Celebrating Love

Celebrating Love

urban whimsy photography

I’m a sucker for romantic couple’s pictures: the love, the laughter, the connection radiating out of the photo. When they pop up on my social media feeds, I get all the warm lovey feels.

In our society, we seem to save these professional couple’s photos for two occasions: engagements and weddings. It’s wonderful to document these two types of love celebrations. The dress, the ring, the heartbeat of the marriage = so wonderful, so valid, so beautiful.

But they are all symbols of what’s already going on behind closed doors. What about all the love celebrations that happen before “I Do,” after “I Do,” or instead of “I do”?

  • What about the fights you worked through?
  • What about the doubts you dealt with?
  • What about the hangups you let go of?
  • What about the hard work of figuring out how to be an individual in a relationship?
  • What about the hurts you forgave?
  • What about the times you apologized?
  • What about the messy work of navigating a brand new family and their ways?
  • What about the un-cute things you helped with when he/she was sick?
  • What about the monotony you kinda enjoyed together?
  • What about the the needing to brush your teeth but having sex anyway?

These are all worthy of love celebrations too. I believe in celebrating. It’s a core value of mine. Right up there with sisterhood and namaste and chocolate…

Love Photos

urban whimsy photography

When one of my dearest besties in the world (who happens to be an incredible photographer) offered to take photos of Kyle and I together – not because we got engaged or married, simply because we have partnered up in love – I knew it was perfect.

In tune with our peers (Only 27% of 20 to 36 year olds are married right now), Kyle and I are not following the well-worn traditional path of boy meets girl, boy marries girl.

We are happily blazing a new trail.

We are two individual unmarried people who just so happened to join forces for ultimate world domination joy and growth and friendship and intimacy and companionship and support.

We didn’t want to wait for an “approved” ceremony to photograph the love happening right now. These photos do not mark any life event in particular. We simply loved each other that day. And that alone was worth celebrating. After all, as the theologian Pat Benetar explains, “Love is a battlefield.”

 

urban whimsy photography

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urban whimsy photography

urban whimsy photography

Maybe we should start celebrating the pure bliss of love, the hard work of love – even the pain of love – before the “I Do” even happens AND after the “I Do” already happened AND even if the “I Do” doesn’t happen.

Hire the photographer, people. Get a cake. Buy a new dress. Go out a fancy date. Drink a little too much wine. Kiss for longer than 10 seconds. Throw a party.

Love alone is reason enough to celebrate.

I’m poppin’ that champagne top for Kyle and I today. Because our love is worth celebrating today. As it is. In it’s sometimes annoying, never perfect, always interesting, sweet glory. And I’m poppin’ it for you. Because no matter what your love looks like –  It’s worth celebrating just as it is. Love always is.

urban whimsy photography

 

Thank you Heather @ Urban Whimsy Photography for our amazing photos. Follow Heather’s work here: Urban Whimsy Photography Instagram and Urban Whimsy Photography Facebook.

When You’re Divorced In Your Twenties…

When You’re Divorced In Your Twenties…

divorced

Divorce isn’t rare. But being divorced in your twenties is. I was 22. A couple years have gone by, and I’m far enough away from it now that I can write the things I wished I could have read then.  Here is what’s true when you’re divorced in your twenties…

When you’re divorced in your twenties, you may get lots of support.

I did. My family was incredible. My *real* friends were incredible. They never made me feel like I had failed. They laughed and cried with me. You realize very quickly who is in your “tribe.” These are the people who liked you when it appeared to be all good; these are the people who still like you once you’re a serious mess. They are your people. Hold on to them for dear life.

When you’re divorced in your twenties, you may get lots of attacks.

I did. The emails, dear Lord above, the emails. I promise this: you will get through it. Feel free to defend yourself, or ignore it, but always keep your class. The truth is some people are just plain rude and don’t know boundaries. They don’t realize they have no right to comment on something they know nothing about. Their judgement is actually a reflection of their own insecurities. Cry if you want to, then dry your tears and keep being your lovely self.

When you’re divorced in your twenties, you may worry that nobody wants “used goods.”

I felt that way for a while. Even after dating my sweet boyfriend for months, I didn’t want to talk about my divorce or remind him that he’s getting “leftovers.” I learned to knock that off pretty quickly. You may find somebody who has a problem with your past – DON’T DATE THEM.  Move on to greener and more open-minded pastures. To my boyfriend, I am nothing but a strong woman who kicks butt; there really are decent people out there. So cut the negative self-talk.  You’re not “used-up.” You’re reinvented, sexy, smarter, and freaking awesome.

When you’re divorced in your twenties, you may feel lonely.

