Our Tiny Details

She died in 2006 shortly before her 42nd birthday, and I still think of her with love and miss her desperately, especially when I see periwinkle blue or a copy of Cooking Light magazine.

And when I hear Kool & the Gang’s Get Down on It, I can still remember standing at my dorm room window at Florida State University. And I can still see her “getting down” on Landis Green to her favorite song.

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Touch Me, Kiss Me, Thrill Me

Dearest Reader!

One of the loveliest aspects of romantic love is the enduring imprint it inevitably leaves on our heart and body.

So much so that even if “love” only lasts for an hour, a day, or weeks, years later when other “urgent” memories have faded, the memory of a single moment can still reach down into our being with its long arms and touch us deeply–decades later.

This is a true story of such a moment of “love:”

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Where Are Your Pearls?!

Dear Reader!

Give not that which is holy unto the dogs, neither cast ye your pearls before swine, lest they trample them under their feet, and turn again and rend you. ~ Matthew 7:6, King James Version

The years have taught me much about myself.

I have learned that my heart cares too much; that my soul is fragile; and that when I get hurt, the pain cuts deep and scars permanently.

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Hopelessly: Written on the Wind

image of a wooden person crushing head of another wooden person with a rock

Dear Reader!

This is a true story.

and so she let herself wonder
when he said, “I am so very sorry to have hurt you”
and she let herself half-way trust
when he said, “I promise, I promise you I will never ever hurt you again”
and she let herself plunge all the way
when his full lips earnestly graze the sweet spot at the back of her neck
in that moment, she thawed, she melted, she gave in
she deeply needed to feel something, to feel anything, to choose life

but very soon afterwards
their fable of “love” would play out the only way it could
really, as it always had
he would swiftly forget how very sorry he was
his voice cloaked in heavy, utter contempt when he spoke to her
his promises as meaningful as the wind they were written on

this wasn’t the something, the anything she had hoped for…

Call to action: Share with us your own thoughts on love and heartbreak in the comments.

Check out two of my favorite posts: Remembrance: Deep, Meaningful, True and Love Fights.

Wedded Bliss & I Don’t

Couple in love sitting on a bench

Dear Reader!

First, a very important and necessary disclaimer:

I believe in love that fights.

I believe in love that sacrifices and gives every thing, every thing—and not think twice.

I believe in love that shatters our everyday reality and flings us into the heavens not only exists but, more importantly, can go the distance… all the way to the grave.

I believe we live and we die and that love is the only thing—the only thing—that makes any of the in between worthwhile or meaningful.

My point is: I believe in love that is deep, meaningful, true.

I do.

Now, that I have delivered my disclaimer…

bridal couple wearing sneakers

Nevertheless, I have never witnessed firsthand a happy marriage. I am not saying they don’t exist—I simply have not witnessed one firsthand. I have, however, had great occasion to witness too many unhappy and/or stupid ones.

Not to mention how much I despise, abhor, and loathe women’s fixation on ONE day and an overpriced, white dress — when it is loving day in and day out; putting up with each other’s bullsh*t; honoring your love and your beloved; and living a lifetime together well that really matters.

So from a very tender age, I swore off the institution of marriage.

Love, definitely yes. Marriage, definitely no.

To me marriage is primarily a social construct that protects any children a union might give birth to and provides the partners’ with legal recourse (typically, the woman) for “fair” compensation should the union fail.

In love relationships, mutual adoration and fidelity come first, and then the parties involved can choose to marry to make a public statement of their intentions. But you certainly do not need marriage to convey this.

Unfortunately, too many of us confuse love/romance and marriage as being one and the same. They are not! Frankly, love does NOT necessarily equal marriage and marriage does not necessarily equal love.

FACT: People marry for all sorts of reasons, known and unknown. And you can be married and totally uncommitted and unmarried and 110% in with all of your heart, body, and soul.

With that being said and because when it comes to matters of the heart or marriage, nothing is simple: While I am decidedly not interested in saying, “I do,” I would never consider for one second staying with any man who does not want to marry me.

Call to action: Which do you believe in: “I do” or “I don’t?”

Remembrance: Deep, Meaningful, True

Auschwitz Concentration Death Camp
Auschwitz Concentration Death Camp

Dear Reader!

The very best films break open your heart; or remind you of something very important that you may have long forgotten or buried in some dark corner of your mind; or delight your heart and your mind with a new recognition of the stunning beauty and power of the human potential.

The German drama Remembrance (2011) (affiliate link) directed by Anna Justice is precisely such a film. It does all three with a rare poignancy.

This movie is an incandescent confirmation of deep, meaningful, true love and its wondrous power.

This is the story of Tomasz, a captured Polish-Catholic resistance fighter, and Hannah, a Jewish woman. In 1944 both were imprisoned at the Auschwitz Concentration Death Camp.

In the presence of senseless, depraved evil and in the midst of…

inconceivable human cruelty…

wretched squalor…

How deep, meaningful, and true is your love?

calculated starvation…

unfathomable hopelessness…

and the stifling, heavy aroma of death perfuming the air,

love found a way to seed, to grow, and to even flourish.

One man found a way to a love one woman, to nurture her physically, to give her hope, to save her life.

And what struck me as hauntingly breathtaking is that this love seeded and sustained itself without…

a common language…

the deception of makeup…

Pinterest-worthy outfits…

silicone assets…

or professional definitions.

