Wednesday, March 23

"Baby"

You know how two year old little girls want to have dolls? They love all babies, and it’s one of their first words that come out so easily as they point with chubby little fingers: “baby”. It’s fascinating that a baby could love a baby, and in the past I’d assumed the two year old didn’t know that they were a baby too, and just like all of us adults, they thought the baby was cute.

What if that two year old is not doing what all of us do, but instead getting excited about “this is someone little like me”. It has only just occurred to me that the recognition most of us have for those near our own age might be exactly what the two year old is experiencing.

I think it’s possible that this is what I was doing at 17 when I decided I wanted to go to Romania and hold babies. I didn’t know anything about the world. I was by today’s standards completely and totally naive. We didn’t have internet, cell phones, or anything that connected and educated people so fast. I think it’s possible that this baby (me) saw babies in need and watched pointing with my chubby finger saying “baby”.

I knew I needed to go, I knew I wanted to help, but what my very young mind never considered, is that I can’t hold a baby and make a lasting difference. Ya, by the time I got there at 19 I was able to feel like some kind of adult love force to a child in the moment, but it was ultimately this realization and growing up I did in that year that had me see I was nothing. The ocean of what Romania was for this child had me like a single piece of plankter. My food value only minuscule.

I think the proof in my baby mindset at that age is clear now at this age. When I see terrible things in the world, I no longer want to take myself there to try and make a difference. I now feel powerless. I feel hopeless. I think of things like that crazy-haired maniac running for president that wants to build more walls between people, create more borders, print more labels to divide. My desire to look at a baby and want to help is still there, but now I have knowledge of the awful world we live in and all the awful people trying to make it worse.

If there are other planets out there, populated with “people” of any kind, I really doubt they are living with the chaos and division we do on this planet. We have a special kind of fucked-up here. One that creates orphans in the first place. Then doesn’t learn from history to see hate, war, and division doesn’t help people… it harms.

I do still have that two year old in me pointing and saying “baby”. I just also know the ocean of awfulness is bigger.

Saturday, March 19

So many levels of LOVE

Most of us find it pretty easy to love in various ways and measures. I love my mom, I love my best friend, I love my sisters, I love children, I love cats, I love dogs, I love coffee, I can love so many things, and all the while, I’m using one word: LOVE. None of these are exactly the same, despite me saying I love my mom, AND I love dogs. You totally can’t compare the two types of love, and it’s almost more accurate to say I don’t have enough words to use because love for my mom is totally different than love for dogs.

Another type of love is one we kind-of say differently: it’s IN LOVE. When we feel Love and Attraction at the same time, we have a clumping of the words into this smaller version of “in love”. Some people easily forget that attraction is part of this type of love, and that is the reason I’m writing.

This subject has come up in conversations a few times lately, and since I have stories that apply I sit to write and share. . Maybe this is the sign of getting old… “I have a story where that happened”.

So, love, lets move to love of a spouse and that attraction thing we get... When we love someone bigger than most, and we find ourselves so attracted and feeling so much love we want to get naked with that person. (I know I’m speaking in generals… you don’t have to be in love to want to get naked with someone, but I have a point to make, so bear with me.) We say we are “in love”. The thing that has been the subject of conversations is that many people are confused by falling out of love and still feeling love. Things change, people change, and when there are enough changes that the level of love changes, people get so upset and confused. The reason I seem to have so much to say on this when that subject has risen is that I have wrapped my head around my love changing a few times in my life. It’s not about who does what to make that love change… it’s just not finite, and like everything in this world it CAN change.

Part of the confusion or upset is when you no longer want to get naked with them. It’s like a giant put down. We feel terrible, and even guilty that we could say on one hand we love them, and yet on the other, be saying you do not want to make love to them.

I was faced with this after being with an alcoholic for 12 years. At the beginning of those years, when I first met him, I was in love with so many things about him. His face, his body, his confidence, his humor, his love of me, and countless things in between. Over the years of his drinking so much, (and the resulting conditioning of my feelings) I reached a point that my IN love just became Love. So when I turned to him wanting a divorce, the first thing out of my mouth had to be, “I still love you. This isn’t about not loving you. I just can’t continue being married to you.” At the time I couldn’t articulate my feelings that my love had changed. I only knew I still felt love.

I don’t think there is anyone I could love and stop loving. Love will always be there when I’ve loved someone, it’s the type of love and it’s quantity that changes. We only have this one word. It’s not like the measures of cooking a steak, that it can be named for rare, med rare, medium, medium well, and well done... No, with love it’s just one word, and so deep inside we don’t think of it as being something we can feel differently, or as something we have in different stages.

No doubt you are seeing my point… People who fall in love don’t necessarily stay that way. If they change the way they speak to each other, the way they treat each other, the intonation they use, the attitude they present, and a million more factors like how many times a person tolerates being let down or put on the back burner. There are so many factors that can and will dictate how “cooked” the love is. When we reach well done, it’s too late. All you have is tough love you struggle to chew.

Would I have ever wanted a divorce if the man I found the most handsome in the world had listened to me the first time I told him I didn’t enjoy him drunk the way I did when he was sober? If he had listened to my feelings and upsets, and if we had worked together to keep both of us happy? Would my love for him have changed? I can’t say I know for sure, but all things point to no. If he and I were able to communicate in the beginning, to listen, to learn, and move forward in what we felt, I wouldn’t have lost all hope that one day he would finally drink less. When that day finally came, and he told me he was going to drink less, it was 12 years into our relationship. I was more than well done. I was so cooked I was no longer part of the meal.