You look around at your peers and realize you’ve said both “I do” and “I don’t” more quickly than it took them to get into a first serious relationship. It’s hard to find friends your age that can relate. That’s okay. It helped talking to older people who had gone through a divorce, and it helped talking to my peers who had gone through difficult relationship splits. Or just talking. Just talk to people – their situations may be different, but nobody goes through life without some serious shitstorms. Reading is an incredible way to feel less alone too. (Here are 10 books to help you through your divorce.)

When you’re divorced in your twenties, you may feel embarrassed.

Look, it’s true. All those people came to your wedding and bought you presents and probably wondered at some point if you were too young. That all happened. And you may feel embarrassed that you couldn’t make it work. Nobody does life perfectly. The only thing that makes you different than anybody else is a divorce is a public announcement that your life isn’t perfect. You know what?! Thank God. It takes the pressure off!

When you’re divorced in your twenties, life goes on.

It does, I promise you. We 20-somethings have age on our sides.  We can start over sooner.  Find the things you love to do and do them. You’ll start meeting people who love those things too.  Eventually you’ll be so busy with awesome things, you will suddenly realize that your heart isn’t broken anymore and you don’t feel like an emotional wreck. Life keeps moving on. So keep moving right along with it.

You got this.

(Click here for the 10 Books To Help You Through Your Divorce)

When You're Divorced in Your Twenties

I Missed “How to Be an Adult 101″

I Missed “How to Be an Adult 101″

grown-up

Dear Universe:

We got a little problem.

See, I’m 24 years old. I’ve been a legal adult for 6 years now.  So I don’t really know how it happened. But somehow I missed the registration for the How to Be an Adult 101 classes. I’m a teeny bit lost.

Frankly, Universe, I don’t know what the freak I’m doing.

In my childhood, I learned to count and read. In my teen-dom, I learned to do algebra, write papers, and kiss. In my college years, I learned to speak my mind, take shots, and buy take out. Now, I know these are all enviable skills. (Especially the kissing). But kissing skills can only get you so far in this world. Other than a really strong tongue muscle…. I digress…. Be mature, Taylor, be mature….

x354-q80Buying this…

How was the How to Feed Yourself 101 day? Do other adults do this easily? I mean – You plan a meal and high five yourself. Then you go to the grocery store, forget your list, remind yourself you’re too friggin awesome to forget 3/4 of your ingredients, learn you really are that awesome because you only forgot 1/3 of them, go back to the store to spend more money on the ingredients you forgot, only to follow a recipe perfectly and still have the nastiest salmon dish your mouth has ever tasted. That’s just too much work on a Tuesday.

How was the How to be Cool, Calm, and Collected 101 day?  Because I really could have used that one.  All these grown-ups walking around like they know what’s up and it’s all under control.  They answer “I’m fine” when you ask “How are you?”  Fine?!  I’d believe it if fine meant F-ed up, Insecure, Neurotic, and Emotional.  When I’m supposed to be demure and poised, I’m more like an excited dog or a fire alarm or an airplane crashing over the Sahara Desert in slow, fiery motion.

Oh and the Sex and Relationships 101 class?  I know I’ve already discussed my great kissing skills, but beyond that it’s a little mushy.  Did you teach everyone how to stick two people in the same house and have it be love and roses and a romantic comedy with sparkly lights?  Because it’s more like “Why did you leave that wet washcloth on the sink?” followed by “Did you really just stink up the bathroom before I have to use it?” followed by  “I haven’t shaved in five days, wanna make out?”

Then the bills, the doctors, the insurance and retirement and investments, the family planning, and the Good Lord why in the name of everything holy do doctors get to charge you when you’re a few minutes late, but have no problem making you wait until all the eggs in your ovaries expire before writing you a prescription for Z-Pac?! I could have told the doctor I needed a Z-Pac!  I can see the white strep-throat-spots.  I DO have an iPhone flashlight, a mirror, and the ability to stick out my tongue and say “Ah” like a good 5-year-old.

Universe, either you forgot to sign me up for Adulting classes OR everyone else is faking it.  Like little toddlers in tall, awkward bodies thinking they got away with something and wondering who the hell decided to pass out “You’re an adult now” licenses.

So now I’m gonna drink a glass of wine (how remarkably fully-grown of me), then keep pretending like I know what I’m doing.  Or maybe I won’t.  Maybe I’ll just say – “I ain’t got a clue, but I’m gonna make it work anyway.”  And I’m gonna kiss a lot while I do it, probably mess up a pinch, but always be fabulous.   Because I might be an adult with adult responsibilities, but nobody told me I had to grow up….. Probably because I missed that class.

Sincerely,

Taylor the Adult But Not Really

P.S. If you don’t laugh at life because it’s so silly, you’ll cry because it’s so not silly.

