The Things We Love to Hate

North of Houston Street lies one of my hideout spots, my “rain or shine” type of place to scurry off to and disappear from civilization for a few hours. The photos alone, surfaces so many memories. Back in my freshman year of college, fellow blogger, Brianna, and I were pining for months to see a small independent film by the name of “Room”. Before it became so famous and won various amounts of awards, it was just a small film that was anticipated by a small group of folks. We ran there after class on a brisk Friday night with no expectations of the theatre itself. We only had one focal point in mind that day; MAKE THE SHOWTIME! Upon arrival we were greeted with the smells of a great cafe as the warm lights shined upon our glistening foreheads. The area was moderately crowded and there was a particularly buzzy nature to the environment. Voices clashed over each other as people congregated in the cafe sipping caffeinated drinks and discussing the previously watched film. It all amazed me; in the total ten seconds I had to soak in the new territory, it reminded me of a social club for film enthusiasts, a communal spot for real film lovers to geek out and feel unapologetic about it. Our tickets got clipped and we headed downstairs to the auditoriums. Stumbling into the theatre, we quietly found seats and enjoyed the film.

The marquee of the Angelika Film Center

I found on Angelika’s website that the entire chain began in 1989; the NoHo (North of Houston) location being the theatre’s birthplace before its roots spread, overtaking the country like a viral infection. It supplied a major demand for independent movie houses in the US. I always thought of these theatres as the rebels of American commerce; they didn’t conform to big sales and branding, instead they played what they thought would be a regional hit. They didn’t care about what society would think, they only desired to please the audience and what would possibly enrich their lives and overall perspective of life, itself. Admirably, Angelika now has five locations around America.

the Cafe at the Angelika Film Center

The Cafe Selection at the Angelika Film Center

The New York Times published an article pertaining the previous use for the building before Angelika Film Center and a plethora of other stores invaded the space. Its original name was “The Cable Building” and its primary use was as such. McKim, Mead & White was the architectural firm that was responsible for the creation of this Beaux-Arts style building. It was built in the years 1892-1894. The eight stories was used as office space while the gears grinded, twisted, and turned in the basement. The never-ending, winding cables weighed over four tons but was able to move sixty cable cars at the rate of thirty miles per hour on average. This system was in place for about a decade before it proved to create more harm than efficiency. Eventually, the cables were discarded from societal use and electric cars came into place. By natural selection the basement of “The Cable Building” was no longer necessary and reached its unfortunate demise. Untouched for years the room would patiently wait. Until 1930, in which the space was cleared out, making way for various companies,A chandelier at the Angelika Film Center

The Ceiling of the Angelika Film Center

Ceiling of the Angelika Film Center

who used the area for manufacturing space. It wasn’t until 1985 that Harry Feldman, Jules Demchick, and a group called Cable Building Associates bought the building including the tenants and renovated the building. Four short years after their purchase, Angelika Film Center would take home to the old building.

Perspective view of the auditorium at Angelika Film Center

Art instillation of an animal in flight

I didn’t like the theatre at first, the auditoriums were sub-par, if that. They are also underground and too close to the nearby train station; so at the climax of a movie, there’s a slight chance of  feeling and hearing the rumble of a passing train. As if the current transportation system is constantly jeering the failure of its predecessor, the cable car. The auditoriums are not stadium seating and the rooms are rather intimate. The size of the auditorium can be a real deal-breaker for some, but I don’t mind at all; in fact, I have grown to love the cinematic intimacy. I can name so many more initial complaints I had about Angelika proving the very reason for my utter dislike. But ever since that first movie experience, I impatiently wait for the next opportunity to catch a flick at Angelika. As a society, we love to hate something regardless of how we actually feel about the subject. Angelika Film Center and I have that type of relationship; I think it’s beautiful and, at times, a beautiful disaster. But there is no other place like it! Where else can you buy macaroons, gelato, and a delightful cup of coffee as a movie snack?

 

 

Angelika film center auditorium

Image Credit: Sabrina Vasquez

Romance While Feminist

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Romantic comedies are my go-to movies. For the longest time, 27 Dresses played in the background while I dealt with menial tasks and humdrum days. I am a complete sucker for formulaic meet-cutes and/or hate-to-love plotlines. But as time progresses, the common thread of phony-independent women starts to rise from the woodwork. All the tropes become obvious and I begin to feel hypocritical or even dirty for being such a fan.

