consequence as fillers until we meet. Watching the little chat bubble pop up and down as the other person perfects their three word text to not feel too overbearing or interested.

“One of writing’s traditional advantages over speech is the time it affords you to collect your thoughts. This time empowers you to calculate your words’ effects on their reader. Rather than blurting out “YOU’RE SO HOT,” you pen a pleasing phrase: “Shall I compare thee to a summer’s day?”

Text and instant messages, however, are eroding this advantage. We don’t correspond over text and instant messages, like we do in letters; we chat in quick informal exchanges, like we do face-to-face. One of the underpinnings of spoken conversation is what’s known in linguistics as turn-taking. “We need some way of determining when someone else’s turn is over and ours can begin”.

The most common-sense workaround, of course, is to prepare your thoughts mentally before you begin typing them. That sounds easy enough, but some of us actually use writing as a way of working out our thoughts, not simply recording them after they’re fully formed. If nothing else we don’t consider the words blurted out of our mouths a finality but something that can be correct as can a word be spell checked after the entire paper has been written.”

http://www.newrepublic.com/article/116268/gchat-typing-indicator-most-awkward-feature-online-chat

Are we truly ready to date online?

The world isn’t ready for online dating if you ask me. It is a place to go after a breakup or to get recognition when you feel you have a flaw. It is made up of tutorials created by those who have written the same self help guides to sitting in a cubicle. The amount of messages that tell me mine is refreshing but theirs is “still a work in process” is proof enough in my eyes.  

I will admit, I fell victim to the “OKRebound” after a bad breakup. I, as they like to call it, “serial dated”. A few dates a week to the point where I was showering just to go back out. It was vindicating and empty. But even when I explained it to people I met, they seemed to get it and accept it as a form of acceptable behavior. It was surreal. Actually the more my phone buzzed on the table with OKCupid notifications the more likely they would “be interested in me” without me having to say a word. It was a fucked up reverse psychology thing. I got over it pretty fast however. That isn’t what I wanted. And if someone else was going to like me more because of the “likes” I had, it was not a good indicator.

I wish I could express to people how online dating has as much potential as we allow it to and right now we aren’t allowing it more than a drunken nights dare or “I was bored so I made this profile… Oops did I post a shot of my ass in a bikini… Oh and I like long walks on the beach and sacrasm and the extra attention” *breaks computer screen*

“The Law of “Fuck Yes or No” states that when you want to get involved with someone new, in whatever capacity, they must inspire you to say “Fuck Yes” in order for you to proceed with them.

The Law of “Fuck Yes or No” also states that when you want to get involved with someone new, in whatever capacity, THEY must respond with a “Fuck Yes” in order for you to proceed with them.” – http://markmanson.net/fuck-yes/

Being online, is sort of like a gamification of dating to people.

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“Haha I’m over it I just use it as a form of entertainment now just cuz I think what people say is funny I haven’t actually “used” it for what it’s for for a long time hAha you?” – OKCupid User

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OkCupid’s Most Desirable

I got this message a month or two back. I was dumbfounded.

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I knew the quantity of messages I was getting was not normal, but it was strange to get a message like this. It helped to validate that I could have a profile true to self and be considered desirable but it was a short lived moment when you compare it to who was actually picked to do the interview. I did not end up being used because they found someone who was much more TV worthy than I was, talking about how he uses “smileys” and “swiping techniques”, bragging about his lack of honest profile, how he lies on dates, and his general need to fuck as many people as he can through manipulation. You can watch that entire interview here: http://abcnews.go.com/Nightline/video/online-dating-secrets-desirable-24753151

I warn you though, I almost shut down my profile after watching this. It literally made me furious with humanity for letting someone like this exist, let alone thrive.

Why I still have a profile

Why am I on here? Because I believe there are other people who trust in a convenience like this and will use it the way they want versus how a YouTube video or article in the Huffington post tells you how to. And they will be genuine and accept it for what it is, an online meeting system in which you allow to match you with others and then go from there. Because it is convenient, not a bar that smells like piss and regret, a place you don’t want to be, or are too busy to be.

Because out of all the people I have met I have learned many things about online dating, more than I ever thought I wanted to know, and sadly these things show me how much people fall into to groups or patterns. I can change my profile picture to attract a specific nationality or put emphasis on a certain part of my profile for a specific type of personality. But it is when I go out on a date and those formulas and structures get blown out of the water and I am no longer giving my thesis or biography to the person across the table but talking to them because it is enjoyable, but mostly when I become scared… Scared that conversations break all conventions and preconceived notions Leaving me in a spot of vulnerability to want to share all but not knowing… Just feeling the need to do it anyway, that is what I date for. That 1 out of 100(that is different for every person)  that will truly make me feel the the possibility of love and having to put every ounce of myself out on the table to make sure I give it my all regardless of the outcome. To open my heart I must be open to the idea of heart break. That is how I approach dating even if I start to see patterns or stereotypes or formulas for successful or unsuccessful dating profiles, first dates, and the like. Because in the end no matter what the formula is and what you think you know when you find the person right for you, the reason it is a magical moment is because you are no longer running on rails but off course, enjoying and living a moment.

