Hmm… what can I say? I am an Asian married to a Caucasian. Get the picture?
It is Spring and it is difficult to ignore its presence. Nature has a way of announcing each season in a spectacular way. Take for instance these Magnolia and cherries flowers cascading from the trees in abundance. I took these pictures with my phone camera two days ago while taking one of my daily evening walks. Isn’t it fantastic? The flowers are so densely arranged I lost counts. I could stay there forever admiring them, bathing in the subtle aroma of the ephemeral blooms. How I wish it could stay this way but to every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven they say.
My husband is hot. It’s one of the many reasons why I married him. I know you think he’s hot too, and I’m cool with that.
He likes the attention. In the store. At the restaurant. You make him feel visible. You make him feel like “he’s still got it,” and that’s a good thing.
And I’m not mad or jealous.
Maybe I envy your gorgeous hair, your lovely, smooth body, and your wrinkle-free eyes, but I’m actually glad I’m not where you are in life right now. You’re still trying to figure things out. You’re looking for something that feels real to you, and fulfilling, and substantial.
You want meaningful.
You’re out there in the world trying to conjure your future, following everything and anything that will manifest your dreams. It’s a bitter-sweet place to be, but time is on your side. I remember it well.
I love that my husband feels good about himself. When you pay attention to him, he feels happy and confident. And, let me tell you, him feeling happy and confident works in my favor.
You see him in his khaki pants, and his sexy buffalo-plaid flannel shirt. You eye his awesome dad bod and his expensive boots, and you just can’t resist. He’s adorable in all the right ways. I get it.
I know he kind of looks like George Clooney. I know he’s aging ridiculously well, like a soap star. His salt and pepper hair, boyish face, and kind brown eyes are a beautiful combination. I know how it feels when he smiles at you and treats you with respect because I feel the same way. That’s who he is. He’s a pretty great guy. He looks at you directly, and he listens. He laughs at your jokes and he’s polite. He’s a fixer. He helped you call your dog back in the park that time, and you almost lost your head for a minute.
I totally get it. He’s the coolest.
But here’s what you don’t see. Sometimes he is just like everyone else.
Sometimes he’s not that nice. Sometimes he hogs the covers and sometimes “forgets” to call me when we need to talk about something important. Sometimes he’s selfish and judgmental. Sometimes he’s moody.
Sometimes he doesn’t clean up after himself. And he can be infuriating when he’s being stubborn.
When he gets sick he lays on the couch and acts like he’s dying.
What you don’t see is how worried he was when we were both much younger and newly married with a tiny baby and we were trying to make all sorts of ends meet.
You don’t see his insecurities. Like, when he lost his job and we had bills to pay and our kids were only four and six.
You don’t see all the times he took odd little jobs to make extra money so that our family would feel loved and cared for.
When you see him in the grocery store, or at the bank, or in the bar, you don’t see the other stuff. The parts that make him stable and honest. And weathered.
You don’t see what made him the man he is today, which, if I may say so, is a direct result of building his life with me, his wife.
What you don’t see is our history.
You don’t see how our disagreements and our hardships lead to changes in both of us that created deeper love.
You don’t see how much we went through to become best friends. And it took a long time to become best friends, believe it or not. It was work.
You look at him, and you like what you see, but you don’t see him the way I do.
When I look at him, all I can see is us. Us for miles.
But, I want to thank you. Sincerely.
Your attention makes him feel the way he felt long ago when he was out there in the world without cares or big responsibilities—without a family—an unattached guy still drinking from a keg in someone’s backyard with his whole life ahead of him.
When you throw your head back and show him your neck, you make him feel alive and virile and assured and young.
I can’t make him feel like that, because I know him.
So, again thank you.
Now kindly run along, dear.
