I'm thrilled to introduce my friend who will go by the pseudonym Pooks here on the blog. She'll be heading our Love and Relationships series and I have a feeling you're going to love her. She's a fiery, fierce, warm soul from Boston with brains and beauty and sass and I just love being around her. Pooks is a childhood friend of my college boyfriend, and we were introduced way back in 2004, and have been friends ever since.
Starting next month, each installment will have a loose theme and Pooks will write about her personal experience as she re-enters the dating world after divorce and a break-up. In addition, I'll add in my two cents, and we'll ask for reader input for the post (and hope that you'll also chime in down in the comments section below).
You might be wondering why I, as Candace of YogaByCandace, and main writer for nearly everything on this blog won't be the main writer for this series. The reason is that with so much of my life being "out there," I'd like to keep my dating life mostly between myself and the guy I'm seeing. That said, I'm happy to talk about dating, love, and relationships in a more general sense, which is why I'll chime in on each installment beginning next month..
We'd also love to hear from you. The next theme in this series is about online dating. If you have any thoughts, questions, or tips on that, you're welcome to submit them in the form at the bottom of this post.
Thanks so much for reading! I hope you enjoy! xoCandace
Disclaimer: I always encourage guest contributors to write in their authentic voice, as if they were having a conversation with me. To that note, please be aware this post contains swearing. We're all adults here, so I'm sure it'll be fine, but if you happen to be at work, maybe minimize this box if you're going to leave your desk! :)
Okay. So. There’s really no delicate way of saying this:
Life is like a giant fan blowing shit in your face.
Hear me out. Life is pretty good, but also tough as hell. The shit fan isn’t always on, but when it is…. woah. No one wants to stand in the shit fan alone. We all want someone that sees us with the shit fan blowing in our face, puts on their damn goggles and stands next to us in the shit. Like, yeah, dude, we’re in this shit (literally) together. Sometimes they’ll even stand in front of us and block us from the shit, and sometimes we’ll stand in front of them. It’s kind of what love is all about, right?
I want someone to stand in the shit with me. I want a unicorn, and I’m about to find me one.
Here’s the rundown. I am recently 32 and can’t decide whether that’s old AF or young AF. At 19 (definitely young AF), I meet my college sweetheart, marry him seven years later and think I have life all figured out. After three years, I end the marriage in an effort to be more protective of myself and my mental health, and find myself divorced at 29 - safe to say I didn’t have life figured out after all.
So I say to myself, “POOKS, it’s time to get your act together” and go about very intentionally finding a better way to love. I plunge head first into therapy, read lots of self help books like this and this, tune up my introspection game, and challenge all prior notions of what it had meant to me to give and receive love.
Quickly (probably too quickly), I am reintroduced to dating baptism by fire style. The last time I was dating I had a Motorola Razr and the cutting edge technology was T9 predictive texting. Fast forward to 2015 and my 22 year old brother is having to explain to me how Tinder works… I’m terrified.
For those of you that haven’t had the pleasure, Tinder is kind of like the shit fan except it’s a shit swamp dating app, and I wade my way through for a while until I stumble upon a guy I had met briefly in a previous life. Fireworks. We are compatible in *almost* every way - and the almost is important. We fall in love, move in together, plan to get married someday and have an AMAZING relationship… until we don’t.
It all falls apart October 2017. Honestly, I don’t even want to talk about it. I am devastated beyond belief. A mere 24 hours after breaking up, with the help of some amazing people, I pack our entire life into cardboard boxes. That’s what two years and the supposed love of my life was reduced to. Cardboard. Bubble wrap. Tape. It hurts even typing this.
The shock is unreal. It must be some kind of mistake, right? It’s a dark time. I mean we’ve all been there, but I was really in the hole. I can’t eat. I can’t move. I can’t think. I can’t sleep. I can’t smile. I move in with my parents like it's the early 2000s while I try to find a place of my own. I have a complete meltdown during breakfast at a diner in Southie on a busy Sunday morning. I lay paralyzed on the floor for hours in my parents’ living room because I am so exhausted by my anxiety attacks. My body is completely betraying me from all the stress hormones being released. I move into my new place that my parents literally had to choose for me because I was so incapacitated. Despite being an extremely extroverted person, I become a relative recluse because I’m too depressed and scared to go out in public for risk of seeing you know who. I feel like it will never end. None of this will ever end. I’ll never be myself again. I’m putting one foot in front of the other, barely, but I have no hope.
Slowly, so so so slowly, I start to go into “get your act together” mode again. I eat some bacon and it makes me less miserable. I go on a walk with my parents and breathe some fresh (Southie) air. I take a minimal amount of pride in making my new home a sanctuary in which I feel comfortable and safe. I put 110% into therapy, more books like this and this, and more introspection. I journal. I learn to meditate. But it all feels like… like nothing. Like, why am I here? Honestly, what am I doing on this planet? Why is there so much pain? I am so tired. So so tired.
2018 happens. Like it literally. Just. Happens. Somehow, I start to feel like less of a dried up husk of myself. Still a husk, but I am coming alive just a little bit. I spend January willing myself to act like I’m a living, breathing, human being. I do burpees, eat chocolate, drink wine, spend time with friends, find a new hobby, and buy too many shoes. I START to feel better. I START to feel like me again.
And here we are in March. I have finally gotten myself back out there, but it’s still hard. I went to *our* (MY!) favorite restaurant for the first time and almost had an anxiety attack, but dammit I survived. I’m venturing out little by little.
Candace has been kind (and crazy) enough to let me chronicle my journey back into dating the dating world in the age of selfies, Snapchat and swiping. I’m not a dating or love expert by any means. In fact, I literally have NO idea what I’m doing. But we’re all in the struggle together, looking for our unicorn, and I hope at the very least I can give you a chuckle while you read about what’s sure to be a cringe-worthy learning experience for me :)
Each installment of the Love and Relationship Series will have a loose theme. I’ll share some thoughts and/or experiences of my own, Candace will give her insight, and we’ll invite readers to share their stories as well. While we are all searching for our shit-blocking unicorn, maybe we can all stand in the shit fan with each other. Solidarity in the struggle, right? I’m confident if we put our heads and our hearts together, we can all get through this. Until next time, YBCers!!
Next month's theme: Online Dating
Please send us your thoughts, questions, tips and tricks for navigating the world of online dating. If you write something we'd like to use, we'll reach out to you via email. Thanks for contributing!