A Table of Mothers

Mother’s Day…it is a special day, the one day out of the entire year that is set aside to honor our mothers. Although, we do our best to honor our mothers each and every day…this one particular day is dedicated to it. Whether it be your mother, your grandmother, your stepmother, your aunt, or your mother-in-law as well as someone who has acted as a mother towards you and any other mother that you know; all apply to this sentimental holiday. I thought a lot about who to write about today. And the truth is that I have been surrounded by women for my entire life. I was raised by a single parent and lived with my grandmother, I also have two sisters. My life has been nothing short of always being estrogen filled which houses many crazy and awesome memories.

I have been so blessed with the maternal figures in my life, I remember when I was younger, I used to be babysat along with my baby sister by a neighbor who was always a joy to be around. She’d always play games with us and listen to our dramatic stories of the things that were occurring in our lives as we blurted out whatever kid ramble that was important to us at the time. Alternatively, I remember how my grandmother would allow us to go shopping with her and we would always have a one toy limit. In which we could go to the store and pick out one toy that we really wanted…to be able for it to be purchased to take home with us. My mother would have us meet our grandmother at the train station when she would be on her way home from work. It was only a short distance from home but there was a park/playground that was not too far from it where we would play every day either on the swings or the slide until our grandmother met up with us. Then, we would all walk home together. When I was halfway through college, my sisters and I started having monthly lunches with our aunt. It was a great time to have a good date between our hectic schedule to catch up with each other about the daily happenings of our lives as well as enjoying delicious food together. My late boyfriend’s mom has even taken me under her wing as we talk or see each other all the time and has even taken me out clubbing which was actually a lot of fun besides my initial nervousness. We had a bunch of laughs and drinks. All of these women have greatly impacted my life; they have helped mold me into the person that I am today. I appreciate each and every one of them for being a part of my life and putting up with me as well as my antics. It is an absolute pleasure to be a part of their lives as I navigate this world a little more independently each day. I look to them for guidance, support, and constant love.

a plate of cookies

Image by: Tablespoon

With my aspirations of being a pastry chef, every one of them has encouraged me and stood by me as I continue to pursue my dreams…even as I try to discover what those dreams are. I have given back to them in both big and small gestures…sometimes with something as simple as a dessert. This has been a favorite among them and it is the apple pie cookie. It has a long assembling process but is utterly delicious, it has dulce de leche as well as a cinnamon sugar topping on the crust.

Happy (early) Mother’s Day!!

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I’ve dedicated a lot of my posts this semester to important and influential people in my life. I think I have been very reflective lately and I realize so much of my success, determination, and even character traits, have been influenced by those around me.
I’m fortunate enough to have all my family and friends around, and accessible, and that really is a blessing. I have friends who have lost those close to them and it makes me even more appreciative and grateful for what, and who, I have today.

One person I am eternally grateful for is my mother. Not only is she the reason why I am literally alive, lol, but I am grateful for her love and guidance through all my journeys in life so far.

As we are approaching Mother’s Day, which is next sunday, I wanted to send a message to all the mothers out there: Expecting mothers, birth mothers, grandmothers, step mothers, adoptive mothers, aunts who play the role of second mothers, fathers who play the role of mothers as well, work moms lol, any and all the moms who hold that place in someone’s heart.

A mother’s role is irreplaceable. I’ve heard women say things like “there’s like no greater love than the love you feel for your child” and have seen women sacrifice time and time again for the sake of their child. It really is a phenomenal, demanding, and selfless job; and I applaud you all.

Think of how many jobs you have! Caretaker, comforter, advisor, role model, hero, teacher, doctor (lol), chef, therapist, supervisor, lawyer and advocate, security, financial advisor; a mother is basically every possible career in one.

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To my readers who aren’t mothers, find some time to show the women/ mothers in your lives that you appreciate all their efforts. Especially not being mothers, we have no idea what’s like to be one. I can take a guess: it’s not easy.

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I was barely able to take care of my birds, all three of them got away accidentally.

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So to the mothers: Happy Mother’s Day to you all and know you are loved, appreciated, and your love and care will never go unnoticed. We love you!

