love

Regarding Hope, Love, & Orlando

  • “Find the good in the world, and hold on to it with both hands.” (Quote from a post on @elephantjournal Instagram account.)

I haven’t said a lot about the Orlando shooting aside from sharing some relevant videos and “liking” some relevant posts/videos on social media. This is not because I don’t care (as anyone who really knows me will already be aware of), but rather because I just have so much I could say, and I know myself. If I get going on that tangent, it will turn into a novel before I know it. And there is this weird stigma with speaking up about “issues” on social media. So many people seem to pass judgement on those who often utilize social media as the metaphorical soapbox, getting annoyed about it and rolling their eyes, and seeing it as a very negative quality for someone to possess.

Personally, I love a good soapbox. There has never been a positive change in the world that came about because people remained quiet. As the quote says, “All that is necessary for evil to triumph is that good men to do nothing.” So I will continue to try to use the gifts I’ve been given to impact positive change in the world around me. To write about what moves me and try to express a perspective that someone might not have understood previously. To sign petitions and volunteer my time when I can. To be kind to the people I come in contact with and do more good than harm in the world.

I am absolutely stubborn in my optimism and faith in humanity. But in order to truly believe in it, I have to contribute. I believe that one small act of kindness outweighs multiple negative acts, in the balance of our universe. I don’t care if that makes a cynic call me naive. I know that so much progress is needed in our society, in our world. But I also know that love wins, every time.
However, after so many situations like this in recent years, with the same conversations happening over and over again with nothing changing I simply haven’t been able to really form a concrete thought on the situation. I don’t want to say I’m weary, because deep down I know I’m not. As I said, I’m quite stubborn in my optimism. But for the moment, for this moment, I am indeed weary.

My heart breaks all over again every time I think about the Pulse shooting victim who was trapped in the bathroom before being killed, and texted his mother to tell her he loved her and that he thought he was about to die. Can you even imagine? Imagine being that mother, sitting on your couch watching television or perhaps already in bed for the night, getting that text from your child to find out later that they were killed moments later. And for what? For innocently being who they are.
I have so many emotions and thoughts and opinions on the entire situation… the hatred/bigotry, the policy change that desperately needs to happen, issues with gun regulation, mental illness, treatment of the LGBQT community. But behind all of that, all of my own personal thoughts and feelings that really don’t matter in the grand scheme of things, there are hundreds of friends and family members right now mourning the loss of their loved ones, knowing that they were gunned down for no reason other than someone hated them because of who they loved. There is never any sense to be made out of situations like this. All of those people just had the world fall away from them suddenly, with no explanation, and there never will be an explanation that can fill that void in their lives.
And while I wish I could give each and every one of them a giant hug and it hurts my heart that I can’t… I’m so happy to see the world collectively giving them that hug, metaphorically speaking. ❤ Now let’s see if we do more than just hug them and move on… only time will tell.
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Let Me Just Gush a Little… Or A Lot.

I am, and always have been, a contemplative type of person. I’m a writer, after all. A significant portion of my life is spent reflecting on things that have happened, conversations that I’ve had, and situations I’ve dealt with. For some reason I have recently been reflecting a lot more on this whole new chapter of my life that I started about a year and a half ago.

While I was trying to work through my marriage’s problems, I was a little bit lost and very confused. Obviously I never foresaw that relationship heading in that direction or I wouldn’t have committed to a lifetime of it. I had faith that it would last, and I had faith in my spouse’s feelings toward me. And I learned the more difficult way, how quickly things can change. And how drastically. Intense love can quickly turn into the ugliest words and actions. Before long, I came to the realization that things weren’t going to get better. We both realized that we had been a little naive and far too romantic in thinking that we were a good match for a lifetime together. We simply weren’t the right people for each other. I learned that love does not automatically equal a good match. Compatibility needs to be there, as well. Look at how many people you know who love the wrong person… it happens a lot! We find love and want to hold onto it despite the obvious signs that there is little else keeping us together… ! And it takes maturity and time to see past that and look at how well you truly fit with someone.

