Yes!! Yes!!! Yes!
Valentine’s Day is coming and of course it has me thinking about love. There are some things I’ve learned about love over the years from dating, but I think the sweetest lessons I’ve learned have sadly come from my dog, Bruno. (I’ve learned a lot from Elz too, more on her later…)
Make sure you wag your tail when you see those you love. My dog always greets me with excitement and a wagging tail. All I have to do is mutter his name and the wiggling and dog smiling starts. Bruno fills my heart with joy and shows me how much he loves me with his attentiveness. His enthusiasm makes me smile!
Lesson Learned: Don’t date a person that doesn’t wag and smile when you utter their name. When you are unappreciated for too long; the consequence of that is inevitably a feeling of worthlessness. No matter how tough you think you are or how much you think you love that man or woman, nobody should live without a smiling partner that values your existence. There is a reason Destiny’s Child sang, “Say my name…Say my name…” That’s all it should take to get a tail wagging when you’re with the right person!
Sometimes words aren’t necessary. I communicate with my dog every day without words. My favorite thing to do is wake him up by rubbing his belly and kissing his fuzzy ears. He’ll stretch and look up at me with a grateful look, yawn, gently paw the air, and roll around like a puppy, enjoying every minute of it.
Lesson Learned: The moments you feel the closest to those you love are in the quiet times. The communicating taking place when talking isn’t necessary seems to be when we’ve conveyed the most. If you don’t believe me, just watch a husband piss off his wife. We’ve all witnessed the silent look she’ll shoot him in an instant. (Powerful and silent communication at its best.) Mothers possess the same talent with their children, no words are necessary; all it takes is a glance. Love works silently in the same way. It’s the wink across the kitchen table or that shirt folded for you in the laundry room.
Stick your head out the window when you drive. My dog is excited to be in the car and greet the staff at our local coffee shop drive thru on Sundays! Sometimes, I feel like he is more excited about coffee than I am. Bruno teaches me to live more fully in the moment! He’s taught me to be joyful in the small things and to appreciate the scenery while leaning my head out the window. When we go for walks, he doesn’t care where we go, as long as we are together and outside.
Lesson Learned: Love needs enthusiasm. You have to be excited to hold hands or go for a drive with your partner; don’t take them for granted. The first time I took my dog to the lake and removed his leash, he raced toward the water, sailed into the air and jumped in. When the shock and worry over him hitting a branch or not knowing how to swim wore off, I couldn’t stop laughing. He was fearless and knew that I would be waiting for him at the shore. He embraced his excitement and didn’t care what anybody thought, he knew he loved water and he went for it! In love, we need to go for it! Just run like hell and leap! You’ll learn how to swim and if the water isn’t comfortable, you’ll recognize when it’s time to get out. You can also leap in repeatedly and confidently do a few flips with the right person lovingly waiting for you on the shoreline.
Communicate what you are feeling. When my dog needs to urinate he does a certain bark that I know means, take me out now or your hardwood floors are history! When he is sad, he does another distinctive low bark that I know means,” Sit with me awhile longer; I’ve missed you all day.”
Lesson Learned: When you are in a relationship you also need to say, “Take me outside now!” As in, I need a nice dinner and a date night. Occasionally, we also need to say, “Can you just sit with me awhile longer, I need you today.” But your partner won’t know how you are feeling if you don’t communicate. What the hell, try barking, wagging your rump, and howling a little at your partner tonight, it could only lead to a good laugh and a fun memory. (I’m smiling just imagining it!)
Kiss a lot! Bruno kisses me any chance he gets. When I feed him he is thankful and always licks me after he finishes his last bite. When I wake him in the morning, I am kissed. When I leave in the morning, I know what’s coming, kissed again! My dog knows that I hate licking, this has required him to master a quick one-touch lick. When we are driving down the street sometimes he’s so happy, he leans over the glove box from the backseat just to gently land a quick one on my cheek.
Lesson Learned: Kiss a lot! When was the last time you leaned across the glove box just to land a quick kiss on your partner? Human kisses are amazing they communicate more than words ever could! They also have a strange way of sincerely implying, “Thank You, I’m sorry, and I want you now!”
Sometimes you need to say, “To hell with it” and eat the sponge. Being spontaneous has its benefits, like breaking up the daily monotony and making the people you live with laugh out loud. A few weeks ago, Bruno did something out of the ordinary for him; he snuck out of my bedroom in the middle of the night, went into the bathroom and decided to have a blast chewing up my new bath sponge. He was so proud of himself and guilty all at once, that the only thing I could do was burst out laughing! He really thought he was going to be in trouble when I woke up, but his wagging tail and the hundreds of tiny bits of sponge covering his face made it impossible to be mad. He followed his instincts and had a blast living in the moment and I learned to let my anger go!
