I Lost Ten Pounds!

This post has nothing to do with weight loss. The scale is not even in my bathroom anymore. It never had anything nice to say. This post is about a conversation I had this week with a sweet friend. I would describe her as a divine gathering of stardust. She is the kind of person that the moment you meet them you just know they are special and you want to know them more.

Anyway, she asked how I knew to start this blog. That was a fantastic question. The truth is, I wanted a place to tell the truth. I wanted a place to gather my thoughts and observations about my life experiences. I also wanted to talk through some of these things with a community of people.

I was never concerned with how many people actually read my words. I just wanted to lose the weight of the thoughts in my mind. When I share a truth about life experiences, it feels like another pound of pretend is off my back. It feels like “well now that’s out there” and I am free from pretending like it’s not part of my story or part of what I value.

Elizabeth Gilbert opens her memoir Eat, Pray, Love with the quote “Tell the truth, tell the truth, tell the truth” I get it now. I get that telling my truth has nothing to do with you and it has everything to do with me. I am a bit more free with every truth I tell.

We live in a culture that shames our scars. We are expected to be fine or okay all the time. These expectations are devastating for a lot of people. Life is hard for us all in one way or another. No one gets out without a few scars. Too many of us spend so much time adjusting our images to hide our scars and our stories to make them more palatable to the masses. I have no desire to be palatable and every desire to be real.

My husband’s poppa asked me early on in our relationship “You are real, huh?”

Yes, I am real, I’m messy, I’m scarred, I’m held together with string, I’m confused most of the time, I think rodents are particularly funny, I would only eat pizza if I were single, I love with an exhausting intensity, I care so much, and I’m beautiful.

Love.

 

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I Never Needed A Makeover

A friend of mine is in town for the week (I love her ) and we were talking last night about a time in my life when I (significantly) lacked confidence and what that felt like. Honestly, I think we all struggle with confidence from time to time but there were times when I thought that I was just not good enough at anything.

This post makes me so sad for the person I was.

There was a time in my life when people would tell me how to dress, how to do my hair, or what I should act like or talk like. My laugh was too loud and my opinions were too much. When I shared these stories with my friend, I could see her sadness and that made me sad. It’s just not nice to tell people that how they are in the world is wrong. I never needed a makeover, I was good enough, what I needed were people that love me just the way I am.

If I want to wear sneakers with a dress, I will do just that.

If I want to laugh out loud, I will do just that.

If I want to share my opinions on issues that are important to me, I will do just that.

I was doing a training with adolescents last week and a table of young women were asking such incredible questions. One young lady asked why I did not have children and I answered that it was complicated. She looked confused and made some guesses that were sweet but incorrect. I summed it up like this:  it takes a lot of courage to live a life true to yourself and some people will never understand or agree with some of your life choices and that’s okay. If you pause and consider your life honestly, you will know what an honest life for you looks like for you. It’s scary but it’s worth it. It is so worth it.

When I was in first grade I wore fake glasses without lenses to school because I thought they looked cool. This is who I am.

Why is this such a radical way to be in the world?

If you are struggling with confidence and the people around you are always picking you apart, you don’t need new clothes, you need new people.

Love.

I Met Someone.

“And jump in
Oh well whatcha waiting for
It’s all right
‘Cause there’s beauty in the breakdown
(So let go) yeah let go
And just get in
Oh it’s so amazing here
It’s all right
‘Cause there’s beauty in the breakdown” -Frou Frou

I made a new friend.

I often hear people say that it’s hard to make friends as an adult. This has not been the case for me. Wait for it…

I understand that I don’t have kids and that gives me a lot more time which is usually the immediate and reflexive response when I say I like to make new friends.

I am genuinely interested in other people. I LOVE hearing peoples’ stories and why they do what they do. I ask a lot of questions and listen intently to responses. I want to know more – always. I want to learn about you, the universe, the brain, and anything else that the world offers up to me. Please, tell me everything.

