Love and Relationships

COPING WITH THE TRAGIC AND SUDDEN DEATH OF MY CLOSE FRIEND

We associate certain kinds of music, scents, flowers, animals, colors or images with different stages of our life. One song that has an extra personal meaning to me because of a very terrible incident that happened a few years after I graduated from high school. Let me explain the story. The song is a very popular song by the rock group Styx: “Come Sail Away.” The beginning of the song is slow then gradually gets a tempo and a fast beat. The slow part really gets me, especially the verse: I remember high school friends and me With our dreams I start to cry when I hear this verse as well as the beginning of the song with just the music before Dennis DeYoung starts singing. It is a wonderful song, after all it stayed on the charts for a whopping two years and initially sold over ...

GRACE AT 30,000 FEET

I used to be deathly afraid to fly. We are talking well into my adulthood where it’s no longer cool to hold someone’s hand tightly as we take off and land; that kind of fear. I think people used to feel sorry for me as they watched me white-knuckle the two armrests and squeeze my face really tight. It was like watching a train wreck in slow motion. I thought I would never overcome the fear. Now, I fly more than ever, and somehow the fear has left the building. People always want me to give them some magic formula on how to ask fear to exit your body and be an overcomer. Sadly, I don’t ever have a good answer. The only thing I can ever tell people is simply this: fill something with love so much so that you no longer have room for fear. It always silly, but it’s true. Anything that is so fu...

SWEET BEAZIE

In Chattanooga, there was a café near the pedestrian bridge I used to frequent. Over the counter hung a tasteful painting of several women sitting on the grass in the nude engaged in conversation. Seemingly staring back at anyone looking at the painting was a small blue dog with yellow eyes that didn’t quite belong in the scene. Every time I went into the café, I was mesmerized by the painting and the dog. Finally, one day, I asked to speak to the owner. I was told the owner was seldom there and the lady asked if there was any way she could help me. I told her that I was interested in buying the painting. She smiled kindly into my then very young face and gave me an art lesson on the first George Rodrigue original Blue Dog that I had seen to date. Needless to say, I don’t own one. Many yea...

NOT LIKE OTHER GIRLS

We’ve all heard it before. Whether it was from the Manic Pixie Dream Girl in another John Green novel or from one of those anonymous “Typical White Girl” Twitter accounts. We’ve all probably been guilty of using this sentiment as well. I have. The thing is: when did it become so wrong to “be like other girls”? Why has the simple act of being our gender pushed us against a wall and thrown us into a pigeonhole? When the edgy girl with a guitar slung on her shoulder says, “I’m not like OTHER girls,” what does she really mean? When did the word “girl” become synomous with catty, gossipy, high-maintenance, mean, crazy, etc.? All those sterotypes that we’ve proven again and again we are not. Because that’s not how humans work. We are not easily categorized. We are complex beings, goo...

YOUR LOVE, YOUR WEDDING, YOUR DAY

As a photographer one of the most common question I am asked from couples about to get married is: “What do people normally do?”. As I reply: “You can do whatever you want.” I can hear both their frustration and feelings of relief in the sound of their sighs. As an example of what this can look like I am sharing what I did for my wedding just so you can see how backwards things can get. I understand there are steps people come to expect at a wedding and mine definitely caused some confusion at times, but it is what made us happy and once people understood that, nothing else really mattered. What is really important about this day? After I explain to couples that they can do whatever they want I follow with this: “I encourage you to really think about what is important to you.”  It is easy ...

WHEN DOES MARRIAGE CHANGE LOVE?

“Mrs & Mrs” is a message on a heart-shaped dish, one gift of many received from our family when we got married. I view this gift as an expression of love, for love. My partner of more than eight years and I got married April 20, and the question I often get is: Did anything change? It’s not an easy question to answer. Our legal status changed and with it some benefits were added to our lives on paper and in cyber records. That’s not the focus of that question though. Yes, something changed, but it is hard to explain. In a previous marriage to a man, I started to grow into the person I am today. We divorced amicably, we remain friends and we have both remarried. Our marriage ended when we changed to the point that it made sense for us to part. We garnered the courage to face the fear of...

