Monthly Archives: November 2011

The Dating Project…Meet Rose!

Welcome Back to…

The Dating Project, the newest segment here at The Inside Voice! We’re talking to sexy, successful and smarty-pants women to find out what they really think and feel about dating. Because being single doesn’t mean you’re ALONE.

Let’s meet Rose!***

1. How old are you? 26

2. Are you currently in a relationship? Yes.

Oh, lovely. How long have you been dating? 3 weeks.

How fun! We’ll get back to your new romance soon enough. But first– 

3. Place in order of importance: Work, Friends, Relationship, Other.

Relationships and work are tied for number one. And friends are steadily in there too. Ideally all those things would be equal, and have my equal attention.

4. Can you spot any patterns in past relationships?

Recently, I’ve dated people who don’t live in the same geographical place as I am. I’ve asked myself if I’m trying to sabotage the relationships by choosing people so far away. I don’t think I am. It’s just that I love to travel and explore. And I’m attracted to people with shared passions and interests like that. I’m also fiercely independent, and I love that in other people. I’ve been in relationships with equally independent people who aren’t tied down by regular 9-5 jobs, or a clear and steady path. The problem is that they don’t want to be tied down by a relationship either. So that doesn’t always work out well. And now, my current guy is applying to graduate schools all over the country for the Fall, so there’s that whole geographical thing popping up again. But I’m trying to focus on the present.

5. Rate yourself, on a scale 1-10:

Self-Love-9

Self Confidence-8

6. Rate yourself, on a scale 1-10:

Attractiveness-7

7. What barriers keep you from meeting a guy you like?

In the past year, I’ve been meeting lots of people. But now I’m dealing with an overactive schedule. I’m too busy and there just isn’t enough time to meet the right people. Because I meet so many people, I get confused about how to sift through all of that “raw data.”

8. How do you think you get in your own way, in terms of meeting people?

Well, I would always feel so open and receptive when I was traveling. And so I met all these foreign boys. But then I realized I could choose to be open even when I wasn’t traveling, like when I was just living at home like a normal person.

9. What does your dating life look like now?

I’m dating this new guy, I really like him. We talk just about every day, either on the phone or in person. We see each other like every other day or so. We both want someone to “check in with.” Even though I have amazing friends, now it’s like I have this one person who’s consistent and there for me. I feel like I’m not alone.

10. What attributes are most attractive to you in a partner?

I want my partner to be passionate about their work, and art, and their contribution to the world, whatever that is. I want them to be compassionate toward others. I like intense and serious people, but at the same time, I couldn’t be with someone who took themselves too seriously–that’s such a turn off!

11. a) What does your perfect love life look like?

Well, I’d be in a relationship with someone who definitely lives in the same place as I do. That would be a good start. We’d both be on our own path, but those paths would somehow be integrated. We’d be supportive of each other. We’d be a steady presence for each other. The relationship would be physically rejuvenating and restorative. I’d like to live in some place rural, or at least connected to the environment. We’d make things grow together, both plants and projects.

Wow. That was the most beautiful image ever.   

b) In a word (or words), what does that scenario feel like?

It feels like being wrapped up in a blanket, sitting in front of a fireplace. Together we’re feeding logs to the fire, making it grow. It’s warm and comfy.

Seriously Rose, you’re too good. 

12. Last question, do you believe in “The One”?

I don’t know. On one hand, there are endless people in the world, so it seems impossible. But then again, maybe there can be one person that’s perfect for you, but that doesn’t mean they have to fill all of your needs. You need other relationships too, I think.

Thanks Rose! You’re such a love muffin!

Inside Voice Wrap Up: Rose came to me wanting to talk about her past relationships, and I suspect, wanting to tell me all about her new relationship. She is happy and hopeful, even though it’s very new. She reported that she and her boyfriend started to share their life dreams with each other. They don’t have the same dreams, exactly, but she can see how their dreams and plans could work together. She said she’d never been that honest with someone before. And I don’t think she’d been that vulnerable before either. That’s a big deal. Whether this relationship lasts for 50 more years or 5 more minutes, Rose knows how to love. She loves herself, and she allows herself to be vulnerable. She can sit in a place of discomfort or uncertainty without throwing a tantrum. I’m thrilled to find out how her love life unfolds.

***Some names have been changed, some haven’t. Each woman has the option to use her own name or choose her fantasy pseudonym. I’m not telling which ones are which. Hear these women’s voices. Listen to their stories. They’re just like you!

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Hesitation…till the very last moment.

Should I go to yoga class?

As I walk down the subway stairs, I can’t decide. While I wait on the platform to transfer to the local train, I’m on the fence. As I walk up the stairs onto the street, I waver.  Pounding the pavement toward the studio, I’m still torn.  I open the door, and here I am.