A Sissy Beard reader and commenter asked me “Why not let go?” after I wrote the I Hate You? post. I thought about that comment a lot over the last few days.

Basically, it’s hard to let go of people and relationships. I invest my heart and soul into my people and pulling out of relationships takes a great deal of consideration and contemplation. However, these last few months have offered up a lot of valid reasons to pull back. Politics are personal to me. I have spent my life dedicated to teaching compassion and love. It is why I do what I do.

When I was four years old I called my great grandmother a racist when she made awfully insensitive comments during Donahue. I literally followed her into the bathroom to talk to her about why what she said was hurtful. She asked me to leave the bathroom which was her right, I guess. But, she was racist and this conversation went on the rest of her life. I imagine that she delighted in our time together. Right, wrong or otherwise: I was born this way. No two ways about that.

Can I be a bit self-righteous? Probably my fatal flaw.

Compassion and Love are the most important values in my life. These values guide my decisions with conscious intention. I consider compassion and love when I decide how to spend my time and who to spend my time with. I teach a course in valued living. This forces me to be consistent with who I am and why I do what I do. I think we should all consider what we value and what matters most to us. When our values guide our life, we are much happier and more fulfilled.

That being said, I am letting go in the ways I know how. I appreciate the comments and readers. I started this blog with the intention of having conversations like this one. I think about the comments, messages, and texts related to blog posts. I think about them a lot. I appreciate any energy someone puts into reading my words.

Anyway, I made a new friend and we had a coffee date this week. She teaches mindfulness and compassion. She teaches courses on meditation. She asked me to sub and teach one of her courses. I really like her and I’m glad we crossed paths. I look forward to how our friendship will grow and how I will learn from her.

You guys, I met someone!

This new relationship reminds me that life comes together and falls apart at the same time and it is what you focus on that matters most. There are relationships in my life that are pulling apart and there are relationships that are coming together. “So it goes” – Kurt Vonnegut

Love.

Dear Josh.

Dear Josh,

This week has been tough. Honestly, it’s been hard since the early hours of November 9th. I’m worried about the world and the country we both inhabit. It was brought to my attention that I am focusing on the fear and not on the love. I did write a post about hate yesterday so there is some proof in that pudding.

So, today, I will focus on the love.

I have written to you on this blog before. This blog was largely inspired by you and our millions of conversations about the ways the world works. However, the previous posts were written about you and Nathan and you and Bryan but never just to you.

Meeting you changed my life. It’s curious how people are put on our paths. I know I’m much more spiritual than you but believe me when I say, you are my soulmate. Before I met you, I struggled so much with insecurity and trusting my own voice. In the first moments after meeting you, with your blonde hair and dew rag, I knew that something special was happening.

It happened instantly. We were best friends immediately. It’s like we knew each other our entire lives. I can’t even point to the moment where we transitioned from casual friends to best friends. Maybe it never existed.

How do you thank someone for seeing the real you and loving the real you or more, introducing you to the real you? Well, I’m not sure but thank you is all I have at this moment. To be loved for who you are is the best gift a person can give you.

I think you are phenomenal and courageous. I am so proud of you and what you’ve done with your life. I am a better person because I know you. I could tell the thousands of stories of the things we’ve done or the times we’ve shared but those belong to us. Honestly, those stories could fill a book more than a blog. I don’t have time for that.

Cheryl Strayed says “Let your friends save you” I do and you did.

Why am I saying all of this today? Because people think activists and feminists are angry and scared (well, sometimes). They think we stomp around in our combat boots hating men and screaming “Fuck the world!” (got me there)

But more often than not, we love hard. Activists love so hard and big that sometimes it takes our breath away. We believe in love because love has saved us and we know that love is the only way to be. We fight for love and justice.

To quote Cornel West “Never forget that justice is what love looks like in public.”

