Changing for the Better

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.

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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.
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