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There was nothing scary about falling in love with you,

That is how I knew.

The peace in my soul telling me I was home,

Not the butterflies I was told to expect,

But a calmness I gladly welcomed,

Like walking through the doors of your childhood home,

And feeling like you had never left.

I remember the first night I made you laugh,

Like your soul and mine were bound to the same heartbeat,

Rhythm and cadence,

The universe’s sigh of relief that we had finally met.

I have always been scared of love,

But there is nothing scary about loving you.

 

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Pictures on My Wall

It has taken me four months to write this. Not for lack of trying, but out of a refusal to let the words come. They were still to painful to admit. The words are still painful, but they are finally ready to be said.

Every morning when I wake up, I am greeted by a wall of pictures. These pictures represent the best people and the best moments of my life. The pictures remind me that I have a full and beautiful life. But four months ago, that wall of pictures became a little less full when a dear friend of mine died in a tragic skiing accident. It breaks my heart to look at those pictures, but I can’t bear the thought of taking them down.

I am grasping at straws to hold on to what pieces I have left, because the thought that we will never make more memories together is unbearable.

Nothing can prepare you for the grief that death brings in its wake. The unanswered questions. The regret of words unsaid. The fleetingness of hope. The pain of loss.

It wasn’t just losing someone who was the very best of us. It wasn’t just losing a dear friend. It wasn’t just losing someone who had been so influential in my life during the most formational years. It was all three of those combined. That enormity of that loss crashes through you like a fucking freight train.

I think people come into our lives for a reason.  A deeper reason than  just our human need for relationship.  People are sent in certain times of our lives to teach us and to inspire us.  People are sent into our lives to show us there is someone in us worth believing in, and that we have a future that is worth fighting for.

Some people are meant to be in our lives for a long time, maybe even for our whole lives.  I am blessed to have a large group of people who have been in my life for the long haul.  There are always there in my corner pushing me forward.

There are others for that are only meant to be in our lives for just a moment.  Those people should not be easily discounted.   Sometimes they can be the most influential people we met.  I can’t explain it, only that it seems that life only gives us a few moments together so we fill it like a lifetime.

The hard part is when that time expires. When we must say goodbye to someone who has taught us so much. When we must move on because life is moving on.  When we must let someone out of our arms and they never return.

I have learned that no matter how hard a goodbyes can be, it is still better than never knowing that person.

To my dear friend Billy, saying goodbye to you has been the hardest part of my 27 years. It has been my immense pleasure to have spent so many of those 27 years as your friend. You were the first person who believed in me, and you were the first person who pushed me to chase my dreams. You were the wind in my sails. What a fierce and strong wind you were. I can say with full certainty that I would not have made it this far in life without your support. My life will forever be changed because you were in it.

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Lessons on Love Part 2

It is no secret that the people we love the most have the biggest ability to hurt us., because they should have known better.  We understand that the world is not fair.  We expect strangers to let us down or to be rude to us.  We don’t expect that from those we love.  Which is why it hurts so much when they do.

People are complicated.  At least I know I am.  We have layers of the battle scars love has left us.  We do irrational things when we feel vulnerable.  We become sensitive to actions and words that were never intended to hurt us.  But they do, and we are left just as confused by it as the person who hurt us.

We barely understand ourselves sometimes, and yet we expect those we love to understand us.

Relationships are complicated.  It is just as complicated no matter if it is a relationship with a family member, best friend, or a significant other.  Any relationship worth having takes work.  It takes constant communication.  Because we have all been hurt and we all have the ability to unintentionally open up an old scar.

It will happen.  It does not matter how much someone loves you, people are complicated and we hurt each other even when we don’t mean to.  When this happens we have two ways we can react, love or hate.  We can get angry, we can hate them, and we can try to hurt them back.  Or we can choose love, which is immensely harder to do.

Hate is me focused.   When we hate, it becomes all about what we need, how we were hurt, how we didn’t get what we wanted.   If we focus on only us, we think others are out to get us.  We get angry when people don’t treat us how we think we deserve to be treated.  We become frustrated when life doesn’t seem to give us what everyone else is getting.  We get so stuck looking at our own two feet that we cannot see everything else that is happening around us.