Lesson Learned: When is the last time you made your partner laugh and did something completely out of character? Are you living it up in the moment and shaking up your daily routine for the both of you or are you a boring partner? Are you flipping out over your partner ruining your bath sponge or are you able to laugh, embrace the moment, and accept that weird thing they decided to do today? Sometimes, we need to give a person the freedom they need to express their quirkiness; you might learn something new about the person you love and even like it!
Be Loyal. My dogs are loyal. They won’t leave my side no matter how many times a person may try to entice them with a well-meaning belly rub.
Lesson Learned: Loyalty allows love to endure long term. It’s the most important part of any relationship. People call it faithfulness, but loyalty is what carries you to faithfulness in the end. Loyalty is the guard at the door keeping the call of the wild at bay. Loyalty doesn’t go where it isn’t supposed to; it’s the beautiful presence waiting for you when you return home and the one you want with you on wild adventures. Loyalty cuddles you on a cold winter night when your socks don’t match, your eyeliner is smudged and you really should be wearing a bra.
Happy Valentine’s Day!
I’m so excited to see my Carnie friends again this year! They’ll be back in a couple of months and I can’t wait to interview them, catch up and rock my fairway key! I love people that are doing shiiiii their own way!
Here is a link to that interview! I’m already craving some Wrights pink popcorn and a corndog! lol
(My November article for HaveHeart Magazine November 2014)
(What if these successful people had doubted their abilities: Cesar Chavez didn’t make it past 8th grade, Thomas Edison quit school at 12 years old, Matt Mullenweg(the founder of WordPress) dropped out of college, Walt Disney dropped out of high school, and Rush Limbaugh flunked ballroom dancing in addition to dropping out of college.)
Let me be clear in stating that I am not advocating dropping out of school. I believe in education and the doors a college degree opens for a person, but these examples did challenge my thinking. What if these successful people had harped on their shortcomings and allowed themselves to be held back from what they knew they were called to do? Would I want to stay in school if I believed in myself enough to do something great? I began to wonder how much of what we don’t do, is because of our own self-imposed limitations. The failure to think for ourselves just may be the missing link we need to penetrate the surface of those springs of doubt that cause immobility; bringing our dreams into view. Personally, in my own life, I see that I need to find my way back to a version of myself that was braver than I am now. I used to carve my own pathways with zeal, not fear? Where has that part of me gone? When did self-doubt creep into my mind and become an option? Am I wearing rose-colored glasses while comparing myself to more accomplished friends, the women I see on television, and the photo shopped models staged in magazines, only to take off those shades at home and wonder why my
life doesn’t look as rosy?
Maybe, but I’m working on it.
I started to evaluate the messages I’ve absorbed that have created self-doubt in a grown woman and then my thoughts turned toward the young girls growing up in this era. I can see their cause for rebellion, “nothing but mixed messages going on out here” is what I would be thinking. If we look at the examples of womanhood on reality shows, it’s a wonder there are still young women that choose to leave the house without makeup and find reading a worthwhile pastime. What would I be thinking if I were a teenage girl and my mother and the female celebrities I looked up to told me, “I was valuable, pretty, and should confidently accept my imperfections,” only to have botulism religiously injected into their own faces every three months?
Would I really believe them?
Then I addressed my own mixed messages and wondered if I had forgotten to protect myself over the years. How many of us would never let a person skate by that was disrespectful or spoke rudely to us in a social setting? Would you instantly intervene on behalf of your friend or sibling if they were being ignored or mistreated? Would you move to protect a woman on the street that was being verbally abused in front of you? Most of us would say, “Yes, of course,” but when was the last time you truly intervened on your own behalf? When I asked myself that question, I sadly couldn’t remember. I’ve used self-talk that I would never allow a person to direct toward a friend, a stranger, or myself! Are you tolerating negative thoughts in your life that you would never subject somebody you cared for to? Why is it acceptable for you to settle and believe in defeat as an option, but not your daughter, son, friend, co-worker, spouse, etc.? Making the correlation between my own self-defeating thoughts and the consequence of immobilizing fear has been very uncomfortable, but also surprisingly empowering. Sure, there have been some rough moments. I wouldn’t mind subjecting a few deep creases in my psyche to a little Botox in an attempt to smooth things over in my mind, but I believe flaws in our thinking, like wrinkles, can be beautiful on a person that won the war and kept smiling.
It’s hard to admit that we may be our own verbally abusive bully or responsible for casting the most doubt on what it is we hope to achieve. It would be easier to avoid this conversation and say, “I’m over thinking this,” but I long to be the braver version of myself and the first step is to come out of the dark and face my demons, even if my sword is trembling in the air. I need to stand up to my mind and not allow defeating thoughts to pervade moments of joy. Can you relax without guilt? Often my own self imposed moments of relaxation have sounded like this: I really should have walked my dog and cleaned the garage before I indulged in this book—If I could just get it together and function on less sleep, I could dress better for meetings—I shouldn’t have taken this vacation, I have too much to do and not enough in savings. And my least favorite, that goal is too big Tina— you really think you can accomplish that?
