Category Archives: Love, Life, etc.

Laws of good love and friendship.

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This has been one of the most exciting months of my life. I moved back home, bought a one-way ticket to Europe, and had my first surgery.

This made me realize a few really important things about love that I’ve always thought about but spent little time contemplating. Not sappy, Nicholas Sparks love, but real-life, down and dirty way-you-love-your-best-friends-love.

First: moving home.

Not an easy task when you’re 24 years old. I was mostly embarrassed at first, but my friends helped conjure up some good excuses, and then reminded me of them after the first week of my Dad texting me when I wasn’t home by midnight. Bigger picture excuses. This brings me to thing I’ve learned about love and friendship NUMBER 1: Be a public defender.

Moving home was the right decision for me, as difficult as it was to swallow the giant lump of pride I kept gagging on the first few weeks. Moving home allowed me Prague. If I would have continued my lease, not only would I not have the money to go, but I wouldn’t have realized that my family will survive without me. I needed the support of my friends to make it okay. Even though I was trying to convince myself that it was okay to be 24 and living at home, and it was okay to make a leap and be scared to death, I needed the people around me who know me the best to tell me the same thing. I needed the people around me to believe in me.

Which led to the next step in my journey: Committing to Prague.

There were mixed reactions. A little sadness, some excitement, but one really bad reaction that came from some of the people I’m closest to:

The selfish reaction. A ‘that’s not fair of you to leave‘ reaction that I got from some people – some with whom I’m closest. It was disappointing. I realize that I’m going to be really far away and that’s scary. I realize our dreams were different when we were younger.  We won’t get married like we joked about; I may not be around for the things I thought I would; you may die while I’m gone; I may die while I’m gone.

So this led to thing I’ve learned about love and friendship NUMBER 2: Listen to all testimony before delivering your verdict.

I’ve sooo been this friend before: “OMG you’re engaged… are you sure that’s a good idea?” WRONG. “Have you thought this through?” WRONG. “You’re kidding, right?” WRONG!

By this time, the person telling you does think it’s a good idea, they have thought it through and they are not kidding. A lot of times, your initial reaction has your best interest at heart, even if you might not realize it. The life you have been picturing is shattered and you are hurt. I know that a lot of the bad reactions I got about Prague were because my friends were scared and felt betrayed that all of the plans we had been making for so long went up in a puff of Eastern European smoke.

But here’s the thing: even if you know – without a doubt – that your friend is ruining their life, now isn’t the time to bring it up. Hear. Listen. Absorb. Our little brains are swimming with endorphins and nerves are firing like missiles in WWII at the point. Shooting down someone’s dreams won’t talk them out of it. They just won’t talk to you about it. If someone you care about is really making a bad decision, bring it up another time when the anxiety of their big news is no longer around and you’re both able to breach the subject with a cool head.

Chances are, even if they are making a mistake in your eyes, you are going to have to learn to live with it, because as much as they love you, they probably won’t be changing their mind. Which brings us to things I’ve learned about love and friendship NUMBER 3: The judge sits alone.  In other words, if you decide to be judgmental, you run the risk that no one will care what your ruling is.

Next came the surgery.

So, with the excitement of Prague still fresh on my mind and my Facebook wall, I started feeling bad. Eventually, my stomach ache led to a surgery (This isn’t a pity post – I’m fine). But, this was my first of anything like this before. I only told a few people because it wasn’t a big deal at the time and I didn’t want people to worry.

But, it made me realize who did worry, which made me see things differently. I got flowers from work and at first, thought how caring that was. But then I realized, no one from work asked how I was doing but one person (my boss) and no one even responded to the email I sent updating everyone. The disheartening truth is that the flowers are probably a box on a list to check when someone is out of work for more than a week. A corporate facade of concern. And that wasn’t the only facade. The one person who I confided in  completely couldn’t even remember to remember. He pretended to be concerned, like he thought he was supposed to, but didn’t follow through in the end (and trust me, that wasn’t the first time he wasn’t able to follow through.) There’s another lesson here: Eventually, you run out of appeals. And, when that day comes, you don’t get to be a thing that matters anymore. People will stop answering your calls.

