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.

Values

This past week has given me a great challenge to identify and solidify my values. Some people are really great with their morals and convictions but then something else comes along. Sometimes, what becomes really difficult is to choose between two very different opportunities. I was given that option this week and through a lot of introspection, reflection, and processing with others, I came to several conclusions.

One, I love comfort and while change can be exciting and worthwhile, sometimes, it’s okay to want to stay in some place comfortable.

Because two, even if it is comfortable, it doesn’t mean that there aren’t opportunities for growth and challenges. They can be found anywhere and to be in a space where those options are unlimited is amazing.

Three, quality people are hard to find. Quality people who get your quirky jokes, have a love for cats, and support you and your growth, are hard to find.

Four, I judge myself and project on others way more than I should.

Five, it’s important to figure out what my values are because that will determine how motivated I shall be.

Six, asking for advice is not as scary as it sounds, even from people who you may not think to ask.

There are probably more, but that’s a pretty good list for now. And it’s quite possible that my values may change in a few years. Things happen and that can always shift my perspective on life. But for now, this is the one I’m working with and I’m pretty happy with that.

Money

My current stream of consciousness is kind of all over the place, but bear with me.

I am not a woman of money. I don’t know what it will look like if and when I finish school this coming May, but I don’t expect a lot of money. I actually am not sure what to expect, but I am hoping that it will be something decent, something worthwhile. I know I didn’t go into this profession thinking I’d be raking it in, but I am hoping that it will be sufficient, enough to keep me happy and sane and just enough to get me out of this house. The hard part is that I like nice things and nice food and often times, these things and foods come with a higher price than I should probably indulge in. But that’s okay. Sometimes that’s what rainy days are for, that’s what saving is for. But at the end of the day, these nicer things and nicer foods aren’t the things that make me happy.

My parents did a lot of things for me as a kid. They shielded and sheltered me. While some can argue that wasn’t great, but at the same time, they gave me something that I don’t think I could have gotten otherwise: a childhood filled with friends and memories. I never felt poor or low-income. I felt happy. While I didn’t think we were rich or raking in the dough, I knew that we were okay. I knew that I had friends and a family and despite how much I hated some of their authority and decisions for me, I loved them anyway. They taught me that at the end of the day, a few pennies are just a few pennies, but a family can’t be replaced. They taught me that money will come and go, but it’s not important to have the “finer” things in life because I already have them. My parents, or more specifically, my father, didn’t want me to worry about the things that didn’t matter like money so I could go live life and be a kid. My father made it possible for me to not depend on money, to see it as a necessity to live.

Yes, maybe I wasn’t able to fully learn the value of money in that way, I learned something better. I don’t need a lot to make me happy, but the little things. While I may be slightly unhappy now with a mother who is nuts, but set that aside, I am happy. Sure, I like fancy foods, fancy things, but I can live without those. Give me a decent living space and people in my life who matter and I will be happy.

I don’t need much and that’s okay. It’s what the East Side taught me and even though it becomes a smaller and smaller part of my existence, it will remain a big part of me.

No Fears

I was at a dinner party the other day and we were asked a really nice icebreaker-style question: What would you do if you had no fear? Unfortunately, I was told to give a superficial answer so I said that I wanted to drive a monster truck so I could go over all the people who get in my way while driving. Slightly dark, but whatever. It was the best superficial thing I could think of at the time.

What I had originally wanted to say was to love. To love someone fully, without reservations, without insecurities, without fear. To feel like I felt when I was a teenager – just love freely and truly feel as if I could jump in head first, feet first, body first into someone and just be free. Now the relationships are full of apprehension, fears, reluctance. Will this person hurt me? Will I allow myself to be hurt? Will this person still love me if that person knows everything there is to know about me? All of those fears, would be gone and to feel that true moment of happiness, to know that the person you are with will love you no matter what? That is love. That is love without fear and if I were to ever get married someday, that would be the question I’d ask myself:

Can I love this person without any fears?

If that answer is yes, then my answer will be yes to any proposal that comes my way from that person. Whoever he may be.

What’s Next?

Maybe I shouldn’t be writing as I’m currently hopped up on caffeine at… 12am in the morning. Maybe I don’t even know what I’m writing. I’ve been on a Grey’s Anatomy marathon, just wanting to watch from the beginning, mostly because it’s on Netflix and mostly because the holiday season is coming around and TV is getting boring and lame as they go on break.

Anyway, the beginning of series has the original cast, some of which don’t make it, some who leave. There’s only a handful of people who’ve lasted all ten seasons of the show and it’s surprising to see how people have started and where they started. The most interesting of all is the epic love story that happens during the series. To see all of their complications, fights, etc. It makes me wonder if love should be that difficult or is it just drama? How much of our ideas of love are shaped by the media? Or is it on what we see in life? If I had to base my ideas of love in life, I don’t have much to go on.

One relationship was marred by a partner who was not very inconsiderate and not very willing to change her behavior and for whatever reason, ended. One relationship survived the tests of time and distance, proving that no matter when your “celebration of love” happens, it doesn’t mean that your relationship needs to have a time limit of when it moves to the next level. Many people have been on my case about that next level. When will it move? How long will I wait? And I wonder, what is the rush? What is a few years in comparison to the rest of my life? And to be honest, I don’t even feel ready for this next level to begin with. I have my own reservations and hesitations about what my life will look like after May. There are doubts about if I’ll make it to May, if my own anxieties will get in the way of my success in May.

I will make it. I have to make it. There is no option to do otherwise.

After that, we’ll see how I feel about this “next level” stuff. But for now, I Just want the questions to stop. But you try telling all your family that. -_-