Thursday, April 23, 2015

First Kiss & First Love

Love: First Kiss & First Love

When searching blog topics to write about, this popped up. It's a story that not many know about, as I didn't share my first kiss with a lot of people. But I think it's a great story, and my 16-year old self would be proud of could be awkward, though. My first kiss/first love reads my blog. I hope I describe it in a way that is respectful to how you saw it, too.

I was a sophomore in high school when I first heard that accent. I was hooked. It wasn’t until the second or third day on our USVI spring break science trip when I realized my 16-year old self had a HUGE crush on you. I flirted but didn’t expect anything from it, as nothing had ever happened in the past when I flirted with other guys. It was different with you and I know you felt it, too.

It was easy to open up and be 100% me with you. I wasn’t ashamed to cry around you. I wasn’t scared to share my life because I knew you respected me. On the last night of the trip, we were sitting on the beach and you asked me, “When a guy likes a girl, is it appropriate for him to kiss her?”

The only thing that went through my mind was, Oh shit. I’d never been kissed before. I began getting really nervous and felt the butterflies fluttering around in my stomach. There was no need to be nervous. You were a gentleman and we enjoyed our time on the beach together…sorry, guys, you’re just going to have to imagine my first kiss(es) with your imagination.

It wasn’t all rainbows and teddy bears after that. Once we got back to the States, you wanted to be friends and my 16 year old self was crushed, but I couldn’t say no to a friendship because of this connection that you and I shared. We’re on the same “wave length” as you call it.

Our friendship continued into my sophomore year of college and it was the best thing I’d ever really had. You were my everything. You knew me better than I knew myself. You knew what bothered me, and how to get me out of a funk, you knew what to say to motivate me in swim meets and how to calm me down from a bad swim, you made me laugh and smile and you made me want to be a better human. For all those reasons and more, I fell in love with you, but you didn’t.

It was at this point in time my life that life got real messy. I cried myself to sleep, I felt rejected and wounded because I wasn’t loved back. I spiraled downhill quickly and found myself in counseling for a multitude of reasons. What I figured out is that the relationship we had was bad for me growing up as a woman of Christ. I had relied so heavily on you, that I stopped going to God when I had problems. I made my first love my rock when Christ is supposed to be my rock.

That summer was the worst and when junior year came around, my friends and counselor agreed it was best for me to disconnect everything from you. I shut you out entirely. I sobbed and sobbed and sobbed some more after I had no more tears. My best friend, gone.

Looking back I can say that it was certainly for the best. It taught me that I can’t depend so heavily on a man, that communication is SO important in relationships, that although a man doesn’t love you, doesn’t mean that no one else will. Our friendship and my love for him was spectacular and they helped me grow up to the woman I am now.

I had the pleasure a few weeks ago to go out to lunch with him when I was in Chicago, and although we hadn’t talked or seen each other in nearly three years…that wave length was still there. My love for him is gone, but what remains are the memories and a deep care for this wonderful man. I know that wherever we are in life, we will always have someone who understands each other down to the core…even if we have differing views and values.

Eight years ago we shared a passionate kiss and here we are now, figuring out this friend thing all over again. So thank you, for providing me with amazing memories AND really crappy ones, because without it, I wouldn’t be the woman I am today.

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Handwritten Letters

Why Write Handwritten Letters?

I feel that nowadays people rarely pick up a pen and paper to communicated with one another. Our society is so focused on the efficiency, getting something fast and using technology to succeed that. I’m saddened by this because there are so many reasons letters are meaningful than the bing of an e-mail or vibrate of a text.

Writing for me is sort of a therapy, a way, my best way, to express feelings…there is no better feel than a pen and paper and some classical music to purge myself to. Whether be a blog (yes, I write them on paper, first), a poem, short story, novel or letter, writing is an amazing things for me. It’s a way I can show the world or an individual what I’m going through in life.

In college, I was so excited when I looked in my mailbox and saw a handwritten letter…it meant so much more to me than an e-mail. Here are some of the reasons why:

They create lasting memories
The moments you commit to paper are more likely to stay with you than an email or text. Not only stay in your memory -- you will have the physical copy. A box of letters—a box of memories.

They show how much people care
A simple day receiving a smile from a stranger, or a text saying “thinking of you” can change your mood for the day. Imagine the power behind opening a sealed and stamped letter, that has travelled across state lines to someone special. I would imagine a beaming smile at the senders thoughtfulness will say it all.

Letters make you feel good
Just like writing is therapy for me – expressive writing has been linked to reduced stress, a better mood and an overall sense of well-being. I don’t know what else to say to convince you. Sharing your genuine thoughts with another person can  be quite a morale booster; not to mention the butterflies you may feel when the mailman drives away with it.

Letters make every word count
Postcards are short…they pack meaning and really force the reader to ponder the message. Unlike a quick text, handwritten letters pack a personal side of the meaning and you cannot allow that to go to waste.

Letters require your undivided attention
When I write, I zone out everything that happens around me. I shut down except what I want to say and let my hand take over. I purge. To write thoughtfully and honestly, we must focus on the present moment and zone out the craziness of life. It’s quite nice. The same thing goes for reading .When I receive a letter, I escape the craziness, sit down and shut out my surroundings to fully take in the emotion relayed in the letter.

They honor tradition
There is something sacred, even romantic, and old fashioned about communicating in the way generations before us did. Computers and smart phones may prove more efficient, but they can never take the place of sentimental history.

Long after letters are written and sent, letters and postcards remain to be read and appreciated. I kept all my letters from grade school all the way up to sophomore year of college. I read them all, and cried over most of them. All the letters made me remember the details I forgot, or chose to forget, about my life up until that point.

They allowed me to evaluate life and how far my friends and I have come in life. Whether we’re still friends, whether we’re long past love, whether be burnt ourselves out through friendship, my letters taught me a lot.  I threw them all away as I closed that chapter of life and have begun collecting more letters. I hope to inspire more people to write handwritten letters, making themselves vulnerable, taking the time to unplug and let out all your emotions, craziness and life lessons so that someone can enjoy them in a whole new way.

I challenge you to write more letters. I challenge you to take time out of your busy day and just write. Let it out.