To All the Boys I Thought I Loved Before

I love the To All the Boys movie series on Netflix. While I wish I actually read the books instead of just watching the movies, I don’t have much time to read young adult fiction novels nowadays. lol I love Lara Jean & her close, dynamic relationship with her sisters though. Every year for the past couple of years, I’ve had a Sister pre-Valentine’s Day celebration where we have a romantic-comedy movie marathon with a heart-shaped pepperoni & mushroom pizza, paired with brut rosé. In celebration of the newest release of the 3rd movie, To All The Boys: Always & Forever, & with Valentine’s Day only a couple of days away, I decided to write this open letter to all the boys I “thought” I loved before. Fair warning, despite my outward demure & innocent demeanor, my love life has never been perfect. I’ve made a lot of mistakes in the past, & I’m using this letter to finally confess & apologize. I hope that my letter comes across as raw & vulnerable, yet still heartfelt.

Number 1: Thank you for accompanying me to prom, being my 1st kiss & my 1st boyfriend, & I’m so sorry for breaking your heart.

I knew you liked me immediately from the way you’d stare at me in silence as I walked into Biology class to take a seat. You sat behind me but didn’t say anything to me until a few months before the school year was over. I could tell that you were excited when our teacher decided to change seating arrangements so that we sat at the same table. Thanks for accompanying me to my Senior prom. I probably would have skipped it all together if I didn’t get a date, but it actually turned out to be a really fun night.

I’ll finally confess how taken aback & scared I was when you asked me to be your girlfriend after we had only been talking for a week. Then, you told me “I love you” only a week after that. I really wasn’t ready for a relationship, & I wasn’t ready for any of the intimate things that you wanted from me. I was just too scared to hurt your feelings.

I’m really sorry for wasting your time that Summer. I knew you got a job just so you could afford to take me out on dates & buy me gifts. The reality was I was only 18, & I just didn’t see a future for us. I didn’t want to leave for college still dating my boyfriend from high school.

When you finally confessed that you failed your classes & needed to repeat your Junior year, it was the last straw for me. I already graduated & was so ready & excited to move away for college for the next 4 years. I wish I hadn’t been such a coward & broke up with you in person. You deserved more than the email I sent you. You wanted to marry me & asked if you should wait for me, & I said no. I’m so sorry that my honesty broke your heart. I hope you found someone who was equally obsessed with you to love you in all the ways I knew I could never have grown to.

Number 2: Thank you for showing me what love is not, & I’m sorry for emotionally cheating on you with my TA.

I knew you wanted me immediately, but I soon found out that your intentions were always only to feed your own ego. You knew that every guy in the dorm wanted me, so you just wanted to be able to say that you won out of all the competition. From the way you looked at me when I’d walk by to the way you’d direct your attention & questions to me when we were in a group, I guess I was just intrigued by your persistence.

We started dating only a week after meeting. In retrospect, I should have taken way more time to get to know you to ensure that we were even compatible. I had no idea who you were, & what I slowly learned about you over time didn’t make our connection any stronger.

Thank you for respecting that I was still a virgin & wanted to save myself for marriage, but the honest truth is that I was never sexually attracted to you. I’m sorry for all the times I insulted you, got frustrated with you on road trips, & for that day I put hands on you, because I reached my breaking point. Physical & mental abuse is inexcusable, & I hope you found it in your heart to forgive me.

I wish that you had been honest & upfront about your issue with the distance between us, because you lived in SoCal & I lived in the Bay Area. You should have told me that you wanted to break up with me EVERY SINGLE TIME you went home to your family for the holidays & Summer. It would have saved us both a lot of trouble & heartache.

While you admired my intelligence, I hated seeing you cry & resent me every time I’d get better grades on my homework, exams, & classes overall. I didn’t want to pretend to be someone that I wasn’t, & that’s probably why I fell for my TA. I could never be the type of girl who would dumb myself down to make a man feel better about his own intelligence. I knew that I wanted someone on my level who could carry a deep conversation. I’m still so sorry for emotionally cheating on you with him & for playing intramural basketball with him the following year, just to spite you after you cheated.

