Cast Blog: #MISSADVISED

Wake-Up Call

Just Say Yes

Self Sabotage?

Breakdown Breakthrough

How Soon is Too Soon?

Changing for the Better

Dinner Date

Dr. Jekyll and Ms. Hyde

In Treatment

Prom!

Blindsided

Threesomes Please Apply

Witchy Woman

The More the Merrier

Fear of Rejection

Fire Away

Great Lake State

Your Love is My Drug

Never Initiate

Horrifically Brutal

Stripped

Carrie Bradshaw Complex

You've Been Advised

No Exceptions

Wake-Up Call

Julia Allison shares what she's learned about herself from watching the show and reveals her current relationship status.

And so we’ve come to the season finale. As I wrote in my final ELLE column this week:

“For me, this moment is a long time coming, a process that started when I was twenty-one years old, a junior at Georgetown, and I made the choice that would change the rest of my life: to write a column about dating.

They say you teach what you yourself need to learn. Perhaps I knew then (subconsciously) that I didn’t have the tools for a healthy relationship, and my subsequent decade of dating -- and writing about dating -- grew out of that.”

Watching myself on this show was certainly a wakeup call, but the real growth came DURING the show from the experiences I had battling with my own demons, from asking for help from people whom most of us would label “unconventional” if not full blown “woo-woo.” Whatever you call them, they worked.

The episode begins with me sitting on the couch with Peter Crone, the “mind architect.” I was devastated because I had both gotten dumped by Andrew and just learned my grandmother was in the hospital, dying. (The latter was the primary reason for my anguish.)

The end with Andrew was painful mostly because of what he represented -- all of the rejections, all of the failures, all of the endings I had ever experienced in my life. So I was grieving the imminent loss of my beautiful grandmother and the lack of anyone in my life who loved me as much as she did.

And yet, from our greatest pain comes our freedom. When we hit rock bottom is when we begin to change the patterns that most hurt us. As I said to Peter Crone, “I don’t know what I want to do with my life. When everything you thought would make you happy doesn’t make you happy… what the hell do you do?”

His answer was brilliant; he told me to stop trying to CONTROL everything. Because ultimately life cannot -- will not -- be controlled. You cannot say when your loved ones come into and leave your life, whether that be through rejection or death. And if you think you know better than the universe, than God, you will be proven wrong, again and again and again.

“It’s really lonely,” I told Peter that day. God, I was lonely.

Let me give you a little glimpse into who I was before this show. I was asked to answer this question, back in September of 2011: Are you happy? What does happiness look like to you? What makes you happy?

Such a fraught question! Am I happy? Yes and no. Depends on the moment. I have almost complete physical freedom -- to travel when I want, to work when I want -- which I think is incredibly necessary to my happiness. I’m not as financially stable as I would like, I’m not making quite as much money as I would care to make, but I am working on it.But I also think I’m lonely, despite having incredible friends. And it’s not because they aren’t GOOD friends -- they are. It’s just that I’ve set up a life in which I hesitate to settle down for whatever reason (I have theories), and that leads me to feel disconnected from a community, which is something I crave more than I would like to admit. I love being part of a loving community, a loving group of friends, a loving family, a loving relationship. I have many loving communities in my life in New York, in San Francisco, in LA, and in Chicago, but what I really wish is that everyone I loved were in one place.

I also don’t feel that my career is necessarily where I want it to be. I’m proud of what I’ve accomplished, but I also want to make an impact -- specifically upon young women, girls who struggle with the same issues I did when I was a teen and in my twenties (and even now). Issues like a severe lack of self-confidence, never feeling attractive, putting too much stock in what others think, in what boys think, not trusting their intuition, not taking enough risks, not being entrepreneurial enough. When I talk to friends or to young people about their lives and making meaningful career and romantic decisions, THAT is when I’m happy.

