Tuesday, September 11, 2012

A Short Birthday Post

Today is my birthday.

I'm overwhelmed by the fullness and happiness I've achieved through simply loving others and doing the best I can.

Sometimes I fall short, but these people I surround myself with love me anyway. When I sing off key, when I stumble or falter, they're there in any way they can be to let me know my worth is so much more than how I look, or how much money I make.

My faith in humanity is still strong, after all these years. My hopefulness in love and kindness has never faded, even when no one was showing me the same. And the fact that God sees fit to keep me, continue to let me have that same optimism and joy with the simplest of things makes me grateful beyond words.

So on my birthday, I just want to say thank you to everyone who loves me. Everyone who likes me. Everyone who even knows who I am and has a positive opinion of me. Thank you.

Saturday, September 8, 2012


Three glasses in is when I realized it. Each glass had gotten progressively more alcohol than juice. It felt like every breath was being forcibly pushed from my chest. I realized I was crying when the skin on my cheeks was feeling tighter and tighter...

I hate not being perfect more than I love being happy. If everything were right with me, then everything else would be right, right? My best friend wouldn't have to be strong for me, my boyfriend wouldn't have to walk on eggshells for his honesty, and this bottle of Triple Sec surely wouldn't be empty.

I want to blame my father for leaving my mother. For cheating on my mother. For taking away my security in family, my faith in faithfulness. I want to blame my mother for taking out her sadness and anger at him out on me for so many years. But I'm grown now. Who's to blame for the mess I've become but me?

The points where I feel I have no control. The moments when I beg God to make it stop hurting. The moments where I feel so alone and misunderstood are the moments where the alcohol is comforting. But with every sip I'm reminded how weak I am. How much a liar I am. I said I wouldn't drink to soothe anymore. Said I'd focus on being happy, focus on what I can do instead of what I can't.

Relapses sneak up on you, just like happiness and love, and force you back into that place with the heavy locked door. Relapses, just like your points of joy, force you to take a look at yourself and what you're doing. Some people fall prey to them, letting the relapse pull them back into bad habits and terrible mental states. Some people never get out of those. I happen to not be one of those people.

I have work in 7 hours. I have a best friend going through something. Bills to pay. Plans to make. A trip to take. I don't have time to feel sorry for myself, to feel remorseful for the probably hurtful things I've said or the folks who, if they knew, would be let down by my broken promises. I have to go on living and act like these bruises and burns on my little soul are soothed with one night of over zealous drinking.

Relapses, thought disappointing, happen. It's important to remember to just keep breathing through it. Renew your promises once your tears have dried and work through it all in the morning. Don't let one bad night be the deciding factor of your life, or let one slip up turn your whole perception of yourself.

You're stronger than your vices. Stronger than the sex, stronger than the liquor, stronger than the drugs; they wouldn't be able to do anything, make you feel or do anything, if you didn't allow them to. Don't give up. Don't drown. Find your joy...you know, just not in your vices (or the people who provide them). Pull yourself up and begin again tomorrow.


Friday, September 7, 2012

Saying I Love You Is (Kind of) A Big Deal...

Saying I love you is scary the first time. Any time after that it just is what it is: an affirmation. But that first time?

The first time I said it to Tarzan for me was a hoopla. We were on the phone and we'd talked for hours and hours and I was in that place between fully amp'd and exhausted, but I didn't want to hang up the phone for anything. He convinced me though, saying goodbye to which I replied, "Good night. I love you." 

And BOOM! 

Nothing happened. Not that I remember. He didn't say it back though. Didn't say it until a few weeks later I think, but I was oddly cool about it, which went against my character. Normally, I'd have been turning it over and over in my mind, kicking myself for saying it first, for meaning it first. I'd have been worried that him not saying it back meant he didn't feel the same way, or that I was moving too fast.

However, he's different. More importantly I was different when I said it, far from that girl saying "I love you" and really meaning "Please, please love me back." When I said it, I said it because it felt right. It felt real, and true and that it was what I'd been aching to say and just held in waiting for the "right time," realizing in the moment that that was the right time. I said it for me, because I meant it, and I said it for him, so he could know it, and that was that.

I didn't use it as a bargaining chip or something to hold over his head, but I told him, almost every day (albeit in different ways) how I felt about him. And then one day he said it back. It was like he'd been saying it back the whole time on his end, but to me? Oh, I flipped out. I cat-daddied. I hit a clean dougie. I jigged. And then I went on with my night. And ever since, sometimes I say it more, sometimes he says it more. Sometimes he says it without saying it. But now? The saying of it isn't as big a deal as the showing of it. 

And that's the main thing you guys. Meaning it, feeling and showing it every way you can matters more than who says it first, or when or why. Know who your partner is: if they're not the gregarious, PDA-overload type of person, do you really expect them to say it right back, right then? Conversely, if you aren't that person, and they say it to you first, you're not obligated to say it back, until or unless you feel it.