While I don’t blame you for actually cheating on me the Summer after that, it just seemed so cliché that you chose the blond Canadian lifeguard at the gym you were working at of all people to cheat with. I knew that having to see her visit you on campus every couple of weeks was my karma. After you got married & divorced shortly after, I convinced myself that she was only in a relationship with you to get a Green Card. I do forgive you for cheating on me. We had two long, hard years of lessons to learn from each other. I hope that you have a happy & fulfilling life with your new wife & kids now.

Number 3: Thank you for having breakfast with me after class, & I’m sorry for using you to get over Number 2 & Number 8 over a decade later.

From my understanding, you were using me to get over your exes both times too. Your ex from high school even made fake Facebook accounts to lurk me, which I told you about & you handled. We were honestly just two hurt souls trying to find comfort in each other, while neither one of us knew we would ever go the distance. The way you never wanted to be tagged on anything with me on social media was a huge clue that it was time for me to walk away. Not to mention that you slept with our mutual friend in the bathroom during the same party we were all attending. I still can’t believe you flew from LA to the Bay just to see me. Even though the spark died for me a decade ago, I still had fun drinking mimosas & catching up with you. I’m proud of how much you’ve grown over the years. I hope that you finally healed your heart & found someone you love who truly loves you in return.

Number 4: Thank you for jailbreaking my iPhone & the late nights we’d spend playing Guitar Hero. I’m sorry for not walking away, when I knew you weren’t ready for a relationship & were juggling too many options.

After dancing together at the toga party, I tried to keep my distance from you. You were good friends with Number 3, & while I successfully did not go back to your dorm with you that first night. I still succumbed to my own loneliness a few weeks later. We both knew we were never meant to be together. I could tell you weren’t over your ex & had a lot of other options, but I still prayed in hopes of getting you to choose me. And for that I’m truly sorry. That last time when were supposed to hook up, I took my friend crashing her car into mine as a sign from the Universe that it was time to finally stop & let you go. I hope you healed from the hurt your ex caused you. You deserve the free will to choose who you want to love & be with. You were a great guy, just not the right guy for me.

Number 5: Thank you for introducing me to your family, & sorry for holding on to the illusion of the happy family we could have created together for way too long.

You were the perfect man that I always imagined I’d marry in my head. I’m sorry for blaming you for not living up to my expectations & resenting you for not wanting me forever the way I wanted you. Nothing was your fault. You chose me for a time & trusted me, but you knew that we couldn’t go the distance. After our terrible Valentine’s Day weekend, I knew you were breaking up with me that day, which is why I didn’t call you to wake you up that morning or confirm when you were coming to see me. When both of your back tires blew out on your way to break up with me, I knew that it was your karma for not being honest with me sooner.

I knew that you still loved your ex, & I was jealous that you were still such close friends with her. While I appreciate that you apologized for breaking up with me so that you didn’t have to feel guilty about dating someone else soon after, I wasn’t honest with you regarding my actions. I never told you that you were right. I did delete all of your friends off of Facebook that day. It wasn’t a Facebook glitch. I chose to lie to your face with no remorse & took pride in my pettiness.

I knew how much joy you took in collecting your ex girlfriends, so I did what I did knowing that if you found out the truth, you would never collect me too. I was young, angry, upset, & vengeful. Now in hindsight, I have no idea what I thought deleting all of your friends would really accomplish besides hurting your ego. Regardless, I’m so sorry for doing that to you, because of my own insecurities & holding onto a dead end relationship. I’m sorry for all the on again off again years that followed as well. I hope you & your current girlfriend are happy & build a happy life together.

Number 6: Thank you for teaching me that I don’t need to be in a relationship to be happy, & I’m sorry for leading you on then making you out to be the bad guy.

I’m sorry for using you to get over Number 5. I thought you were generally attractive, but you weren’t able to hold a conversation or mentally stimulate me ever, which is why I was avoiding being vulnerable & intimate with you. Eventually it made my skin crawl when you’d touch me, which is why I always made sure to keep my distance from you whether it was in a public or private setting.

