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What is Love?

I’ve been thinking about writing a post for a while, but really I had nothing to say. The only thing circling around in my head lately is one question: what is love? And who want’s to listen to me blather on about love? But to hell with it, this is my blog and I can write what I want. Right?

The English language is woefully inadequate to describe love. There are so many different types, so many variables and changes. And love, when you do have it, can change over time as well.

One of the things I recall from bible study is that Greek has three words for love. According to wiki Hebrew has even more.

Agape is spiritual, or steadfast love. It never dies, nor changes. It is there whether or not it is returned. A love willing to sacrifice.
Eros is physical love. Sex. Passion. Desire. It is a flame that burns inside, and can consume.
Philia is mental, or friendship love. Denotes a love that has give and take. Respect, reciprocity, and loyalty.

All of these we, English speakers, lump into one feeling. Love. It makes little sense. The love I feel for my mother and father is nothing like the love I feel for a close friend, or the love I feel for a significant other. Oh yes we have other words. We have passion, and loyalty, and friendship. We have family, and sayings like “blood is thicker then water.” But what does it all mean in the grand scheme of things? What does it mean for me?

I’ve struggled with this question my entire life. When I was little I vied for my fathers attention. I’d clean the dishes, make him dinner, make sure my sisters did their chores, and happily wait for that affirmation that I did a good job. It never came.

My mother, on the other hand, freely said she loved me. She gave me hugs, and kisses, and never faltered in letting me know that I did a good job. When she was home. Then I got married and moved away and all of that stopped. I learned that her love had a condition. I had to be there. I had to be giving her attention, listening to her stories, and being her sounding board. Once I left I wasn’t those things for her. She didn’t call. She didn’t write. When I called it was all about her, or what my sister was doing. The one joy I shared with her was the birth of my first child, but even that was subtly about her.

I grew up and moved out, and thought love meant doing things for my SO to get him to appreciate me. I thought it meant being there for him no matter what, even if he wasn’t there for me. And while I came to grips with letting go of my parents it took me a while to see that I had married into this same situation and needed to divorce myself from it as well. Love can be self destructive.

When you are raised without knowing what love is, how do you translate that into a healthy and happy relationship? Is it any wonder I couldn’t? I failed, over and over again. I mistook “eros” for “agape” and kept trying to make it work. I mistook passion for loyalty and was hit by the hard reality. I mistook companionship and friendship for something greater, and again fell.

What is love? It is many things, in many situations. I love my parents but I have no relationship with them. It is a distant love of gratitude for giving me life, and raising me to adulthood. On the other hand, I love my children with a furious passion burning in loyalty, and would sacrifice every happiness I myself could have just to see them happy. I have love for friends who have been there for me when the chips were down and would give them the shirt off my back if I could. And I have love for others that would be more personal, with hints of ‘eros’ and ‘philia’.

What I do know now, that I wish I had known when I was younger, is that love isn’t enough to make a relationship. Love is so many different things in so many different situations that love will not keep a relationship going. In fact sometimes that love is exactly the wrong thing to build a relationship on, especially if it is not reciprocated, or not grounded in reality.

Someone once told me there are three kinds of love. One a passion that burns bright, then quickly dies. One a steady stream that may lack passion, but it will last for a life time. You can build a relationship on this second kind of love, and it may be a good long relationship. It is comfortable, and stable. But the last, and the greatest, is when you have both. That kind of love feeds upon itself, burns brightly, and does not die easily.

I don’t know if that is “the greatest” kind of love. That, I think, depends on the two people involved. I’ve met couples who are quite happy going down in a blaze of glory, their passions burning brighter and brighter with each touch. I’ve known others who are quite content in their settled lives together. I have very rarely seen that third kind of  love where two people are so compatible that they would seem incomplete without the other, and their passions are simmering just under the surface. Perhaps it is because it is so rare that it looks so beautiful when you see it.

I guess the only real answer is… I’m still trying to figure it out.

 
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Posted by on July 17, 2014 in Commentary

 

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Progress and Setbacks

I wrote the other day about my writing progress so today I thought I’d write about the other thing that’s been a big a big concern in my life. My health.

Again, feel free to skip this if you’re not interested.

With the coming of the new year I got something that I hadn’t had in about ten years. Health insurance. Thank you Obamacare, and mainly the state of Washington for doing such a great job of implementing it. I thought since I had this marvelous thing I’d take the opportunity to do what I hadn’t done in almost a decade. I went to the doctor.

