Pictured Infidelity

Have you ever caught someone cheating on you red handed??

Maybe not in the exact act of betrayal but you discovered evidence that could prove nothing else other than their total infidelity? My friend is going through something of this nature and it inspired me to take a look back into a deep past that I buried long ago.

This story takes place about 8 years ago and at this time I had freshly moved to FL and was dating who had been my HS sweet heart at the time. In the seven years that him and I had dated, never did I ever think that such betrayal between us was possible but with time I soon realized how possible anything in life could be.

He had left in the morning to go to the bank to deposit some of his money from his serving shift the night before. I was killing time waiting for him to get back to start on breakfast when I decided to get on the computer and switch up some pictures on my Myspace (remember Myspace?). I log onto the computer and begin to search some files looking for my new profile picture when I see a file that was left untitled. I found this interesting. What pictures could be in there? Not thinking anything negative, I excitedly clicked on the file folder thinking that I would find pictures he and I had long ago forgotten. When the file opened, my world which seemed so perfect at the time, shattered like fragile glass dropped from a tall building. Picture after picture, I find this strange girl partially naked with her legs spread open, her fingers teasingly in her mouth. Freshly shaved vagina and huge, black, Oreo looking nipples stared me in the face, almost mocking me and my broken heart. She was lying on his bed. There was no denying the bed sheets that I had bought him for Christmas just a month prior to this picture. The date was stamped just a few days after his birthday last year. My mind immediately sailed back to that time and I was bombarded by the memories. That year I had made reservations at a popular Cuban restaurant that had just opened. I made sure that the table had been set up with flowers, balloons, chocolates, and that his favorite drink  sat at the table, awaiting his arrival. That night we had made love in that same bed where just days later he had fucked her. Instantly I was fueled by anger and rage. How was it possible that I hadn’t suspected anything back then? How had I not smelled her on his sheets or had not felt her presence linger in the air? I had been totally blindsided. My best friend had betrayed me in the ugliest way possible.

I left the pictures up on the computer and made my way into the kitchen. If my timing was right, he would be back home shortly and so I had begun making breakfast, for just myself. I was still fuming when he had gotten back home.

“MMMMmmmm babe, it smells sooooooo good!” He said as he walked in through the door, though there was nothing cooking.

“Does it?” I asked as he walked by me, giving me a kiss on the cheek before walking into the bed room. I slightly smiled like a psychopath. I was anxiously waiting for his reaction because once that reaction from him came, that would be the signal to finally let the rage out, full throttle.

I heard him setting his keys on the nightstand. He opened the closet door, probably to hang up his jacket, and then shut it again. Then silence. There was no movement, not a peep coming from the room. I stopped chopping up the green peppers I was to add to my omelet. My hands were shaking so bad there were bits of the vegetable flying onto the floor. I stared at the door frame willing for his image to appear and when it finally did, he looked as if he’d seen a ghost. I said nothing. He said nothing. It felt like an eternity before I irritatingly asked, “So?”

“That was way before me and you got back together!” He tried to defend. The time stamp proved otherwise and so his words had pierced me like hot steel. Luckily I had set down the knife at that point because I felt like throwing it at his face.

“Be a fucking man and tell the truth!! That picture was taken just a COUPLE days after your birthday!!!! We were 100% together!!! How could you do that to me??!! How could you stare me in the face, tell me you love me, after being with her? FOR AN ENTIRE YEAR!!” I was fuming and it took all I had to not walk over to him and wrap my fingers around his neck and apply pressure. I wanted to punch him. I wanted to make him hurt just as bad as he made me hurt, if not worse. But I couldn’t. The energy I initially had to inflict such damage had drained from my body. He had shattered my heart and at the same time robbed me of my strength. I stormed passed him on wobbly knees and into what had been, up until then, our bedroom. I slammed the door and locked myself in there for fear of what I was capable of doing next.

To make a very long story short, this incident had sent our relationship spinning to a point of no return.  I had lost every bit of faith I had in him. He of course tried his hardest to make things better. It was weeks later when I finally decided to not throw away 7 years together over a one time mistake, when I caught him sending text messages to a stripper he met on a night out with his friends. Destroying now even the want I had to try to work things out and move on, I sent him packing. He moved out, leaving behind nothing but my heart full of pain. Even though this wouldn’t be the end of our story (oh yes, there was more drama to shortly follow), it had been the end of that chapter.

