Love Them Harder

I think we can all say that we’re having a hard time out here in quarantine.

Everybody has their bad days, but we seem to have a string of them in a row. People are cranky, they’re tired, they’re whiny.

Oh, and that’s just the adults. Don’t get me started on the kids.

But on days like these, there is one clear message: the harder the day, the harder you have to love them.

So, if you’re angry, upset, anxious, you are in need of love. From yourself, from a friend, or from family. Remind people around you that instead of getting mad at you for your anger, your mood, or your anxiety, that you need love. Now more than ever.

Keep extending love to those who need it, and those who need it the most.

Love,

Bailey

Bad Love Poems

I love Valentine’s Day. Unabashedly and without remorse. 

But the chocolates and teddy bears aren’t the reason. 

It’s the bad love poems. The punny heart jokes. The corny movies. I just love when people put their heart into something, even if it comes out bad. 

So, here’s some short poems that I’ve come up with for fun. No judgments here, I hope. But if you feel so inclined to outdo me, feel free to leave it in the comments. 
Your love for me is like a bad haircut. It isn’t what I asked for but I’m living with it. 

Your love for me is like French fries. A little salty and usually bad for me. But I crave you anyway. 

My love for you is like a cold. My chest is full and it’s hard to breathe. 

Your love for me is like the sun. Sort of blinding and it makes me sweaty. 

My love for you is like a little black dress in the back of my closet. Always waiting for a special occasion and not fitting like I remembered. 

Our love is a wrinkled curtain. It doesn’t look good, but it does the job.

My love for you is like lip balm. I’m always losing it before it’s quite done. 

My love for you is a different language. You don’t understand it. 

Our love is a pickle. A little sour, but served on every plate. 

Happy Valentine’s Day! 

No Thank You

Today I learned a lesson that all of my college professors, my parents, and any old wise man on top of a mountain could tell me.

Don’t expect anything. Don’t expect anything good to happen or anything bad to happen. Just don’t expect anything. It’s easier that way.

Take today. I am one of the million cheerful people who take public transportation. Ah yes, the dank stairwells, the finicky ticket machines, and don’t forget, the other 999,999 people traveling with me. If anything, it is an experience. And we’ll leave it at that.

And speaking to that last point (because I couldn’t leave it at that) about all of those people, it can definitely be tough. They don’t always move out of your way, and they don’t always slide across the seat to let you sit. My strategy is to find someone who is pretty much doing what I will be doing (reading, listening to music, etc.) so that I won’t bother them by sitting next to them. We’re sort of like two friends hanging out, doing the same activity.

But as soon as I sat down today, I saw an older couple looking around for a seat. The woman sat directly in front of me, while the man was unable to find a seat near her. It was an easy choice. I quickly got up and told him to sat down. He might have muttered something, but I didn’t hear it.

And do you know what else I didn’t hear? A thank you! Seriously? I know it’s common courtesy to let someone sit down that should have a seat over you, but you couldn’t say thank you? It’s like when people don’t give that little wave while driving when you let them out into traffic. It takes two seconds and it makes the world of difference!

So, I got up fuming, a little. I knew my heart was in the right place, but I felt all wrong. And then it dawned on me: I was doing something for the results. I was expecting something very specific to happen. I genuinely thought that the man should be sitting down, but I was also waiting for him to acknowledge me, to thank me, when I should have just moved out of my seat with no expectations of receiving anything for having manners.

But this story has a twist ending. The guy that was sitting next to me actually got up when I got up to let the elderly couple sit next to each other. He then came over to me and asked if I wanted to sit down in another seat. I certainly wasn’t expecting him to do that, but I was incredibly touched by the gesture. Anybody else might have watched the exchange and let it happen. And this time? I hadn’t expected him to do that. I hadn’t expected anything.

So, in the end, expectations are really just pleas and wishes for the world to work like we want it to. And when life doesn’t work out how we want to, sometimes, it is just preparing you for something better. When you don’t have expectations, you may find that you’ll be pleasantly surprised anyway.

Do You Have Any Experience?

Experience. Everybody has a little. Some people have a lot. And everyone can claim that they can separate their experiences into good and bad, or a mix of both. Your first date. Your favorite book. A death. A new baby. Or anything that will help you land a job. All of this is called “experience.”

But have you ever had just an experience? And I don’t mean some totally freaky interaction with a psychic or an awkward encounter playing 7 minutes in Heaven. I mean, an experience.

Or at least, have you ever tried to perceive your life that way?

Why do I ask?

Because I heard this totally awesome statement the other day. This person simply said, “I just love experiences.” Note the wording. She didn’t say, “I love it when things happen like I expect them to happen.” And she definitely didn’t say, “I love when I have bad experiences because I can learn from them.” She just said, “I just love experiences.”

