06 January 2018

This week, New York was quiet. Businesses closed their doors, travelers avoided the streets, and lovers stayed in their beds as nothing but the wind howled past the skyscrapers, brownstones, and buildings that huddled next to one another. The sight was peaceful to look down on from the second floor of my apartment. Individual snowflakes crystalized on the window pane. Piles of snow collected on the grates of the various fire escapes as the street, sidewalk, and cars were blanketed by the snow falling freely in the city. For a while, no footprints carved their way through the pillowy perfection and New York was a stunning sight to see.

The white was crisp, washing my face in a light that woke me in the morning. I reached out and divided the curtains, exposing the way the snow fell and remembered the beauty that came with winter. As I lied there, listening to crackling wood-wick candles and smelling the way they filled the room with a rich cinnamon and pine fragrance, I sat sipping my herbal tea. I felt the heat through the glass, escaping into my palms as I pursed my lips and blew away the steam. I caught a glimpse of the way the emerald green armchair in my room glistened. I felt the comfort of the blanket enclosed my shoulders and hugged me as I cuddled up in the pillows behind me. I dreamt of mornings like those, mornings of bliss and peace, but never did I imagine I would find those mornings with you.

Now, you are the light that wakes me up each morning. I lie and listen to the steadiness in your voice that greets my soft hazel eyes as they open. I catch a glimpse of your love lingering behind your blue-green eyes as they meet mine. I smell the way your t-shirt clings to the fresh citrus, spice, and musk of the Bearglove scent as I nuzzle closer into your arms. I feel the way your warmth drapes my body in nothing but comfort and relaxation. Never did I think I would wake up to steaming scrambled eggs, peanut butter toast, and tea being carried in on a platter by the man I met on the 6th of January after a snowstorm kept me from meeting him sooner. And at that moment I think about how happy I am to have you as a lover.

I knew when we started talking, I’d never catch a pause when it came to finding the conversation to hold with you. Because with you, the words flow out of me as you constantly push me to think deeper, with more meaning, and thoughtfully. When I caught a glimpse of you, I noticed how brightly my smile shone, and it means the world to me that the light has only brightened over the years.

Today is the 3rd January 6th that I have spent by your side and I wouldn’t change a thing. It was on this day, that I learned of how much greatness someone could bring my life after what felt like a never-ending cycle of misfortune and bad luck. Since then, you remind me how much effort and care goes into a partnership and I will always cherish the laughs, frustrations, and sleepy Monday mornings with you by my side. So, what are you doing tomorrow?

A Lick of Golden Sunlight

It’s the way shimmering golden flecks dance on the world around you––the reflection of light, illuminating the spot you stand upon. Have you seen the way the sun shines down upon you? 

It’s a harmony of chords, being plucked and strummed delicately like a song you never knew you had waited your entire life to hear. A song that speaks the soft truths that resonate with feelings you’ve never spoken out loud, but are nonetheless surprised to hear. And I hear you. 

It’s home. It’s a glowing ember that survives the night and leaves a trail of heat even as the sunrise drenches it in the morning light. It’s the soft fleece that covers your shivering body until the warmth returns to your fingers and toes. It’s delicate, but it is a haven. 

I can feel it on my lips—smooth, tender, and soft. It’s like waiting for a piece of milk chocolate to melt in your mouth. It’s the silky notes of creamy flavors that soak into every tastebud. The feelings blend and are never fleeting.  

I can see it grow like a tendril sprouting from the fertile soil that was turned over for the new season. My feet fumble through the rocky surfaces, but they always carry me back to these moments. 

I heard a song yesterday evening that could only be described as a lick of golden sunlight filling my mind with nothing but inspiration. Her voice is light and airy, floating into my consciousness, bringing tears to my eyes. It’s so different from any other song I had ever felt emotionally attached to. It’s so essential for me to make that distinction. This is so different, and that is the best thing I discovered this week. 

I heard the song and felt my fingers itching for my keyboard and pen. I found myself getting lost in the curves of my handwriting, and the rhythmic sound of my typing. For once, I remember what I cherish and how I love to express those feelings through prose. Those impressions are the most powerful, brooding, and intense emotions to capture––like the gaze of a barn cat enjoying the sunlight on a warm winter day, the image is unforgettable.

Trust. /trəst/.

trust /trəst/ verb 1. belief in the reliability, truth, ability, or strength of. “I should never have trusted him.”

Trust is fragile; I’ve known that for what feels like a lifetime.

