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  • Writer's pictureJordan Valdez

This is a piece about perspective. I hope something in it helps you heal.

Failure as a concept is relative. It varies from person to person, changes in different situations and differs in severity. It is subjective, one-sided. And it is also universal. Failure is inevitable. We as humans are created imperfect. We will make mistakes, we will fail. So why is it so difficult to accept failure when it comes into our lives? The simple answer.. because it fucking sucks.

We spend our days attempting to succeed at our endeavors. Whether that be in school, at work, in our side hustles, in sports, in creativity, whatever it may be, we desire victory. We want to win. That is the wiring of our brains and our society. Success is the ultimate prize. So when we are less than successful it hurts. It brings us down, it clouds are thoughts with sadness and frustration and it feels like a physical punch to the gut. We didn’t ask for adversity. We tried our best and came up short which is often times impossible to comprehend. How could it not have worked? Why didn’t I achieve my goal? How did we fail? We will ask these questions until the end of our days.

But I think the most difficult part of failure is that it tends to feel finite. That moment in which we thought we would succeed has passed and we cannot get it back. The thing we waited for is gone and that is more painful than anything else. The ability to go back and do it all again seems like the holy grail of opportunities and is entirely unreachable. It’s maddening, truly. After all of the hard work, the sweat and soreness, the exhaustion of our minds, the praying and didn’t happen. And there’s nothing we can do about it.

Except we are taught that there is. We are taught to learn from our failures. We are told that there is a reason that we failed and maybe someday we’ll get to know why. We are encouraged to reflect upon our efforts, to try to find what went wrong and discover what we can do better next time. Yeah well it should’ve worked this time. I did everything I was supposed to do; the signs were all there. The angle numbers presented themselves and I was sure it was finally my time to stand in the sun. But it wasn’t, so respectfully, fuck off with your self-reflection BS and let me be sad. Your anecdotes of disappointment leading to something greater are not wanted here. This feeling sucks and that is ok.

It is completely valid to live in that hurt for a moment. Feel the anger, the frustration and the regret. Let the tears fall; let the emotions live. Then take a deep breath and exhale. Now think about it for one second. That sucked but I’m still here. I get to go on. What does that mean to you? Do you want to try again at what you failed? Can you? How important is that goal? It might seem impossible but you can try again. It’s going to feel daunting thinking about all the hard work you just put in and having to do it all over again but you’ll start to feel a light at the end of the tunnel. It’s not over until you decide it’s over. I know that in some cases you had one shot to achieve your goal, but if you created that one shot for yourself, then I bet you can do it again. It might not be the exact same situation but it can sure as hell feel equally as momentous.

People always tell us that it’s ok to fail. That without failure, there can be no success. They’re not wrong. Everyone fails. It doesn’t make it hurt less when it happens to you but it’s the truth. What we do about it is what will begin to define your next journey. Will you pick yourself up and try again? Will you decide that although your efforts were valiant, it feels like it’s time to move on. Will you turn your failure into drive and work with deeper intention until your goals are reached, no matter how long it takes? That’s up to you and you alone to decide and that my friends is liberating. There might be obstacles or different circumstances this go around but you’ll look at them objectively and decide on a path that feels most pointed towards success.

I told you that this was a piece about perspective. The thing about perspective is that it is entirely yours to decide upon. How will you look at your life after you’ve failed? How will you look back on the journey you took to get where you are today? That relies solely on you. And right now it might feel like it was all a waste, or if that one thing hadn’t gone wrong then you might have succeeded, and that’s ok. But eventually you have to realize that what happened happened and now you get to move on—key word GET. You’re still here, you survived it, and you get to try again.

I’m so sorry you feel like you failed, but I believe in you and your dreams. The journey leading up to this was not a waste, so remember everything else that it gave you. Take pride in your efforts because you did more already than you probably thought you could. And one way or another you will find all the success you’ve ever desired because you decided to keep on fighting for what you want most out of this life.

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  • Writer's pictureJordan Valdez

Let’s all say it together shall we.. DATING FUCKING BLOWS. Now try dipping your feet into the smallest dating pool in the biggest city in the country. It’s downright inhumane. Top it all off with a pandemic and finding love these days is a goddamn pipe dream.