And that sort of hit me like a lightning bolt. I mean, here I am. Worrying or otherwise freaking out about just about anything that crosses my path. Making a phone call. Ordering coffee. Asking for help. Even worrying about worrying.

When what I should be doing is just…having an experience. Going out into the world and dealing with whatever comes my way, and writing it all off as just an “experience.” Not good or bad. Just there. It completely takes the pressure off of…life.

Because what you are actually saying to yourself when you see life this way is that “I am going to go out and live.” Instead of “I am going to go out and live in a very particular way, and when that doesn’t happen, I’m going to get upset.” No resistance to what is there, just being.

In the end, that’s living your life. Not just hoping for it all to go right or being mad when it doesn’t. Just chalking it all up, every single thing, to experience.

Hello and Hey

I have not one, but two stories to tell you tonight. Keep in mind that both of these events happened over the course of one day (aka today) and both are true.

Here’s the first one:

There’s an older gentleman who runs in my neighborhood. I’m not sure how old he is specifically, but let’s say that he was probably able to vote for President Truman. (And in case you’re not likely to do the math, that’s pretty old.) Yet, I sometimes see him running twice a day and in every kind of weather. And he has time to say hello. Living in the time that we all do, I don’t always get a “hello” from anyone. Actually, I don’t even get the little wave when I let someone driving go before me. A “hello” is about as rare as finding a $20 bill in the mall parking lot. So, imagine my surprise when I’m going out to my car this morning, and I hear such a quiet, little “hello” from the man always running down my less than quiet street. I returned the “hello” and walked back in the house, grinning from the kind start to my day.

Here’s the second one:

I like to take walks with my mom at night. We walk a good distance through the neighborhood. We see a lot of people coming home, taking out the trash, turning on sprinklers. And we also see people speeding. We feel cars whiz by us, and the sidewalk always feels too narrow. But we make do, walking side by side, keeping away from the road. That is, until tonight, when some bro screamed “HEY” at us from his buddy’s car. I clutched my invisible pearls and jumped a little into the air. I looked up to glare at the passing car and heard both occupants chuckling as they sped away, gaining what, I don’t know, from scaring two women (as if men don’t do that all day, every day!). I was silently fuming the entire way home.

Now, as a reminder, both of these events happened in one day, today. One “Hello” and one “Hey.” But such different messages. One made me believe in karma and one made me wish for it.

For me, it’s hard to reconcile these events. How can people be so nice and so cruel in the same span of time?

And then I realized what I was confronted with: a physical embodiment of the human condition.

In short, there are going to be people who will go out of their way to be nice. And then there are going to be people who will think it’s funny to torture complete strangers. And sometimes, both reactions are going to come from the same person (although I would argue that what separates both people in this case is maturity).

But that’s what humans are. We’re this swirling mass of impulses, both good and bad. We have the I should say hello instinct, and we also have the let’s scream “hey” at these people instinct. One will always win out. Thankfully, both probably won’t win out in a single day in two different people, like they did to me. But maybe they’ll fight the same battle in you.

And as much as you can, try to feed the “hello” impulse. I, and your neighborhood, will thank you.

It Would Be A Beautiful Day Out if it Weren’t for the Wind

I wrote this poem the other day, on a windy day, naturally:

People often say,

“If it weren’t for the wind,

it would be a nice day.”

And I laugh because

this acknowledgement

and dismissal is so very perfunct. 

So, I reply, 

“Yes. And if it weren’t for life

we’d all be dead.”

Oh, to strike at the heart of something

with only half a heart.

The truth is we can no more call off the wind than the wind can dye itself blue. Why do we allow for such thoughts? We can’t change the circumstances or the situation, so why do we spend time wishing things were different? Why do we ask the wind to stop blowing so that we can have a nice day?

And certainly, it would be nice if some things were different. If humans could live in peace. If passion were a check payable to all of us. If chocolate cookies were not so tempting. But you don’t often hear someone say, Oh, if only they would destroy all of the chocolate chip cookie factories in the world, then I wouldn’t have to deal with this vice.

So, why do we do it? Why do we wish for circumstances to be different when we know (either consciously or subconsciously) that they will not change?

We wish for things to be different when we believe that we do not have the power to deal with our issues, when we haven’t prepared for them. (We forgot to bring the patio furniture inside and now all of the chairs have been blown into the neighbor’s yard, kind of thing.)

But that is (and never will be) completely true. We always have the tools to deal with our current situation. Because really, if you simply accepted something as an obstacle to overcome instead of an inconvenience to gripe about, you would figure out how to hurdle past it in the same amount of time you would take to complain about it. And you always have that choice.

The wind is not something to be wished away. And to be honest, it is not always something to be marveled at. (It’s blustery, intrusive, and fearsome.) But at worst, it is something to be accepted. This is the same attitude through which you must approach life, especially the days that are hard to swallow. Like wind, life can either be a breath of fresh air or a strong gust to blow up your skirt. You must decide how to view it.