Ukrainians don’t say, “I love you” to each other. We could love someone fiercely and yet still cringe when it comes to verbally expressing that emotion. I remember the first time my mom told me she loved me, I cringed so hard that I kind of just wanted to crawl into a corner somewhere and hide. It made me feel so exposed. “Why are you doing this to me?” I thought to myself. It was something she had picked up from her American client whom she is a caregiver for, and she thought it would be a really nice ‘Americanism’ to incorporate into our inner lifestyle. I dreaded it. Every time I had a phone conversation with her and we were nearing the end of the conversation, I kind of hated that inevitable moment when she would tell me she loves me. So many times I just quickly hung up without saying anything in response. Yet it never deterred her. She would also start out her texts to me (when she finally learned how to text) by bestowing a blessing on me and wishing me all the best that God could possibly give, and that was easier for me to handle because texting “I love you” back wasn’t as hard. I could hide behind my screen, after all.
Over the years, I slowly got used to my mom telling us she loves us when it was time to hang up the phone or when leaving the house. Honestly, it wasn’t until very long ago that I started telling her and my dad that I love them, and it took moving out and living on my own to be able to really respond in kind. Weirdly enough, I am actually happy that we didn’t grow up hearing those three words, “I love you” bandied about because it taught me what it really means to be able to utter those words to someone. Every time you say it, you expose your most vulnerable self—something that does not come easy to a Slavic person. I had to choose to be vulnerable and consciously tell my parents that I love them, and when I say it, I mean it with every particle of my being. Something tells me I wouldn’t mean it as deeply as I do if it was something I had cut my teeth on and took for granted.
I think one of the hardest things is to climb inside of your own pain and be okay. To accept it finally so that it no longer has so much power over you. It almost feels like climbing into bed with the enemy. You want to remain mad at society, at your culture, at your parents, your pastor, at God. We’d rather lash out and seek vengeance on what hurt us. But the only way to be free is to climb inside your own pain and forgive them all.
To those who care to read this post, I am going to take a bit of a break from my blog. I’ve been a little too attached to it since I started blogging again a few months ago. I just need to come up for air and clear the cobwebs a bit. With that said, I leave you with one of my favorite little poems. I wish I could take the credit for it, but alas, I didn’t write this beaut. But I wish I did.
And also, just a dash of sage advice:
Naps are important. Never forget.
It has to be an unwritten law in the universe—the night before an eventful weekend, you just have to break out or get sick. In my case, I was puking and my head was spinning like a wayward top. Lovely.
In any case, I was able to rally enough to get out and join in on the adventures. How do they put it—come hell or high water, right?
Fall in the Pacific Northwest is gorgeous.
We were treated to the most stunning sunset. This photo was taken with an iPhone with no filters or editing applied.
Girls girls girls.
Sunday we attended a concert and got lucky enough to be able to meet (and in my case, hug) the singers!
All in all it was a successful weekend, I think.
I’m not a good person. When I look at all the brilliant, kind, warm, and caring individuals that I have run across on this platform, I realize how much work I still need to do on myself. I do realize that online and in real life, we tend to display a specific persona that we want people to perceive, and it’s more prevalent online, but I feel that there are some genuinely sweet people on here that go way above what I am willing to do. And it makes me envy them. Not in a bad way, because I know that I can continue to persevere and I can get there too, but it doesn’t come natural to me. I have to work at it. I consistently work on kindness and grace because I need so much of that bestowed on me too.
I was not a nice person growing up. It actually wasn’t until I entered into the darkest years of my life that I learned how to be kind to people. If I hadn’t had my heart absolutely shredded and my beliefs challenged to near extinction, I don’t believe I’d ever have changed the way I was. I enjoyed my lifestyle too much and I loved being elitist. What I mean by that is that I was incredibly picky with who I allowed into my most inner circle, and it meant that I had many acquaintances but only a very very few close friends. On top of that, I was incredibly smug about it too—until the people I adored with all of my heart failed me and I was left with no one. Over the years I was forced to learn how to let people in and not keep myself closed off because my status quo to meeting new people was to not like them. By default, you can’t really get far with that kind of attitude.
As for my blog—my interactions to everyone I have met on this platform have all been genuine, so to whoever is reading this, please don’t mistake my past behavior with my current self. Although I am still under construction, I will admit that I’ve come an incredibly long way from where I was. I read a quote once that said, “It is okay to be a masterpiece and a work-in-progress at the same time” and I don’t think it could be said any better than that.
Men and women are so different. The contrast fascinates me all the time, until sometimes, it doesn’t. Like when men and women cannot read each other’s signs or body language they are giving off.
There is this little grocery store down the street from my neighborhood that I frequent because it is so convenient. Well, one of the workers there recently took a shine to me. He works behind the seafood counter and maybe he interpreted my questioning him what type of salmon was the best to buy as an interest in him, I’m not sure. Well, the next time I ran into him in the store, he asked me for a hug. Being a little taken aback and not wanting to be rude, I said sure. So we hugged. Well, that quickly escalated into him exhibiting stalkerish behavior. Every time I go into that store, even when I’m nowhere near the seafood section, he will pop up right beside me and start chatting. And now he goes in for a hug without asking me. It’s making me hesitate as to whether or not I even want to go there anymore, and I hate that because it is so convenient for me! I know the best thing for me to do is to tell him straight out that he needs to tone it down because my silent hints of avoiding that side of the store are not carrying over, but honestly, that is so much easier said than done. Ugh what to do what to do 😕
On the flip side, I tend to read way too much into something when I like a guy, especially if I’m not certain if he likes me back, and I’ve certainly lost my sh*t before in former relationships where I misread or overthought a situation. You would think that with all this information at our fingertips in this day and age, we would certainly learn how to communicate more effectively, but nope. We revert to our lizard brain when certain chemicals are triggered in the brain.