Hate pushes other’s away, love pulls them closer.

Love is seeing past our own reflection into someone else’s reality.

Love requires us to look at the situation from the other person’s point of view.  It is understanding that they never meant to do us wrong.  In fact sometimes we may realize that we were the one being selfish.

Love is realizing that a relationship isn’t all about us.  When we love someone that means we have to put them before us sometimes.  We have to forgive them.  We have to fight for them.  We have to trust that when they say they love us they mean it, even if they don’t always show it.

For most of my life, when people hurt me I push them away.  I don’t fight for the relationship, I just run away from it.  It is hard for me to trust people – to be vulnerable with them.  It is only recently that I have started to respond in love.  To forgive someone when they have hurt me and to know that sometimes I react irrationally.  It is a lot harder, and I do mean A LOT harder.  But is also worth it.  Because when we work to restore relationships they always bounce back stronger.

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Photo Credit: Unknown

 

Dear You – I Know You Thought You Loved Him

Dear You,

I know you thought you loved him.  I know that you got swept up in what felt like a fairy tale.  I know you believed that it would all work out in the end because he was your soulmate, or so you thought. And finding your soulmate means something, or so you thought.  And he felt the same way, or so you thought.

He promised he would never leave, because you told him about all of the people who have left you and he understood how hard trusting someone can be for you.

But he left anyways.

And you know that in his mind he was trying to protect you, but the only thing you can feel is that he did what he always promised to never do.  And how can you forgive that?  How can you forgive yourself for opening your heart up to be broken?

But you have to forgive yourself.  You have to silence the voice in your head that tries to remind you over and over again that you should have known better. You have to learn to trust your instincts again.  Yes they were wrong, but they were also a little bit right.  You have to learn to reconcile that.

You have to learn to move on.  Dearest one you have to move on.  I know it is scary.  I know that you are too scared to open your heart because you just think it will get broken again.  Rightfully so, you are still picking up the pieces.

Because sitting here scared isn’t going to fix anything.

You have to let yourself love again. It’s about learning to love, and yes I really do mean learning.  Its about learning to allow yourself to fall in love, and to be in love.  Its about learning to be foolish in love, because love defies reason.  Its about learning to embrace the fear of being vulnerable with another human, knowing the risks of what could happen if things fell apart, but also knowing the reward if they don’t.

I know you believe yourself incapable of love, but I believe otherwise.  I know that you think your heart just healed to break, but you are wrong.

It’s okay be gentle.  Of course it hurts baby girl, of course it hurt.  Its okay to let yourself cry, even on the days when you thought your heart had healed.  It’s okay, but also know that you are strong.  You are stronger than you know.  You are tough and resilient, and you can move on.

I know you thought you loved him dear one.  I know it still hurts, some days more than others. But you will love again and it will be magnificent, just like you.

Love,

~ L

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Photo Credit: ZsaZsa Bellagio

Calling All Flirting Experts

Today was a normal Friday morning.  I headed to my favorite coffee shop before work, excited that they had their pumpkin drink on their menu.  I was sitting at the bar, reading newspaper, waiting for me drink when he walked in.

I have seen him there several times before.  Which is a good sign, because as I have mentioned, I don’t trust people who don’t drink coffee. I met him during my debut into the short film industry (if you would like an autographed head shot, please contact my agent).  I always wanted to talk to him again, but I was never brave enough.  I have squashed nearly every fear of mine, except the fear of talking to a cute boy.

Plus I had no idea what to say.  Maybe he didn’t even remember/recognize me.  You never want to assume you are as memorable to someone as they are to you.  That would be awkward.

Let me back up to earlier this summer.  One of my roommates got a call from a friend saying they need extras in the short film that they were shooting that weekend.

We debated for a while if we should go.  We were enjoying our lazy Sunday in sweatpants.  We eventually decided that when life hands you an adventure (and a chance at fame) you take it. So I put on my favorite shade of lipstick and tried to fix my mess of two day old curls that desperately needed to be washed.

It was some short film that a group of hipsters were working on (do people still use the word hipster?)  They needed extras to be in their party scene.  We arrived and I felt instantly out of place.  My roommate was the only person there I knew, and me being a good introvert wanted to avoid as much small talk as possible.