But even if we go on a successful date we are still littered with obstacles to overcome.

The Second Date Limbo

It is so incredibly complicated getting to the second date these days. The rules of “3 days before a call” have long been muddied, if not completely forgotten. Now you are faced with the dilemma of liking an Instagram photo, responding to a Facebook post, texting an indifferent message once every day or two so not to seem too interested but still interested enough until schedules line up. The balancing act of  texts between multiple dates, hoping you don’t message the wrong person the wrong response, timing your texts so not to be assumed you are overbearing.

All these unspoken “rules”, impossible to master without literally not giving a shit, because texts are usually two or three lines of nothing of consequence. So you sit there looking at your time stamps and read recipes wondering if the other person:

A is just not interested

B doing the same shit

C has nothing interesting to say.

So you question saying hi because saying hi is so damn easy these days. – Read that entire post at: http://lostintxtlation.tumblr.com/#sthash.dzN3TDUu.dpuf

Someone actually suggested, after reading the article above, an app that allows you to further disconnect from your date to the online ether by having the app follow up on dates you have been on so you can let the person know without actually talking to them if you wish to go on a second date or not. I guarantee this becomes a reality and more reasons to feel completely disconnected from the person you are meeting or just met.

The OK in Cupid

I believe online dating is incomplete. It, by the very nature of humanity, is an iteration… constantly evolving to what we define it as. To say I have the answers or know where to go from here would be a farce. Whether online dating is just a way to get “experience” a so called practice date, or it will eventually evolve into a place where we don’t hide behind whatever semblance of online anonymity we are holding onto and finally realize how important we are to one another. Ultimately I just want to be able to find someone to come home to, to be real with… “the one person for me” is better than the girl of my dreams, she is real. So for now I say OK to being myself. I say OK to breaking the “online dating rules”. I say OK to OKcupid, where I am actually looking for something organic, in this inorganic clusterfuck that is online dating, because in the end, it is me I have to be OK with. And if you have two people who are just OK, you have two people in a better place than the “perfect online dating profile” you have something real, explosive, difficult, frustrating, exciting, and explorable. That there is the very inexplicable definition of love, which to me is the perfect beginning, because love is not enough...

Safety Date

I too often have gone on dates where I am told via text before arriving(because that is what we do to avoid the awkward conversations these days), “I have to leave in an hour, meeting a girlfriend for X Y Z”. Now this could be true or it could be total bullshit. The amusing factor is it is done for the same reason every time: a safety net from a bad date. For a person like me that couldn’t even quite deal with the timer on a Mario game back during my childhood, these trivial times on dates make me not want to leave the house in the first place. I am going on a date to enjoy the time, not plan for it to be a disaster or feel like I will lose an extra life if I go over the designated timelimit.

I have been on my fair share of dates where I realize within a few minutes of meeting that there is literally no connection. It is amazing what being in person with three dimensions, voice, pheromones, and close contact can have versus a two dimensional photo on a dating site and the obligatory resume or the notorious “About Me”.

So what do I do? I can tell you what I used to do; nothing. I would slog out the night filling the empty space with “uh huhs” and “yeahs”. Constantly checking my phone hoping candy crush(disclaimer I never have nor will I ever play that game!) will somehow become the worlds best excuses app, but constantly realizing all I have in the pipe is “My grandmother died”… and then I feel guilty for thinking it. Yeah not a very good one. So now I am not only doing a disservice for myself but to the person across from me. Trying to be boring enough so maybe they will want to end it and take the burden off me. To me that is exactly what the “timer” is, a tedious way to regulate a date before it even begins and if we are having a great time, trust me I don’t want you to leave just to keep the facade alive of your “plans”.

