1. The importance of creating a tribe
A tribe is going to be fundamental to your recovery. My own tribe consists of a handful of incredible women my age, a few people 20 years my senior and a sprinkling of people in between.
My tribe is full of people from different backgrounds. Let the members of your tribe surprise you with their variety. Let all these different perspectives of outlooks on life glitter your life contribute to your recovery.
Honesty and authenticity will engage you with your tribe. Without my own willingness to be both honest and authentic, I would not have created this network of unconditional support. If you want to get better, you are going to need at least one other human on this planet who you can text for distraction when you’re thinking about relapsing.
You’re going to need people who encourage you, with or without them knowingly doing so, to eat the cinnamon bun. The worst moments of my eating disorder happened when I made a conscious effort to keep it all a secret. The minute I started talking about my eating disorder, I stopped giving it so much power and received the gift of flourishing friendships in return.
Accept that your weight will change with life changes
Weight is not static. Weight is a fluid concept. We cannot expect our weight to remain remain constant.
When you began food restriction, you began life restriction. You’re getting your life back. You’re going to do the normal stuff you once loved.
You are going to eat brunch with your friends. You are going to drink wine. You are going to eat meals cooked for you by other people.
You are going to eat the foods you once mistakenly labelled ‘bad’. Your weight is going to alter as you alter your life. Eating one slice of cake isn’t going to immediately cause a five pound weight gain.
Make a conscious effort to let go of the fear of weight gain. Your self-worth isn’t synonymous with your weight. Remember that there are a lot worse things in the world then having to buy a pair of bigger jeans.
Practice acceptance and stop waging war with your body.
3. Understand that there is no such thing as a ‘typical’ recovery
You have to understand that recovery is not linear. That there is no perfect way to recover.
It may take months for one person and years for another person. Do not shame yourself for the amount of time it is taking you to get through this. Do not shame yourself for how difficult or easy you are finding getting through this.
Do not shame yourself for relapsing into old habits and behaviours. Eating disorders thrive in shameful environments. You feed your eating disorder by being ashamed.
Treat yourself like a child. Take walks in the fresh air. Sleep enough.
Dink lots of water. Do not put pressure on yourself. Remember not all recovery is physical.
Do not belittle the strength it takes to recover from negatively reinforcing safety behaviours. Do not belittle the power it takes to consciously stop indulging in a body-shaming mind-set. Be proud in your own personal story of deliverance.
Recover however the fuck you have to.
4. Pay attention to what triggers you
You’ve got to pull yourself together enough to realize that you are responsible for the stimuli that you are exposing to your brain. It is so important to make a conscious effort to avoid exposing yourself to things that make you want to indulge in negative behaviors.
Unfollow the people who make you feel bad about yourself on Instagram and other social media platforms. Stop hanging out with the friend who makes you question your worth. Leave the job that makes you feel out of control.
Don’t sleep with boys who inadvertently make you feel less than you are. Surround yourself with confident and strong people. Read more literature.
Go outside more. Pinterest positive quotes. Read the amazing stories of people behind recovery blogs.
Learn a new skill. Find out what makes you light up and put all the energy your eating disorder took from you and pour into all of these new things. Watch your life become magic before your eyes.
Don’t forget that you are in control of what you react to your surroundings.
5. Understand that it is not your mind and not your body that is the problem
If you are unhappy with yourself when you are a size sixteen, then there is very little chance you will be happy with yourself when you are a size eight. Self-love doesn’t magically blossom when you hit a societally desirable clothing size.
Stop telling yourself you will not be happier if you gain five or fifteen pounds. Stop telling yourself that people will love you less if you gain five or fifteen pounds. Say good riddance to the idea that your life will begin once you manage to lose another five pounds.
Life is already happening and the good news is you don’t need to constantly focus on attaining a socially desirable body type to live it. Your life calling isn’t going to be losing weight. Your path in life is not attaining and maintain a tiny body.
Realise that becoming all inclusively comfortable and in love with your raw and true self will make you feel more fulfilled, empowered and beautiful than starvation, purging and thinness ever could. It begins and ends in your mind. Take comfort in this.
Remember to be brave
We live in a society where our outward appearances are celebrated more than our personal achievements. We are members of a culture that often overlooks kindness, intelligence and personality for the size of the gap between a pair of thighs or the flatness of a stomach. There is something inherently wrong with this cultural message.
The bad news? This attitude is deeply ingrained into our culture and is hard to avoid. The good news?
You have the ability to practice bravery. You have the power to say fuck you to these toxic ideas. You have to remember to be brave.
