A Lesson in Humility… in Self-Love

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Being the oldest of four children, the one word I heard most while growing up was Share. Yes, Share was said even more than Quiet. Well, sometimes.

Everything was shared, from my room to my hair barrettes; right down to the personal pan pizza redeemed for meeting my Book It! quota. But one of the first lessons in sharing was learned in sharing attention. I was four years old when I became a big sister. At first I struggled with the fact there was a new kid on the block. Better yet, in my bedroom. The baby took all of Mom and Dad’s time. I couldn’t laugh as loud as I wanted as before without getting shushed. The baby was sleeping. The baby called the shots and we were all at her whim.

I was fed up and hid her clothes, hoping she was disappear too. My mother explained that my parents still loved me, but I was no longer an only child. Being a good big sister meant understanding that not everything was about me anymore. But to my five year old ears, anymore meant never again.

I never wanted her to feel bad or upset, so I let her win at every game we played. I gave her the first and last cookie. I gave the clothes off my Barbie’s back. As I started to make everything about her, I slowly dimmed myself.

Putting her first made me feel like I was being a good big sister. A good daughter. This carried over to my life outside of home. Being one of the few kids in my Kingergarten class who could read, I felt guilty reading aloud, worried that I’d somehow hurt the other students’ feelings. I hid my high test scores from my classmates. My cheeks would flush embarrassment when I was praised in front of my peers. I felt that my achievements were nothing to be proud of because they put me ahead of others. Every wonderful thing I did was followed by a It’s not a big deal or It’s nothing special.

I had it all wrong. I was not being humble or modest, I was being self-deprecating at every turn. I had replaced It’s with I. The more I said it, the more I believed. I felt everyone was more deserving, more beautiful, more worthy. I had made myself Quasimodo in my own Notre Dame, ringing the bells and singing the praises of others, never of myself.

I dumbed myself down for my dating partners, whispered my ideas at work. By midday my eyeliner and lipgloss would be smeared off my face and onto a tissue. Attention, of any kind, made me anxious. It felt wrong to be noticed. I felt more comfortable in the background, playing Cyrano and pushed my ideas through others who I felt had more of a voice.

I’m still struggling with this, but have learned that hiding me: my thoughts, feelings and talents is extremely selfish. One person being inspired by something I do, say, or write is more valuable than hording my gifts to myself. Denying my greatness does no one any favors and only does to me a disservice. Humility comes with the connotation of respect not disrespect of oneself.

My sister graduates college this year as the most decorated athlete in her university’s history. I will be there to cheer her on. Cheers coming from a place of balance, self-respect, but most importantly love.

photo © Anders Lundstedt | Dreamstime.com

Aside

One summer, when I was young, my family passed by the Twin Towers. I begged my mother to go inside, but being that we were short on time, she assured me that I’d get to go later, because “The WTC isn’t going anywhere.”

Ten years ago, the towers were lost along with the lives of many loved ones. Condolences to those who lost. RIP to those who passed. Live now, love now to everyone.

9.11

Rollercoasters to Ferris Wheels

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To most people, autumn means the color change of leaves and cozy sweaters. To others, pumpkins and spiced treats. But to me, growing up in North Carolina, autumn meant prize-winning pigs, boiled peanuts, and cotton candy. The fair had come to town.

Every fall was marked with the smell of popcorn and funnel cakes. Fingers covered in powdered sugar and stained by candied apples would dig around in coat pockets to fish out tickets for rides. My mother would hold our fairground grub and prizes while my sister and I rode the Himalaya. This was the true marker of the season’s change, a tradition that carried for eleven years straight until I moved to New York.

Here in New York, fall took on a new meaning. Fall of 2002, I entered my Senior year of high school. Fall of 2003 was my Freshman year of college. Fall of 2009, my nearly five year relationship ended. I was devastated and struggled to find comfort. Here held too many memories of the times we were happy… and the times we were not. There was only one place I wanted to be and one thing I wanted to do. I called Mom and told her I was coming home and we were going to the State Fair.

Though it had been nearly eight years since we were all together at the fair, it felt the same as before. Mom still juggled turkey legs and stuffed animals and we still rode the Himalaya. The carnival noises and lights still made my eyes go saucer wide. I was surrounded by love. And there, between bites of smoked turkey legs and watergun games, my autumn, which started with heartbreak, experienced a change of its own.

