Love Actually

Valentine’s Day…a day when the weight of most relationships is measured by getting Valentine’s Day right. Should I give flowers? Should I make dinner reservations? Should I buy some jewelry? Should I keep it simple? Should I go all out? Will I be seen as loving him or her any less if I don’t make a big deal about “the most romantic day of the year”? I’m of the opinion that a person’s love shouldn’t be measured by gifts and grand gestures. It should be about two people respecting, adoring, understanding, and cherishing each other year-round. Because in the end, don’t we all want to feel special all year-round? What we want is a true love that lasts. In the great words of Beethoven in “Letters to the Immortal Beloved” and spoken so elegantly by Mr. Big to Carrie in Sex and the City: The Movie: ‘Ever mine, ever thine, ever ours.’

Mainlining Lust Hoping It Turns To Love When It Hits The Bloodstream

Many of us have been in a cycle in our lives during which we go through a series of disposable lovers hoping that the “needle in the haystack” comes out of hiding amongst our ever-growing pile of lovers. Will it happen? Will he or she be “the one” or “the one until the next one”? While casual relationships can be fun and very fulfilling for the short-term, it can get old and empty down the road. Lust heats the blood…and love, keeps it pumping. Lust will pin you to the wall and screw your brains out, but will it hold you close beyond the afterglow?

The Best Christmas Ever

This post from staff writer Dallas Fitzgerald recalls his best Christmas ever in a story from his childhood.

 

When I was seven, my parents separated, and in the aftermath of their separation, my mother struggled financially.  She never let me or my brother know how bad it actually was, but when I look back on that period of my life, I realize how hard she worked to make ends meet.

She was working a full-time job and another part-time job from home, and I remember times when she would come home late from her full-time job, make us dinner, and then sit at the desk with her calculator and a stack of papers until we went to bed.  There were times when I would wake up in the middle of the night to go to the bathroom, and I would see her still sitting at the desk working.

 

When Christmas rolled around that year, my brother and I made our usual lists and gave them to her to give to Santa Claus.  I can’t even remember what I asked for that year, but I remember that when we gave her our lists, she said something like, “Santa’s had a rough year, so don’t be too upset if you don’t get everything you asked for.”

At the time, I thought nothing of it.  Santa doesn’t have rough years, does he?  Or maybe he does.  My seven-year-old brain struggled to make sense of her words, but if anyone would know about the state of Santa’s year, it would be my all-knowing mother.  I struggled to think of a time in all my seven years of existence when she had been wrong about something before, and I couldn’t.  In the end, I decided that perhaps Santa does have rough years.

 

On Christmas Eve, I got sick with a nasty holiday cold.  “Ho, ho, haaachooo,” could be heard all through the house, and instead of going outside on the porch and watching the snow fall from the sky, I was stuck inside the house in my bed with snot falling from my nose.  But my mother was right there next to the bed, picking up my used Kleenexes, taking my temperature, and delivering piping hot chicken noodle soup to my bedside.

 

After a long night of coughing and sneezing and nose blowing, Christmas finally came, and though I still felt greener than the Grinch, I was able to muster up enough holiday cheer to make the trip downstairs to the couch to open presents.

There weren’t many gifts around our tree, and all the boxes were pretty small.  Nothing on my list could fit in any of these boxes, I thought.  I figured my mother was right.  Santa really had had a rough year.

 

I opened the biggest present first.  I eagerly tore at the wrapping paper until it lay in a crumpled heap at the foot of the couch.  I was left with a plain white box, which I opened to discover one of those white Coca-Cola bears that McDonald’s used to sell at Christmas time for a few bucks when you bought something from the menu.

My brother opened his first present, and he got a white Coca-Cola bear too.  We glanced at each other as if to ask, “Did you have this on your list?”  Then we both looked away as if to say, “Me neither.”

I opened my next present, and my brother opened his.  We looked at each other again, “Nope, me neither.”

 

When we finished unwrapping all our presents, we were both left with the entire collection of toys that McDonald’s had offered with their Happy Meals for the month of December.  My mother must have sensed our disappointment because she went into her bedroom to bring out two more presents.

“I got you each one more gift,” she said with a smile.

My brother’s face lit up and so did mine, and we had the presents unwrapped before they even left her hand.  Our eagerness quickly turned to confusion.  I received the movie The Addam’s Family and he received Charlotte’s Web.  We looked at each other one final time, “Nope, me neither.”

 

After sitting in silence for a moment, my mother started talking.

“Santa had to eat McDonald’s Happy Meals for two week straight so you could have Christmas presents this year,” she said, still smiling.

Slowly, smiles broke out across our faces.  We argued over who would get to watch his movie first, and the rest of our Christmas was spent watching the same two movies over and over again until we both fell asleep on the couch.

 

Every year, at Christmas time, I think back to that Christmas.  I remember how sick I was, and I remember how disappointed I was.  At the time, I would have said that that was the worst Christmas ever, but each year, the memory of that Christmas glows a bit brighter.  Each year, I think of that Coca-Cola bear, those Beanie Babies, and those movies, and I am reminded of the strength of my mother’s love for her two sons.  I am reminded that it truly is the thought and the love that is behind the gift and not the gift itself that matters most.  Twenty years later, I think back to that Christmas, and I remember it as the best Christmas ever!