It took me a long time to allow myself to even want fall in love again. He had been my high school sweet heart, my best friend, my entire everything. The only man I thought I could ever marry. No one can ever compare to your first love. It was the first time you really came to see what it was to feel so much for someone that wasn’t apart of your family. That first outsider that you care for unconditionally, and without fear. Pure love placed in your heart and then again into that of another… to later be broken and tossed away by the very same person you wholeheartedly handed it over to.  You never do love the same after that. Of course you love, but it is not as innocent as it once was. You don’t love without questioning, wondering, doubting.

It wasn’t until a few years later that him and I ended up speaking again. I remember one of the things he said to me was how important we were for one another. We had made up so much of each other’s past it was hard to forget. He reminded me of the strong friendship we had had and how even that was something unforgettable. He reminisced as his stare went off into a moment of bliss, enjoying what he was remembering. For me, those moments were what they were, the past, and soon they’d be nothing more than just an old dusty chapter buried in a book, left on a shelf, and long ago forgotten.  Those moments he thought of as beautiful, held no light to those dark memories of betrayal.

To be honest, I couldn’t imagine my life with him. There is more to this story of heartbreak, but it will be left untold for now.  What I will add is the fact that Karma is magnificent and the Universe never goes without issuing out that which is deserved. Going through what I did wasn’t deserved but it was necessary  because I grew and learned from it. I became a little smarter and tougher. I grew independent and this is when I discovered that happiness is a choice and that it shouldn’t be something placed in the hands of another, your happiness being too precious, your destiny too valuable.

I give my friend that cliche advice that if it isn’t working out then it is because it is not meant to be, and that this is all for a reason. I tell her that she’s got something amazing coming her way. I tell her that the Universe is always conspiring in her favor and to trust in it. It all sounds like lines out of a cheesy movie, but it is the truth. I have lived it. I have been there and I have come out on top because with a good perspective and a positive attitude, that’s really all that is needed to rise above.

A Wish On A Bad Day

Getting out of bed can be a feat.

It takes every ounce of energy to even whip off the covers.

To look in the mirror is almost cruel and unusual punishment. Who is that that stares right back at me? A familiar face with distraught features. A shell with nothing in it.

Sometimes feeling utterly alone, all I want to do is yell loud at the top of my smokey lungs, simply to be heard. I want to scream so loud, “I’M HERE!” that I burst !POOF! into a trillion little, itty bitty particles, dissipating  into a different dimension. Slowly float away, every piece moving into a different direction, never getting back together again. This is me me on a bad day.

On a bad day there is no me getting out of bed to conquer the day, no. If I get out of bed on a bad day, you’d be lucky if it’s to shower. On a bad day I eat ice cream for breakfast and straight out of the carton. I watch sad movies and t.v shows, listen to sad songs, and ignore any and all responsibilities.

There isn’t a phone call I will answer. There isn’t a text I quickly respond to. On a bad day no communication matters. Not even the one I have between pen and paper. On a bad day I have no friends. I have no family. On a bad day it is me against the world. Even the sunniest day on a bad day is doom and gloom.

No books of fantasy and make believe can snap me out of  having a bad day.  To read word after word takes too much energy. It’s energy I rather save for the fits of rage that will later come and go. Energy I rather save for my pillow that will be soon fluffed to death by punches of sorrow.

I hardly have these bad days but when I do, world prepare, because these are dark dark days. I am a glass half full that has been knocked over. On a bad day I am damaged like a rotten apple that has fallen from its branch and left sadly on the ground. On the grass I lay, dying,  as I stare up into the sky. My wishes of better days to come float up into the heavens only to be ignored by the angels of the white light. Saints of darkness, instead, breath them in and cough them out.

Wishes of better days go on to die… and again, I’m left totally behind.

A dying wish alone on a bad day.

Another BIG Move

In exactly two months this girl will be moving across the state. It won’t be my first time relocating long distance. I’ve moved from Jersey to Florida, Florida to California, California to Jersey, and Jersey back to Florida again. This time I’m only moving from one side of FL to the other. You would think that after such major moves in the past that this would be quick and easy for me, but it isn’t. Relocating is never easy. It’s hard to leave the comfort of what you’re used to and head into the world of the unknown, even if what you’re used to isn’t making you 100% happy.  Even so, I never let fear determine an outcome. Especially when in pursuit of love.