As a baby and child, you trust that your parents will keep you safe and healthy. From an early age, you look to them for food, shelter, and warmth. They were my providers for so long, and I trust them to always have my best interest in mind when they make decisions for themselves and for me. I trust their strength and knowledge. I trust that the truth will always come with validation and honesty.

Growing up with a sibling, you learn how to gain their trust. As the younger sibling, you enter as a foreigner into someone’s home. Children begin to see the attention they once had from their parents divide and focus on the new child. There is animosity built alongside a love that needs to be tended to and grown. That is true, at least in my family. I never doubted my brother’s love or trust, but the ability to trust another comes more-so over time. You show that you won’t always be a tattletale and that you can keep pinkie-promises. You show that you can stand your ground and stand up for them. Siblings learn to trust through their mutual agreements and growth as individuals and becomes a trust you take with you through life.

When you enter school, you trust that your teachers know what they are saying and your schoolmates will keep your secrets. Eventually, you will learn that sometimes teachers don’t always have all the answers, but they always try their best, and not every girl and boy keeps your secrets. Drama is spread fast between loose lips and eager ears. The whispers hurt as your insecurities grow. You will learn to find who will keep your intimate details, intimate, but for many, this is the first time you will struggle with trust.

It stings when a friend, a close friend, betrays your trust. You wonder how you will ever confide in them again, and struggle with the reality of a now distanced connection as you forcibly replace the trust with space and nondescript conversations. In the back of your head, you will think about stories you want to share or advice you need to seek, but your lips don’t budge, and you hide what it is you are really thinking in fear that someone else will know your truth.

Then there are relationships, romantic relationships. Where you meet someone and immediately believe in their reliability, truth, and ability, in order to find in the strength of the match. The person could be familiar, a fellow classmate, a next-door neighbor, a friend of a friend, or friend the family––someone where trust lingers between your undoubted and harboring trust. But then there is a chance the person is a stranger, someone you’ve met at a bar, bus stop, or meet up. The person is a blind date, a match on an app, or a random follower. The trust is new, foreign, and needs to be tended to.

When you first fall for someone, you typically have no reason to believe they aren’t reliable, truthful, or able to be in a relationship. It takes time and investment for you to grow and learn about who this person is––could they be family, someone with your best interest in mind, or could they be reckless with your unhindered belief in them?

Trust is necessary for a relationship, but very quickly destroyed because of its delicate nature. With love, lust, emotions, and attraction on the line, many lines are crossed, and a lot can be released. You overlook the red flags, look past the warning signs, and drive more in-depth into the destruction of a one-off relationship.

“I should never have trusted him.”

“How could she do that.”

“Why did they hurt me like that?”

Losing trust in someone is scary and takes time to build back. There are lessons I have learned from loving those who have damaged the trust in our relationship. At times I felt on guard and nervous because loving them can cause some internal anxiety. Communication is something you need to grow, and that communication requires honesty. Honestly with everyone.

If you feel like you need to hide your relationship, you aren’t honest. If there are aspects to your relationship that hurt you, you need to be accurate. You, as a person, need that to survive. If you are hurting, be honest with yourself and seek what it is that you need.

When you can learn from the times that you have lost trust, you can grow more as a person. Sometimes it is hard to see through the mirage which is a vision of a failed relationship, but soon the veil will lift, and you’ll be capable of thriving in a new relationship.

Loved You First

In the midst of a proper heartache, I steadied my voice and told the man I once loved that I was glad I loved him first. He was my first love before any heartache. However, there was trepidation in the way he loved me back; I wasn’t his first. He allowed for the past heartaches of ex-girlfriends to dictate how our relationship would play out. Slowly, and in every action, I became them. He was able to predict the future, and therefore “we” would never survive because “they” didn’t.

While I treaded through the heartache, I was always told: “you will fall in love again; the second time will just be different.” That meant nothing to me a few months out from free-falling into a world of depressive attitudes and anxiety-riddled days. I found myself wondering if I imagined it all; if he even loved me like he said. I made myself believe we were great together until I saw him with someone else so quickly.

The thing was, he never truly heard the depth to my words. There was a surface he remained on. He had spurts of being cautionary, however, his impulsivity got the best of him. He moved on immediately, and I took the time to heal. When I said I loved him, I meant it. When he said it, he felt it at the moment and moved on from it. His words held no value.