P.S.S. An apple made my permanent retainer become unglued while I was writing this post.  Nothing drives home the point of not feeling like an adult more than calling the dentist to fix your retainer.

grown_upOur “We seriously have to adult?” faces

I’m a Real Girl

I’m a Real Girl

Pinocchio_real

“And now that you don’t have to be perfect,

you can be good.” – Steinbeck

Growing up, my brother’s favorite Disney movie was Pinocchio.  I was more a Disney princess sort of girl. Ariel and Pocahontas were my favorites. Nobody cared that I had firstborn rights; we had to share the VCR (Kids, VCRs are clunky machines in antique shops).  I’d have to watch this old movie about a puppet turning into a real boy.  Time and time again. Because one time is never good enough for a child; movies were watched until the VHS tape was ruined (Kids, VHS tapes can also be found at antique shops).

“I’m a real boy!”  Pinocchio screams in delight.  And the whole house celebrates.  Even the cat and the fish join in and the cricket gets a gold star.  Because Disney knows what every child knows: animals are real and cool and totally human.  We forget that as we age.

We are so often like Pinocchio.  Many of us live as puppets. Some of us figure out we’re real. Some would rather stay puppets.  Puppets put on a show and entertain those around them.  But they’re hollow on the inside.  It’s easier to be a puppet, but it’s worse.  It’s lonely because nobody knows your true self, and life is lived playing pretend.  And we can pretend to be perfect all day long, but it’s exhausting.  People-pleasing is a gamble.  You can lose yourself and still never gain the people.

Or we can figure out that we’re real.  It’s harder to be real, but it’s better.  It’s freedom.  We can drop the act.  We can look at our flesh-covered bodies and know it’s a jumbled mess of screw-ups, wrong decisions, weird past experiences and total awesomeness.  Then we can show the world all of that.

Jiminy Cricket tells his beloved star: “He deserved to be a real boy.”  I think we all do.  We deserve to be real human beings in our one and only life.  We deserve to live a life that isn’t a puppet show.  Cut the strings, feel the blood pulsing through your veins.  If there are certain people in your life who prefer you on your puppet stage, leave them.  Find people who will celebrate when you shout “I’m a real boy!” If you can only find a cat or a fish or a cricket at first, choose them.  We weren’t made to be perfect puppets, we were made to be real people, alive and breathing and imperfect.

puppetsquote

 

Image via Wikimedia

It’s Ok to Ask For Help

I hate cold water. Loathe it.  That sudden jolt, dear heaven above! I don’t know if I can completely convince you of the depths of this cold water hatred – you’ll just have to believe it’s an extreme hostility.

Last Monday, my boyfriend and I went with some friends to Lake Mead to go wakesurfing.  And I truly didn’t want to get into that cold water.  It’s not that I didn’t want to get wet or try wakesurfing, I just didn’t want to freeze.  And let’s be real.  I had never tried any form of balancing sport in my entire life – skiing, surfing, snowboarding – nothing.  I heavily considered allowing my dislike for cold water and my fear of potential failure to get in the way of trying something new. Alas, I could not.  Because:

1. I preach too much about my motto: Feel the fear; do it anyway.  And there’s nothing I hate more than those who don’t practice what they preach.

2. Women should not be sideline sitters – watching life happen, but not experiencing it for themselves.

I jumped into that freezing water and I tried.  And… I couldn’t get up on the board.  I did get lots of water up my nose though!  It was like a Lake Mead Netti Pot going on up in there!  I needed more skill, more time, more practice, more strength… and this quick afternoon trip didn’t offer me enough time for any of that.  But I was in that darn water, and my body had grown accustomed to it, and I knew I needed to surf those waves.  I mean, I had already jumped into (the Arctic Ocean) COLD water, I had already failed a few times – I had given it the old Girl Scout try.  And I wasn’t going to just give up.

So my boyfriend jumped into the water and together we got up on that board.  And I did it!  I surfed the waves!  With him.

wakesurf

I don’t think the fact that we sometimes need to ask for help should ever stop us from not being proud of ourselves.  We all need help with something.  It’s ok to do things together; it’s ok to ask for help.  It’s better to experience something new with help than to miss out on it entirely.  It’s ok to let somebody you love and trust jump into the water with you and help you surf the waves. …especially when he’s cute… 😉

Despite the fact that I look ridiculous and scream that “I’m falling,” eventually we found our groove and went quite a while before dropping into the water.  I was grateful for every second.

(I feel like I must confess… in case you were wondering… which you probably are… the water was in the low 70s.  To me, that’s one step above hypothermia.  To others, I’m a wimp.)

Grateful Heart w/ Ember Grey