That's why I didn't worry. I felt it, I expressed it and I was cool with it being out there in the open. Meanwhile on his end, he had to tumble through whatever thoughts and barriers he had in his way before he could admit to himself first, and then to me, that he felt it too. I said it not because I was looking for him to say it back, but because I couldn't hold it in anymore.

So, to recap

1) Tell someone you love them not because you want to hear it back, or you're being pressured to. Say it when you mean it; it'll mean more to the both of you that way.

2) Don't be upset if the person you say it to doesn't respond in kind right away. 9 months down the line and they haven't said it back? Worry. Other than that? Let nature take it's course. As long as they haven't run or fallen off the face of the Earth immediately after, they're still in it with you.

3) Don't just say it, show it! Do it! Whatever! Just saying it, though nice and beautiful, isn't enough. Show them with gifts (if that's your steez), show them with time and affection. Show them by being there. Saying it isn't the end all be all; if you mean it, saying it is only the first step.

Now go out there, and love each other.
 -And mean it :) 

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Tes's How To Guide: Love Letters

I am a shameless, hopeless romantic. Nothing touches my heart more than seeing folks in love. As such, I've written a few letters here and there (okay, like three times including Tarzan, and he honestly gets the bulk of them) and I'm pretty good at it; found out in high school one of the boys I'd written one to had used my words, with a few pronoun switches, to get another girl. Karma came, but that's neither here nor there; here's my short list of things to consider when writing a love letter:

1) Find a song that makes you feel something. I don't care who you are, music will move you to tears on occasion. I'm not saying you've got to bawl to find your perfect love letter inspiration, but you've got to be inspired. The whole of the song has to be something you feel about this person, where you hope you guys go; the song, pretty much, is your template for your love letter. I'm not saying you write down the lyrics either (that's lazy!), because that's just tacky, but listen deeply and clear your mind of everything but the song and thoughts of that person.

2) Don't try to be Shakespeare; write what you know, write how you speak. A lot of people, once they meet me, find out I blog and make their way here, say that what I write sounds exactly like who I am. The letter is coming from you, make it sound like you. Simply put, which would you rather hear: a) Lover, I nary glimpse a star-drenched eve without pondering over your proximity and if they catch your eye as well, or b) I can't look at stars anymore without wondering if you're somewhere looking at them at the same time?*

*Admittedly, both float my boat. And if both sound good to you, don't be afraid to mix the two styles up, if that's who you are and what you mean. Which leads to 3.

3) Mean it. Every word, down to the "the's" and "a's" that drive the letter forward. If it's insincere, it'll come off that way. And if you wouldn't stand by it in front of a stadium full of people while having someone else read it aloud, it means it wasn't true to you, which is a big thing. In a love letter, you're not only letting this person (and any person they decide to let read it one day) know how you feel about them, but you're letting them know who you are and how you feel. If you can't stand by how you feel, proudly, why would they, after reading it, stand by you?

4) If you're not comfortable with someone other than that person reading the letter, don't write it. Instead, see #1 and make them a playlist of other people's stuff. Getting personal with someone else is a big step with no guarantee that they'll keep it to themselves, and what's more personal than writing down your possibly grammatically erred, but deeply passionate thoughts and feelings and handing it to someone? If you're not ready, work your way up until you are.

5) Make it cohesive. A page full of the words "I love you" written over and over is not only limited but entirely creepy (and lazy! Put in the effort!). Just like in high school, when teacher told you to state your point and the beginning and end of each paper, make sure whatever story the body of your letter tells you go back to the main topic (which you stated at the beginning. Something to the effect of "I think you're super dope") and the end to bring it all home.

6) Make it (or them if you're writing a few of them at a time) something special. I write something everyday, whether it's here or a diary or, yep, love letters to Tarzan. The difference with the work I put here, the work I put in my diaries, and his letters are simply dates. The reason being that my feelings and who I am don't need to be time-stamped. It may not seem like a big deal, but no matter which letter he picks up, I know (and hopefully he knows) that whenever he reads them, they're going to be true, and it's going to be who I really am. You've got to find something to do with your love letters that make them special, to make this person realize they're special. Spray perfume on them, draw stick figures at the bottom and create a flip book, put the cheat codes you use to whup them at video games at the end of every letter in very small print...Whatever you guys share, whatever is special and fun about the two of you, incorporate it.

Coming from a girl who's written a small box full of cursive, undated love letters for the person who means the world to her, this isn't a fact just an observation: it feels great. Letting them know how you feel on paper (or by Microsoft Word), releasing the feelings out into the world, frees you and them. In all honesty, what the  omnipresent "they" say is true: the worst the person can say is "I don't feel the same." If you never let them know (whether in love letter form or not) you'll never know. And we all need a lot less "what if's" in our lives. And so what if they don't feel the same? You just did something brave and beautiful, and if they don't appreciate it, someone else surely will.

Be great (don't be lazy!) and share the love.