Well, first I tried to go to the dentist. That was a pain in the ass and I still haven’t gotten my cavities filled, nor am I likely to for several more months because of the restrictions on dental care via my state health insurance, and the fact that it’s bloody expensive just to get x-rays, let alone treatment, for teeth without insurance.

But I was talking about the other Doctor. The one who sticks you with needles, takes your blood, and runs you through a ringer to see how fit (or unfit) you are.

All the tests came back and I was basically told “eat better and exercise or you’re going to get diabetes, and/or a heart problem.)

I’m 37. I’m too young to have a heart problem. And the thing is I know diabetes runs in my family, and that I was already having issues with my blood sugars. When you get shaky and faint because of certain things you eat you tend to know these things. I also knew my heart wasn’t as strong as it should be. I have a 80 beats per min heart rate when I’m resting, and if I exercise it gets up to 190-200. That’s not good.

Knowing it, and seeing it in black and white might be two different things. Or it could have been the energy drink I had the other day that made me start shaking. Or the dizzy spells that happen when I don’t eat right. Either way, I think it was the kick in my pants I needed to finally do something about it, like seeing the graphs for my writing. I’m not sure. I just know I don’t want to die of a heart attack when I’m 45 because I’m a lazy girl who likes doughnuts and mac n cheese.

So I’ve been exercising, and I’ve been sitting here looking at the candy bar my children eating wishing I could eat it and knowing I shouldn’t. Yay self control!

Eating right isn’t that difficult. I love fruits and veggies. Not big on meat. No problem giving up pasta either.

It’s the exercise. I hate running on treadmills, and using ellipticals. I hate feeling my heart trying to burst. I hate getting hot and sweaty and just gross. I really hate feeling like I’m wasting time in a gym when I could have been writing, or playing a game, or going to a movie.

The only exercise I’ve liked at all was belly dancing, and then it’s mostly my self esteem that gets in the way.

So, for now I’m just trying to get out, on my feet, and doing something more often so that I can try and get a little healthier. Maybe some day I’ll find something physical I enjoy. Till then… still going to do it. It’s better then shooting a needle full of insulin in myself every day.

 
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Posted by on July 3, 2014 in Commentary

 

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Around the web

 

It’s been a little while since I’ve done one of these, but I just had a few links I wanted to share.

The Reading Rainbow kickstarter. They are getting a match up to $1 million for everything over 4mil, so if you haven’t donated now is your chance.

Fiction Unboxed is done with, and they have finished “Dream Engine”. I’ve been listening to it, and it’s a fantastic story so far. Hopefully it will be available on Amazon soon.

US publishers sold more ebooks then print books last year. (Though they made about the same from those ebooks as they did last year.)

Authors dressing up as their favorite characters from a book.

If we talked to other professions like we talk to artists. (FANTASTIC video by Garrett Robinson. If you haven’t seen it yet, you should!)

Star Trek and Economics (It’s an interesting read, and kind of relevant to our point in history.)(Also, what Reddit had to say was interesting)

 

On a personal note:

“Mermaid’s Curse” is coming along nicely. I’ve hit the 80k mark and I’m still going on it. I’m expecting that it will be about 82k once I’m finished. Right now I’m working on edits, and the edits are about half way finished. Then off to a real editor who knows what they are doing ;)

If you would like to see some scenes from “Mermaid’s Curse” then check here, here, and here.

 
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Posted by on June 30, 2014 in News, Updates, Video

 

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Things that didn’t happen

Life is filled with firsts. The first kiss, first time riding a bike, first date, first time driving a car. It’s really easy to see those firsts, look back on them and remember them with joy, and sometimes pain.

As I get older I realize there is another part of life. The things we never did, and can never do. Time has passed us by and there is no longer a chance for those things to happen.

Our culture has grown insistent with the idea that “it’s never too late.” And, in a way, they are right. People get married and have children later in life. People start new careers, get collage degrees, or write novels well into their 50′s. For a lot of people there is still time. But that isn’t the case for everyone.

I will never have a picture perfect family consisting of husband, wife, and 2.5 kids living in a little house with a white picket fence, a dog, and a garden out back. It just isn’t in the cards. I had my marriage, I had my children, and I love my children dearly, but that idea of a picture perfect home just wasn’t in the cards for me. My children will never have the dad that comes home from work, gives them piggy back rides, and rough houses on the floor. My children are starting to move out.

