On the 3L’s

I keep taking love quizzes on Facebook and I have had it with them.  “7 Signs You Have Found Your Soulmate”, “50 Ways To Tell You Are in a Healthy Relationship”, “How Well Do You Know Your Lover?” and so on and so forth.  I can’t resist them yet I inevitably finish embarrassed to partake in such things.  What am I, a teenage girl?  So, I came up with my own.  No long list, no quiz.  Just the 3 ingredients I need these days to be happy with a man.  “The 3L’s.”  Believe me when I say that I do NOT profess to be an expert on long-lasting love. But, I certainly am trying and here is what seems to matter most to me at this point:

1. I need to LIKE you.  A lot.  As I observe married couples who are still happy, they seem to have a genuine respect for their partner.  They enjoy and are interested in each other. It isn’t a tolerance of the other only (I am putting up with you because I am committed to you and feel bad leaving you because I said I wouldn’t but I can’t stand you really).  It isn’t a put on for appearances.  They aren’t staying together “for the kids”.

There is a brilliant study that predicts the longevity of marriage in 3 minutes.(http://www.isoulseek.com/sitebranches/relationskills/articles/6signs.pdf)  John Gottman isolated 6 main signs of trouble in paradise but he emphasized that the number one predictor is CONTEMPT. This is a form of anger which can display itself in many ways but the study focuses on body language and tone of voice.  I can vividly recall myself in relationships that were ill-fated and how that type of poison had entered the equation.  This stemmed from a loss of respect somewhere along the way and from that loss of respect I became contemptuous. And rather than leave, we tolerated each other with a seething anger, eye-rolls and a disdain between us that showed itself in condescension.

2. There must be LUST.  I know better than to think Lust is a good foundation for a long-lasting relationship but it is a requirement.  Chemistry, glances across a room, the remnants of his scent, the touch of his skin.  We really are just animals in the animal kingdom and heat between us matters.  I so wish that this factor was less important to me.  I have ended perfectly lovely relationships because I just didn’t feel “it”.  I have met many wonderful men but without that unnameable spark, there is no future.  It’s what all good love songs are about.  It’s what makes the world go round, makes us want to make babies even when it makes no sense.  We do irrational things, wear ridiculously high heels and give of ourselves.  This fire helps us endure life’s little drudgeries which are inevitable.

3. Last but not least, we must eventually and ultimately LOVE each other.  I am talking about real, respectful and gracious love.  The kind of love that may mean that I love you so much, I want you to be happy despite how your happiness impacts me.  “If you love someone, set them free” and other slogans stick around as long as they do because the true teaching of love is not about possession.  I remember hearing this concept when my kids were born-that my kids are souls that I am fortunate enough to care for.  But they are not “mine”.  Love, at it’s best, liberates us and helps make us our best self.  The people I know who are happily married the longest have this in common.   They love each other through all of life’s changes, through their ups and downs and maybe they will make it, “til death do us part”.

I have officiated two weddings.  One, 20 years ago and they are still married.

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*me on the left with the beautiful Bride.  We were 23 years old.  I was trying to look more Adult but look more Amish?

The other was just last year. Below is the moment when I had them read their vows off the iPhone because I had forgotten them inside.  A funny and perfect moment.

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I gave marriage and love a whole lot of thought for both weddings.  I believe that both couples have what it takes to go the distance and one is half-way there already!  The fact that they asked me to officiate (as an unmarried woman) challenged me, humbled me and I dug down deep to find the right things to say about marriage.  I, despite my many “failed” romances remain a believer in love.

I don’t know if I will marry again.  I don’t know if I believe in Soul Mates or forever for me.  I do know that love heals.  I believe we all deserve love.  I know that after having children, I have experienced love in it’s purest and most selfless form.

I am happy with my guy and I feel all 3L’s for him.  And for today, that’s enough for me.