~Relephant: Via Kimberly Valzania
There was a time that my poison of choice was screw driver later replaced by margarita but that was a long time ago, I seldom drink alcohol and I never particularly enjoy them so I wouldn’t call them my magic elixir nor I can say real green tea is the concoction that can cure all my problems. There is a mixture of things though that can elevate my spirit and somehow can soften the pain of my everyday existence. To borrow a passage I have read somewhere in the internet I would say something like this:
City life is not for me. Malls and pubs are not for me. I don’t want to live my life in a place rushing from place to place and surrounded by people on all sides. What I want is a house in the countryside with a wrap-around porch that I can go sit on in the morning with a cup of coffee. My feet would be bare and my hair would be down and the only sound for miles would be the wind blowing through the trees. The rest of the morning would be spent baking in the kitchen with the radio playing in the background. I would spend the afternoon tending to my garden. And in the evening I would settle down in my rocking chair with a book, or go outside and star-gaze with a cup of tea. And even though there wouldn’t be a soul or town for miles, I would never feel so fulfilled.
That’s it, this would be it. I would not bake though (I am a good cook but I can’t bake) and not in the morning because I never been an early riser insomniac that I am and I would replace coffee with green tea rocking chair with a hammock and the evening tea with a glass of red wine but for the rest, this is my ideal set up.
Though I don’t wear purple because it makes me look a lot worse than I already am, I love to see them in nature and art. It makes everything looks regal and vivid and mysterious.
A warrior came into my life, one who tamed the restless nature of my soul.
Before him, I thought I was wild and undomesticated. And I didn’t want to be domesticated. He proved me wrong on a lot of things. He showed me a new level of freedom.
He tamed my soul by aligning with it. This warrior is my other half. My twin flame. My opposite, and my equalizer. Together we strike balance.
As a self-proclaimed Ms. Independent for life, I swore marriage was overrated, and that I had no need for the institution. I thought marriage would mean an end to my freedom. I thought I would feel trapped and stifled, and that I might be expected to consider someone else’s feelings other than my own.
That scared me.
I just had no use for accountability to anyone or anything outside of my own incessant need and desire for freedom. What I came to find out about myself, after an extensive period of self-reflection through meditation, yoga and spiritual studies, was that I wasn’t actually free. In reality, I was a prisoner of my own selfish delusions.
I was aware of my selfish nature, which is why I never had children. I knew I didn’t want to have to change for anyone. I knew I wanted to live my life the way I wanted—and to hell with anyone else.
Hence the reason all of my relationships—prior to now—have failed. I didn’t care enough about myself to truly care for anyone else. I was closed-off and emotionally blocked, and I had no clue how to open myself up and be vulnerable. So I hid behind a facade. Then I came to awakening, through a lot of hard work, and I matured spiritually and emotionally. I found self-love and acceptance in the teachings of Buddhism. I came to completion in myself, where I was no longer living as a prisoner of the past. I was free from fears and self-destruction.
I was excited for my newfound journey.
My independent nature still ran deep. I still had my inherent urge to explore everything possible in the world and beyond. And, I truly enjoyed my solitude because I was no longer constantly lonely in a world surrounded by people. I felt like the sky was the limit.
That’s when he showed up. My equal. The one I had been waiting for throughout all the years I spent decrying marriage. My divine counterpart. And I did the craziest thing that my former self could’ve imagined—I said yes to marriage!
And now that we are married, I have never been happier. It’s a whole new adventure and challenge. The ultimate one, really. Anyone can roam the world and live life on their terms, living in a state of contentment and serenity. However, not everyone in these crazy times, can commit and embrace a conscious relationship with their counterpart; many of us are just still too selfish to do so. So many become disillusioned, as we watch relationships blossom and fail, simply because we have forgotten that it takes effort to stay in love.
Twin flame or not, our marriage takes work. We are two complete halves who came together to unite in divine love. This does not mean it’s been all rainbows and butterflies, or smooth sailing. It’s been rough and rocky, but we committed to our path, and we’ve respected that. We honor and respect one another. We practice communication and compromise. And we trust. We adventure and we roam.
Our souls align in so many ways—we are both seekers and explorers. We hunger for knowledge and experience. We’ve both come out of darkness and seek to bring light to an ever-darkening world. We can go from philosophizing about the problems facing the world to laughing at our farts. We don’t take ourselves too seriously.
It wasn’t always like this though. We’re also polar opposites in many ways. We clashed often, and we clashed loudly in the beginning. The baggage of life would rear its head and things got ugly more than once. We screamed and fought. I yelled. He cried. I threw things. I pulled away and he clung on tighter. I wanted to run and he wanted to stay. He wanted words or assurance and I wanted actions. He’s touchy and I’m not.