I just liked that you were in the military & never around, because when we were together, I was so bored. My heart hadn’t healed, nor was my heart even in the new relationship we were trying to build. I knew that you could see yourself marrying me, but going through with that would truly have been my worst nightmare.

When I found out that you got a massage with a happy ending the week before you were supposed to come home to see me, I was honestly relieved. I didn’t want to be seen as a bitch who dumped her boyfriend because I wasn’t attracted to him anymore & thought he wasn’t smart enough for me. I’m so sorry that I wasn’t upfront & honest with you about how I felt. I forgive you for getting the massage, & I’m so sorry for breaking your heart. You, your wife, & your son seem to have built a very happy life together, & I wish you all the best.

Number 7: Thank you for teaching me to respect myself, & I’m sorry for not leaving sooner & meddling in your love life for way too long.

We were only supposed to have been friends. I knew immediately that you were still hung up on your ex, & even though you knew she couldn’t be who you wanted her to be, you still had hope that you could get back together & work on your vulnerability. I did truly forgive her for cat-fishing as me, & I’m glad that she seems to have found her happiness with someone else.

After that ex, I knew when you started dating the real estate agent who had a fiancé that you were just more & more bad news waiting to happen. I knew you were planning an exit strategy when you started making new “friends”, & I knew that you must have asked one of them to be your girlfriend before you told me about it that night.

I’ll finally confess that it was me who DMed your new girlfriend from that fake Instagram account. While I knew that I didn’t want you, I was so jealous that you were closer to getting your happy ending than I’d ever be. I had become a monster, who I was ashamed of, & I’m so sorry for my actions. I was so relieved that she was able to forgive you, & I knew that seeing her come visit you in Oakland & you visiting her in Hawaii all over social media was my karma.

I was glad when I finally had the strength to walk away from you, & I was even happier when you finally moved away to Hawaii. I learned & grew so much as a person, because of what you put me through. I’m sorry for using you as a shoulder to cry on when I didn’t know where my next relationship was going.

I know you’re still trying to heal from your last relationship & deciding what you want. You have so much potential. Keep growing, & please stop settling for ABGs. You deserve someone who is kind & still has a brain. Stop chasing girls who just look good & are only after you for money & all the things you can buy for them.

Number 8: Thank you for teaching me how to unconditionally love someone, & I’m sorry for desperately holding onto you, when I knew in the back of my mind that you never wanted be mine.

I couldn’t write this blog post without including you. Though it doesn’t even apply to you, because I don’t “think” I loved you. You’re actually the only one who I knew that I loved. I’m so sorry that it took us breaking up for me to admit that. I didn’t want to be the first person to say “I love you”. Because of the conversation we had before becoming exclusive, I convinced myself that saying those three words & eight letters would be my complete ruin.

Our relationship was so incredibly intense & scary. Without even trying, you always brought out the best in me. Everything that I lack as a person, you inspired me to improve & work on every single day. You admired & appreciated my intelligence. You supported my hopes & dreams. You made me feel strong & perfect. I still remember when you pointed out that billboard by the Oakland Coliseum to me as I drove us back home after you met my parents. If you only knew what I see in the mirror… I still can’t believe how beautiful I am in your eyes.

Our connection was unparalleled mentally, physically, & spiritually. No one has ever loved me in the way that you did. It was amazing how comfortable & safe I always felt in your presence. There were so many nights when I would lay there in your arms, breathless, heart-pounding, & thinking “I love you” over & over again until I fell asleep.

Did you know that I wasn’t even supposed to go on the camping trip that we met at? If you only knew how much I hate sleeping in a tent & freezing my ass off… lol But I know now that choosing to still go camping & us finally meeting at dinner was fate. I don’t believe in love at first sight, nor have I ever thought anyone was even remotely attractive immediately upon meeting them. But you had me so enamored that I needed to discreetly text my sister, begging her to switch seats with me. But she refused to take one for the team & I was stuck sitting next to the Raiders guy. lol

I still think about our conversations after dinner walking back to the campsite, laughing about Echo & “Samantha” while gazing up at the stars, sitting together in the trunk of your car & letting you teach me about CBD & THC, & pointing out the boulders walking down & back to the lake. That weekend was amazing. I just wish you had stayed through Monday.

