Tag Archives: love

Love, Small Screen Style

One of our kids is going to be President. Maybe not my kid or your kid, but one of their friends, or Instagram followers, or someone they met at football camp will become the President of the United States one day. This should scare the crap out of you.

Do you follow your kid on Instagram? What about Snapchat? Don’t worry about Facebook, that’s for old people (like me). Do you follow their friends? I do. And it is eye-opening. My youngest son is a mess and he posts silly things that make me roll my eyes. His friends send me snapchats of themselves with goofy faces and I send them back. I double tap their Instagram photos from time to time. Sometimes I will comment about how pretty they look or that I am proud of them. The other 90% of the time I am mortified.

Studies have shown that so many online relationships result in marriage because 1) the people on dating sites are serious about having a relationship and 2) relationships formed and developed over the internet escalate faster that traditional dating relationships. There is a boldness fostered by the the computer screen. There is a disconnect that makes it easier to share opinions, reach out, flirt, bully, etc. Couple this with the trend of selfie-taking, self-centered young people who are all but attached to their electronic devises and you have a recipe for disaster.

Remember when you couldn’t go on a date until you were old enough to drive? Remember when there had to be a reason to go somewhere, like a school dance? Dating now consists of staking a claim on someone and promoting it on social media. Ten-year-olds are dating. They claim a girlfriend/boyfriend in the classroom, and then have an electronic relationship right under your very nose. Nothing irritates me more than middle school aged children proclaiming their love on social media. (Actually, that’s not true. Reading comments on Instagram where one boy will comment on another boy’s photo, “UR so gay” like that’s an acceptable way to participate in playful trash talk makes my blood boil. Especially when they come from families that have enough sense to teach their children that it isn’t appropriate to use language that demeans any group of people. Change the word from gay to retarded and I will also flip my lid.)

Back to young love. Young girl posts selfie (with or without duck lips) with some overused, cliche hashtag, such as #blessed, and immediately their 14 year old boyfriend will comment something like, “I’m so lucky, bae” [heart-eyed emoji, heart-eyed emoji, heart-eyed emoji]. Or young boy posts photo of he and girl together (usually in the school parking lot) and captions, “Can’t believe it’s been two months” [#blessed]. The girl will quickly comment something like #bae #truelove #justthrewupinmymouth. Oh, wait, not that last one. That was me.

Are you as a parent watching this? Are you showing these exchanges to your own child and explaining to them that this is not how life works? These kids don’t even talk to each other. They text each other. All the time. Have you read a text exchange between a tween-aged couple? Do you read your own child’s texts every day? If not, you should. My twelve year old has a cell phone. Or I should say, he has the use of a cell phone. I pay for it. It is mine. The content on said phone is my responsibility. I check his browser history, text messages, Instagram direct messages; you name it, I’m reading it. But I see these conversations happening openly on Instagram all the time. Where are the parents? Do they really think this is productive behavior? [Sadly, I have seen parents actually condone this by commenting heart-eyed kissy-faced emojis on these posts instead of telling their kid that four months of incessant texting at 13 years old isn’t actually what love is.]

If your 11-15 year old is having three week anniversaries, celebrating their love, texting a significant other four hours a day, and is feeling #blessed in general because of another human in the same age group; start cleaning out your basement. Little Johnny is going to be living in that basement about two semesters into college because he is either A) about to enter into the world with completely unrealistic expectations B) about to be involved in a teen pregnancy C) completely unaware of what happens twenty feet beyond himself D) all of the above. I used to wonder what parents were doing while their kids were behaving like this. But the answer is more than likely staring at a screen themselves. Just this morning I was looking at a Snapchat story consisting of a video taken in a common area. You can clearly hear the parent of the child in the background talking to someone else. They are completely unaware that they are being recorded.

