Do You?

Do you believe in love?
Do you believe in marriage?
Do you think there is only one right person for you or many possibilities?
Have you ever had your heart broken?
What inspires you?
What are your dreams?
What places do you want to travel to in the future?
What do you want to do with your life?
What are your thoughts on God?
What are your spiritual beliefs?
What causes do you believe most strongly in?
What are your talents and strengths?
What are your spiritual gifts?
What do you like best about yourself?
What would you change about yourself?
What do you struggle with?
Do you consider yourself an optimist or a pessimist?
Do you believe in second chances?
What things make you angry?
Are you more task-oriented or people-oriented?
What is your family like?
Are you more comfortable with kids or pets?
What do you like to do for fun?
Do you always run early or late?
What genres of movies and types of books do you like best?
Who are your role models?
What is your preferred method of communication?
What is your primary love language?

Author’s note: I published this yesterday on my poemhunter poet page. It may not be poetry in a pure sense, but I was inspired to write a list of questions that seem especially helpful to ask in a romantic context. Some of these questions are also good for getting to know friends and family on a deeper level. Feel free to use and share these questions! ūüôā

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On the Eve of Valentine’s Day

A treehouse in Marayur, Kerala, India

When I was growing up, I lived on 18 acres in the country and we had a creek that ran through the woods…..that was definitely pretty cool….but I must say a major childhood disappointment of mine is that¬†I never did get the horse that I longed¬†for when we moved from the city to the country when I was in grade school.¬† Back then, I subscribed to Horse Illustrated, wanted an Arabian (one of the most beautiful horses, in my opinion), and I loved Black Beauty and the Black Stallion.¬† We also had a tree house which was neat….and then of course I also thought it was fun to build a fort with couch cushions and blankets.¬† But, here I am digressing…and if you are wondering what building forts (with couch cushions or otherwise) has to do with being on the eve of Valentine’s Day….well, then I guess you will have to bear with me.¬† Don’t forts and Valentine’s Day go hand in hand?¬† I have always thought so.¬† Just kidding!

Seriously, I think the reason I used to build forts out of couch cushions was because I¬†was attempting to be¬†safe and secure when my world had sort of fallen apart.¬† I think I wanted to “hide”(important side note:¬†what concerns me is that sometimes I still see this tendency¬†in myself, to hide, and that is something that I am attempting to break out of).¬† So, my¬†parent’s divorced when I was five, and one¬†of my earliest childhood memories¬†was¬†waking up to my parent’s in a huge fight and sitting on¬†opposite ends of the family couch….and then my¬†Dad leaving with his suitcase in¬†hand the next day.¬† Honestly, every child longs¬†to know they are loved¬†and to know they have a family¬†that they can lean on through thick and thin.¬† Divorce makes the security¬†of a family unstable, i.e. that when the going gets hard, your family falls apart and marriage vows get thrown out the window.¬† When my Dad left our family, it was really sad.¬† I think for me it was like no longer having a security¬†net. It did not help that my Mom would constantly bad-mouth my Dad, and sometimes it seemed like I was the ping-pong ball going back and forth between them.¬† Add in having to deal with family conflicts related to holidays and the added challenges of step-parents and you have a lot for a child to emotionally process,¬†especially at a formative young age.

As you may suspect, my parent’s divorce¬†PROFOUNDLY shaped my life and my childhood.¬† Sometimes, even today, it is really hard for me to imagine what it is actually like for someone to have 2 parents who are actually married,¬†stay together, and are happy.¬† I wonder what it is like to not have to be¬†a human ping-pong ball between 2 households?¬† I wonder what it is like to be¬†a “functional family?”¬† Does anyone even know?¬† You only ever hear of “dysfunctional” families.¬† Personally, I think we need to talk more about family strengths and about the “functional” family.¬† I desire¬†to know more about families where marriages thrive and are beautiful, healthy, and whole.¬† Since my family on both sides has a fair number of divorces and broken hearts, I eventually realized that I needed to cognitively search out¬†marriages that I admired, which¬†would give me hope and inspiration.¬† This was a good idea, and I think helped me to fill in the gaps, so to speak, in¬†order to encourage me in my views of marriage¬†and enabled me to have a more positive, healthy mindset (not a fear-based one….which can be hard sometimes, if I am being real).

