Friday, December 23, 2011

Cup Of Joe

This time of year, it's easy to get crazy with all the shopping, the malls, the traffic, the food, the gifts we've yet to buy or wrap, the presents we can't afford to put under the tree we still haven't decorated. It's easy to forget that not everyone gets to wake up Christmas morning in their own home, with their own family, to a home cooked meal and a full stocking. It's easy to forget that our military is still serving overseas, fighting wars that they didn't start, protecting freedoms of people they've never met.

If Kit and I were still dating, I would have spent heaven only knows how much money on gifts for him. I would've bought him new books, dvd's, gourmet food items, and adventures for us to enjoy together. I would have stuffed his stocking full of his favorite candies and left thoughtful presents under the tree from Santa, the cats and me. I would have gotten a little something for all his friends and his entire family, brought him to holiday parties, bought bottle after bottle of wine for our hosts, and whipped up decadent dinners and desserts for days on end.

This is the first Christmas I will spend single. Kit and I are not together. For the first time in my life, I have no boyfriend to shop for, cook for, clean up after. And that's why I'm taking all the money (and the love) I would have spent on Kit and giving it to our military instead.

100 Cups of Coffee has changed my life. I am grateful every day for you, the readers, who have become my friends, my pen pals, my sounding board. You share your hopes, tears, fears and laughter with me, the same as I do with you. We've ridden out the up's and down's of relationships together. We've laughed at the silliness of dating and cried at the heartbreaks of it. I wouldn't trade the last two years of this project for anything. It has made me a better, stronger, smarter, braver, more caring and open-minded person. I consider myself the luckiest woman in the world to have been able to share it all with you and for the incredible support you've all shown me.

This is why, after two years and 97 cups (3 to go!!!) I am finally asking you for something. Help me give 100 Cups of Coffee back to our nation's heroes.

Green Beans Coffee Company has coffee shops set up on Army, Navy, Marine, and Air Force Bases all over the world. For $2, you can give a soldier or sailor a few minutes of delicious refreshment and access to the internet cafe. The best part comes when you get a Thank You email, letting you know that this small donation made all the difference in someone's day. It's the greatest feeling in the world.

Love isn't always about being someone's boyfriend or girlfriend or buying them presents or spending the holidays together. Love is just a simple way of showing someone, anyone, that you care. Letting them know that they matter. And isn't that what we all want? Someone to make a gesture, take the time to say: You are important to me. Thank you for all you do.

Please take a minute out of your crazy end of year schedule, and send a Cup of Joe to someone who really deserves a break today. Comment here or on my facebook page to let me know you've done it. I'll have a special gift for one awesome reader!

Wishing you all a very happy holiday full of love.

Yours always, Kimberly Spice

Monday, December 19, 2011


Throughout this project, I have gone out with a one-armed prison guard, a man who's never left Brooklyn, two separate guys who've put me on the phone with their mothers, and a comic book nerd who cracked open his Darth Vader piggy bank to pay for our date. I shared a walk in the park with a Southerner who picked his nose and then tried to hold my hand. A Star Wars fanatic confessed his fantasy of climaxing to the Imperial March. Four different denominations of religious freaks tried to convert me. A man "moved to China" to avoid a second date. I've been stood up, let down, and everything in between. But I still can't tell my crush I'm totally into him.

I know what you're thinking: any girl who can survive 97 (so far) dates with guys who bring everything from cheat sheets to their cats out for coffee can surely bring herself to say to a cute guy "I like you." But it's just not that easy. Perhaps the reason I could go out with a man who thought a night in a hot tub was an acceptable first date is because there was no real risk there (besides being seen in a bikini!) There's no real sense of loss when your date shows you his SpiderMan watch in the first five minutes because you're pretty sure that this is not the long term future you've been pining for. You can tell you're not going to marry the Payless shoe salesman or the guy with a penchant for the original Karate Kid movies or the weirdo who is mysteriously anti-candy corn. These men are not what we call "relationship material."

But what about the man who IS relationship material? The one who captures your interest, your eye, and dare I say, your heart? What about the date where you risk really putting yourself out there, really falling for someone, and potentially getting really hurt?

This is the problem I'm having right now - mustering up the courage to tell someone I like him, someone who actually matters. The courage is only half the battle, the mechanics of doing it are the other half of the dilemma. I need the courage to face the odds, a 50/50 gamble he'll say "Yeah, that'd be great, you're super cute!" OR that he'll reject me outright and I'll be disappointed, embarrassed, and not able to show my face around him again.

Assuming I can gather all my confidence to tell my magical mystery man how I'm feeling, the other issue is how to go about getting it done! My proposals so far have included:
1) writing an email to his boss, brother, and best friend asking if he likes me and if they'd set us up on a "blind date,"
2) facebook stalking him to see where he'll be and running into him accidentally-on-purpose,
3) setting him up on a date with my non-existent girlfriend so he'll be stood up and I'll rush in to save the day
4) breaking out into a Top 40 pop song while he's shopping at the Gap, preferably with a full jazz ensemble and gorgeous back up singers in matching outfits behind me.

Of course, each of these ideas is slightly flawed in that I could
A) get him fired,
B) make the holiday season unbearable with his family & friends,
C) he'll get a restraining order, and
D) I'm not on Glee.

It is in this moment that I realize my fifteen years of dating history never truly evolved past high school. I still want to pass hand-written, intricately folded, scrawly love notes with hearts dotting the i's and flowers around my name. I still want to ask all of his friends if he "like likes" me and wait outside his classroom / locker / sports practice hoping to spot him and have four blissful minutes of inane conversation that will inevitably give me butterflies in the belly for the rest of the day. Maybe I really have been watching too much Glee for my own good, but at the ripe old age of 30, I still can't think of a better way to tell someone "I have a monster crush on you" than breaking out into song amongst preppy sweaters and enthralled onlookers.

There has to be a better way. Ugh!

Friday, December 16, 2011

When Harry Met Sally

Harry: There are two kinds of women: high maintenance and low maintenance.
Sally: Which one am I?
Harry: You're the worst kind; you're high maintenance but you think you're low maintenance.
Sally: I don't see that.
Harry: You don't see that? Waiter, I'll begin with a house salad, but I don't want the regular dressing. I'll have the balsamic vinegar and oil, but on the side. And then the salmon with the mustard sauce, but I want the mustard sauce on the side. "On the side" is a very big thing for you.
Sally: Well, I just want it the way I want it.
Harry: I know; high maintenance.

I had an epiphany today: I am Sally.