I am writing this with selfish intentions. I need to focus on the bonds that sustain me in these trying times. I need to focus on the loving connections and the people that accept me. I am writing this to remind me of the people I carry in my pockets and in my soul. I am writing this to refuel and recharge and to remind myself that even if this all burns we have our people.
On Sunday, Bryan and I walked by two elderly ladies getting out of their car to go to the rally. One was using a walker and the other was shuffling along next to her. I pointed to them and told Bryan I was looking at my future. I told him that Josh would be using the walker saying: “Seriously, Sissy do we still have to do this, it’s too cold for this shit”
I miss you everyday.
Thank you,
Sissy
Love.

Live Long And Gossip!

“Harmless gossip with a girlfriend can do wonders for a woman’s mood and a University of Michigan study says they have an answer why: feeling emotionally close to a friend increases levels of the hormone progesterone, helping to boost well-being and reduce anxiety and stress.” – Science 2.0

I once had a friend say, “I’ve never talked about you behind your back” I didn’t disagree with them but I knew they were probably lying. If they weren’t talking about me they were certainly talking about someone else. And, not only is that just fine, it is likely healthy for your other relationships.

There is a difference between gossip and betrayal. If you spend your time sharing information with people that may cause the person you’re gossiping about challenges in their life, that’s not healthy and it’s not okay. I understand that the line between gossip and betrayal can be thin. However, the idea that no one will ever talk about you behind your back is delusional. I do find comfort in knowing that most people don’t really think about me enough to gossip about me. We mostly gossip about people in our sphere of influence (close friends and family) or celebrities. There is really no in-between.

“Everything that irritates us about others can lead us to an understanding of ourselves.”- Carl Jung

It can be painful to know that people are gossiping about you but one should remember that what we gossip about says everything about our values and what’s important to us and nothing about the person we are gossiping about. I’ve talked about this before on the blog. For example, someone said to me, “John (not the real name) is always on vacation, when does he work?” and I thought to myself, the person gossiping probably needs a vacation.

If I’m observing your life, I’m going to naturally focus in on the parts that reflect what’s important to me. I will then make comparisons and gossip about where we differ or where I’m jealous of you (it’s always about the person speaking). We make sense of ourselves and our lives by finding where we fit in context of a larger social circle.

Even when it’s hurtful, I know it’s not about me. Like, when people say I’m selfish for not having children, I know that the person speaking is likely feeling one of two ways: 1) they get a lot of satisfaction and joy from having children and/or wanting children 2) they wonder what their life would be like if they didn’t have children. Again, your opinions on me say everything about you.

Sometimes it’s beneficial to the relationship to get some of the feelings out with someone else first. If I hurt your feelings and you vent to your partner about me, it may take some of the edge off when we talk about what happened at a later time. The challenge with this comes when we don’t talk about how I hurt you (I can’t read your mind) and resentments build. It’s best to try and talk about it directly with the person at some point even though it’s hard.

It helps to be confident in who you are and know what’s important to you at this point in your life. This way, if you hear about people gossiping about you, you will be able to see that it’s not about you. Humans love to make things personal and a majority of the time it isn’t. It can be hard to accept my insignificance in the world. Although, I find it quite comforting.

“In small towns, news travels at the speed of boredom.”
Carlos Ruiz Zafón

Well That Must Be Nice!

“As we let our light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence actually liberates others.”

– Marianne Williamson

(Side note: I am super into Marianne Williamson right now.)

Few words frustrate me more than the phrase, “Must be nice!”  When I share something I am excited about or an adventure I am planning, and someone responds with, “Must be nice!” It really hurts my feelings.

Why does this hurt me? 

One, happiness is a choice. A choice I try to make every single day. Happiness entails concentrated efforts to identify that which makes you grateful. It is a way of life. Two, I have been through plenty of times in my life that were not easy, great, or even manageable. Three, I worked my tail off (and still do) to live a life I love. Put simply, if you think “must be nice” fits my life: you do not know me at all.