Love: A Field of Dreams?

One thing that seems to be a common vehicle of relationships is a “field of dreams approach” to happy ever after. I don’t disagree to this approach on the face of it; however, I do disagree with how most people “build their fields”. I believe that honesty is the undisputable piece of land that all relationships must be built upon. Love can be a wonderful thing, but it also one of the most powerful. Love is blind, a chameleon, a veritable jack of all trades that can be a master of someone to the point that nothing else matters than the object of that love. When this happens, the field of love becomes obsession. This obsession is usually based on a tunnel-visioned dishonesty. By this, I mean that the “obsessed one” is so full of their own feelings that they feel that the feelings are mutual; but that for whatever reason, these feelings are not out in the open. So they build a life based on what they feel the one they love need or want whether they actually have the encouragement or not.

Building a relationship should be a team effort. It should not be a “let me build a life for them and let them come to the realization that THIS is what they want”. It should be based on honesty (self and with others), respect, affection, communication, and mutual love. If there are red flags, don’t ignore them. Face them head-on and determine whether or not they are deal breakers. If they are, move on; if they can be worked on, get some objective help and work on those problems together.

When building something yourself, the work may be hard but the finished product brings satisfaction. When building a relationship, sharing the work can be a little trying at times because let’s face it, nothing and no one’s perfect; but when you keep communication at the forefront and let each other know that you’re there for one another, the finished product can bring even more satisfaction. Just keep in mind that the finished product is a constant work in progress just like the people working on it.

The building starts with you and needs to move on to include who you want with you on your field of dreams. Start the building with self honesty and when you’re ready for company, don’t forget to send the invites!

Christmas Day

On a Christmas Day sprinkled with white

Came good wishes from friends, laughter with family

And even surprise good tidings from an ex

There are smells of apple cinnamon

And sounds of Christmas music

And sights of twinkling lights

Though I sit here single and alone

I’m not lonely

Cause while I don’t have around me every loved one

I still feel their love in the distance

And my heart stays warm.

Merry Christmas To All

As we find ourselves hours from Christmas Day, we must remember that love, kindness, and acceptance all some of the greatest gifts that can be given but not just during Christmas but all year ’round. So this season and everyday give a little more love and kindness and pass around more understanding. Merry Christmas to all and to all a great evening!

Life Held for Granted

I post this poem as a reminder of the need to hold life and each day as a precious gift. Happy Holidays to all!

 

 

Link by link we forge the chain

Of our yesterdays, todays, and tomorrows

Sitting thinking wishing praying

For a different outcome from where we are

Waiting for an answer and a hero

To rescue us from our latest series of scrapes

Kindness, a simple word to some

But a hard concept to others who have never

Known such a thing to exist

For they have only seen the pain and sorrow

Of a world given to apathy

Bond by bond we control the course of futures

Unseen and emotional tides

Of desires for love and unconditional acceptance

And in these times we have a responsibility

To gain perspective and open our minds to

Feel more than ourselves and to feel thankfulness

For what we have and the things that are still

Yet unseen but not impossible

For we are strength, we are love, we are hope

Baby It’s Cold Outside

Ah, Christmas a time of warmth and giving and increase of hookups. Now most of us will try to blame our unfortunate booty calls on the alcohol; but let’s face it, whether we like Christmas or not, most of us don’t want to be alone during the holidays; and while blankets and a fire are all well and good, a nice warm body next to you is much better.

Now, the approach: do I go for a friend hook-up, holiday party hook-up, or a work hook-up? Now all three of these scenarios can be gained with alcohol; but do you really want your hook-up to be a result of choosing someone while wearing the “drunk goggles”? I’ve heard far more horror stories about hook-ups during the holidays than during any other time. Why? Mostly because we go into it to blow off steam and to not be alone during the holidays then either we or the playmate change the script and decide they want something else. Now it’s gone from fun to messy, cue awkward or stealthy extrication from the situation.

Now that space heater and cozy blanket aren’t sounding quite so bad anymore are they? If you need company, go out with friends and live it up; just make sure that if you do pick up someone or get picked up, it’s with a clear head and with clear intentions.

Now for the couples, as we are now solidly in December, unfortunately you’ve lost your last period of time to exit your relationship without looking like the bitch or douchebag who broke up with their significant other during the holidays. You’re stuck until after New Year; but once January 2nd roll around, move fast because you really only have until January 20th to avoid the same problem for Valentine’s Day. You’ve been warned. You’re welcome. I will admit, there are exceptions to every rule. If you’re in a toxic relationship, get out immediately! Being alone is better than being mistreated. So do yourself and others a favor this holiday, love and lust responsibly.

Power and Love

This week’s post by staff writer Dallas Fitzgerald focuses on the balance of power and love in a relationship and how the factor of balance is so important.

