Listen to Love Letters to Solo. Peter McGraw invites Kriss Rita to talk about the process of curating Solo Love Letters in his forthcoming book.
Listen to Episode #185 here
Solo Love Letters With Kriss Rita
As you know, probably too much by now, I have a book coming out in January 2024. It’s available for pre-order on Amazon. I like to say that SOLO has a big tent, and it would be impossible for me to speak to the diverse experience of singles, age, gender, race, goals and lifestyle, etc., if it was just my voice. I made the critical decision to solicit love letters to SOLO from members of the community to speak directly to readers.
It was an extremely competitive process and 24 of them were accepted and will show up in the book. However, there were many great ones, many compelling ones. I want to start exploring some different ways to share them. To do that, I’ve invited Kriss Rita, who helped me with the curation and editing process, to join me on the show. We’re going to share some of the letters with you and do a little commentary and reflect on them. Welcome back, Kriss.
Thanks. It’s good to be back. Thanks for the invite.
I’ve been looking forward to this for a while. I have to publicly state my thanks to you for your generosity in helping with this process. You live a full remarkable life. You travel, work, socialize, exercise, and are incredibly generous, taking over 100 of these things and helping me window it down to 24. I feel bad because there are so many good ones. This was my first attempt to put the word out.
It was wonderful to read through them all for sure.
I cried with some of them. I sent an early copy of the book to my sister and she was obsessed with it. She’s biased, of course, because she likes me. She’s like, “This is so good.” She goes, “Those letters.” I don’t think the book works without them. Thank you.
I agree. You’re welcome. The voice of all of these folks in our community is so great. It was great to go through them. I nodded along the way many times. Also, picking and choosing was one of the most difficult things.
It was hard. I get it. If I can pat on the back, I feel like we have a lot of different viewpoints and stories. I hope that anybody who reads the book can find one of those voices that resonates with their story or perspective. If they don’t, it’s also going to be an opportunity to better understand other people’s perspectives. As I like to say, knowing whether someone is single or not doesn’t tell you much about them.
There’s so much more that goes into a person’s life than their relationship status, and that’s evident in these. It will be evident in the three that we picked out. First, your letter appears in the book. That was not a quid pro quo. I solicited your letter based on your story. One of the things I like about your story is the transformation that you’ve gone through in terms of how fiercely you pursued the relationship escalator. You did all the things. I’ve never met someone quite like you. If you could, can you recount a few of the things that you did back as your younger self as you pursued the escalator before your transformation to SOLO?
I was one of the OG online daters Yahoo personnel back in the ‘90s, no pictures, nothing. I once showed up on somebody’s doorstep for their date and knocked on their door. I was like, “I’m here to take you on your date.” I went through that. I did speed dating and meetup groups. When I was dissatisfied with the meetup groups, I created my own singles meetup group, which still exists. I’m not in it or I’m a mediator of it, but it still exists in Portland and Vancouver.
What’s the name of it?
It was singles over 40 or 40 plus singles, something like that because I was right around 40 or 41. I’ve done Feng Shui. I made sure that there’s a gap on either side of your bed and matching side tables and lamps because that’s good for Feng Shui to bring a partner, especially into your bedroom. I’ve done about every app there is multiple times. I pursued, and I admit I’m still pursuing in some form or fashion. It just looks different.
You’ve experimented with different lifestyles. You are very happy with your life, but you’re not a no way.
I’m not in no way.
Let’s be honest. You’re not a someday. We know that. Not anymore. You’re somewhere in between a just may and a new way.
Maybe other people will relate to this. There are days where I feel like I’m still clinging with white knuckles to a someday because sometimes you have a day where you’re like, “I want to partner in all of this.” When I was reading all of the stories, I could see myself in so many of them because sometimes it depends on where you’re at and the season. I don’t know about anybody else, but heading into winter is a time when I want a snuggle partner. I feel a little bit lonelier. I’d say that someday, just may, and a new way, I fluctuate between those.
Hour to hour and day to day.