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The Art of Flirting

By Robine Jean-Pierre

Have you ever stopped to think that flirting is just a form of communication? It is basically behavior that conveys a specific message: either “I’m attracted to you,” “I want you to be attracted to me,” or both. Some people are very intentional with it, while others don’t even know they’re doing it; some are successful, some are not. Being in a committed relationship has increased my interest in what I’d like to call “flirting etiquette.”

From Cooties to Catcalls

To start, it’s interesting to note that the style of flirting seems to change with age. Generally speaking, as children we were taught that if someone teased you, it meant they had a crush on you; Billy sticking out his tongue and calling Sally names were his way of hiding his true affections. As we get older, it seems a more direct approach is usually favored. Traditionally, if a guy is interested in a girl, he has to “make a move” and present himself to her. It is then the girl’s decision to accept or decline the offer.

Got Those Moves?

So what are those moves? Is there a code or a system? Can it be taught? I’ll let you answer those questions yourself, but I figure that just as there are five love languages, there are probably five broad categories in which people flirt. Someone might try to give you a lot of gifts or buy you things (receiving gifts); go out of their way to do kind gestures (acts of service); compliment you frequently (words of affirmation); give you long hugs or pats on the back (physical touch); or spend as much time with you as possible, either in person or on the phone (quality time). Someone who’s really ambitious would probably do a mix of all five. (If you’re interested, see
my previous post about Gary Chapman’s book, The Five Love Languages.)

When it came to my fiancé Angel, he hit heavy with words of affirmation. Early in our friendship, the compliments were non-stop. He often texted me things like “I’ve never met a girl as cool as you” and “you’re really an amazing person.” I couldn’t tell if he was just being friendly or if he was flirting; but either way, it started to bother me, so I kindly asked him to stop. (I was really hard to get; I had my reasons.)  So that brings me to the next topic: is it flirting if it’s not being done on purpose? What if that person is just being “nice”?

Oops, I Did It Again

Sometimes your words and actions are misinterpreted (which I talk about in my previous post titled “What Do You Mean?”). During this early stage in our friendship, Angel may not have thought he was flirting, but I definitely took it that way. (In the same way, I may not have thought I was flirting when I gave him bear hugs every time I saw him–but he subconsciously took it that way.) I believe anyone who receives questionable affection has the right to confront the giver of it. The world of romance can be mysterious and elusive, which is what some people enjoy about it; but there’s nothing wrong with asking someone outright, “Do you like me?” and having a mature conversation about it, whether the answer is yes or no (or “it’s complicated”).

I Want You to Want Me

In our case, Angel and I did actually like each other, even if it took time to acknowledge and develop. However, that leads us to another question: is it OK to flirt with someone whom you have no intention of actually pursuing? Again, I’ll let you answer that one; I can only speak for myself.

Some may consider flirting to be harmless fun. It brings pleasure knowing that someone wants you, even if you don’t actually want them; flirting is a way to test the waters, to see if you could get that person to want you.

However, in my opinion, doing this could cause undesirable conflicts. Flirting with other people especially if you’re already in a relationship can lead to jealousy, insecurity, and at the most extreme side, cheating. It can be just as risky if you’re single. It makes me think of a line from Michael Jackson’s song “Billie Jean”: “Be careful what you do, and don’t go around breaking young girls’ hearts.” It’s easy to frustrate and hurt people if you play with their emotions through flirting. And unless you enjoy that, why do it?

The Feeling Is Mutual

Relationships are all about reciprocity. Most of us enter one expecting each party to contribute in some way. At the very least, we desire a mutual physical attraction for one another. Unrequited love is perhaps one of the greatest sources of discontent. No one wants to like someone who will never like them back; if they could eliminate the desire, they would. This must be why we are more likely to become interested in someone who appears to be interested in us, even if we were not initially attracted to them.

A Penny For Your Thoughts

I’m sure I could say a lot more on this topic, but I’ll leave it here. What are your thoughts on flirting? How would you respond to any of the questions I mentioned above? Feel free to leave a reply below.