***Skeeeeert*** All ears and eyes perked up***

Yes, I said love. This time, compared to previous times, I am relocating for Love and boy oh boy have I gotten shit for this. In all honesty it makes me giggle out loud because most of those who comment negatively on my reason in moving have NO IDEA whom they’re talking to. At the age of 30 I can say that this has not been my first rodeo. Unlike my bf, I have been in cohabitant relationship before, and although he is in for the shock of his life, I am not. I know about all the trials and tribulations when it comes to living with your significant other. I fully understand all the highs and lows that come when moving in together and I am prepared.  Hence why I must clarify that although I am relocating to the east side, and that eventually we will be living together, for the first few months my bf and I will NOT be cohabiting 🙂

If you have been following my blog you know that the relationship I have been in for the past few months has been a long distance one, and that it hasn’t been all peaches and cream.  Having to drive two and a half hours every time you want to see your significant other can really put a strain on the relationship. From having to plan even the smallest of dates, to not being able to spend certain holidays together due to conflicting schedules, being apart doesn’t make things easy. Long distance dating pushes back any milestones that “normal” couples hit in a quicker fashion. Although him and I have been dating 8 months, I still don’t feel 100% about moving in with him right away and not because I don’t love him. More so because I do and so I need to make sure I don’t make the same mistakes I’ve committed in the past. I’ve moved in quickly with bf’s before. Before getting to really know them and their quirks. Before getting to know the things that tick them off. Before getting to know the everyday things about them that would allow me to really decide if they were the right man for me or just a learning phase. If I had to guess, I would say that our 8 month long distance relationship is equivalent to a 3-4 month “normal” relationship. Do I feel confidant moving in with someone after 3 months? After my past experiences? No. I mean, would you??

“If you’re so nervous about living with him, shouldn’t you take that as a sign as to not move across the state for him?” I get asked this one a lot once people realize that I’m not moving in with him right away. These are the kinds of people that look at a situation and either see black or white, there is no grey area in between. For me, I don’t take this as a negative sign against my bf. I take this as a positive towards me and my own learning experiences. The way I see it is that I have learned from my past. My past has taught me that you don’t simply move in with someone that you’re dating out of convenience or because it’s the “next step” in the relationship. NO. You do it once you feel it’s right for the both of you. I am ready to make a move out of SWFL. I have been for quite sometime now and if I hadn’t met my bf I would still be relocating. The fact that him and I have been dating for longer than my usual is a sign to me that things between us are moving in the right direction. Am I supposed to make this relationship work from hundreds of miles away?? Of course not. At some point the move has to be made if we’re eventually going to try to get things to the next level.

“Well, why do you have to be the one who moves? You did spend most of the time driving to see him. Isn’t it time he put forth some effort?” This one is usually the next question to follow. Like I said before, I have been wanting to get out of where I live for over a year now. It’s just what I do once I’m bored so me moving was going to happen eventually. The conversation was had and we both decided together that it would be me making the big transition. Yes, I have already put much energy into this relationship in the way of having to drive a few hours a week to see him BUT it is what had to be done. My work gives me the chance to be able to do such things. His job does not. Is that an excuse? Yes, but it’s a good one. A real reason as to why it worked out the way it did, not just some made up excuse to make me feel better.  Should I punish him or make things more difficult for us simply because I was lucky in having a flexible job? What he doesn’t do in driving or relocating he makes up for in other ways. The fact that people look at our situation and think they know the sacrifices we make for each other is astonishing and goes to show the arrogance in their thinking. Plus, when does anyone ever stop putting forth energy into a relationship? Those in unsuccessful relationships, that’s who.

“You’ve seem to have it all figured out. It all sounds good but…. What if it doesn’t work out?” Ahhh yes. The most common question asked. I consider it to be the dumbest, especially if you’re asking me. What happens if it doesn’t work out? Well….. I move on! DUH! I am not one to dwell on anything. I find that dwelling on the things that don’t work out for you is the best way to keep yourself stuck and off track. I like to learn and move on when it comes to the things that don’t pan out for me like I believed they would. Would I be heartbroken? Of course I would, but I’ve never died of a broken heart before. If it doesn’t work out then it doesn’t work out, but at least I gave it a try. At least I didn’t let fear stop me from trying. I am a believer that what happens happens, as well as a believer that the universe is always conspiring in your favor. If the relationship doesn’t work out, it is for a reason. I may not be super thrilled about it not working out, but I will survive, as always.

I’m going into this situation as realistically as I possibly can but with the highest of hopes. Every day is a new day and with each step taken towards my big move it becomes less scary and more exciting. I heard a lecture once by Alan Watts where he speaks about feeling nervous versus feeling excited. The feeling of both is exactly the same. The difference is in your thinking. To feel “nervous” is to think negatively about the given situation. Feeling “excited” is the positive way of thinking about it. I am truly excited about my upcoming move. To be closer to my love will be a breath of fresh air. To be in a new environment sends a sense of thrill through my soul. A new adventure to write about in the story of what is my life. Cheers! To another big move.