I will say that a new way is always part of it. It’s always in combination with a new way because I don’t think the traditional escalator way is my way any longer.
This desire for some romance, perhaps some naughtiness even, led you to try yet another way to meet people. What did you do?
I live in Portland, Oregon, which is a great city, and anybody that thinks otherwise should contact me because it’s still a wonderful city no matter what you hear. There’s a local small business person trying to make something up and going, a matchmaker here in town. I’ve used their services before. They were doing mixers and such. I was feeling lonely and I said, “I don’t know if I want to do the apps again. I’m going to contact the matchmaker.” I contacted this person.
I wanted to set this up a little bit more but I want you to share this message. I assume this matchmaker does some intake. They look at your pictures and maybe they meet with you.
You do a whole interview. All the questions that you would be asked on an app or a pretty intensive dating site, you go through an interview with her. It’s one-on-one. She has a whole procedure. She tries to do away with all the stuff from app dating. She has a strict procedure. The first date is only a half hour. She sets it up. Everybody pays for their own thing. You go for a walk and you decide, “Do I want to see this person again?” You tell her, not them. It’s a cool way to go about it.
I call that the face check.
Now, she has a website, so you can sign up on the website.
Can I do like a three-hour walk?
No. By yourself, you can. You can take a half-hour walk with a person, then take a two-and-a-half-hour walk by yourself afterward and contemplate. That’s what you can do. If you want to take a three-hour walk, you can. It just won’t be with the person she set you up.
That’s a tough job. It’s a two-sided market. You have to make two people happy. Not just one. If I was a matchmaker, I would be thrilled to interview you. I would be like, “You are attractive, vivacious, smart, and stable. You have this coolness about you and are self-aware. You’re doing interesting things with your life.” I’m like, “I can take Kriss and set up a lot of walls.”
I date men, women, and non-binary. She’s not limited with me.
You just doubled your pool.
I’ve used her services in the past.
She doesn’t share my perspective.
I’ve used her services in the past, and I had some not-so-nice dates. I did 3 or 4 dates with a woman through her. As I reached back out, I said, “It’s me. I’m back. I’m trying to use your website. I can’t figure it out. What do I need to do?” She sent me some directions, and then she said, “I want to check in with you about a show you had done relating to the joy and being single. I got information secondhand. It was along the lines of you not being interested in having a partner and living a single life. I want to make sure that you are interested in a relationship because this is what I’m providing, a potential to find a partner or companion. Can you clarify that you are indeed ready?”
That is so shocking to me.
Me too. It’s completely shocking. I’m like, “The SOLO episode blocked me from a possible date.” All the thoughts went through my brain, “Who was the secondhand person that’s reading the SOLO episode and telling you about it? How did that conversation go?” Thanks, Peter.
You’re welcome. Besides being shocked and amused, you’re clearly amused now. How did that feel when you read that?
I was offended immediately. I will tell you which was partnered with. I immediately wanted to educate her. I typed multiple emails back to her in varying lengths explaining all the premises that we talk about all the time in the community and as part of this show. I eventually condensed it down to the gist of like, “I hope that no one in your interview pool is only happy if they have a partner because I am indeed single and happy. Does that mean I don’t want to partner in some way? With the right conditions, yes, but it’s not the end-all-be-all for me. I’m a complete person. I’m working on it every day, and I’m looking for somebody else who also feels that way that I could possibly connect with.” I went through a lot of scenarios in my head with how much did I owe her in an explanation or I wanted to do a whole education with her. I refrained from doing that. I deleted many emails.
Did you send anything?
I sent an email. I asked her how she heard because I hoped she would tell me, but she did not respond. I pretty much said, “I am indeed happy and single. It is true. You are right. The show is right. You should give it a read. Under the right conditions, I wouldn’t mind having some romance and connection in my life, and that’s why I reached out to you.”
They’re not mutually exclusive.
You don’t have one or the other. A couple doesn’t equal happy. Single doesn’t equal happy, but somewhere in between there, maybe solo equals happy for me on a more regular basis. Your definition and this community’s definition of solo is where I felt my happiest.
