On love and fear

Current status: body brought to you by cheese. Can I get an amen from all my comfort eaters out there? Most recently it was because I was on my cycle and I feel like I need to comfort my dilapidated uterus with food, but after that upheaval is over the cheese cravings still remain.

I wanted to finish my latest series on love with this post: on love and fear.

I’m an emotional eater. When I notice my eating patterns changing I have to step back and reassess some of the mindless emotional decisions I’ve been making. Needless to say, it’s happened recently. So what emotions am I leaning into a lot lately? Love and fear. Because, don’t the two always kinda go hand in hand? Let’s dig a little deeper.

I think love is one of those universal concepts everyone wants to experience. It is both a feeling and an action. It’s both tactical and abstract. It’s the anomaly of feelings. And, there happens to be several different types of love. From platonic to deep romantic in love love. It’s a scale.

The antithesis of love some might say is hate. That’s not incorrect. But, I believe it to also be fear. Fear keeps us from bravely leaning into love. Fear keeps us from action. Fear tells us we are both too much and never enough. Fear imbeds in us the deepest of all insecurities… we’re not worthy of love.

I’m not a very insecure person anymore when it comes to certain things. I don’t mind being naked. It doesn’t bother me to speak in front of crowds. I’m not afraid of talking to strangers or trying new things or dancing in public or looking silly in really any way. But, for as much as those insecurities don’t exist, some very real ones still do.

I was at lunch with a few friends today and while we were chatting someone asked me why I think so and so acted a specific way. I responded with my opinion that he’s insecure. And then, the quietest and eldest one of the group calmly chimed in, “aren’t we all insecure?” Boom. Yeah, yes we are. And while I can talk about insecurities for a whole separate post… I’ll just say they are the bastard child of fear and vanity.

As I drove home I began to think about the past couple of months and how both my relationships and my life have changed. Drastically. And where change is, fear closely follows.

I love aspects of my new job and concurrently my new life, but I also fear I won’t be able to keep up this hectic schedule much longer. I fear I won’t be able to teach certain classes well, or worse, injure someone because I’m bad at it. Or, with all this cheesy laziness I’ll start to look less like a Pilates instructor and more like an Oompah Loompa and they’ll know I’m a fraud. Not doing things well… that’s an underlying insecurity that keeps me up at night.

Rounding third and heading home… why you’re here. Love and fear. My relationships have been a disaster lately. The romantic ones come down to one main folly…fear. It motivates me to be an idiot. And, sadly, the more I love you the more of an idiot I’m going to be. I’ll be insecure. I’ll start to second guess everything about our relationship. And then, I’ll start to make things up in my head and believe them to be true. All of this is because of fear. Especially when it comes to dating.

This week I decided to lean into the fear instead of running from it. To figure out the main issue and what it is that I’m really afraid of. One of those things being that the deep feeling of loneliness that I’ve had looming over me the past few months will never go away. I’d been filling my time with dates or new friendships that I don’t really have any investment in. And, none of those things really affected the loneliness at all, instead I just ended up wasting time with nice guys that’ll be nothing more than just nice guys. Fear that I’m not able to like anyone else because I already love someone. Fear that I don’t know what that looks like, don’t know if he feels the same, perhaps he’s just wasting time with me to feel less lonely. Fear I’m his nice girl. Fear that no one really ever loves anyone. Fear of running out of things to say. Fear of saying too much. Fear of being too much, just the way I am. Fear of being alone. Alone.

So what’s a girl to do? I started by deleting all my dating apps. All three of them… no judgment. I politely declined the invitations of dudes both new and old this week to go out. (Especially after one particularly scary first date we’ll get to another time! ) And that’ll continue, I’m trying to be more greedy with my time. It’s valuable… because I’m valuable. I think I lost that part of myself. It’s back now. I have very high self worth but it doesn’t mean fear doesn’t compromise that every once in a while.

I’ll also continue to lean into fear. What’s the worst that could happen? You’re never completely alone I tell myself, you have great friends. So what if your vision for your life doesn’t come to fruition, maybe that just means a better story is being written. If someone doesn’t love you the way you love them, that’s okay. Perhaps they just can’t. Perhaps they needed you more than you need them. Unrequited love is not going to kill you. And, it always makes for a great story. Silver linings. You are enough. I am enough. Fill your life with things and people that bring you joy and make your life full. But, don’t neglect the fact that without things and people you are not incomplete. They don’t fulfill us. We are complete on our own. They compliment our lives, make them full and bring us joy.