What do I do now? I tell the person the truth. WHAT!? You would be amazed at how much less invasive the truth is. This is NOT a skill I had inherently, this was something I had to teach myself. I had to build up my own belief in the idea that I need to protect myself a little bit as well. Not from danger but from situations that made me uncomfortable. I was asked once, “why did you stay if you were not enjoying your time?” I said, “I didn’t know what to say.” I was answered quickly, “Why not the truth”… I literally laughed out loud, but when I saw they were serious and considered it a way to care about and/or protect yourself a bit, for someone who is used to giving, I saw the figurative lightbulb over my head light up.  I needed to figure out a “timer” without hindering the possibilities of a good date. So I decided to go with the truth. Trust me the first few times were a little messy, but even the worst ones(which were not that bad), I got a text later on thanking me for my honesty and it was just not something they were used to. And ya know what? It felt really good to be able to protect that inside of myself that feels trapped when I am with someone I am not interested in. It let me go about my day/night the way I wanted without wasting time and energy on something I knew wasn’t going to work. Don’t get me wrong, sometimes you are on a train wreck so horrific you can’t even get yourself to look away, but what I didn’t realize is how much less jaded I got when I was able to go into a new date and know I was in control of my own comfort, if I felt no connection I could now openly explain to the other person, in a kind way, that I would like to end it right then, instead of dragging out something and being totally fake. It has made internet dating so much less nerve wracking. It doesn’t lead anyone on and it gives you actual control over something I always thought was uncontrollable.

So how is this different than the timer? I suppose different strokes for different folks, but imagine this if you may… If everyone approached the first date like this, would you even need to tell someone in what would become a redundant, yet currently obligatory text at the end of the night, “I had a good time”. If you made it through the date, guess what is implied? Yup. One change would make a ripple effect on how dating feels. It could literally make a good date that much better because no one is leaving the date wondering. I often reference European culture in respect to not having to question a date and how it went, and being able to be yourself. Take a gander at this article: http://www.myfrenchlife.org/2014/06/18/french-vs-american-dating/ A kiss in the French culture means exclusive. Hookups are less of a faux pa and “dating” doesn’t exist, they don’t even have a word for date. So there is a much more distinct line between getting to know someone comfortably and openly than just trying to get laid. The difference between a date where you are following strange dating mechanics of “doing” rather than “being”. But one step at a time. What do you think? Will you choose to tell the truth next time? Because it really is just that, a very conscious choice. And even if it feels harder, it ultimately ends up being easier on your soul.

A snowy spring night…

The evening started alone. Sitting at the table wanting to look busier than I was but being comfortable doing nothing all while being uncomfortable thinking I was perceived doing nothing by those around me. Holding the glowing phone up to let the world know I was not waiting alone. But being annoyed by the glow to put it down and just sit in silence. Something I don’t get a chance to do often. Sure I will sit and not speak, but at a table, outside of work, outside of my comfort zone, surrounded by the voices of others. It felt like a droning silence and it was nice. The ladies next to me talking about their day and me not having to worry about their burdens.

I looked through the menu for a little to make sure I made a good choice. The prices made my jaw drop. I can’t afford this, I can afford this, fuck why did I pick this place, knowing damn well I really wanted to eat here. Healthy organic goodness. A perfect meal for the night. But I am a starving artist, this will make a dent. Fuck it, too late now.

Back to silence amongst the murmuring voices. Texting her to take her time, saying I had gotten a table, no rush. Words I would want to hear in the same situation. Easier to comfort others than yourself of course.

Unable to figure out what we would talk about, 2 weeks had gone by since we last met, work I suppose, but how long would that last. I had forgotten what we had talked about prior. Did my attempt at a goodnight kiss make this weird? The night got to a place where I could actually just speak my mind and ask if it was weird. Turns out it was all OK. No need to analyze. My explanation of my need to hear others thoughts giving her an insight to my intense observation to that around me. Understood.

So we did talk about work for a bit, showing her a preview of my recent photos and actually explaining the reasoning was a ton of fun. No one else had seen it yet. She loved the photos I take with the dancers after each shoot, and I made my joke saying someone would probably want those for a gallery versus the ones I put so much work into… but she saw I actually was honestly thinking of including it somehow and had some great suggestions. But she also understood those photos would not exist without the wonderful rapport I built with the dancers throughout the shoot.

These moments in my weeks where I get to go out and turn my phone on silent are captivating. To get away from the glow of a screen, the reminders of an email, the chime of a text. To just use your phone as a random fact check or to remember an example. When turning your phone face down makes you feel proud versus scared you will miss something important. When the important thing is right in front of you. They give my mind a rest but not until recently was I told perhaps I wasn’t actually just enjoying the moment and being myself but putting on an act of sorts. Well turns out when I am just me, it is amazing to be disconnected from the world. “How much further can we get from nothing” where even a cloud isn’t ethereal enough.

I don’t know if it was the lack of being rushed at the restaurant. The food. The lighting. The company. Or the stories I was telling but I had a sense of complete calm that night. In a flurry of both snow and thoughts lately it was a zen calm. I talked as myself. My passion for what I do came out. My voice calmed. I was in my head speaking my heart no fears in the world. Just enjoying the company of the person across from me.

