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Living single… at 33.

Taking in the view on my own.

You might recall a popular TV series in the mid-90’s, “Living Single”, that followed six black singletons living in Brooklyn. They were in their twenties.

Because that’s when most people are single, right?

I haven’t written about my (lack of) dating life in a while – in fact, when I searched through the archives of this blog, it’s been at least a year. Why? Well, until possibly yesterday, I didn’t have much to say on it.

I used to look at being single as sad, and then it became a badge of honor. Now it’s just nothing – or at least, nothing that defines who I am or what I do each day.

I know I’ve got some new readers here – Welcome! – and it’s likely that you never thought this was once a place where ALL I talked about was dating. Why?

Because I did a lot of it in my twenties. I dated, I wrote columns about my experiences, I bartended and met more people to date, and then I published books about it, and spoke about it at open-mic nights… and now I just live it.

I had some fun experiences, some really bad ones, I fell in love a few times, and I also strung myself through abusive relationships.

And then I decided to be single.

Not the single where you have crushes, and “talk” via text, and meet new people on Tindr, and have casual sex. The kind of single where I just get to know myself.

That was at least five years ago, and I’m still in that space.

I definitely never planned on being single at 33, but I also never planned on living in Texas, eating mostly vegan food, or contemplating what life at 55 looks like for a singleton like myself.

At times, being single is scary. I have Miranda’s fear of dying in my apartment, alone, with my cat, and wondering how that ends. And some nights, settling into the covers of my big bed is just a weird reminder of how long it’s been since I fell asleep next to someone I really cared for.

Most of the time, though, I’m happy with my life. Many days, I can’t even remember what it was like to be in a relationship, or to even have a crush on someone. I can do nearly anything I want, and for the most part I do. That was always my saving grace at the end of a relationship – I was free.

If that doesn’t tell you anything about the kinds of relationships I’ve experienced, I don’t know what will.

My jump into being single likely got off to a bitter beginning; I was single because I’d been burned. And there are still remnants of that – it’s embarrassing to admit that I’ve never had a relationship that I’d classify as good or healthy.

But even between relationships, I would quickly meet someone new and move to the next person; one rebound after another.

So being single was a much-needed blow to the cycle. For awhile, I found it difficult to even look at a man, whether at a restaurant or when checking out at a store. I was convinced all men were the same, and I wanted no part of their game.

Don’t worry, I have softened a little since then, and although I don’t meet many people whose relationships I envy, I do follow a few bloggers that give me hope in dating, relationships, and possibly even marriage.

When I graduated from college (10+ years ago), it seemed like everyone was getting married, and many of those same people got divorced, and/or had children. But really, a study came out last year saying the number of marriages in the US, and around the globe, have been declining since the late 90s.

A report from the Urban Institute also stated that many millennials won’t get married until age 40. In the past (say, in 1960), people married for many reasons – to have children, for financial gain (taxes, military, etc.); there was also less pressure on education and careers, for women at least.

Today, being single can mean a plethora of things, and it can look many different ways. That’s the catch 22: there’s almost too many options on how I can spend my years. Do I adopt? Travel? Move elsewhere? Get more hobbies?

I suppose I’ve got time to decide.

In these five years, I’ve gone on a few dates, and unfortunately they’ve been really bad reminders of what I don’t miss about dating – ghosting patterns, mixed messages, messy homes, boring conversations, and selfish sex.

It’s unlikely I’ll go on a date before 2020 rolls around, but when it does, I have a better idea of what I’m after – someone who has it together; a good, fun sense of humor, an appreciation for life, and a kind heart.

Until then, I’ll be obsessively reading library books, cooking new recipes, and planning my next vacation.

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Creating style while approaching 32.

Dream life.

Since the start of 2017, I have slowly been going through my closet, getting rid of items that don’t belong anymore. But it’s not just about the items that I haven’t worn, it’s more about the ones that don’t fit, and those that I just should NOT wear.

In general, it has taken me years to figure out what my style is, and when I can’t afford that look verbatim, how to look for pieces that I can afford and get good wear out of. But many of those pieces are now old, and they’re showing it in the form of underarm stains, tiny holes, missing buttons, and those annoying little balls of thread or fuzz.

As of now, I have two brown grocery bags full of items to get rid of – which I know doesn’t sound like much, but it’s a start. When I moved to Austin at the end of 2015, I got rid of many of my “professional” clothing items since my job attire was very casual. Since then, though, I filled my closet with more casual clothes. But as I look through my closet, I find I wear the same type of thing all the time – and rarely am I excited to get dressed in the morning.