I’ve been messing around with this idea of transcending relationship status. We’re not a label about whether we are single or non-single. This tendency to think about yourself with regard to your relationship status gets in the way a lot. You can move between these two worlds, and the change can be good. Sometimes, the change can be bad, depending on who the other person is. One of the things I like to say is knowing whether someone is married or not or someone is single or not says almost nothing about their happiness. The idea is that you should be pursuing happiness and not pursuing relationship status. This is probably hard for her given her business is built on taking some people from deficit to non-deficit.
That’s what the whole dating industry thrives upon. There is that, but you are right. Coming back around to the letters, the big takeaways were people’s sense of belonging and the idea of a remarkable life. For me as well, those are the big takeaways from SOLO, building a remarkable life.
Let’s get into these letters. We’re going to read three of the letters and, in between each one, give a little commentary, a little bit of friendly editorializing, if that’s okay. I’m going to have you read the first one. Let’s start with Espie, a veterinarian in Canada.
“There had to be something more than this. This was the question on repeat in my head after a heartbreaking separation at 45 years of age when I found myself single, childless, and ashamed. We’d gotten together four years prior after I’d been single for most of my life. I thought I had finally found the partner I was to ride the relationship escalator with, but back then, I didn’t know what the relationship escalator was and why I wanted it so badly. It was out of sheer exhaustion of being made to feel like crap for being single that I started looking for voices that made my life feel worthy, fun, and fulfilling. Even if I didn’t follow society’s one and only prescribed recipe for happiness, there had to be something more.”
“During the relationship, a big part of my well-being came from the lift of the pressure that I had felt throughout my single years, the pressure and constant unease of existing outside the norms. By being part of a couple for a few years, I finally belonged to mainstream society. I was finally figured out. This contributed in big part to the high of being in love. I was born and raised Catholic. I was basically brainwashed to think that my values as a woman depended on being chosen by a man and being a mother, the MO of all patriarchal religions.”
“At 45, despite trying so hard and up the opposite, I was both single and childless. Because of this purported failure, I became overwhelmed with deep feelings of grief, not yet able to acknowledge to myself in the world that deep down, I never needed to be a wife nor a mother that badly. Now I’m 50, I’ve been able to readjust my neural pathways and equip myself with a language to identify the culture of the relationship escalator. Thanks to the SOLO show and author, Amy Grant.”
“This has enabled me to gradually deconstruct society’s arbitrary rules and has cleared a path where I can see where I should be heading. With all the information Peter has gathered and shared through the show, I now identify as a new way solo with an openness for LAT, Living Apart Together relationship. Now that I approach my solo life from a completely different angle, I know any new romantic relationship no longer has the responsibility of making me feel better. The more I am exposed to the SOLO show, the more secure I feel and the validity of my existence as a human being. No romantic relationship has ever been able to do that for me.” That’s pretty amazing.
Thank you, Espie.
It’s a good one.
I’m so impressed with the voices in the community. Not just the people are bright but how they’re able to articulate these feelings that they’re experiencing in a way that I often struggle to do. It is a very apt example of that.
It’s so their story. She’s so good at telling it because it’s hers. That resonated throughout all of the stories that we read. People were vulnerable in sharing these deep-set feelings of shame that are so societally put upon us. This is the other thing that kept coming up in all of the stories and in my story as well. We felt like we didn’t fit in. Everybody else was talking about their relationships and their partners. We didn’t have that story to tell, so we didn’t fit in. Along comes, we find this show that we start nodding and going, “I feel like I belong,” because there’s a wide range of people. It’s not just one type of person. That sense of belonging is powerful.
It is striking. I feel like there’s a little bit of a sweet spot in terms of age or development when it comes to people finding the show. I have readers who are 23 years old and who are 69 years old, but there’s that 40-ish number that I noticed. I don’t know how much of that has to do with biological clocks and I don’t know how much of that has to do with enough time has passed that at some point, if you’re a rational human being, you say, “I’m different. Things are different with me than everyone else,” and then the choice to go looking for the answer.
