The Beauty in Goodbye

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Isn’t it so funny that when you’re close to the end of something, you suddenly see it with so much love and clarity? It’s like all your senses awaken, making you conscious of details that usually would have sunk beneath the surface. This is why ending things is so difficult, for as Virginia Woolf had once mused, the closer you get to death, the more you want to live. (She probably articulated it in a much finer way.)

You’re breaking up with someone and when you tell them you no longer want them, suddenly you wonder if their eyes were always so startlingly blue, or they had such a wonderful smile. You are ending a job and on your last day you realize how wonderful it was to express yourself through your words in the hopes of reaching your audience. You say goodbye to a home and when you’re locking it up for the last time, you muse you’ll actually miss those annoying traffic sounds that used to keep you awake.

These moments of clarity sometimes tempt us into holding onto the experience. They’re like a child begging us to review, reconsider, not let go… But nowadays I like to think that those thoughts and feelings are mere shrapnel of an alternative life I am not choosing. All they are, are reminders of beauty in lost things. They don’t mean that we should change our minds, but just that we are wise enough to know that there exists something special and worthy in everything, even a sad, bitter goodbye.

photo credit: Lotus Carroll via photopin cc

The Condition of Unconditional Love

‘I love you unconditionally!’ When I hear this, I know the person’s heart is in the right place, but I have to wonder if loving unconditionally is like asking for world peace – you know it exists, but you also know that it is impossible to ever achieve timelessly because there are so many things that can occur.

You might be pure of heart in your relationship, but how do you know your partner truly is? If you claim that you love someone unconditionally, does this mean that no matter what they do or who they allow themselves to be, that you will always be there, loving them?

Hmm.

Of course, loving unconditionally can mean that you will always love someone, even if you cannot be with them. Love from a distance, for instance. Which brings me to:

It seems that there is a Disclaimer under the word FOREVER: Love unconditionally at your own risk. Results may vary. People might turn you into a doormat.

A wise psychologist once told me that you should only give of yourself to the extent that this is reciprocated. At the time it sounded mad to my ears – me, who loves with my entire heart and would prefer to see those I love happy and myself sad than the other way around. I remember she said to me, ‘What do you value?’

I responded: ‘My eyes.’

She then said, ‘Would you throw your eye to the ground and hand it at someone who did not treat you well?’

The thought freaked me out.

She then said, ‘How is this different from what you do with your heart?’

I am not saying that we should live Love with a list, E.G: ‘You have to do such and such in order for me to love you’, or that you have to put people through the ringer before you allow them your love. However, unconditional love needs to be reciprocated! Don’t jump into the tarnished ocean for someone who won’t even walk through a light drizzle. (One of the biggest, most PAINFUL life lessons to date…) Added to this, you never know how people will change (and they often do), so you have to bear the reality that your unconditional love might be put to the test.

You can’t accept anything and everything, otherwise then your love mode that is set to ‘unconditional’ is really just a fancy way of saying that you have no standards.

And what is of more value than your soul? For that is the real part of yourself that is put on the line when we love. Guard it with a few conditions. Ironically, this is when you will be able to love wholeheartedly because it is grounded in reality.

Frozen Fingers #WriterProblems

being frozen with writer's block

 

You’ve heard of cold feet, I’m sure. We hear of people saying that a groom had cold feet before his wedding, or that an adventure enthusiast had a case of cold feet just as he was supposed to bungee-jump off a mountain. But when it comes to writing, I like to replace the ‘cold feet’ term with ‘cold fingers.’

You sit in front of the computer and your fingers start to tense up. An empty Word document with an almost mocking blinking cursor awaits your first words. The first words are the toughest to write on this empty, white frozen landscape. If you can pen down that first sentence, you’re already on the right track. But to get those words out from the mangled forests of your mind where ideas are throttling around in a torrential storm, to the page in front of you… Well, if you’re not a writer then maybe you’d understand if you can think of your most terrifying case of cold feet that you’ve experienced in your life.