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Love and romance is such an age-old mind boggler that it’s quite easy to turn to oversimplified scripts of what love should look and feel like. Of course, judging from my perpetual single-dom and fear of pretty much all serious emotion, I haven’t quite figured it out.

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But I believe that hope is not lost. Here is what I do know:

Self-esteem and self-love is key!

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Falling in love with someone else while you aren’t quite as loving to yourself is detrimental. A partner can help you grow and be your best self. But, if you go into a serious relationship without figuring yourself out first, it creates significant damage  mentally, emotionally, and spiritually.

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You become reliant on the validation of your partner and you become lost and self-loathing when they aren’t around. You may be solid as a unit, but what happens when you are left alone to your own devices?

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If you don’t love yourself first and be solid in your own worth as a human being, you can become a swallowed up and withered version of yourself, regardless of how gracious your partner is.

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I believe if I were ever to fall in love, it would be when I am sure of myself. I was born into this life alone as my own individual and I will leave this Earth as such. It’s a decidedly grim outlook, but it does teach me one thing:

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No matter how amazing my rom com meet-cute will be, I will always need to be the master of my own destiny. My future partner shouldn’t never complete me. Instead, we should supplement one another and bring out each other’s best sides.

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I may have a love affair with rom coms, but the important thing is that I learn to I learn to fall in love with the safety and security of my true worth.

Fall in love responsibly!

All artwork by Pebbles.

 

 

Virtues from Motherhood: A worn heart is a warm heart

I hear the lyrics to one of my favorite songs as I type this post “Cause’ when a heart breaks no it don’t break even..” a song called Breakeven by The Script. The song reminds me of a time in my life where I was dealing with the loss of my first real love and feeling like my life would never be the same, it wasn’t but I came to find that was okay. After your heart breaks you look at the world a little different and a little more cautious. Not all heartbreak is romantic, sometimes our heart will break at the passing of a loved one, or because we’re watching them struggle. Sometimes heartbreak is realizing you have to leave a job, or a place that you really love. Whatever the heartbreak is it wears your heart strings just a little bit.

A worn heart might sound like a tired heart but I’ve come to find that people with hearts that are just a little more worn are also a little warmer. I’ve invited friends, family, peers and anyone else who’d like to share what heartbreak is to them to write a small excerpt for this blog post. Their stories are below.


Joshua-

I am not new to the feelings that you drown in when you are dealing with a loss of a someone special in your life, I’ve lost my uncle to street violence, my stepfather to unforeseen circumstances and my unborn son. But, the one that stays with me the most is the loss of my mother, I was on my way home after a weekend of getting away from my problems that I had with my mother earlier that weekend.

That day I walked in to our 2 bedroom apartment and it was silent, and I wasn’t ready for what I was about to see, but who is ever ready for that… I walked in to my mothers room and there she was in praying position, kneeling I called out to her and she didn’t respond. I thought it was one of her episodes she would have where she would pass out because of her blood pressure issues, but it quickly became clear that this wasn’t the case. I was about to come to terms with the fact that I just found my mother dead in the apartment I grew up in
I’ve tried everything to hold my self together since then, and it’s been a long road dealing with that one day for the past 7 years and the only way I’ve learned to deal with that is by burying those emotions, one day I’ll face my emotions but right now I can’t – since her passing I’ve felt empty and incomplete and I’m still trying to fill that hole in my heart that was taken by her but till then I’m not sure how to reverse the numbness.