I hope you have found some value in my ramblings. That you’ll lean into fear and be brave. That you’ll love harder and stronger and with fear but that that fear will be the idea of losing out on something great because you didn’t try. I hope you try. Take chances. And, if it doesn’t work, you’ll leave having loved hard and fearlessly.

That’s my hope for all of us. Love well, the best you can, while you can. None of us are getting out of here alive.


Currently I’m sitting in one of my favorite fast casual dining spots in my city. I’ve been here numerous times on dates and with friends. I’m not normally a creature of habit when it comes to ordering, but here I am. I almost always get the salmon ceasar salad, because it’s delicious and because I hate catfish. I’ll keep it fresh by ordering a beer, black beans or sweet potato fries if I’m feeling particularly adventurous. 

Today I sit alone. Today I enjoy my solitude.

I don’t know why but people treat lone eaters as sad. While I’m a relatively sad person in general, I’m not sad because I eat alone and I’m not alone because I’m sad. When did solitude become such a burden. Why do we view this as less than?

My goal for February is to write a series of blogs on love and relationships. I’ve been scouring my Facebook for fodder. But, before we even get started, I wanted to write on solitude. I really think that before we can be with anyone, we’ve got to be okay with being alone with ourselves. If you can’t love yourself and take care of yourself, how can you expect anyone to know how to love or take care of you.

I’ve been alone most of my life so I’m very comfortable in my solitude. Being with people is very hard. Humans are hard ,so relationships are hard. It’s easy to be alone, but it’s not growing. And while the solitude offers many benefits, there are a lot of perks to being with people. 

So, before we dig deep into a series on love and relationships, I wanted to highlight all the things I know to be true about solitude and being alone. This is, after all, my area of expertise. 

Being alone and being lonely don’t always go hand in hand. I know numerous people who are surrounded by people almost always. They have significant others, an overflowing friend group and some even have kids. Yet, even still, they remain some of the most lonesome people I know. So, loneliness doesn’t always equate to being alone. I am sometimes my loneliest admidst a room full of people. The flip side of that is that being alone doesn’t always equal being lonely. Today I spent almost my entire afternoon alone. I took myself out for a meal, a movie, coffee & cupcakes and even shopped for a few things. I might have been alone but I didn’t feel lonely. I was doing things I enjoy, on my own time and it was nice not to have to factor in another human. I sometimes get “peopled out” and I need time and space to recharge.

Being alone is better than bad relationships. I really try in relationships. Sometimes way too much. A nurturer by nature, I often give more than I receive. And, I do this until I just have to tap out. I’m learning it’s better to be alone than spend your energy and time on people who don’t value it. This goes for both friendships and romantic relationships. A friend of mine recently said, “I do a lot. So I value time with myself over almost anything. If you’re getting my time it means that I’m giving up that greatly valued personal time. Don’t waste it and understand it’s fucking valuable. I have to like you more than I like my own time.” The greatest thing we can give people is our time. Don’t waste it on those who don’t value or deserve it. Sometimes that means reassessing our relationships and understanding that even though we care or love a person, they’re just bad for us. If you don’t add value, I’m going to have to let you go.

Being alone helps you be with someone else. I’be been alone the better part of my  adult life. I’m good at it. I find joy in solitude. Mostly. Being alone has taught me what I want, don’t want, what I need and what I don’t need. 

I went on a date a couple of weeks ago. This guy was a total dreamboat. He was 6’7 , successful, muscular, smart, a gentleman , charming, funny and really nice. He even called me on the phone after our date so he could hear my voice and ask me out again. Perfect on paper and yet I politely declined another date. The problem was, his ambitions didn’t really line up with my ambitions. What he valued didn’t exactly line up with what I valued. All he could talk about was arranging his life around having season basketball tickets and buying new things . He wanted to do all these things but yet worked a job he hated just to keep up a lavish lifestyle. I’m not judging that, I’m just saying stuff is not what I value. Living in a small town near the city I grew up in, raising a bunch of kids and getting comfortable in monotony so we can live surrounded by stuff, that’s not going to be my life. Good for him, not for me. And, while twenty year old me would’ve been tempted to marry Mr. Perfect on Paper, 28 year old me knows she’s better off alone. It’s better to be alone and happy than with someone and miserable. It’s so easy to let someone else steal your possibilities. 