I know that you’re still trying to hide your darkness from me. I knew that you were entertaining a lot of other women when we met & I came into your life. I knew you weren’t ready to give up your single life just yet, so when you didn’t call or text me after I gave you my number in the weeks after camping, I took it as a rejection. Your hesitation about us was the only reason I booked that trip to Hawaii to visit Number 7.

After you ignored my first Facebook message, I decided to try one last time & asked you to text me, sliding into your Instagram DMs. lol I was so happy to finally have your number, & we texted back & forth all day. We had two amazing dates that first week, then you ghosted on me after you got back home from your trip. Then a full month went by & despite my better judgment, I still wanted to see you at the Halloween party. Dancing with you all night was so much fun, & when you told me the next day that you didn’t even consider yourself a dancer, I appreciated that you danced all night just to be near me. I also respected that I took you home, & you didn’t try to take advantage of me while I was drunk & high.

After our first break-up in December 2019, I could tell that you were trying to cut out all of your other options, which I appreciated & was why I stayed with you for as long as I did. I’m still so sorry for what happened in November. It wasn’t right of me to try & control your free will, nor is it ok ever ok to be a “messenger” to ensure that other parties are aware of a situation. As an Economics major, I assumed that people deserve to have equal knowledge to make informed decisions. But the bottom line is real life is not Game Theory & not all choices in life are quantifiable, because people deserve to make their own choices.

Despite the messiness in the wake of our breakup, know that I will always look back fondly on our relationship. You taught me what true unconditional love feels like. While our communication still needed work, I will forever compare my new love interests & suitors to the love I received from you. As scared as I am knowing that no man may ever be able to measure up to the love that you tried to consistently give me & what you taught me about myself, I’m still so grateful to have met you.

I haven’t gotten in touch with my spirituality in over a decade, & I thought I stopped believing. But I still see signs, synchronicities, & reminders of the love we shared all day, every day, which renewed my faith because you were honestly a gift & a blessing from the universe. While I only had you in my life for 13 months, I knew that I loved you for 10 of those months. I still thank God every day for bringing you into my life, & I will continue to pray for you, because I truly want you to be happy, even if you’re happier without me.

I’ve finally learned my lessons in love. I respect myself enough to walk away from anyone who isn’t willing to give me what I want, knowing that I deserve to be the one & only woman in a man’s life. I’m not going to repeat my past toxic cycles any longer. To all my exes that I hurt, I’m so sorry from the bottom of my heart. To my exes that have hurt me, I forgave you a long time ago & I wish you only the best.

Writing this open letter gave me a glimpse into how Hamilton must have felt writing the Reynolds Pamphlet that ruined his political career. As I’ve said before, my love life has never been perfect, & I am only human. Love isn’t all flowers, champagne, & chocolates. Love is hard work.

If you’ve been unlucky in love, I encourage you to examine your own past loves & relationships. Don’t hide your past away – choose to learn from it. That way, when true love finds you, you won’t mess it up the same way I did with Number 8.

I hope you all have a Happy Valentine’s Day! Even if you’re not able to spend it with someone you love, I hope you spend the day loving yourself.

XO Denise

Practicing Gratitude

Unless you’re Elon Musk, it’s safe to assume that there will always be someone who has more than you. lol I personally believe that the key to living an abundant life is being grateful for everything that you already have. Because when you live life with a lacking mindset, chasing dollar signs & living for the weekend, you become hyper-focused on everything that you do not have & become envious of all the people around you. I’ve found that when you slow down & actually take inventory of everything that you’ve been blessed with, you create a space welcoming more abundance & subsequently more happiness into your life.