“What are you doing to put yourself out there, Jordan?” The better question is what am I not doing. I love meeting people the old fashion way, ya know, through friends or out at bar—things that have basically become obsolete since Covid struck. My friends here are wonderful but we all run in the same circles so at this point if there’s someone they could’ve introduced me to, they would’ve done it. Plus let’s not pretend we’re still in fourth grade—anyone you want to sleep with in these circles, has probably slept with one or more of your friends too. And as for going out to bars.. good joke. Perhaps that will be more realistic as the warmer weather rolls in and hopefully the city lets businesses legally stay open passed 11pm.

So then your options become dating apps which generally suck too but currently it’s that or nothing so I’ve given in, time and time again, to their promising smoke screens of handsome young suitors. Then the smoke clears. And what am I left with you might ask? A crop of decent men who turn out to be too lazy to plan a date, too boring to hold a conversation with or too douchey to ever be worth your time. It’s also exhausting swiping the day away to match with 20 positive potentials, then get only 5 to respond back to you, for then maybe one to make any sort of effort to meet up in person. I know there are so many success stories of people meeting on Tinder or Bumble and finding their person but that is the exception to the rule. And just like we all learned in He’s Just Not That Into You, we are not the exception, we are the rule. Yes, I still have hope that someday I will be someone’s exception. I will be the girl that turns a boy into a man, the person that makes him realize all the mistakes he made before have lead him to become the ultimate partner for the woman he loves. Blah blah blah. I’ll believe it when I see it.

It’s rather sad actually. I have always been a hopeless romantic. I’ve experienced love and commitment, I’ve felt the butterflies and I’ve always believed that my soulmate exists in this world. I still do at my core. But dating in New York City makes a cynic out of the best of ‘em. There’s the monotony and aggravation of playing the same swipe, converse, meet (but probs not), repeat game over and over again. Then there’s exhaustion of getting your hopes up every day a fresh faced cutie comes across your screen. In the off chance we meet someone out, and he’s cute and charming, he probably has a girlfriend, or seven. We meet someone and tell them what we want, they run, we decide we’re ok with casual, they run. But we puke and rally night after night just for the chance to be ghosted for the 86th time (this week). The constant disappointment is enough to break anyone.

So here’s me, sitting alone on my couch, drinking Negroni’s alone at midnight and manic typing my feelings because I got my hopes crushed yet again. And here’s the kicker—I TRULY thought this one would be different. He appeared handsome, successful, 30 years old and an ER doctor. His photos were attractive yet inviting, sporting a sweet smile, a tall build and a handful of sexy tattoos. As soon as we matched, he initiated the conversation and did so for a couple of weeks. We switched from Tinder to Instagram—I know I never use Tinder anymore but I was trying to maximize my reach—and he made an effort to message me daily, ask indulgent questions and shared his personality through anecdotes of his life and the occasional snap photo. He was a dog dad, he loved photography like me and he understood my random, unorthodox work schedule. He was the type of find I showed to all of my friends, wondering how he could possibly still be on the market, and let myself get excited about.

We made multiple plans for dates and our first was to be Easter Sunday, however we both wound up having to work so no harm there. We made a new plan to meet after his shift at the hospital on Thursday night. He confirmed the night before, said he’d be off at 7pm and would meet me in my neighborhood. Now I gave him some leeway considering the medical field is unpredictable and he does work in the ER, but after 7pm rolled around with no answer all day, then 8, then 9, 10…ok, I’m being stood up. SHOCKER. The fact that the first thing that popped into my head was the distinctive base beat of “Another One Bites the Dust” is all you need to know about the state of my mental well-being. I’m just fucking over it.

Am I still checking my DMs hoping he’ll respond eventually with some crazy excuse as to why he didn’t even have the decency to let me know he wasn’t going to make it, of course. Am I hoping he has a perfectly good reason for blowing me off, absolutely. Because I still want to believe the best in guys. I still want to believe the best in this guy. But I’d be lying if I said it didn’t hurt. I haven’t gotten ready for an actual date in months. My makeup and hair haven’t looked this good since 2019. I haven’t felt the excitement of meeting someone new and wondering if this was it in so long I can’t even remember that feeling. I want to cry and take shots and be out with friends but also sit alone at home thinking that six hours later he’ll finally text me back and offer the sincerest of apologies. But all I can honestly do is laugh, because it’s just so damn typical of dating in your late 20s in 2021.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m fucking pissed. I absolutely deserve better, and I may never know what happened tonight to the good Doctor. But if I live in my sorrows for too long then I’m wasting valuable time getting closer to finding someone who would NEVER leave me sitting by the phone, doubting my worth, changing in and out of my adorable first date outfit, and regretting every hopeful thought I had about this dumb boy. F@%$&%CK. That means I have to start all over, again.