People don’t need people. People want people. And when you’re able to come to terms with the fact that loving someone is a choice and you make that choice constantly, it gives you the freedom to choose wisely. And, there’s nothing wrong with choosing solitude. You don’t need a person to complete you. You are a complete person on your own. Instead choose a partner who compliments you. Someone who can live alongside you and cheer you on as you do the same. Someone who adds value to your life and who cherishes time with you. 


Happy is the heart that still feels pain. Darkness drains and the light will come again. – Ingrid Michaelson

I pay attention to lyrics a lot, more so than a melody. I’m a writer, so naturally it makes sense that words matter to me. I’ve always liked Ingrid, but when I came across this lyric several weeks ago I felt like we were soul sisters, because this is exactly how I felt then and somewhat how I feel now.

If you haven’t gathered already from reading this blog, I’m a sensitive person. I feel a lot, not just of my emotions but others as well. Empathy, it’s one of my biggest strengths and weaknesses. I’m a Cancer, so apparently that makes a lot of sense. All I know is that I feel shit. And I feel it a lot and hard and all the fucking time.

There’s a fine line between being self aware and being narcissistic and honestly I’ve been teetering on the side of the latter the past several weeks. You may recall my post in October about this really terrible thing that happened to me, yeah well, it fucked up my capacity bucket. Let me explain.

So my therapist (Therapy is weird. You should totally try it. It helps you keep your friends when you’re crazy   experiencing a lot of feelings. I secretly like it. Don’t tell my therapist.) is a delightful person and also really smart and great with metaphors. A few weeks ago we were discussing post trauma type feelings that I’ve been having and most of them not having anything to do with the actual incident itself but rather things I haven’t dealt with for a very long time or well, ever. Insert the capacity bucket metaphor. The idea is that everyone has this metaphorical emotional feelings bucket and some people may have a small bucket, some a large one but regardless, everyone has one. Regardless of size or scope, that bucket has a capacity, it can only be so full before the overflow starts to happen. And, when the shit hits the fan and your bucket starts to overflow because you’re not dealing with your feelings…you don’t get to choose what comes out.

To make a long story a little less long, my capacity has been met and I’ve been dealing with a few things. One of the feelings being heartbreak…old and new. Hence the last post.  It’s easy for me to let people go by omitting them completely, pretending things didn’t happen, but somewhere down the road you have to deal with loss of any kind. And sometimes we have to mourn the living, the death of possibilities. Pain demands to be felt, and the mind prefers closure. Insecurity is another thing that’s surfaced. Who doesn’t have some sort of insecurity though, aimiright? I won’t go into the little details over my own insecurities, because they’re still mine and I’m dealing with them but I will say this… one of my main problems is thinking I am both too much and never enough for people. I have a problem seeking perfection. And, nothing is ever perfect so imagine my constant disappointment. (Half joking.)

The biggest feeling to surface though has to be loneliness. I’ve always been good at being alone. I make myself busy. I’m not someone who needs constant attention. I’m independent. But there’s a huge difference in being alone and being lonely.  And when you can’t  make yourself busy or you find yourself wanting people to be there when they aren’t or can’t be, loneliness can rear it’s ugly head. Loneliness is one of those feelings I hate because it demands another person to alleviate. I don’t like “needing” people. I don’t like states of vulnerability. But, sooner or later, it happens. And all the feelings, good and bad demand to be felt. They demand to be dealt with. It’s not good or bad it’s just true.

So here I am with these feelings and stupidly trying to shovel out my capacity bucket so I can function like a normal human instead of a wallowing mess of a person, until it hits me.

Perhaps once upon a time I was a wallowing mess of person, full of broken bits I didn’t know how to put back together. But I’m not that girl anymore. I dealt with those parts of me, and now I can choose to move forward and be this awesome badass of a woman everyone reminds me I am or I can regress back to a wallowing mess. There really is no happy medium here.

