love

Smashing Your Boxes

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Pic via my bff, BB, from Austin, TX

Our perceptions of ourselves are probably a little skewed. Let’s be honest: most of us are probably our own biggest fans. Still, I strive to be mindful of my flaws (and let others know about them) in an effort to get to that sought-after self-actualization that Maslow guy was always on about.

That being said, I constantly feel I’m being thrown into these little boxes of inaccuracy, and that inaccuracy just drives me up the wall. I’m bogged down by the weight of the people who refuse to look beyond the borders of the walls they’ve imposed upon me before they’ve even seen the second layer of who I am. Yeah, sure, I’m that girl you got really drunk with one night six years ago, but that doesn’t mean I’m only a girl who drinks. That is a mere glimpse of my character and the experiences that have shaped it.

Just because I dressed in a crop top and shorts last Saturday doesn’t mean I’m rockin’ that look on the regular, nor does it imply that I belong in some kind of derogatory “slut” box.

Just because I lost my cool on a few folks who–frankly–probably deserved it, and you happened to witness said incidents, doesn’t mean I belong to be herded into your “dramatic ladies” category.

I forget my words sometimes, but that doesn’t mean I’m automatically and always required to reside in your box labeled “idiocy.” I could go on for days about how painful it is to be so categorized in such a small space when I want so badly for that person to know each and every tiny detail of me.

It’s hard, because none of us WANT to care what other people think. But when someone else’s VIEW of you is so skewed from the REALITY of you? That’s hard to ignore, especially when the person matters to you, yet they refuse to look past the boundaries of their self-created boxes on boxes and into your core.

I get bitchy sometimes, but I’m overall a sweet, loving person who just likes being honest. I go mad from time to time when people seem to be doing something wrong, but that doesn’t mean I want to live my life with that energy all. the. time. I am clumsy and foolish, but that doesn’t mean I can’t pull myself together to be poised and serious should the occasion call for it. I’m a bit of a mess sometimes, but I actually spend the majority of my time in an organized (somewhat vanilla) routine that keeps me down-to-earth.

I can be quiet and loud, refined and wild, funny and sad, hyper and exhausted, gregarious and boring, all in the same day. But none of that means I am any less deserving of your time.

I might not be perfect, but I am a human. We’re complex characters, and if you think we’re going to stay in one box, especially a faulty one you chalked up yourself? You got another thing comin’, honey……… especially if you’re someone who can’t admit to being wrong about the most trivial of pursuits , let alone admit to being… GASP! Less than perfect.

Like me. Like the rest of us. Like the world who doesn’t live in boxes because we’re cyclical and nuts and amazing and horrifying and brilliant all at the same time.

And all of us, not just the ones in your “perfect even though I haven’t looked below the surface or given anyone else a chance to prove they might be as good (if not better)” boxes, deserve to been seen fully, deeply, completely. We deserve to be seen, period.

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Words via the lovely Ellen Hopkins.

1 CoREYONCEians 13

Love is crazy, love is wild.

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It does not judge, it does not bore, it is not perfect.

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It does not involve games (unless they’re on the N64), it is not abusive, it is not one-sided, it keeps no record of anything. Ever.

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Love does not replace your independence but rejoices when two folks hang out from time to time instead of by themselves.

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It always makes you laugh, always brings you hope, always shows support, always is give AND take.

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Love never lies, cheats, or changes. Love is simply… love.

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How-To: Live Together

Cohabitation ain’t easy. It really brings out your inner control-freak diva (both of ya’s) and some tension can form. But if you love each other and you love the space, that eventually fades away. In fact, I think living with a man (and preparing to do so again) taught me a lot of important lessons on how to live in general.

1. You really don’t need all of those clothes.
I know it’s hard to imagine your closet less-than-overflowing or (GASP!) partially empty, but it’s really for the best. My man used to laugh at the sheer volume of clothing in my possession, but I would just retaliate by pointing out that I never, ever had to do laundry. Eventually I realized something about it really was funny, but maybe not in such a good way. Do I really need 5 dresses that don’t fit me anymore? Do I need 10 shirts that are just “okay?” No, no I don’t. I’d much rather launder my special, oft-used pieces than stare in disdain at a 50% lackluster wardrobe. Quality, not quantity. (And god bless the Goodwill trucks!)