Explaining my tattoo’s meaning without saying a word. Through my stories that night and my life it brought it to fruition, no need for a “story”. It gave it its true meaning. It brought the ink alive and made it meaningful. “The Fool” made more sense than anything I have ever written or said about it. Sometimes when I write something down I have trouble re-hashing it as a story, because I feel like I wrote it better than I could tell it. But my stories that night old or new had a new sense of excitement to them. Of course I started to become nervous that I was telling a story ir-replicable if this failed and had to be retold to another, but being happy it made so much sense and brushing it off as a casualty of happiness. I can’t even write how I explained it, I would have to tell you every story in the exact same order. A once in a moment moment. 🙂

Telling deep moments and being given the chance to recall memories from the past few years that truly brought a smile to my face: directing, my dad, my life. It brought me comfort. It made me legitimately smile.

Being able to explain my life and not be judged on it but accepted for it or just listened to. Not needing to know what was in her head, because she would tell me. No deep analysis needed. No multiple thoughts within a split second as preparation for what might be said next to head off any dragons or ogres. Not having the answers was just as rewarding as having them. I like not having to constantly make eye contact during a story because I know they are listening. I disarmed myself by not feeling the need to analyse emotions, eyes, shifting, body language, I was comfortable with myself.

I left on that cold night warm and content inside and out. As I write the daily life anxieties start to return but for those two hours I had complete calm and a sense of self. It was beautiful. No expectations, no wants, just enjoying being there. It was her partly her childlike approach to dating that calmed me. It made me feel safe. I didn’t have to talk about sex, pop culture, or entertain. I just got to be me. I could stumble my words, say the wrong thing, and pause to form the words or never figure them out. It all felt comforting. That night was a good night. She opened up to me in an extremely vulnerable way and we could still carry on. Her eyes told an amazingly deep story and through the pain a deep love for herself and those around her.

The snow falling outside the windows on this “spring” evening may have contributed slightly to the mood as it was calming and slightly romantic, knowing we wouldn’t have to endure a WINTER again.

I don’t know if it was friendship or more but right then it was nice. It feels calm. And I like calm. I like being me. I like explaining the different aspects of life I have had a part in. Many people ask me so when did you fall in love with Photography. To me this is a very difficult question to answer. I don’t think there was ever a point. I am interested in many many things so even calling myself a photographer is hard for me sometimes even though it takes up 99.9 percent of my day. Ha. I just really enjoy things where I can interact with people and help to achieve things with them. Help them in their lives and mine gets brighter. When a character I direct them to be bleeds into their actual life and contributes positively, I have to call that a good day. But I am not a one trick pony, I can make a mean sauce, salad dressing, dance, sing, photograph, edit, travel, smile, laugh, cry, be sarcastic, and so much more. She seemed to understand the different aspects and enjoyed taking them all in as a first impression for a second time versus a one time “this is how it is”. I like the understanding of my choices versus the judgements. I like the outcome to not matter. I like good food. And I like sitting menus down for a good half hour before ordering.

Convincing Explanations

I find myself learning more and more about my securities and defenses. I often consider myself someone without walls, which is true to a point, but then I see an act, albeit a very sincere one, being played out in front of me at times. My own mouth the main actor.

For example, if I were to explain to you my ideas of how relationships work and sharing a lot of feelings up front with no reservation, I would give you a scenario about Europe, my childhood, the way of life there, and how I was raised. This gives you context but in a roundabout way of saying my unabated thoughts on the topic. By putting it in this context I have a third degree of separation removed from the idea that you may reject my ideals and the topic at hand. I have placed them into the context of my life instead of me, as a person, in that very moment I am saying it.

On the other hand, I could tell you I think sharing a lot right away is refreshing, a breath of fresh air, and the way I expect to see things; but there is a chance I get rejected from that idea or judged. While that judgement would be an accurate way for me to assess a relationship, in a deal breaker sense, I have created these “explanations” or “stories” that one would tell their boss on a sick day, instead of just saying “I don’t want to come in today, my work is done, I need a day off”. It beats around the truth in the way a Fool jests the truth, making it acceptable to be laughed off or listened to intently. I have found the “formula” for relaying my own beliefs so that the person in front of me can be “impressed” instead of judgemental. I have figured out how to pad myself from rejection or snap judgements. While I still think there is validity in doing it this way, so you don’t get thought of as the “clingy” or “over analytical” person, it doesn’t do much to help me find the person who accepts the things the way I see them in the long run. Later on, the person could dislike the same idea I just told them while we had our first drink as I set off the pyrotechnics with flashy dance numbers. The presentation may have impressed them, but it didn’t help them to assess it for themselves, thus not allowing my own assessment to be accurate.

I get afraid of people jumping to conclusions of who I am, what I like, and how I see the world, because it is true, I do think about shit intensely, I do have a lot to give right away, but I have been privileged to so many people jumping to the conclusion that, “it is too much too soon” or “all I have to give”, that I have searched for the long winded stories that accompany my feelings, thoughts, desires, and self. It is tiring to have to accompany what could be considered a yes or no answer with notation to read chapter 3 and 4 to truly understand the meaning.