Don’t get me wrong, feel the way you feel…but then move on. I haven’t been moving on. I’ve been a wallowing mess of a person. So focused on the bad feelings that have come from the overflow that I forgot to be present in my own life. I haven’t been here. I haven’t been present. I’ve been asleep. It took a really good friend of mine to say, “What’s got you so upset about this situation?” to wake up. She refused to coddle me. She reminded me it could be a lot worse. Yeah, something I am painfully aware of. Thanks. But she was right. I am not dead. And as long as I have breath in my lungs and feeling in my bones, I need to be present in my own goddamn life.

People keep asking me what I want. What would make me happy? I think at this moment it’s fluid. Adulting is difficult and at almost 30 I’m still trying to figure out what the heck I’m doing. One of the things that doesn’t change though is this, I want to fill my life with warmth, light and love. I want people to take care of and people to take care of me. Not to be afraid of loving someone or needing people. I want to experience things, not just buy them. I want to see the world and I want to try everything that’s within reason. Stop saying no just because I’m scared. These are little big things I think would make me happy.

What does any of this have to do with you? I have some advice. (Shocker!) Deal with your feelings. Because, sooner or later you’ll have to. Wake the fuck up in your own life. The hourglass is glued to the table and the mortality rate is still 100%, so live your life. Live it as well as humanly possible.

Terrible things happen every single day. Chances are that the terrible thing that happened to me didn’t happen to you. Your story is your story. Don’t let the bad things or past mistakes keep your future from being bright. Glass half empty or half full? Lately there’s been no glass. But then I woke up, and reminded myself that the glass is there and it’s not half empty or half full… it’s refillable.

And, isn’t that better. It’s just a season. One of growth,change and uncertainty. Deal with the ginormous bucket of feelings and find out what you’re made of. You have substance, kid.

So, if you’re in a season of wallowing, remember this: Happy is the heart that still feels pain. The darkness will drain and the light will come again.

Six Years Later

toa-heftiba-274947A few months ago I was talking with a friend and a question came up… if you were given the opportunity to make something right or tell someone something and it was the last time you were able to do that, who would you choose and what would you say? I didn’t have the answer then. I think I chose something that would have been nice but I don’t think it was the real honest answer. So, because I’m not a verbal processor and I’m a writer, I’m going to share this answer with you & the universe.

To be honest, I think we all have that one thing we wish we would have said, that one apology, I love you and I’m really glad your in my life kind of thing. The following is a short and concise version of that for me. These are words that are actually too late to say but nevertheless they are true.

So here is my very real, honest and vulnerable apology love letter.


Sorry it’s taken so long. I’m not great with relationships. You know that all too well. It’s been a very long time. My fault of course. I cut you out of my life entirely. I do that and I am sorry. But the truth is I miss you. It use to be every couple of minutes, then every hour, then every few weeks, then every month and now every few months I think about you. The less and less I think about you the more it makes me kind of sad. Sad that would have, should have moments exist in our lives. Sad because it was of my own making. But,  it’s very easy to romanticize the past. It’s simple to reminisce about rose colored glass versions of people. I have a very real and rosy version of you in my mind. But… that’s all kind of changed.

This year was really difficult in ways I could have never imagined. It made me question  a lot of different things I thought to be true. One of those things was love. Once upon a time I thought I loved you. You were my best friend. But, the timing was never right. The gumption was never there. And, even though I was young and not a fully formed adult, I knew that I was way too much for someone like you. You treated me with so much kindness and grace all the time. You cared about what I cared about. You wanted to get to know my crazy family. You supported me in ways a lot of people didn’t. And… at the end of the day, you were there. You were there when I needed someone. Until… you weren’t.

The reason I could never tell you I loved you was because I wasn’t sure it was true. There were things I loved about you, but other things I really really didn’t. You were passive. You weren’t ambitious. Your number one priority was to get married and mine wasn’t.  And, most of all, you never fought for me. That’s the hard part. No one does. I leave. It’s what I do when things get hard. But, it’s not always what I want. I expected more.

I’ve learned a lot about love since then. There’s many different types. The fact that you can love people in different seasons of your life. And, when you want a person, you don’t get to choose which part, you take the whole thing and hope that all the good outweighs the bad. You also don’t get to choose when a person enters or leaves your life. I’m learning to embrace my seasons with people.