I’m happiest having deep, fascinating conversations with people I care about, people I can learn from, people who I can teach and people in whose lives I can make a difference. I’m happiest when I’m engaging fully with another human being.

And yes, my life does feel incomplete without a life partner, without a teammate. I love being in love. Doesn’t everyone?

Jump cut to the credits for this finale, about ten months later, as I read the additions to my now infamous 73-point checklist. Have you read my checklist yet? If not, it’s here.And here is Part II:

1)    Be open and creative and encourage me to be the same
2)    “Say YES” should be his mentality
3)    Protect my individuality, freedom, and autonomy
4)    Encourage personal growth and the full development of my authentic self
5)    Create a satisfying, experimental, open sex life (!)
6)    Dedicate our relationship to learning, growing, evolving, and contributing
7)    Be excited to work on creative projects together with me
8)    Create an unconventional life with me
9)    Experiments with everything
10)   Deeply intuitive
11)   Is a MAN
12)   Sexually delicious
13)   Loves fully
14)   Sees my mess and loves me for it

Did you expect me to throw it away? Hahaha, no way! You don’t know me very well then. Any good scientist experiments with her hypothesis, but that doesn’t mean she tosses it if it isn’t proven immediately.

If anything, I needed to expand my theory on love and partnerships. And here it is -- I can’t think of a way to say it better than quoting from my final ELLE Guinea Pig of Love column:

“Here it is, my new theory on love and relationships:

I believe that you receive the partner best suited to whoever you are, whatever lessons you need to learn, whatever stage of development you’re at, and however you see yourself. If you don’t believe you’re deserving of love on a deeper level (I’m not talking about what you SAY -- I’m talking about how you FEEL inside), you will be met with unavailable, disinterested or non-committal partners -- or you’ll find men who love you, but whom you don’t find to be a good match, for whom you feel those little doubts -- like, “Is this it?” You will feel frustrated, like you’re banging your head against a wall. That’s because you (metaphorically) ARE.

The real issue always lies in you. Always. Every time. It lies in you to make the changes that you need in order to have the relationship you want.If I sound like I’m espousing some sort of self-help doctrine, well, perhaps I am. All I know is that when I look back at my relationships over the years, I’ve gotten exactly -- EXACTLY -- what I deep-down, in that secret place in my heart thought I deserved. And sometimes I didn’t feel I deserved very much at all.

So earlier this year, the question shifted from “How can I find a man who embodies the 73 points on my checklist?” to “How can I become the woman my Checklist Man would want to marry?”

Would my Checklist Man want to marry a woman with low self-esteem? Of course not. Would he want to marry a woman who didn’t love her body? No. Would he want to marry a woman who is frantic or stressed all the time? No. A woman who is desperate? A woman who is frequently defensive? An uptight perfectionist? Absolutely not.

So I evolved myself, and in the process, a miraculous thing happened: I stopped caring about the end goal, this future husband, this future marriage. It isn’t that I stopped desiring a life partner. It’s that I started loving myself, and I felt... enough. I felt whole. Prince Charming wasn’t coming, and that was actually OK. Instead I choose to focus on creating a life so full of adventure and love and growth that I was fulfilled without such a man. I stopped looking outside myself for validation and started knowing (not thinking, knowing, on a deeper level) that although I am not perfect, never will be, I am lovable and I am enough.

And of course, of course, the minute I gave up -- truly gave up -- and started loving myself, guess what happened?”

Well, readers: I found him. And he is EVERYTHING on my checklist -- both of them! Our first date happened (I don’t believe in coincidences) to be on the very day my Grandmother died. And that, I think, sums up life. Love and pain co-existing, inexorably linked. Because of course you cannot love without risking pain. In fact, pain isn’t just a risk -- it’s an inevitability. But that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t love, with your whole being, with your body, with your soul.

So I’ve embarked upon a relationship that feels fundamentally different than every other I have had before it. It feels...healthy. It feels good. He watched the entire series with me, next to me, supporting me.What does HE have to say about it?