Now that he is single for more than a month, I am currently loving my new relationship. Recently I was suddenly reminded of my past words. What he never understood was, our relationship would not have lasted had I not loved him first. There was a naiveté in my love. I took him and all his faults and loved him as deeply as I could. I was just being me, and he wondered how it was possible for someone to love in the way I did.

I used to be able to hear echoes of him in the man I currently in a relationship with. I was timid to be with someone again. Part of me worried I was still longing for my ex. I used to think they were so similar, and one day before we were together, I communicated that to my boyfriend. His response was the only thing I needed in order to see how vastly different they were.

Since the breakup, I had several men disrespect me. I was a bit of a mess for the most part until I just took time for myself to fully heal. I had matured, but with that maturity came some faults. Our breakup force fed me anxiety and I am still trying to defend my way through it. My boyfriend is careful. He headed my fears and talked me through them during that moment. My ex would have never been able to do that. He wouldn’t have responded.

I used to sit in silence, craving communication, and all he gave me was self-doubt and insecurities when something felt wrong in the relationship. If my ex ever spoke it was argumentative and accusatory. Had I loved him second, he would have pushed me further down and I would have known to leave. His life and interests came first. If he wanted a new toy, tattoo, or had any time in his day, it went to something other than me. He struggled to strengthen our relationship because there was always an excuse that came first.

It’s the little things that trip me up in my new relationship. He cares, he communicates, and he makes me happy in ways I can’t quite describe. The happiness I remember once feeling towards my ex still lingers in my memory, but the kindness and compassion this new relationship exudes are the reminders that there is someone there that will remind you that you deserve to be heard, cared for, and loved. He shows me he’s thinking of me when we are apart — he picks me up when I am upset — when we are together, he shows me we matter.

Love, and love deeply, but remind yourself you deserve the love you are giving everyone else. 

 

17 August 2016

I would like to insist that life is accompanied by a user manual. That way our birth certificates can be bound with all of the experiences we could encounter in life. So as we transition we can recognize them while they happen. Love is a verb I struggled to define before I really experienced it romantically.

I came home to my roommate a year ago today and asked when she knew she was in love with her partner. It was deep into their relationship for her, and here I was just two weeks into getting to know a man who had already confessed his love for me and I was thinking I really loved him.

He hit me with a foul ball plummeting from a universe I was so unaware of. I was ready for him to open up about something difficult when he asked me if he could tell me something without me freaking out, but I couldn’t prepare for the feelings he unleashed. I read the words everyone who has had a crush wants to see, hear, and feel. A man loves me!!! He loves me, yet I froze. So much had happened two days prior and our future felt futile, yet there I was thinking about moving away and falling in love. simultaneously.

I stared down those three words—8 letters—a simple construction of subjects and verb to which I was instantly filled with a pulse of electricity. It radiated from my heart down to my fingers and toes as I read them over and over. When it fell into my stomach the upheaval of emotions I suppressed for most of my life twisted at my innards. They were emotions I had never felt at this intensity and I was nervous.

He overwhelmed me.

My thoughts thrashed violently around my head. I had no idea what I was doing.

ABORT! ABORT! ABORT! 

He left me speechless, so that was what I responded with:

“You and making me speechless.”

“Is that bad?”

“No”

Then he started backtracking & attempting to explain himself. I felt like he was filling with anxiety because at that exact moment those words were too heavy for me to throw back in his direction. I began to get anxious. I was so unsure what it was that I felt because I didn’t have my user manual handy. 

Is that what love is? Feeling lighter than air as you float to the heavens while you simultaneously feel a magnet’s pull, that surpasses a human’s tolerance of g-forces, towards another soul? That you want to black out and throw up from the effects love has on the body? Is love a drug that forced its way into my bloodstream? I was scared to simplify it a year ago, but today I know that was how I first felt our love.

It grew to become something I needed. Soon it just became happiness. It filled me and my days with incredible thoughts. I walked around knowing someone loved me. I barely understood affection before him; hugs and kisses, romance, and the meaning I put to love were all different before him. I stepped into this world and had no intention of leaving. I spent my days telling him what I could not put into words a year ago.

Now I feel empty.

I freely share a love with all. The want to radiate it outwards comes naturally to me. However, this love came at a different rate for him. This love knew no depth—it knew only of infinite goals. This love poured out of me for him. I am yet to find the shut-off valve; I bust at the seems and let it flow from my eyes as I forcibly hide it each day. I feel constrained to only suppress it now. That I have no choice but to bury it alone in the darkness when all I want is to let it free. I am compromising for him.