“There must be other people like me,” is the thing that presses them to do this. I’m sure many of them go on Amazon and find books by Bella Depaulo and other memoirs and so on. I’ve had some of those guests on. Some people do a search for a show and see this one and think, “Maybe there’s some answers here.” I’m thrilled that people can feel it. Imagine this. Espie’s life has not materially changed. She is still single and childless. All that had to change was her perspective to feel good about her place in life. It’s amazing. It feels magical.
It feels like a deep exhale after a long time of cringing and holding your shoulders all tight with all the questions. For me, it felt like now I have a different goal. As I said, I did all the things. Now my goal is like, “How do I make my life great?” That feels more achievable and already happening once you take notice.
Also, what a gift to give to a potential partner. If you do enter into a relationship, you’re not seeing that person as the solution to your unhappiness. Talk about the pressure that you have to face when a person’s like, “I’m deficient. Now, here’s you. You’re responsible for my happiness. Your presence means that I am worthy.” How does that affect the nature of your interactions if you need to draw a boundary because the person’s behaving badly, for example? Suddenly, you feel reluctant to assert a need that you have because you’re like, “I don’t want this person to go away because then my life is going to become deficient again.” This idea of going solo can be powerful because it can change the nature of a romantic relationship, should you have one.
I don’t want to be chosen as a partner because I’m going to take care of you in a way that is going to make your life better. I want to be chosen because of the person, the completely wonderful and beautiful human being I am, not as just the partner that’s going to fulfill some absence that you have claimed in your head having.
This idea of like, “Now I could get invited to dinner parties again. I get to go on vacations with my friends in their spouses. I have a date for a wedding.” It is all these things that are about other people’s approval of you as you move from single to non-single.
One of the statements she makes in there is everybody’s like, “We have you figured out.” Now that you have a partner, we’re like, “Okay.” It’s the deep relief that everybody around you has, too, when you’re like, “I have a partner.” Everybody’s like, “Thank goodness. We can now stop worrying about you.”
“We’re so happy for you, and now we know exactly how to treat you.” You get to be on the invite list. A lot of it got cut out of the book, and I should do something with the writing. I ended up writing a lot about status when I was doing the initial draft of the book. There are these two forms of status that humans pursue. There’s one form that’s prevalent throughout the animal kingdom, and that’s dominance.
That’s your ability to exert your will and make others behave the way you want them to. In the animal kingdom, it’s done through intimidation. With humans, it may be through that, but it’s often about power more generally, like rewards and punishments. There’s this other form of status that comes not out of dominance or out of markets but comes out of culture, this notion of prestige.
You can have these other forms of status because you are smart, artistic, and funny. There’s a whole bunch of these other prestige elements of status. When you look at a lot of human behavior, the pursuit of status explains a lot of what we do. It explains a lot of our behavior, the hobbies that people choose, the careers that they choose, the way they dress, who they spend time with, where they live, the car they drive, etc. because we want to feel good about ourselves. All things equal, we want to be high status.
One of the things about the escalator is that it has that built-in status. You go from being single and low status to being married and high status. This is even a moral status. This is the moral and righteous approach to life. When you don’t do it, there’s something wrong with you. You’re selfish, a loser, broken, or whatever these things. Think about a wedding. It’s this celebration of a pairing that’s unlike any other celebration in many ways. I think Espie is feeling that, and she felt like, “I’ve got it,” but then she didn’t again. Fortunately, she didn’t have to go back to the way she was feeling before.
That’s a big key there, too. People rely on partnership as being their identity, and when it does go away, then your identity goes away. Statistically, it’s not a very successful thing to be embarking upon. If you’re somebody who feels like you have a good life, feel secure in who you are, and you’re working on those things all the time, you can be in a relationship or some a relationship and feel good, too. If it goes away, you still have yourself and the security you built internally with your life, community, friends, family, and pets. Don’t forget the pets.
