I feel like there are fifteen extra pink energizer bunny batteries in my battery case at all times! It’s just a great feeling, it really is. Even though it sends me into overdrive in the positivity area of life, I don’t care too much because I enjoy being optimistic and happy. And I enjoy it because once upon a time in my teenage years, I was a pessimist. No one believes me. But, if we’re being fair, who wasn’t a pessimist in high school? I mean, it’s high school.
But I digress. This isn’t about being an adolescent. This is about the super cool ways that I went from being annoying because I was so negative to being annoying because I’m positive. Plus, now that you’re all caffeinated up, I’m sure you’re looking for ways to turn all of that energy into a positive life change! Woo!
Don’t kid yourself
Even though I’m an outgoing person, I love to be alone. I used to think that was making me negative, so I forced myself to be social all the time. The result was not a super happy Marissa, but rather a Marissa that resented herself. I learned to listen to what made the little Jiminy Cricket inside of me happy. If I picture myself dressing up and going out, I do it. If I picture myself eating ice cream in bed and watching Netflix all day, I do that. At the end of the day, when I want to put myself out there, I am recharged and a happier person to be around. Which leads me to wonder if maybe I should start calling myself an introvert.
Writing down everything that you’re thinking is the best way to figure out what’s making you think positively, and what’s making you think negatively. I went through a phase once where I would only write down the good things that happened to me because I wanted future me to have something happy to read. But in that moment, all of the things that were stressing me out were still in my head. Being able to record all facets of my day in a place just for me helped me to recognize the good, and have an outlet for the bad.
I constantly find myself zoning out and coming to in the middle of ridiculous daydreams of my best friend and I having adventures in foreign countries, or hanging out with the band One Direction (sue me, they’re adorable). Every time I realize I’m daydreaming, I realize I’m also smiling. Thinking about wonderful things makes you feel wonderful.
Spread the love!
Telling the people I love that I love them until they want to punch me in the face is one of my favorite activities. Nothing makes me happier than embarrassing someone by singing them a love ballad on campus, or giving a hug that turns into a tackle. The rush you get from making someone laugh will slap a smile on your face for the rest of the day.
The visions of a Cinderella or Sleeping Beauty love story are seen as pipe dreams to young women. Those visions are reserved purely for the fairy tales they grew up reading. This changed in 2002 when The Bachelor debuted on ABC. The show began by generating perfected, artificial settings where regular, very attractive single women get the opportunity to “win” their prince charming. Every episode strives to reassure the viewers that the process of cocktail parties, single and group dates, and eliminations work to single out the woman that fits the bachelor’s needs and desires, and, ultimately, to fall hopelessly in love. The reality television show illustrates what this “true love” looks like—or, what it should look like. Once the bachelor picks the last girl in the season finale, he is supposed to propose to her (although they are allowed to refrain if they don’t feel ready).
To make a relationship last on a round-robin-dating show such as The Bachelor, the women have to do two things in order to “win” him. They must be able to fully immerse themselves in the man whom they have never spoken with before, and they must do so incredibly fast. They must be willing to show affection toward him physically, either during their one-on-one time or later on in the show if they get offered to spend the night with him in the Fantasy Suite. The same goes for the bachelor, as he is also required to show a certain amount of physicality towards to the women. On season 14, Jake Pavelka was seen as a questionable bachelor candidate in the eyes of Entertainment Weeklywhen they wondered if “Jake’s crushingly boring style of courtship” would even be worth watching. Yet, later in that season, Corrie Adamson, a 23-year-old virgin, explained to Jake that she was saving herself for marriage. Jake replied with, “I completely respect where you’re coming from, and that’s not an issue for me” just before he sent her sobbing to the limo back to her home in Alabama. The realm that the show creates has twisted what is considered “normal” in a typical, long-lasting relationship.
If a candidate does not perform as expected, they may give off the vibe that they are just not that into him or that they are holding back. During the six weeks that the women and the bachelor have together, they do not have any other choice but to show that they are falling in love in order to keep him in the end. For the women who are more hesitant to show their true feelings usually end up getting eliminated. By giving the bachelor constant, over-the-top affection and attention, they have a better chance of “winning” him.
For the women on the show, it is all about attempting to stand out among the sea of love-hungry females by dramatizing and aggrandizing their proclaimed love for the bachelor. By placing the contestants in various environments, situations, and challenges, they attempt to stimulate a “real-life” effect, except most people don’t fly to their dates in a helicopter or constantly go to extravagant locations.
To the younger eyes, this show can seem very inappropriate and unrealistic. Not too long into the show, the contestants still standing are offered the Fantasy Suite date, which is not exactly a “normal date.” This is telling society that although he is dating multiple women at one time, this is what is considered normal and almost mandatory to do if you are dating someone whom you would like to spend the rest of your life with. In order to capture a man’s heart, the women must perform an intimate act, which seals the deal and reinstates their affection for him. The show enforces bizarre claims of sincerity and a belief in love.