I spoke to him on the phone a while ago and I said it again. I told him I loved him a month after he broke up me. He said nothing except that he doesn’t know what to say to “that”. Life came full circle. I blurted it out like he did a year ago and like me, he didn’t say it back. I never said it to hear it back when we were together, and I didn’t say it that day to change his mind. I just know I can’t spend my life pretending that I am okay with what we are now.

I feel like a liar if I did. 

11 August 2016

I have been known to go the extra mile throughout my journey. Whether it be in my education, relationships, or daily tasks, I have gone further and would continue to seek an above and beyond mentality to better my days where I could. However, I tended to exhibit perfectionist ideals while I strongly believed there was something more I could do, or do differently, because of the extra mile I was and am willing to walk.

I have learned to not let that ideal weigh heavy on me. I am aware that I do not have to be, nor will I ever truly achieve perfection. I have settled with unperfected pieces in school and life even if I shouldn’t have. I allowed first drafts to be seen and I did so to protect myself and my mental state from wavering under the pressure. By doing that, I allowed for mishaps in order to lessen the outcome of stress and have grown in a new direction.

I internalized the bad grades and worked at time management and performance in academics to excel. I noticed where my efforts were needed more and where they could falter a bit for balance and cohesion in life. I became selective with the company I kept. From the imperfections, I saw my strengths and weaknesses under a spotlight and I became a better person because of the lessons I learned.

A year ago today, I was given a lesson on my heart. It was different from the lessons that I became accustomed to. I had not hoped to learn a lesson from it, rather learn and grow with it. I laid the foundation that provided me a way to strengthen my needs, desires, and feelings. I was making sure they were met first by myself and then through others, I had relationships with. I was not aiming to perfect this, but not half-ass it in a way that I had been previously.

I openly discovered parts of myself that had been left overlooked. I used to neglect my needs and did not put enough effort into what made me the happiest. I had a voice, and I used it occasionally, but I also had an internal sense that spoke to my hopes and desires, and I finally had no choice but to listen to it a year ago.

There were often times in the past where I subconsciously did not settle for “unperfected pieces” when it came to partners because internally something felt off. I did not know it at the time, but I was able to keep myself at a distance from them and protected my heart doing so. Together, I and another played Operation and we found the points that made me buzz. Finally, there was someone who encompassed more than what I could have ever expected to find because I found what I deserved with him. 

I literally drove the extra miles to have a chance at this evening, but never could I have dreamt its outcome when we planned the trip. In turn, I left no distance between our souls and by doing that, I found myself. I began to understand why I overlooked everyone else before this moment. I learned why I walked away so often, and I did not question why I felt my feet beginning to firmly cement down. He was not perfect, but he was doing a damn good job at making me feel incredible about who I was.

I still am learning from this evening a year later. I am more in tune with my needs in all variants of relationships I encounter. I have been told to remain single until someone who completely cherishes my compassion comes along. To find someone who regards my intuitive side as a strength and where my care-taker abilities are not exploited. This night I felt thoroughly cared for. I felt an unsurpassable passion then and he was emotional enough to validate me in ways I needed. I stayed single until I met him, and it made all the difference in understanding my heart.

Dating Today

Our society has boomed since the embrace of the technology era. Relationships are still work like I am sure they were before everything was at our fingertips. I don’t believe one generation’s dating times are better than another, but because I only have the knowledge of my own, I don’t want to create an opinion over when it was the easiest to date. Older generations had different struggles with relationships, that we experience in our own ways now, and I am praying for future generations.

We are so plugged in that many forget to step away from the screen throughout the day. I am a bit of a classic chaser myself. I’ll send love letters just as I send birthday cards as opposed to birthday Facebook posts. I would much rather Facetime or speak on the phone instead of text all day to get to know someone. I actually prefer long walks on the beach over going to the movies.

We can reach people on dating apps where before you met people through, well, interacting outside of our phones. We live in a world now that you can know a lot about the person before you even hear it from them through social media dumpster diving. We really can’t hide much if it is out there. You see what everyone is up to through the lens they want you to see it. There is no in between when it comes to boasting or dramatizing lives. You do it, or you don’t, but still, people judge regardless.

