From Poop to Dating

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About a year ago I wrote about the most relevant thing in my life: poop. I was terrified to share that article. The poop part was actually only one small point, but it was the reason I was dead scared to hit publish. I'm pretty sure it was also the reason that piece got more engagement from readers than anything I've written to date. 

I wrote about poop because I thought about it every day. My whole day was consumed with whether or not it'd happen... I couldn't stop thinking about it until it did, and then I'd become concerned about whether it'd happen the next day.

Maybe I got a good response because you guys like the poop topic a lot, but I doubt it. I think it's because 1) I was completely vulnerable in writing it and 2) I shared what was most relevant in my life at the time. A good recipe, I've found, for deep connection.

There's a new thing that occupies a lot of my headspace. Having developed a handle on the poop thing, I guess I have more time. This time I'm sure it's something that a lot of others care about it. But that doesn't make it any less vulnerable for me. 

That thing is dating. 

When I was younger (too young if you ask my mom) dating was never a worry. I was in a relationship from age 13 on. I foresaw having different partners in my future (I wasn't so naive to think I'd date my first love forever), but I never anticipated that it'd be a struggle to find one. I connected with my first two boyfriends so effortlessly, so seamlessly, almost without wanting to, that the idea I'd ever go years without a boyfriend just didn't cross my mind. I looked at the world as a place abundant with eligible men to connect with. 

As I've gotten older this mindset of abundance has gradually shifted somewhat to scarcity. Sometimes I feel like there is no one out there. And when scarcity is what you're working with, the thing you feel you're lacking creeps in as the only thing you can think about. 

Those of us in the dating game are in this weird place right now. For a while I shunned online dating altogether. That was when abundance (of guys and time) still permanently outweighed scarcity in my mind. I figured I, who at 15 thought I could make any guy fall in love with me (naive and perhaps overconfident, but I like where your head's at little Joanna!), should still be able to meet someone "organically". This was maybe 3 years ago, and apps and online dating still had a stigma. I was embarrassed at the idea of swiping through profiles on my phone.

On the bright side, I think that stigma is basically gone. At least I don't feel it — app (or online) dating is not only a way to meet someone in 2017, it's the way. I'd feel little discomfort in introducing someone to my parents and saying we met online. 

I do still, though, have trouble making it work practically. I'm dealing with a lot of cognitive dissonance on this one, and my mind falters daily between abundance ("I'm still really young. There are so many amazing dudes out there. I am exactly where I'm supposed to be.") and scarcity ("I'm turning 29 soon. Even if I meet someone today that means I'd be like earliest like 31 before we're married. And then so old when we have kids. Crap crap crap what do I do.")

On the days I'm feeling abundant I delete all the apps and walk around smiling and making happy eye contact with every guy I cross on the street. I'm assured the right person will fall into my life when I'm ready.

On these days of abundance, I trust that following my own heart and interests is the best way to meet the right person. I don't go out late much anymore because I can't stay awake and it's no fun for me. I used to push through this, thinking mingling at bars is how you meet people when you're not on apps. Not anymore — on abundant days I go to yoga and coffee shops and to sleep, and I'm happy with the thought that one day the man of my dreams will be on the mat or seat next to me.

Conversely, on the days I feel the world is scarce I re-download the apps and start swiping, convincing myself I have to put in some concerted effort, that dating is a numbers game that can be won. 

When it comes down to it, I don't like the apps and that way of dating. Physical, visceral connection is very important to me. I learned a long time ago I have a type. (I like ape men. If you resemble an ape or know any guys out there who do, holler at me.) I have to feel an energetic connection, and it's just so difficult to gauge that virtually. How do you flirt with someone you don't know by text message? It's really hard for that to resonate with me.

A couple weeks ago I walked into a coffee shop I really like, right near the studio I teach yoga at in Brooklyn. I'd already taught two classes and was teaching two more that day. I walked up to the counter and to my left a woman with a camera and tripod was interviewing a guy. I could hear little tidbits and got the gist — she was getting his opinion about online dating. 

They wrapped up his interview and I heard her say it'd be great to get a female's perspective. I could feel them both looking at me and sense her walking over to me. I ignored eye contact until she literally positioned herself in the way of the coffee I ordered and I had no choice but to acknowledge her. It was a morning of abundance and the last thing in the world I wanted in that moment was to be interviewed for TV about a dating app. 

She asked if I'd give my opinion. I said no at first but I was no match for her persistence.

The premise of their app was that it matches people based on dislikes. It brings people together based on the things they hate.  

I was annoyed at being cornered on this day of abundance so I felt compelled to shit all over this app, in the most polite way possible. I said I disliked dating apps. I said I'm a yoga teacher and I just finished teaching two classes focused on bringing more love, the opposite of hate, into your life. As quickly as I could I dismissed myself. I may or may not have been on the Channel 12 News that night looking like a tyrant.

I watched a lecture yesterday by Kathleen Graham where she references the Trance of Scarcity. She says that as we grow older we're conditioned to think there isn't complete abundance in the world, that there might not be all the time or money or talent or love we want available to us. When we're very young we don't see scarcity, we make every decision and live our lives out of an assumption of complete abundance. There is enough time, people, resources, everything. But as we grow older we falsely learn that there isn't enough of all the things to go around. 

Graham contends that we can choose to we can go back to a permanent mindset of abundance.

"Living As If"

I considered reading Trance of Scarcity before talking about it, but I know already I agree with Graham. I would much prefer to live in a mindset of abundance constantly. I feel much better listening to my intuition saying life will lead me to the right person, than I do succumbing to messages that I have to fight and perhaps compromise my way into a relationship.

Graham challenges us to "Live As If"... as if your world was completely abundant and you already had everything you need and want.

If I "live as if", I am already in the relationship I dream of and I feel completely comfortable writing this. This is an experience of my past, one I'm able to share in hindsight with wisdom.

Instead I'll share now, knowing that part of what brings me joy and makes me me is communicating my experience of life. Perhaps I'll connect with some of you guys as deeply as we did over poop. 

 

Joanna Cohen