 

In any relationship, all arguments are about one thing—power. Whether she wants him to put down the toilet seat after he does his business, or he wants her to leave him alone while he’s watching football, the specific topic of the actual argument is irrelevant.  Strip away the surface or the “about” of the argument, and you are left with a simple equation:  one partner wants something done one way, and the other partner doesn’t want to do it that way.  At its core, every argument is about bringing the will of the one in line with the will of the other.

 

When you are in a relationship with someone, there is no objective right and wrong.  Everything has to be negotiated as you go along, and each partner pushes the perceived boundaries of the other in order to see where “right” ends and “wrong” begins.  Partners develop this “relationship morality” through their arguments, and each partner attempts to assert his or her view of “right” or “wrong” by stating his or her side of the argument.

 

In most successful relationships, arguments end when partners find the middle ground.  Each gives up a little bit of power to the other one for the sake of preserving the relationship.  For instance, he says he will put down the toilet seat if she agrees to leave him alone while he’s watching football.  They both agree to this proposition, and in doing so, they create a balance of power in their relationship.  Maintaining this balance through arguments and joint resolutions ensures the health of the relationship.

 

Relationships fail when one partner consistently “wins” arguments and the other one consistently “loses” them.  For instance, he refuses to put the toilet seat down but also expects her to leave him alone while he’s watching football.  When one partner dominates the other and dismisses joint resolutions in favor of a my-way-or-the-highway approach, then the balance of power becomes skewed in one direction.  There is no reciprocation, no give-and-take in the relationship, and because of this, the relationship becomes sickly and will eventually die.

 

Despite the fact that they are often unpleasant, arguments are, in many ways, the most important part of a relationship.  How you settle your arguments will, more often than not, determine the success or failure of your relationship.  Anyone can win an argument, but in doing so, they will have failed to see the point of the argument, and ultimately, the point of their relationship in the first place.

 

Relationships are about subordinating power to love.  Each partner must give up a little bit of power in order to preserve the love that they feel for each other.  A healthy relationship fosters this love by maintaining an equitable balance of power, so when one partner “wins” an argument against the other, he or she is really just moving one step closer to losing the very thing upon which their relationship is built and for which their relationship exists in the first place—love.

 

Quality over Quantity

When it comes to finding “the one”, some choose to go about it as a practice makes perfect endeavor and date as many people as possible until one of them feels just right. Others choose to wait for the right one to find them as if every person has a homing device just waiting to be tracked. When it comes to dating, does it always have to be quantity vs. quality or can these things sometimes go hand in hand? New staff writer Stephen Hyde discusses the topic of quality over quantity from a personal side.

I am in the midst of a serious problem with relationships. This might seem a borderline inappropriate opener for a blog that has great advice and nuggets of information for relationships.  It’s the truth though, and the problem is the idea of waiting.  Waiting for the perfect person to come into my life, waiting for signs, waiting for the proverbial slap to wake up.  I blame America.  We are a culture waterboarded with ideals that we may not have had previous for what we look for.  Passing blame and pointing fingers is only a front, because with patience, we are all capable of filtering through our justifications to find our perfect person.

 

The biggest disservice one can do themselves is dishonesty.  I don’t believe you can ever fully lie to yourself.  You can justify your thoughts and actions and push back how you really feel all the way back to the deepest, darkest part of your brain.  At the end of the day though, you knew how you really felt or what you should have done.  I bring this up not as the moral police, ready to use “necessary” force to shove honesty down your throat with my baton of literature, but as a warning.  A warning that if you lie to yourself, you will miss out on a great relationship.

 

I have become Fletcher, from Liar Liar  in my own life.  I am trying so hard to lie to myself , to just slightly bend the truth as to get what I “want“. Like Fletcher though, I can’t.  I have become impatient in the dating scene, giving the quality vs. quantity a real Mythbusters type challenge. I believe that if I were to date enough good people, I can find my perfect partner.  This may work, but I’m not only impatient, I am dishonest with myself.  I am looking for people with qualities the world would approve of, qualities that my friends and peers would say, “good for him”. I’m not checking for what I genuinely would like.  This my dear friends, is the reason I had to take a step back and take a deep breath.

 

On paper, dating multiple people in quick succession might seem a logical way to quickly find your soul mate.  When you really think about it, you would never hear of anyone who “quickly” found their soul mate.  The only things you quickly find is regret when you start to do that.  Being patient and letting life do it’s thing is how you come across people you want to be with, friends or soul mates.  Do the things you honestly love doing, not what people want you to do, or think you have to do.  There are 6+ billion people on this planet.  Chances are there is someone who is as into the things you love as you are.

 

Going from frantically searching like a sailor for land, to a calm accepting person of whatever or whomever comes my way has proven fruitful.  By not forcing the hand of God, fate, the universe or whatever, I have discovered everything will be ok. People’s feelings will now not be hurt because im rushing, trying to find my perfect person.  I have discovered being patient and honest allows me to evaluate situations more clearly before acting. I continue to do the things I enjoy, surround myself with genuine people and I am sure the person who is most in sync with me will find me or be found through simple honesty and patience.