We paused. We took a breath. And another breath. We stepped away and reevaluated what we were doing. We reminded ourselves that despite being angry or afraid, we were in love.
Warriors will stand up and take responsibility for their behaviors. They will consider the information being presented to them, and will incorporate it into their life practice. They will stop and see, because they have disciplined their mind, that perhaps their way isn’t correct or best. They can consider the feelings of another and together they can decide on the best course of action to move forward. Warriors realize that true strength lies in vulnerability. That the ultimate test of faith is opening themselves up to grow and develop alongside another human being—the one who is their match.
I hold his hand when we’re out in public. Not because I would do that on my own, but because I do it for him. I tell him I love him often (way more than I would ever say it) because who’s to say that I’m correct in my opinion on how much is too much. It’s in the little actions like these which keep the love blossoming to deeper depths each day.
If, like me, you believe that we live our human existences in order to gain experiences and understandings which will bring us to enlightenment, than you will understand why the twin flame relationship must progress the way that it does. Like diamonds forged under pressure, so must the twin flame relationship be forged in the fires of transformation.
We can’t change behaviors if we aren’t aware of them. If we want happiness and lasting relationships, we must embrace the impermanent nature of all things, including ourselves. We must accept that it’s okay to constantly change and grow, to let go of outdated ideas or beliefs. We waste years pining for “the one” without ever realizing that our idea of “the one” is based on some ridiculous idea of a person who conforms to our quirks and demands, rather than considering how we can shift ourselves to align with another when they come into our life. We give up on others because they don’t fit our idea of perfection, or they trigger a response in us. We falsely believe that “the one” is out there who just clicks and we will never have to put effort into the relationship, that it will just be constant bliss.
My warrior showed me that there’s bliss and unconditional love to be found amongst the challenging times and the easy times when I am committed to growth in a conscious relationship with another.
So, I encourage you dear readers, the next time your significant other triggers you—thank them! They may have just offered you insight into yourself, which is something you can embrace in order to incorporate spiritual growth.
And just remember, everything happens for a reason!
-Relephant Via Lindsay Carricarte
I want to live simply. I want to sit by the window when it rains and read books. I want to paint because I want to, not because I’ve got something to prove. I want to listen to my body, fall asleep when the moon is high and wake up slowly, with no place to rush off to. I want not to be governed by money or clocks or any of the artificial restraints that humanity imposes on itself. I just want to be, boundless and infinite.
Green is the prime color of the world, and that from which its loveliness arises.
(n.) The fear of being seen as you are. The incessant thinking that you can’t be loved being yourself.
As I sat down, trying to put my story into words, I was overwhelmed. I came to the realization that I’ve never liked who I was. I grew up, believing that I lacked something; that I was inadequate, flawed and wrong in some way. I didn’t think I was lovable or good enough just the way I was. In a young age I experienced how my behavior was linked to my likability. I saw how people reacted with love and appreciation, if I followed the rules, was manageable, pleasing and complying. I learned, that I could manipulate, and adjust myself to gain more praise and become whatever I thought would be most appealing. This strategy worked wonders for many years. I was happy, easy-going and in control. I had a great life, with everything seemingly figured out. But underneath the surface, reigned the diminishing belief that I couldn’t be loved being myself, and that I somehow needed to compensate for that.
Most of my life, has been a devastating struggle. Trying to be more than I was, because being myself was not an option. I was running around, short of breath, trying to lose my own shadow, striving to be someone I wasn’t, engaging in things I didn’t care about, to impress people I didn’t know. It was a restless thrust forward driven by the applause instead of the cause. I was pushing myself, to be persistently achieving something to conceal my underlying low self-esteem, poor self-image and general deficiencies. I was hiding behind flawless and overcompensating behavior with a patchwork of identities, ceaselessly changing like a chameleon to meet the shifting expectations of my surroundings. I became a selfless people-pleaser with an insatiable thirst for outside acceptance and admiration.