First Love in 2nd Grade

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I started reading at almost three years old and by 2nd grade, I was reading at Middle School comprehension levels. One of the boys in my class, Chris, was also an accelerated reader so our teacher allowed us to check out library books reserved only for 5th graders.

Sitting on nylon mats with legs folded underneath ourselves, we helped each other with the phonetics and definitions of words new to us. He never made fun of me when I stumbled over words that seemed to be too many consonants, not enough vowels; my strength was in understanding passages and tone. There, in the quiet reading section of our classroom, while everyone went to recess, we read. And in between chapters of Bridge to Terabithia it happened. I fell in (puppy) love.

I was living recess to recess, praying the teacher would grant extended minutes of play and we could continue to read. The time spent reading with Chris was a welcome change from the rest of the school day, when our classmates would tease me. I was pretty easy to pick on as I was chubby and spoke with a lisp. But when I read, these things didn’t matter. Books took me elsewhere, to a world where no one laughed because I struggled with saying, “Sufferin’ succotash!” and spaghetti. A world I shared with him, who told me, I was the smartest girl he knew. I asked my mother for an extra dollar for the Book Fair so I could buy us matching bookmarks. I still remember presenting it to him at the end of the school year. With the gift came bad news though, as I told him my family was moving and that I would not be back that Fall.

That was the last time I saw Chris. I made friends with my new classmates, eventually spending my recess outside playing kickball, in which I did not totally suck. But every so often, I’d ask my teacher if I could sit indoors, on a nylon mat to read. When the whistle blew, I’d mark my place with the bookmark identical to the one I gave him. The bookmark that not only reminded me of where I was in my book, but of my friend and the time I shared with him.

photo © Andreja Donko | Dreamstime.com

Aside

Yes, it has been a terribly long time… and the hibernation is now over!

There was no soul searching. No metaphysical ruminations. All it took was a Women of Google+ hangout to inspire me to get my butt back in gear. I’m done hiding out. I’m comfortable sharing my ideas online and here is where I belong.

So, what does that mean for Cupid’s Eros? A lot. The posts will have to take a bit of a back seat for right now as I work on getting the layout/theme just right. But I will be around, so enjoy my past posts, leave comments, start discussions and I’ll let you know when new content is up.

There’s more! So. much. more!

XO,
K

Finally… revamp to Cupid’s Eros coming soon!

Philia

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Yesterday was the not only the end of a year, but the end of my trip home to visit my family in North Carolina. I had planned and packed for a trip lasting only three days, but thanks to the Second North American Blizzard of 2010 aka Snowmageddon aka Snowpocalypse, I was in the Good Ol’ North State for nearly a week. Left with no choice, I took the earliest flight out of OAJ which was the 12:40pm flight with two connections, returning to LGA at 6:30pm on New Year’s Eve. After less than lovely flights on propeller planes, I almost succumbed to my bed’s calls. “I’ve missed you. You’ve missed me. Let’s catch up, shall we?”

“Some other time…” I had two hours to go from Frequent Flyer to Foxy New Year’s Eve Reveler. I could hear the tick of my mother’s kitchen timer in my head while I showered. Hurry hurry! You can’t miss this bus, the next won’t come for another hour. There would be no way you’d make it Downtown before midnight. My next thought left me frozen. You’d ring in the New Year, alone.

*Cue the Psycho scream*

Call it tradition or superstition, but for as long as I can remember, my New Year’s Eve celebrations have always been with loved ones and/or friends. The thought of me, alone, on a subway car between the Hunts Point and Longwood Avenue stops at the stroke of midnight was terrifying. Entering a new year surrounded by strangers? What would that mean for the rest of the year? Was my Spinster prophecy coming true? No, I cannot enter the New Year with negative thoughts. As I dressed, I began to spin the outcome and meaning of me ringing in the New Year solo. I moved back to New York in December 2001. Twenty-eleven will mark my ten year anniversary, for which I do plan to throw a party. I moved here alone, leaving all that was familiar behind in North Carolina. I was surrounded by strangers. I went from seeing the same people everyday to utter newness. I had no friends, didn’t know anyone in any of my classes. I even ate lunch alone. Were things coming full circle? You’ve got no time to think about this right now. Hurry hurry!

