"Update" NYC

The Skin We Live In

There are seven layers of skin on the human body, layers within in layers. Yet, most of us are only concerned with protecting and maintaining the skin that we can actually see. We apply our daily moisturizers, sunscreen, Botox, fillers and anything else that will keep us from ever aging. It gives us a sense of confidence when our skin radiates or someone pays a compliment on how young we look. Funny how, we, as a society, only concentrate on the skin that is on the surface but what about the skin that we don’t actually see? The skin that is not visible to the human eye. The skin not mentioned by your dermatologist. I am talking about the skin that gives us our confidence, our insecurities; I am talking about…the skin we live in.

From the moment we hit puberty and are granted with our first zit. That is when it begins. Our fears of how the world views us. It’s bad enough our entire body is going through a change now it is written all over our faces that we are in fact, imperfect. Once puberty has subsided then we are faced with dealing with another set of issues…our twenties.

It’s been pretty much written to death that our twenties are designed to have us make our mistakes so that we don’t keep repeating them in our thirties and forties. We stumble through the years making one wrong choice after another. Picking the wrong people to be in a relationship with, choosing the wrong major in college and of course there are the zany fashion choices. However, even with all these mistakes, what it really did for us was toughen our delicate skin for what is just around the corner and that is a little something I like to call, the thirties.

When we sat at our desks in high school or even college, we thought that 30 was still light years away. Then we fast forward to our mid-twenties (while still making mistakes) but 30 was just peeping her head around the corner with a sly grin waiting for you to catch up. Once you finally arrive at 30, you take a look around and think, “This isn’t so bad.” It’s actually what happens after 30 that really makes things shift. There is suddenly the pressure of career (no more dead end jobs), marriage (stop dating losers) and money (how are you investing for the future?) and yet while your drivers license may you’re your 30 plus age, you still feel and act at times like that 25 year old. With no care in the world and thinking that everything will be ok because you have years to even think about those major milestones that you have yet to achieve.

As for me, I did everything ass-backwards. I moved to New York with only two things in mind. How to make it big and to find true love and I hopped from one long term relationship to the next thinking and believing that one of them would lead to what I was searching for. The reality was, is that I was doing anything to further my career; instead I went through the city with blindfolds on while I let my relationships lead the way. Once the blindfolds were finally removed (by my own doing) I discovered that I was left with dealing with the skin that I was living in and it was mighty delicate and fragile. The only trouble was, was that I wasn’t in my twenties anymore. In fact, I was even past 30 and according to all those pesky magazines that I read…I was way behind on where I needed to be in life.

It was one of those moments in a romantic comedy where the woman has her “ah-ha” moment and suddenly realizes everything that she needs to do in order to get her life in check. I knew what I needed to finally do, I knew I had the voice and now it was time to put words to actions. I developed this blog, I began writing for Yahoo! and no relationship was going to get me there. It was all me. Of course, I had support and help along the way but in the end; it was about me toughening up my skin in order to face the world…single or not.

The events last week helped me realize just how important it is to take care of the skin we live in. When someone is in love, when someone is depressed, when someone is lying and when someone is telling the truth. It is all written on their face. The guy I met from the holiday party two Saturday’s ago was still in town for the week and we had been communicating all week. He had so many pre-planned things going on and I was busy trying to get gain any holiday weight. We finally agreed that we would meet up on Friday and take it from there. However, I had already scheduled a first date with someone that Friday as well. So, the schedule would go as this…Friday from 7-8, I would have my first date (since most first dates shouldn’t last an hour anyhow) and then from 8-whenever, would be spent with the guy. To be honest, I wasn’t sure how my mind was going to juggle both. I had to focus and concentrate on the date and seeing that the guy from the party lives in another country; there was no need to get too invested.

So, I rushed home and got ready. I think I was nervous or excited, I couldn’t even identify my feelings but it wasn’t about the first date. I just wanted to hangout with the guy from the party. He was the first guy in, well…years to make me laugh the way he was capable of doing. However, I had to keep telling myself that this is temporary and just “go with the flow.” My date suggested that we meet up at, Hardware Bar, and I agreed. I was the first to arrive at exactly 7 and he sent me a text saying he was on his way. When he arrived, I could tell that he was either nervous or excited or had A.D.D. I ordered my drink and he opened up a tab for his own drinks. We did the usual questions and things were going alright, I wouldn’t say there was sparks going off but it wasn’t terrible either. However, the man could not stay focused if his life depended on it. Every single time I would open my mouth to answer or ask a question, he would look past me. He would be looking at who walked into the bar or who walked past him or the bartender. Finally, after two drinks, I told him that I needed to leave and he stayed behind. I presume he stayed behind in order to either hit on someone else or to see how his night was going to change.