Here is where I admit to the world…So much damage to trust and love can happen in 12 years, and if you need convincing of that you are a dumb shit. So if after 12 years of being in a relationship, you aren’t happy, and you have to question whether or not your love has changed, you can believe right now, IT HAS. It most certainly has, because it doesn’t even take ONE YEAR of upset or wishing for change in order for a person to change and then their feelings to change, and even if love is still present, it too changes.

Many people try to “erase” the evidence of change. To decide that the upset didn’t happen. To start over. To try again. To forgive. All of these are great ideas, but how often do you see them work? My personal experience is that once you break something, it’s broken. You can glue it all you want, but it doesn’t heal, it doesn’t disappear, and I have never actually met anyone who has “fixed” their relationship and moved forward 100% great after having broken it. I’m not saying it doesn’t exist. I’m saying it’s so rare I don’t know where it exists.

Now the advice to those who get on this subject with me:

If you are in a relationship of loving someone, or someone loving you…you need to ask yourself if where you are at is already broken. If your relationship is new, you need to ask yourself if you care and LOVE enough to make sure that no breaking happens. How you do that, is to look at whether or not what you are doing is conducive to adding love, building love, encouraging growth of love, or if it is detrimental to love. Is being jealous of their friends detrimental to how he/she sees you? Are they going to love you more for being jealous? Are you going to look more appealing for being controlling? Is your tone of voice as “bitch face” going to make you look prettier? No? shocking!! Sorry, I’m really not shocked that acting in an unattractive way makes you LESS attractive. If you can’t wrap your head around this you are stupid. These are basic facts, ones that are always staring you in the face, and if being in love with someone is where you are and want to be, you need to look at how you are perceived, how you are acting…and therefore whether or not you are changing the way they love you.

Here is the secret to love… and I say secret because nobody seems to know it!!!

If you want to love and be loved to the full extent, BE somebody YOU love. Act like somebody you are in love with. How? Don’t be jealous. Be secure, be genuine, laugh often, know yourself and be yourself, don’t be possessive, always assume good intent, enjoy life, be understanding. Have boundaries as to how you are willing to be spoken to and treated. YOU are #1 Babe. These are just some of the things that if you do you will like who you are MORE, and the person who is in love with you will ALSO like you MORE… it’s cause and effect!! Imagine the love if you BOTH do it.


Friday, March 4

Ioana (the short story)

It’s pretty accurate to say that within the first couple months of being in the orphanage, I fell in love with many of the children. Yes, there were those that I didn’t really attach or connect to, but for those I did, it is very accurate to say I “fell in love”. When children show you genuine love, irrespective of your feelings or opinions of them, you kind of become powerless to staying where you are. You have to “fall”.

My little sister was one of those children. From the day I first met her I knew she was special. I don’t mean special as in more of something compared to someone else, no, I mean she and I connected. Ioana had a sparkle in her eyes, in her moves, in everything she was, and we fell in love. You have to hear that without adult meaning, and hear it the way two spirits, two angels, two energies… collide.

She didn’t speak my language. Actually, she didn’t even talk. She was abandoned around the age of two, and with nobody to teach or encourage her, like most of the children, she didn’t try to speak words. With attentiveness unlike any three year old I had ever met, she used her eyes, her expression, and her body to communicate. I couldn’t count the times she stared at my face seemingly saying “I’m so happy you are here”. Or the times she put her hands either side of my head and brought her lips to my forehead to hum, trying to convey my importance to her.

With the purity and beauty only children possess, she loved me.

Having told my mother all about this amazing little angel, and begging her to find Ioana a family, my mother decided she would adopt her. I had Ioana with me outside the orphanage the afternoon I was on the phone with my mom and she gave me the news. Never have I wanted to be more understood than that day when I told this sparkling orphan we would be sisters.

As months passed, this amazing little girl cemented my heart in love for her, but eventually I had to leave without her.

Two years later, the adoption was finished, and three of us went to Romania. My Mother, myself, and my younger sister Jenny. We left the airport in two vehicles with supplies for the orphanage, and I arrived a few minutes after my Mom and sister. I walked up behind Jenny holding Ioana, then around to face them. Ioana saw me and froze. Then she turned and looked at Jenny, then to me again. Suddenly she reached out to me and squealed in delight moving into my arms, hugging me, and then reaching out to Jenny to pull her face near mine. What a delight to have TWO! Using no words, she told us that she thought Jenny was Natalie, and now knowing what was happening, she was happier than ever. I will never forget her joy or the way it made me feel to not only see she still loved me, but automatically loved Jenny too.

I wish I could end this saying that special child bursting with love, still remains so today. 20 + years later, but she’s unrecognizable. The effects of Romania on a child caught up. In conjunction with adulthood that angel I fell in love with changed and disappeared. It seems like a sad torturous ending to say she became angry, closed, violent, and the opposite of love. She near enough hates the world. Still with no language skills, or ability to articulate any feeling, she shows her emotions in face and deed. I don’t know where that little girl I fell in love with went. She’s not here anymore, but I haven’t forgotten her. I remember perfectly her smiles, her laughter, her hugs and her squeals of delight. Things change, people change. But I got to fall in love, and I get to remember how special it was.



(How to say Ioana: The first syllable is the hardest to explain. It's similar to Yo, but has a slight e sound in front of it. eYo looks strange, but it's pretty accurate for the sound. Ana is pronounced ah-nuh. It is a three syllable name, but said very smoothly and not divided into three syllables the way an English name like Bethany is. After a couple years and her input, she decided to go by JoAna.)