Musings on Love on the day of Love

When I was a younger woman, I had all sorts of notions about love. The funny thing about preconceived ideas is that life has a funny way of making mincemeat of all our lofty thoughts on such matters. Today is Valentine’s Day; a day that in modern time is about showing our love for that special person. Or a day which in our culture can sometimes be summed up simply, if you love someone you must spend money and if your gifts are proved to be lacking there may not be much more love in your future. Of course, the messages are even worse if one does not have that special person in their life. After all, who will send you a dozen of roses? Or treat you to a fancy dinner and shower you with oodles of gifts and curl your toes with hot steamy sex? Let’s be honest, Valentine’s Day is filled with heavy expectations and when they aren’t met, it’s a ride on the emotional roller coaster.

Having run off at 18 to get married and having remarried again at 24, I have to say that Valentine’s Day has never been that big of a deal for me since I have pretty much been partnered for most of my adult Valentine’s Days. The funny thing is one of my earliest dates with the current Man Unit of 17 years was on Valentine’s Day. I must say he did it up right with all the bells and whistles but the truth is even if he hadn’t, the odds are that he probably would still be my wing-man.

Over the years as we have seen our fortunes rise and fall, the importance of Valentine’s Day has lessened for me. Love is shown continuously in how we choose to live and how we treat our partners and ourselves. In the early years of my relationship with the Man Unit, I didn’t love myself enough so the Man Unit’s love was strong enough to sustain us for the love I didn’t know how to give myself. It’s why I had to focus on the exterior things that he was able to give me and why when those things didn’t meet my notions of what love should be, I was crushed.

In choosing to share my life with another, it’s interesting to watch how love changes over the years. Years ago, I needed that big bag from Vicky’s Secrets and a spa visit to feel loved. Now I need very little because knowing that I have a person who allows me the freedom to roam and find myself, always trusting that I will come back to home base is far more valuable than that pink bag ever was. Waking up each day to the smell of coffee massaging my nose from the first floor is the ultimate in love because the Man Unit hates mornings and gets up early to accommodate me. Love was shown when he walked away from the lure of six figures and an upward career trajectory to be here for me and my son in Maine. Love is the times, he put his needs last to put mine first and I learned love when I put my needs last to put his first. Love is a dance of constant give and take where each partner takes the lead as needed. Love is the times when you go broke together literally but can stay up until 4 am making love and still find the joy in life when really from the outside looking in; others might say that you should be crying.

This isn’t quite the post, I had in mind when I sat down, but that’s life, it never goes quite the way we plan. To love another fully and completely, I believe we must love ourselves fiercely and passionately. Loving oneself is to know yourself and to trust in the wisdom that you hold and not allow others to define you. So on this Valentine’s Day, no matter what your relationship status, show love to yourself first and foremost and if there is a special person/s in your love, be willing to dance the dance of love and don’t worry about the external factors. Flowers are lovely and trust me I love em, but they die and eating out tonight is overrated, most restaurants are packed and overpriced.

To love…that which keeps this journey vibrant.

Musings on Love

My six year old daughter is enamored by all things princess, thanks to the peer pressure from her comrades at the educational institution as well as the general marketing that seems to think girls 4-whatever age should be in love with princesses. I admit this love of being a princess is a hard one for me to swallow, I have thought long and hard on my own childhood and I barely recall a desire to be a princess, nor do I care for the sickly saccharine pinks that are peddled to girls today. I was more of a let’s be an explorer type, going so far as to fashion my own detective agency when I was a kid and searching for clues at the abandoned house across the street from where I lived. I imagine if a parent let their child walk around an empty house today, they’d be strung up by the mommy brigade.

In addition to the love for all things princess, my girl has been asking more and more about love and the idea of falling in love and all that romantic junk. Which having sat and watched a few shows that are marketed to kids today, I guess I shouldn’t be surprised. Needless to say, I am once again back to the delicious to me idea of just pulling the plug on the TV, but that’s a story for another time.

Love… from the time we are little kids we hear about this concept, this thing, this emotion.  We spend so much of our resources seeking it, but what does it really mean? Love has so many faces that it reveals to us, it’s the pure love a mother has when meeting her baby for the first time after giving birth. Love is what allows us to tell adult kids we will help them financially when we really want to tell them, screw you! Love is what makes you throw all caution to the wind and start planning a wedding to someone you have only been dating two months. Love is what keeps a couple together when the unthinkable happens.