When I moved to Phoenix I received so much love and support from everyone… from people I didn’t even expect to ever hear from again. Others pretty much forgot about me the minute the decision was made, and that’s fine, too.

In the year and a half since then I have grown immensely as a person. I took a few hits, emotionally, and had to learn to keep being hopeful that I would find my once-in-a-lifetime love. Trust me, some of these guys out here make it difficult for a girl to keep believing… haha! I navigated through dating, which is something I really never did before. I would usually just meet a guy and end up being his girlfriend… I had never experienced first dates, and second dates, and maybe having two in one week! HaHa. It was fun, but I am a monogamist at heart. I get into too much trouble when I’m that free and single. 🙂

I believe that I’ve become a better friend–just a better person in general. Not that I think I was a bad person before! But I’ve worked on being even more accepting and understanding… and to have enough confidence to just worry about what I think of myself and not get wrapped up in what other people think of me. (Which is quite a liberating feeling, let me tell you! And a constant battle, truthfully.)

I met someone who showed me what non-exclusive, long-term dating is like for our generation… and while I’m certainly not a fan, I did learn some valuable things from it.

Then, I went and met the man I didn’t really believe existed. I really thought he was a schemer when I first met him–it couldn’t be possible that someone would say and do everything that I hoped they would say and do! I went on our first date quite reluctantly, and returned home a very excited, giddy girl. I felt revived, simply from the amazing conversations we had. Now we are eight months in, and I can’t even begin to express how genuinely happy I am.

Not just superficially oh-it’s-all-puppies-and-rainbows happy… but truly happy in the center-most point of my soul. He has helped me grow even more as a person. He is mature, intelligent, and so much fun to be around. He gives me everything that I need from a partner, and I know he is strong enough to face any obstacle or challenge to our relationship head on and work through it with me. And for that, I am unbelievably grateful.

He is a man who wants a good woman in his life to be his partner. He wants a woman who will be a good mother, because he will be a good father and knows the importance of family. He wants a woman who will support him and lift him up, because he wants to do the same for her. He wants a woman who will be open-minded and of a thinking mind, because he likes to read about philosophy and gain new perspectives. He wants a woman who is a child at heart, because he knows life should be fun. He is the type of man you stand beside because of the goodness in his soul.

Whatever direction life takes the two of us… I will forever be grateful to have him in my life right now. And I’m just really glad to have met him. Because I finally know what it feels like to cry from happiness.

Here’s to the Exes

Sometimes it’s easy to look at your life, and the relationships of the past, and become annoyed thinking about the various reasons those past relationships did not work. Perhaps someone turned out to be a liar… another may have lacked ambition… another may have changed and been weaker than expected… another could have not been emotionally ready for a relationship… and worst of all, one could have been wonderful, but just lacked that chemistry we all crave. (I may or may not be referencing actual relationships… haha… yes, yes I am.)

It’s so easy to reminisce and be aggravated that you even gave someone the time of day… or that you waited so long to take action… or that you trusted someone completely. It’s easy to look at them for their faults.

But a better option… one that switches your mind to a more positive outlook… is to be grateful for all of the failed relationships. Obviously every single one should be a lesson. More than that… they will help you appreciate a good thing when you see it. That is, if you’re paying attention.

If I was single 5 years ago and met my current boyfriend, I’m not entirely sure I would have seen his worth so clearly. I wouldn’t have been able to appreciate his open-minded intelligence, or his level-headed patience and understanding. I wouldn’t have taken the time to get to know his absolutely amazing sense of humor, and I wouldn’t have appreciated his maturity the way that I do now.

So thank you, to all of my exes… all of the misses… all of the simply incompatible partners of my past. If not for you, I wouldn’t be able to see how very lucky I am right now. 🙂

I hope that you all learned something from your time with me as well, and have moved on to be happier and healthier (emotionally) for it.

Changing Perspective

It has now been just over one year since I moved from Michigan to Arizona. Time flies. 