Let’s go to the next one. Thank you, Espie. This is Eric, who’s in higher education, down the road from you in Salem, Oregon. He writes, “Let’s begin with full disclosure, Pete is an old friend of mine. Rather, our friendship goes way back but we are still very young. I love to see my friends be successful and enjoy being involved if possible. Although I am partnered in a family of four, I feel fortunate to consider myself part of the SOLO community as an ally.”
“I completely agree that society is hardwired to the default setting that everyone should be on the relationship escalator with the obvious destination being married and having children. The idea that the SOLO movement challenges this paradigm can mean nothing less than validation and freedom for so many folks from various backgrounds around the world. I see my role in the community as an opportunity to increase understanding and empathy while striving to support my solo friends and solo folks that I’ve never met.”
“Selfishly, I also read the SOLO episode as a means to spend time with Pete. Sure, he and his guests do most of the talking during these hangouts, but after each episode, I feel like I spent quality time with one of my best friends. Also, much of Pete’s work applies to me and my personal request to live a healthier and more remarkable life. I certainly don’t need to be solo to learn and grow from the wisdom shared by Pete and his guests.”
He finishes by saying, “I feel extremely fortunate to have participated in the community in other ways as well. It was an unexpected delight to be invited to help with the SOLO Salon in LA and even find myself serving as a guest on the cycling episode of SOLO. I’m grateful to consider myself part of this community and I’m thrilled to watch it grow and thrive.”
That’s got to feel good to read for you, Peter.
Thank you, Eric. I’m a little emotional. Eric’s such a good soul. I met him in my mid-twenties in Santa Barbara. He’s got it. He’s a good-looking man, healthy, an athlete, an artist, and plays in a band. He has this nice blend of masculine and feminine. We played lacrosse together but he also has this warmth and compassion. He’s very happy as a husband and as a father. He’s very good at it. He’s the type that you want doing that. I would want Eric to be my dad. I’ve spent time with his family and met his kids. They’re incredible. It’s no surprise coming from that couple. What I love about Eric is that he doesn’t walk around with this judgment that his way is the right way. He sees this other path.
You can hear that in the letter.
He’s so excited for the people in the community.
I have a question for you about it, if that’s all right. He says that he doesn’t have to be solo to understand and be a champion, but would you consider him solo by your definition?
That’s interesting. By my definition, SOLO sees themselves as a complete person, who is able to parent themselves, has a strong sense of self-sufficiency and autonomy, and are unconventional thinker. I would say Eric is obviously an unconventional thinker. He works in higher education, is open-minded, works with young people, is very passionate about issues of diversity and inclusion, and is an artist, a rock star, and a drummer. He’s not a vanilla trad.
Eric loves his wife, and they have a very strong partnership but I’ve never seen anything that suggests that Eric couldn’t function on his own. I don’t think he would prefer it, but there’s nothing about his life that suggests that if he were to get divorced or lose her in some way, he would go off the rails where he would have to partner up right away again, in that sense. I don’t know if I can answer the question about his completeness.
My hunch is that that’s a yes, and here’s why. When we were young, women would throw themselves at him. I would watch it in marvel. There’s some woman would come into our sphere, then she was like, “I want that guy,” which is something that was not happening to me. I wouldn’t say he was nonchalant about all of it, but he did not have that desperation that I had.
In many ways, when I was 26 and he was 27 or 25 or 26, I probably was less wholehearted than he was. That’s part of the reason that he was so appealing. It wasn’t that he was athletic, artistic, masculine, and feminine. Some of it was he was living life and enjoying who he was, and these women came along and we’re like, “I want a little of that.”
That’s sexy AF. It emanates from them that they know themselves. They may be doing all these other sexy things, too, but it’s that person who knows themselves that walks in the world with a sense of non-competitiveness. That’s attractive.