DSCF0278 (2)Photo Credit: Natal Galvan

MY Real Life Dreamworld

Amazement is what flows through my veins when I see how often people will chose to stay in a less than ideal situation due to their fear of the unknown. Chances never taken. Opportunities go unseized. Meanwhile they complain and their souls cry out because they live in unhappy conditions or unsatisfying relationships. They continue to work unfulfilling jobs or go on in surrounding themselves with less than supportive people.

“I can’t break up with them because…’

“I know my friend is really mean but…”

“I know I hate my job but I can’t quit because…”

These people are the same people who look at me and say to others that I am living in a dreamworld, all the while they’re living in a nightmare. You wanna know what I say?? I AM living in a dreamworld, MY dreamworld. What is a dreamworld for them I make reality for myself. I believe that you define your own happiness. Only you have the ability to not only pursue but also achieve that happiness that you define for yourself.  We as a people need to realize that we ARE enough and NOTHING can get in your way of pursuing and achieving that happiness other than YOU. Sure, others can attempt to stop you from achieving all that you want to achieve, and yes, obstacles will always pop up, but those people can’t stop you unless you let them. Those obstacles may slow you down a little but that’s only life making you work for what you really want. I mean, nothing that is ever worth it is ever free, right?

Our souls have decided to come to this planet in order to have a physical experience. We came here to enjoy life while also trying to accomplish dreams we had for ourselves. Yes, for some of you I live in a dreamworld, your dream world. I’ve just chosen to turn my dreamworld into reality. I may not have everything I have always dreamed of, but who would want to reach all of their dreams by the age of 30?? Slowly but surly I will have obtained all of which I’ve dreamed of. I’m not letting fear nor society limit me. I’ll continue to jump at the chances offered to me and seize those opportunities without dwelling on anything “negative” that comes my way. I will take the risks because who has ever gotten to where they wanted to be without taking risks? For me, there is no cap as to how much I can dream as well as no limit to all I’ll achieve. Life is not a race and therefore I refuse to live through society’s timeline or standards.

I am exactly where I need to be, living out my dream.

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Photo Credit: Natal Galvan

Like Chocolate Covered Orange Peels

My first job ever was on the boardwalk of Atlantic City. Located directly across from the Tropicana casino was a huge pier designed to look like a ship and it was called the Ocean One Mall. Within this boat mall were dozens of shops, a huge food court, and the entire first level of this three story tier was a dedicated arcade center for the kids. I worked for a Greek family who owned two businesses located within this mall. One was a smoothie shop and the other was a candy store called Kandyland. The candy shop was what would be my home every weekend throughout the school year and for the entire summer. The store was huge. It was three levels of sugary goodness. Any kind of candy you could possibly crave you would be able to find there. Candy cigarettes, candy buttons, gummies, ring pops, over-sized lollipops too big for kids to ever finish, fudge. You named it, we had it. There were even candies I had never before heard of. Things like chocolate covered orange peels, raspberry jelly rings, marzipan. I was mind blown. Not only did they sell sweets, but they also had a walk up window conveniently accessible to those walking by on the boardwalk which sold your typical boardwalk treats. There were soft pretzels, popcorn, soft serve ice cream, hot dogs, and beverages. Could there have been a better job for a 13 year old? No fucking way.

During the months of May through September the boardwalk was consistently packed from sun up till sun down. Peak season is what it was for the Jersey shore. From an areal view it looked as though an army of ants were crawling all over the place. A dark black mass of people who had chosen to come to the Jersey for a nice vacation. I had started working for Niko and Marinela in May, right at the beginning of season, and this first job definitely provided me with many other firsts. This was the first time I had ever had bosses. This was where I earned my first paycheck, and my first reprimand (I almost got fired within my first week!). This is where I had also met my first ever boyfriend.

His name was Luis Velasquez , a 14 year old Colombian native who had just recently moved to the city with his family for a better life. I’m not sure how moving to Atlantic City would constitute for a better life. I guess that at the time, any place would have been better than dealing with the craziness of living in Colombia.