Live life without fear of how people perceive your body to look like. Stop wishing that you were smaller. Take up more space.
Be brave enough to ignore the idea that you should exist in the way the world tells you that you should. Be whoever the fuck you want to be if that’s what constitutes the concept of healthy to you. Be brave to say fuck it to anything or anyone that makes you think otherwise.
Never doubt the importance of self-care
Be gentle with yourself. You are reconciling with parts of your mind you have been at war with for months, for years. This is not an easy feat.
Self-care is so important. Set personal boundaries. Take time for yourself.
Indulge in doing things that make you feel good. It’s not all about face masks, warm cups of tea and candle lit baths. It’s about saying exactly what you mean.
It’s not being afraid to say no. It’s not being afraid to say yes. It’s trusting your instincts.
It’s letting go of what you can’t control. It’s doing what feels right. It’s being kind to yourself.
And it’s going to be central to you moving on with your life.
I’d grown up seeking a widely popular and yet entirely unattainable picture of relationship perfection, as I imagine so many of my generation do. The morning after our wedding as my new husband and I were leaving our bridal suite, I brushed passed the maid who took notice of the bouquet of semi-wilted flowers clutched in my hand and asked sweetly, “are you the bride?” I smiled and nodded. She went on to say that she and her husband had been married for nearly forty years and that it was the most difficult thing she’d done in her life, besides raising her four children, but that it was worth every minute of the hard work they’d invested.
She gave me a quick hug and sent me on my way with her best wishes. High on dopamine from the previous night’s nuptials, my brief conversation with the soft spoken housekeeper seemed like a piece of trite advice I’d heard a million times in passing. Thanks lady, but we already had it figured out.
In my mind, being in love meant having a superfluous supply of butterflies, breezing through the days drunk on dopamine, and aside from the occasional disagreement, generally living life in a state of wedded bliss. What I have learned in the two and a half years since that morning is that the love that lasts, in all actuality, is frequently disguised as a much less sexy and much more intentional, sometimes exhausting, but always rewarding version. I met my now husband through family (that’s a story for another day) and though I immediately thought he was cute, I had no plans of pursuing him or exploring its potential any further. I was twenty three, still reeling from a break up with my college sweetheart, and more interested in developing my young career and investing in friends and family than adding a new guy to the mix.
Over the next few months, I ran into him here and there at some of my favorite local watering holes and restaurants. Each time, we’d have a brief friendly conversation and part ways until one Sunday when I received a text asking to meet for drinks. Caught off guard, a little unsure, and already having plans for the afternoon, I politely declined.
What I have come to now know and absolutely adore about the man that I married is that it takes much more than a “thanks but no thanks” to discourage him. And so the story goes. The beginning of a good and healthy relationship exists in a microcosm.
Inside this bubble is where you begin to navigate the new and exciting terrain of the young relationship. It’s a concentrated amount of uncertainty, anxiety, euphoria, and general anticipation where patience is limitless, forgiveness is easy, and the physical attraction is barely able to be contained. Exhilarated by this new found piece of our life, we mislabel it love, when really it’s just a good old case of infatuation. So when I started dating my husband and these incredibly influential feelings began to matriculate, I remember thinking: this must be proof that it’s right and will last forever.
Last forever being the key words there. Here’s the tricky thing about feelings that rom-coms and pop culture fail to include in their portrayals of love and marriage: emotions are fleeting, they are fluid and impermanent, they are easily influenced, and not always a stable navigation for behavior. As a product of that pop culture, I’d been feeding on this irrevocably fictional picture of “true love” for, well, my entire life.
The movie always ends just as the happy couple says “I do” as if that’s the grand finale. They’ve done it, they made it across the finish line, they’re married and everything is gravy from there. So when my husband and I wedded in a casual lakeside ceremony on a beautiful July night in upstate New York, I thought I knew what was coming next: buy a home, take some time to travel, have a baby or two, and so on, all while high on the infinite feelings of unfiltered happiness. Instead, we discovered the profound reality of what marriage entails. We bought our beautiful home that we had been dreaming of, we traveled to some breathtaking destinations in the world, we added another sweet puppy to our family and in between those momentous occasions, we managed months of tight finances, battled a bout of mental illness, left jobs to start new and more demanding ones, and began our journey with infertility.
With each of these changing circumstances, we navigated the evolving dynamic of our married sex life, the shifting landscape of our communication, and balanced and supported one another’s emotions as best we could. The infatuation that had existed in that microcosm slowly progressed to something even more intimate, more stable, and more reliable. It permeated into every facet of our relationship. We began to dismiss that childish version of love, understanding that real love looked a lot less glamorous than Hollywood made it seem. It is collaborating to tackle life’s most difficult moments.