The transit gods were on my side. I caught my bus and the train showed up as scheduled. Leaping over piles of now tarnished snow, I arrived at our meeting place on time. However, my friends had not. They were on their way, but stuck in traffic. It’s 11:15 pm, no big deal. Fifteen minutes pass and then another fifteen. They still had not arrived. The pounding bass of the music was not enough to quiet my thoughts. It’s fate and a cycle completing itself. You can’t fight fate. Just let it be. My phone vibrates and interrupts my internal pep talk.

It’s a text. “Nside.” My arms fly above my head and my feet do a quick shuffle. People must have thought the DJ was playing my jam. He wasn’t and I didn’t care that I looked like Mumble in the middle of the dance floor. And as we counted down to midnight, the tradition continued. Philia had foiled my supposed fate.

Happy New Year!

Thank God for Google Voice! Act III: Call Me a Cab

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Getting into a cab can sometimes feel like stepping into your doctor’s office. You know you may be faced with an embarrassing question that you’re not quite sure how to answer. I’ve been living in New York for nine years and the Cabbie Q & A, as I affectionately call it, kicks off with the same question every time…

Where is your husband?

Pretty painless. I know the answer to this one. I got this. “My husband? I don’t have one,” I say to the eyes floating in the rear-view mirror. A blink and a nod is returned to my response while a breath is drawn in. “Oh, well I am sure you have a boyfriend,” ninety-nine percent of the time comes next, which used to garner a, “Yes, I do,” out of me. Used to. The first time I quipped back, “Well, no. No I don’t,” I sat back, looked out the window and thought the interview was over. I was wrong.

Wow, I am really surprised a girl like you doesn’t have a husband or a boyfriend. You should be married. I am not married too. Would you like to marry me?

A cabbie proposal! I finally felt like a real New Yorker despite being born and semi-raised here. “You’re funny,” I say after a hearty laugh, only to realize there were no longer eyes in the rear-view. We were stopped at a light and he had turned around to look at me. Looking at me, waiting for my answer. My laugh melted like Frosty in Florida. A disappointed look was smeared all over his face as he explained to me that he was not kidding.

He was a forty-two year old man from Pakistan who had never been married. He said his parents had been putting pressure on him to marry a nice girl because, as he put it, time was running out. So he figured since I was unmarried and he was unmarried, we should marry. Creepiness aside, the whole thing sounded so apocalyptic. I got a mental image of us standing in the middle of Times Square after the world had ended. Light bulbs are flickering and shredded paper wafted in the air like Armageddon’s confetti. He is alone and I am too. Mankind depends on us to save the human race…

Pulling up to my house brings me back to reality. It is not the end of the world. He is not the last man on Earth and I am not the last woman, so I decline his offer. He pleads with me to think about it, cajoling me with free cab rides to and from work. These rides would provide us time to get to know each other. A riding engagement. Then we would marry and he would take me to Pakistan to meet his family, who would love a big-eyed girl like me. He would be all the husband I would ever want and I would be his queen. I again decline and he asks for my phone number so he can show me he is serious.

Now, I know you are thinking, “Just get out of the cab!”, but this man now knows where I live and it’s dark outside. And besides, the doors are locked. So, I give him my number… my Google Voice number, which he decides to test while I am in the cab. To his surprise, the number is not a fake and he unlocks the doors. “I hope I can get you to change your mind,” he says as I collect my things from the backseat. “And I hope you find the woman you’re meant to marry,” I call out as I close the door.

Thank God for Google Voice!

photo © Typhoonski | Dreamstime.com

New direction…

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I know it has been quite some time since I have posted… Heck, it’s been a long time since I have written anything.

Originally, Cupid’s Eros was to be a love blog of sorts. Not love advice, but a chronicle of the journey, my journey, to love. I’m not sure if people understood this, but all my stories on Cupid’s Eros were past events. I was in a relationship when I started the blog and wanting to find humor in every situation, thought it would be fun to recount the tales of all the awkward dates, poor choices, and straight-up weirdness that led me to my present (but now past) situation. Well, things did not quite turn out as I had hoped and as I never felt quite comfortable writing about present-day life matters, the writing came to a halt. Out of respect for myself and my dates, I could not bring myself to blab about my current (and again, now past) dating adventures. So Cupid’s Eros sat and collected dust… kind of like my love life. Eerie.

