Category Archives: Love

As I sit at a sidewalk table at a coffee shop in London, I can’t help but think about the impact of vulnerability. Like I warned you last time, this is an ongoing discussion in my life and something I am striving to be better with. The scary thing about vulnerability is the perceived pain in allowing yourself to be open.

I have experienced many levels of pain in my life. From having my tonsils removed at 21 to breaking up with my first love when we realized there are some differences we could never overcome. Some pain may take longer to heal but, in my experience, all emotional pain hits at about the same threshold. There is pain or there isn’t. It isn’t a 1 to 10 scale no matter how many times a doctor asks.

But on the other spectrum of pain is joy and unlike pain there are infinite levels of joy.

In life and relationships we protect ourselves and limit vulnerability so that we do not get hurt but I have found, even when I do that, pain is still there when it doesn’t work out.

This theory may seem crazy to you but what if we lived in the mindset that although there is potential for pain we know at what threshold it will come and if we allows ourselves to be vulnerable we could reach a new level of joy?

At this point of my journey, the risk of missing out on experiencing joy has much more at stake than being hurt. I know I can survive pain, I have experienced it and lived to tell the tale. I can’t bear to risk missing out on the reward of joy.

 

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Love Advice & Stuff

January 17, 2016

During my 30th birthday party I gave a toast to everyone who was able to attend as it was very important for me to honor those that have contributed to the women I am today. When I talked about my friend Jade I told everyone that she “gave me the most healing love advice when I was in the midst of heartache that she learned by being with Mark (her boyfriend).”

After keeping that advice to myself for nearly a year now, I think it is time to share.

(But first I must confess… as much as I fear not being enough there are moments I fear being too much. Now back to my story…)

I had been dating this boy for a month who was “perfect on paper.” We lived in different cities but our time together was during my heavy travel season which means I still saw him multiple times a week.

Both of our lives were crazy and he began to be fickle – one of my least favorite traits. I learned in my last relationship to say what I am thinking/feeling/wondering instead of making the person guess or hold them to an unknown expectation. So I did… I talked to him about the fickleness and he disappeared.

Ghosting… another thing I hate.

I was at Jade’s house for one of her lovely dinner parties and as I went to leave a little early she stopped me at the door as she could tell something was wrong.

In her hallway, with laughter and drinks clinking around the corner, she paused to be there for me and tell me this:

When it’s the right person – you can’t do something wrong. You aren’t too much. With Mark, she learned that you can mess up or not be perfect and that person will still care for you the same. With the right person, there isn’t such a thing as calling too much or asking too much.

Instead, being with someone should make you feel more able to be yourself – at your best and your worst, not less. When you are with the right person there is this safe space to be who you are, as well as dream and grow to who you want to be.

This was something that I desperately needed to hear as I was beating myself up for being too forward in making a request of my needs. I thought I had made the mistake of being too much.

It was only last week when I was reminded of this advice. As I was talking to a friend about a girl he recently began seeing he confessed to me, “I really like this girl. I am really nervous about messing something up.” In that moment I attempted to channel Jade to give this same reassuring advice but I secretly feared the same in one of my relationships. Perhaps this post of Jade’s advice is as much as a reminder for me as it is for you and my friend.

So what do we know? It’s going to be okay.

There are people out there for you that will be there… even when you fear you may be too much.

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Advice From A Big Brother: Tinder

September 26, 2015

I wasn’t born with an older brother, but I did get one very late in life when my sister married Vik. My new found brother-in-law took his new-found job as Big Brother very seriously.

In fact, as soon as he muttered the words “I do” he made sure that every single man at his wedding knew to not get within 10 feet of me. He wasn’t messing around.

I love having a big brother. Growing up it was always just my sister and me so I never got the protective advice one might get from having a big brother. My dad has always been willing to offer good advice, but he delivered his wisdom with more fatherly softness. And sometimes a girl needs unfiltered advice only a big brother can give… even if it makes me cry which sometimes his advice did.

Fairly recently, I made the decision to not be on any dating sites. (Mind you, I have been on them and even blogged about it.) My experience left me exhausted and accepting it wasn’t most healthy for me. But when every one of my single friends are swiping left and right on Tinder and filling their free nights with dates. It has made me begin to reconsider my choice.

I brought the question to my family, “Should I join Tinder?” Everyone said “NO!” but I wasn’t convinced. The conversation came up one more time with my sister and big brother (in-law). And finally his advice sunk in….

Let me be clear, it was still a resounding “NO!” but with a bit more color….

I’m anti anything that requires no effort from guys. You realize they are pooping while looking at your picture?

Part One:

“I’m anti anything that requires no effort from guys.”

Dating sites require little energy. Within a few finger swipes you can be connected with anyone, and with little or no effort a date can be set up. Swiping left or right doesn’t require any vulnerability as you have the anonymity of the device. The ease and lack of effort through these sites isn’t just on men, it requires no effort from women either. We are being passive players in our lives.