I guess I’m going to class.

Sometimes decisions are made with my feet. My whole body propels me forward, while my mind flounders. If not for the momentum of my body, I’d be stuck going in circles, or worse, paralyzed with doubt.

It’s hesitation till the very last moment. Ever feel that? Perhaps you have plans to attend a holiday party. Or meet some friends for a drink. Or even go to the gym for a quick workout. The mind says…”Maybe, maybe not, maybe, maybe not, etc.”  And before you know it, you’ve arrived at your destination, and the answer becomes “YES.”  Phew, the sweet relief of a decision made.

It’s exhausting. You’ve just spent more energy hesitating than on the actual business at hand. And now the Holiday Season is officially here, an already stressful time. Don’t you want to make things easier on yourself? So when the mind whips up a generous helping of confusion, indecision and doubt, just keep moving forward. One step at a time.

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Thanksgiving Wrap-Up: The Same, but Different

Thanksgiving was delicious, joyful, and a beauty to behold. Just like last year. In fact, it was so familiar and unremarkable in its good cheer that I almost overlooked how this year’s Thanksgiving dinner was very different from last year.

Thanksgiving Bound!

This year I have a boyfriend.

Many of  you know this by now. You know that my boyfriend’s name is Alan and that he’s kind and charming and I think he’s pretty special. What you may not know is that Alan has an equally kind and charming, and super-adorable daughter named Sophie. She’s the spitting image of her dad. (I love that about her.) And this year, both Alan and Sophie joined us to give thanks.

I filled Sophie’s plate with cranberry sauce, and passed the butternut squash to Alan. My father talked, my mother cleaned, and I loosened my belt  as a precautionary measure. Everyone laughed and kvetched about something. It all felt comfortable and right.

But Thanksgiving was different this year, and I’m over-the-moon thankful for it.

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Filed under Inside Your Family, Inside Your Love Life, Inside Your Lunch Pail

11 Reasons I Say THANK YOU.

In no particular order, I say THANK YOU because…

1. My rent hasn’t gone up this year. Thank you, rent stabilization.

2. I have health insurance. Dental and vision included.

3. I have a boyfriend. And he’s dreamy.

4. I have a MacBook Pro. It scares me but I’m grateful for it.

5. I have a hairdresser that I trust. The “natural look” takes a lot of care and consideration.

6. My students are incredible and supportive.

7. My bosses are incredible and supportive.

8. Loehmann’s offers special birthday sales to insider card members.

9. I am healthy.

10. The Louie G’s Italian Ices stand is open through November. To go, obviously.

11. I am loved. My life is perfect.

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Filed under Inside the Yoga Studio, Inside Your Career, Inside Your City, Inside Your Closet, Inside Your Family, Inside Your Friendships, Inside Your Love Life, Inside Your Lunch Pail, Inside Your Make-up Bag

Welcome to…The Dating Project!

Welcome to…..

The Dating Project, the newest segment here at The Inside Voice!  We’re talking to sexy, successful and smarty-pants women to find out what they really think and feel about dating. Because being single doesn’t mean you’re ALONE.

Let’s meet Laura!***

1. How old are you? 25

2. Are you in a relationship? Nope. I never dated in High School. I didn’t have a real relationship till my sophomore year in college.

3. a) Place in order of importance: Work, Friends, Relationship, Other.

Work is number one. I’m currently in transition with my work. So that’s the most pressing thing right now. But soon I’d like friends and relationships to be tied for number one and work to be after that. Basically I’m looking for a better balance.

b) What’s holding you back from prioritizing friendships and relationships? I’m from California, and I came to NYC for a great job and the hopefully a great career. But I guess I don’t know if I want to be here if my work isn’t here. And then why would I get into a relationship and start a family here?

Hmmm, that seems to be a whole other conversation about where to raise a family, how much involvement your parents will have in your life, etc. Oh boy, we’re just getting started.

4. Can you spot any patterns in past relationships?

Yeah, I run away when things get too close. As soon as the guy, or the relationship, takes up too much time in my life, I run away. It happens over and over. I really like a lot of alone time. I guess I need to find a balance with that too. For some reason though, men find that hard to understand, that I really like to spend time alone.

5. Rate yourself, on a scale 1-10:

Self-love-5

Self-confidence-5

6. Rate yourself, on a scale 1-10:

Attractiveness-Now, I’m a 6. But six months ago, I was a 4.

What happened?

My mantra over the past 6 months was “Lose Weight, Feel Great, Will Date.” My best friend and I decided to focus on losing weight and meeting the man of our dreams. And of course feeling better about ourselves too.  So going to yoga is part of that whole thing. I’ve lost a lot of weight, and I feel more attractive. Yoga’s really great because I feel like I’m discovering my body in a whole new way. I did the boot camp stuff too and it totally worked. Meanwhile, my friend found love, and now she’s engaged to a guy she met online and moving to Santa Fe to be with him. So I feel a little behind, ya know?