Jessica Deng– In Memory of My Grandma

I’ve lost three grandparents, an uncle and an aunt in the span of 2011 – 2013 and that’s less time to recover from the losses than I had anticipated. The truth is that there’s one loss in my family that hit me hard the most and that’s my paternal grandma: Wai Yuen Chen Ong. I remember that around Mid-January 2013 she had difficulty with phlegm in her throat and therefore was admitted to New York Methodist Hospital. It was the first time a doctor had a conversation with me that my grandma requested DNR, no life support or tubes attached to her prior to her passing. I remember Wednesday, February 6th, 2013 it was just a regular weekday and that I had class. When I found out through a phone call with my mom and that my grandma passed away at her retirement home, I just completely fell apart. It took me many months to accept this loss in my heart and family because my grandma was my last grandparent that was alive at that point and she was such a sweet woman.  The honest truth Is this paternal grandma my sisters, cousins, and I grew up knowing wasn’t our biological grandma because our biological one passed away just as my Dad was about eleven years old. Although, the grandma I grew up with wasn’t my blood-related grandma I still was able to learn the true meaning of family and love. A lot of people say I’m very lucky to have had grandparents that all lived past 90 years old and I am, but losing them so suddenly was painful. I hope to carry on the good heart and kindness that my grandma and grandpa have passed along. R.I.P Grandma Deng – 02.06.2013 – You are forever missed!


Mariah- 

Heartbreak huh? I think I could write a book about it, but the one that keeps me up at night is the one with my parents. You see from a young age they kinda shattered me. They fought so much I was invisible, and before I was smart enough to realize that I was the issue they had shipped me off to another country. Years passed and well I grew a little tougher a little stronger but always fell to their stone throwing. My mom left me again when I was 18 and it broke my heart into the tiniest pieces. I never felt good enough for anything I mean if my own parents couldn’t really stand me and seemed to leave every chance they got then why would anyone else. So yeah I know about heartbreak, it’s all I’ve ever known.


I thank Joshua, Jessica and Mariah for sharing their stories with me. I had permission from each of the participants to post their stories. 

The Language of Love

By Robine Jean-Pierre

There are hundreds, if not thousands of languages spoken, written and articulated in the world today. Not all of us will be able to say we learned Swahili, Chinese or Urdu in our lifetime, but there is one language that we can all speak, one language alone that can unite us: the language of love. And no, I don’t mean French or Spanish.

a man in suit and bow-tie holding a martini glass and winking

© David Niven 2017

“No man is an island” (the title of a poem by John Donne). Unless you have spent all of your life in solitary confinement, you have connections with people around you. What we often overlook, even though it may seem obvious, is that these deep rooted relationships require maintenance. Your loved ones have standards that you need to meet, and vice versa, in order to keep the relationship afloat. That might mean phone calls, keeping the house clean, gifts, visits, etc. The thing is that we all set those standards in different ways, and that’s where the specific love languages come in.

In his book The Five Love Languages, Gary Chapman explains that there are five main ways we express and receive love. They are: acts of service, physical touch, words of affirmation, receiving gifts, and quality time. He goes on to point out that each of us has a primary love language; we feel the most loved through it and express it toward others the most. I will explain in my own words and give some examples below.

one man holding a door open for another man

MCT via Getty Images

Acts of Service

If this is your primary love language, you feel most loved when someone helps you. You are always willing to lend a helping hand to others as well. It warms your heart when someone holds a door open for you or offers to do the dishes when it was your turn. Conversely, it really “grinds your gears” when someone does not offer you a hand, whether by outright refusing, or by failing to acknowledge your need. 

For these people, actions speak way louder than words. If you love them, you will be willing to show it, and to do whatever they are asking of you with a sincere heart. This might be doing the dirty work, like taking out the trash without being asked. This is definitely my mom’s love language, and not just because she is a mom. I have seen her offer herself wholeheartedly, not just for her children, but for people who, frankly, do not even deserve it.

two young male friends, one with his arm around the other's shoulder

photo by Vishvanavanjana

Physical Touch

You love to give and receive hugs, pats on the back, an arm around the shoulder and firm handshakes. You find massages incredibly enjoyable, and holding you while you cry is the most compassionate way someone can console you.

People might be suspicious of you because they are not as comfortable with touching, or they suspect that you are just trying to “make a move” on them–but that’s not true. Physical touch is not limited to affection exchanged between lovers. This is my fiancé Angel’s primary love language, and I realized early on that his touchiness was not simply flirtiness when I observed his interactions with family and friends. He was all hugs, all the time, and still is that way.

Words of Affirmation

a text message conversation in which one person expresses his/her feelings for the other

from Pinterest

You value words of praise and encouragement. One compliment has your mood lifted for the entire day. Love letters are the quickest way to your heart. On the other end, hurtful words inflict a wound like nothing else can.