As I walked onto Tenth Avenue and called the guy; he answered and was still at his hotel room. He was staying at the Yotel, on 42nd Street, all week and so it wasn’t too much of an inconvenience for me to get to. He suggested that I meet him at his room and we can decide what to do from there. I arrived at his hotel room and he was just finishing up getting ready. I hadn’t physically seen him since last Sunday when I left the same room. It was the strangest feeling but when I saw him, I actually felt my skin change. It was as if I had just received a face-lift or something. I was happy. In fact, I was down right giddy.

We hugged, we kissed, we made out a little bit and I kept asking him what he wanted to do that night and his response the entire time was, “Whatever you want pumpkin.” I admit that in my 35 years of life, no man has ever called me “pumpkin.” I told him that friends of mine were down at the restaurant, Elmo, and he met some of them already. He agreed to go, we grabbed a cab and on the cab ride there he kept telling me funny joke after funny joke.

When we finally arrived at the restaurant, I thought for sure his mannerisms would change since we would be in public and not on the fourteenth floor of a hotel. To my surprise, his actions toward me didn’t change at all. There was hand holding, smiling, kissing, the old hand-on-the-back move and we all were having a good time. He kept asking me privately to repeat my friend’s names because he wanted to remember them. Finally, his friend (and mine) showed up and the evening continued. After a bit, everyone started to go their separate ways for different dinner parties and soon it was just the three of us; the guy, our mutual friend and I. The guy had never had an empanada and so we suggested we take him to the most famous place in the city to get empanadas…Empanada Mama.

We actually got a table rather easy but by the time we got there, I think we all were pretty buzzed from our earlier cocktails. We all ordered margaritas, a ton of empanadas and couldn’t stop laughing. We all were having such an amazing time and it felt natural with how things were progressing. Once the bill came, the guy said, “I have to be up early to hangout with my friends’ kid. However, we should meet up one more time before you leave for vacation.” I wasn’t expecting that comment; especially since earlier we had discussed me staying the night. Something had shifted and I wasn’t sure what. It was as if the blindfold from my twenties was suddenly put back on and I was left in the dark. All three of us stepped outside onto the street, one kiss and they went south and I went north. To this day and as I write this…I have never heard from him again. Regardless of the ending, it was nice to know that there is someone out there that is still capable of getting under my skin and that was ok.

The next day, I woke up not feeling my best and I knew it was because I mixed too many alcohols in the night. However, I had way too much to do before my flight back to the west coast and there was no time to mess around with some silly hangover. I went to the gym to sweat it out and before I knew it; I was having to head down to Chelsea in order to meet Feathers, his husband and the in-laws for a holiday dinner at their favorite place, Dallas BBQ. I hadn’t seen Feathers in months so I was very much looking forward to being with them all.

The dinner went well and everyone was in excellent spirits. After the dinner, they all had to attend a comedy show and I was meeting my friend at his apartment so that we could head onto the final holiday party. Before I knew it, Feathers and his gang were back at my friend’s apartment, which they hadn’t seen before. We all parted ways and said we’d do our best to reconnect after the party. I admit and I really hate to admit this but I was secretly hoping that the guy was going to text me to come over or see him one last time but by the time 11 p.m. rolled around; I knew it wasn’t going to happen and so I embraced the night. I was surrounded by friends and I couldn’t and wouldn’t ask for anything more. After the holiday party, a few of us met back up with Feathers at the bar, XES but I couldn’t stay for I needed to get rest for my flight the next day. I said goodbye to everyone, knowing that I would be with them all on New Years made it a lot easier to say goodbye. I ended up walking home. I wasn’t sure why I walked home. Maybe I wanted to sober up. Maybe I wanted to take in as much of New York as I could before leaving for a week or maybe I still was trying to get my blindfolds off.

Yesterday was one of those very typical travel days for me. I was running late, flight delays and endless annoyances but over eight hours later; I finally made it to Phoenix. Which is where I will be for the next week. Which also marks my last entry for UpDateNYC for 2013.

All I can say is that there has been 50 dates this year, some great, some terrible but all grateful for. Not because I want to go on 50 dates but because it might have provided you with entertainment, insight and I know that for me; it just furthers my belief that something greater is out there. To never give up, to never stop and to continue to believe in the human race. So, a huge thanks you to all you readers, for all your questions and comments. I not only appreciate it but it has no become a part of my soul. This journey that I hope when you read; you feel at times that you are a part of.

There are seven layers of skin on the human body. I’d like to think that there are eight. That first layer that the world sees, that we all are faced with every single morning before starting our day. That first layer that we do everything we can in order to prevent anything terrible from happening to it. However, just as important as it is to apply sunscreen daily, it’s that eighth layer that we also need to protect, prevent and nurture. The skin we live, the skin we are born with, the skin that makes up who we are and what the world witnesses. The skin that no one else can visibly see but rather the skin that provides us with confidence, courage and love. So, here is to 2014 and to the skin we live in!

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