I use to think our timing was just a bit off. If I had met you later in life I would’ve been ready. Truth is, I’m not the same person. You’re not the same person. And, at the end of the day I cared about you in the right season of my life. I’m sorry it wasn’t enough. I’m sorry that I left and that I wasn’t a better friend. I’m sorry I broke your heart a little. I didn’t love you well. Love is a choice and it’s manifested through action. I didn’t choose you and I left. I chose me. My goals, ambitions and selfishness were my priorities.

Ours was the healthiest unhealthy relationship I’ve ever had. Complicated. Messy. I don’t do any of those things for very long you know. And I’m really good at cold cut endings. I’m sorry you were part of that. You were my best friend. Now you’re not.

Truth is, you don’t need my apology. You are happy. I know because you’ve found your person. You’ve made a life. A life you wanted, a life that you deserve. I’m happy that you are happy. This apology was really for me. Parts of me are still pretty selfish. I blamed you for all of it. I sowed a seed of bitterness towards you that made it super simple to walk away. But in all honest, I very much bare a lot of the blame.

So, one last I’m sorry and I’ll be done. I wish you well. Thank you for being the one who made me happy for a little while, for showing me what a good and decent man looks like and for treating me with kindness when I didn’t even know how to give that to myself. I’m glad we met. I’m glad you’re a forever piece of my story. Go, be happy.

with love,


The Darkest, Twistiest Thing

ian-robinson-181741I am about to share something I am wholeheartedly tired of people (myself included) tiptoeing around. It is a very difficult post for me to write. But it’s something I don’t take lightly because I know I’m not alone and I share in hopes that you will know you’re not alone too.

Mental illness. Today just so happens to be World Mental Health Day. Here are a few stats around that:

  • 1 in 5 (or 43.8 million) adults experience mental illness in a given year.
  • 1 in 25 (or 10 million) adults experience a serious mental illness.
  • 1 in 100 (or 2.4 million) live with schizophrenia.
  • 2.6% (or 6.1 million) of Americans have bipolar disorder.
  • 6.9% (or 16 million) suffer from severe depression.
  • 18.1% (or 42 million) live with an anxiety disorder.
  • 90% of those who die by suicide have an underlying mental illness.

And yet, we don’t talk about it. Words are taken lightly, like depression or anxiety just to name a few. As someone who has suffered from clinical depression and anxiety for almost all of my life… there’s a few things I would like to clear up. These are a few of my truths.

I’m going to warn you, this list isn’t pretty. It’s not cute. And above all, it doesn’t mean I’m combustible, fragile or need to be tiptoed around. If anything my broken bits let the light in and I’m a stronger human because of them.

From a very early age all that people remarked about me was my smile. Partially because it was too big for my face, but mainly because I did a lot of it. Be mindful that sometimes, behind someone smiling there can be hurt and a whole lot of lonliness. Happiness doesn’t always constitute joy, and sometimes people plaster on fake smiles for you to stop asking if they’re alright. Maybe just be there, be present, listen.

I want you to know these things because I am one in five. I am one in 18. I am one of 10 million. I’m just one. And there are so so many of us out there. But, the truth is… I’m lucky. In many regards I shouldn’t be alive typing out this post right now. But, I’m strong. And, I know that this is not all of me.

Here are some things you should know:

