love these days

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how do i feel about love these days?

love is illusive. love is wonderful. love is vague. love is ambiguous.

if we’re talking about the home-for-the-holidays, cozy family love, then love is peace and comfort and a breath of relief after a long, long day. family love is constant and i’m grateful for the family in my life that always has my back. this family sort of love is what has continually given me a leg up throughout my life, particularly in the past couple months.

and then there’s that other kind of love.

that sweep-you-off-your-feet, kiss-in-the-moonlight, will-you-be-my-forever-and-always, let’s-make-plans kind of love. that love that gives our world hope and belief in the magical, the impossible and improbable that seems to somehow happen anyway.

how do i feel about that kind of love?

well…i can tell you that i want it. holy cow, do i want it. {ask anyone who knows me and they’ll testify to my position as a hopeless romantic.} i can tell you that i hope hope hope that my future is holding that kind of love in its hands as we speak, outstretched and just waiting for me to get close enough and far enough along in my years to reach out and snatch it – snatch it and never, ever let go of it.

that’s the kind of love that has the power to cross all sorts of barriers and break down all sorts of walls. that is truly the substance of magic.

but i don’t think i’ve quite reached that kind of love as of yet in my life. sometimes i occasionally wonder…but then i shake off the wondering because it doesn’t feel like it’s time for all of that yet. i’m not one to rush into things, and rushing into suppositions just scares me. not that it’s necessarily wrong, it’s just my nature to wait and wait until i’m absolutely, one hundred percent sure that it’s real.

and the funny thing about love, and how i feel about it these days, is that i’m pretty much okay to wait. yeah, i do my fair share griping and wondering about when prince charming is finally going to make his definite entrance, but secretly i’m really okay. i have a strong belief that everything’s under control and it’ll happen when it’s supposed to happen.

the thing about love – that heart-breaking, heart-aching love – is that while a little bit of halfway love is nice and fun and all that, it’s the deep-down stuff that really counts. i think our hearts know that and my heart, at least, is willing to hold out for the good stuff.

so how do i feel about love?

love is magical. true love speaks of sparks and sunshine and constancy through the rough spots.

the concept of love is exciting, and exhilarating, and just so, so lovely. the reality that two people can just happen to meet at the right time, in the right place, in such a way that will intertwine their fates forever – that’s beautiful, right there.

i’m excited for that – that whole love thing.

and when that does happen, when the bells ring and the angels sing praises and the real sparks fly and all that cliche jazz, i’ll probably write another “love these days” post and let y’all know how it all worked out, okie dokie? i have a thousand different scenarios worked out in my head, and i’m sure it’ll end up far different from anything i could have imagined, but however it works out will be absolutely perfect and so, so right.

love these days? currently, it’s hiding backstage, behind a curtain, just waiting for me to whirl it open, maybe with a flourish or maybe slowly and carefully, ready to welcome it into my life.

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this post was inspired by THIS OTHER POST!

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confessions on reputations and being scared

so the funny thing is, very few people know that i blog. when i started blogging my family eventually found out, but i never told my friends. and as of today, as far as i know, none of my friends know about my blogs.

i’ll probably tell them sometime, or they’ll probably figure it out somehow through twitter or somewhere. the funny thing is that i tweet out a link every time i write a new post, but yet my best friend – the only close friend who follows me on twitter – still hasn’t figured it out. or maybe she has and there’s a reason why she hasn’t said anything haha? anyway, i’m pretty sure no one knows.

so why the secrecy among the people i know? i guess it’s not so much secrecy, just a choice not to broadcast my blogging. but why shouldn’t i be proud of what i write, and be happy to share it with people?

the thing is, i am proud of my writing (if i’m allowed to say that). if nothing else, i’m proud of it because it’s something i love to do and i hold dear this little creative outlet i’ve grown for myself.

but in all honesty, i’m terrified to share. 

and the deep down issue with all of this is that i’m honest-to-goodness scared about what people might think of me, despite how badly i want to pretend that other people’s opinions don’t matter to me, despite all the motivational messages that are shoved in our faces telling us that it doesn’t matter what anyone else thinks about you. i know, i know, i know, but try telling that to a brain that has emotions all wrapped in it, plus a life full of conforming to the reputation the world has placed on it. it sounds so petty, but i’m scared, and it’s the truth.

with my healthy living blog, (www.thehealthynotes.blogspot.com) i’m scared that people might think that it’s silly of me to be blogging about living a healthy life when i’m not an “athlete,” or a registered dietitian, or a personal trainer, or a health coach, or anything similar. i’m just one random person out there who sees the value of healthy living and wants to share it with others.