That might not sound like an epiphany to anyone who knows me. Actually, that's probably the least news-worthy headline any woman has ever spawned. WOMAN BELIEVED TO BE "LOW MAINTENANCE" IS ACTUALLY "HIGH MAINTENANCE" - NEWS AT 11!!! Not very realistic, I know. Still, I have been under the delusion all this time that when men say they're looking for a "down-to-earth girl," they're referring to me.

I don't have grandiose expectations, you see. I'm not one of those girls walking around with a Coach bag on my arm, driving a Lexus, and sipping my custom blended Italian roasted macchiato. Not even close! I'm happy with my wardrobe from White House / Black Market, my Chrysler, and my Starbucks. I don't need to live in a mansion on the coast, I'd be very happy with a quaint Victorian or Tudor home where I can raise my little family, plant a garden in the backyard, and clean the toilets myself. I don't even have high standards when it comes to the men I date! (Harsh, but true.) Right now, all I'm looking for is straight, single, and preferably taller than me. This doesn't sound very specific because it isn't. I can't pretend my next boyfriend will look like Matt Bomer, Josh Dallas, or Michael Buble. All I ask for is someone who's nice to me, who'll provide a life for us, and be a devoted husband! Is that too much to ask???

Yet these are not the questions a potential mate wants to know the answers to. In a recent email exchange, my suitor asked me three banal questions: What is your favorite breakfast? What are your favorite flowers? Where are your favorite places to travel? Here is my actual response:

Flowers: NOT red roses, carnations, or anything with baby's breath or leather leaf (that fern crap they put in every stinkin arrangement!)

I love all other colors of roses, especially really unique ones or the kind where the tips are slightly different than the petals. Like orange & yellow or pink & white. In solid colors, I love classic yellow, pink, peach, purple, or white roses.

Also love Gerbera daisies, any other kind of daisy, stargazer lilies, sunflowers, and stephanotis. Snap dragons, sweet peas, gardenias, and gladiolas.

Breakfast - I enjoy anything with melted butter and / or maple syrup, vanilla, cinnamon, or brown sugar.
Pancakes, French toast, Dutch babies etc
Eggo waffles, but only Nutri-Grain
I like my toast slightly underdone and I don't eat the crusts
Fresh fruit, but not fruit compote
Fresh whipped cream, not whipped topping
Eggs I like scrambled, preferably with an interesting cheese.
Bacon I like crispy but not burnt.
I drink tea, but only herbal or decaf and I take sugar.
Love fresh orange juice, apple juice, cranberry juice, or any kind of juice...except grapefruit.

Travel: I lived in Europe and could absolutely do with another five years there. I want to go back to Italy, mostly Tuscany, Rome, and Sicily. I would visit France, Spain, Greece, Ireland, Norway, and Switzerland. I have very little interest in Amsterdam, Prague, or anyplace too cold or mountainous. I like history, architecture and culture but there should also be a sense of adventure. I want to experience the food, local atmosphere and people to get a good pulse on the place but am uncomfortable if I don't speak the language. I try to speak the language whenever I can but secretly hope there is an English translation as often as possible.

I am SUCH a Sally!!!

The most intimate relationship I have right now is with my Starbucks barista. He knows, from the second I walk in the store (usually to write this blog, and chat with his girlfriend) that I am having a Venti Soy Chai Latte with Hazelnut. Why does this matter? What small difference does this make in my life? It has the same impact as when anyone recalls the minutiae of our private selves - it makes us feel special and important. And isn't that what dating is all about? Letting the other person know that they are special and important to you! It's our way of saying You Matter.

The thing about dating is that it's a process of "getting to know you" which can be the best - or the worst - part of your day. Imagine the morning after your first night together, you want to make breakfast for your partner, but you have no idea how they take their tea or coffee. This is a very intimate detail, how someone takes their tea or coffee. Sugar? Milk? Decaf? Strongly brewed or two dunks of the bag and a squeeze of lemon? There are so few people who know these benign details of our daily existence. We all want what we want the exact way we want it and we don't want to have to explain to anyone why we want it that way. We just do!

I want a man who remembers the in's and out's of me, who cares about the details, who says with every fiber of his being: You Matter. You are worth the effort. You are special and important to me.

I want what I want, not because I'm demanding or high maintenance or a snotty bitch - just because it's who I am, how I think, and what my needs are. I love my birthday and hate Valentine's Day. I take my water with three cubes of ice. I sleep on the right side of the bed. And I won't apologize for any of it!

Monday, December 12, 2011

4-H Club

Alright, alright, I get it. I bummed you guys out with that last post. That was not the intention though. In this blog, and actually, in my life, I like to abide by the four H's. (No, not the 4-H Club: Head, heart, hands, and health - although I spent every summer living on those principles, bug juice, and saltwater swimming lessons. Best eight weeks ever!!!)

My four H's are: Honesty, Humor, Heart, and Hope.

While not always in that order, the whole purpose behind this blog is to find a balance between all four. I share my up's and down's with you. Why? Because I believe in doing everything whole-heartedly. Opening myself up to the possibility of love and joy in the world. Wearing my heart on my sleeve. The only way to get anything done is to put myself out there and really do it! Anything worth doing is worth doing 100% or not at all.

Honesty is always the best policy and not always one that we abide by, not even with our closest friends. How many of your girlfriends would tell you she slept next to a box of Thin Mints last night? Or cried during Once Upon A Time when Prince Charming tells Snow White, "I choose you." Isn't that what we're all looking for? Someone to look you in the eyes and say "I choose you. Today and every day. I am yours."

Love isn't always easy. It's messy and complicated and hearts get broken sometimes. Waking up with a pistachio in my hair or a butter knife under my pillow isn't getting me any dates. I know that. But maybe, just maybe, one of my incredible readers is tired of pretending everything is ok. Maybe you had your heart broken and don't want the world to know it still hurts. Maybe your friends are in awe of your strength, optimism and sunny disposition. And maybe you don't want them to know you tear up at Hallmark commercials or make love to a pint of Ben & Jerry's Cookie Dough before bed each night. I'm here to tell you that you're not alone. Plain and simple.

The humor comes from knowing how ridiculous it sounds to wake up in the morning, fresh from a break up hangover and discover you ate Nutella straight from the jar? Margarine out of the tub? Oh the horror!!! I'm not sitting around feeling sorry for myself and weeping into the simple carbs. I am laughing at the insanity of the situation I find myself in.

The choices are laugh or cry. The choice is yours.