Luis was dark, tall, and SO handsome. He had a head of hair that the ladies would die for. His eyes were as dark and as deep as the bottom of the ocean. He was an entire head taller than me and ridiculously lean. His lips were the prettiest, yet manliest color of pink  you could imagine and looked as soft as flower petals. He was the first boy I ever wanted to swap sloppy kisses with. Luis was hired to work next door at the smoothie shop. The only times I would ever get to see him was if I decided to have a smoothie on my break (which was just about everyday) or when he was bringing the cash over from the shop after closing up. As any teenage girl with a crush would do, whenever Luis came around I was there readily available. For what? I don’t know but at least I was there 🙂 It wasn’t too long before we became friendly and then moved up to dating. Though as quickly as things developed, that’s how quick they was over. My first break up. The relationship hadn’t lasted long so the “heartbreak” wasn’t as bad as most first breakups would be. I had quickly discovered that he was a liar, gang banger wanna be, douche bag. The kind of guy moms and dads warn their daughters about. He had even gotten fired from the smoothie shop for pocketing a few dollars.  He was caught on camera red handed, and immediately fired without a chance to explain. The was the last I saw or heard of Mr. Velasquez.

I had come to really love my job at Kandyland. My bosses and I had gotten close. I considered them like my parents away from home. I had come to learn so much in my time spent working there with them, not just business related but about life in general. So you can imagine my surprise when I left for a week to visit family in Boston for the holidays and came back to find the store completely shut down and gutted. This had been my first experience with betrayal committed in the first degree by adults. They had allowed me to leave on a family vacation without telling me that I would return unemployed.

I will never forget the day. It was a cold Saturday morning in December. It was in between Christmas and New Year’s and I had just returned from visiting my aunt and uncle up north. I had woken up that morning and did my usual routine to get ready for work. I left my grandparents apartment and walked the 15 blocks to work. I always walked instead of taking the jitney because minus the bums, the walk was always beautiful and peaceful, especially that early in the morning. I arrived at the shop cold but excited to be getting back to work. The excitement hadn’t lasted long. Once I set foot through the front doors I was frozen in place. Displays and candies were all gone. Drywall dust covered everything and there were cans of paint placed throughout the lobby.  There were people walking around, none of whom I hadn’t recognized.

“Can I help you hun?” An old, bald headed man with thick, black rimmed glasses had asked. I hated that he had called me “hun”.

“Yeah. I work here. What’s going on?” I asked back, pulling the gloves off my now sweaty hands. We stare at each other for a few beats. I wonder who looked more confused, him or me? Just then, Niko walks out of what used to be the employee area and stops dead in his tracks.

“Nata!” It was their nickname for me. “What are you doing here?” He asked in his heavy accent. He was equally as confused as the old man and I were.

“What do you mean? I always open on Saturdays! What’s going on?” I questioned a second. At this point worry was starting to really set in. Niko looks at me and I can’t tell if it’s frustration, embarrassment, or pity that flickers across his face. Maybe it was all three.

“Mari didn’t tell you? Kandyland is closed for a bit. We’re relocating a couple blocks down from here.” He was starting to fidget. Funny, one always knew when Niko was stressed out when you’d see him pull at the tiny, frosted curls that topped his head, which was exactly what he was doing now. Between Marinela and him, his wife had all the balls in the relationship. Both hers and his.

“No, no one said anything to me about this. So….” I looked around. There seemed to be so much to do. “Should I help you guys? Or did you want me to come back in a couple of days?” I mean just because they were relocating didn’t mean that I was out of a job, right?

“Sorry honey, no. We won’t be reopening until the spring and there isn’t much that you could help us with around here. You’d be a liability.” He seriously couldn’t have looked anymore uncomfortable. I was in shock and once that shock passed just a few short seconds later, I got pissed. I mean, who does this?

“So you’re telling me that a week ago, when I was clocking out, you couldn’t tell me that I’d be coming back unemployed? That totally just slipped everybody’s mind to tell me that there would be no Kandyland when I returned?” I began freaking out. I could no longer stay calm, cool, and collected. Not when I had felt so betrayed. “I dedicated my weekends to you guys. My entire summer was spent working here and not one person could tell me that this place was closing down? I’m sure everyone else got the memo! Is it because I’m just a “kid” that I couldn’t get the same respect?” My eyes began to water but not because I was sad. Oh no. It was because I was angry. Niko looked defeated and understood that there was no winning this argument. I had been right even if I was just a “kid”. We stared at each other for what seemed like a second too long.

“We’ll help you find another job.” I had completely forgotten about the strange an that had initially greeted me when I walked in. He was still standing in the same spot when he broke the awkward silence. “I have a brother who runs a pizza place in one of the casinos. Niko can give me your number and I can call you once I speak with him.” He spoke with sincerity so without saying a word, I dove into my purse, fishing out a piece of paper and a pen. I quickly jotted down my number as well as my name, then handed it over to him.

“Niko seems to be forgetful so here’s my information. I appreciate you helping me out and I’ll be looking forward to your phone call.” I then turned to Niko and thanked him. “It was nice working with you. Have a Happy New Year.” I said dryly and with that I walked out.

