How to Date Amazement: A dating guide that Cosmo mag definitely missed.


The Break Up

It begins with a break up.

Not the kind of break up that lends itself to tissues and chocolate peanut butter pie; although I am often tempted to date, just to break up, just to fall head first into a justified peanut butter pie coma. But no, no; this is the kind of break up that stems from a chance encounter. This is the break up we have seen played out in nearly every movie that Kate Hudson has graced the screen in. Like every classic, often predictable, chick flick: the protagonist who seemingly “has it all” settles into a relationship that cheapens her worth. The guy is never around. Married to his work. Flirts with other girls. But said protagonist does not give a second thought to leaving. Or finding better.

Until…. That epic chance encounter with a rugged costar who awkwardly bumps into her in the lobby of a hotel or while dog walking (notice how they are always walking their dogs in those movies?)

The girl suddenly finds herself knee-deep in a ruffled mess of clichés. Falling Head Over Heels. Strange Insects Flapping Their Wings Within Her Stomach. Tossing and Turning in Satin Sheets at Night.

So naturally, a break up ensues. The kind where things needed to first Break in order to Look Up.

She is tired of the old. She knows that better exists out there, she’s now seen it with her own two eyes. She decides that enough is enough, a little heartbreak won’t kill her if the weight falls off her shoulders.

I had a break up with my own body.

A Kate Hudson kind of break up with my own self. You want to say it is not possible. I want to say it is quite possible.

We were in a long distance relationship for far too long, as if I were sitting upon a cloud watching a girl live in New York City, swipe her metro card through a turnstile, and bolt off to work without ever stepping foot into her body. She and I; we were forgetting to talk at night. We were barely ever communicating. I stopped listening to what she wanted. She stopped wanting anything at all. This, my friends, is where you need to either take the peanut butter pie to your face and cry on top of a kitchen table or, decide to make a split. Change Something. Change Anything at All.

“I want to learn to date Amazement,” I told my friend at a coffee shop one morning. My eyes were tired. My feet were probably swollen from some ridiculous pair of heels. “There is no reason, at all, that I should not be amazed by every little thing around me. I want to be more grateful for all it.”

Hold Up… I realize right now how very transcendent I sounded in that statement. I can assure all, I was not trying to date my inner being or make out with trees and butterflies while contemplating my past life as a brick in a castle… (no offense to anyone who has a past life as a brick in a castle, I am sure it was a beautiful one), I was merely trying to fess up to the fact that I wanted life to court me. I wanted the little things to make my attention more often. I wanted to stand– barefoot and broken open– before a world that surely was broken herself but still had so much Amazement tied in the locks of her spiral-curled hair.

And while Cosmopolitan can shovel ten thousand tips into our digestive tracts about how to date and date “right,” I can sum my quest to date Amazement into three steps. Three Simple Steps. Beat that Cosmo, come over here and I’ll show ya how we get things done in this yard.

Step One: Look Up.

Girly girl, if you are spending your days watching your feet prance on concrete then, rightfully so, you should be a little depressed. We are human beings. Translation: We got Tough Times. Rough Patches. Unfavorable Situations. Wrong Turns. Messy Conversations. Selfish Motives.

Basically, we have these messy, messy lives and it is kind of a beautiful thing. A wondrous art if you choose to see it that way.

My favorite line ever, even beating the top-notch phrases of Toni Morrison & Maya Angelou, are words written by Chaska Lela Potter before she let Jason Mraz slip em’ into his sweet lungs: “Hey, what a beautiful mess this is/It’s like picking up trash in dresses.”

Oh My Goodness. Evoke Imagery Right Now. Lace & Silk White Dresses. Brass Buttons. Sheer Veils. Knees Sunk in the Dirt. Dump Yard. Unearthing Treasures in a Trash Field. Call me a garbage man’s daughter, but this is the most beautiful illustration of life that I can find. How amazing it is that we have the chance to pick the treasures from the mess of the world and hold them high up to the light.

There’s no chance we could possibly go another day missing that, needing that, forgetting to look up and realize we have so much of that already.

Step Two. Look Around.

When we finally look up it becomes easier to tilt our heads this way and that way and Look Around. Look Left. Look Right. Look Both Ways and Cross Streets.

Suddenly we are swept into a wild courtship with a Messy World that always brings Amazement along on her arm; fitting nicely into the crook of her elbow.

Perhaps this is a kindergarten lesson but we have Fingers. Knees. Freckles. Legs to Walk. Lips to Kiss. Arms to Embrace. Lungs to Inhale Life’s Sultry Symphonies. We can dance. Now. Laugh. Now. Break Up, Make Up, Show Up. Right Now. And in five minutes. And two hours. And tomorrow. Again and Again and Again.