If you know individuals like this, it is crucial that you constantly boost them up with the power of your words. Don’t dismiss them as being vain or conceited when they fish for compliments. Tell them “I love you” often, because even if you hit all of the other four love languages, they might not feel certain until you say it. Don’t just think good toward them–be very vocal about your appreciation and generous with compliments. Be careful, even when joking, about what you say to them.

 

Receiving Gifts

You feel most loved when someone gives you a gift. Whether something small like a flower or expensive like new sneakers, just the fact that someone thought of you means the world to you. Someone’s presence is also a present to you; you would be greatly offended if your significant other got you nothing on Valentine’s Day, but also if your best friend did not make it to your birthday party. 

a man embracing a woman to whom he has given a gift

Vogue (http://www.pulse.ng)

I feel as if this can be mistaken for being materialistic, but there is a difference. From what I have observed, this is my younger sister’s primary love language, and it took a while for me to realize that she wasn’t just being greedy whenever she asked me to bring her something on my way back home. Her attention to detail when choosing and packaging gifts for others also says it all. Because of this, when I have the money and time, I am less reluctant to pick up a Snickers bar or buy her something she’s been raving about every now and then.

Quality Time

You are an unofficial event planner, always coming up with a new idea for a date with your friends, family or significant other. You value long conversations, especially with an engaged listener. If you had one complaint in a relationship, it would be, “We never spend enough time together!” You give your phone a side-eye when someone does not reply back to your messages quickly enough or answer your calls.

a father reading a picture book on the couch with his daughter

Photo courtesy of United Way of West Alabama

This is definitely my primary love language. Nothing hurts me more than a missed opportunity to see someone I love, especially Angel. It drives me crazy when he’s not texting me, even if he has a very legitimate excuse, like work. I can spend a whole day with him and still feel disappointed when we have to part ways. This was true even with my best friend Marsha when we were younger; I often cried whenever I had to leave her apartment, and we lived in the same building.

People like me need as much time as you can afford to give. Make sure that in the midst of all your responsibilities, you don’t make a “quality-timer” feel as if he/she is at the bottom of your list; we are more likely to get jealous of things (e.g. work, sports, video games) than people. Set aside time for dates, phone calls, etc., and as a tip, it’s not enough to just be in the same room together–make sure that the activity requires you to give each other undivided attention.

Get Out There and Love Someone

Chapman explains that each of us has a love tank that needs to be filled. Often times, people act out, complain, or are unhappy because their tank is not filled. Marriages often crumble because two people are working hard to please each other in the way they know how, not in the way their spouse wants. The main way to fill the tank is to show love in that person’s primary love language.

If you are wondering what your primary love language is, think about which one you show others the most, and what bothers you the most (and see the quiz online). I highly recommend you get a copy of the book for yourself and take the quiz. Just as a final word of advice, the goal here is not to win people over, but to love them for the sake of love. If something is to be done, it might as well be done right. Do you want a boring relationship or an exciting one? Do you want nagging parents or happy parents? Love people wholeheartedly, expecting nothing in return, and this world would be radically redefined.the cover of "The 5 Love Languages" book by Gary Chapman

Happy Birthday Queen Bee!

Today is a special day hunny! I introduced you to this phenomenal woman a few weeks back, my mom Rachel, and today is her 56th birthday! Right now her and I are having a poolside pina colada (yes at 9 am, it IS her birthday lol). I decided to dedicate this post to her, I’m absolutely obsessed with her, and so happy to be sharing another birthday with this chica.

I think one of the greatest blessings in this world is a mother. A mother’s love is a lifelong, selfless, forgiving, giving, unique love that you can only know if you are a mother. I am not yet a mother but if I could be only a fraction of the mother she is one day, I know I will be great. I actually strive to be twice the mother she is, so my unborn children are in for some RIDICULOUS lovin’!

One thing I know about my mom is she has dedicated her life to her 5 children and 3 grand children. I have seen her give her last, time and time again for any of us. Her love for us kept her from home from work for our stomachaches and headaches (the real AND the fake ones), pregnancy nausea, or just playing hooky every once in awhile. Her love put us first always and set the highest examples for us.