  1. Mental illness looks different on everyone. The signs are different, the reasons are different. The coping is different. I cope with “shut the door” phases and smelling the candle isle in Target. I mean, I never said I was a sane person.
  2. Being sad is NOT the same thing as being depressed. Sadness is an emotion, depression is more of a state of being. And there are many levels of depression. Sometimes people suffer from seasonal depression because of winter and whatnot, yes that is a real thing you should take seriously.
  3. Depression and anxiety can come out of nowhere, at least for me. Sometimes there are days that I know I’m not particularly feeling happy, but other times I can be the happiest ever and then all of a sudden have a panic attack or just want to crawl into a hole. It’s not a pretty thing to witness, but it’s an awful thing to experience.
  4. Suicide is not about you, usually. I don’t know everyone who has ever committed suicide nor attempted, but I speak from what I know. There are sometimes earth shattering things that occur that make people want to do that. But in that moment, no matter the reason, that person just doesn’t want to exist. It’s not a level of selfishness they are aware of, life is just all too much, all at once. A friend of mine explained it by saying, “People with chronic depression, it’s not that they want to die, it’s that they have to talk themselves into existing. Sometimes every minute of everyday, and sometimes they lose that battle.”
  5. Anxiety and worry are not the same thing. Anxiety is often irrational. I have a really hard time trusting people. I overanalyze everything, everyone and every situation because of anxiety. Sometimes, it’s exhausting.
  6. Sometimes you can help people, sometimes you can’t. People need to help themselves first. There is no amount of words that can be reasoned out if a person at the end of the day doesn’t believe that life is worth living. What you can do is meet them where they need to be met and love them the best that you can. Show them that you are glad they exist. Show them that they are loved and wanted. That’s what you can do for them, and if that doesn’t work…if that isn’t enough, there really isn’t anything else you could have done.
  7. Asking for help isn’t shameful. Talking about your shit isn’t shameful. It’s okay to seek help. It’s okay to take medication if there is a need and it will help. Sometimes it is hormones. Sometimes it is an imbalance. Talk to someone. Anyone. You are worth that conversation.
  8. It doesn’t need to be glorified. It took me a long time to stop using this as an excuse not to live my best life. There were days, weeks, months that I would lock myself away in my room refusing to come out other than to go to school or to any place I had to. A lot of that time I didn’t even eat. I used it as an excuse to cripple myself and waste time in my life. Experiences, opportunities wasted because I was wallowing. I’m not saying that you don’t deserve to feel the way you feel. You deserve to feel the full spectrum of human emotion… but it’s not all of you. Acknowledge that feeling and then move on. The deepest problems arise when we dwell on it, when we focus our whole being on it.
  9. You don’t have to understand. If you have a friend or someone you care about has depression or anxiety or any mental illness at all and you don’t… they don’t want you to understand. They want you to acknowledge that this is how they feel, that’s it. You don’t have to try to make it better, you don’t have to say that everything will be alright… just listen. Just acknowledge that this is how they feel, ask if they need anything, and listen.
  10. You don’t have to justify. Yeah… I’m a twenty something, moderately pretty, smart, funny, well-liked, moderately affluent, white woman… what do I have to be depressed about. Stop it. I feel the way I feel. My own family, some of my closest friends don’t even acknowledge this aspect of my life. Just because those you love don’t acknowledge or know what to do about it doesn’t mean you have to justify or explain it. It’s just your truth. This is your struggle. This is their struggle. You are not broken, this is just part of your story. Instead of allowing it to cripple you, use it to be better.


Don’t treat your people differently. Just acknowledge that this is a part of them. For some of us, happiness takes effort. For some of us, we have to reason out our existence. For me,  this aspect of my life has made me kinder, more empathetic and more understanding of humanity as a whole. Just listen and acknowledge your people’s truth.

So yeah… I am a lot of dark and twisty. I feel a LOT of things. It’s not good. It’s not bad. It’s just true.

I don’t need you to take care of me. I don’t need you to fight for me. I need to fight for me.


People Watching

You know why airports are one of my favorite places on Earth? People watching galore, and the fact that it’s a cornucopia of places and cultures all at once headed to various destinations around the world. Everyone is going somewhere.

Being the loner that I am, I have always loved people watching. And the more you watch, the more you understand. The more understand, the more you become aware of why people do what they do. Subtle hints of why people share/exhibit certain emotions and actions. This is partially why I am borderline obsessed with personality tests. I find them fascinating. The reasons behind our actions and understanding them affords us the opportunity to evolve into the best versions of ourselves and to add value to those around us. Also, in less eloquent terms, if you’re really watching and listening, you have the opportunity to help make someone’s shitty day a little less shitty.

You pick up on certain subtle insecurities people have as well. It’s easy to write people off as shitty, but there’s almost always a deeper underlying reason for their behavior. It’s not always pretty but it’s almost always true. But… you’re right, some people are just shitty at the end of the day. I digress.

So, in my people watching obsession, I think a lot about a lot. I notice things. People are complex, sometimes complicated — most often not knowing what they want or where they’re going, just kickin’ it in the general monotony of time and space. I think you can learn a lot about yourself by observing others and you can really bring value into your life and in the lives of those you care about by putting some of what you observe into practice.