Finally, I look around at the mounting evidence of my heartbreak and ask myself, "How did I get here?" Wasn't it just five minutes ago that I was in a relationship? Facing the world as part of a couple, ready to take on life two-by-two? Whether you are going through a break-up or find yourself perpetually single, the answer is the same: You got here because it's where you need to be right now. Emphasis on right now. This is not where you're going to be forever. It's just a bump in the road. My hopeful romantic sides tells me that this is only one chapter in my story. Today, I woke up next to I Can't Believe It's Not Butter and I thought, "How did I get here?" But a year from now, five years from now, ten years from now, I will wake up next to a handsome husband in a house of our own with maybe a few little children sleeping peacefully down the hall and I will think, "How did I get here?"

The answer is: every bad date, every failed relationship, every attempt at finding someone, every pint of ice cream, every tear-stained tissue, every sleepless night led me here. Life will not always be wine coolers and late night pizza with girlfriends dissecting why it didn't work out with this guy or that guy. It's not about those mornings we want to hide under the covers and go back to sleep. It's not the weddings or the holiday parties or the birthdays we were embarrassed to show up at sans date. It's a collection of all these experiences that make us stronger, bolder, braver, happier, and eventually, more hopeful.

I could go back and edit Butter Knives & Broken Hearts. I could end it on a more upbeat note but that doesn't feel true to the sentiments I was feeling at that time. I'd be lying if I said this was easy, that it was all sunshine and roses every day. I'd be lying if I said I was loving my single life every day. Some days I am, some days I'm not. Some days are harder than others. Some days are simply fabulous. Some days you wake up next to a condiment of your choice. But every day is ok.

Butter Knives & Broken Hearts

Hangover: You wake up next to a strange man and think - What the hell did I drink last night???

Break-Up: You wake up next to a tub of margarine and think - What the hell did I eat last night???

There is an unwritten list of things a woman with a broken heart should not find herself in the company of. Butter knives and bad boys are on top of that list. Yet that is what I woke up to this morning. (The butter knife, not the bad boy. That is a very different kind of blog!)

We've all been there. The morning after blur of events gone by. Recapturing the night before. Trying to put the broken pieces back together in the glaring light of day. Think, Kimberly, think!

My sweatpants are in a pile on the floor, mixed up with various Girl Scout cookies.

I am wearing nothing but toe socks.

There's a spoon sticking straight out of a jar of Nutella on my desk.

There are three seasons of Glee downloaded to my Netflix account.

A torn open packet of French vanilla hot chocolate is stuck to the night table.

A salted pistachio is caught in my hair.

My web browser shows a history of funny cat pictures and several Google searches of my ex's name.

There's a Butterfinger wrapper being used as a bookmark in my copy of The Help.

I woke up with a tub of margarine in my bed.

This. Is. Bad.

I was wondering why I was itchy all night. My sleep was broken and restless at best. In my sunrise stricken stupor, I spot the ten million breadcrumbs that account for the feeling of being attacked by fire ants. Trouble is, I don't see any bread.

Oh, no! The bread is gone, but the plastic bag and the butter knife are under my pillow. I ate the whole damn bag?!?! AND I tried to hide the evidence?!?! More than that, I was snuggling silverware? This is definitely a new low for me.

How many more boxes of candy cane Oreos must sacrifice their lives for me to prove to myself and the world that I don't need a man? Because maybe - just maybe, I do. I do need someone in my bed, holding me at night, prying the Rocky Road ice cream out of my hands, kissing my sticky sweet lips, and telling me it's all going to be ok. Someone to wipe my salted caramel tears away, get me a fresh glass of water, and calm me down from my sugar high. Someone strong and secure to make me see myself as beautiful, and get me to step away from the not-so-complex carbs. Someone to cuddle up to, who (unlike the butter knife) won't cut me, hurt me, make me bleed when I am at my most vulnerable.

Thursday, December 8, 2011


There are few things more nerve-racking than a promising first date. We girls spend days, weeks, or even months chatting with a boy we like, getting to know him, checking our email five times a day, jumping every time the phone rings, in the hopes of hearing from our latest crush. We're busy, modern women, mind you. We don't have time to sit around waiting for him to contact us. Just like we don't have time to get our eyebrows threaded or our toes painted. Yet, somehow, when that first date starts creeping up on us, we make time.

Then we obsess with our girlfriends over every message exchanged, every detail provided, searching for clues about his personality, his past life, whether he's a potential match for the future. We scrutinize each outfit we own, our hairstyle, our choice of manicure, praying we impress the hell out of him. Why we suddenly doubt our own fabulousness is beyond me. There's just something about starting a potential new life with a potential new partner that shakes us up a bit. Wavers the confidence with which we usually carry our high heads. Like I said, nerve-racking.

So imagine my surprise when a guy I've exchanged only three messages with asks me out! Three??? I hardly know him. Sure, he's got a great profile and a nice bunch of photos but people lie all the time and barely anybody looks like their pictures. I only just jumped back into the dating game. I'm not ready to meet someone so soon. Am I???

The answer from my girlfriends is a resounding YES. Get back out there. Throw caution to the wind and go. Have fun. Why wait a month for someone when this guy is asking you out right now?!?!

Ok. I'll do it.

He wants to meet for lunch today! I don't have time to pick out the perfect outfit, color my hair, get my nails done. (Scream. Sigh. Slump shoulders.)

So what? If he likes ME, he likes ME. Guys don't really care what you're wearing as long as you look good because then you'll feel good. Come at them smiling and they're happy as can be.

Fast forward 3 hours, 2 wardrobe changes, and 1 inside out umbrella...

I am wrapped up tight in my swanky new trenchcoat, wearing my fab new dress, on my way to coffee with NotEasyBeingGreen. It is raining cats and dogs and I wonder why I bothered blow drying my hair at the last minute. We meet under an awning in midtown where I'm hiding out from the awful weather and he enfolds me in one of those huge bear hugs that big guys are great at giving. In one fell swoop, I go from shivering on the outside to toasty warm on the inside. He's sweet and chivalrous and protects both of us from the elements under his umbrella (since mine is clearly broken) while we walk to the closest coffee shop. He keeps one arm around my waist "to make sure I don't wander out into the wetness."

I am surprised how quickly he's put me at ease as we chatter away down the dark city streets. He holds doors open, pays for drinks, pulls my chair out, listens intently when I talk. He's an absolute gentleman, full of genuine compliments and intelligent conversation. Has his own business, great apartment, Irish charm. He's travelled the world, earned two Master's degrees, and speaks several languages. He's perfect...on paper.