As painful as it is to admit, the past few years I have been my own worst enemy. Talking about change and realizing an area of weakness is one thing, but nothing happens until a person moves toward the desired outcome. How can I tuck myself into a crate for safety like a puppy and expect to ever make my mark on the world? Doubt and self-defeating thoughts keep you protected from challenges and I have to revive the fearlessness I’ve known. That means leaving my comfort zone in order to make things happen. Am I nervous and scared? Hell yes, but stagnancy is the alternative. I don’t want to live a life dreaming and hoping for the things I want and need; it’s up to me to make my “mark” so to speak and push through the fear. Some of my goals are far-fetched and a bit wild, but that’s where fearless abandon comes into play and my animal instincts are still intact! I intend to step out of the puppy kennel of self-doubt, chase some Frisbees, and target as many hydrants as I can along the way.
(If we should meet along my journey—please feel free to throw me a Frisbee!)
When was the last time you really challenged your spirit and felt alive with inspiration? If you answered, “Yesterday, when I logged onto my Pinterest board,” it might be time to try something new! Do you have a dream job? A fitness goal? A destination vacation? Have you pursued job listings, called a gym, booked the vacation spot or only looked them up on Google over a cup of coffee? Let’s ask ourselves how we really want to spend 2015 before New Year’s Eve arrives, silence our inner critic along with any doubtful thoughts and start making things happen! What are you telling yourself every day? I was telling myself that my dreams were next to impossible, that was before I decided to stop limiting myself and circling the building. I intend to treat myself better—I’m walking inside from now on, moving toward the direction of my dreams and I hope you will too! To those of you that can relate to my experience I want to say, “I believe in you, I think you are capable, I’m excited for you, and I know you can do it!” And just like I believe these things for my friends at HaveHeart, after some candid introspection I can also say, “I believe them for myself.”
An editied version of this article originally appeared on HaveHeart Magazine October 1st 2014 (Photo is courtesy of HaveHeart Magazine) You may link to this article here:http://haveheartmagazine.com/kind-marriage-ship-sailing/#sthash.fkr0mZi8.dpbs
What Kind Of Marriage Ship Are You Sailing?
By Tina Zita
Single people are often thought of as “lost at sea” when their friends sail ashore in a matrimonial boat made for two. I sense that some of my friends think of me as lonely and adrift because I’ve remained a single woman. Truth be told, I am not a particular fan of marriage, enjoy my solitude, and was hoping my friends marriages would serve to alter my perspective. In actuality, many of their unions have left me more determined to never drop anchor. I’m not a marriage counselor, but I’ve learned a few things from watching my coupled friends repeat behavioral patterns over the years, and while I realize one incident is not indicative of a whole marriage; the examples below have taught me a lot about what can go wrong and right:
The Rough Water Couple: This couple invited me over to a party. I walked in and the husband proudly showed me his homemade marinade, filled my glass with wine, and complimented his wife’s beautiful table setting. As I sat down to eat, I witness his wife humiliate him for making a mistake in front of their guests and become infuriated when he carried out the BBQ meat on the wrong plate. This example of marriage didn’t look like fun to me, it was rough water. I wanted to take my friend by the arm and whisper, “What is wrong with you? This man loves you and worked hard on this meal. Was his plate choice really important enough to berate him in front of your mutual guests?” It was embarrassing for us and for him; he wasn’t the same the rest of the night.
“Mary and Jimmy” A Smooth Sailing Couple: When they invite me over for BBQ’s, I’ve noticed Mary will kiss Jimmy on the cheek while he is grilling, bring him a cold drink and says things like, “Thanks babe, this all taste great!” Jimmy usually brings her plate before his own, accompanied by a wink and a genuine happiness to serve her. I see this caring attitude reciprocated when it’s Mary’s turn to cook. I’ve learned a lot by spending time with this couple. They are both attractive people, but their charming interactions shine the brightest in any social gathering—like a lighthouse pointing the way back to safety.
Lesson Learned: Appreciate your husband and take notice when he is working hard. Don’t ever shame a man in front of family and friends, ever.
The Woman Who Forgot How To Navigate: I know a woman who has forgotten how to steer her own ship and morphed into her husband. I don’t know what happened to her? Each time we get together I hear things like, “Tim and I just love this color.” The problem is, I’m not talking to Tim, and I miss hearing her individual opinion. While dining at a new restaurant she’ll say, “Oh, Tim will love this dish, we just love garlic.” (Yawn) I wonder to myself if Tim enjoys all of his taste preferences decided for him by his wife. Maybe Tim has changed his mind and now prefers a different color and has developed an aversion to garlic? We’ll never know, because Tim has lost his voice and developed an identical twin.