Every night before I go to bed, I make a list of everything that I have that I’m thankful for: my family, my friends, my pug, my health, having a fridge full of food, having a home to sleep in at night, having a stable, full-time job, having money in the bank, etc. My gratitude list can go on & on. I’m so truly grateful for my life & everything I’ve been blessed with.

In my early twenties, I was obsessed with wanting a high paying job, a tall, handsome boyfriend, being able to live on my own, partying, drinking, traveling, & showing off every minute of my fabulous life on YouTube & Instagram. What you didn’t see behind my heavily curated content was the massive amount of debt I was incurring to pretend that what I posted was my actual everyday life. In fact, there was a time where I went for long walks during my lunch hour instead of eating because I couldn’t afford to buy lunch every day.

After I graduated college, I moved back home & lived with my parents until I was 26 to save money. Reaching the latter half of my twenties caused a huge shift for me. I finally started taking my career into my own hands & proactively saving more money for the future. I’ve always been the most responsible child with money in my family, so when my siblings & I finally took the leap of faith to move out, I was the only one who had money in a savings account. I was hesitantly forced to put down the security deposit for our 3 bedroom townhouse, depleting nearly all of my savings that I hoped to use for a future home or my future wedding,

In the end, I learned that investing in your own future will always be a risk, but in general, if you’re making money moves that will benefit the greater good of everyone involved, there’s no reason to be worried or hesitant. Because at the end of the day, when you’re doing good for others, whatever money or contributions you’ve put in, the universe will ensure that you’re eventually repaid threefold. And I was! When I eventually left the job that I moved into the townhouse to be closer to, I was given 12 weeks severance pay, upon my departure, nearly 4x my security deposit!

With a mindset of gratitude & abundance, you accept that everything happens in your life for a reason. There are several lessons to learn throughout your lifetime. You learn when you should have said no, walked away, or ignored very obvious warning signs. You learn to be more self-aware, less co-dependent, & more self-sufficient.

If you want to buy a beautiful home, a luxury car, or a designer purse, don’t throw shade at someone who has all of those things already. Instead, I encourage you to work hard, save your money, & stop using credit cards to make ends meet. Before you know it, you’ll be surrounded by the wealth that you manifested & worked hard for, with your own set of haters, envious of everything you’ve built for yourself. But if I can give you one more piece of constructive advice, instead of feeding into a vicious cycle of greed & envy, always respond to your haters in a way that will inspire & show them how to create their own abundance.

Whenever I’ve been attacked by trolls on YouTube, I always thank them for their honesty & feedback. It is never my intention to annoy or distract another person by my mannerisms or voice, & while I won’t ever apologize for being who I am, I use their feedback to learn & improve. You’d be surprised that 100% of my trolls usually end up deleting their original comment & apologizing to me. Not thinking that I would ever read it or respond, & confessing that they’ve just been having a bad day. Again, do your best to always show compassion & kindness to others, even your trolls. You’ll be surprised at your new influence & power that allows you to heal the hearts & minds of others.

When I first started my daily gratitude list, it was hard for me to even list five things, but now, my lists each day are easily twenty plus. For the most part, you’ll always be given what you need to survive day to day life. I truly believe that money doesn’t buy happiness, especially if you have no one to share your wealth with. But if you’re still grateful in the moments when everyone thinks that you have nothing, it creates space for new abundance, blessings, opportunities, & wealth to come into your life when you least expect it.

XO Denise

Spiritual Cleansing

Have you ever played the video game Kingdom Hearts? It’s a Disney & Square Enix collaborated video game about a boy named Sora, who is sent on a quest to save the Seven Princesses of Heart after his world is destroyed by dark creatures called the “Heartless.” An evil being named Ansem hopes to use the princesses’ hearts of pure light to open the Door to Darkness & gain power to rule over all worlds. I used to watch my brother play this video game for hours on end. In my mind, the Heartless truly represent the darkness that exists in our world. While my focus these past few months has been on battling my own inner darkness & transmuting it into light, I’m not naive. Every entity has its opposite, so I recognize that darkness will always still lurk & exist, despite my best efforts. And that’s why spiritual cleansing is so important to me.