One of my favorite childhood memories with my mom was writing poetry together. I probably only contributed a few words or some grammatical adjustments, but she always put my initials in her signature. I want to share with you my mother’s own words that reflects her motherhood, a poem entitled “Children”, written by her back in 2000. Enjoy 🙂

“Children”- Rachel Noel Pg 1

“Children”- Rachel Noel Pg 2

“Children”- Rachel Noel Pg 3

Happy Birthday Mom!!!

“Yes, Filter”

Have you ever had a conversation with someone and felt emotionally drained after?
You listened to them complain and complain and eventually you felt worse than them?
Or let’s get even more real.
Have you ever walked into your job or any place, and had to talk to a certain someone and it’s almost as though immediately there was a dark cloud over you?
That’s called picking up unwanted energies.

I find that lately there has been too many moments where I’ve had to work super hard to protect my energy. I don’t watch the news much. Not because I don’t like what’s on it, but I just don’t watch TV much period. Especially not at 7pm, or 11pm, or whatever time the news comes on lol. I watched it the other night; it kind of just happened, and honestly, I felt emotionally drained after. From hearing the latest of our current administration’s agenda to literally rip away civil liberties, freedoms, and the rights of people who occupy this already “great” America. To the unresolved situation with the young girl from Chicago, Kenneka Jenkins. Then on to visuals of the damage caused by the recent hurricane disasters, all piled in with your everyday violence.
In this hour long news reporting I can only recall maybe one uplifting segment.
All I could think to myself is “What is this? A horror show??”

I went from sad, to angry, to over it, to angry, to sad again, and I couldn’t shake it. It’s an eye opening experience to watch all of these occurrences from the comfort of my own home and think “This could be my cousin. This could be my sister, my brother, a friend……Could this be me??” and it becomes unexplainable how the possibility of something like that makes you feel. You hear the victim’s families talk about how much of a great person the victim was, or how the entire situation was a “wrong place, wrong time” occurrence, and it really finds a way to hit home.

It reminded me why I never really care to watch the news.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not trying to “block out” all of the bad news of the world, that’s most likely impossible. I make sure to stay up on current events and topics worldwide.
I just filter.
I consciously monitor what I am taking in and putting out emotionally and mentally.

You know how “No filter” is one of the OG veterans of Instagram captions?
In my life I say “YES filter”. I filter out negative conversations, negative thoughts, and I release anything that does not serve me well. I filter IN love, mantras, optimism, happiness, shared laughter, positive affirmations, positive people, positive situations, and anything that makes me smile.

I was not always in the place I am today. I have had to let go of many people and many things I used to enjoy partaking in along the way….casualties of the filter. I had to be dedicated to being my own life’s gatekeeper. Watching the news a few nights ago, I felt pity and helpless seeing some of the situations I was watching. I was filtering it in, in a negative way; which is something I used to do (and still sometimes do) naturally; take on everyone’s issues as my own instead of finding productive ways to help with them.
I took in these transferred unwanted energies and let it plant its seeds and grow.

Now when I think of protecting spiritual and mental energies, I use these analogies:

  1. Only light gets rid of darkness. Picture yourself as a huge lighthouse sending out positive light and love in all directions, everywhere you go, to everyone you meet, to every space you occupy, near and far.
  2. Stop being a negativity sponge, soaking it all up, allowing it to bloat you, and then waiting to either dry up or be squeezed out aggressively.

So instead of allowing the news, or anything else for that matter, depress me or dim my light, I think of ways to send love and positivity. Lighthouses help people find their way, help them feel safe and guided. When someone is experience darkness you do not go dark with them, you help them see light. Someone is unable to tell their family they love them today, I’ll make sure to tell mine. Someone is unable to hug their friend or sleep in a warm bed, I’ll be sure to be thankful and grateful every day, and pour love and happiness back into everyone and everything I can.

What’s in your life that you know you should have cut ties with a long time ago yet still haven’t? Filter out grudges, animosity, complaining, self-doubt, negative beliefs and comments about others, and instead filter in all things positive. Fill your mind with encouraging and loving words. The best way to protect yourself from negative energy is to be a source of positive energy yourself. My counseling professor said in class last week “Anytime you are talking about someone, speak as though they are standing right behind you” and it really put into perspective some things for me. It affirmed my belief that having the right mindset will serve as it’s own filter for what you put out into the universe.

