Changing for the Better

Amy Laurent finally feels that happiness is within reach.

Finally getting back to life in New York after my Greenwich stint feels good, and I certainly feel recharged compared to the sullen, depressed mood I was in when I was leaving the city for Joseph’s. I feel regenerated in a sense, more confident that perhaps I too can become a better dater and find happiness, rather than living through the successes that I find for my clients. I’ve relied for so long on my skills as a successful matchmaker, but it’s time to shine the light on my own life and my own dating insecurities. Everyone has them. No one is an exception, even matchmakers.

OK, so I LOVE KELLY WALLACE! Let me just put that out there. Going to iVillage to shoot segments for them threw me right back into what I do best -- giving others advice on how to find true love and be happy. Such a wonderful opportunity, and I felt right at home. It was a little gut-wrenching to be thrown a question about being dumped, yet at the same time it felt good to be giving advice that wasn’t just tied to my experience as a matchmaker, but to my experience as a woman. It felt real at a deeper level; I was giving the very same advice to a woman in my position that I should be listening to myself. And I feel like I’ve grown lately in my personal life over the course of a trying few weeks. Finally I feel like things are changing. And for the better.

So when I get asked out by a guy at my gym (which is clearly against my rule of dating someone from the gym you go to), I find myself presented with an opportunity to do things right -- as I would tell my clients to. Sure, Kevin isn’t my typical type. He’s shorter and actually over the age of 35. Well, perhaps now is the time to be open to changing some of the ways I’ve been choosing the guys I say yes to. Lorenzo would be proud! I find Kevin genuine, honest, and he’s definitely into fitness which is a big plus for me. I also loved his approach to asking me out on a date. He wasn’t slimy, aggressive, or off-putting. I have a lot of respect for a man who knows how to ask.What’s funny is that “Meathead Lawrence” (my trainer, whom I affectionately call Meathead) may also be right. I need to stay away from the young ones, despite the fact Meathead thinks I should have taken his number rather than given mine. Well, either way I think Kevin is pretty cute and I like his style. Personally, I wouldn’t recommend a first date at a gym either, which I find kind of odd as I’m walking into the place. And I can’t believe he has me rock climbing in the store! I’ve never rock-climbed before and I’m not sure it comes across how really high up and jagged the rock-climbing wall was. Not only am I just trying to finally get through a date successfully without feeling insecure or uncomfortable, but now we add climbing up a sheer wall? Rock climbing is a like a metaphor for dating altogether: nothing is easy, you have to trust complete strangers, and you feel like you could fall to your death at any time.

To my amazement and relief, Kevin is good at this. He’s comforting and supportive once he sees the fear in my face! He’s not telling me I’m “too uptight” and need to do this or that or criticizing me for being so awkward. He’s actually very compassionate and encouraging which says to me that I can just be myself and try this thing with Kevin and he’s not going to judge me if I chicken out or climb 12 inches before I back out of the whole idea. I felt safe.Not only did I get on that wall, but somehow (I have no idea how), I made it all the way up the thing to the very top. It may have taken me 5 minutes to do so where it took him about 90 seconds, but he was encouraging and supportive of me the entire way. I felt so good about myself and it was such a thrill when I made it up. I’ll be honest -- inside I really wanted to cry (that would have been weird though, I realize). But that’s how I felt. The idea of reaching higher than you though you could is powerful, and it felt like the perfect symbol for what I’ve been going through in my dating life. I never imagined a first date could go like this, and I really felt happy and proud of myself, while at the same time a little thrilled over my chemistry with Kevin. Just FYI: he has really great hair.

This is uncharted territory for me, that mix of feelings: being sure of myself professionally, proud of myself personally, and hopeful for myself in relationships. I don’t know the last time all of these things were aligned at the same time. From the date with Scott to the sessions at iVillage and the jagged rock wall, I’m finally feeling like I can do this, and that maybe there is hope for a workaholic matchmaker who has never really felt comfortable in her own skin. I am understanding at a deeper level now what my clients feel on those dates that go really well. Which means I’m beginning to see that I don’t have to live through their happiness. I’m beginning to see that my own might be in reach.

Self Sabotage?

Amy Laurent is ready to let her guard down with Kevin.