I am pressed to write out that explanation right now, to tell anyone reading this that, spending time as a child in Zurich and abroad helped me to see interpersonal relationships in a different light, to feel more connected quickly, to not be disappointed if things didn’t work out, but to be happy to meet new people and form strong bonds, to not find boobs to be shocking but a natural way of life, to sit 1 inch too close because personal space is boring. To tell you about my friends in Denmark and France that I have stronger relationships than I have with anyone here over less time because we accepted one another based off very truthful, raw, moment conversations. To explain how on Sundays every store, gas station, business is shut down, forcing people to interact, go over to friends for dinner, converse, and just focus on the social aspects of life. Giving for one day, interpersonal relationships more importance that our careers and materialistic needs. But it doesn’t help me. It helps you. It helps you to either “accept” my explanation in that moment or it confuses you because you haven’t lived in that world, therefore you accept it as my “quirk” and consider it something you will learn more about overtime. But there is no more explanation overtime, my me, my “who I am” is the same right then, as it will be two months from then, as it will be with a boss, family member, best friend, and girlfriend.

So I am learning, I am growing, and ultimately I am becoming more comfortable being me.

Grasping it all, melding it with tears…

How does one admit they are lost and need help, if by the very act of doing this implies they know what kind of help they need when asked “What can I do to help?” from those willing to extend a hand. If only to stand here very alone, very scared, very secluded on an island filled with very sporadic ups and downs. Mortality creeping into every thought. The idea of blackness and nothing, unable to grasp it. Feeling like that could happen before ever getting to feel what it is to live.

To love.

To be happy…To be truly happy. To fullfil the childhood idea of happiness.

The funny part is the longer I go on, the more my mind begins to halt it’s ability to age with me. My eyes deceive me about those around me and my reality creeps up again, telling me, you waisted the days when you could have established better. Of course most is a facade and a dirty anxiety to getting older. I am not older than but a minute ago, yet my vision sees an age that is mixed with those, who to them, wonder why I am saying things like, “back in my day” as they see me not as I see myself. To be a little confused would be a great affliction. But instead it is a chaos storm of time.

I hesitate. That is the biggest problem, my hesitation. The hesitation to jump. I never hesitated, perhaps because I felt there was much more time ahead of me. So I jumped, jumped into left and right. I love so many things but can devote myself to nothing in particular. When you feel like you are running out of time, you tend to be more cautious with your leaps. “I envy your freedom” is a phrase I hear a lot, but with pure freedom comes, a feeling of falling. Without the ground and walls, you must be able to grasp to the metaphysical walls of your passions and love. So I pushed forward and pressed against all my passions and loves, yet nothing stuck after I began to slip again, falling slowly down to my knees then to my butt pressed against that wall, that felt comforting. Remembering what it felt like, knowing I did the right thing by letting it go, but afraid of the ground below again. Fear is where is gets scary, because fear can embody itself into your dreams, your life, your mind, and your happiness.

My mind now treats me as if I am weak, attacking at the happy moments where I can forget about the endless days and dreams of memories and futures never happened or half experienced.

So I go day to day, feeling more detached from myself than normal, wishing I could just grasp onto it all and ball my eyes out into it. Letting it understand with each drop, what my mind is thinking. Not having to say a damn word, write a word, think a thought. It would just be a perfect inception of who I can become.

Is it a location, did I jump the gun, did my fear take me to a place where I wasn’t ready for yet, will it help if I go back, will it make it worse, should I stay, should I give in, should I go even crazier. How do you take the giant steps when the little ones are so painfully excruciating on your mind that you need to dose yourself into the calming summer winds that blow near the strike of 2 am, which you normally sleep through, unlike the days prior where that was when it all began.

I want to die happy. And if I died today I would not be happy. I would not be anything but a shell of hopes, dreams, ambitions, and past achievements. I guess in your eyes, I may have done well, but in my eyes, I need to be more than what I have been.

I want to die first and foremost knowing I experienced loves embrace, the warmth of a light on at home when walking toward it. Even finding the perfect moment, is like a Greek tragedy, my eyes plunging the knife into my mind while I embrace the facts in-front of me. Feeling betrayed by my own ideas of what life should have been. Feeling as though I betrayed myself by not making life the way I wanted it to be.

I could continue to make examples and hidden messages, but that is all I wanted to share for now. The end.

Blitzkrieg on my Health.

So it is hard to explain what I have been up to for my health the last month without judgement and misconceptions, but I wanted to share regardless. And for those of you who do not understand Anxiety or medication that goes with it, look it up before you judge.