There is nothing wrong with him. Honestly, nothing at all. I tried for almost two hours to find a flaw, something, anything to pick apart, make him memorable. Waiting for him to say something stupid, waiting for the other shoe to drop. But there were no shoes in sight. He's normal. And kinda boring.

For all the visions of sugar plums dancing in my heads as he spoke of frequent flyer miles racked up hoping for a partner to lavish them on, I knew in my heart it wouldn't be me on the plane with him. His suit tailor made in Dubai, his shoes hand crafted from China, his black wool coat personally styled from Ireland. They all seem like pipe dreams, a million miles away. What I need is right here, right now. I need chemistry. I need spark. I need an irrefutable attraction and it's quite simply missing. All the money, new clothes, and Park Slope apartments in the world can't make up for that.

I know what you're thinking. I whine when they're crazy and now I'm complaining that this guy is totally sane? But I'm not. I liked him. I really did. He was the kind of guy I could see myself being great friends with. Crap. Why can't I make myself feel something for him???

He gives me another bear hug good-bye at the end of the night and says he'd really like to see me again. Perhaps next time we can do dinner? Convinced that first impressions aren't always right, I smile in agreement, looking forward to spending more time with him. Maybe getting to know him better will change my perspective?

Fast forward 3 hours, 2 hot chocolates and 1 train ride home...

Me: I had a really nice time tonight :-)
Him: Me too. Would love to do it again soon.
Me: That'd be great!
Him: Sadly, I'm leaving for China on Friday.
Me: Oh...for how long?
Him: A month. Maybe more.
Me: Oh...
Him: I'll call you when I get back?
Me: Sure. Have fun in China. PS: Don't order Chinese food there. I think they just call it food! ;-P
Him: Cute. See you in a month.

Option A) He really is going to China. For a month.
Option B) He is going to visit his wife. And kids. In prison.
Option C) He has no desire to see me again and was just being polite.

I've been dump(ling)ed.

Friday, December 2, 2011

Notes on Being Stood Up

Most days start out like any other. They are interchangeable. Unrecognizable from one to the next. But not today. Today is DATE NIGHT!!!

I woke up yesterday with cheers of joy caught in my throat. They startled me mid-dream, waking me from peaceful slumber. Waking up on the day you *think* is date night, only to realize you are twenty-four hours early is a bit like waking up thinking it's Christmas morning - the presents are under the tree, the stockings are full to the brim, the pancakes are bubbling away on the stovetop ready to be smothered in melting butter and hot maple syrup - except that the underskirt of the tree are still bare, the stockings are empty, and you're stuck having Cinnamon Toast Crunch for breakfast again. It's Christmas Eve. You're early and inexplicably disappointed.

So yesterday, I threw off the covers and leaped out of bed with a song in my heart. But there was Mean Old Mr Calendar laughing at my song and my heart, taunting that I had wait yet another day for date night...sigh...

I even called my date to say how ridiculous I'd been. That I was so looking forward to our evening together, I tried to fast forward time by a whole day. Giggling at my silly, school-girl self, hoping he knew what I was really trying to say: I Like You.

We've been talking for what feels like forever, facebooking, texting, chatting on the phone. The conversation is always so easy, so natural, so light. He makes me laugh in a way I haven't in a good, long while. He's smart and funny and strong and tall and has a great job and a great family and I'm trying so hard not to get my hopes up and just relax, take it easy, see where things go. I don't want to put any pressure on either of us to make something out of this. I'm just happy to spend some time with him. He seems to really look forward to spending time with me too. (Let's face it, I'm kind of awesome!)

So this morning was all systems GO!!! Shower, dry my hair, pick out my perfect outfit, give myself a pedicure. I even shaved my legs --- hey, you never know! That's when I get a text from him: Might not be able to make it tonight.

Ummm, what?

I'm really sorry. Can we please re-schedule for another time? I'll make it up to you, I promise.

The only thing worse than being truly disappointed by a man is pretending you aren't disappointed by a man.

Of course I tell him, sure, yeah, no problem, call me another time, we'll figure something out. But what I'm really sitting here doing is writing this blog in my bathrobe desperately trying not to cry.

I like him, you see. I got excited. I got my hopes up. I was finally thinking: Yay! A date with a guy I'm interested in. A guy who's not a loser. A guy with potential, promise, possibility. Someone to distract me from all the other idiots out there that don't stand a chance. Someone who makes me smile.

The thing is, I'm sure he has a good reason. They always have a good reason, don't they? He's not a total jerk trying to blow me off (I don't think) because I wouldn't be this upset about it if he was! It's just that we've tried getting together several times before and every single time we make "tentative plans," something inevitably comes up!

He has to work late (sorry), he's sick (sorry), he's studying for a test (sorry), he has a friend with an emergency (sorry), he'll be away on vacation (sorry), something always comes up! Stupid me, I always believe him because I am a big fan of giving someone "the benefit of the doubt" and because I like him so much, in my head he likes me that much too. But is he really just that busy? Or am I getting the brush off and I'm too smitten to see it???

Why am I telling you all of this? Because dating isn't always easy. It's not all roses and sunshine and walks in the park. It's excitement and nerves and disappointment and humor and heartbreak and hope and honesty all the way. Am I embarrassed to admit to the world I got stood up on a Friday night? Absolutely. But more than embarrassed, I'm upset. I'm upset at him for letting me down but I'm even more upset with myself for putting my trust in a man who hasn't earned it yet.

I had to talk to someone. My sister, Kat is brutally honest. Please understand that when I say "brutally honest" I mean just that. She tells you the truth like you don't want to hear it. She doesn't believe in sugar-coating anything. She's blunt as a baseball bat. When I want somebody to be nice to me, I ask my mother. When I need a kick in the head, I ask Kat.

Me: Why does this keep happening to me?
Kat: Because you only want guys you can't have.
Me: Why do I do that?
Kat: Because you don't think you deserve to be happy.

Is she right? Have I been dating men all along - hell, even marrying men - that make me miserable because I don't believe I deserve happiness in my love life???

I thought I'd been working to change that! These past two years, I've been on a self-reflective journey to figure out who I am, what I want, and all this time I've been sabotaging myself from the inside? I refuse to believe that.

The only way to fight the guilty verdict is to do something about it. I am going to take off this bathrobe, throw on my super cute outfit, and go out with some girlfriends tonight. I don't care who I have to rope into taking me out on the town. I've wallowed in self-pity long enough waiting for a man to come rescue me. It's time I rescued myself.