For the young women watching the show, the program could send mixed signals and ideals about what is considered appropriate, normal, and morally right in a relationship. The show tells the audience that it is “okay” and “normal” to sleep with your escort of the evening, that no holds are barred, and that it is okay to put aside your morals to snatch up the man and do what is best for a show dependent on high ratings. Although it is a new generation of thinking when it comes to dating, relationships and marriage, it does not mean that basic morals are thrown out the window. The “Prince Charming” fantasy lives on in The Bachelor, which oozes magical matchmaking powers, “true,” “real” romances, and horseback rides on the beach into the setting sun. The show is not meant to be taken seriously and is in no way a model for the public’s own conduct.
Image from http://beta.abc.go.com/shows/the-bachelor
Missed opportunities cause lonely hearts to search publicly for romance.
In the Bronx, Dan is looking for Liz, the girl who shared half of her grapefruit with him on the Subway. In Springfield, Oregon, 30-year-old Lucy is looking for Linus. In Eugene, Oregon, I’m looking for a scruffy-faced Wolverine. And in many places, many more are looking for someone too.
“You: Scanning groceries…Me: In your line with baby food and coupons. Like kids? You can scan my bar code anytime,” wrote one Thurston, Oregon, grocery store shopper to the store clerk she never had the chance to approach in person.
These people are all looking for one thing: the connection they didn’t make. And though they may never find their missed connections, it’s the searching that seems to put them at ease.
In Eugene alone, an average of 350 people a month post ads on Craigslist searching for their “missed connections.” Typically, someone writes a quirky message searching for someone they wanted to talk to but didn’t. And although people rarely receive responses to their ads, most seem satisfied that they tried.
My unrequited romance happened one recent Saturday afternoon. Hung-over, I was startled when a scruffy “looker” smirked at me from a checkout line in Safeway. I got in line behind him, but my superego overruled each pick-up line that came to my head. I reached my house with my sole purchase — a pudgy roll of cookie dough — but without the satisfaction of having talked to the debonair wolf-man.
So I posted an “I Saw You” ad in the local alternative weekly looking for my Cinderell-o, dangling a virtual glass slipper. “Wolverine Sighting at Safeway” read as follows: “You looked like Wolverine. I was in a giant furry hat. You were buying english muffins. I was buying cookie dough. You smiled. I smiled. Let’s eat?” It was a few words short of Shakespeare, but it sufficed. Several weeks passed, and no side-burned sire ever came. But I look back feeling proud to have been proactive. I have no regrets.
Neither does Andrea Dover of Bend, Oregon. She is looking for a man she met 14 years ago, the man she dated for eight months, and the man she stayed friends with until seven years ago, when they lost touch. She’s tried everything now: from a private investigator to Craigslist’s Missed Connections postings in Eugene, Portland and Seattle. “I’m actually hoping that he’ll see this article,” she says.
Though some may look at Dover’s search as stalker-esque, Dover sees the experience as a romantic quest that will eventually put her mind at ease. “At least I know that I won’t be that 81-year-old lady wondering what would have been,” she says. Dover sees that lonely 81-year-old lady every day in her grandmother, who still thinks about her teenage crush that she never pursued.
For some, these connection attempts are a way for people not to become bolder, but wiser in their pursuits. For Caley Berube, a 21-year-old student at Lane Community College, constant uncertainty about her romantic interests attracted her to Craigslist. Berube, openly lesbian and quite feminine-looking, says she isn’t the most conspicuous lesbian in Eugene. It’s difficult for her to tell if other women can sense she is lesbian and are hitting on her.
“There have been times where there’s a similar exchange of smiles and it doesn’t turn out to be anything,” she says. Using an online missed connection site makes Berube’s intent clear without making the subject uncomfortable if they don’t reciprocate those feelings.
When Berube went to a patisserie in Salem, Oregon, over spring break, she met a “looker” of a barista who suggested a spiced chai latte—emphasis on the spiced—and brought it to her personally with an extra-charming smile. Though she couldn’t be sure that there was flirtation, Berube looked back through the window on her way out and caught one last divine smile. “It meant enough for me to post something on Craigslist of all places,” she says.
Nothing came of it for Berube, although it changed her perspective on the matter. “If someone had the balls to do this [for me], that’d be some brownie points,” she says.
And Sadie Hote* agreed—she was glad she met the hippie masseuse who sought her. Hote, who reads the Craigslist ads regularly for fun, came across an ad this spring that seemed to describe the “flirty eye contact” she’d had with a passerby. “It took me a few days to think about whether or not I would respond,” she says, admitting that she didn’t want to tell people she met someone on Craigslist.
But in the end, she went for it. The relationship only lasted a month, but the end to their fling didn’t have anything to do with the way they met, she says. “We just didn’t work out like any other couple wouldn’t work out.”
Hote says she would never post an ad herself because she’s not the hopeless romantic that she imagines most ad-posters are. “I would’ve probably just talked to them in that moment,” she says.
However, not every moment is as easy as that, nor are all the players so bold. Maybe you were hung-over. Maybe the area was too crowded. Maybe the timing was inappropriate. Whatever the reason—there’s no harm in giving yourself a second chance. At least you won’t be wondering “what if…” when you’re 81-years-old.
*Name has been changed to protect sources anonymity.