2. Organization isn’t just about cleanliness, it’s about efficiency.
I love being organized. (If you’ve ever read this blog, you know I have an inner-voice that might, in reality, be OCD.) I love it because I like the way a space looks when it is in order. However, if aesthetics take precedence over functionality, there’s not much point to organizing at all. A kitchen might look amazing with stacks of rainbow ceramics stacked along the countertop, but what do you really need there? Probably something like a cutting board, not another cute vintage vase. At the end of the day, it’s wasted space if it doesn’t make sense for how you live in it.

3. Neutral isn’t bad.

In fact, neutral is amazing. You might start out with earth tones to please one another, but if you really put in the time, you can makes some beautiful spaces that never cross the color-war border. (I’m still of the school that all colors have at least one hue everyone can love, but that’s a whole other entry, y’all!)

(via flickr)
4. Woman caves are more important than man caves. (Or “Don’t Be Greedy”)

At the end of the day, I would rather have one room all to myself than fight over the rest of the house. Why? Because having one beautiful, perfect space is more important to me and certainly more than enough. Besides the sheer labor required when trying to cram two strong designs into a whole house full of rooms, it’s just greedy. Each person should get their own, independent space to decorate where they can be completely themselves. The rest of the shared house space can be that easy, clean, and beautiful neutral I mentioned a minute ago.

5. Compromise.

Contrary to a bad stereotype, not all men have poor taste. In fact, some of them have pretty amazing input. The only problem is when two people have strong opinions, sometimes things get messy or left undone in order to end the design debate. The tried and true art of compromising is really all you can do. I’ve learned that I don’t need to control as much of a design as I’d thought. I’ve learned that I don’t necessarily have the best ideas out of all the ideas all the time. I’ve learned that purging yourself of things is good and all it does is make way for better things. Compromising can teach you a lot about your partner, but most importantly, it teaches you about yourself.

Thanks to a headstrong partner, I’ve come to the table with a very clear vision of what I love, and a much better grasp on flexibility, simplicity, and form.

 
What did you do when you moved in with your partner? Any better tips out there? 

Bad Romance

One of the things I will whole-heartedly admit Gen Y has radically fucked up is romance. We all want love, but somewhere along the way marketing fed us the idea that it “wasn’t cool” to settle down. Be a rebel, ride the breeze, run away from everything!

Don’t get me wrong: it’s pretty awesome that we actually have the opportunities we do. If we DO want to live a life of random hookups, open relationships, no relationships, or polyamorous relationships, we have the choice in a way not many generations did before us. Sure, there were summers of free love and sexual revolutions past, but the stigma of non-tradition in romance is starting to fade.

That being said, for those of us who do still decide to search for love, who do want to settle down against our animal nature, who maybe still naively believe in some kind of soulmate or fate or destiny, we are doing it all wrong.

We are having these weird relationships that aren’t relationships: “Oh, her? She’s not my girlfriend. Yes, I took her to meet my parents, and we only sleep with each other, but we are NOT. DATING.”

We are all about some friends-with-benefits: “He’s nice to me, we have everything in common, and we have great sex, but I could NEVER date him!”

We have no qualms with the on-again, off-again idea. We run when we’re scared instead of sticking around. We play strange games with each other, but last time I checked, this was a planet and not a massive chess board.

We truly make everything more complicated than it should be. If you’re one of the Gen Y’ers who wants to engage in monogamous romance, stop what you’re doing and listen to me: Just. Be. Happy.

It’s really that simple. Stop letting the hangups in an age of worry keep you from something good, something real, something that might be… dare I say it? TRUE LOVE!

