I recently realized that is has been quite a while since I last wrote in my blog. It is not because nothing is going on; it is because a great deal was going on with work. I also got my own apartment and managed to socialize a few times (but mostly worked. I have some long days. Welcome back, my friend says).
I’m still trying to figure out this whole work-life balance thing, and with a position like I am working in, at times, such a thing sometimes simply does not exist. We have very, very busy times, where I get home and all I want to do is go to sleep, never mind trying to find time to go to the grocery store, do laundry, etc. (Laundry is becoming a challenge now with my new apartment, because I no longer have laundry facilities IN my apartment. On the other hand, I am not hand-washing my clothing). I also have been trying to avoid certain foods which I love (and now no longer have to avoid entirely, but use caution when eating. My body is still mad, it seems).
Still, it is not that I have not thought about my blog. Merely wondered whether it still has a purpose, this place for me to put down my thoughts, now in a less consistent fashion. My experiences are no longer quite as interesting: I am not traveling (for now…I will when I have savings and vacation time), and although my life still does veer into the absurd, I am often not able to sit down at the computer (now more and more my work computer, for a number of reasons) to write down what I am experiencing, nor do I know whether people are interested in reading anymore. Do people want to hear about the rather mundane, or about how I am adjusting, the things that come to mind?
Yet here I am, still writing. I am nearly five months back in the U.S. In some ways, my Peace Corps experience seems to far away; other days I am reminded of how recently I returned. Like the day a new friend took me to Bed Bath and Beyond and to Target. We took our time going through the stores, as I always do now. I don’t rush when I am not at work; when I am at work, I rush as little as possible. I have reclaimed my time and am still trying to live in the moment as much as possible. She later told me that she did not remember the last time she went to the store and did not rush through. I remain committed to living in the moment as much as possible, of enjoying the area in which I live (when I can) and simple pleasures like having my own apartment again – for which I am paying the rent, I am putting up my artwork and photos, I am purchasing (and putting together) furnishings. It is a good feeling, to have this kind of “ownership” of my space again, rather than constantly feeling like a guest or intruder of someone else’s.
It is also still somewhat unreal, and can be overwhelming, when I step into certain stores, whether they be grocery or clothing. I tried entering a Macy’s and quickly exited – it was just too much. I make my way slowly through the grocery store, every time, because there are so many products (most of which I ignore). I still don’t cook a great deal: the only thing I have used my stove for is to make a frozen pizza (An oven! For the first time in three years!) and turkey bacon. I still have boxes in my living and dining rooms, which leaves me feeling as if I am still unsettled, and at times I wonder when I will move again or get to leave town on some sort of trip. I sigh when I see photos that friends post on Facebook from their travels or from where they live – I miss being overseas. As much as I missed the U.S. and like living here again, part of me still wants to be somewhere else.
I wonder if that aspect will ever leave me, or be satisfied by the occasional trip I plan to take when I have vacation time. Will I end up living a standard life, now that I am back in corporate America, or will I find a way to keep it more interesting? How long will I last where I am, since I am so used to change, and will I be able to get involved in things that help me feel as if I have more meaning than just going to work every day? Of course, these things are all too overwhelming to tackle at once. I am trying to take things one step at a time, and wait until I get used to something before adding more challenges to the mix. So I remind myself to stay in the moment and take each day as it comes, and perhaps at some point I will be ready to address some of my other questions.
In the meantime, I’m still here, and may as well keep writing (when I have something to say).
I don’t think I know one person who served as a volunteer who got away without having any “intestinal” issues of any kind during her or his service. Now, before you go thinking you know what I mean, it could be anything from the obvious to the less obvious – turns out there are a whole host of things that can go wrong in that area of our body, especially with the shocks, changes, viruses, and bacteria to which we expose ourselves during service.
However, on the positive front, most of us end up eating rather “organically” during service, if for no other reason than we simply don’t have access to the range of processed and packaged foods that exist in places like the U.S. Most volunteers lose weight, get more exercise, and generally feel good. But there always seem to be consequences.
I never anticipated what those consequences would be, because I was happy to be back and to be able to eat a green salad with any kind of lettuce, during the winter. To be able to get fruit during the off-season. I was enjoying my return, eating different types of foods (Indian! Mexican! Chinese! Thai!), and for a while, things were normal, so to speak. I don’t eat as much as I used to, but that is more due to age than anything else I think.