“Lisa and Mike” A Smooth Sailing Couple: Lisa and Mike have remained individuals and even though they miss each other dearly when they are apart, they encourage each other to take separate trips with friends. Especially, when it’s something the other has no interest in; they don’t fake it, begrudgingly attend, or texted and call nonstop ruining the others experience. Just last week, Lisa began to ramble on at dinner deciding if she had to choose between becoming a werewolf or a vampire, which she would rather embody. Mike never interrupted her; he laughed and listened patiently until she finally determined that she would become a werewolf. Her reasoning being that she is lazy, and becoming a werewolf would only require her to run at full speed and hunt on full moons. Mike smirked, reached for the bread basket and said, “Good choice, I want to find you naked in the forest!” We all roared with laughter! He didn’t take the opportunity to say something rude about her self-proclaimed laziness; the respect among these two remains constant. I appreciate that I’ve never had to witness them put each other down or speak for one another in my presence. They choose to acknowledge themselves as individuals saying things like, “Oh, you’ll have to ask Mike, I wonder if he would enjoy that?” or “Hey, I wonder if Lisa would be interested in going to that concert?” Mike still flirts with Lisa and she’s equally as smitten, routinely latching onto his side as they walk to the car like a couple of teenagers. Did I mention that everyone in our group of friends is nearing 40? By the looks of their sails, you would never know it.
Lesson Learned: Don’t lose your own voice or speak for your partner. Marriage joins two people, sure, you cohabitate and all of that, but you still have individual brains!
The Fanatical Manipulator: My friend I’ll call “Paige” is a college graduate that consistently made top honors. She is one of the most intelligent, funny, capable women I’ve ever known. (That was until she got married.) Her husband became fanatical about his beliefs and does not possess anywhere near the mental capacity for learning that she does. His mounting insecurities compel him to attack her self-esteem becoming so relentless in his pursuit of her confidence; that she has actually begun to believe that she is not viable without him. When her family and friends try to build her up and help her out of her funk, he intervenes, promises to change, and cleverly uses what he perceives to be her “weaknesses” as a means to guilt her back into submission. According to him, she is not zealous enough about his viewpoints and needs to change course. We’ve even heard him say, “Wipe that make-up off your face you look ridiculous!” The truth is, she looked absolutely stunning and merely had on mascara and lipstick! This is an example of a ship headed for rocks.
“Cassie and Matt” A Smooth Sailing Couple: The best example of marriage I’ve ever seen has been that of my friends, Cassie and Matt. They are an inspiration! Matt admires and builds up Cassie in all things, like the time she momentarily took up knitting and made Breaking Bad inspired “Yo Bitch” pot holders. He proudly hung them on the wall making certain we all noticed how creative his wife was and even took orders. When they began to plan their wedding it only took them a month! (I didn’t even think that was possible?) Neither of them stressed over minor details the whole event was fun, relaxed, and low maintenance. They weren’t concerned with which flowers to choose or what color the napkins should be. Their excitement centered on making their union official and enjoying the after party alongside family and friends. When we have Scrabble parties, they are still amused and astonished by each other’s ability to be clever and innovative. Matt never tries to tell Cassie “how to think” if he did, she would toss him overboard and I get the sense he admires that quality in her. Cassie allows Matt the freedom he needs to evolve and never criticizes him, she just quietly pulls ropes alongside him, hoisting the sails, tanning her legs, and trusting Matt’s ability to lead them into their next adventure.
Lesson Learned: Don’t suppress your intellectual abilities for a partner that can’t keep up. A secure person will be inspired by your strengths, not threatened by them.
Cassie and Matt have been together over fifteen years and every time I am around them, I smile with amazement and am honored to witness their marriage. Experiencing my friends separately heightens the enjoyment, and has a unique way of actually making them seem more inseparable and united in my mind. As far as our group of friends goes, we get to hang out with two awesomely healthy individuals instead of navigating around one unbalanced couple all night long. These examples lead me back to the realization that I still prefer casting my own nets and sailing the seas alone. I don’t want a pirate grifting away my peace, I don’t want to live in a cracked submarine knowing that walls will cave in from the mounting pressure, and I don’t want a captain trying to command a ship that doesn’t belong to him. I will say this, Cassie and Matt’s example of marriage reminds me to lift the tarp off my boat and check for rust on my anchor. When I leave their company and drift back out into the sea of singles, I think, maybe, just maybe, I’ll find a sailor that doesn’t want to take over my boat and change it. We’ll elect to drop anchors, choosing to drift separately among the waves, while remaining close enough to communicate, hold each other’s rope calloused hands, and admire the uniqueness of our hulls.