and then there’s this blog. i can’t decide which one i’m more afraid to tell my little world about.

and to level with you, i’m scared that people that know me might read my words on this blog and find me ridiculous.

there, i said it. that, right there, sums it up. i’m afraid of the snickers, of the behind-my-back-comments, of not being taken seriously. “you wrote some stupid flowery thing on lipstick???” 

okay, i basically pour out about seven-eighths of my heart into these words. the other eighth i keep to myself, since some special heart-secrets are good for a person, but i’ve put the rest out there, for anyone that cares to take the time to read it. (which, by the way, if you’re reading this, thank you thank you thank you for sparing a moment out of your day to hear me.)

so i give a lot of myself with my writing. and with all the giving, giving, giving, i feel like the defenses i’ve had in place my whole life are going down, one-by-one, post-by-post. it’s left me feeling exhilarated, and alive, and liberated…but also very exposed, in a way i’ve tried to avoid my whole life.

and i just can’t shake this feeling of vulnerability. 

to those acquaintances that know me from a distance, even a semi-close distance, i have a reputation, and a facade, and the internal pressure to keep it up. i’m seen as reserved. i’m known for being “smart,” however you want to take that. i’m known for niceness, and i’d venture to say that i’m perceived as being passive.

and i suppose there’s some truth to those statements, but that’s not me in a nutshell – in reality, the perception is very far from the truth that i see inside myself. that reputation – that outward perception – is only lightly touching the surface of me.

and for some reason it scares me to think of taking a step outside of that reputation, which is currently operating as my safety net. “tessa kohler” is liked, and accepted, and i don’t mind that in the slightest. “tessa kohler” has friends. “tessa kohler” isn’t criticized. “tessa kohler” is safe.

but “tessa kohler” also doesn’t write fiery blog posts about chivalry or happiness or other such deep matters in life.

so to take that step, and share what i write, is – to me – the equivalent of stepping out of a plane with a sketchy parachute, where you’re not quite sure if the whole falling-through-the-air-until-you-hit-the-ground thing was a smart idea. to share what i write with those people that already know me as a certain person, who acts a certain, predictable way – that would rock the ground just a little bit and suddenly i wouldn’t be that safe “tessa kohler” anymore.

and sometimes i can’t decide how badly i really want to share this with everyone. sometimes i really love coming here to write, and knowing that i can write whatever i please, because no one who reads this has those preconceived notions that terrify me so much. in those cases, my outward reputation is something i can hide behind, so while i stay safe and predictable in the real world, i’m also safe and free in the writing world that i adore.

but then again, sometimes i want to stand up in front of everyone i know and do some legit heart-and-guts-spilling, like i do here, in hopes that maybe i’ll actually be understood. and on those days, my stable reputation in my own little world doesn’t seem to loom over me as something that’s keeping me from expressing myself.

and yeah, i’ll probably end up sharing this completely unknown side of me someday. it probably won’t stay a secret forever. a friend will finally look at my tweets, or maybe i’ll drop a hint in a conversation, and people will figure it out eventually.

but for now, this is my place to be the real, legit, unrefined tessa, as cheesy and idealistic as that sounds. conquering those fears of altering the perception and the reputation is my mental and emotional work in progress at the moment. i’ve come to the realization that the more i write, the closer i draw to accomplishing that goal, so you can bet that’s what i’m going to keep doing.

here, i’m writing my heart, and my life. here i’m writing my true story.

here, i’m writing my reputation. 

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this post was inspired by the wordpress daily prompt: http://dailypost.wordpress.com/2014/01/17/daily-prompt-you/ 

the substance of memories

yesterday morning i came across a beautiful post by allison on her blog, writtenword87, that has stuck with me since i read it. allison wrote about the wonder of memories and about our fascination with items from the past. (click either of the links above and go read it!) when i read her post, i was inspired to dig out my own little stash of memories.

on my closet shelf sits an old, white, paper gift bag that is chock full of little bits of the past. this evening i removed it from that location, where it wasn’t doing much but gathering dust, and took a peek inside.

