Love is a Year-Round Thing

 

red crystal heart

Although I’ve had my issues getting a handle on romantic love, I do have a great grasp of non-romantic love. The love I feel for my daughters, my family, my friends, nature, the world and the universe is as strong as ever. While marketing companies want people to believe that love is stronger and/or more important on certain dates, love is a year-round, lifetime thing.

When I was in romantic relationships, I always made the extra effort to make sure my partner knew how much I cared about them. Alas, such effort was rarely returned in kind. Regardless, if I am ever in a romantic relationship again I will continue to give better than I get because that’s how I am. Even without being in a romantic relationship, that’s how I am. I’m kind, caring and loving because it feels good and right to be so. I don’t do it for attention or rewards; I do it because it’s me.

Every year I’m amused when I see men and women crowding grocery stores at the last minute trying to find that perfect February 14th gift for their sweetheart. They snatch up chocolates, stuffed animals and flowers because Hallmark says they should and that if they don’t, they’re somehow failing in their relationship.

I realize there are men and women that fully expect certain gifts every year around this time and I used to be one of them many moons ago. Nowadays I’ve realized that if someone truly loves me then they show it year-round in how they treat me. A smile, a nice word, a text or email that shows they’re thinking about me are all things that indicate caring, at least in my book. I’ve learned to recognize the more subtle signs of caring and I think that’s an important thing in a world where holidays are sometimes taken way over the top.

So today, while many couples go out or stay in for romantic dinners, shower each other with gifts and indulge in other such things, I’m going to spend the day working on a gift for a dear friend, beading, writing and then enjoying time with my girls when they get home from school. The sun is shining and it’s supposed to get warm enough to melt some of the current snow so I have a lot to be grateful for and a lot to love.

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Believing in Magic

I still believe in the magic that is Santa Claus. Yes, I said it. I believe in all types of magic because a world without magic would be dreadfully boring. Being alive is magic in itself and those who don’t see that are missing out more than they will ever know.

I used to write daily about magical worlds and characters, but the muse that helped me do that still hasn’t returned. I catch a glimpse of her now and then but she’s gone before I can stop her and ask her what it is I’m missing that made her leave. Even though I can’t write about magical creatures and beings that wield magic, I know magic still exists all around me. I tap into it every day when I explore my creativity and I see signs of it from soaring hawks that call at me to catch my attention.

One of the strongest types of magic in the world is the magic of love. Love is a powerful force that connects every living being, every spirit, every natural force. Love among humans is ridiculously complicated and far from the perfection portrayed in fairy tales. Perfection is something that exists in a non-magical world and as I’ve already said, that’s far too boring for me.Regardless, I don’t believe that love should be a constant struggle and that love with the right one feels effortless at its best moments and worth the fight at its worst moments.

Although romantic love continues to elude me, I’m sure the universe has its reasons for keeping it from me at this point in my life. I catch glimpses of it, the same glimpses I get of that elusive muse, but it’s gone before I can even hope to grasp it. I have a feeling that when I do finally rediscover the magic of romantic love, I’ll also get that muse back and that both elements will remain in my life, never to leave again.

While the idea of Santa Claus leaving the right one under my tree as a gift this year is amusingly optimistic, I don’t expect it to happen. The man in red is far too busy bringing happiness and magic to the children of the world and he knows that in time, I’ll bring the right one to me just by being my unique and magical self.

What the heart wants

My Dad cooking in the kitchen of my childhood home.

My Dad cooking in the kitchen of my childhood home.

This afternoon when I woke up from my nap and was snuggling with Angel before finding the strength to get up, I realized exactly what I wanted to make me feel better. I wanted my father to make me my favorite comfort meal of mashed potatoes and chicken and then sit down and talk to me about anything. I miss the sound of his voice and I miss hearing about everything he knew in that amazing mind of his. I wouldn’t care if he talked about wars, trains, planes, or the origins of math, I just wanted his company. Alas, what the heart wants isn’t always possible.

