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.

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.

 

A Call To Action From Your Singles

I sourced a lot of people this week. It was after all “the week of love” …cue eye-roll. Just kidding. Sorta. I know what you’re thinking…geez, here comes another boring self deprecating, “woe is me, I’m single” kind of post. The kind that makes you think that a person is bitter about being single. The kind that makes you pity a person around Valentine’s Day.

Nope. Sorry, not this time. This is a different kind of post.  I was genuinely intrigued around the holiday this year. Not because of the normal hum drum sort of fare that surrounds this candy-coated holiday. The commercialism isn’t something I paid much attention to this year.

Instead, I found myself very curious as to how modern day peeps find their person, build relationships and make a life with another. So I asked questions, and if you know me…it’s a lot of questions. How did you meet? What was your first encounter? Did you go to the movies, a restaurant or do something out of the ordinary? Did you have mutual friends? What did you like? What made you choose to go out a second time? You know…the usual.

With all of my genuinely inquisitive encounters this week, I found some intriguing things to be true. Oh, bye the way…I also interviewed singles. This post is geared towards them and their truth. I’ve been in their camp a long time, and I think I can resonate with what I’ve learned. So here it goes…

Of all the people I surveyed the common consensus was that people either met their significant other through a mutual friend OR they met online. Now, there are some people who met in other ways but they weren’t enough to make a comparable third factor, so we’re just going to call them an anomaly and go about our conversation.

So …online OR from a mutual friend.

I’ve recently read some, not all unfortunately, of Aziz’s book Modern Romance. In it he talks about how crazy it is that an entire generation , our grandparents generation, met their spouse within a few block’s radius from where they grew up. Most everyone met and married someone on their street or within a few blocks. My…times have changed.

What is so crucial to understand is that in that generation people married people who they knew, their friends knew or they just met checking the mail. They didn’t have to/they didn’t want to go beyond those borders to search for anything else.

Lucky for us…and unlucky for us…times and borders have changed. With the advent of social media and the Internet, people are more connected & disconnected than ever! So what does this have to do with being single… a lot actually.

In my case, I’m starring down the barrel of 28 and I’m single. I didn’t meet the love of my life in high school, college, at church small group, on a trip somewhere, in my circle of friends, at my job, obtaining my masters, at my next job, etc. So what do I DO? What is left for me if I don’t meet someone in any of these places. I don’t do the bar scene and I don’t date a lot.

I know what you’re thinking…why don’t you just try online dating. Been there, done that. Like literally. I have no qualms with it, like some , or am I totally opposed. But I have tried it, several times in fact. I’ve run into two main problems with online dating: I’ve met men who treat it like an endless brochure of women who when you make a misstep or you don’t check a certain box they automatically move on to the next person; Or, they just don’t know how to communicate with another person. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve gotten the text message, I think you’re great, but I just don’t think this is going anywhere so good luck. Okay we’ve been out like three or four times dude, like literally, we can be friends or you can call me to tell me this grand revelation. I get it, communication is hard.

So this is my situation with dating, it sucks. It’s why I’m single. Dating is the worst. I even wrote a post about it several months ago. I think we should be intentional about it and realize that on the other end of that telephone is an actual real person …not just a face on some app somewhere. I digress. You should go check it out. #shamelessplug

So where does this leave ME, and you if your not me?

I’m glad you asked. Here are a few takeaways for us singles that I think we would collectively all agree would be really cool. I don’t want to blanket statement a whole congregation of people, so take what I say with a grain of salt. And if you are single and really awesome about it, good for you. Genuinely. I’m titling the short list I’ve compiled — How to help yo single buddy.

How to help yo single buddy

  1. Understand where your single buddy is at. In my case, I don’t want a boyfriend. I want a partner, someone to build a life with. I don’t do serial dating because I hate it. It’s boring and tedious and I’ve become really greedy with my time. I want to meet a person that I WANT to spend time with that will compliment me as a person. My better half per say. I don’t do one night stands and I don’t want to date three dudes at once for free meals out. I don’t do that. BUT, I’m me. Your single may be super pumped about being single. They may want to just meet new people and get to know them. I keep saying I do…but it is a lie. I don’t want to meet a ton of new dudes. I really, truly don’t. I don’t have the time or the inclination. But a lot of people LOVE dating, they really enjoy it. You have to understand what they are looking for in relationships in order to be a good friend in that area to them.
  2. Understand that your single buddy is tired of your pity. Okay, I am not any less of a person because I am not a couple. On the other side of that you don’t have to say things like, “you are so lucky your single, you can do whatever you want.” “You better enjoy things like that now, because once you’re married, you won’t have that freedom.” “You’ll find someone.” Uh, okay. Can you just not. We’re single and that’s cool. You want to be single cool. You want to be married cool. Embrace what you want and quit acting like the other people have it worse or better. Enjoy your season.
  3. Understand we can be content in singleness but also want something else. Okay, this post is about how to help your single friend. Right. So quit telling them to just be patient. Quit telling them they will just find someone. Where are they finding them? Where are they suppose to be patiently waiting for Mr. Right? How about let’s be giving tactical and actionable advice here in this context. It is not wrong for us to chat with you about how we WANT to find someone. Just listen. Your immediate response doesn’t have to be anything other than that.
  4. Understand that YOU have some responsibility too. If you are my friend, you are part of my village. The people in the village are supposed to look out for the people in the village. I can’t tell you how many times friends have told me that they know who would be PERFECT for me, and then nothing. Nobody calls anyone, nobody sets anything up. Just nothing. They just know someone who would be awesome for me. You know how dumb that is. You know how many friends I have who’ve heard the same thing. Why don’t people set anyone up anymore? What is that? Are you nervous that someone will be murdered and you will be the one blamed. That is literally the most outlandish and worst case scenario that I can think of. I can in no way think of a reason that you should not be setting up your friends. If they are a willing participant in said set-up that is.

So, I hope you have gleaned some insight into my heart on this subject. I am not at all saying that you should play matchmaker to every single one of your friends. What I am saying is that the dialog to how we treat singleness should change a little. Because… who doesn’t want to bring a little more love into the world.