What I like about Eric that comes across in the letter is this is not zero-sum for him. It doesn’t diminish his choices in the world in any way by being an ally to these single people in the world, even strangers. You can hear how excited he is about these people he’ll never meet. It’s so uplifting. I was talking about status. There are people who transcend that pettiness of status where they elevate themselves by putting down others. Eric is one of those people that he’s uplifted when other people around him are uplifted. It’s like a rising tide.
That’s a great quality in a human being. He also mentioned in the letter how he’s gaining so much knowledge from this community that he doesn’t feel like he is a member of but as an ally, and he’s still thriving on the learning that he’s getting from all of the show content, which is super cool.
By the way, any frequent readers know that I’m willing to experiment, try different things, and look at different topics. I believed early on that if all this show talked about was being single, it was going to become redundant. You don’t need hundreds of episodes to sum up a lot of this stuff. What you need are these stories. You need to find people that you hear, and you learn from them, but it’s not a lecture from me. This is a show about living a remarkable life. There are an infinite number of ways to live a remarkable life, which means there’s an infinite number of topics to cover. Not all of them will resonate. I encourage people to skip episodes and stop reading if it’s not serving you, but the cycling episode that he participated in is one of my favorites.
It is a good one. I’m a cyclist, too. I enjoyed that one, and they had a great conversation about all kinds of things beyond cycling, so I loved it.
It was great. This is something that is a remarkable activity for people. If we can give people a little bit of a nudge to give it a try or to think about and give them a primer on some of the basics to get them going or to get them to dust off their old bike that’s been sitting in the garage on a nice warm day and call up a friend and say, “Let’s go for a ride,” it’s a nice way to see the world.
He’s a good voice in the community, too. We did a fireside panel at one point with him where we were giving advice.
We did about allies.
What would you like your married friends to know? It was advice to your coupled friends on how to treat a solo and the right ways to treat a solo. Stop asking us if we met somebody as the number one question.
It’s pretty easy. All you have to say is, “How are you doing?” Keep people in mind. I was joking about invites to dinner parties, but it’s a little bit small-minded to believe that an odd number is bad for a dinner party or that a couple can’t go to dinner with a solo. That a three-person conversation is, in some ways, lacking.
I’m fortunate I have a community that invites me along to things.
That’s great. I do the inviting often, too.
My friend’s mom, Mom Metzger, sent me a text. She said, “Peter, you’re not the third wheel. You’re the steering wheel.” Let’s finish with Emily. She’s a closer to me. She’s a small business owner in Salt Lake City.
I loved this one. It was sweet. We’ll talk about it afterward. I’ll read it first.
Kriss made me do this one.
It’s sweet. It’s a little woo-woo. It’s a nice combination of those things. I was like, “We have to if we’re doing this one, Peter.” She does it in the traditional love letter to SOLO. She says, “Dear SOLO, I am so glad I found you. I’ve embarked on a new journey in life. A traumatic breakup months ago allowed me to take some time to process and reflect. What did I want the next chapter of my life to look like? My grandma used to say, ‘Make life so beautiful that there’s no room for anything else.’ This statement has stood out to me over the years as I took a deep look into my life and what I want.”
“I realized that it’s very simple. I want to make life beautiful. Once I realized that and made that my focus, my world shifted once again for me, magical. It brought me to you. I truly believe the universe works in amazing ways and is always working with me to give me what I need. Now, what I needed was this. SOLO’s episode, ideas, and conversations all resonate with me so beautifully. I’m able to connect to different people and experiences with no agenda other than adding beauty. I love it. It speaks to me so deeply and I’m so excited for this new adventure.”
“I love being able to disconnect from society’s expectation of what it believes will make me happy and fulfill me. I love being able to be led instead by this goal of creating this beautiful life. I want to grow my business. I want to spend hours in my workshop creating beautiful things. I want to stay up late sometimes, soaking in the silence. I want to have beautiful conversations and connections. I’m watching my world expand in new and beautiful ways. There are so many decisions I’ve been making lately. I have been very intentional, and I find myself coming back to this very question, ‘Does it add beauty to my life?’”