Popular belief tells us that when you stop looking, love finds you—and that’s great. But my problem is I don’t even know that I’m fully ready for my forever love. I’m just trying to freaking go on dates. I’m trying to experience dating in my 20s in New York, figuring out even more of what I do and don’t want in a partner, and honestly just have a good damn time. I’m sure I’ll make some mistakes and cross paths with lots of toads but someday it will all be worth the headache. So now if the dating scene could just get it together so I could do these things that would be awesome sauce. In the meantime, some other things I’ve been doing to put myself out there include manifesting romantic relationships, placing rose quartz around my room and lighting Love candles for god sakes. Flexing my inner juju powers seemed like the right move seeing as nothing realistic/normal was working. BUT EVEN PUTTING MY WHOLE SOUL INTO GOOD VIBES ISN’T WORKING SO I AM LOSING MY FREAKING MIND. So if anyone has any more advice on ways to attract a man who won’t plan a date and then stand you up, let your girl know.

However, if you say you can go away because I am 29 years old and way too much of a catch and we are just not there yet.

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  • Writer's pictureJordan Valdez

My favorite thing about this year so far is the way we all agreed to come into it—cautiously, one foot at a time, not claiming it as “Our Year!!!” It’s honestly a well-needed fresh take on the mindset of entering a new year. Like let’s all just chill ok, we don’t need to ironically beg for certain doom all over again.

So here we are, already a few weeks in to 2021. I’m sure like me, many of you are toying with the idea of New Year’s resolutions even if you’re claiming on your Instagram— “no resolutions for me this year, I’m setting myself up for success not failure!” – I call BulL$h!t. We all have things that we hope a new year will help us begin or accomplish. Regardless of the pressure we place on the month of January, the earliest moments of the year feel rejuvenating. It’s a clean slate, a fresh start, a shift in momentum. I for one, am doing my best to take advantage of that.

In typical resolution fashion, I reopened my gym membership—you’re welcome for that statistic Planet Fitness. I set a few reminders in my phone to provide me with daily cues for joy and manifestation, an idea I got from a good friend. I’m manifesting more job opportunities for Photography and it seems to be working. I deep cleaned my room, rearranged a little décor and candles for a dose of feng shui. I’m finally going to restart my SmileDirect retainers, while we’re still wearing masks, so I can finish what could’ve been done last year. Plus I have a few other little things I’d like to start doing to benefit my physical and mental health this year. If anyone has tips on cutting sugar out of your diet please help ya girl.

And I’m writing again. Hi, how are YOU doing? I’d honestly love to know. I read a phenomenal book last year that my roommate recommended—well I listened to it on Audible—called Buy Yourself the Fucking Lilies: And Other Rituals to Fix Your Life, from Someone Who's Been There by Tara Schuster. I am not joking when I say I felt it immediately begin to change my perspective on change. Tara’s vulnerable words and no bullshit advice can be summed up into the idea that it doesn’t matter how you start, but that you do. Take that first step in the right direction. So that is my only real resolution this year; If I want to accomplish any of the goals I’ve set for my life big or small, I just have to fucking go for it.

So now that the confetti is cleaned up, the Christmas trees are being used as mulch and all of the good coffee flavors are gone from Starbucks, it’s time to really start another new year. We may not be off to a great start as a nation but we’ll just call that one last laugh from 2020 and put that bitch back in last year where she belongs.

I’d love to hear what you want for yourself this year, your non-resolutions, your “finally gonna make that goal happen” ideas. Olivia Rodrigo just wanted her drivers license and we all know how well that’s going for her. But seriously, share the things with me that you want to achieve this year and I’ll be your resolution accountability partner in crime. Ok talk soon, I’m gonna go back to scrolling TikTok for too long. Muah.

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