Part Two:

“You realize they are pooping while looking at your picture.”

Never, have I ever thought, I would write the world “poop” on this blog, let alone 3 times! But here it is folks! Vik elaborated on this illustration, no guy is carving out time to find a future wifey on Tinder, he is doing it when he has free time, is alone, and wanting some quick entertainment. Pooping?!? Not exactly a fairy tale start!

So there it is ladies. Tinder away, if you’d like, but at least listen to the advice from a big brother, You realize they are pooping while looking at your picture?

 

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Sara Bareilles & The Relationship Lifecycle

October 1, 2013

Months ago my brother in law surprised my sister and I with tickets to see Sara Bareilles (& One Republic) at Chateau Ste. Michelle. He also took into consideration that my sister would be 8 months pregnant by then and paid extra for seats. Talk about big brother of the year, right?

The concert happened on Labor Day and after a weekend in Portland, we barely made it to the concert in time. But soon enough I had a bottle of wine in hand and Sara B was front and center performing.

I first discovered Sara Bareilles nearly 10 years ago. I was going to college in Southern California and she was a regular at Hotel Cafe which was a local music spot for indie artists. It was love at first sight.

Over the past 8 or 9 years, she has become my musical best friend; her songs are my constant companion through life’s relationships. She is a singer that can get you through the highs and lows just like a best girl friend.
These are just a few of my favorite songs…

When your story involves Mr. Wrong:

For when you are heartbroken….

For when you are ticked off…


For when you are ready to move on….


When it’s Right:

For when it is still nerves and sideways glances


For when you realize it’s for keeps…


 

I am a romantic. A hopeless romantic.

I have daydreams of a “white knight” and grand gestures that rival an ABC Family movie or Nicolas Spark books. But growing up, with all of the romance I hoped for, I never dreamed of marriage. I didn’t plan a wedding like many little girls and as I grew older I often said, “I am not sure it is in my future.”

I did hope to fall in love though.
I have clocked many hours talking to my mom and sister about this notion. “If only I could just fall in love that is the only thing I need.” As I went on dates and had insignificant relationships, it wasn’t right. They were passing fancies and didn’t last very long. My mom and sister told me not to pray and wish for that… falling in love can lead to heartache if it doesn’t work out. Protect your heart, they said.

Everything changed a year ago. In a whim I met someone and I knew I wouldn’t be the same. I fought it for as long as I could but fighting those feelings lasted mere weeks. Someone entered my life that was significant and opened my eyes to not just falling in love but to a future.

When it didn’t work out I finally understood the meaning of heartache. But in those nights of fretful sleep, in the moments of tears, in the quiet hours of mourning… a new feeling emerged.

I learned what it meant to be loved and to love in return.

I learned what a man should act like and to not settle for anything less than this new standard.

I learned too that heartache can be beautiful. It tells me that I was vulnerable when I am often closed off. And it brought in a support group of friends who never once told me what to do but just let me mourn.

I am so grateful that feeling this level of love did not happen at 16 or even 23. I wasn’t ready nor was I open. Growing up in a Christian community many of my friends married young and I love that that is their story. But it wasn’t mine and I was okay with that.

Single Girls:
Protect your heart. I cannot agree with that advice more. A first love is not a right of passage and should only be given with to someone that deserves it because that person plays a significant role in your life. I am so glad that I did not experience that until last year and it was with someone who was kind and generous. It is just a feeling; butterflies in your stomach and a tug at your heart, but it impacts you. And those feelings need to be earned, not given away on the whim.

This past weekend, I had my first night out post end of a relationship. The relationship ended weeks ago but I wasn’t in the frame of mind to party or be exceedingly social. Don’t worry, I didn’t hole myself into my flat, I spent a fair amount of time with my family or one-on-one time with close friends.

At first I was in denial.
Followed by sad.
Then I got irritated.

And recently? I decided to be happy.

I grabbed my two Seattle partner’s in crime and told them I needed to go out. We started in the late evening and rotated between straight and gay bars to ultimately end up dancing.

It was everything I could have wished for …
I was with friends…
I was casually cute and with curled hair…
I was feeling confident in who I was.

We starting dancing and within 30 mins I was alone. One friend went home and the other had connected with a cute boy I introduced her to (“Have you met my friend…”) and was off with him.

There I was…
Alone.
In the middle of the dance floor.

So I danced.

I danced past midnight.
I danced until nearly 1am.
And then I called him. Baby steps.

But at least I danced.

Migraines and Manfriends

October 23, 2012

When I was younger I use to get terrible headaches. My family had me keep a journal of when I would get them and how often they occurred. We couldn’t find a pattern and chalked it up to allergies. As an adult, I am prone to headaches and it wasn’t until recently that I thought anything of it.
Another bad spell hit on Sunday. My headache started around 1pm and I took one advil at 5pm. Pain only continued to increase so I took another two at 9pm. As I was hanging out at the Manfriend’s house, I felt it best to leave because I could barely keep my eyes open without it hurting.

