Securing the Love of Your Life: It’s Not Me, It’s You

#WorkForHappy

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“Future Together” Henn Kim

When I met my current boyfriend – my soulmate, my rock, the absolute love of my life – I wasn’t too impressed. At that point of my life I had dated pretty much every kind of guy on the spectrum (sorry, mom and dad) and my standard had been set pretty high already. Meeting him was the beginning of my happily ever after, I just didn’t know it yet. For the time being he was just another dude among a pool of people without anything really setting them apart except my level of indifference.

What changed is a whole bunch of little things that are necessary for a successful relationship, which hit me all at once. Now, looking back, all of this amalgamated into a cluster of requirements I wasn’t aware of until hindsight came in, 20/20. Almost two years of dating later, I am happily settled with the choice I’ve made, and I wouldn’t change it for anything.

This is why love exists, why it’s good for you, and how to make it permanent. My name is Sanam, I’m 20, and I’m about to give you some ~love advice~. Continue reading “Securing the Love of Your Life: It’s Not Me, It’s You”

How Forgiving Myself Is A Favor To Others

#WorkForHappy

  • What Love Has To Do With Forgiveness
  • Forgiving Yourself Is Only The First Step
  • The Favor: What You Give Back By Forgiving Yourself

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Artwork by Lukas Frischknecht

Love, they say, is the meaning life. Others say it is a mere distraction from real life. I’m 20 years old and I am trying to come to terms with the fact that loving someone is not the same as caring for them.

Ask anyone and they will tell you that love is a choice. Love can run out when the one with holding it is unwilling, and it can multiply when the giver is generous. I, unfortunately, had become dangerously generous.

Guess what? I’ve reclaimed my love. I value it, because I’ve learned to value myself.

That came with a whole lot of work, and it started with forgiveness. Are you a fuck up? Welcome to my world!

This is the story of how I royally screwed up, forgave myself, and learned to value the love I gave away for the sake of the people around me. Continue reading “How Forgiving Myself Is A Favor To Others”

Dear Boy

Hey!

I know this is a little out of nowhere and it’s been a while since we’ve talked, but I just wanted to tell you a couple last things before we inevitably lose each other to oblivion.

Please know that you had an impact on my life. You weren’t just someone on a string I played with once in a while. You were a real person to me, and always will be. Never doubt that how much I valued your time. I know I took advantage of your love for me, and I can’t take that back. I hope you learned from me as much as I learned from you – while the lessons I taught you were more bitter than sweet, I hope the taste lingered on like it did for me, either way.

It was just bad timing. I was going through a lot, and that’s no excuse. If we met just a little earlier, maybe God’s plan would have been different for us. I know you don’t believe in fate, and I don’t either. Our time together is mere proof of that. If fate was kind and indeed existed, I would have been able to love you as deeply as you did me. That didn’t happen. I wish it could have, because I think we had a lot to offer each other.

Whatever I was going through shouldn’t have become the focal point of our relationship. I wish I could have understood sooner that I was succumbing to something much larger and darker than you or I, so that I could have warned you to stay away. This isn’t some Twilight fantasy. I hope that you learned not to love someone like me that hard ever again. People should deserve your love. It shouldn’t be just given away.

I am eternally grateful for the amount of energy you put into saving me. You couldn’t save me. I had to save myself. Leaving you was what I had to do to realize that. It sucks. I wish that wasn’t the case. It just sucks.

I am happy now, and I think you are too. I couldn’t be more proud of the both of us. I don’t think we would have achieved this if we continued side by side. Whether or not you agree… I’m happy for you. I feel for you. I love you, but not the way you thought or wanted. You don’t want that anymore, and I honestly never did. I think you knew that.

I do love you, in my own far away way. I will always admire you, but I will continue to do so from afar.

Thank you, again, for all the joy you have given me. I keep it on my bookshelf, silent but ever-present, appreciated but never touched. That’s how we ended up. That’s not a bad thing.

Here’s to oblivion. I hope it carries us further into a fog of content.

I wish you all the best.

Love,

Girl

Break Up 1, Scene 3

Sometimes she is powerless in the execution of control over her own inhibitions. She feels her emotions too strongly and her heart warms with terrifying sensation, quickening to the pace of her thoughts as they begin to run wild. She peeks behind the curtain of his iris, and sees a thousand million trillion neurons, connecting, dazzling, snapping at her senses as her medulla works into overdrive to make this moment end fast, cut short, be gone.