All the things we—with our comparatively easy lives—think we need to love and to be loved.

Yes, two ordinary people ripped from their homes and their families, thrown into the hell that was a labor/death camp, and stripped naked of all their human dignity found their way to hope… and to a deep, meaningful, true love.

The movie is even more exhilarating, because it was inspired by true events. Imagine that!

And I can’t help but wonder: Is it possible for those of us with comfortable existences and our superficial checklists — Does he have a college degree? Is she hot? Does he have blue eyes? Is her hair blonde? Does she have a big arse or breasts? Is she white? How about 50 shades of stupid? Whatever! — to ever be certain that the untested love we find is deep and meaningful and true?

Call to action: In the comments, share: When do you know that love is deep, meaningful, and true? Have you been lucky to bear witness to this kind of love?

Other film posts: Fall in Love, the 11th Commandment; Yes, I Am Queen of Sheba; and I Don’t Like All Black People.

So Much Nothing!

a map of the world imprinted on two hands

Dear Reader!

Am I the only person, who thinks there is way too much nothing going on in our world today?

So many — a lot — nothing books… Everyone Is Italian on Sunday by Rachael Ray comes out later this month. I have to ask: Do we need yet another cookbook on how to cook pasta and tomato sauce?! Do we?!

So many noisy, ridiculous nothing movies… Yes, I am looking at you Fast & Furious 8, Iron Man 3, et al...

So many inane, vapid, dull, tedious nothing TV shows… Really, why the frack is everyone desperately keeping up with all these silly women on reality TV shows? Why?!

So many g-d awful nothing magazines… Seriously, do we need another “revolutionary” how-to on getting the holy grail of fitness, a flat tummy?! And why does a certain section of my local magazine stands resemble a porn site?!

So many truly horrible song lyrics like “But you wanna say no… What do you mean? Hey… When you don’t want me to move… But you tell me to go… What do you mean?” and so forth, ad nauseam. This is the load of ca-ca that sits at #2 this week on Billboard Top 100 Songs.

What are you about? Nothing or Something?

So many conversations about nothing—the weather is, well, the weather—when there are so many important thoughts, ideas, and feelings that need to be shared…

And saddest of all, so many people, who are about nothing… no decency, no integrity, no character… Nothing!

Oh, the dreck… the dreck… And because I like threes, I’ll say it again: the dreck!

What I know is this: What the world needs desperately right this minute is more people who are actively committed to daily choices and behaviors that will better them mentally, emotionally, and, most of all, spiritually as individuals—and as a natural consequence, better civilization as a whole.

Call to action: Are you feeling me? Am I asking too much?

I Am Strong… and It’s My Birthday!

I AM strong!

Dear Reader!

My name is Janine. I was diagnosed with an acoustic neuroma, a rare, “benign” brain tumor, four and half years ago. And today is my birthday.

Where should I begin…

Facial numbness on the entire left side of my face… You know, that truly horrible feeling you have after you’ve been to the dentist and gotten a shot of Novocaine, except it NEVER goes away!

The sensation of hauling around concrete on the left side of my head…

Inability to chew food on the left side of my face… Yep, the teeth on my left side have seen no action for five years…

Facial twitching and spasms on the left side of my face… I am still terrified when these happen.

Drooling is so humiliating and gross…

Dizziness is so inconvenient when you like cute shoes…

Feeling like the world is spinning like a top while I am absolutely still… also a deterrent to cute shoes… (And don’t try this when you’re driving!)

Total loss of hearing in my left ear, except…

For the nonstop and vexing — did I mention, really vexing — buzzing, beeping, roaring, or ringing in my left ear. Sometimes, it is so loud I can barely hear myself think and what thoughts I do have are about ending my miserable existence…

Unbearable hypersensitivity to loud noises and sounds in crowded places, i.e., restaurants, airports, movie theaters, malls, everywhere these days… Seriously, it is like hell has invaded my brain.

Migraines that last for days at best or weeks at the worst — that’s right, weeks, and then leave me with a headache hangover for another week… Shoot me!

Physical exhaustion…

Extreme mental fatigue… No one has any idea. No idea. No idea.

The loss of ever experiencing again a single moment of peace or my beloved silence… except

When I sleep and even that eludes me…

I am strong!

Yes, I have lived with these symptoms for the last 1,643 days… 39,432 hours… 2,365,920 minutes… four and half fracking years.

Yes, two MILLION, three hundred and six-five thousand, nine hundred and twenty minutes, which is rather amazing to me when I remember how I prayed that I would be able to endure these symptoms for six months until my treatment of choice, Gamma Knife, “cured” me.

Hmm, silly me.

Sadly, I am not cured. And I will never be cured, so I’ve been told by my oncologist neurosurgeon.

And this stinking, rotten “benign” brain tumor is really not so very benign at all. Besides all the daily bullsh*t I cope with, if the growth of my tumor does not stay halted, it will press against my brain stem/cerebellum and interrupt vital functions, say like, breathing — and I kill me. So brain surgery — sometimes, I still can’t believe I have a brain tumor — may be part of my not too distant future.

[SIGH]

BUT I am here today, October 5, 2015. And today is my birthday, so Happy Birthday to me. And, if I may, I would like to say to myself: “I am so proud of me. I am stronger than I ever thought I could be.”

Call to action: Do you believe in your own strength? Has your strength been tested?

Check out my post from last week: I Need to Soar.