So imagine my surprise when over the past few months, I have had more and more problems with my digestive system. I tried various common sense or diet type remedies, but nothing drastic. My problems did not get better. My body is rebelling.
I finally broke down and made an appointment with a Gastroenterologist. After I told her my laundry list of symptoms, she gave me the following directions:
- Make an appointment with another doctor to rule out one potential cause
- Go have blood drawn and certain tests will be run
- Return to the office for a Lactulose test
- Go on a low FODMAP diet
It all sounds easy enough until you realize that the Lactulose test is two and a half hours long, where you have to be present in the office and blow into a breathalyzer-type machine. I asked whether the office has WiFi, because, after all, that would make it easier to deal with. I was told that they “sometimes” have WiFi. Well, said I, I hope next Wednesday is one of the “sometimes” so I can work while I am there (and not have to take a sick day).
Even less exciting is when I realized exactly what is involved in a low FODMAP diet. Exactly what is a FODMAP, you ask? Well, turns out, there is a lot of information about this on the Internet (where else?), and from legit sources.
FODMAPs are found in the foods we eat. FODMAPs is an acronym for
Oligosaccharides (eg. Fructans and Galactans)
Disaccharides (eg. Lactose)Monosaccharides (eg. excess Fructose)
Polyols (eg. Sorbitol, Mannitol, Maltitol, Xylitol and Isomalt)
Clear as mud? Yeah, I know. I recognized a few words – mostly the artificial sweeteners that have become so popular in recent years, and other sugar-related words (those that end in -ose). Where are FODMAPS found, you may ask.
A few examples of food sources for each of the FODMAPs are listed below. The list is not complete (but it is enough to give you an idea).
- Excess Fructose: Honey, Apples, Mango, Pear, Watermelon, High Fructose Corn Syrup, Corn Syrup Solids
- Fructans: Artichokes (Globe), Artichokes(Jerusalem), Asparagus, Beetroot, Chicory, Dandelion leaves, Garlic (in large amounts), Leek, Onion (brown, white, Spanish, onion powder), Raddicio lettuce, Spring Onion (white part), Wheat (in large amounts), Rye (in large amounts), Inulin, Fructo-oligosaccharides.
- Lactose: Milk, ice cream, custard, dairy desserts, condensed and evaporated milk, milk powder, yogurt, margarine, soft unripened cheeses (eg. ricotta, cottage, cream, marscarpone).
- Galacto-Oligosaccharides (GOS): Legume beans (eg. baked beans, kidney beans, bortolotti beans), Lentils, Chickpeas
- Polyols: Apples, Apricots, Avocado, Cherries, Longon, Lychee, Nectarines, Pears , Plums, Prunes, Mushrooms, Sorbitol, mannitol, xylitol, maltitol, and Isomalt
That’s a lot of things that I eat. For example, I will usually have cereal with milk for breakfast. Sometime during the day I have yogurt. I like to bring vegetables with hummus (chickpea spread) for lunch. See where I am going? Here is another (stand-alone) resource about this type of diet. I showed it to a young woman I work with yesterday and she said “oh wait, there it is – fun is on that list”.
Luckily for me, alcohol is not, so I can still have a glass or two of wine. I mean, I found one of the lists with CHOCOLATE on it. Come on, you’re killing me here!
I know, I know, I shouldn’t complain. I’m not trying to complain. It just kind of throws you to have to go to the store (Whole Foods, no less) and search for gluten-free everything (this is not news to people who are gluten intolerant, but at least they now have options – a good number of them!), lactose-free yogurt, to read the label of every single thing I want to buy, and to look on the list when buying veggies to find out whether I can eat it. What is somewhat frustrating is that depending on the source, the lists of allowed and not allowed foods can contradict each other. For example, one list says green beans is okay, the other says no. One says corn is okay, the other says no.
The good news is, there is still much I CAN eat. Salads, berries, meat (I don’t eat much of it, but at least I CAN), some grains such as quinoa, millet, and rice. I can eat potatoes. I don’t usually, but I can. So in reality I don’t have to change my eating habits much, but having to cut out things that are a regular part of your diet and that appear in everything.
This will be a process – it is not like I can suddenly add all these things back in (and by that time, I may not want to) because the way the low FODMAP diet goes is that you cut all this stuff out, and then after a certain period of time, reintroduce things one at a time to see how your body tolerates it.
It is just interesting to have this happen at this point in my life. When I asked the doctor if it would be unusual to find out I have an allergy to something, she said “people can develop food allergies at any time”.