It is supporting the other’s choices and ideas that may scare you or leave you feeling uncertain. It is waking up every single morning and making the intentional decision to commit to loving your partner no matter how you feel that day. It is being mindful of your words and actions and the effect they have on your spouse.
It is laying your head down every night next to a person you respect the hell out of. That is what a state of sustainable love looks like. There is no shortage of lessons that being married affords you and even in our most difficult moments, I am deeply grateful for them.
Without these moments, I have no doubt that I would have continued chasing a temporary state of infatuation, mistaking it for the real thing and later on finding ourselves struggling to keep our heads above water when things became ordinary, repetitive, and monotonous the way life has a tendency to be. We’re all born and raised under the false pretenses that we have an innate understanding of love and while I believe that every human is capable of it, I no longer operate under the arrogant assumption that we all naturally and seamlessly arrive at it. And what a disservice it is to ourselves that we assume to, manifesting in the dissolution of marriages, the dysfunction between partners, and the jaded attitudes we take on after the feelings fade. As with most things in life, there is a learning curve to love and marriage that requires a kind of stamina and dedication that most other things do not.
As the gentle hearted maid said to me that morning, it is the most worthwhile investment I’ve made in my life.
A dinner date gets too exciting.
Against my better judgement, I accepted a dinner invitation from my step-son. My husband was working a double shift, and my daughter was spending the weekend with her BFF.
As soon as we were seated, he ordered a bottle of wine. We drank a couple glasses while perusing the menu and another bottle during a delicious dinner.
My step-son is a very good conversationalist. He’s very romantic and attentive, and because of that, I have always envied his girlfriends. I was having a wonderful time.
I knew I was a little tipsy, but it really hit me when I tried to stand up. My step-son suggested that we stop at a two-hour, transit motel, so I could “freshen” up. In my inebriated state, that sounded like a good idea.
The clerk gave us both a strange look as she checked us in. I didn’t appreciate the way she looked me over like I was an over-the-hill hooker. We took the elevator up to the third floor then walked down the dingy hallway to our room.
He opened the door, and I stepped in. Suddenly, seemingly out of nowhere, my step-son started French kissing me, passionately. His hand cupped my breast and pinched my nipple.
I hadn’t been “French” kissed in forever. When we first got married, my husband did it, but it’s been years since I felt that passion. I felt a sudden flush rush over me, and you’d have thought it was George Clooney or Brad Pitt kissing me.
I couldn’t help myself. I returned his kisses with our tongues whipping the other into a frenzy. He threw me on the bed.
I loved being treated that way. He was the man taking what he wanted. Our hands explored every inch of each other’s body as our tongues continued dancing in each other’s mouth.
I was wet beyond my dreams. As his tongue slithered in and out of my mouth, it reminded me of how his cock felt when I had sucked him. I was flowing like the Mississippi, which was being encouraged by his hand under my dress with his finger circling my clit.
Of course, my hand was feeling his cock as it strained against his suit pants. It was hard and throbbing. I teased him as my fingers caressed his cock’s head.
For once, I knew I wasn’t just my husband’s fuck hole. My step-son REALLY wanted ME. “Let’s strip!” he suggested.
“I can’t. Let’s keep our clothes on,” I managed to maintain a smidgen of decorum. If it would have been anyone else, I would have fucked him, but this was my step-son.
I just couldn’t. If he only knew, how badly I wanted to tear his pants off and suck that beautiful cock of his. My panties were soaked through and through.
This rest of the time was a blur of tongues, hands and fingers exploring until after midnight. When I awoke the next morning, we both acted as if nothing had happened. My husband was totally oblivious to the whole situation, which just goes to show you how much he notices me except when HE wants to get his rocks off.
I couldn’t get the sensation of what happened out of my head. I lost track of how many times I masturbated. Each time I came, it was better than the last.
I had never felt anything this intense in my life. I was in a state of denial and can’t believe I acted that way. Now, when I walk around the house in my shorts, I can feel his eyes on me.
It feels like he’s about explode from sexual frustration. I’ve stopped flashing my panties for him because I’m afraid he’ll jump me and fuck me right then and there. I feel like an antelope being tracked by a lion, however I just can’t shake the exhilaration and excitement of that night.
I hate to say this, but it’s just a matter of time.
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If found posted anywhere other than securityslags.com with this note attached, it has been posted without my permission.