This brings me to my next rant: adults who constantly interact with things/people on their cell phone instead of the living, breathing human next to them. But I will save that one for another day…

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Another Man’s Guitar

With a subtle shrug of his shoulders, responsibility fell to the floor. He gently grasped history and began to strum the tune of his dreams. Timidly at first, soaking in the moment, he picked out the notes of his childhood. Soon the notes became chords and the chords became a strain – a symphony of aspirations suppressed but not forgotten. His awe of the instrument began to blend with his joy of the music and soon the two were so intertwined that he could not make a distinction between the harmony of his wonder and his revelry. Time that seemed to speed up as his body slowed down, suddenly came to a halt, and he was suspended in the moment. He clung to the old guitar just as the great ones before him. They had walked the line and triumphed through fire and fear and miles of hopeless desperation. Every sound – whether from the fingers of the man in black or the hands of the crowds that cheered for him – led up to this singular occasion in time. Every tear, every bead of sweat, every sleepless night or drunken stupor, every confession of love or rush of angry emotion; now lay softly on his lap. The melody swirled around him, awakening the child within, and renewing his passion. But time, cruel as she is, put life back into motion. And as the chorus faded into the air, he found himself back in his office. His profession beckoned; there was much to be done. Deadlines and details waited in tidy stacks for him to handle. Phones chirped and voices echoed through the halls. The guitar case was closed like a vault before he even had time to grasp his surroundings, much less bid the instrument farewell. But the strings of remembrance could still be felt on his fingertips and the contentment of his first love still rang in his ears. As he slowly stood up, dutifully ready to get back to the trappings of adulthood, the lyrics of his anthem  danced once more through his mind, “I’m old enough to have drawn blood, yet still young enough to bleed.”

My old friend, Dutch, had the opportunity to play Luther Perkins' guitar today. It was the guitar used by Johnny Cash to record Walk the Line. For one of the most incredible musicians to never make the big time, I'm sure this was an awesome experience. I wasn't there to witness it, but this is how it went in my mind.

I Can Handle That.

There is something about being honest with yourself. Sometimes I think we are more honest with other people than we are with ourselves. But then again, there are those of us that just hear whatever we want to hear regardless of what is actually being said. Generally speaking, there are a few phrases that tend to be confusing for many people. These phrases are “I just want to be friends” and “I can handle that.”

“I just want to be friends” is a phrase often uttered by a male to a female. What the guy is really trying to convey to the girl in this situation is “I just want to be friends.” But in many cases, what the female hears is “I just want to be friends with you right now, but I bet if we were to continue to hang out together, like all the time, and you did a bunch of nice stuff for me like my laundry or cook things for me or have sex with me a lot; I bet I would wake up one day and realize that I’m actually in love with you and that nothing would make me happier than making you my wife.”

Similarly, when a woman is in a conversation with a man and he says something like “I just want to be friends,” she may reply with the phrase “I can handle that.”  Now what the female really means in this instance is “I can tell myself that I can handle that and I can do my best to constantly suppress my true feelings for you while falling deeper and deeper in love with you, and then I will beat myself up over the fact that you were honest with me from the start and I was really the stupid one to think I could handle it even though I can’t so it’s really my fault and not your fault at all; and now the only real question is whether I should totally loose it emotionally and go off the deep end in a public place, preferably in front of your new girlfriend and your coworkers, or if I should eat nothing but Ben and Jerry’s until I’ve gained fifty pounds and only leave the house when I absolutely must go to the grocery to buy food for the seven cats I’ve adopted from the local shelter, most of which are mange ridden and unlovable – just like me, or if maybe I should just start using meth and become a back alley hooker.” Although this seems implied, many men do not actually take this away from that simple phrase. What they incorrectly hear and understand is, “She can handle that.”

So is it that we are not honest with each other? Or is it that we seem to just hear what we want to hear and say what we think people want us to say? I think guys and girls do this equally. Or maybe girls do it a little more than guys do. I’m not sure where I’m going with this except maybe this: If you love someone and they tell you they just want to be friends, just be honest with yourself. You can’t handle that. Just walk away. If you haven’t really changed, but you want to; don’t say you’ve changed. Say that you haven’t changed, but that you want to. I’m all for that “if you can believe it you can achieve it” bull-crap, but you know what? Saying it doesn’t make it so. If it did, I’d be a size two, tan person living off my monthly interest payments on my vast fortune amassed from sales of my best-selling novels.