Finally, being on the Eve of¬†Valentine’s Day makes¬†me think¬†of love and joy and marriage.¬† I am not trying to be¬†a “downer” with this post, and I know that it is nowhere¬†near a typical Valentine’s Day post.¬† I do want to mention that Valentine’s Day¬†is a beautiful time to express the sweet appreciation that married couples and dating couples¬†should be¬†showing to each other all year round.¬† It is so important to not take one another for granted….every day is a¬†special, amazing¬†gift….and kind words like¬†“I love you”, “I appreciate you”, or “you make me smile”¬†may just be¬†what a spouse¬†or¬†significant other¬†is longing to hear.¬†¬†Some people also enjoy gifts, such as flowers, chocolates , or Teddy bears.¬† Valentine’s Day is also a¬†good day for children to know¬†how much they are loved¬†by their parents and other people in their lives.¬† Essentially, while some individuals¬†are jaded about Valentine’s Day, perhaps due to bitter break-ups and¬†various hurts, and others lament about it being a¬†“Hallmark holiday”, I believe that Valentine’s Day is a nice time¬†for¬†kind words, love, and appreciation.¬† May all who read this know they are loved and cared about.¬† Happy Valentine’s Day!!!!!

Happy Valentine's Day...

Happy Valentine’s Day… (Photo credit: –ąerry)

Love, rejection, and poetry (a.k.a. a heart, a wall, and vulnerabilty)

Author: Bagande

Image via Wikipedia

I am an occasional poet. When I get inspired, poems in my journal typically seem to fall in the category of being about love, faith, or God. I am a firm believer that love exists in many forms: a mother to a child, a friend to a friend, selfless love leading to action in order to help humanity….as well as of course romantic love. Many of the famous songs of old are about the passion and perils of romantic love….finding love, heartbreak, the ache of unrequited love….life and literature is ripe with tales and woes of romantic love. Love may at times seem elusive….and barriers to love exist, as we all know.

Personally, I’m an introspective person, and my educational background in the counseling field and Sociology has led me to examine myself, as well as family of origin, in order to know myself more (not that there is an end to this process, however, since life is a series of growth and change, and people really should not stay static). I am a firm believer in socialization and the fact that people are shaped by their culture, society, and country of origin. Families are part of this process. For example, I believe that children of divorce, as adults, can have issues and ambivalence with romantic love…these issues can and do affect these individuals in dating and marriage. I see this truth when I examine myself and my own desire for, and yet skittishness toward, romantic love. It can be hard, at times, for me to be vulnerable in this area. It does not help that an ex-boyfriend of mine in college broke up with me on my birthday, with no birthday present and right before Valentine’s Day, to boot. To be fair, I guess technically it was the day after my birthday, because the break-up talk started on my birthday but carried over till a bit after midnight…but still, I kind of think that there should be some unwritten rule (or social norm, perhaps?) in dating where a boyfriend should not break up with a girlfriend on her birthday (and vice versa). It is just plain wrong, honestly. Also, another facet of romantic love is marital love. I find it sad to think of marital love not lasting a lifetime…all too often people say “till death do us part”, and yet when trouble comes, such as financial difficulties or other hardships, then those same people give up on their marriage, maybe lamenting “it just wasn’t meant to be.” I think this mentality is incredibly tragic.

Rejection is a part of the elusive search for romantic love. Who likes rejection? No one. It is painful and raw. However, often the process to achieving romantic love will involve rejection, either in dating rejection or in pain from past relationships and break-ups. Rejection can transcend romantic love, however….there is also the pain of childhood rejection (i.e. being picked last for the athletic team in high school physical education class….for me that happened when one of my friends was picking teams and I was last picked…that was painful and did not help my self confidence in my athletic abilities). Rejection is a fact of life, whether it be in the career field or more relational in nature. Vulnerabilty is needed in order to find romantic love, but all too often walls are put up to safeguard one’s heart, and to not be hurt any more than one has already been hurt. These walls are problematic, however, and need to be dismantled in order to find a successful outcome in a dating or marital relationship.

Alright, I want to end with a short poem that I wrote about, what else? Love.

Love

Love ? I love love love you.

Love ? I love love love you. (Photo credit: @Doug88888)

Love.

Ambiguously messy.

Vulnerability in the upmost.

Heart to heart. Hope to hope. Healing is the vibe.

Love.

So often in this world

strings are attached

and expectations abound

regarding love.

But the better way

will never cease to be

a pure foundation

and a fiber weaving throughout

in a brilliant tapestry

of rich hues

of reds and golds

and filled with warmth and clarity

and an unconditional love

that is healing, hopeful, and vulnerable

and that truly is forevermore.

Love Love Love

Love Love Love (Photo credit: Gregory Jordan)