But beyond my hard work and effort, a person should not have to share with you their struggles (or lack of struggle) for you to be happy for them and with them. We cannot assume that we understand what a person went through to reach where they are now. It is true that some people have it easier and better than others. However, resenting how good someone else has it will only make you miserable. If you want to have a “must be nice” kind of life than please spend your time making that life as opposed to resenting others.

Finally, I know that I will still face struggle and hardship. And, there are struggles I am facing right now. I know that life is not fair and the bottom can drop out again. I recognize how fortunate I am to have the things I have. Countless people work harder than I work and have a lot less. Because I know these things to be true, I will delight in the good when it presents itself. I will use any excuse to be happy. I would love to share these moments with you. I love when the people I care about do the things that they love. Goodness, the world needs a lot more happy people doing what they love and a lot less resentful people trudging angrily through the daily grind. I will not dull my sparkle and I beg you to let your own light shine. Life is not a competition and when you let go of that thinking it feels a lot better.

Spoiler alert: We all die in the end.

“Every time a friend publishes a blog post. Every time an acquaintance’s story gets viral. Every time a colleague gets a better job. Every time a childhood friend posts about his travels to the end of the world. Every time.

Every single time, I need to remind myself: Their success is not your failure. Just because they are succeeding, that doesn’t mean you are failing. Just because they climb higher steps, that doesn’t mean you are walking two steps behind.”  – Marcella Purnama

Love.

 

I Don’t Own My Story.

“Pull a thread here and you’ll find it’s attached to the rest of the world.”
Nadeem Aslam, The Wasted Vigil

In a lot of the posts I reference having experienced traumatic events. For some readers, they may have some ideas about what happened. But for others, they don’t have a reference or understanding of my life. I understand through messages and responses that some readers may want to know what I’m referring to when I allude to experiencing traumatic events. This has caused me to reflect on the interconnectedness of my life.

I agree that we must own our stories or our stories own us. The problem with sharing many of my stories is that they involve other people. And, other people don’t want/need/think it’s appropriate to share their stories with the world. This blog is both cathartic and difficult for me. Writing has always been my way of making sense of the world. Most of these blogs are letters to myself that I’ve decided to share. And, there are plenty of posts in the drafts box that will never see the light of social media.

There is a constant balance when sharing parts of yourself with an unknown group of people. I feel compelled to be transparent and honest but at the same time I don’t think it is appropriate to overshare. My beloved Josh once helped me understand this process. We were talking about a time that someone shared a traumatic event with him and he said, “They never asked my permission to share that.” That stuck with me. I don’t want this blog to be traumatizing and so there are times when restraint is indicated.

Further, as a human being, I’ve made mistakes. This blog is not a confessional. I am not writing for absolution or understanding. I believe that would put undue pressure on the reader. When I began sharing these posts publicly, I explored how authors that write memoirs decide what is written and what is withheld. The majority said that they would not share parts of themselves that still cause them pain. Meaning, that if I shared something and someone commented in a hurtful way (which has happened) I would not want it to be related to a topic where my nerve is exposed. There are several areas of my life where this is the case and probably will always be as such.

Also, there are things that happened on my journey that involved immense suffering for other people. It would never be my intention to share those stories. I make every intention to respect and protect with each post. I pray this is not a form of exhibitionism.

I’m glad these questions and thoughts were brought to my attention. It forced me to examine how many of my stories were not mine alone. In fact, only a handful are my stories are mine to share. I suppose we will continue see how this all works out.

“Man did not weave the web of life, he is merely a strand in it. Whatever he does to the web, he does to himself. All things are bound together. All things connect.” – Chief Seattle

Delete Your Facebook.

“Social media spark a revelation that we, the people, have a voice, and through the democratization of content and ideas we can once again unite around common passions, inspire movements, and ignite change.”
Brian Solis, Engage: The Complete Guide for Brands and Businesses to Build, Cultivate, and Measure Success in the New Web

I read yet another post about the People On Facebook You Should Defriend Immediately. The list included: The political ranter, the baby pics poster, the oversharer, the bragger and on and on. Hypothetically speaking, say I did this, there would be no one left to be friends with! I think we miss the point of social media – it’s social. Meaning, that you are sharing space with people that feel and think differently from you.