In early December, I ordered an Energy Wellness Bundle from Camaya Healing. I’m a firm believer in supporting small businesses, & Camila is a personal friend & former colleague of mine, who also recently did an Akashic Records Reading for me that I will discuss in a future blog post.

I am not a smoker, so I’ve never been handy with a lighter. lol My dad made fun of me at a party once as I was struggling to light my own birthday candles, saying “Ow… Ow… Ow…” over & over again, trying to not burn myself. lol

I know that burning sage aka “smudging” is a common practice for spiritual cleansing, but I personally can’t imagine forcing myself to struggle every day with a lighter. lol If you’re wondering, I do use longer lighters or matches to light the candles in my home. But playing with fire, both literally or figuratively in general, is just something that I’ve tried to stay away from my entire life.

The Energy Wellness Bundle includes two sprays that were created with the intention to support self-healing & enhance spirituality practices. I personally use them to help me stay grounded, cleanse & purify my space, & allow me to connect to my higher self as well as the Divine. The Energy Wellness bundle includes the following:

  • Super Liquid Smudge 4 oz
    • Not only does this spray smell amazing, but it’s also great for cleansing, protection, & divination practices. I spray this on myself when I need to clear my energy. And I also use it to clear the energy of my apartment, my manifestation altar, my Tarot reading space, & my water-safe crystals. 
  • Kuan Yin’s Essence 4 oz
    • This spray clears the air for peaceful meditation, sleep, & attracting loving energies. It opens energetic pathways to attract more love & clarity within. It is gentle, safe, & natural for children & pets as well. I spray it on my Tarot reading space, my manifestation altar, & myself when I need a boost of love. It also comes with a personalized healing prayer/affirmation to recite.

I know that there’s the saying that like attracts like, but I also truly believe that light attracts dark & vice versa. It’s important to me to always protect my light, my love, & my home. When I can sense dark energies begin to creep in or my pug, Pogi, starts to bark at nothing, I immediately know that it’s time for another spiritual cleanse. lol

Please check out Camaya Healing for your own sprays or even book a reading with her. She has generously given me the code “DENISE10” for my blog readers to use, so I highly recommend checking out her site in the near future!

XO Denise

The Five Love Languages

Love is beautiful. Though it’s not necessarily easy by any means, when you’re more aware of how you give & want to receive love, you feel more at peace & hopeful in your current & future relationships. Even though I’m currently single, with Valentine’s Day coming up, I thought it’d be a good time to discuss the Five Love Languages just in case any of you were struggling with your own Valentine’s Day plans. That said, here are the Five Love Languages for giving & receiving love:

  1. Quality Time
  2. Acts of Service
  3. Gifts
  4. Words of Affirmation
  5. Physical Touch

Knowing the love language of others as well as knowing what your love language is, is beneficial to all of the relationships that you will have in your lifetime. Being aware of how others want to be loved allows you to cater to them & make them happier. For example, my sister’s love language is words of affirmation, so when I can tell she’s feeling down or being moody, I tell her everything that I appreciate about her in hopes of turning her mood around. For instance, I’ll thank her for brewing coffee in the morning, cooking dinner in the evening, or simply unloading the dishwasher. Basically, I’ll tell her how much I appreciate her & everything she does for me, & it usually works really well by the way. lol

When I’m in a relationship & I feel it’s too soon to talk about love languages, I usually shower my partner with a little bit of every love language then tune in to what I feel they react to in the most positive manner. For physical touch, I’ll offer a massage, play with your hair, or give you gentle, loving touches & kisses when you least expect it. For words of affirmation, I’ll write heartfelt cards for special occasions, & text kind words, just because. For acts of service, I’ll offer to cook dinner, bake dessert, make a sandwich, wash dishes, clean up after myself, or simply order takeout when you’re too busy & feeling overwhelmed, without being asked. For gifts, I always remember conversations that we have & consider something that I know will truly touch your heart to receive.

After “I Love You”s have been said between you & your partner, it’s usually a good time to finally talk one-on-one about how you prefer to receive & give love to improve the love that already exists within your relationship.