I have so many amazing friends. There are plenty of options for Friday night fun. Am I sad that plans with Mr Wonderful didn't work out? Yes I am. But hiding behind this computer isn't going to make him (or anyone else) fall head over heels for me. I'm doing this for myself. Shake off that "stood up" feeling, swipe on some "I feel pretty" make-up, and forget all about men for a while.

Wish me luck!

Monday, November 14, 2011

Cheat Sheet

I'm warning you right now: This date? Purely writing material.

There are three types of guys who are attracted to my online profile:
1) Old-enough-to-be-my-father Guys
2) Not-a-snowball's-chance-in-hell Guys
3) The Geek Squad

Seeing as the latter is least threatening, that seems to be who I end up going out with. I swear, it is not on purpose. In fact, if you know of any nice, normal men who are not socially challenged, please send them my way. I'm begging you! Until then, I am at the mercy of the interweb.

Arnold is a computer specialist from Long Island. I know this because every photo he has posted takes place in his cubicle in front of a computer. Warning sign #1??? He had messaged me early last year with "Hi, nice pictures. I really enjoyed your profile. Would love to know more about you." We exchanged a few emails about me being a writer, his job at the local cable company, how we went to nearby high schools and that we only live a few towns apart. I took some time off from fishing the online seas, thus we stopped chatting.

Arnold shot me a message six months later with the same exact opening line. Alright, I get it. We live in a cut and paste society. But at least have the decency to remember me?

And if the third time is the charm, he sent that same email just a few weeks ago but this time, I had to call him out. "We've talked already. Twice. You don't remember me?" He apologized and looking back over his inbox (which could not possibly have been that full) he said he did recall our "pleasant conversations." He's nice enough and I am trying to keep an open mind so I agree to meet him.

I regret my decision thirty seconds in the door.

We meet up at a Starbucks between our two towns. I had to message him the physical address cause he "doesn't get out that way much." Really? It's less than a ten minute drive. Turns out, he drives to and from work. That's it. Everything else he needs is right there on his neighborhood's main street. Groceries, drug store, bank, gas station, pizza place, even the local ice cream shop. He's been going to those places his entire life and sees no reason to change. I've driven four hours for lobster bisque. I sense a conflict in lifestyles immediately.

Still, I am rather intent on making the best of the situation. I walk in with my head held high, take a deep breath and greet Arnold who is already nervously waiting at a table for me. He stands to say hello and we get caught in one of those moments where you're not sure whether to hug (is this a real date?) or shake hands (is this a business meeting?) or do we avoid physical contact altogether (seems a bit sterile?) Arnold goes in for a one-armed hug (middle-ground) which is when he smells my hair.

Yes, you read that right: He took a good, long sniff of my hair. Who does that?!?!

Dear God, Please get me through this night. You can have me in the morning. Love, Kim

Once I was safely on the other side of the table (and my hair was out of his aural range) I noticed his glasses. They weren't just glasses, you see. They were bifocals. Do 33 year old men actually need bifocals?

Oh no, I'm going to hell. The bifocals were distracting me from his lazy eye. I don't know where to look now. I don't know where to look!!!

Receding hairline. Focus on the receding hairline so you don't stare at the bifocals. Or the lazy eye. Seriously, Kimberly, stop staring!

Why does he have four layers of clothes on? I see a t-shirt under a collared shirt under a sweater under a jacket. Is he preparing for nuclear winter? It's fifty something degrees out. Who wears that many clothes indoors? It's likely a gland problem. Do not think about it. Do not think about it. Do not think about it.

Ask about him. His work. His life.

"Well, I am very excited because I just moved out on my own. I got an apartment down the block from my parents house where I've been living for thirty-three years."

Do. Not. Laugh.

"I mean, it's really hard because there's all sorts of stuff I'm not used to doing on my own but it's also really fun too. I'm learning how to cook!"

Oh, that's great, I love cooking! We can talk about food. What was the last thing you cooked?

"A hamburger."

Oh, like a gourmet hamburger with herbs or special cheeses?

"No, I took it out of the package and threw it on the Foreman Grill. I put ketchup on it though."

Oh. My. God.

"I do like going out to eat sometimes."

Really? What's your favorite restaurant?

"Applebee's. Maybe I could take you there sometime."

Work, ask about work!

"Blah blah blah computer stuff blah blah blah technology blah blah blah scientific terms for things blah blah blah information is fascinating blah blah blah"

I don't understand anything he just said. Nor, I realize, do I care.

"I do have vacation this week for my absolute favorite holiday!"

Oh really? What's that?

"My birthday. Sure wish I had someone special to celebrate it with."

Oh crap.

"So, Kimberly, you studied theatre in college?"

Yes, my degree is in stage management and directing.

"And then you lived in England?"

Yes, I worked in the West End of London on several major productions there.

"So then you came home to teach drama?"

Yes, I taught theatre to elementary school students in the afternoons.

"So then you became a pre-school teacher?"

Yes, I taught pre-school during the day and went back for my Early Childhood Education Master's at night.

"So now you're writing a book?"

Wait a second. This is sounding very interview-ish. He clearly studied my profile and reviewed all the conversations we'd previously had and is just going through them.

And that's when it happened: He'd been holding his drink in his right hand the entire conversation. But when he switched hands, the cup was covered in blue ink when he put it down.

He had a cheat sheet written on his hand.

Text to mom: HELP

My mother (God bless her!!!) called me in under a minute.

*Please note: The part of MOM shall be read with flat amusement. The part of ME shall be read with feigned horror and sympathy.*

Me: Mom, hi, is everything ok???

Mom: Hi honey, this is your rescue call.

Me: Oh no! Is he alright?

Mom: That bad, huh?

Me: Oh that's awful. Poor thing.

Mom: You really need to get out of there, don't you?

Me: I'm out on a date right now. Nobody else can come help?

Mom: I can't wait to hear about this one when you get home.

Me: Yes, of course I'll go. But you'll have to apologize to Arnold for interrupting our lovely coffee date.

Mom: Your brother wants to hear about it too.

Me: Yes, mom. I'm on my way. Yes, right now. I love you.

Mom: Love you too. Now run away from the scary man! And don't let him follow your car.

With this, the girl sitting across from us starts laughing. She shoots me a look that says RESCUE CALL. It's awesome that she and the barista mopping the floor and the guy looking up from his newspaper winking at me knows. I just really hope Arnold doesn't figure it out.

"Hey, is everything ok?"

Yes, of course. I'm so sorry I had to answer that. My mother would never call if it wasn't an emergency.

"Oh no. What's wrong?"