It’s very important to create a foundation of awareness of the energy we’re encountering on a daily basis in our lives. We need to use our filter to cleanse, ground, and protect us from energies that are darker, heavier, and more negative.The better our filter is working, the more we become the people we strive to be; our best selves, living our best lives. If you don’t believe me, try it, watch your life blossom baby!

 

Dear Summer….Hasta Luego

I’m packing my summer up in a crate until next year. As I sit here reflecting on these past two months, my intention for this post was to say “omg what summer? Blah blah” but then I went on Instagram and coincidentally saw my girl Stef’s post and she said:

“Dear summer, instead of focusing on how quickly you came and went, I will make the BetterLifeChoice to celebrate all of the amazing moments your presence allowed me to have”.

So ok you win Stefanie! I won’t say that the summer TRIED it with its “sneak peek/ trailer/ coming to theaters soon near you” behavior……and how this whole time I was thinking this was just the free trial. A test run. A tryout. A sample. An intro. A pre-game. Ok ok I’m done lol, I won’t say any of it.

In my “pack tha summer up” crate I’m throwing in bodak yellow, the show Power, Woodland Restaurant weekend brunches, frozen strawberry margaritas, cat eye sunglasses, rooftop happy hour, and late night patio moon watching. I’m also throwing in my cousin’s’ wedding, BBQs, restaurant outdoor seating (which I LIVE and DIE for), Nike slides with fresh white pedis, off the shoulder everything, rolled ice cream, my birthday (Aug 19th Leo Nation baby!), the eclipse, some things I shouldn’t say on the internet LOL, and Venti Starbucks pink drink; My “All summer 17” essentials.

I DID play myself though because I haven’t been to the beach OR a pool all summer but it’s been real y’all. I enjoyed it. I’ll tell you what I did take some time to do though.

I worked a lot.

Working on some of the relationships in my life.

I worked on my relationship with ME.

I stopped criticizing myself and stressing scales.

Stopped avoiding crop tops and spaghetti straps.

I stopped holding my head down and avoiding conversation and social media when I had an acne flare up because I decided that slice of pizza was looking too right and calling my name.

I started listening.

I said no…and didn’t feel guilty.

I slowed down.

So I could see, feel, hear,  notice,

Be present.

I stood in front a room of 30 plus people last Thursday facilitating mindfulness and I asked “When’s the last time you just sat and just stared up at the sky and the moon?” Only me and a few other people had our hands up.

This summer I took time to acknowledge and thank the sun, moon, and stars for doing it’s job everyday and never calling out of work like we do every now and again lol. 

As we wrap the summer up it brings up these nostalgic feelings of being out with your friends, family, bae, having your toes out, all that good stuff. Good music, good food, just vibez all around. So like Stef, I’m gonna celebrate all of the amazing moments summer allowed me to have, all of the beautiful memories I’m packing up in the crate. I hope the summer was good to you mi amors because it was great to me.

Until we meet again 90 plus degrees!

 

P.S In case you didn’t know, it’s National Encouragement day.

https://nationaldaycalendar.com/national-day-of-encouragement/

Send a text to or call people you love today.

Especially those you haven’t spoken to in a while,

or someone whom the ways of the world may be hitting home for them right now…that surprise love is EVERYTHANG.

Tell them you love them, encourage them to keep going.

Sometimes those two words are exactly what someone needs right at the moment you bless them with it.

….Keep Going. love ya

Virtues from Motherhood: A Poem for Mom

Let me tell you something about my mom and I.

Ten years ago, I was a rebellious teenager and we didn’t get along, but she loved me anyway.

Eight years ago, I got pregnant as a teenager, but she loved me anyway.

Five years ago, I was struggling to find a balance between who I wanted to be and where I was, but she loved me anyway.

Two years ago, I graduated college with my associates degree, and she was there to cheer me on.

A year ago, I said I wanted to take more credits to finish college faster, and she was there to cheer me on.