<a href=”https://www.securityslags.com/stories/taboo/the-line-has-been-crossed.aspx”>The Line Has Been Crossed</a>
All my friends are turning thirty and they’re getting married in backyards and at wineries in Santa Barbara and people are giving toasts and crying and I’m trying to cry too, but mostly because marriage means change and it means life is just turning into a series of vignettes, a few pops of Major Events before the ultimate nothing. You can see it now, the crostini you’re nibbling on at the wedding, and then the pita bread you’re dipping in hummus at the baby shower and then the pretzels you’ll be eating alone while you catch up on the phone about how crazy your lives are and yes, we need to see each other soon, girls weekend, reconnect, sounds great, talk to you in eight months. All my friends are turning thirty and they have decent amounts of money, which allow them to eat £16 heirloom tomato salads once a week, even though no one can afford a house and maybe they never can and that’s okay, sure, sure, it’s fine but wait, I’m sorry, will we ever retire, just kidding, don’t tell me, I want to be surprised on my deathbed.
All my friends are turning thirty and their lives are getting busier and smaller and all the clich?s of a year going by in what feels like a second are true and I wish it wasn’t, I really, really do. Because it means that everyone was right about everything. All my friends are turning thirty and they’re happier than they’ve ever been and if they’re not, they hide it pretty fucking well or, at the very least, wait to have three glasses of wine before they start talking about this permanent low-grade sadness they’ve been experiencing.
There’s no culprit, no asshole boyfriend or terrible job to pinpoint the blame on. It’s just called “paying attention” and it will probably be this way forever and I guess this is just how people feel and no one ever talks about it???? Like, you’re happy, you’re stable, you stopped destroying yourself, but just because YOU got better doesn’t mean LIFE got better.
All my friends are turning thirty and their parents are turning sixty, sixty-five, and their brains are getting slightly dulled, the mid-afternoon rests are getting more frequent and you know, without a doubt now, that they are going to die, which makes you understand a little bit more why people choose to have families of their own, so that when their parents die, they have something of their own to hold on to and give them purpose. You get it, you get it, you get it, so should you just start having kids now and tell them when they get older, “Hi, I had you so life could make a little bit more sense for me, sorry.” Or is that too cruel? All my friends are turning thirty and they look good.
Their faces are lived in now, they’ve been paying rent on them for probably four years now, and they look mature without looking fried. They’re going to look at pictures of themselves from this time and be like, “Wow I was hot. I hope I knew how hot I was.” But, of course, you never really know anything until you’re forced to live with something different. (Think about this for a second, then quickly unthink it: One day, your child is going to post a picture of you when you were thirty and their friends are going to comment “omgggg they were such a babe!!!!” and you will see it and feel very sad and old.
Ugh. If that doesn’t just send a shiver up your (still) sexy and young spine, I don’t know what will.) All my friends are turning thirty and they love to say the word “no” and they love knowing that they’ll never have to go to something as meaningless as an acquaintance’s housewarming party ever again and they love talking about all the bad things they used to do because it allows them to quietly brag about their own progress.
They find comfort in being “boring”, in no longer throwing up in stranger’s toilets or giving their heart to a dick with a great dick. They surprise themselves less but that’s okay. The surprises were never that good anyway.
In short: Their lives are getting better and better.
And harder and harder.
Traveling is one of the most rewarding experiences that can happen in your life. Seeing the world can teach you about different cultures, people, and especially yourself. But before stepping onto the plane to start the life-changing experience that awaits you, there’s one minor detail that must be taken care of.
Something we all love to do. Packing. When planning a trip, whether it be for a week, a month, or a year, packing is always the hardest part.
It’s an overwhelming process for many and must be planned for carefully in order to avoid an emotional breakdown (even though for many of us this is inevitable!). However big or small the trip, the question will always remain- How in the world do I pack for this?
As the trip comes closer important questions begin to overload your mind- What luggage should I buy? How much of each clothing item will I need?
Can I fit my hair straightener and makeup bag? When I got to this point in my travel planning I had to have a serious sit-down with myself and prioritize what I really couldn’t live without. It took sacrifices (and a few tears…I’m sorry to say the hair straightener didn’t make the cut) in the beginning, but I am living proof that IT IS POSSIBLE to fit everything you need to survive into a carry-on size travel backpack.
Keep reading to see how I’ve managed so far during my journey! And if you are planning a trip I hope you find my suggestions helpful.
You are looking at my entire wardrobe. Every piece of clothing shown here is all that I have to my name.
And it all fits into this Osprey travel backpack. Finding this bag was the first step to my packing adventure. I knew I wanted a backpack because of how much easier it would be to carry it around the world.
