Tag Archives: relationships

“Love Can’t Touch Me Now” by Dragonette

Dragonette_2013

Short and sweet post about how anyone and everyone needs to listen to this song. EDM lover? Pop music fan? Have a brain and ears? You must listen to this now. 

I came across Dragonette when listening to suggested artists on Amazon Music a couple of months and have been hooked on this particular track ever since. Not only is the production great, but the lyrics are something I think most listeners can chew on and relate to:

I’ve got these big heavy stones and I’ve been piling them up In a circle round my heart, in a circle round my heart

I will be happy alone, I swear I say it out loud
With the circle ‘round my heart, with the circle ‘round my heart

I’m like a statue now, I’m not afraid
‘Cause I don’t feel a thing, and I can’t break ….

Just try to hurt me now, I’m not afraid
‘Cause I am made of things that you can’t break

Your love can’t touch me now

The idea of self-preservation in the form of figurative protection in place may or may not be healthy but it’s something worth pondering about. How much can be felt with a buffer and filter surrounding such an absorbent part of being? Who wants to live like that? How many people do, just so that they can live?

It’s fascinating just how much can be felt from such great heights in an effort not to fall. I  find myself wanting to both tear down and build up the wall with her.

Plus, this song is pretty awesome when driving  or working out. That’s a given.

“Love Can’t Touch Me Now” is off of Dragonette‘s  “Royal Blues” LP released in 2016, and — again — if you don’t know who they are, I recommend that you do yourself a solid and find out. 

Check out the track below — would love to know what you think:

Photo via Wikimedia Commons

 

Advertisements

Why Words Are Not Enough 

My boyfriend and I don’t really say “I love you” to each other. 

During the first couple of years in learning about each other, I thought that there was an order of things to model after. But instead of going down the “first comes love, then comes marriage” speedway, we took the scenic “first comes sharing snacks, then comes some awkward dance moves” route. 

Respecting the fact that relationships require time and work, I would like to think that this detour has contributed to a mutual familiarity and understanding beyond words that has kept us together for nearly seven years. Still, I remember having done so much research on the subject, because “I love you” meant so much to me. In sharing with others in longer relationships — including my parents, married for 39 years — I was able to realize that relationship advice isn’t relationship gospel, that one size daren’t fit all, and that words mean everything as much as they don’t. 

Recently, I learned about the neural phenomenon of semantic satiation. A concept of study since the early 20th century, it was defined in 1962 by psychologist Leon James as the temporary inability to process the meaning of a word after hearing or reading it multiple times in succession. 

It really got me thinking. There are plenty of words that I myself overuse or hear overused in conversation — “love”,”hate”, “ridiculous”, “crazy”. There are surely better words to use that aren’t completely expunged of meaning and turned into mere intensifiers.

But if all words have a tendency to lose their meaning, exactly whose fault is it? Our brains for letting it happen, the words merely for existing, or one’s intention? Is it even that big of a deal?

Are you confused yet? Welcome to my world.

I just need to shut up sometimes. We all do. We need to read more, write more, learn, and listen. Turn off our brains for a second and not force or rush through a moment. You know, the simple stuff that’s not at all simple. Then maybe we can finally know what it means to understand and love each other.

All I know is that when I hugged my boyfriend  this morning after learning we’ll soon be proud parents of the SNES Classic, he held onto me just a little bit longer — and that was all the “I love you” I needed. 

Social Media Makes the World Small. It’s Not That Deep

worldMy good friend belongs to the same dance troupe as the now-wife of my first lover, and has been for a year or so now. I know this thanks to some photos my friend has shared on Instagram. (C’est la vie.)

This past weekend, I went to a bar downtown and friended a guy who runs in the same musical circle as the childhood neighbor I’d play four-handed piano with on Tuesday nights after Bible study. (Just a happy coincidence.)

Just this afternoon at my day job, I came across the portfolio of someone whose name I immediately recognized from work I follow on social and creative media platforms. (Well, all right, then.)

I realize that these interactions pack a little less punch than, say, going to the deli or car wash and bumping into someone who just happens to be a friend of a friend of someone you used to know. However, these instances were just intimate enough that I’d be lying if I claimed that I wasn’t the least bit affected. But due to the modern web of social media, it only makes sense that these worlds would collide directly, and at times violently, into mine.