What is particularly curious are the people that hate on social media while on social media. You can close your computer or put your phone down at any point. It seems to be the cool thing to say you hate social media. Or, that the relationships are not real? I’ve actively maintained a lot of relationships by way of Facebook. That may not have been possible 15 years ago.

Social media isn’t for everyone. In some cases, it can cause significant conflict and challenges in relationships. I think people say things online that they would not say in person because there are little if any social consequences. In the real world, if I call you a name, I have to deal with the consequence of seeing your face and knowing I hurt your feelings. And, if I’m not a sociopath that will hurt me, too.

Social media is a place for all of the life stuff. I think it’s fine to brag, overshare, talk about your kids, talk about your pets, talk politics, and rant about nothing. If something bothers you, you can scroll right on past it or you can block seeing that person’s updates without defriending them. I cannot handle seeing pictures of abused animals, even if it is in an effort to raise awareness. So, if you posted those pics, I probably don’t see your posts anymore. But, if I’m curious to what’s happening in your world, you’re still there for me to peak in on.

Social media is like a big party and we’re all invited. You don’t have to talk to everyone at the party. You don’t have to go to the party. And, if it upsets you to see what people are talking about, maybe put your phone down for a minute and take a break from the party. I just think it’s silly to say what your friends should post and not post.

Who am I to say? I think I might have a Nickleback CD buried in my closet and I am a fierce supporter of social justice. Maybe you should defriend me. Or, maybe I will keep my lovely conservative friends so I can share in what’s happening in their lives and they can share in mine. It’s rather perfect for me as an introverted extrovert to chat with people that live in different parts of the world (or down the street).

I don’t always like what people post and sometimes it upsets me, but I want to stay connected. I want to see your kids grow up. I want to see your sunsets. I want to know that your job is going well or that you suffered a big loss in your life. I want to see your fun adventure because I might not have thought to travel there without first seeing you do it. Remember, humans are wired for connection, that’s why Facebook is a billion dollar industry. And, it’s okay to admit you like being connected.

I think what happens is that we get into comparing our lives with others. That’s just useless. We all struggle. We all face hardships. Some people are comfortable sharing their challenges online and others are not. But, there is no use thinking that someone has it better than you because they posted their new car or their engagement. Celebrate their success and get back in your own lane.

Anyway, I probably won’t defriend you unless you’re vulgar, cruel, or crass. Or, if you inbox me something inappropriate. I might deactivate from time to time to focus on other things, but I’m sure I’ll be back to the party. I’ll miss you and that’s okay.

Love.

“Now, see, that’s why everybody wants Internet friends. You can find people just exactly like you. Screw your neighbors and your family, too messy.’ Dovey’s phone buzzed, and she laughed, ignoring it. ‘The trouble is, once you filter out everybody that doesn’t agree with you, all that’s left is maybe this one retired surfer guy living in Idaho.”
Barbara Kingsolver, Flight Behavior

 

Thoughts On Infidelity.

“Soon he was online every night until one or two a.m. Often he would wake up at three of four a.m. and go back online. He would shut down the computer screen when I walked in. In the past, he used to take the laptop to bed with him and we would both be on our laptops, hips touching. He stopped doing that, slipping off to his office instead and closing the door even when I was asleep. He started closing doors behind him. I was steeped in denial, but my body knew.” 
― Suzanne FinnamoreSplit: A Memoir of Divorce

In my over ten years of working with couples I know: Infidelity happens. It happens a lot. It happens for more reasons than can be described in a blog post. It happens for more whys and wherefores than can be captured in books or volumes of books. When I work with people sorting through cheating, betrayal, and lies, they are fervently searching for some place to rest their mind.

Infidelity is a like a tragic car crash. It happens to everyone else until it happens to you. And, it may even happen by your own hand. You may have caused the crash and still be destroyed by your own actions.