***Crap. I forgot to think of an actual excuse. All that time on the phone and I didn't have an escape route planned! I've literally never used a rescue call before. What do I do? What do I do?***

My brother. Locked himself out of his car and it's running.

"Your mom can't go get him?"

No, her car is in the shop. I have to go home and get his spare keys. I'm so sorry. Families. What can you do?

"That's a shame. Ok, well maybe we can do this again Friday? That's my birthday."

Ummm, why don't we talk about it later? I really have to run.

"Thanks for a great first date."

Which is when I realize he means first date ever...

I am a bad, bad person.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Third Time - Not a Charm

This is the blog I'm not supposed to write.

Sorry, Dan.

I'm a very expressive person. You know what's going on with me, in my life, in my head, pretty much all the time. I can't help but be honest about it - it's who I am. I don't keep anything in, I don't hold back, I wear my heart on my sleeve. So when I become guarded about something, give me the benefit of the doubt that it's important and there's a reason I'm not telling you?

Dan did me no such favors.

Let me clarify - he disappeared on me TWICE last year. Literally stopped calling / texting / emailing with no explanation. Both times, it was the day we were scheduled to go on a date. In July, he blocked my calls and bounced my emails back as spam. I had no idea why and didn't hear from him for months after. Finally, he graced me with the standard "guy" excuse of "I got scared" (which by the way: men, if you're reading this, knock that shit off! Liking a girl is not so scary that you have to run away and bury your head in the sand. If you like her, be with her. Don't be a coward!)

Three months later and he finds my profile on OkCupid again. We start chatting, he's as apologetic as anything. Stammers over how much he liked me, couldn't get enough of me, didn't understand how far he'd fallen until it was too late and he's sooooo incredibly sorry. Can he please have a second chance? Please?

Generous, forgiving, gracious me grants him aforementioned second chance.

We spend a few days chatting on the phone. He's funny and charming and witty as always. We have a delightful repartee I cannot get enough of. We hang out in the city one night and he drives me home, smiling and holding my hand the entire way. I'm thrilled to be back in his life and he invites me to the US Open the following weekend. He's got box seats and the only thing better than scoring unbelievable tickets would be to show up at that amazing event with a beautiful woman on his arm! I'm flattered. I'm tickled pink. I'm left empty-handed yet again the day of the game when he doesn't pick me up, doesn't call, doesn't text, doesn't email...nothing.

Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me.

There are some questions that mankind will never know the answers to. Who really shot JFK? What's going on behind the scenes at Area 51? Which came first, the chicken or the egg? How many licks does it take to get to the Tootsie Roll center of a Tootsie Pop? Why do men stick their proverbial tail between their legs at the first hint of genuine emotion? The world may never know.

What I do know is that I am an idiot for believing, against all proof, that people can change. Which is how I came to grant Dan yet a third chance.

Y'all read his guest blog, we had a pretty great "first" date. I certainly didn't have the grand ol' time he described, but perhaps that's due to me being cautious this go round. For once, this open book was only ready to show one chapter at a time. With good reason, I might add! Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again, expecting different results. Was I insane for giving Dan a third chance? Apparently, I was.

After three wonderful dates in three weeks, I took a couple of days off to spend with a friend out of state. I told him I'd be gone and slightly out of touch but I'd be back in a day or so. He. Freaked. Out.

Kim, we need to talk...

Those are words no one wants to hear.

I really feel you're ignoring me. You're not making us a priority. I don't know what's changed with you but you tell me you're going away and then I don't hear from you for a while. What's going on here? Is it us? Did I do something wrong? You're always so open with me and suddenly I don't know what's happening. I really thought we had something special and you're just not putting the effort in.

Dude, it was one day!!!

I tried explaining to him that I had a friend who genuinely needed my attention, that I was out of state and had to disconnect for a day, that being out of touch didn't mean I wasn't thinking about him, just that my focus was elsewhere for a little while. Again, a day, not a week, not a month, not forever. This was unacceptable to him. I asked for a break.

You want a break? That's not fair. I didn't do anything wrong here. I'm being penalized. Why don't you understand what I'm trying to say? I don't want a break. Why is about what you want? Don't I get a say in this? How come we have to do everything you want to do and I don't even get a choice? This is not fair. This is so not fair. You get to go be happy and what? I get to go fuck myself?!?!

First of all: Wow, yelling AND cursing? I hung up.

Secondly: Stage 5 Clinger Alert!

Thirdly: If the third time is a charm, then for me, it's a BAD luck charm! After three dates in three weeks, I was already feeling the wind weakening under our wings. Dan was no longer making me smile, he wasn't making me happy. He stopped being the thing I looked forward to and quickly became one more item on my List of Shit to Deal With Today. Frankly, I have enough shit to deal with. I don't need you.

Voicemail: Ok, so you hang up on me and that's how we left it. I didn't do anything wrong. If I explained things in a strong way and defend myself, that's me and I'm not going to apologize for it. I have nothing to feel bad about. I didn't do anything wrong. You hung up on me, I called you back, it goes to voicemail...not exactly mature, is it? Listen, I wish you the best of luck. I hope everything works out. I'm asking you to keep this off your blog. If I see it, I'll be very upset. This is it for us. We tried three times, it didn't work out. I messed up, you messed up, this one is on you. I didn't do anything wrong. I'm being penalized for a misunderstanding but I said it a hundred times and you didn't understand me and you just put up the defenses. It's fine. I'm glad. I'm talking to like fifty other people. I don't need this shit. I'm gonna go find somebody. You go find somebody. That will be it. Please don't text me. Don't call me. Don't write me. Don't email me. I've already deleted your contact information. It's done. I don't want to have anything to do with you ever again. I'm sure at this point, you feel the same way. That's the end of it. I wish you luck with all your efforts. No hard feelings. It just didn't work out. I don't want to try again. Have a nice day.

So I guess we answered one age old question after all : The Third Time? Not a Charm!

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Lesson In Leavin

Somebody's gonna give you a lesson in leavin'
Somebody's gonna give you back what you've been givin'
And I hope that I'm around
To watch 'em knock you down
It's like you to love 'em and leave 'em
Just like you loved me and left me

~ Jo Dee Messina

I DID IT!!! I DID IT!!! I got up and sang karaoke in front of a bar full of strangers. How's that for conquering fears? I am so proud of me!

Random hot drunk guy was right. I am stronger than I give myself credit for. Kit is going to rue the day he gave me up. I am the best thing that ever happened to him. I was the light in his life. I am a smart, sexy, confident woman whose heart was too big for him to handle. Wherever he is tonight, I hope he's sad, lonely and miserable thinking about how badly he screwed up and how much he misses me.

