There was no cake.

birthday-1208233_960_720.jpg

I just turned 25. Growing older is rough – I’d like to think it is for everybody. As morbid pathetic dramatic as it sounds, that’s just another year closer to death. That’s my life slipping through my fingers. That’s time running out.

I’m not bitter. I’m not resentful. I’m just a little bit sad.

Sure, I should be focusing on the growing of wisdom and self, but that’s not where I am right now. If or when I do get there, it’ll be a miracle.

But, never mind that for now. Let me tell you what happened on my 25th birthday.

It started with french toast.

I woke up to the smell of cinnamon. Sticky fingers — maple syrup all over my keyboard — this was the ideal way to start the day. I brushed my teeth, slipped on a skater dress, popped over a cardigan and headed out to Time Square. We were 2 and a half hours early before the first showing of Ant-Man. I’m always early to everything.

There was food. As it should be.

We walked into B.B. Kings. There wasn’t a single soul in this dim lit bar scene. I ordered crawfish. We sat there for an hour oohing and aahing over the food. Thomas proceeded to teach me how to eat pasta properly. “From the edge inwards,” he said. I just sort of stabbed my fork into the bowl and twisted. The food was amazing.

(Which reminds me, I still need to yelp them.)

I just wanted to have fun, you know? Forget for a moment that time was running out. Why the hell am I so dramatic? 

We went to Walgreens and bought 4 king size snickers, a mini-can of pringles, and a turkey sandwich. Of course, I’m always prepared to sneak food into the theater.

Still, we had 45 minutes to kill. We rode escalators. I beat Thomas at a game of Pacman.

We saw the Ant-Man in 3D.

The day ended with an open seat on the train and no incredibly annoying leg-spreader sitting next to me.

So what if there was no cake? It’s not like I ever wait until someone’s birthday to eat cake anyway.

I wrote this on my 25th birthday last year, on a crowded train coming home from Time Square, with Thomas hovering above me holding on to the railing, as he always does. Ironically enough, today is his 29th birthday. I was searching through #tags, looking for anything I wrote that included the word”birthday”, which is a kind of ritual for me – something I do each year. 

Birthdays are hard for both of us. It leaves us with a heavy heart. It makes us cranky. As I wrote above, growing older is rough. It’s like that one Adele song, “We were sad of getting old, it made us restless.” 

Thomas and I have known each other for nearly half of our lives. We’ve seen each other struggle and flourish. Much of which was thanks to each other. At times it was very hard. From all directions, we faced a lot of resistance since the early part of our relationship – when we were literally just kids. For over a decade, we have been a solace to each other. My husband is a sanctuary. I often think if our bond was not as strong as it is today, the last few years would have been very taxing on our relationship because it was very taxing on our individual selves. Life was (is) hard. No one wants a life of struggle where the finish line only gets repeatedly pushed back, until, well, it’s your time to go.

Beyond under-employment and financial struggles, I had experienced a late-term miscarriage followed by many fertility and reproductive health concerns that were not only wearing on my physical health but also my emotional and mental health. It was not an easy recovery, and an on-going one it still is.

The thing is, there won’t always be cake. But life isn’t necessarily about the cake, or the reward, or the finish line. It’s often about the journey. When you reflect back, it may make you a little bit sad, like it does for me. You can feel that. When the memory tugs at your heart, feel it, validate it, embrace it. 

Continue Reading

10 Tips For A Blissful Marriage

13077001_229488177415678_4323481657501819936_n

I wanted to do something a little different for this blog post! Because my husband and I are celebrating our 3 year wedding anniversary this month ( as well as 12 years together), I thought it would be fun to share some of what we’ve experienced in our relationship and what I think brings out that sort of peace, bliss, and harmony that makes our relationship as wonderfully bright as it is. I don’t share too many intimate details about my life on this blog, but, believe it or not, my husband is SUPER-involved in this blog! Everything you see here – recipes, meal plans, budgeting, hauls, thrifting – all of it, he helps me write! He is also in-the-loop about everything I’m working on in terms of personal and professional goals (writing, blogging, teaching, ect.). That type of involvement is a huge indication of how much we are not only friends and lovers,  but incredibly strong allies too.

