The following is a list of all entries from the love more category.
I was talking recently with a coworker/friend about her struggles with weight. She has made a comic schtick out of her relationship with food, and calls herself, proudly, ‘fat bitch.’ She has taken her weight – something that might otherwise be a source of much frustration – and made it into her comedic ace-in-the-hole.
It wasn’t until she started to call me ‘skinny bitch’ that I started to understand what was really going on here. I noticed I was starting to live up to the moniker – I wanted to bring in some leftover tortilla chips to supplement my lunch one day, but I decided against it. I started to get decaffeinated tea (black) instead of coffee (with half and half) from the Starbucks next door. I became, for T’s sake, the skinny bitch she thought I was. Appreciating the accountability, I kinda enjoyed it. But if I was living up to skinny bitch, was she living up to her own nickname?
Furthermore, I wondered how many people are operating under the ‘weight’ of a persona. As a nutrition person, I feel I am often under pressure to look the part, which can sometimes give me the boost I need to cook a healthy meal, exercise more, or just generally maintain my weight. However, what about those people who are under pressure to stay fat? I mean, think about it. Comedians, truck drivers, mall Santas, nonnas, Star Jones? We expect them to look a certain way.
So I told T I thought she was pulling a Kevin James. She laughed, of course – the comedienne always appreciates a joke – But whether anything actually changes remains to be seen.
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I had a really good day today. I woke up next to my love in 6am blackness, heading to work while the rest of the house slept. Every morning that I kiss him goodbye, I think of my father’s words on love, loosely quoted: “sweetheart, you’ll know you REALLY love someone when you love every little thing about them — the smell of their sweat, the way they talk, the way they walk, and EVEN their stinky morning breath.” Our lips stick together a little, and I am comforted by the fact I could recognize my love even in the blindness of pitch black morning, by smell and by touch.
Work, not normally a bullet point in any summary of a good day, was notable simply because I wasn’t exhausted, everyone was in a good mood, and I had a delicious lox & cream cheese bagel for breakfast! One of my favorite bagel places just opened a new location about 500 feet from work which will certainly mean further dissolving my paycheck in exchange for hazelnut coffee and salad bar salads on Saturdays.
Grocery shopping was a must because… my cooking mojo is back! I’ve been eating a lot of cereal, PB&J sandwiches and whole foods hot bar, for no good reason other than general kitchen malaise. But today, I made pesto from the last of my summer basil crop (loosely adapted from an Alice Waters cookbook, but who really needs a recipe for pesto anyway?), and salmon in a lemon dill cream sauce for mom and dad – is it weird that I was simply in the mood to make a roux? Anyway, it came out great — or at least my parents said so. In what seems to have become characteristic of me, I cooked a full meal and then jetted out to go exercise instead of actually eating it. My mom is always entertained that I put more effort into cooking a meal I’m not even going to eat than most people put into cooking, period. Does anybody else do such a thing without being paid for it? 🙂 Next on the menu are smittenkitchen.com SNICKERDOODLES! (which I certainly WILL be eating.)
Instead of salmon, I had a great 5.6-mile training run, and I’m feeling really confident about my 10K race next weekend. Also, I got to run with my old running buddy, who was home for the weekend from her new digs in that far-and-away hipster haven known as Brooklyn, NY.
After writing a bit about my fantastic day, I remembered I also got a rejection letter from a job I really wanted. It’s interesting how something could ruin your day if you let it, or it could disappear. A few days ago, for no good reason, I was feeling depressed and alone, and trying (and failing) to connect with people I care about. Today, without really trying, I felt good, connected to the people I love, and light in spirit and mind.
What a gift, having the words to ruminate over the details of a lovely day.
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Romantic homeostasis seems to be at work on us as our relationship, tipped so long towards complete contentment, finds it’s own more realistic level. I know the initial feelings of total bliss in any relationship will naturally become interspersed with some frustration or other less-desirable emotions, and the two will take turns defining the relationship as it settles into a more mature version of itself. But that doesn’t mean I will feel comfortable accepting these feelings, now or ever.