The check-list flowers did make me realize, one thing, however: There are people who genuinely care about me. That is a good feeling to have. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not measuring the value of my friendships on who showed the most concern about me during this one week of my life; I only told a few people anyway. I did grow to re-appreciate a few people a lot more though. Dominic, who I forced into being my best friend in the seventh grade, has been texting me relentlessly. Having him prove that he was worried to death made me love him even more. Kaylyn came over just to spend a few hours doing nothing with me on a Friday night because I couldn’t go anywhere. There are others, of course too. This leads me to thought on love and friendship Number 5: When you love someone, never stop proving it to them. 

I’ve received more love in the form of calls, texts, skypes, cards, flowers, milkshakes (thanks mom), kind words and favors
than I remember ever having received at any one time in my life. Or, maybe I’ve just noticed it more.

And, it’s not that we need these things to validate our love, but I’ll tell you this: it is good to be reminded. So thank you
to everyone in my life who continues to be my public defenders, my jury, my peers and my constant support.
You make me better and make me strive for better.

So my closing thought is this: Notice the love around you, and return it in droves. 

Speccancy

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The word “single” is an interesting one. I’ve never thought about it a whole lot. I’ve never really wanted to, I guess. But today, I started thinking about the word. Single: only one in number; one only; unique. Then we have dollar bills, hits in baseball and a size of bed that is really not big enough for two. I guess a single is better than a cent or a strike-out or a twin, but it still seems to fall flat. We don’t usually use it in a positive way. We want a queen bed, or a king, or a California king… are the kings really that much bigger in California? Nothing seems to make much sense anymore. Especially trying to justify being alone at 23 in a world where the population is some seven billion. Single isn’t simple.

Medically, the prefix sin means “hollow, cavity, or to curve.” Otherwise, the prefix sin translates to “without”.  I do admit, I have an overwhelming urge to track the guy down who chose the word for single and give him a hearty smack across the face. “Without” suggests that something is missing. However, I am whole. All the pieces are here. I can’t think of anything that needs two of something to be considered a whole (unless it’s a half…)  but I’m all here. One whole entire person… I’ve almost got enough for two. Listen and you’ll hear my heart beating. Cut me, I’ll bleed. I’ve seen the x-rays. There is nothing hollow about me.

I’m not without anything. Im just ante-relationship is all. I just haven’t found anyone to make me care to be any other way. I’ll always be single though. It will always just be me at the end of the day. One person. Maybe that’s why so many people are relationship addicts. The guy who got to decide the word for “not being in a relationship” tricked the world into thinking we are only part of a person when we are alone. A hollow, empty cavity of a person. Seriously, that guy better be glad he’s long dead. That is so many of the problems I see around me. People think they are better off settling for a mediocre, luke-warm definition of love than being alone. I read too much Shakespeare and Jane Austen and Homer to be luke-warm about anything. I bleed passion that can’t be found in 10 Things I Hate About You. Love sure isn’t what it used to be.

So I am not with anyone. I am just with me, free to roam the concrete pastures of the city in search of whatever whim prevails for whatever day of the week it may be. I won’t pretend I don’t get lonely, I certainly do. The thing about it is that I am in charge of my lonliness. I could be with somebody- we all have the option of somebody. Somebody is not good enough though. Especially in a generation where people can tell you everything about Mike the Situation but nothing about Michaelangelo. We’ve got to be picky. We have to choose and throw people away if necessary. Forgiveness is all fine and dandy, but we can never expel  the experiences that we learn from being betrayed. Forgive someone who wrongs you for your own sake, let the anger go, but never let the feeling go that accompanied it. You only get the excuse of being naive the first time, after that… well I can think of a few different adjectives.

The prefix spec is “to look”. The suffix ance is “in the process of”. So Im not single- I’m just Speccance. That “single” word guy can roll around in his grave, for all I care.

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