I sat down and waited as the crew bustled busily around me.  Someone handed me a beer for my prop, and another person told me I had to scrape off the label (copy right laws and such).  The guy in charge was burly and bearded.  He was starting to place the extras.  He came over to our table and pulled me away from my roommate.

He placed me by the entrance and told me my role was to be the girl the main character was trying flirt with, but I was trying to flirt with the cute brunette (it looks like life was also trying to hand me love).  I tried to keep the panic from showing in my eyes.  Just because I am wearing lipstick doesn’t mean I have any clue how to flirt.

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As if to make the impossible more impossible, we weren’t allowed to talk either.  But being the thespian that I am, I managed to pull it off.  He also made it easy and turned a really awkward situation into a funny one.  Soon it became hard to define where the acting stopped and real flirting began.

Let me back up and clarify, I can’t flirt. And yes, I do mean that I am incapable. Also if I am being honest it makes me a little nauseous. I don’t do the demure damsel act very well.  I am also am not good at gushing and stroking your  ego  biceps. 

If you have a big ego, I will make it my sole mission to destroy it.  Some call that flirting, I just call it doing a favor for humanity.  My “flirting” is dry snarky humor.  If you are smart enough you will catch on to the fact that I just insulted you to your face, if not well you will probably just laugh and pretend you got the joke.

Which brings me back to the coffee shop this morning.  I have no idea how to be a normal human when someone tries to flirt with me.  Which he did, and he did it well.  It made me laugh, and then I froze because I couldn’t think of a witty comeback.  I stood there awkwardly smiling for what felt like an eternity and then fled.

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I know that I will run into him again.  In fact, I am hoping I do.  But I also know that the ball is in my court now, and I have no idea how to return it.

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Be Kind

Be kind,a reminder to myself and to you.

Be kind, because life is not always kind.

Be kind, even to those who are mean.

Be kind, because we are all humans and we all hurt.

Be kindest to those which are hardest to be kind to.

Be kind to those who seem tough, its an act, they cry too.

Be kind, because hate doesn’t fix anything.

Be kind as kindness begets kindness, but the same goes for hate.

Be kind to those who laugh at you.

Be kind to those who hate you.

Be kind, because the world needs more of it.

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Photo Credit: Kristen Duke

Memoirs of an Introvert

“Really you are an introvert?”

Yes, I really am.  People who don’t know me well are always surprised by this.  While I do have some extroverted tendencies, I am more of an introvert.  Truth be told I am probably more of an ambivert, which is somewhere in the middle.  But when push comes to shove, I end up on the introvert side.

I use to hate being called an introvert, because I thought that it meant I was shy and boring.  We tend to think of extroverts as the life of the party and introverts as the weird girl in the corner playing with a cat.

I have spent most of my life misunderstanding myself and being misunderstood by others about what it actually means to be an introvert.  Learning that my brothers were introverts helped me a lot.  They are the fun, life of the party, outgoing type of people that you wouldn’t assume to be introverts.  Far from the weird shy girl playing in the corner with a cat.

So what does it mean to be an introvert?  What is life really like for us silent mysterious types?  Let me tell you, and hopefully help you relate a bit better to the introverts in your life.

 If you want to hear what an introvert is thinking, stop talking for two minutes.

One of my favorite things about African culture, is that they cater to introverts.  They value silence in conversation, because they value sometime taking the time to think of the words they want to say.

American culture is quite the opposite.  Conversation is fast paced and silences are awkward.  We haven’t been talking for five seconds quick say something to fill the silence before they think you are a boring person who doesn’t have anything to say.

As an introvert, fast paced conversation is exhausting.  Our brains are not wired to work that way.  We are by nature deep thinkers.  We need time to think of what we want to say.  We need time to process through every possible answer. If you can give us time, you will be rewarded with a well thought out answer.

Please don’t our lack of enthusiasm in a conversation as a cue to just keep talking. 

It is actually more work to listen to someone who has been talking for the last hour straight then it is to be in a conversation with someone.  This past weekend I went camping with my family.  On the drive home, me and my fellow introverted brother maybe said a dozen sentences to each other.  It didn’t mean that we didn’t like each other or want to be around each other, it just meant we need to decompress.