European and Central American sidewalks aren’t made for wheeled suitcases and no one wants to look like a struggling American every time you’re trying to go anywhere. I also wanted a pack that would open from the front, not the top like a normal backpack. It would make organizing everything much simpler.
With this very specific criteria, it wasn’t hard to narrow down my options (because there really weren’t very many!) The Osprey Farpoint 70 was exactly what I needed. It is the perfect size for all of my clothes and toiletries. Not to mention it is just the right size for a normal aircraft carry-on which saves a ton of money!
It also has an added detachable daypack which has come in handy for storing electronics and such throughout the trip.
So, let’s get down to specifics about what is in my suitcase! Luckily Jake and I are traveling during the summer months in Europe, and Central America is pretty warm year-round, so lots of tank tops and shorts are in my wardrobe. Pictured above are the shirts that I cycle through.
The one in the middle is mostly for going out (because you always have to be prepared for at least one of these options!) The rest I wear frequently. There are two t-shirts (pictured on the ends) and two tank tops. I chose either solid colors or simple black and white patterns because it is extremely helpful when all of your clothing items have the ability to match. One tip I’ve learned when packing clothing for an extended trip: select clothing items so that if you were to pick an outfit completely blindfolded from your backpack it would match no matter what.
Now this isn’t going to work EVERY time, but it is a good rule of thumb when your clothing options are limited. I love clothes and picking outfits. So if I only have five outfits to choose from I will get bored.
So having more combinations because of clothing colors and patterns makes for a happier Elizabeth!
Another important note- three out of the five shirts in the picture above I have bought while in Europe. Throughout traveling you will discover that you won’t wear a shirt as much as you thought you would or you want more space in your luggage. So I’ve done a fair amount of swapping clothing items and throwing others away.
I started the trip with more, but two months in I think I have finally perfected my shirt options!
The additional shirts in my backpack are for working out/sleeping/lounging around. The black tank top has a built-in sports bra which has saved me from having to pack multiple sports bras. Obviously I had to rep my beloved sorority even if it’s just during a run or in my sleep (I’m still in denial that I am an alumni).
These shirts are all perfect for what I need.
Next up, bottoms! The two on top are the ones I wear often while out sightseeing in the city. To be honest, I’ve been debating getting rid of the khaki ones because I don’t wear them as much as the jean style ones.
I started out this trip with only the yoga pants and Capri jeans. They have filled each purpose that they are intended for with satisfaction.
I decided on bringing Capri style jeans to save some room in the bag and also because it’s hot and full length ones are not necessary. The patterned pants on the end I bought at a market in Croatia for £8 and I think it was the best eight dollars I have ever spent. They are super comfortable, lightweight, and cute!
Definitely a great addition, especially because they take up virtually no room in the backpack.
Maxi dresses and rompers are some of my favorite clothing items in general, so I had to incorporate them somehow into my backpack! The maxi dress takes up a considerable amount of space. However, it has been perfect to have when Jake and I are going out to nice dinners or to a performance of some sort.
It also has been a lifesaver in Italy when visiting churches because of their modest dress code requirements! The romper is super comfortable and essential for summer traveling in my opinion. Only one item of clothing and you don’t have to worry about being “lady-like” all the time in comparison to a sun dress!
To remedy the solid and bland-ish colors of my wardrobe I decided to bring a couple “accessories” to help change up my look sometimes.
This lightweight kimono is beautiful and really fun to wear. The orange scarf is nice at times too when I want to switch things up. And of course, I always gotta rep good ol’ Portland with my Portland Gear hat!
This hat has been perfect for travel days when I want to hide my sleeping face from other passengers on the train or on a hike on the beautiful European terrain.
While I may be traveling during the summer months and in the tropics during my six months away, I can’t be in denial about the possibility of being cold. However, I don’t need to over prepare. I decided that a lightweight, but warm, zip-up hoodie that I have had for years would be perfect for those cold evenings and rainy days that are inevitable (it’s currently raining in Italy as I write this in August so I think it was a good choice).
As a true Oregonian, I never go anywhere without my rain jacket! Rain jackets are malleable and easy to fit almost anywhere. So this was a must in my backpack.
Finally I have a vest from ScotteVest. I feel like Inspector Gadget when wearing this thing! There are 17 pockets able to hold basically all of your valuables including RFID pockets for passports and credit cards.
Jake’s very generous grandparents (Hi Delaine & Mike!) gifted these to us for the trip and they have been amazing. We are very fortunate to have them!
Last but certainly not least, SHOES! I have narrowed it down to the absolute necessities for these babies.
Not that I wouldn’t love to have more, I obviously would, but shoes take up A LOT of room in a backpack. I don’t have room for any more than I already have. I have my Nikes for working out/hiking/traveling.