“Sometimes, does it a beauty to someone else’s life? It doesn’t get more beautiful than that, in my opinion. I found this community at the perfect time for me. Even as I write this, my mind, body, and soul feel so good. It feels freeing and the world has opened to me in a way that I wasn’t expecting, but it feels so right and, most importantly, so beautiful. Thank you, Universe, Grandma, and SOLO. You make life beautiful.”
As you were reading this, I was thinking about social media and how much of social media is this snarky, complainy, and critical thing where you’re showing how you’re better by criticizing, putting down, and being right and everyone else is wrong, or it’s this syrupy faux happiness, especially Instagram. This letter feels like it’s someone’s heart opening up and pouring love onto a piece of paper. It’s so authentic and real that I can’t help but make you feel alive listening to it.
I completely agree. You’re talking about the toxic positivity side of social media that can happen. There’s nothing toxic about this letter. It resonates so much for me because when I talk about doing all the things, I was waiting for that partner. I was doing all the things so I could finally get to the place. Being part of SOLO and coming into my life was more about, “I don’t have to wait. This whole journey is what I’m waiting for.”
The crafting of what she calls a beautiful life for her grandmother makes life beautiful. That’s it, simple. We all have different pathways to that, and that’s why I got a little emotional reading it. I remember that feeling of finally being like, “I don’t have to wait. I’m the steering wheel. I’m driving. I’m the driver of this.”
I agree with that. There’s another side to this. You’re right. This notion of waiting is very real for singles. I would encourage people if they haven’t read the episode called Waiting to do it. It’s one of the best agree. It changed my life thinking about this. As a man, I have had a different type of experience around pursuing things. There’s this one thing of like, “I want to go do this, but it would be better with a partner.” You’re waiting for that partner to come along, then you’re going to go to Paris. That’s the classic. I’ve always wanted to go to Paris, but I’ve never had the right person to go with. You’re waiting for that to happen, then one day, you get hit by a bus and you never see Paris.
There’s another version of this as a man that I experienced, and I can’t speak to other people. I don’t know the flip side from the heteronormative standpoint for women, and it’s this. What is your motivation for doing remarkable things? I alluded to this. Eric did not become interested in getting girls. Eric became interesting because that’s what Eric wanted to do with his life. It happened to help him in his relationships. I say this to young men. I’m like, “You need to put down the pornography and the video games. You need to start moving your body, read some poetry, start expanding what your world is like, and start making stuff. Start building yourself.”
I believe that if you’re successful in doing that, you will become a more appealing partner. You’ll get more yeses when you ask someone out. The missing element to it is you don’t do those things for the dates. You do those things because they make your life better. A lot of people don’t get that. My thing is you decide that you want to get fit. Will you do that because you’re going to sleep better, feel better, and look better? If it happens to be the case that people find you sexier, great, but you give other people too much power when you pick up the guitar to “meet girls.”
You should pick up the guitar because it’s a beautiful instrument. You get to make music and challenge yourself. If you become a guitar player, you will never be bored ever again. What stands out about Emily’s letter is she’s not building the business to impress anyone else. She’s not inviting this beauty in her life to be sexier. She is sexy because she’s so passionate. That’s something that people don’t get. As a younger man, I probably gave too much power to other people with regard to what I did, how I did it, and how I felt about how I did it, dating or not. There’s a big insight in that.
I think so, too. What you’re talking about transcends to be on gender. Many of person have done things to attract somebody to them. You can go one step further. When I’m doing mindfulness and I sit for some meditation, I think about what my intention is so that I can be better to myself. I can walk in the world in a better way so I can be better to other people.
That’s the essence of this. Create your beautiful life. It’s for you, but it also helps you emanate outwards to create a more beautiful space when you’re in it. That’s an energetic field. It’s a little bit of the woo-woo, but I do believe that when I’ve done something good, I’ve exercised that morning, and did my meditation, I feel better. I walk into a meeting and it could be pretty toxic or something bad is going on. I’m a better person in that meeting because I did these things that made me feel like a good person to myself. There’s that piece as well.