So things have come full circle for me; I find myself sitting here and thinking about some of the things I’ve gone through and finally trying to understand what has been holding me back with my own personal dating goals.  Not by any stretch of the meaning am I used to focusing so much on my own issues or emotions.  After so many years of ignoring those issues and just focusing on helping my clients, it’s sort of a scary and uncharted territory for me.  Yet, as I’m sitting here I’m recognizing that for the moment I am HAPPY.  Do we all deserve to be happy?  Maybe my answer for myself is finally yes. 

So let’s be honest.  I’m not used to a guy like Kevin -- he’s supportive, complimentary, and overall POSITIVE.  What the hell do I do with that?!  It’s a little bit strange for me to be around someone so nice, but at the same time there is no way I can let this set me back -- I’m sick of having anything good fall to pieces and not making good decisions in the name of self-sabotage.  I would NEVER let a client screw this up for themselves.  So why don’t I recognize that I deserve that very same consideration too? I better not screw this up now only because I’m used to young, condescending a-holes. 

The majority of my day of course has me reverting back to work (sorry, I can’t help it, baby steps!) and the fact that I still get my ultimate joy from seeing my client Tim Sykes and Lauren together.  They are truly ADORABLE; I just knew they were going to hit it off and were a match.  Tim has really started to grow on me since that first day I met him, and nothing would make me happier then to see him happy! I will make sure that happens for all my clients, but yet with Tim I feel I have really taken him under my wing.  He’s finally following ALL of my rules!  I am a proud mama hen, and he and Lauren truly seem happy.  I love it.OK, now back to Kevin and the fact that when I got home from work there was a package waiting for me.  Not only is Kevin super sweet (which I’m trying to embrace), but now he sends me a gift before the second date?  Argh, OK I’m struggling here and keep hovering my thoughts between “this is the most thoughtful thing anyone’s ever done” to “OMG this is weird, maybe I shouldn’t go out with this guy?”  But I stop myself.  Why?  Because I refuse to sabotage myself for once in my life when something good is happening for me.  Isn’t that part of my past insecurity of “I’m not good enough” that got me into a bad relationship with AB and completely being the kind of withering, meek girl in front of Lewis that is not excusable for any woman?

I’m really starting to think that I’ve avoided my own happiness and dating by hiding behind my work and throwing myself full on into my clients for so many years because some twisted part of me WAS worried I wasn’t good enough.  I gave consideration to my clients’ happiness, but why haven’t I given that same consideration to myself?  Have I really been treating myself so poorly and beating myself up? And if so, then for what reason?  Things are going to change, and they’re going to change NOW.  My eyes are wide open, and I probably will never be the same after these past few months. 

So damn it, the pajama pants are cute, and I’m going to own this and accept someone giving me compliments and being really sweet to me. You know what? Because I deserve it. There. I said it. I’m finally allowing myself that, because I am worthy. I finally get it.Seeing Kevin for the second date was probably one of the most special and happy moments that I’ve had in a long while, and I’m really proud of the fact that as frightful as it is for me, I’m staying open.  I’m not running away, doubting myself, feeling like I need to please someone or that I have to change who I am in order to be liked.  Sure, we all have flaws and things we need to work on.  I tell my clients this every day and force them to confront the very obstacles that keep setting them back in getting who they really deserve in a relationship.  Well now Amy is finally good enough and worthy enough to take Amy’s own advice for once.  Thank god, something is finally changing.

After the bumps and bruises, one can start to realize change is good.  I am left with so many thoughts after this date with Kevin and the incredible kiss that felt wonderful. My head is spinning right now, but I feel like I’m alive again.  And it’s OK to be human with these emotions.  In fact, it’s really NICE.  I feel like something that was shut off inside of me (without even knowing it) has suddenly been jump-started and is alive again thanks to Kevin and this whole experience.  My stomach is filled with a warm sensation and I literally feel like someone flipped the on switch.  It’s as if some little part in me I’ve ignored for a while is coming back to life.  It’s a bit emotional for me, and I am thankful.  I’m HAPPY.

Oddly enough, sitting in a silent room right now with all of this feels good.  I have a sense of hope and the realization that good things can happen for me.  I’m finally contemplating what it is that I really want for my future and what it really means to be happy.  I’m excited about the future and what it might hold for me.