Feelings Know Best

My friend A has a sense of adventure that I admire as much as I fear.

She galivants around the world — by herself — hitch hiking and talking to strangers who quickly become stories in her never-ending journal of interesting conversations that seriously, no one else has. She is truly a curly-headed wonder woman who takes risks and creates a bucket list of things she actually ends up doing.

I consider her one of my strong-willed and fiercely independent companions — someone who praises me for having the balls to walk away from something wrong for me and then telling me an obscure fact about elephants a beat later. She’s not traditional but she does believe in traditions of great families, like the crazy one she comes from, and though she doesn’t care for those vulnerable pieces that make her beautifully gushy and maternal in all the right ways, I love it about her.

But she’s afraid of feelings. Actually, she says she’s not good at them.

And I’d have to agree. She has emotions — overpowering, vivid, passionate ones — that when she articulates them can sensationally take your breath away. But it’s a rarity when she lets it all out, when she makes herself tender enough to shed a layer of her sturdy walls — the ones meant to protect her and everyone she knows. Her emotions can overwhelm her in a way that she can’t process in the second the moment happens. And then the moment turns into a memory and then she has enough time to feel the feelings without avoiding them, and then that memory becomes a new fascinating, gripping tale she tells you.

The truth is, I wish I was like A. I wish I could think before I speak. I wish I was brave to tackle uncharted territory and I wish I was bad at feelings.

Because frankly, I’m almost too good at them.

Which is why Dr. Heart made it to this blog. Or why I developed faith in him before getting to honestly know him. In this case, I let the heart lead the head and the head found reasons to steer the heart away.

I hearted too soon.

As I often do, but this time, I went with my gut and the lessons I learned a little too hard from Mr. P and I got away from a negative nelly before he got the best of me. I also learned an important lesson about my own heart after prematurely naming someone a love doctor before truly getting to know his heart and seeing if it actually matched and beat along with mine.

I didn’t let feelings really develop before calling them emotions. They were, in all actuality, just thoughts. And while those are quite powerful demons when they want to be, when heart strings and brain waves work together, something wonderful happens. When they don’t, nothing really can ever work.

Those feelings, whatever they may be, they must be given time to foster.

Regardless if you’re good or bad at feelings, it you’re afraid of them or crave them, if you express them way too often or not at all — you have to have them.

And through relationships and anything else that’s tied closely to those pesky little butterflies that direct so many of our decisions, you have to feel your way to figure out which direction is best.

You have to try to fail, you have to cry to swell, you have to hope to cope, and you have to think you know, only to find out that you, well, don’t. 

I’m not sure what’s next for me and whatever mister I muster the courage to welcome into my life, my bed, my never, ever giving up soul — but if anything, I’m not worried. I can feel my way through and figure it all out with those feelings.

Just like I always have, just like A has, even if we verbalize them differently. Even if being bad or good at feelings doesn’t really mean anything — the most important thing about those annoying, constant and sometimes fascinating flutters, is that after every disappointment or struggle or relationship that never actually became such a thing after all… You still have them. You still let yourself feel them.

You let them figure it all out. After all, good or bad, they do know best.

Oh Love, Sweet Self-Love…

Hey there lady, 

You’ve had quite the year, haven’t you darling? It’s been full of changes and challenges, incredible new beginnings and the start of  madly, profoundly falling in love with yourself. It certainly hasn’t been easy — in fact, it’s been a lot of work. You had to learn to let go of the glimmering hopes of the past so you could find all the lovely opportunities (and people) waiting for you in the days you’ve yet to see. You had to have faith in that brilliant and incredibly powerful voice inside of you that aches for better. The knows there’s more out there. That’s brave, yet very soft. That feels things it only tries to explain in far too many words. It’s your heart that makes you so thoughtful, so loving, so sentimental and it’s that same heart that will help you find all that you’ve ever wanted. For the first time, maybe ever, you don’t have a five-year plan. You don’t have a complete schedule for what’s next or what will be. Instead, you’re learning to love this little life you’ve built this in big city. You’re savoring your friendships, your adorable puppy, your morning runs and the coffee that follows, the job that continues to fulfill you, and the people and the places, that make your life so beautiful. And like a star, you really are. Never change that. Don’t ever lose it. It’s what sets you apart, it’s what makes you bold and what makes you adventurous. It’s what titillates your curiosity each and every day. It’s what makes you so fierce that people notice it once they’ve known you for just five minutes. Your nature makes people want to be better. You have more beauty than what you see and you’re spirit inspires those around you. Keep believing. Dream bigger. Dare yourself more. Say yes. Buy yourself some flowers. Buy that expensive pair of shoes that is really out of your budget — and march those streets with intention. Catch a jetplane. Be so excited that you still have your single status and complete independence… for now. Remember that you’re truly special, incredibly unique and yes, oh yes — that the best is still yet to come. I love you, Happy Valentine’s Day! -Linds 