My primary love language is quality time, followed closely by physical touch. (While I do have a bit of everything across the board, I got 33% quality time & 30% physical touch on the quiz, if you’re curious.) I love having spontaneous adventures & traveling with my loved ones. I love uninterrupted quality time, especially with phones turned off & out of sight. I also love discreet, loving touches, holding hands, fingers running through my hair, massages, & stealing quick kisses when no one else is looking.

I highly encourage you to learn the love languages of every important person in your life. There’s nothing better than being loved & being able to share your love with another person. At the end of the day, you’ll always attract more love into your life when your actions come from a place of love as well.

XO Denise


Since I was a little girl, I’ve always had very vivid & elaborate dreams. There was a time where I kept a dream journal by my bedside, & I wrote down all of my dreams as soon as I woke up so that I can revisit my notes & evaluate them later on in the day. I even have old notes in my iPhone from years ago with dreams that would make for great dystopian movie screenplays, but I’ll keep those to myself just in case I want to switch careers in the future. lol Recently, I’ve been reflecting on this one particular dream that I had last Summer.

It all started at a Casino with my boyfriend & I gambling on slot machines. He had mentioned that he wanted to go to one with me several times before, so we decided to make the road trip. Upon winning a huge jackpot, I eagerly made my way to cash out my winnings only to have everything that I had earned taken from me. I was then detained & separated from my boyfriend for an indefinite period of time. Time always seems to standstill in my dreams.

When I was finally released, I was stripped of all of my belongings & sent back out in the world in my underwear. In a panic, I frantically ran through woods & darkness until I happened upon shelter & clothing.

After putting on clothes, I slowly made my way towards a bright light, glimmering in the distance. As I got closer, I realized that the light was actually a building. Upon further investigation, I learned that it was a behavioral testing facility, comparing various levels of hospitality. There were three groups that were being experimented on in the building, but the groups weren’t allowed to interact with one another.

The first group was over-indulgent hospitality. Everything that they wanted was handed to them without any required effort or hard work. They had an unlimited budget. They were catered to & waited on, hand & foot. They would lounge around all day, eating snacks, watching TV, & sleeping. They could have or do anything that they wanted, not realizing that it was slowly causing them to become useless blobs of human existence.

The second group was strict hospitality. Their basic needs were provided: food, shelter, & a decent spending budget. But they were also forced to lift weights & run every day, & they were each assigned a specific trade to learn. They were only given one hour every day to explore a creative outlet: drawing, painting, music, etc. They would be punished anytime they wouldn’t follow orders & told that they were never allowed to leave.

The third group was enterprise hospitality. They were taught choreography then were required to perform & would be tested on what they learned throughout the day. If they performed well, they would be given everything that they wanted, but if at any time they made a mistake, they would be punished & warned to not repeat the same mistake again. After too many mistakes, they would be forced to leave with nothing.

Being a trained dancer, I snuck my way into the third group. Knowing in my heart that my boyfriend was somewhere in this facility, there was absolutely no way I was leaving until I found him. After learning & performing my choreography perfectly, I was told that I would be rewarded. They quickly discovered that I snuck into the testing facility & didn’t belong there. I was placed in a room & told that if I could choose my boyfriend with absolute certainty then I would be allowed to leave with him without being followed.

Four men then entered the room. They all looked & dressed very similar to my boyfriend, but I personally can recognize his pheromones anywhere, like a moth to a flame. As I approached each of the four men, I knew immediately that this was a trick. I began to argue & refused to choose from the men that they were showing to me. And that’s when I did see him, running past the building through a small, side window.

He was placed in the second group. They had cut his hair & shaved his face. They even forced him to wear contacts, but I knew in my heart that it was him. I ran out of the room, as his group was returning from their run about to start their creative hour. His face looked shocked & confused when he turned to look at me, so I asked, “Do you know who I am?” He shook his head no, & my heart broke. He was brainwashed or under some type of spell.