The simplest way to start this is to say, I never look at the “New Year” as a moment where you make major life changes, I find myself always feeling like the “New Year” is actually the middle of the year. This year however, it just happened that right after the family gatherings, money spending for presents, hiatus of work due to holidays, departure of tourists from an already crowded city, massive amounts of unhealthy food(but food you cannot say no to because it is made with love), family crisis’s with my Grandmother going into the hospital for health issues, personal exploration into a past that remains hidden, tears, panic, stress, etc, right after it all there was a moment where the stress was at an all time low.

And my body and mind were ready for the next step. 

So let’s talk about the hardest part of a blitzkrieg of things that had to happen all at once in order for me to claim my health back: Medication.

When I was 19, something in my brain chemistry changed significantly where my normal anxiety got heightened.(turns out I had this all my life but never knew it) There are many theories I have for this, but the short and skinny of it, was I was no longer able to just be me in the terms that I had defined up until that point in my life. I was no longer able to go out without fears such as: where is the nearest bathroom, will I need to leave because I am having a panic attack, how quickly can I get home, will there be drinking.

Let me describe a panic attack for me. It is a feeling of nausea.  I feel as though I am getting sick quickly to the point of having to throw up. Now the shitty part about this is I am not one of those people who can throw up to feel better. I actually haven’t thrown up from anything but food poisoning since I was 19. I am the call Mom, cry, and lay down for 3 days puker. Lovely I know. 😛

So that feeling made it very difficult to go and do normal things, since nothing specific triggered this feeling of loss of control. Only those who have had panic can understand that it is not caused by situations of stress or obvious strife, you could be walking in a field of sugar fairies and making millions of dollars, but all of a sudden, BAM PANIC ATTACK. 

Well, this is why it is hard to explain the start of a hard journey 4 and half weeks ago. If you don’t understand that at 19 I got insane panic attacks, went to see numerous therapists to try to figure it out, all of them not having a clue what was causing it. Attach the fact that I could no longer get drunk because I would panic, smoke pot because I would panic, go out as much because I would be afraid of panicing causing me to panic.. you have a cocktail for a very depressing moment in life where you just wish you could be you again. 

Well after a year of it, I was able to accept the fact that who I was, was part of this. And I was able to overcome the panic, and learn it, understand it, and through strong helpful influences in my life, deal with them when they came. But it did mean changes of my lifestyle, changes I still hate.

You go to a bar with friends and say you don’t drink, you automatically get put into a straight edge category. This sucks specially when you are extremely outgoing and love people around you. There is some sort of stigma attached to it where you aren’t enjoying yourself if you are not drunk. Well guess what… now I love it. I save money, I don’t get hangovers, and I can drink a drink or two but I don’t need it to be me: energetic and open. Yes I have reservations and yes it used to help me like anyone else, but you learn to compensate. I actually get an almost associative drunk now with friends.

So then I graduated college and moved back home, and after 2 years of no serious panic attacks, I got the worst panic attacks of my life. I couldn’t leave the house, enjoy holidays, go out. So I decided even though it was ingrained in my mind for my whole life that drugs were bad to deal with issues, I had no other choice. I was prescribed Klonopin and Lorazopan. When this was happening I was on 3 MG of Klonopin Daily and the Lorazopan was if I spiked over the Klonopin.

Think of it like this: Your panic is a glass of water and each time you have an attack the water gets added to the glass, but there is no one drinking it after, so it builds up, causing them to happen more frequently and with more intensity as you get it more. The drug literally just allows you to drink the water and have an empty glass. It doesn’t make you weird or different it just allows you to be you. 

Well it worked. And this was a big time in my life where I got my job out in California. Well turns out, once I got that job, moved a million miles away, the panic got under control more. I didn’t need the drug as much. Problem was my doctor was on the East coast and no one was seeing me on a regular basis to help me cut my medication down. 

So I tried it on my own. I got all the way to 1 MG a day, and decided to cut to 0. Well if you look this one up, that is a BIG MISTAKE. You go through withdrawal very similar to heroin. And it was ugly, I made it 4 days before I had to go back on it so I could go to work and function, not from panic but from withdrawal. I won’t go into all the withdrawal side effects but it was ugly.

I felt like I failed, but I carried on. The drug wasn’t making me different, slow, or incapable, it was just there. 

Well over the next 5 years, I was able to get it down to .25 or .5MG a day which was just enough to not have side effects, but I always questioned if it was needed, because I was learning through self exploration how to deal with panic attacks on my own. I also started smoking again, which seems to help me with stress. I had quit for 5 years prior to California. So it was a big set back, but it also opened social doors up and at my job opportunities as fucked as that sounds. So I continued on and off for my 5 years. At the same time I gained a ton of weight. I got all the way up to 200lbs.