… and I, will always love you

the love sculpture from the right corner

On 55th Street lies an artistic icon. Some take photos or selfies with it, others climb it, and dogs curiously sniff it, discovering all types of residual scents from the sculpture’s surrounding. Its massive body has graced New York City for over four decades and the phenomenon seemed to take over the world. If you have ever walked Sixth Avenue or are very familiar with the area, you probably already know what art piece I’m describing… the LOVE Sculpture.

a front view of the love sculpture

I grew up with this signage of the word “love”; it was like an anonymous signature. I had no idea who created it or that it was even an expression of art. My young mind conveyed it as a simple font like the ones I saw on my computer screen, the one for the infamous TIME magazine, or the types that I saw off of billboards and labels. Little did I know just how poetic each letter is. How loved it was by popular reception. Or how misunderstood, despised, bastardized, plagiarized, and ultimately ambiguous it soon became. Natural selections took its course, to the point where its origin became unknown to the following generations. But the LOVE sculpture/painting/print was curated by a famously unfamous “pop” artist, Robert Indiana.

the love sculpture from the left corner

According to Mental Floss, Robert Indiana was born Robert Clark on September 13, 1928 in New Castle, Indiana. He was a child of the silent generation and witnessed the struggles of the Great Depression. His father lost his job and the family was much akin to gypsies, going from living in Indiana to a variety of other locations. The family moved over twenty times partly due to the recession and his mother’s inability to stay in the same place for too long. Clark once described his childhood as the family car being  “… more stable than home itself”. The factors put a strain on the family and Clark’s parents divorced in the 1940’s. Clark lived with his father and was able attend high school. Clark then joined the U.S. Army Air Corp in cooperation with the GI Bill in order to pay for his education. He attended the School of the Art Institute of Chicago from 1949-1953 and then studied at the University of Edinburgh in Scotland from 1953-1954.

a view of the love sculpture from behind

After college he moved to New York and took a job as a typist at a cathedral and also worked in an art supply store, vying to be discovered and to find his place in the artistic world. He was facing something that still haunts college graduates today… the post-grad slump….

 

To hear the rest of this amazing story, tune in next week to see the second part of the LOVE sculpture and Indiana’s second public installation, the HOPE sculpture.

 

Love is a Sweet Surrender

What is love? Is it an emotion or an action? Why is it both amazing and yet painful? Love is the most natural thing in life…before we even realize it or have the knowledge of what love is, we have already loved. We have already experienced the greatest part of life itself. When we are born, we don’t choose to love…we aren’t mentally capable of being taught how to love either, it simply occurs naturally. We don’t pick who loves us or have any choice in it, it just is. I believe that love is both an emotion and an action as you feel the strong feelings that you have towards that person but you also continue to show your love by saying, “I love you” or by other displays of affection.

This weekend, I was forced into a family outing which I usually am not the biggest fan of, as some of the members of my family do not readily understand me. So there we were, driving around Long Island, looking for something to do or somewhere to eat. I was in a daze, my earbuds were shoved deep into my ears before the music imploded into them, drowning out a world that I desperately needed a short vacation from, if only for the duration of a single song. Then, we drove past a bakery. This was a bakery that I had wanted to visit for some time. I asked if we could pull over so we could go and check it out. It had this big draping awning that read, “Home of the Crannoli”. That was literally the entire reason that I wanted to step into this bakery at all… to try this confectionery masterpiece…to be transported into a sugar-filled trance…to be overwhelmed with the goodness of another food hybrid. The crannoli was the perfect cross between a cannoli, donut, and a croissant.

As I savored this majestic dessert, it was everything that I expected it to be and more. It had a crisp and flaky shell of a croissant that was delicately shaped like a doughnut but had the richness of the cream to make it the most balanced dessert. It was perfection. But I suppose I am missing my point. I was reminiscing about love and its meaningful qualities. I could easily say that I experienced love when I took my very first bite into my crannoli but that is not quite the point that I am trying to make. You see, we have all loved someone…someone who has impacted our lives greatly…someone who has loved us back unconditionally. I remember what that was like to love someone so much that it became my whole world. It made me a better person. When you lose someone that you love so completely, it is the most painful thing ever. So when I saw this particular bakery, it appealed to me beyond my amusement of its famous crannoli but the actual name of the bakery. The bakery was named Sweet Surrender Bake House. And that was it. That is what love is…a sweet surrender. Love can be painful, beautiful, fulfilling, and tumultuous but it is all worth it. Love is simply surrendering to your feelings in order to be a part of someone else’s world, their life, or their future. Love is the greatest sacrifice because there is no limit to it and that is an experience that I will never regret…that I could never fathom forgetting. Love, in its truest form, endures forever regardless of the circumstances. Love is a sweet surrender.

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!!!