As I grew older, my expectations to myself and my life proliferated into unreasonable demands and delusional ideals of perfection. I was convinced that I had to change myself to be loved. I had to hide my flaws and smooth out my edges, deny my feelings and pretend to be different. The fear of being unloved, unwanted, unattractive and unworthy was just too great to overcome. So I separated myself from the parts I couldn’t accept by spurning the ugly, flawed, crooked and inconvenient parts. I had initiated a quiet but detrimental war against myself, battling to shape and oppress aspects of my core that I feared would be objectionable. Split between who I was, and who I thought I should be, I ended up alienated from myself, cloistered in a hollow and artificial shell, distant from my genuine feelings and true identity.
The consistent self-rejection persisted for many years, but what began as an innocent wish to be accepted, evolved into a disabling fear to disappoint, fail and be exposed as who I really was. It was like living with a shattering secret. I knew that the girl people liked and admired, was not the real me. She was only who I wanted to be, and what I wanted others to see. The real me was never good enough, pretty enough or capable enough. My self-esteem was like an empty bucket I desperately scooped worth into only to realize there was a big hole in the bottom leaking it all out quicker than I could fill it up. I didn’t know how to value, or validate myself so I became addicted to the reassurance and approval of others to neutralize my recurring self-sabotaging thoughts. But the more people said I was amazing, the more I felt like a fraud. The discontent I felt towards myself was like a virus poisoning me from the inside out. I was excessively self-conscious, and purposefully blowing my own mistakes out of proportion. I had a cynical demon inside me feeding on my flaws and every imperfection was just confirming what I already knew: I was completely wrong and utterly flawed in any- and every possible way. Inadequate and unimportant. Simple as that. I had accepted my wrongness as a fundamental fact. Indisputable like gravity, there was no way around it.
I was burying myself in self-resentment, and the yearning to feel confident, significant and special became all-consuming. But my unrelenting self-doubt made me susceptible to comparison and competition. I compared myself to others, only to point out my own lack. People just served as a benchmark for my own worth, telling me how good or bad I was. I could list a thousand things that I was failing to do, be or accomplish. My worth as a human being became a fleeting thing that changed minute to minute depending on who I was around and the changing whims of my mind. It was like building a castle of confidence in sand, only to see it being swept away by the next ocean wave.
The process of comparison solely lead to desperation, and left me in a permanent state of scarcity and dissatisfaction. I was condemning myself for not being able to live up to my unattainable ideals. But no matter how hard I tried to fix myself, push myself, or be better than others, I always fell short. I was impossible to please and impress and I chose to turn that boiling frustration inwards. It was like being in an abusive relationship with myself, where motivating and berating were two sides of the same coin. But shame and self-abuse didn’t tame the demons, if anything they only fueled the fire; a fire that got out of hand, the moment I found comfort in addictive and compulsive behavior. I chose to drug myself with food to alleviate the disappointment and hate I felt towards myself. Binge eating brought me into a trance-like state of perfect tranquility; allowing me to temporarily vanish into oblivion. In those moments I was free. I was trying to escape the miserable reality I had created, but the consolation of the eating disorders was short-termed and only brought with it a craving for more. The escapism completely shattered my grip on reality. I couldn’t tell whether I was hungry, sleepy, happy or cold. As if my taste-buds suddenly went numb leaving me unable to distinguish sweet from sour. I was aware of my self-destruction, but ultimately I didn’t care anymore. I was trapped in a perpetuating circle of imploding powerlessness that had me spinning so fast, I couldn’t see clear anymore. I couldn’t see the point in living and the meaninglessness was like a dense fog threatening to choke me. I had ignored every danger sign and I was steadily pushing myself over the precipice towards an inescapable and unfathomable depression.
Things had to get so painful and out of control before I understood that something had to change. My greed for admiration, and fear for rejection made me compromise myself and abandon my true feelings, wishes and desires. I had ascribed too much value to what other people thought of me, that I was willing to sacrifice myself for their applause. I was just an ingratiating puppet paying lip service, frozen at the core, cut off from the natural rhythm of my own heartbeat. I was too busy competing with others, that I failed to realize the only enemy was inside myself. I realized that as long as I was fighting, compromising and oppressing myself, I would never be happy. If I continued to betray who I really was, I could never grow. The war inside me, would only ablaze if I persisted on living my life out of fear of what others might think of me.