Apologies for sounding a bit like a negative Nancy – my general feeling is still one of love, acceptance, contentment. But small nagging points emerge that tend to take hold in the front of my conscience, bothering me more than they should. A forgotten “thank you” here and there for the little things, or skipping over the “how was your day” in favor of a rumination on the events of his own day, for better or worse. I see my own immaturity emerging as I project my unmet desire for personal perfection – normally applied to grades, body weight, or being liked at work – onto my relationship, as well as my desire for constant positive feedback and reinforcement. He’s not feeling well, so I stop by with soup and love and the groceries I know he can’t drag himself out of bed to buy today. He thanks me often, and passionately, for spending the day with him. He loves me, and just being there makes him feel better. Oddly, my first – FIRST! – thought is, “but what about that soup I bought you?”
I get it, I do… a lot of this is in my own head, my own problem, my own responsibility to find a solution… So until I do, I’m trying to keep my irrational mind quiet and enjoy the bliss as much as I can.
Laying on the grass in the evening shadows of a towering palm, he spoke the words I had been aching to hear directly into my ear with a whisper that seemed to say, ‘these words are just for you… don’t let them go.’ We have since returned to the cold reality of home, work, school, and the like, but I’m learning love has a way of warming you from the inside out. 🙂
Although we only exchanged I love you’s recently, I have been slowly falling in love with him for the entire time we’ve been dating, with a few specific traits of his that I particularly love. For one thing, he has found two subjects for which he is incredibly passionate – photography and animals. Watching his face light up when he recounts, via photographs, his travels to everywhere from the San Diego Zoo to India and New Zealand, I can’t help but share in his excitement. Stacks of photo albums are brimming with photos of all sorts of mammals, and he never tires of sharing them with me. I suppose this is common, but I have always found passion for life to be far sexier than the traditional six pack/square jaw definition of sexy.
Also, he is habitually considerate. At more cynical moments in my life, I have scoffed at men opening car doors and such, but in reality, it is a pleasure. Aside from the fact a date feels more special when a man goes out of his way to extend a chivalrous hand, his behavior speaks volumes about the way he was raised, to act with class and respect. I can never imagine fighting with him – honestly – because he has always been more concerned with me than with asserting his righteousness.
I feel fortunate to be able to say that I could go on and on; he’s boyishly handsome, he appreciates travel, he’s incredibly bright, etc etc. But I think one trait in particular – one that we happen to share – has recently contributed a great deal to the growth and development of our relationship: We both have a well developed love for good food. As such, we have already spent many hours in the kitchen, talking over a smorgasbord of leftovers or he hugging me from behind while I put the finishing touches on dinner. It is so much fun to cook for someone who loves to eat, and so meal planning and cooking have been a blast. As such, I’ve decided to start keeping track of the new things I make, as long as they get good reviews from me and my sweetie 🙂
Parmesan Garlic Bread
Ciabatta Bread, in 6 1″ slices
2T minced garlic
very generous pinch of parmesan shreds
Melt butter with garlic and parmesan over medium heat until uniform and starting to bubble.
spoon/pour over ciabatta slices (on a cookie sheet) and bake at 350 degrees until edges begin to brown. This would probably be great in the broiler too.
Swiss Omelet with Thyme
2T fresh thyme (stems discarded)
1/3C Jarlsberg Swiss, finely grated
salt and pepper to taste
Spray a small frying pan with Pam/olive oil. In a small bowl, whisk 1 whole egg and two egg whites with thyme, swiss, and salt and pepper. Mixture may be slightly lumpy. Cook until nearly firm, and turning once, cooking for another 30 seconds or so. Serve on toasted english muffin.
