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I’m giving up on other’s people’s expectations of what it means to be a woman and getting closer to defining that for myself.

And it’s been a long time since something felt so right.

It felt so off — it wasn’t me — but when I tried to change it, I drew a blank. New York, with its large, faceless crowds and anything-goes attitude, felt like a shield from the wedding wind. And in that vacuum, without anyone watching or any force pushing me, I stopped dating. I started going to classes and workshops and spent most of my Friday nights on the couch with an essay and a box of cereal. But I identify as an achiever, and so the thought of not getting married and having kids — something so core to what I’ve always imagined as the female experience, something that seemed so simple for everyone else in the world — was terrifying. Letting myself escape the tunnel at a moment when I was supposed to be reaching the end, really did feel wild.

I knew no one, and even though I was smack in the middle of the densest U. I woke up early, eager to sit down and put words to paper before my real job. I always assumed that having kids was part of adulthood— what people did when they grew up, the next step to becoming a whole, fulfilled person — and that getting married was the necessary precursor. Being happy on my own terms was a relief, even if happiness for me meant pulling my hair out over an essay for weeks at a time without leaving my studio.

Unable to find the right response, they want to ask “why? I am giving up on the notion that finding a partner comes before all else.I was sick of throwing out commentary on hot topics like Instagram (what I consider the essence of our culture’s narcissism) and board games (painful distractions from any attempt at real connection) — comments that used to feel contrarian and clever but now, almost five years later, seemed manufactured, an assembly line of remarks.I was sick of trying to prove myself through intimate life details to people who weren’t even worth the time it took to program their names in my phone.So I decided to embark on a 100-date experiment with all types of men – meeting them in many different ways.I documented each individual date- charting the positives and negatives of each experience. Well, I made a ton of dating mistakes while on my journey.

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