I highly encourage anyone who wants to move away to just go ahead and do it! You can come up with excuses all your life for why you “can’t” do it right now, but the reality is that you can. It comes down to what is more important to you. If you’re truly unhappy somewhere, I can think of very few things that should stop you from changing your scenery. Aside from taking care of a sick family member, or sharing custody of a child… there isn’t much else that is a legitimate excuse for staying “stuck”. 

I am naturally not all that fearful of change and uprooting myself, so maybe it was just easier for me. I just don’t ever want to become stagnant in my life, I guess. I want to meet new people, see new things, change my perspective by changing various things in my life. Sometimes it can be frightening because we don’t have crystal balls–we never truly know how something is going to to turn out. It could turn out badly. But look at what will happen if you don’t make a change… it’ll definitely be bad because you’ll be miserable, you know? 

I won’t lie and say that I haven’t struggled financially due to moving. Has it kept me up at night or brought me to tears? Definitely not. I’ve struggled financially before. But in twenty years what’s going to be more prevalent in my mind? The bills I barely paid, the shoes I couldn’t buy, or the life experiences I gained?

The life experiences will always win. They will always be there. The minor stresses of money will fade with time. I know I won’t always struggle, so I’m not terribly concerned with it. I can’t take it with me when I’m dead anyway, so I’m going to focus on the more important things! 

Things like… sky diving for the first time… becoming closer with my two cousins & establishing new relationships with them (& their family) that add fulfillment to my life… the lessons I took from going through a divorce… meeting & spending time with a man who helped me see my worth… seeing Disneyland for the first time… becoming more focused on my health and on my writing… meeting and dating someone who seems to also see my worth… and just having fun in general… doing my best to enjoy life in all aspects. 

Seriously… if you’re thinking of doing it… just make it happen. Life will go on. The people who matter in your life will still be a part of it, even from a distance. You’ll go through some bad things, but bad things will happen no matter where you are. All I can really say is… You will survive. ❤ 

That Little Day in February

Valentine’s Day is approaching, and I just always feel like it’s a weird holiday.

If you’re in a relationship, I get that it’s cute and fun to get flowers, or presents, or go on a fancy date. This is the first year I will not have a “Valentine” since I was 13 years old… and for the last 13 years I did celebrate it in some fashion with whatever guy I was with every year.

That being said, I’ve always done my best to make it very clear to any guy I date that I prefer to know how they feel about me on a regular basis on random days… on a Wednesday in March. A Tuesday in July. For no “reason.” Anniversaries, birthdays, Valentine’s Day are all great & wonderful & yes I want them recognized in some way… but it doesn’t need to be a big show. Well, except maybe my birthday. 🙂 (Hey, they should be jazzed that I was born!)

Girls especially seem to want to use Valentine’s Day as a bragging contest. A show of whose boyfriend is better based on the extravagant gifts he gets. I would much rather get a single flower two weeks later for no reason, when he has no pressure to “perform” as a boyfriend/husband/etc. That says more than a diamond bracelet on Valentine’s Day to me. Now, would I be happy to get a diamond bracelet on Valentine’s Day? Well yeah! LoL. But only if I felt like I was getting the appropriate amount of affection/attention all the other days of the year as well. If not, then it wouldn’t really mean much. It’s like a guy that beats his girlfriend 6 days a week, then tells her he loves her & makes her dinner & buys her a present on the 7th day. (Extreme analogy, I know. But you see my point, yes? HaHa.)

My feelings toward Valentine’s Day are basically, “Hey, you’re fun, V-Day. But you’re not allll that.”

At the same time… I find it really amusing how it’s supposed to be a holiday for love and bringing people together, when it really just makes the other half–the single half–bitter as all get out. Not everyone, obviously. But every year I see what feels like an excessive amount of people just HATING on the day. When really, it’s just a day. Ignore it if you don’t like it. Letting some thing, or some one, affect you like that is giving that thing or person power in your life. Why would you let some thing have power in your life and upset you if you don’t even care about it? Makes no sense to me.