They are extremely beat up and have multiple holes in them, but they are necessary on this trip for me! I also have one pair of sandals that I wear most often. They are SO COMFORTABLE.
Perfect for walking around cities for hours and they are extremely lightweight which is important for packing reasons! I also have one pair of low rise shoes that are also good for walking around in. The last is a pair of flip flops that I wear exclusively in hostel showers (it’s necessary, trust me), on the beach, or lounging around.
Of course there is the debate of how many bras, underwear, swimsuits, and socks to bring on the journey as well.
However I think these, much more than anything else, are decisions based on personal preference. My only advice would be to bring as much underwear as possible because it is the only thing in your wardrobe that really can’t be re-worn (or shouldn’t be!)
In addition to clothing, there are obvious toiletries that must be accompanied as well. As a women I feel that I have a lot more going on in this department than Jake (actually I KNOW this is true) so narrowing these items down was probably the hardest part of my packing experience.
Keeping toiletries organized is one of the most difficult parts about packing, in my opinion, so I made myself fit all that I wanted to bring into this toiletry holder from Bago. This thing is PERFECT. Honestly, if all of your toiletries can’t be fit into this amazing bag then you need to have another sit-down with yourself about your priorities.
I have made sure all of my containers are smaller than 3 oz. but I still have a lot of things to include in this bag. It all fits with ease! This bag has multiple compartments of all sizes keeping everything extremely organized and has made me very happy throughout the past two months.
Overall, no matter how much you plan, packing can be overwhelming.
However, if you are reading this blog post with future travels in mind, I hope you can refer back to this post and these suggestions leave packing for your next trip a little less overwhelming than ever before.
There is a hill just north of my apartment that overlooks the ocean. It juts out, right beyond the edge of someone’s driveway and gives you a view of the beautiful, southern California coast. At any given hour, you can see elementary schoolers running on the playground below, or tiny boats bobbing on the water’s surface like children’s toys.
Depending on the weather, you can barely distinguish the ocean from the sky, all a crystal blue or a hazy gray fading off into the distance. If you look north, you can see thousands of tiny houses, people milling about like ants, miniature cars with their spinning on the coastline roads. If you squint, you can see La Jolla and the cliffs reaching out from the shore, and just inland, the airplanes taking off.
This hill is one of my favorite places because it makes me feel so small, yet so connected. Such a huge world, and open ocean, limitless possibilities and endless places to explore. And I love knowing that I’m a part of it all.
It’s one of the places where I feel grounded, where I feel safe, where the world stops spinning, just for a moment. It’s where I’ve found myself. It’s where I want to take you, one day, when I let you in.
See, you’ll know I’ve fallen for you when I want to show you my secret places.
When I want to share the most precious spaces of the earth with you. When I want to bring you into where I’ve called home, where I’ve felt safe.
There are quiet roads and abandoned park benches where I’ve sat and poured my heart out into journals. There are patches of grass where I’ve picked flowers and watched the sky turn from yellow to red to purple as the sun dipped behind the clouds.
There are alleyways and highway turn-offs with graffiti that I’ve studied. There are restaurants where I’ve hidden in corner booths, sipped cold tea, and watched cars rush by. There are sandy beaches where I’ve listened to the sound of the waves and began to heal.
There are so many pieces of my heart that I will unveil to you as we wander. So many parts of me that you will only understand when you’ve been there, when you’ve touched the earth. When you’ve let flower petals slide through your fingers, or your toes scuff in dirt.
Or when you’ve closed your eyes and let go, let me in. As I let you in.
You will only truly know me when you’ve been to all the places I claim as my own. And when I love you, I promise I’ll take you.
I promise I’ll bring you in, take down those walls, and let you share my homes.
I promise I’ll show you my past and my scars. I promise I’ll show you where I’m hurting and where I’ve healed. I promise I’ll tell you stories, tell you what I’m thinking, share the inner-workings of my mind, as we watch the sun dance across the sky.
I promise that one day I won’t be guarded. One day I’ll take you to all the places that mean the most, and let you feel them. I’ll let you break and reshape along with me.
I’ll let you know who I am when I’m all alone.
I’ll let you love that girl.
And I’ll let her love you right back.
Let’s light a fire,
give me your desire,
let the whole world burn
set our souls afire
Let the flames ignite,
feel the blaze’s bite,
the lash of passion,
burning in the bright This world can be cold,
a chance to be bold,
I’ll stay warm in you,
a heat that can scold A desperate need,
to fulfill this greed,
all our wants fulfilled,
until we’re emptied
Be my gasoline,
embrace the obscene,
strike the match with me,
this burning unseen Light the fire with me,
be my fantasy,
I’ll show you a fire,
no other can be
This story is protected by International Copyright Law, by the author, all rights reserved. If found posted anywhere other than securityslags.com with this note attached, it has been posted without my permission.