You know that all you need to do is take a small step to get things going. That’s all. And you know, logically, that this small movement on your part is going to be a good thing. However, fears rush in when your step is actually a word you have to plant on a page. What if this step is the wrong one? What if I can’t think of a good enough word? What if I cannot actually write? It’s amazing the fears that will rain down on a writer.

The best thing I have found is to throw a bit of faith into the equation because you can NEVER 100% know if the words are right or you’re on the right path. Basically, nothing can help you except 1) realizing why you’re taking this journey to begin with, and 2) tying the rope to your heart and then jumping.

You might read over your words and wish you had written something better/smarter/whatever, and that’s okay. The beauty about it is that you can go over it again. Spend time with each and every word that needs to exist on the page and ask yourself: does this word deserve to breathe? Challenge your thoughts, challenge your writing, and most importantly, challenge your fears.

Question everything and when you find what looks or feels good, then take a chance. In the words of Snow Patrol, ‘If it looks like it works and it feels like it works, then it works.’

photo credit: Teikan-Do via photopin cc

Online Dating: Are We Dating in Reverse?

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Online dating is strange in various ways. For one, some studies have shown that people aren’t entirely truthful when filling out their profiles. Another biggie is that people rarely look exactly like their images (and if the person only has one image on their profile and they are wearing sunglasses in it, that should set the alarm bells ringing!)

The worst bit about online dating is that it has a life of its own while it is in Cyber Ville. You type your conversations to each other and get to know each other in a mode devoid of mannerisms, voice, body language, etc. And  yet, you start to form a connection. The problem is that lacking the above elements of a person results in you automatically building an image of who the person is, perhaps to fill out those blanks. We are emotional beings, not robots. Thus we cannot be satisfied with sterile ideas of what is, in reality, a multi-dimensional person. Luckily (or unluckily) for us, our minds have good enough imaginations to connect all the dots.

When you meet in real life, your brain seems to crash just like your laptop would if things are suddenly not what they seemed to be when you were safe behind a computer screen. Suddenly, you think: who is this person I’ve been chatting to? Who is this… this… this imposter! You almost want to dart your eyes around the area in the hopes that the real person with whom you’ve been sharing lyrical words and paragraphs will step forward and say, ‘Just kidding. This is the real me.’ (And look like his picture, of course.)

Of course, there are good examples of people who meet and date online, and then feel even more connected in person.

But personally, I feel like online dating is dating in reverse. Instead of starting with a real life introduction and getting to know each other, you do that last. The first step is how your relationship would end: via text or instant messaging, morphing back into strangers. So when you meet up in real life and what explodes is the person’s truth – not your perception that has been keeping you warm for days or weeks in a hopeful cocoon of anticipated romance – you realize this would have been a far better place to start (or abruptly end), without technology getting in the way and complicating things.

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The Dreaded ‘T’ Word – Finding a Title for Your Novel

Do you battle to find the right title for your novel? I find that mine usually come to me halfway into a book, when the characters are growing steadily and the plot is becoming the roots of a majestic Oak tree.

And yet, some people say it is a good idea to solidify your title in the beginning, even before you write. This seems unreal to me! It has only happened once. I was brainstorming an idea for my book when I knew – I JUST KNEW – the title should be Eat Your Heart Out. Even when I started writing it and the characters opened their eyes to tell me their stories, the title remained an anchor. It still feels right, even now that it is on Amazon and Smashwords

But it’s rare for a title to wave at me even before I sit down to write. 

Often, the story I am writing changes and grows above and beyond my will or initial ideas. It is the same with a title that has to grow in accordance with the story’s changes.

I usually cannot name something that I have not seen before my eyes, for then it won’t be the right match. Have you ever thought of hypothetical names for puppies, but then when you brought a bundle of joy home, you realized that it deserved a totally different name? I remember when I got my little fox terrier Joey, I immediately knew she was a Joey -she was a beautiful caramel brown and she looked exactly like a baby kangaroo, which is actually called a joey! :) 

It’s the same with the title of a book. It has to fit your style. It has to fit the character and personality of your story. Oprah Winfrey once said that we become our names. Your story has to become its title for the title will be the first thing that people know about it – and it should be something they remember.