13015577_229488217415674_730764374676796168_n

Little background on us:

We’ve been together since high school. Picture this: me kicking the back of his chair in class. Instead of listening to our teacher, I was dropping pencils and kicking them under his chair just so he would pick it up, turn around, and I could melt into a puddle of feelings in front of him. LOL.

It is definitely something special to grow up with the one you love and I’m sure there is nothing quite like it. I’m sure you can imagine how much we have changed, evolved, and grown since our teens. Our bond is not based on common interests as much as it is based on loyalty, as well as a foundation that has been built and maintained for over a decade.

13076588_229488187415677_8009062104240060546_n

So here are my top 10 tips for a happy (and lasting) marriage:

    1. First things first? Build a foundation before jumping into bed with them. Get to know this person before becoming intimate. This is sort of a “traditional” idea, but there is a reason why this has been said for generations. If you’re seriously looking for companionship, you have to take it slow and get to know them. Once you’re filled with all of that lustful sexual energy, you really aren’t able to see them for who they are as a person. You will be fixated on the sex and the “fire”, and yes, that part of the relationship is amazing, but it will not last if you reach for it too quickly. You won’t be able to take your hands off each other, but that is the ONLY ATTRACTION you will be able to maintain, if even, and that will NEVER be enough.
    2. Let’s say you have build your foundation, and you’ve let your brains dance a little bit. Yes, intimacy is important. Physical touch reminds our partner that we are wanted. This does not always mean sex. Touch your partner. It doesn’t even need to be in a sexual way. All touch releases oxytocin. Kisses here and there. Massages. Grasping their hand. It goes a long way.
    3. Be thoughtful. One of the things that I love about my husband is how thoughtful he is. He is so present in our relationship and it is evident that he thinks about me in his day to day. It’s the little things. It REALLY is about the small details such as bringing home your partner’s favorite drink, meal, snack, or picking up an item they’ve been eyeing for a while.
    4. Lift up and encourage your partner. I really do owe a lot of my personal, academic, and professional accomplishments to my husband. When he believes in me, I feel like I can do anything.
    5. Help your partner be the best version of themselves. A lot of people think they can change their partners or that they can be projects, and in thinking this way, we dehumanize them. Our partners cannot be molded into what we want, and in no way should we pull them away from their true selves. Help them be more themselves every day. Help them realize their GOOD QUALITIES, their passions – motivate them in their interests, and push them to pursue them. Love should open the world to us and give us freedom to go after anything we seek.
    6. Never ever talk badly about your partner to other people. Sure, there is nothing wrong with asking for advice from your mother, but ultimately, the answer will always come from within. Never post your problems on social media. That is a big no-no.
    7. Respect their privacy. That also plays a bit on #6. When you share information about your personal life with other people, you’re not respecting your partner’s privacy. Plain and simple! How would you feel if everyone knew your personal business? Not so good, I bet. Also, realize that your partner is their own person and they exist outside of your relationship. You are not entitled, even when married, to every detail of their life. If there is love, trust, and a strong bond, you will hear it willingly from your spouse. In the meantime, respect their privacy and space. Allow them ownership of themselves. 
    8. Take care of yourself. The best thing you can do for your partner is to take care of yourself. Your spouse is neither your babysitter or parent! You are allies, a team. Again, you are your own person. You are not an extension of your spouse. You must have your own plans, your own goals, your own visions.
    9. Learn and grow (in knowledge) together. Expanding your horizons; learning and growing in knowledge does WONDERS for your quality of life. It’s all in the brain. Stay engaged and engage each other. Get each other thinking. Discuss. Connect. This really helps with the communication aspect of a relationship, as well. Being able to have rewarding and nourishing discussions will be the motivation you need to talk about the hard stuff when they come up. For me, being engaged is a huge factor in not only attraction but also bonding. The truth is, I am easily bored. I love to discuss ideas and learn from other people. If I feel like I cannot learn anything from you, I probably won’t talk to you very much. 
    10. Listen – even when you’d rather respond. Even when you’re not interested. The fact that your partner is excited to share with you what excites him/her is a big deal and a sign of love. Acknowledge their excitement! Be happy for their happiness. 

I hope you folks found this useful or helpful. Let me know if any of this resonates with you. Anything you think I should be adding to this list? Let me know in the comments!

Always lead your lives with love!

 

Continue Reading