Though my body is rebelling on me, I feel lucky that I am employed and have health insurance, so I CAN go to the doctor and find out exactly what is wrong, and I can go to Whole Foods to get foods to match the diet. I’ll get through this and figure out the cause. Who knows, maybe I’ll even end up feeling better and want to stay on the diet.
When I moved to this area, one of the things I was excited about was the fact that a number of my friends live nearby, two of whom I have not seen since December 2010, when I visited them at their site in Ukraine. After a number of back-and-forth e-mails, we decided on this past weekend as the weekend I would visit them in Charlottesville, which is about three hours from the DC area.
Of course, getting there required renting a car, and, strangely, I was looking forward to that too – to driving more so than to renting a car. So on Friday afternoon, I headed down to the airport, waited 1/2 hour in line to get my car, and headed out…into traffic and rain. The GPS on my phone was trying to direct me to a part of one of the highways that was HOV only (who thought THAT was a good idea?) and I ended up talking back at the device, telling her it was not going to happen, and I made my way South.
Luckily, she is smart enough to recalculate a new route based on where I was actually headed, so I circled back up and eventually got on the highway, made it through traffic, drove through some nice countryside, had to stop to buy a car charger adapter for my phone (I had no idea how much power the maps function drains from a phone), and made it to my destination – safely, if not a little late.
It was so nice to see my friends again, and we talked until 2 a.m. that first night. The next morning we headed to Monticello (for those who don’t know, Monticello was Thomas Jefferson’s home). Not only does it have an interesting history, it is well maintained. It would be nice to see it at different times of the year: for example, right now, everything is starting to bloom. In a month or two, everything will be in full bloom, and the gardens will be flourishing. Come fall, a person will be able to see all of the colors of the trees in the hills surrounding the estate. Monticello is still undergoing restoration efforts, as well. It takes a lot longer than I anticipated to see it! By the time we left, we were getting a bit hungry.
Good thing we had plans to stop at a gourmet grocery (which was even mentioned in Southern Living magazine), pick up some food, and head to one of the many wineries in the area. We were going to visit a second (maybe third?) winery when we realized that most of them close for tastings around 5:00. However, Trump Winery does not, and we visited it. The tasting room itself is not as spectacular as the name Trump would imply, but the view from the back was breathtaking.
After we returned to their home, I was pretty exhausted (well, after some long hours at work, the drive, staying up chatting, and being outdoors all day), and fell asleep early. Sunday morning brought brunch and a tour of UVA.
It was nice to get away, to talk to people who understand the past few years of my life and what I am still going through to adjust back to life in the U.S. I’ve been back for three and a half months, and the days are going fast but there are still things I am noticing that are different – about me, about the U.S., about my perspective. Spending that time with my friends, relaxing, being me, felt good. I hope to be able to do it again soon.
Photos from Monticello can be found on Picasa.
Anyone who has been to High School knew them. They got a label in the 2004 movie.
I’ve long said that girls in their teens are the cruelest creatures on the planet. Their hormones are kicking in, they are confused, trying to model who they will be – looking for role models. They are pressured by society to be thin, to be pretty, to be smart (but not TOO smart, or you won’t attract a boy). If you are a teenage girl who does not fit in, woe be to you, because you will find yourself a target of the mean girls.
So what happens when mean girls grow up? Do they grow out of the meanness?
Well, if what we see on television, whether “reality” (Real Housewives franchise, anyone?) or fiction (any soap opera, Grey’s Anatomy), when mean girls grow up, they get meaner.
Adding to my theory is the fact that there is a new book out called “Working With Bitches: Identify the Eight Types of Office Mean Girls and Rise Above Workplace Nastiness”. In it, the author, a psychologist, discusses the cattiness, dismissive, snide remarks, and cliques and talking behind people’s backs.
Wait, in an office? This doesn’t end in High School?
It appears not (and I can tell you from personal experience, no, it doesn’t). When did it become acceptable to behave in such a juvenile manner past the age when we reach adulthood? When did it become necessary to cater to these people, who by all rights should not be in a professional environment (maybe they should get their own television show).
Moving beyond these questions, a person must ask the most important one: Why? Where does this behavior come from, anyway?
Well, think about it. I mentioned the television shows earlier – behavior modeling. We idolize people who are mean (and they are usually people with money). We are constantly told all of the things that are wrong with us (we are SHOWN models that are airbrushed to a perfection we will never reach); it takes someone with a pretty strong sense of self to be able to ignore/deal with the constant negative messaging that we encounter. In a word: insecurity. Low self-esteem.