It was a long walk home. I was irritated and angry that they had done this to me. I had worked just as hard, if not harder, than most of the people that came and went from that place. This entire scene would have never happened if I had been older. It had been the first time that I realized that it didn’t really matter how great of an employee you were, or how loyal, if you’re a “kid”, adults didn’t have to respect you.

I ended up getting the phone call that very night. The strange man had kept his promise and within just a few short days, I had a new job. I had been surprised by the kindness and generosity of this stranger. I later learned when having a conversation with this man that he had been very moved by my situation and said that no person, child or not, should be treated that way.

“We all deserve to be treated fairly. We all deserve a proper explanation, even children.”

Even though my employment at Kandyland ended so abruptly, leaving a slightly sour taste in my mouth, I can’t deny some of the sweet memories I made while there. I guess one could say that this was a bitter sweet chapter of my life. Slightly similar to the taste of chocolate covered orange peels.

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Photo Credit: Natal Galvan

Not Friendships. Acquaintances.

Friendships. Some people live for their friendships. I know people who have died for their friendships, and lack there of. It is one of the many things in life that gives a person purpose, comfort, motivation, and even inspiration. Personally, (and I’ve learned this at a very young age) I think that friendships now-a-days are a crock of shit. I feel as though that the word “friend” is thrown around way too often, stripping the title from any real meaning. We can thank FB for this. You meet someone at a party, at the airport waiting for your coffee, washing your hands in the restroom, if you connect with someone, the first thing you do that night or the next day is hunt that individual down on FB and you quickly become “friends” with them. Need I mention that this is NOT a friendship. This person you know absolutely nothing about, nor they know anything about you, is not your friend. For me, friendship goes beyond meeting someone and getting along with them. Friendship takes more work and dedication than that. It runs deeper than a single click on a social media site.

Friends aren’t those who you only see when you go out drinking. Those are your drinking buddies. Those coworkers you get along with so well throughout your work day? You know, the ones that make your work shift fly by? Nope. They aren’t your friends either. Not if you only see and speak to them during work hours. Your friends are the ones that will call you throughout the night when you didn’t make it to the bar. They’ll annoyingly bug you and tease you for not showing up, and will make sure that you don’t miss a moment.. Friends are those coworkers that even if you are no longer working alongside of them, they are still reaching out, making your work days at your new job a bit more bearable. Friends are those individuals that when they find themselves in your neck of the woods, will call you to meet up with them even if it’s for just a quick cup of coffee. Your friends make you feel better when you are sick, even if their remedy is just humor. Friends are selfless. All they want for you is happiness and will support you in your en devours, even if it means that they won’t get to see you as often. Friends are those who maybe you haven’t spoken to in a while simply because life just got in the way, but once you do get a hold of one another it is like not a single day passed by since the last time you spoke.

True friendship isn’t easy. Like anything else that is worth anything, it takes time and effort. A friendship is a two way street. Friends will at times deplete each other but will also replenish the well. You may make an incredibly stupid mistake but a true friend will get you through that moment, while seizing the chance to make fun of you for it. There will be moments where your opinions will collide, but even then, not even your own personal ideologies and way of life will come between you and that friend. Within a true friendship you find unconditional acceptance. You’ll find trust and loyalty throughout even the most uncomfortable situation. You never really have to explain yourself because a true friend will understand you with few words spoken. True friendship doesn’t survive on the materialistic. It survives on the intangibilities of life.

Many people believe that they have a million “friends” simply because their FB status “proves” it to be true.  Many of those people find themselves the most alone when facing challenges. They’re the ones who freak out when someone they considered a friend does something distasteful towards them. In an age where everything is so instant, when it comes to friendship or even love, any relationship really that you want to hold dear to your heart, give it time to unfold and prove itself before you go labeling it to be something more than what it truly is. Remind yourself that just because you may think of something one way, it may not be that way for someone else.

Hold yourself in high regard because you deserve better than whoring around your friendship to those who could care less, because if you couldn’t care less to quickly label them a friend, than they will careless about treating you like a mere acquaintance.

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Photo taken by: Natal Galvan, Location: Downtown Fort Myers, FL

Long Distance Love

Relationships can be difficult and lord knows I’ve had my fair share of tough relationships. I’ve dated them all.. The boring old man trapped in a young man’s body, the starving artist, the substance abuser, the witty business guy… I’ve dated different races, different social classes, men who’ve had completely different political views from mine. Obviously none of these relationships ever got really far, and now looking back although they were difficult relationships, none were the type of difficult as the kind my current love and I are in right now. This relationship is the “Long Distance Relationship” kind or as I will continue to refer to as L.D.R.