I’ll be honest though, you didn’t miss much. I putted through dates like a game of half-hearted mini golf. Everyone encouraged me to get back out There, and I still have not found just where this mythical There is. But, my pursuit of the Land of There lead me to sitting in a bar, on a date with this man who scratched his balls at the rate a human baby blinks. These were not minor adjustments… he was scratching with a deep digging vigor one does when trying to get pasta sauce out of one’s brand new cream-colored carpet. First and last date. Another time, I found myself sitting across the table from a man who let the check sit on the table for eons while bouncing his eyes from me, to the check, to his watch, and back to me. Only when I gestured to pick up the tab, does he say, “I’ll treat you. I normally don’t do this. I’m not going to go gaga over you, I know better.” Oh really, dude? First and last date.

Each date was more lackluster than the previous which ultimately lead me to dating someone I had known for years, but never paid very much attention to… myself. I took myself on vacation, twice, to places I had forever longed to see. I started to learn more about who I am, how I am, and what made me attractive in my own right. I learned that I am as fearless as I am chicken. As agile as I am clumsy. As “fantastically romantic”, as one friend called me, as I am a total goofball. In the past, I had never actively sought out a partner. I went about my normal life and if I happened to meet someone I wanted to be with and who felt the same about me, we got together. I was forcing myself to go on dates, forcing myself to find someone I liked and ended up not liking anyone, at times, not even myself. My turning my love and attention inward had led me to live again as my most authentic self.

So what does this have to do with Cupid’s Eros? For starters, no more date stories. Yeah, I know. **Tragic. But, I will be sharing my travel stories and general ideas and thoughts on growing into my mid-twenties. It will be a potpourri, little bits and pieces that contribute to a whole, lovely sweet-smelling experience. When I finally get my dSLR (I’ve been dreaming of the Canon T2i for some time), I’ll share my photography. For now, you’ll have to settle for a photo I took while in San Juan, on my first solo vacation, this October.

It was my first day in Puerto Rico and I was still in New York City mode. I hurried down the street like a mall speedwalker. I wasn’t making eye contact with anyone and mumbled a rushed Buenas to those who passed, until I saw this Stop sign. It had dawned on me that I had never seen a Stop sign in a language other than English, so I took a photo of it. Standing in the middle of the street, adjusting my camera settings, I had finally stopped. I heard the Coquis, the waves, and stopped worrying that I looked like the ultimate tourist taking a picture of a traffic sign. On the walk back to the hotel, I took my time and enjoyed the streets and residents of Condado, greeting and returning a genuine greeting of Buenas.

**said in my most sarcastic voice.

Thank God for Google Voice! Act II: You Ain’t Slick

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Brunch is the best meal of the day. Bloody Marys and mimosas aside, ladies brunch for one reason only… the chisme! The setup is completely familiar and often involves a story about a guy. One of your girlfriends regales the table with the tale, everyone is nodding, inhaling “What?!” and exhaling, “Mmhmm”. The antagonist is on the receiving end of so much side-eye one would think he was sitting at the next table. Let’s pretend we’re at brunch and I’m telling this over Eggs Norwegian. Yum!

Act II. Jeff. Age Unknown. Occupation Unknown.

I met Jeff at my friend Amanda’s houseparty. When I arrived, he and Amanda were talking with a few other friends. Their closeness implied that they were together; maybe not boyfriend and girlfriend, but definitely more than casual old friends. Amanda, upon seeing me, greets me with a big hello and shows me where everyone is leaving their coats before scooting off to continue entertaining her guests. Then she disappears. Enter Jeff.

He introduces himself by name and then asks me how I heard about the party. Read: Do you know Amanda? I tell him Amanda and I are friends, meeting years ago when I was a freelance make-up artist. He suggests we swap information being that he’s working on a few projects and may need make-up. I didn’t feel he wasn’t flirting with or coming on to me at all, but something just didn’t feel right about this guy. “Sure, I’m always interested in hearing who needs make-up. My number is…” and I proceed to give him the Google Voice.