I’d rather be single than be with someone who isn’t a good match for me or who isn’t truly worthy of my time or attention. And again… it’s just one day. So don’t let it get you all in a tizzy if you’re single. Just be happy for those that found love and let it give you hope for yourself! Positivity, people! Put it out there and you will receive it. Put negativity out there and what do you think you will get? …. I’m just saying. 🙂

Cheers to the Ladies

Earlier this week I expressed that 2012 was full of men basically telling me that they could live without me and didn’t mind losing me. I understand that some day I will meet someone who makes it all worth it, and blah blah blah. I haven’t lost all hope, but every now and then I just feel like, “Really? REALLY?!” You have to allow yourself a pity party once in awhile, I think.

Well anyway… I have decided that instead of focus on the men who have disappointed me in my life recently I’m going to take a moment to focus on the phenomenal women in my life. I think I have done this before, but I ‘m not sure how long ago… but I have been so fortunate to find a handful of women I can call my “besties” and who are unfailingly there to support me. In no particular order, let me introduce them…

My mother, Renata: Words will never be quite enough to express how important this woman is to me. She is patient, stable, rational, loving, and unbelievably kind and forgiving. And she is strong. From a very young age I felt she was my best friend. She raised me to have respect for her and she disciplined me well when necessary, but I knew that I could always go to her with any and every problem I might have. When pseudo-friends were letting me down… when boys were hurting my feelings… when in college all of the stress would get to me… when I’m bored and just need to talk… she is always there. I wish that I could be more like her in so many ways. ❤

Megan: Oh, Megan. She is my kindred spirit. We both do what we want when we want, and really don’t care what people who don’t even know us (or a lot of people who do) think of us. She “gets me” that way. We can lounge around together all day in our jammies doing nothing but talking, or get all dressed up and go out only to just hang out together anyway. When we first met we were friendly enough because we had to be–our boyfriends were best friends.  We quickly realized that deep down we are more alike than we are different. She is raising two gorgeous, sweet-as-can-be children and doing a wonderful job of it (I guess with some help… Adam does some stuff sometimes–haha!). Her life took some turns she didn’t plan for, and she pulled up her boot straps so to speak (she’s going to say “what are you, 90?!” to that phrase) and did what she needed to do. And I will always admire her for that.

Ashley: My first best friend! My cousin and my partner-in-crime while we were growing up. She is a firecracker and a “blast” (haha!). She bounces right back from being knocked down in life with great ease. I am so proud of her and the woman that she has become… we will obviously always be family, but more importantly we will always be friends. She will always be able to make me laugh, and she will always understand where I’m coming from, because we are so alike.

Nessa: She is my sensitive little soul. She will also get in a man’s face with me when necessary. She’s not a contradiction, she just takes her time letting people see the real her. We are as opposite as can be in so many ways, but it works! We balance each other out. If I didn’t have her in my life right now, I would be beyond lonely and homesick. She’s my cousin/roomie/coworker/bestie and luckily we ended up getting along famously. 🙂 I’ve known her vaguely for most of our lives (as cousins by marriage), but I am so happy to have gotten the chance to really get to know her, because she is a genuine friend and keeps me sane in this crazy life.

Brittany: My bru-baby. Our friendship progressed slowly as we worked together at good old HCo… but once we got to know each other and see each other for who we really were, we became fast friends. She is as silly as me, and as hopelessly romantic as me. She has been through a lot in her life and is sweet and sensitive while remaining strong and determined. We have entirely too many random inside jokes for the relatively short amount of time we’ve known each other. “Taboooo!” – “Woo woo!” – “Eehhhh!” just to name a few. We’ve had countless moments of tear-inducing laughter. And I’m sure will have many more in the future.