And just like that, the thought is over. It's not about Kit tonight. It's about me. My friends. My needs. My fun. My martinis!

People burst into applause when my song is over. Sara 1 and Sara 2 are screaming and clapping and I feel like a rock star. I have overcome something so scary that suddenly seems so simple. I can do this. I can do anything I set my mind to. I miss Kit in ways that I don't even want to acknowledge right now. But I can and will get by without him.

Not to quote the song or anything, but I Will Survive.

Safely back on my bar stool with a drink in my hand, my breath is still heavy and my heart is still racing. I have what can only be called a "shit-eating grin" on my face and the adrenaline mixed with alcohol makes me feel invincible. Perhaps this is a deadly combination. Perhaps it's exactly what I need: A little bad ass behavior to shake this good girl up!

I pick up my phone for the obligatory facebook status update when a tall, thin, much older man approaches me and slyly says "When you're done on your phone, sweetheart, we should go outside. You, me, my truck. I got pot. Know what I mean?" OMG. Please be kidding.

Me: Oh... yeah... wow... no, I'm good right here. Thanks anyway.

Old Dude: Naw, baby, you ain't hearing me. I got pot. Right?

Me: Yeah, no, I heard you. Thanks but that's not really my deal.

Old Dude: Baby, you don't have to worry about a thing. I ain't a singer. I'm a dancin man! Dig?

Old Dude then proceeds to bust out the absolute worst moves I've ever seen on the dance floor. Seriously, I was concerned for the patrons around him. Firstly, he had to have been in his 70's. Maybe 50's or 60's depending how many drugs he'd actually done in his life which by my calculation was a lot. Secondly, he had zero rhythm and almost fell over three times in his attempts to impress me with his style. Which might have been know...if he had style.

Old Dude: See princess? I told you, I'm a dancer not a singer so you's got nothin to worry bout. I'ma open my own dance studio and teach people everythin I know. But you baby, you get the first lesson for free.

Me: Again, really, thanks, but I don't really want a lesson from you. In anything. At all. Ever.

Old Dude: Ok, sweet thang, ok, I feel you. How bout just the pot then?

I am shaking my head, speechless, while the Sara's laugh at me getting hit on by the only stoned geriatric in the bar when a young, very cute guy walks over. I'd been captivated by his karaoke version of the Black Crows earlier in the night, actually putting down both my phone and my drink to listen to his incredible smooth and sexy voice. In this world, there are boys, guys, and men. This? Was a man.

You can imagine the look of surprise on my face when gorgeous singer man comes up behind my bar stool, drapes his arm around my shoulders and says "Hey baby, sorry it took me so long to get that drink." Then he nods at Old Dude and says "Hey man, I'm Rob."

Old Dude: Hey, brotha, what's shakin? Nice singin back there. Yeah, I'm not a singer. I'm a dancin man. Was just telling the lady here. So, uh...this your lady?

Man: Yeah, we're kind of a thing, you know what I mean?

Old Dude: I feel you, I feel you. I's just trying to get some tail. Can't blame a brother for trying though?

Man: No worries, bro. Just know that she's already going home with me.

Old Dude: You're a lucky man, you're a lucky man. See you later, sweet thing.

With this, he turns to the Sara's and says "Hey ladies, I got pot." They burst into hysterics and Sara 1 replies "Does that line actually work?" Old Dude gets all smug and leans into her with a secretive "You tell me..."

The girls are in stitches laughing at Old Dude and wind up dancing ridiculously with him to some awful karaoke song, leaving Rob and me alone at the bar. As I turn to get a better look at him, I'm kind of awe-struck by his features. To start with, I firmly believe that bald is the new black. I don't know what is so incredibly sexy about a man with a shaved head but I am unapologetically excited by it! If that's not enough, he's got those strong, muscular arms every woman wants around her waist, making her feel small and protected and safe. His eyes are intense, his smile is genuine, and I am instantly at ease.

Me: Thanks for the rescue.

Rob: No problem. Old Dude was kinda creeping me out too.

Me: He was just trying to get some tail.

Rob: Aren't we all?

This sends me into fits of giggles. Rob is more than gorgeous. He's sweet, funny, and insanely easy to talk to.

Rob: So this is your first time doing karaoke?

Me: Yup. How did you know that?

Rob: The DJ announced it when you were done with your song. I'm excited for you. It's always fun to watch a virgin.

Me: (((Blushes)))

Rob: A, uh, you know, karaoke virgin. (((Blushes)))

Me: It was fun. Scary. Terrifying actually. But I'm glad I did it.

Rob: Scary? Really? You don't seem like a girl who's scared of anything. I saw you dancing up there. That was sexy.

Me: Sexy? Me?

Rob: Hell yeah! Confidence is sexy. You've got some moves, girl. I saw you getting your groove on with your friend. Looked like you were having a blast.

Me: Wow. (((Blushes really hard.)))

Rob: Whoever that guy was that broke your heart, he's an asshole. Clearly didn't deserve you.

Me: Thanks.

Rob: It was actually really fun to watch you up there. You have this light about you. If your friend didn't announce you'd just gotten cheated on, I'd never have guessed in a million years you had a broken heart.

Me: Sadly, I do.

Rob: I know you do. But it doesn't show. The only thing I saw was your smile.

Me: My smile, huh?

Rob: Ok, your smile and maybe your butt. I'm still a guy!

Me: Tell me your broken heart story in sixty seconds or less?

Rob: Wow, alright, let's see. Together for ten years, married for five, two beautiful daughters. She's the best mother to our children but we're not really marriage material anymore. Not in love, not really good together. I'm on the road a lot, traveling for work, she hated it. I quit my job, head back to Kentucky and I'm only two hours away after a twelve hour drive and she calls and says she's serving me with divorce papers. Turned back around, hit the road, and that's how I ended up singing karaoke in a dive bar in Rhode Island on a Wednesday night.

Me: Wow, that sucks. I'm so sorry.

Rob: Your turn. Heartbreak story in sixty seconds or less. Go!

Me: Married at twenty. Divorced at twenty-eight. Met someone six months ago I absolutely fell in love with. Moved in together. Picked a wedding date. He was going behind my back with some ugly girl online the entire time we were dating. From our first date to the first time we slept together to sharing a bed every single night, all the while saying I love you to this fat chick and I never suspected a thing. Kicked him out five days ago and came up here to cry on Sara's couch until the pain subsides. That's how I ended up singing sad country karaoke and getting drunk mid-week.