The times I find myself pushing writing to the back burner are also the times when I seem to need writing the most. Of late, I have been consumed by the most wonderful of distractions -a new love – and have since been contemplating what exactly that means. At the point in our relationship where the L word threatens to spring from my mouth at any given moment and I find myself holding back, scared, perhaps, of what might happen next, I concurrently question why the word – the idea of the word, even – brings so much unnecessary contemplation.
With A, my feelings of attraction, trust, comfort and admiration are far stronger than they have been for anyone in a long time… maybe ever. Is THAT love? I also find myself wanting to take care of him, cook for him, and show him how well I might provide love and stability in his life. Is THAT love?
With all my questions, I realized that, for a word that is so often used and thought about, I had (and continue to have) little clue about what it means. To say you love someone is to express a higher-than-normal esteem for them, so that they may recognize that you value their presence in your life above others. Sure. But there must be more to it than that, otherwise the idea of telling someone you love them wouldn’t be quite so intimidating. There is an additional element of self in telling someone you love them for the first time; you are essentially laying your cards on the table, inviting the infinite possibilities the word has come to imply. It is like saying, “I surrender to the unknown with you.”
All that considered, I feel like I’m ready to tell this wonderful person that I love him, beyond even the shadow of a doubt, and see – finally – what it means to surrender myself to love.
Blogging has become so difficult lately.
Sometimes I worry that I’m losing steam when it comes to writing. But, I realized, it’s not that I’m uninspired, necessarily; rather, I think my recent decline in ideas to blog about is stemming from the fact that I have been more in tune with my Eat Right Judge Less Love More goals than I have been for a while. It’s amazing how much creative energy had come from a lack of inner peace!
I think this shift stems from a few different changes in my life…
1) I’m a runner now — Yes, I’ve officially embraced it as one of my adjectives, now that my first 10k is less than a week away! I love love love the feeling that comes from somewhere within me when I run, pushing me to go on – faster, even – when a cramp or tired legs scream at me to stop. Love the feeling of fellow early morning runners (including my wonderfully devoted running partner, L!), whose dedication urges me to get out of bed in the morning when I’m feeling less than energized. I thank running for being one of the healthiest ways I’ve ever bounced back from a relationship gone wrong. In making myself a priority, I’m feeling pretty great about other things in my life as well. It’s amazing, the trickle-down effect taking care of yourself can have.
2) I’ve finally learned to appreciate my friends. It seems like an obvious thing to do, appreciating your friends, but they have tended to get less of my attention as the ebb and flow of transient friends has distracted me from the people who will always be there. Lately, though, it seems these transient folks are becoming easier to spot, as I take time to acknowledge what it is I value about my friends: non-judgmental, honest, open-minded, opinionated individuals whose primary common ground is an unshakeable love and respect for each other.
3) I’m making loving myself a priority over loving anybody else. I spent a good portion of my last relationship unhappy, but not wanting to hurt the person who seemed so happy with me. As I re-enter the dating world, I’m making a concerted effort to do what I WANT to do (within reason, of course!) The results have been somewhat surprising, in terms of how UNSURPRISED people are with my actions. I guess most people are pretty vocal about what they want and need, and so it’s no surprise to anyone when I vocalize my own wants and needs. The idea of making decisions without my first thought always being, “but what if he…?” is a step in the right direction, I’d say!
My mother and I were talking today about how easy it is for us to be hurtful with words, and how we sometimes have to apologize for comments or “jokes” that have slipped out inappropriately. Mama told me she sometimes hopes that, if she were to get sick, she would contract an illness affecting her tongue so she could know for sure she was incapable of hurting people with her words. I was taken aback by the example, but at the same time I understood completely, especially in light of an experience I had today.