The interesting thing about this is that women get pretty devious when we are feeling bad about ourselves: micro-managing, exclusion, lying, gossiping. (Yes, I know that men do these things too but it is entirely different and I am now addressing women).
I was at an interesting discussion about a month ago, where a group of women were discussing women as leaders in different contexts, and at different times. One of them said something that struck me because I have heard it before and personally don’t find it to be true, yet it still comes back, so there must be something behind it: the statement that women have a desire to be liked.
Since when, and how does being a mean girl bring about positive results?
If insecurity and wanting to be liked are these peoples’ motivations, then why are they being mean instead of nice? (And be careful, when some of them are nice, their motives are not at all)
How do we deal with all of this, anyway? I can’t claim to have an answer because I am still trying to figure it out. Honestly, when I encounter a mean girl, whether in professional or personal life, I would rather not deal with the person at all. Unfortunately, I can’t avoid it, because they are all around me.
Maybe I should read that book…
Last night I attended a community Seder at one of the synagogues in DC. I have been trying to find a “spiritual home” in the area, and I was encouraged to attend this event. Like all Seders, we went through the story of Passover, discussed the items on the Seder plate, and ate a lot. One of the nice things about this Seder is that it included the orange on the Seder plate and had a number of women-focused discussions; women are so often ignored or forgotten, historically, that it was really nice to see the inclusion (well, it is, after all, a Reform synagogue).
Another thing that we did was, at certain times during the Seder, talked among ourselves at the table. When we filled Miriam’s Cup, we talked about a woman who is important to us and why. Another time, during the story, we were encouraged to discuss who is our metaphorical Pharoah.
What did that question mean?
That was also somewhat open to interpretation, but she explained that she meant who is a person in your life, or what is a situation in your life, from whom/which you feel or felt enslaved.
Boy, did I have an answer to that.
I’ve discussed it in my blog before – the times of darkness I have gone through, the periods of my life when I wondered if things were ever going to get better, the hopelessness I felt when they did not. So to me, this Passover, where we celebrate the exodus of the Jews of Egypt, is especially meaningful to me.
Now, you don’t have to believe that it happened exactly as it was written; in fact, you don’t have to believe it happened at all. Let’s say it didn’t happen; isn’t the story of Passover still one that should cause us to stop and think about life, about enslavement (whether literal or metaphorical), about hope for the future? The fact that Passover happens in the Spring, which is traditionally known as a time of renewal of life, is no mistake. The Egypt we leave behind, the suffering we went through there, can be an actual geographical location or a place in our minds.
The metaphor can go further. When we choose to make a change from a situation in our lives that feels oppressing, we are excited, happy, hopeful. Then suddenly something happens, and we feel discontent, as the Jews did when they wandered the desert after escaping Pharoah and his army. Why such discontent? Why do we feel let down after the initial rush that change brings us? Why aren’t we in the “promised land” and without worry?
According to one rabbi, “Like the Israelites, we [too] need to be reformatted through the knowing pains and growing pains which come during the wilderness periods after major departures. This process adds valuable new experience and skills to the resume of our soul. We can recreate ourselves and attain the promised lands of our dreams.”
So that is what life is. Continually recreating ourselves, improving ourselves, and moving forward. The story of Passover is meaningful on so many levels, and if we pay attention, we can all see ourselves in it.
The other day, I realized that it has been nearly two weeks since I wrote a blog entry, and the last one was rather heavy. So what is going on – do I no longer have any thoughts on which to ruminate, any questions to ponder, any observations to note?
No, I still have plenty of those. On a daily basis, I make a million mental notes, some of which are along the lines of “this would make a great blog entry”. Unfortunately, these fleeting thoughts are quickly chased away by others and I have lost another opportunity on which to explore the minutiae, the unusual, the noteworthy, and the interesting details that make up life as I know it.
The fact of the matter is, I have been busy. I just finished my second full week at work. I am getting used to waking up with a “5″ or a “6″ on the clock. I am working at a social life and exploring the myriad of things that DC has to offer. By the time I get home, I usually have just enough energy to drink some water, get ready for bed, and perhaps read or watch a streaming tv show.