I love the way you have big dreams and are not afraid to work hard to make them come true. You are the eternal optimist and always put a smile on everyone’s faces. You are selfless and kind. You are always there for a hug. You have a beautiful family that is always happy, even when the laundry isn’t done and there are dishes in the sink. Your children love you; you can see it in their eyes. You a strong woman, and you’ve built a family with a wonderful man because you want to, not because you need to. You have faith that one day everything will work out, and you are determined to enjoy the journey with all its ups and downs until it does. You take each day as it comes and never stop dreaming of what the future will bring, even if sometimes you get overly hopeful about your make-believe plans. I understand. This Valentine’s Day you will snuggle with your children and tell them how much they mean to you, how much you love them. You will curl up with your husband because you want his presence near you, but you will be perfectly fine alone when he wants to go play his video game before bed. :) You will love because you want to, not because it’s an obligation to make you feel better about yourself. You are strong, you are loved, and you love. Happy Valentine’s Day, Me. – Tiffany, Atlanta, GA

Happy Valentine’s darling. Look around you and take in all that you have accomplished. Look at the incredible, inspiring people in your life that you are lucky enough to call boyfriend, friend, and family. It hasn’t been an easy few years, but all the hard work was way more than worth it. Live in love today – with yourself first and then with the love of your life (don’t forget to put those roses in water right away!) – Jenn, New York, NY

Firstly I love you & how you always convince yourself that you are one handsome lady that has the world at her feet, being a hot poet that indulge herself with everything good. The reason you are here single and enjoying yourself is your independence your bravery to be on your own and to achieve your goals…You’re a city girl living a life with a deep philosophy of the inner peace you have within. I admire the courage, with your beautiful smile that always give your eyes that much needed glow….You’re beauty transcends everything about you, you are alluring. No matter how many women have broken your heart and walked out your life, you still pick yourself and move forward with life..That is something they can never take from you that you would still greet them if you should see them walking down the road or in a mall. You have finally decided that hindering on past hurts doesn’t need to feature in your life. The universe will give you something better and this V-Day embrace your growth and your journey..This is about me, Myself & I and nothing and no-one else..I love you, you sexythang… -Chim, Capetown, South Africa

You are incredible. I love that you smile to much, laugh way to loud, trip all of the time, have a coffee addiction, and live life to the fullest while trying not to look back. Take time to be proud of yourself. Be proud of who you have become. You are worth someones affection, time, and love. Although you have always been single, you have discovered how to love yourself. Take pride in that. Not many people can say that they have lived in other countries in their twenties. Or have an amazing group of friends who would do anything for you. Or truly have a passion for what they majored in. Enjoy being single while it lasts. Stop trying to find love and let it find you. You have so much to give to the world. Don’t hold back for a second. -Ashley, Canberra, Australia