Online dating, take it or leave it, we’ve all at least thought about it and formed an opinion on it. I am sure some more than most would admit to it, but we are curious if you can really find love through it. The guys I have come across and had feelings for in the past have been a fifty-fifty split between apps and in personal encounters. I am not going to knack online dating. It comes with ease for sure. When I was living in a new large city you can run into endless opportunities for possibly finding love, I know several who have.

What I loved most was just meeting people—meeting people through the people I matched with mostly. I aimed to use dating apps in the past not to find love, but find answers. I hate to admit that I most likely exploited human attraction to find more in the world. I never let it progress if there wasn’t a deeper connection with the men, but I knew I wasn’t on there to find love which is why I avoid journeying that way again.

I like the idea of mutual friends or even casual encounters with strangers the most when broadly looking at the men I have been attracted to. I don’t mind receiving friend requests on Facebook from men simply because I put my humility on the line and introduced myself to strangers, you know like in the olden days. Obviously, there was something common that brought us together, but human interaction is something I thrive on more than our messaging.

I have struggled in the past with just talking to a phone and reading the words others write. I cannot remember a time that I didn’t do that though… Maybe my elementary school boyfriend? I think back to my middle school crushes and even then I remember staying up late sending nonsense with my T9 keyboard. Everything has lived through technology. I guess I could thank the era for bringing me together with the men I have crushed on, but it really never showed me, love, like physically being with someone.

I have made friendships with some of the men from dating apps that probably should have only ever been friends. I think the constraints around the dreaded friend zone are silly because relationships aren’t confined by a romantic interest or not. I would rather show them their part of my life is important to me and I will strengthen it where I can, but to pretend feelings are there when they may have never existed fails to be worth it for me.

Right now, I don’t see myself trying to find love like I have in the past. I go through stages where I am all about it, or I am trying to hide from it, and right now I am not sure where I fall in terms of love. If there is anything to take from dating today it has to be, you need to love yourself first. That is where dating today leaves me—with a relationship with myself because I deserve my love.

Love will find you when you least expect it, I fully have felt that, but you need to be ready when it does. Loving yourself starts today with you.

30 July 2016

Two months ago, I added an event to the calendar on my phone. I wanted to be reminded of the plan I dreamt up to execute this morning. Earlier this week, I deleted the reminder. 

I envisioned waking up and rolling over to my phone. I would squint at the bright light so that I could spell out Good morning baby and adorn it with a red heart to symbolize the love I felt towards him the second I woke up.

I would then click over to Instagram to create a new post. I’d scroll to the beginning of my camera roll and find the year-old picture of us. The photo would be faded to match my silly aesthetic, but in my opinion, the smile on my face radiated enough vibrancy to capture the feelings I was developing towards him that day.

I could caption it with a thousand words or I could let the photo speak for itself, but I knew I above all wanted to remind him that I see you. Today and all days since this day in 2016, I have seen you.

A year ago, I noticed him for the first time. I purposefully put myself standing beside him all night and for the past year, I stood taller knowing he was the one who held my heart with such delicacy from that moment on. This morning I am hunched over writing this in a hotel room feeling rather nostalgic and somber about our past.

I did not wake up to sweet texts and sent none of my own, today, and all days for nearly two months. During the relationship, it felt like I’d blink and a whole month would pass, now each day weighs heavy as they collect in months apart.

I kept the love we shared between us. I was less than vocal on social media during our relationship because I did not seek the audience’s approval. I was so incredibly happy to be caring for something bigger than myself.

I had no intention to post the photo for it to be “liked” by my peers. I intended to show him that this day in the past made quite honestly the biggest turn around on my well-being thus far. Today, a year ago, I took my first steps in a new direction that would lead me towards unforgettable love. All I currently have is a hole in my heart where we used to take up residency, but I am trying to strengthen myself by filling it on my own with memories of caring about who we were.

I was given a heart of pure compassion. I have borne the weight of others and have been driven by empathy throughout my days, but it felt like he was given to me so I could understand how to be grateful for what was literally sitting at my feet. His love for me felt as if it knew no bounds. My knowledge of love, relationships, and affection grew because of him, but so did heartbreak.

He may have turned away from me a few weeks after I set the reminder for today, but his absence is a daily reminder of how thankful I try to remain while knowing I have felt a love like that in my lifetime.

If you meet someone and feel internally drawn by their presence, don’t let them pass you on. We may have been strangers connected by mutual friends, but I regret nothing by asking to take a photo with him that day.

I knew then I did not want to forget that man, and if my memory failed me one day in the future, then I would have a photo that would speak for itself.