Wow, that’s quite a story! I’m so glad you found yoga as part of your wellness regime.

7. What are 3 barriers that keep you from meeting a guy you like?

My self-confidence in my appearance definitely gets in the way. I’m not sure how appealing I am. I still feel like I’m not there yet. I still have more weight to lose. Also, people say its hard to date in NYC. I’m not sure if it’s the whole city but seems like people don’t really connect. Also, my parents and the rest of my family is in California. I’m still not sure if I’ll start a relationship and settle here. It’s possible, I’m just not sure.

8. What does your dating life look like now?

Now? Nada. In the past I did online dating. I was on OK Cupid, Match.com. and JDate. My last online date was three months ago. I decided to stop paying to have my sites active.

9. What attributes are most attractive to you in a partner?

I want someone like my dad. I want a “good guy”. No NYC slimeballs. I want a nice boy, someone funny, cute (or cute-ish). Like a solid, moral guy. I’m a little scared it’s not possible in NYC.

FYI, I met my very nice gentleman friend here in NYC. So it’s possible!

10. a) What does your perfect love life look like?

I want a relationship that still gives me space. I want someone happy and funny. I want someone to tell all the stupid things that you tell your closest friends. I want someone I can have cute babies with! Also, someone I can buy sheets with, a buddy, a partner.

b) In a word (or words), what does that scenario feel like? Happy, not lonely. Excited, Bright, Thrilled, Cheery.

11. Last question. Gotta ask, Do you believe in “The One”?

No. But I do believe it only takes one.

Thanks Laura!

Inside Voice Wrap Up: Laura is super fun and whip-smart. But don’t let her fool you–She’s as beautiful on the outside as she is on the inside. I didn’t know her pre-weightloss but I can sincerely say that she looks like she’s healthy and sexy, just as she is right now. Laura is the fireball in her family, and moving to NYC from California was no small deal. Even her 80-year-old grandma thinks she’s bold and spunky, and supports her fully. As does the rest of her family. Laura is supported and loved. The only missing piece to finding a loving relationship will come from the inside. Luckily, Laura is incredibly self-aware and proactive about her happiness, so love will come fast. She wants to be happy and totally confident in her own skin. And so she will be. She wants to find meaningful work, and so she will. As for the NYC thing, that’s just crazytalk. When Laura is comfy on the inside, she’ll be ready for Mr. Just-Like-Dad to come into her life. Doesn’t matter what coast she’s on. Love happens all over the place!

***Some names have been changed, some haven’t. Each woman has the option to use her own name or choose her fantasy pseudonym. I’m not telling which ones are which. Hear these women’s voices. Listen to their stories. They’re just like you!

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Introducing…The Dating Project!

Introducing…..

The Dating Project, the newest segment here at The Inside Voice!  We’re talking to sexy, successful and smarty-pants women to find out what they really think and feel about dating. Because being single doesn’t mean you’re ALONE.

So, let’s get right to it–Meet Ruth!***

1. How old are you? 28

2. Are you in a relationship right now? No.

3. How old were you when you got into your…

first real relationship? 22

first kiss? 17

first role in the hay? 22

4. Place in order of importance: Work, Friends, Relationship, Other

Right now, meaningful work is number one. Without that, I can’t focus on anything else seriously. After that, close friendships and relationships. I really want  more of a community. I feel like I have a lot of friends, but we hang all out separately. I have a few communities here in NYC, but I’d love to have them all meshed somehow.

5. Can you spot any patterns in past relationships?

Definitely! Putting up with too much, accommodating too much. I try to keep things snarky and witty in relationships, sometimes to avoid actually saying what I feel. When I’m uncomfortable, I aim to please.

6. Wow, that’s a lot! Sounds like you’ve put some thought into this! Ok, so what does your dating life look like now?

nonexistent. I’m good at flirting but I usually just act like myself all the time, nothing put on or overdone.

7. That’s a good strategy. Being yourself is a very good thing. So, on a scale of 1-10, How confident are you?

I’d say a 6, but it varies a lot. I think I have a lot of perception of what’s happening around me, and the feelings of others. But I’m least confident about where I am in my life professionally, and how much I’m actually capable of. I’m pretty hard on myself.

8. On a scale of 1-10, how comfortable are you interacting with potential partners?

I’m pretty comfortable interacting with people, but I never meet people I’m interested in. In the past, I met guys at work or school. My parents told me I’d meet someone doing activities that I enjoy, or through friends of friends. Kinda quaint, right?

9. What attributes are most attractive to you in a partner?

Definitely humor, and confidence.