A few years ago, I might have viewed the above occurrences as chance, or maybe even a sign of the past being manifested as a present branching-off of a celestial event. I wouldn’t be the only one, either — perhaps you would feel similarly. With the wealth of exciting activity occurring in the universe this month that will continue to be observed from our vantage point on Earth, it’s only understandable. 

But let’s really think about it: Anyone can be found on the internet. As of March 2017, statistics suggest that at least half of the world’s population has access to the internet. Interactions such as the ones above are really not that random. It’s just that individually-drawn, personal associations are powerful enough in convincing people otherwise.

As for me, right now, I subscribe to the fact that the world is small as a result of the internet’s far reach — nothing more, or less. 

It’s kind of fun, fascinating, maybe even thrilling. But it’s also really not that deep.

If You Want to Be Happy, Stop Trying So Hard

“There is no starting or stopping — only doing.”

I used to think that the most important part of my life was that I was happy. Then I realized that being happy, like any other emotion, is a temporary state of mind. And yet, sometimes I still find myself saying, “I just want to be happy.”

But just take a look at the synonyms for the word “happy”:

cheerful, cheery, merry, joyful, jovial, jolly, jocular, gleeful, carefree, untroubled, delighted, smiling, beaming, grinning … lighthearted, pleased, contented, content, satisfied, gratified, buoyant, radiant, sunny, blithe, joyous, beatific; thrilled, elated, exhilarated, ecstatic, blissful, euphoric, overjoyed, exultant …

The list actually goes on.

Personally, as much of a good idea as it sounds, I don’t think it’s humanly possible to be happy all of the time. 

Call me a cynic, but just think: much like anger and sadness (and all variants thereof), these are emotions that occur as a product of environment. In addition, no matter how much success one experiences, emotions across the board — especially the not-so-good ones — will be felt, and felt hard. No one is exempt from falling down from cloud nine — we’re not designed to live in the stratosphere. 

So what should be the goal one for oneself, if not merely to be happy?

I propose the idea of contentment.

Before you Google the definition and say “A-ha! You can’t have contentment without happiness”, I would like to point out the difference between being happy (an emotion), and happiness (a state of being that requires constant motion in order to get there).

For illustrative purposes, let’s imagine that happiness is wherever you rest your head at the end of the day. You reside there, but will, without fail, leave it multiple times a day — whether for work, to walk your dog, get the mail, go to the grocery store, gym, on a trip, etc. That said, you can still generally make your way back home, even when there’s a traffic jam or detour.

Sure, it’s entirely possible to lose your way back, for a number of reasons within and out of control. And perhaps, by choice or force, you’ll find that you may have to live in another place entirely. 

But no matter what, you always have some idea where home is. Some days it’ll be easier to get there, while other days, it’ll be more of a challenge to do so — but even the vague idea can either lead you back to it, or create it wherever you happen to be. And usually, it’s where you want to be anyway.

To sum it up: like every emotion we experience, happy is a temporary feeling. To strive to be happy 100% is an unrealistic ideal that will always within then quickly out of reach. It’s too much work to grasp at something only to barely touch it for seconds at a time.  

Contendedness, on the other hand, is the state of being that comprises satisfaction on a foundation of happiness. Although it requires constant motion, the ability to achieve and maintain balanc is much more possible. Put your energies here and experience more stability, even when life’s curveballs come a-flying.

What do you think? Is there any weight to this viewpoint? Or is it all just BS?

Feel free to @ me on Twitter; I’m curious to hear your thoughts on the subject.

3 Things That Happened When I Stopped Drinking Alcohol

I feel that everyone has said this to some extent, but I used to be a pretty big drinker. I’m not sure if it was way to reduce social anxiety, a coping mechanism, or something to do to pass the time (or all three) — but whatever it was, it was getting to be too much in my life. And so, I stopped.

Of course it wasn’t as easy as that, but I was getting tired of feeling like crap. After a real heart-to-heart and realizing that I was poisoning my body, it was time to make a decision. If my body was so hell bent on rejecting the stuff, maybe it was time for me to consciously do so in return.

So I went for a little over 30 days without drinking. Here’s what happened:

1. I lost weight. I’ve been struggling to lose “the last 10” for years and have been on every restrictive diet and exercise plan out there – really. But nothing, I repeat, nothing broke the plateau more effortlessly than not drinking. I am now comfortably 5 to 8 pounds less than what I was, just by making that one change.