Then to my surprise, he took my hand & lead me inside saying, “I honestly don’t know who you are, but every day, I draw you.” We turned the corner, & I saw what he meant with my own eyes. He had piles of sketches of me from each day that he had been there at the facility. I wrapped my arms around him & pulled him in close, & that’s when I woke up, my eyes already welling up with tears.

This is how I interpreted my dream:

To me, the varying levels of hospitality represented childhood upbringings. Some individuals come from more privileged circumstances. Others will suffer in silence or have to work really hard for what they want out of life. Usually dreaming about a casino represents good luck & quick fortune, but that also comes with great risks. Being naked involves feeling vulnerable in your current situation, & being detained indicates forced life changes that are beyond your control. We all work hard to always be seen as perfect. You’ll usually be given the basics to survive, but we all face receiving what we want out of life at different costs. So enjoy your happiness, however brief it may have been, because sometimes, you’ll be forced into new situations that require you to forget about everything & everyone that once truly mattered to you.

Even though I grew up loving the idea of magic, I never actually considered myself to be clairvoyant. But reflecting back on my dream now, though my life didn’t play out exactly as it did in my dream, it definitely feels like it was a premonition from the universe of what was coming in the Fall.

Your dreams can have deeper meanings if you pay close attention. While I don’t keep a dream journal anymore, I do still write down my dreams & evaluate them when I have one that particularly stands out to me. Do you pay attention to your dreams? Have any of your dreams come true, for better or for worse?

XO Denise

The Importance of Apologies & Forgiveness

I’ve always hated the popular phrase “Sorry, not sorry.” Admitting when you’ve done something wrong or hurt another person by your actions is difficult. While I’m sure we all secretly wish that we were perfect & never have to apologize for anything, it’s just not the reality of the world we live in. Plus, when you’re genuinely a good person, the guilt alone will wear you down until you finally decide that you have to do something about it. As I’ve grown older, apologies haven’t gotten any easier, but knowing when I need to take responsibility for my actions definitely has.

Here are the two main components of a good, heartfelt apology:

Acknowledgment of what you did

Consider all parties involved & admit fault for the role you played in hurting others. If someone is accusing you of something that you actually did not do, you can still acknowledge how they feel & apologize for making them feel that way, even if it wasn’t your intention. You can choose to agree to disagree on the situation, but know that apologizing is the first step to reconciliation. If a relationship is important to you, apologizing, forgiveness, & moving forward on a new positive path is more important than your pride, ego, & ensuring that you get your way.

Decide how you intend to fix the issue you caused & commit to it with changed behavior

Promise to make it up to the person you hurt. Buy them flowers, candy, or even a small heartfelt gift that will really mean something to them & touch their heart. Assure them that you won’t do it again, but only if you actually intend to follow through with your promises. If you’re offering empty promises without changed behavior to be forgiven, you’re just manipulating the person that you hurt & setting them up to get hurt again. There’s nothing worse than realizing that someone you care about was just telling you what you want to hear so that they can stay in your life.

A real apology involves remorse, followed by silence, space, & showing your changed behavior, whether or not the other party accepts it. Learn to forgive yourself for the hurt you caused, & forgive others even when they refuse to apologize & take personal accountability. Try to act from the greater good for everyone concerned. It’s important to apologize as well as have empathy & compassion for others because even strangers deserve to be treated with kindness & respect. Think about the last time that you were mistreated by a complete stranger. It didn’t feel great, did it?

We’re all the main character in the story of our own lives. While we don’t know everyone’s unique story, it’s still important to do your best to not be another villain in someone else’s life. There’s a reason why a complete stranger may have been mean or rude to you at an inopportune moment, but instead of sinking down to their level, take a deep breath & try to show some compassion for what may be happening beneath the surface.

Only hurt people will hurt people. No one would send hate & darkness someone else’s way, if they weren’t deeply hurting themselves. There’s most likely a story behind their behavior & actions. But like I said in a previous blog post, how someone treats you is their karma. How you choose to react to their treatment is yours. Be mindful & present in your emotions. Do your best to apologize & take responsibility for your actions as needed. Then choose to forgive & let it go for your own peace of mind.

XO Denise