“Most people don’t cheat because they’re cheaters. They cheat because they’re people. ” – Cheryl Strayed

Infidelity is disorienting. It can literally cause people to act crazy and do things inconsistent with who they are as a person. It may start gradually and then happen quickly. It happens because people want validation and connection. It happens because people are lonely. It happens because people are selfish. It happens because we are not honest with ourselves and our partners about what we want for our lives.

Good people cheat. Honest people cheat. Because even good and honest people are not good and honest all the time. In addition, infidelity can be honest – it might be the most honest relationship in your life. The relationship that is born from infidelity may evolve into a monogamous, happy, and healthy partnership that goes the distance.

“Fidelity is a living, breathing entity. On wobbly footing, it can wander, becoming something different entirely.” 
― Kay GoodstadtLove and Death Over Tea

Temptation is everywhere. Your partner has most certainly coveted another person. If you do not believe this, you do not understand the human brain.  Some people believe thinking is cheating. I do not ascribe to this logic because we cannot control the thousands of thoughts (sometimes odd, strange and peculiar thoughts) that creep into our heads. However, once a thought moves into action you are culpable.

Often, the line crossing into infidelity happens much earlier than people are willing to admit. It involves verbal intimacies and communications. It involves inside jokes and accidental touch.  It involves sharing details about your lives and hopes for your future. It involves putting yourself in the path of connection with the person that is not your partner. It involves reminiscing about better days and happier times with the other person. It may involve sexual intimacy but not always. I’m not sure the sexual component is the most damaging part of having an affair.

“For a lot of people—men and women—having an affair is an affirmation that I’m really okay. He said about his mistress, “There wasn’t anything special about her. But she listened, was interested, and made me feel special.”  That’s the key, I thought—we all want to feel like we matter to somebody.” – Oprah

Infidelity is not necessarily a death sentence to a relationship. A surprising number of couples survive and thrive after infidelity. Couples come through infidelity all the time because relationships are complex and composed of moving parts. Infidelity can bring to the foreground parts of the relationship that were shuffled to the back or pushed aside. A betrayal can actually save a relationship by forcing the relationship to be a priority for the first time in years. Sometimes, infidelity is a way of communicating (albeit, poorly): DO YOU SEE ME NOW! 

However, in some cases, infidelity is the path out of a relationship. It may be a path that the offending party did not intend to take. Not all relationships are built to last forever.

But an affair is usually a symptom of a dying marriage, not the cause. The end of that marriage could have been predicted long before either spouse strayed.” – John M. Gottman

Of note, if you find that you want to check your partners phone, Facebook, or email for proof to substantiate what your gut is telling you – the relationship is in a bad place and/or you are in a bad place. I think it is a better practice, to try and first, tell your partner that you concerned about the relationship. If don’t believe you can share this with your partner and get an honest answer, you already have the answer you need.

“This isn’t about slipping yourself an extra twenty dollars of Monopoly money. These are our lives. You went and broke our lives. You are so much worse than a cheater. You killed something. And you killed it when its back was turned.”

—David Levithan

How do you prevent infidelity?

There is no wizardry to avoid these things from happening for all the reasons stated above and so many more. The hardest part to understand (and believe and accept) is that you can never entirely know what your partner is thinking and feeling. We all have the capacity to cheat.

What seems to work the best to prevent infidelity? Make every single effort to make your relationship so safe, so fun, so honest, so great, so fantastic, so supportive, so incredible, and so special that to betray your partner would mean you risk losing those wonderful parts of your life.

What else? I suggest you love your partner with all you have, make them a priority every day, tell them you love them and appreciate them, be authentic and honest about your wants and needs, do not be afraid to be vulnerable with your partner because that is where the deepest connections are born. Most importantly: Please tell your partner if you are feeling dismissed, lonely, invalidated, disconnected, unattractive, unappreciated as soon as those feelings crop up. 

By being honest with yourself and your partner about what you need and working together to get your needs met, you are doing the best you can to prevent getting those needs met outside the relationship. 