Rob: What a jack ass! And you, my lady, are not nearly drunk enough. We need shots.

Four shots of cake batter vodka later, Sara 1 and I perform a heartfelt rendition of the Dixie Chick's "Earl Had to Die!"

Rob sings a beautiful Garth Brooks ballad as on point as the superstar himself.

Finally, Sara 1 and Sara 2 close down the bar with Wilson Phillips' "Hold On" - also known as the awesome theme song from our favorite film, Bridesmaids.

Tonight was amazing. I cannot express in words how grateful I am to the girls for the rockin night out! I didn't even know how much I needed this level of free-spirited fun until I was waist deep in it. The cherry on the sundae is Rob. His flashing eyes, calming voice, and soothing arms entice me to dream of a day when I won't be sad over Kit, when I may even be ready to allow myself to fall for another man, to trust again, to love again. Rob's reassuring smile and sweet words of encouragement have captivated my heart and my imagination. I find myself drawn into him but I'm still so freshly hurt, so raw from the pain, my wounded heart still bleeding. It wouldn't be fair to either of us to start anything now. Would it???

I recall the advice I was given earlier in the night from a man who will never know just how much his wisdom affected my life: Sometimes, you just have to smile and say Fuck It!!!

Thursday, October 27, 2011

The Tao of Karaoke

There comes a point in life where you just have to say Fuck It!

These words of wisdom brought to you by the very drunk (and very hot man) whispering in my ear at the bar. He's got a few years (and a few beers) on me but is incredibly good looking. He's leaning rather intensely towards my body, so close I'm about to wobble off my bar stool. He's commending me on the merits of being brave, getting out there, doing the things that scare me most. He's reminding me that I can do anything I set my mind to, that I am stronger than I give myself credit for, that I'm a beautiful woman who didn't deserve the heartbreak I am suffering through. He's sure that I know no one in this bar and therefore, I have nothing to lose by making an ass of myself on stage singing karaoke. He's inspirational. He's motivational. He's got his hand on a blonde woman's thigh the entire time he's whispering in my ear?!?!

Go fucking figure!

***Three days earlier***

Me to Sara: Kit & I broke up. The end.
Sara: WTF?!?!?!?!?!?!?
Me: He was cheating. The. Entire. Time.
Sara: I will murder him in his sleep! I will smash his head in with a baseball bat. He messed with the wrong woman!
Me: Not worth it. I'm going to hide under the covers til next year.
Sara: No, you're not. A) Get your ass up and blog. BLOG RIGHT NOW!!! B) Get your ass in your car and come stay with me. I mean it. Do it or when I'm done killing him, I'll hunt you down, drag your sorry butt out of bed, and bring you up to Rhode Island myself!

She followed that with a facebook message to Kit: "You don't deserve her love you piece of shit loser. I hope you crawl back under the rock you came out of, die and rot in hell."

The lesson here? Don't mess with Sara.

The girl is fiercely loyal, trustworthy, and incredibly protective of her friends and family. She's totally my bestie, but frankly, I'm a little scared of her. When I want cheese and crackers for dinner, she serves me a healthy and nutritious meal where every food group is represented. I dare not leave the vegetables on my plate for fear of her wrath. She is capable of hugging you one minute and raining down fire the next. For this, I am madly in love with her.

Sara got angry for me when I didn't have the strength to do it myself. She told Kit all the horrible, nasty things I couldn't bring myself to say. She started a viral facebook campaign saying "Kit is a Relationship Terrorist" and actually got other people to join! She's the woman you want on your side, cheering for you all the way when things go right and the fearless bitch whose shit list you pray your name never, ever ends up on.

Which is why when she told me we were going to sing karaoke at a bar, I wanted to say no and run away screaming. Then I remembered the baseball bat threat and decided that singing in front of strangers would be better than two broken knees!

This is how I ended up at a dive bar in Rhode Island at midnight on a Wednesday watching the Red Sox lose and the Yankees win their respective games. If there's one place a New Yorker shouldn't be, it's surrounded by drunk, angry Sox fans in the post-season. Fortunately, Sara was called up to the microphone for her song first and announced to the entire bar that I'd just gotten cheated on and had my heart broken. I credit this small act of kindness as the only reason I did not get my ass kicked for being a Yankee that night. I also credit this generous gesture of sisterly pride as the reason every single person after Sara got up and sang "he did me wrong" songs.

Seriously, everybody.

Out at the bar with us was Sara's other bestie, Sara. They go out together as Sara Squared or S2. They run marathons together, hang out while their dorky husbands play video games together, and twice a week, they sing karaoke together. Sara 1 has a beautiful voice. Sara 2 has an amazing, she should be on American Idol voice. (*Note: I found out later that she actually auditioned for Idol and they rejected her. Frankly, I think she was just too damn talented and everyone in America would've voted for her. Would have been unfair to ALL the other contestants. She's that good.)

Sara 1 sang Adele's Rolling in the Deep.
Sara 2 sang Adele's Someone Like You.

Good friends will take you out to the bar and let you cry into your French martini during a break up. Great friends will take you out, buy you shots of cake batter vodka, and sing songs about lying, cheating, bastards who never deserved you in the first place.

I have great friends.

As we were driving to the bar, I made the Sara's promise me one thing. They would not, under any circumstances, make me sing I Will Survive. I will not be the girl who breaks up with her boyfriend, gets drunk, and sings outdated, cliche crap in front of strangers. Will. Not.

I didn't have to. The minute Sara 2 sat down, this little old lady in cowgirl boots got up on the stage and sang it for me. Sara 1 dragged me to the floor and started dancing. I felt stupid. I felt vulnerable. I felt exposed. I was embarrassed. And that very moment, I decided not to care. I danced right along with her and it took almost til the end of the song to realize that I was, despite myself, having fun. We might have looked like idiots but we were laughing the whole time. Laughter is truly the very best medicine.

Still troubling me was the plain fact that I am not the world's best singer. Especially after both of the Sara's went, I was more nervous than ever. Yes, I belt out a ballad when I'm driving alone in my car, or sing along to the radio while I'm cleaning the apartment but that's not the same as singing in front of actual humans. Can't. Do. It.

Enter drunk man with words of encouragement.

His voice echoed in my head: You are braver than you give yourself credit for. You don't know anybody here. When you wake up tomorrow, will it matter that you got up and sang karaoke? Probably not. Will it matter if you didn't? Yes. Because you're letting your fears get the best of you. You are stronger than your fears. Come on, what have you got to lose? Nothing. Sometimes in life, you just have to smile and say Fuck It!!!

And that's when they called my name.