With my personal work and art I wished to challenge the way I perceived flaws, imperfections and other interpersonal differences. By embracing and accepting my edges, instead of fearing them, I can reclaim the disowned parts of myself, and create a strong foundation for acceptance of what I ordinary deny, hide and push away
If I can refrain from defining myself in terms of what is expected of me, I can let go of who I think I should be, in order to be who I truly am.
I’m not a perfect porcelain doll. I’m vulnerable, complex and edged. I have been broken so many times. I’m full of cracks, flaws and scars. But every edge is part of my unique distinctiveness. They define, complete and unite me. They are my greatest gift as they give me strength and character. If I dare to worship the beauty of my inner edges and imperfections and adorn myself with them, I can reclaim my authenticity, and become more whole, more powerful and more true. This can seem frightening, but in reality it is freeing. I refuse to let fear and shame govern my life anymore.
I’m still a work in progress, but I’m confident now, knowing I have my art to remind me that my beauty, strength and uniqueness lies within my inner edges.
—Written by Sabine Rahbek
She did not need much, wanted very little. A kind word, sincerity, fresh air, clean water, a garden, kisses, books to read, autumn, sheltering arms, a cozy bed, and to love and be loved in return.
– Starra Neely Blade
Do not be defined by the brand of the clothes you wear or by how you clothe yourself. You are more than how you look on the outside. Choose to be loved by the nakedness of your heart and mind and not by mere #ootd’s. You will find the most real and greatest love in your simplicity, and in your most unfashionable self.
Do not be defined by how many or how little likes you gain from your Instagram or profile photos. You are more than the number of your likes and followers. These numbers should not define your security and your confidence. You’ve got a bigger world who truly loves you outside the different social media channels.
Do not be defined by how dark or how light your skin is, or by the size of your clothes and how much you weigh. Beauty is beyond color and weight. Who you are is skin deep. Fair, white, dark, thin, curvy, or whatever, these are mere labels. We may look different from each other, but we’re beautiful all together.
Treasures, fame, popularity, status, and other temporal things aren’t forever. Do not allow yourself to be defined by something that would not last. It might leave you an emptiness that’s hard to fill in. Labels will not affect and define you unless you let them…
by Janne Robinson
I would rather pass my days lying in the middle of dirt roads, staring at the full moon with a bottle of summer red in my palms.
I would rather have kids when it suits me, not when society expects or throws shoulds.
I would rather live in a hammock on a beach for six months, and write like my soul means it.
I would rather be horribly broke at times, than married to a job because a mortgage payment has my ass on a hook.
I would rather own moments, than investments.
I would rather eat alone, than sit with women who bore me at “Wives’ Night.”
I would rather swim naked with bioluminescence, have it fall like fireflies from my hair, my breasts, my back.
I would rather do handstands naked in the moonlight when no one’s watching than pick bridesmaid dresses.
I would rather drink seven year old rum from a sandy bottle, smell of smoke and ash than sit in church.
I would rather learn from life than rack up debt, in a desk.
I would rather drink the ocean, again and again—celebrate being madly alive.
I would rather my love be defined by love itself, and nothing more or less.
I don’t need a ring on my finger to prove that I am in love.
I would rather take the chicken bus, than spend useless money in safe gated communities. Sit beside a goat, listen to raggaeton and eat green mango with sugar in a plastic bag sold from the woman who harasses the bus each time it stops.
I do not need a degree to prove that I am intelligent.
I do not need to own a piece of earth with some wood on top of it—to feel successful. No one truly owns the land, anyway—we just think we do.
My savings account has diddly to do with my richness.
I would rather sprawl my single ass out like a lioness each morning and enjoy each corner of my empty bed.
I will take a job I love and freedom over a pension, any day.
I will not work and work and work to live when my body is old and I am tired.
Stocks are for people who get boners from money.
Not everyone should have kids, and my eggs aren’t expiring.
I will not drink the societal Kool-Aid on a bus, nor will I drink it on a train.
Not on a plane, with a goat, in the rain, in the dark, in a tree, with a fox, in a box!
I will not jump through societies’ hoops and red tape, the treasure hunt in the rat race we chase.
If we must have milestones—mine will be measured by how much joy I have collected at the end of each day and how often in this life I have truly, deeply, opened.
Seek, see, love, do.
-Hunter S. Thompson