Happy Love Day! I know that 2013 has not lived up to your expectations: you put your trust in the wrong person and it backfired. It is perfectly understandable to be upset, sad, angry, confused, or whatever emotion you are currently feeling (I know how much they fluctuate), BUT stop letting that negative emotion get in the way of creating new relationships and new opportunities. Your destiny is never tied to anyone that left and the rest of your life is a blank piece of paper just waiting for you to decorate it. This isn’t the last time you will ever feel sad, and this isn’t the last time you will cry. But when those feelings rise to the surface, take a deep breath and realize what you have to be thankful for. February 14th is not a day to sit around and feel sorry for yourself. But instead, it is a day to celebrate love. Yes, I said celebrate love. Love is not contained to romantic feelings. Tell your family how much you love them. Make sure they know that you appreciate EVERY little thing they have ever done for you and that your love for them is limitless. Tell your friends how much you love them. Thank them for the countless hours they have spent nursing your broken heart and listening to you rationalize what happened over and over and over and over again. And last, but certainly not least, LOVE YOURSELF. You are a magnificent creature who is worthy of bona fide love and nothing will ever change that. Go buy yourself something pretty and some fine wine and celebrate love. – Chelsea, Charlotte, NC

I am so happy you’re a solo diva this Valentine’s Day. Why? Because you won’t have to pretend to like any jewelry you hate, you don’t have to look gorgeous whilst eating chocolates – in fact, feel free to binge (in a good, liberating way). I can’t wait for you to throw on some fierce heels for a carefree night on the town, no strings attached! Expect flowers and chocolates from me to me. Love, Me -Anonymous 

Stop beating yourself up for not being “right” for people. They probably aren’t “right” for you either. Even if you vacationed at the all same places growing up and love the same food. It doesn’t mean forever. It’s just a series of lovely coincidences. Don’t turn into a hard person or frigid. Look for the love, don’t change to make it happen. You’re a beautiful, caring, fun girl. Someone is bound to come along and appreciate these things and put the effort in. You deserve more than the bare minimum. Don’t go for Mr. Boring, he’s been around long enough. Let go. Remember, the definition of ‘settle’ is to move downward; sink or descend. You know you always kick way more ass when you’re single anyway ;) Your biggest fan, Danielle PS- have I mentioned how good you look naked these days? I couldn’t be more proud of you for sticking to your workouts and better eating habits <3 – Danielle, Greensboro, NC

I am happy to spend Vday with my girlfriends, because I always have more fun with the girls over dates. I love my independence, freedom, and living by my self. I like being with a man, but am happy without one. – Anonymous 

Dear Renee, You don’t know much about love, admittedly. But if there is one person you have always loved, it’s yourself. You’ve always been proud of yourself, always been able to see the bright side of your flaws. You’ve always been there for yourself, always supported yourself, always believed in yourself. You have never had a problem being who you are. You have never had a problem loving yourself. You have always been fearless and fabulous and you’ve always known it. You’ve spent that last 20 Valentine’s Days on your own, and you’ve always enjoyed them without even a hint of cynicism — writing a love letter to yourself is practically second-nature at this point. But this year has thrown you for a loop. You love your family, your friends, and yourself so naturally. But this year, you’ve had to learn to love someone else too. You have been with a wonderful man for almost a year, longer than you’ve ever been with anyone. But you are a neophyte in the first degree — a definite “beginner” when it comes to being in a relationship, and it has been quite the learning experience. It continues to be a learning experience — learning how to give yourself to someone without losing yourself completely. Learning how to be less selfish and to compromise instead. You thought it would all come so naturally but you’ve had to make some changes. You’ve had to let go of that control you love. You’ve had to give in to those feelings that scare you. In learning how to be there for someone else, you’ve actually grown up a little. And it’s a good thing because this wonderful man does love you — no matter what. Throughout all of your wild independence and criticisms and learning curves, he has been there, patiently waiting, always willing to work with you. You love yourself, but you know you can be a handful. He knows it too, and he’ll still be in your apartment tonight waiting to give you a kiss when you walk through the door. So here’s to a new kind of love — the romantic kind that you never looked for but miraculously ended up with. Here’s to the love you never thought would be as important as the love you have for yourself. Here’s to realizing that you can love someone else the way you love yourself — unconditionally and repeatedly, no matter what, over and over again. Happy Valentine’s Day. Go celebrate ;) – Renee, Asheville, NC

I like how organized you are, and how you are such a great friend. You DO NOT need a man to make you happy. You are building a fantastic life for yourself, your career is progressing in the way you want it to, and if a man came into the situation he would fuck that up right now. I am a fabulous single woman because I do not need a man to validate me. I am a strong and independent woman. I am happy to be single this Valentine’s Day, I would not like to feel like a caged bird. – Anonymous 