My pup and the kittens have been doing their best to look after me but snuggles and shadowing aren’t the same as making me chicken soup or getting me fresh water. I’ve heard that knowing exactly what you want is the first step toward getting it but that doesn’t work in the case of wanting my father and I know that. I like to imagine that there’s at least one guy out there who would be willing to take care of me like my dad did, but perhaps that’s a fantasy. Maybe what I’m looking for only exists between daddies and daughters and men my age are all like my ex: babies when they’re sick and in need of my TLC but unable/unwilling to take care of me when I feel unwell. Perhaps when a once-beautiful chick with a healthy flush in her cheeks and pep in her spirit turns pale, tired, and slightly whiny, she loses all her appeal. Perhaps the whole idea of being with someone through thick and thin is just a fantasy these days or something that just doesn’t apply to me.

I admit, being sick brings out the “wuss” in me and I long for what I don’t have. Even sick I’m capable of taking care of myself, but it would be nice to have someone to help me when I don’t feel good. To acquire at least some of what I really wanted today, I went out, bought a little rotisserie chicken, then came home, and made Potato Buds like my dad used to do. Well, kind of like my dad used to do. In my semi foggy state I misread the directions and added more milk than I was supposed to, but they turned out edible eventually. I then cut some breast meat and a drumstick from the chicken, spooned some mashed potatoes onto my plate, poured myself a glass of eggnog, and settled in the living room to watch an episode of Star Trek: The Next Generation while I ate.

Like the “superwoman” I am I did all my freelance work today despite feeling tired, sore, and foggy. I won’t be walking Jazzmin daily again until I feel better because my body obviously needs and wants rest. Thankfully, Jazz doesn’t have a great concept of time so as far as she knows it could have been 30 seconds or 30 years since our last walk. We’ll get back out there eventually and I’ll find my stride again, but for now, I’m snuggling with my furbabies on the couch watching The Nine Lives of Christmas on Hallmark Channel. I’ve seen it three times now but it has the cute guy who played Superman in one of the more recent remakes and it’s about how he falls for a chick kind of like me with no life, a cat, and a love for large quantities of ice cream. Even if such things only happen in movies, it’s nice that a hopeless romantic like me still appreciates the notion.

kitten in bed

Angel wasn’t eager to get out bed today.

Date yourself!

When dating oneself, one can eat an entire dessert!

When dating oneself, one can eat an entire dessert!

It’s Friday night and I have a hot date lined up…with myself! While some of you reading this might be going “Awww, that’s so sad!” I assure you that it isn’t sad. Dating myself is one of the smartest things I’ve ever done and I highly recommend it!

I’m not actually going anywhere tonight and my “hot date” consists of college and freelance work followed by some beading and then dinner of leftovers and homemade wine. I’ll probably watch one of my favorite Marvel superhero movies like The Avengers, Iron Man (all three are good with me!) Thor (again both good!) or maybe an X-Men flick. I just watched Captain America 2 earlier this week, but otherwise it would be on the list. Again, I can hear some readers muttering things like “That’s kind of pathetic.” But honestly, it’s not.

What IS pathetic is someone settling for someone else who doesn’t actually deserve them because they’re terrified of being alone. Seriously, people, that’s no way to live! I admit that it took me a couple years to become truly comfortable with being alone, but for the most part, I finally am. I think it’s vital that a person be comfortable alone before they even consider sharing themselves with someone else. If you’re not okay on your own then you just end up clinging to the other person and that creates all sorts of relationship issues and the dreaded use of the word “needy!”

