Radical Honesty

The other day a friend said something to the effect of the below, and it is a tenet I really believe in – each and every part of it.

Honesty is one of my top “must-haves” – not only do I need it, but I hold myself to it also.  No matter the nature of the relationship (familial, personal, simply interpersonal), it won’t be a healthy or lasting one without honesty. 

That said, it is vital we learn to say what we need to without being mean about it.  Criticism is hard to take, but when it is constructive, it’s important for us to hear.  

There is a way – and a tone – in which we can deliver criticisms, however – we need to remember that delivery directly affects receptivity.  Further, if we think about how we’d like such commentary delivered to US, we might take a moment before speaking.

Our conduct matters – it not only is a reflection of us, but it affects us, and those around us. We all need to be able to say what we feel – learning and growing is an integral part of life, together with our loved ones, and on our own.  But we do have a choice about how we proceed, how we speak to one another, and whether or not we are upstanding and honest with our word at all times. 

Thursday Flowers. . .

I went downstairs to pick something up the other day, and there was a nest with Autumn flowers waiting for me, with a note from my husband to wish me a happy Thursday. . .

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Since the day we met, his thoughtfulness has melted my heart – there is no gesture, large or small, that I do not appreciate fully.  

Love those in your life fearlessly, and with all you have.  Take any opportunity you can get to say

“thank you,

“I love you,” and…

“I appreciate you.”  

Life is precious…and far too fleeting…not to cherish what you have in every moment.

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There will not be a day so long as I breathe and live that I will not harbor an immense gratitude for everything he does, and all that he is…  And there will never be a day that I stop making sure he knows. Relationships may evolve in time, but love never has to lose its vibrant aura.  

 

Gothiness – In Love With Halloween

It is my favorite day, Halloween. I’ve said it more than Scheherazade (though admittedly not with my life – nor freedom – hanging in the balance.)  Still, the ardent affections burrowed deep enough within my heart to remain all this time later.  Halloween in the Northeast in particular is divine – The fragrances in the air intoxicate, the colors seduce, the sounds enchant the ears – there is no aspect of it – neither linearly, nor in the peripheral – that does not send me reeling.  

For many years I wrote an annual Halloween “poem” of sorts – my boss at the time anticipated it harkening the 31st with such eagerness that I would be asked in advance when the e-mail was coming…nevermind that looming Shoe Show deadline! I’d have a new “story” each year – sometimes reflections on a trip I’d taken that reminded me of the season, or the general atmosphere itself, and the command upon my senses. 

I love Hallow’s Eve so much that as a child I was certain it would be the only day on which I’d be married – no matter the calendar year may not oblige with a Hallowed Saturday… To me, there was nothing better than the idea of saying “I do” when I felt most in my element. 

For a while there – and, at this juncture, I will spare the novel – I settled on being solo.  Independence always suited me – I like my space, and neither have I necessarily wanted to be beholden to anyone, nor anyone to me.  But in 2015, the stars aligned in such a way as to change my journey forever.  I knew that moment – even before we spoke a word to one another – that I would rather live my Life with him in it.  I am both humbled and thankful those celestial orbs adhered to their errand so devoutly (lest love have traversed my path only but for a moment…or missed it entirely.)  

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There are countless reasons that I love, but one – no small detail – is that I am accepted and loved for precisely who I am.  That odd amalgamation of goth and glitter…the vampishness, vulnerabilities, empathetic heart, and unconventional predilections towards all things Ninja… 

When I said I wanted to be married on Halloween, I was not only not met with resistance but was asked “on which day does it fall?”  This year…a Monday, sad to say.  But the Saturday before?  Ahhh…

As anyone planning a wedding can attest to, venues book terribly far out.  With about seven months (a hair less), and a contract out on the day I desired, I am convinced the stars – once again – conspired in our favor.  When I was told the day was ours he said “I thought you might have fallen over when you heard him say we could have the 29th!”  I nearly did. 

Not everyone has the luxury of having the date they *may so desperately* want.  And though I am certain two hearts are in true love to be committing in marriage, not everyone is quite so open-minded.  I feel blessed beyond words that I am in a partnership where I – and all my curious conventions (and two black cats!) – are embraced fully.  No two human beings boast edges as smooth as puzzle pieces – what matters, though, is that there is respect, support, and love in spite of our eccentricities (and less than lovely moments.)  

I recognize that Halloween isn’t necessarily the most traditional, nuptially-flavored day…but it was the one I had my heart set on. That I could choose it – indeed as a celebratory time for each year going forward – is special gift in my mind.

For as long as I can recall, my go-to phrase (and story-end sentiment) was “haunt like you meant it.” Well…while you are at it, love like you mean it too – because it is on that precipice where the most profound things occur, and when you suddenly realize just how OKAY it is to be you. 

 

Heartbeat

I saw this on the back of a truck the other day when I was stuck in traffic…

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Forgot the rush.

Forgot that I needed to get to one place, and then another within a certain time.

Forgot about all of the crazy things that happened during the day…

And all of the cars, bumper to bumper, around me.

But I did remember the love of my Life…that he is within each beat of my heart…

And how very thankful I am.

My Boys…And My Love

I was away this past weekend and, as always, missed my boys tremendously.  My fiance (who I also missed terribly!) is the sweetest man on the planet, I’m convinced…

Not only did he FaceTime with them while they were eating (how cute is THAT?!)…

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But he also took some sweet shots to send along.

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Musashi’s back foot kills me! ❤

These are of my Musashi.  Keku was so ravenous HIS FaceTimes came out blurry! 😉

What is so touching to me about it, is that my fiance is the kind of person who thinks to do this. I have been in so many dreadful relationships and frankly, not one would have thought to send me a photo of my cats – who are, by the way, my family!  