Amazement in a fine, fine suitor. The debonair skips right over the chocolates and flowers and ties the whole wide world and all its brilliant possibilities up in a silky white bow.

“Here you go,” Amazement says at the door. “And by the way, you have a very pretty face.”

Step Three. Look Inside.

Ah, the place often never want to look for fear of the mess we might encounter if we pick around too long. Car Crashes of the Soul. Bitter Feelings. A Whole Collection of Pandora Boxes Full of Sadness, Loneliness, and Unhappiness.

But we must go there– with flashlights, sleeping bags & tents– if we ever pray to be o.k. with ourselves inside & out and to embrace the Amazing Potential that is praying for release.

Dating Amazement starts when we Let Go of the Mediocre Bindings. The Little Problems that seem Oh So Big. The Feelings that we feel will never end. And we open ourselves up to the truth: We are worth more. There is more than this. We don’t run the show. There is Something or Someone much larger than us that Pumps Amazement into the Place where we Stamp our Feet and Cry out Loud.

Amazement slips in when we admit to being Messes of Skin but admit to wanting something more. Something far beyond average or ordinary.

Be still. Be quiet. Perk your ears up… Can you hear it? Amazement just propped open a window. It is time to crawl through.

How to Date Amazement: Step One: Let him in. Pour him a cup of tea. Ask him about his trip.

I want life to blow the ballet flats off my feet.

I never– ever– want to forget what an insane blessing it is to have Fingers & Toes. Limbs & Ligaments that give me the Great Ability to really plant myself into this earth. Do I have to type here that life is too short? No, I don’t think so. I’m sure we already know it.

Do I take it for granted? Do I take it for granted? Ab. So. Lute. Ly. All the time. More than you know.

But somewhere, somewhere between the same order at Starbucks & the same pencil skirts stacked in a dresser drawer, the same route to work with the same tunes rumbling through the speakers, life–if we are not careful with it–will get “bag o’ cookies left open in the cabinet” stale on us.

We’ll become all sorts of nasty words that Grandma never liked: Frumpy. Mean. Boring. Plain. And dare I say the awful, dreadful “P” word? Predictable. Jeepers, we will become predictable and that is a terrible thing to be in an hour that only gives us 60 measly minutes, in a day where we are only given 24 little hours, in a week where are only give 7 small days.

I am no guru. I won’t teach you the proper etiquette for Eating, Praying or Loving. Me? I’m just a girl who orders a Grande Skim Misto and prefers to shimmy into a black A-line skirt before catching the “must-catch” 7:56am NY bound train while Lil Wayne and Matt Nathanson tag team my eardrums.

And you know what? I am done. Done. Done. Done.

Done with forgetting to look out the window at the sun bowing down behind the hills. Done with being constantly glued to the glow of a computer screen. Done with routine. Done with the “waiting room” kind of life.

I am entering onto the dating scene, people. Yes, yes, this is me stretching on the sidelines, ready to get into the game…

My suitor: Amazement… a suave debonair who skips the choc-o-lates to bring me decadent goodness in the form of leaves crunching beneath my feet and conversations that drift off far into the night.

I have not a clue how to begin dating Amazement. I’m nervous as a prepubescent teenage boy already soaking in sweat before the 6th grade dance because he knows Tracey Bloomingfield will be there and he’s pining to hold her by the waist for just 3 minutes and 23 seconds.

I’m rusty in matters of Amazement. He speaks with a foreign tongue that I’ve long forgotten but I understand him when he tells me that my chances of coming out of this with a broken heart are Skim Latte Slim. I’ll have a fuller heart, he tells me. A heart that is more capable of letting other people in and showing them around.

So I’ll slide my hand down the banister as I walk down the stairs to let Amazement in. I’ll hold out my wrist if he insists on decking the Tiny, Bony Thing with a Silk Ribbon & a few Yellow Roses.

I’ll learn the art of Courtship and Wooing, of falling absolutely in love with life and all its Little Things in second-grader fashion. Making Valentines out of construction paper for fine, fine Amazement. I’ll wear his letterman jacket and wait up by the telephone at night.

He’ll reteach me wonder. Guide me and push me to delight in the things that are often overlooked when there are emails to answer and meetings to get to on time. I’ll begin a new life where glasses are not half full nor half empty. Nothing is overflowing, we all just linked arms, ditched the cups and skipped over to the sprinkler. Sink our knees into the wet grass and let the water spritz into our mouths.

I’ll take it step by step. Day by Day.

Step One: Let Amazement in. Pour him a cup of tea. Ask him about his trip.

He has traveled such a long way, there’s a look of wilderness is his big brown eyes.

Already, I adore him so.