2. I lost some friends. Happy hour and bottomless mimosa brunches are not part of my social routine anymore. While I see some friends a lot less, I’m not upset by it, nor am I surprised. But I did have that moment where I thought, “Wow. Yeah, that actually happened.” See, you hear about it happening – and then it actually happens to you. I consider my friends to be my friends, and still love spending time together and sharing experiences when we can. But things are different, and it’s okay.

3. I saved money. So, rent is due today, and I’ve had the kind of week where I’ve been putting off looking at my checking account (you know the kind)… and I was actually positively surprised when I checked it this morning. Now, I’m not filthy rich by any means, but since drinking considerably less these days, my bank account has had considerably more in it, with relatively little effort.

Here’s a bonus point that goes without saying, yet ties into all of the above: I feel better overall. Right before I made the switch, I found that I was spending more Sundays in bed recovering from Saturday nights out. Monday mornings post-Sunday Funday were getting to be really taxing physically (water retention, brain function, dizziness), and emotionally (self-worth, “Why do I keep doing this to myself?”). Whenever it came time to tackle the work week, I was always unprepared. I felt like an imposter, constantly fighting the tides.

Sometimes it bothers me when people say, “Oh, I could never quit alcohol, I enjoy it too much.” I felt that way, too, except now I say, “I’ll have a club soda and juice”, or even sometimes, “….yeah, sure, I’ll have a beer.”

See, alcohol is not like air or water – we actually can live without it. When going out or hanging with friends, alcohol is no longer the default, or prerequisite. I can make the choice even when surrounded by it. I could absolutely live without alcohol – I did! – and I have a much better relationship with it as a result.

You know about a-ha moments, right? I had one recently when I was grocery shopping. The wine and spirits section is at the front of the grocery store I go to, very hard to miss. I used to buy a new bottle of vodka for the freezer when I ran out, sort of like when I ran out of toilet paper or soap. But more and more, with each visit, I found myself rarely heading to the section. It happened on its own, perhaps subconsciously. Perhaps it was time.

Sometimes I think that I’ll do it again – 30 days without drinking. But more so I think I’ll continue what I’m doing: that is, living a life that revolves around friends and family, not drink specials. I’m just looking to do and be, and all that jazz. I will have a Guinness at an Irish pub, or a glass of wine at a fancy dinner, because I know it won’t take me over anymore. It will, like my life, be about the richness of the people and the occasion, and not a routine that once took hold.

It’s Okay to Not Be Liked

Imagine you’re the new person at work, at school, on a kickball team, in a writing circle, acting class, whatever. Trying to fit in is one of those things that always seems to happen, and being the new kid on the block isn’t always fun.

But then I had the realization that not everyone had to like me, and I didn’t have to like them either — and that this isn’t necessarily a bad thing.

In any sort of group, there is a main objective. At work, it’s work, and at school, it’s education. In a creative workshop or on a sports team, it’s creating something or developing a strategy to win the game — and most of the time, that’s what people are focusing on, not whether or not they otherwise get along.

Sure, it helps to get along with people — but getting along is a lot more different than being liked. You don’t have to be friends with everyone in order to be able to come together and with the aim of reaching a common goal.

The thing is, people have boundaries, no matter how well you know them. You may have certain boundaries as well. But within those general boundaries are the common objective (whatever it is) and that can be enough. In fact, that is all that should be expected.

I mention this because often I feel that I go out of my way to be personable when I’m not in the general mood to do so. I don’t know why it took me so long to realize that performing my role all that is expected of me, and that it is absolutely enough. While I genuinely like working with others, to collaborate, brainstorm, and communicate ideas — that doesn’t equate “being liked”. My worth and contribution isn’t based on anyone liking me. It’s based on what the function of my role and how well I perform it.

The energy I put into making sure people like me — the over-smiling, the over-laughing, the over-assurance — can be exhausting. It comes from somewhere natural at first, but causes internal strain and detracts from my true intentions. It is a habit I’m learning to break, my goal being to “work hard in silence, let success be the noise,” as the saying goes.

Long story short, as long as I work and behave with integrity, I am perfectly fine with not being liked.

If ever you feel the undue, self-born pressure to be liked, don’t. Not everyone’s going to like you — and that’s okay.