GHOSTS ARE REAL

A few nights ago, in the darkness of my bedroom at the witching hour, I was visited by a ghost. One that was familiar and foreign to me all at once. With them, they brought the shackles of unfinished business and the repulsive electricity of purposefully forgotten memories. I was scared; not of being faced with the unknown, but because I felt that I didn’t know the person I was in their presence. I was drowning in scenarios that could have been, in realities of their existence I had expertly ignored. I woke up crying. Ghosts are real, and this is my proof. While it may not be in the light-flickering, demonic archetype we expect, it’s true that ghosts inhabit the cobwebbed corners of our mind, emerging in our weakest moments. They haunt the living as the shell of a person we once knew, stuc...

GUARDED

Remembering that night, our first night The room illuminated by candles Rose petals adorned the floor Loves notes posted in every empty space Baby, you are my everything, and I smile because of you Your reaction touched my heart to the core Your overwhelming tears tore down the walls that guarded my heart I Love You was all wanted to shout Terrified at what you would think, I kept it to myself As the evening progressed. the passion consumed every ounce of that room Enjoying how every inch of you filled me Your hands in mine, your lips on my lips Never let me go is what ran through my mind But the night had to end A quiet drive on the way to your home only to have you say the words I waited for all night I Love You Baby!       Author: Jacqueline Rodriguez Email: jc2065.jr37@g...

HALLOWED

What is so sacred about that stubble on your face, those muscles, that strength?   What is so hallowed about the member between your legs that huskiness in your voice?   What is so blessed about you being a man, that it is a sin for me to love another woman?       Author: Anangsha Alammyan Email: anangsha.nits@gmail.com Author Bio: Anangsha is a Civil Engineer by profession and a writer by passion. All through her life, she has looked at writing as a means of catharsis, expression and escape – though not necessarily in that order. She is currently working on her first book – “Stolen Reflections” which is an anthology of poems and is now available on Amazon. Link to social media or website: Instagram @anangsha_    

ON MY OWN…

Nothing can replace the security I felt when you were here The illusion that was telling me everything was okay when it wasn’t I created this false sense of happiness within When all I really was doing was ruining all that I ever wanted Then you left and that blanket was gone Like a child realizing Santa isn’t real Seeing it as a preservation of innocence and not complacent lies You wanted so bad to save me But now I’m on my own…   -HeR     Author: Brittanie Lang Email: hippie.lova24@gmail.com Author Bio: I’m a single working mother of four amazing little people. Poetry has been a hobby for me and a means of therapy to release my emotions and thoughts. I am in the process of publishing a book of my work in the near future. Link to social media or website: Instagram @hi...

LADIES WHO LUNCH

The women in my life are nothing less than powerhouses. They are community advocates, doctors, entrepreneurs, wives, artists, yogis, teachers and therapists. They face each day as they did the last- with elegant exhaustion. They maneuver through their daily world of board rooms, aging parents, soccer practices and self-care. They may not always make it look easy, but that only adds to my admiration for them continuing to show up each day. I am blessed to have these women in my life, for they constantly inspire me to show up in my life as well. To keep fighting for a life full of chaos and spaghetti stains and sweat and bliss. It is out of my love for these incredible women that it equally amazes me how often the topic of diets, food and body shaming continue to dominate our dialogue. Our t...

DID MY RELATIONSHIP ABROAD MAKE ME MISS OUT ON OTHER THINGS?

I always hated the trope when someone enters into a relationship, they completely forget about his or her friends and focus on the relationship. I never wanted to be that girl, and yet I fear I may have been her. I had been studying in London for a month when I reactivated my Tinder. I felt comfortable enough with the city and my life there that I was willing to try and meet people. Before this, my Tinder life had been pretty lackluster; I rarely kept up conversations and had definitely never met up with anyone. But it only takes one thing to change your mind. British Boy made me laugh in our texting conversations, so I gave him my number and agreed to meet him for drinks. Something completely unprecedented for me, and I was terrified. It didn’t help that I had friends convinced that...

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