Although I’m happily married now, I had plenty of single-mom years to learn that being on my own was just fine, and often really great. There’s simply no way to be happy with a man without being happy with yourself, first, and through a lot of trial and error I kept learning and re-learning this. I write this more for Rivkah now, our sweet daughter, because whether she flies solo temporarily or forever, she needs to know that love starts with herself, first. So, dear me, I hope you feel supported enough to feel love from the outside world but strong enough to share as much love as you possibly can with the rest of the world. Sharing love, as it turns out, is what brings it back… and that feels pretty great. – Bryce, New York, NY

I may be a guy, but am very much appreciative of the wonderful beings women are. I love most about my liberal attitudes, being accepting and tolerant towards others. Well I’m single now, I believe in giving love time. It’ll pop up in the most unexpected circumstance and till then, I should always keep my heart open and strong. I am happy to fly solo this valentine’s because eventually when I find my love, it doesn’t have to be on this particular day, or Christmas, or any other day. Because everyday, being with my valentine would simply be special =) – Jason, Singapore

You are a crazy ball of nerves and curls and I wouldn’t have it any other way. You’re afraid of aquariums, tunnels, and escalators but not of hiking glaciers or navigating through new countries with only a post it note with an address and a handful of useful phrases in your pocket. You cannot figure out a tip without a calculator or dance a waltz, but you can play punk songs on the ukulele and bluegrass on the guitar. You are a 5 foot 10 sponge, constantly learning and soaking up stories and memories. You once taught someone how to fence at a tiny, narrow, southern diner. You can recite poetry, name constellations in the freckles on your cheeks, and say “cheers” in five different languages. You can go for miles and miles. You, my love, are disgustingly, hopelessly optimistic at all times and can handle emergencies like a champ. You are taking risks and I’m so proud of everything you are and have become. You’ve come along way, and I love you. – Allison, Raleigh, NC

You are fierce and brave. You love your husband with abandon, and that is an admirable quality. Your body is an amazing temple that is currently housing a little miracle that you’ll fall even more in love with throughout the rest of your life. You respect yourself and are finally in a place where your are comfortable with the body you’re in. You’re doing good and will continue to do so. When you are counting your blessings, don’t forget to include your wonderful self. I’m so blessed to be in your skin. -Fatima, Asheville, NC

Look at you, you starry-eyed princess. I don’t mean to give you more of an ego than you already have, but you were SO amazing and beautiful this past year. It is so incredible to read back on your love letters to yourself for the past two years–in 2011, you were so fierce and wild, ready to love yourself more than anything in the world. In 2012, you were so much wiser & calm–you knew love was on the horizon, & who knew that a week after contributing a Valentine to yourself for your beloved friend’s blog, you would meet the man of your dreams. This year has been beautiful and amazing in a way that words can’t express–but this isn’t luck. With your positive energy, joy, & hope, you made all this happen. Your heart and your spirit never fail to impress, & I’m so glad that after all the tears, the analyzing, & the let downs, you found someone that was worth the wait. Although your Valentine is your missing puzzle piece, & you’ll spend this evening preparing lobster together & cuddling to your favorite Valentine’s Day episodes of “30 Rock” & “Parks and Recreation”, and it probably will be perfect and wonderful (just like the two of you), but please don’t forget your sweetest Valentine–yourself. The love in your life from your partner, your family, & your friends exists because you love each of them madly & deeply–never stop. You love others because you love yourself. And that, my glittery princess darling, is something to write a love letter about. Now go get some from that sexy man of yours. XOXO. – Michelle, Asheville, NC