Alysia: We’re pushing 20 years of friendship here, so I really don’t know where to begin. My longest running friend-who-isn’t-family but who really is family at this point. We’ve gotten into what, maybe one “fight” the entire time we’ve been best friends? We are best friend soulmates. There is no other option other than for us to be friends. We know each other better than can be explained, we’ve had countless memories shared, we understand each other, and love each other wholeheartedly, and unconditionally. I say she could never do anything to make me not want to be her friend, because I know she never WOULD do anything to make me not want to be her friend. I trust her with my problems, secrets, and honestly with my life. She’s the sweetest, funniest girl and I could probably write a novel about our friendship and how much it means to me. ❤

Cassie: My gorgeous baby sister who isn’t quite a “baby” anymore, at 21 years old. If she were any more beautiful I’m pretty sure the universe would implode on itself. We weren’t raised together in the same home, but made efforts to get to know each other and it’s one of the greatest decisions I have ever made. If we hadn’t, then I wouldn’t know her and that would be tragic. She is as beautiful on the inside as she is on the outside. And funny and vibrant and such a good time to be around. She’s a little firecracker! I remember showing her off in her car seat when I was five years old and she was just an infant, and I will forever be showing her off and bragging about how great she is.

Karen: The relationship that brought her into my life is over, but I will never push her out of my life. From the day I met her she was nothing but kind, sweet, and generous toward me. She is the definition of sweetness and optimism. She became like a second mother to me, and I will forever love her for always being a listening ear through everything I have gone through… and I’m happy that I have been able to be the same for her. She is a special person. ❤

There are countless other wonderful women in my life: my more than fabulous boss/cousin/friend Sanam… crazy awesome Cammelle… my sweet little love, Morgan… my other fabulous HCo girls (you know who you are!)…

And I’m just so thankful to be surrounded by such high quality women… so many that I know are true friends. They are not wishy-washy or immature or fleeting in my life. They are my support system… my personal counsel… and they are absolutely amazing. So here’s to you, ladies. I hope all of you always know how much I love you and that I will always be there for you the same way that you are there for me. ❤

Love Is Fun

It seems so easy in this day and age for people to become incredibly cynical and discouraged in their search for love.

I can understand it to a point. I’ve had my share of defeating moments… this year in particular… those moments where I feel like I’ll never find someone to understand who I am and appreciate me for who I am and to want to just enjoy life with me. I’ve had crazy experiences with pathological liars doing absolutely crazy stuff, and then experiences where I’m simply not clicking with someone even though I’d like to be.

All over Facebook and Twitter we see negative attitudes about the opposite sex. Every girl wants to blame every guy, and every guy wants to blame every girl. I’ve done it a few times. We’re all allowed to vent every now and then after all.

Let’s face it though… men & women are just different. It’s nobody’s fault! We just don’t have the same experiences and we don’t understand the world the same way. We have different expectations. It can indeed be difficult to understand each other.

Like I said, I’ve had my moments where I just think, “Men are so crazy!” But in reality, I thoroughly enjoy searching for love. And men aren’t crazy, they’re just confusing to me. I know I can be confusing/frustrating to them, though. 🙂

Dating is exciting. It keeps you on your toes. It gives you some pretty good stories sometimes! Haha. And while in the moment a situation might feel like the most frustrating, upsetting thing ever… in ten years I know I’ll just look back and laugh about it.

Everything is a learning experience. Everyone you meet teaches you something about yourself and the type of person you want to be. That’s how I choose to look at it. Yeah it sucks to care about someone and have them not return the feelings… but sometimes people just aren’t compatible together! We need to stop taking every little thing so personally at times. Someone not liking you doesn’t mean anything is wrong with you, OR with them. (Well, sometimes. HeHe.)

I know I won’t be single forever. I’m naturally an impatient person so sometimes I get frustrated that I haven’t found the lifetime love yet, but I know it will happen. In the mean time I’ll enjoy meeting new people and having new experiences, and just see where it takes me. So far it has taken me across the country into a whole new environment!

And I’ve said it before… but if you are going through life with a negative, cynical, defeatist attitude… that’s the energy you’re putting out there into the world so that’s probably what you’re going to get in return. Choose to smile, choose to be hopeful, try to be more patient, and enjoy the dang ride!