Generally, I like to think I’m pretty good with words. I love to write, I consider myself pretty articulate, and good conversations really excite me. But lately, I have been feeling that “I-wish-my-tongue-would-just-rot-out-of-my-head” feeling, as I find myself being incredibly hurtful to the people I care most about, including, at the moment, C. I am in that joyful early stage of a new relationship with C, where butterflies and endless late night conversations abound and the slightest brush of our skin sends giddy chills down my spine. Yet, the inevitable insecurity that goes along with the awkwardness of anything new has led me to say some really hurtful things. I made a comment today under the guise of humor that wound up really hurting C, to the point that we spent the remainder of our day at the beach in near-silence. We have since resolved the issue, but it made me wonder: Why is it so easy for me to allow myself to be ruled by my insecurities, liberally distributing criticism, judgment and other deprecating language? What I really want to say to C is how in awe of him I am; first of all, I look at him and wonder how someone could be so handsome. Beyond that, he has found his passion and actively pursued it, and is habitually open-minded and interested in learning. He is not boastful, nor is he distracted by material things. Most importantly, though, I feel great when I’m around him. But, the combination of advice from girlfriends (“Don’t be too available!” “Make him work for your affection!” etc, etc) and the remnants of the scathing humor that often defined my last relationship have made it all to easy to be downright rude because, hey, its safer than showing how you really feel.
But I need to stop. I’ve been really working on judging less, but its time to pair that with loving more. it’s time to muster up the confidence to be loving and say what I want to say without worrying about being too available or whatever else my friends advise me to do. Luckily, knowing I’ve hurt someone is enough for me to do whatever I can to ensure I don’t hurt them again, but hopefully I haven’t done any permanent damage…
I’m amazed by people who can pour their heart and soul into causes that are so far removed from their own reality: genocide in Darfur, a hurricane in New Orleans, tsunami relief in Indonesia, aid for victims of the cyclone in Burma (and, I might add, of the country’s somewhat irrational leadership) … the list of disasters goes on, all with an astounding following of devoted do-gooders.
Today’s issue of the New York Times headlines what I suspect will be the next target of our attention — an earthquake in Sichuan, China.
A friend of mine inspired this post — Out of nowhere, she began to rant the other day in an unexpectedly emphatic way about the resistance of the Burmese government to outside intervention. “I don’t understand!” she exploded. “How could they not want our help?”
Tired from a long day of walking and talking, I kept silent and let her vent. But I wondered: what exactly do we have to do with Burma anyway? How do people conjure the energy to tirelessly help people in a country they probably couldn’t find on a map?
Not to say that I am against the idea of helping people — as a rule, I think doing for others is much more rewarding than doing for self — but it sometimes seems that newspaper headlines dictate where we devote our time and energy, as opposed to our own innate desire to do good. I’d be willing to bet that, driven by your inner girl scout, you could simply walk your neighborhood and do a number of good deeds: picking up litter, shooting hoops with a child, helping a homebound neighbor do some grocery shopping, etc etc.
But somehow, these smaller, tangible deeds often tend to go undone.
Wayne Coyne, lead singer of the Flaming Lips (love him!) makes a similar point in an interview I heard a while back:
“So many times, young people are caught up in the abstract quality of what you can do to the world. People will always pick some group of starving, unfortunate people in the world… to say ‘I’m gonna send them some money, and I hope that they’re doing good,’ and they don’t realize that they’ve never actually helped anybody in their community. There’s probably someone 50 feet away from you… if you really tried, you could go and find them and actually help them. You wouldn’t even have to give them money, you could probably do something for them, right then and there, and know, ‘that person and me have a connection, and I helped them.'”
Titling my blog with ‘love more’ is a simple way of conveying my interest in what I think is one of the most effective ways of doing good — small, loving acts that directly connect you to another human being. I’d much rather hold a door for someone or write a nice card to someone having a bad day than put five dollars in an envelope and mail it away to another time zone, never to hear from them again. But, right or wrong, that’s just me.
I do certainly still admire those who can devote themselves so fully to causes such as these; If anybody reads and can comment from a different perspective, I’d love some insight!