Oh, and because I know I myself have the attention span of a fruit fly thanks to years of information overload, here’s a handy list for navigating the murky romance waters:

How to Know You’re In Love, or “Quit Bullshitting Around & Just Be Happy, Moron”

  1. If you were on a crashing plane and had time for one phone call, and your significant other/ex/f-w-b/on&off again/etc. is the last person you’d want to speak to, YOU ARE IN LOVE.
  2. If you have had a shitty day and your person does special things to make it better, like buys you a DVD of “The Avengers” or yells at someone for you, and that action makes you feel all tingly inside, YOU ARE IN LOVE. (You are also lucky.)
  3. If you look like you just stepped out of a jungle or a Quentin Tarantino film, but your person still thinks you’re smokin’ hot, YOU ARE IN LOVE.
  4. If you can survive a road trip of 5+ hours alone together and still like each other, YOU ARE IN LOVE.
  5. If you can genuinely enjoy watching the same TV shows together, YOU ARE MOST DEFINITELY IN LOVE.

I’m sure there are some more romantic, less neurotic ways of knowing you’re in love, but take that plane crash scenario for example. If you give it the thought it deserves, it has some serious weight to it. I can tell you who my person would be right now without reservation. (I’m lucky he has the bravery to put up with my “if I were dying in a plane” anecdotes without jumping out of the nearest exit.)

If you can tell me your person, too, go Lloyd Dobler them while you still can. It’s never to late to be crazy in love, Gen Y. (And not in a Christian Grey/Anastasia Steele kinda way.)

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Why I Love My Foil

foil [ˈfi(-ə)l]: noun; a person or thing that contrasts with and so emphasizes and enhances the qualities of another

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Photo Credit: Adam Dixon

Because he is logic, and I am emotion.

Because he is rigid, and I am free.

Because he is old-fashioned, and I am new-aged.

Because he is science, and I am faith.

Because he is nature, and I am nurture.

He reminds me to be logical, and I remind him to feel. I mention we should relax, but he reminds me not for too long. He tells me the facts, and I tell him there might be more to the story. I tell everyone to dream big, but he mentions everyone should prepare for reality. He grounds us in the past, while I bring us into the future because two foils, when brought together, make each other stronger, whole.

Because he helps me overcome my fears.

Because I help him remember sometimes it’s okay to jump in without a plan.

Because he teaches me something new every day.

Because I remind him to do something new every day.

Because he keeps us held together with strength and rationale.

Because I keep us together with optimism and hope.

And together, we love each other first. We laugh. We travel. We push each other to be better, the best. We make our own home wherever we want, wherever we are. We do, we see. We challenge each other. We are both selfish and selfless. We surprise each other. We comfort one another. We send each other love letters in a million different ways a million times a day, always signed off with the unspoken promise of staying loyal, staying youthful, staying close, staying friends, staying in love.

Happy three years, J. Thank you for all the little things you do for me every. single. day. You’re my sweetheaaaarrrt…

www. Wednesday

Reporting from my new portable device. Guess what it all means? MORE FREQUENT POSTS!!! Enjoy this week’s links, as well as the impending entry influx.

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+ If you had a bad day or week, I promise that looking at these heartwarming photos of dogs leaving the shelter with their new owners will make you smile from ear to ear!

+ As I got older and the hangovers got worse, I could actually feel that something deeper and more ominous was going on inside my body than just the side effects of alcohol; here’s what really goes on in your bloodstream after a night of binge drinking. Be careful with your libations, y’all.

+ For some reason, Brad Pitt tossing Matthew McConaughey a beer in NAWLINS is the greatest thing I’ve seen in, like, years.

+ Finally! A study proving my mother and I right about how folks tend to fall for people who are similar looking to you, right down to our very DNA. What would the Internet do without you, IFLS?!

+ How AMAZING is the idea behind this bracelet called myLokai? We should all be required to wear them to keep us both humbled and motivated!

+ Wow. YOU STAY CLASSY, RAYJ!

+ If you’re like the rest of us cross-continental traveling Americans, you’ve felt the pangs of not having a greasy fix from a regional fast food restaurant you fell in love with on the road. I just keep saying to myself “For every Taco Cabana moment I miss in my life, at least I can get a Cookout milkshake whenever the SHIT I WANT TO!!!!”

Lettering by Noel Shiveley

Bad Day Stream

I thought for a long time there was really something wrong with me, and you know, maybe there still is. But now I’m horrified that is really is everyone else.

When I’m exhausted, I want someone to say “I can see why.”

When I’m angry, I want someone to say “You should be.”