I think that is the best you can do.

How do you recover from infidelity? Well, that is a different post entirely.

Love.

 

 

My Favorite Love Stories.

“For even as love crowns you so shall he crucify you. Even as he is for your growth so is he for your pruning.
Even as he ascends to your height and caresses your tenderest branches that quiver in the sun,
So shall he descend to your roots and shake them in their clinging to the earth”

-Kahlil Gibran

“I, I should have told you I would be difficult.
I should have shown you the scars on my soul.
I should have told you I wanted you,
I wanted you to take care of me
without allowing you to gain any of my control.”

-Lori McKenna, Beautiful Man

Love can look like a grand gesture played out on a megatron at a baseball game. But, my favorite place to find love is in the nooks and crannies of our daily lives. That is where the best kind of love lives and thrives. That is where the grows. These are my favorite love stories.

My lovelies, let me share with you my favorite love stories.

“One forgives the other”

“One takes the garbage out”

“One smiles at the other when the house is a mess and the kids are screaming”

“One crawls up next to other as they cry on the bathroom floor, and just holds them”

“They catch eyes at a party and just know it’s time to go”

“One grabs the other’s hand while at the grocery store”

“One grabs the other around the waist while making dinner and thanks them”

“One looks at the negative pregnancy test and says to the other, while hugging: We’ll keep trying”

“One remembers that the laundry needs to be folded and does so”

“One remembers that today is going to be a long day for the other and does everything they can to make it a little easier”

“One makes dinner for the other”

“One picks up a bottle of wine on the way home to share with the other”

“One holds the other at a funeral”

“One takes the other to the hospital at 3am”

“One calls the other and can’t wait to tell them the good/funny news”

“One kisses the other when they get home. A good long kiss.”

“One tells a story about the other, proudly, in front of a group of people”

“One walks the dog”

“One gives the kids a bath”

“One loves the other’s friends and family even when it isn’t easy”

“One does something just because it might make the other smile”

“One tells the other that they’re sorry”

“One cuddles up next to the other while they sleep at night and whispers “I Love You” in their ear”

“One endures a rom-com or action movie just to share time with the other”

“One takes the kids to the other room to give the other a moment”

“One cuddles with the kids and the other as they watch a movie and share laughs”

“They have a dance party in the kitchen on a Tuesday night”

“One listens to the other patiently and kindly”

“One asks the other what they need”

“One forgives the other for being selfish or mean”

“One forgives the other for moments of thoughtlessness”

“One forgives the other for forgetting”

“One always, every day, forgives themselves and the other”

“One kills the bat that’s flying around the house while the other hides under the bed”

“One cheers for other while they play a video game”

“One tells the other they’re beautiful or handsome and the other believes it because they can see the truth in the other’s eyes”

You see, love is so simple. We make it hard by forgetting to take care of it. When you love someone the love becomes it’s own thing. Love is like a plant and needs to be watered and fed all day every day or it withers and dies.

The greatest love stories are summarized by: “I didn’t quit when it was hard” and “I forgave them.” I am not impressed by a fairy tale that ends when they marry or involves a handful of dramatic gestures. I want to know what happens when one of the partners royally screws up. I want to know how you love one another in the minutiae of daily life. That is where a love story is created. That is also where a love story can be destroyed.

Do me a favor, look at your beloved today and say: “Sweet, baby, honey, darling, I love you and I am so grateful for you and this life we share.” I hope this makes both of you smile and softens what ever life has placed before you.

If you are unable or unwilling to say those words to your partner, you need to think about what is happening in your relationship. Because, my lovelies, if you can’t say that, your love is dying or already dead. 

“I don’t mind spilling my hot sauce onto my white shirt
I don’t mind the twinge when I walk in that knee that I hurt
I don’t mind if my gums peeling back or my hair getting thin
Long as I’m with you I win, long as I’m with you” Ani DiFranco, Smiling Underneath 

Love.