No one ever goes out looking for a L.D.R. A romance from afar? How fun could that be? A L.D.R isn’t something you set out to find, it just ends up finding you. I mean it’s like you’re  out one night, minding your own business, and having a good ol’ time, when all the sudden in walks that person, straight into your life. The one who makes your soul smile. How do you say no to that?? I couldn’t just walk away from what could possibly be my shot at true love, right? That’s what love is all about, taking that risk, going for that chance. In trying to decide (which didn’t take me long at all) whether or not this was something I really wanted to invest my heart in, I though to myself, when does love ever arrive all wrapped up in an ideal situation? Never.  So I went for it. I decided I had found love, and although it wasn’t the most ideal situation, I believed we could make it work. Deterred I was not.

We’ve just recently passed the 6mos mark, which in “real relationship” time isn’t very long at all, yet for me it feels like quite the accomplishment. I am crazy in love with my bf don’t get me wrong, but I’d be lying by saying that the journey hasn’t been tough for the both of us.

Just like in most relationships, an L.D.R starts off flaming hot. The chemistry is not only strong but the flame that burns is inextinguishable. Because of the very fact that you don’t see each other as often as “normal” couples do, the “honeymoon” phase seems to last much longer. You get to see one other’s “good” side for a little longer than most normal couples do due to the fact that you see one another a lot less. You often feel that longing for the person, you miss them and so when you do see each other you tend to make every moment count.  A plus when it comes to not seeing each other often is the fact that you can gradually incorporate this other person into your life. You slowly introduce them to your world as you slowly discover theirs. Remember, it’s not easy for two completely different strangers to come together all of the sudden and try to build a life together. You must think, these are two completely different individuals that were raised differently and have been conditioned by life differently. To be in a L.D.R gives you that breathing room to still have time for yourself. It’s much easier to get locked into a situation of suffocating one another when you have the opportunity to see each other all the time. We see it everyday. Couples meet each other and it seems like the first two months they are inseparable. They can’t go a day without seeing each other until one day one of them realizes that maybe they miss their friends, or they miss their hobbies. This is now when the fights commence because one person needs some “me” time and the other person begins to question why all the sudden need for “me” time. Well everyone needs a little “me” time and I get that it’s difficult to remember that when you’ve just met someone you really jive with and the access to this new found love is just a call and a drive away.  In a L.D.R you don’t have the luxury of having your love just a phone call away. Visits need to be planned and when you don’t get to see each other often all you can do is distract yourself with your “me” time. That’s when you do all the things you want to do that maybe the other half wouldn’t be too interested in. This is the time you take for yourself to do the things that make your soul smile, the things you should never ever give up because to do so would be closing away a part of you, and that would no longer make you you. This is often the root to many issues within relationships but that’s for a later post.

Eventually the honeymoon phase does run out and then that is when you become blindsided by all the conflicts and hurdles a L.D.R posses.

Maybe the word “blindsided” is a bit of an exaggeration. We all know what we’re walking into when we decide to date long distance. You’re already aware of the frustrating moments you’ll endure when you, for example, need your date to accompany you on an outing but between your different schedules and living so far from each other it makes it impossible for them to be there. There are holidays that you won’t be able to see one another for, or even just those long days you’ve had at work, when all you want is for your certain someone to pamper you and listen to you,but they’re not there because they live hundreds, or for some even thousands, of miles away. This is the part of a L.D.R that we do know. To go through it fully aware that is was coming sucks. All of that shit is tough, but the really tough part are all the other minor details we don’t think about.

Not seeing each other has its perks, but it too has its huge set backs. There is now a delay added to trying to get to know your other half. It takes twice as long to get to know the other person as it would take in a normal relationship because of the fact that you’re not around the other person as often. This means it takes longer to understand the other person’s likes and dislikes, their boundaries,  their weird corks and their humanly flaws. And because you were so elevated for much longer than usual during the honeymoon phase, the drop back down to reality is hard. You begin to realize that you, them, the relationship, none of it is perfect. You remember about things like compatibility and begin to question everything that is no longer blurred with sugar plums and rainbows.

One thing I  must say that my relationship doesn’t suffer from like most other L.D.Rs do is the fact that jealousy doesn’t apply to us. I have always said that one thing that would bother me most about trying to attempt a long distance relationship would be trusting them to be faithful. Yet not one time throughout the time that my love and I have been seeing each other have I felt a tug of jealousy. Come to think of it, I really don’t find it all that crazy that I don’t worry or doubt his loyalty. I have always held honesty and loyalty in high regard and I would have never entered a L.D.R if I felt at all that I didn’t trust this person. That for me is a serious plus. I also cannot say that he has shown me one ounce of jealousy. He never asks to go through my phone. He doesn’t trace my social media steps. He’s never asking where I am every 20 mins. It’s obvious that the trust is there which aids in allowing for our situation to be just a tee bit easier. One less thing to worry about in an already tough situation.