With that in mind, over the past few months I’ve been super interested in figuring out what people’s love languages are. Now, we all know that some of our love languages may not be on the list I’m about to provide…like my secondary love languages are definitely coffee and naps… but bare with me. Perhaps you’ll be able to associate with one or two and maybe learn to love your people/person a little better.

The idea of love languages has been circling around the self/relationship improvement community for over a decade. If I’m not mistaken it revolved around this book written by Gary Chapman, a well renowned relationship counselor. But, the premise is that it’s not about marriage it’s about relationships in general… all relationships. Try not to get too bogged down in the overused “love” part… this applies to how you give and receive affection of any kind in various capacities of your life.

The Five Different Love Languages*:

Gifts — It’s not a  love of materialism. This person loves the thoughtfulness behind receiving a gift of any kind. Missed birthdays and lack of thought put into special days is particularly devastating for a person whose primary love language is receiving gifts.

Service — This person feels loved and cared for when you go out of your way to help them in some capacity. Help around the house, cooking dinner, putting together a piece of furniture are all examples of acts of service. This person would feel particularly unloved by laziness or apathy towards their requests or hints for help.

Physical Touch — This person likes to be in the presence of people. A hug, pats on the shoulder, holding hands, kissing or even sex are all ways in which this person feels loved and valued. For this person, lack of desire or neglect can be particularly devastating.

Words of Affirmation — For this person, words are equated with actions. This person not only needs to be shown they are loved and valued, they need to hear it. Being told they are of value to you or they are doing a good job are ways in which this person might receive affection. Compliments are also well received by this love language. Silence and lack of communication would devastate someone who needs words of affirmation.

Quality Time — This person likes to receive undivided attention. They love one on one time with their people. What would devastate this person is routinely canceled dates, exhausted use of busyness and not listening or being present when you are actually with them.

The idea is a  little cheesy but makes a lot of sense. Read a brief plug *here.

I found this particularly interesting when I looked at it under the microscope of my friend. A few years ago she was having a rough go at her marriage. She would routinely speak with me about how she didn’t know if she and her husband would survive the separation of a move to different states. She talked about how she felt unloved and unwanted and womp womp… how they weren’t having sex, like ever. More conversations and months went by (…and yes, I know way too much about their intimate life) and her whole demeanor would change if they had had sex. Then they were able to live together again. Things were grand. Two things about this should be abundantly clear: my friend’s primary love languages are physical touch and quality time, lack of both by either party was devastating to their relationship. But, by acknowledging that this is something she needed/wanted allowed her to ask for it and save their relationship.

Not just with romantic relationships. I know a plenty of people who need words of affirmation and quality time but had absentee parents growing up… that equates to a devastating feeling of being unloved and unwanted. Both feelings which perpetuate bad behavior in their relationships well into adulthood.

So what are my love languages, glad you asked…

My primary love language is words of affirmation, it ranks astoundingly higher than any other of my love languages combined. Which is strange because I’ve never been good at receiving compliments or anything of the sort, but it makes sense. I have a fondness for truth and words. I have an intense need to feel valued and appreciated. That’s why my main giving love language is acts of service and quality time. I’m keen on seeing what people need a filling the gap.

My Ranked receiving : words of affirmation, quality time, physical affection, service and then gifts

My Ranked giving: acts of service, quality time, words of affirmation, gifts and physical affection

I think the most important thing we can learn here is that people give and receive affection differently. They are flexible. You may need love in one way from your family and in another from a partner or friend. And the love language you may be putting out there might not be received by the person you’re giving it to.

Understanding where both needs should be met enables us to build better relationships while ensuring that there is no disparity on behalf of either party. I think we can all use a little help in learning to be a little less selfish and how to love others well.

Not only others, but ourselves too. Knowing how you receive affection will enable you to ask for what you want and practice a greater capacity of self-care. And realize that once you figure these things out, some people don’t have the capacity to give you what you need. In that moment of disparity, you then have the obligation to yourself to move on to someone who can. Never settle for less than you deserve. Love yourself well. Love others well. Be kind.