Life in motion. I feel as if mine has gone from 10 to 100 in a short amount of time. I am not saying that to complain; indeed, I realize just how lucky I am to have found employment so quickly in a company that is growing at a rapid pace, working for someone who seems to appreciate the things I bring to the table (even as he reminds me that he likely won’t be able to utilize all of my skills immediately). I am living in a location that allows me to walk to anything from a number of grocery stores to shopping and restaurants, which is also near the metro and the bus stops. I am making friends – slowly but surely, I am finding a place in this metropolitan area. I am living a life that resembles the one I have wanted for so long to live.
And I am happy. I was talking to someone last week on the phone and I said that I do not remember the time I was genuinely happy. I wake up looking forward to the day, I am committed to remaining positive in my daily life and interactions with others. I believe in myself as a professional, daughter, sister, friend. It feels a bit strange, to be honest. I sometimes wonder if it will last, this feeling.
I also have many moments of surrealism, where I wonder if the last three years really happened; other times I am reminded in force that it did – especially when elements of culture shock hit me. It is at these moments that I think “I should really write about that”. So I am recommitting to my blog, and though Passover is fast approaching, I plan to return to writing in this blog as a way of processing, sharing, and even entertaining (I could write so many things about riding public transport…).
Life continues, whether fast or slow. Mine has sped up a bit but I have to say, I am enjoying it.
Last night, I sent a text to a number of people in my life, telling them I am counting my blessings, that they were one of them, and how glad I was to have them in my life. My friend Amy, to whom I have referred a number of times in this blog (as a true inspiration) wrote back and told me she was having a hard day, but someone who was having an even harder day was one of her students, who had tried to harm herself and was in the hospital. Amy, ignoring her own health issues, asked me if I would be willing to write this young lady a letter, to let her know that she is not alone.
Of course, I said yes. Here is what I wrote:
My dear, my dear;
Amy told me that you recently made an attempt to take your own life. When I read those words on the text, my heart broke and I wish I was nearby so I could wrap you in my arms and tell you, not any pithy or insincere words, but that life is indeed worth living.
Who am I to say this? I am sure right now you are asking yourself that, among a myriad of other questions. Who is this stranger writing to me? What does she think she knows about my challenges, how I feel, what I am going through? Who does she think she is?
The truth, my dear, is that I am you.
I know what it is like to be so lost in the darkness that you don’t see light anywhere. To look at yourself in the mirror and wonder who is looking back. To feel as if no one else understands the agonizing, and physical, pain you feel – the lack of ability to sleep (or the desire to only sleep), the lack of appetite, the yearning for someone, anyone, to break through and come see you and the pain and disappointment when people don’t respond as you want them to, by showing even the smallest amount of kindness. The confusion at your own responses to people, the wishing that people could see who you really are under the shell of the outer you – the brave face you put on so people won’t know how you feel inside.
I know what it is like to be told that I should “snap out of it”, “buck up”, that it is a bad day/mood. I know what it is like to think that absolutely no one cares about you, and that no one would notice if one day you just disappeared.
I know the darkness. The darkness that comes creeping in, like a mist in the morning, and suddenly envelops you, when you did not even see it coming. Or seeing it coming and feeling powerless to stop it, trying desperately to fight it, and feeling as if you are trying to climb out of a hole using only your fingernails.
I know what it is like to go to bed at night and pray that I would not wake up in the morning. To be absolutely and undeniably confused, to lose all of my logic, and to wonder if I make sense to anyone, and why anyone would ever love me, as I am unlovable. Yes, unlovable. To feel that I am so not worthy of anyone’s love, that there is no real reason in trying. To feel like things will never get better, so why even get up and make an effort. To hate the fact that I wake up in the morning.
See, I told you, I am you.
I have, at times, searched for any reason to continue. For a time, the only thing that got me out of bed was the fact that I had two cats and I needed to feed them – I didn’t much care about myself. I have been in darkness so deep that I wonder if there is a light there at all because I certainly could not see it. I have cried when someone asks me how I am doing, and been unable to explain why I was crying. I have been told, time and time again, “it’s just a bad day/mood”, among the other things I wrote. I have felt absolutely worthless and wondered why I was alive, since I did no good in the world. I have felt like “why bother at all?” when even thinking about dealing with people.
I am not going to sit here and tell you that life is all wine and roses – it’s not. Sometimes it really sucks. It sucks to deal with small-minded people, or people who mean well but just don’t get it. It sucks to feel like all you want is someone to come and be with you and tell you that you matter, but no one is there, and no one comes.