Realizing certain things are out of reach for you isn’t a bad thing. Maybe at first it was a little sad for me, and I tried really hard to make up for it. To make my own version of the perfect little family in my own home. For a time I even found something really close, but it wasn’t to be.

With realization came acceptance. And finally it was time to make new dreams. New goals. New achievements in life that I could complete.

Life isn’t a video game. You can’t reload your previous save and try to complete that achievement again. Life is a story unfolding before you, and sometimes paths will break off, and sometimes they will end. Sometimes they will be so far out of your reach that you never even saw the glimmer of hope to achieve them. That just means it’s time to find a new path. A new goal. And strive for something more.

 
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Posted by on June 23, 2014 in Commentary

 

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New Shows

A few years back a friend introduced me to “The Guild”. It was an amazingly funny show made by Felicia Day and her friends highlighting some of the ridiculous things about gamers. Being a gamer, of course I loved it.

Now I, like most people, had been watching some awesome videos on youtube before that. People falling off boats into the water. Babies laughing. Hamsters on a piano. You name it, I saw it. But this was the first full fledged show that I’d been introduced to on youtube. It was amazing.

Then there was Dr. Horrible’s Sing Along Blog. To be fair, anything with NPH is awesome, but this was a rather incredible show done during the writers strike. And all available for free on youtube.

I thought I’d share some of my other favorite shows on youtube.

The Guild
Dr. Horrible’s Sing Along Blog
Spooked (Also by Felicia Day)
Space Janitors
Sync: Directors Cut
Plurality
True Skin
H+
Portal: No Escape
Aperture Lab Rat
Post Human
EarthShip
Dark Resurrection
Star Wars: Revelations
Niel’s Puppet Dreams

 
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Posted by on June 17, 2014 in On Writing

 

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Mermaid’s Curse

Over on G+ a lot of authors started doing #SaturdayScenes. That’s where we showcase one scene from one story we are either working on, or have published. I’ve showcased mainly stories from my published books so far. Footprints, Forgotten Ones, Prophecy by Barlight and Small Bites. Yesterday I posted the first snippet from the novel I’ve been working on, and talking about, since October. “Mermaid’s Curse“.

Google Plus is a great community. Lots of authors around. A lot of readers looking for their authors. But… not everyone is on G+. In fact I’ve met people who were violently opposed to going to G+. Somehow I just realized this morning that I should have been sharing these here, on my blog, as well, to compensate for that.

So I’m going to post the excerpt from Mermaid’s Curse here, as well as links to all of the other snippets. If you’d like to read any of them then you’ll have to head over to G+. (sorry).

Now… on with the scenes!

Prophecy by Barlight
Touch Me Not (A complete short story from Small Bites)
Footprints
Battle on the Walls (from Forgotten Ones)

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Mermaid’s Curse

“Little Mother!”

The sudden, unmistakably masculine, voice pulled Marizza out of her studies. Surely she was mistaken. No one could have been on the little island that the mother, Salvia, had taken her to. The nearest island was a day’s journey, and very few were willing to brave the empty seas with the threat of the kraken so close at hand.

“Little Mother? Are you here?”

Strong, deep, and resonating. The voice seemed to draw her, and she thrust the forgotten book aside running to the door. Pressing her ear to the rough wood, she listened.

Salvia warned her to avoid others. Her abilities were still raw, wild, and untamed. With her magic tied to her emotions, she had already destroyed several small items with a miss placed spell during a fit of rage. Marizza figured out it wasn’t her abilities the Little Mother was trying to temper; it was her own emotional outburst. It would have been easier to temper the magic.

She pressed an ear to the door. She hadn’t heard another person in months, and the solitude was wearing on her. Use to busy streets, and a bakery bustling with towns folk, the utter silence of the forgotten island pressed in on her like a thick fog, smothering her. That voice, with its deep timber and melodic chime, rang through her, dispersing the fog for a bright moment.

“Little Mother! I’ve brought the things you asked for!”

Closer. She could hear the slap of bare feet as the man-made his way up the dirt path. A sailor? Many of them were known to walk unshod. It helped them feel the movement of the sea, they said.

There was more to his voice though. Now that he was closer she could hear a magical aura slipping in through the chiming cadence. Whoever he was, he resonated with a latent power. Another witch? Someone she could be around safely?