 

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On Maya Angelou, RIP

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Growing up with the namesake of the great Maya Angelou was no burden since hardly anyone knew of her until I was an adult.  I was actually named after Picasso’s lover but really no one knew that Maya.  A little known fact is that Maya was not Maya Angelou’s birthname but a nickname her brother gave her that stuck.  Much of her amazing legacy was like this-a creation, an evolution and a powerful rebirth of a more powerful self.

 

Recently, a Facebook friend with a curious mind asked the question, “Do inspirational quotes or stories actually work?  Scientifically speaking?”  Her thread was 35 deep and I would say divided into yes/no evenly.  I found the dialogue interesting as it actually never occurred to me that inspiration would somehow NOT work (scientifically speaking is another matter because how does one measure the efficacy of inspiration?).  I hadn’t thought that inspirational stories or quotes would be regarded as catering to the less-intelligent among us.  Or considered trite, as in bumper sticker kitsch!  My contribution to the thread was that I thought people who seek inspiration are absolutely changed by quotes and stories because their mind is seeking it. The self-help market is alive and well for those seeking as are seminars, life coaches and quotes galore on Pinterest.

Perhaps some of us are caught off guard and moved, even when we are not looking for it by friends sharing inspiration on Facebook.  I have spent my life as a seeker and hopefully, provider, of inspiration.  I believe the meaning of our lives and experiences and how we make sense of them provide inspiration to those around us. And I have been greatly inspired by Maya Angelou.  With the passing last week of Maya, I wanted to pay homage to her and how she has affected me both personally and professionally.

 

I don’t recall the first time I heard this:

 

 

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But I do remember the year I began doing hair and observing Stylists with their clients. I observed how profoundly affected each client was by the Stylist (mostly positive but sometimes horribly).  As my career went on and I worked with Stylists in a corporate capacity, I participated and eventually taught a long seminar on business and purchasing habits as it pertained to success as a brand.  The seminar was a few days long but in a nutshell, Maya Angelou’s quote said it all.  We always remember the feeling we have about the people in our lives and in business, this is often enough to succeed.  We will NOT usually return to a restaurant if the food is great but the service is horrible, for example. We WILL, however, keep going to a mediocre Stylist because we LOVE them.  Not because the technical service is great.  But if we provide great service and we are pretty cool (and consistent!), we have a good thing going.  A slam dunk really.

Clients who come to me, usually come to either have their hair highlighted or to cover their grey.  The grey hair can be slight or profound and this has nothing to do with age or stress, despite what people think.  What grey hair does to most women psychologically, however, is makes them feel old and not-so-great. Because of this deeply personal and emotional relationship women have to grey hair, I have the opportunity to transform a client from feeling not-so-great, to feeling amazing.  All day, every day I aspire to create a great experience for the client in my chair so how she feels about her grey isn’t as bad.  This can be done by having a rich conversation, leaving her to read and drink coffee or giving her the opportunity to reinvent herself in changing how she looks that day or just by covering the grey.  I have taken the words of Maya Angelou to heart in my business practice and there isn’t a day that goes by that I forget this very important tenet.

 

The other profound quote I love by Maya Angelou I actually referenced a few weeks ago in my blog post On Unicorns:

 

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I do believe the subject of falling in love with someone’s “potential” deserves it’s own post (entire books written on Codependency…) but suffice to say, I used this quote as a mantra when dating.  Every time a man would say something on the first date or in the first conversation that indicated perhaps a tiny problem with alcohol or maybe not such kind words for his ex-wife or perhaps that he hated his mother…I thought about this.  And even when the dates progressed and I heard the words “not ready” or “wanting to just have fun” I would say to myself, “LISTEN!!!!!”.

There is really no way to properly honor the scope of Maya Angelou’s legacy here.  I am thankful that she has been recognized globally and that her work will live on.  I am hoping that my friend with the inquiry on whether or not inspirational quotes work will find proof in Maya Angelou’s life and know, whether scientifically proven or not, words indeed have the power to change us.  Forever.

 

RIP