When I’m sad, I want a shoulder.

When I’m in pain, I want relief.

When I’m struggling, I want help.

When I’m happy, I want someone to celebrate with.

When I am anything, I just want to feel understood. Accepted. Loved. Cared for.

All I feel anymore is this immense distance between me and everything.

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I long for things other people can’t see or think about. I seem to be the only one who wants to grow up, who wants to have a home, who wants to make my dreams come true, who wants to have loyal, interesting, conscientious people around me.

I know, I know… if I live as long as the average member in my family, I still have 70 years left… but why does no one else feel this immense urgency to live now? To be good now? To love and tell those we do now? To create lives (and meaningful ones at that) now?

I feel so scared and sad that these people who I love so dearly, who I want to spend my life with, don’t care enough about life in general to spend it living, let alone healthily and with me.

Why do I always end up loving everyone more than they love me? It puts me in this horrible position of being walked over because I don’t know how to stop that love. I don’t know how to not care for the people who are woven into my soul, in the very blood that runs through my body.

I shut down, act mean, get selfish, and do horrid things because those inverted tendencies are the only things that protect me from the pain I feel when the very few people I love just don’t seem to get it, to care.

It’s not that I need perfection, though I suppose it could be mistaken for such… it’s just that I need to know others feel the same I do. About life, about love, about me and them.

Do the dishes because I do them.

Do take care of me because I care for you.

Do be loyal as I am a lion for you.

Do give me space as I give you, but be there for me as I’m there for you.

Do love me the way I love you.

It’s not about trust; it’s about fearlessness and having it when it comes to living well and to loving me back. It’s about bravery.

“Show me how big your brave is.” – SB

Situational Forevers

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I used to hang out with this group of people.*

*I guess we all used to hang out with “this group of people.” We’ve all hung out with multiple groups of people at multiple stages of our lives. But this group is THE group in this story. Blogception.

As I was saying, I hung out with this group of people in college who I thought I would be with for the rest of my life. I don’t mean to imply copious orgies or polygamy plans; it’s just that we were so close-knit, and I loved every one of them to bits. Naturally, I thought that bond would be forever ’cause I wanted it forever. I always want things forever, even though I know human forevers are only like 90 years or some unremarkable bullshit like that.

I mean, I should have known it wouldn’t have lasted. I only knew them because I was dating “one of them,” and he didn’t seem that into me after a still-undefinable point in our relationship. That didn’t stop me from loving him and them and everything we did together.

We formed a little family for a short time (and I do mean short — less than a year), then in an instant, we were strangers. We burned out, I suppose, which isn’t surprising; we were drunk over half the time. Once, I got so dehydrated after drinking approximately an 18-pack of Bud Light, they had to take me to the hospital the next day. Bonding ‘n shit.

And yeah, I’m sure the substances at play didn’t help. Neither did the volatile relationship in the middle of it all. But years later, looking through photos that bring up as many bad memories as good, I realize it’s because we were all just situational buds. You know… people who wanted things, but we needed each other to get ’em. Maybe it didn’t start out that way; I know I started out with the best of intentions. But midway through our fucked up family formation, it became that toxic kind of parasite-host bond until we all dried each other up because we’d each made it to our selfish, secret little finish lines.

I wanted to love someone, so I did.

He wanted to want to love someone, so he tried.

I wanted him to reconsider, so I played cool to his friends.

They wanted new blood, so they let me in.

I wanted to be heard, so I opened up.

We wanted each other, so we had each other.

We wanted to be best friends, so we were.

He wanted to be alone, so he left.

I wanted to keep the others, so I held tight.

They wanted to keep him, so they let go.

I wanted them back, so I tried.

She wanted him instead, so she wouldn’t let them.

I needed to heal my broken heart, so I left. I left all of them.

They never wanted me the way I wanted them, so they never said “come back, come back.”