I am so freaking proud of you…maybe more than I have ever been. Not only did you make it through the crazy wedding drama, your mother-in-law’s death, your husband wanting you to quit your job and move so he can go to school and LORD only knows what else, you made it through on top. AND despite being married, you still are you, you still go out with your girlfriends, you still have me time and you have yet to succumb to being one of THOSE wives (you know what I’m talking about). Plus so far in 2013, you lost 12lbs and finished writing a 77,000 word novel. I think you deserve a high five. But more importantly, last year you’ve learned to love selflessly, but you’ve also learned how to make yourself a priority too. So take a deep breath and feel the love. It’s still crazy and probably always will, but rest assured that for the first time ever, you’ve finally realized who you are and you’re not hating it. -Nikki, Boone, NC

So this year, I’m proud — no, excited — to say I am the sole owner of my heart… and as such, I feel the need to express it in the silliest, cutest way imaginable. And if that means I get a sparkly card… then dammit, it’s gonna be the BEST sparkly card EVER!! (Read the rest of Leslie’s New York, NY love letter to herself here.)

Well hello you ambitious, determined young lady! Yet another year has flown by but this Valentine’s Day is so much different than last. You are now MARRIED to your best friend, living in Los Angeles (planning on moving to NYC), and above all…you have finally grown to love yourself. People have told you for years that you need to love yourself if you ever dream of being happy and I never knew what they were talking about until this year. I can finally embrace my quirky habits and see myself through my husband’s eyes. I am beautiful, intelligent, and, depending on the day, I can be funny. You have so much going for you! I couldn’t be more proud of your determination to succeed in a male-dominated profession and your willingness to always take on more than any one person should. Keep up your spirits this year and always remember, you are your own person, don’t let anyone tell you any different! Alyssa, Los Angeles, CA

It’s funny, last year my Valentine opened with how appreciative I was of your faith in God’s plan, and this year I want to start the same way–even though so many things are vastly different. The past year has brought you so many changes that you chose, and some you didn’t. But all of them have made you an even more fiery and brave woman than you were on the last 14th of February. You’ve embraced your independence and you’ve learned to love the things about yourself that you can’t ignore when it’s quiet–and there’s no one else to distract from your flaws. You’ve learned the value of solitude. And you’ve come to appreciate the beauty of being on your own, and being happy, whole and peaceful. You’ve turned to God when you were lonely. And you’ve trusted God when you were anxious. The last nine months of singledom could have been terrifying, but instead you grew in your faith and spirituality and you’ve entered 2013 with the clearest picture of what you want and need than you have ever had before. You are doing things instead of just talking about them; and for once, pretty girl, you’re following through! But of all the growing pains and changes you’ve endured and conquered in the past year–perhaps the best? The most beautiful? Is that you’ve healed a heart to the point of brand new. And you’ve remembered that love is magical. And you’ve believed that love can come again. You’ve learned that you’re not broken. And you’ve found that your heart is very capable. This Valentine’s Day, it could be so easy to look at what hasn’t come yet. But instead celebrate that this Valentine’s Day can be one of the very most true to date. Love will come. And until then, love the fact that, right now? Right here? These friends? This family? This is all very, abundantly enough. – Ashley, Winston-Salem, NC

I love how you chew up toys and pull towels off hooks while mommy is at work. I love how everything that can get stuck to your fluffy white fur, does. I love how cuddle everyone, stranger, friend or neither. I love how you try to pull mommy into the streets during walk-time. I love how socks are much better than most treats and how stealing them from mommy — or anyone — is really funny. I love your little bark that alerts mommy of every sound. I love your sweet, beautiful big brown eyes and the way they steal the heart of everyone you meet. I love how your belly is perfect for scratching. I love how much joy you bring to your mommy’s life, always. I woof you very much! Happy Chew-Up Flowers Day! – Lucy Liberty, New York, NYC


One More Week! Submit Your Valentine

It’s a week until Valentine’s Day (or Single Awareness Day or that day you have a date with Jack, Captain and Jose…) — but instead of making it about love and romance or the lack thereof, make it about all the reasons you love yourself.

That’s right — why you love you! Because you’re pretty great. Actually, you’re awesome.

So write a love letter to yourself by clicking this. Read Valentine’s from the last two years published on Confessions of a Love Addict here. Don’t worry — if you want to be anonymous, you can do that. Or I can link back to your blog.

Make sure to tell all the special ladies in your life to write one, too — don’t you all deserve to get a little more self-love in your lives?