“On the show, you say you’re looking for your husband, but in real life I never saw that side of you. You have a more balanced head about it. You’re positioning yourself with knowledge and experiences that you understand will lead you closer in that direction, but you’re not grasping for it. You’re positioning yourself to be receptive when the right person arrives.

You’re so much stronger and mature in real life. That just seems like a less experienced, less mature version of you. You seem all over the map on the show and in real life you’re marching in a straight line. You seem a little Miss... Advised on the show.”

Who knew that being on a reality TV show about being misguided in love would teach me how NOT to be?!

P.S. He kissed me first. No begging whatsoever.

Social Media Cheatsheet:

Me: @JuliaAllison / Facebook.com/JuliaAllison / www.JuliaAllison.com / JA@JuliaAllison.com -- email me!
JP: @JuliaPriceMusic / YouTube.com/JuliaMusic1 / Facebook.com/juliapricemusic / www.JuliaPriceMusic.com

 

Dinner Date

Julia talks dishes on her fabulous dinner party and the infamous checklist song.

Well hello there, friends!

PROMMM! Oh wait, wait, sorry, we’re done with that date. Damn it! Back to reality. Or reality TV, that is. (Wah wahhh.)

So, where were we? Oh, yes. Andrew and I had just gone on a rather epic first date involving tulle and tiaras and tuxedos (all the things that make life great), and two things happened: A) he didn’t run away screaming and B) he actually kissed me. A revelation! My god, we’re six episodes in and this is my first kiss. It’s like I’m 14 again. Geez.

Except, to be honest, I still choked at the end and asked insistently if he would call me (slaps self). Baby steps, people. Baby steps.

He did call, many times. He called and he emailed and he texted, and I called and emailed and texted right back. When we saw each other again after that, it was sweet and rather magical, and certainly the most connected I’ve felt to anyone since my ex, Jack.

More than anything, I was smitten with his musical talents -- he’s one of the most brilliant singer/songwriter/guitarists I’ve ever had the pleasure of meeting. We’re not talking about strumming a little to get a girl into bed. We’re talking about a full out Gift from God, caps intended. I give respect where respect is due, and when he plays guitar for me, I go into a bliss bubble.

Maybe it’s because I never did that “musician” thing in college, but I finally in that moment got why women throw their panties on stage. It’s sexy as HELL. More than that, at least with Andrew, it’s sexy and spiritual. The son of a former nun (seriously, you can’t make this s--t up), he writes the most touching, spiritually-connected, folksy songs (check them out at YouTube.com/MCJellyD). My favorites are Heaven, Ghost, and Run Run Girl. When I got very sick earlier this year, Andrew recorded his own rendition of “Amazing Grace” (one of my all-time favorite songs) and sent it to me. I must have listened to it a hundred times.Now let’s fast forward to the dinner party I threw with my roommate JP… but first, a few words about my sweetheart of an ex, Taylor, who lives up in (where else?) Palo Alto -- or at least he did at the time (he now lives in SF). Taylor and I dated in 2010, and after the most amicable breakup known to humankind, we became best friends. We literally haven’t touched each other since then, but we’ve gone on vacations together, I took him as my plus one to my best childhood friend’s wedding, we talk for hours on the phone, etc. Born and raised in Montana, he’s just a solid, ethical human being with impeccable character and a hysterical sense of humor. We’ve been each other’s wingpeople -- I’ve set him up on (no joke) half a dozen dates. He met my last boyfriend, Jack, in Tahoe for my 30th birthday and wasn’t the biggest fan, to be honest. Not because he was jealous -- there isn’t any of that, I promise you -- just because he didn’t see it being a good fit, and he wanted/wants me to be happy.

BTW, if it sounds like I’m waxing poetic about Taylor, I suppose I am. He really is that outstanding a person. Plus his friends, who came to the dinner party held that evening, are equally fantastic. And yes, he reads The Atlantic (#5 on The Checklist!)