Those people who look at you in a way that you think “they think I am crazy” – they just don’t get it. They are not bad people, but they don’t understand what it is like to fall into darkness that is so deep and engulfing that it is hard to remember a time in the light. So you seek out those who do know what it is like – and believe me, there are plenty of us.
You’ve heard of Robert Frost, right? Here’s one of his poems:
Acquainted with the Night
I have been one acquainted with the night.
I have walked out in rain — and back in rain.
I have outwalked the furthest city light.
I have looked down the saddest city lane.
I have passed by the watchman on his beat
And dropped my eyes, unwilling to explain.
I have stood still and stopped the sound of feet
When far away an interrupted cry
Came over houses from another street,
But not to call me back or say good-bye;
And further still at an unearthly height,
A luminary clock against the sky
Proclaimed the time was neither wrong nor right.
I have been one acquainted with the night.
What do you think Frost was talking about when he said “I have been one acquainted with the night”? I think Mr. Frost was acquainted with the darkness that can come over a sensitive soul, and that he understood it.
How about Rainer Maria Rilke? Another favorite of mine:
“So don’t be frightened, dear friend, if a sadness confronts you larger than any you have ever known, casting its shadow over all you do. You must think that something is happening within you, and remember that life has not forgotten you; it holds you in its hand and will not let you fall. Why would you want to exclude from your life any uneasiness, any pain, any depression, since you don’t know what work they are accomplishing within you?”
― Rainer Maria Rilke, Letters to a Young Poet
Rilke had some wonderful observations. He had the ability to look inside himself and embrace the darkness, and to use it to his advantage. Would that we all had such talent, right? You do, my dear.
Life is full of curve balls. It’s full of people who will make you lose faith in the human race (as seen on “reality” television), with disappointments, with regrets (though hopefully not many of those). Life only seems easy for others because they cover it up pretty well, but when you get below the surface, you find that the woman who is always smiling and laughing has some deep emotional pain that she covers up by keeping busy and drinking, so she won’t have to be alone with her own thoughts. That the always happy-go-lucky person had an abortion years ago and it still makes her emotional to talk about it. That the man who is such a jerk was actually cheated on by his wife, to whom he was faithful. That the man who cheats on his wife – well, he’s married to a woman who stopped having sex with him after they had their two children.
Everyone has shit to deal with. The difference is, other people deal with it in their own way, and it is up to you to find a way to deal with yours. This is something that took me many, many years to learn, and how I wish I had had someone sit down and put her arms around me, and tell me that I am worthwhile, and good, and beautiful. That life was going to be hard, but that it is so important to find people who see you for who you are, who love you, and who appreciate you.
So how do you embrace the darkness and come out on the other side? I wish I could tell you. What I do when I feel it coming, or realize it is there, is reach out to as many people as I need to and ask for help. I cry on the telephone. I lose my logic and tell people “I need you to tell me that I am a good person, that I am worthwhile.” Sound ridiculous? Maybe it is. I used to write poetry (bad poetry), and now I also take photographs. I blog. Most importantly, I ask for help. It was the hardest thing to do, the first time, was to ask for help. I felt so powerless, so utterly defeated, and did not think anyone would care enough to respond.
Boy, was I wrong. The more I have reached out, the more I realize that I have some really wonderful, kind, loving people in my life, who, even if they don’t understand the darkness, will try to provide some light to help me through it. Amy is one of those people.
Turn to Amy and let her love you – she is so good at loving people, and has served as an inspiration for me for quite some time. Reach out to people who care about you, and there are so many of us out there.
I happen to now be at a point where I am counting my blessings on a daily basis. I know the darkness can come at any time, so I try to remind myself of the good things about me, and about the world. Here are a few wonderful things about the world (at least in my opinion):
The pure joy in a baby’s smile
The taste of Swiss chocolate
That first sip of real champagne (the good stuff, from France)
The smell of French lavender
The feel of the fur behind a cat’s ear (the extra-soft stuff)
Someone else doing my hair
The sound of Mozart
Flying. It’s a miracle that we are able to do so
The wrinkles on the face of the 100 year old woman, and the stories she has to tell
Our bodies. They are amazing in their ability to heal
Sex (really, it’s pretty great) and the ability to connect on a deeper level with another person
The smell of an ocean or sea
Knowing that you are loved. You are, by so many people.
I am posting it on my blog for all of the SEs out there, in the hopes that it will be read by a few people and make even the smallest bit of difference. You are not alone, and you are loved.