In a single moment time will become irrelevant. All that exists is the space between their two bodies, the overwhelming awareness of their breathing, and the weight of the words that they both know in an instant would fall off her tongue too easily for comfort. The jolting sound of a spotlight igniting makes their chests contract, as does the silence of a million eyes watching, the ghosts of a past that dwindled to nothing.  

He watches her lips formulate the first syllable as if his eyelids had been pinned to his forehead. It was like torture out of a novel scene, forced to watch something die in front of you so that it is memorialized in your brain. His cerebral cortex is abuzz with fresh blood as she moves on to the next consonant, zapped to life out of a slumber so that he feels like he has just brutally woken up to a horrifying reality he thought was just a dream. 

It’s happening. He can’t believe this is happening. The sound of her voice is oddly flat. Impassive. Final.

“This is stage fright. It’s a physical reaction to shock. The consequences of heartbreak hasn’t set in quite yet.” [Click To Tweet!]

She knows he asks questions if the answer is already plain, otherwise he wouldn’t dare. He’s just too much of a coward to say it himself. She thinks she knows. Even in this moment, she thinks she has him all figured out, like with the crescendo in the sound of his footsteps as he came home from work, or the heaviness of his shoulders when he was focusing on a task. If she hadn’t figured him out then she wouldn’t be playing this game with him in the first place. She wouldn’t say what she is in the middle of saying right now. In this moment. Irretrievably.

It took him a second to realize that she is finished. He blinks. 

She said it. 

Now he won’t have to. 

Bitter relief mixed in with adrenaline, racing through his veins with a barely contained excitement – not the kind of excitement he had felt ages ago when she smiled at him for the first time, or let certain I, L, Y letter words sneak out from between her lips. This was the kind of excitement that came right after driving into a ditch and realizing you had survived. This is stage fright. It’s a physical reaction to shock. The consequences of heartbreak hasn’t set in quite yet. 

“Good.” He is in the middle of blurting this out when she finally looks away and their cord of communion breaks. He has a notion that he will take to bleeding inwardly. She however, he is sure, would forget him. 

“Good.” She doesn’t put her vocals into traction when she ghosts his own speech, instead letting the word echo and fall into the space between them, filling the void with something mutually acceptable to both of them. It is the first time they are agreeing on anything. Or at least, in this moment, this irretrievable moment, they do. 

It does not matter that in the matter of weeks, they will close that gap again and continue on renewed, rejoiced, and heavy. It does not matter that this moment will chatter before suddenly falling quiet. On a snowy white night in Dresden eleven years from now this moment will claw itself back out from the depths of their hippocampuses. By then, crescendos will not matter. 

For now, they breathe. The hot light dims. The curtain falls. They are thrown into the dark, and walk off the stage in opposite directions.

On to the next scene. 

One Day

One day they will have accomplished their lives and lie next to each other 6 feet deep, lulled to sleep by the melody of Mother Earth, and drawn out of it by their Father into a brilliant world where they will stand, side by side, awash in white light. Luminescent.

Now, however, in this moment, right now: he whispers a final “goodnight”, teetering on a laugh as if something is funny. Maybe there is something funny. She never really knows, and probably never will.

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Artwork by Emiliano Bastita

Right now she presses her head against his chest to listen to his heartbeat and slow down her own, but one day she will be looking out to the sea, standing on the shores of Prince Edward Island. Continue reading “One Day”

What Having a Big Nose Taught Me About Feeling Beautiful

Do I have to love my nose? No. Do I have the right to hate it? Also a no. (ClickToTweet!)

When I tell people I want a nose job, the answer is almost always, “but why?! I love your nose, it’s so unique!”

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This was the first time I was purposely trying to capture my nose in a picture

I have wanted to scream that I don’t want a unique nose. I hated that word. I always wanted to yell: “I just want a normal nose! I just want it to be remarkably unremarkable!”

I don’t necessarily hate my nose anymore, but I still want to go under the knife. Am I a terrible person for promoting self-love in the same breath as expressing my desire to have cosmetic surgery? Am I a hypocrite? Absolutely not.

It is possible to love yourself and still feel insecure about some bits and pieces.

This is my body, and it’s my freaking story.
Continue reading “What Having a Big Nose Taught Me About Feeling Beautiful”

Before Him

huigorou
artwork by Dahui Wang

Date a boy who doesn’t love you.

Date a boy whose eyes hold the stars and the moon, a boy whose hands are warm because they hold the sun. Date a boy who looks through you, searching something else in the crowd. Date a boy who makes you realize your own inconsequence, a boy who takes and takes until you are left with nothing but dusty text messages that once made your world spin. Date a boy whom you love, but doesn’t love you back.

Date a boy whom you don’t love. Continue reading “Before Him”