My apparently formerly “needy” nature was what ultimately led to me dating myself. It happened almost by accident. I’d been texting with a guy I met on Plenty of Fish and we’d decided to meet up and see the newest Marvel superhero movie. Right after we decided that, he stopped texting me and I never heard from him again. Nonetheless, I decided to put my “big girl panties” on along with a nice summer dress and head out to the movie solo. I’d foolishly hoped he’d still show up, but he didn’t and I’ll never know why. I can only assume I was overly enthusiastic about the date, that translated to the dreaded “needy” and he was scared off. Regardless, that was the first time I was stood up and the first time I saw a movie on my own. Both were life-changing experiences!

Before I go any further, I will admit that yes, I’ve been on just about every online dating site there is. I’ve been on OkCupid, Plenty of Fish, Zoosk, Fitness Singles, Match, and even E-Harmony. I have plenty to say about my experiences with online dating websites but I’ll save that for a future post entitled “Online dating turned me into a bitter old hag!” or something along those lines 😉

Moving on! Being stood up was actually the best thing that ever happened to me because I discovered that hey, it’s pretty awesome going to movies alone! I can sit wherever I want, however I want, laugh loudly at the funny parts, cry at the sad parts, and most importantly, accidentally drop popcorn down my shirt and fetch it without some guy next to me thinking I’m coming on to him. During Marvel superhero movies, I’ve been known to giggle, fidget, hoot, clap, guffaw and yes, snort! Now that I’ve admitted I do all that, it’s possible that a man will never ask me out again, but that’s his loss, not mine.

From seeing movies alone I progressed to going to dinner alone and all that led to me eventually feeling more content when I took my trips to New England alone. I’ve had people tell me that I’m brave for doing so much alone and that they could never do it, but honestly, if I can do it, anyone can.

I’m not saying that I believe that humans are meant to be solitary beings. I think we all deserve that special someone who understands who we are as an individual and who loves every quirk, twitch, and snort about us. What I am saying is that we should never settle for someone we know is wrong for us just to keep from being alone. Loving and knowing yourself is the most important thing you can do for any type of relationship. Dating yourself is important too because it means you can snarf an entire piece of chocolate cake for dessert at a restaurant and not worry what your date thinks, even when the server looks at you funny 😉

Romance in raspberries

Lovely sweet berries buried in the prickers.

Lovely sweet berries buried in the prickers.

Almost every evening for the past several weeks I go out and pick black raspberries from my hedgerow. It’s the best black raspberry crop I’ve ever seen as the mix of rainy monsoon and hot, humid weather agrees with the delectable little fruit. I have a gallon size freezer bag almost full with berries now and I add at least a half quart every time I go picking.

As I pick the berries, my mind wanders and I think about how picking berries resembles navigating the unpredictable path of romance. There are raspberries at the very edge of the hedgerow that are easy to pick and involve no danger of being scratched. But some of the best raspberries are hidden beneath leaves or buried back among the prickers. Someone who doesn’t want to make the effort will leave the best berries among the prickers, not wanting to risk getting hurt or tangled up in the stems. But someone who sees the potential of those sweet berries will brave anything to get them whether it be prickers, mosquitoes, deer flies, unseen holes in the ground, spiders, beetles or bees. When they’re really lucky and persistent, they even find rare berries of a different color.

Finding golden raspberries is a nice treasure.

Finding golden raspberries is a nice treasure.

I pick all the viable berries I see. I end up scratched, bitten and usually sweaty. I’ve even been rained on a few times. I’m not afraid of making the extra effort and I’m a smidge stubborn and quite tenacious. Not everyone is like me though. It seems nowadays more people are willing to settle for the easy to reach berries, the “he/she isn’t really what I want but they’re there and they like me so they’ll do.” It seems difficult to find the ones that are willing to see past all the overgrown bushes and brave the prickers for the better berries, the “he/she has a tough exterior, has been through some rough stuff and is going to take some effort but to me they’re worth it!”

I know it’s a bit peculiar that I think of all this while I’m picking black raspberries but I do and I imagine that other writers understand. Writers and those with the creativity bug see the world differently than others. We see beyond what’s in front of our eyes, we see inside it, we explore its potential in unique ways and we seek to reveal new dimensions of imagination to the world. I see my wild, daydreaming, hopelessly optimistic and endlessly romantic mind as a great blessing and I’ll never stop expanding upon its abilities.