I made it home when nausea hit and I spent the rest of the night in pain.

I woke up the next morning only to email my boss and coworkers that I wouldn’t be in the office.

I got out of bed at 2pm to eat lunch and immediately went back to bed.

At 5:50pm is when I crawled back out to watch the debates and re-enter society.

But this post isn’t just about migraines.

Re-enter: Manfriend.

He texted in the morning to check on me.  Very sweet.

Later that day we talked briefly as he was eating dinner and he said he would call right back. “15 minutes.”

An hour went by.
I know this because I checked my phone. I most likely rolled my eyes too.

Finally he called back. Asked what I was doing. (Cleaning). Then told me to let him in.

SAY WHAT?

Let him in.

He was downstairs.
I was upstairs….
In my pajamas….
After having spent nearly the last 24 hours in bed unwell…

This is a relatively new relationship. Almost four months total of “it’s complicated” and this last month of “it’s a little less complicated more serious but still complicated.” We have not hit the no-need-to-shower-and-be-in-messy-clothes stage. I am still 100% in the I am absolutely-naturally-perfect and “yes-I-totally-make-my-bed-every-day-and-my-home-is-always-spotless” stage.

I spent exactly two minutes contemplating hiding in my apartment. Thankfully, my roommate (clearly the only smart person in the place) told me there is absolutely no way I can pretend he is not downstairs and not let him in.

I finally went downstairs to let him in my building and as I opened the door I graciously said, “I am so mad at you.” But there he was… In the rain…holding two hot chocolates and just “wanting to make sure you are okay.”

Definitely a little less complicated.

I romanticize…. just about everything.

But here I was, “AT THE LIBRARY!” about to get my library card for the first time since elementary school.

It was magical.

I was in the moment.

I had my proof of local residency and my application all filled out.

I was positive once the lady looked over my application and handed me my new card I would get lost in the rows of books. I would spend hours reading only to stop because a dashing young suitor was so captivated by my love for books that he couldn’t spend another minute without getting to know me over coffee.

We would soon fall in love.

It was the only way.

As I waited for the library issuer to assist me, I stood hopeful in front of a man down on his luck. He smelled of yesterday’s fast food and talked loudly to a visitor to “Stand in the line correctly!” He clearly was just as excited for me as I was. It was nice to have a cheerleader there for support.

It was finally my turn.

I handed over my application.

Smiled politely at the lady.

She was about to become a part of my destiny.

As she ran her fingers over my application, checking every line, she left a trail of orange powder behind. Her hand stopped and rested for a minute than continued down the paper. Where it had rested there was a permanent Cheetos thumbprint.

She clearly was in a rush to help find my one true love that she stopped her lunch to assist.

Her eyes caught sight of her fingers and she slowly moved her hand to her mouth and licked the powder cheese. Off. Every. Finger.

With her newly glistened fingers, she moved back to my paper, dampening the application as she finished looking it over and then handed me my library card.

“Good luck, my dear. There is well dressed man browsing literary fiction who needs a silly girl to brighten his day” was what she said with her eyes as her mouth told me “Don’t lose this card or you will be in big trouble! You hear me?”

Oh, I heard you all right.

I was raised in a family that shares food.

The girls (mom, sister, me) usually split a few meals and my dad has free range over everyone’s plate. And if there are leftovers, they belong to dad regardless if you hide the box or put your name on it.

I find sharing of food to be completely normal and usually makes the eating experience more enjoyable… why limit yourself to one option!

I was talking with a friend about a date she went on and how she had refused to share food. I tried to cover the look of horror but I’ve never had much of a poker face. I did not realize these people existed!

And then I had a date.

With a non-sharer.

It didn’t work out.

Future dates: I eat slow, I don’t want to take home leftovers, and I want to share. Call me.

 

 

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I was sitting on my bed in a hostel in the middle of Paris when I learned that Michael Jackson had died. I received a text from sister and I thought it was a joke. Later that day, there was a psuedo parade of people dressed in his iconic looks blasting his music as they walked the Tuileries Garden.

I was sad. He was an icon and an influence into pop culture.

But when I learned Whitney Houston died, I was heartbroken.

Growing up my older sister loved Whitney Houston which of course meant that I did also.

It wasn’t just her music… or The Bodyguard (amazing movie!)… or the fact that my sister thought she was cool… there was just something about Whitney.

But mostly, “I Wanna Dance With Somebody” was my anthem growing up and one of the biggest influencers into my love life.

I remember sneaking this song onto a church trip and listening to it on repeat.

I burned the words into my head.

I took every lyric to heart and I took it literally.

And now… in my late 20’s, when I’m no longer just dreaming about dating and finding someone to dance with I still haven’t let go of this song.

Instead:

  • I date.
  • Find ways to have my date dance.
  • Look for “the heat” like she croons.
  • And ask myself, “Is this a man who’ll take a chance on a love that burns hot enough to last?”

My 10 year old self is proud. She can’t figure out why I’m single.