The cabin began to feel claustrophobic around her as she heard his footsteps nearing the door. Her fingers wrapped around the cold iron door latch, her curiosity gnawing at her. She could hear his footfalls quicken, feel his vibrant aura of strength just beyond the door.

She yanked the offending wood open—

And came face to face with the most beautiful man she had ever witnessed. His eyes were a startling shade of ice blue, his skin a milky white, almost translucent in the morning sunlight. His black hair hung in wet braids down to his bare shoulders.

Flushing bright red, Marizza lowered her gaze only to be greeted by the stark evidence of his complete nudity. A naked, wet god had emerged from the waters only to torment her.

 
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Posted by on June 15, 2014 in Stories

 

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Over the Hurdle

sickIt’s been a while since I’ve posted. Heck, it’s been a few days since I’ve done anything.

Last Tuesday I woke up with a sore throat. No biggy, I’ve had laryngitis plenty of times. Or maybe it was allergies, I tend to get those a lot. Either way I went to work just like I always do, and set up shop for another day. After all, I was due to get off work a little early because I had to take my daughter to her orientation at the college anyway. I could sit around the office for a few hours. No problem, right?

A couple hours into work I started feeling a little sick. I called the other store who was sending my relief over later that day and asked if she could come sooner. I wasn’t feeling good at all. Headache, upset stomach, tired and run down. And everything just hurt everywhere.

My relief got there and I high tailed it home to crumble on my couch and sleep for three hours after taking a handful of NyQuil tablets. Then my daughter got home and I still had to drive her to the college. Then drive home and fall to sleep for another hour. Then drive back to get her. And finally drop her off at the high school before I went home and fell asleep. Again.

Sleep was better then the alternative. I don’t get sick very often, but this one was a doozy. Every joint just hurt, and I couldn’t swallow without a lot of pain. My temperature was rising and the Tylenol wasn’t knocking out the fever.

I admit it… I should have gone to the doctor. I even have medical insurance now thanks to Obama-care. But I figured it was just a really bad flu and I’d get over it in twenty-four hours.

Wednesday morning came and I called in sick. There was no way I was going to make it to work, let alone be any good to a customer. I’ve worked sick before. Sore throat, allergies acting up, feeling a little foggy, whatever. I could do it in a pinch. Not that morning. It was all I could do to roll over and text my boss to tell him I couldn’t make it. Then I rolled right back over and fell asleep.

Wednesday was a mix of TV shows and naps all day. I had a peanut butter and honey sandwich for dinner. I soaked in cool baths, and put a fan on in the living room to bring down my temperature. I downed so much Tylenol for the head aches and the fever that I started to worry about over dosing.

My daughter asked for a ride to something. I told her I was sick. I don’t think she understood just how sick I was. I went to bed really early that night.

About 4am this morning I woke up sweating. The fever had finally broken. Funny how that works. Your temperature is 102 and your body wont let you sweat. You can die from the heat your insides are creating, but still … no sweat. As soon as that fever breaks you sweat like a stuck pig.

I thought that meant I was over the worst of it. Once the fever breaks that’s when things start getting better, right? Only that’s not what happened. I still felt crummy. My throat hurt. My tonsils seemed larger. And now I had a headache that wasn’t letting go.

I gave in. I went to the doctor.

So many years without insurance, it was harder then it should have been for me to just go to the doctor. I had one available. I didn’t have to pay a cent for it. So why wouldn’t I go? And the only thing I can come up with is that I’ve been enduring for so long, struggling on my own for so long, that it didn’t feel right to go ask for help until I had done everything possible myself. When you’ve been trained your entire life that you can never go to a doctor unless it is an emergency… things like this happen.

I went to the doctor. The did a scraping, and ran a test. It came back positive for strep. Easily treated with antibiotics. If you don’t get treatment strep can lead to a whole host of issues. Yes, my fever broke. Maybe my body was going to fight off the strep alone. But it would have taken a lot longer then it will with the antibiotics.

All that extra pain and suffering because I was trained never to go to the doctor unless I absolutely had to.

I don’t think Obama-care is perfect, I mean I can’t even find a regular dentist who will fill my cavities and take my insurance. But it’s a start. And maybe it means people like me won’t wait until things are even worse before they go get help.

 
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Posted by on June 12, 2014 in Personal Notes

 

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