When I can’t make sense of something, she’s there to calm me down.

When I’m not seeing the whole picture, she’s there to shine a light. When I just need someone to talk to, she is there to listen.

When I feel lost in the world, she is there to guide me.

You see no matter where I’ve gone in life, or how many times I’ve strayed from the path, she has always been there calling my name, holding me accountable, and for that I will always be thankful.

Happy Mother’s Day to my mom and best friend, I love you.

Virtues from Motherhood: A reminder about love

Too often we find ourselves in toxic relationships, both men and women, and question how we let ourselves fall into this unhealthy pattern when we know better. Sometimes we’re able to tell other people the things they need to hear to be strong and pick up and move on but we cannot seem to grasp it in our own lives. In my own life and even that of the people close to me I’ve found such amazing people in some unfair situations but rather than write a traditional blog post about it I’m going to write an open ended list of what love is and I hope my readers will add to it. Also, always remember love starts with YOU, love yourself, love your body, love your strengths and weaknesses and love every day you wake up with the chance to shine!

LOVE IS,

Compassion

Understanding

Learning

Trust

Excitement

Sharing

Lazy Sundays with take out and TV

Enjoying one another without words

Forgiving imperfections

Helping one another grow

Good Morning notes

Bringing home their favorite snack after a bad day

Cuddles

Forehead kisses

Understanding their past without prejudice

Letting go of fear

Experiencing new things together

LOVE IS NOT,

Condescending

Judgmental

Controlling

Painful

One sided

Abusive

Ultimatums

Conditional

Stressful

 

Remember that no matter what you’re going through or what you’ve been through you deserve love. Love takes work, commitment and a desire to build with each other and most of all it takes time. Nevertheless there is never ever an excuse for love to consume you life in negative ways or to break you to the point of losing who you are. Love should be the harmony of two lives living side by side it is not a force that rules your life. Love is happy.

 

So tell me, what is love to you?

 

 

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Valentine’s Day Project

Every chance we get we try to outwardly express our feelings for one another; whether it be a kiss goodbye, an “I love you” before hanging up the phone, or a slap in the face we all have this innate response to portray our emotions with actions. This is why a one-hundred-year-old trend called “Love Locks” seemed like a natural reaction. It started in World War I in Serbia; in a time when certain people weren’t able to be with each other since couples were geographically divided by the war. Most Ljubavi, the Serbian bridge in which people started locking padlocks onto, means “The Bridge of Love”. Locks upon locks, love upon love, the bridge grew tremendously over the years.

This trend started to migrate to other countries as time went on, and finally made its way to the Brooklyn Bridge in 2009. Tiny professions of love seemed sweet at first, but gradually turned into something disastrous as the tiny professions became large exclamations of love. It officially became outlawed in 2016 by DOT when a wire for an overhead light snapped under extreme weight of the “Love”. It caused the lane to be closed for two hours causing traffic among other things. The damage was able to be fixed but the risk is far too great to have people continue to further impair an iconic landmark like the Brooklyn Bridge.

Now that your “unbreakable” love will be clipped and will also cost a one-hundred dollar fine, I think it’s time to start finding more eco-friendly and pocket-friendly methods to profess those bottled feelings to that special someone. So this is a project for those who are itching to put their love on lock. You know who you are…

1. Think of that significant person in your life. Don’t worry this isn’t a test, take as long as you like on this step.

2.  Find a rock and buy/borrow indefinitely from a friend/get a sharpie. These are the only tools you will need for this project.

 

3. Scribble you and your special someone’s initials on the rock. If you are a perfectionist like me, you can stencil it with a pencil first and then trace over it with the permanent marker.

4. Just like with the lock, meet up with that special someone at any body of water in the city. Luckily, we are surrounded by water. You can find some really great suggestions from my previous posts like, South Street Seaport or Brooklyn Bridge Park.

5. Throw it into the water like Mariano Rivera. The chances of ever seeing that rock is severely unlikely just how you will never recover the key of the lock. Your love will infinitely reside in your chosen body of water and you can visit its residence whenever you want.

As a fellow college student, I understand that money can be tight but this project is virtually free. So go… go profess your love. Fill the Atlantic Ocean with your love.

Happy Valentine’s Day!