I have loved a lot of beautiful people in my life. I have loved a handful of not so beautiful people in my life, also. Sometimes I have loved them for years...sometimes for only a week. Some men I still love...some I never did. Some I felt like I couldn't breathe when we were apart and others I couldn't breathe when we were together. Oftentimes, I played with people's hearts...and some of the time, they played with mine. I have been fiercely loyal and horribly unfaithful. I have said things I haven't meant and I imagine you have too. And sometimes...most of the time, being in a relationship...with one person...scares the crap out of me. But I am getting there.
You see...when it comes to love, pain is always inevitable. It's the price of admission. I am not afraid of pain...and most of the time, I welcome it. I welcome that necessary type of pain that you can only experience if you put yourself out there. The type of pain, that when you feel it, you know...beyond a doubt...that you stepped into something real, if even for just a moment. And even if that moment turns out to be fleeting, for me...it was worth it. Because if we don't take that chance...if we don't ever step up, we might never find ourselves on the back of a Harley at 2 AM with our arms wrapped around a cute 27 year old listening to music. Or having dinner with, arguably, one of the best kissers in a 60 mile radius of this small town. Or we might never have stayed up all night just to swim in the Mississippi and watch the sunrise the next day...or canoed to a sandbar beach where a picnic was already waiting for us. I wouldn't have hopped on a private plane just to have lunch in a different state or felt your hand on the small of my back when we were playing pool at the neighborhood bar. If I never put myself out there, I wouldn't have met the countless beautiful people that have pushed me out of my comfort zones, challenged me to see things a different way or reminded me how I want to be treated. Or not treated.
And I wouldn't have met you.
Or you. Or who I am going to meet next week.
You see, I have learned to appreciate the moment, which seems to always be changing. And I am sometimes incredibly excited that each moment is different. And simultaneously, pretty scared of not knowing. It's a constant lesson for me to stay present and not to write a story about how something should be. And I find it is sometimes a struggle to not want to drink everything in so intensely.
But be patient with me. I am still learning. Maybe you are too.
But with this constant learning...lessons and wisdom always show up. And this is what I have learned along the way:
1. Matching tattoos are a bad idea. Don't do it. Like ever. I learned this the hard way.
2. Don't put time and energy into people that can't step up. This may sound like common sense to you, and it does to me now...but it didn't always.
3. Leave the projects alone. I have dated many of these (see here) and they are way too much work.
4. Don't settle for meh. We don't have time for that.
5. Teach people how you want to be treated. People figure out how to treat us by what we allow from them. We are completely in control of this.
6. Have a solid boundary game. Always.
7. Know your worth. Every time you are silent. Every time you don't speak up. Every time you go back before genuine repairs are made, you are quietly telling someone that this is ok. That this is your value. You're a rockstar. Start acting like it.
8. Stop abandoning yourself. Just stop. I f*cking hate when I have done this in the past. But the more I have learned to love and value myself, the less this happens.
9. Take chances with your heart. Put yourself out there. You never know when you will be blindsided with love (or an invitation for a midnight swim).
10. Love fiercely. It's the only way.
But when you find that love...no matter how good it is...still stay away from #1
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