For someone who was always skinny with the metabolism of a damn jack rabbit it was depressing.(lost that metabolism at around 20) I felt like shit, I looked like shit, and I always felt like someone else. I was never me in this new environment. No one knew me as I knew me.

Well it took me literally 3 and a half years to finally do something about it. I joined up with a trainer and started my claim to me again. 

I had amazing results and not only did this new workout let me quit smoking cold turkey due to the endorphins, it also made me feel like me again. It also made me re-analyze EVERY aspect of my life, my job, my goals, the people around me, etc.

I am a very positive person and I realized my life style prior was not very positive. 

The thing that really showed me was the negative attitudes of those around me when I lost weight. The true friends shined bright as they commended me and supported me. But the dark influences in my life looked at me with resentment. And that sucked. Because when you start to get healthy, you want to share, and help those around you.

Well I was also on my own crusade with the weight loss and decided to see how low I could go, because prior to my trainer I didn’t even know I could have abs. I thought, in shape for me was just skinny. Little did I know.

Well I pushed it to the limit and I knew it. Problem was with all the life changes I needed to implement, I started smoking again and well, that was not a good combo, because it curbs your appetite and the last thing I needed when burning 1000-2000 calories a day was to not eat.

That was me NOT healthy.

Well I knew I had to make changes again and quit smoking again once I cleaned my life of the stresses. Mind you the stresses were so strong here, I felt like if I didn’t smoke, I would not be making the right decisions and my withdrawal may effect it in a negative way making me question if I did it right. So once I was able to figure it out, I made the change.

That was me healthy again. And getting very strong. 

I still looked at it as me heavier however. I have a very skewed sense of self image. I take pictures to keep track. And I am grateful for that. 

Anyway, extremely long story getting to the point now haha. After this years Holidays and New Year, I saw this picture and decided I needed to do this again. But this time, take my time, and add a few wrenched into the journey.

I met a therapist that would help me cut my medication the right way and help me to feel safe doing it, guiding me the whole way. Problem is, I also wanted to quit smoking soo badly. Well I can’t do that without working out, which is hard for me. And I couldn’t do all of that without eating healthy. I am lazy, and it is hard to cook my own healthy food. My sister helped me out greatly so far with that by helping me cook food for every day. 

So what did I do? All at once, I cut my medication to .25 a day, quit smoking, started working out, and revised my eating completely. One might look at that and say do it slower, not all at once, but my brain doesn’t work that way. I needed to do it all at once because they were all so tied to each other. Or you may look at it as these things are not that hard or connected, but they are all soo connected and difficult on a level that isn’t tangible. So for me I am extremely proud and excited for the next day everyday and the day of as well. 

My brain was ready to take the leap to get off the medication completely. I am damn good at dealing with my panic attacks when and if they happen these days so I want to be free of the medication and see if I can do it on my own. If I cannot at least I know instead of just being reliant on the medication. But it will take time. Cutting it down slowly over the next few months with the right help. Plus the drug company was starting to limit the production of what I took and it is scary to not have something that gives you withdrawal. Regardless of having a panic attack or not, without it from .5 to 0 equals withdrawal that is worse than panic.

My brain was also ready to get rid of the cigarettes. Sometimes your body just doesn’t want them anymore and you have to capitalize on that. I had to see a friend of mine go through chemo treatments when she is super healthy and never smoked, and I watched her strength during it, and realized I may not be that strong. And while not a deciding factor it helped to get my head thinking it was time to attempt quitting again. My mother said it indirectly the other day in a way that I liked. I made the mistake of starting smoking, and I had to fix it. Because even though I like it, it is a mistake and it is extremely dangerous. Which you know as a smoker but you ignore anyway, part of which is because of the extreme addicting aspects of it. It blinds you regardless of side effects. Which let me list some so you can grasp what I would deal with to smoke:

  1. Dulled smell 
  2. Dulled Taste
  3. I smelled
  4. My breath was horrid
  5. Nausea in the morning
  6. Frequent diarrhea
  7. Coughing up nasty hard phlegm every morning
  8. Constant clearing of my throat
  9. The feeling of being winded
  10. Higher intake of oxygen, making you breath smaller when not smoking
  11. Mouth sores from the nicotine
  12. Teeth discoloration(fixed this as well with a dentist prescribed whiting tray)
  13. Habits of smoking right after using the bathroom, midway through a movie, on the phone, at a bus stop, after getting off a bus, after eating, before eating, 2 before a workout, 1 right after, waking up, going to sleep, the list goes on with this one.
  14. Upset stomach often
  15. Curbed appetite.
  16. House smelled
  17. Clothes smelled
  18. TONS OF LAUNDRY
  19. 300$ a month to smoke

So these are just some of the things I overlooked to smoke, because without being able to drink, smoke pot, etc, I felt like it was my only edge left. The only thing that made me sociably acceptable when out with friends. Yes I may not drink but I go on smoke breaks.