Trucks in the Sand

She ran through the woods, breaking through beams of sunlight as her laughter trailed behind her. In the exuberance of her youth she was never winded. Her feet moved from dirt to water to leaves without thought as she chased her dreams down the slope of the ravine. Miles away, he pushed his truck through the sand. The sounds of squeaking swings and children’s voices filled the air around him. His lips vibrated with the noise of a motor and he maneuvered his vehicle across the sandbox, planning his upcoming attack. They had never met. Their eyes had never locked in a glance. He had never heard her sing to her baby doll and she had never watched as he tried to be brave after falling and skinning his knee. Yet years later as she lay in bed, twisting to find the ultimate position of comfort then drifting off to slumber as gently as a summer breeze through an open window; he stood guard in the heat of the desert, eyes alert and mind racing; as trucks rolled by in the sand. He would protect her with his life, this girl he’d never met; now a woman with children of her own. He would not question her devotion, but persevere in his. He was bound by honor, by duty, by destiny; and giving up his freedom to protect hers was as natural as the blood that coursed through his veins. She would never know him. She would never know why he chose to serve her. Some days went by and she didn’t even think of him. But in her heart of hearts she knew he was there and she took comfort in it. She prayed that a gloved hand would never pause above an officer’s brow as his mother clutched a folded flag. And whenever she saw one of his comrades in an airport or a grocery or on the street, she would thank him; even though she knew her words would never reach them all. Miles away, she was the last thing on his mind, yet he continued to fight for her as if she was in his heart.

Unanswered Letter

My heart lies somewhere in the bottom of a box. I poured it out with ink and tears. I stopped and started it a hundred times. I looked at it again and again. My fingers trembled as I folded it. My chest ached as I sealed it away. I cried as I inscribed your name. And then I let it go; closing it in a tiny metal casket and hoisting the flag. The days ran together, one into the other, and my heart drifted across the ocean. Guarded by a dozen soldiers, it traveled space and time. Then somewhere between the sound of gunfire and the blowing sand, it came to rest in the bottom of a box; forgotten in the madness of war.

Building a Wall

For a moment they forgot their task. They were swept away in the possibilities of daydreams; forgetting their reality and running hand in hand toward infinite potential. Their eyes danced to a symphony played on the strings of the heart. Their laughter rose into the night and reverberated among the angels. Their fingers shook off their usual chill and warmed themselves in the grasp of each other’s hand. They took turns, leading and following, in a game of coy smiles and glances. They exchanged a kiss, just long enough to be savored but not so long as to satiate. As their heads lay softly on their pillows, a similar smile was fixed on each of their faces. And as their eyelashes rested on their cheeks, their thoughts slipped into slumber and then into dreams, allowing their flirtation to continue to play in the landscape of their imagination. But just as day always greets the night, the sun broke through from behind the curtains and these sweet fantasies were shaken off with the fluttering of awakening lashes. In the bright morning light, hope faded and realism took hold. So each rose and gathered their tools and went back to the task of building their wall.

Arms of the Ocean

I stood at the edge of the water with my bare feet slowly sinking in the soft sand beneath me. With each supple current from the rising tide, I settled deeper and deeper into the earth below. Over my shoulder hung the moon; unashamed, undeniable, whole. Her glow too dim to cast shadows, but bright enough to illuminate my fears. As the moments passed, my breathing aligned with the rhythm of the waves. It felt as if we had become one organism, oscillating in the cool night air, flowing into each other. I was lost in the waves; absent from my thoughts, floating in my memories. My balance had become shaky now that my feet were completely covered; one heel resting lower than the other. Without disturbing my base, I slowly sat down on the cold granules numbering greater than my imagination. At first they were rough on my thighs, but as my limbs began to numb in the wind, the sand became supple and comforting like a plush blanket of velvet. A gull flew overhead, crying out into the darkness, but I did not try to locate it. My vision was blurred in the deep purple before me. There was no horizon in the night. There was no end to my sister sea. She wrapped her fingers around me as the chilly air filled my lungs and released me back into the darkness with each breath I exhaled. I was deadened to my sorrow. Nothing remained; no hope, nor sadness, nor fear. All that remained was a void that was meant to be. My eyes grew heavy and I longed for rest, so I leaned back into the cradle of the shore and let the arms of the ocean cover me.