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i’ll always be a little bit of a pack rat deep down, and it kills me to deep clean my room and have to go through little odds and ends and decide what to keep and throw away. during one such deep-cleaning episode a number of years ago, i had the bright idea to save some of those memory-filled items in a specific location so they wouldn’t pile up on my dresser or my bookshelf or my headboard anymore, but i so could still keep them. since then, i’ve filled my paper gift bag with all sorts of lovely things.

going through that bag this evening was like paying a visit to many of the happy memories of my life. there is something so truly beautiful in holding something that has meaning and magic woven through it. 

i found letters of whimsy and appreciation and thanks and love – and some a combination of all four – from people i cherish.

i found photographs where i am standing in the midst of ladies i dearly love, reminding me of sweet summers past.

i found a plethora of artifacts from my truly life-altering new york city trip – a lanyard, a photograph from the empire state building, a receipt from an airport on the way home, a phantom of the opera playbill, and a bright yellow plastic bag that once held the play-going outfit i purchased from the forever 21 in times square, to name a few.

i found cds with pictures and i found postcards from traveling grandparents.

i found books full of campfire songs, crumpled and dirt-streaked, relics of warm weeks full of laughter and sleeping bags and altogether-too-much sugar.

i found memories upon memories that have sat in my closet for so long, just begging to be relieved.

apart from my closet stash, i have various bits and pieces of memories paperclipped and glued to journal pages – little things that make my heart smile as i flip through those notebooks of past word-ramblings – two old ticket stubs from a favorite date to a wintry lit-up garden, a copy of the first letter i wrote to a far-away friend, play tickets, letters composed to myself during dull classes, and other such scraps.

i am a self-professed lover of words, but somehow reading journaled thoughts doesn’t have quite the same effect as looking through my memory collection. the words are precious, but the experience is entirely different from discovering tangible treasures. what is it that allures to us through those physical objects that we are so attached to – those items that are virtually valueless to the rest of the world, but are so priceless to our hearts?

if there’s any magic in the world, i believe that those items must certainly possess some of it.

we long to hold something tangible in our hands, to smooth out bent and wrinkled letters, to connect the here and now to a wonderful past, to prove to ourselves that those breathtaking, forever-sparkling happenings really occurred, to reminisce on good times gone that will be forever fairy-dusted and sparkling in our thoughts.

we’re drawn to the reality of a gleaming past, to the evidence of happiness, to the substance of memories.

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where (or when) have you found the magic of memories in tangible form?

the existence of goodness

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“every day might not be good, but there is something good in every day.”

goodness exists. oooh you better believe it does. goodness exists in abundance.

think of how truly wonderful our world would be if everyone chose to focus on the goodness and the happiness and the beauty instead of the negatives and the sadness and the ugly.

so i guess that’s what i’m trying to do with this blogging thing. i’m trying to highlight the small, oh-so-good things in life as they exist amidst the troubles and turmoils that are equally present. i don’t want this to be a perfection blog. there are numerous blogs out there that portray life as if it is pure perfection, with perfectly decorated houses and perfect outfits and perfect vacations and, sorry, but this blog just isn’t like that. i love reading those blogs and being creatively inspired by whatever perfect things they feature, and i do believe that perfection is present in life, but i also understand that life is much more than that continual perfection, and i want to make sure i show that.

again, i want to portray the beauty and the perfection of life and highlight its existence, while at the same time recognizing that tears and hardships and the days where very few things seem to go right do happen.

and if you stop to think about it, those things that are perfect and beautiful and good are that way because of the things that are less than such. they go hand in hand. if everything was always top-notch, how would we be able to tell? it’s when life throws in some bad stuff that we’re able to truly appreciate the good.

so i’m going to say that life as a whole is wonderful. life is wonderful because of not in spite of – the bad times. the good and the bad fit together in such a way that is beautiful and inspired and necessary. that being said, it is when we praise and glorify and celebrate the good that we’re able to recognize the bad, and accept the bad, and keep it from steamrolling us quite so much. amidst darkness and troubles and living where it feels like a struggle to keep going until the next hour, or even the next minute, seeing the goodness can be our saving grace.

maybe this is all just nonsensical rambling. if it is, then oh well…rambling is what i tend to do best.

and if this is getting too deep, then i guess what i want to say, in more simple terms, is that you. can. be. happy. don’t let your bad circumstances define you. instead, acknowledge them, nod to them, recognize their importance and how necessary they are, and then promptly turn to the goodness and cling to it with all you have in you because that is what will get you through.

yes, this is hard to do, and i am a far far cry from being a master at it and always looking for the good 100% of the time, or even 75% of the time. life is hard. sometimes things come along that totally and completely knock you off your feet, and when you’re lying on your back it’s a tricky business to start looking for all the good around you. but! i speak from experience when i say that looking for the good makes all the difference.

so today, i’m reminding myself to search out the good, because i definitely need as much of a reminder as anyone else. i dare you to to join me. i dare you to be grateful for the storms and the tears, but i also dare you do search out the sunshine and the smiles and the light.

let’s celebrate the existence of goodness together.

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whew! i don’t usually get so wordy, so if you are reading this and you stuck through to the end, hugs and kisses and lots of love from me. thank you for humoring me and reading my rant/ramble/combination of the two!