Romance Has Many Definitions (repost)

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Yes, I’m resorting to a re-post from Corbin Creations again already. Today has been a crazy day and I don’t have quite the right words now to express how I feel. Luckily, I had the words in an older blog post and they’re actually advice and inspiration that I needed to hear right now! I’m brilliantly psychic! Go Julie from the past!

Romance Has Many Definitions (5/26/2012)

On the weekends when I have my daughters, my cell phone alarm wakes me up playing the song “Telling the World” by Taio Cruz. It is truly inspiring to wake up to the words “Every part of my heart I’m giving out, every song on my lips I’m singing out…”  I open my eyes and greet the day and my heart and spirit beat in the optimistic hope that someday, the man I chose to share my heart with will wake up knowing how lucky he is to have me as his girl. Perhaps that sounds a little conceited, but to me it really isn’t that much to ask.

Ask women what they think romance is and I guarantee you’ll get a variety of different answers. Sure there are the usual flowers, jewelry, candy, remembering important dates, etc. that pop into mind first, but romance is so much more than that! Romance shouldn’t be about materialistic “things” and flowers that wilt, it should be about something deeper and more enduring. To me the smallest gestures touch me where it counts. Opening a car or entrance door for me, pulling out my chair at the table, holding my hand, moving my hair off my shoulders, touching my face, meeting my gaze when I speak, kissing me, wanting to be close to me no matter where we are, missing me when we’re apart…and so much more.

I love affection, I love feeling coveted, I love knowing that the person I’m with truly appreciates all that makes me who I am and will never hold it against me when I stumble along the complicated path of life. I know I love all those things even though I have never actually experienced all of them. I suppose that’s what makes me such a prolific romance writer; that eternal hope and desire for something I’m not entirely sure exists…

Is it really love if…

sunlight snow

I went to the store yesterday for some groceries and the moment I walked through the door I was greeted by the sight of big displays of roses, boxes of chocolates, card and over-fluffy red and pink stuffed animals. As today is Valentine’s Day, the displays didn’t surprise me, nor did the number of people milling about the displays.

My girls are my Valentines and I love them and know they love me without any special holiday. Watching the men and women searching through the flowers, cards and candy, I shook my head. Is it really love if you’re out at the last moment, scrambling for the perfect gift to make your loved one happy? Does buying something sparkly and expensive or taking your mate out to dinner on an over-commercialized holiday mean that you really love them? Is it really love if you only remember to express your love when endless advertisements and heart-filled displays bombard your senses? Love is an all the time thing, not a one-shot deal.

Last year on this day I wrote a poem entitled “Love is Deeper” and posted it on my Corbin Creations blog. Rereading it today, the sentiments still hold true and they always will. I’m re-posting it here and hoping that all your days are special and filled with love in its many forms.

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Love is Deeper – 2/14/13

Boxes of chocolates
Bouquets of flowers
Love is deeper.
Sparkling trinkets
Folded paper cards
Love is deeper.
Plush stuffed animals
Brightly colored balloons
Love is deeper.
Written words of rhyme
Melodies in song
Love is deeper.
Wiping a tear away
Enfolding in embrace
Love grows deeper.
Interlocking fingers
The soft brush of lips
Love grows deeper.
Sharing in laughter
Evoking a smile
Love grows deeper.
Listening and hearing
Offering understanding
Love grows deeper.
The cry of a newborn child
Holding a swaddled babe
Love is endless.
The coldest of nights
A breathtaking dawn
Love is endless.
A sky full of stars
The moon gazing down
Love is endless.
A light in the darkness
Unfaltering friendship
Love is endless.
The love of a child
The loss of a parent
Love is eternal.
An unbreakable force
The tie that binds us
Love is always.