The road between hate & life

It was brutal how early I woke up this morning to get into the (Pilates) studio. I (assistant) taught then took a level 2 and now as my arms are a little shaky, I’m writing to you. A lot is going through my mind at the moment, advanced apologies if it seems convoluted.

As I was checking through social media and just mindlessly scrolling, my mind just centered on one thing…Vegas.

We can all agree that the shooting in Vegas was abhorrent. A depiction of the very lowest of humanity. Evil. Cowardly. And the questions that linger… how many times do we have to go through this? Why/how does this happen? What should our response be?

A few of my friends have mentioned they have friends who’ve been affected by this tragedy, one had a friend she knew of that was a victim. She didn’t make it. At a loss for words verbally for how I feel or how I think we should lament on the past couple of days, I’ve decided to write down a few thoughts.

This collection of thoughts can be summed up in a single sentence: In a world where hate is thriving, be a person who lives a life of purpose, value and love.

We’re shown a world full of terrible, no good, very bad things every minute of everyday. Our response can be a choice to make this statement a priority.

We make a million tiny little/big decisions every single day that either mold us into the best version of ourselves or the worst. Humanity at it’s worst doesn’t happen overnight, it’s the culmination of a million tiny little bad/selfish/hateful decisions.

We can do better than this.

On Purpose — Be so resolute about intentionality. We have so little time. Stop wasting it on things that don’t matter, people who don’t deserve it and monotony that’s slowly killing your dreams and desires. Live life on purpose. Daily. Wholeheartedly. Give yourself the freedom to pivot when it makes sense.

On Value — Purpose and value are sort of synonymous. Purpose is the intent of doing and value is the result of doing. Nothing lacks value. It either adds or takes away. Be ever aware of what/who adds value in your life and what you’re adding value to.

On Love — Love is a term so overused and undervalued. It’s just a word that we use as fluff in everyday vernacular. Instead, be more intentional about the act of love. The choice of love. Kindness you can give away freely, but love… that one I feel we can be a little more selfish about.

Love yourself more. Believe all the good things about yourself. When we are full, happy and filled with joy and purpose we add value to those around us. Empty people don’t fill others, unhappy people don’t make people happy. Therefore, loving yourself and making you a priority is not a selfish endeavor, it’s a necessity. And, stop wasting your time accepting all the worst things about yourself. So what, you have bad qualities, do better… evolve. Become the very best version of yourself, you deserve to live that life.

Love others well. Tell them you love them, show them you love them and accept their love. Even when it’s hard. And, the thing that I am so so so incredibly bad at, believe people when they tell/show you how they feel. When people like you, care about you, love you… just accept it. Sometimes I even vocalize it if I don’t believe it, “[so and so] really likes/loves me.” I need to start believing those things too. We need to stop overcomplicating human emotions.

So there you have it, three thoughts on how we move forward. As someone who thinks entirely too much about everything and has a tendency to over verbalize and give unsolicited advice, I’m giving most of this advice to myself. I am so incredibly lucky. Lucky to even have the luxury of being as ridiculous and dark and twisty as I am, feeling anxiety about superficial things is a freakin’ breeze compared to the alternative. So incredibly lucky to be able to get up in a new-to-me house, adorable puppy at my feet, and get up SUPER early for Pilates. I’ve seen things and done things this year I’ve only ever dreamed about, I just did the things. Lucky. So incredibly and unfathomably lucky. And, I don’t ever really appreciate that. I should start doing that.

So, what is my own response? I just want to be more intentionally kind, not nice, actually kind. I want to continue to be obsessive about happiness, mine and others around me. I want to love wholeheartedly and without fear. I want to stop letting fear have a foothold in my life. This means stop putting things off that would make me incredibly sad if I never did them… i.e. write that blasted book! Spend my time more wisely and intentionally, not just be “busy.” Be less selfish. And just allow myself to breath and not spend life moments wasted on debilitating emotions. Laugh more. Give more.

I just challenge you to do the same. In moments of tragedy, where we can’t really do much of anything for those affected, what can your response be? How can we fill the world with a little more light again?

Thank you for reading my nonsense, and sticking around the way that you do. I can’t believe it, but thank you abundantly for spending a little time with me. I hope you find your best life. And, I hope it makes you happy. We need more happy in the world.