I think a lot of extroverts tend to confuse our silence as a sign to just keep talking.  No, please no.  It means we want silence.  Like I mentioned earlier, we can’t change gears as quickly.  That is even more amplified in a one sided conversation.  We are trying to listen as politely as possible, while silently begging you to stop talking so we can go back to our thinking.

No matter how much we may like you, some days we need to just go hide in our introvert cave.

When I am done with people, I am done with people.  My brain turns to mush and I start to think that I will lose my sanity if I have to listen to one. more. minute. of mindless chit chat.  I am not trying to be rude, but I have no energy to care what happened to your shoe belt buckle.  I am going to go lock myself in a closet for an hour, k bye.

We are not trying to be rude, I promise.  Our brains are just shutting down, and we will get crankier by the minute until you let us decompress.  Let us have a minute to ourselves to breathe, and we will come out refreshed and ready to listen about your shoe belt buckle problems.

We like to think, A LOT.

We need to think a lot.  It is how we are wired.  We are the deep thinkers and the over-analyzers. The best way I can explain it is that extroverts think externally and introverts think internally.  Introverts are always thinking about something, just like extroverts will always be talking about something.  Introverts are constantly analyzing and re-analyzing whatever happens to be on our mind.

I think that is part of the reason large crowds exhaust us so much.  We have so much internal stimuli happening all the time, that the added external stimuli just overheats our brains.  There will be times in crowds when there is so much activity going on that I literally can’t even hear myself think.  I feel like a caged animal that just needs to get out.  It is akin to an extrovert being locked in a closet for a day not able to talk to anyone.

Please don’t try to force us to talk.

I can’t count how many times people have tried to force me to talk in group settings. I know they are just trying to be helpful.  They think that I am not talking because I am shy, or maybe I just haven’t gotten the chance yet.  While those may be true, it is mostly because I am just not ready yet.  (Am I beating a dead horse yet?)  Introverts need time to process and think.  We will talk when we are ready to talk.

The times in group discussion when I was called to share before I was ready, I just spewed words that didn’t make sense and were not at all what I was trying to say.  It left me feeling like I just didn’t get my point across (because I didn’t).  Forcing us to share something that we are still digesting will just leave us feeling resentful.  Be patient with us.  We patiently listen as you never seem to stop talking, you can patiently wait when as our silences never seem to stop.

I don’t want to go is a valid reason.  

It doesn’t matter how much we like you or how much we may even like the event.  Some days we are too peopled out.  So we try to spare your feelings by telling you we have a lot of stuff to do.  “Oh I would love to but you know I really need to give my cat a bath tonight.” Our cat is fine, we just don’t want to go because the thought of being surrounded by strangers for a whole night makes us cringe.

I normally try to force myself to go anyways.  I know as cozy as my favorite chair and book may sound that I want to live a life filled with memories and experiences with other people.  Some times I am glad I went as I ended up having a great time.  Other times I sit and count the seconds until I can return to my introverted ways.

But we still do love people.

I know, it is kind of contradictory.  We don’t quite understand the conundrum ourselves.  The best way I can explain it, is that it is like running a race.  No matter how much you may like running, you are still exhausted after a race.  No one runs a marathon and then turns around wants to run another marathon.

I know some people who like running more than any human should like running.  But even they don’t run all the time.  The body isn’t capable of it.  The same goes for introverts – our brains aren’t capable of running social marathons all the time.  We like people, quite a lot actually, but we can’t be around them all the time.

This is just one introverts perspective, not a one size fits all guide to making introverts happy.  Introverts and extroverts have been mislabeled for quite some time.  If you are outgoing you are told that you are extroverted, and if you are shy you are told that you are introverted.  That may be true for some but not for all.  Some of the most outgoing people I know are introverts.  In short, it all comes down to how you process information.  Introverts process the world internally, and extrovert process the world externally.  Most people are a mixture of both, but it still helps to understand both sides.

There you have it – the not so mysterious thoughts of the mysterious introverts.

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*** Thank you for stopping by and reading my blog. Please feel free to leave your thoughts in the comment section below, as I always appreciate others thoughts.  Tell me about you experiences as an introvert, or your experiences as an extrovert dealing with introverts.