A few days later, while I’m on the phone with a newly 20 year old Jared (see Newborn entry), Jeff calls and leaves a voicemail message. Yes, I sent him to voicemail. Jeff was business and though I was looking to get back into doing make-up again, Jared was fun. In this instance, Fun beat the snot out of Business. “Hey, Kim! I was calling to see what you were doing this weekend. Um, when you get this, I guess you can give me a call back.” I return the call later that day, “I’m free this weekend. Is someone looking for make-up?” Little did I know, that call wasn’t about a shoot, make-up, or anything business related. “No. I was wondering if you’d like to get together for coffee or something.” It was the “or something” that didn’t sit well with me. I call one of my best friends (who originally introduced me to Amanda) to get the scoop on this Jeff.

“What’s the deal with Jeff?”
“He and Amanda and dating. Why?”
“He called me just now and asked if I wanted to meet up for coffee or something.”
“No way! Does he know you’re friends with Amanda? They are seeing each other. I don’t know if they’ve had The Talk, but they are definitely seeing each other.”

My friend suggests she tell Amanda being that she knows her better than I do and thank goodness she did. Amanda was pretty upset and embarrassed about the whole situation. Understandably so… your date tries to pick up one of your friends they meet at your party in your house? Trife. Did he think she wouldn’t find out? Did he not care? Whatever his thinking, or lack of, was doesn’t matter to me. He’s going to need a pretty strong make-up remover to get rid of the egg all over his face.

Thank God for Google Voice! A Story in 3 Acts…

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Forget a new haircut.  A new pair of heels.  A new attitude.  The one thing no dating girl should be without is Google Voice.  My request for a GV number was answered a week into my new adventures in Singledom and could not have come at a better time.  Though I’ve only given out the number a handful of times, its endless worth is unmistakable.  Let me count the ways.

Act I. Jamal. 29. Internet Marketing.

Jamal approached me outside of Maoz as I about to cross the street.  “Excuse me,” he says, in such a tone that I thought he was looking to walk around me, not start a conversation, so I move to the left.  As we cross the street, he looks over and says, “That was an opening to talk to you.”  A wordsmith he is not. Once we cross, he formally introduces himself, chats me up a bit and actually gets a few laughs out of me. “You seem like someone I’d like to get to know,” he says and asks for my number. Awkward opening aside, he is upbeat, confident, the owner of a killer set of dimples. I oblige and give him my number. My Google Voice number.

It doesn’t have a local NYC area code which automatically draws a raised eyebrow from him. He clears his throat and sternly says, “Hold on, let me call you so you can have my number as well.” I know what that means… “This sounds like a fake number. I want to make sure your phone rings.” Phone to his ear, he’s studying my face for a trace of deceit, as if he had busted me. My rule is this: If I don’t know you and none of my friends know you, you’re a complete stranger. Strangers get the Google Voice number. Needless to say, my phone in fact does ring. “You thought it was a fake number,” I say upon answering. “Well, it didn’t sound like a New York number…”

Later that night he calls and boy was I glad I had not let those dimples sway my judgment. Gone is the easy-going cheerful guy I had met hours before. His tone is now accusatory, investigative. He asks me why I gave him my phone number, what I was looking for a in a man, and what I felt I had to offer. Jesus Christo, tranquilla papa! I felt I was being interrogated. I decide make the convo less SVU and more Sweet Valley and ask him what he does for fun, what his hobbies are. Simple enough question, right? “I like to think everything is fun. From working, to going to the club, to having sex. Even taking a shit is fun.” I laugh out a What?! only to realize he is completely serious about what he said. He then spits my question back at me with an air of “I couldn’t care less” in his voice. To make things worse, in response to everything I say, his response is, “Hmmm.” Hmmm? I’m growing increasingly annoyed. “What are you ‘Hmmm’-ing about?” I look at the clock… 11:30pm. “Oh goodness! I totally didn’t realize what time it was,” I say ever so sweetly. “I have to wake up early tomorrow, so I’m going to say goodnight, but it was nice talking to you.” He’s silent for a second. “Hmmm. Yeah, likewise.” Another Hmmm. I rolled my eyes so hard I gave myself a headache.

He texts me a couple of days later asking if I want to go out. I wonder, if I had texted back “No.” would he have texted back “Hmmm”? Oh well, if he decides to ring me again, he will be greeted with a recording saying that my number is no longer in service. Google Voice, you are a beauty.

Oh, and regarding what he said about my number not sounding like a New York number… it’s not. It’s a Florida number. Florida to reflect my sunny personality.