Copyright (C) All submissions appearing on the Lush Stories web site by the author, Sicarium, are reserved.
All rights reserved (C) 2016
This material may not be reproduced, displayed, modified or distributed without prior permission by the author.
From a real event…
The sweet sadness
of a music box
winding to a stop.
The notes growing slowly
further and further apart. The cheerful tune
becoming melancholy. I wonder at each note,
“Will it be the last?”
As we drift apart, my Love,
When will be OUR last?
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<a href=”https://www.securityslags.com/stories/love-poems/music-box.aspx”>Music Box</a>
We have only to look at the divorce rate–41% for first marriages, 60% for second marriages, and a whopping 73% for third marriages–to know that people often fall out of love with their spouse. Why do so many people fall out of love? Don, 37 and Megan, 32, fell passionately ‘in love’ soon after meeting. They had fiery chemistry and loved being together.
Now, two years into their marriage, the passion is gone and they both believe they made a mistake. But did they? Don was brought up to believe that his good feelings had to come from a woman’s love.
Both his parents role-modeled self-abandonment for their own feelings of worth and lovability and made each other responsible for their happiness. Don’s mother took way too much responsibility for Don’s feelings, so he grew up believing that his partner was responsible for his feelings. Megan grew up with two very needy parents, who both made her responsible for their feelings. She became a caretaker, taking responsibility for their feelings and wellbeing, and learning to ignore her own.
Since we come together at our common level of woundedness–our common level of self-abandonment–Don and Megan were perfect for each other. They fell passionately ‘in love’ because Megan’s wounded self did a great job of caretaking Don’s feelings. Don felt loved by Megan, and Megan felt needed by Don. The problem was that Megan couldn’t possibly meet all of Don’s needs, and when she didn’t, he was angry and miserable.
The more miserable he become, the more guilty and responsible Megan felt. Anger, misery and guilt do not create passion. After two years of marriage, when they were on the verge of divorce, they consulted with me.
I could see right away that these two people really did love each other, but that they thought they had fallen out of love due to their codependent relationship system. “The two of you will not be able to feel in love with each other until you each fall in love with yourself,” I told them in our first Skype session. “Right now each of you are deeply abandoning yourselves and expecting the other person to fill you and meet your needs. Don, you blame Megan for your feelings of aloneness and emptiness, and Megan you resent Don for not appreciating all you do for him.
Neither of you are taking any responsibility for your own feelings. But, you are perfect for each other–if you use these issues to learn rather than run away and hope it will be better in a different relationship. Which it won’t be.
You will take your self-abandonment with you and eventually create the same system or a similar system. I suggest you stay together and both work on learning to love yourselves rather than abandon yourselves.” Don and Megan did stay together.
They both learned and practiced Inner Bonding, and even came to an Inner Bonding 5-day intensive together. They are so glad they did. “We have found our love for each other,” Don happily stated in our last session.
I really love who Megan is and I also feel her love for who I am, but we couldn’t really see each other and share our love when we were so busy abandoning ourselves. It feels so great to not feel empty and needy!” Megan smilingly agreed. Megan and Don both had the courage to look within, to discover and learn to love and value themselves so they could love and value each other. They are fortunate that both of them were willing to learn, but even if one person in a partnership does their inner work, the entire system can change.
So if your partner is not interested, don’t let that stop you from learning to love yourself!
I roll out of bed at around 4:30am even after a 1:00am clock out at work a short 3.5 hours prior. My phone lies on my nightstand lit up with Nordstrom Rack emails, Tinder messages, and an option to hit “Sleep.” Next step is usually a trip to the bathroom to wash the make up residue from my eyes I failed to get off properly the night before.
I head to the kitchen next, snap the lid on the Keurig for coffee and crack two eggs for my omelette. My green Herschel backpack is stuffed to the top with food, clothes, and other random items I’ll need for the next several hours. I pull my plaid pajama shorts off and change into a pair of multi-color gym shorts and a Lululemon tank.
The walk to the gym is a short 8 minutes where I begin my first job of the day. My status at 9am is as follows: Job #1 – Check.
Workout – Check. Dark circles beneath my eyes: Check. Check.
Check. After a shower, I hop onto the metro to Court House station in Arlington, VA where my freelance marketing gig is. Outside the office is a giant mural, overloaded with every color in the spectrum.