Small gestures can hold HUGE value – I feel so blessed and thankful, and always remind others that they deserve the same.

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Thoughtfulness goes a long way.

And SO does saying

“Thank you”…

“I appreciate that!”

…and “I love you.”

Him

One year ago a man walked through the door of a coffee shop, brushing the unremitting, though gentle Spring snow from his head – I knew then that something was different, how fitting Mother Nature made a point that the day stand out. 

We had agreed to meet at the long-time urging of a friend (how blessed I am for the persistence!) – she unknowing altered my Life, acquainting me with what (who) would be the most precious gift of all my years.  Just days earlier he accepted a job in another state and would be moving only two weeks later – we’d apparently grown up in the same, relatively small town – how terribly ill-timed it seemed, at yet how fortuitous…

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Six months prior, I’d ended a third abusive relationship with a very ill human being – Narcissistic Personality Disorder and alcoholism at the core of the troubles, though scarcely the whole of them.  I had suffered trauma before, not recognizing my propensity towards codependency, but this was the most severe, triggering layers upon layers of anguish…and adding several more.  I wasn’t launched into a nightmare of eating disorders, as I was ten years prior from the abuse of a then, also alcoholic, boyfriend…but the PTSD came raging back (with a capital C before it, sadly.)

I was rendered nonfunctional, incapable of leaving my apartment, save to go to my (outrageously supportive!) parents’ house to weep, seemingly ad infinitum.  I slept on their living room couch for weeks, afraid and unable to be alone. Trauma therapy (EMDR), talk therapy, medication, podcasts, hypnosis, meditation, chakra balancing, Cranial Sacral work, Brainspotting, somatic release, blog scouring….I did ALL of it.  I did everything I possibly could to regain some vestige of strength and stability, but there was one bit of edification the EMDR would provide that would change everything…  

As I worked through painful, teary sessions, the fog began to lift from my eyes.  Though my loved ones insisted this wasn’t a pattern, I knew I had some part to play, and was desperate to discover the nature of it, no matter what the mirror reflected back.  Over time I began to see a woman with a devoted heart, a boundless spirit, an interminable will, who painted herself with appalling falsities and misplaced intolerance.  I realized that not only had I woven…and believed!…countless lies about myself…but I had actually never thought I deserved better.  The moment I accepted that I DID, my World was turned upside-down (for, rest assured, the better.)

I made a point to make a vision board – one into which I poured countless hours, both physically and emotionally.  Had I not infused each part with my spirit, I am not certain I would have come out to this path – the explicit nature of my intentions, and the reality which I breathed into each one, made (I believe) all the difference – it is in this way we practice “Magic.”  I read all the written words aloud as 2014 melted away, with a voice as strong as I could muster.  At 12:01, my heart beat more clearly and resolutely than it had in a long time –  whatever the shift that occurred was one I felt within, and without.

The next two months had their share of distress and lachryma…points at which I needed to work within moments (a day at a time, hour to hour, still feeling insurmountable.)  But on the 1st of March, the Stars connivance collided in a rush of Springtime snow, and a smile I was certain I’d known before…  Yes, and coffee too!

What they say about true love...about immediate knowing…it IS true.  It was as if a prior Life rekindled and flashed a thousand embraces in my mind.

The soul knows before the rest of us, often…  It knows despite the urging of the mind, or heart.  I’d learned over time to over-justify, to make excuses for others, to drown out my “gut feeling” in effort to make another person happy, or to keep the peace…but it always knew rightly.  Upon reflection I could enumerate at length how infinitely more acute my gut actually is than any fiction my brain could devise, or reason my heart urge I pursue.

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Every so often, all this time later, I feel as if I need to blink my eyes open…pinch myself…in effort to affirm I am indeed in conscious waking. His companionship is so much a gift that I’d not change a moment of my past – no matter which part – as I believe it gave me what I needed not only to find him, but to appreciate all that he is, as well as to appreciate myself.

I always believed that there is a reason in everything – for me personally, the notion has proved a beacon in the Night when the World seemed unusually cruel.  I believed that I could learn, and gain something positive, from my suffering…not least of which was some illumination, or enlightenment.  I do not believe we must suffer needlessly, only that whatever I have known within my own Life has given me strength and clearer vision.  So too have I recognized that my heart is capable of loving to oblivion, not only others, but for once in my Life, also myself.

I am blessed to have a companion who not only cherishes and respects me, but one who sincerely values who I am, and all I have known.  One of my greatest fears was that I would, yet again, be abandoned, threatened, cast aside as a stranger by the person I poured my soul into…  But when I met the Love of my Life, the fear began to subside…  

Not only do I feel loved, I know I am loved… He makes the effort always to let me know that I am neither alone, nor that I ever need be. He communicates with me honestly, and tells me with the utmost sincerity that “everything will be okay” when the pain creeps back in.  When you are in abusive relationships, you spend more time in “flight or fright” mode to the point you begin to think it is “normal.”  The desperate need for some reassurance, constancy or support is never fulfilled but somehow we push on…   

There are so many people who suffer at the hands of those incapable of loving us in return, but we needn’t remain there.  We do have a choice, and it is okay to reach out for the help we need to regain our strength and self-confidence.  

Codependency is common to Empaths, but we do not HAVE to be bound to the fate of fixing, helping, and losing ourselves…and our Lives.  It is possible to break the cycle, to learn to love ourselves, to learn to set boundaries…

True love exists, make no mistake.  It can paint the World with vibrancy you’d never believe existed, and extinguish all the shadows of your past.  The first step is loving yourself, above all, and believing that you deserve the best.  Once you believe it utterly, your World will change, blooming like am infinite blossom in the morning sun.