I don’t think we’re having enough of these conversations with young people, frankly, as I reflect on this. People like us stumble into it and figure it out oftentimes. Our educators and TikTok personalities may be talking about how to get followers, build a business, or get beautiful, strong, rich, or whatever those things are. There does seem to be this missing element, which is you have to figure out what it is that lights you up. What is it that elevates you?
Riches might not be the path to elevating you. It may be service, art, or entertainment. Maybe that will throw off money and you’ll be able to live and do all that stuff. How do you take a path that might be challenging but do it in a way that you feel compelled to do it? If you do it to get phone numbers, then you don’t get phone numbers right away, it can be disincentivizing. If you do it because you’re like, “I want to do this challenging thing. I want to invite this beauty into my life,” to use Emily’s words, a lot of those other things take care of itself.
I think so, too. That’s the essence. It’s when you start treating your life as a thing that you’re creating, then your life becomes beautiful. If you start with this intention, then it comes to you in that way.
Kriss, what are you doing these days that is inviting beauty into your life besides appearing on the show?
The first thing that came to my mind was that I belong to a fantastic gym. I go to a weightlifting gym. It’s a fabulous community and I love it. I feel stronger, healthier, and connected to it. It’s a local gym right in my neighborhood. Most of the people go there from my neighborhood. I’m growing my friendship circle through getting healthier and getting stronger. That’s one of the big things that I’m enjoying now. Shout out to Kelly Fitness. How about you?
It’s funny you say this because I’m going to break up with my gym.
Tell me more.
I have figured out that my challenge is not inviting more beauty into my life but to reject the ugly from my life and remove the bad juju, the bad energy, or the frictions in my life. I recognize what a privilege it is to be. The good stuff in my life is so good. I’m not trying to add more of it. I’m just trying to remove the bad things. I don’t think she listens reads this, but I let go of my housekeeper. I did so because I didn’t like the energy that those interactions were bringing.
She did a fine job cleaning. It wasn’t that her work was bad. It’s that there were enough little sticking points. It was like a lack of warmth and so on that I was like, “I don’t want to invite that into my life once a month.” I found someone else who came highly recommended. She came in and did an incredible job cleaning. That’s a basic thing, but she had a nice way about her. Now, I’m much more excited to call her up the next time I need my place cleaned. I feel very comfortable having her in this intimate space that I have. The gym that I’m at is fine, and it’s convenient, but there’s something about the way it’s run and the way it’s set up that I’d feel like I’m not excited to go there.
I’m excited to go to my gym. I can’t wait to get up to my morning and go.
That’s great. I’m very happy for you.
Thank you very much. Congratulations on the new housekeeper as well. She must be having a good morning. She must be living a good life.
It’s a little thing. I thought about when I was younger how much crap that I had to deal with because I was not established. I was just trying to survive, and so I lived in places that I wasn’t excited to live. I ate food that I wasn’t excited to eat. I worked jobs that I wasn’t excited to go to, then I started to realize, “I don’t exactly have to live like that anymore,” especially for things that are interchangeable, like gyms. They all cost about the same amount. It’s a worthwhile investment to practice a little non-monogamy with my gyms until I decide to settle down.
It’s a good place to get in life when you’re like, “I get to choose how I do things.” You’re not relegated to do it based on your income. It’s lovely to be able to make those choices to move from one thing to another and have that freedom.
I feel very fortunate. It’s been a slow process, but it’s very easy to not recognize it and keep doing things the way you were doing them.
That’s what I’m excited about. Kriss, good luck finding a new matchmaker.
Who will be the next thing Kriss Rita tries? Tune in next time on this show.
I look forward to it.
Me too. Thanks, Peter.
About Kriss Rita
An aspiring entrepreneur as a Positive Psychology practitioner and coach, Kriss Rita lives in Portland, Oregon. You can find her biking around Portland to meet friends for happy hour, brunch, and live music or hiking and camping with her dog Betty. She works as a special educator and consultant advocating for inclusive employment for people of all abilities.