love

Waiting

Our anniversary is coming up and I was thinking of gifts to commemorate our time together. I thought about getting him a gift that would let him know that I would wait for him to be ready. Ready for what? For everything that social norms has been suggesting we do: settle down, get married, have kids, etc. Social norms (in a heteronormative world) also imply that women are much more likely to be “ready” for these next steps than men and more often than not, we women are “waiting” around for the men to “get their act together” to move into these next steps with us.

However, the more I thought about it, the more I realized I hated the idea of waiting. It’s not that I don’t want to wait and think I should find someone who won’t make me wait – it’s that I hate the connotation that “waiting” implies. That somehow I have the upper hand in the relationship, that there is a timeline to be met and someone is not meeting that timeline. In other contexts, sure – waiting is appropriate. In a relationship? There shouldn’t be a “waiting” in the sense that you want someone to “catch up” to you.

People ask us the very common, “When are you getting married?” At first, I would joke: “Well, that’s up to him. *nudge nudge*” After a few of those, I hated it because that meant I would put him on the spot, that I was placing pressure on him to do something he may or may not be ready to do. That didn’t sit well with me and I shouldn’t be throwing him under the bus when those questions arise. If anybody is doing any kind of “waiting” around, it should be the both of us, together. Both of us need to be ready, together, to move into whatever steps we want to move into. It shouldn’t be that one of us gets there first – we aren’t hiking. He isn’t 20 steps ahead while I huff and puff my way up the incline. That isn’t a relationship. That’s playing a game of “Who will get there first with me that I can tolerate?”

So I’m back to square one for gifts. Maybe we don’t need gifts. I know I don’t need one. Just like all the times I make comments about coworkers getting flowers delivered to them at the office. Sure, it would be nice to have, but in no way, shape or form, does his sending flowers to me make, break, or change our relationship. It’s nice to have, but I don’t need it. I need him and I would trade a million roses in the world if that meant I could get him next to me instead. But gifts are another topic for another day.

 

Unconditional

How does love become unconditional? Or is love always unconditional? If you love with conditions, then is it really love?

For me, I know that I will love my family unconditionally. Despite how much I dislike mother and her … everything, I know that at the end of the day, I will still love her. If I could choose differently, I would, but I can’t. From the moment my niece was born, I loved her. Anybody who is tied to me by blood, I will love. Perhaps that’s based on the values of family that have been instilled in me since birth and as demonstrated by my family.

Then there comes the love that you have to create with others – with your friends, with your significant other. Can those be unconditional? Are they ever unconditional? Will I always love my friends no matter how we change throughout the years? Or do I get to pick and choose which ones to love? If I pick and choose, is it therefore now based on condition? What helps me define which friends I shall love unconditionally?

With a partner – I admit, I’ve said those “I love you”s to a few folks throughout my years. If I had to think about my feelings for the former beaus, I could probably tell you that I loved them once upon a time. But the conditions changed and I no longer could continue loving them.

As I am now older, I know I can change my definition of love. I would like to think that I love my current beau unconditionally. I’d like to think that unless this man were to begin to intentionally hurt me, I would still love him no matter what would transpire.

But how does this happen? Does this happen with time? Is there a marker during which you can finally say, “Yes, I love you unconditionally.” Or do you just wake up one day and realize that this is it? “That no matter what may happen, whether we are together or apart, I will always love you.”

This is also not to say that an unconditional love is always peachy. But it’s to imply that when big, rocky things happen, the love motivates for change, reconciliation, forgiveness, etc. That the love encourages us to stay together instead of apart. That when you love unconditionally, that you accept all – warts, farts, snores, bad habits, etc included.

So… how do you know? If there are deal breakers – do those count as conditions? Or are they just conditions for the relationship and not conditions for the love?

Just some thoughts on which to ponder…

Saving

Fuck.

That’s what I want to say. I am going through my friend list today on FB for a class assignment and I run into an account for a person who passed by suicide. I perused his FB wall and I read a few notes he had written a few months before passing. It tore me up inside because here was an individual who was open about his pain, someone who willingly shared how he felt and how difficult he found his life to be. But he still didn’t feel heard. He still didn’t feel understood by his closest friends and family, even the professionals he spoke to.

It was so disheartening to read all of that. That he felt people didn’t believe him, that he was over-dramatic, or that “his life wasn’t as bad because other people have it worse out there.” These were all the things that I would have challenged had I been given the chance to do what I do now for him.

I would have said that no matter how big or small your problem can be compared to another person’s problems, that doesn’t make your problems any more or less important. How you feel in, deal with, and process your world is important to you and is valid. There’s no right or wrong way to feel or do things. Well, not necessarily if I am saying this creed.

You deserve to be heard. You deserve to be recognized. You deserve to be validated.

Most importantly, you deserve to have someone in your life who will love you unconditionally and always hold you in the highest regard. No matter how you may falter, no matter what you may do, you should be loved and cared for. Not blamed, shunned, or neglected.

That’s what I would say. But I can’t tell him now. And it wasn’t my place to “save” him. And I can’t “save” everyone.

But I can try.

Feeling Loved

There is something really magical about that. It’s such a simple feeling: to feel loved. It can come from just about anywhere.

This week, I have been definitely feeling it. My little cat, Lily, who was brought in as a stray when she was 4 months old, slept on my lap. Granted, it was uncomfortable for me since I have to cross my legs while sitting on a computer chair, but she did it anyway. This is a cat who used to run away from me, hide, hated hugs or closed quarters, still runs away from me, and hates strangers (and babies). But she loves me enough, trusts me enough, to know that my lap is a safe and warm space for her.

Kayla, my cute little niece, developed stranger anxiety. She would cry or feel uncomfortable if I held her or took her away from her parents or my mom (caretaker). This morning, she raised her arms toward me even though my mother was feeding her.

Nate, is a million miles away in Japan and even though we talk and connect a lot less since he’s been gone, not once did I ever wonder or feel insecure about our relationship.

Work has been amazing and such a great learning space. I really feel like I can be a part of this space and be encouraged to grow and make my blunders a learning opportunity.

Friends, while I haven’t seen some of them in quite some time, I’ve appreciated all of their presences’ in my life. Everyone had a place and a space in my life and I could not be anymore grateful for them and the experiences I’ve shared with people.

Maybe it’s just today, but that’s how I’m feeling. And it’s amazing and I wish everyone would be able to feel as loved as I feel.