So if a L.D.R is so hard to maintain, how do you do it? What are some Must Do’s in order to allow for your relationship to grow its full potential? Believe it or not, it is what to do for ANY relationship…

*Communication is paramount. Even if you’re wanting to discuss something small, if it means something to you no matter how big or small the issue is, talk about it. Speak until the issue is no longer there. Resolve it because the last thing you want is to carry resentment with you long distance.  Resentment is a heavy load to carry and all it will do is slow down the progress of your relationship.

*Listen to one another. And I mean like actually listen to what the person is expressing to you. People can always tell when you’re merely hearing them out instead of actually listening to them. When people begin to feel unheard not only does that too build resentment and makes them feel misunderstood, but it also sends a message to the individual that what they have to say doesn’t matter. That later turns into the person shutting down. They’ll no longer want to share, or communicate things with you. Once the communication begins to shut down, you can kiss the relationship good-bye.  When you don’t listen you also tend to make the same mistakes over and over again. To listen allows you to understand and better learn your other half. The more understanding and learning that you do, the less arguing and fighting that will be a part of your daily lives.

*Patience. Patience is important. To blend two lives together isn’t easy. There will be things that need talked about and issues to be worked on. That in any relationship is a given, but remember that it takes time, and time in a L.D.R takes twice as long because you’re hardly ever around one other.  People can’t better their flaws overnight and the fact that you’re not often around one another to see the small steps that are taken towards improving makes it difficult to think that progress is being made. This is why you have to be patient. Give things time to be shown. Give the person time to work on themselves while you take the time to work on yourself. The point is to be patient and supportive of one another. Remember you’re both on the same team so cheer each other on when you do see progress. Communicate to one another as to how much that means. If your relationship lacks any of these three basic fundamentals, you’re relationship will not last very long.

I’ve given you some key elements on things to do to keep the relationship a float, so how about I tell you some key things NOT to do when attempting a L.D.R,

Don’ts:

*Don’t allow for the relationship to go stale. Once monotony and predictability set in it’ll be hard to hold the attention (and for some the heart) of their partner. Remember that you already don’t see each other often so make each time a little special. There’s no need to go over the top each and every time you see each other but little gestures to enhance the moment together go a long way. That goes for you too ladies 😉

*Never stop doing the things that in the beginning captivated the mind and the heart of your significant other. Those are all beautiful moments and gestures that will bring sweet joy to the heart of your love. Even during the dark times of a relationship, it’ll be these moments that they’ll look back on and it could mean the difference as to whether they hold on or let go.

*Never quit getting to know each other, and that means in every aspect. Physically, emotionally, mentally, and sexually. You will one day die and still not know every single little thing about your other half, but the point isn’t to know everything about them. The point is the journey there. It’s what will bond you, fuse you together until death does you part.

*Don’t ever get too comfortable. To get comfortable leads to many negatives like, taking the person and the relationship for granted. It leads to you letting yourself go, so maybe not taking care of your health like you once did, or not worrying about your appearance anymore. It can lead to one not doing the cute stuff you once did for one another, and these are all things that keep a relationship fresh and exciting. When you get comfortable, you lose all of that, and the relationship grows old.

In a few short months my relationship will no longer be a L.D.R. I’ll be taking steps to begin my relocation process in a couple weeks and by the end of July I will be closer to by beau. No.. I won’t be moving in with him right away. I’ve lived and learned and so my comfortability only allows me to take baby steps for the moment. For me, I’m happy to be taking things slow so maybe that’s why the whole L.D.R things has worked so well for me. But I will not lie, closing up the distance between us will make things much easier. Not only that but it’ll allow for us to really see how well this relationship will work. Living closer to one another will give this relationship the chance it needs to either prove that this is love and this is it, that all the hurdles and the stress was to leading up to something greater, or will it be just another infatuation, another fling, just another lesson learned? It will either be one way or the other. It isn’t a pessimistic way of viewing the situation, it’s a realistic way of viewing it. With that said, hope is a flame that forever burns within my heart and even though it’s been a little tough, I’m still happily holding on strong. The most precious things in life are the ones worth fighting the hardest for, no?

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Photo Credit: Natal Galvan, Location: California Yoga Fest 2015