Love this denim + heels combo.

So, as I take inventory, it’s not just pulling out one item of clothing and deciding right then and there, I have actually been wearing some of the items in my “maybe” pile, and seeing how they fit throughout my day. I added a shirt last week after wearing it to work and realizing it was uncomfortably short (it was also a shirt I bought almost 10 years ago, FYI). As I write this, I’m wearing a grey pencil skirt that’s going directly into my brown bags – it’s too tight; so tight I couldn’t get the top button into the loop and compromised with a long tank top. See what I mean?

As I get rid of items, I have slowly started to buy new things that are (hopefully) a better fit to my current body, and my current style. But, as I’ve been shopping, I’ve realized two things: 1. I think I’m smaller than I actually am, and 2. I have a habit of buying things that aren’t perfect.

That’s right, I have body dysmorphia in the backward way – I actually think I’m smaller than I am, which is great for my self-esteem, but bad for shopping. On Sunday, I spent three hours in ONE store, trying a pile of clothes on – most of which were too small. Why?

Honestly, I shopped a lot when I was in high school, probably because I had much more of a disposable income then (plus money from my parents). After that, I hit a long period where I didn’t have money to shop at all, and also went through some weight fluctuation. It’s very likely that I straight up do not know what size I am, and just go for what I know, which is often too small. It doesn’t help that the sizing charts for companies vary; I’m a medium in some brands and a small in others, and when it comes to swimsuits, I’m an XL (we’ll touch on this later).

I have always loved K-Cav’s effortless style.

As I was trying on item after item on Sunday, I would tell myself, “Oh I could get this, but I’ll have to resew the button”, or, “this needs to be hemmed”… and I finally just said no, I’m not buying it unless I can wear it as-is right after I walk out of this store. That meant out of the 20 items I tried on, I bought four, but they were four items that I am really excited to wear, so I’m happy I was picky.

Another truth is that as I get older, I’m trying to find out what types of things I should wear. Yes, I know, we should all just wear whatever we want, but, I want to look my best and flatter my body as best possible. I’m not 25 anymore, and I can’t wear the same types of things I did then – and I’m okay with this, but it means looking a little more.

For example, shoes. Summers for me have always meant flip-flops – not anything remotely expensive or nice; I’m talking shower shoes from the Dollar Tree. But… I don’t have cute feet; and I’ve also spent all this time crafting the perfect outfit, do I really want to slap on the flip-flops? No. So, I’m currently on a hunt for cute, flat sandals that will flatter my feet: maybe some metallic, strappy ones.

Another example is swimsuits. I used to live by Target-brand string bikinis… in my twenties. While they looked cute then, I just don’t have that body anymore. It doesn’t matter how many vegan meals I eat, dance classes I slay, or bottles of water I guzzle, a woman’s body changes, and mine certainly has. I have tried to always embrace my curves, and hunting for the right swimsuit has certainly been a challenge. I need underwires and significant straps to support my bust, and I need full coverage for my butt. No “cheeky” bottoms for this girl! I recently ordered a cute, patterned one-piece from Old Navy that has underwires, adjustable straps, and a full-coverage bottom that looks promising. We’ll see!

Love this look for summer!

If you follow me on Pinterest (which you should), you may have noticed that my general style is a little bit of boho, a little bit of sparkle, and a little mix of feminine with masculine – I love mixing a boy blazer with red lipstick or boyfriend jeans with high heels. I also have an affinity for jackets & scarves.

Speaking of accessories, that’s another thing I’ve been taking inventory of. I used to pride myself on my collection of jewelry… but it was jewelry from Charlotte Russe and Charming Charlie’s. While I certainly loved some of those pieces, they have overstayed their welcome and are either highly off-trend or tarnished. New note to self, spend a little more cash on timeless pieces that will last.

I’ve started to replace some of my jewelry pieces, and wow, it’s way more overwhelming than I recall. I don’t even know where to begin with the statement necklaces and all the earring options and have since decided that it’s probably best just to buy jewelry for specific outfits.

So, yes, I may be a little late to the fashion-in-your-thirties-game (I’d love to hear how you all are tackling it), but I’m learning that it’s constant upkeep. No wonder people are shopping all the time, right? I hope this post doesn’t come across as superficial; but it has always been important to me to look presentable, and to be able to express myself through clothes that make me feel confident, no matter what day it is or where I’m going.

I’ll continue to keep you posted on my fashion and style journey – until then, I’ll be scouring the sales racks and trying on piles and piles of clothes!