So Taylor decided to fly down from SF to visit me, see some of his friends (who have become my friends too), and meet Andrew at the very first dinner party JP and I have ever held in our new home. If I look like a woman who can throw dinner parties with no stress, you’re gravely mistaken, my friend, so I begged my sweet and talented girlfriend Brit Morin, the Martha Stewart of the Facebook generation (seriously, check out her site at www.helloBrit.com), to help.

But a dinner party isn’t really a dinner party without entertainment. As it turns out, living with a ridiculously beautiful and talented musician, AKA Miss JP (JuliaPriceMusic.com and @JuliaPriceMusic), helps a bit! And as JP is a little bit of a sly one, she stole my 73-point Checklist and decided to write a song about it, which is shown in this episode very much abridged. If you’d like to hear the entire song, you can download it on iTunes. It’s FANTASTIC, and every single one of the items she lists is ... yes, actually on my checklist. I thought it was so cute that we made a music video of it, which you can find on JP’s YouTube Channel (YouTube.com/JuliaMusic1), or here: http://youtu.be/oDgUhNONI-c.When she played it for Andrew, I couldn’t stop laughing... and she wanted to tell you, in her own words, what she was thinking when she wrote it. Without further ado, here is Miss Julia Price:

“Julia Allison really likes lists. To-do lists, grocery lists, and of course her dating Checklist of 73 things she wants in a guy.

Since I live with Julia, I wasn’t too surprised when I started scanning the bullet points of the now infamous Checklist referred to in every episode of Bravo’s Miss Advised. She’s a writer, so of course I expected to find details -- but I didn’t expect THAT much detail! Some of my favorites are:

#37: Well-traveled/wants to travel with me (in style!)
#48: Can play piano or guitar brilliantly (or sing)
#64: 75% homebody, 25% enjoys swanky events

I couldn’t help but to laugh playfully at my overly-organized roommate, but in the back of my mind I wondered if Julia was onto something with her list. Was it helping her to manifest someone who would truly make her happy? Or was it preventing her from finding true love because she was more worried about the “guy who looks good on paper” than what she felt in her heart? Well since I didn’t have my own list, I thought I would hone in on my songwriting skills to write “The Checklist Song” and perform it in front of our friends in good fun, especially because Julia really appreciates playful teasing (see #18 on her list “makes me laugh”).

What was meant to be somewhat of an improvisational ditty in front of our friends turned out to perhaps show more of her cards than she was ready to put on the table. Always the first to poke fun at herself, Julia enjoyed the song so much the first time around that she asked me to play it again in front of the new guy she was dating, Andrew. Oh no. No, this can’t be good, I thought as I started to play and we both remembered that unlike her dear friends who knew her well, Andrew was still nearly a stranger. With each bullet point that I sang I could see his eyes widening in fear... he was making mental notes of all the ways that he fell short of this massive list.

But something that Andrew couldn’t yet see, was that he was the first guy who came around in a long time that made Julia question her checklist. The Checklist wasn’t making her happy anymore. I knew that. She knew that. Our friends knew that. I finished the song feeling more nervous than I had been before my first SXSW performance or any other show for that matter. Did Andrew now know too much?”

Did he? I guess you’ll just have to wait for Episode 7 to see!

In the meantime, a Social Media Cheat Sheet (if you want to learn more!) for all the people you see in this episode:

Me - @JuliaAllison / Facebook.com/JuliaAllison / www.JuliaAllison.com / JA@JuliaAllison.com -- email me!
JP - @JuliaPriceMusic / YouTube.com/JuliaMusic1 / Facebook.com/juliapricemusic / www.JuliaPriceMusic.com
Andrew - @JellyD / http://www.youtube.com/mcjellyd / https://www.facebook.com/andrewbancroft / www.MCJellyDonut.com