Anyway, after quitting for the 4 and a half weeks so far, I feel amazing. But I get afraid that without the cigarettes the results won’t be as good from working out. I know it sounds counter-intuitive but it would yield faster results due to not being as hungry. But I couldn’t push as hard, and why get into shape to just be aesthetically pleasing. So this whole time I have just had to trust my workout, and know I will binge on some days, and crack here and there with food, but there is no rush. The first month is your body tightening without as much physical to show, the second month is more physical show, and the third month is a huge step. And after that, since I have a longer plan, I should be in amazing shape, and feel soo much better.

And to reiterate, it was my mistake to start, so I must take action to fix it.(even though I think smoking has sex appeal and I enjoy it, I get so pissed that we allow them to be sold even as a smoker, because I know what I am struggling with, and wish others didn’t have to ever do this. And I wish people understood how hard it is to quit smoking, it is as addictive if not more than other drugs because it is allowed to be incorporated into every part of our lives, not only associating it with the basics but with who we are.) And this time around I feel great about it. I feel empowered. I don’t want to smoke. I want to hike, i want to breath fresh air, I want to smell the beach, I want to inhale big for fresh crisp air, not a drag of a cigarette. I have been able to make the act of smoking seem bad in my head vs something I miss this time around.

I also made my own workout routine this time, combining aspects from Crossfit, p90x, and Insanity. It is high intensity but very doable everyday. I look forward to it. 

That mixed with the food I am eating, when i do break my diet, it is on healthy items, as I don’t own junk food in my house. So it is better to bing on some almond milk and cereal than 12 bags of chips or candy. 

My stomach feels amazing too. I thought I might need to get scoped prior, I thought I was broken, but the cigarettes really had bad effects on me.

I am not getting anxiety, I have had a few small attacks just from my body gettings used to the cut in medication, but it is healthy and very deal-able. That is exciting for me. I feel empowered. I feel like I will be able to go to 0 when it is time and be OK. 

The clarity I get from the workout and all these steps I mentioned is also letting me see more of the stuff in my past that may trigger this, and slowly but surely I am able to look at it without blocking it out completely, but that is another topic and something that will take a lot more time. But at least I see it and it isn’t so much of a “shit what if it just happens one day” thing that looms over you.

Day 1:

This is where I had to start from again. But this time I planned to do it differently. I plan to take my time. I have no rush to be ripped again, but I plan to be. I always lose weight in the winter and then gain in the summer. Which sucks Well not this time dammit. 

I have 5 months to get to the last picture I showed you in the black tank top.

On top of that I take a picture everyday in an app on my phone called 365 days. It allows me to keep track of the progress. I also keep my weight and BMI so I know what is muscle gain and weight loss. Because in the beginning the muscle gain always cancels out the weight loss. It is important to know both so you know you are progressing. 

This is week 3:

This is Week 4.5:

So this is my progress so far. And it is a lot more than just losing weight. It is a health change in my life, my body, and my mind.

The quote that has been resonating in my head lately is:

You get out of it what you put into it!

And how true that is. I am putting my heart and soul into this, and so I was worried to even write this, as I have no beaten anything yet, and I don’t want to jump the gun and make it sound like a victory. But I also appreciate the support, so I figured it was as good a time than any to share.

I will keep updating as it goes on, but so far, so great! 🙂

I feel great, I feel happy, I feel positive, and I feel strong.

And even though I am usually looked at with a very positive attitude I have days where I am deprressed, overwhelmed, and down. But even then I just remind myself to TRUST in the excercise, to trust in the eating, and to not put a time limit on this, as this is my life and it has to become my lifestyle to be successful. 

I had my chance to push to the limit, this is not that time.

So there ya have it, my exciting journey continues, and I smile, cry, and sweat through it all!

P.S. As I have designed this workout and eating routine, if you have ANY questions feel free to ask away 🙂

My message to

I am seeking guidance.

I get these moments of relief from what I can only describe as overwhelming anxiety. These moments come from the strangest or most obvious reasons. I am on the end of one moment of relief right now from watching a simple movie of blatant romance.  Sometimes I am given these opportunities to see, and as my day showed me, sometimes I have no more control than to pace back and forth, and lay down, get up, walk straight, or stand still. But knowing there IS guidance, that gives me strength. Be it from myself, my subconscious, or those around me. Because I tell you my self conscious self is super strong right now, and makes it obvious every time I fall asleep, bringing my thoughts into a dream state, with symbolism and happy or nightmarish experiences. Sleep that wakes you abruptly not letting you sleep again or forcing you not to wake. Continue reading

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