In our culture we love the concept of love; half the songs ever written seem to be about love. We are told all we need is love, hell if you are a rap mogul named Jay-Z, mere hours after your wife gives birth to your firstborn you pen a song proclaiming your love to your child for all to hear. Love when it works is amazing but frankly what about when love no longer works?

Love sometimes simply stops, sometimes love becomes distorted and becomes a passionate hate that can destroy all. Sometimes love simply is not enough and when love ceases to fill our cup to the top, that is the hardest of all in a society that indoctrinates us from an early age that love is what we need.

I am convinced that we have it half right, love is important, we do need love but the most important love will not and cannot come from a charming Prince or Princess. The love we need most is love of self and that is the type of love I would like to see peddled, a love that keeps us happy and content with ourselves no matter what. When you have love of self and are confident and secure in that love, you can face down anything and anyone and emerge intact unlike this sappy sweet love the media sells us that says we are not complete unless we have a partner.



Loving the me that is

For all my bravado, I have to admit that at times I have had a very low opinion of myself especially when it comes to my body. I have been actively working to move beyond it but the reality is that many times when I looked in the mirror what looks back at me, makes me want to hide. I suspect I am not alone in this but all I can do is tell my story.
I gave birth to my first child at 19 and despite snapping back to my pre-pregnancy weight before I even left the hospital, it was clear my body would never be the same. Sure I was a tiny little thing back then, but can we say stretch marks? Despite ample cocoa butter rubs while pregnant with my son the tummy I received after his birth was laden with stretch marks. I admit they bothered me but since I was more or less the same body wise after his birth, I figured I could live with my body.
Nope, it was when I hit my late 20’s and started gaining weight that the war with my physical self, kicked into full swing. I won’t take you through my affair with weight issues but let’s just say that for the past 10 years or so, my weight has fluctuated between 135 at the low end and 181 at the high end. When I am at the low end, I like my body and some days even love her. Oh she is so sexy and my ample made to have many baby hips are a bit smaller so clothing is my friend, not something I wrestle with…when my body is heavier, I hate the bitch, I hate her so much that I purposely wear the baggiest clothes I can find ensuring that I look even worse. Then I start riding the self-hate wagon and just become engulfed in negativity because I feel I look like a whale, nothing fits and basically am at an all day and all night pity party.
Last year kicked off with me being the smallest I had been in a long time, I had been on Weight Watchers for years and made my goal weight and even became a Lifetime Member and maintained that weight for almost two years. However last spring, I had to have a much needed abdominal surgery that turned out to be far more extensive than we had planned and I ended up being laid up for damn near six week. In the end I gained weight and I admit I started to despair, oh no…fat ugly me had returned! Time to get back on the self-hate roller coaster!
A funny thing happened though as I started to get back on the ride, I started to work on my mind and my emotional state. The past year for me has been about going deep and really figuring myself out and what I need and want, it’s been a journey to find the grown up me. It culminated this spring when I figured I was headed to divorce court and instead a new pathway opened up to me. This past year I have fallen in love…with myself, the self that exists beneath the surface, the self that does not need numbers to make me happy. The self that is happy in good times and bad times, a me that is so sexy some days I want to make love to myself! Funny thing is I haven’t lost a lick of weight, last time I checked I am sitting at 160 which means I need to lose a good 15 pounds. Oh, I plan on doing it but my happiness and peace of mind is no longer based off either the numbers on a scale or the numbers on the tag of my clothing.
I recently made the decision to cut off all my hair, it was something I had been wanting to do but was nervous about since the Spousal Unit freely admitted that the last time my hair was short he didn’t think it was my best look. I won’t lie I was nervous about cutting it off after all what if my man didn’t find me attractive? Here I am overweight with no hair? In the end I said fuck it! I like me no matter what anyone thinks and based off the reactions I suppose not everyone finds the look flattering but a funny thing happened…the other day the Spousal Unit said he really thought I looked good now. Funny thing is I looked at a picture of myself from the last time my hair was this short and I was wearing a few extra pounds and the only difference is my mind is different, it’s free, it’s happy and it’s peaceful. Sure if I smile too much I look a little chipmunk-ish, on the other hand if I am smiling these days it means I am super happy.
Too many times I think we as humans delay being happy unless we achieve A, B, and C, funny thing is what if we never achieve those things? It would mean a life not fully lived or happy as far as I am concerned. Sure it’s nice being thinner but in the end loving the me that is, is far better than chasing a me that may never be.