Step into the office and you’ll find boxes, several desks, and a keg of Yuengling light. “Hunter*, what are Saturdays for?” “THE BOYS!” He replies.
…this is how my Tuesdays usually go.
My work uniform changes from gym clothes, to jeans paired with a cute shirt and then a transition to a tight black tank usually worn with dark-wash shorts and Converse-like nonslip shoes. A Flying Dog bottle opener usually hangs out of my back pocket as I head to my third job of the day.
“Work views” are beer taps and a dusty Absolut Oak bottle that is never used. “Networking” is chatting up bar guests with the occasional resume/business card exchange. “#Goals” are…um, I don’t really know. A 23 year old single bartender living in the nation’s capital: a demographic I presently fall into which I have come to find out is few and far between. I’m not enrolled in grad school, I didn’t move here to be with a significant other, I don’t have a set career path.
My day-to-day activities don’t involve long commutes on the Metro, responding to emails in record-setting times, or lunch breaks with co-workers at the food truck outside of the office My schedule is long and not the most glorious, but I don’t allow myself to complain. Ok, maybe the ocassional “I’m tired AF stop talking to me,” comment, but it’s a life I chose for myself.
I recently was offered a full time 9-5 gig. Benefits, an entry level salary, a “smart choice.” One that would have certainly removed me from the uncommon demographic I have stumbled upon. One that would turn my 16 hour days into 9, one that would give my loved ones a peace of mind that I’m more financially and mentally stable.
I wanted to respond to the email with eagerness, but as my fingers began to type the response, I hit backspace. “Thank you so much for this opportunity. I would love to acc-”
I politely declined the offer.
I’m trying really hard not to sound like the cliche millennial with a “~go with the flow~” attitude about my professional life because the truth is, I am very much looking forward to the day that I can afford to take weekends off.
I can’t wait to tell my mom that I landed a job and be genuinely excited about it. I can’t wait to look back and say to myself: The unglorious 16-20 hour work days were worth it.
You made it. But, I want to be excited about it. Maybe the next job I land won’t be exactly what I want to do with the rest of my life, but why should I have to settle for something so farfetched from where I want to be to feel like I belong?
It’s hard for some people to understand a lot of the choices I make, and it’s even tougher to explain them. But, I’ve found that it’s best not explain them at all.
Just because I don’t know exactly where this path will take me, at least I know it’s going to take me somewhere.
People call me crazy for working 3 jobs. To be honest, I could probably get by with only bartending full time if I wanted to.
However, I’d rather be living a life that encompasses all of my interests…while getting paid for it. And if that means working my ass of day in and day out, that’s ok. So what do you do for a living?
The stereotypical DC question to ask. Sometimes people are just genuinely interested, but other times it’s to compare themselves. Is my job better than hers? Do I make more money? It’s a question I get all of the time, usually as I’m pouring a beer for them as they are in the midst of complaining about how miserable their job is.
It’s often an assumption that bartending is “just for extra cash,” and for a lot of people it is. But for me, it’s not. At least for now.
I don’t go into detail about my long days, because I know they don’t really want to hear it. I used to feel like I had to explain myself and my situation often replying with: “Well I’m just trying to figure out what I want to do so I work a few jobs seeing what will fit best for me.”
Who wants to get up at 4:30am and finish the day at 1am? Society would classify “us” as: crazy, unhappy, and overworked. Crazy?
Maybe. Overworked? At times, yeah.
Unhappy? Who says?
It would be taboo for me to say, “This life I have chosen for myself makes me genuinely happy.” Even if it’s the truth.
I moved to a new city to for one reason: to create a new life. One that may be messy, exhausting, and challenging at times, but I find happiness in the fact that I built it on my own.
I may have to dig beneath the several thousand dollars of rent payments, Uber charges, and shitty boys to find it, but it’s still there.
I shouldn’t have to explain why this life makes me happy, and neither should you.
Be good people and make healthy choices. Know your worth, but know you’ll forget your worth at times too, and that’s OK. Learn from it.
Parents, peers, and privileged strangers will tell you a steady career is the key to happiness, which is fine, but don’t let them define your successes and contentment if you’re not in the same state of mind. Take each opportunity presented to you and run with it. Whether that opportunity involves asking customer’s how they’d like their burger cooked or traveling the world with Nat Geo (someday…), it doesn’t matter.
Every job, every shitty guy, every individual experience makes you more than who you were yesterday. And that’s awesome. My Tuesdays may be different from your Tuesdays, but it’s just a Tuesday.
And I like Tuesdays.
I hope you do too.