10. A) What do you want your dating/love life to look like?

Right now, I want someone who can easily fold into my life. I want something meaningful. I want to be pursued. I want someone to take charge. I want someone to call the shots. I want someone with strong opinions, and clear in their desires. I guess I want a friend first, but I’m also happy being single.

B) In a word, what does that scenario feel like? Safe.

11. So, what’s holding you back?

I feel stuck right now, professionally. And that translates into everything else. I need more confidence in my work life before I can get confidence in dating.

12. OK, last question. Do you believe in “The One”?

Nahh. But I used to. I want to be married eventually. I want a partner. I want us to have our own lives, respecting and growing and learning together. But there could be a number of people who could fill that role.

Thanks Ruth!!! You’re fabulous.

Inside Voice Wrap Up: Ruth is gorgeous. She’s serious, she’s smart, she has a can-do attitude. She told me that talking about her love life, her desires, and her past helped her to work out her thoughts on love and dating. She’s optimistic, and she should be! Ruth is completely herself in everything she does. I believe that when Ruth finds a meaningful job, she’ll feel more confident. And when she’s more confident, she’ll be more relaxed and settled, and ready for someone just as fabulous as she is to waltz into her life.

***Some names have been changed, some haven’t. Each woman has the option to use her own name or choose her fantasy pseudonym. I’m not telling which ones are which. Hear these women’s voices. Listen to their stories. They’re just like you!

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How to Sit Still.

I’m sitting in front of the computer, surfing the web, checking the wedding section of the New York Times. I’m shooting out emails, and double checking my calendar for the upcoming week.

To be precise, I’m using my boyfriend Alan’s computer and sitting in Alan’s office chair.  My calendar and journal are splayed out on Alan’s desk, and I’m surrounded by Alan’s books.

Alan, conveniently, is sitting at the kitchen table, grading papers and writing with a pen and paper. He’s old-fashioned like that.

We are sitting in silence.

Our silence is still, sweet, and productive. Yet at a different time, with a different person, this type of scenario might have felt a lot less so.

Have you ever been in a room with someone, siting politely, wordless, and all the while climbing the walls? The silence isn’t silent at all, but a loud and stressful roar. On the outside you’re calm. On the inside you’re anything but.

I recently had this type of experience. I was in a car, in silence, in the passenger seat, in a rainstorm.  The driver was my mom and her knuckles were whiter than fresh snow. She declared “no talking”, as she needed complete silence to concentrate on the road. That was a very loud silence, indeed.

Alternately, it is possible for two people to sit in silence, and in comfort. Each person holds a space for the other to be themselves. Each person takes care of themselves. No one is being coddled, nor stifled. No one is looking for approval or guidance. No one feels put-upon. Both are simply existing as their best individual selves while in the presence of someone else who knows that their best is absolutely extraordinary.

I choose the second option, thank you very much. I appreciate the time Alan and I are together, still and silent. And in a few short moments I’ll get up, close the browser on his computer, and walk across the apartment to give my boyfriend a kiss.

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Filed under Inside Your Family, Inside Your Friendships, Inside Your Love Life

Happy Time?

Yesterday, I woke up naturally. The crisp autumn light was pouring through the windows. The curtains were wide open, as usual. That night I’d allowed my body to sleep a restful and restorative 9 hours.

And yet, I was stressed. Antsy. And completely out of sorts. You see, I’m not used to waking up after sunrise.  I’m a very early riser.  My boyfriend nicknamed me “Farmer Daniella” because I’m up and down with the sun. The early morning is my time, no matter how warm and soft the blankets feel when I first hear my alarm. In the darkness, I know the day will be full and eventful.  Before the sun rises, I feel like I have all time in the world. I am happy.

But yesterday, opening my eyes only to squint them shut again, I felt I’d missed something.  I felt as if I was already behind. The day’s plan felt jumbled.  There were things to do, and seemingly not enough time to do them.

Luckily, after a long shower and a generous pour (or 3) of morning coffee I was more relaxed and ready for the day.

But I couldn’t ignore my reaction. I like to think of myself as a free spirit, easy-going and relaxed. But clearly I’m a creature of habit. My happiness is more dependent on outside factors than I could previously admit.

Fine. So what are they?

I’m happy in the morning, with the day open with hope and possibility. I’m happy when I’ve accomplished at least one thing that day, deep in the flow of my work. I’m happy walking, moving, and breathing deeply. I’m happy singing to myself (just a little too loudly) on a crowded city sidewalk. I’m happy sitting on the subway, thumb-typing emails on my blackberry, freeing up time to play above ground on the other side of my journey.

And guess what? We all have the power to make ourselves happy.  We can design our own happiness, create optimal situations for it, and produce it every day–just the way we like it!

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