The Extraordinary

Everyone knows I’m not afraid to publicly discuss my life on this blog o’ mine, at least to some generic extent. Everyone knows I try to say, if I can help it, just what I think, feel, don’t feel, feel TOO MUCH, etc. However, this blog has shielded one section of my life a little because it’s the section of my life I hold most dear, most private, most beloved. I mention my relationship from time to time because it’s a HUGE part of my life, but you’re not going to hear, say, what we ate for and talked about at breakfast this morning or what new life moment we experienced hand-in-hand last week. Sure, I let some details out here and there because I’m proud of who I’m with and what we’ve done, but all those details and intimate moments? That stuff is for us. That stuff is supposed to be just for us. That’s the beauty of choosing to be with one person in a world of monogamist nay-sayers, conquering them and the world in general with your silent, yet steel-strength bond. You find love in a hopeless place, or better yet, actual privacy in a social media state.

However, most outsiders think having a life just for us is slightly abnormal, if not completely weird, and most puzzling, somehow an omen of dullness and/or unhappiness. So I’m here to set the record straight once and for all, and for one time only.

I am in love with my best friend. I have been for two years. We have lived together and apart. We have fought, and we have overcome. We have always been the topic of controversy, whether justly or truthfully so, yet we have always ignored the hell out of it. We have always been deeply in laughter as much as we are deeply in love, even when it looked like things were falling apart. We have never offered explanation nor description of anything; we have always, always, always been private. We have been private from the beginning because being private means having something special no one can touch or take away from you. Being private means being truly intimate with one person, not the world as a whole. Being private means being fulfilled within your relationship, not outside of it. Being private means discovering just how deep you love the person, not the idea of them.

Lest I hear another person ask me how this or that works in a now long-distance-but-barely-distanced relationship… it just works, alright? Do you want to know why? Because we talk to each other, not everyone else. We talk about everything, even the stuff that pisses us off, because when we wake up the next morning, we know everything we have said was to make the other person better. Make them happy. Make them know that just because there’s a measly couple of hours between us, we still care about the other person more than anyone else without agenda. And all the stuff we talk about, and do, and say, and plan, and dream in those conversations… we keep it to ourselves.
And you know what? That might not be ordinary to you, or ordinary period. But it is something. Something even better: extraordinary.
I’ll share what I want to share when I want to share it. More importantly, I’ll only share what I know he doesn’t mind me sharing, because you know what’s most important – more important – than this blog, than your opinion, than anything? Him.
Damn if that is not the best lesson he has ever taught me, and to learn it, the best decision I have ever made.
Happy 2 years, J. I love you and I like you.

Me & Drew

I’ve been feeling a little dried up lately writing-wise. It’s not that I don’t have ideas, it’s just that I can’t really get them out. Sometimes putting an actual pen to paper helps get things flowing, but most of the time, there’s just some kind of congestion in the thought-to-words process.

But during this gloomy Monday and a temporary Internet outage, I decided to crack open the newest copy of Good Housekeeping. This mag just started showing up one day, and I’m not one to turn away anything that involves good interior design and organization. Besides, I have my suspicions that my delightful Grandma sent the surprise subscription my way…
Backstory aside, I finally got to the cover article about Drew Barrymore. I’ve always been a fan, (though I know she can be another one of those polarizing celebs) so I was curious to see what the gal had been up to since her marriage and baby havin’. And on a gloomy Monday with my nose in the pages of GH, I had an unexpected moment of inspiration alongside Ms. Barrymore.
Her achievements and drive are both motivational and admirable, but even more were Drew’s fierce love and happiness she has toward her lot in life that really struck a chord with me. (Read the full article here if you so please.) I’ve felt this deep level of gratitude with the universe lately, despite not being able to find any other words for the intensity of gratefulness I have other than “thank you.” When I read about someone else feeling that kind of fullness and not getting overwhelmed in the process, it made it a little easier to find the right thing to say. It felt easier to let go of the things I have to wait for, and to make moves on the things I have power over right now. It even made it easier to forgive myself for taking yet another day recovery day for this cold and shoving four scoops of ice cream in my face while doing so.
I may have to shake the sleep from all of my creative and motivative bones, but the feeling of simpatico I have from this little article will make the comeback more manageable and serve as a constant source of inspiration to return to in the difficult hours.
And all the while, I’m going to stay so, so thankful for all of the love (and every big AND tiny thing in between) I have in my life. Just like Drew, I’m intending to fight like a lion to stay happy for the rest of my days.